Time 05:40, 27 hours later, after the events of "Creature and the Sun"
Lukina felt euphoric. The cold water flowed through not only her veins but the veins of Creature. When she had passed out from her injuries and trauma, she had neglected to disconnect the link between her and Creature. Her dreams were vivid and eclectic. She dreamed of sex. Lots of sex. She experienced more sex in a few moments of REM sleep than she had ever considered. Not hypothetical sex with people that she desired, but rather it was a montage of memories from Creature’s past- recent, and distance, all in rapid succession. She felt satisfaction, then lethargy over and over. Mizuki, Sute, Valeriane, Hilda, his friend from the cat house on the outskirts of Paju province, and most of the girls there. Then dozens of other nameless alien women of all types. The memory ultimately fell to something different. It was as if Creature’s mind was searching for something to latch onto. Some warmth, comfort, something to make his turmoil and fear subside as the pain of surgery laid siege to his shattered body.
Creature felt the bitter cold of the waterfall and saw his breath hang heavily in the air in front of him as Lukina's thoughts bled into his own. The river had not frozen over but there was a pristine blanket of white all around him. He was sitting on a rocky outcropping as the frigid water cut away his body's warmth. His body was trembling, shivering violently from the cold as hypothermia threatened to shut him down. He stared down at small pale hands for a moment and rose, as a distant male voice called. He was filled with a sense of tempered solitude and stillness that was edged with discomfort.
Lukina felt a soft hand touch her/his face. Then she saw a smiling, olive skinned, black haired woman with black almond shaped eyes and a heart shaped face smiling at him on some alien horizon. There was no love making, but a rush of intense emotion, one that made the pain vanish. Then it all washed away.
Creature's hands hurt, they were cramped and sore. Staring down at them, the pale hands were bloody but the day was not over. Everything ached, he knew that he fell at least 20 feet from his equipment failing on the side of the glass building that loomed overhead. He didn't have time to do anything but walk it off. He had to get back up. The rifle was not as heavy as the body armor he wore. He heard the gunfire getting closer. He had to hurry. People were counting on him, the Black Coats were closing in. There were people hiding in the bunker under this building. He had to get up top and stop them. His body screamed in protest as he jumped back up and started climbing the side of the structure. Each hand hold cut daggers of pain but still he climbed...
Creature shot up from his bed gagging and hacking. A loud Klaxon sounded when he woke. The tubes in his body tensed with the movement. He found that his left leg was stretched out, braced and encased in a thick heavy dressing. He patted his face to find it too, was completely entrenched along with his arms, torso, and legs. He looked like a mummy with silver dollar sized deep crimson spots all over.
As the Gartagen got his bearings, he discovered that he was in a small intensive care unit with several patients in far worse condition than he. He felt Lukina's presence and he looked for her. He found the small, half-elf sleeping with a dull green glow behind her closed eyelids in the bed beside him. He flicked his tail, please that it was still intact, and with the knowledge that she was beside him, he settled back down.
Creature's eyes shifted from Lukina to the large plastic bag of clear liquid that was dripping fluids through a tube into his good arm. On a stand beside his bed, he found that the medical staff had salvaged his prosthetic hand, and politely left it there for him. Yawning, the Gartagen reached up with both his maimed hand and his good hand and rubbed his eyes.
"Wait what? I only have one fucking eye! I lost my fucking good one on 188605!”
The ex-Marshal snored himself awake, "HWAH-FUCKWHAT?!" He blinked and cocked his head to the side while looking at the suddenly awake Creature. "What the fuck are you yelling about?" He was still dressed in the clothes he had been rescued in, the minor wounds he had covered with bandages and stitchwork.
Creature nearly flipped out of the bed when Dallas’ deep voice responded. “WHAT THE FUCK!” He exclaimed. “Why are you here?!”
Lukina's eyes finally opened and she severed the link between the GEIST and Creature's HUD. She reached up to touch her face, wiped moisture from her eyes. "That's weird, the connection should have disconnected on its own."
A big fuzzy canine lay curled across the half-elf's legs, apparently still fast asleep despite Creature's hollering. His fur was like the softest of blankets and the rise and fall of his great chest was relaxing against her. Wolf seemed to be the only one of them not suffering any significant injuries, a proportionally large bandage wrapped across part of his midriff the only scrape he seemed to have.
When Lukina spoke Creature's startled voice abruptly halted.
Creature twitched his head, shutting down his HUD, and opened the Diagnostics widget. He did not know much about the specifics of the skull computers, only that his computer used his brain and it could be accessed if he desired it. From what he saw, the connection had severed and reconnected three times.
“Uh. Were you checking on me?” Creature said still sitting up, trying to stand. When he did so, he felt a sudden release. A thick bundle of four catheter tubes suddenly illuminated with bright yellow liquid. “Oooou holy fuck….”
"I was saving your life by dying with you," Lukina replied softly as she settled back down against the pillow of her hospital bed. Her body ached as she finally felt her own injuries. She sighed and looked down at the wolf. Her body felt off balance. The weight of her cybernetic leg was missing. The bindings that secured her wound on her left side were being stressed from the Wolf's weight pressing down on her right leg. Under normal circumstances, the weight wouldn't have caused her discomfort if her torso was balanced by the weight of both of her legs. But without the weight of her second leg, and the freshness of her wound, the weight on top of her shifted the precarious balance, forcing her torso up and pinched at her stitches. Though the gesture was cute and loving, the nature of her internal injuries made it slightly painful for the injured woman.
Creature looked at his friend as she spoke. Both eyes locked on her. "I uh. I. Hrm. I don't guess that a fucking thank you quite cuts it, Lukina..."
"And I'm going to say again, that I owe you both enough already. You need something and if I can get it, it's as good as yours." Dallas leaned slightly back in his chair as he looked between both Lukina and Creature.
Lukina's hand reached down to pet the Agarthan's ears, despite her discomfort and understanding perhaps, the alien's intention. "Wolf?" Her voice was soft as her gaze moved back to the Gartagen. "You have two eyes again," she remarked as she noticed the amber orbs staring at her.
Wolf's eyes split open a crack, a deep rumbling carrying through his entire form as he stretched a little. Blinking a few times, he rubbed his cheek against Lukina's leg before looking up to see who it was. "Lukina! You're awake!" The Agarthan gave her the biggest grin he could manage in this form, which was rather harrowing to see rather than reassuring.
Lukina smiled back down at the Wolf. There was some exhaustion in her expression. "May I have my leg back? I'm glad to see you're okay. I'm just tired." Her gaze shifted to Dallas. "If this is going to be a thing, I might need a bigger bed? But is there water somewhere?"
The relieved shapeshifter nodded, nuzzled her a little and promptly obliged and hopped clear of the bed with the clatter of claws on the floor. Turning to look at both Creature and Lukina, keeping a view of Dallas as well, he lay down comfortably.
Dallas stood up and walked out into the hallway, "Uh-huh..." He was gone about two whole minutes before coming back with a glass of water in one hand and a small newspaper in the other. He didn't even know how long they had been out or whatever, he just wanted something to read.
He stopped by Lukina's bed and held out the glass, "It's mostly cold, that or I'm cold. I don't know."
Lukina sat up slowly and accepted the glass and sipped the water. "Thank you. If you're cold, why would the water be cold? That doesn't make sense... do you have a concussion?"
"I don't know, I woke up and they had given me some drug or something. I feel like a fucking butterfly." Dallas walked back to his chair and sat down. He opened his newspaper and seemed to not notice that it was upside down for a little too long before turning it over rightside up.
"You're just perpetually high. Poor Gol," Lukina commented with a short chuckle as she finished the glass of water, setting it down on the table beside her.
Dallas quipped almost instantly, "Don't 'Poor Gol' me..."
Still sitting up Creature's eyes bore down on Dallas. "Why the fuck aren't you at the Lucarin City General Hospital? This is like a fucking hospital run by a bunch of Mafia goons in Paju Provence eight hundred klicks away. I mean seriously bro. I know we squashed shit but like." Creature then paused. Looked around. "Is anybody actually here because they don't want to fuck Lukina? I mean I know I'm not!" The Gartagen would relax a bit, and slouch on his Hospital bed, stiffening as a dull ache swept over him. He looked over at the bag of pain killing liquid. Eyeing it, the Gartagen reach over and opened the valves on the IV line a bit wider.
Dallas looked at him after dropping his paper for a moment before looking back at his paper, not saying a word.
"And there's the awkward," the half-elf settled back down on the pillow. Her thoughts were still jumbled from the prolonged connection to Creature's HUD. "Is there a queue forming or something? I already heard about the betting pool. It's... concerning. Dallas, did the nurses say anything about how long we are here?"
"Kind of disrespectful if you ask me." Creature growled as he eyed the Agarthian.
A Nurse was on the other side of the room changing the dressings on one of the people who had been gunned down outside of the club entrance with Creature. She was a well build Jiyuuan woman, in a set of blue medical scrubs, and a face mask on with her latex gloves. She heard the conversation. "You have been here for about twenty seven hours. The Gartman got out of Surgery about eight hours ago. You, young miss, around twelve. I am happy to see you are both recovering so well. It was like you were keeping each other alive. Very strange medical case....As for how long, well that is up to the both of you and how well you can recover. At best a few days, at worst a few months. Things are looking optimistic. Plus this is a very good medical center, and Mr. Sarno is sparing no expense on your treatments. Rumor has it he is even looking into acquiring a Hemosynth tube or a Regeneration cell."
Dallas turned a page, looking at the sports section. "Couple of days if all goes well." He had not noticed the Nurse at all, nor looked to care.
Creature huffed. "Anyway, I am glad to see you are okay, Dallas. I was a little fucking worried when those skanks snatched your dick up."
Dallas gave a thumbs up with his closer hand as a response.
Lukina looked to the nurse, her evergreen eyes appraising her and then she nodded. "I'm unfortunate in that I do not have regenerative abilities otherwise, I wouldn't need cybernetics. So I expect to be here until I am cleared. How badly was I carved up? Things get a little bit fuzzy after the stretcher bit."
Wolf seemed totally oblivious to Creature's angry gaze, busying himself with engraving the floor with a sharpened claw. It was a bad habit they'd probably seen before but he couldn't help himself.
The Nurse paused and turned to Lukina. She approached Lukina's medical bed, and sat looming over a volumetric control panel reading her file and monitoring her. "Welll.....It is up to you really. But we have three doctors on staff that oversee the clinic. One Xenobiologist, one physician, and the newest is a Gartagen. She specializes in cloning organs, and body parts for grafting. Mr. Sarno is on his third heart now. If you desire Doctor Raina has said she could produce you a new leg based on your own body. If not, you still have your cybernetic leg. It is by your bed with your things." She said smiling."That is why your friend next to you has a fresh eye in his head right now. Dr. Riana insisted." The nurse was a handsome woman. Strong facial features, and a solid muscular frame that suggested if she needed to, she could pin an uncooperative patient to their bed and sedate them.
She then heard the scratching. "Oh! Ew! No pets! Stop that!" the nurse said scolding the Agarthian. "Bad dog! Bad!"
"Wolf, why don't you change back?" Lukina suggested for a moment before she looked back at the nurse. "What is the cost for getting restored?"
The direwolf raised his big ol' head from where it rested, ears flopping to one side as he looked at the nurse in a "really? really." manner. However, as soon as Lukina asked, the Agarthan made a slight huffing noise and lazily got to his paws. Taking a moment, he glanced around for a private-looking place to change, spotting the empty bed and curtain beside Lukina's. In no rush, Wolf lumbered towards it and slipped inside.
The Nurse moved from examining Lukina's file, to checking on her dressing. "Expensive. However, Mr. Sarno is covering all of your costs. This is his hospital after all."
Lukina considered it. "How long would it take? There's still work to be done.. but I'm stuck anyway.."
The nurse smirked. "Well, the cloning is complete. So all that would need to occur is re-attaching it to your leg. Some surgery would need to happen. Your bionetics are in the way. Gartagen medical science is....different. Dr. Raina seems to think she can have you up and running by the time you are ready to leave this hospital for your current Injury."
"Wait. The cloning is complete? Did I need new organs? How badly was I hurt?" Lukina looked disturbed.
The Nurse stayed still. "Your body took to them very eagerly. Your Lung, and spleen are both working. Better than the old ones from what your vitals are telling me. Without proper and immediate attention, you would have suffocated as your lungs filled up with your own blood. Your friend was in far worse condition. He has had almost all of his organs replaced. Oddly, we found dozens of cancerous tumors throughout his body."
Creature perked up as he was mentioned. 'Well, I do party fucking hard."
Dallas grinned from behind his paper as he changed pages again.
"If the parts are there, might as well install them, I guess. What will they do with it once I leave here?" Lukina rubbed her temples, this particular revelation was disturbing. "As much as the idea of having more of me running around would be appealing to certain people... I'd rather not."
A purple, curvy, yet short Gartagen woman entered the ICU. She was wearing a lab coat and some modest clothing under it. "Cloning of individuals is taboo. I swore oaths not to do such things. On top of it, that practice has caused the deaths of millions of my people, so you have little to fear on that," Dr. Raina said with her high tenor voice.
"As for your genetic material, I can destroy it, or keep it on file as per your desires. Generally I recommend you keep it on file if you ever need medical attention or new organ grafts."
Raina was younger looking, perhaps a of a similar age to Creature. "Now, what will speed up your process is this augment laying next to you. I had only read the theories. I had no idea that the military had gone forward with full augmentation of the Gartagen physiology." She said gesturing to Creature. "You are a master work."
Creature side eyed Raina. "That's a fucking first. Uh.....you are pretty fucking hot too. I like your boobs." Creature responded flatly.
"And back to awkward. Right, my recovery will be based on Creature's nanite colony? I am willing to become whole again. I'll just keep the 'netic for an emergency. How do my other augments inhibit this sort of procedure?" Lukina asked the doctor.
Dr. Raina "It depends on how extensive they are. However if the augmentation is surgical rather than genetic, than the new leg should fit your body fine. If it is Genetic then the cloning procedure should take on the properties."
Outside in one of the hospital's hallways a five foot eight inch wardroid pushed open the door to an unused room and walked out. The android was wearing a pale blue medical smock - the acquisition of which had cost REIA one of her business cards and a case of cigars - which clashed not only with the metallic chassis from being a robot but also with the Impaler slung by her side and the bundle of... something that was wrapped in cloth and slung across her back.
The android had been having trouble lately keeping track of Creature and the rest of Azalea company, but had tagged into a communication back to the base camp that had lead her to the hospital where all the notables should currently be.
Clacking mechanically forward REIA caught sight of an orderly that was just the engagement she had been looking for. Approaching the worker (and making less and less noise as she got closer) the bot switched on her subordinate AI as she decided she was rather uninterested in speaking with any wandering help she was to accost.
A heavy metallic hand quickly turned the person around and was then locked in an enthusiastic and potentially limb altering handshake. "DOCTOR FERRIS SHACKLEBOTTE - PLEASURE TO GET A HOLD OF YOU." The electronic buzz that burst forth was more pleasant than was usual for REIA's understudy. "JUST GOT OUT OF SOME AWFUL BUSINESS -" The buzz heightened to a suggestive hum and the lights on the android's head winked in sync with the noise. "-SURE YOU UNDERSTAND. AND THEN THE NEXT THING I KNOW I HEAR A YOUNG MAN I WAS QUITE ACQUAINTED WITH BACK IN MY YOUTH WAS WITH US TODAY - HE HAS THE SILLIEST NAMES THESE DAYS I THINK EVERYONE WOULD AGREE."
The robot only stopped speaking to switch hands it was shaking - not letting go of the first until the second was encased in a grip of steel. "THE LORD DU ROCHON, YOU WOULDN'T HAPPEN TO KNOW WHERE I COULD POP IN ON HIM?"
"Um, I can come in right?" Peeking in from behind REIA was the hulking form of a Xeno. One wearing a grape patterned cap with 'Grape Time!' in big, bold letters emblazoned on the front. "I brought some snacks and stuff too," it spoke through one of its mawed tentacles, holding it up like a sock puppet. True to its word, the fruit and cheese basket it held up for them to see looked pretty good. Especially considering the grapes were the size of golfballs. "You can peel them too!" the human-turned-xeno pronstar offered.
Dr. Raina stepped aside allowing the Wardroid and the porn star through. "Quite the amount of visitors. Lord Creature. Knight Lukina, I will return when we can speak in confidence."
The pretty Gartagen doctor turned. Her tail brushing against McClosky's leg, and her hips swayed as she glided elegantly out of the ICU ward.
Dallas looked up from the paper with a really odd expression on his face. "What?"
Creature looked up at the REIA. "Oh shit. Bout to have a fucking pain killer party! Whose ready. REIA is ready. Let's get hospital lit!"
Lifting the bundle - which was nothing more than a rolled sheet knotted up - from off her shoulder REIA looked at Creature for a few seconds before speaking. "It holds your stash. If you want to get off on vanilla-coloured pills they will need to be stolen." Tossing the bundle to Creature with an underhanded throw the robot leaned against the wall and turned her head to survey everyone else. "Mind the grenade in with them. Unless death is where you've made your choice - that's what it is there for."
An electronic whine sounded out and the droid reached down and began to fiddle - unlooking - with her modified Impaler her left hand making simple, slow adjustments. "Is payment to this establishment possible? It is a shame to re-collect my card too soon."
It was at this point that Wolf re-emerged from behind the surgical curtain he had slipped into a few minutes earlier. One thing he had apparently forgotten was clothes, the Agarthan stepping out into the ward proper with that particular matter having apparently slipped his mind. The hunter was busy inspecting his bandage and trying to re-wrap it around his now smaller leg as he stepped out.
Dallas looked to Bob and grinned, "Oh right, Bob! Your team lost the playoffs and--" His eyes were suddenly on the naked Wolf-Guy. "And Wolf Guy is naked..." Dallas blinked and went back to his paper, aggressively reading to try and force the image out of his mind.
"Yeaaaaah," the Xeno's mouthed tentacle sighed. "I'm more worried about that since I'm not on set," Bob pointed out. Floating in, the flying monster placed the fruit and cheese basket off to the side on a table. "Seriously, if you guys needed help, just ask?" another pair of limbs moved up in a shrug. "It's kinda the whole reason I'm here, though, it sounded like it was some sort of cloak and dagger Hitman stuff anyways," it admitted.
Ripping off the top to the smock she had made a legitimate transaction for REIA threw the torn piece of cloth towards Wolf where it fluttered to a stop about his shoulders like a cloak. The robot then crossed her arms - no longer needing to tend to her now humming weapon - and let her lights dim considerably. Her head turned its full regard onto the xeno in the room and seemed to be watching the creature with no small amount of tenseness.
Wolf didn't seem to realise his indignity until REIA tossed him the shawl of fabric, at which point his predatorial eyes widened and he slipped back a little, making sure the cloth covered his.. "Thank you, robot-person." The warrior regarded REIA with a light, perhaps recognising her from camp before he sat down beside Lukina's bed once more, apparently satisfied with the current setup.
Lukina's ears blushed as Wolf covered himself. She looked over to the others and smiled. "Oh wow, it's a party. I think Wolf just needs pants? We resolved the cloak and dagger situation so we're just licking our wounds. I have to draft up paperwork for Sarno if someone else hasn't started it. I made a deal for assistance." She rubbed her temples again.
"It is done," a solemn voice spoke over her comms. "You need not speak of it."
Turning her attention away from her target (and filing his status back into the 'future') REIA considered Lukina as she spoke. A somewhat muted but still displeased beep sounded as the droid flared back into illumination as she pushed off from the wall. One of her hands raised and she motioned - her hand curled at the wrist with her fingers held straight against each other - towards the man sitting besides Lukina.
"COME WOLF. YOU APPARENTLY ARE DESERVING OF THE WHOLE PACKAGE." As her subordinate vocalized its statement with buzzing bluntness she gestured towards the pants she had absconded with and then towards the curtain he had just stepped from behind. "YOU LOOK HORRIBLE IN PASTELS - IF THAT MEANS A LICK TO YOU."
The nurse calmly looked at Lukina. "I'm afraid not. Also hospital procedure says only two visitors in the ICU per patient so somebody has to leave. Robots aren't people so the Robot can stay I suppose."
Creature sighed, and started to stand up. "Okay Wolf nudity, fucking too much. I am getting out of here. I mean, I was all fine and shit. But Lukina, you have way way to many fucking orbiters. I love you girl but this is fucking extreme. I might go back to skirting the fringes, mercenary work. But this fucking male harem bullshit in my ICU room is like fucked." As he stood the nurse rushed over and grabbed him. "Mr. Du Rochon please sit back down in your bed."
Wolf blinked a few times at REIA, fingers idly brushing against the side of the bedsheets. "Who wants my package?" The immigrant asked confusedly, standing as she gestured for him. "Pas..tels?" He shrugged his furry shoulders, "Pastels."
"We have 4 including REIA, it should be fine." Lukina sighed. "Creature, I don't even know right now. Look, these people are our friends, regardless of how they might feel. I don't think Wolf has control on clothing when changes form. But.. I have no idea."
With a very human-adjacent sigh, the android grabbed and stepped out of the pants covering her legs in a single motion. Lifting them up and making sure Wolf's eyes were on them she shifted them in the air for a moment before throwing the garment at the man's head.
Instinctively, Wolf gnashed for the garments as they flew towards him, catching the thigh of one of the legs in his jaws. His eyes lit up, ears waving from side to side happily.
Turning her head to look towards Creature again REIA nodded towards the bundle she had thrown at his lap. "My grenade or what's was in your stash. What party are we setting off tonight?"
Creature paused when Lukina said what she said. That was kind of a reality check for him. He had never had very many friends, and the few he did have often ended up getting dead. Surveying the scene, Creature had Lukina. A robot, a tentacle sex machine with genticals, McClosky, some weird half dog person. The only ones who was normal was Thaddeus and Mizuki, and Mizuki has seen more dick than Thaddeus had and Thaddeus used one every morning. Though they were not here, yet.
The nurse struggled, and Creature struggled back "Lord Du Rochon! You still need time to recover!"
"Creature, please you need to finish recovering. Settle back down," Lukina reinforced the nurse's request.
Giving up, he fell back down on the bed. "I uh don't think that doctor wants to use my nano colony to expedite your healing, Lukina. I think she wants to mimic some of the augmentations they did on me to improve your leg so it can match your own or some shit."
"Is that why my installs would impair that?" Lukina asked.
Wolf listened in, performing a dexterous maneuver to swap REIA's kindly offered fabric with her pants. "Thank you!" He beamed at the robot, sharp animal-like gnashers stretching into a wide smile.
"Eh, I am not much of a doctor. But it would be sort of like, you'd have a leg that was much weaker. So she is basically going to try to equalize it. My people are pretty good at building shit, and fixing things. Bunch of preachy fucking monarchists, but they can take something and make it better, that's for sure."
"I'm entirely serious when I say this, you both need to recover and recover to your top abilities. I've nearly died a few times since I touched down on this rock, and you need to pull a me and relax for a few days. I mean it." Dallas folded his newspaper and laid it on a table next to his chair and placed his hands together.
Lukina looked at Dallas oddly. "Creature, McClosky is speaking sense. The world is upside down. It must be the drugs."
Creature's eyes turned to slits as he looked at Dallas. He was talking sense. "Fuck you McClosky, you dunno shit! I'd fucking come over there and ring your bell if I did not look like swiss cheese right now. But If I did that a bunch of different vaginas would probably fly out of your ears."
"Uh, I have no idea what's going on with the whole recovery process," Bob began, bobbing up and down as its jawed tentacle spoke. "I'm just here for the emotional support and all that," the Xeno offered. "Can't we all just, relax and chill?" its sock-puppet-like tentacle suggested.
"Calm is good. So I get this thing and they will essentially implant Gart tech into me to make the new leg just as strong?" Lukina commented.
Creature sat back on his bed. "But yea, maybe a few days laid up will be good."
Dallas shook his head slightly, "I do mean well, Lord Du Rochon, despite the sentiments you seem to think I have. Do you want me to go and get you some sedatives, water, or something?"
The nurse snarled at Dallas' request. "We have staff for a reason."
Creature merely smirked from under his dressings. "No McClosky, you are good where you are. It is always good to have a friend around. I never fucking liked hospitals anyway."
The cuddly wolfguy just seemed to zone out of the argument, sitting back down beside Lukina and draping himself across her legs again as he had been before they had all woke up, seeming like he wanted to have a nap.
The Nurse looked at the wound on Lukina's side. It was flexing once again as his weight forced her up slightly. "Mr. Dog. You keep disrupting her posture, and it is threatening to open the scar on her side. Please, cuddle with my patient after she is out of acute care."
"No speak Trade." He growled, obviously understanding what she was saying as he closed his eyes and bedded down a little more.
"She's got a point you know," Bob pointed out with a tentacle.
"You want me to sleep on you instead?" Wolf opened his eyes and looked over, gauging what point Bob was trying to make - he wasn't putting any pressure on her from what he could tell.
"If it means my patient won't have her scar ripped open, yes. I would prefer you sleep on me." The Nurse said as she began emptying the wound drainage device still attached into the elf. Carefully measuring out the amount of fluid loss, the woman then documented. "Make sure to stay hydrated in order to balance this out," she sternly reminded Lukina.
Striding forward REIA moved towards Lukina's bed and looked at Wolf. Then moving with a speed an organic couldn't match the robot caught the man and slung him up onto her shoulders where she trapped his legs under her arms.
"IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BE PUT IN A BED FROM SHATTERED BONES - PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SLEEP HERE."
Wolf's eyes shot open as if a claxon had gone off, suddenly hoisted free of the bed and onto the cold shoulder of REIA. He growled instinctively in annoyance, squirming under her grip. Smiling amusedly, he paused. "Hold your palms upwards and we have a deal." The Agarthan stated - he'd slept on rock outcroppings before, this should be more comfy than that at least. And more amusing.
Lukina winced a bit as the nurse tended her wounds and the others argued, still off balance from the absence of the weight of her cybernetic leg. "I will. Could you let the doctor know that I am willing to entertain the option she's proposing. I just need to know what she's going to add to me."
Craning her head back - more so her captive could see her main ocular unit than for her sake - REIA offered a single palm upwards. The robot said nothing but waited to see how the half-deal would be responded to.
A challenge, Wolf decided. Clambering up her neck to the top of REIA's head, the shapeshifter stomped a few times much like a dog bedding down. Finally, he positioned himself across her hand and the top of her head, curling up with one arm draped over REIA's shoulder. With a triumphant look, Wolf scanned the others in the room, resting his chin on REIA's head gently. "Two and I can sleep.." He asked carefully, tapping a fingernail on her metallic cranium.
Moving away from the patient's' bed area the android nodded and put her head back down before offering up her other hand. Stepping back close to the wall REIA was unable to lean back again due to the load she was carrying.
"HEY!" Creature barked. "Both of you get your fucking shit together right now." He said. "This is a fucking acute care ward. Where your lord and a knight laid up. Show some fucking discipline or get the fuck out!"
"Is your preference for movement. As has been done. Or the enactment of discipline." REIA gestured to the rifle at her side. "Which would involve the shooting of the new hire."
Wolf gazed cooly at Creature across from his precarious perch, realising he probably didn't realise how he managed to pull through while nobody was treating him in the club. Propping his head up in his palms and ignoring the comments, Wolf glanced between the half-elf and the Gargaten, "What do you remember before you blacked out?"
"No shooting. Please just calm down. No fighting," Lukina added. "I remember connecting to Creature's HUD and taking on that pain, I remember the frantic fight before the stretcher."
"I remember....uh..." Creature fidgeted, growing uncomfortable. "Bad shit." Unlike Lukina, the Gartagen had several drainage devices of varying different types hooked up to him. Measuring out the amount of sanguineous drainage from each and documenting through the volumetric interface, she soon emptied another bag, which had contents of a drastically different color. Creature was catheterized. Tossing her gloves into the trash, the nurse washed her hands.
"Man, I'm glad I'm a xeno these days," Bob's squawking tentacle remarked. "Inorite?" another one spoke up. "And here I am talking to myself," a third jawed limb popped up like a sock puppet.
"Stop. Playing with your penises.....Making me fucking jealous," Creature grumbled.
Dallas grinned again and laughed to himself quietly, "Sorry, sorry, I'll stop..." He looked like he was enjoying the nonsense. Though something had changed Dallas apparently, it was too... sincere to be just drugs.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to eat anyone out," Bob replied with a chuckle. The little audience of mouthed tentacles briefly laughed in unison.
Lukina raised an eyebrow at Bob the sight was strange but she was growing accustomed to the uniqueness of the members of the Azalea Free Company. "Usually not advisable in an actual hospital. This isn't a porn set." She smiled, it was good to hear people laughing, everyone had been depressed after the last battle but, the truth of who they just saw weighed on her. Her attention shifted from the xeno turned pornstar to the shapeshifter perched on top of the wardroid. "Did we miss something, Wolf?"
Wolf paused where he lay across the top of REIA's surprisingly flat graspers, wondering exactly how much to explain and how much to not. "Well.." He began, absentmindedly cleaning between one of the bot's joints as he did. "They wouldn't save Creature until I stabilised him." Another pause. "I sort of gave him cancer at the same time but it saved your lives." Best not talk about the blood magic-esque way he did so, Wolf didn't even understand why he had done so anyway.
"Huh? How did you give him cancer by stabilizing him?" Lukina looked up at Wolf strangely. "I definitely don't understand the correlation but if that's what happened... thank you for saving him." She paused for a moment and considered her part in what happened. "I guess I should explain myself a bit as well. I unintentionally tipped my hand before the operation. I offered to legitimize Sarno's dominion over the Paju province in exchange for their complacency in our execution of the Black King and his generals. If I died, as the person that made the offer, Sarno would lose his deal." Her gaze shifted down to her hands.
"I didn't account that there would be an armored escort waiting outside for them... that they'd mow down anyone that went outside. I asked Creature to follow and..." the half-elf chewed on her lower lip for a moment before she continued her explanation."I saw Creature's vitals flatlining on my Head's up display. I went to get him and Sarno's people weren't treating him. They were only instructed to save me." She stared at her hands as they clenched into pale fists. "I was desperate. I mentally linked my device to Creature's," she tapped her forehead as her voice wavered. "And I... we... were dying. I knew that I would experience what he was feeling but my device isn't supposed to force feedback like that. My mind couldn't handle the shock. It was the only way I could think to force their hand to save him...to die with Creature."
Creature shuffled as Lukina spoke. His warm gaze fell on her, and he felt a twinge of sadness and fear wash over him as she explained her thinking to the Wolf. His heavy bandages were going to need to be changed soon, and with all the medicine in his body to deal with the cancer, as well as the by product of his own nanites doing their job, the wrappings were starting to look very discolored and dank. Creature then spoke, it was flat and soft. "It was a risk you should not have needed to fucking take. I did not know they had an escort either, and I was fucked up from seeing Valériane again. Fucked up from seeing her try to kill you, and from trying to kill her back. Look I am glad you saved me, I am glad it was you. But for a moment, yea, I was happy. I was glad somebody finally got me on the wrong end of their fucking guns. As for you dogboy. Don't worry about the cancer, I mean, my people figured out how to neutralize that little sickness a long time ago. I'm sure you'll be back to humping Lukina's leg in a few days." To which Wolf's ears twitched in embarrassment.
"What." The Xeno dropped its puppet-sock tentacles as its voice rang in their heads, simultaneously broadcasting on radio as it did so. Its expressionless 'face' betrayed nothing of its mood, but the way its beady black eyes simply stared at Creature told them he had its attention. "You said, Valériane is alive? And she was trying to kill you? Did I hear this right?"Bob's human sounding voice asked, carefully slow and meted.
Lukina looked up to Bob and nodded. "She's not the Valériane we know anymore. She's been corrupted, she was in love with the Black King. She came after me when I killed him. If we can find her, we might be able to bring her back to normal. But.. if she leads their army... this is only going to get worse." She looked back to Creature again. "I'm sorry that you wanted to die and I.. took that from you. I..." Her voice trailed off, she was unable to finish whatever it was that she was going to say, she didn't have the heart to.
"Yea. You did." Creature said laying back in his bed, folding his arms up behind his head and shutting his eyes. Creature paused waiting for Lukina to finish. He then tilted his head over and his right eye opened and glared at her. "Well? You were about to say something, I'd like to fucking hear it, seeing as you snatched my blue tail from the abyss."
"I don't want you to die. I want you to see that you aren't alone, that you are loved. If you want to die so badly, I won't bother next time. I'll just let the next psychopath rip my heart out," Lukina's voice was low and for once, audibly upset.
"I didn't die because I didn't want to. I'd live for you. For a moment I wanted to and you made that an impossibility for me, Lukes. I don't fucking regret it." Creature said shifting his gaze so that he was looking dead at her. "Lemme be clear. I did not like Valeriane. I loved her. She meant everything to me, and when she tried to kill you, did I hesitate? Did you doubt that I could?"
REIA, still a tree covered in Wolf, watched as the conversation progressed. A low rumble rattled through the metallic plates of the droid and her vocalizer emitted lowly - just loud enough only her passenger could hear. "Everything wants to die. It can just take time to process this."
Wolf gazed down at REIA as she rumbled, brow furrowing a little as she did. He didn't really know how to respond, he couldn't think of a reason why someone would decide to hurl themselves from the known into the abyss though he stayed quiet.
"REIA! Daddy needs his candy. Gemme that stash I gave you to hang on to. Also engage your junkie personality matrix. I don't wanna be the only one getting rekt." Creature said snapping his finger on his good hand and pointing at the robot.
"I do not have a "junkie" matrix. It is an affection for crafting an experience in translation from chemical to electrical." The android's lights flashed in challenge and then she gestured to a bundle on the floor next to Creature's bed. "Your request as it stands-" One finger underneath the weight of Wolf curled out and wagged towards the bundle. "- was already delivered. If anything is broken you were the original buyer."
"I have never questioned your loyalties. I have never doubted you. I am starting to understand what he meant now... and that he wasn't entirely wrong," Lukina replied softly.
Creature moved to look down at the bed. "Fuck yeah." His tail dipped down and snaked around the bundle lifting it off the ground and up into his eager hands. The Gartagen squinted, processing what Lukina was saying. "You mean that fucking Glassface guy right? What'd he say?"
As Creature reached for his drugs REIA crackled out once more. "Mind the grenade. It is there in cases where interest centers on expiration instead of alteration."
"Yea, thanks for the warning." Creature said tossing the grenade back at the REIA like it was a baseball. Creature had a little mini stash of his favorites. Painkillers, some mood stabilizers, some of the sensory enhancers and psychotropics. Various needles, pills and powders were in the bundle. "You never told me. Mona said you had a fucking imprint of me kind of sticking to itself. She said it was alive. Cried about it errr him for a few fucking days. I mean I uh....I....that shit sounds fucked." Creature said pausing. "i'm sorry I couldn't be there for you when it was going down..."
As a hand slipped out from under Wolf and caught the grenade REIA turned her head and held the improvised fragmentary weapon up for Lukina to see. The explosive was frozen face forward to her - an offering in case she was of a mind separate from Creature.
The sudden movement alarmed Wolf to the point he overcompensated and grabbed onto REIA's shoulders as to not be accidentally thrown off, his large ears twitching in annoyance.
Lukina shook her head at REIA, declining the grenade. "He asked me if I could live without you or if I'd want to... that I'd have to make the choice to stay alone or act on my feelings, however muddled they are. Given the threat of having my body taken to kill you, I chose to kill myself but I had to say goodbye. I put you at risk, this time, this one was my fault," she replied softly.
"It's okay. Our uh. The black knight told me I should kill everybody in my mind. Over and over, in order to more effectively use them. Well. I can do that with everybody but like...you and Mona." Creature said flatly.
"Neither of you two sound like you're in the best shape," Bob remarked. By then, it recovered enough of its composure to speak with its jawed tentacle again for REIA's benefit. "This is some pretty bad timing too, no offense." Looking at everyone else with a tentacle, the Xeno looked at everyone's faces. "I think, besides you two, we're also worried about Valériane. I'd like to think I can fix that," Bob ominously cut in. "We just need to catch her." Its powerful, muscular limbs coiled like snakes.
"Oh. Tentacle beast. Yea, well I'll deal with Valeriane when I can."
Creature rolled over laying on his side, and he began to start arranging a pill packet he was about to crush up. "Lukes. I love you. With like everything I have. I'd marry you and get you a house in some Piyapon Paradise. Probably by that waterfall because it is my favorite place ever. Then we could adopt a half Vekimen baby, to help make up for the hundreds we fucking glassed. But all of that doesn't mean shit. I don't want to live in a world without you. I chose it, I'm okay with it. I don't expect it anything of you. You don't owe me anything."
"No offense, but you don't think you're in any shape when it comes to dealing with her. Let me - " It stopped, rotating on its axis to look at everyone else there. " - let us deal with her," Bob firmly stated. The floating monstrosity wasn't going to budge on that. It was also then that the nurse walked in, gave a gasp of shock, and quickly grabbed the bag of 'goods' away from Creature before storming out, fuming.
As the nurse grabbed the bundle of goods REIA had brought Creature the droid moved to stand in front of the door and beamed her main ocular light on the worker as brightly as possible. Bouncing the grenade she was holding in her hand the AI just slowly built up a crackingly static that increasingly boomed forth with steady clicks.
Wolf met the Nurse's eyes with those strange animal-oval pupils of his, tapping gently on REIA's metallic head in a meaningful way - Creature needed his medicine according to REIA and he was along for the ride.
Sighing, the nurse held the bag of 'goodies' up to get the droid's attention before putting it in her coat's oversized pocket. Right as the severe woman's hand snapped out and grabbed the grenade, tossing it out the window. Sleight of hand complete, the nurse stared the droid down for the most tense moment before stomping stomped out, the point clear. This was the hospital. This was her domain. There would be no denying medical.
Watching her explosive be ripping right out of the air REIA's clicks turned to a low whistle and the android stepped aside to let the nurse pass.
"Good reflexes." The AI's quiet commentary followed the woman out of the room.
"Goddamnit fucking medical staff!" Creature exclaimed. He puffed, and then relaxed. "Lukes, you matter to me. If you want me around you, say it. If you don't say that too." Groggy and grumpy, he would pay that nurse back. "Fucking took my shit...."
"That's the thing. I do. I can raise forces if I see fit. When this is over, if you are ready, you can come with me. I can't stop fighting. I'm not ready to leave the battlefield. And.. there are more of us now, that need a place to call home and a family. We're not alone any more," Lukina replied softly. "Do it alone or together, make a decision, is what he demanded. Even he was looking for acceptance and a way to survive. He was fucking evil and was going to rip my soul out, but, even he wanted people with him." Just in fucking jars and screaming for eternity.
Lukina would see Creature’s blue taloned hand reach out. Two thick powerful fingers with dagger like claws at their tips. A heavy powerful thumb with an even more jagged raptor like talon protruding out of it. “Yea. I’m with you. Always will be Lukes.”
Creature paused. If she took his hand he’d sit and hold hers for a bit. If not he’d pull it away and feel awkward. “That the thing about evil. It often makes a good fucking point, and takes the shit that is good to you and tries to use it back against you. I uh...you weren't alone. I was there with you. I don’t think I was ever more afraid in my fucking life then when whatever it was sat there tormenting you.”
Creature drew silent and looked ahead at Bob who was solely focused on Valeriane. This, very alien monstrosity, was obviously concerned for Valeriane in its own way. “The things you love make you strong. Yea they can be flipped and used against you, they can hurt you, and fuck you up. But that's just it isn’t it? Something that fucking close to you has that power. The power to say a few words and fuck you up. Or the power to be snatched up by some evil bastard and used as a way to bend you to their will. I just know we’d both be fucking dead if it wasn't for the way we feel for each other. I’m not willing to shit on it. Not for a second.”
Lukina carefully took Creature's hand, mindful of her stitches. "Just stay alive. We'll see the end of the road at some point and find a place where we actually belong. Or just make one. Just... fires draw people to them. There are a lot of people that are looking for a place to warm themselves for a while, don't judge them too hard. I'd rather be someone else's light than their shadow."
Creature once again looked at Bob. REIA. The Agarthan. Even Dallas. Freaks. Every last one of them. Shunned by their own societies, or forced to hide at the bottom of a refuse pile. Creature was no better. To a degree he was worse. Creature unlike the others in this room, had rather than tried to hide with in the society, preyed on it. Taking what he could when he could.
"Look at this fucking world we are fighting for. For the Mikado. When it's all done I don't think it will have a place for me. Any of us. It's a fucking fantasy. A good one, yeah. But. The only reason I am a fucking Lord is because worse shit was happening and I was the only one willing to do something. The only reason I am hard on them is because I want them to fucking be alive, and to not think this life is like glamorous. Necessary maybe. I don't ask anybody to follow me, and they are all here because they want to be. Because of what happened to Valeriane."
"There are a lot of planets in this sector. We can always just go claim one and make a new world if this one doesn't want us," Lukina smiled. "Maybe we'll find where the Gods ran off to or find Wolf's skyless world... or maybe.. where my people came from."
"Maybe. But. We need to find Ayana." Creature said sharply. "Or at least I do. Only way I will be able to sleep at night. No one has even fucking tried, and I know she is still out there. Practicality. People believed in Valeriane. She is going to be a bigger problem than the Black King ever could have been. This world isn't like 188604. They had hope. This place does not. So as soon as I am good, I am setting up the province to autopilot, and I am going to track her and her kid down. You said others are doing it too...so may as well hedge the fucking bets."
"And here I thought I was the one getting restless," Bob remarked. If someone looked closely enough at its beady eyes, they'd see black sliding over black as it rolled them. "Look, I'm just another guy at heart - you two are starting to go all 'wax poetic' way too much," it jabbed an accusatory tentacle at the Gartagen and Half-Elf. "Let's stop moping and actually do something? Maybe come up with a game plan?"
Wolf agreed from his perch above their local warbot with a grumble of assent, rolling around a little to a more comfortable angle. All this lying around and talking about things that were self-evident didn't really make sense to him - sleep, eat or do something more productive, he thought.
"Oh go fuck yourself you fucked up penis octopus with an accent!" Creature said at Bob. "We weren't moping, we were having like a fucking emotional moment and then one of you horney psychopaths has to ruin it with your plans and bullshit." Creature said still holding Lukina's hand.
"But yea. I've been harping on this shit since I found out Ayana is still alive. Even started asking around. I can't find much on the black coats. They keep their cards pretty close to their chests, and the shit at shoe level. But Sarno did drop a name. So it's blunt and to the point, I am going to track that asshole down. Get a name out of him, and move on to that. The Tengu are still supporting the Black Army, We can slaughter them until we rot, we need to cut off the food. Ayana is fucking personal for me. Probably for a lot of others."
"They will retrieve Ayana in time. The pieces of the puzzle must fall into place on their own," the alien's baritone voice immediately replied. "Be grateful you occupy my time," it added, snippy. Given their relationship, Bresal likey didn't have a choice in the matter.
"Before a few days ago nobody was even sure she was alive, asshole. But whatever, I think you are just fucking scared you will fuck up. We got Bob anyway. So WE will track her down. If the whoever else is looking for her, we will help them too." Creature growled.
The recent events in the ward didn't yield any sort of reaction from Wolf, though he seemed to not meet the eyes of many of the others. "Who even is this girl you keep talking about?" Wolf mused, resting his head on his hands and speaking in a totally disinterested tone. "I'd never heard of a Valeriane until we were fighting her, though to be honest I didn't even know we were led by Creature until a few weeks ago."
It wasn't a lie - a lot of low ranking enlisted came for the work and they didn't talk amongst themselves at all, much like mercenaries, since the company had grown so large. He was sure one of the others had mentioned her to him once but like many, the upper politics of the company hadn't affected him at all until he wound up with them himself. Many simply didn't care to learn beyond where to point their rifle.
"Well maybe if you'd stop acting like you are in heat for two fucking minutes you'd be able to figure out what happening." Creature sad in response to the Agarthan. "Valeriane was my squire and a Knight of Kowloon. She was murdered by the Black army and apparently they stole her body and fixed her up. That mission last night? We killed the Black King, but Valeriane tried to kill Lukina for it. Got it? Need a fucking treat?"
"Perhaps if you stopped moping and doing drugs you'd realise I have more cause to be dissatisfied with life than you, so no, I do not require a treat." Wolf mused once more, rolling to lie on his back and look at the ceiling, glancing over his fingernails. "I can smell that she was close to you from here, be grateful for that rather than vengeful. At least you have good memories. Excuse me for trying to make some, since I am the only one of my species."
"Yea. You are dismissed." Creature said. "Fuck off. Fired. Get." Creature growled at the wolf. "Clearly you don't fucking get how this works. I don't have time to fucking baby sit you. Oh? You can smell good? So can my fucking people. I smelled real sharply for years and was able to figure shit out by what the fuck people had for dinner yesterday. But somebody I love tried to kill another person I love and I in turn tried to fucking kill them. I'm gonna do drugs and fucking mope. So piss off before I have you fucking nurtured." Creature grumbled.
Wolf blinked a few times, he hadn't meant it in an insulting way - in fact he'd tried to cheer Creature up in the only way he knew how, by facing the problem head on. "Fired?" He frowned a little, remembering the meaning of the word. "I never signed a contract..?"
"And you aren't fired. I am just being a bitch." Creature added.
This seemed to half-satisfy and half-confuse the rather befuddled Agarthan, who rubbed his floofy ears in a sheepish manner. "Female do- Nevermind." Communications failure. Again. The Agarthan's eyes loitered over Creature's stash for a moment. "Do they work?" He asked simply, now curious more than anything.
"Yea." Creature said calmly.
Wolf sniffed a few times, their scent was synthetic and unpleasant from what he could tell. "Could.. Could I try one?" He didn't know how to communicate how he felt every waking moment, so he had never tried - he'd never seen his species, his planet or his family. The void had been consuming him since he first landed here but nobody had shown him something that could take it away before..
"......Yea." Creature had fumbled for his things, but pulled out a small tab from the little bag of stuff they had salvaged next to his bed. With a flick of his tail a small, neon green tablet could be snatched up by the wolf. The wolf would see there was a pink unicorn engraved on the two sides of the round tablette. "Eat it. Or shove it up your butt."
Two fingers snatched the tiny square from mid air, at this range he could easily smell the various exotic chemicals that had been infused into the sugaryish tablet. After a moment's pause to glance at the pattern and the others, Wolf tentatively placed it onto his tongue. The taste was abhorrent but he ignored it, deciding not to chew and swallow it whole, which he did almost immediately. Smacking his lips a few times, grimacing, Wolf looked over to Creature once more. "I don't feel anything?"
Dallas had remained very very quiet and very solemn once the entire thing about Valeriane was discussed. He looked to want to say anything and looked to Creature but only seemed to mouth something before giving up. He resigned himself to his silence with a quiet, "No Dallas, shut up..." Something was beginning to eat at him.
Wolf would start to feel....everything. It would started as his heart began to go faster. "Yea you have to give it time." Creature said.
The Wolf would soon start to feel very, very good. About everything. The metal he lay on, felt as if it was massaging his side gently.
"Dallas. Have something to say?"
Dallas lied, "No. Was going to make a comment about you drugging a dog person but decided not to." His eyes fell down to his hands which lay intertwined in his lap. They looked to be staring through them into the floor and maybe beyond them.
The furry guy began to feel a rush of exhilaration flow through him where he perched atop REIA, eyes widening as his chest rose and fell in a much more noticeable way than it had been. The crushing feeling of loneliness that had been pushing against his consciousness seemed to lessen as Wolf slumped against the droid beneath him. "Not a dog.." He mumbled, not loud enough for the others to properly hear as his gaze wandered to a corner of the room.
With her free hand, Lukina pressed a hand against the bridge of her nose. "I.. ugh.. lots of things to say when everyone isn't heated or high. I need to talk to the doctor and see how long this procedure will take and what it entails... I might need to be whole again, sooner rather than later."
"Did I just watch you guys drug a space doge person?" Bob spoke incredulously. It seemed even the xeno was taken aback by this. "I think this is kinda fucked up guys," he pointed out, a pair of tentacles nervously tapping tip to tip.
"Nught ah doughge" Wolf mewled from his elevated position, running his fingers through his fur, apparently affixed to the sensation.
"Yeah? Well, right now you're a doge," the floating tentacle monster replied disapprovingly. "Really shouldn't have fed him those Scoob Snacks."
"I fucking love you Bob Gunnersun. Still a huge fan. I think I want to be friends with you." Creature said watching the wolf and Bob's exchange. The Xeno sighed at the two high fools before turning towards to the door.
"Nuuuuuuuuuuuuuurse!" Bob called out for her. As though she were summoned by some dark incantation, The Nurse descended upon the room to exert her medical profession upon them both.