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Atomic Sunrise 10: Exploration Eastward:Sand, Sea, & Stars-Rated R


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#1 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:06 PM

Three weeks later...Mid-October:

The original settlement group, also now Department 7 agents, and some new friends...and fellow agents...had taken the group's trucks out on their own again. Their goal was simply to find their own adventures and explore the only world they knew: the post-apocalyptic time after the 'great war' that none of them had been around to witness. Although they were all Department 7 agents and would be able to use their IDs and take advantage of any assistance due an agent, they were on no particular mission for the Department...save the gathering of new information and items of interest.

They'd traveled for the past two weeks...after spending a week at the “mountain”...using both the roads and the rail tracks. Already they'd seen more of the great 'walls', as well as areas of devastation and small pockets of oases. They'd made new friend but were also involved in a few skirmishes to protect themselves. And several "items of interest" had been discovered. While they were on the rails, the group had experienced the horrors of a radiation-poisoned section of the land, but had been inside the protection of the trucks.

About an hour ago the group had discovered the tracks in front of them had been destroyed forcing them to convert the trucks back to road use.

It was mid-afternoon as the last of the trucks...the supply truck...was being converted and moved off the rails. The other trucks had been pulled into the latest camping spot...a clearing between some low cliffs and an old forest...in the traditional pattern of slanted nose to tail to create an enclosure with Amet's buggy added into the circle and the livestock truck safely inside. A camp needed to be set up, guard rotation decided upon, brief explorations undertaken to get the lay of the land, and any extra food and water gathered to save their stored supplies...

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OOC: They are in the former state of South Carolina just fyi...used to be green, rolling hills, trees but now not so much although some are growing back. Some areas are destroyed, others changed, etc.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 12 May 2015 - 04:14 PM.


#2 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 10 May 2015 - 10:11 PM

OOC: Now I have time to just do a tiny bit to start... :)


IC:

Sophie left a space for the supply truck to pull into the “circle” and hopped down out of the driver's side of the command truck. Fully armed and dressed for traveling, she stared up at the partially cloudy sky hoping it wasn't going to rain. They never knew if the rain was going to be acid or regular...it seemed to depend on the clouds. There'd been a lot of dangers and learning the hard way since they left the mountain haven of Department 7 two weeks ago, but so far they'd all managed to survive.

She watched as two of the four guards made their way to the usual watching points on top of the trucks, while the third, John, began a preliminary patrol on the outside of the camp. It wasn't always easy, but it was possible to travel from truck to truck when they were in their current formation. The fourth guard was with the supply truck as it was converted from rail travel to road ready. Sophie began a quick patrol herself of the ground, surveying everything inside the perimeter to start with.

* * * * * *

As soon as Nemo brought the lifestock truck to a stop, Myka leaned over and quick kissed him on the cheek. Their relationship had progressed somewhat in the past three weeks, much to Myka's delight.

“Here we go again!” she said brightly, her long red hair done up in a multitude of braids. “Another adventure waiting around the corner to see whether we live or die today.” With a laugh Myka jumped out of the lower-sitting truck to start helping with the animals.

The lavender-skinned young woman had really taken to this strange adventure they'd undertaken and was in a near-constant mood of excitement...unless she was near to dying, then she was a tiny bit subdued. After losing her parents when young and being raised by various “people”...if one could call it a childhood...she'd spent quite a few years traveling and making her way alone. It was exciting and fun...in a strange way....to be on an unknown expedition of sorts with her friends and...yes, family.

She nearly bounced to the back of the truck and waited for Nemo. Armed for anything that might befall her, all that happened at the moment was a chicken tried to peck her leg through a slat in the truck. It was her own fault for wearing shorts most of the time, Isabella had told her the last time she'd come to have the small cuts in her legs taken care of. At least they healed faster than the long scratches from the lion Scamp that were still evident on her thighs.

* * * * *

Cassie stared out at the latest “camp” from the passenger side of the sleeping truck where she'd ridden the last few miles of the rails before they'd stopped. She ran a hand through her short brown hair and sighed. Again she wondered what she'd been thinking to come on this crazy expedition...it's not like she was a people-person of any great stretch of the imagination...and being this close to everyone all the time was a test of her limited patience.

But she managed. The Agent slowly climbed out of the truck cab and stretched her legs then made sure all her weapons were in order. Taking a deep breath, Cassie began to walk thinking she might escape for a bit and see about finding water.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 11 May 2015 - 08:41 PM.


#3 Balthamos

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 02:34 PM

Amet stretched out his arms and legs feeling the pull of the injured muscles. The medical team including Isabella had done fine work repairing his leg but he was still on relatively light duties and told not to strain the muscles lest the tear reopen. Worse than that he had to keep it dry for two weeks which left Amet itching for the longest swim he could imagine. Even then there was the rails. On the roads Amet could drive and be relatively free. On the rails he had to sit, or more accurately, lie down in the sleeping cart because there was nowhere big enough for him to sit or stand comfortably. Amet definitely preferred traveling by road and now that the team at Department 7 had outfitted the buggy with a low-energy fusion reactor for cruising speeds he could afford to spend a lot more time driving it.

He saw Cassie stepping out of the camp and stepped up behind her leaning on his new giant spear for support. "Water first?" he suggested, "then if it's big enough we can get some fish otherwise we can look for something dryer to eat on the way back?" Amet started to move through the trees listening for water and hoping it was something big enough to get his gills wet.

#4 RJDiogenes

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 07:38 PM

After returning to the Department 7 Vault, Alexander had spent most of the week organizing the books and scrolls and documents that had been saved from the underwater town.  He was also able to use the Vault's advanced equipment to make photographs of the pages and store them in the electric memory of the computer system. He was then able to make copies of them on his Kindle to read at his convenience.  He had also spent time checking on their new ally Somphit as she recovered from her sickness and the violence that had been visited upon her.  It had taken her a few days to become oriented after regaining consciousness and Alexander knew only too well what it was like to be in a compromised mental condition and lost among strangers-- the Department 7 team had treated him with great kindness and generosity, saving him from a perilous fate, and he was determined to do the same for Somphit.

When Sophie had told him that they had planned an exploratory mission into unmapped territory and invited him along, he had at first refused.  He wanted nothing more than to bury himself in the contents of the library that he had salvaged.  But then it occurred to him-- how many more libraries were out there, abandoned or in danger of being destroyed?  He better be there if another one was discovered so that he could take the proper steps to recover the contents and transport it all back to the vault.

And that's how he found himself here, out in the wilderness, camped between some cliffs and a forest, searching for mushrooms among the trees.  He was very good at spotting the poisonous ones, and knew several very tasty species as well.

***

As the sun shone down, Somphit wandered about in the old forest-- not too far from the treeline, and always keeping within sight of the camp.  She hadn't told Isabella about the anxiety attacks or the occasional periods of memory loss-- being a healer herself, she knew just what answers to give to make Isabella think she was fine.  But the sickness and the physical beating she had taken had damaged her somehow.  She was afraid that if went too deeply into the woods, if she lost sight of the trucks in the clearing or of Alexander picking mushrooms a couple of dozen yards away, she might forget where she was and get lost forever.

But, still, she had promised to catalog the herbs and plants in this area and collect samples, and so she would do that as best she could.  And it was a good idea to gather supplies for her own naturopathic healing remedies as well.  No doubt they would be needed sooner rather than later.

She shuddered and looked over her shoulder, and backed up against a tree so that nothing could sneak up behind her.  Her heart began to beat faster and she took deep breaths to slow it down.  She had a terrible feeling that there was going to be more violence.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 12 May 2015 - 07:37 PM.


#5 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 11 May 2015 - 08:34 PM

"Hey, Amet," Cassie replied as the giant came up behind her while they were still in the camp. "Yep...water was my thought, too. I grabbed a testing kit and canteen on my way," she said patting the old leather satchel slung across her chest. "We can bring bigger containers back if we find some. Just let me look for...,"

Cassie paused until she caught sight of Rex, her partner, and waved to catch his attention then motioned to where she was headed.

"Something freshly killed sounds excellent...with fins or without," Cassie said to Amet with a wink as he headed first into the sparse trees, many dead and others beginning to grow back. She was adept at tracking and survival in general, so a little hunting was usually no problem. Fishing on the other hand...well, that was best left to those with...well, gills. Or a fishing pole and actual skills.

She slipped on her sunglasses against the mid-afternoon sun...despite the partial clouds. Then again the sun was always too bright and too hot...always had been ever since she, and most everyone really, had been born. One of the consequences of the great war of the distant past. And damn if the humidity wasn't thicker out here...apparently they'd traveled further south as they'd headed east.

Glancing into the trees as she followed, Cassie wondered how Alexander and Somphit had beaten them out there. Then again Cassie couldn't blame them...it was hard being cooped up in the trucks. Those two had spent a great deal of time together in the week they were all back at Department 7, and still stuck together these past two weeks of travel.

Suddenly John, the guard who'd taken patrol duty of the camp's outside perimeter, appeared out of the trees. The movement didn't startle Cassie but it was the appearance of the man himself. Damn if he wasn't good-looking...for an older guy. Cassie found herself blushing slightly despite herself and silently cursed for even having such thoughts.

No way was that something she was interested in right now...uh huh...nope. She was too young and too busy being a damn excellent Agent. Besides, there was the whole having cybernetic body parts and a bunch of wires and whatnot in her brain and eye...a sure turn-off for any man, even one who was a man of few words.

"Amet...hi, Cassie," John said, slinging his rifle over his shoulder. "Everything looks okay out here in this area but don't go too far yet. Keep in hearing distance of the camp for now...we'll set up a larger patrol distance soon."

Cassie nodded, noticing...and not for the first time, much to her dismay...how incredibly green the man's eyes were. And his voice, smooth and deep like fine, old whiskey. Granted, she'd never actually drank fine, old whiskey but Rex had. And he'd said it was 'smooooooth and deep'

"Right...gotcha," she said. "The usual then?" she added with a slight admonishment that this wasn't her first rodeo...or whatever the old saying was. And seriously, who was gonna bother her when there was an 8' giant by her side?

But John merely nodded. "Stay safe, Cassie. See ya', Amet."

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 11 May 2015 - 09:24 PM.


#6 Raeven

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 08:19 AM

Nemo jumped down from the livestock truck and stretched, his shoulder still ached where the Scamp had attacked him, the wounds were mostly healed, but he’d be left with a scar as a reminder, he looked around at the camp and smiled, Myka’s love for adventure was contagious….he hurried round to the back of the truck, opened the doors and lowered the ramp….”let’s feed and water the animals and then go exploring”

Taking her hand he led her into the back of the truck, one inside he pulled her towards him, he leant down and was just about to kiss her when Varg barked, the chickens clucked and the goats bleated, as he looked up he felt an all too familiar feeling in the small of his back, he staggered forwards taking Myka with him, he braced his hands against the side of the truck to stop them both tumbling over….Mac brayed loudly in his ear, nibbled Mykas hair and then calmly walked down the ramp….the four horses they had brought along on the trip; Willow, Connie, Gabriel and Hippocampus flicked their ears and followed the mule down the ramp.

“Woah..woah…hey, guys….” Nemo looked at Myka “here we go again indeed!” he ran down the ramp and rounded up the horses..”don’t do what Mac does, you’re better than him”

“HEE HAW HEE HAW” Nemo jumped and the horses snickered..”Ok, fine, if that’s how you want to play it….Myka can you bring me the ropes for the horses and the harness for Mac”

The horses lowered their heads and began to graze on patches of grass and vegetation.

Rex waved back at Cassie and gave her the universal ‘ok’ sign….he watched as she and Amet walked into the trees…he’d known that his partner had intended to have some ‘me’ time, but she’d seemed happy enough to have Amet as company…he chuckled to himself, if they got through this trip it would be a miracle, he wasn’t entirely sure why they’d agreed to it, he was pretty sure he knew why he had…he turned to look at the med truck…but Cass, he had no idea why she was putting herself through this, sure the Director had suggested it would be a good idea, but she hadn’t ordered them to come…they was no hidden agenda, they were simply exploring, learning more about the places that surrounded them.

The sound of the mule braying interrupted his thoughts, he looked over at the livestock truck and shook his head

“why did you bring that creature Nemo, he’s rude, troublesome, pig-headed and useless as a pack mule?”

Isabella stuck her head out of the med truck window

“He brought him because, on occasion, Mac has proved to be a valuable member of this team….he’s helped us out before” she laughed “I know it’s hard to believe, but there was this one time….there were warrior droids, explosions…it was chaos, it was back when Nemo started talking …”

Rex frowned and walked over to the med truck…“what? Droids, like Reno? And Nemo didn’t talk?”

Isabella nodded “yep, just like Reno actually…come inside and I’ll tell you all about the warrior droids and the mule, who I think we threatened to eat…as for Nemo talking or not talking, I think that’s his tale to tell”

#7 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 12 May 2015 - 09:04 PM

"We're going to have to replace that gear assembly," Enoch said. "Or this will just happen again. Or worse."

"We've just got the one spare," Wynn argued. "Using it this early in the trip-" He shook his head. "I mean yes, the drive's being balky, but it is working."

"It can't be helped," Ishmael decided. "Get the spare out of storage and switch it out. We'll keep the old one- if this happens again it might last long enough to get us back to the Vault, at least." He got to his feet, wincing slightly as the still-healing cuts on his ribs reminded him of their presence. "I'll let Sophie know what's going on and be back in a bit." Ishmael shook his head. "I expected Nemo's livestock truck would be the one to cause us trouble," he continued, "but it's been making the switch-over almost as easily as the rest of them."

Switching the trucks from "rail" mode to "road" mode was almost ridiculously easy, a few key strokes and the truck's on-board computer took over, automatically lowering the road wheels, raising the train bogies into their recesses and flipping the driver's station from the "rail" control panel to the "road" dashboard. The only reason the livestock truck was a bit more complicated was due to the need to perform each step in the switch-over individually. Why that process wasn't happening as easily and smoothly with the supply truck this time was something the three of them had spent well over an hour trying to figure out.

"It'll take us another couple of hours to switch out that gear set," Ishmael told Sophie. "I'm pretty sure it must have been damaged already," he continued. "Tucked up inside the way it is, I don't see how anything could have gotten to it without taking out a good-sized chunk of the truck itself on the way." He shook his head. "It's lucky we had a spare at all- those gear sets usually last for decades. Or longer. And to answer your next question, checking the other drives out here will take pretty much an entire day. Per truck. I'd rather wait until we get back and have the resources of an actual garage before getting into that."

#8 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 05:56 PM

Myka was somewhat annoyed that Mac had interrupted...well, actually prevented...what was probably going to have been a really good kiss. Stupid creature had to go and headbutt Nemo in the back and ruin the moment.

She followed Mac, the horses, and Nemo down the ramp of the truck as she wiped mule germs from her hair. Then she couldn't help but laugh as the animals decided that they were going to be in charge and do whatever the heck they wanted. Apparently Mac and the horses found it amusing as well...at least that's what Myka got from the braying and whinnies.

”Ok, fine, if that’s how you want to play it….Myka, can you bring me the ropes for the horses and the harness for Mac?”

"I'm on it!" she called back laughing as the animals suddenly pretended to be innocent and simply graze on the sparse vegetation. "Huh! I think you all have been learning from the horses back at the mountain vault," she accused them, heading into the truck to retrieve the tack. As she gathered the items she yelled out, "Sometimes I think those other horses are nearly as smart as Varg...Department 7 must've done something to make them smarter."

Myka came out loaded down with a harness and ropes, nearly tripping over everything. She still felt the humidity despite the sudden shade when the clouds covered the sun for a few minutes and fanned herself. She and Nemo efficiently took care of the animals, finding them their own place to graze within the camp and putting out some dried hay and buckets of stored water.

She patted Mac's side. "And you," she said firmly. "No getting loose and pooping in the middle of camp this time. That was just nasty, and nobody appreciated it in the least." The mule merely snorted at her.

Then she turned to Nemo with a grin. "Can you finish up? I want to go change...I distinctly remember someone using the word 'exploring'. Meet me at the sleeping truck, okay? And I suppose we have to ask Sophie," Myka added a little more quietly, rolling her eyes slightly. "And probably get Isabella's approval as well."

#9 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 13 May 2015 - 08:40 PM

As she stood on top of the sleeping truck with Abel, Sophie peered through his high-powered binoculars at the surrounding area...it was easy enough to see through the sparse trees, at least for a short distance. Dmitri was position on top of the medical truck.

"How long have Alexander and Somphit been down there?" she asked the guard.

"Shortly after we pulled in. They seemed in a hurry to get out of the sleeping truck," Abel said, taking the binoculars back. He slung them back around his neck, then leaned his rifle over his shoulder.

"Can't say I blame them," Sophie said. "It's hard being cooped up so long when we travel. Just...keep an eye on them, okay, Abel? The two of them 'watching out' for each other makes me nervous sometimes...but at least Alexander has his brain juicer on him. At least he'll stay sane with that."

Then Sophie turned to face the cliffs on the other side of the sleeping truck. She could see partially across the rock surface so at least they weren't all that tall really. She wondered if it had been some sort of small mountain or hill...before...that had had the top sheered off. It'd be interesting to know what was on the other side.

"Hey up there!" a deep voice floated from down below.

"John," Sophie called down, as she leaned over the side.

"Everything looks safe enough on this side...out to that treeline there. We should do a further sweep later, though...once Ishmael, Enoch, and Wynn are done with the last truck."

Sophie nodded. "Yeah...we will. Where are Cassie and Amet heading off to? Water run?"

"Yep. They'll stay in the safe zone for now, Cassie said." John turned to look back in the direction he'd just come from.

Sophie laughed. "And you believed her? Really, John...you know Cassie does what she wants...well, I guess she does try to follow orders but...well, you know."

Still not entirely sure why the other two Agents had agreed to come with them, Sophie still expected them to follow her. Her and Ishmael. And not go off on their own or do whatever they wanted. She was responsible for this trip...and for everyone who'd agreed to come. It was Vivianne who'd suggested they be allowed to join the expedition when Sophie announced the group was taking their trucks and going off on their own for awhile.

"Hey, Sophie, I see Ishmael heading in this way," Abel said. "We'll keep an eye on everyone over here, don't worry."

Sophie nodded her thanks then began to climb down off the truck. She jumped the last few feet and had reached the command truck when Ishmael reached her, covered with grease and dirt, coming in through the gap left for the last truck.

"It'll take us another couple of hours to switch out that gear set. I'm pretty sure it must have been damaged already."

As he explained the problem Sophie frowned. That's all they needed was parts on these particular trucks to be damaged or falling apart. She doubted there were parts anywhere that were easily accessible for their advanced vehicles. But it did sound odd that the damage had occurred in the first place.

"And to answer your next question, checking the other drives out here will take pretty much an entire day. Per truck. I'd rather wait until we get back and have the resources of an actual garage before getting into that."

"Yeah...we can't afford to be stranded in one place that long," she said.

Then Sophie smiled slightly. She was happy to be out on their own again...the last two weeks had been interesting, educational, fun in a way, sometimes dangerous, but definitely freeing. To be in control of where they were going and what they were doing, for all of them to be together...and yes, to not have to worry about her father or Joseph...was the way she liked it.

Putting her hands on Ishmael's shoulders, Sophie looked up at him. "It'll be fine," she said, trying to be positive. "The parts will keep working until...well, until we're in a position to look at them." Then she said, "But that wasn't going to be my next question...," and stood on her toes whispering in his ear.

Then she pulled back. "But...since you have to get back and finish up then pull the truck in here, I guess I'll ask again later." Normally much too serious, Sophie laughed as the sun broke through the patchy clouds. "I'll see about getting the camp set up until you guys bring the food in."

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 14 May 2015 - 11:38 AM.


#10 Balthamos

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 04:00 AM

Amet remained silent as they started through the trees away from the camp. There was no point talking when you were trying to listen for animals or water and anything else that you might need to look out for in this world. Besides, it's not like Cassie was the most talkative of companions. A rustling brought Amet to a halt, he heard a quiet snort off to Cassie's left. Foraging for food was a large wild pig standing around 2'6" at the shoulder. As Amet shifted his weight from one foot to another it looked up. A pair of large unblinking eyes silently stared at the pair of them.

#11 Raeven

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 08:06 AM

Nemo smiled as he watched Myka head towards the sleeping truck, her excitement was contagious..he headed back into the truck and gathered up the eggs the chickens had laid placing them carefully in a small basket, he grabbed his lightweight cotton jacket and filled two canteens with water before changing into his favourite pants, the ones will all the pockets, he loved the pockets, so much room for so many things...his hunting knife, flashlight, snacks...when he was satisfied that he had everything he would need he headed for the med truck, he may as well tell Isabella that they were heading out, he wouldn't say they were going exploring, just that they were going to scout the terrain, to see what was out there.

As he opened the door to the truck he heard Isabella and Rex laughing...

“Hey guys, what's so funny”

Isabella smiled....”I was just regaling Rex with tales of our previous adventures” she noticed what he was wearing and frowned....”are you going somewhere Nemo? Two canteens, let me guess, you and Myka are going somewhere?”

Nemo nodded...”we are, I'm here to tell ...um...ask you....we thought we could do some scouting, see what there is close to camp, we won't go far and we'll be back before it gets dark, I have supplies in case, not that there will be an in case”

Rex shook his head and laughed....”that's smart of you to come and ask Nemo, but you should probably be asking Sophie”

Nemo nodded again...”Yeah, I am, I will..Myka went to get changed and I'm to meet her at the sleeping truck and Sophie's at the sleeping truck so we were going to ask her then, I just wanted to let Isabella know in case she needed me, us, to do anything, to help set up camp....Cassie and Amet went off somewhere and Somphit and Alexander aren't around either” he gave the basket of eggs to Isabella.....”I got these, for dinner”

Isabella took the basket...”Thanks Nemo, these are great...you know I wasn't too sure about bringing so many animals this time, but the eggs, the goats milk..useful stuff, I'm glad you brought them...now go, Rex and I will help with the camp, just try and stay out of trouble...take Varg with you”

Nemo jumped down from the truck “will do...see you later” he hurried towards the sleeping truck, whistling for Varg as he went.

Rex sighed...”the exuberance of youth” Isabella chuckled...”come on 'old' man, let's go and help with the camp”

#12 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 05:02 PM

Exiting the sleeping truck's side door, Myka leaped down the steps...instead of walking down like a normal person...of the blue truck just as Nemo and Varg approached...the former's many pockets of his favorite pants bulging with supplies. Having changed into something more appropriate for hiking and exploring...slim pants, a tank top, sturdy boots, and her jacket, and of course her usual weapons...Myka waved.

Varg woofed softly.

"Did Isabella say it was okay to go?" Myka asked, having already observed the change of attire.

When Nemo nodded and grinned, Myka turned toward where she'd seen Sophie by the cab of the command truck. But when she put a hand on Nemo's chest to stop him from following they both stared. Sophie was on her toes whispering into Ishmael's ear. Myka and Nemo exchanged an awkward look.

Even Varg whined and put a paw over his eyes.

"Ummm," Myka said pushing Nemo back. "They look sorta...busy." The lavender skinned girl pivoted quickly so she didn't have to watch. "Maybe we should just, you know, head out. You told Isabella so she knows. I think that qualifies as telling someone where we'll be," Myka decided.

Not particularly giving Nemo a chance to argue, Myka took the lead and they hurried around the inside of the camp toward the cliff side. Slipping between Amet's buggy and back of the command truck without being seen by the leaders, the threesome nearly ran with excitement to the cliffs where they found a switchback trail that led upward.

They were at the top in a few minutes as the cliffs weren't that high, staring out over the top. It seemed to go on forever but that was due to a slight curve further ahead. A semi-level area lay before them...excellent for walking..while to the side were various levels of rocks formations piled on top of each other and scraggly brush and dried grasses.

"Neat!" exclaimed Myka, bouncing on her toes. "Let's see what's up here. I assume you brought snacks?" she suddenly remembered to ask Nemo.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 14 May 2015 - 06:03 PM.


#13 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 05:53 PM

OOC: Read carefully...thanks to Balth, we're going to have some unexpected fun...the players not the characters ;). Hopefully my post actually makes sense and there's lots of pigs for everyone!


IC: Cassie froze, staring at the wild pig with long tusks and leather-like skin that was also now staring at her and Amet. She slowly removed her sunglasses and tucked them in a front pocket of her shirt. Since learning about Scamps, she wondered if it was intelligent. It didn't particularly look all that smart, if truth be told...actually it seemed to be glaring at them murderously...;however she had to be certain. Feeling silly but determined to try to make contact before taking any other measures Cassie cleared her throat.

"Um, hi there?" She gave a little wave then lowered her hand feeling ridiculous. "Are you...uh...can you understand me?"

The two-and-half foot tall mangy looking pig snorted at them then raked a sharp hoof in the dirt. The creature suddenly bolted toward her and Amet.

* * * * *

From his vantage point on top of the medical truck, Dmitri turned from watching Nemo and Myka reach the top of the cliff and start walking. He focused back to the trees, catching a glimpse through his binoculars of Cassie and Amet. They had stepped out into a clearing open enough for him to see them. Abel, too, had seen what Dmitri saw...the wild pig. They waited a moment but tensed up as the long-tusked pig began heading toward their people. Dimitri was about to stomp on the medical truck roof, knowing Isabella was in there with Rex.

He heard the door open and voices drifted up to him. Isabella and Rex had just exited the truck. Dmitri leaned over and quickly explained the situation about the wild pig, Cassie, and Amet.

* * * * *
Abel yelled out to Somphit and Alexander to get back into camp immediately. He figured he could cover them better from up here...if something happened...where he had a clearer view and range to shoot. His first thought was to get them to safety.

* * * * *

Cassie began to back away when the huge wild pig snorted again and started aggressively toward them.

"Looks like we're having bacon for dinner!" she said to Amet, quickly drawing her gun. "Get ready with your spear, big guy!"

Cassie fired point-blank at the pig's large head and hopefully tiny brain.

But the pig veered slightly at the last possible second, and the bullet only struck it in the shoulder. The pig's leather-like skin prevented the bullet from penetrating too deeply. It squealed loudly and angrily as the blood began to flow down its front leg. But the animal continued to advance on them. Cassie glanced at Amet in horror...seemed like she might have miscalculated the ease at killing the wild animal.

Suddenly a second, third, and fourth wild pig...that one much more massive with thicker but still sharp tusks...bolted out from the bushes surrounding Cassie and Amet. They barreled straight for the pair, grunting and squealing angrily and loudly.

"Ah, well crap!" Cassie shouted. "Appears that wasn't one of my better ideas! And oh my god how did pigs get so freaking huge?"

After quickly discarding the water-testing satchel from around her neck, she snatched out one of the knives she had started to carry since she liberated them from Jeremiah's camp, armed with a sharp pointy object and her gun now.

* * * * *

Abel heard the shot in the distance, then spotted three more wild pigs out in the clearing. A fifth one broke through the bushes where Somphit and Alexander were foraging in the trees. He now yelled at them to hurry, to run as fast as they could...that he would cover them. Then he realized they'd be momentarily out of sight in the trees where he would lose sight of them and the attacking wild pig.

Turning to look for Ishmael and Sophie, he spotted them over by the command truck across the camp and yelled for them to hurry.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 15 May 2015 - 05:15 AM.


#14 RJDiogenes

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Posted 14 May 2015 - 08:21 PM

"Ahh, this is a good one," said Alexander, picking a large brown mushroom from between the roots of a tree. It was as big as his hand-- which was larger than the average hand.  "These are delicious fried. Especially with pork. If only we had some pork."  He started to put it in his left pocket, then remembered-- edible ones in the right pocket, hallucinogenic ones in the left pocket.  He probably shouldn't have bothered with the hallucinogenic ones, but he thought Somphit and Isabella might have some medicinal use for them.  In any case, he had certainly found some interesting fungi in this forest. One special species in particular that he kept separate in the inside folds of his robe.

Suddenly, he was stirred from his musings by a shout from the camp.  It seemed to be coming from one of those guardian fellows who was standing on top of the truck.  Abel was his name.  What was he yelling?  Get back to camp?  He sounded agitated, so it must be serious.

He looked around for Somphit, who he knew to be herb foraging nearby.  "Did you hear that, Somphit?"  he yelled.  "We must get back.  Sounds like trouble."

Now Abel was shouting even louder. Alexander cupped a hand to his ear.  Sounded like, "Run for your lives!"   Very well, then, it was serious indeed.

***

After finding a nice supply of sage that cheered her up, Somphit had dared moving a little deeper into the forest.  But it seemed so dark in there and she couldn't see the camp anymore.  Her mouth started to feel dry.  She wanted to call out to her friend to find her, but her throat was constricted and she suddenly couldn't think of his name.

And then there was shouting from the camp and then somebody yelling her name nearby.  She felt dizzy and her knees were wobbly and she turned around, and then turned around again, and then couldn't remember which way she was supposed to go.

She swallowed hard, and swallowed, and swallowed, and screamed, "Helllp!"

***

Lifting up the hem of his robes, Alexander leaped over logs and bushes in the direction of Somphit's voice.  "I'm coming," he yelled.  "Hopefully in the right direction.  Ah, there you are!  Did you get lost?"

She didn't answer, but she looked terrified.  And Alexander understood why.  Suddenly there seemed to be gigantic ferocious pigs everywhere.  "There's an old saying I read in one my books once," he told Somphit.  "'Expect the unexpected.'  I always thought that was silly until I met these people.  Come on!"

He took her by the hand to lead her back to camp, but her legs were unsteady, so he put his arm around her waist to lead her.  As they broke the treeline and headed across the field, he could see Abel waving his arms, shouting, and pointing.  Alexander looked back over his shoulder and saw one of the mutant killer pigs bearing down on him as fast as a horse.

There was no way they would make it back to camp alive.

"I hate to have to do this," he said. "I love these things with fried eggs."  He reached inside his robe and pulled out the giant white truffle he had found half buried between the gnarled roots of an ancient tree and threw it at the giant pig.  It snorted, stopped, sniffed at the truffle, and began chomping merrily away.

"Come on!" said Alexander urgently, pulling at Somphit.  "That won't keep it busy for long!"

#15 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 15 May 2015 - 05:19 AM

OOC: See the main game PM for further comments before posting about the pigs :).


IC:

Easily distracted the wild pig gnawed on the giant mushroom then gulped it down. It raised its head, sniffing the air as its snout caught the scent of the fleeing intruders. Then it began to run, snorting and grunting in their direction not paying attention to the large metal things up ahead.

* * * * *

Cassie swallowed hard, firing her weapon several more times. This time the wild pig squealed more loudly and slowed down, shaking its head but still standing. Blood now ran down its face as she'd managed a few head shots...

* * * * *

John had heard the shots fired and raced back into the camp in time to head out with the others...

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 15 May 2015 - 05:20 AM.


#16 Raeven

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 08:19 AM

Nemo nodded...”of course I did, lots of pockets, lots of snacks” he handed Myka an apple and some nuts and berries...Varg whined, tilted his head to one side and wagged his tail..”sorry boy, I didn't know you were coming and I don't have any dog snacks, you can have some fruit, or a carrot, or.”..he rummaged through his pockets...”what's this?”...he pulled out a small canvas pouch..Varg's tail moved faster as Nemo opened the pouch...”mmmm some sort of dried meat...guess I did have some dog treats after all” he put the meat down on a piece of flat stone and laughed as Varg seemed to just hoover them up...just as he was about to bite into his apple he wrinkled his nose “Myka, the air smells different somehow, not bad different, just different” he shrugged and ate the apple, when there was nothing left save the pips he wiped his hands on his pants...”I feel kinda bad, I told Isabella that we would ask Sophie if we could go, I know she was..umm...busy with Ish, but....” he looked at Myka who was still bouncing and obviously keen to keep going..”I guess it will be ok, we're not going far and we have Varg” he grinned and started running...”Come on slow poke we have exploring to do, you wanted to see what was up there, so let's go see”

* * * * *

Isabella looked at Dmitri...”a wild pig? With long tusks? Really? We've only been a little while and already we are in danger, mother nature has a warped sense of humour”

Rex heard Abels shout and then several gun shots, he turned to Isabella....”Grab a gun, or a rifle, whatever you're the best shot with and we'll go help Somphit and Alexander” when Abel yelled again he clambered on top of the med truck roof then shouted down to Isabella “make that several wild pigs” he leapt off the roof...”change of plan...you go find Alexander and Somphit, Abel will cover you, I am going to help Cassie and Amet, they're two against four and judging by the gunshots fired these pigs aren't going down easy”

Isabella quickly unlocked the weapons cupboard in the truck, she looked at the guns...”rifle, high powered hand gun?...both!” she loaded both guns then slung the rifle over her shoulder. Rex reached in and took a rifle and two knives....”stay safe Isabella” he sprinted off towards Cassie and Amet, stopping briefly to collect the spear he had taken from one of the Scamps on their last mission.

Isabella shouted up at Abel “I'm going to get Alexander and Somphit” she ran in the direction Abel was aiming the rifle....as she cleared the camp and entered the field she saw Alexander and Somphit, she could see the wild pig behind them at the edge of the forest....as she reached them the pig lifted it's giant head and looked straight at her....”Oh crap....c'mon guys, run, you have to run...Abel and I will keep you covered”, she stood with her feet slightly apart, never taking her eyes off the pig who was now pawing at the ground, she aimed for its head and fired, at the same time the pig lowered its head and charged, the bullet merely grazed it, it didn't even flinch, just kept charging towards her.


Rex followed the sound of gun fire to Cassie and Amet...”Hey Cass, you having fun without me? Just to let you know we have 3 more incoming so we'd better figure out a way to kill them, not just piss them off”

#17 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 16 May 2015 - 01:48 PM

"Uh, Boss?" Abel said, lowering his rifle. "I'm thinking it might be time to break out the big guns."

Ishmael climbed about halfway up the ladder leading to the top of the sleeping truck. "I think you're right. Let's hope they haven't gotten too close already." He slid back down the ladder and darted into the cab of the truck as Abel scrambled down after him.

With a whine of hydraulics, turrets rose from the four corners of the trailer, each armed with a single autocannon. Inside, the 360 degree heads-up display of the sleeping truck's targeting computer sprang to life as Ishmael grasped the control stick. He quickly moved the targeting circle, centering it on the wild pig closest to Cassie and Amet, and pulled the trigger.

"Warning! Warning!" the computer blared. "Designated target is below weapons system's arc of fire. Employ alternate means of defence. Warning!"

Ishmael cursed. Designed to defend the trucks against incoming missiles, the autocannons were primarily aimed up and out, and could not be depressed beyond a certain level. That pig was already too close to hit unless it moved away. Ishmael designated it as a "target of opportunity" for the computer to fire at when it came back into range and shifted his attention to the other pigs.

The largest pig pawed the earth, shaking its head. Then it snorted, lowered its head and charged. Ishmael centered the targeting circle and pulled the trigger again.

A burst of high-explosive shells, designed to destroy a missile in flight, slammed into the largest pig, halting its charge and killing it instantly. The pig that had been threatening Cassie and Amet hesitated, its head swinging back and forth between them and the smoking remains of its fellow as it teetered between reactions of fear and anger.

"Sophie! Abel!" Ishmael barked, leaning out of the cab. "The rest of them are either too close or blocked by the medical truck." Unlike the other three, the medical truck did not have any weapons in its turrets. "Get to the command truck, see if you can get a better angle on some of them from there." Above, the barrels of the four autocannons moved in short, sharp jerks as the computer tried to get a clear shot on any or all of the remaining pigs.

#18 Ishmael Autolycus

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 08:16 AM

An insistent beeping drew Ishmael's attention back to the heads-up display, and the words crawling across it.

ALERT! ALERT!


Small arms fire detected

Multiple sources


IFF

Negative response


High probability

Presence of enemy combatants


Designate as additional targets?

(Y/N)


Ishmael's eyes widened, and he stabbed frantically at the keyboard. "No no no no no no," he muttered, slumping in relief when the computer displayed:

Automatic target acquisition system

OFFLINE


Above, the barrels of the autocannons ceased their movements. Ishmael leaned out of the cab again. "Manual targeting only!" he called after Sophie and Abel. "The computer can't tell the difference between the pigs and us." He looked over to see Enoch and Wynn hurrying in from the far side of the camp, the guard carrying his rifle and Enoch the crossbow he'd adopted.

"Enoch! Take over here," Ishmael ordered, sliding down from the cab. "Manual-"

"-targeting only, the computer thinks we're pigs," Enoch finished, handing Ishmael his crossbow and clambering up into the cab of the sleeping truck. "Got it. Umm, aye-aye, sir."

Ishmael blinked. "Right. Wynn, with me."

#19 RJDiogenes

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 04:55 PM

It was like looking down a tunnel, like she had no peripheral vision.  There was noise all around her, but Somphit couldn't tell what was going on.  There was shouting and gunshots and a high-pitched ringing noise.  Her knees were like jelly, and somebody was dragging her by the waist.  She thought it was probably that guy with the big head who was nice to her before.  What was happening?  Why couldn't she remember his name?

***

As Alexander had feared, the truffle hadn't slowed down the pig very much, although they'd probably be dead already without it.  And there was something wrong with Somphit.  Maybe she had hit her head or eaten a bad mushroom or something.  It was slow going, dragging her across the field toward the trucks.  He could hear the sound of hooves closing in behind him, but he didn't dare take the time to look.  And he didn't have the breath to yell for help.  And, wait, had he forgotten his coloring book?  Where was his coloring book?

#20 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 17 May 2015 - 05:59 PM

Sophie's smile had instantly disappeared with the first gunshot in the distance.

What the hell?! Then she actually said that out loud to Ishmael who looked just as concerned. Then they heard a succession of shots.

Abel was suddenly shouting something to Somphit and Alexander who were outside the protective circle of the trucks...minus one...then yelling for her and Ishmael. They were already on their way to the sleeping truck only to realize, after Abel's brief update, that their people were under attack from wild pigs. Once Ishmael had a quick look it was decided to employ the automatically controlled guns on the top of the truck...and he didn't hesitate to activate the weapons. Sophie climbed up on the outside of the cab for a moment to watch the monitor.

Sophie heard Dimitri tell Isabella and Rex the situation, and the two sprang into action and took off. Eventually Ishmael managed to destroy one of the largest targets on the screen out where Cassie and Amet were being surrounded.

Sophie and Abel both jumped down from the cab, stirring up dust when they landed. Ishmael called after them, "Get to the command truck, see if you can get a better angle on some of them from there."

"You go!" Sophie ordered the guard, grabbing the high-powered rifle he carried. "I'm heading out there. There's too many of them and not enough of us!"

"Manual targeting only! The computer can't tell the difference between the pigs and us."

"You heard the man!" Sophie said as Abel nodded and ran off. "Ishmael, I'm going out!" Sophie shouted as she bolted off.

Enoch and Wynn came hurrying up as Sophie took off after Isabella, who she'd seen run in the direction of Alexander and Somphit, Sophie passed the horses tethered and grazing, hoping they wouldn't try to bolt. She practically rolled under the truck to get out of the camp.

”Oh crap....c'mon guys, run, you have to run...Abel and I will keep you covered!”

Sophie skidded to a stop next to her friend who's eyes were wide with surprise.

"Not Abel...he's manning the heavy weapons now. I assume you heard the first shot? But I'm here."

When Sophie realized Isabella had taken a shot but the pig was still charging at them she swore. The giant pig was gaining on the healer and Librarian, who frankly weren't running very fast considering Alexander was nearly dragging Somphit along. One good rush by the huge, tusked creature and they would be trampled.

"Well, crap!" Sophie said. "They're just not gonna make it unless we do something drastic. And neither of them is looking too well."

"It's diversion time," Sophie decided, tensing her muscles to run. "I've got the best chance of surviving if it hits me, so when you get a clear shot...take it! Empty everything you've got until that beast goes down!"

With that Sophie took off running, passing Alexander and Somphit, and headed right for the wild, bleeding pig. She darted in front of it and to the side, catching its attention.

"You want me not them, you big monster!" Sophie yelled as she veered around the giant animal.

The pig skidded as it pivoted and kicked up clouds of dirt, clearly more interested in the target that was making noise. It ran after her as she circled around leading it away from the trucks. But her foot caught on a tree root causing her to leap and stumble. She tried to keep her balance but tumbled to the ground sliding over the dirt and rocks. As she regained her balance somewhat her back slammed into a tree with a thud. But she'd held onto her rifle and now pointed it at the approaching animal as she scrambled to her feet, her back against the tree. Sophie fired one shot that caused the wild pig to jerk suddenly but then it was heading for her again.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 17 May 2015 - 06:31 PM.





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