logotype
24 -June -2017 - 15:38
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
TotOR is the place to post stories you have written about your character or others, either based upon RP that has occurred, or an entire side-story to events in the game's RP which shed light on other parts of your character's life.

TOPIC: The Survivor

The Survivor 11 months 2 weeks ago #16074

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
Chapter 1 – Departure from RSS Justice

As the doors open he leans down, fumbling with the straps of his pack for a second or two before managing to take a firm grip. In one smooth motion he brings the pack up and secures it on his right shoulder, his left already occupied by his weapon of choice, one that he has carried with him now for several years, the A-210 DMR.

Waiting a further second for the doors to fully open he strides from the turbo lift into the small corridor joining it to the port side hangar bay of the RSS Justice. Nodding a greeting as he passes several crew members going about their daily duties. After thirty or so paces he turns to his right and the bay opens up before him, smaller than the bays of the Valour Class Cruisers he was used to earlier in his Naval career. A single fortitude class shuttle graces the flight deck, the normal complement of Starfighters having been stowed below decks undergoing routine maintenance. He grins slightly as the thought crosses his mind, the Navy never did waste an opportunity for maintenance.

Weaving through a group of deck crew being supervised by three identically dressed individuals and another man who stuck out like a sore thumb in his own grubby civilian clothing, each holding a datapad in hand. Without having to glimpse their faces he knows them, from the briefing he’d been given only a day previous;

Greeted in the curt manner he’d become accustomed to from Captain Kaim with a crisply spoken word “Staff.”, he shook the offered hand of Lieutenant Noy as he stood up to the holotable offering a respectful nod to both officers, “Sirs.”

As always Kaim made sure to take the initiative, beginning the briefing without any preamble. “Ragnarson, we are enroute to the Axxila Sector, specifically Corstris. Aurek squad has been tasked with providing security for a group of four scientists, they will be conducting several surveys on whether Corstris has any viable application to suit the Republic. We believe it to be uninhabited, apart from the occasional visit by a freighter or two, any real threat will come from the wildlife. I hope your squad will be able to deal with that Staff Sergeant?”

Eskkaar continues to stare at the face of the man who seemed to have made it his mission to openly piss him off for the last year or so, after a brief pause he replies with a small smirk. “I’m sure we’ll manage Captain.”

Shaking his head slightly at the tension that always seems to arise when the Captain spoke to the Sergeant, the Lieutenant quietly coughs twice before speaking. “Look Ragnarson, it’s a simple OP. Go and babysit these scientists for a couple of months, while you’re at it assess your AO and see if it has any military use. Maintain comms silence as well, you’re going to be out on a limb, best not attract any unwanted attention. I’ll have the files forwarded to you, make sure your Marines are ready in twenty four hours. Dismissed.”

Taking a step back Eskkaar snaps off a parade perfect salute. “Captain, Lieutenant.” Turning on his right heel he marches from the Captain’s office, as he hears the door slide shut behind him he lets out a small sigh, grateful to be out of the Captain’s presence. While not incapable of doing his job, Kaim was just a thoroughly nasty officer. Turning his thoughts back to his new mission he was disheartened, two months watching other people do their jobs, not exactly why he enlisted or what the damned military should be wasting its time on.


Finding his way onto the shuttle he quickly moves to stow his own kit amongst the scores of crates and boxes, both large and small, to find his ever present 2IC already there, head buried in a medium sized crate labelled Danger – Explosives. “Bendak, they yours or are you snooping on gear the scientists are bringing along?” The Mirialan rocked back on his heels to address Eskkaar, a sort of sheepish look on his face. “Snooping, Staff.”

Grinning, Eskkaar made his way over, removing his rifle and placing it on his chosen seat. Turning, he looked down into the box, all that greeted him were a series of small boxes, each with a different serial number, “Huh, I guess these are for that geologist. Best leave ‘em be.” The Mirialan quickly closed the crate as he stood up while Eskkaar continued to speak. “Round up the rabble Bendak, I’ll get those civilians in line.” With a small nod Bendak quickly existed the shuttle, striding with purpose, Eskkaar pitied whichever squad member didn’t have their kit sorted.

After depositing his kit bag he followed his 2IC from the shuttle, heading over to the group of scientists, stopping a couple of meters short he stands with his back straight and his hands clasped in the small of his back, “Doctor Quilan.” . As if controlled by a singular brain all four of the scientists turn to the armour clad Staff Sergeant standing before them. For his part he knew each of them by sight, having read the dossiers included in the files the Lieutenant had forwarded to him, even so he took a split second to look them over.

Tarc Quilan, human, lead scientist and geologist, was taller than Eskkaar’s 6ft but rake thin, almost as if he would snap in a faint breeze. The sneer he currently wore only gave away what had been written in his file, that he detested anyone he deemed not to be sufficiently intelligent. Yet with his foppish hairstyle and fancy presentation Eskkaar doubted they would have been the best of friends anyway.

Anita Juna, Twi’lek, xenozoologist and xenobiologist, offered him a shy smile before looking back at her datapad, clearly not sharing her superior’s feelings for those of lower intelligence. Even without reading her file he would have guessed that she was rarely if ever chosen for this kind of field work, her dumpy physique speaking of a person who is much more at home in a lab on some core world. Despite this, or perhaps in spite of it she seemed genuinely excited at the prospect of two months on some random planet, much more than he was at this point in the proceedings.

Vasma Pal, Mirialan, physicist, appeared to be more interested in her datapad than what was happening around her, she had turned with the others, perhaps on instinct but had not raised her head from the device. From the files, Eskkaar knew that most of her face was covered in tattooed geometric patterns, each one added after gaining a qualification or making some breakthrough.

Moradin Trite, Human, archaeologist, seemed to be the exception that proved the rule. As Eskkaar took in his appearance he was fairly certain he was perhaps the scruffiest looking professional he had ever seen. Unlike the others he was dressed in his own clothes, he still had dirt under his fingernails from whichever dig site he had been pulled off for this little jaunt. However, he did have one redeeming quality that Esk approved of, he was wearing a sensible pair of boots, a pair that isn’t going to fall apart, and much like he suspects the footwear being worn by the other scientists is going to over the next two months.

Sprung from his quick inspection by the nasal voice of Quilan he turns his head back to look him in the eye as he continues. “Ragnarson, yes. Our equipment still isn’t fully loaded as you can see. Have your troopers deal with it immediately.” Without a further word Quilan turned his back on Eskkaar and began tapping away on his datapad again, the other scientists all seem to shuffle where they stood, apart from Trite. He, visibly annoyed, was about to launch into his own tirade before he was cut off by Eskkaar.

“Doctor Quilan, a word.” Turning about, without waiting for acknowledgement, he walks to an open area of the hangar, out of earshot of the scientists and deckhands. Settling into his at ease posture he faces Quilan, who is almost stomping his way across the desk, raising his finger to point it in Esk’s face he doesn’t get a chance to begin as he is quickly cut off with two words hissed at him through gritted teeth, “Can it.” Visible taken aback by being addressed in such a manner, clearly something he is not used to, he stands two feet away from Eskkaar with his mouth hanging agape for several seconds before regaining his composure.

For his part Esk took a breath before continuing in a more controlled manner. “Doctor Quilan, be under no false assumptions, you are not in charge of this operation. You are here to conduct your survey, I’m here to keep everyone alive, and that puts me in charge. End of discussion. On top of that I expect you to extend me and my squad the same level of respect that I’m extending you right now by not yelling at you in front of your team. My rank is Staff Sergeant, use it. My squad are highly trained forward reconnaissance Marines, not your pack animals, if you expect them to move your gear you better pick some of it up first. Thank you for your time Doctor.” Standing in the same position Eskkaar continued to stare into Quilan’s face with the same neutral expression he had worn during his lecture. Quilan on the other hand was positively fuming, his mouth moving silently, trying to form words that he dare not speak. Instead he turned and walked back to the group of scientists, who promptly and presumably under his instruction began to help the deck crew load the rest of the equipment. Eskkaar noted that Quilan picked up the smallest crate remaining on the pile.

Shaking his head, he walked over to the line of newly assembled Marines, looks like the next two months were going to be even more of a pain in the arse than he thought. At least he had this bunch of misfits; Aurek Squad, Outlaw Squadron, 25th Forward Reconnaissance Group, 3rd Battalion, 52nd Marine Regiment. Seeing Bendak at the end of the line beginning to draw breath he raised his hand and waved him off, “At ease Sergeant.” Coming to a rest in front of the line he himself settled into the at ease stance before addressing them. “Well, I’m sorry to say it but, it looks like the next two months of our lives are going to be spent taking pot shots at some random wildlife rather than any real work. To that end, make sure you’ve got all the necessary gear and help get the rest of the supplies on board. The sooner we start this op, the sooner we can get back to a decent cantina. Dismissed.”

Ten minutes later the shuttle was loaded, all twelve members of the operation were aboard and secured in their seats, along with dozens of crates, both large and small. The noises were muted inside the crew compartment of the shuttle as it engaged the repulsorlifts and hovered above the hangar bay deck. Slowly the Ion Engines were powered up, propelling the shuttle gently from the bay, through the force field separating the artificial atmosphere of the RSS Justice from the cold vacuum of space.

Leaning back into his seat Esk shuffles about, trying to get comfortable on something that had been padded as a mere after thought of the function it provided. As he closed his eyes, ever ready to accept the old military proverb – “Never stand when you can sit, never sit when you can lie down, never stay awake when you can sleep.” – He smiled as the voices of his squad reached him.

Bendak started up what had for the past two years become his go to subject of debate with Corporal Rasha Fallon a combat engineer, the benefits of explosives over other methods of gaining entry to a building, to her credit, Fallon gave as good as she got. Specialist Torrent Merasska, a human from Kuat on the other hand was already trying to swindle the new rookie, Private Cad Mapa, out of his yearly pay, again he wasn’t surprised that Merasska had only made Specialist in his decade of service. A few seconds pass before the gravelly voice of Corporal Jarv Scon can be heard issuing three words, “Cut it out.” , as Merasska fell immediately silent he assumed the Nikto Corporal was giving the Specialist that look that could stop a Kath Hound in its tracks. Finally the jovial voice of Specialist Otto Skobra reached him, something of a contradiction in his experience, Skobra was the only Chagrian he’d met that actually had a sense of humour, even if it was rather morbid and based in his extensive history as a Doctor on his homeworld before enlisting. As usual one voice was missing, Corporal Nara Ellan, the squad’s sniper, perhaps the quietest Marine he had ever served with, assuming she was sticking to her ritual she would be checking and re-checking her rifle for the entire flight, in the past he’d seen her do it for hours at a time. Setting his thoughts on the next two months he realises that maybe it won’t be so bad thanks to these knuckleheads.
Last Edit: 11 months 2 weeks ago by Eskkaar.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Margo Faulkner, Gloridenis Rexicalus, Dyston

The Survivor 11 months 23 hours ago #16192

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
Three days, three long days, he thought to himself as he sat perched on a large rock outcrop overlooking the camp site, resting his arms on his raised knees, his rifle lay leaning on its bipod mere centimeters away. Looking out he couldn’t see very far, the abundance of trees made it difficult if near impossible to catch a glimpse of the horizon. On top of that the area they had landed in seemed to be made up of vast amounts of interlocking and intersecting valleys and canyons, as if some celestial being had been attempting to carve out a pattern on the face of the planet. After touching down they’d spent the better part of half an hour ferrying all the crates to their campsite, then the rest of the day making sure they weren’t going to get eaten while they slept.

Rasha had gone about setting up a whole bunch of ultrasonic emitters in a wide circle around the camp, apparently to keep any nasty wildlife away. Bendak on the other hand had opted for what he liked to refer to as ‘A more practical approach.’ Which meant that two of the larger crates they’d lugged to the camp had actually been filled with mines that he’d requisitioned. To be fair, Esk knew he had a point, he was just happy Bendak had requisitioned the type that can be remotely activated and deactivated, while he might be able to pick them out, most of the time, the scientists couldn’t and that’d be just too much paperwork. So while they slept they we’re protected by a wave of sound outside the range of their hearing, but enough to seriously piss off any critter that got close, at which point said creature was more than likely to get blown into its molecular constituents thanks to the several dozen mines, which could be deactivated at dawn, thankfully.

While this had been going on the rest of the Marines had been literally babysitting the Scientists, making sure they didn’t wander off and get eaten, which would also end in too much paperwork than he would be comfortable with. The second day he had left Bendak and Cad, the rookie, to watch the scientists while he took the rest of the squad to find water and check out the rest of the area. They’d hiked for a couple of hours, steadily uphill, through the trees, leaves falling about them in the wind. Without the scientists he couldn’t be sure but having seen the same on several planets he assumed the falling leaves, their varied colours between red, gold and brown and a distinctly lower sun in the sky from the initial report, he’d take a guess that at least this part of Corstris was transitioning from summer to winter. For a while their climb had been alleviated when they came across some form of primitive road, initially it had worried him, roads always meant sentient life, but Otto, probably the most educated among the remaining members of the squad, chimed in, pointing out that it was in poor repair and had to be several centuries old, at least.

Satisfied, but maybe a little more paranoid about being jumped by an entire primitive civilisation, he scooted over to Nara who had already taken up overwatch without even being ordered to. Crouching beside her he spoke in a whisper even if it wasn’t needed. “Keep a weather eye open, okay?” Her lips barely moved as she replied with a few words in her usual terse manner. “What do you think I’ve been doing Sarge?” Looking at her he almost laughed as her lips curved into a grin, before remembering where he was. “Right you are.” Waving everyone on they continued to climb, making good use of the primitive road before leaving it and continuing uphill. After a further half an hour they crested a ridge and were greeted by, in his opinion, one of the greater things he’d seen in his life. There, nestled between the mountainous walls of a valley was a tarn, its waters clear and blue. Taking in the entire scene he could see several small streams both feeding into and out of it, raising his hand to the side of his helmet he activated his comm unit. “Sergeant Apinea, kindly inform our honoured guests we’ve found water.”

Surprisingly the third day had been the most taxing by far, he’d had to spend the most part of it in the presence of, as he had been informed, Doctor not Mr Tarc Quilan. He’d taken Quilan along with a couple of the marines out of the camp while Bendak did the same with Trite. The other two scientists were still happy to run experiments from the camp, which suited him fine, less chance of the getting eaten, a fate he’d considered leaving Quilan to several times over those eight hours. Thankfully they didn’t come across any wildlife, at least not of the nasty variety, it was just Quilan’s relentless sardonic jibes that caused any chance of danger, he’d had to wave Jarv down, something that surprised him as the Nikto was usually much calmer around civilians, when he’d jumped from the tree trunk acting as a makeshift bed and clenched his fist at the Doctor’s latest remarks, which were something along the lines of the Republic surrendering in order to restore peace.

Now, sitting on his perch he took in the landscape as the sounds of the camp made their way up to him. Breathing deeply he admitted to himself that it wasn’t bad, he’d forgotten how much he liked being planetside and not getting shot at and how much he enjoyed being in what he considered the ‘wild’, away from the soaring towers and grimy under levels of Coruscant or the artificial atmospheres of spaceships. This felt natural and a good place to be, he felt content at this moment, more so than he had for a while in the Navy, and that was the crux of it, he wasn’t happy with the Republic. He’d been the good soldier while they continued to fight the Imperials, the same war that they’d been fighting for almost half a century. At the same time they were being slowly drained of all resources by the damned Eternal Empire, which had to be the reason for his current predicament. The Republic needed resources, ones that could be kept away from the Eternal Empire, so here he was, on some forgotten planet with a bunch of scientists under orders not to break radio silence for two months. He had to wonder, how many more small units like his own were out there, no support, in the vain hope of more resources, just to continue the fight. Shaking his head he picked up his rifle and made his way back down to the camp, ignoring the offered food he went straight to his bag and attempted to fall into what he was sure would be a restless sleep.
____________________________________________________________________________________________

Letting his thoughts drift as he placed one foot in front of the other he wondered if anyone would notice that Dr Quilan wasn’t with them when they arrived back in camp. It would be a simple thing to do, using his combat knife to pierce the geologist’s jugular and wind pipe in one thrust as he walked behind him, gently catching his body as he fell, easing it to the ground and leaving him to drown as his blood leaks into his lungs with every gasp, quickly starving him of oxygen.

A small grin begins at the corners of his mouth before he shakes his head to clear his thoughts. ‘Damn’ he thinks, not even two weeks in and he was having day dreams about murdering Dr Quilan. To be fair the guy deserved it, not a day had gone by without him whining about about one thing or another, his favourite topic was military oversight. He didn’t see the need for the Marines to accompany them into the field. Frankly, Eskkaar was almost tempted to let Quilan walk out of the camp on his own and see what would happen. So far he’d managed to avoid that urge, but it was an hourly struggle. On top of that, Quilan was simply one of the worst sentient beings he’d met, his superior attitude, lack of concern to others (He’d suggested not sending out a search party when Dr Juna had gotten lost during a storm about a week in, thankfully she’d had the common sense to light a fire in the shelter of a rock outcrop making it relatively easy to find her.) and his apparent inability to do anything he considered beneath him.

As he turns about and begins to walk backwards - as the last man it’s his responsibility to check their six - he turns his thoughts back to the mission, or at least his part of it. The area they’d explored was dominated by deep valleys with high walls, easily defendable by a small number of ground troops supported by very few emplacements. As far as he was concerned, given enough anti-air cover it would be a hard task to pry any defenders out, the only major threat would be orbital weapons. Looking back down the valley with its varying spread of trees, carefully placing one booted foot on the ground at a time as he continues to walk backwards he nods, a subconscious gesture, satisfied that none of the predatory fauna was stalking his small group he begins to turn around and face the back of Dr Quilan once more.

It is as the mixed and staggered line of Marines and Scientists come into his peripheral vision that the blast wave hits him. His brain fumbles for understanding as his eyes register the ground moving quickly towards his face, his arms begin to rise in a futile but instinctual response to protect his head. The air is driven from his lungs as his body collides with the ground, the plating from the armour digging into his sides. Heat encompasses him from all sides except from the cool, unyielding ground; dirt and fragments of unknown material rain down upon him as he lies there for what feels like an eternity with his ears ringing from the blast.

Finally the adrenalin and his training kicks in, shakily he gets to his feet, instantly moving toward the nearest cover, a boulder just under a meter high covered in moss and heavily weathered. Looking around he takes in the scene within a matter of seconds, the air hangs heavy with smoke, enough to be able to taste it, mixed in with the familiar smell of blaster emissions along with one final scent, one his brain identifies as cooking meat. Through the haze blaster bolts ping in from several directions, most heading in from both sides to where his column should be. This final detail completed the picture, an ambush.

Resting his rifle on the boulder he begins to fire at the rough humanoid outlines to either side of the column’s earlier line of advance - knowing them to be hostile but not caring who they are, a question he stows away for later - as he screams into his comms.

“Contact! Tangos at nine and three, nine and three! One hundred meters!”

“Fall back! Apinea get those civvies back now!”

Seconds after he gives his command he sees blaster bolts begin to head in the opposite direction than before, inwardly breathing a sigh of relief, at least some of his friends were still alive, and fighting.

His relief is ultimately short lived as he continues to fire, trying to cover his squad’s retreat. A hostile raises a small tube onto their shoulder, a half second passes before the rocket leaves its launcher, the missile itself moving too fast to be but a blur, the only clue to its existence is its exhaust trail adding more smoke to the growing haze. A flash of light just precedes the rolling vibrations of the explosion, shaking the boulder upon which he rests his rifle, as the rocket detonates in the centre of the skirmish, amongst Aurek Squad.

As the explosion rocks the ground he’s up and running, straight into the maelstrom, ducking low and darting from cover to scant cover. He runs past several members of his squad, still up and fighting. Off to one side he sees the familiar face of Moradin Trite, usually jovial and full of laughter, now still, his eyes gazing skyward without seeing and multiple blaster marks on his body, still steaming as the water in his cells was superheated and expanded, causing his death. Hurrying on, unable to do anything for Dr Trite he continues forward.

As he gets closer and closer to where he assumes the head of the column was he notices tiny details. Small fires are littered everywhere in the grass and dried vegetation, most likely started by shards of shrapnel, ejected energy cells and the exhausts of missile based weaponry. He crouches by the stump of a fallen tree only to see hundreds of insects continuing about their life, mindless to the horror and loss of life surrounding them. Finally making it to the front he is greeted by the image of Coporal Scon standing over a body, courageously returning fire to either flank without regard for his own life. Moving close to the Corporal Eskkaar contributes to the return fire for several seconds, before looking down at the body by Scon’s feet.

Sergeant Bendak Apinea, his 2IC, more importantly his friend, his brother in arms. The once athletic frame now contorted into the most grotesque shape, the ground around his body soaked with blood. His right leg is entirely gone along with his left leg below the knee, flesh mixed with pieces of armour hang from the wounds, shrapnel sticks out from his armour in several places, some deep enough to penetrate the plating, others unlucky enough to hit his skinsuit and slice straight through. Eskkaar knows he’s dead, no one could live through this, Bendak had bled out within seconds of that first explosion, still he checks, hoping against hope that he’ll find a pulse as he removes a gauntlet and checks, a final act of friendship.

Negative.

Allowing himself no time to even accept it, let alone mourn, he reaches just under the neck line of Bendak’s skin suit taking a hold of his tags and removes them with a swift tug, stowing them in a pouch on his belt.

Falling instantly back into combat mode he slaps Scon on the back, motioning the way he came “We gotta move!” Bolts continue to fly through the smoky haze as they both dash back to the rest of the squad, who are managing to hold their own, spread out in a rough half circle. In the centre Skobra kneels next to Dr Juna, the Twi’lek zoologist, he’s performing CPR, crouching next to him Eskkaar gives him a quick glance, to which he shakes his head. Three dead in as many minutes, they couldn’t stay here, getting picked off, it was only a matter of time before another died. Eskkaar knew all this, quickly rattling out a series of orders;

“Scon, Merasska, Fallon, Skobra. Take Quilan and Pal, get them back and into cover, over there in the tree line!”

“Ellan, Mapa you’re with me! We’ll cover them!”

With barely a nod the twenty four year old sniper continues taking calm and deliberate shots, Eskkaar sees two of their unidentified assailants go down in quick succession. Nodding as he sees Private Mapa keep his head, returning fire in defence of his squad mates as well as a ten year veteran, Eskkaar begins his own suppressive fire. Thirty seconds pass before he notices a significant fall in enemy fire and gives the order. “Scon, get them moving, now!”

The big Kintan was straight up, shoving the remaining scientists, Quilan and Pal, ahead of him, the other three marines hot on his heels, all racing for the scant cover provided by the treeline a few dozen meters away. Eskkaar and his two remaining Marines continue to pour fire in the direction of their attackers.

From out of nowhere a strange whistling noise fills the ears of everyone involved in the skirmish, it continues to raise in pitch, until they can feel the noise reverberating around the inside of their heads. The explosion that follows can be felt through the ground, leaves are shaken from the surrounding trees and dirt is thrown thirty meters into the air in every direction. A mortar strike. On instinct Eskkaar and his two Marines cower as far as they can into their cover as they feel the blast wave scour over them, the heat clear even through their armour’s body suit. Turning back to look for where the mortar had hit Eskkaar’s heart drops for a second time that day, as dirt rattles down on his armour and a gust of wind momentarily shifts the smoke hanging over the explosion he sees their bodies. Four Marines and two scientists. Not one of them moving.

He froze, staring, his expression blank. Whether he was like that for mere seconds, minutes or hours he would never know. A scream, a yell of pain ricocheted around his inner ear finally brought him to his senses, turning to the source he sees Private Mapa lying on the floor, grasping at his abdomen. The plating and skin suit melted straight through, flesh blackened, disfigured and weeping blood. To her credit, Ellan spared him and her dead friends’ one glance before turning back and continuing to fire, even as the hostiles continued to press them.

Training, that’s what it came down to, those hours and hours of relentless, repetitive tasks, sprinkled with a dose of experience, learning the hard way. They were the only reasons he was able to remain objective and not freeze like he had moments ago, when faced with the mortar strike. Looking around he crouches back down into cover as he hears that now distinctive whistling noise once more, followed seconds later by another explosion to their rear, closer to the tree line this time.

“Ellan, keep firing! They’ve got our retreat zeroed in! I’m going to grab Mapa and move to the tree line to our left! I’ll cover you once I’m there, got it?!”

If nothing else could have communicated how dire their situation was, the young Cathar’s next action surely would have. While continuing to fire she raises her voice far beyond what Eskkaar could have imagined from the usually silent sniper. “I got it Sarge! Just get your arse moving!”

Putting Mapa’s arm over his shoulder and wrapping his own arm around Mapa’s back he wastes no time and begins hobbling towards the near, but not near enough tree line that could offer them some scant cover. Bolts flare past them as they run, the single covering fire provided by Corporal Ellan unable to keep up with their numerous attackers. Almost stumbling several times as Mapa’s legs give out underneath him from the pain, sheer force of will is the only thing that keeps Eskkaar’s legs pumping towards the trees. Unceremoniously dumping Mapa as they reach the trees he takes a knee, using the nearest tree as cover and begins to fire his own rifle in reply to the hostiles, activating his comms and leaving the line open.

“Ellan, move it! Come on, I’ll cover!”

Wisps of smoke begin to rise form the barrel of his rifle as he continues to fire, wishing that he had his old S-311 instead of his (Insert name) right now. While he fires, Ellan finishes by killing another of their attackers before turning and breaking for the tree line, running at a flat sprint. Bolts pass within inches of her as she crosses the open ground, until she stumbles, tripped by an errant rock in her path, crashing hard into the ground, her own rifle trapped beneath her.

As he watches from his position only a couple of dozen meters away he already knows what will happen. Ellan is struck multiple times, her body jerking in pain the first few, but falling still after that. He carries on firing, hoping in vain that she’ll move if he just gives her a couple more seconds of covering fire. Bark from the tree cuts into his face as a bolt strikes close to his head, taking it as a sign he finally turns away, grabbing Mapa without care for his injury and slinging him over his shoulder. Running further into the trees, not caring for the destination, only as long as it is away from their current situation.
Last Edit: 11 months 23 hours ago by Eskkaar.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Margo Faulkner, Dyston

The Survivor 9 months 1 week ago #16437

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
Running. It’s the only thing his exhausted brain can focus on, the ever increasing struggle to place one foot in front of the other. Again, and again. He didn’t know how long he had been moving or how far he had travelled as his steps became shorter with every mile. Private Mapa’s groans of pain the only real measure of time as he constantly had to readjust his hold and hoist the injured marine further back onto his shoulder. The sun had passed over the horizon some time ago, the shadows of the forest growing longer and now morphing quickly into an all-encompassing darkness.

It was only a matter of time before an exposed tree root became his literal downfall. The Staff’s Sergeant’s brain acting before he can even consciously register that he is falling, hands leaving their steadying position holding the Private, moving to protect his face and arrest his fall, but too late. A sharp gasp of pain is forced through Eskkaar’s teeth as his right knee brutally collides with the compacted forest floor, Mapa rolling from his shoulders and screaming briefly in pain clutching at his abdomen.

“Keep quiet.” Are the only two words he can force out while he crawls over to injured Marine, his right leg feeling numb and trailing behind him slightly.

The Private had somehow lost his rifle and helmet in the intervening hours between the ambush and now, sweat beads on his pale face as Eskkaar looks down at him, for the first time assessing his injuries with a critical eye. Blackened flesh filled the space where his lower torso plating should have been, some melted into the wound itself. It smells, worse than the Staff Sergeant had ever experienced, forcing him to swallow a mouthful of bile before it escapes his lips. At least any bleeding had stopped, a small miracle likely the result of the Private being carried with the wound pressing into Eskkaar’s shoulder or upper back, his own body weight applying the pressure to keep him alive.

Using the last vestiges of his quickly draining concentration he pulls the pitiful excuses for first aid kits from his own and Mapa’s belt. Combining the measly kolto infused bandages to make some form of dressing for the gaping blaster wound, injecting one of their two doses of pain relief at the same time. He waits a minute, his chin sagging onto his chest from exhaustion, for the medication to take effect before he manhandles the Private into a sitting position against a nearby tree. Before he slides away to what he is sure is going to be a gloriously comfy piece of ground he checks and then readies Mapa’s sidearm, placing it in his free hand, the other holding his wound. At least he’d have a chance to defend himself if their attackers caught up with them.

“Look at me Private.” Eskkaar gently tilts the Marine chin up so that he can look him in the eyes.“We’ll rest up here for a while, then back to camp, get on the blower and have you home before you know it. Okay?”

Several coughs force the inured marine to clutch at his wound, an instinctual reaction to alleviate the pain. His weak voice follows, speaking quietly, whether through fear of discovery or that being all he can manage Eskkaar is unsure. “Aye, Sarge. That sounds alright.”

A hand rests on Mapa’s shoulder, offering a reassuring squeeze before he speaks, his voice flat but carrying a sincerity stripped of any flashy trappings. “Good lad.”

Five or so meters away Eskkaar find his own tree to prop himself against, checking his own weapons this time. Both functional and ready to be used, however the rifle seems to have acquired several new knicks and scratches, with a hand resting on the pistol grip he lays it across his lap. His eyes begin to scan their surrounds as he yields to the fact that he must be the one to maintain a watch. Mapa is already out for the count, injury, exhaustion and medication combining to make a potent cocktail.

Eyelids dip briefly, startling himself back against the tree. He slaps his leg in frustration, cursing as he hits his bruised knee, but allows the pain to bring him back to full consciousness. His eyes survey their field of vision again, unable to pick out any notable landmarks, or even recognise the general area. The trees are different, taller with greater foliage dispersed throughout their height. The ground is free from fallen leaves, at least for now he thinks, reasoning that they will lose their leaves before long.

Without realising, his body begins to shut down from the exhaustion. Limbs relaxing, his hand falling from its once sure grip on his rifle. Thirty seconds, perhaps a minute pass before his head once again slumps forward onto his chest as his body gives into its desire for rest. His last conscious thoughts are filled with the ragged but still steady breathing of the Private sitting across from him.
_________________________________________________________________________________________

Slowly his brain tries to pull him from the depth of exhaustion induced near catatonia. He remains in that half-awake state for some time, sounds beginning to filter in and be processed. Birds can be heard high above, in the canopy of the trees. The same canopy that houses the millions of leaves that rustle in the faint breeze he can feel against the exposed skin of his face, the rest still protected and unable to feel encased within the skin suit. His vision is filled with a bright red glow, the sun’s rays falling on his still closed eyelids, forming incoherent and ever changing patterns.

As his body finally starts to respond to his conscious demands, the wiggling of toes and the flexing of fingers he attempts to open his eyes. It is an effort, the accumulated dust and grime of yesterday’s activities almost sealing his eyes shut. Slowly things begin to come into focus; chest, arms, legs and his rifle. More of his surroundings come back into view as he forces his lids the rest of the way open, causing him to raise his hand to block some of the more direct sunlight that causes his eyes to squint on reflex.

It takes him a few seconds to remember where he is, or rather where he ended up. Smoke filled images flash before his eyes bringing the reality of his situation crashing down on him once more. He glances across from himself, seeing Private Mapa still propped up against the same tree, the young marine’s head resting on his chest. With his mind still fuzzy from sleep it takes him a moment before he notices the absence of a certain sound. What had been the clearly audible and ragged breathing of Mapa is missing.

Scrambling, first to his hands and knees and then to shaky feet as he crosses the small gap between him and the private. His rifle falling from his rising lap, a tool that had saved his life more times than he could count, now useless in his current task. Knees crash into the ground as he lowers himself, eyes glued on a motionless chest. Waiting, hoping, praying that it will rise, expanding as it fills with the most basic need of life, oxygen. Seconds tick by in agonizing slowness with no hint of movement.

With shaking hands he removes a gauntlet, with his fingers free he eases them onto Mapa’s neck, searching for a pulse. His fingers almost recoiling as they take in the clamminess of the private’s skin accompanied by its pale hue. The slightest ray of hope remaining before it is quickly and efficiently snuffed out. Not breathing. No pulse. His hand falls limp, dangling by his side.

A moment later finds him rocking back onto his haunches, his knees raised, and arms resting upon them as his head hangs between his legs. Deep breathes are repeated, over and over, a physical response to the Staff Sergeant trying to quell the emotions waring within him. His thoughts filling with memories of the young marine now peaceful in death before him. Of times he’d wanted to slap the naivety out of the nineteen year old, others where he’d laughed alongside him, then finally of the courage he had shown the day previous. Silent tears leak from his eyes, leaving fresh trails through the dirt mask he wears, falling to the ground to be quickly absorbed by the soil.

Five, ten, twenty minutes pass in immobility, life continuing on in the surrounding forest, the Marine conspicuous not just because of his attire, but because of his stillness. Finally he moves, a sense of purpose clear in his actions as he pulls the standard issue combat knife from its sheath. Stabbing violently into the unyielding surface before dragging it through, leaving furrows behind. A grim expression dominates his face as he continues what is fast becoming a cathartic process. Scraping the dirt, the soil and the accumulated filth of the forest aside. Doing the one thing he can for his fallen friend, giving him the honour of a proper burial.

Hours pass, sweat pours from his skin, his stomach twists itself in hunger and his throat burns from thirst. But the grave gets deeper, and that is the only thing that concerns the marine kneeling in it. Dirt streaks his face from where he has wiped the sweat away with soil packed gauntlets, or from overzealous use of his makeshift pick. It would never match a formal grave prepared by proper tools, but finally it meets his demands.

Now came the grisliest task, his feet shuffled their way over to Private Mapa’s body, still undisturbed against the tree. With the greatest of care he could muster in his tired state he lies the private down and begins checking over his equipment, scavenging anything he could use from the private. Spare energy cells, gas canisters, grenades and even his rappel line were soon neatly laid out on the forest floor. His final act before moving Mapa to the makeshift grave is to remove his dogtags, adding them to Bendak’s residing in a pouch on his belt.

Showing the same level of care Eskkaar gently lifts the deceased private, shuffling a few meters before laying him with as much grace as he could muster into the makeshift grave. It takes him several minutes but he perseveres until he has managed to arrange Mapa’s limbs into what he thinks is a relatively peaceful posture, his hands clasped over his stomach. As the Staff Sergeant kneels back on the edge of the grave he pauses, unsure if he should say a few words or simply wait. Eventually his pragmatic sides wins out and he begins to fill in the grave with from the spoil pile that was created earlier. It takes him some time until the grave is filled once more, the disturbed soil the last remaining trace of his fellow marine.

With a heavy heart Eskkaar gathers what few items he has available to him, strapping them to his armour where possible before he sets off walking. He hadn’t picked a direction, under the cover of the forest nothing was visible so it made little difference, and nothing seemed to make much difference in his mind at the moment as the reality of his situation crashed down on him. Only his stubbornness keeps his feet moving. One step after another, leading him ever onwards. _______________________________________________________________________________________

Three days is what it takes, three long days to make it back to the ambush site with only the saving grace of a rainstorm during the second night to keep him hydrated and alive. Eskkaar had walked for almost an entire day before he was able to recognise some familiar landmarks, using them to provide some rudimentary navigation on his return journey.

Now he lies in the cold mud in the same tree line that he had run through with Private Mapa on his shoulders. The stock of his rifle nestled against his cheek as he looks down the scope, he’d been in the same position for two hours, sure that the people who had attacked his unit would still be nearby. But it had also been two hours of ignoring the distant shapes unceremoniously laid out on the open ground. Waiting, was what he did, refusing to look back at the bodies of his friend as he used his rifle scope to scan for the watcher he knew was there.
He wasn’t wrong, a flight of birds from the opposite tree line had drawn his attention. With a slow and deliberate movement he brings the rifle to bear on where he had seen the birds, taking care not to disturb the foliage surrounding him.

It takes a moment before he spots the tell-tale scope glare in the trees, despite the anger settled deep within the pit of his stomach only one thought runs through his mind. Amateur. A small adjustment to the scope is his only action before he settles back behind the rifle, sighting just off the scope glare. Gently applied and increasing pressure is applied to the trigger until the red flash leaves the barrel, burning its way through the air towards its target.

No scream or sound greets its arrival, seconds pass before the branches of the tree begin to shake, eventually giving way as a body crashes to the hard dirt below. It remains unmoving, just as Eskkaar does the same, watching for any movement signalling a reaction from any other hostiles. When none happens he begins to make his way down towards the shapes he had been ignoring for hours.

His own shallow breaths are the only noise that break the silence as he finally draws close enough. Regretting his actions immediately as he doubles over and begins to retch, falling to his knees as he vomits in earnest, a physical and emotional response to seeing the dead bodies of his friends.

________________________________________________________________________________________

It’s another day and a half before the rest of his squad, and the four scientists he had been tasked with protecting are laid to rest with the most dignity and honour the beat down and dog tired Staff Sergeant can muster.

Using his rifle as an aid he forces himself onto trembling legs, dehydration, lack of food and sleep deprivation beginning to take his toll. He eyes the smoke trail that had be watching for the past hour, his face set in a determined scowl as he walks away from the graves behind him, tucking seven sets of dog tags underneath the skin suit of his armour.
Last Edit: 9 months 1 week ago by Eskkaar.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Margo Faulkner, Gloridenis Rexicalus, Dyston

The Survivor 6 months 3 weeks ago #16802

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
After backtracking for two days he’d finally picked up a familiar trail, one he’d used several times during the peaceful two weeks before the ambush. Still sticking to the treeline, hollows and the cover of rock formations he follows it as best he can, taking an indirect route back to where they’d made their camp.

As had become his habit he spends an hour or so watching the area ahead, ignoring animals as they prowl around or the wind as it shakes the trees, instead looking for anything against the norm. Deciding it was at least relatively safe he began his slow approach to the campsite, a grim smirk pulling at his lips as he catches sight of the area in front.

Beside what he assumes are pieces of Nexu lie three other corpses, or at least what have to be because the grievous wounds inflicted and the blast patterns surrounding them. All in the same vaguely similar garb to those that attacked him and his squad, their equipment, blasters and other items lain strewn through the mine field where they fell.

Veering off in front of the area filled with explosives Esk kneels down next to a thicket of bushes and small plants. Removing his combat knife he begins to dig into the hard dirt, breaking it up before pushing and pulling it aside in an effort to find a failsafe he himself had insisted on when Bendak had been laying the mines. A secondary deactivation remote.

Carefully pulling the device from the ground he brushes off the excess dirt, the dry particles floating to the ground in the failing light of the afternoon. Switching the small unit on he waits for the little readout lights to flash signalling that despite it’s time underground it is still functional. Seeming satisfied he trudges a few steps closer to the hidden danger, holding out the device he depresses a button, a green light flashing seconds later showing the all clear.

Placing his feet as lightly as possible and with trained eyes scanning the ground inch by inch he advances. His implicit trust in his now absent friend tested to the limit as others have already been here and could have very possibly caused a defect that could end his life in a swift flash of heat and shrapnel. Several tense moments later and he’s through the field, limbs intact even if his blood pressure has skyrocketed from the abundance of stress.

His small hope of finding their campsite unmolested are quickly dashed, while no one managed to get through the minefield, they seem to have found another way of continuing their destruction. Tents stand with great rips carved into their sides, charred pieces of scientific equipment unfamiliar to Eskkaar lay strewn across the grass and nothing is no longer in its rightful place, banished by some unknown force. Judging by the scorch marks he assumes they dropped several low yield explosives, maybe grenades in amongst the small campsite.

He heaves a sigh as he leans against an upturned crate, looking over the devastation. With the determination first instilled in him by his father then reinforced by the Navy he begins, picking through the detritus to retrieve anything he can use. Scraps of medical supplies, the occasional ration bar and one or two still charged power packs. Minutes, hours then half a day passes and he’s still sifting through the mess.

Eventually he manages to scavenge all he can, loading it onto a makeshift sled that he begins to haul into the nearest treeline before he can be seen. Pausing just before he disappears into the trees he looks back, gazing on the once safe haven. A moment passes before he lets the shadows swallow him, his new home wrapping him in its cold embrace.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Margo Faulkner, Gloridenis Rexicalus, Nerfar

The Survivor 6 months 3 weeks ago #16804

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
Hey guys, little warning for this snippet. Esk is starting his full on vengeance thing and he kills a guy up close and personal with a knife.

Don't read unless you want to!

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Quiet. The only sounds to reach his ears, his own breathing and the steady thump thump of his heartbeat. Even the animals were silent or non-existent this close to the quickly developing base nestled in the defensible corner of the canyon, driven away by the rapidly increasing activity forcing them from their natural habitats.

It had been easy to find, the simplicity of the task outlining clearly what he had already guessed. Whoever they were, whoever’s orders they were following, they thought themselves completely safe. After three days of watching from afar, the embittered Staff Sergeant aimed to prove them wrong.

From his vantage point on the reverse slope of a small ridge, hidden among a copse of trees he watches the randomly placed sentries several hundred meters from their main camp. Again, shocked by the apparent ineptitude of whoever is issuing the orders, but silently thanking them all the same.

A quick glance at the sky shows him the sun’s current position, and having been on Corstris for over a little over three weeks he knows he has maybe two hours before the sun sets beyond the canyon walls. Plunging the micro landscape quickly into the night time hours. Judging his position to be too exposed to consider any form of rest he instead continues to make his preparations.

Finally, thirty minutes after full dark has set in the canyon he begins to move. The slow arduous claw over the skyline, down the opposing slope and towards the gap in the line of sentries he had spotted hours earlier. Moving inches at a time he makes it through their line unnoticed, stopping every few feet, listening for anything that may signal he had been seen.

Four hours and twenty six minutes later he’s in position, lying in the deep shadow created by a clutch of bushes gently swaying in the wind. Again he waits as he takes mental notes of the hostile camp, now only a couple of hundred meters distant. A silhouette moving across the face of a camp fire to raucous laughter galvanises him to action, despite his body remaining perfectly still.

Scooting back he uses the cover of the bushes to raise himself into a small crouch as he sets off after the unknown man, his armour clad boots making only small swishing noises as they ghost through the ankle high scrub grass. He pauses once as his target does the same, crouching further, making himself a smaller object in the inky blackness, holding his breath.

Red dots appearing in the corners of his vision before the target moves on, he breathes in gently. Regaining the long desired oxygen as he wonders at what point he decided this individual was his ‘target’ and when he knew exactly what that meant to the outcome.

Ahead, barely visible thanks to the far off campfires the Staff Sergeant can see the outline of the man as he leans an object against a nearby tree. He ghosts up, moving with pain staking slowness.

Ten meters distant he draws his combat knife, the blade’s normally bright reflective sheen dulled with river mud applied hours before.

Five meters distant he pauses, incredibly shallow breaths are taken. His hand tightens around the knife, brows knitting together as he steels himself for the task ahead.

One meter distant he pauses for half a second as he rises from his crouch, picking up the sound of splashing and the distinct smell of urine.

Summoning his conviction again he continues his attack. Once at his full height his left arm wraps around the man’s head, clamping down firmly over his mouth. During Eskkaar’s second of hesitation the man immediately attempts to fight back, his arms grasping and his legs kicking, muffled screams fail to rouse his comrades to his aid and attempts to bite the armoured hand are ignored. With the knife gripped tightly his hand rises and descends rapidly, plunging into the vulnerable and exposed neck, severing the jugular and trachea in one swift movement.

Frantic with pain, the victim struggles with inhuman strength for several more moments, taking Eskkaar by surprise. Forcing the Staff Sergeant to release the knife to hold him in place through his death throws. Gurgling and coughing follow, spraying blood over his guantlet as they both collapse to their knees. Slowly the struggle stops as the man’s life ebbs away into the grass, Eskkaar almost carefully laying the body to the ground, his intention to limit any noise even if the action has a mocking reverence about it. Shaky hands quickly remove items of worth from the corpse; spare gas canisters, power packs, a grenade or two and a makeshift first aid kit.

Hours later with several kilometres between him and the hostile base finds the marine wedged under a small rock overhang, beyond the reach of prying eyes. His hands still shaking as they scrape off the dried blood of the man he had killed from his plated armour. The image of distant fire light dancing on the lifeless lens of his victim’s eyes flickers before him every time he blinks. Not too far off he hears the commotion of several dozen pairs of feet trudging through the underbrush in search of him. Eskkaar continues to flake off the dried life force, confused over why he’s so unnerved.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Margo Faulkner, Gloridenis Rexicalus, Nerfar

The Survivor 6 months 2 weeks ago #16827

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
He knows this. He’s practiced it since he was eight. Days, nights and weeks spent with his father and grandfather on the plains of his homeworld. Cutting sign and stalking game. Only now it’s not fun, it’s not a bonding session between three generations of his family and it’s not something he’s done to help him feel connected to his deceased grandparent. Instead, it is about one thing.

Survival.

His growling stomach attests to that fact as he gauges the wind direction one last time, ensuring he’s downwind before he makes his final move to close the distance for a decisive shot. Carefully placing one foot in front of another through the underbrush of the forest, avoiding each dried twig or slippery stone. Simultaneously keeping his eye on the young Nerf he’d been tracking for a day, somehow separated from its herd.

As the tired and hungry Marine Staff Sergeant leans upon a fallen tree, making his final adjustments to his rifle a false silence descends on the scene. The wind continues to blow, leaves continue to fall from the trees as autumn on Corstris begins to take hold and the low chatter of other creatures can be heard in the distance. Quickly it is broken with the sharp snap of blaster fire. A single bolt burning through the crisp air over two hundred meters before slamming home into its target. A low bellow of pain is all the nerf can manage before it succumbs, crashing to the ground and giving up its fight.

Vaulting over the fallen tree his approach becomes overly cautious, wary of a multitude of potentially violent threats that could end his life. As he reaches the motionless carcass the muzzle of his rifle is prodded into the beast’s side, a tried and tested check for signs of life. When none come he sets his weapon aside, but within reach. Drawing his combat knife he begins the grizzly task.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Cold, calculating efficiency. For the past week that has been his goal. Every twelve hours a new location, a new firing point.

Every twelve hours another of his enemies dead, or at the least injured.

He’d started with the towers, that’s what he referred to them as, but in reality they were more like look out points. Bolted onto the canyon wall and only accessed by lines winching people up and down.

His first shot had been perfect, but that was to be expected, he’d been able to take it with little other concerns. Spending two hours waiting for just the right moment before he squeezed the trigger from his hiding spot, covered over with a do it yourself camo net.

The red bolt left the barrel with barely a noise thanks to the silencer, a slight hiss as the ozone vapour is forced from the emitter nozzle. Discernible to only him in the quiet, to the enemy it would appear only as a red flash, quietly dealing death.

That is exactly what it did. Eskkaar watched through the scope as the bolt found it’s mark, high up on unknown male’s chest. A guaranteed kill shot given the distance, power setting of his weapon and the lack of armour on the target. That was before he spun with the force of the impact, almost comical in any other situation. His side catching against the edge of the tower before his dying motor functions can arrest his movement, toppling over the edge and falling almost twenty meters to the hard earth.

Alarms, klaxons and yelling fill the next moments. The hostile base erupting into chaos from it’s usually functioning if not ordered day. People dashing to and fro, small groups leaving and searching for the shooter with no real direction.

Meanwhile the Staff Sergeant slowly crawls back from his position, beyond any possible line of sight. Moving into a crouch he starts to travel his planned route, keeping hidden as he makes his way to his next firing point.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Gloridenis Rexicalus

The Survivor 6 months 2 weeks ago #16838

  • Eskkaar
  • Eskkaar's Avatar
  • Offline
  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • Posts: 1351
  • Thank you received: 541
  • Karma: 13
Missile strikes.

Or more accurately anti-armour rocket strikes thought Eskkaar. That had been their response after he’d killed eleven of their number in seven days, or at least he thought so. Randomly targeting areas surrounding their base that they thought may be hiding him.

Rather than risk a shrapnel filled death he abandoned his attacks on them, instead walking several days in the opposite direction to their base, trying to find a feasible route up onto the plateau above them.

Three days in and he’d circled back and around several times without luck, the occasional echoes reverberating through the valleys and canyons as more rocket strikes continued. Sat in the shade of a copse of trees, working out his options on how to strike again, how to gain an advantage and perhaps even steal one of the ships that seemed to unload every few days he manages to catch a shadow from the corner of his eye.

A quick inspection with his rifle scope allows him a closer look, presuming it to be a cave entrance. Looking to the sun’s position he takes a guess at three, maybe four hours of daylight left. Enough time to get there. Shouldering his small pack he trudges on again.

Hours later, after staggering his way up a steep slope, clutching onto grassy tussocks to aid his ascent, he follows the canyon wall. Rounding a rocky outcrop the potential cave entrance comes into view, now clear at the shortened distance.

Snarling is the only warning he receives, mere seconds before he’s bowled over by the large predator colliding with his chest. Jaws snapping shut before his face as they roll backwards, his rifle spinning off out of reach along with his pack. Soil and dirt covering his face as the tussle continues, neither able to do much until their combined momentum is spent.

Gasping for air the Staff Sergeant scrambles, instinctively trying to put distance between himself and the as yet unidentified threat. Another snarl fills his ears, joined by the sound of claws scraping over the protective plating of his armour, both proceeding blinding pain radiating from his left thigh, pulling a primal and guttural scream from the pit of his stomach. The sounds of man and beast echoing off the rock wall of the canyon.

Squinting through misty eyes he finally gets his first sighting of the devil attacking him. Four feral eyes stare back, each filled with an individual sense of malice. Black claws rake across his armoured plates, leaving behind gouges of fresh titanium. Tan coloured fur with black stripes heaves with the Nexu’s exertion as the creature begins to shake the Marine clasped within its jaws, worsening the already excruciating pain as the beast worries it’s way through the protective skinsuit.

Fight. That’s what the primitive part of his brain screams at him to do. Fight and survive. Instinct leading the way he strikes with closed fists at the Nexu’s head, pounding the creature in an attempt to free his leg from it’s grasp. Instead the beast seems to increase its assault, his actions only egging it on. Another scream is torn from his lips as the Nexu’s efforts make a fresh incision, slicing into his muscle fibres.

Bodily the creature picks him up from the ground, expressing it’s overwhelming strength for several seconds until he is slammed back down, air expelled from his lungs by the explosive force. He gasps, oxygen making it back into his system, even if in an inefficient way. Rational thought begins to take over as it manages to fight its way through the pain radiating from his injury.

His right hand grasps for the outside of his right thigh, pulling free whatever he finds, the gleam of his combat knife’s blade reflecting the dying light of the sun. Without restraint the blade is plunged into the flesh of the Nexu, popping the right hand inside eye before becoming wedged in the eye socket. Now it is the beast echoing the Marine’s bellows of pain, if snarls can be called that. His leg momentarily released is soon caught again as the creature shakes off the pain, its own anger boiling.

Holding the handle firmly with one hand he bashes it repeatedly, forcing the blade deeper into the beast's skull. In desperation he snatches at the knife’s handle with each hand, twisting the blade, the sound and vibration of it scraping along the creature’s bone, a sound and feeling he’ll never forget. In a flash the pain on his thigh abates slightly as the Nexu jumps away, pawing at the blade buried in the forward part of its skull, now deep in it's own pain.

Eskkaar kicks feebly at the ground, using his hands to help haul his battered body away from the flaying claws of the beast only a meter or so distant. Blood trickles from his wound, ignored by the human for now. His right hand again goes for his right thigh, this time finding the mark as he manages to pull free his sidearm from its magnetic holster. As if by some sixth sense the Nexu stops trying to free the knife, now turning its three eyed gaze back to the Staff Sergeant. Prowling in front of him, snapping its jaws in a taunting gesture.

“Come on you bastard…..lets be having you then.”

Despite the pain wracking his left side, centered on his hip, the Marine holds the blaster pistol rock steady, fierce determination in his eyes. The Nexu tilts it’s head to the side, as if evaluating the human’s resolve. In an explosive example of raw power the creature leaps forth, pouncing towards its wounded prey, fangs and claws ready for the kill.

The whole thing is over in the blink of an eye. The snap of the blaster pistol firing, the audible sizzle as it impacts flesh at such a close range, the groan of pain from the fatally injured Nexu and finally the solid impact of the dying beast against the hard dirt. As the marine kicks himself free of his tormentor’s lifeless limbs it’s chest bellows, the Nexu taking it’s final breaths.

Click, click, click sounds the trigger of the blaster pistol as the Marine puts three extra bolts into the Nexu’s hide. The creature failing this time to even give any sign of pain, it just slumps as the catastrophic damage caused by the multiple blaster bolts and the knife sticking out of its cranium ultimately take their toll. Instead Esk accepts that part, gasping as he holds a hand to his injured hip, applying pressure to slow the bleeding.

Slowly he shuffles across the dirt until he can reach his pack, lost when the Nexu bowled into him only a few minutes prior. Fiddling with the claps one handed, he eventually manages to free a small medkit he had been able to scrounge together. Uncapping a small bottle of sanitising agent he quickly cleans the injury, revealing half a dozen or so deep puncture wounds. Thankfully each continues to only weep blood, knowing how dangerous the loss of any could be for him on less than ideal rations a coagulant powder pack is torn open with his teeth and liberally shaken across his exposed thigh and hip, soon covered with a kolto infused bandage.

Finally, with his own and the Nexu’s blood still coating his armour clad fingers he locates a hypospray loaded with a mild painkiller. Pulling his skin suit down at the neck he manages to inject it somewhere near the vein, sagging against the ground with his immediate trauma care over.
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Moderators: Margo Faulkner
Time to create page: 0.167 seconds
2017  First Expeditionary Fleet