The rifle reported. “Shut the fuck up!”
Silence hung in the air as smoke wafted from the muzzle of his deadly weapon. Slowly curling up in hot, ethereal wisps, they climbed, up and up and up. Whatever had made that noise had fallen quiet, the corn stalks still as the air around them hung, growing stale. Nothing seemed to move in the dead ship, not even from the way they came. There were no footsteps, no crunch against the fallen, dry leaves outside of their clearing. The staked woman remained forever silent as well, her desiccated head gazing down at them from where she hung, the industrial rivet gun still below the feet that dangled out from below her dress.
Hearing the three growls, the ragtag group quickly realized one thing; they were surrounded. Barking, snarling, the unseen forms stalked from the shadows, occasionally darting back and forward in the corn all around them. The audio sensors gave Creature a bead, but only a very loose one - with the cursed corn all around, it was hard to tell from just where he heard them! Worse still, they could all hear the steps. They were coming closer and closer with each passing moment. Bursting out of the field, a thick and hulking Doberman came charging at Creature, blood spraying across the ground as it closed in on just three legs, the fourth freshly torn clean off its form.
Creature's gunshot didn't startle him. He was getting used to the Gartagens actions. As the three-legged dog rushed out of the stalks, Corgan rushed forward and slammed his shield into the dog's face. He pulled back towards Creature quickly. "Looks like we're fighting here. You watch my back, I watch yours, Creature?" He asked. It wasn't that he trusted Creature, he just seemed like a good person to be in a fight like this with.
They were surrounded. The corn obscured the view but the movement pings registering on his HUD made it easy to pick targets. When the corn rustled, Creature aimed and fired. He was quick and accurate. Double shots would cause the hudrophonics bay to have a rhythmic tandem of thunderous reports. “This shit hole. I’m tempted to go to engineering and set off the reactor.”
He was able to hear Creature through the gunfire, though. "For the first time, I somewhat agree with you!" After he fired another two quick, semi-automatic rounds out towards a possible dog, his eyes looked to the shoulder of the unconscious woman on his back. He began to realize that the futility of carrying her but also did not want to leave he entombed on a wreck God knows where. A scowl formed somewhat formed on his face as he went back to balancing offensive action and carrying Ylfa during the dog attack.
Letting out a long, unending howl, it charged.
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Until her growled snarl ripped out of her helmet, and she ponced out of the corn onto one of the creatures, stabbing both with the claw dagger, and her personal claws on her feet, all the while firing her pistol into the back of the skull of the creature. All of her primal urges screaming to the forefront of her existence as she tore into the beast that was attacking them.
Creature had never been a gun fanatic. He had been trained in how to use guns but was not one to sit around counting bullets. Creature tossed his rifle over his shoulder. The dog...thing charged. Creature stood his ground, then suddenly as the animal closed, he sidestepped at the last possible instant. His prosthetic hand grabbed the savage beast by the scruff of its neck and lifted it up like a mother would move her pups to a new bed. "BAD DOG! BAD FUCKING DOG!" WHACK Creature Exclaimed as his good hand snapped out smacking the bottom of the animal. "BAD!" SMACK! "DOG!"
He ran towards the dog with his chain axe growling in defiance at the dogs from hell. The dog was nearly on top of A-05 when Corgan closed the distance. Instead of aiming for the creature's midsection, he swung a decapitating strike at its neck. Science said that if the limbs can't get a signal from the spine, they should be unable to move. He wasn't sure science as he understood it applied on this shithole after what he had seen. Maybe this would give him a definitive answer.
Hissing and sizzling, the ground near Corgan simply died as the stump turned back to look at the girl-bot under it.
WHACK! WHACK! "OH! OH YOU WANNA FIGHT BACK YOU LITTLE BITCH?!" Creature said roaring back at the animal's howls, growls and yelps. Creature fought with the animal, his free hand snapped out and grabbed the scorpion liked tail. "You wanna fuck me?! Joke's on you, I'm not much of a receiver!" He snarled as he then suddenly drove the pointed tail of the animal right back up into its rear end.
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He strode back over to the zombie mutt, revved the chain blade, and slammed the axe into the side of its stomach. The chain spun rapidly, cutting through flesh and bone easily. If this didn't work he was seriously going to consider running. His last attempt to figure out what was controlling the animal. By opening its stomach he hoped it might reveal a vital point, perhaps even the source of the power moving it.
Plastic was eaten away as the fluids began to gnaw at the tougher alloys underneath, and already, what sensors the robot girl had were screaming at her; she was slowly corroding. Corgan had handily evaded the other attack moments ago, but quickly closed in as his chainblade defiantly roared. Swinging it down, the blurred teeth bit into the creature right on top of A-05. Gore gushed out and over the girl's belly, and as the beast collapsed on top of her, finally still, her polymer coverings and speaker systems melted away, bubbling and sizzling. All the while, Creature quickly found himself wrestling with the front half of the eviscerated dog. With one hand still grabbing onto its scruff, the other struggled with the bone-bladed spine that whipped and lashed around like a scorpion's tail. Grasping it, he drove it home once, but only once. Kicking about, biting and snapping at him as the tail flailed about, it wasn't going to just let him do what he wanted. Worse still, each hack and slash Lolith made into the bloating dog as it stood on its hind quarters didn't even make it budge. No. The gases seeping out of its wounds hissed and began to whistle, louder and louder and louder.
Right until Jaime fixed his rifle and fired.
The whole world was spinning as a constant ring hovered about. Laying about in a daze as their wits slowly returned, they could all see that the clearing had grown larger with the blast. The one remaining beast itself slowly came to, and unlike the mercenaries, former soldiers or even the rebooting music bot, was already up and on its two front feet, crawling as its spine dragged behind. Slowly, slowly, slowly, it found the one it wanted. Bearing down on the stunned Creature, its scarred, bleeding head stared as its jaw opened as far as it could. Flesh strained, and finally tore as the entire head burst open into a gaping, hungry maw.
Through the daze, the air thumped as massive slugs beat it off and way from them. Its remaining legs were shot off, first one, and finally, the other. As the tail flailed around, the mysterious gunner blasted that off as well, and finally, it went still.
"d0n'7 fuck1n6 m0v3!" Kelly began. The vaguely feminine war machine quickly, quietly crept in, her right arm replaced with a short barreled M2 .50 cal. "Shhh! It's near!" As their ears slowly began to work again, they could hear large door sliding open as heavy footprints plodded into the botanical room. They might as well have prayed to whatever corn god or goddess there was; what remained of the field shielded them from view as the heavy, plodding footsteps made its way right over from where they had fled into the area. It was hunting them, and right on cue, several explosions went off as a great and terrible bellow cried out. Thundering forward into where they came from, several more went off before a horrific thud rippled through the floor.
With Lolith's mines and traps spent, silence fell.
The Gartagen had been blown off of his feet and directly into Corgan. He landed, with his crotch firmly on Corgan's head pinning him to the ground. Swaying Creature rose and looked up at Kelly. "What the shit did you even say? I can't understand a word that comes out. LIke if You wrote it down and fucking told it to us you'd have to use numbers or something to spell the way you talk."
The ominous sound of something large growing closer became noticeable as his hearing returned. He recalled the monstrosity from before. "Well, that was fun, but we need to move. I'm not ready for round two with the meat monster, don't know about you guys." Corgan said. This time he didn't wait for a response. He started running towards their destination on the other side of the field.
"Kelly, Ylfa is a bit offline. We need to get her somewhere to treat her, like, now." Jaime turned back to the corn field for a moment before blinking in disbelief. "Kelly? When did you get here?"
"I can see that you moron!" Kelly's speakers hissed at the young man, quickly sprinting over to him at a crouch. "I can also see the fifty cal hole in her too," she snapped. Reaching down with the one functional arm she had, the droid quickly hefted Ylfa up off the ground and onto her shoulder. "What were you thinking skin-job? Might as well pour water over my circuits!" Snapping her head towards where Lolith's mines and traps had gone off like an auto-turret, a wet, sinewy tearing and crunchy snapping could be heard. "Shit, I am not fighting that with this little ammo left! Get up, we gotta go! Like, now!" Looking at Creature again, Kelly's black translucent faceplate flashed him a single word.
They didn't have too many options though - if they were fast, they could go back the way they came and blow past the lumbering...thing. Or even fight it here in the middle of the corn field. But not far off in the other direction, the sealed door began to open, only to screech to a stop with rust midway.
He saw the door was seized halfway, but there was enough clearance for people to get through. For a split second he thought about jumping through it but instead skidded to a stop about six feet from the door. "Move your asses! Get through or I'll throw you through!"
A-05 began examining itself after it had finished wiping what it could off itself, bare metal shone through 98% of it's torso, the polymer overplate it had as a synthetic "skin" having been reduced to a foul smelling, disgusting slurry in it's hand and on the ground. When the notification of an open door was relayed, it looked up, around at the others and then followed.
As the sound of gears grinding began to sound through the cornfield within the ship, the mishmash of mercenaries, robots and hired guns rushed out of the desiccated clearing and through the field of green. Behind them, wet flesh began slapping against wet flesh as chunks began slamming against one another. They couldn't see it, but they could imagine it already. As the corn was shoved or cut out of their way, they saw it. The door. Barely lifting a foot off the ground, it shuddered in place as metal screeched against metal. A pair of legs lay on their side of the doorway, dried out and mummified after who knows how long after falling on their owner. "Quick, we gotta get this thing open!" the battle droid began. But before it could even begin trying to do anything, a single chilling sound came from behind them. Crawling through the corn, a green bloated infant squealed with joy at seeing them. Umbilical still trailing behind and vanishing into the field of corn from where they ran from, it began flopping forward even faster, giggling louder.
And louder, as more voices joined it. More than half a dozen, bloated, glowing infants began to craw through the field, their light shining in between the tall stalks.
The thunderous roar of his rifle barked as a 24x300 milimeter depleted uranium dart erupted from his rifle making short work of one of the creatures
Ty kept up the pressure on the creatures hoping he could buy them enough time to get the door open.
"I'm going to hate this..." He ignored that Creature seemed to be drawing his sword and tried his own way to lift the door, hopping his android components would make enough of a difference to open the door enough to let everyone crawl through. He grunted out to Creature, "What... Ever you... do... don't hit me..."
As was the threat of being melted into nothing by the giggling maggots.
"Damn it, I knew having a child can kill a man's lifestyle but this is fucking ridiculous." He turned to look back towards the marching horde of infantile zombies. Jaime shifted to quickly attempt to grab at his side arm and fire with one hand but he only got two shots off before shoving his hand back to the door to keep it going. He mentally blocked out that he was shooting at infants, it would be better that way.
He then swiftly vanished under the door.
"I hate my base programming," Kelly remarked, frustrated at her inability to shoot 'children' and 'infants' at all. "What's everyone's physical integrity? And that guy on the speakers tell where to go next?" the battle droid asked them all.
The corridor finally terminated after a labyrinth of twists and turns in front of a narrow square panel. Edges of white light illumination the blackness of the hallway as the door slid open with a hiss to the medical bay. The light was blinding and the air smelled of disinfectant. The young man stood out like a smudge of dirt against sterile white walls and empty stasis tubes, stained with thick, dark dried fluid. He hurried from monitor to monitor as a singular stasis tube appeared to be defrosting, the frosted glass inhibited the view of the sole occupant. "Good, you're here. We don't have much time. I don't know if she'll be in a state to walk out of here. She's been under for a long time."
Kelly asked her question, and Creature answered. "We are beat to shit and Ylfa is still fat even dead." He grunted.
"Good enough I guess," she replied to the Gart-man. "Hey, someone pilfer the computer systems for info? We need to know what the hell we're dealing with." Mechanically marching into the medbay, Kelly tossed Ylfa's limp form onto one of the medical beds like a sack of useless bricks. Turning the featureless black panel that was her face towards the young man, the red dot moved about, as though looking him over. "Yeah, you're not talking about Ylfa, right?" She asked. Flicking back and forward, the vaguely feminine security droid's gaze settled on the single occupied cryopod in the room. "h0ly fuck1n6 5h17!" Faintly glowing through the frost, they could see the feminine form laying underneath. Armored feet stomping across the floor as she hurried over, Kelly scrubbed the layer of ice off, revealing the face.
It was Ayana Morita
"Please tell me you guys realize how big this is?" the security droid asked in awe, a hint of desperation in its voice.
His mind wandered back to that conversation he had with Lukina. About love, and hope. About this woman before Creature. Creature had actually spent a lot of his free time poking around trying to find her. It was disguised as his usual terrorizing the underworld in an orgy of violence, sex, and drugs. But after two years of it, all it took was a cryptic mission request from Bresal and stumbling around like an idiot on this monster-infested ship.
The security droid was on the money. This was huge. Nations had attempted to find her. The OGRES, remnant of the old colonial government. Word had even The Tai Pan empire had dispatched a special operations team to locate this woman. The problem Creature had with this was the fact everybody was going to want her. Including the Empress.
Creature advanced to the Cryo pod and peered into it looking at the woman. "Alright, we have to get moving. and off this fucking death trap.
He checked his 6mm rifle. The action was clear, and the finish was scuffed and scratched, but it was good to go. "If she is a big deal, then what's the plan for getting her out of this Hell? We've already got wounded, we're low on ammo, who knows what else waiting for us, and if we have to carry her. That's one less gun we can use."
Jack wasn't much better in his condition of his ammo. The Maverick loaded with .455 and configured as an SMG only had half a mag. The heavy sniper configuration.on his back wasn't much use right now in these hallways.
"She's an ex-ambassador for a very important group is all you need to know."
He cleared his throat as everyone discussed the woman in cryo and he nodded towards Creature, "For once, I agree with the Gart. We need to fucking book it. If we're going to pop her out of her tube, we're going to need to know a way out because we are definitely not going out the way we came in. There is too many of us plus one, potentially two, people we need to carry."
He actually stepped forward to look at the woman he'd only seen in yesterday's news and posts of years prior. He'd known she'd disappeared, but never of why. A dumb idea popped into his head, to which he idly and seemingly sarcastically suggested, "Hey, why don't we get the ship to blow a chunk out of this ship and we evac out the hole. I doubt we're gonna get that shuttle back and it's probably too damaged to fly anyway."
"There is another emergency route. There is another tunnel we can use. I can redirect the power flow as we move through since I won't be re-routing to power the by and the stasis tube."
Inside the tube, the lilac haired elf stirred. Her skin tone and texture was off, she was pale and unclothed. She was well proportioned but... her right arm and right left were absent. The flesh at the shoulder and her hip were covered with a jagged scar. Her eyes fluttered as she woke in a coughing fit. Her breathing was uneven and her amethyst eyes were full of confusion as she tried to push herself up. Her eyes widened as she stared at the party standing around her.
"Edmund?" Her eyes went to each face and ended on the man in the Heise uniform. "Where is my Edmund? Saule help me, where is my son? Surely the Prince ordered you to save him?"
The man frowned and ignored Ayana's question, "Prime Minister, you need to get dressed. We have to get out of here. It isn't safe. Edmund isn't here." He turned his attention to the newcomers, "I'm Albert. I can put Ms. Morita into an EVA suit and turn off the gravity. It'll make moving her and your friend easier. We can put your friend onto a stretcher and get her through the vents that way... I think, there might be a shuttle left in the bay, I don't know if it'll fly, but we can give it a go if your ship is out of commission."
He checked his weapon one last time before standing ready.
Whisper didn't bother to comment at all instead he only listened towards the way they came. "I for one agree with him. It's better then nothing."
Medbay -> GTFO
"It's just like what's-his-face said - we gotta get out of here first, and fast," the automaton began, bringing a Taianese made hover-stretcher over. "Just lay down here Miss Morita. Your son isn't here, but he's next on the to-find list, ok?" Reaching out to the woman, Kelly was less abrasive than normal as she gently guided the Prime Minister. Making sure she was secure on the floating platform, the rogue security droid grabbed another stretcher and activated that one before turning to hastily throw Ylfa's body halfway across the room with a crash. The second hover stretcher bobbled up and down precariously for just a moment. "Hey, meatbag - " she began, addressing the young man in black as she unceremoniously shoved the lifeless blond's limbs about so they didn't dangle. " - one of us can take point in case we hit some contacts, but you still gotta show us the way. I've set the stretchers to follow us!"
Creature eyed the man who came out of nowhere. Creature was soon standing by Albert with his rifle pointed at the man's head. "This is rancid. A ship full of monsters, and fucked up undead baby things then you come out of the wall like its fucking cool? She is sitting in cryo and you suddenly open it up? You had better start talking fast. This whole mission from the start has been nothing but a shit storm. Sorry for the gun in the face, but this is like. Uh....starting to feel like a trap. "
"Is her son on this ship?" Creature asked sternly.
Ayana pursed her lips together and tolerated the man's assistance. She was imbalanced and unaccustomed to her current state.
A volumeric screen popped up and brought up a picture of a toddler with human ears, sapphire blue eyes and purple hair. Albert looked at the picture oddly, "That's odd. Half-elves don't usually have human shaped ears. I would have thought that with his father being the Prince his ears would have been more... elf shaped." He touched a few icons things on the screen and looked puzzled. "Should be 15 now. Querying location.." A holographic marker, the image of a raven fluttered around the room above them. "It says he's here some where and alive?"
Creature then flipped his rifle over his shoulder He then drew his large sword, and took up a position by Ayana and Albert. "You two." Creature said somberly. "No matter what gets said, what happens to stay on me if you want to get out of this alive."
Creature then turned to Whispers. "Whispers, get us out of this fucking nightmare."
He felt his finger coil around his trigger and his eyes focus on this 'Albert' fellow. This entire ship had gone dark, and something this big didn't just go missing without a trace, not without a lot of background cover up. To him he was the prime suspect, he'd presumably been awake all this time, and unless he was and android like himself and Ylfa, he had to have some sort of food or something that was untainted by whatever was fucking with the ship's older crew. He wanted to get Ayana out of here just as much as anyone else in the room, but the oath he took to protect and serve with the Alliance still held true to the newly minted mercenary that had come from the marine.
He turned to look to Kelly, his voice held an odd feeling to it, one that mirrored his gut in feeling. "Something is really fucked up here, how is this guy alive, the Prime Minister presumably unharmed, and an entire brain-dead army guarding this very room on this very ship hidden in space. If I wanted to hold an ace in the hole with a way to make sure that even if I was found I had an army that doesn't care about anything, this would take the cake."
He added on after a few seconds after Albert reported the location of the Prime Minister's son, "And if I wanted to make a situation to clear the herd, I would do that." He waited for a response, if any, quietly looking from Kelly to Ayana before Ylfa and finally Albert.
Medbay -> GTFO?
"Wait, seriously?" Kelly began, the rogue security droid's voice aghast in disbelief. The glow of her mono-light gaze bored into Jaime after his remark for a good long time before flicking to Creature, to Albert, and all the others. "Did my sensors malfunction or something? I'm gonnna pretend I didn't hear you say that Jaime." Shaking its head, the free-machine grabbed Ayana's stretcher and tapped in commands for it to follow the group. "Ok, since the brat is definitely not here, we're getting out of this mess. Now." Opening the door to the medbay, the stretchers followed as she took point in the bloody, dark hallway of the ship. Voice low, she continued, "It shouldn't be far from here. We just need to go down this hallway. Be quiet!"
Though the signs said it wasn't far, the hallway somehow felt long. Very, very long.
Medbay -> GTFO
Though they all wanted to get out of the derelict as soon as possible, there were plenty of reasons why they didn't. Never mind that too much noise might attract the wrong attention. Having gone down one hallway, entering the medbay, and exiting out the other side, this one final passage leading to the shuttle bay wasn't the sort of thing that was encouraging. After all, they weren't the only ones that had the same idea. Old, brown blood stained the floor, wall and ceiling ahead, and where crimson had once pooled, the bodies from which they came were simply no longer present. Plasma and laser scorches were burned into the walls, while industrial bolts had been haphazardly fired, embedding themselves into and pinning things that were simply no longer there. Worse still, were a pair of doors leading to either side, one to the left having been clawed apart, while the one to the right remained unlocked and open. Naturally, there was also a vent grating that had fallen from the ceiling as well.
Kelly paused. "I might be a droid, but I have self-preservation subroutines," she 'whispered' to them all. "How do you guys wanna tackle this? Maaaybe someone's...got a mirror?" The security droid didn't look like she was trying to get someone else to go first at all.
Jaime didn't like the look of the halls, while the clawed-open doors could mean that the zombies had torn the door down to chase something, it was just the same if they clawed out. The unlocked doors mean someone had unlocked them, which wasn't much to go on. The vent could mean a quick and direct exvil out of the ship to their shuttle or at least somewhere to rendezvous with the ship, but ran the consequence of being probably too tight for the stretchers.
He quietly spoke his mind with the group, taking care not to get any errant vibration in his throat. "My vote's on the door on the right, as much as I'd like to go for the vents, I doubt the stretchers will fit." He still held the lighter out in his spare hand, waiting for a yay or nay on Kelly using it for a very, very, small mirror.
Albert pulled up a volumeric screen that pulled a surveillance feed from the other side of the shuttle around the corner. There were large red blips in pursuit of them. The distant rumbling was getting louder, closer. the signature of the shuttle was dim, no life readings registered on the young man's screen. "This looks like our best chance out of here. We need to hurry, something is coming and if we don't get into the air soon, we're going to die here like everyone else on this damn ship did." He urged from behind his suit's dim mask. "This one is showing still functional on the scan. That hole your ship punched in the cavern is going to ice back over soon! Let's go!"
Ayana leaned against the Albert and nodded. "We should hurry," she murmured, her voice still hoarse from disuse.