Lorani Province, Piyapon, Kirikuu Ranch
A brisk and cold breeze cut through the air as a storm front was forming on the ocean side of the Lorani Province. Thick black clouds loomed over the horizon like a rolling tide of chaos and disruption. The chill wind rolled through the region, causing the trees that populated the forest to send their leaves out onto the breeze and eventually to the soil of the paradise world of Piyapon. As the wind blew the crackling of their leaves dominated the acoustics, and the smell of the changing seasons had dissipated. The autumn of Piyapon had arrived, and with it, a vast array of new colors. What was once green, blue, and bio-luminescent was now red, orange, and differing shades of yellow. The blue grass that made up the verdant food bearing fields of the Lorani Provence however refused to yield.
A splash of warm water was tossed, and the crack of it hitting was a wet smack against the ground, wall and... Creature. "PFT FUCKING! FUCK OFF! I’LL FUCKIN KIII--"
"Uh. What are you?" A pubescent sounding voice rang out interrupting Creature's incoherent awakening objections. Creature lay in a bale of hay, surrounded by a fence, and a large bird like animal let out a soft chirrrp and nuzzled him closer to her. "Uhhhh... ooooh..." Creature said as he was pushed into the soft down that were this large animal's feathers. "Hmmm... I’m uh... fucking tired. Come back tomorrow...." He said his voice raspy and groggy.
"Well. We run the Kirikuu ranch, and you weren't here yesterday. I need to tend to this animal, and I can't very well do it with you here. So. Could you get up so I can finish my chores?" The ranch hand said. Creature responded with silence. Then he let out a crackling audibly loud yawn and stretched, his tail curling into it and the rose gold hoop it more sparkling as a flash of distant lightening illuminated the low light of the afternoon. He rose to his feet, and his Amber eye looked up to see a towering sight. The alien had red skin, and spots going up her body. A pointed tail, and a lean powerful musculature. Her face and eyes were like what he knew, save for the red skin, but her white hair was accentuated by a set of curling horns on both sides of her head. But what stood out to Creature was this young woman was nearly three feet taller than he was. 'Holy fuck you are fucking huge!" Creature said standing and looking up to the alien woman.
"And you are tiny." She said smiling. "Now please get before I have you run off. We don't like unannounced guests at our ranch."
"Ranch? Oh..." The Alien nodded at Creature. "Yes, this is the Kirikuu Ranch, it has stood here for nearly twenty years---" Creature launched up, and walked past the woman out into the middle of the Ranch. The Ranch was more like a town. He saw buildings put up around a single dirt road. A massive manor, stables, a Silo, and even a star ship landing pad. But what he saw that amazed him for a second was the massive force field fence. He could not see where it ended, yet, the contents with in the fence were difficult to miss. A massive herd of bipedal gigantic bird like aliens were all crowded by the fence to escape the oncoming storm. The animals were squawking and cooing, looking at their handlers with anticipation, more of these tall beautiful aliens were moving about, trying to get their animals herded together so they could be moved to safety. Creature stood, stunned by this scene. 'Fucking hidden devil village..." He rumbled. "Still dunno how the fuck I got here..."
A shadow fell over Creature and a heavily accented and authoritative sounding voice said; "And so what might you be doing here?" The voice belonged to a nearly ten-foot-tall woman with tan skin speckled with spots and stripes in glowing violet, which carried along her dark reddish horns. Her long luminescent gold hair was pulled back into a simple tail, kept out of the way. Her piercing gold eyes were locked on the newcomer. She was clad, unlike the others working on the ranch, in a more uniform-like outfit, a long dark green great coat over grey vest and trousers. A black visored hat was set atop her head and she had a gun belt with a very large pistols holstered to it along with a heavy curved saber. In her hands she held a wooden stocked rifle that was so long, that for anyone normal human sized, let alone Gartagen sized, it would look silly, but in the hands of the ten foot tall woman, looked menacing and deadly, even in the current casual way she held the weapon.
Creature perked up at the sudden question from the accented voice from behind him. He soon relaxed and his tail curled. "Uhhh. I don't know? I was fucking just doing my shit last night and I guess I came here and laid down? I'm just happy I have all my stuff." He rasped. "Buuuut I probably need to get back to my camp. Those black army psychos aren’t taking a day off so I fucking shouldn't either...." He said turning around and looking at the monstrous Kishargal woman in front of him. "Holy hell, y’all are fucking huge.... uhhh... Look I guess I should say fucking it. I'm with the Lady of the Province... Sir Creature of Azalea company... been fighting those psychos... you uh know anything about those shit eaters?"
The half-elf scout was fuming. Lukina had been tracking her Knight Commander for part of the evening and most of the morning. He had slipped out of camp again but had not hidden his drunken trail over the course of 20 miles heading down hill. They were supposed to be doing something today but no one could find Creature for orders. Where the hell was he going?
Lukina eventually reached the ranch and saw the strange aliens that tended it. She was more interested in locating her commander as she remained hidden in her stealthsuit, avoiding disturbing the animals and what handlers she saw.
Lukina with her scouting and tracking skills would have had little trouble locating Creature, or his trail. In fact the night guards had stated that they last saw him sitting in the center of camp drinking and hitting his stash hard when he stood up and said. "I am going to fucking find Hilda, that fat twat and learn her a lesson!" Before heading out of the camp. He had zig zagged across twenty miles of brush. Her tracking skills would reveal he stopped numerous times to relieve himself, and discarded cans and cigarette butts at an increasingly alarming rate. The barely noticeable slope of the local geography being the main constant in his destination. At some point he had encountered a group of local farmers and fight had ensued. Then he wandered some more...finally the trail went cold as Creature got back on the main path that brought him to this Ranch, likely he followed the lights.
He wasn't hiding, Creature and the Kishargal woman were standing in the middle of the Ranch, and compared to the taller larger workers, Creature was easy to spot. He seemed to be in okay shape, and Lukina would see his sword, and a large shield on his back as well as his leather supply bag.
As for the Black army; Lukina would have noticed that the ones in the area who created trackable path's were all moving out in the wake of the recent victory Azalea had taken off of them. With the exception of other scouts like her, it appeared for the moment that the local opposition was withdrawing from the field and regrouping. The direct assault on the camp a few days ago had, as predicted the desired effect of psychological blow, causing them to rethink their approach to their new enemy. They were simply unaccustomed to a foe that was content to stand their ground in the face of terror and shock guerilla tactics.
"I see," The tall Kishargal woman replied, a look of general distrust on her face. "And just what proof do you have that you are who you say you are, a knight of the realm, rather than one of these bastards that have been terrorizing this settlement?" she inquired, subtly changing the grip on her weapon, so her finger could quickly and easily slip over the trigger if she needed.
Lukina crept up silently behind the Kishargal woman and Creature. Trying to decide what to do and decided to take a few steps back and remove her shroud, revealing herself. "Ser Creature! There you are!"
Onikuma was having an interesting time. Creature had decided to go on a bender the night before and it seemed half the small council was out looking for him. However, it appeared that as the Xiongren warrior paced towards the Ranch, the people living there thought him some beast they could capture and sell - which was true but he hadn't exactly liked going through it.
In spite of this, a small group of people bearing pitchforks had decided to confront him. "You don't want to be doing that." he had stated simply, causing their jaws to drop. A talking animal?!
"Especially since his diet sometimes includes Kowloonians and humans," Mizuki said, having kept by Onikuma to make sure they didn't lose track of their one-bear army. "He does accept other varieties of meat or beautiful virgins as offerings though."
"Like that one person who he nibbled on. Granted in his defense she was evil," Thad said with a smile stepping out from behind the bear. "Now keep moving along, we are here looking for our fearless leader. Who battled long and hard all night fighting his demons." Thaddeaus said to the group of farmers. After a few moments he started to hum a song about when creature got high.
Onikuma grunted in assent to his two companions, perhaps the locals wouldn't be so - hostile wasn't the right word - zealous now? Running his ironclad claws through the dirt, almost as if creating tiny trenches for seeds to be planted, the Xiongren nodded. "Beautiful virgins would be nice but if ye've seen a hard-hide looking motherfucker that would be good too. If anyone's fucked any mothers that's probably him." Normally, the Sergeant at Arms was polite and even if they were mistaken this posse had rubbed him up the wrong way.
"Yeah," the jet-skinned Kowloonian said, patting the Xiongren's fluffy arm, "If you could point us towards a Gart that might have torn through the area last night, we'll be on our way."
Onikuma, Mizuki, and Thaddeus would find they were confronted by four of the strange, tall, horned aliens. Towering over them save for Onikuma they did not shy away from the aggression of the great bear. Rather they stood with their herding sticks in hand. "We aren't used to visitors." The leader said, an older looking man. "Gart? You mean the little blue guy that slept over last night? Oh. There he is..." He said pointing to Creature who was standing several hundred meters away next to a tall woman holding weapon. Creature looked to be his usual self.
Creature turned his head to look at the woman who was now gripping her weapon. "Uhhhh... Well, for one those guys dress in all black, and my description is pretty fucking specific." He said not really flinching at the threat. "I'm sure one of you people would have been like ooou! One of the men who threatened us was a little blue guy with a tail and a fucked up hand. No, I just came here to catch some sl--SHIEEEET!" Creature suddenly jump straight up into the air. Gartagen's developed on an air rocky world, so they were sure footed and could leap large distances. Creature who obviously exceeded normal performances of Gartagen jumped nearly 20 feet into the air. He touched down in the same place panting audibly. "What the fuck, Lukina! Why do you have to sneak up on me like that?!"
Creature paused. "This is another one of my Knights, Ser Lukina." Creature said presenting the half elf scout to the massive Kishargal. "Look I am not one of the people who has been hassling you. But if the fuckers are the same ones we have been fighting maybe we can help you. What the fuck have they been doing to you?" Creature said still panting after being startled.
The lady knight bowed to the Kishargal, placing her right fist across her chest. She was clad in black but she bore the ivory stag of the House Arleigh at the nape of her neck and a strange design on her bracer, a strange serpentine beast with wicked wings, two taloned feet and an arrow like tongue. The only visible weapon she bore was the Alliance rifle was slung across her back and the various bulky pouches on her belt. "I apologize for my Knight Commander's bad habit of wandering into strange places. I hope he has not caused your people too much distress?"
The tall, golden eyed woman frowned, with all these outsiders coming out of the woodwork. "We do not welcome outsiders," she said, "Not after what has been happening with these... Black army, as you call them." she glanced over at the other who had come out of hiding. "Also. It would not be difficult to dress oneself in black and conceal one’s face and skin with cloth, would it not?" she shifted her hand hold on the long musket.
Creature kind of looked at Lukina with his warm amber eye and let out a feigned laugh. "Ooooh eheh eeeehehehehe.... Sir Lukina, let’s not be a passive aggressive bitch!" He said delivering a playful, slap on Lukina’s ass that was just a bit too hard. "Not really, but It doesn’t seem like they are ashamed of their uniforms now do they? I offered my help. If you want to deal them on your own then good fucking luck!"
Lukina's eyes narrowed at Creature, and she had half a mind to taze him but she instead suffered with some semblance of dignity and instead, stiffened. "You are on their land, they have cause to shoot you."
"The Mikado's land. We serve the Mikado right?" Creature said in response to Lukina.
"This land here has been ours for a long time," said the Kishargal. "Whoever this Mikado is holds no claim to it."
Creature just nodded and smiled. He was in full agreement with what the woman had just said. Titles and paper work did not grant ownership over anything, and there were plenty in this universe who would use such documents and institutions to do such a thing. "The Mikado is some person that currently rules the entire planet... Bunch of new laws and culture and whatever the fuck, but anyway he'd probably not be too keen on you saying that. Plus, uh. Well, we probably could help you in that department seeing as they have taxes and shit that needs to be paid. My knight here has a point. I can't help people who don’t want any fucking help, so we will get off your land."
Creature then bowed to the tall woman. "Lukina, uhh. I have no idea where I am... Which way is away from here?"
"Taxes, laws, ruler who comes in and lays claim to an entire world without the consent of all its citizens, let alone bothering to make contact with the people who live on this world. Does not sound much better than those who have been attacking us in the night, just a different kind of raid," the Kishargal woman scoffed. "Unless you can prove otherwise?" she added, shouldering her musket for the moment.
"The original government of this planet were in severe debt to the corporations before the Mikado bought their debt. The transition is still... awkward. I would assume that you homesteaded here or bought the land from them. We are not tax collectors though, just defenders," the Lukina added politely, dwarfed beside the Kishargal and the Gartagen.
Creature nodded to what Lukina said. "Hey, we will fucking leave. If you think you can fight those black army fucks on your own then good luck. We are camped on the river by the bridge. We will give the survivors refuge or something." Creature said as he turned and started walking away.
Creature's walk was interrupted by some commotion coming from the other side of the camp. Shouting for help in the alien tongue as one of the ranch hands was rushing into the camp holding another one in his oversized arms. It was a young teenager, holding what could only be called his sister, judging by the fact they both shared the same green hued skin and spot configuration. "IT WAS THOSE BLACK ARMY PEOPLE THEY SAID WE NEED TO PAY THE TITHE OR ELSE THEY WILL START KILLING US!" He howled in emotion.
The Kishargal woman sprinted over to the two in several long strides, kneeling beside them to check on the wounded girl. She spoke in her native language to the other hands, ordering them to get first aid supplies and water.
"Where are they?" she asked the boy, placing a hand reassuringly on his shoulder. "We will stop them from hurting anyone else"
"They were over by the pond. We were getting water and they jumped us," he said as he lay his sibling down. The girl had been brutally assaulted by what could be the butt of a rifle. Her head was split open and bleeding. She was not awake. The boy's mouth was crusted with blood. "The leader said he wants to meet with you for one more chance...if not they are going to burn us all..." He said starting to weep.
Lukina sighed. She wondered where the others were as she raised her forearm to talk into her communicator. "This is Lukina, where are you? I found Ser Creature at some farm, over"
"Got lost somehow," Mizuki said, coming from around a corner. "You'd think it would have been easy to get here from the road, but apparently not. Now," she continued, raising an eyebrow as she glanced between the various knights and homesteaders, "What was this about the Black Army being here?"
Thaddeaus was rubbing the back of his head as he stepped from around the corner behind Mizuki. "Yeah, should have listen to Mizuki and just asked for directions but you know how that goes." Thad said with a giggle.
"You're safe now," the Kishargal woman said, soothingly, calmly, though the way she gripped her musket and how the long, razor sharp climbing claws slowly extended and retracted from her fingertips, told that she was anything but calm.
Several of the ranch hands had come back by now with supplies to treat the wounds and she spoke to them, again in her native language as she stood back up. Two others dressed similarly to her and equally as armed had jogged out of one of the buildings to join her as well.
Creature was walking away when he heard the commotion, he turned and came up behind the Kishargal woman, motioning for Lukina to accompany him.
"You want to prove you are not part of that scum?" the Kishargal asked, coldly, turning her gaze down onto the Gartagen. "This is the time."
"Not really. I don't owe you anything." Creature said dispassionately in response. " This false accusation shit is starting to piss me off and I'm not even drunk yet. So, I'll state it, I'll help you fight them. Or not. You fucking prick."
Lukina smacked Creature on the shoulder. "Ser Creature. We protect the realm." She reminded him sternly.
He let out an exasperated sigh. "Fuck. Alright." He said shaking his head. He looked to the Kishargal woman then took a glance around. "Evacuate the ranch. Your birds, anybody that can't fight. Those who can need weapons, Lukina. Can you get into the fucking field and get me some intel on them? Position, disposition whatever else? Also, that was Mizuki? Get her and the goons down here... I'd march the army here, but it would take them all goddamned day to get assembled and on the move... so it looks like it is just us."
The Kishargal woman had glared at the Gart, she did not like the way he spoke, the attitude he projected was inappropriate and insulting and she had a good mind to cave the side of his skull in with her fist and educate him on proper decorum, but there was no time for that, not for the moment. She called out to the other people of her kind, issuing orders in her alien language, which sent people springing into action.
The wounded younglings were taken away and many of the hands went about rounding up the big black and brown birds that milled about the pens, while others went into buildings and homes, only to come out minutes later with long rifles, swords, pistols, even a few multi barrel weapons and halberds. There were also at least a dozen more green coated Kishargal now, they seemed to be the ranch's security force, or local law enforcement. All were heavily armed and looked as menacing as anything any of the newcomers had seen.
"My name is Major Gallve" the Kishargal woman said to Creature as she and her gathering force strode over to a collection of the large birds that were already saddled and tied up. She stopped by a particularly large and sturdy one flocked with black feathers tipped in glowing blue-green. She untied the bird and hoisted herself into the saddle on its back, guiding it away from the stand it and the others had been tied up too.
As she settled in, she drew her long pistol and loaded a cell into its chamber, then flipped open the weapon's frizzen, and poured black powder into the now exposed pan from a small powder horn she had drawn from her belt. Charged she snapped the frizzen closed and set the weapon's lock safely closed before returning it to her holster.
Lukina nodded, "Hai!" She pulled her hood back on over her face and disappeared again. She hurried across the field in the direction that the boy ran from.
Mizuki, Onikuma, Thaddeus and Valériane would all find the Ranch in a big hustle. People were running about securing buildings and gathering their things. Leading their animals out of the pens and away from the confines of this small settlement. They seemed panicked, and avoided the mismatched group. Creature called out over the radio. "Uhhh, this place is gonna get attacked, so we need to help them defended. Is bear dick with y'all? We are gonna need his ass."
"Yeah, we got him," Mizuki said as she unslung her rifle. "This the Black Army?"
"I am glad I thought ahead and brought the rain." Thaddeaus popped open his over coat and had at least 20 pipe bomb grenades strapped to his person. "I got a bone to pick with those black knight bastards." Thad said with a huff.
"I'm Ser Creature." He said receiving her introduction. It was then he moved around the large Bird the Kishargal woman was wounding and saw another such beast, only it was smaller than the war mount he had witnessed. It was mangy, had a patch work of missing feather's and a gleam in its eye creature could not ignore. The beast let out a savage haggard "SQUAAAAAWWW!" As it approached aggressively. "Fuck, what the hell is this thing's problem? Looks like it's seen better days." he said pointing at it.
"You'll have no luck with that one" a ranch hand said to Creature, who was getting too close to the scrawny, surly, aggressive Kirikuu. "That one'll claw you apart"
Lukina would find the trek to be something uneventful. Until she came around the area of the swamp which was not more than a five-minute hike from the ranch. This area was a geographical plain. It was dry, flat and had tall blue colored grasses populating the landscape all the way to the horizon. The pond featured emerald green waters, and had many trees around it. She would then hear them. "KILL! KILL! KILL!" They chanted.
"WHO ARE WE?!" A voice shouted at a distance.
"THE BLACK ARMY!" The soldiers replied.
"THAT'S RIGHT! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!"
"KILL! KILL! KILL!" The troops all shouted in unison. Lukina with her stealth would see them all lined up in a large square formation, weapons shouldered. All wearing black colored armor. Using magnification on her scope count one hundred troops were formed here, roughly two miles from the camp. They had what appeared to be mortars, rockets, and what appeared to be hovering tank. It was clear from her vantage point what their disposition was. These aliens had resisted their attempts to conscript the ranch, and now they were going to be killed for their defiance.
In a mocking tone Thad was having fun of the chant. "Kill, kill, kill the darkness, bring about the light. Kill, kill, kill the evil and spread love and joy." As he said love and joy, he took his weapon in his hand and ran his hand along the length of the blade.
Esaria run up to where Creature was, carrying her modernized bow, grimace on her face. "Sounds like we have a problem on the way Ser Creature. Mind if I welcome them?" She asked, pulling several arrows from her quiver and knocking one of them, looking at him expectantly.
Lukina made her way up into the trees, quickly writing and sending a message to the others, "There are 100 fuckers out here, they have a hover tank five minutes away in a swamp. Otherwise it is an open plain," she sent the message quietly, which would play in their radios as a digitized version of her voice.
The scout stared at the tank a little longer and added, "It's a Taianese, Oni tank."
"So, less than ten a piece to us," Gallve said to her growing force, which numbered over a dozen now and climbing as more ranch hands arrived with weapons.
"Sounds like we need to take out those mortars," the Kowloonian said, making her way to Creature and Gallve, "After that, they might break against the defenses you have set up here."
"Me and Lukina go around the side and take out the heavy armor?" Esaria asked, lowering her bow and looking at Creature. "We might be able to get around them if you can all distract them enough," she added.
Creature looked at Esaria. "Uhhh, with that little bow of yours? " Creature said tilting his head at the elf girl as she made her suggestion. He soon pointed at Mizuki. "They are going to shell us first, try to pin us down then storm us with their infantry. I'd suggest everybody fucking fan out into two-man teams, and then the Infantry wave comes we force them into the tight areas of this town and kill them. Lukina and Esaria, y'all have super fucking elf eyes and can hit the mortar teams at a distance."
Creature pointed at Gallve. "Pull your cavalry back. Feigned retreat, then circle about and hit them in the ass. They don't know we are here, so maybe we can make them thing y’all abandoned the ranch and we can catch them with their dicks aimed at the pot. Unless somebody has a better fucking idea."
Gallve waved an arm and her mounted unit of a dozen swept away, trotting off and to the side as they moved off to find a flanking position, while the other dozen gathered armed Kishargal ranch hands remained with the others, ready to engage in the defense of their homes.
"This little bow can deliver high explosives... Apparently..." Esaria said, looking at the bow.
From a distance Thad can be heard yelling. "It’s really good at using those explosives too!!" The sound of laughing followed.
"Tanks have high fucking impact armor. That specific one can stop antimatter rounds from another fucking tank. No, we need to get around that shiIIIIIIT!" Creature yelled as the surly black bird reached down and grabbed Creature's arm with its beak. It shook him violently and then threw him against the wall.
Meanwhile, Lukina that the little hype fest the Black army was having was coming to an end. They began assembling into ten-man squadrons. Then then fanned out into a wide net and started marching. Judging by their wide formation they were going to surround the settlement and hit it from all angles.
The mangy surly bird walked over and began stomping Creature with its powerful feet. When it was satisfied with what it had done, it turned from him and moved to the other side of the pen.
Thaddeaus walked over and was looking at creature who just got curb stomped by a bird. "You ok boss, that look like it hurt." Thad said trying to hold back from laughing.
"They are on the move, headed your way in formation, swarm and surround type of deal," Lukina typed, cursing as she watched them. She waited before she eased herself down from the tree onto the plain. She lacked the mysticism of her Lord's steed and the help of space bending fog, so she was left to return to her company the only way she was able- run like hell. She was tempted to jump onto that hover tank, but there were limits to her rig's stealth ability.
REIA resisted the urge to hum her electronics in frustration as she kept a line-in to the short chatter being sent about the comms of what she supposed was her allied group - it contained everyone who had had one of her business cards at least, and you had to grow with the customers you get. The android was also currently on her back out in the grass of the plain and had been enjoying her time tracking the shifts in the oncoming storm front brewing out and over the horizon. She hadn't quite joined the group that had tasked themselves to finding their commander, but had decided to follow quietly from a distance.
After all, she had missed all the trouble last time the Company's notables had made themselves scarce from camp.
Feeling the faint vibrations of the enemy knights beginning to move REIA rest her four-fingered right hand against the body of the Impaler that was lain across her chest - the modified weapon, unlike its owner, was humming softly as if in anticipation of the coming fight.
"Hey," Mizuki said, moving to block the sunlight from hitting REIA, "We need to go knock the mortars out before they cause problems. Want to come and help me do that?" Not really sure why you're sticking around, she thought, folding her arms as she waited for a reply, but might as well see if you're useful.
Onikuma didn't give a shit at whatever was happening as he picked between his fangs with a long hooked claw. Noise and words as far as he was concerned. "We done? Great." he mumbled, lumbering off in a random direction from the group.
Thaddeaus followed after the bear figuring it would be wise to give their version of a tank some foot troop support. "I am with you Kuma, let’s go bring them some bear love," Thad said with a smile. To which the gladiator huffed, "We'll bring them more than just love."
A dull, electronic 'hmmm' was generated by REIA as Mizuki approached the spot she was lazing in out beyond the ranch proper. The hand that wasn't resting upon her rifle flicked and rotating itself, the fingers bending closed and then the index and middle finger reappearing with a small white card held between them.
"Sit. Take a card." The android began to track Onikuma's movement away from the ranch on her sensors and shifted her hand cradled against her Impaler to pat the weapon's stock with care. "The enemy is already in the envelope. They shoot our companion and then we spring a neat counter to sweep in behind his mess."
"Ahh," the Kowloonian said, watching Thad and Onikuma wander away to who knows where before turning back to the robot, "Makes sense, I guess. Where'd you get one of those Impalers?" she asked, taking the business card.
"The first attack on the camp." REIA's lights twinkled dimly as her hand returned to rest possessively against the weapon. "I've been fixing what the corpses left behind." The android's head cocked to one side as another 'hmmm' blended itself with static in an almost musical, contented manner. "This one has been made more dangerous than the others - it is mine."
"I can appreciate a love of the big guns," Mizuki said, smiling a little as she put the business card away. "Maybe we can scrap the tank's gun later and get a true BFG."
"I possess what I require," REIA stated simply, but still offered a nod in friendly acceptance of Mizuki's commentary. "You should sit." REIA pulled one of the blades of grass - the foliage thick but only a few feet high - out of the ground. "If we end up marked there is no adequate cover here."
"How is sitting better?" the Kowloonian asked, shrugging and sitting down next to the robot. "Just better comfort or what? Some cover is better than none."
"Cover, concealment, camouflage. CCC." The android's fingers played with the plug of grass, wrapping it between her fingers. "To their sensors I am nothing but a hunk of junk. It would be pleasing if you offered a less voluminous profile now that you have joined me. Eyes can find what electronics make a lie of - hence, you sit and I-" REIA let the grass fall from her grip and gestured how she was laying down against the ground. "-make the smallest I can of my frame."
"Voluminous?" Mizuki asked, chuckling as she laid down on the ground, rifle lying in between her legs. "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were saying that I'm fat."
"Thankfully, motility is all that is necessary for a reduction in the space you occupy," REIA's voice replied with little to no emotion.
"Well, that's a new word to add to my vocabulary," Mizuki replied, shaking her head as she settled in to wait for the enemy to come into range.
As he made his way down, he spotted a boxlike metal construct, its cannon pointed at him. Huh, just one. Time to act, it seemed. Doing what he did best, Onikuma took off, charging headfirst towards the tank. He darted fast from left to right. building up speed as his armor plates clanked wildly. He was willing to bet the tank crew wasn't experienced enough to track a weaving bear running in an irregular formation well enough to adjust and fire in time to hit him.
Onikuma's charge was bold, and daft. 2500 pounds of massive Xiongren bulk crashed down the field towards the general direction of the enemy. The Great White had heard that a tank was coming and clearly wanted to challenge such a potent foe. Yet, the team, who have been preparing found themselves (those who did not follow) were watching the spectacle despite Creature's orders. Onikuma would find that save for Thaddeus, the others who stayed behind were not intent on charging a tank and one hundred soldiers.
Creature walked outside dragging a half unconscious riding bird behind him by its ankle. The animal had a large knot on its head from where he had bashed the thing in retaliation for mauling and stomping him. Dropping the powerful foot of the large animal to the ground; Creature sat on it and watched Onikuma the Great White, Charger of the 100 barrels down, and Thaddeus, the tamer of Mizuki, Great Chested warrior of Piyapon... It was unfortunate that the attack was still over two miles away. "Uhhh… Big guys? Could you come the fuck back please? I like have a fucking plan and shit and you getting fucking, fuck, fuckity, fucked is kind of not in line with the plan bro." Onikuma Thaddeus would hear over the radio. "I mean, I fucking dig it, don't get me wrong. But Uhhhhh..."
Creature, then sitting on the bird, lit a Cigarette. "Valériane." He said over the squawk, his voice crackling as he spoke. I need you fucking watching my back. Lukina, hurry the fuck up, I need you on over watch... holy fucking shit." Creature said as he looked and saw stashed away in a barn that was open a large alien crafted cannon, with charges, wadding, powder. Fucking powder, and large ram rod. "Actually, I have a fucking great idea...." He said reaching over with his sword and smacking the bird over the head.
"Kaaaawww... " The Kirikuu squawked as its head flopped over on to the ground having finally met its match.
"Mizuki, I need you and REIA on the left side of the ranch, Hunker down. Fucking REIA, I need you on the right side. Fuckin elf chick, with the other cute elf chick, Y'all over watch." He said realizing his sudden change in their formation might throw them off. Oh well. Usually the team made sense of his orders and fucked it up into a victory anyway. They were confident at the very least though Creature did think this whole defending the ranch idea was stupid. But Valériane needed this. Lukina called him out on it. Onikuma... probably needed to have sex with something...."
As Creature waited for Thaddeus and Onikuma to get to him, he pulled out an inhaler and huffed on it, then continued to puff on one of his Cigarettes. "You fucking, dumb shit bird." He grumbled looking down at the battered animal. "You bite me again and I'll fuck you up! Fucking. Hit you over the head. Bam. Now you are fucked up. That’s what you get for fucking biting people you don't know you fucking dip shit. That's probably why you are all alone and fucking laying here. All your buddies taken to safety."
"Ka-kaw..." the alien beast rasped in response.
The Bird stirred, then rose to its feet. Creature adjusted and reacted defensibly, ready to beat the holy shit out of the Animal again. The Bird lowered its head and eyed him for several seconds before shoving him towards that Barn. "Squaw!" It said rather forcefully "Fine, fucking fine!" Creature said walking next to the large steed and placing his blade back into its sheath on its back.
REIA twinkled her lights in a sad little progression as Creature's orders crackled across her sensors. "It appears you are needed on the other side of the defense." The android remarked to Mizuki. Looking away from the storm clouds she had been watching the robot stared at where the Kowloonian had settled down and sat. "I will keep your space comfortable for you."
"Yeah, just make sure to kill all the mortar teams and we should be good," Mizuki said as she got to her feet. "And don't die. That's never fun."
"Your request for a complete and total 'A' of the enemy is accepted." The android's voice quipped out slightly humorously. All the lights on REIA's frame died to nothing as Mizuki lifted herself to leave. "And do not worry - when I die there cannot be another as me. That is why I hold killing in such great interest."
Valériane listened intently as Creature gave new orders to the group. Even as a newly-christened knight, Valériane felt uncomfortable in a position of command, especially on the field. She did not have the have the skill to perform in such a capacity, of which she was quite aware. The disfiguring scars on her face were a testament to that.
"Sir Creature, I'm taking over watch with Lukina and Esaria," Valériane answered. The diminutive Huoshio was most confident in her shooting abilities and her skills with the chakram.
With that, Valériane entered the highest building she could find, climbing to the top until she found a window. She took care not to position herself directly behind the window. She did not want to form a 'frame' for her head. Instead, she positioned herself slightly perpendicular to the window, so that part her silhouette would not be quite as obvious to the approaching Black Army. Once she was positioned, she sighted her rifle and scanned the horizon.
The Creature who was being forced forward added, "Uh yeah, that's a great idea. Just keep safe, yell over the radio when you see shit give commands and advice too!" FUCKING BIRD I’LL FUCKING KILL YOU!" Creature said taking a swing at it.
The bird bitched back at him with a chattering "Kkk-ka-kaw-kaaa!" Its beak wide open and dry tongue flailing at Creature.
The highest building in the Ranch was an actual lookout tower in the center. The aliens had it reinforced and armored, however Valériane would find the steps were built for tall aliens with tall long legs. The trek up was a bit more of a challenge than one who used to stand and walk for a living would have normally expected. It was part lookout tower and part air traffic controller. Nearly 200 feet in the air, the tower let Valériane see the battle field. The formations of enemy troops were moving in a wide band, intent on engulfing the ranch. 10 units of men, and a tank, their back up appeared to be heavy weapon's teams that were fanning out to encircle the town in a crescent moon shape. Onikuma and Thaddeus with their great strength would likely be cut down.
Thaddeaus was still following behind his friend Kuma despite the orders coming from Creature. "No can do boss, bear gonna need some back up if he really plans on a charge," Thad said over the radio to Creature. His pace had switched to a run. While not as fast as the bear he is still able to keep good pace. He moved in such a way to keep the bear between him and the enemy. He checked over his person and grinned as the pipe bombs jiggled like Santa was coming to give gifts.
"They have a fucking cannon over here and I want you both to use it on the fucking tank damn it!" Creature roared back at Thaddeaus.
Thaddeaus dropped his sword into the ground using it like an anchor to stop. "Did somebody just call for a bear cannon charge!! Come on Kuma, we can hug the tank in a minute, we need to get you fitted up," Thad said over the radio in a girly excited voice.
'Cannon? Sounds pretty neat,' thought Onikuma, slowly powering down those massive pistons of legs he had. Gradually, he turned back and began loping over to the big barn-looking thing. The bear cautiously glanced back over his shoulder as he did, in case anything crept up.
"YOU MOTHER FUCKERS! GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND LISTEN TO ME! THEY HAVE A FUCKING TANK! DO YOU WANT TO GET LAID AGAIN? DO YOU WANT TO FUCK MIZUKI AGAIN?! FUCKING WIN BECAUSE IF YOU DO THAT SHIT THEY WILL FUCKING CUT YOU BOTH DOWN! I DON’T EVEN GIVE A SHIT BECAUSE I WANGT YOU HERE WITH THIS FUCKING CANNON TO TAKE OUT THAT GODDAMN, MOTHER FUCKING, FUCK SHIT, FUCKING, FUCKING TANK!" Creature said his roar crackling under the radio frequency.
Valériane looked out across the battlefield, her rifle sighted as she lined up her reticule over a target. "Awaiting orders to light them up," Valériane said quietly over the comms. "Targets sighted."
Although she was in an advantageous sniper position, Valériane knew that she would only be able to take a few shots before the enemy discovered her position. The tower was high enough to be vulnerable to destruction from explosives and other forms of large ordinance. She planned to evacuate almost as quickly as she had left.
Thad was having a good chuckle from the eye bulging yelling coming over the radio. Hearing the updated plan, he started to return back to base. The cannon would be a very good weapon in dealing with the tank. They could also mount the cannon to the bear making it mobile and hard to take out with mortar rounds. "Heading back, will support manning the death ray cannon," Thad stated over the radio.
"Oh, I am going to fuck your corpses if we make it through this! Mizuki, FUCKING ROBOT, ON ME I GOT SOME SHIT FOR YOU TO DO!" Thaddeus heard a brief pause. Then a "Fuck you. Y’all charge. That’s the fucking order you wanted, fucking do it mother fucker, charge that enemy formation! REIA if they try to come back fucking murder them!" Creature said over the open band radio.
Lukina during her sprint back to the ranch came across Thaddeus and Onikuma. She heard Creature cleanly over the radio roaring at them and making orders. It looked like they had only one option, and that was to let the enemy charge and take the town. If the small group did that then maybe they had a chance.
"ADDING OBJECTS: THADD (1), ONIKUMA (1) TO GROUPING TEAM 1, MORTAR 1 - EXTERMINATION ORDER; LOW PRIORITY," REIA's subordinate AI chirped the change in sights out over the comms calmly as the android rolled to the side, her arms protecting her Impaler from hitting the dirt.
"Uh. I wasn't serious REIA. Get the fuck back here now, Thaddeus," Creature added.
As the droid came to a stop on her back again, just readying herself to get up she stopped. "Don't worry. They'll only lose mass when I have the rest of the mortar crews down and dead," REIA let out a low, scratching electronic noise with the staccato rhythm of a chuckle. "Flanks or cannon. Set things straight - the horns are coming in."
"What are we doing now?" Mizuki asked over the radio, having made her way to the other side of the ranch and settling behind a rusty combine tractor. "All I could hear was fuck this, fuck that."
Thaddeaus was standing in the middle of the field with a ‘what the fuck’ look on his face. "Roger, coming back...as I intended to do." Thad replied over the radio. They had just started out so in quick order he was back at the ranch and making his way over to the barn he believed housed the cannon. This was confirmed when he saw the huge cannon in this barn that looked like it was built around it. He walked over to it, mouth slightly open as this was impressive. Thad was picturing how awesome it would be to have this strapped to the bear with him riding on top of it. Then he pictured a naked Mizuki on the cannon which is on the bear. A man can dream he thought to himself.
Onikuma trailed behind Thad, paws thumping on the farmland was he went. He had to admit, the tilled soil felt nice under his skin. As his crimson eyes took in the impressive as fuck weapon, the Great White's toothy smile grew. "Ho-le-shiet. That looks like one big hunk of metal." It almost sounded like he doubted himself for a moment. "How do I get in, is there an arm hold or something?" the Xiongren jested, whatever doubt had been in his voice dispelled.
A lone figure appeared behind the Gartagen leader, a Showstopper Assault rifle in his hands along with a leather bandolier carrying his magazines. Marshal Dallas McClosky spoke up above the noise with a calm voice, "So what are we juggling today?"
The half-elf closed the distance, eventually getting around the advancing enemy. "Over watch, roger. Let me find a place to park my happy ass in this field, over." She didn't have too much high ground to pick from. She looked around for a building to perch on. "Evacuate or militarize the civilians." She leaned forward for a moment to catch her breath, sweating inside the shroud from the workout. Her eyes scanned the area until she found a grain silo she could use. "There is a spot to use, I'm heading up!"
Lukina sighed and started running towards her high ground.
Lukina saw that the ranch had several high places. There was a large tower in the center of the Ranch, as well as several barns, and silos. But the troops were now closing in, letting out in unison "Ooooh oooh!" As they advanced, the thrumming of the of the hover tank was also growing louder as the enemy force slowly came towards the Ranch in a wide sweeping formation.
"Mortars at the ready!" One of the commanders shouted.
Above the ranch, Valériane saw Thaddeus and Onikuma coming into the ranch and the titanic pair being trailed by the slowly advancing army that advanced at a seemingly leisurely pace. The infantry units of enemy infantry were armed with homemade shields, and hand weapons, all in black armor of varying types with their faces covered. Behind them, the Oni Tank was also painted black and was coming up behind the infantry formations. The outer formations of infantry were armed with rifles, and heavy weapons, and they were moving around the flanks of the town. Melee infantry were coming in direct, and the ranged infantry were going to pepper the flanks and murder anybody that falls back.
Mizuki and the REIA would notice these riflemen coming around on the flanks, and while confidence in the abilities of the team... this was 100 ground troops and a tank, with two mortar teams at the rear. Thaddeus and Onikuma would see a large heavy cannon mounted on a pair of wooden wheels, with a crate of ammunition, powder and a heavy ram rod. Clearly This is what Creature wanted them to use.
Gallve found her self-positioned in the tree line, having faked a retreat out of the Ranch, her small force of Calvary found all they could do is hear the enemy movements. Boots hit dirt, and that marching chant was cutting the silence. The birds were acting strangely however, chirping nervously.
Creature called out over the radio, "Uh, hunker down. McClosky, on me, can't have your snitching ass dying and us getting blamed for it. Everybody else! Let them take the town, when they get close, kill as many as you fucking can." He said in a low tone remaining hidden in the big heavy barn he and his new bird friend had vanished in. "Hey uhhh, why the fuck are all of you here, seriously? I wandered off, nobody fucking loves me that much."
"Mask up if you have them," Lukina chirped on the radio as she loaded up one of her more interesting grenades into the under-rifle mount of her Showstopper from the top of the grain silo. She still had another crate of pink grenades but she only had 3 on her today not counting the one in her grenade launcher. She targeted the middle of the ground units and fired the grenade into the mass of obnoxiously male soldiers.
With her weapon sighted on the approaching targets, Valériane held her breath and waited, tracking targets from the tentative safety of the tower.
Why, oh why, do we keep using pinky grenades? Mizuki thought, rolling her eyes as she settled into the grass and took aim at the mortar teams. Long shot, but I'll take it when we're ready.
Esaria hadn't moved from Creatures side as everything was going on, holding her bow to her chest, looking around with no small amount of confusion as everyone started shooting. Against Creatures orders. She reached up, tugging lightly on the large Gartagen’s coat sleeve, trying to get his attention. "Uhh... Ser Creature... I kinda love you... In a way... But... Should I start shooting?"
REIA played a recording of a long, suffering sigh across the squad comms-channel as the group open up with violence that was direct opposition of their orders. Initiative was considered a virtue and they were a company of knights after all - a lack of tactical forethought was to be expected. Connecting her weapon with her visual processors the Android shifted from lazing on her back to a low crouch. The premature assault from their companion's grenade launcher would certainly pivot attention to the flank currently occupied by Lukina and REIA herself.
The droid surprised the enemy and slipped into a shallow gully. REIA swiveled towards the side of the ranch Mizuki occupied. Upon seeing the Kowloonian woman prone in the grass in front of one of the ranch houses, REIA dropped herself down into position with her Impaler cradled in a firing position.
The cannon was a massive affair of cast bronze and wood. The long gleaming barrel was some five feet long, its heavy bulk set into a low four-wheel carriage made from thick wood and iron. The weapon was well cared for, its polished barrel engraved with decorative scrollwork and alien letters across its top. The back of the gun was a manually operated breach, above and forward of that was a mechanical flintlock mechanism with a pull lanyard and the muzzle was a deep recessed hole, in which the glimmer of polished focusing lenses could be seen within, once its protective cap had been removed. Beside the great weapon lay a stack of red and black painted shells, each about a foot in length. These were the energy capacitors for the weapon, each needing to be breach loaded into the gun. There was also a sealed and protected box of black powder for charging the lock. There was nothing automated, nothing one would expect to see in a modern weapon system. It looked like something from an age long past, but, it was a heavy laser firing weapon, none the less.
Thaddeaus walked around the cannon looking at the setup. "You got to be joking, we have to hand load this thing. The hell, we back in the dark ages or something?" Thad pushed on one of the large powder kegs. "Welp, should have enough powder here to blow a hole in that tank at least." He noticed the ram rod and took it in his hand. After a few moments, he put it between his legs. "Hey, look Kuma, I am like you now." He said with a laugh as he took the rod from between his legs and stamped it on the ground. "So, you on shell duty or you want to ram it?" Thad said with a slight smile on his face.
The Great White's raucous laughter filled the wooden barn, pounding the floor a few times with one hand, the planks flexing underneath as he did. "Never knew I had a brother!" the Xiongren chuckled, moving towards the powder kegs. "I'll get the shells, no worries."
Dallas nodded to no one as he began his jog over towards where his IFF signal was identifying the where radio transmission came from. The semi-dated cybernetics he had were limited but he figured that it was still a fair shot better than nothing. As he began to close on the barn, he cued his own radio and gave a quick, "Entering your POS from main door." As soon as the mic clicked off, he kicked the door in and yelled out, "Friendly coming in!"
Lukina as befitted her exceptional skill, did what she typically did -she saw a target; aimed at that target; fired on that target; and then, hit the target. The pink grenade leapt out of her launcher with a loud thump. The grenade landed in-front of a squadron of riflemen, and detonated in a puff of pink smoke. The men however were wearing proper breathing gear, all of them, which Lukina and the others thought was strange and only the advancing troops halted. It was then Lukina saw the mortar teams to the rear of the formation fire their own weapons.
Creature stood, having slapped on some leather armor on his new bird friend. He looked down at the shorter Elf girl, and placed a palm over his face. "I'm surrounded by idiots..." He said with an exasperated sigh. Creature grabbed Esaria by the wrist, and pulled her with him. He took his heavy shield and sat down in a corner, he then took the heavy Neutro-shield and placed it over them. He whistled so his bird friend would come over and sit with them. Creature then took the shield and made a make shift defensive barrier with it. Hopefully they did not take a direct hit. "Biiiitch, is this your first battle?" Creature asked Esaria with a slightly sinister smile.
THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!
Explosions rocked the serenity of the pre-storm plains, and the rounds thundered as tore they earth in increasing proximity to the Azalea forces in town. The mortars arched as they lobbed and pounded into the town as they went off; one landed in the middle of town and another hit near Thaddeus and Onikuma - the shrapnel pattering off the Great White's armor. Thaddeus felt the sting of metal bite into his stomach. Mizuki’s position was saturated as mortar shells rolled into the building that she and the REIA were hiding near. Valériane observed the ranch was lit with explosions and her comrades vanished in clouds of dust and smoke. Dallas found his attempt to reach Creature was disrupted when he said, “FRIENDLY COMING IN”. A mortar round slammed into the earth in front of him and did not detonate, it was a dud.
The ranch hands who had remained behind had dropped down behind cover, pinned down by the fiery detonations of mortars as the town was shelled. Lukina saw a green glow through the growing fog of war and felt a deep thrum as the silo she stood on vibrated. The thrumming noise drew increasingly louder and the glow burned brighter until it hurt her eyes. A green bolt of energy tore from the tank’s canon with a deafening snap as it tore through the base of the silo, and instantly liquified the metal. The structure squealed and teetered left as gravity finished the job begun by the tank.
Esaria blinked as she was pulled into in by the large Gartagen. She scowled at his first comment and didn’t pay attention to his following question, more concerned with being called an idiot. She placed her fists on her hips, and pouted. "Excuse me! I am not an..." BOOM!
Dallas, slowly recovering from tinnitus from the barrage and the tank's retort, pulled the dud mortar round out of the dirt and chucked it as far as his mechanical arms would let him. He looked around the barn and barked out, "Creature?"
It was only once he saw the Gartagen holding a trembling Elf behind a bird and a shield that he shook his head. His face was coated in dirt and soot from the barrage's plumes. His coat and hat were in the same state. "Ah, so it looks like the forecast calls for angry ass rain."
Valériane quickly switched her focus from the infantry and towards the mortar crews in the back. After making a split-second decision, re-aimed her rifle, held her breath, and fired a series of shots at the mortar crews. Although there were a few infantrymen with rifles, after listening to the comms, Valériane decided that she needed to target the mortars.
Because the mortar crews were at long range, she waited for a longer period between shots, taking time to aim and to catch her breath.
This would be easier with a sniper rifle...
Esaria felt a faint breath of air near her neck, and looked up into the face of the angriest looking stag she had ever imagined could exist in the world. And upon its back, affixed to the saddle, a halberd-bladed longarm clutched, was a black-armored warrior bearing a shield which bore no mark save that of deflected gunfire.
"They are annoying, are they not?" came the female voice from within the black casque.
Next came the wind, and a scream like a dying woman that emanated from the white-flanked creature's throat. The rider spurred it forward, clearing the brush with a single bound, and then she was off like an energy blast covering the no-man's land, charging down the scattered line of rifled soldiers like the cavalry of old.
It seemed for a bit as though the charge would end in a hail of bullets, but as the attention turned to the knight, the rider ducked down, wheeled the Kirikal to the right, and covered them both with the broad metallic shield. The sound of it, even at distance, lay into the ears like nails over a chalkboard. Impossibly, the Black Knight was covering the distance, and at least half of it through surprise.
And then, like a warrior of old tilting at targets, the rider shifted her halberd to the other side of the saddle, shaded beneath the protective wall of glittering, sparking metal, and began to return fire from its tip. The halberd clutched beneath her arm belched blasts of energy, which blackened the ground around her targets and crackled electricity around the mortarmen. At least one exploded.
It took all of six seconds, it seemed, between the beginning of the charge and the first crash of the horned stag into the opposite line of battle. A few bullets had caught its flank, but this only served to enrage the beast. It gored a soldier through their ballistics plates. In melee range, the unknown combatant began to ride down the soldiers, her armor shrugging bullets as her halberd pared limbs and her Kirikal stag crushed men beneath its powerful hooves.
Valériane broke her focus when she noticed a black-armored warrior charge into the mass of the opposing forces, riding atop a horned stag and swinging a large polearm gracefully from the saddle. The diminutive Huoshio looked across the battlefield and made a quick decision to support the knight.
After re-sighting her rifle, Valériane began to fire at the targets surrounding the knight. Her objective was to provide covering fire and sniper support for her advance. The knight's armor allowed her to tank through a large amount of bullet fire, but even the advanced armor could not protect the mysterious, black-armored knight from a concentrated barrage of small-arms fire from a massed infantry formation.
Now that she was in a better engagement range for the rifle, Valériane fired faster and with less moderation. She took care to aim for the riflemen, as they posed the most threat to herself and the mysterious knight.
As the silo started to fall, the half-elf dove and shot the hooks of her rig to the next nearest point of high ground she could reach. She internally grumbled and quickly loaded 2 grenades into her launcher as her line took her to the next building. "The one on the stag is my Lord, let's clear the way." She didn't have much time and quickly launched a blue marked, electromagnetic pulse grenade at the same group of riflemen as before and then fired her secondary Airburst grenade towards the tank. "I think I offended them."
The plating of REIA's body played a musical game as shrapnel tapped out against her armor. Air-burst, low explosive - the rounds could serve as a threat to unprepared laborers, but currently were being edited out of the Android's threat assessment of the field for herself. As the house behind Mizuki and REIA was mercilessly barraged the robot couldn't help but twinkle in amusement.
"The house could not make itself less voluminous - so others have helped it with this," REIA sent towards her companion as a particularly well-placed mortar sent part of the roof crashing inwards. "Battle is like this. People always ready to help and learn."
REIA watched as one of the occupants of DESIGNATION: MORTAR 2, CREW 2 moved to get more ammunition for their weapon. "I will instigate our hostilities. I caution you to heed your own mobility higher than support of my efforts." The android commented calmly as she locked her target with as much ease as she directed her own sensors.
More shrapnel puffed over her body from the weapon of MORTAR 3, CREW 3 and this time REIA did play out a chuckle. "Rain is falling, the storm is present - for our current environment our helpers should know this means fire."
The android's overcharged Impaler halted in its constant thrumming as REIA pulled the trigger. There was a crack-hiss of displaced and ionized air as the weapon reached out to greet the enemy. The particle beam had been timed as closely as REIA's electronic reactions could and lanced at the mortar at the same moment the next shell was dropped by the crewman.
The grass directly around the muzzle of REIA's weapon was nothing but a blackened ruin and outside of that the closer blades of foliage were jauntily ablaze.
"For fucks sake," Mizuki yelled, pressing herself further down into the grass as most of the shrapnel flew over and a few pieces pinged off her own armor, "I thought we were waiting to fire." While grumbling, she aimed her rifle and took aim at the approaching soldiers, taking her time to carefully take head shots, not wanting to waste her chance.
Thaddeaus was tossed off his feet and to the ground. He looked down at his stomach and noticed a chunk of metal sticking out of him. "Gawd damn it, why always the fucking ex-weapons?" He back handed the shrapnel out. His brigandine armor had done a good job at stopping it from doing any serious damage.
"Now I am pissed, Kuma, let’s take this weapon and send these fucks back in time." Thad went around the back and looked at the loading deck. He popped open the chamber and took a quick look, it was empty. He walked over towards the wall and found a shield laying against it. "Might need this for later," he said to Kuma as he walked around to the area with what looked to control the barrel.
Onikuma barely grunted as the shrapnel his plating, lips curling into a snarl as he flinched at the impact. A crimson eye cast a concerned look at Thad, then soon realized as the man took the blow and stood that he was unfazed - at least for now.
The gigantic bear scooped up one of the many brass-coated shells piled in a small stack beside the gun in one huge paw, lifted the canister to the breach and let it slip in. A satisfying "thunk" could be heard as it slipped quickly to the far end. The Xiongren was a little concerned that the cannon appeared to be able to misfire rather easily from what he could see. Granted, he wasn't a weapons tech.
Grabbing the box of gunpowder, Onikuma looked around for something to decant with. Nothing - alright - he was using his hands then. Opening the box, the Xiongren grabbed a handful of black powder and shoved it into the pan, a good amount getting caught in his fur. He left it to the only other crew of the complex cannon to figure out the rest - he'd only got this far because he'd seen a Kishargal fighter once in the pits. A long, long time ago.
Thad took a moment to look around at the firing system. "So, it’s all manual, that’s ok future, you need not apply here. Bloody knight, have I slipped back in time to before we had space ships." Thad kicked at the machine a few times, and adjusted it where needed. It was using a jacked-up elevation control. Took him a moment to figure out the ranging gauge but figured he got it on target.
"Cannon going live, clear down range. Don't stand behind it. In fact, find cover!!" Thad yelled over the radio. He looked around it one more time trying to aim this piece of shit. It was like a virgin aiming not to stick it in her butt, fingers crossed and hope for the best. "See your mortars and raise you one janked up cannon." He said with a smile. He reached over and tied a very long rope to the firing pin. Hiding behind the shield in the corner, he pulled on it.
As all of this was going on, the small cavalry unit had swept their way about to the flank, and from the small stand of woods they now sat near the edge of, Gallve observed the opening act of the engagement through her glass. The enemy was pressing forward to the settlement, seemingly entirely focused on that endeavor.
The retired Major of Cuirassiers frowned as she collapsed her telescope and returned the brass tubed device to her coat pocket.
"We have the element of surprise, for the moment. But as soon as we open fire, or charge, that will be lost. We must act decisively." she said to her small contingent and patted the side of her warbird's neck to calm the beast.
"We will charge the enemy flank, raking them with a barrage of carbine fire, then draw swords and ride them down" she said, pointing to the mortar teams that were attacking the settlement from far behind their infantry and slipped her long weapon from where it rested across her back, checking the powder charge in the pan and making sure the frizzen was securely in place to keep it from blowing away. The gathered men and women with her did the same, all nodding to her in grim determination.
Gallve put her left hand onto the hilt of her sword, giving it an experimental tug, to make sure it would slide free of the scabbard when she needed it, then cocked the hammer back on her weapon and pulled the chin strap of her hat down so it would not fly off her head during the charge.
"Forward!" she called, pointing her long weapon at the enemy and she and her dozen began to move forward, at a trot first, spreading into a well-spaced line that quickly advanced on the occupied enemy force attacking the settlement.
As they closed, the Kishargal soldiers let go of their reins, using their knees to keep them steady on the backs of their birds, who increased pace to a run. Rifles and carbines came up to shoulders as they charged in.
Gallve took aim down the barrel of her long musket, her right cheek pressed up against the wooden stock of the weapon, lining up its sights on the back of what looked like an enemy mortar team commander. They closed, the birds ran faster, cawing as they thumped along the blue grassy land. She closed her right eye as she applied pressure to the trigger.
With a snap, the hammer flew forward, its spring tension released as it slammed its flint into the frizzen, sliding the cover plate from the pan and sending a shower of sparks into the powder contained within. A bright burst of flame and smoke erupted from the pan as the black powder was lit off, burning instantly down into the touch hole. Then the musket kicked back, hard, into Gallve's shoulder as its energy charge was released, the blue-white beam erupting from the muzzle of the weapon, converting the air before it into a momentary flash of super headed plasma.
Smoke and flame erupted from the dozen bird-back Kishargal with her as they all fired almost in unison with their commander. Then, with the smoothness of skill and a practiced hand, Gallve swung her spent musket onto her back with her left hand, there was no time to reload it, and drew her long, curved, heavy cavalry saber with her right, the bright steel flashing in the sunlight as the weapon scraped free of its cover. The rest did the same, ready to hack any surviving enemy to pieces.
With her left hand she regained her reins, asserting directional control over her warbird as she led the charge into the enemy mortar teams, bringing her saber down on the first standing enemy she came upon.
The mortar fire grew more intense around them. Dallas felt the concussion from one that struck the building pass through his body like a sledge hammer. This felt and sounded even worse for Esaria as it forced the shield that was protecting them to push down against her back. Creature had his good hand around her waist, and it felt like an iron bar. Creature unwilling to let her panic take over and force her to run off. The armored bird merely sat down and lowered its head to the ground. It cooed softly, but the noise only felt like a low rumbling above the booming of the mortar shells.
Creature on the other hand was quite relaxed. "Yeah. You haven't ever done this before. Total fucking virgin, aren't you? What the fuck are you doing here? I mean it's okay. I used to be like you, scared of my own fucking shadow. Worried about being killed or even worse. But I gotta fucking tell ya... nothing bad is gonna happen to you. That fucking Ogre did strip you naked but, my bad on that."
Creature looked out of the window, and noted where the mortar fire originated. He grabbed Esaria by her pretty little face and went in close, invading her personal space. "We gotta bring those mortar's down. I know this is your fucking first time, but I wanna fucking make it back alive. So, I need you to take that being scared shit and set it down okay?" He then slid over to his new bird friend and hopped on the oversized saddle. He grabbed Esaria and his shield, forcing her to sit behind him, he held his shield, then grabbed the long-bayoneted alien rifle with his good hand. Dallas saw the Kirikuu stood up. "Mr. Marshal, fucking those assholes are going to rush the fucking town. I suggest you get ready for that shit. Imma got try to take out those fucking Mortars or something."
"Onward Dickface Mcgoo!" Creature yelled. The bird let out a deep savage "SQUAAAAAWWW!" and went rushing out of the building. It powerful legs thumping its feet struck the ground.
Esaria continued to scream as Creature held her from around the waist, not hearing a word he said from around the artillery reports going on around them. She had been in that ambush failure but this?! This was a totally different story altogether given the constant explosions!
She snapped out of it, stunned to silence when she had creature very close and personal with her face. Her own face was screwed up with the ghost of her scream as he spoke. She made little ones of acknowledgement as he spoke nothing her head softly in the grasp. Then, she was fully and completely pulled out of her stupor by being pulled into the large bird, holding onto Creature tightly as the bird ran off.
"You want me to shoot the mortar teams!? I thought this bow want actually that good!" She yelled, fumbling with the device. "I'm also not going to be able to shoot well from this position... Maybe if I turned around?" She asked, slipping into a rhetorical line of questions.
Dallas looked at another of the bird creatures that Creature had found. "Damn sight different than a horse, but desperate times..." Dallas slung his rifle over his shoulder and mounted the thing like a horse. "Alright, don't know your name bird... thing... but you look like something out of a movie, YAH!"
It watched them. One was invisible, but her shots were easy to trace due to seeing the acoustic waves emanating from her motions. The other had a superior vantage point. It had been a bit of an attempt on its part but these aliens would have had sharp shooters of some kind. Eventually they would attempt something and their audio sounds would give it away. To it, the sound looked like little orbs, heartbeats, movement of their weapons rippling in waves amid a colorless pond with other stones causing ripples as they were tossed in. But the small breaks in the "water" could be seen even among the big ones. Lukina fired her grenade. The device was then struck with an audible TING!" And it flew up out of control into the air detonating.
Valériane sighted one of the riflemen on the ground closer to the mainline of melee troops and fired. Her rifle spat out a shot that struck the man center mass, taking him off his feet. One of his buddies dropped down and hovered over him administering aid when Valériane’s second shot clipped him across the right side of his hip, causing him to fall on the ground. The shots she fired at the mortar crew beyond them, struck what appeared to be a thick bit of scrap the men had interlocked to make a stiff barrier between them and any return fire they could potentially receive. Then the room Valériane was in was filled with a harsh stinging pulse as the EMP detonation filled her general area. The hair on her body stood on end, and the electronics in the room suddenly went out.
It then studied them, hoping it had gained their attention.
Valériane dropped to the floor and behind cover when the EMP detonation filled the room, one hand covering her eyes while the other held onto her rifle. She stayed down for a moment to process what had just occurred. Her skin tingled for a few moments. However, she quickly regained her composure and leaned out of cover, only exposing her head and a part of her shoulder.
Valériane sighted her rifle and held her breath before she found her target. She fired three paced shots aimed at center mass, with the rifle on semi-automatic mode. After firing, she threw herself back behind cover and ran carefully down the extra high stairs, which were made for individuals much taller than herself.
Time to move.
When she was outside, Valériane took extra care to move behind cover, only exposing herself to enemy fire at brief intervals where she was forced to sprint across open areas. The village had plenty of cover. However, she was looking for another sight line. She found a vantage point that was inside the upper level walkway of a farmhouse. The windows provided a good vantage point for her to shoot from, provided she positioned herself correctly.
To accommodate for the height of the natives, the windows were high, forcing Valériane to shoot in a standing position. She could reach just high enough that she was only exposing her head and shoulders when she looked out the window.
After properly positioning herself, Valériane sighted her rifle and held her breath, her eyes scanning across the battlefield for more targets. After finding a few targets, she lined up her reticule, quickly estimating bullet drop and the weather as she did. Her calculations were correct, her shots would connect with their targets at center mass.
Valériane squeezed the trigger, firing sixteen shots at seven different targets, not taking a single breath throughout the firing sequence.
Lukina perched on top of her newest piece of high ground. She had noticed the tank and she was not thrilled by its presence. She quickly went through her mental inventory of explosives, what did she have that might hurt the Taianese tank. The EMP blues would disrupt but her best bet were the airburst grenades. She checked the distance and range between her and the tank. The half-elf sniper evaluated whether or not she should attempt to jump on top of it again. But it seemed to have stopped for now, and she sighted down the bore break of the tank as she fired the airburst grenade down the tank's barrel. Fuck this tank.
The Dark Rider's charge smashed into the eastern most mortar deployment like a lightning bolt. The cylindrical device made of silver metal was initially alive with the battle tempo chanting of the soldiers operating it. They did not even see the rider coming until it was too late. The sound of the mortar's thumping was replaced with shocked screams. The rider's laser Glaive cut the shocked men down, and left only corpses in the steed's wake. The shrill pulse of a laser blast into the back of a fleeing soldier punctuated the scene. Creating a slight relief in the town's bombardment.
The distant noises of battle reverberated across the blue grass covered plains. But she felt them before she saw them, the surprise that the Black Army had been hiding. The thundering of hooves against the hard-packed earth and the clanking of heavy plate armor punctuated the appearance of five men in crude, heavy black armor on the back of similarly armored powerfully muscled beasts. The knight speculated that the crude armor was salvaged from destroyed vehicles and beaten into submission to fit around the bodies of men and steed alike. They held savage scrapped shields, and heavy lances with what appeared to be guns mounted to the tips. The Black Army was experimenting in heavy Calvary, and they charged towards the Black Knight.
The giants of Azalea. The Great White and The Meatman as they had been called by their comrades had, successfully loaded and manned the light cannon. The simple device let out a great thunderous thump and shot back a dozen feet. Then a deafening report of thunder overwhelmed as the blue light of the laser flared. In the distance, where the green glow from that tank was resuming, there was white flash and then the rumbling of distant thunder. The tank had been struck, and when the smoke cleared, the black tank was then painted glowing red on its front armor. The vehicle however hovered drifted lazily before the turret turned, and the thrumming of its main gun charging resumed. The cannon pointed directly at Thaddeus and Onikuma.
Thaddeaus picked himself up from kneeling and quickly popped open the hatch on the gun. He looked down site to see the tank was still moving, gun aimed for them. He caught what looked to be a small girl running at the tank. Not having time to really think about it he was helping to load around round and take out that tank before it took them out.
Onikuma dropped his huge furry paws from where they had been pressed against his big ol' ears. Xiongren ears were sensitive as they went so he wasn't taking any chances. The shockwave the cannon let loose thrummed through the air and rustled his white coat, sending ripples across its surface. Turning, the Great White snorted as he realized what had happened. "We fuckin' hit it."
"Right, will have to wing it more often, this shit seems to work." Thad said with a chuckle. "Let’s make this next round count. I think we only got one more chance before they turn this cannon into a crater." He said in a serious tone.
After a moment, as the smoke cleared he added swiftly "Aaaand it's done bugger all." Thaddeaus seemed intent on putting a second round into the thing yet from Kuma's point of view they'd simply tickled the metal machine. He could run but that would leave Thaddeus to try and man the cannon himself, and that was something the Sergeant couldn't do. Dutifully, to whatever end, the Colossus grabbed another shell and slammed it home into the weapon.
Thad was right behind Kuma with a shield full of gunpowder to load the breech. "We got this, going to split that tank right in half." He said putting another shield full of powder into the breech. After loading it up completely Thad slammed the door shut and locked it down. He again attached a long string to the fire pin. "Fire in the hole." He yelled as he ducked for cover again behind the shield and pulled the string.
The robot and the Ebon Kowloonian found themselves in the middle of advancing riflemen. Mizuki's shot fired, but she missed. This caused the soldiers to drop down and then resumed fire. A heavy energy gun began chattering, and white-hot bolts of pulsing plasma streamed down into their general location. The REIA fired its shot at the mortar crew on the western flank. The bolt struck a make shift barrier shield, toppling it over and into the crew up scrambled to get their emplacement back up. The REIA then took a phased pulse bolt to its left side.
"Oh, come the fuck on," Mizuki yelled, getting up to a crouch and running to a convenient rock, taking a few snap shots along the way to keep their heads down. "REIA, keep the infantry off my back," she said, before finding the energy weapon that was shooting at her android friend.
"There you are," she said, ignoring the other bullets flying around her as she switched magazines, took aim at the plasma weapon team and fired a burst. The 10 mm explosive rounds flew across the field, smacking the ground the enemy soldiers and lashed them with shrapnel of their own, with a lucky round smacking the weapon near the trigger, knocking it out of the soldier's hand as he also dealt with his trigger finger getting cut off and his hand shredded by the explosion.
A GENEROUS ASSIST CAPTAIN.
REIA ignored her subordinate AI's commentary as she watched the mortar she had fired upon be - in a way - momentarily knocked out of service before the crew was cut down by the Kishargal cavalry charge. The android was unsure of the emotions that were current surging and that pinged back to her core as a heavy DISATISFACTION.
An enemy attack crashed into the droid's side and she flinched slightly, rocking to the side as she lay prone. Her attention requested, REIA snapped her sensors towards the group of infantry attacking her and Mizuki. Pushing herself to first her knees - and stowing her rifle protectively behind her back - REIA stood and nodded at her companion's request to 'keep the infantry off'. Watching - analyzing - the enemy line in front of her quickly reinforced the DISATISFACTION.
As Mizuki's weapon added a booming clatter of 10 mm rounds to the field of energy blasts REIA routed a simple message of "engaging" to the Kowloonian woman's comms. Before the message had even been sent the android had already picked out an enemy. Black masked, black armored - no different than the others - her opponent was designated because of their position as closest to the android.
An electric thrum of amusement echoed out of REIA's speakers as she pushed her subordinate AI to activate its 'courtesy' subroutines while she set herself to the business that would be at hand.
"DEAR APOLOGIES, DEAR GUESTS - YOU WILL RECIEVE CARDS IN FORGIVENESS OF OURSELVES FOR LACKING IN MANNERS IN ATTENDANCE OF THIS EVENT."
REIA exploded into movement, her processes editing out the prattle the Rayleigh AI had begun to broadcast, her legs took her to full speed in no time and she began to destroy the gap that existed between her and her target.
"WE HOLD NO CONTRIBUTION TO THE CURRENT FESTIVITIES. BOLDLY UNACCEPTABLE - WE ARE MUCH DISATISFIED. DESSERTS ARE RECIEVED FONDLY. PATIENCE. LOADING SCHEMATIC: PUDDING, BLACK."
Reaching her target REIA shattered her momentum upon the enemy's body as she crashed her shoulder into the rifleman's chest. The android's power armored arm whipped forward as a single, fluid extension of the collision. Her four fingers closed around her opponent's head and killed the momentum that had been transferred to the soldier - instead bringing him in, up into the forefront of her sensors. Her grip was almost peaceful, the pressure just enough to hold the captured body up, her hand flexing minutely in manner that was probing - calculating.
"NECESSARY: ONE EGG - BROKEN, BEATEN."
The light's all along REIA's body brightened cheerily and her fingers flexed as she finished her calculations for the exact amount of force necessary to crush the skull held in her hand.
The Calvary charge of the Kishargal was apocalyptic. The massive people thundered across the battle field. The little flanking maneuver that Creature suggested had paid off. The first mortar crew, was simply trampled by the massive riding animals. Feet, and bodies were smashed and thrown about liked rag dolls, seemingly effortlessly. They carried on to the next crew. In unison the Calvary men fired their alien weapons into the second crew. With the desired effect of cutting them down. The massive weapons blasting holes in the much smaller aliens who had come to destroy the Ranch of the riders.
Gallve's elation as she and her troops moved for the third and final teal was short lived. The team, had turned their weapon at the charging Calvary. Dialed in the range, and fired. The round arced, and then detonated above the Calvary charge. An air burst, the shock waved rippled out in all directions.
The Kishargal cavalry charge paid no attention to the mortar shell burst over their heads, or the hot shrapnel raining down upon them as they urged their birds onward to the third mortar group. White hot chunks of metal slashed at the dozen bird back soldiers, cutting into them and their mounts. Several went down outright, either with rider or bird struck directly and killed as they crumpled and skirted along the ground in a mass of limbs, claws and feathers that lay still as they came to a halt.
Gallve gritted her teeth as she heard the screams of the wounded men and women and birds around her and felt the white-hot bite of raining debris upon her, cutting through her clothing, into her skin. Her body wanted to react, to scream in pain and bat the burning metal bits away from her, but, by sheer willpower and training, the Major gripped her bloody saber tighter and spurred her warbird on, the massive creature cawing as it leapt at the enemy.
She had little sense of how many of her people had gone down from the shell explosion, just knew that the bulk of them were still with her from the blurry shapes at the edge of her vision. She bellowed a loud, shrieking war cry as she drove her warbird down on the enemy and slashed her sword down at them, bringing the curved bloodied blade into the flesh of one of the mortar men.
As she slashed, her warbird dipped it's great head down and snapped it's powerful crushing beak onto the leg of one of the mortar crew, dragging the doomed man off his feet and thrashing him about as it crushed the limb, before tossing the screaming man, like a rag doll, away.
All around, Gallve could hear screams and the clashing of swords and the wet thud of bodies being cleaved and hacked apart in the gory requirements of silencing the last mortar position.
"Squeeee!" The bird responded, then snapped its powerful crushing beak at Dallas. "AAAAH AAAAH!" He erupted as it was mounted. The stirrups on the animal kept escaping Dallas' boots, but a second try secured the alien saddle to his bottom. Dallas could feel the powerful animal's muscles moving as it stepped forward. It was not as surly as the one Creature was on, and it far better shape.
Creature's was smoky black, with some of its feathers completely missing. Larger, but it had a look of savagery in its eyes. This bird however was.... beautiful. The feathers were a swirl of all cool and cold colors on the spectrum, giving it an emerald green and sapphire blue look. The heavy brown saddle that was on its back had some flip down armor on the legs. The bird mount squawked once more and was out the door after Creature, responding to the new rider just like a horse.
Dallas with his ranch hand experience felt right at home on the back of this noble beast. Dallas soon caught up to Creature, Esaria and their mounts. Creature was eyeing the Black knight and soon was coming up on Him/her. As they approached, Creature lifted his long-bayoneted musket to the air in salute to the Noble Black Knight. Creature then turned to Dallas "You ever uh...fucking been in a cavalry charge?" He said...Dallas would hear the familiar sound of thunderous shoed hooves pounding the ground. In the distance, he would see five heavily armed riders on monstrous looking horses crashing down the field towards them with heavy scrappy looking lances and armor on themselves and their steeds.
"Enough to know that I'll need this." Dallas messed with the sling of his rifle to where it fell to his right side, drawing his 'Monster' revolver from his holster. and held it up by his Starson hat.
"So what the fuck are we doing?" Dallas looked over to Creature with a grin.
The survivors of the charge on the mortar emplacements rode up then, the lot of them bloodied and bruised and all with a demonic look to their faces as they approached Creature and the others. Their coats and trousers were town and singed from where shrapnel had burned into them and where enemy shots and blades had glanced them, but the determined and fierce look to their eyes was something to send chills down the spine of any hardened soldier.
Major Gallve was at their lead, her saber and arm, almost to her elbow coated in blood, which had also splashed up the side of her trousers and coat, soaking through in great black swaths. Her great warbird's beak and face was equally soaked and dripping blood belonging to the poor wretch it had bitten to death.
She let the saber hang from its wrist strap as she, and those with her, reloaded their muskets and carbines and pistols. Twisting the spent power cell off the socket under the barrel, replacing it with a new one from a pouch, then pulling the lock's hammer to half cock and flipping the frizzen open so the pan could be charged with fine black powder, before the frizzen was snapped closed and hammer cocked fully back.
"Form up," was all the Major said to her people, who spread out, spacing themselves amongst the others, seasoned cavalry and other capable riders bolstering the newcomers, who were less familiar with how a proper cavalry charge worked.
"Looks like I'mma help Sir fucking Darkness charge these assholes. You and screechy here can ride the flank and hit them with those shitty rock throwers." Creature dropped his musket letting its strap stiffen around his right shoulder. He turned, and grabbed Esaria, tossing her onto the back of Dallas' mount. "The little shit can shoot, if it gets stupid and I get fucking dead, y’all get the fuck out of here." Creature said kicking his mount and it took off rushing passed the Black Knight, down the field at the enemy cavalry.
"The fuck is a rock thrower?" Creature rode off before he could get an answer. He shook his head and looked back towards the girl, "Hold on darlin.'" Dallas snapped the reins and loudly barked, "Hyah!"
The mount gave a "SCREEE!" and lurched forward behind Creature's mount before banking heavy to the left side. Dallas waited until he could gauge range and barked out towards the girl, "Any time, sweetheart."
Dallas squeezed the trigger and a loud bang and a bright gout of flame bursting from the revolver's upper muzzle.
Esaria barely had time to react before she was tossed onto another bird. Any time? Was this guy kidding?! She was just thrown, in a sub-optimal shooting position on a crazy bird thing while being shot at and he was complaining that she wasn't shooting yet?! Uhg... Why me... She thought to herself, grabbing onto Dallas's shoulder and hopping up onto her feet. She took a moment to steady herself, twisting her lower half so she could drop down, back leaning against Dallas as he rode. Now she had a better view.
"Bring me around to the mortar teams. That was the original plan before I was thrown on you," She shouted, figuring if she just did what Creature wanted this would all be over soon. Still, she pulled an arrow from her quiver at her waist, sliding it onto the bow with ease.
Looking at the screen, Esaria noticed it also compensated for the speed and direction she was going in comparison to her target. Good. Not that she wanted to use it, but it would be helpful if she suddenly forgot how to shoot. She noticed a soldier, pulling the string back, the bulbous head of the explosive tip near touching the riser. She took a breath, not liking how she was bouncing, but took it into account as she loosed the arrow, dropping her hand down to her waist to slide another arrow into the bow.
As the group began to move forward, Gallve brought her musket back up to her shoulder, her warbird trotting forward in pace with the others, her index finger resting over her weapon's trigger softly, ready to apply the pressure needed to fire as soon as she deemed the range and her aim appropriate.
As the group began to move forward, Gallve brought her musket back up to her shoulder, her warbird trotting forward in pace with the others, her index finger resting over her weapon's trigger softly, ready to apply the pressure needed to fire as soon as she deemed the range and her aim appropriate.
Gallve steadied her breath, aware of the sharp pain and wet warmth on the left side of her abdomen, a piece of the shrapnel had caught her there, she knew it, but there was no time to deal with it, so she bit her lip, tasting blood as she pushed the pain aside and focused on the task at hand. They had already done enormous damage to these monsters who had, for months now, threatened and harassed the people she called her friends and who she was sworn to protect. Now was the time for revenge and for satisfaction. Wounds could be dealt with later.
She urged her warbird on, faster, her saber clattering at her side from its leather wrist strap as she pulled the musket tight against her sore shoulder, pressing her cheek to the stock and looked down the length of the blackened barrel, lining up her shot on one of the enemy before them, aiming low, because the kick of the long weapon would throw her shot up a bit, and pulled back on the trigger.
There was the crack as the musket went off, the jet of flame and smoke and plasma as the blue bolt lashed out at the enemy. Then, as before, Gallve swung the still smoking weapon over her shoulder and regained the hilt of her saber, bringing it up in her right hand, pointing it at the enemy and calling the all-out charge with a horse cry, all of her men and women following suit, their weapons discharged and out of the way, gleaming, bloodied, notched swords thrust forward at the enemy as their warbirds thundered towards the enemy.
Valériane’s dash to another position was saturated with incoming fire. Rifle rounds were tearing into the town and peppering wood. Machine gun fire was forced her to stay low, but she found the farm house was riddled with holes. Valériane fired her weapon down into the squadron of riflemen that the REIA was charging at. A man was aiming an RPG at the surly robot, and Valériane's shot struck him in the face and opened his face mask. The man fell to the ground like a rag doll. Her additional shots pinned the squad down.
The REIA was initially taking direct fire. Bullets pattered off of its body, but the Machine gunner opened up with a mag dump. The rounds battered and chewed up the REIA's armored body. But the robot did not feel pain. Would not when hurt, and sent an armored fist into the machine gunner. He exploded from the force, his blood exiting him like a pink mist into the air. His broken body fled end over end bouncing across the ground and away. The men however immediately came to life. firing their weapons at the REIA, frantically screaming, horrified by the sudden boldness of the attack. Ignoring Valériane's covering fire, which caused three more of them to fall. KRACK! A rifle butt smashed across the REIA's head causing it to stumble to the ground. A massive man with a rifle too small for his hands stood over the REIA. He rushed and brought the rifle down onto the REIA's battered body.
Mizuki's explosive round hit dead on. The round struck the rifle man in the neighboring squad, caving in his chest. One of his buddies retaliated, and fired a grenade from a homemade launch that let out a dull PUNT! The grenade did not land on Mizuki, but rather landed next to her, and detonated, sending rocks, debris and dirt all over her. Mizuki felt the sting of dozens of small wounds as the shrapnel cut through her armor.
Finding that her magazine was empty, Valériane ducked behind the cover to perform a quick reload. Once it was done, Valériane re-sighted her rifle and poked her head out of cover. Finding that REIA had been downed, the diminutive Huoshio held her breath in and let loose a precise barrage of fire from her rifle, shooting nine semi-automatic shots at the big soldier just above the android and at the other soldiers around her, aiming for center mass.
I've got you REIA...
The thrumming of the tank halted. There was a snap. The Plasma pulse was belched out of the Tank's cannon a moment before Lukina's grenade hit the barrel. The grenade detonated and this caused minor flowering in the Tank's barrel. The vehicle pulled back slightly then began advancing in response.
Lukina fell sideways to the left as she heard a "PAKOOOOWWWW" reverberate through her. Her body protested as the nerves in her left knee responded to a sudden ache as she looked down. Her suit had been breached and blood squirted out of the mangled mess that was once her knee to the rhythm of her pulse. The tendons, muscle and bone that were once her knee cap were splattered everywhere and the rest of her left leg was laying on the ground beneath her in a growing puddle of gore.
Lukina fell hard on the ground, still clutching her rifle as the fall knocked the wind out of her. The shroud flickered for a moment but held, save for the mess of her left knee. Her body started shaking as the nerves that were once in her knee screamed in protest. Everything was red. "I'm down. Have to stop the hemorrhaging." Pain resounded in her voice as she reached into her medical pouch on her belt.
A sound rang through the dark blue skinned Kishargal as she talked to her friends. Her ears perked up at the noise as she saw what looked to be an explosion as well as something or someone being shot. She stood up straight and looked at her friends after she immediately reached for the medical rucksack on the ground. “I’m sorry, I have to go see if someone got hurt…I-I can’t brush off the idea that…th-that someone might be and if I wait any longer they won’t make it…”
Before her friend could say anything, the medic ran in the direction of where the explosion can from. Her tail swinging as she ran and her piercing eyes searching around the field. They caught a figure of the person on the ground. Without hesitation, she ran over and dropped down to what seemed to be a small woman-like figure. Peering down to where the fallen woman was looking, she saw that her leg wasn’t really a leg anymore. Tendons, bones, and muscles were visible. She opened the rucksack and took out a pair of scissors, bandages, and some sort of gel like substance in a glass bottle. She learned to make the substance on her own and it seemed to serve the purpose it was made for, to relieve pain. Pulling out the cork from the top, she scrapes the top of the gel and rubbed it onto the bandage after jamming the cork back into the bottle hard enough to be closed tightly, but gentle enough not to break the bottle. Slowly spreading it as she turned towards the woman and begun to wrap the bandage-like cloth onto the open wound.
Lukina stopped when the shape of a large horned woman loomed over her and started treating her. The black of her stealthsuit was covered in blood and sweat. Fucking bullshit. I survived sutakame to have a punk ass backwater fuck blow out my fucking knee!
The half elf yanked off her hood and tried to focus on the face of the Kishargal above her. Her green eyes were dilated and her face was ghostly pale, she looked much younger than she had at the beginning of the battle as she laid there on the field. "Hell. I have a thing I need to stab into my leg to make me stop feeling." Her shook as she reached into a pouch on her belt and pulled out a small syringe and yanked the cap off, before she stabbed it into her thigh. "All of this time fighting and I get to bleed out in this field against some piece of shit hacks."
A glint of light and silver from above streaked towards the rear engine compartment of the tank.
Every combatant on the battlefield could feel the roar that thundered more loudly than the din of battle. Strong gusts of wind tore the air as a creature that should not have existed rippled into existence above them. The course, golden scaled creature was strange, more a thing out of one of Creature’s children’s books than tangible reality. It must have been 30 feet long with a long leathery bat-like wingspan of 40 feet across. A long spiked serpentine tail must have acted as a counterbalance and rudder for the thing’s movement as it hovered above them. Staring up at the densely scaled belly of the thing, they could see large 5 clawed talons of two thickly muscled legs tucked up against the creature’s belly.
It was the strange creature that was on Lukina’s gauntlet, her knightly crest made flesh and bone in terrible glory above them as large glowing red serpentine eyes glared down at them, descending slightly upon then. The stench of sulfur filled the air as the thing opened its mouth and rained fiery death above the Black King’s army that weren’t currently entangled with the Azalea company.
It was only then, that they noticed a figure part appear as the creature turned, ascending once more cutting through the thick, inky black smoke. A feminine shape sat on the beast’s back between its wings with flowing red hair clad in grey armor, reminiscent of power armor.
”Girl, stand up and fight. You still yet breathe. You have not won this battle.” The feminine voice that cut through the Azalea company’s radios was full of reprimand but it sounded like a more mature version of their Tree bomber’s voice.
The grey rider’s face was concealed with a helmet but as she and the beast turned, her attention was singularly focused as a large anti-tank rifle was butted up against her shoulder, waiting to see if the high explosive anti-tank round would do the trick.
The cannon Onikuma and Thaddeus were manning fired with a loud crack of thunder. The Laser arced out and struck the enemy tank once more. There was a flash and the tank suddenly exploded into a fire storm, crashing from its hover to the ground. Its power reactor detonated into a massive 100-meter explosion, and resounding shock wave shattered all the windows of the ranch. Their elation however faded when the both the Great White, and the Mountain of Meat felt the intense heat, and the peppering of debris, wooden planks, and materials as the building nearby was leveled from the plasma round the tank had fired.
Shards of glass rained down over the snowy fur of the larger cannoneer as his ears rang hard with the discharge. Onikuma blinked a few times slowly as the tank erupted into a flaming geyser, hailing down flaming debris and shrapnel across the land. It was goddamn spectacular was what it was but it was also unexpected. "Uhhh... I guess we tickled it so much it shat itself." he muttered bluntly, still a little stunned by the sudden effectiveness of the weapon.
Thaddeaus stayed under cover for a moment as the building nearby was blasted by the tank. As the heat passed, he stood to look. The tank was a mess and with that his fist shot into the air above his head. "YEAH, fucking take that ‘ya black knight son of bitches." He yelled out. He did a few more fist bumps into the air, enjoy this small victory having blasted that tank to dust.
After a moment he picked up the shield and jogged over to Kuma. "I am heading out, going to go find Mizuki and see if I can give a hand." He put his hand on the big guy. "Let’s go win one for the good guys," He said with a smile as he peaked around the open door looking for bad guys. He called out over the radio. "Mizuki, where you at? How is REIA?" He asked before darting out staying low to the ground.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Mizuki muttered, resisting the urge to curl up in a ball. The shrapnel had either missed or was stopped before it reached her vitals, but she was bleeding on her right side nonetheless. 'Best' off were her legs, limited to a few punctures into her thigh. Her right arm, flesh shredded and dripping in blood, was technically functional, though it hurt like the worst tattoo artist had drawn a couple of pin-up girls on it. Most worrying was her scalp, while not life threatening, was dripping blood across her right eye. Can this get any better? she thought, vainly wiping some off with her uninjured arm.
It was then that Thad came over the radio. "We're back in the field," Mizuki said, before turning her pain sensors off and moving her rifle so she could aim out of her left eye, "kind of in front of where the first mortars dropped." She was silence for a moment, as the dragon flew above her, which she blinked at a few times then shook her head. I'm not even surprised anymore.
"REIA's kind of surrounded at the moment," the Kowloonian continued as she reloaded her explosive bullets, "So, get over here and help out, if you're done gallivanting around." With a steady breath, she spent time to aim to compensate for shooting on her offside and fired at the chests of the Black soldiers surrounding REIA. Not powerful enough to break through their body armor, they exploded on impact, knocking them around and a lucky hit an edge of the armor, which spalled and sent even more fragments into his side.
The Colossus of Ogrurn nodded a few times, letting Thad head off towards his partner. Part of Onikuma wanted to stay by the cannon, in case anything remotely tank like appeared suddenly. Yet, it was unlikely even with his strength he could crew the cannon himself. The Xiongren took off, joining the fray best he could, the din of battle loud around him.
Thaddeaus headed off in the direction given to him by Mizuki. It was at that moment a winged beast came over head and started to melt the black army’s faces. "The hell, who called in the flying death fortress." He yelled as he watched what looked to be a dragon flying overhead. "Don't got time for this shit," he said under his breath as he slowly made it into position. He picked up real the down REIA with a Mizuki nearby. "Got eyes on Mizuki and REIA. Looks like that black knight is having a field day over here. Giving cover fire." Thad spoke over the radio in a calm voice. He slid to the ground and crossed his arm over himself to give a stable firing platform. He then systematically shot at the enemy cavalry, starting from the ones closest to furthest. His shots were all aimed center mass when possible.
Gallve’s charge ended when she rode alongside Creature, and the Black knight who were trotting. The enemy Calvary was unleashed on them. Her troops were cut to ribbons, and one of the Kirikuu was rendered lame but the fallen, and the few survivors, had silenced the mortars for good. She heard the chaos of the Ranch, and would smell the burning of wood, hear the screeching of the Kirikuu who had been left behind during the swift evacuation. The logical choice was to charge the melee troops, who were no longer marching, but were charging towards the ranch. All five squadrons of them.
Esaria, Dallas, Black Knight
The Black Knight raised her halberd. There were five of them, and but one of her, but to any account she seemed not to care except that the challenge had been issued. She kneed her stag into position, the agile beast defter in footing than the horses, and with a great leap and a piercing scream which promised nothing short of murder, it leapt forward and began to course towards the battle-scarred meadow that separated the Knight from the other mounted combatants.
With sublime grace, and as the two very small lines of cavalry began to form and meet, she chose her first victim and settled her longarm-halberd onto the proper side of her mount. This seemed a strange move and a terrible anachronism right up until she pulled the trigger.
Before they could meet, blasts of plasma cut forth from the longarm. Creature saw that the Black knight had let loose a burst of laser fire from his or her lance. The blast clapped as they were released, and then suddenly struck magnetic shield. Judging by the transparency, the fact it was a bubble shield, and the crackling in the atmosphere of heat lightening, they had likely ripped it from an old power armor. The shield crackled then collapsed. The generator shorting out from the laser blasts. The riders then dropped their lances and broke to charge speeds.
Creature rode a bit closer from the Dark Knight. His Avian steed having to be held back as it raced towards what could only be considered a fight.
Metal shod hooves tore into the grass of Piyapon, kicking it up into the air in all directions as the riders thundered. Creature Lifted his shield, and pulled it in close, then took the massively long Kishargal musket and held it up in a mockery of these enemy "Knights". This was possibly the first Calvary charge in over a thousand years on any world any of these people were from. One of the Kishargal riders had arrived and joined this rather desperate move. "WE ARE FUCKING STUPID FOR THIS!" Creature roared over the cacophony around him. It was then that the Dark Rider, Dallas and Creature heard a crack of thunder.
The enemy riders cut loose their own laser shot, though not in unison. The heavy plasma bolts from their lances struck Creature's mount. But the powerful animal let out a raspy "KAAAAAAWWWW!!!!" in response and seemed to only get enraged at having its right wing blown off. Creature did not seem to notice that he now had a good-sized hole in his right leg from the laser blast. Esaria felt a splash of something warm, as well as a blow to the head hard enough to knock her clear off the horse. Dallas' left arm was struck, and the mechanical parts of the shoulder melted and exploded in a puff of smoke. Dallas smelled the burnt flesh around his torso where the mechanical shoulder became man, but Esaria had been left struggling to get back up with Dallas with shrapnel embedded in her skull.
The Dark Knight's helmet was struck. The heavy energy weapon scoured the plates, and smote the visor or obscured the view, because for the space of a breath the Black Knight seemed to rely solely on the stag's agility and sense of purpose.
The wise move, certainly, would have been to keep the helmet on and withdraw from the field. The armor had stopped bullets, and turned aside energy weapons, and would protect the rider from any further harm.
Instead, she pulled it off with her shield-strapped hand, and discarded it over the field. Dark hair spilled out over dark armor, flaring in the wind like the mane of a vengeful Valkyrie. Creature got a look at the woman's face, in passing, and saw that no madness dwelled there. Her expression was hard, and her eyes were as calm and direct as a cat's. No smile graced those features. No frown, either. It was like watching the charge of a statue.
It was then the riders closed, and the lines collided.
Metal and beast met with wild violence.
Dallas pushed his right thumb down on the weapon's safety as he felt his skin burn. "You're all fucking dead!" With a click, the revolver went from 'PROJECTILE' to 'LASER.' Dallas aimed the weapon at one of the Black cavalry. Dallas did not notice the change in weight, screaming to no one, "Hold on Darlin'!"
Dallas squeezed the trigger to the revolver, his right arm aiming directly at the Knight's head. With a high-pitched whine and a crackling hiss, a beam of energy lanced forth from the revolver's lower, second barrel.
CRACK! A blunt stone club smashed into Thaddeus' face from around the corner of the Building as he moved. Thaddeus would see this as a light flash. Thaddeus would go stumbling but not fall. The man who did it was far smaller, but he closed, and sent his heavy Shield into Thaddeus to topple him over. The Black armored warrior would then throw his weapon up to finish the job with a loud savage roar.
The Xiongren would see all of this, only more. As Thaddeus was dishonorably attacked by an inferior warrior, more of the men came from around that corner. Twenty of them. Just as... something overhead flew and belched fire into them. The soldier's formed up, and dropped lowered their spears and began advancing on Onikuma. "Keep it Steady!" The leader yelled. The men advanced, chanting "Ooo! Ooo!" with each step.
Fuck. That was all Onikuma could think as the boar-pikes surrounded him almost completely and before he could react. How to render a bloodthirsty animal helpless? Surround it with pikes. Such had been the case since time began, packs of people hunting beasts many times their size.
In the ring, he'd faced as many as ten men with spears before but twenty? All the Xiongren could do was look on as they darted back from his slashes, the shafts of wood and metal keeping him at bay as his claws clattered against the smooth shafts with little damage. Wherever he looked, the men behind him would take advantage of his undefended, broad back.
The crimson-eyed bear snarled, knowing if he got close or tried to charge it would be the end of him. He couldn't break that line, he couldn't get over or around it. Their sharp blades bit at Onikuma's sides, drawing scarlet liquid that stained his otherwise majestic fur deeply.
Helpless, stopped by a few pieces of wood. The Xiongren's limbs thrashed as they gored him, the ex-gladiator managing to score a hit on one, sending him spinning away before the rest advanced as one. In no time, he was pinned against the ground, pierced in at least a dozen places knowing if he struggled he would just quicken his end. Time seemed to slow, the shafts driven into the dirt underneath and through him, the enemy jeering as the sounds of battle rang our around them.
Thaddeaus took the club to the face like a champ. Blood splat out across the ground in a line as he was kicked back. The man smashed into Thad who managed to put up his shield to take most of the blunt force. Thad picked up the sound of more men walking into the room as he toppled over, shield just over his face. His weapon landing just inches from his fingers. The sound of metal clanged out. "EYES," Thad yelled as the grenade left his fingertips. The blinding light and piercing sound filled the room.
Thad rolled towards the direction of his sword and grabbed it up. Now half deaf but eyes still clear he popped up on his feet and charged the side of the black knight who left it exposed having tried to overhead chop at Thad.
Onikuma sent one of the men flying. But those spears went up into him. Roaring, growling, the bear frantically lashed out. But a pike bit into him in return. Forever man the great white maimed or gored with his claws, the tip of a pike went into his flesh. The great bear soon found himself bleeding from dozens of stab wounds.
The man above Thaddeus screeched as the blinding grenade went off. The sword now in his hands went instinctively up into the soldier's throat. The man started choking and dropped down. Thaddeus in his moment of desperate victory hear a depressing noise. The cries of savage pain. The soldiers pike men were on the ground, dead or dying, but the remaining sixteen were stabbing at Onikuma. the Great White's fur, now stained red.
The sound of flexing metal echoed in the building. The shield Thad was carrying smashed into the head of one of the knights attacking Kuma. In the blink of an eye Thad had engaged on one side of Kuma. As the shield deflected off the knight’s head, Thad pushed him out of the way grabbing his weapon stuck in Kuma. He leaned back and stepped forward launching the spear towards another knight three people down. His follow through had his weapon striking into another knight next to him.
Valériane fired off another shot, and caught the man who struck the REIA in the elbow. It spun him wound and yet he held on to his weapon with his free hand. He sent the rifle butt into the REIA's robotic hips shattering the composite made weapon. Another of the men was Aiming at the REIA extra carefully, when Valériane’s next shot hit him in the throat.
Then Valériane would find her concentration broken by the sight of the dragon. After burning the melee infantry coming in to sweep Lukina, Mizuki, and the REIA's side, it flew passed the farm house where Valériane was. The tank and mortars were down, but it appeared that those were just distractions. Four full squads of melee fighters were now, pushing into the town to slaughter everybody they thought would be in it.
Valériane looked up from her sights as the massive...beast... no...dragon... flew across her field of view, breaking her concentration as she sighted her gun in its direction. The mythical creature flew quite fast, making it somewhat difficult for Valériane to keep track of its movements.
What have I gotten myself into...
As the dragon flew out of her line of sight, Valériane lowered herself back into cover and re-sighted her rifle, staring through the sight as she scanned the field for more targets...
Mizuki groaned as she saw one of the Black soldiers enter the farmhouse where Valériane was. She was stopped from warning the Huoshio when one of the remaining soldiers around REIA turned his attention to her and fired, forcing her to roll to the side and return fire, the explosive rounds knocking him on his ass. The round detonated, and Mizuki could hear the screaming of a wounded man. That one second, saw the man who entered the farm house vanish from her sight.
A board creaked from behind Valériane. The sound of wind being cut gave the surprise attack away. Valériane instinctively dodged but felt a sting across her left ear. The burning intensified. When she turned around she would see a massive man. Almost like The Dark one who had broken her. His blow smashed into the window of the farmhouse Valériane was looking out of, shattering the boards. Massive armored hands drew back an ugly battered sword that was forcefully sharpened. The great man roared and took another swing at Valériane.
Valériane's instinctive dodge only helped her for a moment. She felt a sharp sting across her left ear, but now was not the time for her to deal with the injury. Quickly turning around to see the big knight, Valériane's breath caught in her throat when the big knight entered her field of view.
The diminutive Huoshio sprang into action: She leaped off the railing and onto the ground below, rolling to break her fall and to hold on to her weapons. In a quick motion, she placed her rifle on her back and took out both of her chakrams.
Valériane threw her right chakram at the big knight, seeking to disarm him with the chakram before going for a killing blow with her other one...
"We got one of those Knight guys in the farmhouse," Mizuki said over the radio, trying to get to her knees and falling flat again when her right leg refused to support her. "Val looks clear. If anyone controls that dragon-thing, I'd go for some air support to get rid of him."
The big warrior threw up his free hand to block with his heavy shield. The Chakram smacked into his armored forearm with an audible thump. Valériane would see the red blood of the Ogre man form around her weapon. The shield fell from his hand and hit the floor of the farmhouse with a wobbling KRUNG!
The man then lunged at Valériane, swinging his sword in a downward chopping motion at her.
Valériane had her left chakram arm primed for a throw just as the man jumped down from the railing. Throwing her hips into the motion, Valériane threw her chakram at the armored knight as he jumped from the railing, aiming for a jointed area of his armor. She hoped to utilize the combination of her weapon's upward momentum and the man's downward momentum against her target for extra penetration.
However, instead of dodging backwards, Valériane dodged forwards, her form flying just under the landing space of the big knight. Valériane knew that by the time he landed, she would be behind him instead of directly in front of him.
Utilizing her targeting interface, Valériane ordered her first chakram to arc towards the approximate landing area of the knight. If the first bladed disc did not strike him on the fall, then she would catch it and strike him from behind.
Valériane went under the massive man struck nothing but air. His blade arm went tumbling to the floor, the sword clattering as her weapon succeeded in her little gambit. The big warrior fell to his knees, his heart and blood pressure causing the blood from the severed arteries to squirt out. He let out a soft gasp. A voice she had never heard called out. "Killed by a fucking bitch..." He said almost despairing at the notion.
It was then that Valériane's first chakram arced back towards the position of the fallen ogre, flying at a bloodthirsty trajectory towards his neck...
It was a clean death. The man's head separated from his shoulders and was rolling across the floor. On further inspection, Valériane would see it was not the same ogre who had hurt her so. The chakram cut through the ogre's neck and continued a flight path back towards Valériane. The diminutive Huoshio quickly caught first chakram, catching the second one a moment after.
Taking a deep breath, Valériane relieved herself from her combat stance and glanced at the headless body of the big knight. Initially she was annoyed when she realized that the body did not belong to that her abuser, but she felt relieved upon realizing the quick nature of his death.
That would have been too merciful a death...
Well damn, Mizuki thought, nodding in approval as she watched Val fight. "In case anyone was listening earlier, scratch that air support. Our Knight Errant took care of the problem." Shaking her head, she remembered that there were still soldiers around, aimed at nearest enemy, and fired at the group that was mobbing Kuma.
Lukina grunted as the nanites hit her system and started the process of stopping her from bleeding out, assisted by the Kishargal prompt medical attention. "Lady Bloodtree." She slowly tried to sit up again, the damage to her left leg meant that she wasn't going to be able to stand without assistance. "Fucking bullshit. She's always been like this. Walk it off with a broken leg... keep fighting with other things broken... I'm amazed I've lived this long..."[/i] She cursed more to herself than to the medic, flipping the knight on the winged beast a human gesture of disdain, since she was sure she couldn't see it from behind the farmhouse.
The half-elf grasped her rifle and used it to push herself into a sitting position, before moving it to her shoulder and staring through the scope. "This is a shitty vantage point to fire from, I guess I can make it work until they try to overrun me. Sorry lady, it's about to get pretty loud..." The scout weighed her options as it seemed like the grey knight and the creature had decided they had done enough for now. "Difficult... uncaring."
Her vision briefly blurred as the drugs kicked in and she felt a surge of heat surge through her body. She pulled her sword hilt from her back and engaged the long blade to stabilize herself on her left side as she pushed up with a grunt. "Biiiitch. Somebody like, blew your knee off. What the actual fuck? I mean look at it. Your thigh muscle is like in your belly. Your fucking knee cap is like in pieces on the ground. Holy shit, haha!" A familiar voice called out from inside of her. Creature looked down at her. Only it wasn't Creature. This one was revealing all his scars to her. He looked like a kind of corpse, half skull, no nose, teeth exposed, bulbous massed on most of his body. He looked up as the Dragon flew overhead then came about to try and make another pass.
"That your fucking mom? Why the fuck is she even here?" The other Creature asked. "Better question, why in the fuck are you hallucinating me of all people? Why not your dad? Or that stupid looking cowboy fucker. Or Thaddeus? Oh. It’s your brain synapses firing off from the sudden fucking trauma. But it won't matter because the person that fucking shot you is sitting there, laughing at you."
"Where is he, you fucking, insane fuck?" Lukina demanded of the Creature hallucination. The hallucination smirked as best it could. Then looked over at the tree line. "Well I know you. Because well I am you...in away. Some fucked up personality thing you identify with in Creature. Anyway. Probably in those stupid fucking trees. Isn’t that where you'd be?"
"If I didn't have to run the fuck back here, yeah," she ranted at the air. She shifted her weight more to her right leg and lifted her rifle up to sight down the trees where her mind was identifying her shooter. "I still have a fucking airburst loaded in this fucking thing. It'll probably knock me back on my ass but fuck it. Bloodtree brought the damn wyvern thing."
"Heh, you missed the part where that fucking sniper shot your shit out the sky right? I bet it's waiting for you to try just that mother fucker. What’s the old saying." It was then Lukina's rifle was knocked out of her hand and sent flopping to the ground. It hit the ground with a loud clatter. "No matter how good you are, there is always a mother fucker who is better?" A thunderous report followed a second later. "A mile away? Shiiiiieeeeet!"
The half-elf's eyes narrowed, this sniper was fucking with her now. "Mother fucker." She didn't have many options. The range of her launcher would not reach a mile away. Her rifle, probably but that was doubtful. She leaned into her overturned sword like it was a crutch. "Shit." Her eyes searched for cover, it wasn't like she had a shield. This sniper was messing with her, she had to think quickly or be full of holes. "Any ideas, fucker?" She remembered the little knight. "Hey Vale, some fuck is off in the trees like a mile off and fucking with me, according to this fucked up form of Creature that's talking to me, check it out and light him up for me?"
"Yea. I'd get to fucking cover or some shit. If this guy doesn’t get you, one of those other rapey bastards is gonna fuck you. Like literally. Seriously, have you seen how they treat the lady folk? You're a fucking mess!" The Hallucination said in response to the question. "Plus like, even if you found him, what are you going to do, tremble him to death?"
It was then the sword Lukina was using as a crutch flew from under her, and she went toppling down. Then the toe of her left leg exploded into a pink mist. PAKEW PAKEW! followed in succession only a second later.
"You still feel like helping, Lady Bloodtree?" Lukina grunted again, she was high. The Creature hallucination was talking sense at her. She couldn't fucking walk. But she could get the shroud to mostly work. Her rigs still functioned. She sighed and curled up on the ground, grabbing a pair of grenades from her from her pouch on her belt, once her body concealed them. Here goes nothing. She ripped the pins and threw the flash bang and smoke grenade nearby, engaging her rig to pull her into a nearby building.
A deep roar caused the ground to rumble. Then a pained bellowing squeal of pain came from the flying beast. Then a roar of flames, followed by the pained squeals of burning men. The Creature Hallucination looked down at Lukina. "Your mom is kind of a bitch. Also, good fucking thinking. I was gonna suggest crawling away, but like, yeah. This convoluted shit is pretty fucking tight." Lukina zipped off to safety
"Try being raised by her... it's so much worse. I guess she kinda cares... or she's determined to end me herself," Lukina muttered as she slumped behind the building, finally back behind cover. She still needed her weapons. She still had a fucked-up leg. She wished that she had a retrieval rig for her gear or at least her vision wasn't blurry so she could maybe try to aim her rig at it to possibly hook it back to her. It was bad idea. "What do you think? Should I try something else convoluted to get my shit back?" She looked towards her hallucination with a shrug. "Did the drugs where off? Or am I gonna pass out soon?"
"Why are you turned on right the fuck now?" The hallucination asked. "Fuck it. Just shut your eyes and dream." The hallucination said. "I'll hold you!" The hallucination added as it bent down and embraced Lukina. She felt warm, relaxed. Sleep was what she needed.
This doesn't mean we're going to fuck, just because I'm hallucinating you... asshole. Lukina's eyes closed as she leaned back against the side of the building, pale and shivering. "Who said any -yaaawn- thing about fucking. You are the one trying NOT to anyway."
It's always that way with you. The sound of combat around her dulled as her body dropped the adrenaline and pulled her out of consciousness. The nanites kept her from going into shock from the blood loss.
Energized, refreshed, and... gruesomely satisfied by her kill, Valériane spoke over the comms in a cold, yet bloodthirsty tone.
"Take no prisoners and do not let them retreat without a bullet in the back of their skulls," she ordered to the entire battle group, immediately cutting off at the last word.
Esaria had no idea what was happening. None at all, while gunfire and explosions went off all around her. Her head hurt, and her hair felt weirdly sticky as she tried to brush it out of her face. She looked at her hand and saw it was red, which was a strange sight to her. Was she bleeding? Why were their pointy things in her head? Where did the man she was riding with go? Where was Creature? Lukina? Val?
She looked around, head swimming with the sudden motion forcing her to her knees. She looked around again, coughing harshly. It was then she remembered Creatures question. Why was she here? She was a hunter, not a warrior. Yet, she still found herself in these positions, following these people she had only just met.
She got back to her feet, stumbling off again. Another question came to mind, and that was the whereabouts of her bow. Creature was going to kill her when he found out she lost yet another bow. She started looking for it, oblivious to most of the battle going on. Why did things always seem to happen? Was whatever they were doing worth it?
As Onikuma lay there, forsaken and sprawled out in the dusty earth with the blistering sun beating down on his hide, the battle around him seemed to fade away. His mind wandered hopelessly, blackness encroached on the corners of his vision as his lifeblood ran down the cruel pikes embedded into him with each, slowing, pump of his heart.
Memories of times gone by. A young and frightened cub beaten with a length of wood. His first wound, opening his belly as he screamed for help. The last night before he escaped his master, the one friend from his past being snapped like a twig before his eyes.
What a miserable life he had led, cursed from the moment of his birth. Through his life he'd done horrible things to live, for the entertainment for others. Nothing had ever counted. Not really.
So there he lay. The blackness finally taking him as a last ragged breath escaped past those blooded teeth. He never wanted to be a killer. He'd never set foot on his homeland, felt its sun on his face. He'd never seen his family, his mother. He'd never been held, never loved. Mother. The word was alien, it held no meaning to him no matter how hard he tried, how much he willed. He couldn't even remember her face, her smell, her touch.
Suddenly, a girl went sprawling across the large body of the Xiongren. It was Esaria. She pushed up, obviously recognizing him, but not able to register what his name was. "Uhh..." She mumbled, looking around at the broken pikes. She furrowed her brow, remembering him from the last time she was captured. Now it made sense.
"E-excuse me! Mr. Bear? This isn't the best place to take a nap you know," She slurred, crawling up to sit on his chest, pushing down on him a couple times. She let out a groan as her head started pounding, buzzing in her ear getting louder and louder. The sounds around her made her almost think she was underwater with how distorted they were, but she tried again. "Mr. Bear! I know you're probably exhausted from... From all the..." She started, groaning again. It was getting difficult to think. She rubbed her face, smearing it with blood, before looking at Onikuma again.
"You know..." She mumbled, yawning widely as her body tried to supply oxygen to her struggling brain. "You might actually have the right idea. They won't attack us if they think we're dead, right?" She asked, sliding off him and dropping to the ground. She curled up in the crook of the bear's arm and simply closed her eyes.
Onikuma's gaze slowly focused, if only for a second, resting on the small girl laying in his arms. She seemed afraid, lost. Maybe it wasn't too late to give his wretched existence some small meaning. With humongous effort, blood flowing freely from one corner of his mouth, he clumsily draped an arm around the girl best he could, shielding her with the last movement he would ever make.
A strange thought crossed his mind - in another time he could have been a father. This would be his last act but it would be the best he could give, a strange, broken reflection of a life unlived. This girl needed someone and he would hold on as long as he could, to give her what little time he had. "It's okay, little one. It's okay... Sleep... When... we wake.. it'll... it'll... all be over..." The bear struggled with each word, every breath increasing his suffering. Every breath was worth it.
A light seemed to slowly fade from his blank eyes, a bulb growing dimmer and dimmer. Finally, that light was no more.
The Great White was gone.
Over the radio a single phrase was spoken that would forever change the company. "Onikuma is in trouble." In the background the sounds of battle could be heard as the radio cut off.
Thaddeaus fought and from the corner of his eye watched his friend. His attacks got faster as Kuma slowed and stopped. His strikes and shots hit truer as the rise and fall of his friend's chest slowed to a stop. As the weapon ran out of ammo he switched to slashes. When the sword got stuck he used the enemies’ own weapons. His blood boiled as the fire in Kuma's eyes faded to black. By the last knight Thad stood over him, just fists, and beat him to death.
The scene around Kuma looked like a clip from a horror movie. Body parts blown or cut off the knights. Some dead, others alive and bleeding out. Guts and blood covered the floor. At the end of it stood Thad the Ripper. Crimson in color, be it of the knights or his own it was hard to tell. He stood there, silent and without any motion. As if waiting for Kuma to place a paw on his shoulder and say, "it is over, let us go home."