Author Topic: The Freedom War  (Read 520 times)

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The Freedom War
« on: March 15, 2018, 11:52:18 am »
“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in broken places” – E. H.

The Freedom War: Introduction

The screeching of the alarm klaxon jolts Xander’s sleeping mind into overdrive, nearly toppling him out of his metallic, standard issue bunk. The dull, but bright red light burns into his eyes, forcing him to squint for several, long moments as his senses return to awareness from their slumber. ”All crewmembers to battle stations, this is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill”, a soft, woman’s voice screams over the vibrant roar of the alarm. Around him, hidden by the drapes of the withering light, the shouts, the calamity of others scrambling about in a disordered diaspora as they rush towards their various stations like a never-ending stream of silvery salmon splashing their way violently upstream, beat a roaring war drum, a rush of hot red blood and stimulating adrenaline that permeates his throbbing ears and his muddled mind. ”Come on, bloody hell we can’t be late!”, a fellow below him cries, already almost fully dressed in full uniform, a mixture of smooth greys and milky blues, as he tugs aggressively at his wrist, ”frack.. not my problem, get dressed and get going!”, he bellows once more before hiding once more in the opaque curtains of the consuming, shifting shadows.

The darkness of the corridor hampers Xander’s every movement, pulling a hand through a sleeve, attempting to straight out every groove, every wrinkle in his uniform, even placing one step ahead of another. Others race around him, forwards in back, their faces lost, and meaningless. Each step, each wringing step atop the sleek, icy steel floor brings him closer towards a light, towards a blinding light so intense all he can sense is the withering commotion around him, the commands shouted by others, the heavy steps echoing from wall to wall, but loudest of all, the pounding of his heart to that beat, that awful, brash, beat of readiness. Bum bum. Bum bum. Bum bum. Eventually, his awkward gait thrusts him headfirst into that white, fiery abyss ahead, only for the burning blindness to clear as he cross the threshold. Here, the din of activity, the ferocity of preparation for the coming moments screamed as if in fervor and lust, men and women hunched all which ways, roaring, crying. A lone, elderly women, her surplus of gleaming medals glinting in the sharp light, stands atop the crowd, elegant, but barking orders all the same. A bulky lieutenant, seemingly materializing out of nothingness, grabs him roughly by his arm, bunching his uniform, and drags him towards a row of monitors alongside the walls of the warship. ”FRACK IT ENSIGN, GET YOUR FRACKING ARSE  HERE QUICKER, WE GO COMBAT LIVE IN TWO FRACKING MINUTES YOU BLITHERING MORON!” he roared as if forced to expel every molecule of atmosphere from his gullet into Xander’s throbbing ear. ”SIT HERE, NOW!” the lieutenant screamed once more, forcing him roughly into a nearby padded seat. He points with a gloved hand toward a dark, but active monitor which lay in front of the seat in which Xander now occupied, ”Bloody idiots, every time we need to get something done- listen up dipsh*t, I’m only going to frackin tell you this once- your sector is Omega 3 Charlie 2, which is battle group,.. er.. Beta, led by commander,… er,.. Captain Ortega,… your job is to relay any actionable data to the fleet commander once the battle goes live, and/or answer any frackin questions she has, you got it you frackin scrub?”.

 The brute of a lieutenant evaporated into the muddle of a mob as quickly and as abruptly as he had consolidated out of oblivion to harass Xander, leaving him some limited time to familiarize himself with the flashing, chrome display console as it lay humming softly before him. Though the various nobs and switches, as varyingly important as they were, remained foreign in nature to Xander, several elements were simplistic enough for even the least astute individual to derive function from. A single, moderately sized black screen, laden with various bright red dots, and labels beneath each of the dots,  with faint numerical lines intersecting around the screen, as well as a single pair of lush, black padded headphones, in which faint, though unrecognizable, sounds spouted from time to time, lay on, and in front of the monitor to Xander, respectively. Tentatively, following in suit of the other crewmen who sat quietly to either side of him, Xander placed the headphones gently across his ears, awaiting orders.

Not several terse moments later, abruptly as to almost startle those not tense enough with dread, a shout rang throughout the bridge, “MULTIPLE CONTACTS, FRONT LINE, SECTORS 1-4!”, a young communication officer screamed from somewhere inside the bridge, his location obscured by the shifting crowds from Xander. Immediately, as if a sudden violent diaspora had lay waste to the bridge in a matter of moments, Xander’s view of the happenings around him abruptly expanded, leaving but no individual except that wiry old woman, her grey hair neatly tied in a uniform bun to the back of her head, standing alone atop a raised, metal platform, staring intently out into the void ahead of her. As she clasped her wrinkly hands firmly behind her back, turning her head ever so slightly to her right, grey, milky eyes now downcast, she intoned softly, “Communications, open a fleet wide broadcast…” Pausing for perhaps a second or more, she continued, this time more audibly, “This is Fleet Admiral Hopper to the fleet,… we are engaging multiple hostile targets in sectors 1 to 4, all military units are authorized for weapons free, repeat, all military ships are free to engage targets.” She gestured strikingly, as to have the communications officer to end the broadcast, before turning abruptly, and strolling to rest in her plush, padded chair, scrubbing her eyes lightly and blinking rapidly.

Operations began smoothly, as far as Xander could tell through the tunes echoing from his padded earphones, a few harsh barks from unknown captains, a few hoots and hollers from enthusiastic pilots and jockeys,

“Watch it, port side, multiple hostiles!-”

 “Smoked em’ Gardier, yeh owe me a shot when we back!-”

 “Target,.. er… painted unit 16G,.. all batteries, full spread!”

However, this relative peace, like a leaf upon a harsh, winter gale, was not to last but a few moments, giving way to more alarming rhetoric. The luminous flashes of far off discharges became brighter and brighter, drawing more defined, more deadly.


“This is R.S.S. Magadan, requesting immediate assistance, to any-”


 Xander’s headset rang with dying screams, each louder, each more blood-filled than the last. The cacophony of sounds distorted so much so that by each moment the noises sound less like the death rattles of men and women, but rather like a crashing typhoon, drown out all other noise around Xander, until all he could hear is the roaring beat of that awful drum in his ears.

“Bum-bum…. bum-bum.. bum-bum. bum-bum, bum-bum, bum –bum, bum-bum!”

Xander’s eyes tearing, he ripped the headphones from atop his head, slamming them into the console in front of himself, nearly shattering the desk with his repulsive force. As he watched in horror, that dark, encompassing monitor in front of him seemed to grow exponentially, the numerous red lights that once adorned it slowly disappearing as if one by one, an electrician unscrewed each bulb, leaving only the blackness to consume Xander.

Xander scrubbed his eyes vigorously, now is not the time to lose his mind, focus, breath. The screaming voices on the bridge once more breach his ears, a mess, but at least compressible. 

“Sector 2 has collapsed completely, I just have the Vanahiem and a few frigates left sir!”

“Admiral Chenya reports total shield collapse, on the battlestar Newport, and has transferred command of Sector 1 to Captain Diahaus on the Omaha.”

“Sir, we only have two functional caps left, the Arcadia and the Russi dreadnaught Kursk, we need to think about…”

This last statement, by a male flag officer towards the front of the bridge, seemed to dull the majority of the bridges voices, as if every crewman collectively held their breaths as they looked to the withered Admiral as she stood, gesturing to silence the officer. She brushed her nose lightly, stared into the void, the effervescent flashes of death fading with every passing moment, before clearing her throat to continue.

“All right, inform Captain Yumashev to spin up their nuclear missiles, and being spinning our as well. Open a broadband channel on all frequencies…”

She paused for a few moments rubbed her eyes as if to clear an invisible speck of dust from them, before continuing.

“This is Fleet Admiral Hopper on all frequencies; this is an emergency message to all parties. The combined fleet has failed to repel the enemy forces, and has sustained heavy losses, repeat, the fleet has failed its combat operations. I hereby command all remaining coalition forces to engage drives and calculate for Telemachi swing to rendezvous at the fallback coordinates. You are ordered to assist any civilians ships with the jump, until such is no longer reasonably possible. I now herby relinquish command of the fleet to Rear Admiral Nagumo, and promote Rear Admiral Nagumo to Fleet Admiral, authorization code AlphaZuluOne-DysonTwoNineZero. To the people of Hiroikku, we have failed you, and for this, we are sorry. Good Speed and Fair Winds, Admiral Hopper out.”

She turns to face the bridge, her eyes now wet, as if morning dew now sprung from her ducts. She rubs her chin, her eyes shift from left to right, before continuing, this time more softly.

Arcadia is now re-designated Palisade 1, and the Kursk is now Palisade 2, as designated under Naval Law J3, Section Two, Defender Clause. I thank you all for your service.”

She looks directly a comm officer, “Is Captain Yumashev ready?” The officer listens for a quick moment to inaudible distance voices, then nods, solemnly. 

“Target 5A seems to have sustained the most damage of their caps, Palisade 1 and 2, launch missiles full spread. Lets crack that mother*cker!”, Admiral Hopper roared.

Streaks of light blossom from both the battlestar and the nearby dreadnaught, as if seeds had been suddenly ripped up by a gust of wind and thrown into the air, towards a distance spec. The light rays lanced out, piercing the hull of the alien warship. As the onlookers watched, the distant ship faltered, then detonated in an array of vibrant deadly colors, scattering irradiated debris amongst the corpses of war.

“Target 5A is no longer on scans; sensor suite reports multiple citadel hits and total obliteration of target!”

A cheer rose in the throats of the bridge crew, a few muted hoots, as Admiral Hopper began to speak again “Eat that, you filthy scum, alright tell Captain Yum-“

A ray of light pierced the Kursk from bow to stern, as she seemed to hang in time for a still moment, before dissolving like so many before her into a storm of fire and metal. The Arcadia rocked violently, throwing several crewmen around Xander from their padded seats and to the metal floor.

“Palisade 2 is not responding, sensor suite reports multiple enemy hits onto her,…”

Admiral Hopper leaped quickly upward from her seat, roaring into the intercom system, “This is Hopper, general evacuation orders to port escape pods to any non-essential personnel, repeat, non-essential personal to port escape pods “. She turned to her helmsman, “Fire starboard bow realignment repulse, get our starboard broadside facing them. Pull main batteries to face starboard. We aren’t going down without a bloody good fight!”

Suddenly, that gruff, broad, angry lieutenant that had harassed Xander earlier materialized once more behind him, hand atop his weary shoulder. “Come on, you fool, get to the frackin escape pods, we don’t exactly have all frackin day!”

As Xander ran, stumbling with every lurch and jerk of the Arcadia as she bore the brunt of weapons fire, the carnage of war blurred around him. Splatters of blood adorned every wall, a corpse here and there, draped across and under fallen metal girders. Occasionally, a bloody crewman would run in front of Xander, before fading into the darkness of the emergency lighting. Several times, He was forced to backtrack, as locked blast doors, fallen debris, and fires delay his egress. Alongside Xander, or rather behind him, the lieutenant breathed heavily, turning pale by every passing moment.

“Stop,… here… escape… room…. 12B…. there..” he mumbled between each breath.

Entering the room, a hatch lay open to a pod beyond. Inside, several others sit waiting on a padded bench, each with various uniforms and in several states of health, though many seats open with their woven harness unoccupied. Upon entering, the heavyset lieutenant closed the hatch behind Xander, shouting, “There’s no one else coming, the past couple of hallways are probably engulfed in flames now, we’re pushing off!” He closed the hatch, then straps into the bench beside Xander, struggling to lock the harness around his large girth. An alarm sounded, the lights dimmed and turned red, a sudden, viscous jolt, then a sudden feeling of gravity tearing at Xanders innards ripped through him, as the pod fell away from the warship.

The viewport built into the hatch gave Xander an unrestricted view of the Arcadia as he fell away, several pods falling alongside theirs. As Xander watches, the Arcadia takes numerous, destructive hits, her guns still blazing away into the void,  before being lanced by a brilliant beam of light into her midsection, breaking into two oblong pieces, as if torn apart by the wrath of an almighty god of light and chaos.

Don’t worry” the lieutenant next to Xander utters softly, “everything is going to be alright

From his groin blooms a wet spot, staining his trousers.

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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 11:53:15 am »
Chapter 1: Abandon All Hope Ye Who Enter Here



Wet Red…


Xander awoke suddenly, eyes flickering as piercing white light broke through the shadowy wall in front of him, scattered through new born crevasses. The musk, the smell of smoke and death filled his nostrils as he drew in a deep breath, forcing a labored cough from him. The escape rocked slightly, as if lightly brushed by smooth waves, jingling the bloody corpses still strapped into their harness around him, a rather awful puppet master. Muddy, murky water seeped in through the ruptured hatch, flowing around Xander, mixing with the wet blood of the corpses, mixing an awful velvet concoction that stained his trousers. Struggling, sharp pain burrowing deep into Xanders chest; he unhooked the woven harness, splashing into the deathly liquid before righting himself with the pods metallic walls. Struggling to pull each leg forward, water dragging and permeating his now heavy clothes, he made his way through the broken hatch, and into the bright, blinding light.

Squinting heavily, Xander attempted to clear his vison, the dreadful ringing in his ears doing little to forestall the coming migraine in his future.  Opening his eyes, he rotated from side to side, his eyes observing all around him. A wall of tall, leafy trees arose some ways off, and opposite of which lay some distance black mass. Around him, tall reeds of swampy grasses dotted the horizon, gleaming with fresh dew in the morning light. He reached down to pluck a handful from the murky waters. Rice. 

“Urgh… f*cking stupid arse pod..”

Xander’s head snapped quickly back to the entrance of the pod. The hefty lieutenant that had accompanied him lay resting in the shade of the pod, hand upon the wall to steady him. A deep gash ran across his face, dripping blood every few moments, as if someone had left a faucet almost, but not quite completely closed.

”Where the bloody f*ck are we?”, the man hoarsely utters. His eyes turn, resting on a distance mass.  ”Uh… is that Saruleah Bay City? And is it on fire?!”

Indeed, barely visible, smoke billowed over the distance mass, a funeral pyre set upon the living. Xander squinted, attempting to make out the various buildings, but was abruptly interrupted by a sound, a silencing call from somewhere around him. He turned, suddenly. 

”Shh- you lot, any other survivors? We need to get the f*ck out of here…”
 Seemingly out of nowhere, though perhaps the thrush had hidden and muffled his approach, a uniformed man, an officer of some sorts though more urban, had walked into in front of the crashed pod. At his hip, a service pistol lay holstered, however, his hands twitched over the clasp, as if ready to draw at any moment.

”Who the fracking ‘ell are you?!”, the lieutenant that had come down with Xander replied, rather loudly, leaning in to try and observe the newcome.

”Not so loud you fool! Look, we’ve just escaped the city, and we saw your escape pod come down into the fields. This area is going to be swarming with the,… well,… whatever the buggers are at any moment, you need to run to the tree line with me now if you want to--- OH SH*T RUN FOR IT”, the officer whispered, until his voice rose abruptly. The man had begun to point, decided against such an endeavor, had pulled his service weapon from its holster, and had begun to run for the tree line.

Xander turned to look for whatever had made the man run with such fear, as did the Lieutenant. Not a kilometer out, a metallic object glinting in the morning rays race towards them, hovering, the reeds below it being pushed downward as if some magical invisible beast  bore down upon them.

The Lieutenant turned to run, as did Xander. Whatever bore down upon them clearly wished them no good will. The Lieutenant’s voice became short once more, breathing heavily, running from the coming threat.

”Huff… huff… gotta… keep… runn- ARGPH-….”, the Lieutenant groaned, before a splash sounded somewhere behind Xander. He turned his head sharply to the side, still running for his life, searching for the man. A large lump lay in the water, facedown. Sh*t. The metallic flying object bore down upon them, closing the distance rapidly, its features, sharp, spindly looking guns attached to the front becoming more distinct to Xander.

”Kee.. keep.. huff… running… trees… friends…”, the officer mumbled amongst each galloping step, as Xander closed the distance between them.  A bright light shot past Xander, landing the officer in front of him. A moment past, the officer stopped, hanging there for a moment, as if time had stopped for him. His top half fell away, into the murky water, the gun in his hand flung somewhere in front of Xander. The arterial spurt of blood peppered Xander, staining his clothes further, as if red raindrops had flown outwards in a shower of glistening crystals.

Where had the weapon landed? The murk of the water clouded the location of the gun. Xander reached down, searching… where… something sharp brushed upon his hand. He grabbed, and pulled from the murk the officer’s gun.  Xander wasn’t prepared to go down without a fight. He turned to face the attacker.

The metallic war machine now loomed meters away from Xander, as if it had been carried along by the fantastical trade winds of the open oceans. Its gleaming weapons, pointed at Xander, began to gleam with energy. This was it. Xander pointed the weapon upwards, eyes clenched, before-

”Ratatatatatata”,… something pinged off the hull of the flying death contraption. Bullets? But from where? Out of the thick forest behind Xander, an armored vehicle flew out into the open, ripping up the rice plants as if an oversized lawnmower had forgotten to clean up its mess. Atop, a man rode, a large caliber gun pointed at the alien machine. ”Ratatatata” the gun went. The death machine pointed its weapons away from Xander, trying to shoot the moving vehicle. ”BOOM!” the machine fired, bright light lancing outwards, but the driver, the bloody excellent driver, swerved adeptly to avoid the oncoming fire. Twice more, the alien machine fired, but the armored vehicle remained too fast to hit. Cracks began to appear in the armor of the alien machine, sparks flying. As quickly as it had arrived, the machine flew away, back to the burning city, as if a scared bear being chased by a tiny cat.

The armored van stopped in front of Xander, shielding him and blocking his view from the fleeing machine. A light splash drenched Xander again,… his uniform was utterly ruined. Along the side of the armored van, printed in eggshell white, the name “SBCPD” were inscribed. The passenger side door opened abruptly, hanging out over the marsh. A dark skinned man rode in the driver’s seat, his hands gripping the wheel tightly, his perspiration evident in the morning sun.

”Where’s Captain Bruse??? Just get in, I don’t think the 50Cal is going to keep them away for long…”. The officer reached out a hand to help pull Xander into the vehicle, a warming gesture given the mornings experiences…


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 11:54:08 am »
As the van stopped in front of him, Xander thought to himself ”Thank God, maybe… maybe we can get away”. As the man stepped out he felt relief, he had made it. He accepted his hand and climbed into the van stumbling as he got in, almost falling over. He bent over taking deep breaths and said “I.. I don’t know. H-he got… the machine got him. He’s dead and in half…” Xander slowly stood up slightly shaking “Anyplace I could uh.. Sit down?”


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 11:55:25 am »
Xander firmly grasped the man’s hand, as the man deftly pulled him up into the tall armored van. The swampy waters and wet foliage that had expertly entangled Xander fell away, some dripping back out of the vehicle, much staining the interior. Once inside, Xander could more clearly see his uniformed rescuer, his features now shadowed from the blinding gleam of the morning sun, showcasing his silky smooth features, as if he had lived a life fought with the perils of privilege. Light sweat poured from his crevasse, staining his blue, formal uniform, however, his eyes sparked widely with determination.

“Diver side is good, I suppose, if Captain Bruse is dead,” he replied, removing a hand from the vehicles wheel to dab the sweat forming upon his forehead. He pushed heavily upon a lower peddle, as the armored van lumbered back into the tree line, deftly maneuvering between the trees.

”Name’s Henry, Henry Johnson,” he said, as they left the carnage behind them, ”We saw your pod come down in the rice fields,… we’d just escaped  Saruleah Bay City, and,… well,… Captain Bruse said we couldn’t just leave you to the metal heads”. He pointed with one hand into the back of the van, though still managing to steer around the many trees in front of them. Xander turned his head to view the interior of the van, his neck straining with pain after the suffering he had endured. Behind them in the cabin, numerous figures lay on padded benches along the side of the vehicles, from all walks of life, though all scarred, burned, injured in some form from the trauma from which they had escaped.

”You from one of the starships?,” Henry asked, ”I heard just before those,… those things descended upon the city, that the combined fleet had lost with heavy casualties. We were ordered to evacuate the city, but… I mean… it was just chaos. The army tried to stop them, but they were just annihilated. Most of our precinct, I mean, Captain Bruse and mine, hadn’t even shown up for work this morning, and the ones that were left,… well most just walked out. We got a few stragglers at our precinct building, civilians who didn’t get out in the first rush to leave the city, and so the Captain commandeered one of the abandoned riot vans, and we got the heck out of there.... man… I can’t believe Captain Bruse is dead... I think I would be dead thrice over if it wasn’t for him…”

Henry paused for a moment, exhaling loudly. The cracking of twigs underneath the van resounded as they moved forward, as if a lumbering beast flinging itself widely into the unknown, chased by a bigger predator.

”Oh shoot, I’m sorry,… I tend to ramble when… you know… there’s a lot going on. My father, well… he’s… never mind… sorry… but he told me I needed to keep a lid on my mouth more once. Guess I never learned that lesson”, Henry, loosing a nervous chuckle, ”but, I never asked, what’s your name?”


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2018, 11:56:04 am »
Throughout the rambling Xander sat there thinking about what had happened, and then comparing it to Henry's story. After the story when Henry was talking about his father Xander slightly nodded his head in agreement only partially paying attention. After the question Xander looked up “Huh? Oh… The name is Xander.”


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2018, 11:56:54 am »
”Xander huh? Odd name, not from around here…” Henry replied. The armored van hit a light ditch, jostling its passengers slightly as to cause little harm but enough alarm some, forcing Henry to quickly place both hands back upon the steering wheel, lest his deft but unorthodox driving relegate them to a grave of rich dirt and murky water. A splatter of mud, littered with decaying leaves and various indistinguishable bits of foliage was kicked up upon the windshield, only to be removed a moment later by the voracious whirling of the wipers as they efficiently removed the obstructive debris.

”Shoot… sorry, I’m not used to off road driving,… haven’t had to drive outside of the city. Uh, can you reach in there—yes, in the glove box, there should be a map” Henry shouted over the loud humming of the van’s tired engine, forced to endure a terrain for which it had no experience and fondness for. ”David said-- David is the guy on the 50-Cal above—he told us he had some experience with heavy weapons so the Captain put him up there –, “ a gloved hand pierced the carpeted ceiling of the armored van, waved gently, then rose to the heavens once more as quickly as it had arrived, “that there was a broadcast that went out just before the main attack arrived, telling civilians to evacuate as soon as possible to a Lattimer Valley. Captain Bruse decided that we were going to retreat to there, so I think we should stick to that plan. Can you take a look at the map and try and figure out which roads we need to go to get there?”

Xander bent down, opening the compartment to examine its contents, fishing for his desired prize. A chipped, dusky flashlight, its lens blemished by a slight oblong crack, brushed upon on him, its worn edges etching a painful but short scratch upon his curious hand. A few used shell casings—the owner of this vehicle really ought to spend some more time cleaning his spaces—jingled loosely, nearly jumping like escaping frogs out of the compartment and onto the muddied floor. A few loose pieces of undistinguishable paper, then something thick, dry, and papery, crinkled but relatively unblemished caressed the tip of Xanders forefinger. Grasping, Xander pulled, exerting far more effort than warranted to remove the sought object, removing the crinkled, lightly worn map from the dim depths of the compartment and into the dying light.

Henry watched silently out of the corner of his eye, as Xander fumbled amongst the loose objects of the compartment. “Sorry, sorry, we didn’t have many options of vehicles to take. Lieutenant Atwood took SBCPD-1 to the beachhead and didn’t make it back-shoot, you think he’s dead?,” Henry blurted out, “and both 2 and 4 were out being repaired.  SBCPD-3 was Lieutenant Bransons car, he’s not known for his cleanliness, but he didn’t make it in this morning. I hope he’s alright, I mean, he had a family geez. Probably just didn’t make it in because he was helping them,.. right?”

Xander traced his hand along the stained map, each crinkle a crevasse that spoke long tales about wonders this parchment had seen throughout its vast lifespan. Locating the red ink dot that denoted Saruleah Bay City, a solitary island amongst a sea of rice and ocean, Xander estimated where the Arcadia’s escape pod had plummeted and slammed into the watery farmland, and slowly but carefully traced their path into the tree line in which they now moved hurriedly through. There, some distance away ahead of their presumed position, a winding, insignificant but nonetheless defined road wormed its way through the tree line. Forced to squint in the fading light to view the name of the road, Xander bent in, his nose inches away from the crinkled document, mumbling the name of the road quietly to himself, “I-105.”. Following the I-105 further up, each jostle of the van forcing Xander to reacquire the line to continue, he observed the line pass through another minor, black dot, insignificant enough to allow one to question whether the dot had even been part of the original map design, and had been an accidental blotch left from years of use, if it had not been nearly labeled by the author, ”Medona.” Continuing, Xander followed the dark, thin line up into a distant mountain range, as it disappeared into the rolling hills and valleys that defined the range. Xander stretched out the map, as to cover his lap with the geography of the region, a quilt of grass and woodlands, and pointed to the solidary snaking line, so that Henry could follow as best he could.

”I-105 huh?,” Henry replied, as he followed the line up into the mountain range. The van seemed to jostle ever so much more; clearly multitasking was not Henry’s forte. ”Hrmm, I think that was the road Captain Bruse said we needed to follow. We had this larger map up in the precinct building, but it was nailed to the wall and far too large…”

Xander folded up the aged map back into a tight, neat square, before placing it in his ruined trousers. He turned his focus back upon the chaotic glove compartment, search, seeking, before grasping upon the offending black flashlight, and placing it to in his trousers. Perhaps they both would be useful at some later date.

Henry continued, a light yawn stifled quickly before he continued to speak, ” That shouldn’t be too hard to find, but I don’t think we’ll get there tonight… why don’t you close your eyes for a hot bit. I’ll wake you up if we need you… okay?”

A bumpy jolt awoke a tired Xander quickly from his slumber. His eyes, unfocused, took several long moments to clear the billowing fog that blinded his eyes. The ungodly heat of the dying summer’s rays had microwaved the interior of the armored van, causing blossoms of salty water to heavily stain the various joints and crevasses of Xander’s utterly ruined uniform. This, compounded with the perspiration of the other several occupants of the vehicle, mixed an unholy salty stench that burned badly inside Xander’s nostrils, as if arcane magical wizards had teleported tiny flaming bonfires of ocean creature carcasses straight into his nostrils as he slept. Though the light rest had helped alleviate some of the pain, the awkward position and the day’s tribulations had left hard knots along his neck, a shooting pain that erupted like a new born volcano each time Xander made any effort to move, forcing a heavy groan out of his parched, flaking lips.

Henry turned his head to face a now awake Xander. His eyes, baggy with coursing blood, strained heavily from the stress of driving hurriedly through the thick, vibrant forest, observed him as he groaned. However visibly tired, he still was able to form a large, pleased smile, his pearly white teeth nearly blinding, backdroped by the darkening world in the dimming afternoon light.

 ”Ah, looks like you’re awake. Just in time, did you see a town on the map? We’ve just hit the outer limits of one. Looks like it might be a good place to spend the night,” Henry spoke softly, as if not to disturb the blemished calm that had fallen over the occupants of the armored vehicle. He removed one hand from the hard, leather-bound wheel of the van, and pointed ahead through the front window.
Xander looked up, his eyes painfully forced to refocus from the changing light, squinting into at the distant objects ahead. As they approached, the objects became more defined, even in the fading light, a stalwart, suburban house there paint peeling off its weathered sides, perhaps a shingled barn to the right, cluttered by loose materials and tools, propped up against its sides waiting for some future use. As they moved closer, the buildings grew from the earth faster, each subject a light blur until Xander focused more closely.

As the armored van moved swiftly closer, the density of the surrounding buildings grew, as if low bushland, caressed softly by frigid winds had been transformed into a thick forest of yellow corn, sweetened, but also tainted by its time in the sun. Each building, a standalone one story suburban home, clay pots upon the porch filled with dead and dying flowers of distant realms, or a tightly bound storefront with a rusting, sagging display rack propped up against the front to showcase nonexistent wares, exuded a deathly calm that permeated the air. Paint peeled from the once vibrant building walls, a testament to more elegant times, and various singles remained absent upon the many sloped roofs, weathered by torrential rainfalls from past generations. Here and there, signs of modern, industrialized life sprouted like foreign seeds carried aloft by trade winds only to be planted in this isolated realm by the sheer power of luck, a red, shining vending machine to the right that gleamed with a fresh paint job, a sleek gas station to the left, the pumps advertising their ever lowering prices. 

However, as the group drove onward into the thick forest of a town, the calm, the sound of silence, filled their hearts and minds, a rushing feeling of anxiety and fear, that paralyzed some to the bottom of their core, and readied others for a swift jump into a future fray. Not a single lively sound flew through the air, but the slow creak of moving parts, a rusted, dangling green street sign hanging from a lengthy street light and the quick, hurried rustle of loose brown leaves and dirty pamphlets as they rode the along the ground, as if carried by invisible, wispy gremlins. Not a soul, not a single animal, or a lone humanoid, or even the faint apparition of a forgotten deity let their presence be known amongst the winding streets of the town.

”… I wonder what happened to the people who lived here? It’s not as if this place has been uninhabited for a long time…,” Henry spoke softly, his voice quelled by the consuming sound of silence. ”Well the road goes through the town, maybe we’ll find out what happened as we go. I hope they’re okay, I mean, a town this size had to have at least a thousand people living here, if not more.”

The party inched forward slowly as Henry applied as little force to the metal pedal of the vehicle, as if he were walking around the mouth of a den of voracious carnivores. The van left muddy tracks in its wake, gluing the floating debris of decaying leaves and shredded loose papers to the surface of the road, a stain upon an otherwise smooth thoroughfare.

”Oh sh*t, hold up, stop dude, there’s something in the middle of the intersection!” a muffled voice-probably David the gunner-shouted through the roof of the armored van to them, rising panic intertwined with his rapid words. The van ran to a screeching halt, nearly throwing Xander from his seat had he not been prepared, having strapped himself to the chair. Something loud collided and fell to the ground behind him in the main cabin.

The van had stopped just a hair from the center of the town, a broad, asphalt intersection, dotted by numerous businesses advertising an assortment of wares in their dusty windows. Sickly, brown, deciduous trees lay planted at intervals along the sides of the path, in clear need of proper maintenance in care. Burned husks of cars and trucks, split open like chestnuts on an open fire, dotted the main street sporadically, left haphazardly, as if their owners had fled in a rush. A ruined store, perhaps an established, franchised drug store in its prime, lay burned to the bones, a few crisp timbers lay rising out of the slag like skyscrapers overlooking a sea of favelas. Some of the other business showed signs of light damage, a burn here, or a hole there, as if some deadly firefight had taken place here. In the center of the intersection before them however, a lone dark mass lay silent.

Xander squinted in the dying light at the mass ahead of them, a dirtied uniform, perhaps frilly and pink at some point earlier in its lifespan, now caked in mud, dust, and dried blood was worn by the creature, perhaps a vile beast from some far off land. Its extensive, black hair covered its face utterly from the blinding beams of light protruding in front of the armored van, as it sat upon its knees, still, silent, unmoving.

”Oh, Xander, do you think that’s a person?” Henry spoke softly to Xander, a hushed voice loud against the noisy silence the wafted over the occupants. David, now crouching into the van, his bearded, oily face shown for the first to Xander, began to speak aswell.

”F*ck that Henry, with all the sh*t we’ve seen, ain’t no way we going other there to take a closer look. Sh*t’s probably a trap by the metal heads, we don’t know what they’re capable of. Drive us CAREFULLY around,… whatever that thing is, the more distance we put between us and it the better we’ll be. If the metal heads got to the rest of the town, they’ll be back, and we don’t have the rounds in the 50 Cal to get them off us again,” David whispered, and undertone of panic underneath his words.

”David, there’s no way we’re going to leave someone out here. Night is coming soon, and we aren’t going to leave someone to be attacked out here in the open, we’re better than that. Come on, lets go see if we can help,” Henry spoke, his voice firm with determination.

Choice 1 (Strength: Mild)
A: Side with David, and get away while you can. There’s a high probability that whoever attacked the town may be coming back, and we have everyone else to look after.

B: Side with Henry, and render assistance to whoever is in the middle of the intersection. They need our help, and as officers of the government, it’s our duty to render that help.


  • Guest
Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2018, 11:57:46 am »
After thinking for a few moments Xander looked up at Henry "We need to help whoever that is. If we leave now, someone may die. Even if it is a trap, we will know that next time. Just remember David, if we can save them, they can help us save others or ourselves. It's our duty as officers." He looked around at both of them hoping they wouldn't break out into arguing again, or David just leaves them. He also thought about the fact that they may not get out alive.


  • Guest
Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2018, 11:58:14 am »
David sighed wearily, exasperation alight upon his breath. ”Sh*t, I ain’t no copper. You do your thing dude, Imma stay here up on the 50 Cal, where’s frackin safe…”.

Henry adjusted his belt, his shiny black service weapon flashing in the fading light. ”Come on Xander, let’s go help her. Light is wasting!”, he said cheerfully. Grabbing the handle of the armored van, he jumped out to the broken paved road below, a resounding thud audible enough to lightly vibrate the van. Xander followed suit, boots slipping ever so slightly atop the gravel that coated the dusty black road. Both continued ahead, ever weary of their surroundings, boots crunching over loose debris as they made their way towards the figure. Behind them, Xander could sense David moving about, possible anxious about the threat of immanent attack.

As they drew closer, the figure grew more defined, shadows repelled only by their sharpening eyes, highlighting her deep Asiatic features. Her dark, silky hair, stained by dust and decay, draped over her figure like a rotten mop-head atop a figure-glass pedestal. Her clothes spoke to her menial work, a frilly white apron atop a light pink frock, ripped, shredded, stained with blood but not her own, caked in grime and shoot. A chipped white nametag, clearly inked in neat black letters was pinned upon her lapel. “Hello! My names is Tsubaki”, they read, obscured only by a solitary line of dried blood that ran from her shoulder down her chest.  Her face and hands were soft, perhaps silky smooth if one were to spend the time to wash away the filth, but beneath the thick layer of dirt, her eyes shone brightly, glassy, but alive.

”Er… miss…?”, Henry began to speak, his voice warry but full of the light hearted compassion he exuded, far too trusting he was. ”My name is Henry, Henry Johnson, this here is Xander. We’re both officers of the law, in a sense I suppose. You,.. er, need any assistance?”

”Channel… 1… 3… unknown units spotted…. over… Arcaida… Kyoko… Saruleah Bay… New Daschan… São Paulo…”

”Er… what miss?”

”All flights are… are routed to return to airports. If return is impossible… evasive action and head to nearest available airport…”

”Miss,.. er.. can you tell me what happened here?”

The youthful, battered woman turned to the pair, her eyes widening, striking invisible holes into them. ”THEY COME! THEY COME! THEY COME!”, she shouts, before collapsing to the pavement below, as heavily as a felled tree slamming into the rocky crag below a cliff. She lay there, motionless.

Henry turned Xander, his face colored by a mix of confusion and sympathy, eyebrows raised but a hair, shoulders enthralled in the early stages of a shrug. ”Shoot man, what kind of stuff do you have to go through to make you like that? Shoot, I mean, I don’t mean to be rude, you jettisoned out of a starship in a warzone,.. but at least you’re not babbling… come on, I don’t want to stay out here any longer than we have to”

Gingerly, Henry picked up the now comatose woman, Tsubaki, bracing her against his chest as if she were an infant, and began to walk back towards the armored van. Opening the rear, he laid her down upon one of the rear benches.

”Your name’s Shawis, right? Make sure she’s alright, just call us back if there’s a problem,” Henry spoke to one of the passengers in the rear, who looked none too pleased with the added burden, and eyes her warily. Henry returned to the side of the van, stretched his arms towards the stars for a few moments, as if worshiping some unknown deity, before climbing once more into the driver side of the armored vehicle.

”I don’t want to be out here longer than we have to, and we’ve got maybe an hour of usable daylight left. Keep a lookout for any farmhouses that we can stay in at the fringe of the town.”

Outside the town, some half-hour away, the van slowed to a stop. Here, the path had devolved, no longer the smooth, but rugged paved terrain they had grown accustomed to along the road, no here, dirt was pervasive and king, deeply entrenched in the formally black tires of the van, coating anything exposed, from front grill to rear bumper. A short distance away, a rickety old farmhouse, peeling paint and rough wood, a behemoth whose glory days were long since passed. Farm tools lay scattered, some rusting, others sleeker, haphazardly stored around the farm, a clear lack of organization. However, with the exception of a handful of field mice that played a mesmerizing game of tag in and out of the stalks of rich, yellow wheat, not a single being stirred. An ample hovel for the night.

”We’ll have to shack up here, I don’t think we’ll find a better spot by tonight. And I really don’t fancy being stuck out in the van with everyone,” Henry spoke to Xander. Re-engaging the vehicle, Henry turned right, into the farm.

Parking inside an abandoned barn, long since vacated by its last inhabitants except for the rare spider, the survivors shuffled groggily towards the dilapidated, Xander leading at the front, with Henry bringing up the rear. ”Xander,” Henry shouted, ”You go first. Make sure the house is clear for everyone!”

Xander obliged, leaping up several steps up to the porch. A wooden rocking chair, perhaps once painted a vibrant green, lay propped up against the side. A few wooden crates filled with nothing but the sweetest air stacked to the other side. The wide porch was relatively clear, an oddity given the uncleanliness of the farm in its totality.

First opening the outer screen door, Xander knocked gingerly, a light tap, then a heavier rap against the hardy front door. Thick, sturdy wood rough against Xander’s hand, the door was in dire need of a good sanding. Nothing. Xander tried once more. Still nothing. Carefully, Xander turned the brass knob, and entered the home, watching keenly for the slightest movement.

Xander stepped inside, the arcane floor boards creaking under his weight. Sh*t, too dark. Xander fumbled in his pants, shoot he had put it there earlier,… there. From his pants, he pulled the ancient, chipped flashlight that he had stashed there from the van’s glove box. A quick shake, a flip of a switch, and a shaft of bright, yellow-tinged light shot forth, barely illuminating the dusty hallway ahead of Xander. Still too dark to firmly define the muddled shapes, but enough to seek out the light switch.

A few more steps, a single flick. Click. The old house was suddenly thrust into a sea of murky yellow lighting from dim overhead lights, somewhat illuminating the ancient home. Xander looked around, observing the house for any peculiarities that might be lurking.

Where he stood, Xander could see a good portion of the rooms of the first floor, should he turn his head. To his left, a living room, furnished with rough, plush, antique chairs and a sofa, surrounding a long, scratched, oak wood table and a red brick fireplace filled with long dead cold charcoal, protected by an iron grate, the wooden floor beneath plastered with dirty brown rugs, in need of a good thorough wash. To his right, a sketchy kitchen, appliances as old as the house, and as worn to, countertops decked in once egg-white linoleum, chipped from years of use, rough, wooden cupboards with unknown goods and mystery filling available space along the walls. In front of him, brown, wooden stairs, perhaps leading up to the second floor, ending in void, undefinable by Xander’s eyes. Everywhere, a light layer of dust and grime coated each surface, barely so as if someone had seasoned the entire house in fine dirt, shook loose from the ceiling rather recently.

Henry poked his head into the house tentatively. ”You alright? Don’t see anything out of the ordinary? Good.” Henry disappeared outside once more. ”It’s okay, everyone let’s get inside,” Henry’s parched, muffled voice could be heard even through the thick oak door. A brief second past, then the weary civilians stumbled in, a rag-tag assortment from all walks of life. For the first time, Xander could see them all clearly in the broken yellow-ish light, their grime encrusted clothes from suits to casual atire, some with dried, ****, crimson blood, others with dark, painful bruises as if their bodies had been tattooed by an inexperienced artist consumed by Lou Gehrig’s disease, just under a dozen, each individual more fatigued and more battered than the preceding.

Tsubaki came in second to last, a new, white cotton shawl draped over her like a obscuring hood-good, she was walking-, her eyes warily avoiding Xander as he watched her move into the home quietly.  Henry followed shortly after, closing the thick, wooden door behind him with a solid, resounding thud. He turned to the ragged survivors as they huddled in the atrium nervously.

”Alright everyone, this place looks sufficient for the night. Xander checked it out-right Xander?-and he didn’t find anything out of the ordinary. I don’t know how much food there is in the kitchen, but there’s probably clothes for everyone to change into upstairs. Try and group up in groups of 2-3, and pick a bedroom for the night. If there’s any water still running through the plumbing, try and take a shower and find any buckets to fill with water. We don’t know how long we will have to wait until another shower, or when the plumbing is going to go out.”

Henry turned abruptly to Xander as the others dispersed in a rather unorganized fashion, some heading upstairs to the promise of a sweltering, relaxing shower, others foraging like timid rodents for food in the various wooden cupboards of the antique kitchen. Henry was exhausted, his eyes deeply sunken, above thick, swollen bags. He wavered slightly, a light tremble barely visible through his limbs, a consequence of his inopportune escape and subsequent rush of life-giving adrenaline. He began to speak.

”Um… sorry, I don’t want to hedge our bets on there being a functional heater in this house, and with fall coming around, it’s going to get cold fast. We need to build up a fire as soon as possible, but there’s no wood to burn in here… I think there was some wood propped up outside the barn. Since you have the only flashlight,… you know… could you?”

Xander obliged, was only a short walk outside to the barn and he was probably the most fit member standing, even as pained and tired he felt, bones roaring, akin to the flames of the depths of the deepest pit. He trudged relatively silently forward, boots crunching on the thick dirt and gravel, guided by his single beam of yellow light bursting from his flashlight, the night obscuring everything ahead, and his rear solely illuminated by the dim fluorescent lights of the house behind him.

The red, wood barn rose like a ferocious, lunging bear out of a deep cave as Xander neared.  The wooden, front barn doors lay open a hair, so that Xander could scarcely see the van parked neatly inside, but that was not his prize tonight. Around the side, Henry had said. Xander walked right, feeling the rough barn ahead to guide him. There, a thick stack some ten logs high and thirty logs wide, illuminated by his emanating light. Should only need one or two for the night to keep everyone warm. Xander bent down, back creaking under the stress of the day, feeling the rough bark of the wood as he attempted to gain purchase upon-

”You there, hands up! Turn around slowly! No sudden f*ckin movements!,” a man’s thick, deep voice ringing through the quiet night.

Choice 2 (Strength Mild)
A: Oh, this is trouble. Try and bash whoever that is with your flashlight like a club.

B: Comply, nothing good can come from startling someone who sounds ready to hurt you.


  • Guest
Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2018, 11:58:44 am »
As he heard the man he quickly dropped the wood that he was trying to pick up and raised his hands. "I don't mean any harm!" He then started to slowly turn around thinking to himself that maybe he could manage to hit the man hard, but he wasn't too sure in his hand to hand combat skills. He also thought that maybe Henry or David should have come with him, so that maybe this wouldn't have happened.


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 11:59:17 am »
”Yeah, sure you do cupcake. Ah ah ah-, keep those hands up unless you like a few rounds through the noggin.”

In the dim light of the blanketing night, the figure, no, figures, features were far too obscured for Xander to extrapolate any useful information, save for the manly figure they cut against the moon’s light. The glint of a long rod, a barrel, pointed ominously, directly at the brow of Xanders forehead.

”How bout’ you pretty boy get movin’ to the house there. No sudden movements cupcake, don’t want a little accident on our hands, now do we?”

Xander turned slowly towards the house and began to walk forward, his feet’s noise combining with his captors, raising a din upon the rough gravel such that he was sure the others would hear them, to come rescue him. But none such help arrived. Slowly, he opened the screen door of the rickety house, a roaring creek alighting the night, turned the door knob of the thick, inner door, and walked inside into the embracing warmth of the abode.

”Xander, hey, never mind, David found fire wood stacked up in the kitchen, just leave the new stuff by the-“ Henry spoke, before his eyes fell upon the new arrives. His eyes flicked towards his service weapon, nestled snuggly on an opposing recliner, but an invisible movement behind Xander warded him from his future action.

”Best you get sittin’ there cupcake, you to Officer Boogie. Nothin’ too swift, ya hear?” one of the men behind Xander spoke, his voice gruff and low.

Xander obliged, promptly sitting next to a now seated Henry on one of the coarse, dirty sofas. In the sepia house light, he could now clearly observe the details of the opposing men. Both were young and light skinned, perhaps somewhere just beyond twenty years old.  One was stocky, thick muscles on all appendages, his nose bent at a barely observant odd angle, as if he had been lightly punched many moons ago. The other was far less meaty than his cohort, his skin pocket-marked with light grooves from a clear lack of skin care, one eye, a hare off from alignment with its partner. Both wore thick, flannel shirts, with long, ragged jeans caked in dust, mud, and other unknown afflictions. The broader of the two began to speak.

Names’ Atvulf, Atvulf Lasserson. This here be Mikey, dearest cousin of mine. “[/i] The scrawnier of the two waved a evident, if awkward hello. ”Now, before we get on with the pleasantries, might you tell us bout’ your dealings n’ such.”

Henry began to explain to the duo, though hesitantly, about how they had fled Saruleah Bay City in the initial wave of the invasion, and how they had met Xander in the rice fields, and their current destination of the rally point.  The pair seemed to relax as Henry continued further into their tale, until he finished, and the larger of the two began to speak.

”Bout’ the same with us. We were goin’ into to town today, needin’ more foodstuffs, when the metal heads began attacking. Popped a cap in a few of them suckers, but didn’t quite have the ammo to shoot all them, so we high-tailed it out of there. Saw your lights a few hours back, and we’ve been trying to get to ye since.”

Atvulf paused for a few moments to scratch his forehead, before he continued.

”Err… sorry bout’ sticking this here to yer’ head. Didn’t mean to be all aggressive and such. Don’t even have a round chambered.” A quick flick by the man opened up the rifle, and indeed, it lay empty inside. ” Didn’ really know who the hell you were though, just saw ur’ lights and though we should pay yall a visit, and didn’t think no dinkly little knife was goin’ to convince yall we weren’t going to hurt you. Though I guess us stabbing ye would hurt bout’ the same. Eh, can’t be too careful with them metal heads, don’t know who we can trust ye know? Atvulf shrugged indifferently.

He paused for a few moments to rest the rifle alongside the chair in which he sat. ”Look, we don’t exactly have means of transportation at the moment… and well, a destination… you mind if we be adding ourselves to your group?”

Henry looked worriedly at Xander. ”Well,.. we could do with a few more people to help take on those monsters. With what we’ve seen, I don’t fancy our chances defending the whole group with just David, you, and I.”

Turning back to the duo, Henry continued to speak. ”Okay, you two can join the group. Just,.. please don’t start waving your guns in everyone’s faces anymore. Everyone’s already on edge.”

A noise sounded from the stairwell, a heavy creak of an individual descending. The group turned to look, a clear weariness but preparedness evident. However, it was only Tsubaki quickly descending the stairs. She had donned a worn, long shirt, adorned with some archaic academy logo, which rested but a few lengths above her knees. She had shed her earlier work attire, and had clearly taken some effort to make herself more presentable. If this had been any other day, Xander might have even called her cute.

”Hey there sugar, why don’t you come sit here by me?”, Atvulf hooted, as his cousin, Mikey, chuckled along. Tsubaki’s eyes widened, clearly frightened, and she quickly scurried back up the stairs in much the same speed as her arrival.

”Shoot, er…” Henry looked at Xander again, worry written clearly upon his face. ”I’ll… I’ll go calm her down. Might as well tell the others of our new members to.”. Soon, he to disappeared up the stairs, his feet heavy upon the wooden floor until even that sound to faded into oblivion.

”Aww, shoot, we didn’ mean it like that, now did we Mikey?”, Advulf spoke, the comedic flare embedded in his tone. ”No, nope, we didn’ nah mean it like that, certainly note”, Mikey replied in an equally wry manner. The pair chuckled together heartily, before removing themselves from their seats and evacuating to the kitchen alongside.

Xander walked outside quietly. Given the nights commotion, he resolved to give the farmland a once over, to forestall any new unwanted intrusions. The night’s brisk air entered lightly into Xander’s nostrils, invigorating him much like the kick of a hearty stimulant. To the gate, maybe a few moments, then back. Nothing more, nothing less. The crunch of the gravel was melodious, a pleasant deviation from the new norm of the ancient, rickety house. As he looked back towards the abode, he could barely make out two figures atop the porch roof, sitting quietly, stilly, and could hear hushed whispers broken solely by a random chuckle. One last, deep, filling breath, and Xander began walking back towards the house. Tomorrow was another day, another adventure, more time for unfortunate events, and pounding in his head was not going to get any better with him standing outside.


  • Guest
Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 11:59:53 am »
He quickly walked back inside thinking "I really hope they have a bed I can use. I have the awful crick in my neck." He kept looking around on his way back thinking over what had just happened "I really don't trust those two new ones. The way they laughed talking about the girl... It just didn't seem right. I'll think about it tomorrow. I'm tired." He quickly went upstairs and went to find a bed. If he found one or not, he quickly lied down and went to sleep.


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 12:00:26 pm »
The war drums of the gods beat with their full might as Xander awoke in the morning, each pound upon their mythical instruments louder than the last. Not the light tap of tiny feet as they scurried around, frantic to supplement their needs, or the rush and din of energy only capable after a solid night of slumber, could overcome the sensation of an atmosphere filled with anguish and terror of an individual forced from their livelihood, nonetheless a cluster of them.

A shower. A hot one. That might help.

Xander remembered rigorous rush of water that had resounded distantly last night, a loving embrace he sorely needed and had missed out from as a result of the nights activities. He stumbled down the hall, one hand braced upon an ugly, rose patterned wall, slowly inching closer to the nearest bathroom, each step a herculean labor within itself.

One step up. Both legs in. Turn the knob.

Water, freezing icy water, as if chilled by a hyperborean, beat down upon Xander’s flesh like a roaring waterfall. One hand reached out, turning the shower’s handle. Nothing. No hot water. Crud. But it would have to do, and the powerful cascade served to awaken Xander further.

”Xander, are you up?”

Henry, probably.

A quick shower unfortunately, but not an unwelcome one.  Xander wiped the loose water from his worn body with a rough, peach towel, re-clothed himself, and quickly left the bathroom.

Henry stood at the bottom of the stairs, looking up towards the above floor, his dark eyes still enraptured underneath by thick, veiny bags. A restful sleep was not for all last night, as it would seem.

”We’ve loaded up all the gear. The new guy, the big one…. er…. Atvulf I think? scavenged the rest of the house this morning. We’re good to go; just you and a few others need to finish getting ready. Don’t bother eating, we’ve taken all the food, and I’ve got a ration bar sitting out on the dashboard of the van for you.”

Xander rushed back to his room, far faster than his first flight. His belongings were limited to only a handful of items, and beyond the black, chipped flashlight that he had taken from the van, none were of any note, except perhaps the thick padded jacket he had found in the closet of his room. It was a mature piece, with its edges frayed from wear, and a suspicious stain adorning the right breast pocket, but where the survivors were going, any such protection from the elements might remain useful.

Xander turned back and rushed down the rickety stairs, his feet raising minuscule amounts of dust and loud creaks with each heavy step downward, his hands gliding down the worn, smooth wooden banister, each groove and notch a fairytale. The doorway lay open to the elements, blocking nothing but one’s own imagination. As he exited their temporary abode, he quietly closed the heavy door behind him. No reason not to close the door, perhaps some other travelers might find use for the house in the future.

The van had been moved out to sit quietly in front of the house, with only the din of noisy occupants filling the brisk, morning air. A light breeze flew through the air, not so strong as to cause alarm, but enough to kick up loose topsoil and dust that had begun to coat the windshield of the armored van. Tsubaki stood solemnly in front of Xander, staring upward toward the skies, her eyes never wavering from some imaginary point in the domain above as her newly acquired bright summer dress swam loosely around her stockinged legs.

”COME ON YE TWO, WE LEAVIN’! GET IN THE VAN!”, Atvulf shouted loudly, startlingly, enough to awaken a sleeping hen that had been resting on a weathered wooden post by the barn, and send it squawking away.

A few steps forward and Xander jumped up into the passenger’s side of the armored van, Henry alongside, hands already on the wheel. A quick flick of his wrist as he turned the metal key in the ignition, a sudden jolt, and they were once more driving towards their destination. For a moment just off the farmhouse land, and back on the uneven road, Xander turned his head back towards the temporary abode that had suited them well the previous night. A shame, to leave the house. Futures are rather uncertain.

The group drove mostly in silence as they inched towards the distant evacuation point, Xander occasionally catching snippets of speech from the other survivors whose names escaped him as he quietly consumed his dry, coarse breakfast. It was not until Atvulf began to speak did Xander snap awake from his light, weary nap.

”So, we all headin’ to this evacuation point in the mountains right? What be makin’ this location important for us anyhow?”

Henry responded somewhat mutely. “My commander, Captain Bruse, received orders to pull out of the city and relocate any survivors we had picked up to Lattimer Valley. There’s supposed to be a fully functional DERA camp being built up there.”

”Yea, but that was ages ago dude,” Atvulf began, ”what makes ye think the camp is still functioning?”

Henry took a moment respond. …”I have faith in our government agencies. If they say they’re going to do something, they’re going to do it. We have survivors under our responsibility, and we need to get them there safely as instructed.”

”Hhhhhh”, Atulf snorted quietly, blowing enough air to raise the hairs on Xanders neck. The van lapsed back into peaceful silence, except for the low hum of the engine and the crunch of debris underneath.

”Anyone mind if I turn on the radio?” Henry began to speak a short while later. When no one spoke up, he turned to Xander, and continued. ”Xander, just keep going through the channels. There has to be something on, maybe some information we could use. This silence is getting to me a bit.”

Xander turned the radio on, and began to test the airwaves, looking for a sound, a peep, a whisper. The only thing that the metal box returned was static, lonely, empty, noisy static. It was if a great void had encompassed the world, silencing all the voices that had once graced the invisible waves. No quiet starlet on a moonlight serenade to impress the stars themselves, no traffic announcer warning cars off some infamous highway like it was the forbidden land, no sports analyst listing off stats as he would his own families birthday’s no, no, no.

No sound.

No people.


”Wow… this is depressing, there has to be-wait, what was that?” Henry spoke.

Xander had heard it to, a barely audible word, such that had he not been paying attention, he would have missed it to the wind. He began to hone in on the frequency, a light twist of the nodes until-

”-escape. If you’re in the vicinity of Medona, make your way to east to the clearing, just 30 miles outside of town. We’ll be leaving in an hour. If you want off Hiroikku, now’s your chance.”

Henry stared at Xander. ”Off Hiroikku? They have a ship or something?”

Atvulf had made his way back to the front of the van, and had stuck his head between Henry and Xander obtrusively. ”The f*** did I just hear? Off Hiroikku?”

”Xander was going through the radio channels, and there was a broadcast going on…”

”What dumb*rse is on the radio blatherin’ bout’ some stupid escape? Dem metal heads probs heard that, idiot is super screwed.”


”Dem metal heads are probably able to hear that kind of sh*t. They hit us hard, and they hit us fast. They had to have known where. Stands to reason they got sum’ kind of way to get that info. If they heard that, you can bet they’ll stop anyone from leaving the planet. They easily have the firepower.”

”That’s conspiracy talk, and you know it Atvulf. If there’s a ship out there with room, we might be able to use it to get away from Hiroikku. Sure, we might be able to make it out here for longer than most, but the other survivors? They’re not built for this. Getting them to safety is our top priority. Space seems like the safest place to me. Besides, if they do get attacked, then at least we’ll be there to help them.”

Choice 3 (Strength: ???)
A. Atvulf is right. It’s not worth the risk to go and see what is going on with the mysterious broadcast. It’s too bad if they get hurt, but it’s not our fault.

B. Henry is right. It’s a valid evacuation method, and we need to get the survivors to safety as soon as possible. If they get attacked we can help them to.


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 12:00:54 pm »
Xander kept looking through the channels looking for something else "Henry is right. We need to get out of here, and maybe get some more help. There has to be more out there than just us and the metalheads, right? Any chance to escape we should take. We don't know when we'll get another one, even if they know about it."


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #13 on: March 15, 2018, 12:01:19 pm »
”Oh sure you pinhead, side with the fracking sooty. Yall gonna get us killed…” Atvulf murmured under his breath, before returning to the rear of the vehicle in a rage.

Henry sighed heavily, as if trying to exhume some toxic fume from his lungs. ”Why did we let him and his buddy come with us?”. Another deep breath, significantly longer in length. ”Sorry, Xander, I shouldn’t have said that.”

Henry turned to look at Xander, as if examining his eyes for some lost truth, some decaying ideal, before returning his vision to the road.

”My father,… my father, sure he was strict. He knew what needed to be done, what was best for my brother and I. When I was younger, I kind of hated him for it. I think all kids have some sort of resentment to authority. But I understood now what he knew then. That we needed to understand that some people in the world can’t be changed. They’re too fixed in their ways. We just have to be the better person, be stronger, and hold our tongues before we say something we will always regret.”

Henry once again glanced slightly at Xander, a simple turn of his head towards him. ”You get it, don’t you?....  Sorry, that was too much,.. I shouldn’t have gone on like that.”

The road forked a head, a single, wooden signpost denoting the exchange. Towards one lane, the distant ridgeline of ominous peaks grew out from behind the overhead tree line, like the spinney back of some devilish alligator, lurking behind the swaying fronds of a murky swamp in wait for its coming prey. Towards the other lane, the trees began to thin, supplanted by thick, vibrant grasses that swayed calmly in the fresh, light breeze, without a care for existence and its troubles.
”Right it is then, I suppose.” Henry grinned at Xander, a smile drawn across his face from ear to ear. ”We’re going to get away from here, somewhere safe. Never been into space before though.”

A light chuckle erupted from him.  ”Space,.. can you believe that. See dad, becoming an officer will take me to higher places, literally”


”Xander, psst, wake up!” A light murmur pierced the veil of oblivion that had shrouded him. Xander stood up abruptly, and had he risen any more, his head would have firmly planted itself into the van ceiling above him. He sat down once more. Naps can be quite sudden.

”Get out, you’ve got to see this.” Henry whispered into his ear beside him, before his vague presence ceased to exist once more.

Groggily, Xander removed himself from the vehicle, a heavy weight upon his limbs as he made his way to the cluster of people ahead of him.

”Git’ down you frakkin’ idiot!” A deeper voice whispered angrily at him.

Xander obliged, crawling on all fours towards the group, moist dirt clinging to his arms and legs, leeching the morning moisture into his every orifice, leaving the tree line in which the armored van had been stashed, hidden. Ahead of him, Atvulf, Henry, and a few others he could not define from his vantage point had lain down, watching something in the distance over a grassy embankment. He saddled up next to a silent, still Tsubaki.

”Here, you’re going to need these,” Henry whispered, awkwardly handing him a pair of green, metallic binoculars. ”They’re Atvulf’s”

”Well, not exactly mine. Liberated dem’ from a dead guy in Yonkers. He wasn’t needing them no more…,” Atvulf whispered back as Xander began to peer over the grassy knoll at whatever spectacle lay beyond.

Towering, fresh grasses, sprinkled daintily with morning drew, infiltrated sporadically by crisp white flowers, waved gently in the morning breeze as if saluting the hidden party. They carpeted a small valley-more a light indent in the earth rather than a full-blown basin-that leveled out nicely to form a straight surface, blemished only by a mixed patch of upturned dirt, gravel, and bio-matter. Strewn about, a handful of steel, roughed-up crates lay around the perimeter of the landing site, in which several space-bound transports, as equally dinged as the crates, lay waiting. One was a smoldering wreck, as if lanced by some devastating energy that had slagged it from prow to core to stern, another was far too small for interstellar flight, more fit for yacht than a transport and remained abandoned, but the third, that third ship. A handful of minuscule black dots, ants, no people, scurried around the transport in a hurry, and the low hum of online impulse engines permeated the morning air. They were leaving.

 ”Well then, looks like they’re leaving now. Let’s get going then,” Henry whispered.

”Sooty, we all gotta stay here and watch,” Atvulf spoke, muffled by the bodies to the left of Xander.

”Are you-look, we decide, we’re leaving on that ship Atvulf.”

”Shut your yapper man, we don’t need to get up in there with them.”

”Are you crazy?! They’re leaving now!”
”I can see dem’, I ain’t blind. What I’m sayin’ is we wait. Look, if I’m right and dem’ metal heads be ready to pop anythin’ that makes it off, then we get to live unlike them poor sods. If I wrong, then we just need get that smaller transport yonder, and we meet up with them before they leave the planets sphere of influence. Simple. Just airing on the fracking side of caution man.”

”Oh f*ck this sh*t, stop fracking arguing, I’m getting to that transport, even if you idiots want to keep arguing about it. Die on this fracking planet if you want!,” David appeared to Xander’s right, having stood up. He crested the knoll, and began a light jog down the far side as he made his way to the landing site some lengths away.

”We’ve already decide, David is already walking, Atvulf, we’re leaving, that’s final. Let’s get going!,” Henry whispered angrily, as he sat up and began brushing the debris from his clothes to which they now clung.

Choice 4 (Strength: ???)

A: Stay silent, and get ready to run for the transports. The group needs to leave now, unless we want to be stranded. This is not the time for caution.

B: Side with Atvulf and speak up. It won’t hurt if we wait, and a little caution never hurt anyone. We’ll probably be able to catch them with the smaller transport even if we do wait.


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Re: The Freedom War
« Reply #14 on: March 15, 2018, 12:03:24 pm »
Xander cursed the weather silently. He sat up and put a hand on Henry's shoulder "He's right. If they do destroy transport and we get on it, we're dead. But, if they survive that smaller ship most likely has a comm device, we could always ask them to wait for us. Plus, youve seen how David can be a coward, he wanted to leave behind our young friend. Waiting a bit wont hurt, but if we go now, we may not survive." He prayed to the gods that watched over everything, hoping he made the right choice.