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Midwinter 47, Year 6822

City of Ekon, Ekkadia Province, Verkon

Looking out from the aircraft's windows, Valdrig couldn't help but frown at the snowstorm that was brewing outside. From all angles, there was nothing but a billowing, bright white. The harsh winds battered the small VTOL, and he cringed as he heard what sounded like a particularly heavy piece of hail bounce off the roof. Since the snow made it impossible to see anything in the distance, he turned to the pilots. "How much longer until we reach the city?"

The pilots, used to such questions at this point, barely looked up from their instruments to answer him. "Not much longer, sir. We should be approaching the barrier field in a few minutes."

"Good. I'd rather not be stuck in this storm for any longer than necessary." Of course, he knew that the craft he was on was sturdy, built to survive storms such as these. And yet, every time he was outside the barriers, he couldn't help but think of all the horror stories of planes being shredded by the wind, or crushed by hail. Banishing those thoughts from his mind, he stared out the window until, eventually, the pale blue glow of Ekon's barrier field was visible. As the VTOL approached, there was a faint whoosh, and suddenly the wind was less harsh, and he could see outside again.

Ekon was an old city, one that was almost as old as civilization itself. Throughout the years, it had grown from a collection of mud huts on a riverbank, to the center of verakh civilization. Once the capitol of the ancient Ekkadian empire, and the nations that followed its collapse, it now served as the capitol of the Compact. The city had only grown since, and looking through the windows, Valdrig could see the winding streets and old, clay-tiled roofs, occasionally interspersed with clusters of pre-fabricated habitation blocks. In the city's center stood several skyscrapers, and their destination- the tallest, and seemingly newest building of the group, a silver-coated monolith, whose knife-like point almost seemed to stab at the sky.

Unity Tower was easily the tallest building on Verkon, and its construction was one of the longest and most expensive. It served as the administrative nerve enter of the Compact, containing hundreds of offices and service facilities dedicated to carrying out the many tasks that a world-spanning government had to do on a daily basis. It was also where the Overseer Council met, which meant he had to be there.

As the VTOL approached the helipad, jutting out from near the top of the tower, there was a rush of air as the VTOL's fighter craft escorts broke off, heading back to their base. Soon, they touched down, and Valdrig stood up for what felt like was centuries. Stepping down the ramp, two members of the Council Guard met him, each clad in a black, military-model HCS. Standing at the sides of the ramp, they each gave a salute, putting their fists to their chest. He gave them a respectful nod as he walked down.

"High Overseer," one of them began, "The Council has assembled, at your request. We are to escort you to the Council chambers at once."

"Of course." As they approached the door, he took a deep breath. "Remember this day, friends. Today, we are making history."

In Hello! 22 days ago Forum: Introduce Yourself
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DSS Audie Murphy

Lee listened to the changeling in passing as he began to move towards the door. <You may refer to me as Specialist Lee, or simply Lee for short.> The truth was that he didn't remember his birth name- the mind wipes had taken that from him, and for many years the only name he had was a number. The name "Lee" was simply an alias that he had used on undercover missions on Earth, but it was the closest he had to a proper name, so he stuck with it.

As he moved near the door, he turned around one last time, looking at the crewman on the ground. <I see...again, I give you my thanks. If not for your help, he would surely be dead.> And with that, he moved through the door, heading towards the vehicle bay.

Carver regarded the man before him, listening as he spoke. This "Captain Cloak", despite his primitive equipment, was apparently a survivor from one of the other ship crashes. As the man finished speaking, he began. "It's good to talk to someone in English. I tried to communicate with the locals, but I've never heard their language before. Anyways, my name is Sergeant Carver, and I'm the leader of this here group. We're trying to get our ship back up and running so we can get out of here, and we'd appreciate any help you could offer us."

Just then, the vehicle bay doors opened, and several crewmen could be seen pushing the dropship outside, Specialist Lee following behind them. Putting his hand up to his ear, he opened up a channel with Carver. "Sergeant, the crew's managed to repair the majority of damage to the dropship. Mind if I take it up?"

Carver looked back, and smiled. "Go ahead, Specialist." He then turned back to Captain Cloak. "Well, that took shorter than I expected. My second in command is about to take our dropship up, and hopefully return some more info on the other crashes. Uh...I guess you can stick around here for now, if you want. I don't have any reason to distrust you, so don't do anything stupid, and you should be fine."

Soon enough, the dropship took off, the nearby crewmen clearing the area. It climbed quickly, and was soon hovering over the ship. Switching off VTOL mode, it began to move over the forest, moving over the nearby crash sites. Anyone looking up would be able to see it quite clearly. After it had finished surveying every crash site, it began to hover over the area near the abandoned castle.

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DSS Audie Murphy

The Specialist, once again, listened as the changeling spoke to him. It seemed that they, too, were considered fugitives- although it was less their fault, and more the fault of their more aggressive cousins. As he continued to listen, the changeling paused, and he was quite surprised by what he said next.

<Really? Let me see...> Suddenly, he stood up, walking over to the window, and looking out. <Yes, I see strange.> He looked back towards the changeling. <Well, I am going to head outside, and rendezvous with our leader outside. You can come with me, and I can see if I can introduce you to him. Otherwise, feel free to return to your ship, if you prefer.> He then began to move towards the door. <Either way, it has been good speaking with you. We will speak again, yes?>

Meanwhile, Carver was considering their next steps. The battle was over by this point, with all of the hostile creatures dead or soon to be dead, and the Marines finally had some time to breathe. He had taken the time to ask for a damage report, and the results were better than he expected. There seemed to be very little damage to the ship, and the crew was shaken, but unharmed. Given that everything seemed to be normal, he ordered the crew to move forward with one of the tasks he had meant to do before everything went to shit- repairing the dropship. If they could get the aircraft in working order, they could send a team to explore the other sites, and possibly make contact with other survivors. Fortunately, they had working SCV's, and a good amount of spare parts, so he expected the repairs to be completed relatively quickly.

As he was talking with a few of the Marines, he heard a voice in the distance, and turned to face it. To his surprise, it was a human- or at least it looked like one from a distance. The figure was covered in some sort of red cloak, which covered any identifying features. But, it sounded like he was speaking English, albeit with a thick accent. As a few of the Marines also turned to face the figure, he stepped forward, walking towards it.

He kept moving forward until he was close enough to make out the figure clearly. He still couldn't see any identifying features, but he did see he was carrying a weapon- and a bizarre one at that. Who the hell carries a musket, in this day and age? I know some of the officers liked antique weapons, but a musket? Sheesh... Odd choice of weapon aside, they still spoke English, unlike everything else they had come across so far. He lowered his visor, a neutral expression on his face.

"Hey, there. Where'd you come from?"

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