Small clearing near Zenigata’s Tribe
The first shuttles from the IAS Edward Deming were just starting to land in a clearing not too far from Zenigata’s tribe, and Green-Thumb was the first to step foot on the planet. Her, along with the other four marines that made up Green Squad, would start to spread out around the clearing, armed with their usual G8s and their bulky space-suits.
“Must feel great to be planetside…” Green-Horn called out over the comms, watching over the squad from the CIC on board the IAS Edward Deming. Her work area looking down onto the planet through the massive observation windows on the underside of the ship.
“Keep it Professional,” Green-Thumb replied, wanting to shut down her newest recruit as quickly as possible. She was well aware of the security situation, “I doubt the animals here can pose much of a threat to us, but our squishies are unarmored. I don’t want some space-unicorn getting close enough to gore them. We also have a ship from Taipan nearby, and we’re still on edge with them. No one get lazy. That means you Green-Horn.”
“Hmff….” Green-Horn huff’d to herself, setting to work adjusting her monitoring equipment as the rest of the groups started to land nearby.
The second shuttle to land included the diplomatic group, along with a pallet of food. Being carried by a cupcake drone that was intended as a gift for the Adlet.
The ship’s resident anthropologist was onboard: Quarum Wazu.
She was a similar height as her brother, long brown hair pulled into a slightly messy ponytail. Grey eyes, fair skin, and a slightly chubby build showing that she wasn’t anywhere near as athletic as the marines that accompanied the group.
In addition to her baggy cargo shorts and boots, she also had on a rather bulky looking armored vest and military-style helmet that didn’t seem to fit quite right. A large backpack also was being hoisted onto her back as she looked out the door of the shuttle, waiting for someone else to go first as if she was going to war… but had only really heard about war from movies.
“So… Uh… you guys are going out there first right?”
"Alright." Zenigata started in a firm tone, rubbing his eyes before glancing to the others. "I wanna make this clear. No asshole remarks, no joking about mounting anything on a wall or how 'primitive' everything is, and do NOT have your weapons on full display. Just because my tribe is fine with Mr. Wazu, doesn't mean they're going to take well to any aggressive like behavior from strangers. Got it?"
Part of that was just due to how Sonia's father kept making remarks when they were here. However, the adlet just wanted to put a line in the fictional sand. To have it already in their heads. After waiting for a response from everyone, he would continue.
"With that out of the way, just stay behind me and please listen to me if I tell you guys to do something." Zenigata added, his tone much kinder. "Also, keep your tech on the down low. Flaunting that around is going to annoy the older members of the tribe and we don't need the Elder's Council involved right off the bat."
The young adlet turned and scanned the surrounding area. Snow crunching beneath his paws from the change in position as he could feel the familiar sting of the cold winter air. This didn't feel as horrible as it had in the past, perhaps just due to him being somewhat older? Or just so tired his body was picking and choosing what was painful or chilly? Hard to say. Really hard to say. The landscape was a sight for sore eyes, far better looking now to him. After all, when you know nothing of the outside world, you think it's better. Now? Staring at metal floors and walls just had no appeal. Seeing endless white snow with leafless trees, their empty branches extending to the sky as if begging the sun to allow for the cold weather to finally go away.
Taking a few steps, he brushed some snow off the trunk of a tree and observed the markings in the bark. Deep gashing that was uneven. His tail gave a twitch as he scanned the rest of the area. Undisturbed snow....that was surprising. At least some prey or predators would've come through...unless this was a fresh layer of snow? Highly possible.
"Let me know when you are all ready. Just because you guys have space guns, doesn't mean a flock of Wolf heads aren't a threat to ya." Zenigata instructed as he looked back to the group.
The commander had quite the debate with the captain regarding whether or not he should be planetside, as opposed to staying in orbit and monitoring with Green Horn. Not that he was against coming down here; still being rather inexperienced, Geiben wanted to know what the best course of action was. Having the first and second commanding officials both planet-side was certainly a risk, but it seemed it was a cause worthy of it. He'll have to be the face of the ship once Green Horn steps down, after all. It wasn't just meeting with Zenigata's elders, either. A Taipan captain is also coming, apparently. At that thought, Geiben turns rather nervous. He read about what happened to the Wangdiao colonies; while the Taipan weren't exactly actors of mass genocide, they certainly weren't as diplomatic as the Alliance, to put it lightly.
He shakes off the anxiety amidst the cool winds. "Ecru squad, guard the diplomatic group and await my orders to join us. Green squad, Doctor, let's go meet the tribe's elders. Everyone, please keep in mind Alliance protocol, and limit your interaction with the native life here." Geiben then goes up and steps besides Green Thumb. "Whenever you're ready, captain." The commander slants his mouth. Since when is the captain of the ship the one doing the escorting? Amazonians have their own way of doing things, don't they?
“Zenigata, do your people use tree markings or scent to communicate information? Or is there something else you’re seeing on that tree that we can’t?”
As the group started to unload from the first shuttle, another Alliance shuttle would slow down for a landing right nearby. Heram was practically out the door before it had even finished opening, clad in a green turtleneck sweater and slacks that seemed a bit too ‘city’ compared to his sister’s more rugged choice in clothing for this outing. He also had clear bruising on his face and neck…
He did say earlier that he was going to deal with Hoshiko directly.
“WAAAAIIIT!” Soffy called out from the shuttle. She was still disconnecting the safety harness that held her in her seat. The I’ee quickly scurrying over to the other side of the shuttle on all six legs so she could unharness her roller-suitcase. The I’ee clearly having a bit of an issue manipulating the small release button with the heavy looking two-prong’d boots on all of her ‘feet’. A heavy scarf was also tied around her neck, and bright pink antenna socks were sticking off the top of her head. A heavy looking heated jacket also helped protect her body from temperatures that were aggressively cold to an I’ee.
She had been trying to treat Heram’s injuries, but it looked like he wasn’t willing to stay still that long. The I’ee chasing after the group while pulling her small roller-case along behind her. The I’ee walking on two legs this time so she had one limb available for the case, another two to adjust the large dome-goggles that covered her compound eyes, and yet another to try and hold some kind of medical bandage that she was trying to attach to Heram.
“You are from Pacifica right?” Heram asked, his attention on Geiben for the moment. There seemed to be little room for downtime for the man. “I was thinking we could arrange for technology transfer for their underwater farming technology. There is a lot of underwater territory on Hawking that isn’t under threat from the Grawla, and ecological impact could be minimized with the right plant life. I would just need to know how to approach the topic with Pacifica’s leadership, I haven’t exactly been there myself.”
Meanwhile Green-Thumb would open up a private channel to Geiben,
“Green-Squad is going to keep their distance. We don’t want to spook the Adlet, but I want to have enough firepower on hand in case Taipan tries anything. Ecru squad can handle any wolves that come your way.”
The last two sentences were directed at Geiben. Feeling Sonia's hands on his arm and then hearing her voice, he felt some small ease. At least there was someone who might be able to keep him in check. He wasn't sure though, with everything going on. A kind look was given to her and he gave a small nod to her words. He would've said something to Sonia, alas his attention was pulled to different directions as a Ecur squad member spoke up.
"Sure, what's up?" Zenigata replied to them.
It seemed everyone was ready and well Zenigata did start leading a few steps forward. Snow crunching before he paused as Soffy called for them all to wait up. Oh boy....his tribe was going to be in for a surprise with all of this. If he could, he would try to keep things civil. Would the Ecur squad really listen to him? Hard to tell but he started to lead the way once more.
The winter landscape seemed so undisturbed save for the crunching of snow beneath his paws; and soon the heavy boots of everyone behind him. Spring would be nice here....maybe he could convince Sonia for the two of them to come out here for vacation? Eh...hard to say. He didn't want ty being a creeper up in the trees with a gun trained on him at all times. It was hard enough to withstand that man on the ship with his threats and all. However, something caused him to pause and blink. Was that? It was a shape and it soon moved. They were close to the village, so it was only natural for other members to be about. Slipping his arm free from Sonia gently, he turned to the others.
"Hold on." Zenigata said to everyone before he took careful steps forward and finding a boulder burried beneath snow he could duck behind.
Despite the white of the snow, he could make out the almost snow white hair with a grey shawl of fur over their shoulders, a basket was slung over their shoulder. The familar branch that they were using to walk though made him smile before he came out from behind the boulder. A hand raised before waving.
"Shaman!! Over here!" Zenigata called.
The older adlet turned their gaze landed on him before they approached. The elderly adlet had a warm smile on their face, Sonia would recognize them. However they seemed prepared for something with the basket and pouches they had. Zenigata was just glad to see the wise old adlet.
"it's...." Zenigata started however a swift whack soon echoed through the air as the branch was used to strike the doctor on the head. "OOW! What was that for?"
"Your mind is scrambled." the Shaman replied simply before a second swift whack sounded off as well as a pained sound leaving Zenigata. "Now it is unscrambled. How may I help you Toklo?"
"Ooooow...." Zenigata stood there for a moments, a hand on his aching head. "We...need to talk to you and Kasake. These people are friends..."
The shaman turned his gaze toward Wazu and all the others. A wiry brow raised to the armor that Ecur squad was wearing.
"I'm surprised your companions haven't been swallowed by the snow." they admitted.
"... To be sure, any technological exchange between naval personnel and local businesses and governments must be approved first. Sorry, I just needed to state that out of protocol." Geiben says, hesitantly. It'd be really nice to go back home for once, whatever excuse he needs.
"Understood captain, let's not have Mr. Wazu get into trouble again." Geiben messages back to Green-Thumb as he warily looks at the man. Forefathers know how he got himself into trouble again. The mention of Taipan isn't lost to him either. As far as the commander knows the Taipan still can't shrug off the fanaticism, the madness humanity harbored during the dark ages. How they haven't torn themselves apart from the inside is a mystery to him. Maybe it's that they're ALL bull-flying crazy, and that uniformity binds them together? ... That's enough speculation. "Careful, or you might blurt out your theories and eat lead for your trouble." Geiben quietly thinks to himself.
Geiben brings both his hands up as a sign of innocence as he slowly walks up behind Zenigata, bowing slightly at the shaman, otherwise remaining silent. Unlikely that the adlet will understand him. Instead, the commander simply smiles politely.
Like a giant black bat, the foreign shuttle craft's almost rectangular wings loomed over them all as it descended from above. Coming closer and closer, its span quickly shrunk as the wings folded in on themselves, metal plates firmly thumping into metal over and over again until they formed thick, sturdy supports upon which it landed, its main body held several meters off the ground. Briefly hissing jets of gas, a ramp then slid forth from the smooth, almost elegant body as it opened, a quartet of strange, black body suited figures striding forth. One was perhaps just five and a half feet tall, yet bore a figure that was thick, strong and stocky with muscles, her body covered in a black bodysuit topped with heavy plates of smooth armor. Despite her lack of expression, the woman's black furred, dog-like ears twitched at the cold while her tail slowly wagged, a certain innocence in her eyes. The figure to her left however, was taller by another half a foot, and featured a much more slender yet muscular and athletic build. Orange and black topped her head, her feline ears alert as her tail stood high, golden eyes glaring at them all with a subtle, unpleasant disdain that did not match the figure she had sheathed within the black bodysuit. Perhaps more ominously however, a giant forest green serpent brought up the rear, its body also clad in the skin-tight suit. As its cobra-like hood spread out, slit emerald eyes gleaming at them all, its arms took a more thoughtful posture as one finger rested under the chin of its serpentine head, the elbow of that arm cradled in hand.
In truth though, those who knew better cowered at the figure standing at the front, her figure far shorter than the rest at an even five foot tall.
"Wǒmen dàole," Hoshiko arrogantly announced to them all, hands on her hips. Peering at them, her brilliantly blue eyes narrowed. "Nà zhǐ kūnchóng zuò shénme?" she asked, pointing a finger at Soffy.
((Wǒmen dàole - 我们到了: "We have arrived."))
((Nà zhǐ kūnchóng zuò shénme - 那只昆虫做什么: "What is that insect doing?"))
Sonia watched as Zen was hit twice on the head "heeey be careful i don't need him broken his children will need a working dad" Sonia said sheepishly.only hugging into Zenigata closer when tai pan arrived.
The wasp would pause for a moment, easily able to look over at Heram Wazu with her compound eyes without having to twist in the slightest.
“....A LOT! He could barely move when he came back! I think his stomach is full of small friends… OH! AND HE BROUGHT THESE!”
Soffy would struggle with her jacket, letting go of her roller-case for long enough that two of her limbs could unbuckle one of the front pockets, allowing her to pull out what looked like a small cat.
The I’ee would gently pat the small creature with one of its limbs, before placing it back in the warm pouch on the front of its jacket. Her attention turning back to Heram as she wobbled over to him on two legs, trying to apply the bandage she was still holding to his face by straining her arm to try and reach him.
Heram Wazu would fend off the I’ee, gently trying to push away its bandage holding claw as he quickly brought his discussion with Geiben to a close,
“I would appreciate that. I think there is a lot more room for co-operation given recent events. It sounds like Anna would be able to assist and we could certainly use some stronger relationships outside of Hawking.” He stated, his attention shifting to Hoshiko.
“Glad you could make it.” Once again, a statement. Her presence here was more coercion than pleasant visit.
“Zenigata is about to lead us to his tribe. Though we could discuss other things at the moment. I take it you are familiar with the current state of affairs for the Kiwomians?”
Green Thumb would be able to monitor the approach of the group of Taianese from afar. The crew of the Edward Deming just as patched into the video feed as the rest of her squad.
“A dog-type. Likely for Hoshiko’s direct defense if things get dicey.
A proper Tiger-type. Try to keep your distance. They are higher-grade than what we’ve run into before. Radio-Head’s attacks didn’t get through our armor but I wouldn’t trust our armor against her claws.
Snake type… I am less familiar with. Special forces, unsure of role without being able to see their gear.” Green-Thumb said, strategizing out loud for her squad. “Perhaps additional weapons are in the shuttle?”
She would then turn her attention back to Geiben. The heavily armored members of Green-Squad keeping quite a bit of distance between themselves and the main group.
“If we can avoid an incident for the next few hours, I imagine we will be in the clear. I’m not thrilled about bringing more Adlet into the situation though.”
Unlike the others who were lagging behind, Quarum was right behind Zenigata, watching intently as he spoke with his Shaman, and was then bonk’d on the head.
“Is that a normal greeting?!” She asked, her hand going to check her helmet to make sure it was firmly attached to her head, “And do we need to worry about the snow here? I assume your wide feet keep you from sinking into the snow correct?”
She then looked right at Zenigata,
“I forgot to ask, is there a proper greeting I should be using? Or more formal way to speak to your Shaman? …
...and the staff, is there a particular significance to it?” The grey eye’d woman seemed entirely wrapped up in exploring Zenigata’s culture as quickly as possible, her worries about getting shot at seemingly left behind in her rush.
The shaman nodded. As Quarum would see, the old adlet didn't even have a shirt under that fur pelt he had on his shoulders. The thick fur on their canine legs provided the warmth he needed that pants would. It was also why Zenigata hadn't even brought a shirt or coat. He was used to this weather.
The adlet slowly glaced to the members of the Ecur squad who had been the one to ask a question. His brow lowered slightly as he stood there. A wave of displeasure going through him before his tail gave a twitch.
"One, please keep in mind what I warned you about in regards to the 'primitive' thing. Tribe members are not going to take well to being called that as they are comfortable with their current lifestyle. Two, as for your actual question. Wazu came here some months ago and found my tribe. The kaskae and him made a deal and Wazu wanted a diplomat and I was shipped off to help." Zenigata explained.
The old adlet chuckled at the exchange. He found it amusing in a way. Granted, he had watched Geiben shuffle by but choose to not dwell on it. Adjusting their grip on the branch. His old gaze wandered between each member of this odd little group.
"Toklo will not be broken, merely getting his head straight." The shaman responded to Sonia with a gentle smile. "I have no desire to take a young father to be from his pups, he will be sore but fine in a few hours."
Quarm's entourage of questions had the old adlet's attention. His almost motionless tail gave a twitches he stood there. Wrinkled hands holding onto the wood as he waited for the younger soul to finish. Such a curious youth this one was.
"Careful child, you needn't open your eyes and mind too far. You could get curious in the wrong things." The shaman urged gently. "And considering it is my Time of Journey, I can no longer go by Shaman.."
Zenigata's face paled as the look of pain faded away and he looked at the old adlet.
"Wait....no no. NOt now! Your Time of Journey can't possibly be now!" Zenigata urged in shock, the old adlet gave him a small look. "You can't! Please, I need your help with the Kaskae, so we can tell him what is happening. Please! He listens to you!"
Despite his panicked expression, the doctor's heart skipped several beats as he felt fear go through him at the ship. Feeling Sonia go behind him, he adjusted a arm to hold her there gently. Course, seeing what he did made the fur on his tail stand on end. Oh Ancestors no.....not this thing too!!
"why...why are they here..." Zenigata muttered, feeling fear and confusion was Wazu greeted them and told them exactly what they were doing!
"Right... understood captain. Fingers off your triggers, people." Geiben admonishes, despite bringing his own pistol closer within draw reach.
He clenches his fists, as he crunches through the snow, moving past Zenigata, keeping the adlets behind his body's silhouette, a nervousness masked by the redness of his cheeks due to the unaccommodating cold. The young commander forces out a smile. "中将 Hoshiko!" Geiben forces out a smile, remarking in a broken Tai Pan dialect that he tried learn just a few hours ago, "What brings you BACK here?" He forces his hands to loosen up, and brings them up forward slightly. Hoshiko, a real piece of work, this feline is. Doubtful that he himself, a budding naval officer, will make a dent in making her compromise, but he has to try. Worst comes to worse... Well, hopefully it doesn't get to that point. Geiben glances at Green Squad in the distance, then looks back at the Taiainese officer.
one of the ecur squad guys Zen would notice and know wearing his tattered cowl spoke up. "here we go, look kid calm down it's-" sonia turned to him cutting him off "dont make me come over there ill rip your world a sunder" the outburst cuasing the ecur squad member to shut his trap after saying "why it has to be moodswings" sonia turns to the tai pan grabbing a fist full of fur on zenigatas rear "you dont touch him this is were my babies come from clear?"
the ecur squad leader looked around "well this is off to a great start, eh?"
"This alien impregnated that Yazata? Oh my," the towering serpent exclaimed, her silken voice gently flowing out of her slightly opened, fanged mouth like it would a bird's, jaws rigid and immobile. Androgynous in appearance, her voice was the only indicator of gender, and with her hard scaled, Serpentine face so motionless, the only clue of the snake's thoughts came from its eyes. Black slits surrounded by gleaming emerald traced up and down across Zenigata and Sonia's forms at length with enough intensity to strip them both of any clothing. "Though they took, won't they fail to keep?" it pondered aloud, holding its thoughtful pose.
"You called her Hoshiko?" the raven haired, dog eared woman perked up, her face plain. "That's surprisingly friendly, maybe even inappropriately so, being on a first name basis," she observed, scratching the base of her hair bun while her canine tail gently wagged. The Zhōngjiàng - Vice Admiral - in question raised a hand to quiet her soldiers as she stepped forward.
"It should be no surprise that I am here, as Mister Wazu had requested my presence," the shortest of the quartet replied, briefly sparing Geiben a glance for his efforts, and very deliberately not looking at Sonia thanks to her outburst. Kōrui Hoshiko's reputation preceded her. While some would call her a war hero, others would say she was a mass murderer, and now, here she stood before them. "These soldiers I have accompanying me are some of the more promising individuals from their respective Forms, and are here to observe and learn," Hoshiko explained. "I hope you will prove or state whatever it is you sought to quickly Heram?"
“Is that something I have to worry about? I didn’t bring snow shows. I would think that there isn’t enough snow to get completely submerged but I don’t know that for sure. Are there huge snow-lakes I have to watch out for? Maybe I should go get snow shoes?...
Sorry, I’m just really excited to meet you all. I’m an anthropologist. We focus on the study of new peoples and… one moment.”
Quarum would put her arm around Zenigata and lean in so she could speak privately,
“Is your Shaman friend ok? Do we need to get Soffy to look at him? I’m not sure what this Journey is but it sounds ominous.”
“Ha, good job Zen… I didn’t know you had it in you,” Green-Eggs said, pausing to receive some level of stern ‘keep it professional’ from Green-Thumb over a private channel. Even so, he would be the first to speak up again over squad chat, “You ever play videogames Geiben? Wazu’s tanking Hoshiko, that leaves you to focus on the Adds.”
“We are trying to defuse tensions,” Green-Thumb reminded everyone. The heavily armed Green-Squad still keeping quite a bit of distance between themselves and the main group, spread out to form a loose perimeter, “Maybe we could get someone to calm Zenigata’s friend down a bit? We still have two wars to head off as it is. We don’t need a third.”
Soffy was dancing back and forth on two of her legs, getting ancy that she wasn’t allowed to apply the bandage to Heram’s face like she wanted. She wanted to scream, ‘LET ME HELP YOU!’ but decided against it. New friends were wondering about the small friends after all.
“SMALL FRIENDS!” Soffy shouted, turning towards the tiger-caste member as she patted the small fluffy kitten-thing on the head, “Like these, but even smaller. I think they were in meat since these kittens have some too and these kittens eat meat! I tried feeding them juice and they didn’t like it all that much... “ Soffy’s face was just as indistinct as ever, mandibles clacking and compound eyes surveying everything around her without moving, though her LED face mask made a small frowny face :_( before switching back to a ^_^ “I was going to extract them and keep them as pets! They might not survive in human biology! Small friends are no good for furry friends either! And if I put them all together they can all be with one another! Much better than being alone!”
Soffy turned towards Hoshiko, then towards Geiben, then towards Wazu, then towards Green-Thumb, then back to Wazu, following some conversation on a private channel that she was plugged into.
“Heram! Can I ask why your Taipan friend is so small? I thought all the Tiger-Caste were big but she is not!”
Heram would first need to deal with Geiben and the new arrival, turning his attention towards the acting captain of the IAS Edward Deming, “Can you see to Enid, bring her up to speed. I have been trying to get ahold of talent that can assist us, and I think she may be able to help with Taipan in the future.”
He could then focus his attention back on Hoshiko. His face just as emotionless as hers, or perhaps as Soffy’s minus her LED display.
Their last round had hurt quite a bit, but had provided valuable experience in dealing with Taipan and Hoshiko in particular. He doubted she had caught on to his game, and his past experience seemed to show she hadn’t caught on to the game she was playing at all. This at least made the plan of attack simple: He’d have to outline her moves as well as his, make things simple, and completely frame the problem for her so that there would be no misunderstanding. He would have to test this plan using the fate of the Kiwomians. It was one more opportunity to get a feel for how to handle her before things got serious between the Garts and Taipan.
He’d need to be ready before then regardless.
“You have decided that the Adlet are no longer a threat, and you won’t be taking any as samples.”
A clear declaration of what has already transpired. Hopefully to put Zenigata at east, partially to reinforce what he expected of her.
“As I said, the Kiwomains are next. They recently launched an attack on Taipan.”
This set the stage for what had already happened. He had weighed mentioning that the attack was mostly provoked by her, but at this point he didn’t need to distract anyone with extra details.
“Your people will react, send an occupation force to their homeworld. Destroy critical infrastructure from orbit.”
This is what would happen next with the most certainty. The clear statement of facts would hopefully position Hoshiko to view things in the same way he was, leading her to the same conclusions.
“This places me in charge of the Kiwomian leadership, leaving me in the position of either handing them over to you or allowing them asylum. This will likely put someone from Taipan in the position of convincing me to turn them over, leaving them free to gather allies against Taipan, or attempting to take them by force.
None of these options are attractive to either of us.”
Letting her define her own goals would be a waste of everyone’s time. He would define them for her. This would further frame the conflict in the way he wanted.
“You seek to protect Taipan, and you can’t allow such an attack to go without a response. I want you to work with me on that response, starting with co-ordination for your attack. I want to be able to evacuate their facilities you plan to target ahead of time to prevent loss of life and a fair trial for their leaders that ordered the attack. Working with myself and the Alliance on this will allow Taipan to handle the Kiwomians with a minimal expenditure of ships.”
Wishing not to show internal conflict in front of the Taianese, the commander privately messages Zenigata. "You are Sonia are to talk to me once this is all over." Upon sending the message, Geiben exhales a rather hot and frustrated breath of air. He gives a rather unamused look at Sonia. The woman thinks she can do whatever she wants here.
He looks up to the shuttle hovering over them, looking into its viewport at where Enid is supposedly sitting. Tapping on his data-pad, he messages the green-pilot. "Welcome on board, Enid." Geiben gives a quick look at her portfolio. Oh no, she's REALLY green. "... Land the craft for now, but get ready to start it up on my command."
He then brings his attention back onto Zenigata and the Shaman, coming up to them both. "Elder, please assist us, so we may assist YOU. The fate of your tribe, and that of many others, depends on our ability to aid you. You must give us that ability."
Things were spiraling out of control. There was way too many people in order to do this as confidently as he had been wanting to do. With all these people suited up and such, the adlet knew the response. Fear and also how one wrong move could make the village think their lives were in danger. That would make them react in a defensive manner. Taking all of these people there...it was unwise. It really was. Even more so with the addition of Tai Pan!! The only thing that really stopped him from freaking out was Sonia's sudden shouting and moodswings. The latter was expected, but he tensed as she roughly grabbed his furry rear.
Reaching to remove her hand gently, he was about to say something when the serpant lady of the Tai Pan spoke. Great..now they knew. Now everyone who didn't need to know, KNEW! His tail puffed up slightly before he took a deep breath and calmed. The fur smoothing out as he looked to them.
"So far they are healthy and that is all you need to know. My children are not the task at hand for this visit to my home people." Zenigata answered calmly. "If you may excuse me, I need to talk to my wife."
Still holding her wrist gently, the adlet moved her over and down a little ways from the others. He could still hear them as they talked amongst themselves. Though they wouldn't be hearing him and Sonia.
"Okay you need to calm down or your going to stay with the pilot." Zenigata told her. "You're excited for the pregnancy, I get it. But the others had no reason to know, Tai Pan didn't need to EVER know. Now they all know, now they all have ammunition on the both of us with information that they were never welcomed to knowing. And there's the situation at hand already, we aren't here to wave the pregnancy around. We aren't here to deal with the family matter. We are here to save my people. You can come along but you need to stay quiet on the pregnancy thing. Moodswings are unavoidable, they will happen although I know you are able to keep quiet on many things. So please, stay quiet on the pregnancy that no one else needs to learn of at this time."
That was the only way this was going to go. Either she kept quiet on the big news until a far better time or she was going back onto the ship with the new pilot to stay safe. Considering the past stunts she had done, Zenigata meant it. He was being firm on this but gentle, he wasn't yelling at her. He was urging her in a calm and collected voice that also showed he meant what he said. As for knowing she could keep her mouth shut well, the annoying bastard in the tattered cowl was one such thing she neglected to warn him ahead of time about. So she was fully capable of doing that.
Once he had her answer, he would gesture for her to follow and they would arrive back at the group. Everyone was still there but Quarum was quick to put a arm around his shoulder and ask him what the Shaman was refering to by Time of Joureny. The adlet looked to the older one as they stood there.
"The Time of Journey is when members of a tribe who are higher up, receive a vision from the Ancestors that it's time they step down from their position and leave the tribe they have served. Sometimes this can happen in their able bodied years and most times, when they are nearing becoming elders." Zenigata started to explain. "Sometimes those who partake in their Time of Journey live in isolation with the world around them till their passing or they find a new tribe, a tribe that is in dire need of aid to take a place in."
The old adlet gave a nod, as if proud of the explanation that Zenigata had given everyone.
"I have served our tribe for many years Toklo, many long years that weren't always happy. The Kaskae needs someone younger than him to keep his eyes open, not a old friend whose eyes have grown old and weary." The shaman replied. "He must learn to listen to those younger than him. And that also includes, him listening to your, our healer."
"You haven't left the territory yet, you can still go back and post pone it. Others have done this..." Zenigata gently urged.
"Those souls all had a more sacred task to uphold that didn't inhibit the functioning of the tribe. If I go back, your new Shaman's authority would be underminded constantly. They will never have a say if I choose to live my days as a simple elder."
"It's not even the halfway mark through winter though..."
A chuckle left the older adlet as he stood there.
"Winter has a hold on the ground for now but give nature time. Spring shall emerge and the warmth of summer shall follow with plants and fruit alongside it." The old adlet said. "Winter may be long but it is long enough for nature to rest and recover. Our Great Hunt was a success after you went back to the stars with your friend. I had already been saving provisions so I wouldn't take anything from the tribe. I have been planning this for months as my vision came to me mid fall."
Zenigata went silent, not sure on what to say. Course, he heard Wazu talking to Hoshiko. Oh he didn't want to take that bitch to see his tribe. Even if Wazu was right and she wasn't going to take samples. The message notification finally went off and Zenigata glanced down to it. Of course it was Geiben...of course. Keeping quiet, he merely ignored it. The old adlet stayed put as Geiben approached.
"There is a new shaman within the tribe, a good young lass. She is open minded and willing to hear sides of the matter." The old adlet replied. "I have served faithfully, from the moment I was given training up to now even. My abilities no longer have sway as I know she will be able to help you. However, I can give advice. Do not anger the Kaskae, give him no reason to think you are here for ill will toward his people. You are all bulked up as if your lives depend on your strange shells to survive here. Against some of the natural wildlife, yes that is true. However, to meet a tribe content in it's place, it is overkill. Large hulking masses with strange weapons, you will scare the pups and the pups will in turn cause the adults to go on edge. Adults on edge with anger the Kaskae and give him cause to believe his people are in danger. So long as the Kaskae has no reason to think of any of you as threats to his people, you will be fine."
The commander considers the shaman's words. "Captain Green-Thumb, I'd like to borrow one of your men, just as precaution. Green-Eggs to be specific. Of course, I do request him to go light on armor and weaponry; a pistol will suffice. I want his tactical experience more than anything else. The rest of Green-Squad and Ecru-Squad, fan out in this area and secure our LZ, but your primary objective is to keep an eye on Mr. Wazu and his friends."
Geiben opens a channel to the rookie pilot. "Enid, this is a good time for you to see how I prefer to operate. Bring the shuttle overhead, stay within assist range, but far enough to not provoke the natives. If you have any questions, you have comms to my data pad. With that said..."
The commander turns back to the Shaman. "I hope you don't mind us bringing along one of our transports. Worry not; it is only there for our own peace of mind, and completely unarmed. Now, who is this young shaman that we would be looking for?"
meanwhile back with the rest of the group Ecur squad units begin moving around their com lights blinking on their helmets as the pull security though they use a encrypted channel to talk to each other. "ma'am why arnt we doing what were trained to do?" ecur 2 said to squad lead who simply responded with "Because wazu seems to be to much of a lazy ass to tell us were to follow the orders of some snot nosed trainee so just shut it and fallow oders" the ecur squad units did as they were told sticking close to their people they were odered to protect."
"Intestinal parasites?" Hoshiko's relatively flat voice began. "I suppose I should have known you did not have the stomach for medium-rare," the small Tigress's deadpan voice came to realize. Her chillingly cold blue eyes turned onto the I'ee however. "You may as well have already asked me considering your volume," Hoshiko's vacant voice seemed to almost pick on Soffy. "I customized myself for command, making myself smaller, minimizing mass at unnecessary areas while maximizing it at others for increased efficiency," the Taianese woman explained, tracing her hands down the sides of her slender waist, wide hips and thick thighs for emphasis. "This has made me much faster in the field, and a more difficult target to hit," the small Tigress added, the female soldiers behind her remaining still and expressionless as statues as they listened. Folding her arms behind her back, the small woman returned her attention to Wazu as she began to step closer, bridging the distance between them. "I digress. If I understand what you are saying regarding the Kiwomi, it would seem you have miscalculated already, Heram J. Wazu." Stopping in front of the man, the difference in their heights was all the more apparent, but the shadow she cast was far larger than any of theirs, and all the darker.
"I am not a skilled diplomat despite my attempts at learning, however, when it comes to warfare, very few can match me." Pausing, her half veiled eyes carefully searched his face as the others went about their business. "Tell me, what do you believe Tai Pan and I wish for, in this circumstance?"
“I think Zen’s friend is saying we should back off further. We’ll lag behind more and monitor things remotely. I can send Green-Eggs back and have him strip, but Ecru squad may be better suited for this.”
Green-Squad would pull back further, no longer in line of sight of the main group. Green-Eggs would head back to the shuttle to change, just in case Geiben still wanted one of the greens to accompany them.
Quarum would wait for a moment, listening to what they had to say. It certainly seemed a shame to waste a perfectly good shaman like this.
“It sounds like you do more than just healing. Do you also handle disputes between members of the tribe?” She asked, “And once you find a place out away from the tribe will you be accepting visitors? I’d love to come by and learn more about your past.
I can trade food for your time of course!”
She would also give a quick nod to Geiben, “...And I’ll follow you guys.”
“OOoooOOoooooo….” Soffy seemed happy to have Hoshiko up closer, getting down on all 6 legs to crawl a circle around her, those black compound eyes observing her from all sides as the various space-kittens in her jacket mew’d.
Wazu, on the other-hand, kept his attention on Hoshiko’s face, only for his datapad to distract him slightly at the last second, his attention being pulled away by a message from Green-Horn, the operator keeping tabs on everyone from the ship.
“It looks like we may be offending the Addlet’s sensibilities,”
A statement, no course of action provided yet.
“I would like to say you are here because you value this relationship, but right now you want to get out of this without disaster to your ship and career. You should be familiar with the damage I can do to both right now and the risks I am willing to accept to my personal safety to accomplish that.”
This time, Wazu hadn’t be dragged through the mud, beat, and no one was threatening to cut his heart out with obsidian knives. He didn’t seem like he was about to start yelling, and his attention was quite focused on the task at hand. Despite her smaller height, he was well aware that even Hoshiko’s smaller body could tear his limbs off… perhaps there was something off about his self-preservation instincts.
“Taipan, in the contest of the Kiwomains, understands that they do not pose a threat to the existence of your people. The opportunity to make an example of them to others is likely your main goal, however you would appreciate not dropping the pretense of self-defense.”
This was the time to explain things rather completely, he couldn’t have Hoshiko miss something like before.
“I extended my assurances to Zenigata regarding his people’s safety, so I was compelled to come here first. This means I am not in a position to address the Kiwomian situation. I would like to do something about it, but currently I lack the means. This is something you have, which puts you in the advantageous position.
This is as much about evaluating your reactions to Zenigata’s tribe, as it is about determining my options for the Kiwomian situation, and evaluating how to handle you in our future negotiations. Though I suspect you are not interested in two of those three considerations.
I also do not expect you do not think I will ask the Kiwomians to unconditionally surrender to the Alliance, which would put Alliance ships in Taipan’s way. Similarly, a repeat of my Single PMC plan will not work for the Kiwomians, and other lesser options are precluded by the timeframe of your own plans. You would rightly assume I only have bad options.
This leaves you with two options. You know you have a strong position, so you will maintain that as you see I am bringing nothing of value. Alternatively, you see that you are in a strong position now, though you are willing to trade some of that political capital for a return on that investment during later negotiations.”
He didn’t say what those later negotiations were, and now he was avoiding directly stating his plans for Paradise. He was certainly wondering just how much she mentioned to her associates… though he was 100% certain she had some meme’d image of the Adlet’s punching him.
“Is that a fair assessment of the situation?”
"Toklo here is the healer, I am the Shaman. WE have different tasks but we are similiar." The old adlet spoke.
"A shaman is responsible for the spiritual well being on the tribe as well as keeping traditions alive. They are the ones who speak to the Ancestors the most and know how to contact them. They are the spirit of the tribe." Zenigata added on. "A healer is just that, we tend to illness and injury. And often we are a shoulder to cry on when tribe members are hurting while recovering. A Kaskae leads, they take care of the tribe's safety and physical well being. They keep everyone united."
"The Kaskae is the one to take care of the tribe's needs on this plane, I take care of the tribe's needs on the spiritual level. The Elder's council makes sure neither of us cross our boundaries and upset the tribe's balance."
The old adlet took a moment. Allowing for the joint explanation to sink in for Quarum. It was a good few moments of silence as he stood there, partially amused by such a curious soul.
"You needn't trade food, a old adlet such as I would value the company and the teaching of another over that. I may be old but I can hunt smaller prey upon my own." The old shaman started. "however I am always willing for conversation. I will be on the territory's edge further up, past this clearing. I won't have a hut or anything but a fire, you should be able to see me well."
Zenigata glanced to the shuttle that Geiben was talking to the pilot to. Oh boy. He really didn't quite get it yet. The shaman looked to Geiben, unlike Zen a long white brow was raised at them.
"If your flying metal thing looked more like a normal creature of the sky it would be fine. But it stands out just as badly as your over stocked metal skins that can send a panic." The shaman stated to Geiben. "Seek Qaniit, her white pelt hides her well during this season but worry not. She can be found within the hut of the Shaman and Toklo can easily guide you to her. May the Ancestors watch over you and favor your cause if it is pure. And Toklo, worry not. The Kaskae will learn to listen to those younger than him, a lesson that has taken far longer to learn but it is one trick even he can learn at his age."
Zenigata didn't response, nearly watching the old adlet walking forward and past the others. Honestly, he didn't want to leave them out here. It was winter...cold. The old shaman didn't have the supplies for a hunt given the large basket he had on his back and small pouches around his waist. And it would take too long to get such a think built. Besides...he wasn't going to live his remaining days on the edge. He would travel. Until this was sorted...he hoped the old adlet would make it long enough.
Listening to the conversation between Wazuo and the Tai Pan. He felt hardly any reassurance. What was going to stop her from just having her highly modified companions form slaughtering his people? What was really going to stop her?
"Do I just take Geiben, Quarum, and myself first so you two may discuss other matters?" Zenigata asked Wazu, hoping he'd get a response from JUST Wazu in regards to this. "In order to prepare, the Kaskae for this.....interaction?"
"sir I'm having our CQC specialist trail the shamen making sure he gets to his destination safely if that's OK be discrete with your answer rookie."
the CQC specialist walking back the way they came stopping at a respectful distance from the Thicc tai pan leader bowing his head slightly after waiting for a proper time to ask her whats on his mind. "if your not busy later id be interested in learning any close quarter combat skills you'd be willing to teach." he said waiting patently for a response while he waits for ecur squad lead to confirm his rout.
Sonia excepted the hug sighing realizing she screwd up in her actions before standing up again and returning to the rest of the group without a word only to show mild confusion at both the shamen saying hes staying somewhere with no shelter just a fire but also the ecur squad unit that is talking to the tai pan respectively.
He then replies back to Green-Thumb. "Acknowledged, captain. I don't want too many troops directly with us. Ecru squad is covering our current position as we speak." He glances at the surrounding woods. A black-ops squadron he inherited here. They do come in handy when the situations, unfortunately, turn morally grey.
Slithering up to Zenigata and Sonia's sides, the Snake loomed over the two, its serpentine head cocked to the side as it eyed the couple. Nictating membrane sliding across its eyes in a blink, the long Taianese soldier seemed to be perplexed by them, yet at ease enough that its hood wasn't spread out in a display of tension. Lengthy and sleek, it was simply inhuman save for its arms. The Tigress that accompanied her however, was nowhere near as quiet.
"You are downgrading your carried equipment?" the redhead's deadpan voice questioned Geiben, a hand set on her hip. Fit and athletic, she was only a few inches shorter than he was, but even then, the figure she had was imposing in its own way. Distinctly well toned yet feminine under the black body suit she wore, the pose the Tigress struck was impertinent as she questioned him further. "What sort of armaments are you even using? Are they even adequate?" she asked, pressing him further. Meanwhile, not too far off at the shuttle, Enid found herself accosted by one of the Taianese as well.
"Hi," the Dog's impassive voice simply began. Despite the seeming coldness of the woman's words however, her tail wagged in anticipation. "Why do you have those funny parts?" she asked, pointing at the woman's prosthetic bits. Though shorter than Enid by just a little bit, this one was far more muscular and thick. Under the heavy armor plating and energy shielded bodysuit, the muscles of the Taianese Dog looked as though they could have just flexed, and she'd be torn in half.
"I am here as a courtesy to you Mister Wazu, but as you know, I have a very short supply of it," Hoshiko reminded the man, her face and voice an emotionless deadpan as it always was, making it impossible to know if she were joking, or threatening him. "Though this situation with the Adlets is resolved, it would seem the one with the Kiwomi is different enough that you do not understand. I will edify you in this regard," she began to educate the man. "I remind you that The Alliance as a whole has already conceded the point regarding the Kiwomi, as they have been foolish enough to give us a proper Casus Belli. We will have them. Whether or not you give us their ruler is of no consequence. As war is looming, our soldiers require hands-on-training. The Kiwomi will do just fine," the small woman ominously declared. Just as someone interrupted them.
"Tch." A rarity, the small Tiger gave the man a frown as again, the tension was broken by one of Wazu's underlings. Hoshiko simply pointed him towards the Dog of the group, who had wandered off to bother Enid. "Have her break you instead."
He then goes stern, retorting back at the tigress' questioning. "I must ask. Has your commander simply dismissed you, allowing to you pry on me and my officers here?" Geiben nods to Zenigata, stepping up to him as he glances at the serpent with mixed look. Are all Taianese soldiers like this? They just walk around and prod at Alliance personnel? Granted, it's far better than training sights on each other, but still, there has got to be a better place for social interaction than here. "Let us be on our way as soon as possible, doctor. I'd like to arrive in your village before nightfall."
She shared the same concerns that Zenigata it seemed. The Shaman looked older, even if they survived this winter, there was a question of how many more they might survive. She could have offered to sweep him off this planet and take him back to Hawking, but such an invite may seem patronizing. Instead, she would visit later and offer to trade for his services.
“And thank you for the information!”
She would then turn her attention to Zenigata,
“This is the second warning we have gotten about spooking the locals. Just how concerned should we be in that regard? Maybe we are all a bit overdressed for this? I have some older animal pelts from an expedition to the inner-continent on Hawking. I don’t think it will look like it is from around here but it’ll be a bit more… local looking I think?”
Green-Thumb, meanwhile, would be taking in the various requests for changes in deployment.
“Good idea Ecur squad. Be sure to mark the Shaman’s position on the map too. We can leave a drone behind to keep an eye on him long term.”
Green-Eggs would head back to the remaining shuttle, making the jog in to the landing area from the squad’s position within long-distance observation range. He’d start switching out of his heavy space-suit. Ending up in an alliance marine uniform that was at least warm enough to survive this particular trip. The soldier then heading out to rejoin Geiben with only a pistol holstered at his hip.
“Everyone else switch to man-to-man coverage for the Taipan. Don’t care who you take, but I’ve got eyes on Hoshiko.”
Green-Thumb would let the rest of the squad pick their preferred Taipan soldier to follow. With only four suited marines, herself included, that left them one-to-one. Each soldier now staying back far enough to remain completely out of sight, using remote camera feeds and telemetry to follow from long range.
“Geiben, please take good care of my guests,” Wazu stated, without breaking eyesight with Hoshiko. The tone was stern enough… he figured Green-Thumb could translate if Geiben couldn’t pick up on it himself. His next message would be sent to Zenigata over comms just in case he was out of earshot.
“Zenigata, feel free to go ahead. I will catch up as soon as I am finished here.”
Hoshiko’s turn. He could feel her verbal jabs, but he wouldn’t let her get under his skin.
“Don’t mistake practicing against a nation that has barely mastered space flight with practice against the Gartagen Union, or that the Alliance conceding a point is the same thing as me conceding a point.
The Kiwomians have fucked up with their actions, and a government that gets provoked so easily is one deserving of reform... not indiscriminate bombing of civilians.
You don’t have to make me your enemy on this.”
one of the ecur squads members loaded his carbine with non lethal ammo that had similar effect of tasers "cant believe the Tai pan are this unprofessional do we need to call animal control if it gets worse" he asked his squad lead over coms who gave no response.
Fear. Confusion. And depending on the interaction, a curiosity can form. But that curiosity can easily be overshadowed depending on the interaction. That was why the Shaman was so firm and that's why Zenigata told everyone to not flaunt their weapons or talk about how primitive things were compared to them. The adlets had no desire to abandon nature and the teachings of the Ancestors. As such, they had no understanding of technology. When the snake lady slithered up, Zenigata's tail twitched slightly.
"Can we help you with something?" Zenigata asked them. "If not, please excuse us as we need to talk o the Kaskae first without a massive following."
He didn't like this. He really didn't. However Zenigata looked to Geiben.
"I agree. Just because it's winter and the giant spiders are hibernating in the mountains, there are still things that scurry about at night. Wolf heads hunt more at night than day." Zenigata said to Geiben as he started to lead the way.
As he walked away with hopefully the small group; and no extra creepy passengers. The message would come through and Zenigata glanced to it. The adlet typed a small response for Wazu.
'Alright. Be safe. I still don't trust that she-cat nor any of her companions.' the text message read as he sent it, quickly putting it away.
The walk through the clearing would be short, granted. Zenigata maneuvered easily on the snow despite his lack of equipment and material. Once the snow would creak under his weight and buckle some but the adlet never sank. Hard to say for his companions. Still the outline of huts could be seen as well as smoke rising into the sky. Making sure that those who were suppose to tag along were still managing, he would continue leading. Sure enough, they would arrive.
Foliage around the camp was frosted over, buried deep within the snow. Bushes that produced berries were long lost to the snow, their final harvest having been given out a month or so back most likely. The huts were made out of different things depending on their size. There were huts that looked to be made with animal skin and fabric attached to long wooden poles; similiar in style to a tepee but not holding the same shape as these were more founded and wider. Now some huts that were larger, were made of logs. There was only three structures that seemed to be made out of wood. And then...there was the life here.
Despite the cold of winter, children were still playing in the snow. Wearing only pelts on their shoulders, backs, and chests. Some of them had hoods but not many. The females were still wearing just the article of fur around their chest; although the few expecting mothers had more on them in similar fashion to the children. And the men well, they were still without anything on their shoulders. However a single adlet caught sight of the group before waving.
"TOKLO!!!" a young male called before rushing on over, skidding to a halt as they caused snow to be tossed into the air.
Their canine legs held a golden yellow color with brown brindle markings upon them. Their tail was wagging from side to side as they stood there. Their brown hair was still a mess as they stood there. Sonia would recognize this youth, he was around the age of a teenager.
"You disappeared during the Great Hunt, is everything okay?" they asked.
"Siqiniq, everything is fine. I just had to go back and help my friends out. However, we are here on important buisness. Is the Kaskae in?" Zenigata asked, it was then that the golden furred youth took note of...the others.
Their tail halted it's wagging and lowered.
"Uh.....I remember her but...whose everyone else?" Siqiniq asked.
ecur squad leader pinged Wazu and Geiben "sorry sir's hes a loose cannon and in all honestly were still trying to figure out who he is so 984 put him with the squad to be of use till we get more info on the matter ill try to rein him in but so far my try's and 984's are unsuccessful..."
He then receives a ping from the Ecru squad leader and frowns, replying back with visible frustration on his face. "If he is a loose cannon, why did you authorize him to follow the Shaman? Never mind that." Geiben looks around for the now-gone CQC specialist. Things are starting to spiral out of control. The tension between the Taianese soldiers and his own, the unreliability of Ecur squad's soldiers, and the thin ice that is the adlet population. Any more wrong steps here will devolve this mission into a crisis. "Abort his mission then. If he refuses, then go keep an eye on him. I'll handle the aftermath." Not that'd he want to. Not at all.
Geiben messages his nose bridge as Green-eggs walks up to the commander, now only lightly armored. The soldier salutes Geiben. "Reporting for duty, sir." "Yes? Right." The commander sighs, saluting back, lightly patting the soldier on his shoulder. "Glad to have you with us, I really do."
As his team approaches Zenigata's village, Geiben opens comms to Enid. "This is the commander, Enid, are you there? Stay above the clouds for now. See if you can get some topographical information with the shuttle's sensor array. Now's a good time for questions if you have them, rookie." Hey, Rookie. Awfully rich, coming from him. In this position? A few months at best.
The commander puts away his data pad as they meet the young adlet. He smiles politely, keeping both hands visible as he steps forward to offer the young adlet his right hand. "Siqiniq, is it? I am Geiben Folami, Zenigata's commander. Nice to meet you. Behind me are Quarum Wazu, an anthropologist, and Green-Eggs, an--- officer of mine." The soldier simply nods, standing there a bit awkwardly. Must be a bit weird being in an officer uniform on a mission, compared to wearing armor when out on the field.
The Tigress that stood across from Geiben watched him carefully, her expression subtly darkening as she tilted her head ever so slightly, the shadows cast on her features growing darker. But only for a moment. Watching the man conduct himself, giving out orders and taking them from Wazu as well, she eventually spoke up again. "You are taking this seriously, then?" the Tigress questioned him. "I do not understand why this is something worth using all of your professional effort on," she explained. "I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me on this matter."
As Zenigata spoke to her, the Snake regarded him like a curious predator, neither threatened by him nor concerned that he himself was worried. Instead, she followed, slithering along behind them as they all spoke, watching their every move. Listening to their every word. Out of nowhere, the serpent struck, suddenly appearing behind Sonia without a single sound, the woman completely unaware as the Snake's fang lined mouth opened behind her head. "Excuse me. I wanted to ask, does he have a knot?" she asked the Yazata. "For science, of course," the Taianese soldier preemptively denied certain accusations, her voice subtly colored by more emotional inflection than her peers.
Meanwhile, the Dog continued to pester Enid. "Hey. Hey. Hey, listen," she vied for attention, her voice the typical Taianese calm. Despite being capable of literally tearing the woman in half and scattering her remains in opposite directions, the soldier's demeanor was a complete, sharp contrast. "Why do you have funny bits?" she asked again, now poking at the prosthetic equipped woman with a finger.
"I do not indiscriminately bomb civilians," Hoshiko replied to Heram, her fists curling back in a brief, girlish pout that he would have better spotted if he looked anywhere besides her face. "I perform precise orbital bombar - " the Small Tigress stopped mid-correction as that one soldier of Heram's spoke up again. When Hoshiko turned her head back to Heram, he saw her eyes wide with shock at his horrific inability to speak properly. "Wazu, does that soldier have brain damage?" She briefly glanced said CQC soldier again before refocusing her thoughts, the small woman's expression returning to its normal poker face. "Nevermind." Tail twitching for a moment, she closed her eyes and cracked her knuckles before continuing where they left off. "As it is now, the Kiwomians are of use as both example, and a source of education for my soldiers regarding asymmetrical warfare," she began to explain to him. "The Kiwomians cannot give this to us if their populations are destroyed en-masse, or their cities reduced significantly. Rest assured, the bulk of the damage is projected to be done by the Kiwomians to themselves," Hoshiko inadvertently replied cryptically.
"He...He's not here....hunting.." Siqiniq stammered. "Wh.....What's a Antherpolygeist?"
"Anthropologist, Siq." Zenigata corrected gently.
"I said that."
It was a weird word, one that most adlets wouldn't know of. However, Siqiniq's light blue eyes went wide as he took note of the serpent creature behind the group. His tail immedeatly puffed as he took a step away. Taking note of his friend's sudden startled state, Zenigata took a step forward, a hand gently going onto their shoulder.
"Hey, it's okay....it..." Zenigata started.
"T...T...Tizheruk.......TIZHER..!!!" Siqiniq started, about to scream it out but Zenigata put a hand over their mouth to muffle them.
A look over his shoulder revealed the snake Tai Pan being. Black brows narrowed in displeasure. Ancestors damn it!! Why did the damn snake have to follow?! Why did any of the Tai Pan have to follow?! Siqiniq didn't struggle against his friend, know full well the panic that would be caused him shrieking out that word. The doctor turned their attention to their younger friend.
"Hey, I need you to go get the new Shaman. You know her right?" Zenigata asked, Siq merely nodded. "Okay, go get her please. We need to talk to her too. Thank you Siq."
Releasing his friend, the younger adlet turned quickly and sprinted off. Course, Zenigata turned around, brows narrowed still as he looked to the snake lady.
"Go back to your commander, you are going to cause a panic here. We need to ease the Shaman and the Kaskae into agreeing to the meeting with you and your commander. Having you here and invading personal space is going to make that far harder than needs be." Zenigata told the snake.
Ecur units 2 and 3 pinged their squad leader who in turn messaged Geiben " a Altercation at the front with the snake Tai pan has come up it apparently made sudden movements on zen and Sonia and are requesting to take the shot were not sure what was said orders sir?"
the CQC Ecur member returned from the treeline as per request past to him from his squad lead from the looks that may not be the only thing that was said to him as he appears less lax and more by the book
"No!" The commander steps forward, putting a palm towards the Green-Squad soldier. "Stand down, Green-Eggs." He then turns his mic on to an open channel, to the rest of Green-Squad and Ecur-Squad. "All of you, stand down." Geiben breathes heavily, his breath condensing amidst the cold. He glances into the woods. No doubt the rougish Ecur-squad soldiers have their sights trained on the Taianese. He takes another step to put himself between the Taianese and his officers. Geiben then looks at the Tigress, sighing, "To---" He then hears the canine-form Taianese soldier in Enid's shuttle prying at her through the audio feed.
What the bull-flying aunt-caressing--- How did she get into the rookie's shuttle, and more importantly, WHY?!
Geiben's face now turns fully red, barely holding back his full frustration at the Taianese. Clenching his fists, he nearly growls at the Tigress. "What is going on right now is precisely why we require professionalism. This isn't a vacation, soldier, where we get the luxury of acting or moving about as we please. We are on a mission here to establish diplomatic relationships with the adlets. That in of itself should be enough to warrant order to the highest degree. But clearly you don't quite understand that yet, so allow me to spell it out for you. These are a group of people who barely understand our terminology, much less the technology we use and the societies and cultures we built. Actions that are forgivable, even normal, for us, can be jarring, frightening to the adlets. That is why we show a minimal amount of force, and why we keep our every move transparent to them. They're a hunter-gatherer society. They don't take well to sudden gestures, such as creeping up behind people, especially since you take on the biology of predatory creatures. Am I clear now?"
With his rant over, the commander takes a few steps back. "If you have any care for the future of your kind's presence here on the planet and how the rest of the international community views you, you'll heed my words." He looks up at the night sky. "No, contrary to what Doctor Zenigata has said, I won't force you to return to your commander in this darkness. I give you two options. One, you stay with us and keep your mouths shut, just like my own officer, unless prompted, and allow us to smooth the relationships." He notions to Green-Eggs. "Two, I'll have Enid come and pick you up, and then you can return to your commander." He shakes his head. "Why the Vice Admiral is allowing you to snoop about is still beyond me."
The serpent's gaze followed Sonia's gesture to the two laser dots, but didn't seem to mind the thought that she was under their sights at all. Instead, its slit-pupil gaze fell onto the two potential shooters as it cocked its head to the side.
"I thought visible laser pointers like that were only for silly movies," she thought out loud, voice spilling out from her slightly open jaws like a speaker. The Snake shook shook her head back and forward as though to toss the idea aside. "I'd rather not go back to the Vice Admiral, since you two are more more interesting, and I am here to learn," the Taianese serpent explained to Zenigata. Despite this defiance though, she struck a more thoughtful pose, rubbing the base of her hard scaled 'lip'. Assuming that part of a snake's mouth could be called a lip of course. "I suppose I could move more slowly and make myself look less imposing," the Taianese serpent relented a little, offering them some potential to save the situation. "But you two still haven't answered my question," its emerald green eyes looked back and forward between the odd couple. "Does he have one? And if he did, did it work on you? What was it like?"
Meanwhile, the Tigress simply watched and listened as Geiben burst into a flurry of furious words followed by some exposition.
"I am here to learn, but as far as I can tell, it is just a village," she calmly replied, unbothered or unmoved by the vehemence or seriousness that the man tried to project. "A stone-age village, of all things," the Tigress added. "I do not understand why such importance is being placed on this encounter," she admitted, her voice deadpan. "It is not as though this village harbors magical artifacts or other resource of value." Staring at him with her golden eyes, she fell silent as it slowly began to become clear just what the Taianese were up to. And if they wanted to ruin the meeting, there was nothing that any of them could do about it short of opening fire.
And then, they'd die.
He hated them. He hated these Tai Pan bitches and bastards; if there was any male members of this so called Super Nation of all Mighty Bullshittery. He could feel his brows twitching and his fur starting to stand on end. Yes...they were Stone age compared to the bastards out in space. Compared to the back stabbers who were so far stuck up their own asses, his people were NOTHING!
"You are here to learn huh? You don't seem to be. You seem to be trying to set things off." Zenigata added after a moment of composure. "I was born and raised here, I know what my tribe has and it has nothing you'd be interested in."
Anger, hatred...oh he was feeling it. He was feeling it crawling through his skin as he stood there. This was why, he had no trust in this bitches. This was why, he NEVER wanted them near his people.
Within the village, members of the tribe were taking note of what was happening. Parents quickly picking up their children and entering their huts, disappearing. The men were on guard though. The fathers and husbands took a place near the entrance of their respected huts, and stayed put. Clearly in a protective and defensive manner as their eyes watched the altercation. The air was filling with a deadly amount of tension as the night grew even colder with the lack of the sun.
"You seek something that doesn't lie here, Tonrars." A female voice spoke up.
If the group looked, they would see a female adlet with both white hair and white fur. Her eyes reddish and paler skin. An albino adlet, a rarity like with any species. But still a possibility to have. She had a black pelt shawl over her shoulders as her red eyes were locked onto the entity of the group.
"Our Ancestors guide us through the Shamans of the tribes, some tribes have abandoned their ancestors, and some tribes who are so caught up in the past have only their false ways to guide them." she added as she walked over. "But even we shamans can't do much, we hear the ancestors and we talk to them but it does nothing on the scale you might be hungering for. If you were here to learn, you would be respectful. Instead, one can see you are poking everything you can, trying to get under the skin in order to steal a heart that you don't even know if it exists."
Her long white tail was held at a angle, showing her neutral yet serious stance as she stood there. Her long white hair had various beads through it, braided even.
"If you wish to learn of us, you must show some mutual respect to us as we would to you. However, if you continue down this path then you shall not learn. You will be blinded to everything and only seek what you want which doesn't lie here." She continued. "From what I have observed, I know for a fact that the Kaskae will not agree to seeing any of you with this behavior. The choice remains yours. Continue on a path of seeking what you think is here or, you may open your eyes to learning about a culture that is not your own. Once you have chosen your answer, Toklo may lead you to my hut. Take your time in considering the choices."
When she said Toklo, she had pointed at Zenigata. The female turned and walked away. Disappearing into the camp and out of sight with no real idea of just where she came from originally.
For now, Wazu was closing his eyes. He wanted to focus on Hoshiko… but his own group was starting to press their luck or outright work against what he was trying to achieve. Wazu certainly couldn’t question Hoshiko’s soldiers and their abilities now, not after such a poor showing from his side. Perhaps this was just valuable experience for next time on needing to control the room. He also had to consider if he was cynical enough to think he had just been over-estimating his allies’ abilities.
“He may have brain damage.” He responded.
Hoshiko’s response also made it clear Wazu might not know enough about the Kiwomians to help. She seemed to indicate that their plan was a Kiwomian civil war, no doubt playing one side against the other. He certainly didn’t know enough about any ethnic tensions on their homeworld, much less if the current leadership was one worth supporting. Perhaps this was a test run of their own plans for engaging in the future? That seemed fair enough considering Wazu was doing the same thing.
“Experience would be hard to get if you let the Kiwomians do all the killing.” It was one of the few options Wazu still had open for dissuading Taipan, trying to break apart their own argument. Ecur squad had just blown any chance he had of positioning the Alliance as the experts on COIN, Hybird, and Asymetric.
This seemed like the time to shift focus to the other reason for Hoshiko being here: To see if tensions between Taipan and the Adlet would flame up again.
“Though perhaps we should go rejoin Zenigata. We are all supposed to be friends again.”
“FRIENDS!” Soffy shouted out, jumping up a bit on two of her legs before scurrying back over to her wheely-case full of medical stuff. She didn’t want to get too involved with what the others were discussing, but all the same; “We can be friends with the Adlets and the Kiwomians!”
“Their bodysuits have shield projectors in them. Your LP 2966 might blind them, but that’s about it.
The G8’s stun rounds might not get through their bodyshields either… but we’re going with Anti-tank after that.
My point is try not to be the first person they rip the arms off of. We might not be able to save you.” Green-Thumb helpfully reminded the crew.
“Ecru, rules of engagement are not to fire on Taipan. That determination is being left for Green-Squad. You are not equipped to deal with their defenses or ranked highly enough to make that kind of decision.”
Green thumb would then open up a private channel to Geiben,
“Perhaps we should withdraw Ecru to the ship for now that Green-Eggs is handling your defense against the forest creatures.”
Quarum just sorta watched everything unfold.
This was all her brother’s doing.
He tricked her into coming out here with promises of Anthropology! Not once had her other anthropological expeditions involved so many guns! The last time they were on Hawking she just wanted to get a Cinnamon bun, but shooting had started there too.
“CAN WE DO SOMETHING WITHOUT PULLING OUT THE GUNS FOR ONCE?!” She practically shouted. “I actually want to talk to these Adlet.”
She crossed her arms over her armored vest, she wanted to know if the Adlet had a knot too… but now such a question would seem inappropriate.
... He looks around at the adlets, the men protecting their homes. They're scared... all of them, both him and the adlets, afraid of the consequences. Geiben scans the Taianese one more time. Pushing for presence with the Kaske with these soldiers here will only make matters worse. A shouting match, a stray shot fired... it'll all barrel downhill, the Alliance's moral reputation complicated, to say the least.
Not under his command. Success will have to wait. His heart racing, Geiben alas starts speaking on the open channel. "... Affirmative, captain. Ecur squad is too retreat. In fact, we all are to retreat. We'll meet you back at the LZ." The commander glares at the Taianese. He's been dragged into a situation he could not come out on top. But for now, he and his crew are to survive. You've won this battle here, but the war has just begun. "Enid, your advice is taken. Meet us at the coordinates I'm sending you. Keep this comm channel open." If that canine form in the shuttle dares to do something to the rookie, it'll at least be recorded. Said coordinates is that of a small opening that Geiben passed by when he was walking to this village.
With his own recording still on, Geiben looks at the Taianese. "You are our guests. As your hosts, we ask that you return with us." The commander is already mentally preparing for an earful from Mr. Wazu and Green-Thumb. Coming all the way out here, only to go back to them empty handed, looking evasive, even weak, in front of the Taianese. It's not going to look good on him. It's just... damn it... he has his hands tied right now! Even if he did have the superior firepower, using it to intimidate the Taianese isn't morally right! Especially now since he isn't allowed to show force first, and the Taianese know it! They know they can get away with acting like this! Well, you know what? I'm not going to play your game here. I'll suck up the loss, I'll take up to responsibility. Loose as I may, I won't let you WIN.
He then looks at Zenigata with a face full of apology. I'm sorry, friend, these people leave me no choice. "Doctor, this is your home, these are your people. You do not have to return with us for the night. Just have your comms available, just in case when we need you."
"Hm. A disappointment," the Tigress softly exclaimed in surprise at the turn of events.
"I suppose we can try again at a later time," the Snake quickly replied to Sonia, turning to Zenigata next. "In the future however, I advise against making a scene, especially since it scares the children," she nodded her elongated, reptilian head up and down, agreeing with herself. "Yes, yes. Voicing your concerns more quietly, perhaps in whispers when we are in earshot of your village?" the serpent suggested. "That way, we can address matters without being overheard by and upsetting the shaman," it pointed out, its voice calm and level so as to not be overheard by the locals. As Geiben made his offer to the Adlet though, the Snake cocked its head at Zenigata, curious. "Are you coming with us? We have more questions for you, and would like to see what we can do to assist," it innocently remarked, its clear membranes sliding over its eyes in a reptilian blink.
The Tigress however, simply stared at them all, her face deadpan.
Ignored again, the Taianese woman seemed to simply fade from Enid's perception as she worried about much more important things. Her concerns and those of her teammates were quite valid, given the situation, and it was stressful to deal with considering the stakes. Eventually however, the woman would take a seat, and when she did, she'd find that things weren't so bad. Her teammates were making a tactical withdrawal for the time being, and nobody was threatening anyone else with weapons. More importantly, the curious soldier accosting her had stopped.
"Composite construction. Standardized motors and off-the-shelf energy source," the burly Taianese woman remarked, observing something. From her spot, Enid could hear her then take a sniff-sniff. "It smells fruity," the Dog-form then remarked, eyes wide with wonder as she held a prosthetic leg in her hands.
Seated on her chair, Enid was missing one of hers.
"I see," Hoshiko simply replied, momentarily quiet as she accepted Wazu's answer regarding the odd soldier.
"I do remind you that I am an expert on asymmetrical warfare and all of its derivatives given, as I had commanded in several of the Elvish wars, however - " she paused again, blinking at the man, " - your concern is appreciated in that regard. It will be a balancing act, but I am fully capable of doing so," the small Tigress replied before nodding to Heram's suggestion. "Rejoining with Zenigata and performing a quick, informal debrief to assess what can be done would be helpful. I am under the impression he had drawn additional attention to the group while the Shaman was near," she added, now watching the I'ee scuttle about excitedly.
"Yes, friends," she replied to it. Glancing at Heram's sisters, Hoshiko added, "I think we are doing well, considering the situation. Only one party has pointed guns at the other, after all."
Her expression was deadpan as it always was.
"I advise you go back with the others. It's late and I ain't in the mood to answer your questions. And I certainly don't buy that you are wanting....to help." Zenigata said in a low voice to the snake."
Grateful to Geiben for giving him the option to stay here, Zenigata was going to do just that. Honestly though...he was going to warn the members of his tribe to stay in camp. He didn't want any pups to run off playing during the day and getting snatched up by...one of these annoying bitches. Course, he would stay firmly put. Even if or when the snake would leave.
Possibly also let Quarum and Soffy meet some friends.
But he would leave that to Geib. His attention was no longer so laser-focused on Hoshiko, his hand bringing his datapad up so he could more accurately monitor the rest of the group.
“Awww….” Soffy seemed less happy with the decision to leave, her LED face mask showing a frowny-face. She kinda slumped forward, but didn’t complain any further. The sad I’ee just sorta standing there in the snow.
Quarum seemed less interested in up and leaving.
“Maybe leave Zenigata and myself behind. You can always come pick us up later.”
She didn’t seem too concerned about the wolves or other native dangers.
He then turns to Quarum Wazu and firmly replies, "Negative, Doctor, I can't leave Alliance personnel in foreign territory without armed escort, which will bring problems of its own. Zenigata and Sonia are allowed to stay since this is their home. We're moving out to the LZ."
The commander then pings Green-Squad and Ecur-Squad. "Keep track of our positions, code yellow. I lost comms with our ride; we may have to head back to the primary LZ on foot."
With Green-Eggs walking next to him, Geiben trudges through the snow to reach the coordinates he sent to Enid. His face is hot, his breath turbulent, its unsteady nature visible under the flashlight as they move through the darkness, through the woods. What's going on? Did she get into a conflict with the canine on-board? Surely they won't be so bold---
He then sees the shuttle approaching the LZ and hears Enid's report. Sighing in relief, Geiben replies, "Affirmative, we're two minutes out."
The commander steps into the shuttle, his boots clanking on the floors, snow falling off his shoulders and melting as soon as they hit the craft. It's good to be back in anything remotely close to room temperature. Leaving the rest of his crew main loading/seating bay, he steps into the cockpit, meeting Enid for the first time in person. He nods to her, and sits besides her in the co-pilot seat, looking through the craft's data. Giving a brief skim of it, he leans back in his seat, looking out of the view-port into the snowy forest. "Take us back to the primary LZ, Enid. I expect a report of the disconnect once we get back onto the ship." Though with remnants of frustration, the commander's face turns relaxed, or more so, tired. He has a few ideas of what occurred here. Green-Horn's data should also support the theories he has.