Project: AKRA PT 7

***

Ist…

Raist!  He shook his head slowly as his eyes focused on some light coming down from the trees above him.

He shook his head, thinking about that girl – spilled out on some planet in his past, serving her fatalistic destiny without complaint.  In time his bleeding wounds would heal, but there were some wounds that never healed, those that were too deep to see.

Anyone there!?  A desperate female voice came through on his ICS, but there was no identification marker or avatar associated with it.  What was going on?  ICS was nearly flawless, local range could reach substantial portions of the planet.

Yeah, I’m here.  I can’t get an ID on you.  I took a pretty hard fall and was out for a while there. – Raist

Philira speaking.  I ended up on the ground okay, but I worry about everyone else.  I’m glad at least one person is still alive. – Philira

Well, we need to meet.  Unfortunately, this foliage is way too dense to get a vantage point on. – Raist

Raist put his hand behind him and pushed himself to a sitting position, but just doing that hurt his hand.  He lifted his hand to find small cuts over it, and rapidly realized the ground he was on was composed of a grass-like plant that its sharp edges literally were serrated.  He grabbed a blade of the plant and realized it was structured so that it would stab inwards deeper and deeper, but had small anchors that prevented it from easily coming back out.

In the corner of his eye his system was pinging a warning, and he activated it.  His system told him that medical and suit synth capabilities have been reduced to 84% after healing him from the fall.

Normally that wasn’t too bad, but his system also warned that given the harsh condition of travel, expect high levels of loss while maintaining suit integrity as it increased thickness to stop the plants from getting at him.

He unrolled the suit off his hand to touch the plants without the armor protecting him, gently rolling his finger over it.  Just the soft touch left a thin line of blood on his fingertip before his internal nanites quickly sealed the cut and recycled the blood.

Philira, be careful of the terrain.  The area I found myself in is composed of extremely sharp objects.  We should be okay with our suits, but if those break down we are in for a lot of pain getting through here. – Raist

Shout a few times, if you would. – Philira

“Philira!  Hey!  Anyone out there?!  Phil—” He heard some crashing behind him, and shot up into a crouch, pulling out his Gauss-Limiter rifle.

There were many weapons that were used by individuals that were also used on ships, only in changed capacities.  Agrest’s Rail Rifle was based on the ship weapon of same name that was a long-range rail gun designed to pound out space stations, and with very good tracking and computers could blow smaller ships apart.  Raist’s Gauss-Limiter was similar to the ship’s in that it launched huge numbers of tiny projectiles at hyper velocities.

“It’s me,” her voice came through.  He didn’t even see her; the camo was still working completely.

He disengaged his own cloaking slightly, and she followed suit so they could see each other.  They ran up to each other and gave a quick hug, grateful to see someone after the crash.  Even though he was dating Leio, he had a soft spot in his heart for Philira.  He never pursued it meaningfully because of emotional scars he had over Laiun, the last Scout whom he seriously liked, that selflessly gave her life away for him.  They were vastly different in many ways, beyond that they were both completely sacrificial for the Leader.  He shook his head to get off the dark train of thought he was on.

“How lucky that the Scout was the one that crashed close to me,” he smiled warily.

“You were actually pretty far away, but this forest is strangely quiet right now.”

“You ran here?  Isn’t that risky with all these plants?”  Raist asked the young Scout.

“Just reinforce your boots, and the rest is just being careful where your body is.”  She held his eyes for only a moment longer before going back to scanning the forest, holding her Plaz-Shot down by her hips.

“Yeah, already on it.  Was I the only one you heard from, on ICS or sound?”

“Unfortunately, yes.  I couldn’t imagine we are particularly dispersed, but I should definitely be able to hear them, regardless of the ICS malfunction.”

Raist was completing a quick check to make sure none of his gear had fallen out on the crash.  “Has to either be something with the planet, which I doubt, or our enemy has an interference device.  That had to be what caused the crash.  If we get you up that tree, any chance it might help?” He was pointing to the biggest ‘tree’, if you could call a starburst-shaped trunk a tree.

“Completely.  It might take a bit to climb though.”

“Let’s do it. I’ll guard down here.”

The two of them made their way over to the spiked ridge.  He crouched down, ready to boost her up to one of the knife-branches, when she shook her head ‘no’.

He raised an eyebrow at her, but then she showed him her gloves which had taken on hooked appearances while slightly spreading out.

‘Scout trick,’ he thought.  She jumped at the ridge, slamming her hands into the strange object, punching her hooked claws through the tree as her spiked boots likewise punched their way through with slight ‘tings’ as she flew up the tree, crystal fragments falling down as she ascended.  She cloaked herself fully once more once she was actually climbing upwards.  If somehow the ‘tree’ had resisted the repulsion field in her climbing tools, the microscopic suction cups would have propelled her up anyway.

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