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11
International Events / Re: Xefr's Adventures: Existential Crisis
« Last post by Taur on April 06, 2018, 07:22:04 pm »
Cui rushed and closed Myst with all her might in a tight winghug, remaining silent with her eyes closed for a little while. She finally opened her eyes looking into Myst's and smiling "I never have felt more alive. I love you Myst."

-

Caprima just chuckled and remained idle, extending her arms and nodding. She hadn't had the honor of meeting someone who truly understood her being, she craved for that familiarity for such a long time and even if he was a lost cause  ..he still was a lost cause she could respect "How very pleasant. It's nice to finally meet a bright child ...someone who can see beyond. So let me show what you are in response" everything turned dark and suddlenly a bright blinding white cloud overwhelmed Forbidden's existence from all sides and extending to eternity, the goat then took the form of a peculiar apple tree with many apples, some bright red, others hurt and inedible  ..the tree's bark had cracks with fungus all over it, but all cracks begun from a single sick branch,  a branch holding an awful sick apple carrying the disease. Caprima manifested next to the apple tree, she grabbed the sick apple and bit it. The apple begun aging and burning from her bite, producing a sound only comparable to screams. "However you are wrong regarding one detail  ...a rather important one; You only have seen the truth of this realm, but this realm is merely a projection of the backside of a single leaf of the cosmic tree. I am still the bloodthirsty hunter and you still one of the countless ignorant prey ..I act on my own free will to be  ..you are tied and a slave to your own time and space, to your own emotions and memories, forever to live as a worthless prey regardless of your great mind or what you think you know. Now I could change that - and I want to change that   ..if you would only answer to a question; Do you want to be alive Xefr?" Caprima seemed dead serious as she uttered her last sentence, her cold blooded eyes turned into what seemed to be a negative and bleached view of outerspace, looking beyond the essence of Forbidden surrounding her, far into the abyss while she slowly extended her hand for a handshake.

-

Re'Ni's tail begun twitching while she begun munching her claws in terror as she sat down on a grass filled part of the garden, she was truly terrified  ..even though a tad bit happy about all that was happening. {"Ahhhhh! Self  ...Self do that!    ..not  ...AHHH! Ok  ...calm Re'Ni! Just Egg  ..not  bad. Valx do lay all time."} She took some deep breaths and extended her wings, for a moment her eyes derped and she let out a small shriek, closing her wings around her. Her eyes looked tired as she turned around, but then suddenly they widened and a big smile formed on her  ...she retracted her wings and stepped to the side. There it was, the continuation of Atzel's line, the heir of dragons and the second child of Xefr; A big healthy egg moving left and right ready to crack. Re'Ni clapped her paws and turned to Tec {"Ahhhhhhh! hahahaha! Loook! Look Tec! Re'Ni mom  ..Tec dad! Self ..self needs to.."} as the egg begun moving she turned back to it immediately, looking down over it in awe with her big lovable dumbfounded eyes and truest of smiles, awaiting for it to crack.
The sound of a single crack was heard in the small garden and far away  ...reaching the minds of beings from realms foreign. The offspring of time and space had come to this world, of past and present, of V'oss and Heord, of spirit and flesh  ...and as it punched through the remnants of the egg all could witness how mighty cute she was, with her big silver eyes and bright silver scales, her fragile tail and tiny white wings. Re'Ni gasped and almost tipped over, then begun sobbing out of overwhelming joy, hesitating but finally touching the baby drake with her snoot and giving it a lick.
12
International Events / Re: Xefr's Adventures: Existential Crisis
« Last post by Iammelon on April 02, 2018, 11:18:40 pm »
Myst was silent for a few moments as his mind carefully processed the request, and Cui could tell that his mind had completed its task when his scales started turning as red as Ezron's, even though Cui had no idea who that particular Dragon was. The Shard tried to speak, and failed. So he tried again, this time succeeding, "I... I will! I'll marry you, Cui!" He looked away for a moment, and then looked back. Suddenly he seemed a lot more calm, as he had managed to slip that mask back on now, "Ahem... So yes, I accept! I will gladly marry you, Cui. That's the natural thing to do when you love somebody, and want to spend time with them, right? And so let's not waste any of our limited time, and go about making that marriage official. Now, if Qoatl are anything like Golden Dragons, then we both know that marriages are finally sealed by... Oh my..." His voice trailed off, and one could almost visualize the mask slipping off as Myst remembered how the Dragons of Heord sanctified marriage, and he once more got incredibly nervous. His tail began to swish about rapidly like it had done before.

-

Xefr sighed as Caprima disappeared. He didn't share her conviction in this regard. He may have seen Caprima's true form, or at least what he was pretty sure was her real form, and knew the truth about what she was, or at least believed he did. But none of that made him see Forbidden in any less of a terrifying light. He simply had to hope this went well.
Caprima, arriving in the cage, could see that there was no Forbidden to simply be in front of, for he was all around. There was no eyes that leaked, for the entire cage was filled with the leakage. This red mist swirled around in the cage, now directing itself to enclose itself around Caprima's form. It did not touch her, but formed itself into a sphere around her. In the brief moments before there was nothing but the mist in sight, she could see outside the Cage, where Guardian was doing battle with another Dragon made of this mist, and Guardian appeared to be winning. Regardless, when Forbidden did speak back to Caprima, two black eyes appeared in front of her, and his dark voice was lined with poison in every word, "So very confident, so self assured... How very different from my brothers. Well, not really. You are quite a bit like Myst, who lives a lie,  you merely project that lie onto others as well. A masterful forgery. But let us not mince words, and let us lift the veil. I have been watching you carefully, ever since you came aboard this cursed ship. I know so much more than you may ever expect. In fact, why speak in this tongue, when I know your true language? Allow me to speak to you in the way of your kind..."
The mist broke, and started culminating into a shape. Taking new colors and form. The end product was a black sheep, yet it was slightly disformed, like there was another animal underneath. This was cemented by the fact that when it opened its mouth, it let out a menacing howl, like that of a wolf who had lost its pack. And then, it just grinned, revealing its menacing predatoral teeth. Forbidden felt that this last touch would ensure Caprima got the message of what he meant.

-

Tec smiled and chuckled, visualizing himself as the "sexy concubine" standing at Queen Re'Ni's side. Hardly the worst existence one could have. However, before he could join Re'Ni or give a response, he too was overcome with shock once he realized what Re'Ni had actually said. He put his paws on her shoulders and said, "First step, calm down! Relaxing will allow the egg to come out more easily. Second step, lie down in a safe area! And third step, stay calm! I'll do all the panicking for you! But I can also do other things to help!"
13
International Events / Re: Xefr's Adventures: Existential Crisis
« Last post by Taur on April 02, 2018, 09:19:41 pm »
Cui smiled at Myst for his optimism  ..she used to be an optimist herself before, but unfortunately she knew a lot about the universe now and all those hidden truths she had vowed to never talk off were torturing her soul. The blue Qoatl took her natural form, she seemed far more serious and grown up in her tone than she usually was "We might not have as much time as we think, so we better make what remains of it worth it   ..in a proper and official way  ..I may seem a bit easy at times  ..but I'm a proper Qoatl lady and warrior! So, will you marry me?"

-

Caprima seemed to not be surprised by the outbursts of darkness; she recognized the feelings surpassing the area immediately, as she herself had felt those feelings before and knew very well what was their cause and source. A frail familiar whale sound was heard for a moment from out in space, Caprima just nodded to it and then the old capricorn gave off a subtle sooth smile to Xefr while her eyes remained in their despicable blooded vampiric form, not really bothering to change them back "No, I won't stay here. In fact I think it's high time to meet the second most important concentration of your old soul's emotional being. This meeting has been postponed enough ...don't worry, this shard is not most of what you are my child and I will prove it. You are much, much more than what you think." She joined her palms and dematerialized in a thin purple cloud, only to materialize within forbidden's cage, right in front of him, smiling with her eyes closed as if she was meeting with an old acquaintance ...most probably due to the aura of emotions reminding of herself "Hi Xefr. Or have you thrown that name of late to forget who you are, like I did?" she seemed to be entirely calm and peculiarly; genuinely glad to meet the "lost" shard. As she opened her eyes they were leaking the exact same bright red aura Forbidden's eyes did.

-

As Re'Ni and Tec reached back to their home, the tired dragoness silently approached one of the garden's fountains to lick some water {"Strange Day. Re'Ni first time correct mistake... perhaps should not. Self could take over Heord easily  ...rule with Tec as self's sexy concubine, but instead just turned stupid blue Valx back to time. Very tired  ...think lie down here and lay egg, then sleep."} she calmly closed her eyes and turned around in search for a good spot, being too tired to realise what she had just said and was about to do  ...as she lied down and closed her eyes she suddenly rose her head back up fully awoken and bearing a terrified and worried expression after realising she was truly going to lay the egg ...her tail shaking as it always did in those emotional levels {"T-t-tec!  ..is  ..is t-t-time! What self do? What if egg crack? What if hatchling scales is silly color?  ...like fuxia! Fuxia scales get mocked! Ahhhhh!"}
14
International Events / Re: The Freedom War
« Last post by Drodinger on March 29, 2018, 02:43:17 pm »
Though the atmosphere was humid with the ashes of the once expansive camp, the cool mountain air chilled everything sufficiently. Yet, sweat poured down Xander’s neck and from his bodily cavities, drenching him in a solution of salty fluids. He attempted to firmly grasped the metal protrusion that erupted from Gwen’s chest, the jagged edges digging waves of pain into his palms, his profuse sweating hindering his efforts. He tried yanking once, his hands slipping on the now slick object, unable to find purchase despite its roughness. He tried again, this time placing his hands closer to the base of the object, yanking upward with his full, though exhausted, might. His neck bulged with the strain, his hands sliding upwards still, until something gave with a wet, disgusting squelch that unsettled his stomach. With a final pop, the metal object escaped from Gwen’s chest, Xander’s expelled force causing him to fall upon his rear onto the rough, metal chassis of the burned wreck of a helicopter, indubitably bruising his tailbone for the next few, sore days. For a moment, a brief, calming moment, nothing occurred. Had he succeeded? Had he saved her life? Thank the gods, she might- and then it began. A jetstream of coagulated bloody erupted from her chest, a fresh spring geyser newly uncorked by thawing grounds, staining the surrounding landscape. Xander leapt upwards, thrusting his hands into her chest, attempting to stem an unstoppable tide with sheer willpower. ”No, no, no!”, he cried to himself, as he began to taste iron in every last one of his pores, his chest and arms near instantly painted crimson red, hot fluids seeping underneath his grasping fingernails. But there was nothing to be done. As the tide ebbed, Xander fell backward once more, squelching as he sat upon his posterior, droplets of salty water trickling down his face, mixing indiscriminately with the solution of bodily fluids that now formed a small lake upon the ground, lost, gone, forgotten.

”XANDER! Is everything alright?!” Henry shouted as he rounded the corner of the debris field, ”Atvulf came and got-“. He stopped abruptly, the words caught in his throat. One hand rose to cup his mouth.

”They just around that there corner, keep movin’ you f*ckin’ oaf,” Atvulf pushed his way past the immobile Henry, needlessly shoving an elbow into his gut. ”Ye two still a‘right, Xander? Look, we were talking-,“ Atvulf nearly copied Henry in his movements as he observed the burned mechanical husk in which the gruesome scene had unfolded.

”The f*ck?!,” Atvulf whispered hoarsely, something caught in his throat. ”But.. it was only-“ he turned and wretched upon the ground nearby, an assorted blob of various half-digested chunks adding to the mosaic of debris in an almost impressionistic pattern.

For several unnerving moments, no one moved or spoke, save for the odd cough erupting from Atvulf as he attempted to clear the acidity from his throat. Then Henry moved forward, pulling off his police uniform jacket, painted in mud and odd scratches, the golden shield embroidered upon the upper right breast pocket still clearly visible, and laid it upon the bloody corpse of the women he had never known.

”You…. You two go back. Make sure the others are setting up a proper camp. Tell the others …. Tell the others I’ll be late,” Henry spoke softly, his lips barely moving.

Neither Atvulf nor Xander spoke as they maneuvered their way back towards the front entrance of the graveyard of misery.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The clearing was set. Though the debris field-the former DERA camp-still largely surrounded them on all sides in spite of their attempt to extricate themselves from its permeating field of death, the survivors had done a fair job in clearing out much of the wreckage, save a few scraps of loose paper goods that lay strewn atop the rock and dirt ground. They had managed to salvage a few odd tents for their overnight use, including a larger trademarked DERA command tent, its overly larger sigil along one side blatantly insulting the huddled survivors in all its worthless glory. Someone-Xander knew not who-had started a bonfire, burning whatever dry flammable scraps that had been nearby. 

“Henry’s not back yet, eh?” Atvulf murmured, the chilly air leaving his breath vapor visible.

Tsubaki shook her head lightly. She had been staring into the darkness that now obscured the majority of the wreckage for several hours now, sitting atop an abandoned milk carton, searching aimlessly.

”You reckon we need go back, Xander?” Atvulf replied. His head dropped as he looked back into the red, roaring flames of the bonfire. ”I…”

He looked upwards towards the rest of the survivors. ”Sure ain’ gonna do no one no good sittin’ here doing squat. Most of you get sleepin’ ASAP, we gots us another hike-downwards, but still a hike-on the marrow. Ain’ no use wasting ye energy. Night yall.”

Most of the survivors obeyed the commandment, pairing up and retreating to the various salvaged tents. Save for a handful of dim murmurs, conversations beyond Xander’s caring, only the roar and crackling of the flames, the odd heavy breath, and the unseen settling of the distant debris around the valley like rustling of tree branches in a heavy wind permeated the night silence. Atvulf, Tsubaki, Xander, Mikey, and some random man whom Xander swore was pissing, remained the only individuals awake-if just barely.

”Mikey, you to. Get sum sleep.” Atvulf hoarsely whispered.

”Man, no way. You up, I’m up. Bros for life. ‘sides, I… nah. Imma stay up.”

”Look, be needin’ someone to keep watch later. Don’t trust no one but you to watch my back Mikey, so git some proper sleep. I’ll git you up in a few hours.”

Mikey sighed, and nodded his head. ”Sure man, ye know best eh. You take care. Nigh’

”Nigh’ Mikey.”

Atvulf exhaled deeply, staring intensely into the fire as if he could expunge some deeper meaning from it. He turned to Xander.

”Mind if I play sum sh*t? I ain’ gonna stare out into who knows what waitin’ for Henry like sweet t*ts there all night. Here, look.” Henry walked over and grabbed something from a pile of supplies that had accumulated from the survivors foraging, rummaged for a bit, before walking back to the bonfire.

”Mikey found this sh*t in sumbodies tent, damn fine this beut is,” Atvulf conversed with Xander whistling gently, ”Mikey might only got one oar in the water, but his hearts in the right place. He knows I like a good guitar just like I like my women, eh?” He lazily strummed the strings as if caressing a soft kitten. The wooden, lacquered guitar had been carefully polished with care, no dents or scratches to be seen anywhere amongst its body, a stark contrast to the survivors. ”She strung nice and properly to eh? Let me give you a little jig.” Atvulf began to play and sing softly, his deep, guttural voice softened:

”Little bird, little bird fly through my window,”
Little bird, little bird fly through my window,
Little bird, little bird fly through my window,
And buy molasses candy.”


Atvulf exhaled triumphantly. ”Ain’ done that one in a while. Sh*t, lemme think, next verse goes – ‘Fly through my window, my sugar lump, Fly through-“. He stopped as he observed Tsubaki stand up off her milk-carton pedestal sharply. He gently place down the guitar onto the ground, and pulled from his waistline a shining metal handgun.

”Sh*t, who out there? Come out into the light!” Atvulf shouted authoritatively.

A dark figure emerged from the infinite wall of blackness, slowly becoming more defined like a siren emerging from the abyssal depths of the ocean. Sprawled across its arms a wrapped package laid draped. Tsubaki moved forward as if to embrace the unknown figure, but stopped abruptly, air trapped in her throat.

”Just me Atvulf, don’t shoot. I’d rather not have to pull a bullet from my chest tonight,” Henry replied.

Atvulf sighed deeply, his hands falling back to his sides, relieved. ”Took ye long enough eh? What took ye so frackin’ long?”

Henry stepped into the illuminating bonfire life, its flickering flames etching the disturbing package he carried. ”It took me a while to find something to wrap Gwen in, and then I got somewhat lost as night fell. Sorry. But I’m here now, everything alright with everyone?”

”Who the hell is Gwen?”

”Seriously?”

”Ye, seriously, who- oh…”

”Yeah.”

Atvulf stared directly at the bundle draped across Henry’s arms, as if his piercing eyes could examine the prone figure through the mismatched wrappings. ”Ye didn’t need do that. Waste of time,” he muttered to him.

Henry looked downward towards his burden, ”No, it needed to be done. No one should be-“ he looked around towards the enduring blackness of the night”- left to rest in all this. It’s not right.”

”Sure. Whatever you say, man.”

Henry sighed deeply, his breath visible and billowing in the night air. He shivered slightly, before moving to the far side of the camp to lay down his package, his boots crunching on the loose paper debris underfoot. He returned to the bonfire with his arms crossed, drawing a discarded crate to sit upon.

”So,” Henry began, ”how was everyone’s haul? Did we get anything useful?”

Atvulf shrugged nonchalantly. ”Alright I reckon, few knives and such. And them tents everyone’s in. This here gun’s not bad, only one round though.”

”Any food, water, or medicine?”

Again, Atvulf shrugged. ”Not a lot out there eh, lota dry goods from them gov folks but varmits got into most of it. I’d reckon most of these peeps be high cotton arses, ain’ bring sh*t they’d need. We salvaged what we could, but it was piddly squat. Maybe nuf to last us another two days?”

Henry sighed deeply. ”That’ll have to do I suppose. Guess we’re going to have to head back down the mountain tomorrow.”

”I reckon. But where the f*ck we gonna go? Some hood with ye homies eh?” Atvulf chortled to himself.

”Hrmm… you remember what those officers said at the crossing?” Henry spoke slowly, attempting to draw the memory from the recesses of his memory. ”Didn’t they say there was a military base nearby? Er, Aienclad Aviation Base right?”

”Aye, not a bad idea sooty! Maybe you’ve got sum brains up there after all!”

Henry rolled his eyes. ”Sure. We can warn those officers to. Maybe they can come with us. There’s a possibility that those creatures that attacked us might sweep through here looking for survivors later on.”

Atvulf snorted at this option. ”Man, f*ck them. If I had my druthers I’d punt their skinny arses straight into the moon. Let the metalheads have their way with em’.”

”The moon….”

”What? You loosin’ it?”

”The moon. Look up.” Henry’s jaw gaped open as he looked skyward. The rest of the quad around the roaring bonfire looked towards the heavens in turn.

”Oh… sh*t.”

Though the sky was not particularly clear, as smoke from the blistering bonfire and the smoldering debris around them lightly obscured their vison of the stars, the moon shone brightly on the night sky, a clean round circle of light amongst the oblivion. Or rather now two uneven half-circles, if not more debris. The moon have been shattered into, as if some immortal beast had cleaved the heavenly body with one mighty swipe of their indomitable sword, shattering the once beautiful angelic child of the stars.

”Why didn’t we see it until now?” Henry whispered.

”Never did have no good reason to look directly at it till now. Musta happened sometime today though.”

Henry looked back downwards at the other compatriots. ”Do we even have a chance of surviving this?”

Tears welled in the corners of Tsubaki’s brown, slanted eyes, vanishing nearly as quickly as they formed as the sweltering bonfire scorched the last vestiges of dreams from the corners of their souls.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Pain.

Sharp pain.

Xander had rolled upon his side in his sleep, and now some irritating pebble underneath awoke him from his slumber, a rough thorn prodding him to action. He steadily rose from whence he lain, one hand out alongside the tent wall balancing him, the rough canvas frigid to the touch. Though he had slept upon the rough crag terrain atop but a few layers of salvaged cloth, he had slept well that night, the buzzing in his head from yesterdays strain of activates absolved for a time. Perhaps. In any case, the morning was afoot, and Xander could hear activity outside.

”Git ur **** up Xander, ain’t this ruckus wake ye from ye sack yet?” someone called from beyond.

Xander groaned, opening the tend flap, and stepped out back onto the mountain valley, stretching towards the heavens as he stood fully vertical, a strained grimace etched upon his face. With the morning sun arisen, Xander could once more see the graveyard sea and the chaos of which it embodied. However, the musk of death that had permeated the frozen wasteland a day prior was gone, swept away by the rapid tidal strength of billowing mountain gusts.

”Most of the supplies have already been packed Xander, just a few more things to go. We let you sleep in a bit, but do you mind grabbing my pack for the trip downward once you’re ready? Thanks.” Henry called from the other side of the clearing.

Xander started towards the somewhat distant voice, his boots crunching upon the coarse, gravel ground, each step tender and uncomfortably raw from the previous days exercise upwards. As he arrived by Henry, he grabbed his heavy load, nearly buckling under the excess weight, hefting it upon his sore shoulders, straps digging fresh trenches of misery upon him.

”Another day of misery” he thought to himself.

Henry turned towards the rest of the group, having located and lifted his morbid hall from the night prior. ”Alright, everyone ready? Let’s get moving!”

----------------------------------------------------------------

The trek back down the winding mountain trail, in spite of the countless abandoned vehicles continuing to litter and obscure their path ahead, was considerably less strenuous than the previous days climb, though a few of the survivors took liberty with their newly acquired gravity and collided with those ahead on occasion, much to their irritation. Henry to, continued to forge a path downward ahead of the pack, a slightly bent metal spade caked in dried, brown mud continuously bouncing of the back of his legs as he walked though he payed little mind to the discomfort or the future rash he invited, the package he bore shaking with each successive step forward occupying his attention fully.

As they nearly cleared the last of the cemetery of forgotten assorted vehicles, Henry paused, looking outward from an outcrop towards the valley just below.

”Here is good” he called to the others.

”Eh? For what?” Atvulf replied, his arms crossed.

Wordlessly, Henry ignored him as he placed his bundle upon the earthen ground, and shouldered the spade from his back, placing the tip into the soil, and began to excavate the outcrop, neatly piling the shifted soil into a pile alongside.

Atvulf snorted. ”This really necessary? She dead, she don’ give a f*ck where you put her skinny ass. Just dump her in a car or something.”

Henry refused to look him directly in the face, barely tilting his head towards him. ”This is the spot.”

Atvulf shook his head in disbelief. ”I ain’t waiting for ye, Imma finish walking and take a rest. Any of ye who want to come with better. Van’s got air conditioning eh?” He started down the mountain path once more. Mikey was the first to move after his cousin a moment later, sparking most of the other survivors to follow closely behind, until only Xander and Tsubaki remained watching Henry burry his burden.

Tsubaki moved to help, graving an abandoned ice scrapper from the dashboard of one of the deserted vehicles, but before she could move her first mound of earth, Henry placed a firm hand upon her shoulder. ”It’s alright,” he spoke softly to her, ”I’ve got this.”

Tsubaki place down her makeshift trowel, and took her place silently alongside Xander, her eyes downcast, examining in needless detail a smooth stone that lay just beyond her sneakers.
Henry sighed in exhaustion. ”Eh, I think that’s good enough right?” He hoisted the cloth wrapped package from the ground, before gingerly placing it into the newly formed ditch. He wiped his sweat and dirt caked hands alongside his pants, doing little to cleanse them.

”Anyone want to say a few words or something? I… I  don’t really know what to say. Is there anything right to say?” Henry mummed.

Tsubaki bent down and grasped the pebble she had been examining, and placed it into the folds of her jacket, straightening upright once more.

Choice 7 (Strength: Mild)

A: Speak a few words for her. No one deserves silence, in spite of how little you know about her.

B: Say nothing. You have nothing to say, is it not enough that you’re here?
15
International Events / Re: The Freedom War
« Last post by Castilin on March 22, 2018, 02:55:48 pm »
Xander stood next to the women, holding her hand. He figured that they should try and take it out. If they didn't, she'd die, if they shot her, she'd die, if they took it out, she could live, and she was a pretty lady. He looks up at them "We should try to take it out. It's the only chance she has to live."
16
Map Location Request Form / Urrangslan's place in the Galaxy
« Last post by Urrangslan on March 21, 2018, 04:06:18 pm »
Regional Name: Urstralian Commander dominion.

Name on Map: Empire of Urrangslan.

Population of your Species: 30,300,000,000.

Link to the NS nation that is within the Galactic Federation.: https://www.nationstates.net/nation=urrangslan

Location on Map (Reference map link below to view the map to determine where you wanna be. Be detailed in desired location): look at attached file (general location)


17
Citizenship Form / Residency application .
« Last post by Urrangslan on March 21, 2018, 03:46:00 pm »
Galactic Federation species name.: Urstralis (single) Urstralies (Plural) Urstralian (Noun).

Link to the NS nation that is within the Galactic Federation.: Urrangslan.

Do you have nations in other regions?: No.

If yes, where?:

Have you held positions in any regions government?: Yes.

If so, what and where?: I was Secretary of the Antrapon (Parliament) and secretary of inter-regional diplomacy for the UCC (united countries of Carbon).

Would you ever consider being involved in one of the regions government positions?: If given the choice perhaps.

Is this nation a puppet.: No.
18
International Events / Re: The Freedom War
« Last post by Drodinger on March 15, 2018, 12:05:45 pm »
”Oye, I think you saps can do better than that,” replied the shorter of the two, roughly shoving aside Xander and pushing his way to the back of the van, grabbing the remaining beverages. ”Sh*t’s gonna needs to last us a few days, amright?”

A growl sounded from deep inside Atvulf’s chest, as he raised a fist to smash the taller of the two men across the jaw, only to be abruptly cut off as his would-be victim slammed the butt end of his pistol deep into Atvulf’s gut. He doubled over, hot air and pain violently expelled from his chest.

”Learn some fo*cking manner, you hillbilly sh*t!” the officer shouted down at Atvulf, as he raised his weapon to smash him again, this time across Atvulf’s thick skull.

”STOP! Listen, sorry Officer, we’ll be leaving now, I’m sorry,” Henry shouted, ”won’t happen again.”

The taller officer sneered at Henry, shifting his eyes from the double-over Atvulf to the beverages tightly grasped in his compatriots hands. ”Git out, and get a f*cking muzzle on your attack dog.” He snorted, before absconding with his partner back to their vehicle. Henry followed likewise, helping Atvulf back into the van, and returning to the driver’s seat, pausing only for Xander to reenter as well, before speeding off down the rough dirt path towards the mountains.

Silence dulled the atmosphere of the interior, only to be broken by Henry after the party had put several minutes between themselves and the intersection guarded by the extortionists. ”What were you thinking?! We could have left peacefully, but no, you had to go and do your macho man thing to the officer with a loaded gun!” he shouted angrily, ” YOU ABSOLUTE…. ABSOLUTE…. ARGHHH!!!”

A moment passed, Atvulf gingerly massaging his scalp, a light welt already clearly evident atop his skull. He looked down, as if examining his extremities, before his eyes hardened to their typical laser gaze. ”ME?! WHAT THE F*CKIN’ ELL’ WERE YOU THINKING?! YOU JUST F*CKIN’ GIVE AWAY OUR SH*T YOU SON OF A MOTHERLESS GOAT!” he roared. He turned abruptly to gaze at Xander, his blazing eyes piercing through the hapless passenger. ”AND YOU! GOING ALONG WITH THIS SH*T FOR BRAINS SOOTY?! HAVE YOU NOT GODDAMN BACKBONE?!”

”DON’T YOU YELL AT HIM, THIS IS ALL YOU, THIS YOUR FAULT, THE BLAME LIES WITH-“ Henry may have continued, if Tsubaki had not appeared between them, pointing forward and upwards towards the road ahead.

”Tsubaki, now is not the best-what is-….. oh.” Henry murmured.

Their eyes all turned forward, following her tremoring finger to the road ahead, alighting upon the graveyard of abandoned and decaying vehicles that dotted the road and fields up the steep cliffs along the mountain ridge, a sea of dead and rusting monsters never again to perform their purpose. Some of the closer ones looked relatively fresh, only peppered with a light dust from a dirty gale though carcasses nonetheless, but others remained in more advanced states of decay, scavenged for parts such that their various fragments had been strew around their frame, or torched into a nearly unrecognizable slag in some primeval frenzy.

”Oh, sh*t, f*ck me, this ain’t our cup of tea, ain’t it Atvulf? Let bugger out of here, swift.” Mikey called from behind Xander, a light tone of panic underpinning his voice.

”I… I… we need to keep going,” Henry replied, twisting in his drivers chair to look directly at everyone in turn, ”I’m sure they just need extra supplies, once we get there it’s going to be alright.”

”But.., them roads impassable,” Atvulf replied, ”No way in hell we gettin’ this van up them roads, not unless you’ve got sum rocket boosters you’ve told no one about…”

”THEN WE WALK!,” Henry shouted, sweat upon his brow like a miniature volcanic waterfall, ”Everyone, pick some of the gear up. If you can’t or you’re injured, get someone to take your load. We’ll get there before nightfall, I’m sure of it. We’ve got this people!” And with the spring of a rabbit pricked with a thimble, Henry leapt out of the van and onto the dusty, dirt road, pack in tow, and started up the road at a brisk pace none amongst them could hope to match.

Atvulf shrugged at Mikey. ”What they say? When in Arcadia?”

-------------------------------------------

The hot afternoon sun beat down upon Xander, as if some immortal being held a magnifying glass above his neck in an attempt to snuff out his existence. Sweat stained his crevices, a never ending flood of salty lubricant on this torturous climb. With each step up the steep road, Xander could feel the large rocks and pebbles through the soles of his boots more and more, the rough terrain etched in pain to his throbbing feet.

Atvulf had only just managed to keep up with Xander, with both men nearly side by side, though Xander suspected Atvulf fell slightly behind him with each passing step. He to, like Xander, lay in nearly identical condition, though the grimace upon his face was more pronounced. Henry, however, whilst etched in the same configuration, somehow remained a dozen paces ahead, never faltering. Atvulf called up to him.

”Hey sooty, you friggin’ moron, we can’t keep this pace! Can’t you frackin’ see? We need a break! Turn your f*ckin’ head around!”

Henry turned back toward them, though continuing his brisk pace. ”Nonsense, we can do it, it’s only a few more miles-….”

Xander turned back to, observing the remained of their party as they straggled behind in a loose, disorderly configuration, a gaggle of intoxicated wanders on some unknown path after a night of heavy drinking.

Henry sighted deeply, ”Okay, we can rest for a couple of minutes I suppose… but we need to make it to the camp by nightfall. Only a few minutes.”

Atvulf collapsed where he stood, panting as he lay comatose, unintentionally examining the burning sun in painful detail. One by one, the survivors crawled up to them, each collapsing in turn. Tsubaki nearly took the same tumble to the roughly hewn road, but Xander caught her, and let her down gently. She nodded back gratefully.

Atvulf turned his head towards Henry, small particulates of dust, dirt, and gravel clinging to his coarse hair. ”Look ‘ere, why don’t we loot dem vehicles on the way up? We’d get sum supplies, easy, and peeps gonna get some rest to.”

Henry didn’t bother looking at Atvulf as he replied. ”Don’t worry about it, there’s going to be supplies at the camp. We aren’t going to need to scavenge as long as we make it there. Everything is going to be alright.”

”Ye’ sure them camps only a little ways away? We’ve been at this for bout’ 6 hours” Mikey called wearily from where he lay.

Henry remained standing, staring outward, carefully observing the distant landscape, picturesque snowy mountains, lush, grass-laden hills, and dense pine forests. It would all be so tranquil, if not for the pervasive reminder of the coming storm that had become ever so embedded in the back of all their minds.

 ”Yes, it’s only a little further,” he replied, before mumbling to himself, ”It’s going to be alright. Everything is going to be alright”

He suddenly turned back to the incapacitated survivors, pointing upwards along the road. ”Onwards!”

------------------

Some several hours later, and Xander could no longer feel his feet, the pain and ache that had permeated them long since migrated to a sharp agony upon his shoulders, as if he carried four times the load that he had begun this hike with. His throat was dry, parched and caked with a fine dust that guaranteed respiratory problems for all those who inhaled this infernal toxin. But, the camp base was near; having passed some empty guard posts several paces back. Someone among them had asked where the guards were, but for all Xander understood it might as well have been an auditory hallucination. Just over that slight ridge-
 
Henry collapsed. He had continued his mighty pace since their last break, and was several lengths ahead of the rest of them and had already crested the light ridge. He remained unmoving, grounded to the rocky path, driven to his knees, sharp stones driven painfully into his flesh, though such suffering seemed lost upon the frozen officer.

The rest of them sped up to assess the evolving  situation. ”HENRY?,” Xander inquired loudly, though the voice that he produced was not his own, or at least not familiar to him, ”WHAT’S GOING-…. on….. “

They had all crested the ridge, and were now alongside Henry, standing frozen like, as if paralyzed down to their eternal soul by some invisible, infernal source. At least more than one among them exhaled loudly, violently sucker punched by the atrocity that now scarred their vison.

A pungent, filly smell wafted through the thick, sweltering air, the scent of burning Hiroi flesh and metal. Smoke burned and clogged their lungs, forcing a cough from each of them as easily as one could inhale. The massive DERA refugee camp, perhaps once a neat grid of survivor chaos, was no more. Scarred and scattered debris coated the rocky terrain, such that no single obvious path between the piles of burning wreckage remained, as if some entropic being had taken care to ensure not even the luckiest of survivors could escape this impromptu, lethal tomb. Odd bits of metal, tall rods from long seared tents, the ribs of shredded vehicles, and spines of unrecognizable steel stood out amongst the rubble, tall barbs ready to impale those who dared traverse the carnage in the valley. That which could still be recognized as once constructed rubbish all lay blemished, burned with infernos or punctured with numerous, petite holes. The loosest of debris, unrecognizable sheet of paper of untold number, occasionally flew through the air, carried aloft by the thermals of the burning cinders, but motion beyond remained nonexistent, or at least hidden from their vantage. Exempting the odd bloody limb or bleeding, amputated torso, though through squinted eyes Xander swore he could see a decapitated head on a spike some ways off, whole bodies were nowhere to be seen. But what unsettled them all the most, though the carnage should have been enough to force even the most stalwart of men to the ground, upheaving their earlier meals, was the shear lack of noise. Barring the flutter of the loosest of debris, and the light howl of harsh, mountain wind as it traveled down the valley from the snowy peaks, no cries for help, no screams of agony, not even the faintest moan permeated the air. All was effectively quite.

”I…. I… no… no… NO!,” Henry stammered between each staggered breath, ”It wasn’t supposed to be like this….. I,…. I,…. I’ve f-“

Henry likely would have collapsed further, had Tsubaki no placed her hand upon his shoulder. He looked up, their eye’s meeting. Henry stood up abruptly, brushing the gravel from his uniform, where it had clung after his kneeling.

”You’re right. Everyone, we’re searching the camp for survivors and supplies. Anything useful, water, food, bring it back here and pile it up. I don’t expect we’ll find any hostiles, but nonetheless, stay in groups of at least three to four. If you have an issue, shout and I’ll come over. Got it?” Henry commanded the group. A few loose nods, though the muting effect of the carnage ahead still held the survivors in its throes.

”We’ve got about three hours until the sun sets, let’s get this going then.”

--------------------------------------------------

Henry, Mikey, Atvulf, and Xander had grouped up, Atvulf and Mikey leading the charge, clearing the debris to forge a path, while Henry and Xander foraged. The cinders, while dying, were still blistering enough to give them all an unwanted tan, though it was hard to recognize any such blemish through the grime and soot that coated their exposed skin. Henry grabbed a disposable water bottle, half empty, and whipped his forehead with his arm before depositing the find into his uniform’s pockets.

”I don’t understand,” Henry started, the sting of poisonous smoke welling tears in his eyes, ”How could this have happened? Why did it happen?”

A moment passed, before Atvulf replied, ”I told ye, dem metal heads are able to hear all our sh*t. Ain’t nothing we can hide, tech’ all compromised and such. They gonna keep hitting us hard and fast, and sh*t like this ain’t just gonna be isolated here.”

Henry paused from his scavenging to look at Atvulf, ”You don’t think…”

”If we compromised to all hell, all dem evac camps gonna be blown to heck, just like this one.”

”DERA camps are designed to have a maximum capacity of about a million people, and there 7 designated camps along the coast here,” Henry turned to Xander, ”There was a cool documentary about federal disaster relief infrastructure I watched with my family a couple of months ago. Dad said we should have watched the documentary on our intercontinental communication infrastructure, but-.“ Henry sighed deeply, accidently choking on a cough as he inhaled.

”Oh, yea, part of that twelve part series about hidden infrastructure, right?” Atvulf replied.

Henry looked puzzled. ”Yeah,… uh,.. you watched that documentary series to?”

Atvulf turned away, deflecting. ”Nah,… er,… just saw some advert about that sh*t. Man, these morons though this sh*t was what they needed?” He held up a portable television, screen tarnished with spider web cracks. ”If all dem other sods be bringing this kind of sh*t, then they nuttier than a squirrel turd.”

Mikey guffawed loudly. ”Hell no dawg, they bringing only the best essentials!” he cried, holding a burned smutty magazine at arm’s length. Though the magazine as a whole was thoroughly burned, Xander could still make out the **** outline of a woman posed suggestively.

”Sh*t man, dat there the finessed sh*t! See if you can find us any more, eh!” Atvulf cried right alongside him.

Henry sighed, ”Leave it, we’re only taking what we need and what we can carry. Besides, all this was someone’s stuff. Show some respect, alright?”

Mikey shrugged, but out of the corner of his eye, Xander watched him stuff the magazine into his pocket as Henry turned his back away from them. Mikey and Atvulf fist bumped, and continued to search for more salacious material.

Henry stood up, stretching, before looking at the rest of them. ”This is going nowhere, and we need more. Look, er, Atvulf and Xander, try and make your way right a bit. I think that’s a road there, right? Mikey and I will go left, towards those cars? Trucks? Whatever. We’ve got about an hour before we’ve got to start heading back, okay?” Mikey and Henry peeled off, heading left, soon hidden, consumed by the mounds of debris. 

Atvulf shrugged. ”Just ye and me, buddy, eh?”

Xander followed him right, carefully navigating the debris so as to avoid the densest piles of refuse. If one were to have watched them from above, Xander surmised they might have looked like roaming, headless chickens. The two didn’t speak for some time, until Atvulf broke the silence.

”You think that sooty bloke is alright? White man to white man” he started.

Atvulf shrugged nonchalantly, ”I ain’t never trusted a sooty. Pa never would have let that sh*t fly. But that idiot got his heart in the right place, I suppose. Though dumber than a sack of nails. No spine or sh*t.  Might get us killed, might not. Anyway, he gots himself a promotion to our defacto leader, I suppose. No changing that sh*t. “

He turned to Xander. ”But’s you got to get a spine in you, boy. Like a good white fella. Stick up for yourself. Sooty might be our leader now, but if he’s gonna get us killed, you needs to put a stop to it. Two to the eyes or something.” He laughed, mutely.

”But say, you said you’s from the navy and sh*t, right? Sailing our space ships eh? Hows that all—“

A moan broke the conversation, emerging from somewhere behind the mounds of smoldering rubble. Atvulf put a finger to his lips, and pointed to the left of the pair, before moving off in the direction he pointed. Xander followed closely behind.

Behind a mound of rubble, a wrecked helicopter lay, cleaved in two as if some massive blade had sliced through it like butter. This was not some military vehicle no, painted white with blue stripes, a black “Channel 9” was emblazed on the grimy side. The front end was royally smashed, glass shards littering the already choked ground, but the rear looked in slightly better condition. Atvulf pointed to a row of seats in the back.

”There”

The pair hopped into the downed helicopter, careful to avoid the jagged edges of shredded metal between the two halves. Strapped into one of the rear seats, a woman remained strapped into one of the padded rear seats, dangling helplessly like a lifeless doll.

”’s alright miss, we can get you out of there in a giff. Xander, help me.” Atvulf called.  The pair unhooked the unmoving woman’s harness from around her, and gingerly lowered her to the metal floor.

She was a well-groomed, attractive woman, her dirt blond hair well cut to be exactly shoulders length. Xander could tell her makeup had been applied expertly, though much of it was now smeared. Her nails were cut to the perfect length, and each lacquered in a smooth blue polish. Her green suit, now crinkled and torn, was clearly expensive, woven finely such that not a single loose thread could be spotted. But through her chest, a few centimeters beneath her breasts, a jagged rod of sharp metal stuck out at an odd angle.

”Miss, can you hear me? Can ye’ tell me ye’ name?” Atvulf spoke softly to her.

”…G….Grace… Grace... Evans” she moaned softly.

”’Right Grace, every thin’ gonna be okay,” Atvulf shook his head widely at Xander, ”Sh*t dude, it’s gone through her lung. She’s got a f*ckin’ deflated lung. And-” He looked back at the woman who lay before them, laying a finger across her neck. ”Oh, good, she’s passed out again. She won’t hear this.” He turned back to Xander, ”It’s right up against her heart. If we move the metal sh*t, we could shred her heart. Only thin’ that’s keeping her from bleeding out is that sh*t.”

Atvulf looked panicked, eyes fully widened. ”I,… I ain’t able to do this sh*t. Imma go get Henry. You keep her company, ‘right?” He took off and quickly disappeared amongst the debris.   

Xander looked at the woman’s shut eyes. If he had not known about the metal objected, protruding from her chest, he could have assumed she was sleeping, peacefully so, dreaming of far off wonderlands, sunny, windy grasslands, each blade of grass independently swinging in the breeze, and the light dew of nights passed clinging to the tip of each blade, jeweled ornaments born of nature’s beauty. If only escape were all so easy.

He grasped her hand with his, ignoring their mixing sweat, just one moment, one mere moment of tenderness. Her hand unconsciously tightened around his, though Xander imagined her lips curled upward with each passing moment.

”Back” Atvulf breathed, gasping for air, red in the face.

”They’re on their way here. But…” Atvulf turned away.

”Sh*t dude, we can’t move her. We don’t have the tools to remove that… that thing from her chest. At least safely. Maybe if this wasn’t the goddamn apocalypse,….”

Atvulf looked Xander, their eyes meeting. ”She won’t last the night. I,… I,…” He held out Henry’s service pistol, a black foreboding tool of death. ”I grabbed it from him. She’s got a quicker option.” He pressed the pistol into Xander’s hands. ”I,…. I can’t. It’s your choice now.”

He looked away, staring at the debris. "I'll try and find something useful. I'll be right back." He turned and ran back into the debris.
Choice 6 (Strength: Mild)

A: End Gwen’s suffering. She’ll be in pain for the next several hours until she dies. A painful, certain  death no one wants.

B: Leave the metal shard in Gwen’s chest. We might find something in a few hours to help her in the debris of the camp, something that wasn’t destroyed. You never know.

C: Yank the metal shard out of Gwen’s chest. There’s always a chance it might not shred her heart, and she might live once we re-inflate her lung. And stop the bleeding. Maybe.
19
International Events / Re: The Freedom War
« Last post by Drodinger on March 15, 2018, 12:05:16 pm »
Xander looks at the men and then back at their supplies. He realizes that he could just give up a few of the sweet beers, and they could have the rest. With that, he reaches back, grabs two beers, and hands them to the officers saying "Enjoy your drinks"
20
International Events / Re: The Freedom War
« Last post by Drodinger on March 15, 2018, 12:04:49 pm »
Henry stared daggers into Xander, as if to skewer him. ”Are you kidding me?  Fine! Stay with the ragging ****!” Henry began walking up the earthen embankment of the ridge, his feet sinking into the loose topsoil.

”Com’mon laddie, at least ye have more sense than the dumbarse sootie. Let’s go sit in the van, eh?” Atvulf spoke to Xander, as he stood up, and began to walk backwards to the relative safety of the tree line. As Xander stood up, carefully brushing a loose, dry leaf from his shoulder, Tsubaki followed suit with him, looking wildly between the two opposing men, uncertain, her eyes wide open, a light tremble shaking through her body. 

A slight, continuous rumble vibrated the air, erupting from center of the depression, growing exponentially. All turned to look onwards.

The transport was leaving. Rapidly.

”Dumb idiots,” Atvulf mumbled to himself, before raising his voice, It’s f*cking leaving, you’re too late! Just get back here!”

A pause.

A still moment.

Quiet. Too quiet. As if the wind had stopped. No, not just the wind. Sound, any movement, everything paused for a moment.

No.

Not everything.

A metal machine, no, a behemoth, had appeared suddenly, as if formed from light itself in an instant by some otherworldly god. Towering, not quite over the mountains beyond, but far above the slowly rising dinky transport as it attempted to ascend to the heavens above, it raised its enormous hand skyward, pointing to some far off distant star. Word caught deep inside Xanders throat, a scream, a cry, deadened. And then the massive, metallic hand fell back, downwards towards the terrain.

Another moment passed, nothing changing, frozen. As if the world had nothing better but to savor the moment. 

A gust of wind, no, a shockwave of pure invisible energy, erupted at Xander and the others from a skyward point. Trees buckled, stripped of leaves, grasses strained to not be uprooted. Xander was knocked off his feet as if gravity held no sway upon him, tumbling backward, landing painfully into the ground, agony erupting through his body. Tsubaki fell back into him, a high pitched yelp forced from her lungs. Through the corner of his eye, he watched as a somewhat distant figure disappeared under a massive sheet of metal hull, a fine red mist sprinkling outward, painting the dull white lettering of some word on the debris a crimson red. Grabbing the fallen Tsubaki above him with one arm, Xander threw himself violently sideward, another piece of loose metal debris occupying the location where they had been milliseconds prior. Xander’s version dimmed for a moment, as soil, stone, and unidentifiable material assaulted his face. Something rough scraped him above his eye, a searing fluid left in its wake.

Xander rose to his feet pulling Tsubaki upwards with him, unsteadily, a buzzing in his head louder than a thousand irate hornets bellowing into his ears and into his soul. He looked around, the dizziness invading him hindering his observations.

”COME ON! BACK TO THE VAN! NOW!” Someone shouted mutedly behind him. Atvulf, pehaps.

”BUT THE PEOPLE… SURVIVORS!” This, ahead of Xander. Henry?

”THERE’S NO TIME!”

”DAVID?!”

”HE’S DEAD, SOOTIE. DO YOU WANT TO F*CKING JOIN HIM YOU GOD DAMN IDIOT?!”

Xander limped backwards-his leg felt a bit warm, numb-, Tsubaki helping to hold him up. The pair reached the van quickly, Tsubaki helping to lift him into the passenger’s seat. The opposing door opened, and then closed with a distant click. A rumbling, the engine lit, and Xander felt the vehicle move, turning, and quickly gaining speed, to where, he could not discern.

”Oh f*ck, you think?”

”Think what?”

”Ye think the bastard saw us?”

A pause.

”I don’t see anything in the mirror.”

”F*ck. That good.”

”Oh no, Xander! You’re bleeding! Stay awake man! “ Someone shook Xander by the shoulder. ”Atvulf, get the med kit in the back! It’s under the drivers seat!”

”Dude, da f*ck do I know about fixing head wounds! I can stick a bandage on him, that about it.”

”I took a few courses at the academy. I think I can repair it when we’ve gotten enough distance from...  from that thing. Xander, stay awake, come on!”

A coldness spread across Xander however, beckoning to him, like a warm home on a cool winter’s night. Quiet. Still. Xander closed his eyes, the blackness consuming him.

F*ck.

End of Chapter 1
Chapter 2: For Those Without Hope Wander Aimlessly

A sound. A loud one. Engines?

Xander awoke wearily from his unintentional slumber, a throbbing pain upon his brow. Groggily, he touched his forehead, a dry, rough cloth wrapped tightly around his skull. A reminder, an unkind reminder.

”Aye, looks like Prince Charming is ‘wake.” A man grouchily grumbled from beside him.

”Xander? You back with us? Brilliant, you were really out of it. You took a rock to the head, but luckily it was just a glancing blow. I think. I wish I could tell you more and that I was better at first aid, but-“

”Sh*t, he don’t need no full rundown. He got hit, he’s going to be fine. Nutin’ more to it.”

Xander dragged himself upwards with one hand, pain erupting through him. He had been lain atop one of the padded benches in the back of the armored van, surrounded by the various other survivors. Most payed him no heed, except for the odd glance, and mumbled amongst themselves.

”Now you there, dips*hit, ya got just one oar in the water. I told you to cool your jets, but nah, you gots to be just charging right up in there like King-“

”Look, I know I screwed up. You don’t need to keep reminding me. You don’t think this is eating me up?!”

Atvulf looked down towards his legs, before continuing. ”Nah, I don’t mean it like. Sh*t’s goin’ to happen, but you still gots to be smart about it. This ain’t no easy parade like you high cotton folks got it up in the city. This the real world, and you best be ready for peep’s trying to kill you.”

The front half of the armored van grew silent, as if a smog cloud of depression smothered all sound amongst them, excepting an odd cough here and there. Henry’s voice rose again, breaking through the oppressive mood.

”We’re still going to the evacuation point. We’ll find help there.”

”Uh-huh.”

”Things are still going to turn out alright.”

”Well we best poop or get off the pot I suppose…”

-------------------------------------------------

The mud here was thick, slimy, of the same consistency of excrement as some pointed out as they passed. It pasted and painted the exterior of their vehicle as if some modern art piece had been commissioned upon it. A light drizzle had begun to fall, as the windshield whippers moved back and forth across the front of the vehicle to clear the mist as it fell, obscuring the road ahead for the occupants. The darkening sky shortened their vision, but every so often they would spot and abandoned car as they passed by, many still filled with precious belongings that had been saved from the encroaching invaders. As they passed a newer model van, its chrome finish still shining as if it had just been rolled of the factory line, Henry began to speak.

”Do you all think that these people made it to the evacuation site alright? There’s just been quite a few…”

”Sh*t, like we should know. Or give a f*ck. Ain’t our problem, ain’t it?” Mikey had since moved up to the front of the van and joined them. In the passenger’s seat ,Tsubaki looked noticeably more uncomfortable, averting her eyes from looking at them.

”These were-are still people. I just worry, you know?”

”Maybe we should go raid them cars then? Ain’t no reason not to.” Atvulf turned back from watching out a nearby window to speak to the others.

”We can’t do that!”

”Why can’t we?”

”Because… because it’s still a crime! I’m an officer of the law. I would need to arrest you.”

”Sh*t, ye think that shiny little nugget mean much now? This is the goddamn apocalypse you dumb sootie. It’s kill or be killed and all that sh*t, and we need supplies. If I had my druthers, we’d raid each and every one of these cars.”

”They’ll have rations at the evacuation point. The federal government mandated that DERA camps should have enough rations set aside for at least a year, if not more. We just need to get there.”

”Sh*t, if they gots the resources, we should grab some and just hightail it out of there. They’re goin’ press us into service or some sh*t.” Mikey spoke up once more.

This time, Atvulf berated his cousin, slapping him upside the head. ”Gol durn it, Mikey, they gots the guns you idiot. You think we gonna just waltz in there and rob the military? We’d get are arses shoot right of our backsides!  Geez man, I knew you was stupid, but come on, put some thought power into it.”

Henry, for his part, just exhaled violently.

”Fork in the road coming up.” Henry pointed ahead of the vehicle with one hand.

Indeed, the road did fork. One road, the road in which they currently drove on, continued further into the deep wooded growth that they had been driving on since leaving that picturesque little farm. The other slipped quietly into the hills before disappearing into the deep mountains beyond. The junction however, was not unoccupied. A single police squad car, a soft brown in color-not rusted, but not a clean white either, sad idle to one side of the divide, two uniformed men watching them approach. As they entered the clearing, Henry slowed the van.

”Xander, Atvulf, get out to, okay?” Henry spoke softly ”Don’t know what these guys want, but they’ll probably have some information you both should hear.” He exited the vehicle, and the other men followed shortly after.

Xander’s boots squelched nosily in the mud. Ruined, more than they had already been. Undoubtedly a loss at this point. He made his way around the van to stand beside Henry.

The two uniformed men, clearly local law enforcement of some kind what with their tan uniform with a plethora of pockets, high, black polished riding boots, and wide rimmed hat adorned with gold tassels of some kind, had begun to walk towards them, meeting Xander’s party halfway.

Hey there, yall. Where you be heading?” the taller of the two men inquired, the drizzle continuing to saturate them all as they spoke.

Henry spoke up, staring directly at them. ”Survivors,.. er, refugees. We made it out of Saruleah Bay City before those invaders tore up the city. There’s an evacuation zone that we were directed to make it to up in the mountians,-“

”Yup, Lattimer Valley. Just up the right pass.” the shorter of the two spoke.

”Lattimer Valley, right. Thanks.”
”How many you gots in there?” the taller one continued, nodding towards the vehicle.

”Just a few other, couple injured, nothing serious.”

”All civies right? No military shucks ducking out from service?”

”No?”

”Alright then.”

”Why does it matter?”

”Military folks need to make their way to Aienclad Aviation Base, just up the road. All civies need goin’ to Lattimer Valley, as instructed. We’ve had a few who wanted to hide in with the civies.”

Atvulf spoke for the first time. ”Aienclad? Sounds a hella of a lot safer than some sorry arse valley? Why can’t we go there?”

”Military personal only. No exception.”

”But-“

”Atvulf.” Henry glared at him, his message evident. ”Well, thanks for the help then officers. Appreciate it.” Henry nodded to them, preparing to leave, until the shorter one barked at them.

”Oh, you lot can’t leave just yet. You gots to pay the toll.”

”Toll?”

”Hey, this ain’t no picnic, ya here? Mind lending us some supplies?” the taller of two continued. ”I see a pretty, young face yonder, little company tonight would-“

”She’s not … No.”

”Aww, hell Dwight, I was looking forward to some fun for me tonight,” The taller spoke to the other. Turning back to Henry, he continued ”you sure? Last I heard there was ration shortages up at the camp. Pretty girls and food are worth their weight in gold. I can give you some from my stockpile-“

”No. Not an option.”

”Well, anything else you got?”

Henry turned to Xander and Atvulf. ”Well, we got the six pack from the farmhouse…”

The shorter of the officers ahead of them perked up. ”Beer? That’d do it. Tonight might not be a loss after all Hoffman!”

Atuvlf shouted as a solitary, thick drop of rain water rolled down his brow, visibly angry ”Are you f*cking kidding me? We needs all that sh*t, ain’t no way we partin’ with any of it! You ain’t got no right!”

The taller of the two reached backwards, and put his hand upon the thick black handle of some device upon his belt. ”You sure bout’ that?”

”Atvulf, please…” Henry worriedly looked towards the agitated hulk.

Choice 5 (Strength: Mild)

A: Supplies are ours, and this toll is unfair. This is just robbery in disguise. We’re not handing over any of our supplies.

B: Better to let them have the supplies than cause more conflict. We can afford to part with some goods. Things will end up better this way.
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