Jade Imperium - May We Die In The Forest

Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-09 05:15:48

Day 4 of Gateway construction

Angel leads Hugh, Zaef, Luis, and Arketta through the unyielding foliage. They've kept up their pace through the increasing heat and constant humidity, through thick undergrowth and barely-there paths through the jungle. It's been a arduous journey on an offset course compared to the faster but potentially more dangerous direct route between the research camp and Village 815. By Angel's reckoning, they should be approaching the village now and the team stops for a rest and listen. The jungle, as usual, is alive with sound, but the constant white noise of the river lets them know that they've got what might be an easy way in. The secondary growth along the riverbanks would make excellent cover for an approach, although the Imperials might expect that. Speaking of the Imperials, the rescue team doesn't see or hear any signs of their enemies yet. It doesn't mean there aren't patrolling out this far, however, and after another bout of hydration, Hugh waves the team forward cautiously. From here on in, he wants them invisible. Angel nods and takes care to pick a path the rest of the team can follow quickly and quietly. He spent a lot of time out on the village perimeter while the rest of the team trained the village warriors and soon Angel spots some familiar landmarks. A lightning-split trunk here, a particular babbling creek there, a teal-lit clearing where a fallen tree's given way to a verdant explosion of undergrowth.

It's a relief when Zaef and Hugh spot the wherren warrior walking the village perimeter. He's covered in the white glyphs of the Chosen, and carries his short spear and brace of throwing axes with a practiced ease. Angel hushes the team down into cover, and the wherren continues past without noticing the humans.

The team follows the warrior, moving in close enough to spot flashes of the village huts through breaks in the jungle. At this distance the sound of two villages' worth of warriors should be apparent, even if muffled by the forest. There's not much beyond the jungle noise and the handful of warriors halfheartedly guarding one of the stone structures near the riverbank. It certainly looks large enough to house ten wherren hostages, and the only wherren Hugh sees are either congregated around that building or walking random paths through the village, alert for intruders. Hugh starts looking around for an explanation. It doesn't take long for him to come across a great deal of foot traffic. The tracks are muddled but fresh, and with Angel's keen eye the team makes out both wherren and human footprints. It looks like an exodus, it looks like they didn't leave too long ago, and it looks like they're headed for the research camp.

After waiting and watching a few moments the team puts the enemy wherren's number at ten - three are standing or squatting at the front of the stone hut, idly guarding the structure but not particularly alert. Four more warriors, armed with bows and spears, stand guard on the few higher spots in the village - on top of the longhouse, on top of the stone hut, one down by the riverbank, and the fourth watches the treeline from the village clearing. Finally, it looks like there are three more roaming warriors like the one the team followed into the village. They're definitely roaming; they haven't been at it long enough to settle into a set path.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-10 19:34:42
The five humans watch the roaming guards, looking for an opening where the wherren with the high ground are looking out over the river or off into the woods, not into the village where the team has to move. Angel and Zaef creep closer into the village, while Hugh and Luis move in but stay on the perimeter. Arketta hangs back, ready to cover the team with her XM-10 should shit get real. Zaef's blades whisper out of their sheaths as one of the guards meanders his way around the side of one of the more substantial huts. Hugh sees the longhouse guard turn to watch the north side of the village and nods to Angel.

All Angel does is give a soft whistle. The wherren turns to see what the noise was, prompting Zaef to dash out of his hiding spot and strike the guard's head from his shoulders. Zaef can count on one hand his number of cuts that were that precise; he didn't even nick vertebrae.

The dead wherren's corpse and head rustle and thump as they topple into the brush. It's clear that the rooftop guards didn't notice anything, but there's a cheek-clenching moment of tension when a second wherren doubles back to check out the sudden foliage movement. Normally wherren are pretty tough. It'd probably take more than a double tap to bring one down, and he probably wouldn't go quietly, but no less than six suppressed .45 rounds pummel the wherren. Zaef's still crouched, ready to spring, when the guards topples forward without making a sound. Angel, Hugh, and Luis lower their smoking handguns. Arketta waves the team down - the hut guard's peering over at the recent happenings with some scrutiny, but then turns to regard the opposite side of the village. The third roaming wherren's passing the sentry down near the river, so the team darts from hut to hut, moving closer to the stone building that hopefully contains all the wherren hostages.

Angel and Hugh are able to the lead the entire team right up to the back of the stone hut without being spotted. The soft gravelly scratch of the rooftop guard's feet is a constant reminder that the team is riding a razor's edge between success and failure here. Hugh can hear movement inside the hut, but nobody's talking (not that you need to actively talk to communicate in whiirrsign).
Gatac 2010-06-10 21:17:51
Hugh signs for Luis to prepare a flash/bang. The snap on his carrying vest opens with a loud crack (or at least it sounds that way to Hugh), and he carefully slips out a tactical mirror. He slides out the telescopic grip, then slowly pushes the mirror into the window past the leather drapes, hoping to get an idea of how things look inside.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-10 23:19:30
Hugh's mirror slips past the hide drapes and shows a dimly lit single-room abode. Any accoutrements that might have been in here have been removed, leaving only a dirt floor, a large chamberpot whose stench wafts its way outside once the drapes are parted slightly, several half-empty bowls for food and water, and ten wherren hostages. The two adult females and four of the children are wearing rough-hewn leather collars with small metal devices on them. Whatever they are (although Hugh fears the worst, that they're some kind of explosive), they're not any kind of standard Imperial gear. The gadgets' red blinking warning lights are obvious in the mirror's reflection. The other four children don't appear to be rigged up at all, but all the hostages look unharmed, although all have the haggard, dirty and tired looks of, well, hostages.
Gatac 2010-06-10 23:28:08
Hugh motions for Luis to put away the flash/bang and instead take a look at the mirror. He mouths "Can you disarm that?" to the resident tech whiz.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-10 23:50:41
Luis tries to get the best look he can at the devices. The workmanship, as it were, varies from what he can tell. They don't look standard, they don't look fancy, and they don't look all that well-built. Apparently not even these Khiraba travel with bunches of explosive collars, which would explain the makeshift look and why not all the hostages have them.

The question is, what would trigger them? A vox call to someone off-site with a detonator? Moving too far from each other? Moving too far from one of the guards? You didn't spot any sort of detonator on the sentries you killed, and a quick glance doesn't reveal any apparent "invisible fence" transmitters around the hut or on any of the guards. Luis figures either the devices move too far away from each other they'll pop, or if the guards get time to call their masters the hostages are done for.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-12 03:22:40
Hugh quickly designates targets after Luis gives him the nod, and the Delta team explodes into action. Luis is the first into view; he spins around the front of the stone hut with Tenner blazing away at the three wherren guards. They don't even have time to look surprised. Luis shoots the first guard in the face, splattering boiling meat across the trio (now duo) of wherren. One was squatting, just idly poking at some bugs with his spear. He gets it in the chest and flops backward, writhing and trying to get to his feet. The third wherren ducks sideways out of Luis' path, but the medic doesn't stop for a fight. Luis darts inside the stone hut and leaves the surviving doormen to Zaef, who's more than happy to oblige. Two quick strikes send the wherren Luis missed spinning into the dirt, bleeding out from a mangled abdomen. Zaef finishes him and the squatting guard off as an afterthought and he too ducks into the hut behind Luis.

Angel steps out to get a good view of the wherren down by the river. One headshot puts down the white-painted Chosen, then Angel spins and tags the clearing guard. The wherren howls and topples, grasping at his leg. By this time the sentry watching from the roof of the stone hut notices what's going on. He springs into action, rolling off the hut and screaming as Arketta opens his ribcage with two well-placed beamer shots. The screaming stops when the alien hits the dirt, the impact shaking something loose inside his chest cavity.

Hugh's got the other rooftop sentry. This one's on the village longhouse. Hugh squeezes his Tenner trigger twice and is rewarded with a geyser of wherren salsa. He spins to finish off the clearing guard Angel tagged but his third shot whips overhead, scorching the tall grass.

The team moves towards the hut entrance. Luis and Zaef are already inside - the hostages shrink back in fright at first, but they recognize the humans as friendly and waste no time:

"The false gods told us not to leave the hut, else we'd die!"

"Or to leave the group!" -"Yes, that too!"

"They killed my mother and they killed Uncle Klaatu!"

Outside, Hugh's almost through the hut door when a rough-hewn axe clatters off the rocky wall. The last roaming guard comes around from the opposite side of the hut, brandishing another short throwing axe and a spear. The wherren's sudden appearance actually saves the team a lot of pain, because when Hugh, Angel, and Arketta turn towards the guard, they're alerted to a metallic glint rising out of the nearby river. It's a Cyllan in an encounter suit - a fully sealed armored shell floating on impeller plates, a far cry from the simple translator masks the jellyfish-like Cyllans wore the first time the team visited Whiirr.

It's also well-armed. Hugh throws himself through the doorway as the constant muzzle-flash of twin-linked stingers light up the river. A salvo of screaming slivers tears across the stone hut's rocky facade. Angel ducks low and ends up prone just outside the doorway as the stinger rounds rip bloody flesh wounds into his arm and back. Not visually appealing, but nothing that'll stop him right now. Arketta's too far from hard cover and facing down the charging wherren. The Cyllan's stingers continue their deadly swath along the stone, ricocheting and spiraling into a maelstrom of razors. Arketta's hit along the chest and goes down. Her beamer skitters into the ripped-up turf next to her.

"Help!" she yelps.

"Kapten Verrill!" shouts the Cyllan's synthesized voice. "We meet again! Had I known then what I know now, I would have stopped your airsucking primate heart when I had the chance!" The alien punctuates his greeting with another metal hailstorm that rattles the hut walls.
e of pi 2010-06-12 08:16:20
Luis' heart jumps, and he's back out the door to get Arketta without really thinking. The only concession to the situation is that he calls, "Cover me!" over his shoulder as he charges out of the hut.
Gatac 2010-06-12 19:41:53
"Put fire on the jellyfish!" Hugh shouts, sticking his own gun out of a window and laying down some less-than-aimed cover fire for Luis.

(assuming there's a lull in the firefight after Luis drags Arketta back to cover)

"Tough talk for an giant piece of sushi!" Hugh shouts back. "I'm giving you one chance to float away nice and peacable like, Interpreter. But if you want to die - you've come to the right airsucking primate!"
CrazyIvan 2010-06-12 22:39:57
Angel growls in pain at the salvo of stinger shots graze him, cursing as he hits the dirt. While Luis goes out to pull Arketta back behind cover, he pulls himself up to a knee, hunkering against the building.

A gloved hand switches the fire selector to fully automatic, a rare enough event even fighting a running guerrilla war against a quite literally Evil Empire. The salvo from the two stingers in the river is met by a hailstorm of metal.
skullandscythe 2010-06-12 23:33:30
"Everyone, calm down. We're gonna get you out of here, and to do that, we need to take off those collars as quickly as possible. Please do as we say because it's for your sake as well as ours." "Doc, you wanna-Huh." Zaef turns towards Luis and finds himself talking to the wall. He turns back towards the hostages and attempts to inspect the collars.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-13 02:25:35
Zaef's no demolitions expert, but he knows his way around ships and technology well enough to know that whoever put these doodads together didn't have a lot of time, didn't have a lot of skill, and didn't use any explosives.

They're just for show. The collars are just bits of Sheen innards wired up to look threatening. Zaef simply clips the strap free and tosses the blinking device down in disgust. Still... he considers that the Khiraba would be bastardly enough to put at least one real collar in there, just for a "fuck you", so Zaef approaches the next collar with only a slightly muted caution.

Meanwhile, Hugh's covering fire keeps the Cyllan in the river while Angel dumps his mag into the alien. He sees several rounds strike armor, spots at least one geyser of pressurized containment fluid, and then brings his bucking SCAR across to finish the charging wherren. Angel's a hair too slow, however, and his mag runs dry before the barrel lines up on the guard. Beyond the wherren, the Cyllan interpreter plays his wounds off with tough talk:

"Hah! Your weapons were useless then and they're - urrrgh - no better now!"

Angel ducks back to reload.

Luis skids to a stop on his knees next to Arketta. She's alive and kicking (literally kicking herself back towards cover), but it'll be a lot easier to keep her that way if Luis can get her inside and away from the Chosen bearing down on them with axe and spear. He drags Arketta back towards the hut entrance while Arketta draws her sidearm with a pained breath. Luis gets her in the doorway as the wherren reaches them. Arketta's pistol pwips and the wherren stumbles into the doorjam, his attack forgotten in favor of avoiding more chest wounds.

A cyclone of razors sprays across the hut again. The wherren staggers, slumps, and falls as blood sprays in a pink mist around the doorway. Luis feels like he's hit everywhere as he's caught in the bouncing, shattering hypervelocity storm. He instinctively falls over Arketta, eliciting another yelp of pain from the ex-Turai, but she rolls Luis off her. Clearly she's not wounded that badly. Even Hugh ducks back as the Cyllan stingers turn the hide "curtain" into cheesecloth.

Angel locks his fresh magazine into place and slaps the bolt home. The Cyllan's weaponry doesn't stop, it just holds the stream of slivers on the hut. It's hard to tell how much ammo the thing's suit has, but if it's this spendy it's probably got enough. Hugh moves to another window and sights in on the alien's shell just as Angel leans out of cover once more. The Cyllan splits its fire and stingers scream in time with thunder and lightning. Hugh reflexively spins around to the stone hut's dirt floor as he's hit in the upper shoulder and chest - there's a lot of surface damage to the shoulder but his gear's soaked the vital hits. The maelstrom whips past Angel. For their part, the two Deltas' shots are spot on. The Cyllan suit sparks and shakes. Angel spots one of the impellers blow free of its articulator and spin into the river. White, sticky Cyllan blood blossoms and spurts from ragged holes in the armored shell, mixing with the containment fluid. The stricken suit splashes down and sinks. It leaves a haze of smoke over the sunlit river.

Luis has the kauka out now, and Zaef's gotten through all the collars without seeing any actual explosives. Arketta grins as the device's healing light starts regenerating her wounds. "Stingers are nice, but you have to hold them on somebody," she grunts.

Outside, Angel hears one of the wherren move. The guard who was in the clearing is trying to alternately limp and crawl to safety in the trees.
CrazyIvan 2010-06-13 05:51:36
Groaning in pain from the stray Stinger shots he took, Angel gingerly walks toward the guard, his rifle now switched to a more sedentary rate of fire.

"Not a good fucking idea."
Gatac 2010-06-13 10:17:31
"Try to keep him in one piece, Angel," Hugh shouts to the marksman.

He turns to the hostages, shoulders his rifle and bows down with them.

"Everything's alright now. We're here to free you. Is anyone hurt?"
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-13 19:57:39
The two adults give the eight wherren children a once-over, checking them for any wounds from the brief firefight. The children seem shell-shocked if nothing else, but noone caught any stray slivers. One hugs Zaef, as if to make sure he's real. "No, I think we're all all right," one female says. "The others - they left... I don't know. Not long ago." The others chime in with their guesses, but Hugh doesn't get anything precise. Maybe an hour ago? If that orange messenger made good time back to the village, or hit a friendly patrol and didn't have to make it the full way back, that might indeed give the Imperials time to pack up quick and leave. Or, they were going to head out no matter what. Either way, the Imperials and their brainwashed wherren will be at the research camp today.

Outside, Angel easily approaches the wounded wherren (to whatever distance he feels safe). The guard's still trying to crawl away, but hasn't the energy to get to a limp anymore. As Angel draws closer, the alien gives up even crawling and lies prone in the tall grass, panting in exhaustion and pain.
punkey 2010-06-13 21:42:08
Hugh grabs the radio. "Camp, this is Strike 6. Objective secured. We encountered ten hostile Wherren and one armored Cyllan. We took light casualties, no losses. Will be ready to move in five. Request status check, over."
Davis drops his energy bar and grabs his mic. "Everything's quiet over here, Strike 6," he says. "What's the news on the rest of the opposition, over?"
"We believe they left the village one hour ago and are now en route to you," Hugh says. "Interrogative - perimeter movement? Over."
"Nothing so far, Strike 6," Davis says, looking over at Hale, who shakes his head. "All clear out here, over."
"Roger, Camp," Hugh says. "We have the Wherren names, ready to transmit on your go, over."
"Thanks, they'll want to know inside. Go ahead, over."
"Wherren names are as follows: Lug, Muzgash, Othrod, Dush, Kunang, Brag, Rhea, Temator, Torega, and Sijet, females are Rhea and Sijet, list concludes," Hugh says. "They are exhausted and scared, but no physical injuries. Give the shaman my personal assurance that we will get them to the camp in one piece, over."
"Will do," Davis says. "Good job and many thanks, Strike 6. I'm sure there's some Wherren here who will be glad to buy you a glass of Zaef's moonshine when you get back, over."
"Can't wait for that, Camp," Hugh radios back with a distinct lack of enthusiasm. "We're moving now, will advise if we spot hostiles on the way. Squawk in if there's perimeter movement. Strike 6 out."

"Copy that, Strike 6. Over and out."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-15 00:59:52
Davis looks over at Hale. "Want to come with me to break the good news?"

Hale muses his choices and arrives at if I say yes, Davis will stop asking, and it wouldn't be the worst excuse to recycle the atmo in this suit. "Sure," he says hesitantly.

"Hey, you don't want to go, don't go. We have an agreement, you do what you want, right?"

I've made my choice. Might as well own up to it. Hale clambers up out of the foxhole. "So let's go, then."

"Alright." Davis waves two guards over to the foxhole. "Can you watch our post? We've got an announcement about the hostages to make."

He sees the trepidation on their faces and fur. "It's a good one," he says with a smile.

"Are they safe?" asks one guard. His fur's equal parts curiosity and worry.

"Yes, all of them," Davis signs.

The guards nod. "The hostages are safe!" the duo begin signing to their fellows in the other fortifications, and Davis enters the dome chamber to a rising chorus of victorious howls. Cowboy gets a rib-creaking hug from Mola. "You do not know what a weight was just lifted from us," Mola signs to the Texan.


Davis climbs up on a crate near the door as Hale's suit hisses to recycle his air supply, and whistles loudly in the space. "I have news on the hostages!" he grunts loudly. "We have rescued all of the hostages, and they're all safe."

The wherren guarding the prisoners whoop with joy. The prisoners are much more subdued. Davis picks up on a bit of jealousy: I wish WE were rescued and such. None seem particularly put out that wherren innocents were saved, not even Hoei, but then none are celebrating with their guards either. It's just another pointed reminder of their own plight.

"What of the Khiraba?" Kosai asks. "And what of your people?"

"No Khiraba were there, we expect it was a trap that we managed to defeat, there was a Cyllan in an encounter suit that ambushed the team. No casualties from our side," Davis says. "The names of the rescued are the females Rhea and Sijet, and children Lug, Muzgash, Othrod, Dush, Kunang, Brag, Temator and Torega. If you know anyone here who is related to them, please let them know."

Kosai accepts the news in stride, although she tunes out when Davis starts reading off names. As for the wherren, they pass the names of the surviving hostages around camp and the mood brightens considerably.

Davis looks over at Hale. "Got your air recycled? You don't have to hang around if you don't want to, just need to talk to Hiigra." He waves the Shaman over. As it turns out, Hale sticks around. His mirrorshine helmet is an implacable facade against the increasing number of antagonistic stares the Rav-Turai is getting from his former comrades. Meanwhile, the shaman attends Davis. He's clearly pleased, but not "overwhelming and total victory" pleased.

"Feeling better, Shaman?" Davis asks. "I think it's time we contacted Hiigra."


Davis, the shaman, and Hale head upstairs to the oft-used comm room. Davis gets Hiigra on the line fairly quickly, although the transmission still bears the static interference from when the chief damaged his vox in a fit of rage. Davis tells Hiigra the good news for the third time in as many minutes, and in return Hiigra tells them about a fishing spot upriver that should prove a fine shelter for the hostages. It will be safer than bringing them back through enemy lines to an inevitable battle, at any rate, and it will allow Hugh's team to move quicker and quieter than if they had children with them.

Finally, Davis pops the big question. "The Imperium and their brainwashed wherren are on their way here now, perhaps an hour or two out. Can your allies spare any warriors to come to our aid?"

Hiigra shakes his head. *We can send whoever we can, but it will be a day or two at best. There is no way they will arrive in time to help you.*

"Then save your men, Hiigra, and wish us luck."

Hiigra does so and signs off, prompting the shaman to ask Davis, "What now?"

"Well, now we prepare for the Khiraba." Davis smiles. "Don't worry, I have a plan."

"So I've noticed," Hale interjects at the same time the shaman says the exact same thing in Whiirrsign.

Davis' smile gets bigger. "Okay, Shaman, I'm going to need some of that white paint your warriors mixed up last night." He looks down at his arms and torso, where the paint still hasn't even started to flake off. "It seems to be pretty durable, and I need to leave a message for our guests on the habs."

The shaman nods. "There should still be some in Hab Two."


Davis looks over at Hale. "You alright? I saw the looks they were shooting you downstairs."

"I'll be fine," Hale says. "You worry about the angry horde heading for us, I'll worry about whatever pithy names my countrymen call me."

"That's why I ask, actually. When the Khiraba get here, they're going to want to speak to Samal Varna, and failing that, they're going to want to talk to you, and I want to know if you're up for that," Davis says. "I'm not asking you to lie to them, either to tell them that you're going to welcome them with open arms, or that everyone here wants them dead. But they're going to want to hear from you, and if they don't, things will probably get ugly very fast. Are you okay with talking with them?"

"Why would they want to talk at all?" Hale asks.

"Leave that part up to me," Davis says. "I'm going to make them an offer they can't help but listen to. I just need to know if you're willing to do this." Davis looks Hale in the...helmet. "And before you start thinking about what kind of loyalty test this is now, listen to me. You've more than proven that you're trustworthy with me. I knew you were a good man that first night in the clearing, and I trust that you will do the right thing, not just by you, but for everyone else. You can drop the guarded paranoid bullshit, Hale. I trust you. You just have to trust me."

"All right, if they're talking to us, I'll talk to them," Hale agrees.

"Great!" Davis says. "I've got a lot of work to do, so I'll see you later, Hale." He turns and walks out of the comm room.

No wonder Varna blew his brains out, Hale thinks as Davis leaves. This is going to be a Firstdamned mess of the highest Firstdamned order. Hale slaps the lights off as he follows the spook out.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-16 05:33:54
Village 851

Everyone thinks they're the hero of their own story, and Mulmar is no different. The wherren warrior thought himself Chosen among Chosen, hand-picked by the gods themselves for this vital mission, this trap laid to catch the demons that slaughtered his people. He and his comrades watched and waited, and like any good story, Mulmar and his fellow wherren turned out to be the underdogs in a desperate situation. The demons set upon them even faster than before - Mulmar was face down in the grass, badly wounded, only able to crawl and listen to his dying friends. But he was the hero. He had righteous vengeance on his side, and as the demon strode closer, Mulmar prepared to throw his last axe. He might die, but he would die a slayer of demons.

Unfortunately, Mulmar is not the hero. Mulmar exists only to serve as an object lesson in "throwing axe from a prone position vs. man with a SCAR-H trained on your dome". Angel's on the lookout for trickery, and when the wherren pushes up and spins and his arm flails out to the side with a stone axe, Angel shoots him in the head and the alien warrior flops dead in the grass.
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-06-17 05:21:17
Luis quickly sees to the minor but painful wounds he, Hugh, and Angel sustained during the furball. Arketta's already back on her feet and ready to go. Hugh issues the order to move out, and the team forms a scattered 3 by 2 ring of sorts around the group of wherren.

It's a short but quiet walk up the river bank. There's a lot of thoughts buzzing around everyone's minds. Is it an upbeat walk, full of feelings of pride? After all, rescuing innocents is about as white-hat as you can get. Maybe that pride's tempered by somber thoughts. The other wherren you had to put down, the fact that the hostages you did save are only a handful compared to the group that left Hiigra's village. Maybe tension or worry about the enemy that is marching on your friends at this very moment. Will you reach the camp in time?

Before the team realizes it, one of the females, Sijet, is pointing to a spacious natural hollow formed by thick, twisting, raised tree roots left exposed by the dry season and the lower waterline. There are a few gourds and hide sacks with supplies secreted under the roots, and the adult wherren pass out a few meager snacks to the children. Some of the wherren kids have clearly been this way before; their ordeal's forgotten as they string up some lines or look for some easy aquatic prey floundering in the shallows. Others aren't going to have such an easy time of it. Sijet gently but firmly pries one child off of Luis' leg, explaining that the humans have to go so they can save the rest of the tribe. Thanks are exchanged, and you get the feeling that the ten wherren here will be okay. That no matter what is to come, the seeds have been planted - with Hiigra, with the tribes he's met, with these children here - that there are Others who will help simply because help is needed, and they will ask nothing in return.

All too quickly the fishing site is gone, just more teal foliage behind you as you move as quickly as you dare, following the swath of enemy footprints through the alien jungle.


Research Camp
Day 4 of Gateway construction

Clouds in the distance threaten rain but they never make good on their promise. The camp knows the enemy is on their way. There's a palpable tension in the air as everyone gets to their positions. The wherren are evenly spread through the foxholes and habs, not willing to make any one target juicier than another, unsure from which direction the inevitable is approaching. Only a handful are out of position - these warriors are quickly lathering leftover white glyph paint over the hab and dome walls. The paint dries quickly in the hot sun despite the humidity and sets into the rough quickfoam.

Want to trade prisoners for Wherren hostages, contact on vox channel 2890