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Wings of Steel [Airship]

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" It has been a good while... "

Houghton had stuffed the new explosives within his cloak, hidden from view yet easy to activate and throw.  An old yet extremely cleaned colt walker rested in his left holster, not the most reliable gun but hell it worked enough for him.  On his back there would be his old Atlas officer's sword, in all of its faint shimmering glory through the trees it rested.  Houghton refused to believe much danger lied before them, leaving the weapons sheathed and holsters as his jet black boots lightly kicked up against the dirt and stone beneath him.

" I doubt there is anything here... yet you may continue acting accordingly lieutenant. " 

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Houghton's assumption was far from the truth. All manner of forests brimmed with wildlife. They had just developed uncanny adaptations to remain out of sight and hidden. What from? The bigger predators.

At first, Phil heard nothing. Then, the sharp cracking of a twig alerted him to a foreign presence. He held up his hand, to indicate a halt, before scanning their surroundings for movement.

Seemingly unfazed by the act of caution by the Lieutenant, something large began to move through the treeline, falling onto the ground with a loud thud and a flash as the sunlight was abruptly blocked out. Then, just as unaffected by its fall, it slithered out into view, skirting around the pair of marines, keeping a safe distance away.

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The snake's body was almost eight inches in thickness; far larger than anything they had seen back on their world. But while its fangs dangled open menacingly, it seemed to have little interest in pursuing the two armed chunks of meet that so readily presented themselves.

@Toast

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" What the ever loving hell... "

Houghton was fascinated by the serpent rather than scared, yet he still stopped behind the lieutenant.  Keeping their distance from the snake he drew his old saber, it still faintly shimmered in the faint sunlight through the trees surrounding them.  He grasped the simple handle of the weapon in his human arm, letting his metallic one hang beside him as he just watched.  He had no clue as to what to do about the snake, nor what he could do if it came to that circumstance.

" Lieutenant what the hell am I looking at? "  He questioned with a slight hint of visible concern on his face as the snake continued to slither around.  Slightly gripping his sword tighter as he could hear the snake through the faint grass his heavy boots lay in.

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"As long as we leave it alone, I don't think it'll bother us," Phil responded, edging forward cautious uphill away from the smaller predator. "We're too big to be worth the effort to hunt."

Keeping his revolver trained on the snake, he took several more steps up the hill, turning his back around briefly to cover Houghton, taking slow steps upward as they gradually built distance between themselves and the snake.


Eventually, the pair began to smell a suspicious whiff in the air.

"Burnt smells and smoke," Phil remarked. "We could be close. Or, we could be really far and the fire has just spread far. Or we could be even further and the wind has carried the far spreading fire's smoke towards us. The wreckage could be right in front of us or miles further."

@Toast

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" The crash happened a small while ago, I don't think the fire could have spread that fast unless everything up here is dry or dead "

He continued wandering throughout the forest with the lieutenant, a little more on edge from the snake that had fallen down from the trees.  He elegantly twirled his saber without a care in the world except for what was in the trees above, keeping his eyes pierced towards them like sharp daggers.  His feet lightly tread against the ground occasionally steeping on a stick or stone, however none of it had scared him more than it had made him interested.

" If you wish not to continue lieutenant, you may return to the boat "

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"And miss out on all the action?!" Phil cried incredulously. "You must be crazy, Sir."

As they advanced, the first of the flames became visible, burning out an isolated area of forest which had likely caved in on itself, thereby sparing the rest of the woodland from the fire.

In the centre of the blaze, one could make out the largely intact form of some sort of vehicle.

Its body was largely intact, a hulking ovular cylinder, armed with three limbs on each side, each branching out into an additional three circular fingers.

"It looks. . . Like it somehow survived the crash."

Suddenly, a flicker of motion was visible for a split second within the exposed cargo hold.

Phil held up his hand.

"I think someone's inside! Should we help them?"

@Toast

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" Why should we not help them, you think we came out here for almost nothing Lieutenant? "

He looked to the lieutenant like he was a mentally insane person.  Glancing back to the ship he began walking slightly faster towards the ship, his feet now audibly hitting the ground heavily.  He stopped twirling a sword like a simple toy, but now grasped the sabre like sword tightly with his human arm.  He was terrified of the fire before him as he stared into its open flames but he continued on since he needed to keep his reputation, even if it was only the lieutenant.  His hat collected a little ash on the inside of its folded ends, the feather matching the color of the flames that had burned the nearby forest.

" Well then.. let'sss have a look then, no? "  He muttered as he continued walking towards the fire completely terrified and slightly stuttering on his words.

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"You haven't seen the things I've seen on this world, General," Phil responded gravely, but nodded as he unstrapped his rifle from his back and held it at waist level. "Oftentimes, I wish the sole purpose of us going out is to find nothing. I'd rather find nothing than something."

As they plodded onward through the flaming wreckage, Phil pulled his mask up to cover his lips and nostrils, keeping the smoke out of the air he breathed. Upon entering the immediate vicinity of the blaze, he caught sight of movement once again within the main cargo hold.

"Something's alive, sir," he spoke over the roar of the flames, keeping his voice low enough so as not to alert those who were still inside the ship.

@Toast

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" Lieutenant, let's just get whatever it is out and then we'll decide if we kill it or not, deal? "  He muttered under his breath yet loud enough for the lieutenant to hear.

He continued staring at the flames but then returned to the ship, continuing to walk towards the damned object.  Gripping the sabre's handle tighter and tighter with every passing step to the ship.  His boots continuing to hit the ground with faint thuds as his metal arm continued to flow about the solid steel joint connected to his shoulder. 

 

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Almost as soon as he spoke, a small red laser beamed through the smoke from within the cargo hold. It swished around erratically as if searching for something amid the burning wreckage.

"Laser sight," Phil remarked quietly, pressing his hand against Houghton's shoulder as he gradually moved them behind cover. "We've alerted something, and its armed."

Peeking out from the other side of their cover, the lieutenant made a slow rightward advance towards the back of the ship which was out of the line of sight of any sentries that might have been present in the cargo hold.

"If we skirt around the corners, we'll be able to approach via a blindspot."

As the two men drew closer, several more lasers sprang up from within the hold, scanning the area directly in front of the entrance. Of course, there would now be no way to spot the marines, as they had successfully looped around the side of the ship and had managed to get right next to it. Right in front of them was the ramp that led up into the cargo hold. They were pressed up so close against it that they could hear soft noises of bickering coming from within the ship.

Phil exchanged a look with Houghton.

Your call.

@Toast

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Houghton leaned against the side of the ship, he began to feel his heart beat through his head which was something he had gotten use to long ago.  He looked to the lieutenant and grabbed his colt walker, taking the wondrous old-style revolver out of its holster and grasping it in his real hand.  His metallic hand now gasping the handle of the sword tightly, but soft enough to not make a sound.  He nodded to the lieutenant as he took in a faint and subtle breath, bracing for what is and isn't to come in these next moments.  The red feather in his hat slowly slumbered beneath the charcoal flaps of the hat,, out of view of anyone.

You know what needs to be done.

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