Planet E-11 VII, Moon 13
"God damnit, why did this shuttle have to be so small?!" Ylfa cried out. Despite being clad in her cheap, affordable, stark white armor, she felt claustrophobic. Crushed. It didn't matter that she was in the pilot's seat! Tearing the quick-fabricated helmet off, the woman held it high as she pushed back at the others. "Give me some room or I'll cave your head in with this bucket!" Grunting with displeasure, she activated her comms. "Kelly, Mister Clean, we're launching!" As the tiny shuttle craft pushed off, leaving the light battle droid and cleaning crab thing behind in the ship, their view quickly became swallowed in icy cold blizzard and snow. Knowingly or not, it seemed that the blonde had perhaps dressed for the occasion.
"5w33T!" the female voiced battle droid began from the ship. "It's right at the coordinates, buried under the ice. It's got some sort of stealth to it too, but it looks like there's a malfunction in the field. If it weren't for that, and us being so close, we would have missed it." Kelly explained. "I'm starting up the firing sequence; you'll have an entryway soon enough." A lance of light shot down from the bigger escort ship in front of them as the icy surface of the planet began to flash, boil, steam and get burned away from the lighter weapon. Not that Ylfa cared.
"Fuck, did someone fart?!" the blond bared her teeth.
Creature had closed his caged helmet over his face and sat crammed in with the others. He looked around as the woman got louder and began shoving on the members of her crew that were seated next to her. Creature was a Gartagen, and cramped dark conditions were something he was very accustomed to. Most of these pinkskins, however, were not used to such conditions. She was the leader, she was in charge and her nervousness was swiftly becoming a problem.
"Hey." The Creature said looking up at the taller Ylfa. "Shut the fuck up! Nobody farted! It's your breath because you keep running that dick sucker!" Creature looked around. "Okay, Listen up mother fuckers. This is ship fight. I dunno if any of you have done fucking ship fight, but this shuttle ride is the good part. Ship in the ice is probably going to be fucked up dark, fucked up dank, and fucked up cramped. If any of that is a problem, then stay on this shuttle. I'll go on point, Sasha, you are second through the breach, I need Thad and Jack on my tail, Corgan you are a fucking Marshal, make sure Princess Ylfa is comfortable." Creature then looked at Corgan. "I swear to Anisa, if your dick accidentally slides into her....." Creature then held up a gloved fist for Corgan to pound.
Jaime was standing by the kitchenette, leaning back on one of the cupboards. He was dressed in his amalgamation of body armors into what looked like a barely cohesive armor set. His AR laid limp by its one point sling on safe, Jaime had loaded all his magazines, as he felt he might need them and it was better to have and not need than to need and not have. He had attached a flashlight he had found to the front end of his rails to have a mobile light that was pointed akin to his rifle. As Creature finished his brief and looked to Ylfa,
"Basic starship drill just without our fucking power armor, right?" He didn't look worried, he'd even put on a sweater just before boarding. Jaime was going to be warm. He stood up a bit to loosen himself a bit out of habit, half-knowing he didn't need to considering he was almost entirely cybernetic now.
Meanwhile, Jack was all too used to cramped shuttles and even fighting in a ship boarding action, needless to say it brought memories, ones he wished he could forget. Almost slipping into them, he was pulled back to reality as creature spoke,
"Affirmative, I'm used to it. Close quarters is why I brought a carbine and the machine pistol, and should be a good test run for the new weapon. Boys in the lab insisted, otherwise I would have brought the AR with drum mags, and the integrated barrel. Well, or the edjia battle rifle as well. So what kind of resistance are we expecting?" Jack sat closest to the airlock, and looked over the numerous occupants, before returning his gaze back to the airlock.
In comparison, Thaddeaus Maximus was still getting used to being in a cramped shuttle. Having been on world most of his life this new cramped shuttle felt like his old tiny tent he use to sleep in. Granted the company was nice even if it wasn't always funny to wake up with a Mizuki butt in your face. Either way Thad felt excited to be a part of this little party. He hoped that it would finally bring him the glory and title he has been chasing after.
"So on your tail, dark dank cramped places and keep Corgan from an oops into princess Ylfa. Simple enough, and here I was thinking this mission was going to be tough." Thad said with a chuckle as he looked at each of the members on this team.
Not too far off, Sasha appeared to be in not any type of armor. Instead, she was in her usual attire, khaki shirt, with khaki pants, along with few bandboilers and grey trench coat. She kept silent almost the whole time through the ride, except when she heard the Gartagen’s calling her name out, which she replied shortly.
“Alrighty. “ She then slowly pulled the charging handle of her shortened shotgun back to check if any shell was in the chamber, then pulled it back forward, making a heavy 'chi-chick' noise.
Creature looked at Sasha through his helmet and noted she like a few others were not EVA equipped. The Gartagen lord himself was wearing his edjia armor which could double over as a pressurized environmental suit and function in any environment. Creature stood up and moved over to the part of the shuttle that was marked "EVA SUITS". A swift kick sent the closet door snapping open, revealing some shitty hard EVA suits that looked old, musky and not very comfortable or easy to move around in. "Uh. Some of you might want to slide into these pieces of shit. I don't think this planet is the kind of place that gets visitors on the reg."
Corgan ignored Creature's battle preparation speech until he heard his name. He almost made a remark about making Ylfa very comfortable, but her issues with the cramped room convinced him she was more than willing to put him out of an airlock to have more room. He grinned at the whispered comment.
"Can't make any promises," the Marshal replied quietly. "Well, except that if I put it in it's not going to be an accident, and it's only going to be after she's begging for it." He pounded Creature's fist. Looking at the EVA suits, he said, "That one has something brown in it. Maybe that's where the smell's coming from."
The windows of the shuttle offered the team the view of their destination as they made their slow journey towards it. The moon had been wounded in some godly battle and had never healed, the pristine white surface was marred with veins of rust colored red. Its icy surface bled still from constant plate movement over a liquid ocean, the shuttle gave them the atmospheric readings, warning them that while there was a high concentration of molecular oxygen in the thin atmosphere, it would be dangerous to step onto the surface without a self-contained oxygen supply.
The beacon was beneath the surface of a large wound, they could just barely see a black dorsal through a veil of stormy white as a storm raged across the surface. Their escort ship's weapon melted the ice encasing the mystery ship and revealed more of the ship's aft end. The hole in the ice was large enough for the shuttle to land inside but it would only be a matter of hours before their self-made cavern iced over again.
Not that any of this seemed to matter to Ylfa. She stared at them all over her shoulder, face livid, red and angry, the scenery on the main screen slowly shifted as the shuttle began pitching downwards.
In its own terrible, scarred way, the planet was beautiful, like a snowglobe that was cracked with red. Staring at that blizzard wrapped surface, it seemed to slowly get bigger. And bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Already, gravity was starting to take hold, or not - the shuttle's kinetic dampeners were shutting off, and the artificial grav systems were slowly tampering down and going offline at each passing second. Right in the pit of their guts, every single one of them could feel themselves falling, falling, falling!
All as Ylfa stared at them with a look of complete, and utter disgust.
Jaime felt the shift in momentum, grabbing onto one of the cabinet pulls and nearly shearing it off unintentionally. His other hand gripped his AR's receiver like it was going to save him or something. "Ylfa... I know they are idiots but killing them won't solve anything. I also don't think that ramming us into the ice is going to do us any favors in the looks department either."
He didn't realize he was speaking loud enough that she could hear, but turned his head to look at her anyway with the intention to say something else. Jaime felt his feet want to come off the deck below him, so he shoved them down into the deck in defiance.
"Please tell me that this thing didn't just become a projectile."
As the shuttle began to plummet, Charley groaned from her seat on the porcelain throne as the shuttle's gravity started freaking out. She'd barricaded herself in the shuttle's bathroom immediately after boarding, to get some space between her and the rest of the crew. 'Why does my alone time have to be interrupted like this?' she thought as she got off the toilet, zipped up an old Dusk suit she had bought before the whole 'heist' happened. Taking a moment to wash her hands, she then opened the door just enough to pop her head out and ask, "What the fuck is going on?"
Creature turned around and pointed down at the shuttle deck. "We are on an express elevator to hell fucker!"
Creature turned back around to see Ylfa scowling at everyone with a face that Creature was used to. "Hah. She is adorable when she is angry!" He said pointing to Ylfa as he sat back down and buckled himself in. "Good. Better to be pissed than scared. Because we don't know what on that ship. It could be a bunch of corpses. Could be a science ex-fucking-speriment gone wrong and all those corpses shamble to life ready to fuck us bloody. Might be a trap. Bunch of slaving space pirates that will cut our throats and sell our lady folk. Or even incorporeal aliens trying to scope us out before launching an invasion!" Creature then slapped Jack's knee. "I am excited! Woo!"
A-05 was, thankfully not as cramped as everyone else, being a robot, it doesn't need to breathe, so it didn't need a bulky EVA suit to survive, it also didn't have combat experience so it wasn't weighed down with heavy, bulky weapons. It was also designed to look like an human in their early teens, so it also doesn't take up as much room as most of the bulky adults. So it was all folded up in a corner of the shuttle, just keeping to itself. Not even bothering with Finger Dabbing since it's busy watching everyone.
Sasha saw the old and torn EVA suits Creature has pointed at, and slowly reached for one, and successfully grabbed one from the case. Looking at it, she thought of getting a pair of new one after this, but eh, better than nothing. Putting on pairs of EVA suits that seemed to be pretty tight for her, Sasha slowly looked out the window, looking around on how the planet looks like. Welp, not an desert. She thought. Good.
Corgan got out of his seat and slipped into an EVA suit that was nearly his size. It was pretty tight with the Marshal duster and Styrling armor, but he wasn't about to take that off. He was about to sit down when the shuttle started falling. Suddenly he felt like the ceiling was rushing towards him. His hand gripped the bottom of the seat and he pulled himself down with one arm and buckled himself in with the other, straining his cybernetics.
The Marshal took a deep breath and released it in a sigh of relief. Alarm bells went off in the back of his brain. "Slow this thing down, you can't get paid if you're dead," Corgan shouted. "Just put up with us a few hours and you will never have to see us again!"
Leery and narrow eyed, Ylfa glanced at each of them in turn as they tried to reason with her. But she wasn't having any of it.
"Buckle up." In moments, the shuttle came careening towards the surface of the planet like a ride straight into hell. But just as Creature's safety harness clicked open, the craft suddenly pitched up as its thrusters fired. Smashing against the ice, the thick hull skidded across the surface as they were sent skipping like a stone. Wrenching the stick and throttle around, they were suddenly spun 180 degrees around as they grated across the ice, thrusters firing until they finally came to a stop after a long slide. Standing up from the pilot's seat, the big blond stomped on over to the shake-and-baked Gartagen man. "You can think whatever you want of me, but while we're working together, you keep that shit in your head and play nice, just like your boy said." Donning her stark white helmet, she walked past them all.
"Suit up, or become a popsicle. We're going on a walk," Ylfa ordered them all about. It wasn't long before the ramp dropped.
Creature flew around and smashed around cabin of the shuttle. He smacked into every body thanks to Ylfa’s surprise unbuckling of his harness. The clatter of his armor made the descent of the shuttle all the more dramatic, and likely painful to the operators. He slammed against the floor, but soon he was up and in his feet.
Creature stood and looked at the floor and nodded at what Ylfa said. When Ylfa finished her speech Creature held out a finger as if to respond.
The report of the Deliverance in such tight quarters would be deafening. Creature had fired the weapon at Ylfa from the hip. He then leveled the weapon at her, ready to put a second round in her again if she got up.
“Oh, I’m sorry, did I fucking offend you princess?”
With a deafening boom, the bullet hit the other side of the cabin as a clean, half-inch hole suddenly appeared in the woman's lower back, the cheap white poly-armor having done little to stop it. For the briefest of moments, she stood there like a statue, only to fall forward and hit the deck with a solid thud.
Ylfa did not get up.
“Oh get up princess. That was a .50 round, we should be soaked in your fucking blood right now.” Creature said scowling at the Fallen Ylfa. “If you keep this bullshit up i’ll have to change your fucking name from Princess Ylfa to Drama Queen Ylfa. I’m a lord, I can make that title official.”
Jack holstered his weapon hung on, having attached a safety line to the nearest grapple point before locking the environmental seals on his armor. As they "landed" he was thrown back into his seat hard, but he was used to this.
As he pried himself from the seat and in tethered however, the gunshot deafened the packed confines of the ship.
"What in the fucking hell is wrong with you creature?! You shot her?!" Jack yelled at the garter before sliding over to the downed woman to check her. It was clear she was dead, and wasn't going to rise again. He stood and upholstered his weapon, now on edge and wary of the crew's reaction. Flicking the safety off, "What have you done?"
“She isn’t dead!” Creature snarked. “I’ve shot enough people, there should be a bloody mess at your feet if she was ‘normal’. She tried to kill me bro!” Turning to the rest of them, he went on, "Alright! Enough gawking. Drama Queen Ylfa can stay on the shuttle, let’s get this shit show done with.” Creature said turning and moving to the docking door.
Ylfa continued to look very dead.
Jack wasn't sold, "Sasha, I need a light now!" He detached his medical pack and opened it to reveal his medical gear before flipping the body over to check for vitals and such. He stopped to examine the wound further, as creature pointed out there was no blood. Something wasn't right, and he didn't like the bad feeling his gut was giving him.
Alexis lit a cigarette. Everybody probably smelled it immediately. The weapon-maker hadn't stood up yet, because standing up right now would have implied that she was ready to move, and Alexis preferred the back where people couldn't see her or... shoot her in the back.
"Glad to see we're all getting along, know what I mean?" The tech-creator pointed out, "That looks cybernetic. You might have like, shot her battery."
As Jack flipped the white armored woman over, a small amount of crimson began to pool on the ground. Worse still, the man couldn't feel a pulse either.
After a few moments of looking like an idiot, Jaime was able to find what he was looking for: A high-speed data cable. He pulled it out as it made a very odd noise that was only masked by his speech.
"Welcome to hell, we don't have a doctor, the Gartagen just shot the Boss... And now I get to physically jack myself into people." Jaime knew Ylfa could do stuff like this, she'd done it to the ship. He felt around her neck until he found a similar-feeling access port and pulled his cord out close to it. "I have no idea what the fuck I'm doing, wish me luck." He then attempted to plug himself into Ylfa to access the digital side of her to see if there was anything he could do.
Jaime had no idea what to expect at all besides a probable and swift kick to the groin if she woke up.
Corgan's eyes snapped open and his body relaxed. He definitely wasn't dead, he could feel his heart pounding in his chest. Something large had been bouncing around the inside of the shuttle. Apparently, it had been the Gartagen, because he was on the floor. He was buckled in the last time Corgan looked. A quick glance confirmed his harness didn't break.
The unmistakable report of a rifle from close quarters answered his question. He winced at the pain in his eardrums and shook his head, trying to get the ringing to stop. Corgan sighed, unbuckled himself, and stood up.
"So what I'm hearing is Ylfa purposefully unbuckled Creature's harness. Technically he is within his rights to defend himself, but I think the threat had passed. I'm not going to do anything," Corgan said, turning to Creature and gesturing at him. "But if you shoot her again I'm going to have to arrest you." He glanced down at the wounded woman. "Yeah, Miss Alexis is just as intelligent as she is beautiful. I definitely saw some cybernetics there. You look like you know what you're doing more than I do, I'll let you guys handle this." Corgan walked over to Creature and spoke again, is tone slightly hushed. "What the fuck, man? Did you have to shoot her with a goddamn fifty cal?"
Thaddeaus rolled his eyes as he double face palmed at this mess. He looked up and over at Creature.
"Sir, we really need to work on your bed side manners. Not everyone can be shot and get back up like getting shot is an everyday thing." He commented thinking back to all the times Creature had been shot and stood back up as shit got more real. "Just be happy he only shot her with a fifty cal, he could of also had sex with her." Thad said with a laugh. "Welp lets get her fixed up so we can get this show on the road. Don't feel like having to drag around a body with soon in our misadventure." As he spoke he unhooked his harness and got his footing under him.
Jack blinked as what they were saying hit him, and as if breaking the trance offered help,
"That explains a lot. If I'd known that, I could have just synched to her and run a diagnostic. I think this is the port your looking for?" He said trying to make sure Jaime had a clear path to the port. Unpolarizing his visor he looked at the young looking man with organic irises that glowed red with the nanoes that traveled his nerves, "Strange. The Geist didn't register cybernetic, or bio-organic components. What, or who are you two, and who else in the group is like you?" Jack asked curiously as he ran optical scans on the two as Jaime worked.
Sasha stood beside Jack, with a small flashlight still on her hands as she blinked in disbelief. For a second, she thought Creature has gone nuts after rough ride, and had her handy pistol in her other hand.
“Well, shucks. That’s somethin’.... “ Sasha spoke, watching Creature, then the still Ylfa.
Charley groaned as she opened the bathroom door.
"What was that stupid crash for?" she asked, rubbing a bruise on her head. "And what was that gunshot?" she continued as she turned to see nearly the entire crew crowded in the front of the shuttle. "Huh?" Sighing as she walked up, she tapped one of the beef cakes' shoulder plates and asked, "What's going on? There's way too many of you to see what you're all gathered round." Between the excessive amount of people between her and Ylfa and the Kowloonian's height, she had no idea what had happened to her Boss.
As Jack activated his implant and tried interfacing with Ylfa's body remotely, Jaime reached down to the back of the woman's neck. Undoing the seal just enough to expose her nape, the man's nails picked at it until something caught. One moment, there was soft, cooling skin under his finger, and the next, something hard as skin parted, a plug of peachy flesh flipping up and to the side to reveal a familiar looking port. Pulling out his own cord, the ex-marine jacked in as they both found the same thing.
A black emptiness. A nothing where they both had hoped to find something. Every few long moments, blood dripped.
Jaime attempted to think of her starting up, turning off the black emptiness, though he didn't know anything about how any of this stuff worked. He didn't know what he could do, but he had to do is think to have something done. That's how it worked right? He began shutting down non-essential internals and diverted the power through the cord. At leas he hoped was that was happening. He kept thinking to somehow save her consciousness to a file somewhere in his mind. He had to do something. He kept his neck pointed at Ylfa, turning towards Creature with a violent expression and felt his hand want to grab his RKAR and mag dump...
But he didn't.
He was panicking and it was showing on his face now, the only person who knew enough about the intel, the contacts, everything regarding this op just died. He felt his hands flexing wildly, something was about have to happen or else they'd all just end up dead staring at each other. Jaime wanted the Gartagen to die, his mind was working to predict movements. His mind wanted to kill. Ylfa: his ex-sergeant, his mentor, his friend, and someone he deeply cared about was laying on the floor completely offline and bleeding.
He quietly sat there on the floor, attempting to do things that his mind told him might work. The pigment was gone in his synthetic skin, he was pale. It was if everything had just hit him at once. His mind was getting corrupted with thoughts of all emotions. He wanted to cry, he wanted to scream, and he wanted everything to be okay. The leader of their band was incapacitated, and someone needed to take command. He told himself to set objectives, he set three. One, Attempt to revive Ylfa using non-essential power and take all measures to keep her alive. Two, Attempt to complete the operation at all costs except objective one if at all possible. Three, no one else from his group was going to die by any means necessary.
Jaime, for all of a minute looked extremely volatile to emotion as the gravity of the situation came to him. He couldn't worry about it, Jaime repeated this in his mind before he found a setting in his mind. He switched a hypothetical switch in his mind as from the outside he looked to exhale out the majority of the air in his lungs.
The expression drained from his face, being replaced by a completely blank expression and a thousand parsec stare. He was emotionless, he had no fears or desires beyond his objectives. His eyes looked around the shuttle's interior at each person before settling on Jack. His voice that had been previous was much different than the one now. This one had no emotion, no feeling, just a very android-sounding dialect.
"She requires her wounds be bandaged." His head moved to address the remainder of the group. "Suit up in the functional EVA suits, I am the only one who does not require breathing."
Jaime turned back to Ylfa and applied a flat and steady pressure on her wound using what his mind had told him was the perfect pressure to slow the bleeding.
Creature sat there with his gun still in his hand and exhaled deeply. When the wound was properly doctored up he approached. He bent down and picked Ylfa up and held her by the waist with his long prehensile tail and supported her. He hefted her effortlessly over his shoulder. "Well, there is probably a fucking medical area on that ship. We can take her to it. Oh. Oh whats that Princess?"
Ylfa's head bobbed, Creature's tail pushing her chin up and down. Creature then did, far raspier imitation of her voice. "Yes, take me to the medical area of the crashed ship! That is an order! I am Drama Queen Ylfa! Thank you for the medical attention handsome sir. I love you!" Creature then made her right hand flick out in an attempt to Caress Jaime's face.
"Okay fuckers, you heard the Queen. Lets get moving." Creature, with Ylfa in tow turned and moved over to the airlock and began opening it.
Thad tossed his weapon over his shoulder and walked towards the airlock.
"Time to get this show on the road." He said with a grin across his face as the excited started to build within him.
Jack having been connected to the woman like Jaime, sensed the emotions from the man. At his request, Jack having done his best to mend the damage. He felt for Jaime, even if he did not show it outwardly. When creature picked up the seemingly dead woman and tactlessly puppeteered her, he was inwardly enraged.
"Creature! Enough is enough. You just shot these people's leader, and most likely a close friend. Pissing the crew off with antics, is a good way to have a armed mob after you. I will carry her. I am the one with medical training here, and I need to monitor her condition as my patient. Release her to me, you'll need to be free in case of hostile opposition." Jack said sternly making it clear he would not back down on the issue, his glowing irises locked on the gart. He slung his weapon and extended his arms to receive the woman to his care as he stopped in front of creature on the ramp.
A-05 stood in the corner it was sitting in originally, watching the entire exchange between Creature, Creature's rife, and Ylfa. It blinked out of some obligation of humanity, but then went right back to its normal wide eyed stare as it followed the entire puppet show between Creature, Jack and Ylfa's apparent corpse. It blinked again as it pipped up from it's corner.
"Should I stop streaming video an audio to the ship now?" It asked in an innocuously innocent tone.
Alexis unbuckled her harness and stood up, adjusting her suit's stealth cloak before she fitted on her mask and pulled her hood up. It gave her a relatively plain and unassuming visage, a black gray veil that had a visual HUD on the inside, but little in the way of actual defense. The mask pressurized, though, and Alexis began to breathe silently.
"So, like," she said, her voice just slightly modulated, giving it a digitized hue, "looks like she's actually, uh, dead. Maybe she's got a brain spider. Either way if we're using this shuttle to get out, we should just leave her here anyway, you know what I mean? Not like we're going to be able to revive her until after this shit anyway."
Alexis was a little shaken by the fact that someone had already died on this mission, but she didn't feel like arguing with the crazy person who had shot the woman with her rifle. Honestly, her only real friend here was Kelly, and Kelly was on the ship where it was nice, and safe, and sound, and far away from these crazy fuckers that she'd been shoved into elbow room with. She and Kelly had been shoved into Ylfa's group like the universe had a shoehorn and a grudge, and now she had been shoved into this group, too.
Best just to get it over with.
She took the time, waiting near the exit with Thaddeus, to tap a few of her magazines against the side of the offramp. Then, she hit the pressurization switch.
"Anyway I'm getting like, pretty impatient so, ready or not," she said, "Here we go."
As a tiny, tiny crab alien 'pawed' at the viewscreen in the mothership, crying over the huge tracts of land utterly destroyed by such a careless, impulsive and cruel act, the light battle droid watched on, its silence born of absolute horror.
Iceball and Shuttle
"Well. I could go on and on about how you meat bags suck," Kelly's voice spoke over the comms, nice and unnaturally calm. "And bitch how one of my most favorite semi-meatbags is now dead, but that isn't really productive. Like glassing you all from orbit." Sitting in the high backed captain's chair, and stroking the distressed mini-crab in its lap, the black glass faced machine continued to speak to them across the shuttle's viewscreen, the single light shining through its faceplate a deep red. As the female machine paused, they could all hear the lamenting cleaning-crab in the background. "Oh. Right. Alex is there. Bummer. i gu355 1'll h4v3 t0 h3lp y0u 4ll th3n," the female droid's voice crackled with menace. Like a great crimson eye, it seemed to shine down on them, judging them all. "Yeah...." it sighed. "Just leave Ylfa's corpse there. I don't think any of you chucklefucks - not talking about you Alex bae - can do shit. Seriously. Go. Get out there and grab the loot already."
As the shuttle's ramp dropped, its atmospheric field holding back the cold, the iceball awaited them.
“Yea that’s total bullshit Jack. I’ve read your dossier, and it says your medical skill is rated st first fucking aid basic medical, so do me a favor and stop over selling the resume. We already hired you," the Gartagen said as he sauntered down the ramp. Creature hefted Ylfa’s body down and held the larger woman by her belt carrying her like a shield. He then shoved his rifle up so that it flipped over his shoulder and hung by its strap across his back. He then drew his scatter gun and continued forward after Alexis.
“Plus once we get into that ship there won’t be shit stopping what ever is in there from coming back out fucking Ylfa’s corpse. Sorry for shooting her but she pissed me off by unhooking my belt. I totally didn’t think that shit through. My bad, let’s move on.”
Inside the Ice Cave
The hole melted into the ice by their ship's cannon was neat, symmetrical until it mushroomed out and connected the narrow, dripping tunnel into the rough cavern beneath. Above them and outside the wind howled menacingly as the blizzard raged on. The air was thin, toxic by their scans and frightening below freezing, -260 degrees Fahrenheit (-160 degrees Celsius). Water dripped down from where the laser had super heated the ice but the cavern had started reclaiming it, forming long jagged icicles above them.
The cavern opened up into four large tunnels around them. Their shuttle had crashed in the center of the crossroads. Beneath them, they could hear the distant rush of water muffled by a thick layer of ice. The lights of the shuttle reflected across the deep blue of the ice cavern walls, casting strange long shadows beyond the limits of the beams' radiance. Chunks of hull debris were scattered across the floor of the cavern, covered in a thick layer of frost.
The strangest shadows in the darkness was the frost bitten hull of a pitch black ship that was lodged into the cavern wall between the North East and South Eastern tunnels. The vessel was large, it had the size of a heavy cruiser, but the shape of it was wrong and surely, the Tai Pen would have known if one of their vessels had crashed out here? It was jagged with the aggressive arrowhead that rounded dramatically at the stern and flared out to two distant thrusters on either side of a stern door that reminded the veterans of the most recent wars. Even then, it wasn't anything they recognized; there was simply no record of it in any database. The thrusters at the stern had long grown cold, and were jagged with pieces of hull plating missing from the aft fuselage.
The cavern floor was marred by burgundy residue that grew more distinct and vivid as it got closer to the open stern dock of the strange vessel, large metal doors laid crumpled and askew 100 feet away from where the dock gaped. Closer inspection of the stains revealed smearing as something was dragged away from the ship and further into the cavern tunnels. A light inside the open ship flickered red, sickly.
Alexis engaged her stealth and took on the appearance of the surrounding cavern, murky and dark, and a little bit red. As had been demonstrated by one of her potential buyers, there were ways that you could hear the suit moving, but she doubted that she would encounter that sort of countermeasure. It didn't give off the sort of electromagnetic signature a power armor would.
Besides, if it did, she had a plan for that.
Alexis had brought several grenades with her, of the sort that she had used, previously against some of the other members of this little squad. One of them was filled with very small bouncy balls. Good luck, sonar. On a glance back, she realized that the people she had fooled before with her gadgets and tricks had got prolifically smaller; the Marines that had left their Corps after that whole publicity stunt had sort of shrank in number. Alexis wondered, for a moment, if that might have been her fault for embarassing them?
Eh, whatever. She looked back forward as she took a few more cautionary steps towards the bay doors, examining the red light coming out of the ship, along with the drag marks. Everything froze down here. How could she even tell how recent any of this was? She tried to piece together a narrative, anyway.
To, or away from the ship? Hard to tell, so she looked for the frost marks on the metal that must have been there.
Her shoulder began to ache a bit. It was the metal. She had covered her artificial arm this time, but the precision instrument still sort of ached in a shadowy way. It was dumb, and nerveless, and followed her ghost limb exactly, but she had learned to use it numb. Now it was her shoulder that began to ache from the lingering chill that the covering didn't quite insulate her from. She should have armored it.
The door looked warm and inviting and maliciously red. No way in fucking hell was she walking into that thing first, even invisible.
"If we don't get inside soon we're going to like, fucking freeze out here."
A-05 pointed to itself.
"It won't," The mechanical life form said, a smart ass grin on it's face as it stood out in the freezing environment more or less completely naked as opposed to the collection of meatbags and meatbags with extra parts, who were all in either EVA suits or armor. A-05 stared at the door to the wreck. "Do you want it to open the door first?" A-05 asked as it walked towards the ship hatch.
Jaime didn't get into a suit, and he was walking expressly close to Creature and Ylfa. Despite the ice droplets freezing onto his extremities, his movements growing more and more cybernetic than his usual swagger, and his absolutely blank expression, he was attentive. His joints fought the freezing cold as he kept the cord with enough slack that Creature could move Ylfa around without pulling him along for a few feet. He quietly turned to one side and matched eyes with the Gartagen. Oddest of all, he'd stopped breathing as soon as the pressure had dropped on the shuttle.
"I highly advise you stop using her for a shield." He stopped for a moment to throw his arm forward to snap a literal cold shoulder apart. "And my mind says that we should recover her... corpse regardless of outcome of any attempts at revival." It was obvious that he had broken his emotional block ever so slightly.
He was in pain and high discomfort but without his emotions online, he didn't care. At this point, Jaime had put roughly a fourth of his normal power into keeping Ylfa's critical systems running idle. Her mind was dead and Jaime had slaved her life support to his. Effectively, he was keeping her organs warm and attempting to find some way to kickstart her. This was visible on Jaime as well, he looked tired and worn but his body was able to continue regardless.
Inside his head, a lot of his sensor readouts and comm connections were completely off. His optical sensors were on flat visual and all targeting assistance was off. His extremities were moving at about halfway between full strength and regular. Despite the drawbacks and openings, the data cord still the largest of which, he either looked really dedicated to trying to keep her alive or really really stupid.
"The door needs opening, we all are running the risk of freezing." He said this while covered in a slowly thin and growing cover of ice and frost.
Creature's HUD was already working. Feeding him the specifics of the environment around him. The toxic air, deadly temperatures. The world around him floated about his vision. The friendly green glow of Alexis vanished as she cloaked her self. His vision swept across the destruction of the ship's bay doors and came to a rest on the burgundy stains. Creature then paused and handed Ylfa off to Jack Pine as the man had requested. Jack had a point after all, and he had slipped into enough derelict ships to know it was almost always going to have something calling it a home.
"Fuck. Okay. Weapons hot, don't get separated, and check above and below you as well as to your sides." The Gartagen said as he advanced through the mangled bay doors of the ship. As the Gartagen did so, his gauntleted hand reached across his back and grabbed his tower shield. With a flick the device deployed, and Creature had mobile cover in the form of a thick, heavy shield. "Faint power signature in the interior of this thing...life signs, and other power signatures. Uhhh. Keep the noise to a minimum."
Corgan sighed and smacked his helmet, shaking his head.
"We are all going to fucking die down here, aren't we?" He said, looking to Jack and Sasha for confirmation of his assessment. "Just got here and we're one down from friendly fire and one down because they're carrying a damn corpse. Which I recommend leaving in the shuttle."
He turned around at the sound of Alexis's voice. With Ylfa revealed to be insane, he had shifted his attention to the gunmaker. There were pluses to being with a smaller woman after all, and she was fine as hell. He didn't care how rich she was, she was his type. The cigarettes weren't really his thing but he could handle it. Truth is he thought women who smoke smell amazing. Maybe the nicotine made him addicted to the smell or something, he didn't care either way. By the time he returned from his thoughts she was outside. Corgan checked his suit one more time. He had kept only his BFR out, hoping that they would be able to get life support running inside the ship and be able to take off the EVA suits. A couple extra magazines were taped to the exterior of the suit.
The human man ran out of the shuttle, tracking Creature on his HUD. He quickly caught up to him. At least the Gart had handed off Ylfa to what Corgan figured was the least experienced member of the group. The fact that he was giving orders only reinforced his opinion that they were probably going to die.
Creature paused and looked over his shoulder, shifting a slit-eyed glare to Corgan who was advancing on him.
"First off; I wasn't being friendly when I shot her. Crazy bitch tried to kill me, then have a chat about it. Sorry, I didn't lay on the deck like a bitch and fucking take it. Secondly why in the blue hell would you recommend leaving the corpse in the shuttle Corgan? We live in a universe were corpses can be brought back like fucking zombies. Or can be used as egg sacks for squid monsters what want to fuck you. Or sometimes those corpses sleep, heal and wake up, and are so pissed they go corpsed they will pilot the shuttle to kill the people who left her in it. Yes. Leaving her in that shuttle is a great idea. So. I will tell you all what. Take her corpse back to the shuttle, leave it there. When she comes back to fuck us up one way or another don't come crying to me."
Corgan rolled his eyes.
"Yes, I'm aware corpses can be brought back. But now we're carrying a corpse into a ship that crashed for some reason that we don't know, and we are weighing down a team member with her body. You turned an asset into a burden. Not to mention she's safer on the shuttle if we come in contact with something hostile that can turn her into a puppet," he said in an angry whisper. "Do I also need to remind you that it's your comments that pissed her off in the first place? She's most likely to shoot you, and I'm not standing in her way, so seems like her getting up is only a problem for you."
“How the piss? If she gets up as a Zombie that’s a problem for everybody. Same as a puppet, or what ever else. If she wakes up fine she will probably be fucking pissed that we left her in the shuttle to die. I know I would. And if it was me left in a shuttle like that you’d all be fucked. I shot her sure, but at least I’m owning it. Trying to figure out a way to fix it. In any event we may not be leaving on this shuttle anyway. This place is already looking like a shit storm. So it’s best we keep all of us near by,” Creature said as he advanced through the doors heading into the interior of the derelict spaceship.
"I don't give a good damn guys, let's just get going," Jack began. "Even EVA suits can't be out in this forever. Jaime, do me a favor, I need you to remove the stock off of my Maverick here. I'll need to lighten it so it will still be effective one handed. Creature, her being a puppet shouldn't be a problem, as I can buff her firewalls with my own. Sasha, sergeant backup creature and Corgan. By the void, if I thought this was going to be this FUBAR, I would have brought a couple battalions." Jack said a few minutes after having taken possession of Ylfa.
He un-mag clipped the smg from his lower back before presenting it towards Jaime, "Don't worry I got her, just stay close. The release is a button near the bottom where the stock attaches to the receiver."
A-05 however, stood there, watching everyone bicker about over Ylfa's corpse, with it's arms crossed. After they seemed to finally stop, the machine shrugged it's shoulders.
"Are we all finished?" It asked. "Shall it go and open this door now?" It inquired, motioning to the hatch before it.
Jaime didn't give a verbal response, he just looked over with frozen over eyes in acknowledgement. He charged his RKAR with a quiet 'click' as he went somewhat defensive in response to Creature's sensor callout and took Jack's SMG into his hands. Removing the stock, he handed it back to him and went back to his Marine Corps ready stance.
"There is a higher chance of death by asphyxiation and hypothermia the longer we stay in this atmosphere. Opening the door now is beneficial to survival." As soon as he finished, he raised his rifle to his shoulder and aimed at the door, ready for whatever was behind it.
Corgan looked to Jaime, then to the dock, which was missing one crucial thing: doors. They were about 100 feet away from the vessel, leaving the interior exposed. He noticed the burgundy stains leading away from the ship. Flickering red lights added to the feeling of something being very wrong. That isn't ominous at all, he thought darkly. Well, looks like I will be going with Creature, against my best judgment.
He walked towards the open dock, holding his gauss revolver, aimed at the cavernous opening in the side of the ship. This was reminding him of another strange ship he had been stuck on for a while. Of course, he had only boarded one other derelict, so he didn't have anything else to compare it to. He caught up to Creature, keeping pace beside him.
"You guys coming or is Team Brofist going in alone?" Corgan asked the rest of the group.
Alexis rolled her eyes. This obviously wasn't going to go anywhere.
Her Deliverance had a sniper's scope on - one of her favorite models, though she shouldn't go into the squee-worthy details about outlines and computer assisted targeting subroutines even mentally lest the recollection distract her - so she slung it over her shoulder and drew her sidearm.
It was a .50 cal, because of course it was. Her mechanical arm could take the recoil.
She had worked a spectral analysis suite in the hood's semi-solid, translucent visor, linked up to the smartlens. It gave her distance, zoom, and a series of electromagnetic and thermal images that it automatically cycled through based on the available lighting.
She was proud of it. Alexis was a tinker. Maybe she would include it in the next version. Would there be a next version?
Whatever. This was getting distracting, and it was unnecessary. The point was, she saw what Creature could see, and that bothered her for a number of reasons, not the least of which being the fact that despite all their blathering and bravado and argument and huge muscles and apparently huge penises, or whatever they had equivalency, nobody had actually stepped through the damn door.
It was open. It was there. It was radiating an inviting warm red light that beckoned people in there.
Alexis, again, rolled her eyes.
She put a foot onto the loading ramp, and tested the metal. Of course, it was frozen, and she wasn't, so her boot left a bit of a warmer mark there and marred the surface of the so-carefully-maintained hoarfrost. It also muddled her camo, near her boots, so that it appeared that footsteps were just appearing leading upwards.
But it wouldn't profile her, she determined, so she kept her sidearm beneath her suit's protective cloak, and continued on upwards into the ship. It was one of those advances that wouldn't go down into the history books because Alexis had determined not just to advance until resistance was met, but to advance until resistance was met and then pick a safe distance from which to call for the lazy, unmotivated backup.
HUD Spectral Analysis
The composition of frost bitten cavern floor was a mixture of water, magnesium sulfate, sulfuric acid, iron silicate and sulfur. The stains on the cavern were organic protein based, their computers confirmed their suspicions, it was some sort of blood smeared along the ice.
An ultraviolet analysis of the cavern walls revealed fine pinpoint droplets of similar organic protein around and on the aft end of the ship. A closer scan of the crumpled metal of the doors revealed them to be Durandium but the bottom corners of the metal that jutted up were stained with a similar gory red.
Deeper scans into the ship through the absent doors into the hangar revealed it was weakly powered or at least, its reactor was likely shielded. There was at least enough of a thermal signature to indicate that there was some sort of power on for the flickering red emergency lights.
The bio-readings of the cavern seemed wrong, it made it seem like the entire cavern was alive. Faint life sign readings were scattered deeper in the cavern and in the ship's open bay.
Somewhere in the cavern a rumbling cracking sound thundered. The entire cavern shook. The violent and sudden movement disturbed the derelict vessel. The ship groaned in protest and slammed hard down into the cavern floor, and caused the metal walkway to bend and fracture under the stress. Deep inside the ship, alarm claxons wailed and echoed pitifully into the cavern and down the tunnels. A singular white light flickered on inside the bay, pulsing erratically.
The little shuttle they arrived on also erupted in alarms as it was unhappily shifted and slammed across the ice. Its lights flickered and one of the bulbs exploded in a moment of disorienting brilliance.That burned into the sensitive optics of their equipment
Drip. Drip. Drip....
Something was wrong.
Very, very wrong. Wasn't the line connection Jaime had with Ylfa working? No. That wasn't right. It was a complete dead line, just like it was before. There wasn't any power going in or out through that port, no handshake signal or anything to interface with. Just like that one time the former marine hooked up with his data pad, but accidentally knocked the battery out. But, couldn't he have sworn he was actually connected, just a moment ago? Wasn't he connected and keeping her body alive? Wait, no, no, that could wait.
There was something more important than that.
As several of them urged each-other to hurry up and open the doors so they could enter, Alexis cloaked, her footprints in the frost simply step-step-stepping over the ice and snow. Except some of them watched as the steps stepped through the pristine hangar doors. But, that was impossible, they were closed! They were solid and sealed! Except, weren't they open? Yes. Yes, they were open. More than open actually. The doors were bent out of shape and thrown many meters away, the icy floor closest to the ship within the cavern stained with old blood. That old blood wasn't there before, was it? They were all just telling each other to hurry up and open the doors just moments ago, but, they were open this whole time.
"The H311 you guys waiting for?!" Kelly squawked at them over their comms. "You meatbags getting cold feet or something? Get in there already and mark the salvage!" the Freespacer urged them on.
Creature paused, having used his shield like an Umbrella and hid in the doorway during the icequake. He then stood, and re-positioned himself so that his heavy shield protected him, and he had a clear cone of fire with his scattergun. The mangled doors and blood stains, however, were rather off-putting and Then he remembered he had brought his trusty sword. So if something big and hulking came crashing at them he would be able to hack it apart. Provided the damn sword decided to work. Creature advanced on the life signs and gave them a scan before moving forward. If benign he would leave it alone. If a threat, he would give it a quick brutal kill and move on to the next.
Creature turned to look back. Corgan looked nervous. Jack, was being calm as hell, but that was Jack. Ice water in his veins. That Alexis girl, Jaime and the others...worried him. Creature almost was tempted to threaten everybody into waiting outside while he did the ruin running, but he doubted they would listen. This, however, was his forte. Monsters, deep dark holes filled with monsters and ghosts.
The only difference was when he did this he was looking for something. Here he had only a gut instinct at what was here. Having breached the interior of the ship he moved with shocking agility. "Alexis-K...uhhh can't help if you move too far ahead..."
Corgan wasn't nearly as nervous before the Icequake as he was afterward. It wasn't fear exactly, more of a vague sense of unease. He was unaccustomed to the silence of the ice world. Osman City, although it was thousands of years behind technologically, still had the noises of civilization. Even the deserts of 188604 sounded alive. Here there was nothing but the wind whistling through the cavern. It sounded like the wailing of some banshee imprisoned beneath the ice, waiting for them deep inside the derelict. Or maybe that was just the ship's alarms, he wasn't sure.
His speed matched Creature's. He didn't want to be on this world, he didn't want to go in the derelict, and he really didn't want to be wearing this EVA suit in a fight. First order of business in his mind was getting the ship's life support going. Then he could get out of this damn bulky suit and actually move around.
"Jack, Jaime, you really need to hurry up. Alexis is moving into the ship pretty fast here. We need to stay together." Corgan said urgently.
Jaime had no reaction to the ship shifting nor Corgan. He just blankly seemed to check his corners and begin walking forward. He briefly turned to Jack with a sickening grinding noise as his neck joints fought the ice.
"It is highly advised that we attempt to complete our objectives while searching for a medical bay. By the noise that the ship is making, it still has at least auxiliary power to sound the hull alarms." As he continued to walk forward, he let his cord run to its absolute limit in length before the cybernetic eyes turned back to look at Jack, silently seeming to judge him as he waited for him to follow. Jack had stopped unsure if the ship was even stable, but eventually decided to proceed anyways. His pistol was ready, the safety was off, and his finger rested against the trigger guard's side. He was calm as they approached and entered, having switched his expressions off mentally as he did when working. "Agreed, that will be priority one, now we just need to find it and hope the supplies are good and compatible."
He didn't like this mission at all, but at least he didn't have to worry about explosions raining his friends down in chunks on him. There were no friends here, just a rag tag group, him and his sergeant, and a crazy gart and his posse. It was about to get interesting, more so in how exactly would it begin to look more like hell than it already did.
Within moments of shaking their heads clear of whatever it was that had come over them, they all soon realized that the hangar they were stepping into was a battleground. Bullet holes and scorches marked the walls and floors, while one shuttle in particular had crashed itself into the far wall. The others however, had their doors torn clean off, and judging by the old, brown stains streaked across the floor, some time had already passed. Not too far off in the distance, the klaxon continued to wail, deeper within the ship, but at least they found one small blessing.
There were three main passageways on the left, middle and right walls of the hangar, each leading deeper into the ship, and each was marked. The one on the left was marked with "Bridge, Crew Quarters, Mess Hall" while the middle one had a brown stained sign that said "Bio-Lab, Med-Lab, Brig". Finally, the one on the right simply tempted them with "Engineering, Armory, Fabrication". As they considered their options, the klaxon continued to blare, however, an access panel had fallen off of the ship's wall.
If they were particularly lucky, it might just let them disconnect it entirely and shut the thing up.
He looked at the signs on the wall. "Right, looks like engineering is this way," Corgan said, gesturing towards the right. "Armory and Fabrication too. I think we need to hit up Engineering first and get life support online. After we get the power on we can head to the Med-Lab. No reason to check out the Bridge or Crew Quarters, and I'm not touching any food that I find on this ship, so the Mess Hall's out."
Looking around, he spotted an access panel on the ground. He looked up to the exposed wires and circuitry the panel had been protecting. "If someone has the tools, maybe we can do something about that damn noise."
Jaime looked to the direction signs then looked to Jack with a dull glance then looked to Corgan. "That plan is agreeable, though I am going to at least take Jack down to the medical lab to secure a foothold and stop her bleeding using non-powered equipment and stabilize her." Jaime didn't hesitate, he knew if he died he would die. His contained emotions gave him whispers, but all of them were silenced besides the ones wanting to awaken their leader, their Top.
Looking to Jack and hard-charging his rifle, Jaime began to walk past the stained doors and walls leading towards the medical bay. He defied his own orders and put a little more power back into his optical sensors to restart his targeting aids and motion sensors. Jaime was on his own mission for the moment.
The lights further down the corridor, segmented between open airtight hatches, bathed the party in sickly red light as the lighting switched, casting them more firmly into growing darkness beyond the dim illumination of the inconsistent red lighting. In the overheads above them there was a loud skittering.
Deep within in the cavern there was a rumbling noise that reminded them of a deep growl. The bioreadings inside the derelict where inconsistent with what they were seeing. It said there were lifeforms all around them. It was just them and the shadowed corridor. The emergency lighting made a strange noise as it started to flicker light something was moving above it.
Not looking about, Creature did the Gartagen thing, and that was checking his feet. Things could easily come from below as they could from above. He would then inch his way back, as whatever was causing that light to flicker was moving towards them.
As the red light flickered on and off, klaxon wailing again and again the shadow of the figure - it had to be a figure - teetered and tottered closer. Blinking, jumping closer to rounding the corner with each flicker of light, their eyes started to make sense of what they saw on the wall. Big. Meaty. It stomped-stumbled closer as the whole ship began to grumble in turn like a person's sick stomach. Their skin pricking as nature took hold, that fight or flight instinct kicking in; they could all simply feel it stand there, just out of sight. Grumbling, bubbling, gurgling it stood as the floor panel came flying off the ground as bloody, emaciated man came bursting out. Naked, ribs showing through the taught skin like a skeleton, he stumbled forward towards them all, the whites of his eyes gone under the mask of blood.
"5h1t! I'm picking up movement! Whatever they are, they're coming fast!" Kelly yelled at them over the comms.
The shit was about to hit the fan. As soon as the thing came into view he brought his Desert Eagle up, sighted on the figure's midsection and pulled the trigger. A thunderous report echoed through the derelict, momentarily drowning out the klaxon. "Someone decide where the fuck we're going right now!" Corgan yelled, searching for more targets.
As he took his sixth or seventh step, he could feel his cord trying to go taut. He was going to be faster than Rorik anyway, as he was carrying Ylfa on his shoulders. They had to move now. Jaime turned and spoke very sharply as he felt the needs beginning to arise, "Keep pressure on her wounds, we're going to be booking it."
Jaime had turned his emotions on again, though was keeping a lot of regulation in his thoughts. He needed to be alert and all the way operational, but he couldn't let Ylfa's internals die out either unless nothing could be helped.
Creature's head dropped. "Oh come on." He grumbled as the report of the gun shout shuddered through the ship. "Damn son!" Creature said smacking the butt of his shield on the deck of the ship as he rushed forward. "That gunshot is gonna wake up everything! Get into the med bay and lock it up!" The Gartagen said as he rushed the revenant and full force slammed his shield into it. Creature would press harder, and soon his scatter gun was in the monster's face. Creature pulled only one of the triggers, and a muffled thump pounded against the bulkheads. The monster's face was blessed with a face full of rainbow delight. A plume of rainbow-colored smoke formed around Creature.
"The Hell they shooting at?", Rorik asked calmly as he legged it after the man named Jaime.
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As the rest of the 'crew,' was that even the right word for this mismatched and volatile group? But as they filed out of the shuttle She had stood and picked her auto gun up, checking it's receiver to make sure it was armed she followed suit and left the confines of the flying box. She could feel the cold through her suit, which had shifted from the white of a EVA suit to the chameleon colors of the environment. The golden tinted visor followed the conversations as the wearer tried to decide if killing them all and leaving would be the safer, and possibly easier tactic in this situation, bu then they finally, after exhausting talk, continued into the carrion ship.
Following the rest into the ship the EVA suit changes to match the colors of the area around her. As they looked around the hanger the tinted face-plate turn and took in all of the damage of battle scars. As her face plate panned her auto gun followed suit, showing off the silencer she had just screwed into place. The weapon looked as if it was a love child between an assult riffle and a sub-machine gun, on the top rail a holo scope like device was in place, but instead of being a on gun sight, it fed the data straight to her mono-ocular display.
When the things attacked and the others opened fire, a sharp clicking sound came from her weapon as she fired carefully aimed shots. This was just what the Xùnměng lóng, Lolith Blackclaw was trained for.
As Corgan fired, the alarm wailed.
Shambling, twitching moving, the massive slug was sent barreling down into the shambling thing's mouth instead, smashing the upper half of its head off in a spray of gore. At the same time, Creature quickly rammed his shield into the next, the rainbow of Fiddles sending it reeling back. Close by, the reptilian's short-carbine snapped out quick shots, their heads whipping back like a bad car accident, but the fight didn't end there. More were coming, and worse still, the ones that were shot didn't stop for long. Eye-stems burst out of the lower neck and jaw of the one Corgan shot as it continued shambling forward, while the face Fiddled husk began to vomit down its front, floor sizzling as it splashed about, head swiveling and unable to see. Stumbling forward, it lunged towards Creature's direction again. Worse still, the ones that Lolith shot in the heads were simply stunned. Stumbling back, holes in their heads, they recoiled back, only to surge forward moments later.
Running in the opposite direction of the oncoming horde, Jaime and Rorik's eyes quickly found the signs on the walls. Again, the hallways branched. Further forward was the Brig, and to the right, the sign read Bio-Lab. But to the left? Med-Lab. Doing his best to keep up with Jaime, Rorik watched as the line between him and Ylfa briefly snapped taut, the plug popping loose. Without anything really going back and forward down the cord to begin with, Jaime simply didn't even notice it coming loose.
Corgan seemed puzzled for a moment after the undead man's head exploded. He thought that he had aimed for the chest. It was distressing that the target seemed not to be phased by having its brain missing. In conjunction with the strange eye stems popping out of its neck, that told him that these weren't actually dead people that had been brought back to life somehow. Something had hijacked their bodies somehow. "Looks like headshots just piss them off," Corgan said, backing towards the med bay as he fired at the approaching monstrosities.
He shook his head. "This isn't working. We need to go. Following them to the med bay!" Corgan yelled. He emptied the rest of his clip and turned tail. His enhanced limbs carried him quickly towards the med bay. He didn't stop to see if Creature was following. As far as he was concerned that guy was likely to get everyone killed. He didn't know how going to the med bay would improve their situation much. Maybe there would be something there to explain what the hell those things were and how to kill them. Not likely given the state of the place, but possible.
Jaime didn't realize that the cord was loose, well until it coiled back into him and whacked him on the back of the head. Reality was beginning to encroach on him, he knew that if they didn't try now she'd be a corpse. Opening the medical bay doors, Jaime shouted out to Rorik, "Hurry! I don't want one of those beasts to run up this way!"
Jaime then went to clearing the room, turning his rifle into the doorway and sweeping just like the Corps had taught him. He didn't know what he would find, but now that he'd stopped dumping power, his hands and eyes were once again linked through his processors to attempt to tie the rifle's muzzle to his eyesight. His reaction time heightened, and he stopped breathing once again.
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As she fell back down the hall she let her tail swing back and forth making sure she didn't run into anything, as she continued to fire at the possibly undead critters came forth from the walls.
Worse still, there were many more in line, and the ones nearest his flanks were beginning to surge forward as both Corgan and Lolith began their retreat.
The moment Jaime stormed into the medbay, the klaxon died as the voice began speaking to him. But the moaning and the groaning, the tearing of flesh and splatter of gore dug and dug into the man's ears without that constant mechanical wail to drown it out. Taking the scene in, his eyes saw nothing but old, crusted blood smeared across the floors and medical beds, whatever nightmare of the past having swept into this wing long ago. Yet, at his feet, was the access tunnel. Clicking firmly, the maglocks released as the door hissed forward, ready for someone to pry it open.
Creature felt its first step before he saw it. With the second, it reached around the corner with a hand made of hands and eyes and hands as the hulking abomination lazily peered at him with all its gazes. Bodies upon bodies upon bodies woven and knotted and twisted together, the mass undulated as all the fingers and limbs and toes jutting out of its form quivered at the sight.
"Hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh," it almost sighed at the sight of fresh meat.
Creature paused catching sight of the macabre form before him. This was as he heard the voice speaking about opening the mag-locked doors for them to bail out. "Hey dick heads! Door is opening for us! Also if any of you throw a grenade in here I'll shoot you and use you for fucking bait!" He said begenning to back up. He still had his shield at the ready.
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He could hear the lizard girl and Creature a bit farther back. Suddenly the Gartagen stormed into the room. "Whoever you are on comms, could you please tell us what the fuck we're up against here!" Corgan demanded.
While he was waiting for an answer, Corgan walked over to the access tunnel and pulled it open. "Can't stay here, so might as well trust the disembodied voice, right?"
Jaime hesitated. "You, get her below deck and keep pressure on the wound. I refuse to let her bleed to death. They've got to have something." He desperately wanted to search the medical bay, but he knew he'd become outmatched sooner than he could find anything. It also didn't help he wasn't informed about the vessel's medical supplies and he already knew it was going to be now or never to get her somewhat safe.
He dropped himself to grab the door, prying it open enough for it to open up for Rorik to fit himself and Ylfa into it. His eyes kept scanning the room for anything trying to come at them, his finger already on the trigger on overwatch. Jaime was beginning to think that Ylfa wouldn't make it unless those down below had some sort of medical and mechanical know-how. His left hand twitched around the lip of the door seal, and he growled to himself in a split between wanting Ylfa to live and getting somewhere safer than the med bay.
As its many faces and mouths opened to pour out a cacophony of moaning wails, Lolith's grenade sailed over the Gartagen man, but the monster's endless hands swatted it aside. Bouncing off the walls, it ricocheted one last time off of Creature's shield before going 'Plop' - Turning into a mass of white, sticky goo in front of him, Creature watched as the stuff came about and rapidly rose like a rising loaf of uncooked bread from his childhood. Swiftly filling in the hallway, its glistening white sheen shook as the charging abomination collided with the mass on the other side. Miraculously, the foam grenade held. Not too far away, both Corgan and Jaime realized in their haste that the medical bay was still fully functional. Some medical beds and terminals were obviously in better shape then others of course, but that wasn't the only pressing concern. With a hissing snap, the mag-locks snapped open as the passageway swung open, inviting them down, down, down the ladder and into the depths of the ship.
The adhesive grenade bubble shook and wobbled however. Up in its upper right hand corner, a finger pushed through, followed by the rest of the half-rotted hand. Then another. And another and another and another, each grasping, pulling, pushing outwards from the center every which way, they made room for more and more of their number to emerge from the core of the breach.
Whoever was climbing into down the ladder would soon find Creature not even using it; Creature, utterly unsettled by what he just saw, opted to take full advantage of his physical enhancements and simply leap down into the magnetic doors. Screw everything else.
When he touched down, he soon found he was digging through his satchel, looking to medicate himself.
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Finally for the first time since she had joined the crew the Xùnměng lóng spoke to the rest of them, or really to Creature. "You are not my of my pack, nor are you my Alpha. Order me like that again I shall feast on your intestines and wear your skull as decor." As to punctuate her statement her toe claws tapped anxiously against the deck. Before she let herself do it before giving him a chance, Lolith busied herself with changing her mags, pulling spare grenades from her belt pack and slipping them into their storage loops. All the while muttering and growling about the disgusting blue monkey man and how someone should talk a long walk out of a short airlock.
Creature then called out over the radio. "Hey. Hurry the fuck up! Everybody get to the bottom and form up in a crescent shape around the landing. Oh, and, uh, I mean I want you all facing THE LANDING with your guns pointed at THE LANDING. The landing is that patch of the deck beneath the ladder! So when that fucking crazy shit monster thing drops down we are gonna shoot the shit out of it. If that doesn't work we will let dino gurl hit it with a foam bomb and shoot the shit out of it again!"
He was a fair distance away from Creature and the rest. The horizontal access corridor at the bottom was thinner than the halls above, but still large enough to move around in. He turned to look down the corridor at the direction that Creature and the rest of the group were going down. He was farther away than he though, but he could cover the distance quickly. He turned his head up to Rorik and shouted, "Yo! Hurry the fuck up and seal that hatchway on your way down! I'm not waiting on your snail's ass!" As he finished he began running towards Creature's group's entrance with Ylfa held on his shoulder with his left hand and his rifle in his right hand, primed and ready to fire.
Jaime stopped three arms lengths from Creature on the other side of the hallway hatch. "Medical Bay is still up but we'll need cover to use it." His eyes rested maliciously at Creature for a moment before going to the hatchway. He aimed at it with his armed hand and clenched the unconscious hand of the woman he carried as he awaited the enemy.
Rorik looked up. Rorik looked left. Rorik looked right. Rorik pressed the button and closed the hatch.
Slamming itself shut, the mag-locks whirred to life, locking into place before emitting a healthy blue glow. Overhead, all they could hear was the faintest of scraping as the monster on the other side did...whatever it was doing against the hatch.
Creature would then slide down the ladder and examine the room.
But, when it was clear the flesh monster was intent on smashing what it found to add to its biomass, A-05 backed up to the access hatch and with a silent salute to Rorik, the gyonoid jumped into the open passage way and let gravity do all the work, when its sensors detected it was coming to the end of the access way, its normally closed, hoof like feet snapped open into a toe-heel position as it made solid contact with the hallway on the other end. With an equally silent continuance its always showing when it's not being a loud obnoxious annoyance, which is more often then when it's quiet, the gynoid made a small act of pantomiming wiping dust off it's legs, then its hands.
The lights flickered again. "It'll be trickier, when you get to the hydroponics bay... you'll have to cross it to get to the next set of tunnels to get to the core. If you're here to rescue us, I can get her ready for transport."
She was Alexis Kimball-Styrling, and she had been pretty goddamn fucking quiet for a pretty long time; in fact, the entire time that the rest of the party had been in danger, Alexis had been quietly avoiding all of it by, to all appearances, not being there. However, as was evidenced by the actual weight of her presence, firm and unyeilding ballistics plate beneath a cloak that reflected whatever happened to be behind it at the time, she wasn't completely gone.
She had jumped down into the foxhole with them, apparently, as opposed to singlehandedly attempting to kill the monster above.
To Creature she said, simply, "Sorry, like, bit cramped in here, know what I mean?"
As much as he hated to admit it, Creature's plan wasn't terrible. The guy on the screen had an idea that sounded better to him, especially because it didn't involve facing the nightmare upstairs. Most of the others seemed to be ignoring the guy on the screen. His eyes recorded everything he saw for review later on, and he made sure to get a good look at the guy.
Normally he was suspicious by nature but with the shit that he saw upstairs, his bullshit detector was on high alert. The part about the ducts was a more immediate concern though. "Just how big are these ducts?" Corgan asked. "I'm an OGRE, man, pretty sure those ducts weren't made for someone my size. To answer your question though, I have no clue why we're here. If there's someone to rescue then I guess that's the reason. Maybe if we get the boss operational again she can explain. If she really is dead, I hope you can fly the piece of junk we came in on."
He paused for a second to consider the rest of the man's questions before asking another important question. "Don't suppose you can tell us what you guys were researching, huh?"
Shaking himself off, the mercenary man made sure none of his equipment was damaged before briefly looking at the Gartagen man. Sternly frowning, the man slowly turned his head back and forward in a no before walking past in the narrow, cramped maintenance corridor up ahead. Though Jaime and his luggage proved particularly bothersome, the sniper-scout was able to shove and push his way through, and took point. Following the small signs in the tight maintenance ways, Rorik found what the voice over the comms had mentioned; one passage labeled "Hydroponics". Turning back at the others, the man put a finger to his lips, giving them a quiet 'Shh' before he began climbing the ladder. Nearing the maglock doors and the control panel to open it.
With a quiet hiss and clank, the hatch opened, revealing nothing but corn, corn, and more corn all around them, the stalks standing tall and still.
"Let it go in first." It said. "It is a machine and unlike you soft fleshy things, it won't get infected or eaten by whatever might be in there." A-05 turned it's head to look at the corn stocks. "It will act as a loud distraction. But it will also keep it's comm link up. When it feels it has taken enough attention it will signal for the rest of you to go as quickly as you can." There's a small pause. "Don't worry about it," the gyonoid said. "After all, it can be easily repaired if broken."
A-05 then dropped its arms and turned to face the corn field. "Funny, it finally feels an emotion now," it said as it smirked and shook it's head.
Creature saw the gynoid enter a door. "Yea, yea, distract away.." Creature said to the robot girl. He sheathed his sword and pulled up the actual pad to his suit's computer that interfaced with the one in his head. The computer gave a shakey holographic projection, squinting he hit the button. The holographic projection flickered, and he heard a soft squeal travel through the corridor. The hologram reformed into a much more detail version of it self.
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Heading off into the cornfield, it felt like she was moving through long grass, Lolith pulled a few grenades and some cable out. Grumbling as she went about it, she set up trip lines and her ‘nades so that as the monster things hit a few different points in the passageway they would detonate. With hope it might slow it.
Taking time to push some of the explosive spheres into the soft dirt, Lolith planted her own seeds.... seed of death an distraction. Once she created her own killing field she moved slowly behind the group, ready to circle back and engage the monsters if she had too.
A holographic raven landed on one of the corn stalks and cawed at them. It blinked for a moment before it stabilized. "Follow the bird. I don't know what's hiding in there. The life readings are strange... I don't know if the hounds have been effected by the parasites. I would hurry. I don't know if they'll go after movement or body heat," the volume of the broadcast got progressively softer. "I can manipulate the locking mechanisms as you go. Your artificial companion might be okay? I'm not sure if they'll chase her since she's not organic.. I hope not."
As A-05 moved through the corn field, its sensors picked up a movement in the far left corner of the chamber that was moving progressively closer. Whatever it was, it was stalking it. The air in the chamber was stale despite the humidity and the thriving plant life. The earth beneath their feet was damp and overgrown with untended vegetation.
A large figure lingered in the middle of the chamber, just peeking above the tops of the corn stalks, unmoving, indistinct from where they stood in the field.
Behind them was the clanking boom of the monstrosity they had left behind attempting to break through the sealed hatch. There was a moment of silence before the mixed pitch wail of the creature. The ship rattled as it shook with another Moon quake. The lights above them flickered, and the vents above them rattled to life once more, belching forth humid, sticky, putrid smelling air. The banging resumed accompanied by a chittering.
He looked back, remembering the horror that was just behind them, then forward at the large figure. After taking a moment to stretch his limbs, he holstered his hand cannon and pulled out a big war axe with a chainsaw-like blade. He pulled a collapsible shield off of his back, attached it to his forearm, and extended it.
Corgan sighed."I'll take the lead, just in case they don't take the bait. Dino girl, mind sending us the locations of your little tricks so we don't blow ourselves up by accident?" He asked. "We can't keep standing around, that thing could get through. Let's move."
He walked to the front of the group and waded into the field of corn, moving towards the bird.
“All of that shit the helpy helperton said is cryptic and I have some serious fucking questions for him. But uh.” Creature pointed at the hulking figure in the middle of the room peering at them from just over the corn stalks. “Sooooo no one is going to remark on that fucking thing?” Creature stepped forward and stood next to Corgan “Hey uh, whatever you are. Are you gonna attack us? If so say yea so we can waste you and move on. If not say please ‘don’t kill me!”
The moment Creature yelled, a "BORK! BORK!" sounded from the corn field, leaves rustling as something circled.
"You don't happen to know Swedish, do you?" Its chest mounted speaker said, in a muted tone.
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"DO I look like I know this sssshhedish?" She slurred the word not knowing how to correctly pronounce it. "Maybe you want me to go and hunt it?" She asked the robot with a tilt of her head.
He hoped there was a medical bed or cybernetics bay somewhere close, but he'd learned a while ago that things were never that easy.