Project: AKRA pt 8

Keep a ping going so we can find the range of the ICS here – he sent to her, but when she didn’t respond he felt alone again.  He backed up a bit as small bits of the plant fell out of the sky from her ascent, turning his own cloaking field back on.  He picked one of the branches up, from where it had broken off was a liquid leaking out from the middle.  Though the branch was colored purple, he thought the similarity to obsidian was strong.  Was this really a plant, or maybe a symbiotic amalgamation of plant and geologic processes?  They looked a lot like Daijin Star plants, if they had plants.  Hmm…did they have plants?

‘Thinking too much…’

He shook his head and pulled the Gauss-Limiter up to his shoulder and looked around at the silent forest around him.  Really the forest was rather beautiful with its soft reflections of the light far above.  There appeared to only be two major life forms: the huge trees and the sharp ‘grass’ underneath.

The terrain wasn’t that hard to cross; compared to some the going would have been fairly fast.  But the problem was the extreme diligence required of being aware where every hand and every foot was going to ensure no slipping into a razor tree happened.  Strengthening just the feet or hands as Philira suggested was a good way to save suit material, but at the risk of injury in an accident.

The visibility was fairly good. Sight lines were about average, blocked only by the big pyramidal trunks or the eventual even dispersion of the trees filling in every sight line.

“Haaaauuuuuuu!” a strange call from somewhere up in the air came, making Raist realize how close to dusk it was now becoming.  The call also indicated there was something here other than the two plants types.  In the setting sun the purple color of the plants was even more obvious, and that made him remember the fact that from space the landscape looked green.  But from here, there was definitely nothing green around.

The branches falling off the tree then took on a different touch from their completely purple obsidian nature beforehand.  They were the crystal branches, but with leaves on them.  Green leaves.

“What?”  He picked up one from the pile forming and sure enough the leaves looked similar enough to Terrestrial leaves, barring the strange branch.  Something else caught his eye even more though, and it was that this pile was softly moving.  He backed up out of caution and slowly watched it vibrate.

‘This grass is alive…’ He looked down at his boots, grateful the advanced alloy was protecting him from this alien world.  He dropped the leafed branch to the grass, in which the razor grass slowly swayed back and forth.  It cleaved the glass-like branch apart and leaving a strange liquid inside the crystal branch similar to sap that was dripping out, as well as the valuable, soft leaves.  Raist knelt down to see that between the blades of grass was a small pool of liquid, which the remnants of the sliced branch fell into and were systematically dissolved in what appeared to be an acid.

This was a hostile planet, and with each step he took he could imagine the alien grass trying to cleave bits of his boot off to get to his own ‘juices’ inside.  It disgusted him imagining the grass as millions of worms swaying back and forth to eat him.  He wanted to shoot them for a moment if it would have at all mattered.

“Raist?” a soft female voice called to him.

“Philira?”

“Yeah.”  She jumped out of the tree and turned off her cloak.  Her cold eyes and bright hair still affected Raist every time; Scouts were a very enigmatic class of soldier.  Given his past with Laiun, the previous Scout he had fallen for, added to the forced distance in his heart he had to maintain with Philira.

“Four things,” she started.  “One, there appears to be creatures that live here and only come out at night, and they put this plant life to shame in terms of danger.  Two, that way,” she pointed, “is the way towards our goal.  Three, there are robot sentries in the air, possibly of Daijin Star origin, but heavily armed.  Lastly, there is at least one person alive, and they are that way.”

“Well, then we are going that way,” pointing towards the unknown team member.

“Of course, Leader.”

“Raist is fine, don’t talk differently just because we are on a mission now.”

“Of course, Raist.”  He liked the way she said his name.

***

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