Project: AKRA pt 13

(They are down to three people, assaulting the base soon, will they be able to save AKRA?)

 

Raist spread his arms out while he was falling through the sky, seeing the two of them further down through clearings in the clouds of mist close to the bottom of the river.  He enjoyed the quick freedom of the descent when the small cord he was tied on began providing a counter to gravity as he rapidly slowed down, controlling the final length of his descent with a button on his suit.

Spinning around slowly, he lowered himself the final few body lengths to the small rock platform the other two were at.

Agrest took their three cords, pressing them into the wall and triggering their camouflage system, which caused them to fade into the rock color.

“What’s the likelihood of hostile creatures in this water?” Raist asked.

Philira shook her head rapidly.  “No way, this water is too fast.  Even if there are creatures, the water should hide our thermal signature with the outside of our suit being cold.  I’ll wave when I have the system set up on the other side.”

She knelt down, spiked another rod into the ground and dove into the water without waiting for any command from Raist.  Her body moved up and down in a rhythm as the wave started by her head swept through her whole body over and over as she flew across the rapids.  Scouts…good at everything.

“I am glad she is such a good swimmer,” Raist said.

“Yeah, never got good at that style.  Luckily I could pass all my tests doing the side-stroke.”

Raist was spiking his safety system, hooking it up to the line Philira was establishing when Agrest put his hand on his shoulder.

“Something doesn’t feel right.”

Raist didn’t like the pit in his stomach hearing Agrest say that, but evenly responded, “Why, what’s wrong?”

Agrest shook his head.  “I don’t know, can’t explain it.  But call it a Sniper’s intuition.”  Raist was ready to dive into the water having seen Philira’s pink hair emerge from the other side and waved the two of them over when Agrest interrupted him.

“If I don’t make it out alive, can you deliver a letter I have in my room back on the ship?” Agrest asked coldly.  His joking demeanor was totally gone, replaced by a dim realism.  “It’s to that girl we saved last time on Azure 2.  I was always scared to write her back.  But at least let her know that I died, but was thinking about her, okay?”

Raist turned around, and pushed him hard.  “Don’t you dare say that!  What is everyone’s problem?!  We have been through way worse shit than this.  Border-Action 9, the assault on Klattu, being stranded on Kilo?  Come on, Ziko’s arm?  I lost both of mine on Kilo.”  Raist lifted both of his arms as he went on.  “These are bio-synths!  We sustained a few injuries early and everyone is thinking this is the end?”

“Heh.” Agrest pushed Raist’s hand away as his lip rose in a slight grin. “You feel it too, then?”

Raist turned around, mad Agrest had basically gotten him to admit his unease, and dove into the water.  He started swimming with all his might against the harsh current.  Memories of the drownings he sustained during swim ‘training’ came back to him, but only focused his mind as he crashed through the waves and rocks.  He felt a strong pull that was Philira’s line dragging him to the other shore.  He felt his back legs sweep to the right, pulling away from him, and suddenly went spinning into the water as he got trapped in a whirlpool.

Underwater, he tried kicking off a huge rock he was trapped next to, but the whirlpool was too strong.  He stopped struggling and went limp, conserving his oxygen.  His nanites would keep him conscious for a much longer time than even the best breath-holders on Terra were capable of before nanites, but still knew anything could happen.

He protected his head with his arms as he hit the rock over and over with every spin of the water.  Feeling the line on his suit finally tighten, it forcefully ripped him out of the whirlpool and back to the surface.  He turned on his back, took a breath, and continued covering his head as Philira dragged him to the other side.

“Brings back bad memories of water survival school!” he shouted over the din, standing up and shaking the water off his face and hair as he backed away from the spraying mist the river was generating.

“Haha, yeah,” she agreed as she smiled. “Lot of memories is for sure.”

He suddenly remembered that as much as he went through, while he was in tactics and strategy classes, she was probably still out there swimming and running.  He felt bad for even thinking about his hardship; he had no doubt the ‘expendable’ Scouts were trained far more cruelly than the Leaders.  She had swum through those rapids that likely would have killed Raist had he not had assistance.

Agrest was dragged to the shore and Philira hid the line across the river.  Now that this line and the descent line were established, on the return trip all they would need  to do is hook up to it.  The mechanism could pull them across the river, or up the cliff.

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Project: AKRA pt 11

“It’s okay…I know.  I can get a bio amp replacement if we make it through this.”

“Hey, you guys over there?”  Agrest’s voice shouted.  “Get over here now!”

Ziko pushed himself off the tree, they all grimly watched for a moment as what remained of his arm was quickly chopped and consumed by the blade grass and its acid once the suit’s structural integrity had been broken down.  “I hate this fucking place.” It seemed to be an understatement from Ziko as he watched his arm get eaten by the grass.

The three walked over to Agrest, his huge sniper rifle leaning against the tree.  Raist realized it was Agrest’s shot that killed the diving bird before it killed them.

Leio was sitting on the ground, her knee looked crushed, and everything under it was gone.  Her other ankle was broken, bent back up to her calf.

“What are you going to do with me?” she asked, looking straight at Raist.  He felt his stomach drop a bit with the implication of one entirely real option he could take to save the rest of the group time.  This was a woman he was intimate with, yet the mission was now at risk of being compromised due to both her legs.

“What happened?” he asked, trying to buy some time to think this through.

“The ankle was from the fall, and this,” she pointed to her missing calf and the crushed knee, “was from that bastard over there.”  She indicated a large dead beast.  “Heh, damn.  I’ve never seen such a hostile fauna before.”  She leaned back while they crouched down to inspect her damage.  Even with her mutilated legs, she still was amazingly lusty, along with a slight independence still obvious in her countenance.  “No wonder they put their fortress here.  Secure the skies, and let the planet take care of the ground.”

Raist could feel everyone waiting for him to decide what they were going to do with the obvious change in plans the injuries and the planet presented to them.  Maybe they were especially waiting to wonder if he would leave Leio, or kill her.  The latter might be humane.

He stood up.  “We are not leaving anyone behind.”  He looked to Ziko before continuing, “I am taking you off Assault-role.  It’s too dangerous to not have a combat-able person not firing, so because of your injury you are the one who will carry her.  Leio, you are staying on the Sweep.  The rest of us are changing our weapon configuration.  Agrest, switch to your Silvershot for faster shots, I’m moving down to the ‘Saw and Leio you go with whatever you can shoot while still staying on Ziko.  Z, you can either go weaponless or take a one-hander.”

“And me?” Philira asked.

“Stay with the Plaz-Shot.  It is obvious to us now most of the fighting is going to be close range.  I need Agrest and Leio to be on drone watch out.  We are not that far in raw distance to our target so we are going to press on.  I do not think resting is a wise decision.”

He walked over to Leio. “You know what we have to do right?” he asked.

“Of course, get it done already.”

They dragged her to an area devoid of the grass where it looked shot up from the battle.  He handed her the handle of the SSAW with its softer grip, pressing it towards her mouth, she opened it and bit down on the handle.

“Hold her,” he commanded.  Philira and Agrest knelt down and held her body and arms down.

“Heh,” she muttered out of her jammed mouth, turning her head towards the sky.  “Never…get used…to this.”

Raist knelt down by her foot, grabbing the misplaced foot, and, without waiting for any okay or any delay, pulled downward and backward.  Immediately her leg started flailing while the other two struggled to hold her down, letting out a painful ‘guuuaaaaa!’ through her gritting mouth.  It was clear she was trying to maintain control despite the massive pain and compared to a scream most would have let out, her moan was fairly benign.

He continued pulling back until it was straight, and pushed it softly back into the semi-correct position.  He held her foot still for a moment while she stopped moving; she spit the gun handle out.  “I’m okay…”

All three of them let her go as she sat there.  “Should be walk-able in about a cycle.  I feel my nanites reforming the bone already.” It was quiet for a moment before she continued. “Well, stop staring at me already!  As much as you guys like to do it, let’s get this going.”  He reluctantly managed a smile at her pride hiding her shame of slowing the group down.

She lifted an arm up and Raist grabbed it, hauling her body over his shoulder then transferring her to Ziko where she sat on his shoulders.  She used her one leg to wrap under his shoulder to his back and was using her hips to hold onto his head.

“Not pretty, but it will work.  Z, can you still function?” Raist asked, handing him a pistol for his one remaining arm.  The chemicals in them and their advanced nanites could keep them functioning at conditions worse than this, but still wanted to make sure.

“You mean with that hot ass wild woman riding him all night?” Agrest joked.

“I think his head is facing the wrong direction for anything wild,” Leio said, giving Ziko a tight squeeze.

“Damn Raist, no wonder you like her.  I can tell she’s probably into bondage,” Agrest responded.

“Don’t make me squeeze his head off.”

“Why would you punish me for your two perverted minds?” Ziko said while he practiced moving around a bit with Leio on his shoulders.

“I think he’d like that.” Agrest added, “Either getting his head squeezed off, or your ‘punishment’ that is.”

At least their spirits…and chemicals… were still high enough to joke.  Raist looked at the Spreading Squad Assault Weapon he was holding in his hands, its neon blue lines pulsing an incredible power just waiting to be unleashed.  He was practicing drawing his knife out of the SSAW Philira had hidden in it in the event of a surprise.  Raist was glad their spirits were still good for now though.  He knew how bad missions could get.

Project: AKRA pt 10

Raist took a prone position in the clearing Ziko had cut through the forest with his CSW, while the two close range fighters fought back-to-back against the horde, standing right above Raist.

He was taking careful burst shots, squeezing a few rounds, gauging whether the creature needed more rounds to die, then either delivering, or moving on to a new target.  The counter on the side of the rifle shot down rapidly.

He squeezed the final 30 into some creature hopping between the trees and as he rolled to his side to put a new magazine of 1,000 in.  The magazine was in, and his hand was going to the ‘accept’ toggle when he saw a huge bird diving out of the sky right at their group.

“Up…!” he started, but it was too slow.  Its mouth peeled open to reveal a tri-maw opening ready to consume one of them.  The creature was closing on them when its large neck was separated from its body, liquid exploding out the backside as its head crashed to the ground not far from them, its body gliding into another dead creature.

“What?”

Raist toggled the rifle back on, and saw a line of white tracers clearing the sides of part of the trees.  He knew that weapon anywhere: it was Leio’s Sweep Rifle, but she was aiming horizontally.  What killed the bird?

“It’s Agrest and Leio!” Philira shouted, another of her clips dumping out of her Plaz-Shot and hitting Raist in the head as she reloaded with robotic speed.

He didn’t need to tell the two he was with to not hit them, and he hoped the other two knew they were here.

Beasts continued advancing on them until all of them mysteriously stopped, turning and running as fast as they could.  Death had not scared them before, so it was definitely something different.

“Phi?”  Raist asked.

“Something’s coming…top of the trees.”

The strange silence had returned to the forest, though a few wounded screams still pierced the night.  Raist hated killing animals, and hearing their moans as they were sawed apart by the grass hurt his soul.

“Drone!”  Philira shouted, grabbing Ziko and diving to the shot-up ground.  Above them a large floating disk hovered over the scene of their battle.

“Shoot it!  Shoot it!” she yelled.

Raist was the only one of the three with the longer-range weapon and brought it to bear, and though he was giving it rapid bursts of ten sonic rounds that were undoubtedly flying straight through its hull, its size would not easily be brought down.  The two he was with were each rapidly reaching for their longer-range weapons as a firing arm extended above the disk.

A loud whoosh reached them long after the rocket did, rending the ground apart as they were flung through the air.  Raist crashed into one of the trees between two of the razor edges and escaped serious damage.  He switched his weapon to packet mode, morphing the small rounds into larger slugs designed to pierce before blowing apart inside their target.

He aimed at the disk that was readying another rocket and started shooting, catching the white tracers of the Sweep Rifle also on target of the drone.  The thin, fast spray of the Sweep rounds, and Raist’s exploding slugs were pounding away at the machine.  It tilted to one side for a moment, but righted itself.  Raist was sure it was going to fire again until its core exploded and it crashed somewhere into the trees above them.

He was breathing hard, his mind in combat mode, looking around everywhere for the next thing to kill, and with nothing moving for a long time he gradually began to come off his combat high.

Something was hurting his core and looking down, he saw a mat of the spiky grass imbedded into his chest after being propelled by the rocket.  He pulled each out; feeling the distant pain of sucking out the semi-vacuum each projectile had created in his body.

He pushed himself out of the slight cove of his tree and staggered to the clearing.  “Who is alive?”

“We are, but Ziko is hurt,” Philira’s voice had an edge he never heard before in it.

Raist ran over and saw Ziko slumped next to a tree almost exactly like where Raist had been blasted.  The difference was he was moved slightly to one side, right into its sharp edge.

“Zi…ko?” Raist asked nervously.

“Yo, I’m alive, but shit…these plants are even worse than the creatures.”

Ziko’s words made it seem like he was okay, but Raist realized Ziko’s left arm had been cut cleanly off right by the shoulder.  His nanites and suit sealed what was left of the arm to prevent any bleed off; it actually looked like he had a stub arm his entire life with how clean it was.  The fact he could talk clearly was a result of their advanced training, and very tailored drugs to block pain and maintain combat efficiency.

“Your ar—” Philira started, Raist grabbed her and shook his head no.

Project: AKRA pt 9

(The team has landed but due to a malfunction were all separated and trying to find each other)

“How the hell can they see us!?” Raist shouted over the burst of gunfire.  Another Plaz-Shot shell from Philira’s weapon exploded the creature apart as the remnants of the super heated bolts tore through parts of the forest.

The silence of the forest during the day was a complete juxtaposition of the chaos of night with its endless howls, shadows, and attacks.

One beast that had finished goring another swung its huge tusked head towards the two of them and started charging.  Raist lifted the Limiter rifle to it, and the soft ‘zzzt’ sound hid the fact that hundreds of sonic rounds were electro-magnetically being discharged out of the rifle.  The spray tore into the creature, rendering its millions of generations of evolution for naught as the rounds blasted through it and the trees beyond.  It skidded to a stop not far from the two of them, and was rapidly being cut down by the strange ground under it.

“They have to be sensing us some other way…thermally possibly,” Philira suggested as she rapidly rotated her head around every side of them, pumping a round into things Raist didn’t even know was there, only occasionally seeing the burning creature falling out of a tree or fall over from behind an alcove.  She danced in front of him always making sure to stay between him and any danger.

‘DADADA!’ A loud, fast retort of a Close-Support-Weapon came from somewhere fairly close to them; they knew they were closing in on the other member of their group.  But every step was a battle.  Even the ‘grass’ had become even more alive, slicing back and forth greedily for something to fall onto the cleaving surface.

“How close?!” he shouted to Philira.

“Not far.”  She quickly bent down, her hands rapidly flying over the Scatter gun as she threw the empty energy clip to the ground, reaching to her hip for another, slapping it in and triggering the toggle.  The green neon lights on the transductor rails came back on as she jumped backwards shooting a creature that had closed on her quickly in that short time.

“It has to be thermally!”  Raist shouted.  It made sense why everything was out at night: heat would show up better.  Unfortunately, their advanced weaponry probably was a beacon in the night with the hot barrels and explosive plasma blasts.

“Get down.”  Philira dashed backwards, tackling Raist to the ground.  In front of them the huge tree was sawed through by a barrage of rounds as it swayed in one direction, its structure cracking.  Its mass swayed the other direction as its crystal structure started breaking, falling towards them as the base exploded apart.  The razor branches came crashing down around them.  They scrambled to their feet, pausing for only a moment as the tree grew closer and closer.  They escaped being crushed, but not all damage as the sharp crystals shot-gunning around them as the branches of the tree fell everywhere.

“Gaaaa…!” Raist let out a groan as he felt something slip right through his right side, passing through the armor like nothing.  The tree had come to a crashing end and Philira jumped up.  Raist was slower and she grabbed his wrist and hauled him up.

He put a glove on his right side and it came back red; he had been sliced through by one of the branches of the tree that had crashed around them.

“Shit, I’m hit.”  Philira looked at him with her cold eyes, trying to decide what she was going to do.

“I’m going for whoever that is.  We need to unify our force immediately,” she started leaving.

Raist grabbed her wrist, pulling her back.  “No, I am going with you.  This is nothing.”  A warning in the corner of his eye warned that the expected healing would reduce his total combat healing potential down to 73%.

The first few steps were painful until the chemicals were sufficiently pumping through him and he forgot about the pain completely, focused on gunning down the further away creatures while Philira focused on those close ones.

‘Dadada!’ Shots boomed across the forest, drowning out anything else.

“Ziko!”  Philira tried yelling between the fire.  “Ziko!”

“Holy shit, Philira!?  Raist!?” The three of them ran closer to each other, but the reunion was short-lived as the battle was far from over.  Ziko had racked up a large amount of kills as the forest had been cut through here.  Even the razor grass had been blown away, leaving much safer soft rock under them.

 

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.

Project: AKRA pt 5

They are doing an orbital insertion down to the planet…here we go!

 

At this distance the descent suit did not block out the visual yet, and each prepared differently for what was coming.  For Raist he was always struck by the strange sensation of his appreciation of beauty in nature, even as his job was often to kill without remorse.  There was just something in the divine perfection of how color and motion came together.  He sounded stupid when he talked about it, so he tended to keep that part of his thoughts to himself.  It was easier to joke or swear than to be philosophical, or far easier to talk about banging Philira than wonder about reality with those around him.

All five of them had small micro tethers that kept them connected for the duration of the drop, and within the tether was an advanced processor that regulated each motion of their descent suits to keep it descending evenly and without problems.  With no warning the visual went black as spheres enclosed each of them, protecting them as they first hit the atmosphere and to prevent them from catching fire.

He hated this part the most, as nanites were blocking out the sound ever since he launched out of the ship, and now the black provided no distraction for his mind.  It was the questions that bothered him the most.  It was never doubt because he didn’t have any.  More like if his life could have been different, if it should have been different.  Unlike a lot of classes like Scouts, he had choices many of them never did.  With choices came responsibility, and the weights of deaths were weighing on him even if he did not overtly show it.

Did he think too much about things?  His previous Scout, Laiun, told him as much.

He knew above him the descent suit would have streamers deployed to slow their velocity, whipping violently based on the speed they were coming in with.  He knew underneath him the landscapes might now start to be visible, but all that was around him right now was darkness.

Light filled the void as the surrounding sphere melted away above and beyond him.  The planet had changed a lot since he last saw it from space: he could see clouds, the green/purple of plants, even mountains in the distance.  The melting of the sphere reformed into parachutes that variously reformed themselves with the synchronization orders of the rest to ensure the perfect descent of the team onto the planet.

Get through one jungle, a river, more jungle, and then the base of the mountain.  Sounds simple in premise.  Not too far to cross at all.  That mountain didn’t look too far away; he could get there by a single planet cycle.  This was going to be the easiest ‘hard’ mission they ever took.  He could ‘retire’ pretty quick, as he was burning out as a result of the destruction he caused.

That was before something went wrong with their descent system and Ziko suddenly fell out of the pentagon formation.  The rest of them went crashing into the strange upper-story plant life that ripped their advanced suits apart as if they were paper.

As Raist went tumbling to the dark forest floor, his only thought was that he had never felt this much pain this early in a mission before.  He had never lost someone before it even started.

“Ziko!”  He screamed before his head impacted something hard and he blacked out, still falling farther down.

Project: AKRA pt2

Part 2 of the story, make sure you check it out, its going to be big!

The five members of the squad were sitting on the bench in the sterilization room of their ship, naked while a battery of electromagnetic waves, chemicals, and machines poured over their toned bodies.  Since the nanites within their systems protected them from any likely xeno-disease of the planet, this was for the exact opposite reason: so their own bacteria would not wipe out the entire planet’s ecosystem.  That kind of xenocide tended to be bad for business.

“What the hell!?  We are taking another recovery mission without getting any of the details?” Ziko’s fist slammed into the bulkhead.

“Do you want to bitch your whole life?”  Raist pointedly asked him.

“Come on Raist, we need to start getting way more info before we get into these things!”

“Leave him alone Ziko, it’s not like you are smart enough to ever care about details anyway,” Leio’s voice stated calmly as she lay back against the wall of the room, arching her back with her hands locked behind her head.  Her perfect breasts and thinner, toned waist would distract even the hardiest of males, but it was only a matter of course: she was Aelisha Genetically Engineered that way.

“How nice,” he replied as he gave her a sideways glance. “Your girl is playing secretary for you as well.  What do I have to do to talk to the man in charge?  Kill her?” he joked.

“She could kick your ass.  If you can make it past her then you can talk to me,” Raist responded quickly, his brain coming up with a retort more out of habit than anything.

“Jeez, team effort here.”  He wore a huge smile, closing his eyes and flexing his huge arms he had behind his own head.  “Sorry for trying to show caution when our Leader is failing to do so.”

Leio giggled for a bit, opening her eyes and winking at Ziko while giving him a slight smile.

“So she is your battle-secretary?  Damn that sounds hot,” Agrest, the fourth member of their team, suggested.  Raist and Leio laughed at his typical joking demeanor, belying the fact he was the group’s Sniper capable of blowing any creature’s head off at amazing distances, or surviving alone for long periods of time  “What type of other ‘uniforms’ do you get her to wear when we aren’t rolling out?  Old school maid perhaps?”

“Why would her uniform be different?”  Philira, the second girl of the group, naively asked.  Through her hair was a bright pink when it wasn’t nano-camouflaged, her eyes left a cold sensation, amplified by her obvious young age compared to the older soldiers.  She was a girl AGEd to be the best soldier you could have on point, with extremely heightened visual and aural acuity, rapid peripheral vision processing, and, above all, reflexes to keep her alive in the extremely dangerous position of Scout.

Agrest frowned exaggeratedly, “Uh, never mind…”

“Yeah, stow that shit Agrest, what is your problem?” Ziko’s joking demeanor changed to one that was stern.  Though Agrest and Ziko were both the group’s source of laughs, Ziko had a sensitive spot in that he couldn’t stand jokes about Philira, or anything sexual that might ‘taint’ her mind.  Ziko considered himself the father figure, or more like the big brother, of the younger Philira, unsurprising given the general close proximity of the two with his role as Assault and hers as Scout.  It was probably a mistake for Ziko to ever have made an issue about it at all.  Even cool-headed Raist got in on the jokes just to make him mad.

The five of them were a close family, but there were still a lot of secrets between them such as where they came from, action they’d bene in before getting into super deep groups like this, and what horrors they had lived through; all somewhat natural given their line of work.  Very rarely would someone get rotated out to a new team, such as Raist’s few other friends.  Mostly people died in the team they start in or get maimed too bad to continue or they make it through a deadly grinder and live an all-expense retirement after a short but brutal tour.

Even so Ziko still felt a duty to protect the girl, even though she was just as good of a killer as him and her young eyes had that dark coldness to them.  This was despite her naivety of some aspects of the world, namely those that didn’t involve killing such as relationships, love, or sex.  None of them knew the past all of them came with, and a girl like Philira likely didn’t have much since Scouts tended to get grinded worse than most other Classes.  At this point of their lives they still trusted each other deeply, as it took tremendous service and sacrifice to the Solarian or Aelisha empires to get here.

“Anyway, Leio’s sexy maid costume and Philira’s overall hotness aside,” Agrest began, grinning boyishly, “anything else about this mission you haven’t brought up yet?” he ended seriously.

Split my main book? Art work!

Hey guys, been silent for a while but still busy at it.  The main thing I am working on is my main book ‘VayneLine’ and as of right now it is 500 pg ms word pages big – huge in other words.  I am considering splitting it to make it more manageable for readers.

Here is the cover art I drew for it once, you might recognize my avatar in there!

Make sure you click for high res!

Proud Infinity pt 27

Hey guys hope you are enjoying these free segments, let me know with a like or a comment!  Trego is deep in the time loops and starting to figure out what is happening to him.

Here we go!

 

I woke up and I started laughing.  Let’s do this.  Even the universe was with me on this one.  I had spent so much time learning and doing everything.  Each of my attempts got me further and further.  The last couple times spent talking to Proud helped calm my mind.  I felt ready.  I was never a soldier, but I had become one.  I knew how to move, how to think, how to fight.  I had been transformed into this nearly unstoppable fighting force.

Okay.  I reviewed everything in my mind.  I could get onto the truck heading into ReCorp at the port, I could pick up the combat android, Mitreah, disguised as a receptionist, and the old guy would give me some old explosives with the right conversation tread.  And lastly Proud would only come with me into ReCorp if I asked her first at the bar, she really on it because things had to ‘come full circle’ which apparently really mattered to her.

I walked into the bar.  Everyone there was staring at me like they had what I think was the very first time, so many times ago.  I turned straight to my friend, long ago giving up what others ‘thought’ of me.  “Proud, I think I might have it this time.  Would you like to come?”

Her lips rose slightly in a knowing way.  “Of course.  How nice of you to ask me.”  I left those fools I was saving at the bar in their confusion.

“Alright, so I think this time I stand a really good chance.  I woke up and remembered everything.  It was pretty overwhelming, but I think this might be it this time.”

We held each other’s hand as we dashed towards the fence.  The old guy would not be here for a while, but I did not have the luxury of time as everything was precisely orchestrated.  I ran down a few streets, up a building and knocked on the door.  He was surprised as he always was, with his gun hidden right behind the door as I had found out once dying in the hallway.  He probably wondered at my hand ‘floating’ in the air gripping nothing.

I said the right words, which were unfortunately lies, about how I was an agent and used his operator name and some key phrases such as “Coding Alpha Delta, Operator task transference requested”.  His innocent face hardened, and nodded when I said it was vital I have any explosive he might be able to give me to stop an implanted enemy.

Taking the small pack he gave me we ran out of there over to the spaceport.  Alright, still plenty of time.  At the very edge of the sky the ship was just barely visible to even my highest magnification I could overlay on my eyes.  I needed to be on that, but time was on my side.

“Mitreah: Farewell fallen sword,” I said while walking straight towards Mitreah.  Her eyes glazed over for a moment and they changed the color slightly before coming back into focus.  She looked right at me, cold but absolute focus.

“Override confirmed.  What are your orders?”

I smiled. “Alright!”  I shook my hand with Proud’s in it and she looked back and nodded happily.  “You wouldn’t believe how long it took to figure that one out.”

“So far, so good, Tre.”

Still talking to the girl, “We are going to go onto the vehicle that ship is carrying and are riding it into ReCorp.  I need your entire combat mode powers unlocked, and it is imperative I am protected at all costs.  Oh, and can you do it with a normal personality?  I don’t like the coldness.”

Mitreah laughed. “Sure.  That final part is a strange request, but I cannot deny it is much more fun this way.  This should be entertaining.”

“Do you want another weapon?”

She shook her head. “I prefer my own.”  Her hand changed from its thin fingers into a sharp blade the length of her forearm.  I had seen that trick before and I guess I never realized how serious of a weapon it could be.  She always just struck me without the actual blade, but the razor edge would end anyone easily.

I walked with the two girls who were here to protect me out to the landing pad.  I felt poised, I felt ready.  I would stop the time fracture.

We still had a little time while it was landing.  I felt poised but there was a little doubt creeping in.  What would happen after the fracture was over?  I was not sure, and I actually did not care.  I had lived more than long enough, with more than enough experiences.  I wanted to complete the divine task given to me.  Maybe this was Proud’s purpose all along.

The ship had landed, and a large bay door had opened, the loose grav plate vehicle sitting there as two people went through the final checks before they would drive off.

I started walking up. “Hey, are you authorized to be here?”  It is always a good idea to question people before they question you.

“What?  Yes we are…”  He lifted his face from the screen he was holding.  I took out my Liner pistol and smashed it across his face.  He fell to the ground before I looked to the next one. “Mitreah, take him out, but try to not kill him.”

Proud Infinity pt 26

I hope you guys picked up the books, I will continue pasting Proud Infinity sections, but hope you got them!

 

“Is it true you are here just to help maintain my sanity?” I asked.  I had slowly pieced that together.  From what I had figured out, LineGods like Proud occasionally interfaced with ‘acting agents’ or whatever we were called.  In situations like this, the time loops can be so mentally breaking that the agent does not ever act correctly so the LineGod interface is created.  What I was not sure of was if the fact Proud was here meant I would not have ever gotten out of this on my own, or if she was a ‘reward’ of sorts, or what exactly.

“One of my reasons.”  She was swinging her legs off the bench like a little girl.

“It fucked me up for a long time the first couple times we had sex, or I tried killing you.”

Her face was sad as she looked downwards.  The bow and her long green hair hid her face.  “Yeah, I felt so bad for you during that time.”

“I used to think ‘why the hell is this girl here, she is only making it worse.’  I see that’s not the case now.”

She smiled at me.  “I am glad.  I am only here to help.”

“I see that now.  Most of what I do is to eventually get out of here, and on some level to help you because I care about you.”

I looked at her and thought back to the myriad of thoughts I once had about her.  She was a manifestation of some universal will in a way that would most synch with me.  It was disturbing at first, maybe a touch of shame to see my perfect embodiment of a female in physical form, but given her tailored traits I quickly came to like her.

“For a long time I stayed distant from you because I felt like it was this ultimate manipulation.  Something crafted just for me, in a way to be this trap I would fall for.  Like I was some dumb animal lured in by an intriguing girl.”

“You were harder to convince than some others.  Your skepticism was an advantage as well as a clear negative in terms of us having a good harmonic rate.”

I grabbed her hand, and we held hands as we watched the ducks swim around.  “What I realized, and this is hard to state, is that you were just a ‘child’ of the universe much in the same way as I was.  You are much more so, but you were not the universe, so much as just this thing it spit out.  Haha, that sounds so bad.”

She laughed too.  “It’s okay.”

“But that you were a person – sort of – like me that was stuck in this.  You were the only one who knew what was going on.  The only one I could talk to, even if you couldn’t answer everything I asked.  You became my friend, the only one I could turn to.”

“That was kind of the point!  Of course I was here to help your mind, and to eventually have you do the right thing to break this loop.”

“What happens when we break out of it?”

“Don’t know, never happened!”

It made me laugh a little.  “Are your Chrono Senses perfect?”

“That is a weird question to me, but as you understand it, yes.  I see all the paths that we can take.  However, there is a break that occurs, and of course, until we break out of this, I cannot see the next cycle.  It is a pretty strange thing for me.”

“Are you…uh, hard to say, but like have you done this before?”

She shook her head, giggling; she seemed like a kid again to me.  “No, this is the first time I have been created, so you are my first.”

I sighed a bit.  “Good, I don’t feel as stupid.”

“I am part of the Line, so I was vaguely aware before this, but as an individual, no this is completely new to me.  I have had a very good time with you.  I feel quite lucky to have been granted creation!”

“Anyway, I think I have most of this ready to go.  I got a few key players into position, and I have made it into ReCorp a few times but also get killed pretty early.  I have not tried in a long time, and got a lot of training with Mitreah, and some tactics from that old guy.  I guess we are going to figure out if I can make this stop fairly soon.”

The wind blew and some of the mist hit us.  It felt cold.  Real.

I continued, “I am glad I met you Proud, you have been fun to get to know.  If it ends, and you are gone, or I die, I am still happy to have met you.  To go through this with, as dark as it has been.”

“Don’t talk like that.” She separated her hand from mine and rubbed my hair.  I leaned into her and let her continue massaging my head.  I was happy to feel her hands on me.  Her soft fingers played over my eyes, going through my scalp, and just the nice feeling of her stomach and ribs methodically breathing.

“It is getting late,” she began, “are you going to end it?”

“No, I want to spend all the time with you.”

“Okay.  Me too.”  She tickled my chest, bringing her finger up and down.  I kept my eyes closed so I would not know.  I only kept focusing on the nice feelings before I was hit with the most tremendous pain imaginable for a few short moments.