Flashback Paradox (open CVnU RP thread)

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Alpha_Dog

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Do you want to:

  • Flesh out a part of your character's past in something other than you bio?
  • Create some shared past canon with other characters?
  • Just indulge in having your character remember an event "as it happened?"

This is the place for it.

This is the place for flashbacks, memories, etc. RP's here can be anything, from single-post one-shots to ongoing RP's involving multiple characters, so long as they meet one criteria: they have to have happened in the past. Could be yesterday, could be thousands of years ago, so long as they're not happening in the "here and now" of your character.

Rules:

  • All CVnU and RP rules apply, per usual.
  • Anything that would affect the canon of another character must have that character's writer's permission.
  • Anything that would significantly impact the greater canon of the CVnU requires CoE approval.
  • In order to keep the canons separate, this thread is CVnU exclusive. That being said, if someone in the CVU (or any other universe) wants to create their own, feel free. Heck, you can copy/paste it and just change it your universe if you want.
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Tessa_Callahan

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This is a great concept!

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Hawkshade

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This is interesting.. hrm..

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Grimmwald

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This is pretty cool. It could lead to a thing or two.

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Alpha_Dog

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_Dirge_

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Nice.

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Hegemon

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Alpha_Dog

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Hegemon

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Venator_umbra

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This is a fantastic idea!

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Alpha_Dog

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ParagonxXx

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#12 ParagonxXx  Online

Nicely done! ^_^

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Alpha_Dog

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Meison_Calidus

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His name was P'rseident Calidus. In his Kingdom were few. But their hands were many.

In time P'rseident would do what no other Lord of Atlantia would ever do...He braved the land. There, where many of his kind saw neanderthals, he found knowledge. Power. Respect.

With the devotion of the shoreman above he would launch a campaign on Atlantia's divided nations that nearly tore the sea asunder and bathed the oceans in the blood of all creatures.

But in the tenth year, there was peace. P'sreident was approached by his brothers and sisters of honorable lineage and negotiated terms. Eventually they agreed.

Atlantia would forever be Atlantis.

She and all her kind would stay beneath the seas.

The world of men would play no further roles in the affairs of the deep.

All the people of the shore had to remember them by were their names and tall tales. Eventually names changed, stories of history became fables of religion, and P'rseident, King of Atlantis and ruler of 5 great nations would become Poseidon, The King of the Seas with a golden Trident.

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FarSeeker

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#15  Edited By FarSeeker

It is always in these times of quiet, surrounded by the sounds of a million lives diverging and converging in ten million different ways, that I think back to death. To its proximity to these people, and how uninterested they all seem in that morbid closeness. Yet I cannot help but be aware. Cannot help but recognize how close I have come, time and again, to that final void. Even now, my mind harkens back to the horrors I have seen. Consumed by fate narrowly avoided.

To that uninhabitable place of bone bleached sand and black metal storms.

Two years ago, in the space between Sol and Rigel...

I take in the grisly sight. The charred remains of warriors, weapons melted into their chests, litter the landscape. Scorched earth and structure, blast points where powerful weapons met their primitive ones, mark every wall. For every corpse, there are a thousand of these punctures. There is nothing on this world but death. Any potential for colonization has clearly been wrung from this place by the conflict that last visited it. It is a lost cause.

"Planet CV dash seven seven dash five nine. Inhospitable. Radiation levels too high to support Rechtan life without considerable resources invested in radiation shielding, air and water purification. Amend Seeker records to reflect."

Planet [CV-77-59]; record amended. Marked "Uninhabitable".

"Good. Returning to the Sanngetal with a biological specimen. Deceased. Confirm."

Confirmed. Seeker 01 returning to ship with biological sample. Deceased. Ultraviolet sterilization process pending. Quarantine capsule 04 vacant.

The HUD goes quiet after that. Nothing more to report. I begin the long trek back to my ship, dragging the corpse I have chosen by the ankle through a dry, cracked landscape. As I stare into the path before me, sand and stone shifting in the increasingly tumultuous winds, my mind wanders back to the site of battle.

Something does not sit right. The charred structures, marred by weapons far more powerful than those held by this corpse and his comrades, implied a far greater number of casualties among the primitives. The dead should have piled in droves there.

And suddenly, the eerie silence is broken, replaced with the malice of howling wind. Suddenly, I am unnerved.

"Sanngetal, prepare for takeoff."

"..."

"Sanngetal, initiate takeoff procedures. Confirm."

"..."

The storm of dust and sand sweeps up debris from within the rocky crags, fine filaments of iron black accompany the beige white grains. I try to activate the sensor suite on the helmet. It too, is dead. Magnetic iron could be clouding communications and sensors, but in the animal part of my brain I feel it must be something more sinister. Something alive with intentionality.

The sounds of screaming winds and my own frantic heartbeat echo in my ears. I draw the single-action Endbringer from its magnetic holster, my finger cradling the trigger. My muscles tense in anticipation, instincts screaming danger. Still I have no choice but to push forward, for I know that the only sanctuary I could possibly find lays ahead of me, in the safety of the Sanngetal.

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Nordok

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#16 Nordok  Moderator

@farseeker:Okay, I think I know who to use for this; I'll start to work on something. Thank you for your patience, and great post, btw!

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

There it is.

The Ephemeran huntress wiped the cryo-stasis blurriness from her eyes and squinted at the beeping alert panel. One of her sensors had been triggered, on the planet CV-77-59. She had dozens of such sensors scattered across dozens of galaxies, each placed in a location she'd calculated as being likely to attract interstellar attention, for one reason or another.

Ostensibly, this was to perform one of the duties her employer had tasked her with: keeping tabs on some of the more remote planets in known space and identify any potential threats or assets, but the truth of the matter is that the huntress used the excuse to find potential hunts. One would think that the universe itself might not lend itself boredom, but the simple fact was that finding new challenges could itself be challenging, among millions of light-years of basically nothing.

Deft fingers played across an instrument panel, and all known information on the world her ship was fast approaching was displayed. High radiation. That meant additional precautions. Her armor could fully seal and protect her against most environmental hazards, most forms of radiation included, but armor could be damaged or disabled. Unsealing a small aperture on the side of her instrument panel, she withdrew what looked like a medical syringe, albeit of obvious alien design. Taking it in her right hand, she held out her left arm, clenching her fist to make a vein stand out, and injected herself with the syringe's contents, an anti-radiation serum.

The exact specifics of how it worked were not known to her; knowing where she got it from, it was likely it used as much sorcery as science, but what mattered is that it would allow her body to fully resist the effects of the planet's radiation for approximately one rotational cycle. Not knowing how long this hunt might take, she grabbed a spare dose and slipped into the pouch on her belt, where it was slung over the end of her cryo pod.

Moments later, fully encased in her armor and armed with her full arsenal of weapons, she strapped herself into a drop pod. As her ship dropped out of hyperspace, it ejected the pod directly at the planet and then immediately activated it's cloaking shield and going into standby mode. Xi would be able to contact and give it commands remotely, but until she did, it would remain in an all-but-invisible orbit above the world. As a precaution, she also had the ship send out a massive ion pulse that would temporarily disrupt communications in the area. If there was more than one being awaiting her below, there was no sense in letting them coordinate their actions more than necessary.

She braced for impact as her pod slammed into the surface, several miles from the Far Seeker's location. The pod was not cloaked, and it's breach of the atmosphere and subsequent impact would doubtless be noticed, so the moment it settled into the small crater it created, she popped the main hatch and sprung out into the open, activating her own personal cloaking field as she did so. She swiftly made her way to the ruined skeleton of a nearby building, clambering up to the second story and settling in behind a blasted-out window that offered her a good vantage point of her landing zone.

Now, let's see if this attracts the curious...

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra:

I am fifteen miles to sanctuary when the air cracks, a streak of fire illuminating the sky. I curse my own curiosity as the black sands swirl around me, whipping the desert into a fervor.

Fifteen miles to safety, but judging by impact and trajectory, only six to ten to reach whatever artifact, manufactured or natural, has just struck the planet. It occurs to me that I could run. Hide from whatever it is that has decided to nestle itself into the planet's cracked and bloodless skin.

But I am not such a man. I became Seeker to sate my own craving for exploration, to drink my fill of the world. The wonder of what might be would haunt me if I even consider leaving, this much I know.

I move cautiously toward the presumed point of impact, shuffling alongside abandoned homes and exposed rock, careful to hide myself away from the object I approach. I make note of escape routes I may take, should I find need of them. My mind races with the myriad possibilities of what awaits me. Precious few do not involve injury or death.

Finally, the miles are cleared, and I peek around the shadow of a building. What I see makes my blood run cold. An impact site. A crater, and in it a cold atmospheric entry pod, exit hatch still hanging open. The situation screams danger, but for myself, or the traveler that landed here, I do not yet know.

I draw the revolver at my hip as I work my way into the crater's center. Shadows and sand hide the pod's interior, as well as any occupants that may reside within. I ready myself should aid be required, though the nagging sense that I am springing a trap tugs at my mind. Still, my own imperative pushes me on, deeper into the half grave this pod has dug for itself.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

One quarry.

Humanoid.

Xi waiting, taking her time, scanning the surrounding area until she was certain that the one who approached her pod did not have any support waiting to eliminate anything that moved against him. A lone hunter then, not unlike herself in that regard, at least. Skilled, powerful, foolish...or some combination of the three, perhaps?

A common hunter, seeking only trophies, would have attacked at a range, taking advantage of their stealth. Had she been facing multiple entities, or under contract for a specific retrieval, Xiandra would have done likewise. But sniping a single target from hiding while on a personal hunt offered neither challenge nor honor, things which meant more than any trophy.

Instead, she dropped from her perch, not bothering to attempt to land quietly, and deactivating her cloaking field as she rose from her landing, revealing her armored form fully as her invisibility and the toxic dust kicked up around her subsided. Her spear was in her right hand (after all, the other was armed; no sense in pretending to be a pacifist), but she stepped forward in a casual manner, wary but without aggression.

"This world is death," she spoke in Sauroid, gambling on that being a more universally recognized language than her native Ephemeran, "what is your purpose here?"

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra:

The pod is advanced. Wildly so. Within, it bears the grooves and hollows for weapons and ammunition, most if not all carried off by whatever spacefarer deployed from the iron seed. It is as I believed, whatever came here is armed, and undeniably dangerous.

Then comes the scuff of boots behind my back. I flip the cloak behind me as I draw the revolver from its magnetic holster, train it upon the sound. The inhabitant of the meteorite, no doubt. She speaks in a tongue foreign to me, but by recording the audio and playing it back through the database I discern the words' meaning easily enough. She speaks in Sauroid, a tongue closely intertwined with the Imperium, a dark and dominating force in much of the galaxy. One that a traveler would do well to avoid. With my off hand I set the real-time translator to the lizard tongue, answering in Rechtan and letting the helm speak her words in change, with the other hand I maintain my aim upon her, her relaxed stance doing nothing to dissipate the tension at finding an Imperium enforcer here.

"I am a Seeker. It is my duty to search for habitable planets and mark them, nothing more. So, tell me, what is the Imperium's interest in this place?"

I step away from the pod's opening, attempting to maneuver to a space where I might dive behind it, should an attack come. In my travels, I have come across those speaking of the Imperium rarely, but when it is mentioned the tales are always of blood and gore, viciousness and murder. I ready myself against their reputation.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker: Will be responding soon; life got crazy.

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Juno_Fei

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#22 Juno_Fei  Online

Goddammit, I wish Juno had been to space before -_-

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

So he understands Sauroid, or at least has translation technology.

It was knowledge gained, but it came at a cost: the stranger correctly surmised her connection to the Imperium. Still, he was willing to volunteer further information about himself, even as he casually positioned himself for potential defense. This clearly wasn't the first hostile world he had set foot on.

"The Imperium's interest is to search for habitable planets and make them uninhabitable," she answered with a shrug. "This one seems sufficiently hostile to life, but one never knows, so it monitors all worlds it comes across, to some extent. My own interests are different. I am a hunter; I seek to challenge myself against the most dangerous creatures the universe has to offer."

She paused, giving the stranger a long, evaluating glance. "If you are tasked with traveling to unknown planets, you must have considerable survival skills."

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra: It's all good. Things are getting pretty hectic on my end too.

I can hear the menace in her voice, the threat in her posture. The Imperium's intent, inferred before, is laid out clear as the stars above. I had gambled, foolishly, on the idea that perhaps as an independent agent who had crashed upon this land she might not be so sympathetic to that demented empire. Whether I was wrong or not, it seems irrelevant to my present predicament.

"These skills you speak of, I have them, hunter, but you are not looking for a partner in your hunts, are you? So why waste more time than we already have?"

I sense the impending conflict, and choose to take the initiative. I draw the revolver to my target, opening fire before ducking behind the metal shell the huntress descended in. What her intentions were do not matter now. I cannot risk the Imperium gathering the knowledge in my own vessel, the worlds that might be viable for habitation, those beacons of salvation for my entire people.

I focus my own internal will into the burning light of Rechta's titans, plasma and fire coil around the edge of the barrel, awaiting a command. Most would suspect an attack from either side of the landing pod. I aim to surprise.

I press a heavy boot into the angles of the pod, climbing it and kicking off of its surface, leaping above it. I train the weapon down on where I suspect she will be, and fire off the plasma bolt, an attempt to burn the interloper down before she can manage the same.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

Bold. Brash, even.

If courage alone made for a worthy hunt, this one was clearly not going to disappoint. Her opponent wasted no time, opening fire in order to give himself cover, forcing her to take evasive maneuvers. This caused his opening salvo to only score glancing hits off her armor, but it also ensured that he'd ducked behind her pod before she could return fire.

His second attack was equally well-considered, and the only thing that saved her from being burned by the plasma round was that her body had already been in motion as she attempted to move to the left to get a clear shot around the pod. Even so, her movement became a desperate dive, costing her to lose her spear and drop into a defensive roll. I really need to stop losing my favored weapon, she chided herself. Her Sauroid trainers would have been most unforgiving if they had seen that.

Although her spear may have been favored weapon, it was far from her only one. As she came out of her defensive roll, she extended a gauntleted arm and fired the detonite dart housed there at the pod, seeking to blow it apart and knock her opponent from his perch. Hopefully this would give her enough space to reactivate her invisibility shield, and if so, she would seek to capture the offensive, charging forward as she unsheathed her neurotoxic wrist blades and leaping to slash downwards at her foe.

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FarSeeker

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#26  Edited By FarSeeker

@xiandra:

I scored some hits against her armor, testing it. The shots were angled away harmlessly. Good information to have, should the battle devolve into a test of arms. When I thought I had her, when I rose above the metal shell and fired down at the hunter, that was when she her true mettle showed. In the same breath with which she evaded my killing blow, she flowed seamlessly into her own assault.

She did what I thought unthinkable. She fired an explosive charge into her own vessel. She destroyed a spacefarer's one companion in the void, and she did so without hesitation.

I was caught mid leap, the explosive shrapnel of the broken metal chamber piercing my armor and sending me flying several feet, smashing me into the crater's side before I came tumbling down towards its center once again. In the cloud of radioactive dust that followed, I lost sight of the hunter, and the helm's automated warnings, most regarding punctures to the suit and the consequent radiation sickness that was soon to follow, did nothing to help me find her once more. Worse, the ringing in my ears robs me of another means to detect the Imperium assassin.

Then, through the corner of my eye, I see it. The cloud of dust, still not yet settled, parts as something cleaves its way through the air. Some shimmering trick of light pushes through the debris in a move that cannot be anything but intentional. I bring up the revolver to fire, but it is too late. It is already bearing down on me.

I bring the gun between me and it, and sure enough I can feel steel meet steel. Some invisible force carves gashes into the pistol, the force behind the blow brings those same daggers down upon my shoulder, dragging gashes across the pauldron there. I lash out at the invisible attacker with a kick, an attempt to gain distance, dropping the revolver into my mag holster in the same motion. Whether I gain that distance is irrelevant.

From my chest I withdraw a simple knife, unserrated, designed to thrust. I follow its intended purpose, thrusting up into the center of the dust's parting before leaping back, trying to move back into the dust storm I once sought refuge from. If my opponent is indeed invisible, the parting waves of wind might be my best chance at survival.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

Impact.

Not the kind she'd been hoping for, though. Despite the massive disorientation her foe must have been experiencing, and the fact that he couldn't directly see her, he still managed to throw together a serviceable defense, deflecting her toxic blades to the thicker parts of his own armor, where they would not be able to penetrate and deliver their nasty surprise.

He even managed to rally enough to launch a counter-attack, his kick catching her midsection squarely and eliciting an audible grunt from the huntress as it drove her back a step. The success of his attack somewhat ironically kept her from being disemboweled by his follow-up thrust with his dagger, and the sharp point painfully raked along her midsection but missed anything especially vital.

As he leapt back from the dust cloud, Xiandra would follow, but not on the attack. She dropped her cloaking shield as she stepped forward, assessing both her own and her foe's condition as she laughed, a genuine sound that reflected her enjoyment of the battle. Her head cocked to the side as she took in the shrapnel damage to her enemy's armor.

"Your suit looks compromised," she said, drawing her spare anti-radiation injector from her belt and tossing it to him underhanded, a non-aggressive move that would hopefully keep him from batting the valuable serum away. "I'm not about to let this planet's radiation steal my glory." She stood, hands on hips, sending a clear signal that she did not intend to press an attack until he made his decision about her offer.

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Micheal_Zhong

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Short Dream- Micheal Zhong

The room was dark, only letting a slit of light was emitted through a partially closed window. The beam would graze the surface of a male's face. His eyes were shut and his breathing was slow. His chest rose an descended rhythmically, and the wind blew through the slit in the window. The curtains danced to the sounds of traffic right outside the dorm room. Despite, his body being seemingly being in a calm state, his mind was experiencing something horrid.

Within a Dreamscape

His vision was blurred, but with the very limited vision he had. He was able to make out a few shapes, he was facing a blinding light, and the sounds of people talking echoed throughout the room. Their voices were muffled only a few words such as 'Z' and 'complete'. He tried to move, but his limbs and his neck were chained down to a table that smelled of lime and bleach. The conversation stopped and an eerie silence followed. It was later interrupted by the sound of a large machine. Then sharp pain surged through his body, shocking him awake. "ARRRRRGGH" He yelled as he jolted up, and his yell was drowned in the sounds of the cars passing by.

(Just a little something)

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra:

I make contact, sole against stomach, with my blade scraping against her midsection as a followup. I draw blood, the droplets leaking from the invisible ether to stain the wind shifted sands.

And then my opponent appears before me once again, seemingly undeterred by her bloody and wounded abdomen. Through the dying ringing in my ears, I hear the beginnings of Saurian speech. It returns louder in my helmet, translated into a civilized tongue.

She offers an anti-radiation agent, a chance to continue what to her must be just another in a long string of games. I can hear it in her voice. The amusement, the joy that the battle is bringing her.

It disgusts me, but even as that thought passes through my mind I begin to get dizzy, nauseous. Already the planet's inhospitable nature is stealing my strength. I catch the injector in my open hand, stabbing it immediately into my neck, the jugular vein there providing a quick route to the heart. I toss the empty vial back to its owner, twisting my head about to alleviate any discomfort at the injection site, my dizziness already fading with every audible heartbeat.

"That was generous of you, though I will not pretend it was for my sake."

I bring up the knife, implying I am ready, perhaps even eager for another close quarters exchange.

I am anything but. Even as I take my stance, I attempt to covertly load weight onto my forward leg, preparing to spring back as she moves to meet me, if I can goad her into another exchange.

"Where I come from, it is considered a coward's act to kill an enemy unawares, to hide from a foe. Why not end this here and now? One final show of martial prowess where only the winner walks away?"

Whether she takes the bait or not, my plan remains unchanged. I know I am unlikely to emerge victorious should the fight remain at its current distance, so as soon as she moves I will leap back, abandoning the dagger I hold and drawing the Star's Heart, my trusty scattergun, from my back. If I am not dead by that point, I will fire into her repeatedly, scattering fatal burning droplets of burning plasma against the Imperium's hunt hound. With luck, they will scorch their way through her, glassing her insides as easily as the sands of this dead place.

Should I lack that luck, my journey's end will be abrupt and violent.

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Xiandra

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#30  Edited By Xiandra

@farseeker:

Why not end this here and now?

Why not, indeed? She'd not hesitated to kill far less formidable foes than this one. He had fought hard, and skillfully; he'd certainly make a worthy enough trophy. Her Sauroid instructors would be baffled by the conflict she now felt. And yet...

It is my duty to search for habitable planets and mark them, nothing more.

Habitable planets. Like hers had once been. Like the ones the lucky few of her people who managed to flee desperately sought. Her own sudden concern caught the normally stoic huntress off-guard. Could she even still call herself an Ephemeran? She'd been gone for many years, in the service of the force that had stolen her world from her. Had it also stolen her from herself?

An idea had formed. A mad, desperate one, but an idea nonetheless. First things first, however; the one facing her was not in a stance that indicated an openness to negotiation...yet. It would also do neither of them any honor to leave this matter unfinished, but should either of them wind up dead, her idea would forever remain simply that.

"I have a better idea." The scraping sound of metal on metal pierced the silence of the dead world again, but this time, it was the sound of her blades retracting into her gauntlets. The plasma cannon perched on her right pauldron powered down, to be detached and dropped to the dust of the planet's surface. She spread her arms, flexing her empty hands, before dropping into a defensive posture of her own. The message was clear: a challenge to engage hand-to-hand. "Shall we?"

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra:

To my surprise, she doesn't move forward, rather, she postures, arms open, inviting challenge.

It is a trick. It has to be. But when she disarms herself of her blades, drops her shoulder cannon to the ground, I know she is serious. It seems the Imperium may hold some semblance of honor after all. Or at least, this one does.

I toss away the dagger. Let the shotgun fall from my shoulder. Detach the heavy cloak from my armor. It flutters away into sand whipped winds.

"Let's."

I surge forward, my training in Rechta's brand of hand-to-hand combat slowly returning to me, the movements burned into my muscles, but not my mind. The plan is to lunge forward with a quick jab before backing off and slipping to one side, attempting to gauge her reach and reflexes, following up with a front kick designed to keep space.

I have to stop myself from reaching for the pistol at my hip. My every instinct calls to maintain distance to dispatch her, but I have already agreed to this battle. Instead, I mentally prepare myself for counterassault, ready myself for her coming wrath.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

"Let's."

The challenge was accepted. Good. Perhaps this might work, after all. Her opponent followed her lead, disarming himself, and launching tentative, probing attacks. It was obvious he didn't trust her and suspected a trap, which was, after all, logical; their interaction thus far had given him no reason to think otherwise. To her experienced eye, however, he also seemed to be less comfortable in a purely hand-to-hand contest than he was in an armed melee. This also made sense, given his self-described role. He was an explorer; combat training would have been more about survival at all costs than tests of skill and prowess.

If anything, however, it made his willingness to engage admirable.

A cross-armed block was able to stop the jab, and she brought her own leg up to keep his kick from driving the wind from her midsection, but the foray did what he had likely intended it to do: it prevented her from an immediate counterattack, and no doubt gave him an opportunity to gauge her defenses. As he dropped into a defensive posture of his own, she obligingly launched her own assault, but rather than engage with a traditional Ephermeran method, she called on her Sauroid training and sprang forward like a serpent, aiming to land directly in front of him with her own hands launching a flurry of strikes that would appear not unlike the bites of the reptilian beings she had learned it from. This was a feint of her own, however, and if her attack occupied him sufficiently, she would attempt to hook one leg behind one of his, and then push forward in a takedown attempt.

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FarSeeker

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@xiandra:

As I predicted, she leaps in and the first strike comes. I turn my shoulder to intercept, but she is fast, and launches another. I turn it aside with an armored forearm, but before I can counterattack the next comes, and then another, and another, too many blows in too short a window. I feel the strikes land in the space between my armored plates. Alone they seem to do little, but each unbalances me a bit further, makes the next more difficult to intercept. The penultimate strike she unleashes I deflect, yet it still impresses deeply into the space between my collarbone, the sudden impact causing an involuntary tensing of my shoulder, bringing it up. She takes the opportunity to dig into the space below my ribs with the next, the sudden pain sending a shock up my nervous system. I stumble back, but she is not done with me.

She hooks her leg into my own and surges forward, threatening to drive us both into the ferrous sand. Based solely on her training, the impressive control she exhibits of her body and my own, I know that should we reach the ground with her atop the tangle this battle will be over.

So rather than oppose her force in an attempt to stay on my feet, I fall back with her. I grab onto the straps of her armor, the gaps, whatever exposed portions I can hook my fingers into, and draw her further toward me while simultaneously bending me rear leg's knee, falling back into her forward momentum. I bring up the leg she is pulling forward, trying to drive it into the space between her hip and torso, to plant it on her body, and to use her momentum as a means to toss her over my head.

Should that work, the next step would be to take advantage of whatever recovery time she might have. I must try to scramble to my feet before she can rise fully, and, if she is not already upon me, drive a desperate knee into her helmeted head. If she rises before then, I must still press the advantage. A quick jab, a straight, followed by an elbow to the chin or neck, and a quick change in angle. Closing the distance is dangerous, but as the shorter fighter remaining at a distance is its own disadvantage, one I now intend to meet with aggression.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

Rust dissipates quickly, it would seem.

Despite the initial success of her attack, her opponent recovered quickly, using her own momentum against her in a countermeasure that would have made an Ephemeran master grappler proud. Armor had many benefits, but those did not come without cost, and one such cost was an increased difficulty in checking one's own momentum. As a result, she found herself taking a short flight and landing on her back in the dust, hard enough to drive the breath from her lungs.

Her enemy did not hesitate this time, rising quickly and driving a knee into her cranium. The duranium it was composed of absorbed the shock, keeping her from being jarred out of consciousness by the impact, but her HUD was completely scrambled, unable to adequately analyze such a close-quarters impact.

Going more by instinct and feel than calculation, she reached up, attempting to gain a grip on the leg that had struck her. At the same time, she contracted her abdomen and snapped both of her own legs upwards, in a somewhat wild attempt to lock them about her foe's neck and bring him down to her level. If nothing else, she mused, maybe I can at least repay him with a kick to the head.

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@xiandra:

Finally, the battle turns in my favor. I attempt to continue my assault, after the knee I poise to deliver a swift kick to her ribs. Instead, I feel her pull down my leg, grounding me. I move to bring my fist down on her, and instead feel her heel strike my chin, the sudden force snapping my head back, briefly blurring my vision.

Worse still, as I try to scramble away I find her legs wrapped around my throat, and soon all I see is dirt and dust. Once again my head whips back as she brings me crashing to the ground face first. I taste blood as my tongue traces bits of plastic out from between my teeth.

I am in dire straits. By brute force I attempt to pry her legs from around my neck, try to kick my leg free from her steel grip. I can smell the panic pouring from me, feel it in the rapid drumming of my heart. I am not thinking. I am flailing. And yet desperation is all I have. I drive my boot down, pounding at her in an attempt to force her arms away. My fingers grip and pull at her ankles and thighs, attempting to force space where there is none. I know there is more to do, more I can do, but for my life I cannot imagine what.

This desperate scrambling, it is all I have.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

His tactics shifted. His moves became wild and erratic; it was clear that adrenaline was in the pilot's seat, now. Xi now did something that would have shocked her trainers, her fellow hunters, her Imperium handlers, and in all honesty, herself. She disengaged. Her legs released their hold, and she attempted to plant her feet against her opponents torso and kick, not to inflict damage, this time, but to create distance, pushing them both apart.

Whether she managed to knock him backwards or not, she'd roll several times herself, coming up in a defensive posture, but making no moves to go on the attack. "Your weapon," she said, nodding at where his sidearm remained holstered at his hip, the sidearm that had come close to killing her when their battle had first begun. "I don't have anything comparable to it, and my armor can't protect me from it. You could have killed me with it when I disarmed myself. Why didn't you?"

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@xiandra:

I skid away from my foe, still stunned by the assault, but more so by its sudden end. She rises, prepared for further battle. I rise as well, slowly, battered. I spit blood into my helmet. The liquid drains.

I run my hand over the revolver she nods to, tracing my fingers along the history in its curves. Why didn't I draw? Why didn't I fire?

"For the same reason you didn't slice me to ribbons with those." I nod to the gauntlets, to the blades I know are hidden within. "Honor. You issued a challenge, I accepted. From that point I had no say."

My arms are lead. I bring them up between ragged breaths regardless, my thoughts turning to my journey, and to its end. "I... I became a Seeker to honor my line, to honor Rechta. I will take that honor with me to the grave. Even if that grave is here."

"So, why didn't you end me? I was at your mercy. You had every opportunity."

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

That was it, then. Every question she'd asked, in word and in deed, he'd answered perfectly. Her idea was seeming less insane with each passing moment. Still quite insane, really, but less so. But what was insanity to the hunter who'd once thrown herself into the maw of a xaknar simply for another trophy?

"So, why didn't you end me? I was at your mercy. You had every opportunity."

Heh. Mercy. Is that what this was? It was an odd feeling.

"To trade," she replied simply, reaching into her belt and withdrawing not a new weapon, but a humble datapad, into which she keyed a few quick commands. "Mercy for mercy." She tossed him the datapad with a nod. "Coordinates to a dozen worlds that the Imperium has designated 'of no concern.' They might not stay that way if you start terraforming and colonizing them, but they're not being actively watched."

She paused, giving herself to catch her breath. There was a growing ache in her midsection where his kick had connected, likely a cracked rib. Answer to question number one, she mused with a wry grin that remained hidden by her helmet. "I want something in return, though. If you do settle any of those worlds, I want them to be open to Ephemeran refugees. Let's keep the warring between warriors."

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@xiandra:

I watch as she unfolds something from her belt, wary, but only mildly so. We are past battle it seems, and a lucky thing that is. It is a quiet few moments then, her reflecting over some unknown thought, I on the battle that had just occurred, the odd manner in which this predator has stopped mid conflict, just as she could have sunk her fangs into my throat. I am filled with a respect as deep as the fear that had come before it.

It is a respect that deepens on the unveiling of her plan. "Trade", she says. Worlds with the seeds of possible habitation, and all she wishes in exchange? A home for those lost in the chaos of war. It seems too good to be true, but deception seems unlikely. She could have ended me, plundered whatever information she might need from my remains and the ship I'd leave behind. HEr offer seems genuine.

I take the datapad, give its contents a cursory review before nodding to her. "Very well, hunter. I accept your terms, and you have my word. If my people find a home there, your Ephemerans shall as well." I extend the blade of my forearm, waiting for her to link her arm in mine and pull, the symbol of promise on Rechta. I realize too late that this gesture is almost certainly one unknown to her kind.

"But rather than keeping war for warriors, I would have us do away with it in its entirety." I glance to her armaments and armor, all the telltale signs of a proud hunter, one who does not doubt what they do. "At least between ourselves and ours."

As my words fade, the storm lets up at last, and my previously broadcast commands follow through. The Sanngetal is on its way to the preestablished rendezvous, and I resolve to be there when it arrives.

Before I leave, I pull a beyond light command and communications beacon from my belt, toss it to her. "A present. Use it to make contact with my ship if you need. I will keep you up to date on those worlds you've provided as well. And who knows? This might be the beginning of hope for both of us." I fold my arm across my waist, a gesture reminiscent of the sheathing of a blade, bowing my head slightly. With that, I turn to gather my dropped equipment and return to my ship, wounded but more or less whole. An odd end to the meeting between predator and prey, lion and mouse. She has spared my life, now I need only free her from her net.

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Xiandra

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@farseeker:

She remained silent as she caught the communications beacon, tucking it into her belt without taking her eyes off of her...ally? Friend? It was not in her nature to be trusting, least of all with someone who, only moments ago, was locked in mortal combat with her. But then, what was life if not a constant process of adaptation? Yesterday was gone. Today would pass. It was time to look towards tomorrow.

A brief nod was offered by way of response. Among the hunters, words were often not needed, when deeds spoke with greater weight. As he turned to leave, she reactivated her cloaking shield, vanishing from sight as she withdrew into the planet's inhospitable environment. Once he had departed, she would summon her own vessel from where it sat in orbit, cloaked as she was.

She would leave this world without a trophy, but with something of potentially far greater value.