While fun times were being had tormenting unsuspecting levies, Creature had slipped away again after praising Sidurra and promoting her to command his provincial army. It was a task he found surprisingly hard considering his new station even though he lied. He told the palace servants, his girls, and even the Page, that he was going to meetings in the capital to see about getting aid.
The raid he had launched and the other raids he continued to endorse were impressively filling the provincial coffers. Even though the battle had been lost and the Black Army had done what he had fought so hard to stop, Azalea Company had retained the province. Gol’s training of the local wardens had resulted in a fresh faced police force that, seemed to be helping reestablish order.
The defeat had somehow, due to luck, been a type of victory. If they had won, Creature would be dealing with raiding parties, rather than the open warfare he had seen. Yet, as he walked through this new city, his mind wandered.
Onikuma’s grave, and the way he had used his image for the company banner. Valériane, and her legend, the way others were using it as inspiration for the cause.
He even found that he was being hero worshiped. The wanderer who came from nowhere, and challenged a violent mad man who was out to kill others. It was not propaganda, it was word of mouth. These people needed heroes. The Xenos had not killed them, the Heise Blackout did not kill them, but the collective feeling of powerlessness was only just now evaporating. There was still much that needed to happen to fully give the Kowloon people back their sense of self, but Creature found he did not quite want to change the dank, grimy slums of some of the cities. It was familiar, it was more his world than the safety of the palace or the bloody battlefields he had been inhabiting.
Creature was thoroughly sickened by everything that had happened. The event with Glasseye in particular, though not his fault, haunted him.
Every time he went out, Lukina came for him, and it put her at risk. He would not impose himself on her any more. His love was great for her and he knew that the path he walked was one fraught with constant danger. Lukina would eventually do worse things than she could have imagined possible. He could not hide from Lukina, she was way too good at tracking, and he simply was not nearly that good at hiding his tracks. However, her affection toward Gol was something he could exploit.
New Ulsan had been largely evacuated during the Xeno war, and after, it became a den for smugglers and pirates. Creature it assumed it was tolerated, because: A. the local crime bosses that ran the city kept their heads low; B. They likely paid off anybody who came, or C; those who came to subjugate the city promptly vanished. In any event, Paju province was even more rural than Lorani. From the look of it, the Black army was pillaging the countryside, but they had shied away from the monster that was New Ulsan. Or did they?
Creature put a claw to the computer on his forearm. The Black King was initially hard to track down but, after a few weeks, and through a contact back on his home world, Creature had a lead. The Black King was, initially, a Gladiatorial fighter, simply called, 'King' due to his 'crown' of horns. He had appeared nowhere, and lived a harsh life fighting in the ring for profit. Then one day, as suddenly as he had appeared, he and some of his contemporaries simply vanished. Months later, reports of raids were filed identifying a figure known as the "Black King". New Ulsan was the location of the first known fight the Black King competed in.
Creature held his jacket close, concealing his Deliverance rifle. He had his sword, but his shield was far too massive for this kind of operation and was left behind. This was not the snipe and track Lukina had her aptitude in. Nor the open field battles the Mikado fancied. This was the world Creature excelled in: quick brutal violence; instant gratification; sleeping in an alleyway and waking up to do it all over again.
“Fourth alleyway, tell the Guard 'I bet on black',” Creature reminded himself. He eyed the alleyway, and noticed that there was a black suited man guarding a rather unassuming door. Another patron approached similarly dressed as the guard. He said a password, and the guard knocked on the door in a distinct rhythm. The door opened and the man entered.
Creature nodded, and looked at a picture on his holographic display. “Sorry Lukes, can’t have you risking your ass over me….”
The picture shifted to the Page. “Fucking dummy.” He then approached the door man. The guard was a burly man with tanned skin, black hair and was wearing sunglasses at night. The doorman eyed the Gartagen, puffing out his chest, but otherwise did not advance.
Creature hesitated for a moment and looked around expectantly. When he noticed that he was alone and that no else approached he muttered to himself, “Well, that is some good fucking news. Nobody actually fucking tracked me down this fucking time."
----- *Creature voice* A FEW HOURS EARLIER -----
Thaddeaus was out and about the camp looking after the troops. He was still getting used to being back in his own world and back in the swing of the day to day.
Lukina had resumed her habit of stalking around camp with her suit's stealth systems active. She watched Creature slip away once again with a frown. "Thad, feel up to making sure Creature stays out of trouble?" Her voice was soft behind him.
Thad shifted his weight to one side ready to strike still gun shy from being captured. He turned and saw it was the half-elf behind him and not some Black Army soldier. "Damn it Lukina. Why don't you just go the extra mile and talk in a low voice and ask me to bend over." Thad was clearly flustered. "And what about Creature? I just saw him five minutes ago," he asked with a curious tone in his voice.
"I lack the appendage to bend you over, but, he gets into scraps if he wanders off at night by himself," Lukina stood behind him, wearing her black power armor. The Y of her helmet's visor concealed her face. "We should follow him to make sure he doesn't need us... unless you aren't up for it?" Her voice was soft as always but was edged with concern.
He waved his hand at her a few times while he gathered his thoughts. "I should say 'no' given that I am still recovering. But I owe it to you both for getting me out of being captured. That and Creature would have a hissy fit if I let you run off." He rubbed his chin a few times. "Well, where do we start?"
"By what way did you see him leave? Also, I have a suit you can use to stay hidden as well," Lukina commented with a nod. "We start with where you saw him last and I can track him from there. I'd rather not sight-jack him."
Without saying a word, Thad pointed out towards the front of the camp. "I was a little curious so I followed him a moment. Not sure where he was going but figured it was off on business." He paused before he continued, "So where is this suit?"
Lukina reached into a large pocket and tossed a small black square to Thad. "This should fit you. It's a stealth suit. You press the button at the cuff to activate it, the hood has to be pulled on to hide you but the field is large enough to conceal any normal weapons you might carry."
He grabbed it out of the air and held it by a corner in front of him. He looked at her then looked at himself.
"It will fit you. I don't carry that for me to use," Lukina pulled off her helmet, the seals hissing as she looked at him. The bruises on her face were almost gone but a faint yellow discoloration still marred the area around her right eye. "If my partner has stealth as well, it makes certain scenarios unnecessary.' She offered a small, bemused smile.
"I believe you that the suit will fit me. I am just confused as to why you tossed me a magnum condom for...which I have my doubts would fit." Thad was completely confused.
"Magnum condom? What's that?" The half-elf tilted her head to one side as she looked at Thad confused.
"Well, when a man loves a wo...you know, we can cover that later. We have Creature to chase. So where is the suit?" He said pushing to get this moving.
"That thing in your hand is the suit, you unfold it and put the suit on," her evergreen eyes were full of puzzlement. "It's not meant to take up much space. You put on the shroud suit like a normal bodysuit."
He lifted one of his eye brows. "It sure leaves a lot to be desired. Hope it holds together."
"It's meant to be tight, it shouldn't rip," Lukina tucked her helmet under her arm as she waited for Thad.
Thad flicked his wrist and the small square given to him expanded into a suit. "Well, would you look at that. Welp, time to get suited up." As he finished talking he started to take off his clothes. It took a few minutes to toss his armor off.
Lukina looked off in the distance as she waited for the large man to change, her ears flushed a light shade of pink.
It took a few moments for Thad to figure out how to fit the suit on. The first attempt failed as his boxers still made it fit too tight. After dropping the extra fabric, it fit a little better. He flexed a few times to feel the range of motion it had. After a couple of minutes Thad spoke up. "Well Lukina, you wasn't joking that it would fit. Just don't be teasing with that elf body or else this suit might have a blow out!" He laughed out loud.
Lukina turned to look at Thad and flushed a deeper shade of red before she pulled her helmet back on, the seals hissed as it reconnected to her suit. "Okay, where did you see Creature last? Let's get to tracking him, then."
Thad grinned as he noticed she had turned a new shade of red. "I will show you, come along." He grabbed up his weapons and put them back on. He tossed his armor over his arm and planned to drop it off at his tent before heading out. As he finished getting ready, he was still getting used to the suit.
Lukina followed him, readjusting her Showstopper rifle on the shoulder of her power armor as she went.
They reached his tent within a few minutes. He leaned inside of the tent and tossed the armor to one side of it. "Alright, seen him heading out the front gate and went around." Thad commented as he walked towards the gate.
Despite her shorter legs, the half-elf kept pace with the taller man. "How have you been recovering from it?" She asked softly.
"Ah, it's been healing well. Got fixed up well once I got back. Been able to get back into things. Met some of the new recruits who have been good company." A smile crossed his face as he talked. "What about you, seen your face was still bruised looking?" His smile had switched to a more serious look.
"I don't want to waste supplies for something minor. I have another day, I think. I don't intend to play prisoner to infiltrate enemy lines again so soon. But, we weren't sure if you were being held in that camp or elsewhere, it was the fastest way to find out after we tracked them back, so... yeah," Lukina shrugged. "Comes with the territory, we all have to fight, we all get hurt."
"I know that feeling, I didn't intend to get captured but we all got a role to play. Good to know I got people on my side willing to take a hit to the face to help out." He reached over and patted her against her back.
"If we are lucky, we pick what that role is," she replied, the smile reached her voice behind the Y-shaped black visored helmet. "I only hope that this is just Creature going off to get thrashed and not getting himself into an derelict ship again or... lost. His footprints are rather unique so he's easy to track through the province."
"Well, right now we got the role of Creature tracker. Though you two seemed close recently so it's odd he would just vanish without saying anything. Hope it is just him on a bender, else he might be looking for trouble." They reached the gate and Thad pointed out the direction he had seen Creature walking in earlier.
Lukina moved ahead of Thad and knelt to check the ground for Creature's footprints. "We're not together, he doesn't check out with me when he leaves Lucarin," she commented softly as she used her suit's HUD to enhance her scans of the ground. She found the track and rose to her feet again. "Some bigger things are moving behind the scenes, it's dangerous for anyone to wander off on their own right now." She looked over her shoulder at Thad. "No matter how much of a badass anyone might be, if they mean to capture us and turn us, there's safety in numbers."
"Hope if they capture Creature they use a better means to turn us. Being tricked with a she-man and being put in a dress really wasn't working for me. Though now I am in a skin suit so starting to see a trend here." A laugh left the tall man.
"I'm not intending to turn you towards... lady boys? I know it's a stereotype that some older Mao have that male humans are largely homosexual but I know Mizuki is most definitely not a man," she let out a soft chuckle as she continued following Creature's trail. "Unfortunately, the stealth suits are the only piece of stealth gear I have that aren't custom fitted to me... though, you're lucky that I don't carry a spare suit for people of my height."
"No joke there, she is all woman. So not checking the lady boy box anytime soon. Yeah, glad you had a suit this size. I would of never fit in a suit fit for you. It would not be able to hold in all this manliness," Thad chuckled as he followed after her.
"Probably not. I can imagine that there isn't much Taianese made clothing that would fit you off the shelf," her soft voice was amused. "It could be worse, it could be a skin based optic projection system that would require you to be completely naked... it is still winter. I imagine that the weather isn't kind to human men." Lukina paused and checked the ground again for a moment, kneeling and touching a footprint with a gloved hand before she rose and continued forward.
"I feel naked in this suit. Used to having my heavy armor over myself. And I heard that comment about the cold. Nothing another warm body can't fix." He commented thinking back on his cold weather experience.
"It should retain some of your body heat as you move around," Lukina commented, "Something to consider if you get stuck out in the snow. I've been conditioned so this weather doesn't bother me," she shrugged. "Believe it or not, that suit offers some protection from small arms fire. It cannot handle a .50 caliber bullet, so it would be best to avoid that sort of scenario... it's more of a spying tool than a forward infiltration tool. It was just all I had for a while... but you get used to it."
Thad thought for a moment. "Good to know this suit has some cold weather to it. I will be sure to duck when the big guns come out. Though this does reinforce my concern about it holding me in." He chuckled as he followed behind. He was taking note of Lukina and how she moved about. He had seen and heard of her but this was the first time he got the chance to see her in action.
The half-elf's movements were silent and graceful despite the weight and added bulk of the black power armor, she did not leave a trail of her own on the dirt road they followed. "I do not think the designer of the suit considered male anatomy, being that she was a Mao zhanshi. I am sure, if you wrote her with the comment, 'this cannot contain my erection, you should add more material', she might reconsider the amount of material in the pants part of it," she replied with a short laugh.
The forest had started glowing with green and blue bio-luminescence as the evening shadows lengthened around them. The lights of the city of Lucarin glowed dimly in the distance as they rounded a bend, leaving them with only moonlight and the bio-luminescence of the forest to light their path.
"Oh Lukina, they could add neutronium and it still not be able to contain my erection." Thad was trying to be quieter but had to laugh at that comment. Thad mirrored her movements and stepped were she stepped. He had some skills when it came to stealth but this was by far more in the hands of Lukina. His eyes adjusted to the dimming lights. Had they not been in a hurry and chasing after Creature this might of been a nice date night.
"Would be a feat, to destroy the indestructible metal with an erection. Though, I would pity any woman that you sleep with if you could accomplish such a thing," Lukina chuckled as she continued her tracking. There where small breaks in the tree line that revealed the golden rings of the planet across the teal nebula of stars above them. It was a clear night, with any luck, it would not snow again though the air smelled of frost. "Would be a porn star name or something though. Would you be the Neutronium man or something?"
"I like that name. I just need a cape with a N on it and we can sell this." He thought for a moment. "I bet Bob would get a kick out of this name also." He paused for a moment more. "So enough about me, what is new with you? I been out of the loop for a while," he asked in a curious tone.
"...my mom got remarried, I got a new leg, been making friends, the people that made me a cybernetic leg also sold me nuclear sniper rounds along with this armor and a lot of guns, other than that, life on this planet is still weird," Lukina replied after a long moment of consideration. "Haven't used the star fire yet, I kind of want to still live on this planet."
"Sounds like lots of good times. Those nuclear rounds should come in handy. Talking about handy, been getting close with anyone? Rumors been going around. Seems there are bets taking place between Creature and Dallas." He asked, making small talk.
"I am not intimate with Creature or Dallas," came the tracker's short reply. "I am not with anyone," she paused again looking down at the ground for a moment before continuing. "What's the betting pool on Creature killing Dallas at these days? Gol hasn't updated me on it yet."
"Last I checked, it was getting up past 5000. I still owe him for getting us in this mess to start with. Though, least the new marshal seems to have her shit together," Thad said matter of factly.
"Gol is a good person. She's turning around the bad impression of the marshals that the company was left with after the incident. Dallas is still in her custody, so it's bad to go after him until he is no longer her problem," Lukina replied with a nod. "I hear stories about the Hanefolk growing up from my grandfather... they weren't favorable stories. The war in the caverns under Liang, the horned and winged beings that were the enemies of elves... it's all racist stereotypes at this point. This planet is a strange place, all kinds are gathering. I'm still not sure what to make of Wolf."
"Glad to hear Gol is someone we can count on. Looking forward to getting to know her better as it sounds like she will be having my back. Plus, some different company other than Dallas I am sure would be great. Would not be shocked if he isn't hitting on her as we speak." Thad's tone was dead serious about this. "Wolf guy though seems alright, had the chance to chill with him after the fight at the ranch."
"He's speaking Trade now at least, I couldn't understand him when we found him. I was fighting alongside him and Bob in this last battle. I wish I could have made it back sooner," she replied softly. She walked in silence for a few moments before speaking again. "There is still a lot left unfinished with the Black Army... at least we were able to find a name for who is behind them."
"I owe them big for what they have done. The awful treatment of all those people has earned many seats in the afterlife. So, who is the person behind all this? This is news to me." Lukina had his full attention as this new tidbit of information was critical for his personal mission.
"The Heise Black coats still exist and they are funding and manning the Black Army, there are more parties involved but, they are the main group responsible. That was what information we could extract from the Quarter Master the other night. We still need more to stop this madness," the half-elf added, moving more closely beside a tree, placing her hand on the rough bark. She stared down at the cigarette butt stomped on the ground. "We're heading towards Paju province. I don't know why he's headed this way."
Some way down the twisting trail ahead, the soft glowing of the planet's flora glinted off smoky metal plates, whoever was wearing them nearly invisible in the low light. It almost seemed as if they sat in the center of the track casually, with their back towards the two Azaleans.
The half-elf stopped and dropped to a kneeling position at the sight of the dim glow from the plates; she brought her Showstopper up to her shoulder and checked the distortion in her rifle's scope. Strange. I didn't see any other tracks.
A scuffing sound was heard from the obscured entity, as if it was manipulating something in its hidden hands. Then, a strange, melodic noise. It sounded almost like.. singing? It was so unusual as a form it was almost unrecognizable from what many would consider singing, if it was. As they drew closer, the two were able to make out the humanoid figure a little better, its silhouette lightly illuminated by the green-blue bio-luminescence around it.
Lukina raised an eyebrow behind her visor and lowered her rifle's muzzle for a moment, unsure of what to make of it. "Evening," she called out cautiously. "How does the forest find you?" She rose to her feet and advanced on the figure, stopping far enough away to see him and possibly fire her rifle without getting entangled in a brawl.
The melody disturbed, almost magically, as if the leaves and branches themselves had been listening, flared up in bright technicolor. His cover suddenly turning against him, Wolf's head whipped around, his dim cyan eyes reflecting the purples and greens around him as he frowned. Recognition passed through them, "Excellently, my thanks." Then, a moment later. "Lukina.. Is that you?"
"Yes, it's me, Wolf." Lukina re-slung her rifle on her shoulder. She nodded, her expression hidden by the helmet of her black power armor. "We're tracking Creature right now. Did you want to come along to help us keep him out of trouble?"
The hunter tilted his head to one side curiously, large ears falling to a right-angle much like the canines he shared likeness with. He seemed to regard the half-elf for a few moments, something slipping through his mind until those striking eyes of his swept over Miko and back. "You mean to say this is Creature's trail I've been following?" An eyebrow raised in a mixture of humor and disbelief. "It smells like a decrepit pig that never bathed a day in its life, I was struggling to bring myself to see what was making it."
"His species doesn't handle the cold very well," Lukina shrugged. "He hasn't wandered off on his own too often lately, so I am concerned he's getting into something since he snuck off after saying he was headed off to Soran Nast... this is definitely not the way to the capital." She ran a gloved and armored hand over the top of her helmet for a moment. "It looks like he's heading into the next province, we don't have much jurisdiction there so if he gets into trouble he'll be stuck. I'm not too familiar with the Lord of Paju and his laws."
"Sounds.. troubling." Wolf struggled to find the correct word for a moment, it wasn't too hard to come across one person or other who claimed to have seen the Knight of Azalea leaving at odd hours. "I never knew this was a difference province." The tactical-vest-and-armor clad Wolf muttered, casting his gaze across the path ahead almost wistfully. "I think this was nearby where I first woke up, took me a while to calm down but I could probably recognize some of what we see if I tag along?"
"Sure, I don't see why not. I.. don't have any more stealth gear that would fit you but, Thad and I will probably be going invisible at some point once we catch up to Creature. I don't know what to expect, and if it is related to the Black Army, it is usually better if I'm not visible," Lukina added softly. "They are not receptive to females."
Wolf frowned a little, "How do they expect to couple with a partner if they do not accept females as equals?" He shrugged lightly, disregarding the question as normally the answers didn't make sense anyway. "I'll just do my best to keep hidden once we spot them, if worst comes to worst I can run."
"They don't... nor do they ask," Lukina replied softly. "Sounds like a plan. You woke up over here?" She looked down towards the ground to relocate Creature's trail again.
The soldier seemed to mull Lukina's words over as she spoke, then nodded, messy hair ruffling as he moved to stand. "Somewhere near here.. It's a bit fuzzy." Wolf admitted, stretching out as he drew to full height. "I thought I was going insane so I don't remember much. I do think there was a burned area around where I woke, weird lines like a symbol." He shook his head, then moved over to help out the redhaired Valkyrie.
"Sounds like some sort of.. ritual... if there was still such a thing as magic. I don't know if the Gods touched this place when they left Liang," Lukina commented thoughtfully as she located the trail again.
"Magic? What's magic?" Wolf asked politely, making his way to Lukina's side so they together could track more effectively. Though he'd been forced to learn a lot of Trade very quickly there was still a long way to go.
"Ah.. well.. my planet used to have the ability to create anything we could imagine if we had the training when the Gods were still with us. Saule, Mara, Lamia, Meneo, Tiwaz, Perkons... we called them collectively, the First Children. We called that ability granted to us by the First Children as magic. The elves came from somewhere else and were placed on Liang at the Gods call," Lukina explained, her voice low as they tracked.
"The Elves went to a planet and then forgot where they came from..?" He went quiet for a moment, "So you don't know your homeland either?" Wolf's eyes flickered to Lukina and then back to the trail as he spoke.
"There were trans-dimensional gates that my ancestors traveled through but we don't know much of our past beyond the past several hundred years. We came from another realm and just.. stayed, when the Gods left, the gates closed. Perhaps, you traveled through something similar to get here?" the half-elf suggested.
Wolf seemed to grow quiet for the next few seconds, wrapping his mind around the idea. "Maybe.." He raised his head to gaze at the stars shining like pinpricks of light through the canopy. "I remember there being no sky, nobody has ever said they've heard of somewhere like that.."
"Maybe, there was a sky but no moon or stars?" Lukina thoughtfully suggested. "Unless you were underground? There are many planets that we haven't explored or discovered yet."
The lost soul simply shook his head in dismay. "Maybe, I'm here now either way.. One day I might know but perhaps not." He sighed a little, "I just need to find a pack in the meantime."
"A pack? Are you remembering more about your culture and home then?" Lukina considered the concept. "What does that mean to you?"
Wolf thought for a while before managing an answer to Lukina, "It's not quite remembering, it's more that I see things that feel familiar. Looking around, I see things like me acting in ways I understand.. I know that I need to find a pack to take care of and be a part of."
The Agarthan paused for a moment, then quietly added, "I want to meet a person I can couple with that I can protect and who can protect me.. To share my life with."
"Couple with? You mean.. oh," Lukina grew quiet for a moment as the comprehension of what the wolf was saying clicked. "Many humans don't mate for life. But if they do, that call it marriage."
"Marriage.." Wolf rolled the word around his mouth, taking note to memorize it. "Marriage is a nice word." The hunter decided in a decisive tone.
The wolf seemed to ponder what Lukina appeared to be saying, "Mating for life, what do you mean by that? You stay with your partner as long as you both can, if the coupling does not work you can try again?" The concept of suicide and marriage seemed to be getting confused in his mind.
"Many find... intimacy where they can with who they can and move on. There is not always the intent to have children. We've lived through years of war so it's been more.. temporary to find love and share your life with one person. There is a chance you might love someone that you may never want to couple with to but we define love so many different ways, it's not always centered around mating," Lukina commented, awkwardly. "There are many in our camp that find warmth and companionship with one but still go out and couple with others."
The fur-and-armor clad man listened intently to every word, his cyan eyes filled with a blend of realization, confusion and acceptance. "Hmm.." He murmured finally, "Finding family is more important than building a family." Wolf said simply, fingers winding through some of his long grey fur in thought. "I.. hmm.. I think I understand this also, sometimes it is best not to have children when attention is on things like war and duty." Another pause. "Perhaps my pack will require this of me.." His voice didn't carry any notable emotion on the fact.
"I know that I've been alone for a while, so I consider the company my family. I will have to leave eventually, but I put my life at risk for them without question, so I guess, they are something like my pack?" Lukina thoughtfully replied. She was quiet for a little while longer. "Finding a place in this world is challenging when you haven't decided on your role."
Wolf smiled empathetically to Lukina as she strode alongside him. "The company is your pack and a pack is with you as long as you need it." He assured her, sliding a little closer to the elegant elf. "If you don't think you can stay with your pack forever or if you don't know what to be.. Maybe you act the same way as many-coupling? Change between where you like being and don't look for one place to fit?"
"It seems easily enough. I don't like seeing people I care about get hurt but I can't protect them if I am not there. But.. I can't do more, I am just one person," her soft voice grew quiet for a moment, "But that's why we fight. To protect the things we care about. Perhaps, when I find myself at the end of my journey and have run out of battelfields, I can find a life beyond all of this death."
Wolf was silent, the sounds of their footsteps and of the forest were loud in the night. "I fight because I have nothing else to do here," he admitted, "people here are nice but none of them I see as anything beyond a pack. Perhaps when you leave I can come with you to try and find a family." His cheeks reddened a shade in the gloom, "Journey's end sounds nice."
Thaddeaus had more or less phased out of the conversation once the wolf showed up. He was still getting his mind back together so was nice to just sit back and listen to them have a good talk. It was interesting learning about how they both talked about magic and family so well. It reminded him how important his family was despite all of all those fights he had with them.
"So talk about mating and packs is wonderful. But got a bead on Creature to know how much longer we might be tracking him?" Thad piped up from behind the trackers who were about five steps ahead of him.
"Soon, we're starting to reach the city. The road runs out of forest in a few minutes," Lukina replied looking back to Thad. "The physical trail might run cold once we get there depending on how sound the roads are. His footprints are unique.. after that, I might have to cheat to see where he is. Or Wolf will have to scent him."
The shapeshifter himself nodded in assent of Lukina's assessment, noting her silence at his offer but he was only able to guess at what was happening under that visor of hers. "You guys should probably take the lead with your stealth equipment." Wolf looked pointedly at Thad's somewhat prominent bulge without a word about it, returning his eyes to the trail after a moment. Leaning in to Lukina, he whispered "If that rips will there be a floating exposed.. or will his entire stealth fail? I'm glad you didn't make me squeeze into one either way."
The half-elf stopped and looked in the direction of where the Wolf indicated and then looked up at the sky above them and sighed heavily, glad that her face was concealed by her helmet. "It shouldn't rip. The field should hold at least temporarily before.. let's just hope it doesn't rip. It's sturdy material that it can deflect bullets..."
"Let's hope it's good against odors and stains too." Wolf murmured, almost inaudible. "Machine washable..."
Thad was just following along wondering what the two were talking about. He noticed the wolf had looked back at him for a moment but it was hard telling. He speculated that Wolf might of asked if Lukina was interested in him based on the talks before but shrugged it off. "I heard some of that, we already covered this topic before you showed up." Thad commented as he laughed.
"Yeah.. again, we can send your complaints to the designer if you can find her. Mao zhanshi like the whole 'tight is right' thing..." Lukina sighed. "Yes, it can be cleaned."
"Having a tighter match in coupling means better chances of the coupling continuing," Wolf mused casually, apparently not realizing what he was saying. "I think that's why I can change my-" He stopped, spotting some weird looks from Thad.
"So Lukina, are all your outings like this?" Thad asked completely amused by the topics of conversation they had been having since this quest started.
"No," Lukina replied flatly. "I've usually have shot someone by now," she continued down the path, seeing the lights of the Paju province becoming more prominent.
"Noted, sadly Dallas isn't here to give a target." Thad had a small laugh from that one.
With the gloomy surroundings quickly moving by, Wolf took a moment to nod, looking off to one side. "I think I scavenged here early on. Huh?" His attention refocused after the lapse, "Who's Dallas?"
"Dallas was the Knight Marshal that was assigned to monitor the company to ensure we were ethically operating under their charter.... he was with us at that ship I found you at. He arrested Creature before that battle where...we lost Valériane. He's under arrest and in the custody of the new Marshal, Gol, right now," Lukina relied.
The animal-eared man's cyan eyes lit up as his memory clicked into place. "Oh! That guy!" Wolf nodded a few times, finally able to put another name to a face. "I've met Gol, right? From when we busted you out of imprisonment." He looked to Thad.
"Believe one in the same. Some good people and glad she is our new marshal. That Dallas guy had a power trip or something going on. Ended up getting lots of people hurt cause of it," Thad said in a fairly angry tone of voice.
"We're picking up the pieces. We still have to find the Black King to pay him back for taking her from us," Lukina paused again as firm dirt roads gave way to cobblestones. She pressed a button at her wrist and faded from view as the active camouflage system activated. "Thad, the button for your system is on your right wrist. You'll need to pull on the hood to fully activate the stealth..."
----- "Back to the present" -----------
The air was cool, and the heavens were alive with the beauty of the whirling expanse of the blue and green nebula with its twinkling stars, and the glittering golden rings of Piyapon. The glow of the city danced with the lovely palette of the sky above them.
The trio would have looked unusual if they had strolled into the city without using their suits' stealth abilities. Thaddeus was a monstrous looking man by traditional Taianese standards; Lukina with her tiny frame and large gun would have grabbed everybody’s attention but the wolf was just another random alien street walker.
The wolf and Lukina had little trouble tracking Creature down. The Gartagen made an admirable attempt to hide his trail, but his scent was difficult to mask, and defeating Lukina’s skills was something not many had managed to do.
They found Creature in the alleyway speaking to the door guard. Creature said something to him. The guard moved to give the Gartagen a pat down, and Creature quickly slipped something into the well-groomed henchman’s hand. The guard knocked on the door, and it popped open. Creature soon vanished behind the door. The Guard relaxed, and waited for the next guest.
Lukina silently watched Creature as he disappeared into the darkness of the building. She did not like the look of the building and the guard and considered their options for entrance. She utilized the Onyx's HUD to run a scan of the building to establish the dimensions and depth of the building and cross reference public records for a blue print to look for another entrances into the building besides that particular door. She with her military mindset and assassin's training, hoped for a more clandestine way inside the building. "Hold on.. let me check if there's another way in," she whispered to the men beside her.
Lukina’s HUD squealed and hummed as she initiated the scan. Her display transmitted the public database information she received directly into her brain. This building was relatively new, constructed only six years ago. It was a mock art deco construction, with the architectural design having been commissioned by a man named Joseph Sarno. The design itself was made by an artist named Ichio Nakatomi.
The construction was submitted through local authorities and the blueprint was available on the extranet for all to see. The building had seventy two floors, and multiple main entry ways. Each floor was dedicated to residential areas with a shopping center located on the first floor. Entry via the main entrance at this hour was limited by private security.
But Lukina’s scanning device told a very different story. The residents appeared to be employees of the Sarno fellow, and many of the residents of this building were Sarno’s family, friends and employees. This was clearly a Mafioso's stronghold. Below the building was a vast warren. Lukina couldn't tell how many people were here, she could see there was a hidden club of some kind below, as well as several rooms, dance halls and even storage. This was the only entrance in or out to this part of the building.
The half-elf frowned behind her visor. They would have to gain entrance through that door. "Thad, do you have any experience with mobster types? We're going to have to get past that guard to get in after Creature," she whispered. The thought crossed her that Wolf might be able to pay his way in. "Wolf might be able to pay for entrance to the club and then we could slip in after him... quickly... or..."
She reluctantly queued up Creature on her commslink, "Creature, how did you get into this building?"
"What building?" Creature responded. "Who are you? Wrong fucking number," he whispered. "Scrrrrrtch. Wrong number! scrrrrrtch!" Creature said making static noises with his own voice. "Seriously, why are you fucking here?!" He said speaking low. "This isn't a battlefield Lukes, this isn't the woods."
"I am outside with Thad and Wolf. We saw you sneak away and we want to help you do whatever it is you are trying to do. We get fucked up when we solo this stuff. You should have back-up. I didn't even came after you alone this time. What does the Sarno family have to offer in that club? If we can get in, Thad and I are stealthed, we can help," Lukina spoke quietly.
"I used a password. It is 'I always bet on Black'. Look these underworld types aren't like pirates and sutakame, some of them pack hardware that can fucking rival most spec-ops units in known space. I was planning to hit them hard and fast and get the information I need. The Sarnos are rivals of whoever is sending weapons to the Black Army. They know about these black coats. Possibly even fucking facilitate them. I am fixing on cutting off that fucking river of guns," Created explained through the commslink.
"Then let us help you, what did you give the guard? I can have Wolf say the thing and then Thad and I can push inside after him and then we can hook up with you and bust some heads," Lukina quietly suggested.
"That will set off every alarm this place has. Unless those stealth suits block movement and/ or your body heat. Plus I haven't figured if these people are our fucking enemy yet. The lines get a bit blurry when you enter this world. I was trying to keep you fucking away from it. I mean...maybe I could deactivate their security...." The Gartagen's voice trailed off as he considered the options.
"Body heat yes, movement no. Maybe, I can jump in and we can knock out their security?" Lukina pondered into the commslink.
"Worth a shot. But if it sets it off, it will cause a fucking shit show." Creature rasped.
"The guys are out here with me. Let me find a place for us to hide, they can keep a look out and try to rush in?" Lukina speculated, still trying to evaluate the scenario like a normal mission.
"I mean you could just like, fucking say the password and walk in? Slip the guy some money and he won't pat you down." Creature chimed back.
"Will the large fucking dude in a gimp suit pass him all right?" Lukina asked quietly into the commslink.
"I mean they have a few of those walking around in this place. There is a fucking drug fueled EDM party going on, strip club and cage fight blood sports. Drugs. Prostitutes. Fuck, I wish y'all had just called me first. I'd have told you to put on makeup and a mini skirt. Could have had Thaddeus...well the gimp suit will work. He might get the attention of a certain type. As for Dogface Mcchucklefuck, well, they will think he is entering the arena fights," Creature wryly explained.
Lukina checked the street and moved to one side, "Well, I guess we can do this the normal way. Thad, destealth. We're going to pay the guard and say the password." She pulled off her helmet, deactivating her suit's stealth. "Give me a second, I have to fix.. make-up." She sounded disgusted.
The half-elf reached into one of her pockets and pulled out a small bag and a compact. She quickly applied make-up, and covered up the last of the bruising around her eye. She finished her application with deep red lipstick. She stuffed the make-up back into her pocket and sighed into the commslink, "Well, I have the make-up, no mini-skirt."
"There's prostitutes all over the place. Pay them enough and they will give you their eyes," Creature commented.
Lukina looked around. Several male and female street walkers were out tonight, standing on the sidewalks and corners looking catch a mark so they could make a little money. One woman on the nearest street corner was wearing a tight red dress that would be a little bit too tight on Lukina. There was another woman who was wearing a heavy jean jacket, and a black mini skirt across her bare thighs, with some stiletto open toes heels on her feet. Chances are, if she offered enough money that Lukina might be able to borrow any of their outfits.
"No laughing if I come in looking like a prostitute," Lukina grumbled into the commslink.
Creature shut off his comms and looked up, speaking to himself, "Wow, this is gonna be fucking hilarious. Totally gonna take a selfie and send it to her mom."
Lukina looked at the prostitutes and weighed her options, the jacket would conceal some of her weapons, but the red dress was closer. After a moment of decision, she headed towards the prostitute in the jacket with a bounce in her step and her helmet tucked under her arm. "Hey oneesan! You got a minute for me?" Her voice was friendly and girlish.
The woman pulled a half smoked ultra-thin cigarette from her lips. She had an angular face that pointed down. High cheek bones and round blue eyes that were framed by a set of meticulously trimmed and shaped blonde bangs that hid her forehead. She was wearing blended green eye makeup, and her foundation was the wrong shade for her skin tone.
The make-up the prostitute was wearing was applied generously, and Lukina could see that it was an attempt to hide significant cratering and scarring on the woman's face. The woman’s figure and build were similar to Lukina’s- she was thin and shapely, but did not have an overabundance of anything. From her looks, she appeared to be in her forties. She turned and looked at Lukina seductively. “Oh how cute! Looking for your first time?” The woman said, her voice was husky, but easy on the ears. “A minute? I can give you sixty minutes, baby.”
"Ano... I... actually.. am, like, totes supposed to meet some hot guy but he totes gave me the wrong info! He told me it was, like, a costume thing and it's, like, totes not! Could I, like, borrow your outfit? He's totes into this armor thing though... how much can I, like, borrow it for?" Lukina asked brightly, her evergreen eyes were wide and shining, her voice giggly and her ears blushed pink as they angled slightly down. She rocked on her heels with an easy naive smile. "I can totes, like, pay for your evening so you can, like, totes just chill inside where it's like, totes warm instead of like, hanging out here!"
Wolf seemed to be a little lost at all this, glancing awkwardly at Thad as Lukina went off to procure some more figure-hugging garments. Taking a moment, he glanced down at the light plate mail he was wearing, his tactical vest and great sword over the metal with his revolver at one side. Fur seemed to protrude out from the gaps as if he was wearing a northerner's undercoat. "I might be overdressed." His ears twitched a little nervously as he gestured to Thad's skintight suit.
Lukina's eyes shifted to Wolf for a moment and she called out in that bubbly tone of voice, "Iie! You're, like, TOTES cool, sweetie!" She looked back to the prostitute again, "He's, like, totes gonna win his first fight tonight. He's like, a little shy. And my guy like, totes, doesn't want me to get confused for like, one of the fighters. Could you, like, imagine?" She giggled inanely as she turned back to the woman smiling cheerily.
Wolf blinked a few times in bewilderment, catching snippets of the conversation before Lukina called back to him, the wolfman's eyebrows shooting up. Leaning into Miko, he muttered in a low voice with more than a lick of satisfaction, "She's talking about me, right? Sweetie..?"
The woman took a long deliberate drag of her cigarette. The cherry of it glowed brighter as she sucked on the filter, her bright red lips pursing. “Alright.” She said calmly having thought about it for the length of time it took her to exhale. “Four hundred for the whole get up.” She said shifting her stance so that her legs were further apart. Judging by how coolly she was behaving, this was not the first time somebody had come to her and purchased the clothes off of her back.
She then eye balled the dog person, thing, and her male companion in a giant condom. She then shifted a rather judgmental look at Lukina that said, “You are a freak.”
"Easy, let's totes go change! It'll be like, totes cool!" Lukina replied brightly, her smile didn't falter.
Thad was just hanging out enjoying all the fun taking place. His ears perked up when the woman said the word freak. "Hey, only after midnight." He said with a laugh. He was flexing and putting on a macho man show.
Wolf growled quietly as this stray insulted Lukina to her face, crossing his muscular arms in annoyance as Lukina continued regardless. He kept his cool but beneath it all the soldier was broiling.
The woman, walked with Lukina over to the corner of the building. There was a dark steamy alleyway, where she made a sharp right and continued walking. The woman stripped down to her skivvies, and handed Lukina a red tube top, a black mini skirt that did not cover much of the leg, and her pair of tall open toed stiletto heels. She did this mechanically as if she were a fast food worker making Lukina a sandwich. She held out the items in a little bundle, standing in nothing but a strapless bra and a faded g-string pair of panties, she held out her hand. “Okay honey, hand it over.”
Lukina pulled out a heavy bag from her pocket and unceremoniously handed it to the woman. "Like take out what you want and that should, like, totes cover the trouble." It was a mix of gold and silver strips of Piyapon money mixed with precious gems, it was worth more than 400.
The woman took the bag of gems and began examining them. Lukina would see tears almost fill her eyes when she realized, this was not some sort of sick prank. "Thank you my love! If you ever want some service again just look me up! I am cherry!" Her haggard tired voice called out to Lukina almost sounding childlike.
"Be safe out here," Lukina commented softly as she started stripping off her armor plating and her black undersuite, quickly pulling on the fragments of clothing and caring about who was looking, though the tips of her ears were red. Within a few moments, she was dressed in the black mini skirt, red tube top and the stilettos. She managed to fit her holster under the jacket. Her gun belt was almost thicker than her skirt so she didn't bother. She knelt down and bundled all of her gear together into a neat parcel, and tied her rifle into it. "No laughing," she murmured as she smoothed her hair down over her shoulders.
Wolf turned a few shades more scarlet, gaze low and scuffing his boot on the cobbles as Lukina changed into her slightly more fitting outfit. He busied himself with examining the various buildings scattered about as if they were suddenly the most interesting things on the whole planet until she was finished. As she came back over, his ice-colored eyes widened noticeably, "No, no, no. You look.. very nice. It fits you beautifully." He managed through the nervous undertone that gently lined his words.
Lukina offered the woman a winning smile and walked back over to Thad and Wolf, carrying her large bundle. She held it out for one of the two to take. "Onegai, please, this doesn't go with this get up, I have can cover the other things involving money." Her evergreen eyes looked between the two men, "I can activate it so it's hidden but, I just think I might need to have my hands free..."
"We should pose and take a picture of this. Bob would get a kick out of how we look." Thad was doing his best not to laugh at this turn of events. "Perfect, sell that look great." He comment while looking Lukina over.
"I'll grab it, I can pass it off as a spare fighting kit or something." Wolf smiled, leaning in to take the package gently. As she handed it over, the somewhat animalistic man's ears wiggled curiously at the weight. It was surprising but nothing he couldn't handle, holding it closer to himself. "What's a picture?" He seemed a little confused.
"It is a way to capture beautiful moments in life. Just look at Lukina." Thad said with a smile.
Lukina forced a smile. "Let's just.. go, we have to go help Creature do things," she pushed some of her hair behind her ear, placing her other hand on her hip where her holster normal resided. She rolled her eyes and walked with a practiced gait towards the alleyway where the entrance was. She stopped and looked over her shoulder at them. "Come on, let's get this party started."
"Ready to get my freak on." Thad chuckled following after Lukina. While walking behind her he got a nice look at her assets. Not half bad in the skirt, he thought to himself.
Wolf followed behind the two others a little, suddenly a little self-conscious at the whole scenario, not in character for the hunter at all. "The party don't start till we walk in." He added, recalling a phrase one of his platoon mates once mentioned. Wolf consciously made an effort to stop himself staring, instead checking they weren't being watched as they approached the bouncer.
"Hey there, darling," Lukina spoke in a velvety tone of voice as she closed the distance towards the doorman. "I hear you are the man to see?" She stood up a little straighter, pushing her chest out a little higher, standing so that she was almost touching the well-dressed man. She offered him a charming smile.
The tall half ogre was standing right beside her. He did not talk and only smiled at the guard as he put his arm around her to better sell they are together.
Wolf's brow furrowed as Thad became suddenly a little too friendly, he was pretty sure this wasn't their cover story..? "Hey mate, hands off. You may have got off the shuttle with us but that ain't a reason to get friendly with my girl." He spoke with conviction, playing his role as traveling brawler best he could.
Thad slowly dropped his arm from around her. "Hey hey, it’s all good. There is enough to go around. I get it, you can have first dibs." He said in a calm and collected fashion as to not blow this cover.
Lukina looked at the doorman with a pained smile. "Sorry, darling, they are just too pent up right now. I think we need to get them into the ring, what was it, darling? I always bet on black." She looked up at the guard and batted her eyelashes.
The doorman moved to speak to Lukina as she approached but the big man and Mr. Wolfe were already were going at each other. He simply hid behind his shades as they acted out. He heard what Thad said about sharing, and furrowed his brow at that. “What a disrespectful thing to say about a lovely young woman. If that was my girl, I would not let that slide. Ever.” He said pausing, then taking a step back towards the door.
Lukina reached into her jacket and offered the guard money with one hand, "Boys, boys, save it for the ring. Come on," and she gave the men a firm look before smiling back up at the guard. "At least someone is a gentleman, thank you darling. Please excuse my.. companions' rude behavior."
Wolf play-huffed in indignation, moving to Lukina's side between her and Thad while wrapping an arm around her waist. He appeared to be getting quite in character. "Get inside before I change my mind." He rumbled, glancing meaningfully at the bouncer to let them through.
The guard cautiously took the money from Lukina and pocketed it. Then a leather black glove covered hand rapped on the large metal door. Thad, The Wolf, and Lukina would hear a powerful magnetic lock pop. The door then popped open. The air thickened with a feeling of warmth, the smell of booze, body odor and alcohol. It turned into a warm moist mist as the hot air met the cold air.
As the trio entered, Lukina could see this entry way was a catwalk. Below was a massive dance floor where hundreds, possibly a thousand patrons were all enthralled by the music. On the far end of this “club” a flamboyantly dressed DJ sat working a holographic machine that emitted holographic projections of the music noises into the air with bright vibrant colors, and he leered as the half-naked bodies of young men and women dancing around as though he had possessed their bodies.
Scantily clad cocktail waitresses wearing these tiny micro bikinis and multi colored hair with thick heavy flashy makeup scurried around taking orders and giving the patrons shots, and drugs on request. One the far right of this room, a large bar top could be seen with a massive frantic crowd besieging the staff who hurried to give them their orders. The sound of the music was deafening. If Lukina tried to speak, her voice would be smothered in the sound. Thaddeus would feel the sound of the bass pulsing through his entire body, and the wolf would catch the scents of so many different aliens that it was almost overwhelming.
Looking forward this black metal catwalk guided them forward to a much more pristine stairwell that spiraled down and spat them out into the main hall of the club with the rest of the patrons.
There was no sign of Creature anywhere here. However, something did catch Lukina’s eye. There was a group of six men sitting up above the dance floor in a booth. They were wearing armor just like that of the soldiers in the black army. They had the gruff bearded faces of them too, and they were sitting back with one of the cocktail waitresses grinding her ass against a tall brass pole that connected up into the ceiling.
"We're in, where are you?" Lukina used through her commslink, using her DNI and GEIST to make the bridge through her bracer in the bundle that Wolf was carrying. Her eyes drifted upwards for a moment as she tugged the arms of her companions to encourage them forward, though one or both were wrapped around her waist. She pressed onto her toes and placed a hand on Wolf's opposite ear before she spoke into the one closest to her. "I think those guys upstairs might be a good bet, but we have to find Creature."
She pulled away from Wolf and repeated the procedure with Thad, though, she had to tug him down towards her to even reach. "The armor up top might be worth looking into, but we have to find Creature. We should head downstairs to the dance floor."
"Uhhhh... I'm on the lower level..." Creature responded. He sounded somewhat distant. As if something were distracting him.
Wolf nodded, floofy ear twitching under her palm at the loud noises and assaulting scents. His eyes seemed to be constantly squinted as if enduring some discomfort, probably at the entire situation. The urge to press his ears against his head to muffle the sound was almost unbearable.
Thad looked to her for a moment and understood that it was time for him to get his dance on. "Let's do this, dancing is my thing." Thad said with a grin on his face. He had been to a few bars in his life and danced the night away.
Lukina pulled away from them, disentangling herself, before moving towards the stairs with a smooth dancer's gait. They noticed after following the half-elf for the past hour or so, that she had changed her body movements, as well as, her clothing in the past few minutes, she didn't normally walk with that much hip. She stopped and looked over her shoulder at the both of them. The swirling lights of the club cast strange colors over her and caused her eyes to shine strangely. She met both Wolf's and Thad's eyes in turn for a few deliberate moments, expectant and beckoning, as she gestured for them to follow her with a warm smile and a light toss of her hair towards the stairs.
While Thad had no interest in Lukina on an intimate level, he could not help but notice her more womanly gestures. The inviting flare of her hips and seductive look of her clothes. As they locked eyes, he could feel his heart race as she invited him to follow using her warm smile and sexy hair toss. As he took a few steps, he could not help but notice there was a good deal more resistance in how tight his suit fit. Taking a deep breath he tried to calm himself as this party was just getting started.
As Lukina's sparkling emerald eyes cast their gaze over Wolf, silky red hair tousling with the movement, he suddenly felt a warm surge tingle through his entire body. Blood flushed hot through his extremities, cheeks lighting up despite the sporadic and colorful mood lighting cast across them all. With the slight beckoning of her manicured, curled finger, Wolf felt his body being drawn towards Lukina as she made for the stairs as if mesmerized by the elegant elf's movements.
Lukina waited until they were a couple of steps from her before she danced down the stairs, moving to the beat. Her gaze swept the crowd, searching for Creature. She strained to pick out voices in the din around her as the music reverberated through her petite frame, trying to hear mentions of the Gartagen, the Red Terror, or even the Black Army. As the press of bodies became closer, she continued to smile brightly; pausing only to make sure that she had the attention of the two large men that accompanied her. She turned to them and offered each of them one of her hands, "Stay close so you don't lose me!"
As soon as Lukina broke into a dance, Thad hit the go switch. He started to rock his hips to the music and dance down the steps. The tight fitting outfit clung to his rocking abs as he belly rolled, popping his butt up a few times. He tossed one arm up into the air and started to swing it around. Then dropped both arms and ran them down his sides. It had been awhile since the last time he was in a club. While he was moving to the groove his eyes did not break away from Lukina. Partly as not to lose her and partly to make sure someone else did not try to get fresh with her.
Wolf was a little more cautious before jumping into the strange ritualistic movement the others were falling into, standing confusedly for a moment before realizing it must be some sort of social norm. He began to move over to Lukina and Thad, waving his arms in small motions and twisting from side to side as he did, copying those around him with surprising effect. Reaching the others through the ever-encroaching mass of bodies and booming bass, he slipped his hand into hers, Lukina's porcelain-smooth hand fitting perfectly in his own.
Lukina laughed as she watched Thad and Wolf start to dance as well. It was easy to forget why they were there. She led them forward, gently squeezing Wolf's hand as she guided them through the crowd towards where she remembered seeing the stairs for the lower levels on her scans. "We're headed to you now," she replied through her DNI to her commslink.
As the two men danced, the other men and women on the floor around them seemed to give them something of a wide-berth. The floor was glowing and shifting colors beneath their feet. The tiles pulsed as they transitioned to a hue of blue with a kind, sublime aura of teal energy floating through it like rolling, ocean waves.
Lukina's eyes scanned the room, looking for a clue as to the location of Creature and the possible reason why he was even there and that's when she saw it.
A black skinned Vekimen moved towards the Black Army men who were occupying a booth on the balcony above them. He stood and calmly observed the dancer as undulated on the pole, his fanged mouth gave no expression. It was the Black King. It dawned on Lukina that this was why Creature had come to this place.
Lukina could tell from the layout, and concept of this underground hall, that this was a sort of neutral meeting place. There were various distinct groups scattered in little circles all over the floor around them. Armed guards were present but they stayed off to the sides and only came up when necessary. However, Creature had come because this place was a known spot that the Black King liked to visit. Whatever code of neutrality existed was about to be shattered by the curmudgeonly Gartagen.
The Black King leered at the dancer, flanked by his entourage as a cocktail waitress scurried around them delivering food and beverages. A black robed figure stood off to the side, silently observing the Black Army men, and they had some guards of their own located several meters away acting as a screen for any who would disturb their pleasure.
Lukina stared up at the Vekimen for a moment, her eyes widened in recognition and she looked away again. She easily moved ahead of the her two companions, dancing and laughing a bit. "I see him, we getting info first?" Lukina thought quickly at Creature through her DNI.
"Yea." Creature chimed in. Lukina's HUD lit up as Creature's HUD linked to hers and started to feed her his location. Lukina saw a ping that lit up with information. Creature was currently located on the floor below her, and he was moving towards a set of rooms located on the north side of this underground facility. "Y'all can come meet me. I'm mostly planning to the waste the boss's goons, then I am going to tune this fat fuck up for whatever he knows about those Black Coats."
"We're heading down to you. We need to make a plan," Lukina replied back through her commslink. She slid her hand down Wolf's arm, drawing closer to the Agarthan as she danced. Her body was warm against him, close enough for him to smell the lilies of her perfume over the thick stench of the press of bodies and cigarette smoke. Her evergreen eyes momentarily met his glowing cyan. With a graceful motion of her arm, her hand was against his cheek, beckoning him down, "I found him," she purred into a furry ear knowing that he would hear her over the resounding booming of the music, and the uproarious conversations around them. And then, as suddenly as it began, she was no longer with him.
Wolf's complexion flushed a little as Lukina drew close, her heavenly scent a welcome, refreshing break from the miasma that invaded on his senses. Her touch on his burning cheek was silky and immediately caught the man's attention. Lukina's voice rolled pleasantly against his floofy ears, managing to pierce through the din surrounding them. The bundle-bearer nodded in acknowledgement of her message and before he knew it the respite that was her presence disappeared, needless to say he had appreciated her being there, his expression falling if only marginally.
The half-elf energetically twirled from one partner to the other, stopping once she was pressed against Thad's broad chest. She shifted to dance with him, moving in rhythm against to the grinding thumping of the bass. She smiled up at Thad, gesturing for him to lean down as she moved her face closer to his. She placed her hand against his opposite ear and spoke in a breathy, velvety whisper into his ear, "Found him and the King. We need a plan, and probably a distraction." She lingered, pressed against him only long enough for him to acknowledge that he might have heard her before she danced way again.
Thad gave her a quick squeeze around the waist twice to indicate to her that he got the message. The fun of bumping and grinding had been soured as he heard that the Black King was in the building. He did his best to hide this fact as he enjoyed a few moments with her. None the less his suit seemed to all of a sudden fit a little better.
Lukina led them towards the next set of stairs and the seedy back rooms beyond where her HUD indicated that Creature was with its blinking icon overlaid on her vision. She continued to dance with the crowd until she stepped onto the stairs and looked downwards to see what the crowd in the next area was actually doing. She took several deep breaths and smiled back at Thad and Wolf, knowing that they were following her now without her needing to beckon them forward. Perspiration beaded along the curve of her jaw, down hollow of her neck and down beneath her 'top'. "He's this way."
Thad continued to dance following after her. The more fluid motions from before had changed. They seemed more tense as his body had switched from fun mode to serious mode.
Wolf once more tailed the other two, picking his way cautiously through the imposing bodies of the people packed into the club, still very obviously uncomfortable at the overwhelming nature of it all. Perhaps if he had some ear protectors it would have been a different story, he thought. Worse, his fur seemed to be making the hunter hot and bothered - or was that something else?
The half-elf started down the stairs, quickly trying to form some sort of plan. There was an opportunity presented that they might not get again. Once the Vekimen saw them with Creature, they might never get the chance to catch the King off guard again. She had to think this through and quickly.
She started with what she knew about the building from her scans, the blueprints and what she actually saw. They were in the basement of a high-rise apartment building. There were at least 4 sublevels. The only entrance to this part of the building was guarded and secured with a magnetic and audio locking mechanism at street level. This door was only accessible by the catwalk 12-20 ft above them. The Black Army group was on the floor above the entrance in a balcony overlooking the dance floor and catwalk.
The singular entrance meant that as soon as the fighting started- people would be trampled as they tried to escape. It also meant that the King and his men would be stuck behind a swarm of panicked bodies rushing for the only door.
The only way that Lukina had seen up to the balcony so far was that brass pole that the stripper was on. And she was a climber. That would be an easy feat but that would leave her exposed to weapons fire from all angles. It would be a possible avenue of approach for her if she stayed in this role she was playing now. Their strange outfits had provided them the means to blend into this crowd and be invisible. But they had to reach the Black King, deal with his entourage and then the guards and the mafiosos.
Her next consideration were the potential targets within the building beyond the Black King: drug dealers, prostitutes, cage fighters, mobsters, guards, and the Black army, which were all viable targets for death. But then there were the families of the criminal elements, and other possible civilians inside of this building across the various floors which made the collateral damage risk high, and anything that would structurally harm the building unfavorable. It made a spray and pray scenario also unfavorable.
Lukina considered what equipment her group had with them- her power armor was only fitted for her and the guys by no stretch of the imagination would ever hope to fit. Thad's stealthsuit would help, he would just need her rifle to make a snipe attempt... but she was uncertain if he was actually of that skill set. She had her Starfire sniper rounds but that would take down the building they were in, as well as, the people in the next block. If she used one of her airburst grenades, the building would mostly come down on top of them. Her sword lacked maneuverability indoors and in tight quarters. She could try to use the heated wrist blades of her Onyx, but it would stick out as something strange to suddenly be wearing a gloved armored gauntlet. She had at least 2 other knives, her climbing rig, and her BFR.
Thad had brought some of his weapons, a couple of guns and knives. Wolf had some sort of body armor on and she did not look at what weapons he had but he was a shape shifter, which was a different weapon entirely. Wolf was a brawler but so was Creature. Lukina knew Creature had some of his kit with him. The Gartagen had said he was going to light the place up, so that meant he had his body armor and his gun, and likely his sword. The chances of success in the rushing the Black King and his group in a head-on confrontation on the balcony were low. If the King bit them, the necrotic bacteria would instantaneously start breaking down whatever flesh.
Lukina was strong, but she was not a naturally armored or a large reptile bred for ripping things apart, therefore a hand-to-hand scenario when he had a maw of 'fuck you', claws and foot of reach on her was not favorable. She had always been taught to never start a fight that she couldn't win or a fair fight. This was why poison was the favored assassination tool of choice for her clan. She did not know what poison or venom would work on a Vekimen aside from Vekimen venom and she had none on her. The half-elf would need appropriate distractions and a contingency plan- she could get the King into position for one of the guys to snipe, she could also grab her hook and line rig. The hook would be able to penetrate the softer white scale areas and it was possible that she could loop the thick cord around his neck and throw the Vekimen down at least 3 stories when she jumped off the balcony to escape. There was still the weapons fire issue. There was still the bite issue. If she tried this drive-by approach, she would have to be fast... but she would at least pitch her ideas to the group when they got to Creature.
The half-elf looked up as she descended the stairs, looking for the telltale signs of an overt security system and locations of where the numerous guards were posted. She would have to also consider that the Sarno family might bring in more reinforcements if they launched an attack. This was not the Lorani province and they would probably be in severe violation of this Lord's laws. She would be able to cover the legality of their actions if they kept the collateral damage as low as possible but it was also likely that they would end up in this province's jail if they didn't try to execute them on the spot.
As they went down stairs, they would find that the stairwell was, well highly trafficked. Scantily clad women and men all went down and back up forming a kind of trolley like line of patrons. The air however got much thicker as the rounded another spiral down the well, and on entering the lower level, it was quite a different sight.
Upstairs had been filled with half naked patrons dancing and cocktail waitresses scurrying around. People at the bar and at tables socializing. This hall was one massive open room like the one above. Only not as ornate. The music still played only the patrons were along the walls engaging in drug use. Others lounged around enjoying the healthy dose of space narcotics.
While at the center, Lukina, and Thaddeus could see it. Hundreds of people, men, women, aliens, were there engaging in intercourse. It was an utterly chaotic image. A giant mass ball of people caressing, fucking, and eating. The Wolf, not only could smell the swap of body fluids, he could hear everything. Suction. Scratching, the scraping of flesh on flesh, and the dripping of sweat and other body liquids hitting the marble floor. Lukina could see Creature on the back wall near a hallway corridor, squatting over a body that was laying prone.
He was clearly taking a syringe to his arm. When finished he tossed the object down on the bass booty that was groaning on the ground below him. He slapped her ass. The woman was young, likely in her twenties, and wore a blue one piece thong. Her ass quivered with the strike, and her pale flesh ended up with a red Creature shaped hand print. He then stood up, and stretched. He still had not noticed the trio as they entered this room.
"Yo. Dummy, we're here," Lukina commented coolly through her DNI and commslink. She walked only slightly closer to Creature but stopped and waited. "Or we could just come back when you're done, darlin'?" She watched him for a moment before she looked away, the noises echoed loudly in her ears. "Sounds like the better option." She turned away and found herself watching the orgy.
“O-ooouuu. I’m over by the fucking back wall. Dumb bitch fell down getting lit, so I took her stash.” He said chiming back. “Uh...front and center I need y'all to come from behind em...”
As Creature said that Lukina saw him suddenly step forward and start walking. Lukina, Thaddeus and The Wolf would see them. A heavy set Human man who was slightly balding walked with three muscle bound enforces flanking and following him. The man had a well fed full face and dark eyes. His thin hair was slicked back behind his head and was a deep almost black grey. His body was pudgy, but he clearly was solidly built. He wore a simple button down green shirt and tan slacks with a pair of brown slip on loafers. He looked confident, and none of the debauchery that was happening in the room bothered him.
Creature swiftly intercepted the four men. “Sarno.” He rasped as the men moved to protect their man. “Please fucking do something so I can waste all of you.” Creature said leveling his rifle out of his coat with one hand, but not making a dramatic show.
Sarno stuffed held his hands out calling his men down in his pockets and looked down. “The Lord Du Rochon.” He said in a a soft Alto voice. “We uh, really gonna do dis shit right hea?”
Creature sharply brought is rifle to Point at Sarno. “Right here, right now you hungry mother fucker.” He rasped, leering at the heavy set man.
Lukina circled to behind the Sarno and his guards and shifted her weight. Her jacket hid her BFR well, she waited.
Wolf shook his head vigorously at the disgusting array of sounds that defiled his ears, grey-brown unkempt hair flying as he did so. A deep, threatening growl rumbled from the man's throat, his hands instinctively going up to cover his furry ears, pressing them tightly closed. He cursed in a vehement tone, the alien language lilting off his tongue in a strangely musical fashion despite its venom. "Bualadh craicinn.." He kept beside the stairwell, gazing in to the action from a comfortable distance, his revolver by his side in case he needed it. Wolf could only imagine how horrific the sounds would be if he had to lower his hands for his weapon.
Thad got to the bottom of the stairs and could not help but smile. It was more a shock smile than a pleased one but people surely mistook what it really meant. He eyes scanned over the pile of fuck looking to get a bead on anything important. He paused long enough to look for Lukina to ensure she didn't by accident get pulled into the mess. He adjusted his suit a few times and checked his weapon straps. He was lighter than normal but still able to do some damage. His eyes would take notice of a group that Lukina had fixed her eyes on and was moving around. Thad in turn followed but flanked to the opposite side to where Lukina was at.
Sarno chuckled when he noticed the Trio had appeared and stuffed his hands in his pockets. He rolled back on his heels and smile revealing a chipped front incisor tooth that bit down on his lower lip slightly. “You uh, really fucking got the drop on us.”
One of the big men eyed the wolf. His gaze was hard, and his jaw tensed. The big man to his left crossed his arms. “Boss, give the word and we will fucking kill this burnt out dirt lizard and its three bitches.”
Sarno’s smile vanished and his gaze went cold. “Ay. You talk when I focin’ tell ya to talk.”
“Arite. Wadday focin want Du Rochon?” Sarno said standing and lifting his chin up at Creature.
Creature’s eye turned into a slit as he looked at the men. “I’m here to tell you I am going to kill the Black King. You are going to mother fucking let me. If you have a problem with it, I am going to waste all of you right fucking now and go up the stairs and make a go anyway.”
Sarno’s hand with its fat hairy black fingers came up and stroked the freshly shaved skin on his chin. “Off fucking limits. So uh, go ahead and fucking waste us.”
"So you are saying that you want the Shield to come in and clean up this mess?" Lukina said after a long moment. "The Mikado wants him, if you can provide him, I'm sure she might be willing to let you live for interfering. She might even reward you." Her eyes were on Sarno's face, her voice was calm and collected. "Unless, you really want to die like a dog on cum-stained tile."
Wolf's eye twitched in apprehension at the situation, his hand ready and primed to shoot down in a moment's notice. Though, admittedly, he didn't look the most imposing with his hands squeezing his large floppy ears shut.
Thad moved up a little closer to one of the body guards. He gave him a wink and a smile. Though when shit went down there would be no smile on this guy. Thad took a moment to size up the area around him. Needles and bottles were within reach. Even a person would make a great club if needed.
Creature didn’t move. He allowed Lukina to speak, but his good hand had that thick index finger already pressuring the trigger. Lukina’s voice was all that had actually saved Sarno and his men. He moved to open his mouth, and Creature cut him off. “You’d better fucking thank her, she just stopped me from wetting your fat ass up.” Creature rasped, still leering at the man with a slitted eye.
The man Thaddeus winked stared at him intensely. If it wasn't for the fact that they had been dead to rights, Thaddeus would have felt afraid.
Sarno smile. “No. No, I fucking get it.” He didn't move to look at Lukina, but rather continued speaking to Creature. “What do you mean the shield? The empress? Look this situation is more complex than you think. Ya can waste me now, or have tha shield flatten this fuckin place. If not then I gotta worry about the people who work with that dick monster up stairs wasting my crew. You wanna make a deal? Make a deal. But if you are thinkin I can let ya kill tha King then I gotta say, I can’t let that happen. Not without a price being paid.”
"If you want to talk, talk Sarno. You have 72 stories of residential space with your people in this building that's what... 5 people per square foot which would be something like 555,000 people if you had people living on each floor but you subtract the 15,000 square feet of office space and that number drops to about 480,000 people," the Half-elf quickly did the math as she watched him.
"Which one is more important to you alive, the Black King or all of your family in this building? How are the ashes of the Heise involved in all of this? I can take out this building with a single call to Soran Nast and we will all die together in the same pyre," Lukina asked.
“Well, aint seein much reason ta talk. If I cave in they do to me what you’re talkin ‘bout fuckin doin to me. If Creaturey here wacks me, I might live, and I can say I fuckin tried to stahp it. If ya wanna work with me, ya gotta talk price. Assurances. If not bring the fuckin buildin down on all of us.” Sarno shrugged and looked back at his feet.
"What do you have to sell me? I'm not going to buy a goat that I don't know exists. And no, you won't live if Creature whacks you," the half-elf replied cooly. "We can work together and you all might live. Or we don't and you die when we kill you and the rest of your family will die when they come to collect on your sins anyway. The Heise were not gracious even before the war. You saw what they did to the Hana Tributary and they were on the same side."
Sarno looked like he was visibly getting irritated at this. “I don’t have anything ta sell ya. You are my fuckin house. You came ta me. So I’ll tell ya wat. I’m gettin bored with dis. So stop shit talkin an do what ya gotta do, or make me a betta offa den tha one dey gave me. Ya probably right, but dis also aint da first time i’ve had a gun aimed at me, and im still fuckin hea. So little lady, if ya want my help or for me ta look da otha way, what cane ya offa me, if it’s just my life den take it. Yea. I did. But unfortunately, they butter my bread around hea.”
"I can legitimize you, make this shit legal. I could get you a charter to be the actual Lord of this province to make you the recognized law of this or you could just tell me what it is that you want, give me a number. You got plenty of pussy and drugs around here," Lukina replied. "I want information on the Heise presence here and the Black King's head."
"She speaks the truth, able to make all your dreams come true if given the chance." Thad said speaking up. He relaxed his stance slightly to give off a less intense vibe as this seemed to be going well without the need to fight.
Sarno’s eyes lit up when Lukina spoke of legitimacy. That was a pretty good offer. He nodded and looked to his men. He then turned around speaking to her directly. “Well. That’s something worth my consideration.” He stabbed a thick finger at Lukina. “If ya promise me dat, I’ll tell ya everything I know.”
“But. I’’ll tell ya what. I’’ give ya one fa free. The main drop point is run by my crew. We send out a skimma once a month loaded down with tha guns. Tha next drop point is in two weeks. Gonna be located at tha Hisuba warehouse in tha merchant district of this city. At around 0300. Out contact is. Them blackcoats...well there is only one. Named Onishi. I dunno much about him. Other contact is a vice native Adelaide Salvatore, he sets up tha training for the fucks.”
He then nodded to Thaddeus. “Ay. If she is speaking tha truth, than I’ll sell tha king to ya. I’ll even make sure my boys stay outta ya way.”
"Sounds like we have an agreement, though can keep your buddy. I got my hands full as is." A light chuckle left his lips.
"Her call." Sarno said calmly. "If not it's nothin personal. I gotta look out fa numba one. Fa me it was fight the Coats, Black army, and who ever else is in on this shit. I chose to avoid turnin my slice of paradise into a fuckin blood bath."
"Hey asshole child, you hear all that?" Lukina thought through her DNI commlink at Bresal.
"At last, the pieces fall into place," the unseen alien's deep voice sarcastically replied.
"Tell the Lady the arrangement, let's make this happen," Lukina replied through the commslink.
"She will be told of your attempt - you must follow through," the other retainer sternly reminded Lukina. "A province must have a lord, as without a lord, it is vulnerable. Do not fail."
"Do not take the field," the half-elf dryly replied.
"As I must," it plainly spoke, a hint of almost childish annoyance flavoring what would have been an intimidating timbre.
"The call has been made. You will be required to swear fealty to Bhelith Arleigh, the paperwork will be done. I need the Black King to seal this," Lukina coolly replied.
Sarno smiled that toothy smile. “Alright den. I’ll swear to tha Mikido. Consider dis place ya home. Try not to fuck muh house up too bad. I’ll start spreadin da word for my crew to stay outta ya way. I’ll even help ya and keep his ass waitin. He is up there ta meet with me.”
"Good. That makes this easier. I need Creature and Thad to take to high ground where they can see the Black King and snipe him. Thad can be unseen. We'll have to take out his men. How many ways are there up to that balcony?" the half-elf nodded and offered her hand to Sarno. "Then we have a deal, you have my word as a knight and Agranorn."
Sarno pointed his head to his door, and he and his men moved off and into the hallway, speaking as he moved.“Ya got three ways. You can take da service way up to da catwalk. It’s in tha back.” The man Thaddeus sneered at grimaced back at him and followed his boss on off. As he left Sarno spoke “That uh, dog thing looks fuckin hilarious standing like dat. Aaaha! Ya, pleasure doin business with ya Miss?” Sarno paused to look back at Lukina.
Creature’s rifle vanished in his coat and he closed into meet with Lukina, Thaddeus and The Wolf.
"Lukina Aleksasha Petrora of the Agranorn clan," Lukina replied.
"No problem taking the high ground. Been doing a good deal of close in combat but use to hunt for my own food so got good at it. Clean center shot at 50 yards." Thad shared with the group.
Sarno closed back in, and offered out his hand for Lukina to take it. "Pleasure is all mine." He then looked to Creature, Thaddeus and The Wolf. "Ya did get tha drop on me. That takes talent. If any of yous eva wanna run for me, I can pay ya well."
Lukina firmly shook the larger man's man. He hand felt rough, and calloused, it was sweaty as well, but he did not press too much strength into the shake. Sarno shook it, and stepped off.
Creature then spoke. "Uh. Lukina that was pretty fucking sick. I was just planning to shoot them, but I guess this totally works out fucking better. If Thad is no good at a range, I can sit on my own. Might be fucking better to have him on the floor for back up."
Creature then held up a balled fist to Thaddeus to dap. "Welcome back, glad to see you are o-fucking-kay. They didn't like, make you prance around in a dress or anything while you were captured?"
She moved closer to the men to talk, dropping the volume of her voice so only they could hear her. "Okay, this makes my life easier and harder at once. I can be a waitress and take those normal guards poisoned drinks. It should drop them in a couple of minutes. I can get the Black King into position for you to snipe him from a distance. My other plan was stab him with my rig, wrap it around his neck and kick him off that balcony. A 30 ft drop like that should snap his neck."
Thad gave a fist bump back to Creature. "It was short lived, I looked too damn good in that dress." He said with a short laugh. "Good to be back." A smile crossing his face.
With the dap received, Creature smacked Thad's shoulder and gave him a shake. "I'm not as good as you with a fucking rifle. But I can take a Nep's dick off at three hundred meters easy. Where do you want Wolf Boy and Thad?" Creature said nodding to the wolf.
"Wolf's a brawler, I wouldn't mind a 2nd rifle up top. Thad is believe it or not, wearing a stealthsuit. He can't get close to the Vekimen since the suit does not hide scent. But he can take up a secondary sniping position and we can get him from two trajectories. Wolf... I haven't decided yet. With Sarno's men out of the way, I need less of a distraction," she added.
Creature raised his hand. "Uh well, ya, it can't hide scent. But, that is a fucking Vekiman thing. I dunno much about them but from what everybody said that Black King is a fucking bad ass. If I can't get a shot, if your stab doesn't work. Might be good to have Wolf and Thad get in for the wet work. But this is your op. You are the expert. I'm just throwing shit against the wall and seeing what sticks."
"All I ask is to join in on taking him down. I owe him and this will be a good way of paying back in full." Thad said as he flexed his arms.
"If I end up somewhat in the way of the shot, I want you to take it. We won't get this chance again. If I get fucked up, stuff me back in my undersuit for the my power armor, it'll stabilize me and keep me from dying until you can patch me up," Lukina considered it. "Okay, I will go up there and take them their drinks. Then I will do this slut elf thing and distract the King to get his attention. It'll take about 2 minutes for the poison to kick in, but I can get this around his neck. If I can't I want you to take the shot, 10 seconds after you see it fail. I want Thad and Wolf up there at 2 minutes 40 seconds."
Creature nodded. He did not like that, be he knew she was right. Though, he was not sure if he'd even be able to do it. "Fuck yea."
One of the Cocktail waitresses sauntered past. She was wearing essentially a metallic looking thong keyhole bikini and heavy tall heels.
Lukina rolled her eyes and put her arm out to stop the waitress. "Hey oneesan, I like totes need to switch like clothes with you~."
Creature looked at Lukina. and mouthed "What the fuck? Did you just say totes?"
Thad listened her asked for the waitress's clothes. "Damn Lukina, this rate might as well just go naked." He thought for a moment. "I think this suit when you first gave it to me would cover more." Thad was doing his best not to laugh.
The waitress paused and started to say no. But then she held her hand to her ear and nodded. “Yes sir.” She looked at Lukina “Right this way.
Lukina was led over to a serving hole. The girl began stripping down and was soon nude. She swiftly moved over to a cubby hole. She had a backpack with spare clothes stashed in it and began applying them to cover herself. “When you are done I need that get up back.” She said sounding mildly irritated.
Lukina followed after the waitress and quickly undressed placing her BFR and holster to one side. "Sure, you can like totes have it back in like 15 minutes." She started pulling on the waitress's uniform, trying to decide if she could get away with wearing it on her hip. "They don't like let ya wearing anything on your hip, ne?
The young woman shook her head no. "Usually the bouncers handle problems that happen." The girl was actually a cup size too small, so she was effectively pouring out of the top. The bottom barely covered anything.
She'd find Creature had approached and was waiting due to desiring to speak with her. "You...uh don't have to do this. I can go it alone. Fuckin glad you came though." Creature then sharply closed in and gave Lukina yet another pathetic quick awkward kiss. It was over pretty quickly. "Sorry. Shit can happen."
Lukina smiled softly, "It wouldn't be an improv op if something didn't. Hold my gun. I have to get my rig from my bundle that Wolf is holding." She offered him her BFG. She moved in the impatient sauntering way that the waitress had been walking before over to Wolf. "Hey Wolf, did you catch that plan?" She leaned over to grab her rig and a couple of vials from her bundle, spilling a little bit more from her top and bikini bottom.
Lukina would hear from not too far away a whistle coming from Thad.
Creature took the gun, and tucked it into is belt. "Alright. I'm heading up to that fucking cat walk." Creature then moved off, heading towards the service way.
Wolf seemed to have been more than distracted by the entire situation and environment, at some point opting to zone out once the danger had passed and instead had been staring uncomprehendingly into one of the strip lights that ran across the room. It was almost as if he was envisioning large open forests or rather, anything but this place.
As Lukina stepped back over in her attire - even more revealing than the last - Wolf was more than taken off guard. His cyan eyes glowed with an animal light, his fur visually straightening and raising to a point. They ran across Lukina's form in no small manner as he tried to process what this action meant.
Then, the half-elf bent forwards, giving Wolf an enchanting view which he didn't pass up. "U-Uh-Ehm..." He muttered, fingers flexing and squeezing against the bundle, apparently too riled up to stay still. "I... did not." Wolf spoke simply, managing to tear his eyes away for a moment. Something clicked in his mind - she was a hunter and she was a beauty; his instincts were firing on all cylinders and he would have to act upon them sooner or later. For now, there were more pressing matters afoot.
"Okay, we are taking out the Black King. He is up on the balcony above the catwalk we entered the club on. Sarno and his people will not be interfering as we execute our plan. I will be going up to them as a waitress with tainted drinks. I will be making an attempt on the Black King but if that fails, Creature will shoot him with his rifle. If that fails, I will need you and Thad to come onto the balcony and get the Black King away from me and help me take him down," the half-elf stood upright again with a slight bounce and adjusted her top to put herself back into it. Before she slipped the black bracers onto her forearms. "On the way towards the balcony, I will need you behind me to keep people away from me. Thad will be in front of me using his stealth to also keep people out of my way. This attempt will take about 2 minutes and 40 seconds- that will be when I need you and Thad to come in to extract me- it should be 30 seconds after the gunshot."
Wolf nodded along, though his floofy ears, strangely enough, didn't sway with the movement like they usually did but instead stood bolt upright. He caught a good portion of the explanation, forcing counter-productive thoughts from his mind as she finished suiting up. "Alright, I'll be ready." Wolf took a moment to mull things over. "Would you like me to change? If speed is of the essence and close quarters is the issue?"
Thad pulled at his suit in a few places checking it over. "Sounds like a good plan to me." He commented as he flipped the hood over his head. A moment later he phased from existence. Lukina would feel a light pinch on her butt followed by a chuckle that was clearly Thad. After the mission he would so abuse this suit's power.
Lukina raised an eyebrow at Thad but otherwise didn't react to the pinch. "It doesn't hide your scent. Nor will it stop heavy caliber rounds or a knife, just be mindful of that, Thad." Her attention returned to the Wolf. "I need you to hold in this form until the 1 minute mark. It takes you about, what, 20 seconds to shift between forms, if I remember correctly?"
Wolf seemed to gauge things in his head for barely a moment, "Mhm, that's probably right. I can do a sort of half-shift but that... hurts." He admitted, looking deep into her jade eyes, "I'm pretty much helpless when changing though."
"It will take 2 minutes for the poison to work, so timing is important. You will be in the service area with Thad, he can cover you. I don't expect the fighting to start until about 2 minutes 5 seconds. It doesn't leave me much room for error," her evergreen eyes were full of determination. She was focused on how she was going to take down her prey.
Wolf seemed to smile a little, canines glinting as he did. She was in the zone, the hunt was on. When a pack hunts they work together and so he would do exactly as expected of him. "Two minutes, five seconds." He assured, grin growing as his mind flashed back to their spirited competition only a few days prior.
"Got the timing down. Fingers crossed it all goes to plan." Thad's tone was serious and to the point. Lukina would feel an arm wrap around her and pull her against his side in a half hug. "Just don't do anything too stupid, girls in my life have this bad habit of getting beat up." He said to her as he released though the smile he had on would go unnoticed.
"Oh, this is stupid, don't make a mistake about that. I am wearing this get-up and there is little room for error and there are a lot of unknown factors," Lukina replied with a wry smile. "I will do my best to come out of this with all of my parts intact."
"Hmm..." Wolf mused, glancing around the room for a place to hide their equipment - he couldn't fight with Lukina's armor in hand and he wouldn't be able to change comfortably with his armor on. Finally, he caught the scent of cleaning fluids, turning his head to the source and spotting an unmarked door hidden to one side. Hastily, he paced towards it and with a simple slip of a hardened nail through the gap, the lock clicked free. It was an unlit, tiny broom closet with a few mops. Perfect. With a few pulls on his straps, his platemail fell free with a muted clank and he set down Lukina's precious bundle.
Stepping out as Lukina and Thad finished their exchange, Wolf appeared much more... revealed... Now that his armor was free, the curves and assets of his muscular form more easily visible than before. A belt remained around his waist with the revolver, though his great sword was absent. He blended in better than before in such company.
The bracers that Lukina slipped on her wrists resembled black leather cuffs to a someone that unaware of their actual function. She was aware that she had branded herself as property of the Sarno house by placing the psuedo-bondage gear on her otherwise, bare and unadorned body. It would impact how the Black Army men interacted with her when she got up to the balcony, not that they had any respect for women to begin with. The possibilities of what she would have to endure for the couple of minutes she would have to deal with them darkened her thoughts as she hid the long vials of poison by sliding them into specially designed grooves in her rig. Her gaze turned to Wolf and Thad as she waited for them with a small hand on her hip, "Ready? This is going to be chaotic." And I might end up shot or missing a chunk out of my shoulder.
She sauntered away from them to the serving cubby to retrieve the Black King and his men's drink order. "Onegai! I, like, totes need the order for the VIP area, onegai shimasu~!" She requested in a bubbly voice with a bright smile on her face. She gracefully leaned over the bar, pushing her chest out as she waited for the tray of drinks, giving whomever was watching her an eyeful of smooth, fair skin that was in no way concealed by the strip of metallic fabric that constituted as a uniform bottom by the Sarnos. Her legs were long and leanly muscled with what was considered an attractive shape.
With little fanfare, a large tray with mugs and glasses of booze was shoved across a bar counter at the half-elf. The bartender looked at her oddly and shrugged. He was just doing what he was told, which was to give the elf girl the alcohol to deliver. He didn't care beyond that, he was still getting paid regardless of who delivered those Black Army fucks their drinks. Who was he to question why some random elf was suddenly interested in tarting it up in Cherry's clothes to serve drinks?
"Domo~!" Lukina's voice chimed as she flashed a winning smile at the bartender. She carefully "checked" the drinks, carefully pouring the transparent and odorless contents of the hidden vials into each drink as she moved her hand over the glasses with a cloth in her hand to make sure the glasses and mugs were "clean" before she finally took the tray. She adjusted her tray's balance against her arm and caught Thad and Wolf's attention with a toss of her head. She waited for a moment for them to get into position before she and headed towards the service stairwell that Sarno had told her about and was confirmed on her HUD as the route to the balcony Her walk was the energetic sashay of a woman who made her living off tips- meant to draw people's attention as she walked past.
Thad moved to be in front of Lukina. He was the magically door of stand the fuck back making sure no fool bumped into her. Last thing they need is to waste the poison on the floor. Thad would look over his shoulder from time to time to make sure Lukina was keeping step with him. It was also an excuse to check her out. He figured this would be the last time he would get to see her in this outfit.
Lukina's smile didn't falter as she followed easily after Thad, keeping her tray level as they made their way to the service access in the back of the balcony. The din of the club had become a subdued thundering in the back of her mind. Her heartbeat was too loud in her ears. She maintained the vapid, cheerfulness as she moved into position but she was terrified. This was against everything she had been warned against in dealing with the Black King.
In the end, she was executing a variation of the plan she had proposed to Bhelith and was firmly forbidden from doing by both Bhelith and Creature. It was not the same plan, this one was in fact, more dangerous. But the Black King had wounded the Mikado with a crude Neutro blade and wearing crude Neutro armor. Her and Bresal tasked to locate the armorer and the outside interference. They had some of the information Bhelith demanded. But she knew it wasn't enough. The Black King had to be removed from the field by one of the White Queen's pawns.
Lukina searched her memory for how the Black King had looked earlier. She had not seen him wielding a spear or wearing cobbled together armor from her vantage point but that did not make him any less dangerous. If she was lucky, he was utilizing the Taianese mouth spray to deal with his human counterparts here on neutral ground. If he was here to meet with Sarno, courtesy would dictate that he'd do so or wear a mask. From what little she had learned about Vekimen from Patches and Zoia, the spray made them bearable to interact with, otherwise, they smelled of rotting flesh. It was a horrific odor with a wide radius. It would mean that no one would want to be anywhere near him, even the most obedient slave would be unable to stomach the stench. If he was using the spray, that meant that his ability to eat would be degraded and his bite would also be slightly less dangerous since the spray neutralized the necrotic bacteria.
The half-elf remembered the ploy of honor and courtesy and saw the interactions between Valériane and the Black King during the duel from the video footage she gleaned from the free company. This also meant that he would be following the rules of his host, Sarno by not using his Vekimen pheromones to ensnare Sarno's serving girls, strippers and waitresses. This was a big assumption but there had been two women up on the balcony with the Black King that seemed unimpressed and uninterested in him beyond during their jobs. That gave her a little more hope that she might be able to execute her plan without having to contend with those two concerns. But… did those pheromones even work against elves? Bhelith had fought the Vekimen head on and had not been reduced to those pitiful things she had seen at the NMX cargo bay; complacent, suffering, and broken. Perhaps, Anisa would be on her side and the Black King would not use that trick against her, but she had to favor caution over luck.
As they came to the service stairs Lukina stared up at it. It was ominous. Narrow, black metal, she was in stripper heels with a tray of drinks. Whoever had this idea for a service stairwell up 3 flights of stairs, is an asshole. It meant that she would be able to hear people clambering up the stairs but it also meant there was no element surprise for her group either. She took a deep breath and ascended the stairs, carefully balancing the tray.
She reviewed it again. The plan was simple but complicated at the same time. Serve the assholes their poisoned drinks, possibly have to do something stupid like pour it in her mouth first and kiss it over into theirs. Get pawed at, grouped a bit, and then get harassed into dancing for their amusement until the poison kicked in. But there was a large brass pole up by the balcony. She could just dance around on the pole like a good stripper elf and distract them, and get their heart rates up to speed up the absorption of the poison and liquor and then make her move on the Black King. She could just shot him with the hook in the shoulder and do some crazy acrobatics to wrap the cord around his neck before she threw herself from the balcony and hopefully caught herself with the other line. It was a dumb plan for how risky it was. If that didn't work, Creature would have to shoot the Black King. If that didn't work, Thad and Wolf would have to peel the Vekimen off her corpse. Even if it worked and she survived, Bhelith would probably skin her alive for doing such a thing and then she'd have to deal with Bresal and Okami giving her shit for the next Lamia knew how long. Bresal giving her shit was worse than the yakuza girl in the mask. At least she understood the motivations of a yakuza.
When Lukina looked up the stairs she would notice a serving station was tucked off to the side of the stairwell. One of the cocktail waitresses came out to Lukina and approached handing her a serving tray full of drinks. “They made this order. All of them are the same, but that monster thing did not order any drinks.” The young woman said. She wore a similar outfit to Lukina, save, her makeup was caked on, and her hair was long and curly, as well as colored like that of a rainbow. She then hooked up a case of vial shots to the little belt on Lukina’s G-string. “Boss told me to help you. Just be charming, flirt. They have been pretty touchy feely. I suggest dancing or fucking one of them which is what I was supposed to go do.”
The woman then stepped off and continued preparing some more shots. Lukina would look up and see Creature was already above their balcony and in position. The secondary catwalk was well hidden due to the light show. Unfortunately the music was even more energetic and some fog machines just switched on. Creature called in over the radio. “Okay. In fucking position.”
"Domo!" Lukina replied brightly. She set down the one tray of drinks and accepted the other, quickly dosing it. "Like who is totes the worse of them that I should like totes avoid? Dance, gotcha." She didn't like the idea of fucking any of them. Her mom had warned her about ops involving having to have sex with the marks and she suddenly wished that she had taken up some of the guys on their copious offers. It would make the idea of having sex with one of the Black Army less awful for her actual less than existent sex life. She made a note to possibly address the issue later on when she wasn't at risk of being horribly maimed or murdered.
“Soo0o0o0o. Are you gonna fuck one of them?” A raspy voice quietly asked over the radio. "Because that's what makes this shit hole so fucking famous. The cocktail sluts will fuck you."
"Not looking to experience my first time fucking a dude on an op. I'm fucked up enough as it is," came Lukina's dry response. "Did you want to watch me fucking some random asshole?"
“Fuck yea. You should totally fuck one of these barbarians. A little sexual trauma never hurt anybody right? " He then went silent. "Fuck no, I don’t want you to do that shit. I mean, I get it if you do. " Creature said sharply. "I dunno if you have noticed, but I'm not the jealous type. But we have both seen what the fucks like to do to women. So I may get fucking trigger happy if they start grabbing shit. Also. Nice ass."
"I will kill all of them, just keep an eye on the Black King," Lukina replied. "I remember. I have to play this game a bit. They are going to die painfully."
Thad spoke up over the comms he found out was built into his magic suit. "God, I hope we can skip that part. Isn't enough acid in this world to wash off that filth." Thad sneered over the comms to them.
"Yea. Look you will be alone there. Do what you are going to do then get the fuck out. Wolf, Thad. If y'all let anything happen to her I will kill you both then fuck your corpses into a fucking paste. Like seriously. I will shoot both of you. Come down there. Flip you over, and fuck alternate between fucking your dead bodies. Then I will go to the bar. Smash a fucking bottle of whiskey, then take the bottle and fuck you with the bottle. Then film it and post it up on space book."
"As much as I would like to experience this level of Creature lovin’. I got to pass cause isn't a bone in this body that would let those fucks hurt any of my comrades. Loud and clear boss, save the maiden and hero the day," Thad confirmed back to them.
Wolf screwed up his face a little at the thought, though he presumed Creature would probably struggle to do all that while filming it and also finding a way into Thad's suit.
Lukina picked up the new tray and continued to smile. "I like totes wouldn't drink that if I were you. I'll like totes come back for it." She walked onto the balcony and smiled brightly at the Black Army men. "Konbanwa minasan! I like totes have the drinks you ordered, ~<3. Who like totes wants the first drink?" Her bright evergreen eyes scanned the facing of the men that were present as she waited for the creepiness to begin.
Lukina felt a sharp pain on her right ass cheek. One of the black army officers grinned at her and had very forcefully pinched her ass. "Right here, tits." He growled. He leaned back into his chair and waited for Lukina to serve him. The others all sat forward and leered at her. "Is this the one?" Another bearded heavy set man said looking at Lukina like a slab of meat.
The Black King did not react, he merely nodded. "Yes. My gift to you, my loyal officers."
Lukina passed the first man his drink and then offered the drinks to the others, still smiling, oblivious to their intent. "And time to stall." Her eyes moved to the Black King, "Nani?"
A clawed hand went up, and he shook his head no. It was a somewhat degrading gesture, she had been dismissed without eye contact. He waved his hand indicating he wanted her to move out of his way.
The first man held his drink. The Black King sat back in his seat, completely at ease. "I call a toast for this occasion. We have defeated our enemy, broken their army, and stolen their women. We will spread all over this world, and take to the stars. We are here tonight not only to celebrate, however, I have come to surprise you. If we ever sought victory, we need space power. The ships granted to us will allow us to expand our campaign."
Lukina moved out of his way and ensured the men had their drinks. She set the tray down off to the side. Her eyes scanned the men for the presence of weapons as she waited for her next round of harassment. She wandered over to the pole and eyed it wryly, grasping it lightly as she decided to dance on it. The men were doing their toast, she was a gift, so fuck it, she would dance and keep her distance while she could. "You might need to start shooting soon. This might be making a turn." She started swaying to the thundering beat of the bass, starting into a pole dancing routine, if she was meant to be eye candy until they decided to claim her, then she'd be eye candy.
Thad was at the top of the steps looking out towards the action. He had a tight fist ready to beat blind the guy who hit Lukina. She had given a beautiful plan but Thad had his own plan in mind should things not setup right.
Lukina danced and the men halted the first sip of their drinks to watch her. “Take it off!” one called out.
Thaddeus was on the stairs watching all of this. When he felt a hand grab him by his still hard dick. It was a young bass booty. She pulled him around. Her body was wearing a tight bikini, and she had on heavy heels. “Ohhhh.” She said trying to speak louder than the music. “You are so tall! I like your outfit.” She said as she began stroking Thaddeus. Thad would notice that the woman had a lovely high featured face with a sharp nose and high cheek bones, her eyes however were 'netic. She may not have realized that Thaddeus was even stealthed. The eyes were glowing, and she was clearly high off her ass. "I like your glow..." She said wistfully, and began stroking him off with both of her hands.
Wolf gazed over to Lukina where she danced in the middle of the tight group of men, trying to keep himself being distracted. He crouched low to one side of the floor, close yet still keeping his distance in case anything hit the fan. His hackles raised slightly, making him appear more fluffy, uncomfortable as Lukina showed off to the brutish men. Their eyes were filled with darker intent than even some of the predators he had hunted on this planet.
"It's like totes hot for a guy to shotgun such a tall glass of beer, it's so.. manly," she flipped upside down on the pole, doing a split as she moved against it to the beat of the music. "First one totes gets the first a body shot.~" She called with a wink. Lukina felt cold steel lightly slide up her thigh. Then her bottom popped off. She would see one of the officers had leaned forward and taken his knife and forced her nudity. "Yea, we don't want you to dance. We want you to be naked."
It was then he took his drink up and toasted. "To us!"
"To us!" They then all in unison, save for the Black King, drank their shots, then discarded their vials. They all made faces afterwards indicating that the booze was quite potent and disgusting in taste.
At first, Thad ignored the random girl. His many sessions of training being with Mizuki allowed him to stay focused while getting off. Then it clicked that this might seem weird if anyone looked with way. It was at that moment that everything clicked. His eyes narrowed as his focus zoomed in on the guy who just stripped Lukina naked. Without missing a beat he grabbed a bottle that had been left on the steps. In one motion he grabbed the girl and tossed her and the bottle. His aim with the bottle was not anywhere specific. He quickly ducked partway down the steps.
As Lukina was fully exposed, Wolf's lips curled into a snarl from where he crouched hidden, drawing many strange looks as those canine teeth of his were revealed. His nails dug into the floor, creating tiny trenches in the well-built ground despite its composition. He could only imagine the indignation she was going through. She was an Alpha and this was a situation he would not force on even an Omega.
"Timer started 30 seconds ago, but this is going to get worse before it gets better." Lukina watched them and did a spin on the pole like the rude interruption was a part of whatever routine she was doing. She assessed her location to the Black King and her trajectories. She quickly climbed up the pole and out of reach, continuing her routine. This was a bad place to be. She was pretty certain they were planning to run a train and / or gangbang whatever waitress they were supposed to actually have here. This might have been part of the reason why Sarno was so willing to let her switch places with his waitresses. That smart bastard. She also assessed that their plan was to get her naked and force her down. She spun around on the pole above them, showing off this strange bit of training she had received as she checked her trajectory of her hook on her HUD to the Black King's exposed white scales. "1 minute 30 seconds.."
The position was good. The target wasn't watching her. The men were watching her and they had 30 seconds to live. She checked on Creature's position. "About to go for it. Creature, someone is behind you!" She redirected her attention back down to the Black King. She launched her right climbing hook into the Vekimen's shoulder and looped the excess line around his neck as she launched her left hook into the other platform an let go of the pole. She forcefully retracted the line and yanked the Vekimen up into the air as she swung hard away from the pole, stopping it so there was 10 feet of line between her and the heavy Vekimen. He was fucking heavy. Heavier than Creature and the strain on her arm hurt but the concern about being pinned down by the Black army men moments before death was more pressing than the pain in her arm.
Lukina saw Creature react immediately and without hesitation. There was a figure behind him, and Lukina would see as Creature moved to counter the person, a garrote wire had been pulled and brought around his throat. The figure was larger and masculine in appearance, Creature was lifted off of his feet. Lukina could hear his radio switching on and off and his intermittent gagging and grunting.
The twenty second mark hit and Wolf began to growl deeply, the sound of grating bone on bone emanating from his form as several patrons backpedaled, wide eyed. His cyan eyes clamped shut in pain as his arms and legs grew larger and more muscular, his neck and spine contorting and his skin flowing like water.
The girl Thaddeus grabbed with his massive hands went stumbling back, and the bottle struck the wall next to her. She fell and landed on top of the shattered glass. Surprised she tried to push herself up off the ground, and her hands mashed down into the glass. The woman shrieked in pain and panicked unable to get up from the cut trap Thaddeus had created.
The line slammed into the Black King’s shoulder, and the line went tense. The Black King was, caught off guard by this. His hand shot up, and grabbed the line and he suddenly jerked, throwing his legs into it, Lukina with her enhanced strength felt the raw power of this being as he responded to her. He was caught off guard, but he was capable. She had felt Creature’s strength numerous times. He was heavier, and, but his strength was on par with Creature’s own. He looked at her for a moment, then his mouth snapped open. A thick loogie of dark fluid exited his mouth and smack into Lukina's chest. The fumes and splash went all over her.
A deep cracking, crunching sound sounded out around Wolf's position as his form made the horrific change from biped to quadruped, those animal eyes of his opening as his fur and skin ceased their wavering and alien morphing. The Agarthan was ready. Scythe-like claws digging deep into the floor, where the man had stood a titanic beast now crouched, breaking into a bounding sprint to Lukina's position.
Thad was tapping his foot to the beat. In truth he was keeping track of the time. As he moved back on the steps slightly to gain eyes on the targets again he seen Lukina leap into action. He also heard the call of someone being behind Creature. It was a split action decision but the timing was too soon. She would be a sitting duck. He rushed up the steps.
"2 minutes." The poison worked its way through the systems of the Black Army men. They felt and impatient jittering start at their feet and move upwards through their bodies. Then the burning started pulsing through their veins, growing hotter.
The men began moved to help their lord. But the poison began hitting them. They all gagged, and coughed. They began spasming, and some of them vomited up blood as their insides were eaten up by the venom Lukina had given them.
Wolf's figure leaped some distance behind where the soldiers sat, ogling Lukina's elegant form, with surprising ease and stealth. A light skittering could he heard it was not particularly discernible from the general hustle and bustle of footwear and heels.
Lukina twisted the line tighter as she felt the strain and she retracted both of her the lines further, pulling herself higher and away from the balcony as she gauged her distance above the ground as the Black King struggled and fought against the line. "2 minutes 10 seconds." She winced and activated the quick release of her climbing rig and disconnected the line holding the Black King, approximately 40 feet above the dance floor with the hook still buried in his shoulder. "Thad, shoot the Black King, now!"
The Black king was lurched up, and slung over the Balcony, he then dropped straight down to the dance floor. He hit the floor with a loud audible crack. Lukina gave off her order, and it was then, Lukina would see movement from her peripheral vision. A Chakram came one, aimed at striking Lukina in the side of her left rib cage.
Thad took a flying leap towards the edge of the balcony as he pulled his gunblade off his back. He quickly took sight being only a few meters from the Black King and laid shots into him center body. The shots landed, breaking through the King's scaly hide. As he struggled to move, Thad's shots finished him, and the Black King lay on the dance floor dead, with his alien blood pooling under him.
Lukina would see one of the robed figures stepped forward. The other two here had initially simply moved away and were the Black army officers' wives. The Chakram was different, but glowed similarly. Before her stood a robed woman, short and stocky, with massive breasts. Dark skin, and a hairless prehensile tail that snaked around behind her. Valériane's lovely face looked coldly at the Half elf.
“Nooooo!” She howled, rearing back to throw her second Chakram.
The entourage, the outer perimeter guards began rushing up towards the Balcony from all directions.
The beastly Agarthan romped over to the stairs where the Black Army soldiers were scrambling up, opening his maw in a bloodcurdling roar directly into their pale faces. Diving forwards, a flash of claw and tooth glinted in the incessant party lights that danced across the forms of the fighters.
Lukina winced as the curved metal buried itself into her side. She let herself drop into freefall, watching the approaching contacts around her on her HUD as she counted the seconds. She selected a far wall off to the left to shoot her hook. There wasn't much time to process. Valériane was alive, corrupted. And the half-elf needed to get to cover. The hook grappled the wall and pulled her rapidly into the other direction. If she didn't pay attention she was going to crash into the damn thing. "Fuck. 2 minutes 40 seconds. Incoming. If you can, take her alive."
Thad watched as the chakram sliced into Lukina. His eyes narrowed as his brain remembered that weapon. Anger filled his entire being as his eyes tracked it back to the person that tossed it. Without pause he put shots down range to give Lukina cover fire. He was not aiming to wound, even if it was his late knight captain.
The Chakram stayed, and Valériane held her ground as the support began reacting to this lightening quick event. She held out her second Chakram, readying it to finish off Lukina. “He was mine, my savior! My husband! You all abandoned me, and now I'm all alone!” She exclaimed in hysterics, tears streamed down her face. Valériane pulled her arm back. and was suddenly jolted. Lukina would see a bullet rip through her black robed, and she stumbled back. More gunshots broke through the base of the club’s music. The guards that were coming soon stopped or were send flying off the Balcony walkway. Valeriane looked up and saw Creature.
Lukina, Thaddeus and Wolf would hear heavy breathing over Creature’s open radio. “V-Valériane?” The Huoshio made ready to throw her Chakram again, and Creature fired again. This time though, her face jerked as the bullet grazed her. A thick streak of red was now across her cheek, and her eye was now red. “Nononononono.” Creature started saying over and over. He then began dumping on her. His rifle cracked and popped with each shot. Valériane was struck multiple times, and she had little choice. She leapt off of the Balcony, and onto the catwalk below Creature, and bolted.
Lukina would feel the Chakram in her side lurch, then it freed itself, and flew back towards its owner.
Lukina slammed into the wall and let herself slide down to the floor. She had to neutralize the crap that the Vekimen had spit on her and she had to stop from bleeding out. The line jerked back into its sheath on her forearm and she pressed her hand against her side as she stalked to the bar and grabbed a bottle of vodka and poured it over her head, closing her eyes as the cool liquid burned everything as it drenched her body. "First aid kit?" She asked as she looked at the bartender cowering behind the bar. "Or something to stop this fucking bleeding?" The half-elf gritted her teeth. "Bresal, catch her now before she gets away," she growled into her commslink.
"You know I am bound," Lukina heard the bastard-alien over her comms, growling as it spoke more loudly than it had ever spoken before.
"You aren't fighting asshole. CATCH HER. You aren't bound to let the hero become the villain," she growled at the Alien.
"One success. One failure. We shall all live with the consequences born of these mistakes," it began gutturally growling louder, voice twisted with building rage.
"Failure? You're right, it was a failure. Where the hell was the fucking intelligence that they had resurrected her? Why didn't you fucking know that?" Lukina's voice was a growl into her commslink.
"I will not degrade you by doling out treatment fitting a child," Bresal's deep timbre snapped back at the elf.
"Said one child to another, go find out where they are regrouping. They are getting ships, they will get no more help here," Lukina continued, insistent.
Over the comms, Lukina heard the unmistakable snort of disgust. "Follow the blood," the alien told the elf. "Her corrupted soul is grieving. She will return to the Black Army, and rally them in the name of that blasted cur," Bresal explained in clipped tones. "Follow her blood."
"When we stop our own bleeding, I'll see what I can do," the half-elf huffed. "I'm not running into another battle unequipped."
Thaddeaus jumped to his feet and raced to the stairs. He landed halfway down the stairwell before sliding the rest of the way to the bottom. Lukina looked to have landed across the room and looked to be wounded before he lost sight of her. His suit was still active and held his weapon in a defensive stance. He rounded the corner at the bottom running towards the bar area across the room.
The bartenders panicked. Naked, and bloody, Lukina looked utterly terrifying to them. Creature, leapt off his own cat walk, and dropped through the air, landing a few feet from Lukina, cracking the dance floor. The music suddenly cut out, and the people dancing in the room began panicking and rushing away. Wolf savaged the remainder of the guards, Creature rushed over to Lukina. He did not speak, he did not say anything, he merely stabbed her with a syringe in her wound. Lukina would feel the pain lessen, and the tingling sensation of his nanites.
He sucked in air, only to see Valériane looking down on them. He looked up, and began reloading. “Fuckfuckinfuck!” He said “Fucking fuuuck.” Pleading. He began firing once more, this time up at Val. He began advancing, and moving. Creature was going after her. "FUCKING MEDICAL KIT NOW!" Creature boomed, his voice making the terrified crowd give him an even wider berth. Lukina could see, Creature was injured. The garrote line had bitten into the flesh around her throat, but the thick skinned Gartagen proved hardy enough to have it cut. In his back however was the handle of a knife, that pinned his heavy coat to his body.
One of the bartenders fumbled below the bar top, and then, a pre-made and packaged medical bag was slapped on to the marble bar top, then she dropped back down, hiding.
Thad came rolling over the top of the bar and crashing to the floor behind it. His suit flickered a few times as he landed. His eyes looked up and down the bar area focusing in on Lukina. He leapt to his feet again and walked over to her. He grabbed the medical bag the nice bartender got out. He dropped a knee beside her and popped open the kit. "Get you fixed up here and think you have earned yourself a dip in a nice bath." A smile was on his face but his eyes had a look of concern.
Lukina leaned against the bar and winced, the nanites made the puncture wound hurt less. But it was deep, she would need stitches and actual medical attention... and probably pants. She stayed still as Thad tended to her. "Thank you. Yes... I don't know if there is a hot enough shower to make this less nasty. Ugh."
Thad worked quickly to tend to her wound. He had learned due to having to patch up people during the recent battles that he had gotten pretty good at this. "So you able to walk or you feel like being carried out of this place?"
"Creature, see if you can follow her. She's going to rally his army if they don't reject her because she is a woman. I'll be okay. We'll clean this up," Lukina called over the comms link. "I will be able to walk. My suit will help keep me going."
"She will make them listen," Bresal spoke over the comms again. At that, the elf's equipment came down from the floor above; rather than landing with a crash, it came touching down with a derisive pat against the ground. "Tarry not."
"Thank you," the half-elf replied.
"I do this not for you," the alien cryptically replied to Lukina. It didn't make to explain itself however, and remained silent.
"Oh, I know that. She's been corrupted into a twisted reflection of who she was and broken," Lukina said softly, waiting for Thad to finish the first aid to get dressed again.
"Make her whole again," Bresal flatly spoke in response.
Creature gasped. "O-okay," Looked at Lukina and Thad, the wolf was brawling with the remainder of the Guards. He then jumped, his powerful legs launching him up. He landed on the bottom of the cat walk and pulled himself up. He ran down the catwalk. The interior doorman had been slain by Valériane on the way out. The door was half open and Creature finished it, vanishing back into the world above.
There was a brief silence, then Lukina’s HUD pinged with new contacts above. The sound of muffled gunfire and shouts echoed above. The black army troops who had brought Valériane and the Black King had laid in wait for anyone attempting to follow them back to camp. Creature's vitals began going all over the place.
Lukina unbundled her suit and quickly pulled on her armor's undersuite, liberating herself from the last of the cocktail waitress uniform, pulling up a sleeve as she tossed the bikini top on the bar. She hurried and engaged the magnetism of the suit as she pulled the plating back on. The lights on the vertebrae columns on her suit lit up as the suit engaged. She knelt down and secured the leg plating. Her Showstopper was quickly slung over her shoulder and she pulled the Y-visored helmet on with a hiss as the suit sealed. Her suit's HUD display showed all of the enemy contacts in the club. She could not abandon the Wolf to chase after Creature and Valériane. "Wolf!"
She raised her rifle to her shoulder and opened fire on the guards that were ganging up on Wolf up on the balcony, selecting the ones that were not actively entangled or in the line of fire to Wolf, aiming for center mass with the anti-personnel/anti-armor rounds.
Wolf dived forwards, having dispatched several of the Black Knights which had been crouched in cover, awaiting to ambush and hit the others from behind as they weren't looking. Small waterfalls of blood dripped down from the balconies and pools of the stuff collected at the corners of several doors and entrance ways from his work.
As the half-elf provided covering fire to the Agarthan, the soldiers made the attempt to regroup and take cover to return fire. The soldiers started falling to the sniper's armor piercing rounds. The men fell onto the floor into the thickening pools of cooling blood with unceremonious plops.
One of the Black Army soldiers raised his gun defensively as he ducked behind an over turned table. His focus was on avoiding the gunfire of the wearer of the Black Powered armor that had not been seen since the Black Army's victory. He knew that if he could take out that soldier who cut down their cavalry, he would be able to make a name for himself and finally earn respect. He sighted down his rifle at the Power armor and failed to hear the growling behind him until the direwolf was on top of him. The weight of the monstrous wolf crashed into him, slamming him into the table and caused his rifle to fly from his hands and clatter across the balcony, sliding to a halt at the railing with a clang.
The solider reached futilely for his lost rifle as the Agarthan tore into man's body armor with razor sharp claws and savagely ripped it away in a fluid motion. The man screamed as the weight of Wolf pinned him down, face first on the bloody floor of the balcony. He struggled to get away, to turn over and fight but the monster was on him. He screeched with a gurgling rasp as the Agarthan's jaws ripped out his throat.
The remaining soldiers on the balcony saw their courage fail them at the ferocity of the direwolf and the sudden hail of return fire. The punishment for failing to protect their generals seemed far less severe than eating ripped apart by this... monstrous thing. One found the courage to pull the trigger, as he held his rifle, shaking in terror at the Wolf.
The bullets tore into the Wolf's exposed back and the beast turned on them. Its cyan eyes blazing in rage and bloodlust as it snarled, its mouth crimson and fur streaked wetly with their comrade's blood as it threw up and swallowed the chunk of flesh that had been their friend's larynx.
They watched with deepening horror as the Beast took a tentative step towards them. The rifle clicked empty as the Agarthan leapt onto them. They shrieked as the direwolf ripped through them in a flurry of claws and teeth until there was no man left standing on the balcony or the stairs to challenge Wolf. The gunfire within the club died with one last thunderous report.
The Agarthan was the last "man" standing on the balcony, the air was heavy with meaty, metallic scent of blood and gun smoke. His broad chest heaved as he panted heavily from the effort. He sniffed the air, trying to locate his pack. A deep eerie howl echoed loudly through the sudden silence of the club.
On the dance floor, people were huddled into corners as Sarno's men tried to keep people inside and away from the fighting. Lukina lowered her rifle, satisfied that at least one person was clear.
Thad jumped back over the bar and made his way towards the catwalk where they had entered this building. He chased after Creature to give whatever support he could provide.
"I suggest not giving chase haphazardly. Again," the bastard-alien, spoke into the Azaleans' commslinks, reminding them of their last sortie.
"Hold on," Lukina called after Thad. "Creature!" She pulled up Creature's HUD to see how bad the damage was.
It was bad. Lukina could see the health indicator which showed a mock-up of Creature. The avatar normally would have been a smiling Creature. Right now, it was making a frowny face. His vitals were rapidly dropping, and his entire body was all red, indicating he was being injured everywhere. The right leg blinked off. Then his vitals flatlined. The roar of the outside gunfire continued on for a few more seconds then ceased.
"Shit. Sarno! I need your help! I need a doctor!!" the half-elf yelled across the commslink, Lukina ran towards the catwalk and the entrance. Her power armor had some level of stealth, armor and shielding. "He's badly hurt, Thad hold back."
Sarno responded after a few seconds. "I'm not sending anybody up there until they leave. I'm not even sure why you sent him. That death squad was waiting on a tail. I'm ordering the defense of the building to open up on them. Give it a few."
"I'm going to drag him back in," Lukina replied, sending Creature's system a shot of adrenaline. "We're losing him." She activated her suit's stealth system and eased her way across the catwalk and checked the door, pausing and looking for the contacts.
She got a small response. Creature's heart rates faintly resumed, but they were sporadic and weak. She had seen him take bullets to the head, weapon strikes that would have crushed lesser beings bodies into dust. They must have hit him with everything they had.
Outside Thad saw that Sarno's goons were firing down into Black army vehicles that were lined up outside of the alleyway. the Black Army vehicles were returning fire upwards into the building.
The scene in the alleyway had been a slaughter, they had poured heavy weapons fire down into Creature and fleeing club goers as they exited the building through the only exit. Dozens of bodies were sprawled across the pavement. Creature lay face down on the pavement among them. His body was riddled with bullet holes and exit wounds, he was hemorrhaging, causing his blood to pool thickly around him, mingling with the blood of the dead and filth around him. One of his legs had been blown off and laid next to him. Without his armor, the vehicles' high caliber ammunition made quick work of the Gartagen augment.
"Disappointing." As the bastard alien spoke again, Lukina's eyes caught a hint of motion as several injector packs of quikheal fell into view. "I would hope you will retrieve him safely first Before applying."
Lukina waited only a moment and eased her way out of the now open door. She sent a higher dose of adrenaline. She appraised the current situation outside and cautiously eased towards him. She wanted to get control of the battlefield but he was dying in front of her eyes. She grabbed the Gartagen's body and leg and pulled him into the suit's active camouflage field concealing him.
Lukina used her body and shield to block any stray rounds that might come her way as she dragged Creature back into the building and halfway across the catwalk. She snatched up the quikheal packs and started injecting the Gartagen's torso with them. "Don't you die! Come on! I have him inside! MEDIC!" She pleaded as she started tearing his clothing to bind his wounds, first applying a tourniquet to his destroyed leg. She simultaneously starting increasing his adrenaline and pulled out the AED wires from the inside of her suit before she placed them on the Gartagen's chest as she hovered over him. "Creature, come on! Please don't die!" Her voice was cracking, she was having a hard time maintaining her calm. She started the timer and hit him with a jolt of electricity from her Onyx armor. She started at his HUD, feeling panicked as she waited for a response. Her hands were shaking as she waited, her dual HUD was still tracking the movements of the people and objects around her.
Of all the things the half-elf, might have been accused of in the past few weeks, this one was the only one that was firmly her fault. She had acted on her instincts to take out the Black King and his people without having a firm grasp of the composition and numbers of the forces that had come along with him. She could have asked Sarno, but she didn't. And the thought didn't cross her mind, she had been too focused on the looming threat of the resurgence of the Heise Black Coats and the disadvantage of losing the opportunity to catch the King off guard. The shock of having the deceased Valériane restored and saying that they had abandoned her had hit her hard. She saw that it had hit Creature too.
The threat of the Black Army regrouping was too great and her focused too firm on Valériane that Lukina sent Creature alone to follow her into an unknown environment with an unknown number of enemies and... now... her friend, was lying bleeding on the ground, maimed and dying beside her. This hurt worse than her own wounds. She was also losing blood but her suit would keep her on her feet. The situation was lost. They had accomplished a victory to have still lost the bigger engagement. A new head of the Black Army had risen, cast in the twisted shadow of their province's hero, who's body had been stolen and then... violated and restored. How had they missed it? They had managed to cut off one ally to the Black Army and the Heise, but Valériane was not on their side now. She clenched her fists.
What good was building a better future if the people you cared would never get to see it? Was this the weakness that Glasseye was trying to tell Lukina to abandon? Wasn't this why Bhelith said that Lukina and Creature needed to separated? Wasn't this what she had warned Dallas about the other day? That the path alongside her was filled with bullet holes and death? She wondered what would have happened if she hadn't shown up. Would Creature have still been injured as badly? Would he be dead? It tore her up to sit here and wait desperately for someone to save him. She had done everything in her power and it might not be enough. She pulled her helmet off and held it in her hands, uncertain.
Thaddeaus had pulled himself back into the building to see what help he could provide. Creature was fucked up worse than he had ever seen. He knew this guy could take a round and keep on moving but this seemed a little much. He assisted Lukina by helping to plug holes to try and keep him from bleeding out.
This was not easy to deal with. Thad ran into Creature what seemed like ages ago. They were brothers in arms and raised up through the ranks. Creature was now a lord and Thad was on his way to be a knight. His buddy, his friend was a broken mess. Unlike Kuma and Val this guy had to live on. This was not the place or time.
"Don't you go and fucking die on me, Creature. We got shit left to finish for you to be going to the great beyond chasing after those virgin girls." Thad yelled, ramming his finger into one of the bullet holes in Creature's chest to block the blood gushing out.
The call for the medics had clearly been heard because Lukina was soon set on by several men and women. However, they were not attacking her. They were moving to start treating her. Scanning devices came out and began running check on her body to see how badly she was injured. “The suit is holding her together, but she is bleeding internally. We need to get her to the clinic right now.” One of the nurses called out, a humble heavy set older woman with greying black hair. She wore simple blue scrubs. Creature, who lay on the catwalk did not move. The medical team that had arrive did not make any attempt to go and get him. Which meant that it was up to Thaddeus to get to Creature and bring him to the clinic with Lukina.
Lukina felt a sharp sting on the back of her neck as another of the nurses injected her with some pain killer. A hovering stretcher was shoved up and moved next to her. “Okay miss, we need to get you lay down. We are taking you to our trauma room a few floors up. When we get there we will be removing that armor of yours okay?”
Of the six people who had come rather swiftly, none of them showed any interest in any of the other wounded. Thaddeus, Wolfe, Creature. None of them were getting any medical attention. Lukina saw that Joe Sarno and his entourage stood at the end of the the Catwalk on broad area that hung over the dance floor. Sarno pointed his hand and barked out instructions to his people to clean up the mess, and to dispose of the bodies.
"Okay but, Creature. He's far more wounded. Please help him!" Lukina protested as she was gently forced to lie down on the stretcher. She winced as the movement made her own wound worse. She could taste the blood in her mouth, and she knew she had to let them treat her. "Thad, Wolf, help Creature."
The Wolf bounded over to them and let out a low growl of protest as the strangers hovered around his packmate. He only calmed when he smelled Lukina's blood was seeping through her undersuite and the bandages that Thad had applied. He let out a low whine.
Thad was working away on Creature, watching as all the medics tended to Lukina. This make zero sense, sure she was hurt but on the Creature scale of hurt, she was a one to his eleven. His eyes narrowed as they seemed to ignore Creature. Thad let out a sigh as he took his gunblade and placed it on the shoulder of one of the medics. "I believe we have a failure of communication here. Hi, I am Thad and I have get a twitchy trigger finger when I lose my friends. She only has three holes and there are six of you. So if you do not wish to end up like the guy I am trying to save, I believe a better balance of resources is in order." Thad said in a cold serious tone. Everyone could see his finger was on the trigger.
The Doctor who was monitoring Lukina with his pad did not even look up at Thaddeus. "Yes. You are in fact very correct. However, we do not take instructions from you. You also do not pay me. The man over there does." He then motioned with a disinterested head toss towards Sarno.
Thad held back the desire to club this guy in the head. "Dead don't collect pay, keep that in mind." He hissed. "Hey Sarno, I see you jumped on the Lukina train like everyone else. Real touching to save the one going to knight your ass. Be a buddy and share some of that medical love." Interesting enough Thad was saying this all in a very calm I am not going to put a bullet between your eyes type of voice.
"Sarno, please, save Creature," Lukina pleaded again looking over at the mafioso from where she was lying on the stretcher. "I'm tethered to him, if he dies, I'll die too." She tapped her forehead as she stared at Creature's HUD. Her eyes flashed green as she made her statement the truth by taking control of Creature with her GHOST. She felt all of Creature's pain as their consciousnesses aligned. Her eyes widened in agony, glowing green, despite her HUD beginning to flash red over her vision. She gasped and her vitals started red lining as her body sympathetically reacted. "Creature, wake up!" The damage the Gartagen was too great, she couldn't stabilize him and it was too much for her own body too handle. A harsh sob rocked her body as her condition quickly deteriorated. "We're dying!"
The Agarthan's ears flattened as the half-elf's scent drastically changed. The stench of death overpowered her delicate scent in a sudden painful wave. He whined and was trying to paw at her but the panicking medics were in the way, scurrying to save her life. NO!
Wolf's cyan eyes flashed in a wholly desperate light, he could sense Lukina's life force fading from her elvish body. She was the one person of all those he had met on this miserable, war-torn planet that the direwolf had connected with - the one person whom he couldn't stand to see in such a state.
Instinct took over, some deep and forgotten part of the Agarthan's biology pulled a haze over his mind, his body moving as if on autopilot. What remained of his reasoning knew that Creature's plight was the cause of Lukina's suffering. Trancelike, he prowled over to the Gargaten, dull glowing eyes inspecting the man's wounds, seeping the contents of his veins onto small puddles on the floor.
Then, the strangest of things. Wolf raised a paw to his muzzle, between his mighty jaws. In one, massive bite he clamped his daggerlike teeth onto the appendage, causing hot red to gush from his own self-inflicted lacerations as they split open.
As the streams of blood met the air they began to smoke and bubble violently, some unknown force inside reacting badly to exposure to the air. Then, Wolf pressed his smoldering, bleeding cuts against Creature's largest wound. The volatile liquid mixed with the Knight's own, beginning to swirl and spark in an incredibly concerning manner. Wolf's eyes had totally glazed over, staring at Creature unblinking as the perverse ritual continued - it was almost demonic.
Lukina felt fear. Loneliness. Then a kind of acceptance. For a moment, only a moment Lukina’s mind was synchronized with Creature's. She felt angry, hurt, betrayed, but mostly, disgust. Utter disgust. Lukina was disgusted that she was the one who had to fight for people. That she of all people had to stand her ground when all she truly wanted was to be left alone. To indulge in drugs, sex, and other vices. Simple. Primal.
But these rules, these wars, and these feelings for people ruined that simple whim. The institution that kept her alive was under siege, and living in it was impossible. The better world she fought for was not a world she could ever be a part of. That better world would at best quickly turn on her the moment it realized the place it had reserved for her. Disgust.
Being conscripted to fight monsters, the lowly beast could only despair. For it was the only thing savage and brutal enough to match the monster. Then Lukina felt acceptance. This almost felt good, it was most certainly fitting. But at long last, all of the pain, and wrongs that Lukina had done; slaying the innocent woman not long ago, lying to have sex with somebody, knocking over a quick-mart for a few dollars, then shooting the man in the leg for a racist remark. None of it actually mattered. It was very liberating.
Then she heard a voice. “I should be going alone.”
The wolf laid his hands on creature, and he felt his nanomachines stream down into the shattered Gartagen. Sarno watched the Wolfe and squinted having heard what Lukina had said. It took Sarno only a moment to realize what she meant “Fuck, save the Gartman. Make room fer ‘em.”
The Medical team, without hesitation, almost eagerly rushed over, and began scraping Creature up off the ground. Thaddeus would see Creature’s deliverance rifle clatter on the ground. It was beat to shit from the assault, bent, and tattered like Creature. Creature’s pistol had been bashed into pieces and those shards dropped out of his holster and onto the cat-walk. The jacket Creature war was reduced to only a streamers. Creature’s body had been so badly mauled that when they lifted it up onto an additional stretcher that had been deployed out from the Catwalk’s emergency medical area, that it appeared to be nothing more than a bloody hunk of meat.
The wolf’s nanites worked rapidly however, and Lukina would feel a sudden spike in Creature’s vitals. Though unknown to her was the price that was to be paid for it. The tumors would rapidly grow in his body and this would require additional procedures from the medical staff. The bleeding however began to slow, then clot.
The Medical team soon rushed both stretchers off, taking Lukina and Creature directly to their medical ward. Sarno approached the wolf. “Uh. You two should get goin. Those two will be 'ight but ya’ll need ta let ya people know whea dey are. They will be safe hea.”
Lukina felt the shock settling in, it was getting colder, and harder to stay connected. You're not alone. I won't let you go alone. Please. Don't give up. We're going to live. You are going to live... even if it means that I might have to die. She shivered. Her thoughts were as open to him. She was full of so much fear for Creature. There was a stillness in her own mind, a solemn resolution and understanding that the world she was helping to build would not have a place for her in it when all the battlefield were bled dry.
But there was still hope. Hope that one day, she would make a place for herself, that she could live as a normal person. That she could stop planting the red trees, stop planting the black trees- the forest of her memory was filled with too many. One day when her clan died with her, there would no longer be someone tending the Bloodtrees as there would no longer be a need for their solemn testimony of the things she and her clan had done over the years.
Her eyes closed over the green glow. She was exhausted, her heart ached and she felt guilty. She never felt that these people were tools, weapons to manipulate. They had a future that she couldn't touch. They had a passion for life she didn't know. She saw the embers and wanted to send them into a roaring fire. They needed to live. She was at peace with the idea of dying if it meant they could all live. She finally let go, that little girl in her memory that was clinging to a young Gartagen's hand for comfort, and faded into darkness. Her hand fell limply over the side of the stretcher.
The feeling of falling halted abruptly. Lukina felt something hold her from fading as well. As her hand slipped away she felt the Gartagen hand clutch hers not for comfort, but to prevent her from finally falling into the black “Yea. We are going to fucking live."
Thaddeus and the wolf would see Creature's Amber eye flash open. then it formed into a slit, looking up at the ceiling as he was hustled off. It was burning hot.
Lukina's mental image smiled weakly. "I'm glad. I have to rest. I'm not strong enough to feel someone I love almost die. Let's go live. There's a light in this darkness, and it's us." Wolf could smell that Lukina's scent was starting to go back to normal, though she still smelled strongly of her own wounds.
Wolf's icy eyes blinked a few times, the fog that had consumed him lifting little by little. Finally with a great shake of his head, the Agarthan looked down to his aching leg, the remnants of his self-inflicted wounds closing up with a hiss and wisp of smoke. Why would..? Taking a moment to simply get his bearings, the horror of what he had just done dawned.
Lukina's scent danced lightly across his twitching nose, assuring him things had changed for the better. Did he.. Save them? No, save wasn't the right term. Wolf gazed at Creature with an almost pitying look - saving wasn't the right term at all for what he was about to experience.
Camp Azalea, Classroom
Originally meant to educate soldiers and carry out briefings, the room itself was rather spartan, with only the simple fixings necessary to teach students the art of war, or inform officers and soldiers of the latest intel. However, in these grey, reinforced concrete walls, Thaddeus and Wolf had been ordered to assemble, or else, and now? Both sat at their front row desks, waiting like a pair of prisoners expecting their execution. As the door opened, the hulking, chitinous form of Bob quietly floated in, a red pokadot tie stuck to its front. Setting down the stack of books it brought along in its tentacles, the tentacle rape monster then took to the speaking podium.
"Alright everyone, we're here today to address an unpleasant topic. It's not often spoken about because it's a rather sensitive one, but, we need to talk about Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," the Sutakame began, a man's voice clearly speaking into their minds. Reaching over with its tentacle, the monster touched the volumetric controls and brought up one of the most evil, hated, torturous instruments of suffering in existence.
A Power Presentation.