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Ghastardly

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About Ghastardly

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    I enjoy writing (obviously), and quite a few other things. Just ask me and I'm sure we'll find a common interest in something.

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  1. Hey guys, sorry for the delay thus far. I wanted to check in and let you all that I fully intend to post really soon, and I haven't forgotten about this thread, nor am I putting it off. At the moment I'm in the middle of finishing up my finals for this semester from my computer at home, which has included a litany of tests, of course, and now a 10 page final paper over the rise and fall of the KGB, the latter of which is the chief reason behind my not posting as of yet. I wanted to let you guys know that I will be done with this paper and all of my end of semester junk come today at noon (CST). After that I'm probably gonna get some rest, then get started on this post I owe you guys. Once again, I apologize if I'm holding this up in any capacity, but once I had seen that no one else had posted aside from @Praetorian, I was worried I had incidentally held everything up without notifying you guys. In any case, I thought you guys should know. Loving the thread thus far everyone!
  2. "Dying ain't much of a livin' boy." Matter of fact, I think this whole scene has some great dialogue.
  3. A sudden flood of awareness came to the creature as the protocols that had been keeping it dormant for so long failed. It was an awareness of place, its senses extending out and recognizing the confines of its pen. The creature found itself suspended within the center of the large space, metal shackles and harnesses propping it up for examination and keeping it securely locked in place, or at least that had been the intention. Various instruments and devices extended from the ceiling and walls, all of which had at one time or another poked and prodded at the creature in its dormancy to discover the secret of its otherworldly physiological structure. Months had been devoted to finding and eliminating any method of exploitation or unforeseen weakness within its genetic coding all in the pursuit of the realization of a peerless killing machine, and their efforts were now about to bear fruit in the worst way they could have imagined. It was an awareness of purpose, and that purpose was carnage. The resumption of neural activity did not go unnoticed by the facilities sensors and soon every area within the vicinity of the enclosure was filled with the blaring cry of alarms and the bathed in a hellish red light. Just outside the pen, men and women in lab coats scrambled in panic to collect al they could as they prepared to evacuate, meanwhile soldiers armed to the teeth began to set a perimeter some thirty feet from the door of the creature's enclosure. Rifles, light machine guns, riot shields, shock batons, and the odd hovering drone were amongst the armaments deployed just outside of its the door to its pen, but none of them dared to wander any further. The group of men began to erect floodlights along their line of defense, three in total and each with their lamp aimed the pen door as the safety locks began to disengage. Air hissed through the cracked seal as the 10 inch thick outer protective door began to slide open to reveal the inner door of the pen, no less thick but possessing a glass panel through which one could observe the specimen beyond. The only problem now was the light that had once illuminated the interior of the enclosure was now gone, leaving the pen in total darkness and the movements of the entity within unknown. The soldiers maintained their defensive line, weapons trained on the entrance of the beast's lair expecting whatever monstrosity had been cooked up within to burst through the door in reckless, blood lust addled abandon. None of them spoke, few dared to breath, the air becoming thick with the primal fear of what lie waiting in the dark. Several moments passed, each as long as an eternity, before one of the soldiers near the center of the formation broke the silence. Their commander, he motioned towards two men on the edges of the formation, giving a verbal order and motioning towards the door. The color drained from either of their faces, but reluctantly they began to follow their officer's order and approach the door. The pair never lowered their weapons even as they approached the closed door before one finally pressed the switch to open the heavy door. The pair of soldiers kept their weapons trained on the veil of black for several moments before switching on their helmets' headlamps and entering the pen. One remained at the entrance, checking the corners and walls for any sign of the creature with no sight of it. The other approached the apparatus in the center of the pen from which the creature had been suspended, now empty, broken, and twisted. He shuddered at the sight, visions of what such a beast could do to the human anatomy racing through his mind as if every instinct baked into his genetic makeup was screaming at him to run. His breathing became ragged with fear as he lowered his light, trying to decipher where the creature was. Deep gouges across the floor trailed away and towards the back wall and continued along its surface in an erratic fashion, momentarily stopping at each now destroyed light fixture that had once lined the walls of the pen. Outside of the enclosure, the line of soldiers remained frozen in place, eyes and weapons set on the door and the back of their comrade at its threshold, when a strange object descended from the ceiling in a blur of motion. The man that had been standing at the edge of the enclosure was not even afforded the luxury of a scream, as the bladed limb pierced his chest, shredding his diaphragm and lungs both. Instead, only a gasping blood filled gurgle escaped his throat before his lifeless body was pulled up and away from sight. "Contact with the subject! Ripley is active, I repeat Ripley is active!" The warning went out to all of the facility as the officer shouted desperately into his radio, grabbing the attention of the man still in the center of the pen. The soldier turned around in a panic towards the door, but before his legs could set him in motion towards the door, he was eclipsed by the shape of some massive thing that pounced from above. His companion did not have the luxury of screaming, but he certainly would, the blood curdling cry turning the blood of the soldiers and scientists outside of the pen into ice. The headlamp of the soldier shone through the translucent dull gray hide of the creature, offering a glimpse at the horrific form of the beast for only a moment before the light was extinguished and the soldier's screaming abruptly came to an end. "Steady!" The officer shouted, hoping to keep his men in line even as what they had just seen became etched in their minds. Fear gripped them, and the once rigged lined began to become unsettled and anxious, their bodies coming to the realization of the futility of their being here long before their minds even understood the gravity of the danger they were in. And then, their nightmare came to fruition. The headless body of one of the soldiers that had entered the pen flew out of the shadow beyond the door and through the air until it wrapped around the top of the centermost floodlight, toppling and disabling it in a shower of sparks. Whatever orders the officer might have given was lost within the chaos as the two remaining floodlights were suddenly switched on, illuminating the tail of the creature as it swiftly closed in on the center ranks of the soldiers. Gunfire roared throughout the room to little effect as the creature had already closed the distance between it and the line of soldiers, maintaining a low position against the floor as it swept its arms outward like scythes to wheat. The blades met the legs of the soldiers in its way, not excluding the commanding officer whose scream mingled with that of his men. He was promptly silenced as lunged and bit down on the officers skull, lifting him and vaulting him towards the floodlight on its left, destroying it and sending the soldiers around it into disarray. Gunfire peppered the creature from the opposite side, prompting it to turn its attention to the soldiers on its right who were now attempting to create a second line with what little numbers they had left. Men with riot shields and shock batons held the front, while riflemen attempted to mount as much as offense as they could against the beast, but it was for naught. The beast shook and shielded its head from the small arms fire with a low screech, more irritated than hurt, before its blade folded back and revealed the massive knuckles at their base. The shieldmen must have realized the creature's intention as they readied their batons, Ripley lowering its center of gravity and lunging at the wall of metal and electricity. Much like a levy standing against a tidal wave, the wall was shattered, both shield and man alike warping and sent flying before a single pass of the beast's scythe shaved through the now vulnerable riflemen. With the meager resistance dispatched, Ripley turned towards the door that lead out of the room, towards which the men and women who had overseen its development were fleeing. The few soldiers who remained had rallied behind them, attempting to offer what little resistance they could to provide cover for the scientists' escape. Unceremoniously and mercilessly the beasts descended upon the handful of soldiers, wrapping the body of one around its forearm as Ripley swept him aside, while catching the arm of another in its maw and thrashing him about until was ripped from his torso. Another was simply cut down, while the final turned to escape with the doctors only to be skewered against the floor. Finally, the beast lunged towards the door as the last of the doctors escaped, catching her leg in the rows of teeth just as the door slammed shut on its head. A high pitched whine escaped its nostrils in response to the pressure on its cranium, but the beast refused to relinquish its quarry as the woman screamed, reaching out for help in vain as he colleagues fled before Ripley ripped back, tearing off her leg and disappearing beyond the door. Within the room, Ripley now stood amidst a smattering of gore and bodies, straightening its spine to stand to its full height. The creature tossed the leg aside and opened his its jaw, taking in the air of the room as it smelled, listened, and sensed for any survivors amidst the carnage, dispatching of any wounded stragglers with surgical precision until at last there were none but it. However, its task was not finished, not as long as its existence continued. It would never stop. Arching its head back, a piercing roar echoed through the chamber, resonating through the walls, vents, and the facility at large, where its fellow mutant were all beginning to awaken...
  4. Apologies for the wait, and thanks for your patience. Gonna start on a post now.
  5. From: J*** ********** To: Clandestine Industrial Topic: UV Mutant Order #*** Yo. Hope the order is coming along well. Remember, if your guys ever wonder whether to add more or less teeth, less is not more in this case. Payment has been transferred as of the sending of this message. ______________________________________________________ From: Clandestine Customer Satisfaction Team To: J*** ********** Topic: RE: UV Mutant Order #*** Payment received. All pertinent data and information in regards to subject: RIPLEY is enclosed below. We hope the ensuing carnage is to your satisfaction! ---- Subject Classification: Meso Proteus Designation: "Ripley" - derived from the scientist that discovered the extraterrestrial samples used in the coding of the subject. Height: 10' BMI: 33 Engineer Notes: Subject: Ripley is a successful venture, and demonstrates incredible versatility in combat scenarios. However, it should be noted the subject demonstrates slightly aberrant , though no less effective, behavior in regards to target elimination. While most previous ventures have demonstrated insatiable bloodlust and one minded pursuit of targets, Ripley seems to have adopted more predatory practices. It certainly kills, and relishes in the act just as every other subject does, but it also seems to be scratching some primal desire to hunt now baked into its genetic code. This is likely a result of the extraterrestrial genome, the full effects of which I'm afraid will only be discovered in time. Regardless, Ripley is ready to ship, and better anywhere else but here. Whoever dreamed this thing up has a twisted imagination. Negative Mutations Unexpected Bone Growth: As a result of an extraterrestrial genome being introduced into the coding of this particular mutant, the subject experienced unexpected divergences and reconstruction of the skeletal structure. While the torso maintains the same general structure, the subject's legs have fused and elongated, resulting a largely serpentine physiological structure. However, while the subject no longer maintains the use of its original legs, the arms have changed for the deadlier. The skeletal structure of the hand has fused into thin protrusions extending from the condyloid joint. These protrusions taper towards an inward facing edge that allow Ripley to either stab and rend potential targets or simply slash to cut down swaths of enemies. Additionally, if cutting proves ineffective, Ripley may rely upon the large "knuckle" located at the base of the blades to bludgeon or crush targets, each as large as a man's skull and solid throughout. Perhaps the most striking alteration to its skeletal structure is its slightly elongated and cylindrical skull in which its sensory organs are located. Outside of these alterations, the only other alterations are the pointed protrusions extending along the back from the subject's vertebrae. While many of these mutations have been weaponized, the physiological changes they present make the subject incompatible with a number of other potential alterations other subjects could potentially receive. What's more, the subject will attempt to protect its head and the vital sensory organs therein if it believes the force of its opposition to be significant enough. Irregular Eye Growth: In the early stages of development the subjects eyes began to atrophy and regress, quickly leading to blindness before the eyes receded beneath the dermis of the skin. While blind, the photo-receptors are still sensitive to light, and as a a result Ripley will destroy sources of illumination if able or otherwise avoid them. To compensate for its complete lack of eyesight, Ripley has developed an vomeronasal organ to compliment its olfactory system, as well as complex mechano- and electro-receptive organs housed within its cylindrical skull. Positive Mutations Bone Density Acceleration: It was thought that, given Ripley's reliance upon its own skeletal structure to assault targets and destroy obstacles, it would work towards the subject's advantage to increase the density and strength of said structure. That hypothesis was correct and mutation successfully augmented the subject's combat capabilities, only too well. Regular maintenance of the subject's enclosure is now required in more frequent intervals to ensure Ripley remains contained. Epidermal Callousing and Regenerative Cell Growth: The subject's skin has hardened into a protective structure, creating a hardened mesoskeletal that protects Ripley from a variety of hazards, in particular small arms fire and extreme temperatures. The shell has pale-off white coloration and a texture similar to hardened silicon, and, while the shell is both thick and strong, light esily penetrates the shell, revealing portions of the subject's vascular, musculature, and skeletal systems. A side effect of the mutation, however, has been the complete disappearance of any and all hair across the subject's body. Neutral Mutations Vocalization Inhibitor/Exhibitor: Subject has developed unexpected musculature within its throat and jaw during the final months of its development. As of now the purpose of this musculature remains unknown. However, recent reports have stated that Ripley has been attempting to mimic sounds that it frequently hears as these muscles develop. Further analysis is required.
  6. I am interested, if you'll have me. Anything that gives me an excuse to write some gorey fight scenes and whatnot, I'm down to clown with.
  7. Sage offered little in the way of dialogue for his part as he and his impromptu companion bid the day away within the shade of the boulder outcrop, his eyes everset on the heat warped visage of the landscape they had both found themselves in as she recounted her story to him. In truth, he wasn't certain what some of the terminology she used even meant, and it became apparent that wherever she came from clearly had a level of technology and lifestyle foreign to his own. Nevertheless, he got the gist of the story as a whole, which she seemed eager to recount to him. While her initial inquiry seemed aimed to uncover the details about his own arrival, as she spoke he couldn't help but think that some part of her actually just wanted to tell her own story. Of course, he wasn't complaining either, and didn't seem all that eager to get a word in to tell his own story. By the time she had finished, Sage had noticed that the shadow of the stone had lengthened with the passage of the the day, and had gradually stretched out under the shade, reclining back as best he could as he wordlessly listened to the girl's story. Sage glanced over to the synthetic girl and met her eyes for a moment before his own returned to the arid wilderness. "Don't thank me yet. Could just have exchanged cooking out here to freezing to death if it turns out there isn't a station down the road. That said..." Sage readjusted himself sliding further into his incline and interlaced his fingers over his chest, relaxing further against the stone, "I've got a strong feeling that we've got to find something. Road's gotta lead somewhere, right?" As if to answer him, the distant call of a bird echoed across the barren wastes no sooner than he had finished speaking. Sage's gaze wandered across the road just as a large black bird descended from the sky and perched itself on rock, settling its own red beads for eyes on the duo. It was clearly a carrion bird, and was the first to eagerly arrive at the lunchline. "Uh, right, you asked a question didn't you?" Sage shook his head and turned his attention to the strips of cloth that were his sleeves to distract himself from the bird sizing him up for a meal. Taking the cloth, the soldier wiped the moisture from his brow before wrapping it around his forehead as a band. As he tightened it behind his head, Sage began to answer the question that Ferris had originally asked. "What was that again...? Oh yeah, you were wondering how I ended up here. Well, same as you I guess. Can't really explain the how or the why, just... ended up here." The answer was probably a far cry from what Ferris might have hoped to glean from the man, and felt almost hollow compared to everything she had told him. He was clearly hiding something about how he had arrived here, he might have even been lying about the morsel of information, if you could call it that, that he did he tell her. But, whether she liked it or not, the circumstances behind his arrival and their chance meeting remained a secret for the time being. Before either had the chance to ask another question, the man's ears suddenly perked up at the distant pitch of a peculiar sound. For the first time Sage took his attention fully off of the wastes around them, and looked past Ferris and the down the road from where they came. At first the sound wasn't distinct enough to decipher, and neither was whatever Sage was looking at, but gradually both became quite clear. A dust cloud billowed far down the stretch of asphalt, growing steadily bigger with every moment that Sage watched it. Soon, the sound of a distant roaring engine made it apparent that the churning curtain of dust wasn't getting larger, just closer as the vehicle leaving it in its wake approached. Accompanying the sound of the engine was a strange cacophony of noise that Sage didn't recognize for music until the vehicle came drifted ever closer. It was a chaotic tune, one that he hadn't heard before, the frenzy of the beat compounded with the addition of the engine's thunder. Between the sound of either, the bird that had been stalking the pair squawked in peril of its lost lunch and took to the skies once again. Similarly, Sage shot from his lying position, the sight and sound of what must have been their ticket out of these wastes inspiring so much urgency in the man that he managed to knock his head against the stone outcrop shading the pair. Muttering a quick curse under his breath and rubbing the sore spot on his head, Sage quickly got to his feet and hurried to the edge of the road, his now wide eyes set on the approaching vehicle as he hastily unbuttoned the ashen tunic he wore, leaving only the black undershirt as he frantically waved the garment in the hopes of flagging down the oncoming motorist. "C'mon you asshole, stop." Sage muttered in what he must have thought was a hushed tone. However, when the vehicle got within a certain distance, and didn't show any signs of stopping, Sage dropped all pretenses and began to shout. "HEY STOP! WE NEED HELP HERE, STOP ALREADY!" Despite his best efforts, whatever vehicle was driving by sped past in a gray blur, covering the area in churned up dust which Sage promptly began to cough up between indecipherable curses. But Sage wasn't done yet, and suddenly reached for his revolver at his hip, unholstering and pointing it towards the sky before he let loose a flurry of shots, the sound of which cut through the tumultuous serenade left in the wake of the passing vehicle. Sage hadn't expected anything to come of the action, and in hindsight could have really regretted being without a few extra bullets in the middle of nowhere, and yet the vehicle suddenly lurched. Relief almost visibly washed over Sage as his body and expression laxed, and he came the closest to a smile he had since Ferris had met him. The driver had heard them, they were saved. The vehicle did slow before swiftly turning itself around and speeding back towards the pair. This time the mighty roar of its engine began to lessen to a hefty purr as it the now clearly hulking piece of rubber and metal slowed in its approach, and once stopped the driver turned the music off as well. The vehicle in question was a motortrike of sorts, completely aberrant in appearance from the bike that Ferris had crossed paths with earlier. This machine was clearly built for power rather than elegance, boasting a thick frame that could have easily been mistaken for the chassis of a small car, the design of which outwardly seemed crude and rudimentary to most, but to an experienced eye was anything but. The machine had wheels as thick as a man's torso, two on the back and one on the front. Between the two rear wheels there seemed to be a pair of passenger seats, both notably outfitted with harnesses and restraints and out of arms reach of the driver's seat which was placed just behind the front wheel. Sitting upon it was a man that, despite the cumbersome size of his vehicle, seemed to be of a stature that somehow fit the beast of a machine. The driver wore a leather vest, though that wasn't nearly as noticeable as the carpet of curly chest hair that made the lack of a shirt apparent. Black gloves, tight against knuckles clenched around handlebars covered his hands, while sandy trousers and thick dingo boots covered everything below the waist. A thick buckle decorated the waistline of the man, a glistening silver depiction of a horned beast that Sage had never seen before, though it was barely visible under the gut of the the driver. Tinted goggles covered the stranger's eyes while a tightly tied thick bandana covered his mouth and nose. Why did Sage and Ferris have time to notice all of these things? Because once the trike had stopped, the driver had yet to say anything to either or even motion to one of them. Instead, he seemed to be inspecting the both of them without a word...
  8. Sage offered little more than a passing glance in condolence as he went about his task, neatly cutting the thick fabric of his sleeves as he silently listened. Whatever thoughts he might have had went unsaid for now, though her words certainly didn't fall on deaf ears. However, every now and then, the mysterious stranger could be seen stealing a glance at the severed portion of the girl as she somehow went about mending herself to some degree. He seemed more curious than anything, but once again his thoughts on what he witnessed, if any, went unsaid. "Who knows." Sage muttered back, half to himself and half to the girl, his attention darting between handling his knife and scanning the immediate area. Watching him he seemed one might think him more akin to an animal than a man, ever wary of potential predators lingering in the surrounding wastes and a head on a swivel. After a moment, the man finally let his blade rest and looked down the the length of the road from where the two had come from, "The wind churns up the dust every minute, could make it look more barren than it actually is, though we haven't seen but a soul the entire time we've been out in this oven." Sage then gave a sideways glance to Ferris, "At the very least, I'd think you'd at least know by now the road doesn't go completely unused." Sage then set back to his task as naturally as breathing, and for a moment the two simply sat in silence with nothing more than the desert wind and occasional buzz of a bug between them. However, Sage began to feel the girl's eyes lingering on him, and began to feel a question brewing in the air before Ferris finally punctuated the silence between the two of them. Sage once again glanced towards the robotic girl for a moment, the boldness of her question evidently coming as a small surprise to the man. It didn't seem to bother him however, as he quickly turned his attention back to his garment, now finishing his cut on the opposite sleeve. "You don't know the half of it." Without another word, the man put down the knife and grasped his right sleeve, suddenly tearing it off at the cut he had made. the sleeve came off at the shoulder, as did the other as he pulled it away, both revealing the dark metal coating his arms; or perhaps they were his arms? Certainly the latter proposition seemed more accurate to what Ferris was seeing, as the dense gun metal-esque plating seemed to mimic the musculature, form, and complete function of an arm as if it were somehow living tissue itself! However, this man seemed nonchalant about their state, as if he expected Ferris, based on her own physiological state, to not bat an eye at the strange pseudo-limbs, whether that was true or not was another story... "Apologies, I suppose I let it slip from my mind to introduce myself. My name is Sage Athos, and you can call me Sage, no need for 'sirs' or 'misters'." Sage slipped the knife back into his boot, bundling his now torn sleeves and looking out at the horizon as he continued to answer the girls' line of questioning. "No need to apologize either. Being direct might put others off, but I prefer it to beating around the bush or a roundabout way of getting an answer." Sage looked over towards the girl, "I don't know from where or what life you came, but from now on, I wouldn't hesitate to ask questions if I were you." Sage looked at the girl a moment more before setting the bundle of cloth in hand to the side and returning his gaze to their settings around them. "As for your question, yes, I've seen combat. I'd wager the same in your case." Sage began unbuttoning the thick tunic as he sat there, waiting for any more questions she might have.
  9. Sage didn't move to avoid or stop her when Ferris free herself and latched onto his arm with her clawed hand. Sage glanced down at her claw, which might have outwardly appeared menacing, seemed small and feeble as it tightly wrapped around his arm. Looking up at the girl, there was still something artificial about her expression, but her eyes at least seemed to convey the same trepidation that resonated through her grip. She was afraid, that much Sage could tell, and honestly he could understand why she might at least lack confidence in his words. It was only a few hours ago that he had said he wouldn't leave her alone out in this oven, and yet now from her perspective it might have seemed like he was taking to the first opportunity to do just that. Sage certainly had no intention of abandoning her, he knew that, but judging from he could discern from her reaction to his proposition, it'd be easier said than done to assure her of that. Once that much was understood, Sage seemed to resign himself to the situation, closing his eyes for a moment and letting out a heavy sigh. After a moment of silent thought, he finally opened his eyes again to meet Ferris' own. "Well, I suppose that settles it then." Sage then reached towards the robotic girl, his heavy hand coming to rest on her head. "If there's a place down the road I doubt it'll go anywhere anytime soon, so I suppose we can rest here for a bit before we continue." Taking his hand off of her hand, the strange ebon clad individual then shifted and plopped onto the ground next to her, reaching down and pulling a knife from his boot. "With any luck someone else will come this way and we can hitch a ride with them to the nearest civilization. Regardless we'll need to leave before nightfall, who knows what prowls around here once the sun goes down afterall, nevermind the desert cold. I trust that satisfies you?" Without looking towards her for an answer, Sage began to cut at the sleeve of the thick military tunic he had been wearing as they sat there. Sage's words seemed dispassionate in a sense, though the evidence of his actions seemed to suggest the opposite of the man himself. Regardless, it seemed they had stopped for now, whether for better or worse, and at the very least had a little shade from the sun. Now seated next to her, a few more features of the man became apparent, namely in his attire and what he carried with him. The first thing that might have caught the eye of most would have likely been the holstered revolver at his hip, and the bandolier of bullets stretching across his belt towards what looked to be a sheathed shortsword of some kind opposite the gun. What's more was the militaristic attire he wore, while all black, certainly seemed tailored for function in that profession, though for someone like Ferris it might seem a bit dated. Outside of what he wore, however, one couldn't help but think the man looked a bit ragged overall, and a certain fatigue earned from a lifetime seemed to surround the man and make itself even more apparent once they had stopped to rest.
  10. Sage met the girl's stiff smile with a raised brow, whether it was an expression of his esteem or doubt went unsaid as his attention turned back to the pavement ahead. Regardless, the mountain of data she had given him seemed to carry some weight with the stranger as he came to a stop on their trek. Sage had hoped for a morsel of information, but Ferris had given him a tangible destination, but one that they could only reach after an hour and a half of wandering through this oven at their current pace. Though he had been reserved as they walked along the road, the heat had begun to take its toll. A lesser man would have already collapsed and been taken by this barren landscape as carrion for scavengers, but even so, it wouldn't take long for the abundant heat to sap his strength completely. In other words, he wasn't sure if he'd be able to carry Ferris the entire way, but... he might be able to make it on his own. Sage came to a stop at the roadside, not moments after Ferris gave him the news, his gaze set on the horizon that even now refused reveal any indication of civilization to his eyes. But she had seen it, or at least that was what they both hoped Ferris had gleaned from what her systems could determine. It wasn't much but it was the hope that they had on hand, which was enough for Sage to take a gamble rather than die on the side of the road having done nothing. "Ferris, I don't think I can carry you that far in this heat, not that far at least." Sage's attention cut to his right, focusing on a meager rocky outcrop jutting out of the earth. Sage turned on his heel and began to walk across the road towards the outcrop, Ferris still anchored to his back. "As you are now, I can move faster on my own, and we both stand a better chance if I push ahead for help." Approaching the boulder, Sage set Ferris down beneath the shade of the outcropping. Taking his time make her as comfortable as possible in her current state, Sage looked the robotic girl in the eyes now as he spoke. "It doesn't seem that you have much of a choice, I know, but I feel like I need to ask you to trust me. I understand if that's a difficult thing to give to a stranger, but I must ask for it still."
  11. "Ferris Crux? Hm." Sage rolled the name she gave him around his head for a moment, committing it to memory before wordlessly lifting her "body bag" from the pavement. In spite of her considerable weight, it seemed easy for him. Using what was left of her lengthy chain leash, Sage hoisted her over his shoulder, allowing her enough room to look over his frame and watch where they were going. "Don't thank me yet. Who knows how long this road goes on before we find something besides dust." With that Sage began taking the first steps down the seemingly endless road, taking note to remain on the shoulder of the lengthy stretch of asphalt to avoid a similar fate as his new companion. The ebon clad nomad adjusted Ferris on his back as he began his strides, the unfettered Devla sun bearing down upon his brow. Silently, the thought must have crossed his mind as to how long he could actually last in this wasteland before he succumb to the heat of the day or the cold that night would eventually bring. He'd need to march on to avoid such a fate and find some vestige of civilization, lest his synthetic companion be on her lonesome once again. Sage was silent most of the way, only giving a call back once in a while to make sure that the robot hadn't suddenly shut off. However, soon the trek began to wear on the man. What must have been no more than a couple of hours under that sun soon began to feel like a lifetime as the heat began to gnaw at his nerves. What was worse was that the landscape around them hadn't shifted in the slightest, as the road ahead seemed to go on forever. He needed to get his mind off of the heat, and so he turned his face towards the shoulder over which Ferris looked. "Have you recognized anything out here, anything that might help us find something akin to a town or something? I'm kind of at a loss for where the nearest settlement might be outside of following this road."
  12. The eyes of man knelt over her widened when the words reached his ears. "I'll be damned. You sure can take a hit, huh?" The ebon clad vagabond looked her over for a moment more, his attention lingering on the fount of mysterious white fluid leaking out of her torso. "Can't say I've ever seen anything like you before, but then again who knows what's normal on this world." The mysterious stranger reached down and took hold of the heavy chain linked to a thick metal collar clasped around her neck. Holding it in his hands, he inspected the blackened alloy with some scrutiny before letting the leash drop to the ground. He then turned his attention towards the end of her torso and the growing pool of strange pale liquid. Running his fingers through the fluid, the stranger inspected the odd substance as it run through and across his digits, eventually shaking his hand free of the fluid as best he could. It was then that a peculiar noise caught his attention, mechanical whirring punctuated by this broken bot lifting her arm towards him, as if to plead in a way that he flat expression could not. It was then that their eyes truly met for the first time, and the man saw something that he did not expect. Fear, primal and pure, a terror seizing her in anticipation of her fate should if left to rust on this road, a gaze that clung to life as much as any man would when confronted with the end. It was a gaze with which he was quite familiar, however, she was a mechanical thing as far as the stranger could tell simply looking at her broken mechanical body, and so he shouldn't have felt anything in letting time and rust take her. And yet, something very human lingered behind her eyes, beckoning to what little the stranger might have held behind his. To some, she might have seemed an uncanny or even disturbing semblance to a person, but Sage only felt pity as he looked at her wracked form now. Where there was once purely curiosity in his eyes as he looked down at her, now the sharp glint in his eyes seemed to soften. The man extended his hand towards hers, and with a moment of hesitation, took hold of her hand. "It'll be alright, I've got you. I won't leave you here alone." He wasn't sure what he had dragged himself into, but as long as there was a chance that there was some vestige of a person within her metal trappings, then he'd do what he could to get her off this road and back on her feet. The thought seemed to trigger a realization for the man as his eyes widened. Looking up from the girl, he began surveying the immediate area. It would only be a moment before he spotted what he was looking for on the other side of the road. Glancing down at the girl, he gently laid her hand back on the pavement. "I'll be right back." The man then stood and his shadow vanished for a moment. His sudden disappearance was soon punctuated by the brief grinding of metal and then heavy footsteps before he returned to her field of vision and gently placed what seemed to be her lower half next to the torn section of her torso. "I suppose we'll have to find a mechanic." the man glanced around the barren wastes, heat bearing down on his already moist brow. "If one even exists out here..." Sage looked down at the full form of the robotic girl, shedding his coat as he did and laying it out next to her. Gently he began to slide her body atop the fabric, and once that was done, took the chain "leash" of hers in hand. He would use to lash her together as best he could, more so that he didn't lose any important bits while transporting her to the nearest vestige of civilization he could find. Wrapping and securing the now white fluid soaked coat around her broken body, the man made what loosely resembled a bindle to carry her in, with her head poking out of the top. Worldlessly, he made sure the makeshift sack would hold before meeting her eyes again. "Right, I can carry you as far as it takes to find a town or mechanic that can put you back together. I hope that will be enough."
  13. The air rippled in the heat of midday, warping the horizon in the distance as the sun scorched the vast wasteland below. For as the eye could see and far beyond, desert waste extended in every direction without an end. This infernal sandbox was known as Devla Desert to the world at large, the heart and lion's share of the Khaznah territory. Most preferred to take the long way around rather than brave the trek through this furnace. Nevertheless, for the few with no wit or an excess in daring, there was one vein linking the world to the pockets of civilization lying therein this wasteland, and bridging the gap between. Years of wind and sand had nearly worn it to nothing, its pavement cracked and bleached from the passage of time in this land of extremes, and yet this road split the wastes down its center yet, as resilient as the life that survived under the desert sun. Some way away from the edge of the dusty old road, a thick scaled lizard sat motionless on a stone slab. It's tongue darted out of its mouth and glazed over its eyes, moistening them as it cautiously observed the landscape, watchful gaze cautious of predators. Then suddenly, movement! And the lizard's head snaps towards the lonesome road and the oncoming dust cloud trailing across it. In the midst of the churning sand is the sheen of metal and roar of an engine, naval blue paint glistening in the sun. The vehicle appears akin to a motor bike, but of a larger and more sleek design, its rail thin frame extended to the length of an automobile. From a distance, the speed of the machine cannot be truly appreciated as its blazes across the wastes. The rider was a young man appearing in his early twenties, radiant blonde hair topping a fair complexion. Save for the thick goggles and scarf shielding his eyes and face, the clothing of the man seemed ill-made for a trek across the Devla, and was already caked in the sand kicked up by his passage. However, his attention seemed focused on anything but navigating, his attention focused on something in his console rather than the road. With his attention elsewhere, he failed to notice the fast approaching figure ahead attempting to cross the road... The vehicle lurched and swiveled. "Shit!" The rider's grip tightened on the handles in an effort to regain control. The bike eventually straightened out and continued to speed down the road, leaving a cloud of sand and dust in its wake. Eventually the rider disappeared upon the warped horizon, and the landscape grew quiet once again. Minutes later, a small thick scaled lizard silently traversed the sand. It came to a stop at the edge of the road and beheld the wreckage of what looked to be a mechanical humanoid of some sort, hewn in two by the fast rotating wheels of the vehicle that had hit it. The lizard wandered closer, looking at the face of the strange droid, apparently fashioned in the shape of a girl, though even if she were whole the synthetic aspects of her being would have been evident. White fluid leaked from her torso onto the pavement, and she was still. Driven by curiosity, or maybe a desire to scavenge what it might from the remains, the lizard wandered closer until it froze under the shadow overhead. Talons gouged into the flesh of the small lizard, goring it as a bird of prey dashed it upon the pavement before sitting atop its catch. The bird ignored the robotic cadaver, burrowing its beak into its meal with raw abandon. It must have been sometime since its last meal, as it only noticed the approaching shadow once it had eclipsed the sun. The bird turned and let out a hiss-like call in warning before spreading its wings and lifting from the hot pavement, lizard in talon. The shadow crossed over the face of the girl as the figure behind it made its approach, until worn black boots stopped just shy of her still form. A man knelt down next to her, clad in black from head to toe, complete with a black leather trench coat and topped with an equally black curtain of hair tied behind his head. Silver eyes drifted over the girl's broken form and a gloved hand extended towards her. *ting, ting, ting* Three dull sounds of metal against metal as the man flicked her forehead expectantly, as if to make sure she was actually dead... @CriminalMagi
  14. Welcome to the Grandhorn Station From amidst the scorching wastes of Alterion’s Devla Desert, a humble station rises from the parched landscape, posted alongside a lonely stretch of road connecting either side of the vast wasteland. It’s wind beaten structures and sun bleached paint oft give the impression of abandonment to passerby, but just as often the prospect of a moment’s rest and shelter from the blazing sun are enough to draw the wayward traveler and occasional hunter through the doors of the Grandhorn Station. For those who do choose to take the time to rest at the Grandhorn, one can expect personal service from its handful of employees that are the lifeblood of establishment. Whether you’re craving a hearty burger, need to get a quick tune up for your ride, or maybe you’re simply looking to wet your whistle and chew the fat with the charming staff, whatever your need, the Grandhorn has you taken care of. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Facilities The Heartfield Diner Home of the Giganta Burger, the Heartfield boasts a menu as robust as the man it gets its name from. Boasting a rustic aesthetic and dedicated staff, the ambience of the humble diner beckons to the road warrior in us all. Notable favorites of Hunters and normal travelers alike are the Slap-yo-mama Jambalaya, the Huntsman Chili Bowl, the Greathorn Steak, and of course the Giganta Burger, all cooked to perfection by the resident chef and semi-retired Hunter, Titus Heartfield. If the cold drinks and knock-your-socks off food isn’t enough to get you in the door, then the Holo-Board just might. Boasting the latest Bounties and Quests posted on the Alterion board, as well as a few quests from across Valucre at large. For the roaming hunter between bounties, this might just be the place to be if you’re looking to kick up your feet and relax before finding the next job. Decorating the walls of the establishment are various pictures from Titus’ halcyon days as a Hunter, most of which depict him alongside the quarry of that hunt or alongside long passed friends. The crowning jewel of the diner, however, is the pair of massive horns resting on a mantle, once belonging to a beast known as a Grandhorn and the source of the Station’s moniker. Huntsman’s Boon A storefront ran by a former Hunting colleague of Titus’. Windowless and kept quite chilly, the shop comes off as more of a warehouse than anything. Within, one can find anything ranging from repair kits, first aid, odds, ends, and just about anything in-between. For Hunters, access to the light armory and ammunition is granted, if you’re in need of a bit more firepower. The Garage If you’re in need of a quick tune up on vehicles or even weapons, the Garage is the place for you. The place smells of oil and iron constantly and doesn’t seem as if it’s been properly organized in a while. Nevertheless, it’s the best place to get your machines back in order before you brave the wastes, just ring the service bell at the front and a technician will be right with you. Outside, a fuel depot can be found if you need a quick refuel before hitting the road again, and behind the store a veritable junkyard can be found. If you’re feeling lucky, you might be able to convince the technicians there to let you scavenge for parts, usually for a price upfront. Caravans An assortment of trailers that make for good overnight shelters for any customer needing a good night’s rest. Dirt cheap for a night’s stay, and outfitted with all of the necessary utilities and amenities needed for said night, most importantly a good bed. Visit the cashier at the Heartfield Diner for a key if you need a place to lay your head. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Characters Titus Heartfield The “semi-retired” Hunter that owns and runs the joint. A few scars are still visible across his dark skin from his days as an active Hunter. In his heyday, Titus was a hellraiser of sorts, and one of the toughest the Hunter’s Association had to offer, boasting a nearly perfect rate of success on the contracts he accepted. It would take a particularly nasty encounter with a beast known as a Grandhorn to finally put him in retirement in the twilight of his career, though even then he couldn’t stand the idea of being too far from the life of a Hunter. That desire drove him to invest his money into the dream that became the Grandhorn Station, an outpost for Hunter and traveler alike. Taking the name of the creature that gave him the last fight of his Hunting days, the horns of the very same Grandhorn decorate the wall of the Diner as a trophy and reminder of that harrowing day. Despite the nature of his former career, Titus is the easygoing type nowadays, and is eager to help anyone that crosses his threshold, especially if it’s a Hunter in need. He’s often got the in on the latest news surrounding the Hunter’s Association, along with tips on the juiciest bounties across Alterion. Heartfield can usually be found in the Diner during the day, either cooking meals for the rare customer, or working the front counter with Henrietta. The Hunter in him ever strong, Heartfield’s Blunder Buster is never far from reach… Henrietta “Henri” Moore A natural blonde, and a tough broad to boot if you get fresh with her, Henri carries a no-sense policy wherever she goes, something that has served her well in her line of work. Working the bar and serving customers in the Heartfield Diner, Henri brushes shoulders with the roughest of the Hunter’s Association, an occupation that isn’t for your average desert flower. Nevertheless, she manages to do it all with a smile, and Hunters have learned to respect her for it. Henri has worked at the Diner under Heartfield ever since she was a girl. Before she came to work there however, she lived with her mother in a town that has long since dried up now. Henri’s father was a Hunter who worked to support them, and an old friend of Titus’. According to Titus, her old man was pretty good, but everyone’s number comes up eventually, especially in a Hunter’s line of work. Her mother did her best to take care of Henri, but there was only so much she could do, and even then, Henri wanted to do something to help, and so she came to Titus. Whether it was out of pity, or a favor to her old man, Heartfield took her in and let her work to help keep a roof over her and her mother’s head, taking care to pay her a honest wage no matter how bad business might have gotten. It seemed to make an impression on the girl, and even after her mother passed peacefully, she stayed behind to give back to the Diner and the man she owed so much too. Henri can almost always be found working in the Diner, be it tending to customers or making sure the place is presentable for the next, and you can be damned sure she’ll do it with world class service and an even better smile. Just don’t try anything funny, or you might end up on the wrong end of the snub-nosed pistol she keeps under her apron. Spec Spec can typically be found watching over the Hunter’s Boon, or tending to any mechanical needs in the garage should a customer ring the service bell. No one’s really quite sure how he always manages to hear it from wherever he happens to be in the station, but, as surely as the sun rises, Spec will materialize once that bell is rung. Whenever a customer isn’t around to bug him, Spec spends his time reading manga or tinkering with scrap he finds behind the garage. A bit of a recluse, Spec tends to keep to himself and be a man of few words, though that’s mostly due to his lack of any ability to socialize well. Some misinterpret this aspect of his personality as an aura of menace, when Spec couldn’t dislike conflict more. Despite that, he can get you what you need if you run by the shop, and he’s damn good with a wrench in a pinch. Spec started working at the Station after a Hunter by the name of Z caught him trying to steal the tires off his bike outside of the Station. Z had half a mind to turn him into the closest chapter of Poor Sons and let him rot in a cell, but per Titus’ suggestion, he was allowed to stay on the station and pay his dues to society through a bit of community service, a roundabout way of saying “free labor”. Spec has long since paid those dues, but evidently he doesn’t have anywhere to go, and no one really knows where he came from either, so he’s simply stayed on staff at the Grandhorn, much to the appreciation of an aging Titus. Z Z is a tough as drake’s hide Hunter pushing 30, and one of the few consistent regulars at the Diner. He wears a leather vest, no shirt, black hide gloves, dingo boots, trousers, and dark sunglasses, Z casts a picture-perfect image of a hellraiser, but his most distinguishing feature is the lengthy bush-like beard falling from his face. Z first became a Hunter for the fortune he would hope it bring him, and while he has yet to strike it rich, he has obtained quite the reputation among other Hunters along the way. Everyone knows Z isn’t someone you mess with, or at least that’s the image he tries to present. However, underneath the persona he projects is a man who, while tough as a boot, isn’t as hard to the core as one might imagine. He has a shotgun loaded exclusively with rubber buck shot, Rock Salt, and the chain and hook attached to his bike is more often used to tow stranded vehicles back to the Station for maintenance than rip and tear. What’s more, there hasn’t been a single fatality of a target in any of his accepted contracts. In essence, Z don’t kill. Don’t take him for a pushover though, Z is more than capable in a scrap, and can dish out just as much pain as he can take. Z first found the Grandhorn the same day that would catch Spec trying to jack the tires from his ride, before reluctantly agree to leave the young man under Titus’ care. After that day, he continued to come back to make sure Spec was doing his share of the week, and once that was done he just… kept coming back. The rumor behind that is that one day Z decided to get handsy with Henri who flipped him through a table. Ever since he’s been secretly infatuated with her. Regardless of his reason, Z likes to stick around the place when he’s not on a job and can usually be found eating or drinking in the Diner, giving the Grandhorn a little extra security. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
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