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Da Red One's repository of Stories about Angry Monkey Men

Discussion in 'FanFic' started by DaRedOne, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

    Joined:
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    Hi guys! I've started writing some fics starring my morat guys after wotan, and since the other forum is soon going out, I thought it would be a good idea to make a thread in the new forum to keep them alive. I'll update this every now and then as inspiration and ideas come to me. First story is about the end of Wotan

    "Thoughts on Sogarats"

    The underbelly of the ship was restless. As the Combined Army troops retreated from the now overrun Raxora Assault Carrier, the assembled Morat Forces growing more and more impatient with every passing second they were held packed in the cargo hold. This was no way to end a war, with the soldiers weighed down by not just defeat, but frustration, humiliation and even abandonment. Now the many Aspects of the EI gathered together to discuss and pool resources, leaving the troopers blind, allowing their angers and frustrations to grow into dissent, and from dissent to treason.

    In nowhere else were these thoughts more obvious than the cargo hold of the Jevarak Morat Troop Transport, the ship overpacked with the survivors and wounded as they returned to an established rendezvous point further away from the secured blockade. No one else embodied those thoughts more than Sogarat Sothek, the young but brutal warrior beating his chest as he spoke, standing atop a stack of metal crates. The sogarat hadn’t even received his badirak yet, but he had been in the forefront of the battle for the Wotan Blockade, and believed to be speaking from experience

    Sothek was clad in full battle armor, so heavy the crates buckled and bent under his weight as he paced across them, punching his own battle armor to emphasize every other word “Where is the might of the Combined Army?” he roared, his fist slamming on his armored chest to produce the clangor of a wardrum, the metallic echo drawing eyes and ears to his bellowing voice. His face was unmarred, red and swollen with anger “Where *was* the might of the Combined Army? We fought! We bled!” This was true, as like many others of his kin Sothek had been in the thick of the fighting since the first day, putting his skills and his armored bulk to their best use. But, now staring defeat in the face, the young warrior was inflamed into a frenzy, and he was set in whipping his brethren into a traitorous uproar.

    “No support! No backup! They fed us to the grinder, and we bled! We died!” Each word was now followed by a smashed fist on his chest plate, so hard there was an indentation forming where mailed gauntlet met hard battle armor to create that strident, violent sound. “And now the EI aspects all grow silent” His voice lost some of it’s volume, but none of its venom, instead becoming more subtle, and dangerously conspiratorial.“They plot and brood and scheme, while we remain in the dark. We are warriors, not plotters! Give us a fight! Any fight!” The chorus of literal-chest beating was joined this time by the disgruntled shouts of approval of his comrades, who, left to stew long enough, finally began to boil over. The vaunted chamber where the morat soldiers and their war machines were held slowly swinging towards riotous, self-righteous disorder.

    All across the loading dock, the eyes were on him now. He could see the suryat officers nod in approval and tacit consent rather than pull-rank and restore order. Even the usually stout and silent Orlok, the warrior officer of their Rodok squad, stood up, still silent but showing his support while his soldiers all bellowed and beat their chests in agreement “We fight!” they bellowed. It was a desire, a need, the loss at Wotan too bitter and too fresh to stomach. Morats did not lose wars, but it had never occurred to these warriors that they could lose battles.

    “This is our time.” Once more Sothek slammed his fist on armor again, as if the steady tempo would reinforce his makeshift authority, empowering him as the newest commander of the increasingly raucous troops “I say we overtake this ship and assault the Combine High Command itself! Take back our power! Restore the Hegemony!”

    As his vague pontifications moved into openly treasonous order-giving, a sudden tension filled the air as the gravity of his suggestions began to settle in and take hold.

    The two Daturazi warriors in the room, Darak with his long polearm in hand, and Sophet who had so far been busy scrimshawing a human skull, now raised their heads, wondering if they would have to take action against the rabble-rouser. “They are weak! We should not bow to them!” Sothek’s voice was like a raid siren, loud, obnoxious but impossible to be ignored, and more voices joined his in agreement.

    And then, with startling suddenness, an uneasy silence, broken only by the metallic thunks of boots as a new party entered the chamber.

    While some warriors commanded obedience by fear, strength or sheer volume, others commanded by example and experience. Where the former drove their men, the latter led. Warrior Officer Hirok was one of the last type, a broad shouldered, heavily armored sogarat whose badirak badge wasn’t even displayed on his suit, having been torn off and destroyed in the many firefights the huge officer had taken part in recently. He oozed authority, and his mere presence made a few voices shut up as he walked in, followed by a lithe and lean, lightly armored Oznat warrior woman, her blade held at the ready.

    “Shut up, Sothek.” He said with a solemn flatness , as if he was scolding a young whelp who forgot how to turn off the safety lock on his rifle “We lost. Move on. There’s beer in the fridge at the back of the dock, go cool your head.” His words were soft, and yet they carried easily across the room, tempering the heated furor of the assembled warriors as he moved across them towards the screaming bulk of Sothek in the middle of the room.

    Others would have thought Hirok was afraid, being the only one openly questioning the enraged sogarat, but both the Oznat now holding her position at the edge of the crowd and the two daturazi in the middle of it knew better. Ren’ehk had hunted beasts far larger and louder than any morat, and she knew when loud meant dangerous and when loud meant stupid. Sothek was loud, swollen and angry, yes, but his legs were not planted in a firm base, and his arms were not posed for attack or defense, just for show. Hirok, on the other hand, walked like a stalking demarok bull, purposeful and focused, saving energy by not making a lot of sound or wasting his breath with big, screamed words.

    Of course, not all warriors, not even the ones that ascended to the Tempest Regiment, understood the subtleties of body language like the Packmistress or the witch soldiers did. Sothek, for example, was quick to equate his Warrior Officer’s silence with weakness.

    “Cool my head? Have you gone insane, officer?!” the inflection on that last word made it come off as an insult, as if he was talking to a Krakot, bound and forced to work for the war but never in it. “Look at us! We are a fighting force to be reckoned! We are the best soldiers of the galaxy!” A loud, cacophonic cheer echoed across the room as anger and frustration slowly became madness and euphoria “The humans beat us because we were held back by the EI and her lackeys! I say no more! No more!”

    Ren’ehk took off her helmet as she leapt onto the shoulders of a deactivated Raizot TAG, perching herself for better line of sight to the two giants in the center of the dock. At the same moment, Hirok removed his helmet too, a pressurized hiss coming out of his armor as the breathing systems turned off, allowing the old, grizzled face of the Warrior Officer to be shown. He looked like a punched slab of beef, the Oznat thought; his face marred with scars and with a thick, scraggly and square beard that looked like it could be used to sharpen a blade on. The contrast couldn’t be more obvious, even as Hirok’s already stern features scrunched into pure, seething rage.

    “We are not slaves!” Sothek rambled on, so immersed in his own voice he couldn’t even realize the incoming danger “Come on! Let’s…” He never got to finish that sentence, as a swipe of Hirok’s hand took him by the left foot, raising his whole armored form into the air before slamming him face first on the floor, the clangor of the Sogarat suit smashing into the metal hull of the transport so loud it eclipsed all the roars and chants from the assembled soldiers. There was now a heavy armor-shaped dent on the ground as the warrior officer yanked his battered subordinate back to his feet.

    It was over so fast, a few of the onlookers actually sighed in disappointment. From her vantage point Ren’ehk saw Sothek’s fist ball up and shoot forward, so telegraphed a baby could have dodged it. Anger could make one sloppy after all, but rage, pure, white hot rage was a perfect anesthetic, and Hirok took the armored punch square on his bearded jaw, not even flinching from the impact before swinging his own fist to smash it beneath the armored plates on the Sogarat’s suit. There was a point where the armor was slightly less strong, and the more experienced officer knew that suit as he knew his own skin.

    A quick series of punches staggered the armored youngster but did not put him down, and he swung again with a hooking right fist that would have torn Hirok’s head off had it connected with his temple as it was aimed to. Instead the warrior officer raised his shoulder, the plate buckling under the impact but allowing him to put his fist on Sothek’s chest, right where he had been smacking so hard earlier. The armor at that point was bent, not soft, but bent enough to allow Hirok to get a grip by digging his fingers in, and yanking his subordinate forward, their skulls crashing against each other hard enough to make a loud crack echo through the room loudly enough to be heard over the cheering, and the crash of metal-on-metal.

    Once Sothek was dazed, the warrior officer could follow up with a few punches to the head, the first hooking fist cracking the young warrior’s jaw, the second splitting his eyebrow and the third laying him out on the ground, unconscious and wheezing from a broken, caved-in nose. “Is this what we have become?” Hirok bellowed as he spat in disgust at the half dead sogarat at his feet “Are we the savages…?” That was a bad word, morats were very savage. “Are we the *idiots* the humans make us out to be?”

    That, more than him knocking out a younger and fully armored sogarat, made the crowd shut up. “I refuse to believe it was that easy to make all of you hardened soldiers forget our place, our duty. War is what we are, War is what we live. And war is loss.” At the back of the crowd, Sophet looked up from his human skull trophy and smirked, the Warrior Officer would have made one hell of a Daturazi. “We live to fight, we are the best soldiers in the Combined Army.” As he nursed his warriors’ confidence back, the sogarat lowered his voice, refusing to scream even as he felt his spirit flare up with the same indignant rage the others felt.

    “But we are not invincible. And to nurture that though is to be an imbecile” Hirok kicked the still unconscious form of Sothek by his feet for emphasis. No medic would dare come close to help until the order to do so was given “That the humans, these… Pan Oceanians, have defeated us is frustrating, yes. But it was our fault. We have grown complacent, overconfident… We believe in the might of our armies without remembering that the enemy also believes in their own prowess.”

    Hirok took his time to look at each and every assembled warrior in the room. He saw Sor’kan, fresh with his sniper lanyard, cleaning his gun and adjusting his visor. He saw the recently promoted to warrior officer Kasaro sink into his Suryat suit in shame, realizing he should have stopped Sothek himself. But most importantly, Hirok saw frustration and dismay, and that he could not accept. “I have fought what you must fight, and I have killed what you must kill. So hear me out.” His tone made it seem like he was about to tell a secret, instead of scolding them all.

    “The humans are dangerous. Let that thought sink in, there is no shame in accepting it. They will fight with the same tenacity and vigor as we will. They will fight dirty, they will fight fair, they will do anything in their ability to win this war…” The warrior officer paused, allowing the soldiers to think, to digest his words before he finished “And they may very well succeed.”

    “If we are to win this war, we must not underestimate the humans. We must not rely on the power of the Combined Army, or on the strength of our arms.” There was a muffled gasp, Hirok’s words nearly heretical by this point “We must use this.” He tapped his temple with one armored finger “Be smarter, be stronger, be better. Learn from this loss, learn from every loss.” He once more took his time to look into every assembled soldier. “We will wipe out or assimilate every human in this wretched space, but to do so, we must be true soldiers, true warriors. Do not allow this setback to turn us into maniacs, but learn from it…”

    Finally the warrior officer allowed himself a grin “And yes, do get angry. But save it for when you have a human in your sights. Then, by all means, kill him and every last one of their friends you can see!” That brought a cheer to the assembly’s voice “We will return, stronger, deadlier, and we will win! More fights are coming, so don’t waste your energy fighting your own brothers…” Once more he allowed himself to grin “Unless it’s a sotarak, of course, then you’re welcome to get your asses kicked by yours truly.”A more honest cheer rose from the ranks now.

    Taking a mocking bow, the warrior officer picked his helmet up “Now feast! Drink! Relax. Punch a friend out if you need to.” He kicked Sothek’s body again “But I want to hear talk of strategy and tactics, not treason. I want to hear talk of victory, not defeat. We are morat and we never lose. If anyone needs me, I will be at the officer’s room talking with the aspects. Enjoy your little rest and relaxation, warriors.”

    There was no cheer when the Warrior Officer left, but there was no need for it. His job was done.

    Away from the main crowd, Ren’ehk snickered, watching the warrior officer move and observing the assembled males and their body language. Tension was in the air, but it was being directed, instead of just vented out it was being shaped and put to use, the difference between a plasma discharge and a faulty engine pipe. The huntress looked down and nodded to the two witches beneath her, figuring they both had come to the same conclusion: the crisis had been averted.

    Jumping down from her perch, Ren’ehk moved to intercept Hirok’s bulk, chuckling at him.

    “Do you actually believe that?”

    “What?” the warrior officer stopped, looking at the Oznat. She had white eyes, a not uncommon feature but exotic enough to add a little something to her looks “That we can win this war? Yes, of course.” His tone almost felt like he was calling her silly just for questioning it, but the packmistress knew better.

    “I sense a ‘but’ after that sentence.” She nudged him with the back of her blade, leaning in as if she was about to tell, or most likely hear, a secret.

    “But nothing. I meant every word. Humans are smart, they’re fractured, they’re squabbling against each other for silly concepts like land or profit while we encroach, but they are smart and tenacious. If they ever got united, then maybe they would pose a real threat. As it is… We can win this war.”

    Ren’ehk raised an eyebrow “We can. Not we will” She smiled, licking her lips as if she was anticipating a fight already.

    “I’m not dumb. Nothing is certain. But I will fight, and If I go down it will be swinging. Does that answer your question, packmistress?” The older warrior officer nudged her back, nearly knocking the lithe Oznat on her ass by the sheer weight of his body

    “Yeah, that’s enough. Funny, I never thought you Sogarats were so thoughtful.”

    “And I never thought Oznats weren’t screaming maniacs. Want to join me? I could use an advisor with brains.” Hirok resumed moving, not caring if the Oznat followed him or not. But she did, her white eyes gleaming as she imagined where they could be deployed next. A challenge was always welcome, but victory was never certain.

    END​
     
  2. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

    Joined:
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    This next story is just about a fun time with a Raicho tag. It is more or less based on a match I had a few weeks ago, but doesn't follow the exact same things that happened in the game (My suryat did kill a domaru in CC, though :D)

    STORM DANCER


    Bullets trailed along the armored bulk of the warehouse, a Domaru Butai lowering his head behind cover and clutching where the heavy caliber projectile had detonated inside his suit, the reactive armor turning what would have been a lethal blow into merely inconvenient. It still hurt like mad, and he knew he couldn’t put his head up again or the alien war machine currently spraying his and his fireteam’s position with heavy machinegun fire would turn him into bloody pulp.

    A Raizot TAG was not a war machine. It was a tool for hunters, for the more savage and violent of the red skinned alien morats to be able to fight and kill the beasts of their home planet in hand to hand combat. The Storm Dancer, the name etched on the machine’s scarred right shoulder plate as if to announce its name to all humans it was about to kill, was a blood red beast, roughly fourteen feet tall and so extremely heavy its armored dewclaws cracked into the pavement when it moved. Its head was customized to look like a fanged monster, and the skull of some giant reptilian alien hung from its back as a grisly trophy. It made a constant, thrumming roar as its heavy gun shot over and over again, riddling the armored warehouse with bullets.

    “Oyat, that’s enough!” A gruff voice roared on the pilot’s headset. Inside her armored suit, Oyat Karakot, the young yet highly accomplished pilot grinned from ear to ear, ignoring her commander’s orders and continuing to riddle the human’s last position with high powered bullets, each one the size of her balled fist. She often joked that using a machinegun was like punching the enemy at a distance and some other pilots would even agree with her at that.

    “Oyat, our time is running out” another voice, this one much calmer and feminine, sounded on her communication device “I can see some more of the human warriors advancing on the left flank. I will create a distraction and you move on, complete your objective”

    The pilot huffed and rolled her eyes as the clip of her heavy gun emptied. She never let the weapon click as the sound cue was often enough to signal any predators around that she was open for a strike, so as soon as the ammo counter on her visor hit zero, she let the trigger go and slid the magazine off the long, heavy gun of her Tactical Armored Gear. “Okay, sis.” she answered while reloading “I’ve got the humans hunkered down, what was I supposed to do again?” a smirk on her lips as she asked. Oyat wasn’t dumb or airheaded, but she knew pretending to be so was one of the few things that could make her usually stoic sister lose her temper

    “Ammo dump. Twenty paces to your right. Blow it up” Ren’ehk’s voice was short, crisp and violent. “I see the humans coming. Here’s your distraction.” The packmistress was too far away for even the enhanced optic sensors of the heavy TAG to pick her up, but a loud detonation several hundred paces to her left followed by billowing clouds of oily smoke told Oyat her sister had indeed engaged the human fighters on the other side of the field.

    There was a hiss and a clack of metal opening as the pilot slid off the armored cockpit, flexing her lean, muscular arms and stretching her legs as if she were on a holiday stroll. Looking around, it seemed the humans had diverted all their attention to the left flank, and even through the smoke she could see flashes of gunfire and flamethrowers as the battle raged on. “Tch. Lucky girl” Oyat smirked to herself, imagining how much fun her sister was having right now.

    Ren’ehk wasn’t having any fun. She watched as the Ikadron batroid her commander had sent in to flush out the human armored soldiers was completely bisected, head to groin, by a single sword slash coming from an armored human that looked like some hellish beast. He had been using some sort of optical disruptor trick to appear nearly invisible, but the flames had burned it off, even if they failed to actually damage the armored suit.

    Ikadrons were expendable, but valuable tools. The heavy, lumbering gait of the combat drones was deceptively nimble, and they carried extra ammo and supplies as well as a pair of light flamethrowers that were excellent to deny cover and destroy high tech gear such as the Optical Disruptors the humans were so fond of.

    There were two of those humans, two heavily armored, sword swinging warriors as nimble and skilled on their feet as the hunting beasts the packmistress had by her side, and she could tell her pets were snarling and eager to be let loose onto the human warriors “Ren’ehk, you are go” the commander spoke with some reverence towards the seasoned Oznat as she readied a pair of smoke grenades, breaking cover to hurl them over the heads of the human warriors.

    “I told you the Ikadron was not necessary” she snapped as the humans got lost in the oily black smoke. “I don’t need to see to kill these humans” Ren’ehk was, for the first time in a long while, livid with anger. As an Oznat, she was used to hunting in a pack, often with the help of the larger males as she would flush the larger beasts she couldn’t kill on her own or with the help of her pets towards a group of stronger, better armed males to finish the job. The same tactic worked in combat, just swapping large, extremely predatory megafauna for cowardly, armored humans.

    That meant her team, made up of herself and four of the so called ‘Hungries’, was perfect to deal with dug in forces like the two humans she was about to charge. The Hungries were insect like alien beasts used as terror troops by the Morat Aggression Forces, and as an Oznat Ren’ehk was used to wrangling and controlling these creatures. Her team consisted of a single male, called a Preta by humans, and three females, called Gakis. They looked very similar to each other for the untrained eye, but the huntress could tell the difference merely by listening to how they moved, as the heavier male made a more distinctive sound.

    If she were the one drawing the battle plan, she would have kept the Ikadron on the back lines, closer to the commander, to serve as a last line of defense should the humans break through her assault. Her team was much better suited for the close combat these humans were so fond of, while the Ikadron, as effective a war machine as it was, had slow reflexes and could only really defend itself up close by blanketing the area with flames or electric shocks. But there was no sense in complaining now. Actions spoke louder than words.

    Breaking through the smoke cover, the Packmistress pulled up her vulkan shotgun and aimed. She had never been a good shot, maybe that was why she had never tried to hunt inside a Raizot. Or maybe she just felt more comfortable around beasts than others of her own kind. It didn’t really matter, all that mattered was that the first human warrior was quickly turned into molten metal and flesh under her not so accurate, superheated shots. Vulkan shotguns fired shells filled with highly flammable material that erupted into a long gout of fire once they hit their mark, making aiming nearly unnecessary.

    One of her beasts let out a subsonic growl and the Oznat turned in time to meet the second human’s blade with her own, screeching to call the other three hungries to her side and surround the armored man with her snarling, clawing and biting alien monsters. Ren’ehk was a master fighter, or at least she thought so until meeting these… It took her a moment to think about the different types of humans and which ones these were… The word was Samurai, or so she thought.

    These Samurai fought like the megafauna from her own world. A single man was almost as deadly as her whole hunting pack, and she found herself clashing blade to blade way more often than she would have liked it. He was just so fast, and his armor made him as strong as her unarmored form, allowing him to shrug off her blows whenever they connected, while she had to weave out of the way when his blades came swinging back down, turning their battle into a deadly dance.

    An underhanded swing from the human warrior had the packmistress reeling, raising her feet and screaming in pain as the blade tore into her thigh armor and grazed her skin, the cut lacking any real danger but still burning and making her leg kick out in reflex. Another sword came swinging from the opposite direction and Ren’ehk raised her own blade up to block it, only to watch in shock as bone blade met highly resistant, subsonic vibrating metal in a clash that had the Oznat’s blade sheared cleanly through.

    Letting out a shrill call, the huntress kicked at her enemy’s armored chest, pushing herself and the human in opposite directions. She needed to put some distance between herself and the samurai, so with a series of quick clicks of her tongue she called for her Gaki beasts to swarm the armored warrior, allowing herself to get a small distance between them. The large, rabid creatures were no match for the human warrior, though, and he quickly cut one of them in half just like he had done to the drone not a few minutes ago.

    The Oznat allowed herself to smirk as the acidic blood of the Gaki reacted with the atmosphere and caused a catastrophic, caustic detonation that even engulfed a few other of her beasts, leaving only herself and the single Preta alive… As well as the human warrior. His armor was half melted and pockmarked with damage, singed from fire, and blood leaked from a few cracks, the human warrior staggering for a moment as the packmistress raised her shotgun again, putting two shots into his chest, ending his life.

    Meanwhile, far away from her sister’s frantic and nearly unsuccessful scramble for life, Oyat was busy setting an explosive charge on an ammo drum. “And one... two… three” she said to herself before signaling for the commander “This is Oyat, charges are set. Tell the Worm to blow them up, I’m going back to my Raizot” She didn’t even wait for the warrior officer’s confirmation, running as fast as she could towards her TAG even while the whole ammo dump went up in flames, the blazing fire so high it could be seen from miles away.

    There was a long, siren like call that chilled the bones of the dug in human warriors as the Storm Dancer fired a few shots in the air in ecstasy “Come on, you apes! Let’s finish this!” the pilot called out with her suit’s loudspeakers in a horrible, mangled english accent that was barely understood by the humans inside the warehouse she was about to storm. It was common knowledge between the morats who had been fighting against humans that they were called ‘apes’ or ‘monkeys’ by the soft skinned humans, so, having noticed the similarities between their species, many morats had begun to return the favor.

    “Oyat, fall back! Keep your suppressive fire position” The commander, a young Suryat who had been away from the fight so far, his only contribution the occasional short, controlled burst of suppressive fire, tried in vain to rein in the even younger pilot. She could even hear his sighing over the communication link as her machine thundered in, gun already firing even before she actually saw the enemy.

    Kasaro cursed under his breath, tightening his grip around the reassuring bulk of his hemat heavy machinegun as he thought up a backup plan for when the reckless Raizot got herself incapacitated or killed “Ren’ehk, advance on the left, see if you can cover her as she comes up their right. I’ll hold here if they break through.”

    “Yes, commander.” the Oznat grit her teeth and clicked her tongue against the roof of her mouth, calling for the lonely male who had survived the skirmish with the two human samurai “Should I go save my sister?” she asked the beast as if it could answer back, running her fingers along its crested head while catching her breath. Her left thigh throbbed and she had a limp, her five beast pack had been reduced to two, and her blade was gone.

    Ren’ehk looked at her own claws, wondering how they’d measure up against human armor before picking up one of the human weapons from the ground and testing its weight. She took a few tentative swings with it, noting how it was much heavier than her bone sword, and how the gleam of the metal made it easier to spot without the optical disruptor to camouflage it “This will do” she said out loud to fix the idea in her mind, then snapped her tongue again, making the last of the Hungries lead the way as she brought up the rear, shotgun at the ready.

    Far away from her limping sister, Oyat was euphoric. She rounded a corner and completely evaporated an armored human under a barrage of shots, then swung her heavy machine around a half destroyed container to trade fire with the rest of his squad. Once a Raizot got moving, it was hard to stop, the heavy machine building momentum and rolling like a charging bull, its gun held with both hands to keep it stable as it kicked and roared, the muzzle flash visible even as it dashed into the blazing fire of the now destroyed ammo dump.

    “Come on! Shoot faster!” the pilot’s voice was amplified by her suit, booming out into the cacophony of the shooting to taunt the humans and whip herself into a frenzy. It felt satisfying, the neural feedback of the TAG making it feel as if she was holding the bucking heavy machinegun on her own hands, arms sweeping left and right as she sprayed indiscriminate fire over the defenders. “The storm has come!” she kept on, roaring and dashing from cover to cover, trying to get closer to use her flamethrower and roast the humans alive.

    Now, credit where it is due, the four remaining humans did not falter under her unrelenting fire. Two of them closer to the Raizot opened up with a light machinegun and a pistol respectively, drawing her attention while the two further back pulled up a pair of exquisite, long, tube like weapons. Those were called Blitzens, expendable weapons that fired a single, high powered projectile that detonated a short burst of electromagnetic discharge once they hit the mark, perfect for rendering highly complex machinery useless for a short, but decisive time.

    Oyat didn’t see the two humans line up their shots even as their compatriots were wounded by her reckless fire, but she did feel it in her bones when the burst of energy hit her machine and fried several of its circuits. The TAG seemed to choke, its gun arm bucking and firing a few more shots aimlessly before it went silent and still, turned into little more than an armored coffin with the pilot inside. Even her comms were fried, making it impossible for the young morat to contact her officer and admit her failure.

    Their base was burning, but the humans had a chance to win the day now. The morats had brought a transponder with them, a beacon to call for extraction that would be very useful if the humans could capture it and reverse engineer the technology. If they could have it. The remaining samurai knew what to do as the four man team broke out of the burning warehouse and started running towards the established command post were Kasaro and a small group of remaining troops stood guard.

    The gleaming white, skull like mask of the Suryat armor seemed to glower as it reflected the flames, Kasaro’s heavy machinegun barking as he unleashed a short burst, trying to suppress the advance of the humans. They didn’t care, their leader using a lighter, but no less effective weapon to riddle the warrior officer’s position with fire and allow his team to close in from the side, moving to entrap the suryat and end him there.

    Kasaro cursed and spat on the ground as he ducked, a lucky shot denting his helmet and forcing him to rip it off and toss the horned, skull faced headgear to the ground. He was young, his face red and his white hair and beard cut short and square, making him look very much like an angry, horned ape as he spat again, chewing on his own bile in anger. He heard a call, a challenge, and rose in time to use his gun to block a downwards slash from one of the human warriors, as a single soldier came at him.

    The Suryat recognized the human’s markings as a commander, and growled as he drew his sword. He hadn’t used it in such a long time, he barely remembered the basics of hand to hand combat. while the human commander clearly had been doing it his whole life, his swings short, precise and deadly. It wasn’t a gracious dance like it had been between Ren’ehk and the two invisible ones, it was short, brutal and ugly.

    The human swung low, the blade cutting through the Suryat’s armor and shearing off a piece of his stomach and groin plates. Then he swung again, a swift backhand that should have torn the young warrior officer’s head off, but a quick riposte, more luck than skill, saved his life. Kasaro had one chance, and he made it, driving his own blade into the human’s midsection, putting as much strength as his muscles and the enhanced servos of his suit would let him, and felt something give under his weight. There was an ear piercing shriek of metal on metal as his blade tore out of the samurai’s back, covered in blood and coolant fluid.

    As he shook the human free from his blade, kicking him off it for dramatic purposes, Kasaro saw himself surrounded by the three others, snarling and beating his chest with the bloody blade to dare them to come at him. He knew his luck wouldn’t hold up against three more of the close combat specialists, specially not if they attacked together, but if he could hold them just a little longer, one of the two sisters would complete their objective, and the mission would be done, his life be damned.

    Inside her silent, cold TAG, Oyat fumed. She looked around the dark machine and then remembered a little trick she would do when trapped under rubble or even the dead bulk of a Demarok collapsing on top of her machine. She just had to hook one of her dewclaws on the lower base of the pilot seat, then wrap her legs around it, this way she could flex and push, growling in a very undignified position that was enough to force the tag to open, allowing her to slip off it. She had to wriggle and squirm, the neural connecting cables on her scalp snagging on the tiny opening and ripping off along with some of her hair, but she managed to free herself from the now useless machine.

    “I’ll come back for you, big girl” she tapped the thigh of her armored steed to reassure it, then pulled up her pistols. A glance behind her and the sounds of shooting and roaring told her that her commander was getting his ass handed to him, but she didn’t care. There was a mission to be completed after all.

    The fire in the ammo dump was a distraction, meant to force the humans out of the warehouse, to make them come engage the morats. However, the real prize was much smaller, much more dangerous. When the Raxxora Carrier fell many months ago, it was cannibalized and torn apart, its parts sold, stolen or just plain repurposed, and many of the rescue beacons used by strike teams just like her own had been stolen. Recovering these beacons was a top priority.

    One of these was being studied in this very same facility the fighting had now reduced to mostly rubble, and Oyat knew it was inside another building, a small office behind the blazing warehouse. The pilot broke into a run, schewing cover or stealth as she knew the humans were either fighting her sister or her commander, and time was running low. Even with her communications link burnt off, she knew they had precious few minutes left before human reinforcements arrived and the fight became unwinnable.

    She didn’t even use a door. There was a loud crash of shattering glass and splintered metal as a six foot tall, red skinned alien woman burst through the rightmost window of the office, her exposed stomach bleeding from many tiny cuts, and a shard of glass embedded on her left dewclaw as she raised both pistols and cut down the lonely guard of the place. He tried to turn and shoot at her, but she was both faster and a better shot, and soon his lifeless body was slumped, bleeding against a wall.

    It was fast, the beacon was stowed in a box marked with a Combined Army symbol, and while she couldn’t open it, carrying it on her back was easy enough. Oyat was about to get out when the door was flung open and at the lightly armored form of Ren’ehk stood in the threshold “Where’s your TAG?” the packmistress asked with a snarl

    “Incapacitated. I had to eject to complete the mission” Oyat answered while showing the box with the beacon “We should hurry, I think-”

    “You don’t think” the Oznat snarled again, angry, but not raising her voice as she talked “If you had thought, you’d have stayed outside and kept the Domaru at bay while I circled around and got this” Ren’ehk scolded even as she, her sister and the sole preta stalked back, still looking for more humans. “Commander.” she opened her commlink “We got the beacon.”

    “Good!” Kasaro managed a laugh as he ordered the last Ikadron to put itself in front of the three human warriors, stalling them just enough for the wounded warrior officer to retreat. There was very little of their strike team left, and the Suryat didn’t want to be on the casualty list too. “I’ll pull back with the rest of the team and we meet at the rendezvous point” he was calm, even at the possibility of a bloody and violent death. Suryats lived for war, and this was living.

    “Can you send the Mechanoid to repair the Storm Dancer?” Ren’ehk asked “If it’s brought back online we can use it to cover your retreat” Behind her, Oyat beamed. She was ready to forsake her machine, but now it seemed like it would not be lost yet.

    “Not the Mechanoid, but I can send a drone.” he answered while vaulting over a container, then pushing it over to stall the progress of the human soldiers. Behind him, the wriggling, worm like form of the Med-tech Mechanoid bobbed its bulbous head and clicked its tiny pincers in understanding, its mind travelling to command the small, agile drone waiting for orders at the other side of the compound to rush towards the last position of the Raizot.

    Even when operating through a drone, the technical prowess of a Med-Tech was hard to rival. It managed to get the TAG up and running just in time as the two sisters reached it, and the younger one quickly climbed onto her heavy machine, already feeling herself electrified with the sudden return of her enhanced senses and strength.

    Oyat moved her arm, and the Storm Dancer moved its own, raising the heavy machinegun and… There was a weight on her arm as something tugged on the long, heavy gun, pulling it down after some effort “no” Ren’ehk said “If we keep fighting, we’ll lose the chance to evacuate. You run now.” she said to the machine, looking up to glare at its glowing yellow eyes, unfazed by its size, strength or fearsome, animalistic looks.

    The Raizot actually stomped in protest, but a quick look at the packmistress made the machine turn and starting running, its heavy steps smashing the ground whenever the metal claws dug in for balance. Ren’ehk let out a sigh as her sister listened to her for what felt like the first time, then pulled out the last of her smoke grenades for a risky, dangerous shot.

    She was tired, her leg still throbbed, and her head had this steady ringing on it that meant a headache was coming like a charging war beast. Yet the Oznat had a strong hand, her arm swinging as she sent the grenade flying high in an arc, bouncing off at an angle against a building’s walls to land between the evacuating officer and the pursuing humans, giving him a minute of respite to put some distance between them.

    The Oznat allowed herself to smile. Then, with a click of her tongue, she called her last pet to her side and began running, pushing herself and ignoring the pain on her leg. She could match the TAG in speed, even if she had to drop to all fours to do so, her claws digging in too as she had to use her hands to compensate for her limping leg. She could already hear the call of their dropship as it came in fast to pick up what was left of the fireteam.

    “Oyat?”

    “Ren?”

    “You’re an idiot, reckless and immature. But good job.” Ren’ehk could swear she heard a little chuckle over her commlink “You’re still getting punished for ignoring orders, though. I’ll make sure of that. How about latrine duty? For the Hungries.”

    There was another chuckle on the comms as Ren’ehk was the last to board their dropship. Of the entire strike team, only the officer, the med-tech, a hacker, the Raizot and the Oznat with her single Preta had survived, out of fourteen sent in. It had been a horrible, horrible mess, but the mission was accomplished, and that was enough.

    As she removed her helmet, the gear fashioned from the skull of a Hungry alpha, Ren’ehk looked around the ship, sighing and nursing her thigh. one hand peeling her armor open to finally look at the cut, how it had swollen and looked infected. “hey, Ren?” The smaller form of her sister sat by her side, looking at the cut as if it was some novelty toy

    Ren’ehk didn’t answer, she was too tired for it and as adrenaline was leaving her system a gigantic headache mounted on, her muscles feeling sore and painful from all the fighting and running. Instead she just closed her eyes and rested her head against the bulk of the ship, feeling the steady vibrations as it climbed out of the atmosphere, back to where their new assault carrier waited.

    “Thanks. You know, for helping me save the TAG.” Oyat knew they didn’t have to repair the machine, her sister could have covered their escape with her smoke grenades just fine.

    “Violence without purpose is just savagery.” The Oznat finally said, eyes still closed as she pinched the bridge of her nose “Just because you are the size of a beast doesn’t mean you have to act like one. Next time I might not be here to help.” the packmistress eased her shoulders, not bothering to look at her sister as she talked.

    “Yes.” The younger huntress nodded, recollecting the lessons from their history books “I will be less reckless in the future.”

    “You won’t.”

    Oyat chuckled, a twinkle in her white eyes “I probably won’t, you’re right. But…” it took her a long moment to remember something suitably poetic to say back to her sister. Ren’ehk had a passion for philosophy, and the pilot knew she would never quite earn her sister’s respect if she could not match the ancient words of philosophers like Eugarat to her own actions “Through conflict, we are shaped.” the younger one settled on an easy one for now “Give me time, will you?”

    Ren’ehk nodded, smiling to herself “Yes. I will give you time. But you’re still facing punishment. Don’t worry, I’m friends with the superior warrior officer…” Finally opening her eyes, the packmistress looked at her sister and their eyes met, both of them had matching white eyes, but Oyat’s looked like two bright stars, while her sister’s had the cold fire of tempered steel “I’ll make sure your punishment is sufficiently humiliating for our enjoyment.” Once more the Oznat allowed herself a smile, her headache making it small, but it was enough.

    With a smirk, the pilot stood up, hissing as she remembered she had a glass shard embedded between her toes, and decided to go find a doctor. Well, if she was going to face some kind of grueling, cruel and unusual punishment, she was going to make sure she at least had her feet healed first. She didn’t say ‘Thank you’ again, as it felt unnecessary, but she did feel oddly thankful. It was said that the regiment was the only family of a morat, and the pilot was finally understanding why her sister acted the way she did.

    Oyat sat down in front of the Med-tech Mechanoid and pointed at her bloody feet, the half machine half living creature nodding its odd, multi-eyed head and lowering itself to work on it. Meanwhile, the pilot pulled up her comlog and opened up one of the Treaties from Eugarat on Battle and War. Maybe there was something more to being a warrior, and maybe it was time the huntress started learning about that.

    END​
     
  3. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

    Joined:
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    Good morning everyone! This was a cool idea I had recently after a very close match with a friend who plays Onyx, and actually starts to add a plot to the last two stories. I enjoyed writing it and hope you guys enjoy reading too.

    On a side note: I'm looking for a beta reader/editor. I really want to improve my skills and I feel I can't go further without help, so anyone interested please send me a message so we can talk more about it. Anyways, here's the story:

    Treason


    Ren’ehk was feeling satisfied today. She finished locking her hunting animals in their respective pens and smiled to herself at the coordination of this new pack, as she had whipped the new group into shape in what felt like record timing. Usually, she took a couple of weeks to extract the better of a new pack once the last one was depleted, but this time it took her less than four days to make the animals follow her every command without any doubt or hesitation. Yes, it felt good.

    The Hungries were expendable, everyone in the Combined Army knew that, and so she had no attachment to this pack or any of the others she had commanded before, but still it felt rewarding to see she had gotten to the point where imposing her will over the creatures was as easy as walking forward. Of course, she could just use neural implants like many others of her kind did, but she was an antiquated female in so many ways. She still enjoyed beating and growling and forcing them to obey rather than just poking their brains with an electric stick and calling it ‘dominance’.

    Of course, if she was satisfied, it meant something was about to ruin her day, and that something was a young commander in full Suryat armor. The Oznat turned a corner, right out of the Hungry pens, and saw the young Warrior Officer moving towards her, his helmet off and his face looking intent. Kasaro was the youngest Warrior Officer in the Karanatat, the Morat word for regiment, she served in. He had been promoted for his courage and leadership during the Wotan Incursion and so far he had proved time and again that promotion had been well earned.

    Even now, at a moment that could be called ‘leisurely’, Kasaro wore his full armor, and the huntress could see the pockmarks of battle scarring doting his suit, the maintenance always focused on keeping it effective, not good looking. The Officer’s face itself was bearing some marks, as his left cheek was swollen, a purple sheen marking where a fist had smashed into his red face, and his eyebrow and lips were split, the white hair showing some red where it had been scalped off. However, while he had the marks of combat, his wounds were not severe and his stance was relaxed. He had been training, not fighting.

    “Packmistress” Kasaro nodded respectfully, even though he was technically her superior, he preferred to show the female due respect as he had witnessed her ferocity and guile in combat way too many times to think himself actually superior to her “I’ve been looking for you”

    “Yes?” the Oznat’s white eyes narrowed. Her first thought was the Officer wanted her opinion on some tactical matter, something she really had no patience for right now. If she had wanted to be a soldier, she’d have become a Zerat “What is it... Officer?” She had to choke back the word ‘whelp’ before it came out. It was hard not to see Kasaro as barely out of his Kurdat, the word translating very loosely to a gang of young cadets fresh from childhood, still learning the ways of real war.

    “It is a sensible matter” the Suryat spoke while only his eyes moved to check their surroundings. Thankfully, the Oznat was an early riser even for the standards of her kind, which meant they were mostly alone “Here.” He handed her a piece of… It actually took a long moment for the huntress to realize it was paper. It was a folder, small and easily destroyed. Untraceable “Have a look. I am not good with words”

    As a rule, Morats weren’t good with words. There was a lot about Kasaro’s stance that told her what she had to know. He was relaxed, yet his eyes moved swiftly, so he wasn’t careless. His body was still tense, coiled back from his recent training, and his fists were balled, the armored fingers pressed against his palms in a defensive yet casual position. He wasn’t nervous, but he was wary of something.

    Ren’ehk took the folder and opened it, her eyes skimming the contents fast as she riffled through the few pages making it up. As she read, her own body language changed as well, her dewclaws shifting from facing the Warrior Officer to facing outwards, bracing for a pounce. Her muscular arms and thighs tensed up, pulling back like bowstrings about to be released. Kasaro noticed it, bracing himself for a reaction he knew was going to happen, yet hoped it did not...

    It all happened in the blink of an eye, and someone less trained in the subtleties of Morat language would not have seen it coming. Ren’ehk crumpled the hardback paper on one hand while the other drew her sword in a quick, sideways slash aimed at the throat, a perfect, curt yet vicious killing blow.

    The Suryat was getting better at close combat by now, and he managed to parry her strike just in time, raising the broader, heavier armored gauntlet of his suit “Listen to me, Ren’ehk” he snarled, pushing her back and using his size and weight to his advantage as he tried to grab her forearm, to keep that long, elegant blade from separating his head from his shoulders “This is important”

    “It is treason” she swung around, planting one of her dewclaws on his chest and knocking him on his armored ass with the grace of a ballerina. That grace was deceptive, though, as the Oznat stomped down with the force of a Gurlanak beast, her foot denting his suit where it connected with the chest plate armor.

    This was going to be rough. Kasaro was not a close combat specialist, and while his suit did give him extra protection, the barely armored female could match it in speed and strength, and unlike him, she had murder in her eyes. “Listen to me” he grabbed her foot with both hands and swung around, putting all his weight behind the move to whip her into the farthest wall before her blade could come down again “This zealous loyalty to the Combined Army will lead us nowhere.” he managed to say as he stood up, bracing himself.

    Ren’ehk hit the wall with a resounding thud that actually made her grin. The little whelp was getting smarter. Attacking a better armored opponent without her pack seemed like a dumb thing to do, but she was armed and he was not, so she changed tactics, starting to circle around the Warrior Officer, looking for an opening.

    “Listen to me, packmistress” Even now his tone was respectful and low, his voice did not raise and his nostrils remained quiet. He was not afraid. This was his chance to convince her before he was drowned in a tide of precise blade slashes “You were in Wotan. You saw how they left us high and dry. We are expendable.” Morat language was more than just words, and his gestures and stance, the way he waved them in a broad sweep and lowered his center of mass, added to the meaning behind his statement. The Suryat was not talking about the soldiers, but about their species as a whole, Morats were little more than cannon fodder for the Combined Army, just like the beasts stuck back in the pens.

    She struck high, he raised his hand again, the blade biting into his suit and sticking into it, getting locked for a split second “I’m asking for a favor” he punched her in the jaw, his armored fist smashing so hard she felt the bone dislocate under her skull as she spun back, dazed and nearly knocked out “You don’t even have to fight. Just help us set up the perimeter”.

    Ren’ehk growled as she stumbled back, taking the moment to set her jaw back into place, her grin lacking mirth now. Another blow like that and she’d be down for the count, or worse. She launched into a flurry of short, precise strikes, attacking in a series of short stabs that were aimed at keeping the much larger male back, pushing him slowly against the metal wall of the corridor.

    Kasaro let out a grunt that was choking his throat, his armor getting several new cuts as he tried to back off without getting stabbed through one of the softer parts. One stab even nicked off his beard, cutting just slightly under his chin and tinting the white hair red. “I want you to realize one thing.” he managed to say as his back thunked against the wall “We’re doing this. It’s going to happen. You can come and ensure we do it correctly, or we can go and do it anyways.”

    Appealing to her rational side made the Oznat stop with her blade inches from stabbing through his neck “I am not your mother” She snarled “Even if I was, I wouldn’t care.” She said as she held the blade, ready to put an end to his life

    “The regiment is our family. We all care, Ren’ehk, we all have fought and bled for one another.” the Warrior Officer managed a smile, an honest one too “Are you more loyal to the Combined Army or to the Supremacy?” The question felt loaded, the kind of pointless conundrum she shouldn’t even have to consider, yet here she was actually pontificating an answer when the Suryat helped her “We need your help”

    “Does Hirok know?” She lowered the blade, his words worming their way into her mind as she sheathed the sword back at her waist, even taking a step back to let him get his back off the wall.

    “No. I don’t intend on telling him until we have the files. Are you in?” Now his nostrils flared, and his grin, despite the blood clotting on his beard and teeth, was sly and short. He was actually excited, or perhaps relieved.

    Ren’ehk looked at the crumpled folder she had dropped on the corridor, moving to pick it up and read it again “Fine. But this time, you bloody well listen to me.” she said as she opened it again “Here’s what we will do…”

    _____________________________________________​

    In the end, the Suryat felt quite happy for getting the Oznat’s help. If he was going to strike at a heavily defended Onyx compound, he would rather have an experienced huntress at his side than going for one of the younger, less experienced ones that would have been way easier to recruit but equally less useful in an actual fight.

    Ever since the Wotan fiasco a strong feeling of resentment and abandonment was growing within the Aggression Forces, and as much as he would rather take it out on the humans, Kasaro understood that it was time the Supremacy began moving away from the Combined Army, even if that detachment came in slow, careful steps. This was going to be the test run, a simple mission to steal several data packs detailing locations of Onyx bases and supply depots. In the event of a separatist war, these details could keep the Combine from glassing another Morat planet.

    Of course, it was still treason, and this was why most of Kasaro’s forces was composed of young, highly idealistic troopers who could easily be swayed to fight for the reestablishment of the Supremacy. It did carry the issue of these young fighters not being as competent as he would have liked, but the Warrior Officer was confident he could do it with the troops he had.

    The compound itself was small, ugly and jagged looking as if someone had decided to carve out the buildings from long shards of obsidian like rock. Every surface gleamed black and smooth, absorbing the light so even though the illumination was actually very thorough, it still felt dark and oppressive to thread between the buildings and under the ever watching gaze of the Umbra operatives.

    Kasaro had counted three of them, two of the hooded, masked Legates and one of the tall, lean, smoke like Samaritans. No one really knew where the Umbra species had come from, how their civilization started or how the Combined Army recruited them. What was known was that the Umbra were red skinned, tall and lean humanoids with an affinity for Vodootech and a religious devotion to the Evolved Intelligence that made the Daturazi Witch Soldiers sound like reasonable folks.

    Their first insertion was, for all intents and purposes, a great big failure, with the strike team being discovered as soon as their Q-Drone advanced into an optimal overwatch position, and from there everything went to hell faster than a pack of cubs wandering into a Demarok Den. The drone was obliterated in a hail of precise machinegun fire from an unknown threat, the darkness of the compound giving some advantage to the Onyx operatives and their penchant for fighting in black.

    Sor’kan, the Yaogat leading the sniper team for this mission, was quickly suppressed by that same machinegun, hunkering down behind a wall as steady, controlled fire peppered his position with such grim efficiency he didn’t dare raising his head and risk getting it shot off. There was this silly idea in most people’s minds that Morats never took cover, but most of them knew when to brave gunfire and when not to, even if occasionally they did try and run through gunfire with the kind of casual coolness that made it feel as if they didn’t actually fear bullets.

    However, the situation was not one for leisure walks through the enemy gunline. Not when that machinegun nest was suppressing both the sniper and the Warrior Officer himself, as he was pinned behind several stacked crates, cursing the precision of the enemy shooters. What started bad soon turned downright horrible when a shadow moved along their right flank. Kasaro saw it jump from building to building, a black cloud of smoke with only the vaguest humanoid shape to it, as if the night sky itself had decided it was going to fight for the Onyx forces.

    “Umbra! On the right” the Officer roared into his comlink even as he tried to find any angle to shoot at that thing, watching in horror as it jumped down behind his hacker and… It was hard to describe what exactly happened. Maybe it was the dim night light, or maybe Kasaro was too angry to see it properly, but he could swear he saw the smoke coalesce into a seven feet tall, red skinned humanoid wearing wispy black clothes, the thing raising its hand up and draining the very life out of the hacker.

    It was disgusting and revolting, yet there was nothing he could do but watch as his soldier was drained, his red skin turning pale, then grey, dessicated and bristling while the Umbra seemed to grow, the smoke around it bulging out with a grotesque, fleshy gurgle that made the stomach churn. Kasaro gripped his gun and attempted to move around, actually diving through the enemy machinegun’s line of fire, his suit taking the brunt of the shots just so he could let loose with his own gun, squeezing off a precise burst that did nothing on the ethereal creature’s hide.

    He was shooting smoke, his bullets piercing through the billowing dark cloak with zero efficacy, high impact shots doing little more than annoying the large creature and putting him on its radar. “I’ve got it distracted.” the warrior officer snarled into his coms, hailing their transport as it flew nearby “Lorkan, come in from the right flank. You have an opening. Use it” he grit his teeth, bracing his gun against his shoulder and firing again, focused on the writhing, barely visible form of the Umbra “Look at me, you ugly son of a worm.” his voice cool, calm and relaxed even as anger boiled inside him “Come at me.” his bursts short and controlled as he tried his best to keep the enemy focused on himself, drawing as much attention as he could.

    Lorkan was a Rasyat, a diplomatic operative, although Morat diplomacy basically meant they were the first to shoot the enemy. He had been waiting for a while now, alone in the ship hold and ready to jump out. The original idea had been to use their hacker to triangulate a perfect drop position right on top of the enemy database, but now that the hacker was wasting away turned into a dessicated husk, he’d have to be much more careful. His gravitational parachute had to land a little off the combat zone, and he finished the insertion on foot, running under the cover of the taller buildings on the right side of the compound.

    Lorkan had always been supposed to be the only one to get to the Onyx database, but on an ideal world he’d have dropped down later in the fight, when there were way less enemies on the field. Right now, he was facing horrible odds, sneaking behind tall walls and moving silently until he noticed something slink into the shadows to his left, moving in a barely heard whisper. “Found another Umbra” he relayed as if he had found an scurrying rodent.

    “Take it down” Kasaro ordered as he coordinated with Sor’kan to pin the smoke monster assaulting their backline down. Thankfully the Samaritan had came from the right flank, taking out the hacker and two of the supporting Yaogats, but leaving their Med-tech mechanoid unmolested, as Kasaro hoped at least one of the warriors felled by that wispy cloud of nanotech bullcrap could be nursed back to life.

    The Rasyat grunted an acknowledgment and moved in swiftly, pulling his shotgun up and putting two shots into the chest, or at least what he thought was the chest, of the red skinned creature. It even tried to raise a shotgun back to return fire, but Lorkan was faster. For a moment he marveled at his weapon and the one on the dead Umbra’s hand, noticing that even though they worked similarly, they were very different in design and even ammunition. The Combined Army would never allow the Morats to use their truly advanced tech, even for such simple, small arms.

    Moving nimbly among the buildings, Lorkan finally got a chance to see what was shooting at his commander and sniper team, taking the moment to spit on the ground, then rub his close cropped beard in pondering “Got visual of the machinegun nest. They have a Rodok fireteam on overwatch. I see a missile launcher too” he reported with clear disgust in his voice.

    Rodoks were a new addition to the Morat Agression Forces, using much more technology than most of their troops had access to, with light armor, mimetic skin protection, and even jump packs. Most Morats would be naturally disdainful of the newer forces, as most of them had to prove their worth to the Supremacy first, and they hadn’t had the chance yet. This disdain and lack of respect had also led many of these new soldiers to join the Onyx Contact Forces instead, looking for quick ascension in rank and acknowledgment from their peers.

    “Take them down. We’re running out of time” Kasaro more snarled than said, moving in between the stacked crates and supply boxes he had used for cover, trying to get a better shooting angle at the Umbra that continued to jump from cover to cover, dodging his and his sniper’s shots as if they were thrown pebbles. At least the actual mission was going well, their lives be damned.

    Lorkan grunted as he eyeballed the distance. It was too far away for a shotgun blast, and he couldn’t even make out the exact position of the Rodok team with their mimetic devices making their lines blurred and confusing, so it would have to be a close combat fight. The approach had to be careful, so the Rasyat pulled out a smoke grenade, roaring a challenge and moving on, tossing the metal ball in a high arcing trajectory, sending it careening off the path as it bounced off a metal wall at a slightly wrong angle, falling behind the nest instead of in front of it.

    He didn’t even have time to curse his aim, as the machinegunner swivelled his heavy weapon on its mount with the kind of practiced casualness that made Morat soldiers so unnerving to fight against, and hosed the Rasyat down. High powered bullets the size of his pinky finger stitched their way across his cover, blowing holes on the wall, forcing Lorkan to dive in, but he was not fast enough, and one bulled ripped off his rib armor, taking three of his ribs with it.

    The pain was lancing, and he felt his nostrils flare and eyes water at it, even as one of his hands pressed to the wound, the other fumbling on his pack for a spray of medical foam that would keep him from bleeding out. “I’m down” He reported without any change in tone from his earlier reports. If anything, he was calmer now as he needed to conserve air in his failing lungs “Mission failed”

    There was a string of colorful curses on the communications link that showed Kasaro was very much livid with anger. He ducked under an already buckled and bent crate, huffing in annoyance as that machinegun swivelled again, hitting his suit with several shots that failed to penetrate. The Warrior Officer hailed the one Morat he hoped he would not have to use for this fight “Ren’ehk, now it’s on you. Take out that machinegun and bring us the files.” As angry as he was, the young Suryat was surprised at how casually commanding his voice sounded.

    So was Ren’ehk at hearing it. It made her smirk as she realized the whelp was indeed Officer material, once more keeping his cool under fire and his mind on the mission. So far the Oznat had been resigned to guard the left flank, and all she had to deal with was a minor shootout with another Umbra, that she didn’t report because said Umbra was now food for her pets and she wouldn’t bother her Officer with her Hungries and their meal routine, making her participation in the battle so far next to null.

    Well, that had been the original arrangement. She was supposed to merely guard a flank, allowing the rest of the troops to focus somewhere else. But now they were all either dead, wounded or too busy with a living nightmare to finish the mission, and the huntress had to take matters on her own hands.

    So her target was set: a heavily defended structure that was most certainly the one with the files they needed, with a pillbox staffed by a rodok machinegun and a missile launcher on top of it, and most likely three other rodoks rounding up a fireteam inside the building. Following the usual fireteam composition, she expected a hacker, a medic and a team leader, probably some younger warrior officer who was a bit too eager for a promotion to realize he had pitched in with the wrong side of the Combined Army.

    It was time to teach those whelps a lesson, and Ren’ehk was a patient teacher too. Like Lorkan, she didn’t have long range weapons, so she’d have to use smoke to make her approach. Unlike Lorkan, she knew better than to toss in a high arch when the angled buildings made it so hard to predict the bounce offs. Instead she rolled her first grenade down an alley, waiting until it detonated into a cloud of oily black smoke, before running in, clicking her tongue to summon the Hungries to her.

    Oznats were natural sprinters and endurance runners both, able to cover short distances faster than the eye could see, and Ren’ehk was used to blind fighting, so she was confident her next smoke grenade would roll perfectly under the pillbox, even as she swung underhanded and completely without sight to her target. It was all about the smells, the sounds, the way the barked orders and clatter of gunfire echoed and reflected along the metal walls, it made angling a throw somewhat easy as long as she didn’t expect pinpoint accuracy.

    There was no need for perfect accuracy when her objective was to blanket the reinforced position with smoke, robbing the enemy of their sight even as the Rodoks already started to coordinate should a sniper shot come through the shroud enveloping them. What they didn’t expect was a lean female to barge through their front door, her snarling animals in tow, screeching, cutting and biting at the much better equipped soldiers.

    The dense smoke meant she couldn’t shoot at them, which was very good as in a shootout the Rodoks would have a clear advantage over her, no matter how much easier it was to fire a shotgun than a machinegun in close range. So she went in for the melee combat, kicking the front door open while her Hungries swarmed in from the pillbox opening, taking the enemy position from all directions at the same time.

    In a melee, the huntress had more practice, more speed, and even more raw physical strength. She wasn’t slowed down by heavy, bulky jump packs and mimetic devices amounted for nothing when Ren’ehk could smell whether or not the Rodoks had washed their briefs that morning. Inside the smoke, all she could see was the glow of their weapons and visors, but she could hear the whirr of their power packs, the thump of their boots on the ground. She didn’t need to see to kill them.

    The first one to go down was the machinegunner. He had to go, otherwise as soon as the smoke dissipated he would be back to suppressing Kasaro across the field. Ren’ehk stabbed him through the gut, her bone blade cutting into the light weave of his suit to puncture his lungs and intestines. It was a fatal wound, but not one that would kill him right away, giving him either a few hours of painful agony or more likely a chance to be healed back once the fight was done and she had retreated.

    It felt bad killing other Morats. As much as her species wasn’t supposed to care, and in many ways relished the chance to fight itself, to the packmistress it always felt like a waste of time and effort. There was so little to be gained fighting other Morats, that it felt more wasteful to kill them than to just maim them and make this a lesson they could improve on…

    She found herself smirking again, thinking about how much of a teacher she was that she couldn’t stop thinking about lessons and improvement even when these were her enemies… And then she saw, in the middle of all the smoke and haze, a very different figure. It was tall, gaunt and elegant, its slender legs deceptively powerful in their digitigrade stance, with long feet touching the ground at the tip of spindly claws. It wore a long coat, elegant and stylish in red and metal grey, with the markings of an officer visible on the side, its lustrous, smooth black head and glowing yellow eyes visible even in the smoke cloud.

    Ren’ehk growled. It wasn’t a Morat leading these soldiers, it was a Nexus. A bloody, Urkherit born, vat bred Nexus! These Rodoks weren’t soldiers. These couldn’t learn, they couldn’t improve and pick up new skills, because they weren’t even real Morat! It was one thing to have their species be ruled by the Combine, as humiliating as it was, but it was another to follow a bloody Urkherit drone into battle! At this point they weren’t allies, they were just slaves with fancy uniforms, and slaves deserved no respect from a warrior.

    Perhaps later she would muse on the irony of her anger, but at that moment, the Oznat was frothing, mad with pure rage. So much her blade was left stabbed into the machinegunner’s side as she reached up, grabbing her own helmet and pulling it off. It wasn’t very smart, it was violence without reasoning, savagery at the very finest… But it felt good. The moment her teeth came out, her claws ready, the Oznat roared to command her pack as if she was little more than one of the beasts herself. Oh, she would relish every second of this!

    Before the bony crest of her helmet had hit the ground, Ren’ehk was upon the Nexus agent, clawing at his long, elegant gun, another high tech model that outperformed the blocky rifles given to the Morat soldiers. But no amount of high tech gear could stop the packmistress’ claws as she dug into the Nexus’ wrist, twisting it violently until the bone cracked beneath her grip, drawing a satisfying screech from the creature’s pulled back, leering lips. It died howling as Ren’ehk spun around it, using its body as a shield to take a close range shotgun blast from one of the Rodoks.

    She could have used the Nexus’ own rifle to eliminate all of them. But at this point her rage was blinding hot, her white eyes seethed with it, glinting in the choking, claustrophobic smoke cloud that kept filling the room. The dead Urkherit was thrown bodily over, knocking the Rodok medic down and allowing two of the Hungries to pounce on him, one of them biting his face off while the other ripped at the leg.

    There was a growl and a hiss to her left and Ren’ehk ducked under a shower of caustic blood as a lucky blow from the enemy hacker caused the highly volatile blood of one of her pets to detonate in contact with the air. The close range, small explosion turned the former Morat into a puddle of molten metal, bone and skin, but the packmistress dodged the stray jet, turning her gaze to the last one, his long weapon dropped to the floor as he pulled an elaborate, curved blade.

    “You don’t deserve to use that” the Oznat spat on his face as she rushed him, the soldier realising not quickly enough that he was not trained to deal with a rabid female and her overly violent beasts, switching to his pistol mid charge and firing point blank. The bullet connected with her sternum so hard it fractured the breastplate, leaving a big, darkened gash where it punched in. But while it did hurt, the wound lacked real danger, and the smell of her own blood only drove Ren’ehk into a more violent frenzy.

    She grasped the blade clumsily held by the last remaining Rodok and twisted it in, stabbing him with his own weapon, pushing against him, her arms flexing and air escaping between her hissing teeth until the blade pushed out of his back and he was left stuck to the wall. The Rodok struggled with his bulky jump pack, trying to scramble off, but there was nothing he could do to stop the packmistress from punching into his throat, her claws cutting through the soft armorweave, the skin, the muscle, all the way so she could grab his cartilaginous throat and rip it off, yanking the tube out with a fleshy, choking gurgle that would continue for a moment as the slave soldier choked on his own blood.

    The Oznat snapped her tongue and the remaining three Hungries stood to attention, watching the entry points for any more enemies as she wiped both of her hands clean on her own long hair. She took a second to admire the glistening red adorning the tip of her otherwise pearly white braid, and huffed in approval before picking her helmet back up “Machinegun nest cleared” she reported when the mask fit back in “I’m downloading the files now. You should call for extraction, Officer.”

    Kasaro was surprised at his own smile now. The packmistress had actually made a request instead of giving him an order for a change. Thank the gods for small progresses. Still he couldn’t extract his team when they were still beset by an angry, living smoke monster, and now he had a very short time to kill that last Umbra before the ship arrived and left him for dead.

    The Umbra itself was getting increasingly angry, or maybe Kasaro was projecting his own frustrated rage onto it. It pulled out some sort of tri-bladed boomerang that looked ridiculously out of place on a creature that quite literally oozed vodootech out of its pores, and tossed it in a way too perfect arc. The blade spun around, whistling as it cut through the barricade Sor’kan had been using as cover, and then sheared his long sniper rifle in two.

    A little lower and it would have cut off both his arms too, but the sniper reacted fast enough to just lose his gun and not his fingers. However, that did make him incensed, and like his officer, he knew the extraction was coming soon and they were strapped for options, so he figured he might as well do something insensate for a change.

    The Yaogat charged the Samaritan. There was a moment of stunned silence as the creature itself realized some red faced monkey with a death wish was attacking it with a long, curved sword, and then the most difficult duel of its life began. For some reason this Morat was faster, or perhaps just angrier, and made it all the harder for their blows to connect.

    Sor’kan hollered a curse as wispy nanotech smoke enveloped him and he stabbed at random, only to suddenly feel his blade meet actual flesh. There was a spurt of foetid blood and a startled cry as the Yaogat yelled “It bleeds!” he said in triumph, pushing his blade further in hopes that he would cause enough damage to stop that rampaging monster even as more of its smoky tendrils enveloped him. The smell was awful, but the glistening blood spurting out of the wound was very real.

    And then Sor’kan died. It was just as fast as his crazy, pointless charge had been, as the Samaritan seemed to decide it had had enough and simply lifted him by the throat, his body losing color and strength as nanotech viruses ate it from inside out. In the space of a breath, the Morat sniper was a husk, tossed to the side like a discarded wet tissue.

    However, there was a lesson to be learned: Umbras bled. And if they bled, they could be killed. Kasaro knew it as he raised his gun up, the heavy machinegun resting on his shoulder, cold and precise. He aimed true, standing tall and sure he wouldn’t take enemy fire now that the Rodok team laid butchered where they stood “Now you die.” he snarled under his breath before pulling the trigger.

    All his life he had learned ‘Short, controlled bursts’ and ‘holding down the trigger is for maniacs and Raizot pilots’. At this moment, he felt like a maniac, he was angry, angry that his mission was an almost failure, angry that his people were oppressed by some unseen tyrant, and right now, most of all he was angry that this mass of utter bullshit nanotech monstrosity had killed half his strike team. So he did what he was not supposed to do and squeezed that trigger until his joints hurt.

    The Umbra came at him under a hail of bullets. The ammo counter on his visor running down so fast he couldn’t see the numbers fly by as his high impact rounds seemed to just cut through the smoke without effect. Then the creature staggered as a shot hit its mark “Found it.” he thought even as his ammo counter hit 0, and he ejected the drum magazine before the weapon could click empty, slamming another one home faster than he could draw breath.

    He had found the fleshy, vulnerable bits hidden in the smoke, and now he aimed at them, uncaring for how much nanotech protection it had, nothing could take upwards of two hundred shots and survive and he knew it. His gun bucked on his hand, but between his natural strength and his powered suit, he held it on target, hitting it over and over and over again until the creature finally staggered and fell down, gurgling and losing control of its nanotech cloud, the viruses turning on its own dying body to devour itself in an attempt to repair the damage even as it died, its death throes spastic and violent. The Suryat didn’t stop shooting until it stopped moving, firing on and on as the Umbra lost form and cohesion.

    In perhaps ten seconds, maybe less, Kasaro had exhausted two ammo drums on his target. Now his gun felt hot, the muzzle glowing red and half molten from the constant discharge. A thin trail of smoke rose both from the tip of his weapon and the pile of pulped flesh and still writhing nanotech cloud that had been the Umbra Samaritan.

    Silence hung out now that the combat was done, and Kasaro ordered his med-tech to make a quick check of every trooper that could be saved. As it did so, he walked over to Sor’kan’s corpse and recovered the Yaogat’s blade, now tainted black by the Umbra’s ichor. The Warrior Officer swapped his own sword for that one, giving his Kurdat friend and companion a short, respectful nod before standing up and moving on, waiting for the dropship.

    Far away from that frantic shootout, Ren’ehk pulled her sword off the dying Rodok gunner, twisting the blade around so it would shred his inner organs, making the damage that would have been repairable into a deadly hemorrhage. She turned to the local computer and began downloading the files they had suffered so much to recover, listening to her Hungries’ clicks and snarls for any further troubles. None would come.

    In a bout of curiosity, the Oznat opened one of the files and skimmed it. Once more she found herself smirking when she realized Kasaro had lied to her. These weren’t just the supply bases for the Onyx Contact Forces. These there contacts for human dissidents, Krakot mercenaries, all the network of spies and infowar operatives the Combine had implanted in the human sphere!

    “Smart kid” the packmistress chuckled as she closed the file. The realization of her own treason, her own part in this little conspiracy finally hit her and so did the irony of she becoming a traitor after butchering those Rodoks for betraying her species’ ideals. But for some reason she felt fine with the thought of splitting, of leaving the Combine, of being free. Seeing her own species being so directly led by another had churned her guts, had made her question if it wasn’t time the Morats just up and left the Combined Army already.

    Now, the next step was to convince the Karanatat commander that this was a good cause, before he had them all sent to death for treason. And once more Kasaro showed his smarts: If Ren’ehk couldn’t sway that old Sogarat to their side, no one could. But that didn’t mean she was all too eager to face Hirok now.

    “Maybe after a shower” she spoke out loud as if she was talking to her Hungries. It was a very bad habit she had never been able to kick. That, and smirking to herself when she was alone. In the end, Ren’ehk was feeling satisfied today, and that was enough.

    END
     
  4. R-z

    R-z Active Member

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    so DaRedOne want to do any thing involving dogfaces ?
     
  5. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    Well, the reason I write mostly about MAF is that it's the army I play the most, and every story comes from a mix of in game situations, and how I perceive my dudes and dudettes reacting to it.

    In fact, I used to play Ariadna, and had planned something about a Devil Dog facing some Aleph blokes, but when I realized how freaking easy playing Ariadna felt (My local gaming group sucks at dealing with camo and I spammed it like it was going out of fashion) I kinda stopped playing them, so I never had the urge to write about them. Might go back to it some day, but if I step out of the MAF I will most likely write about Nomads, as I've been having a ball with my nomad HI recently too.

    I suppose I could write about my MAF guys facing some dogfaces too, but the only guy I know who plays Ariadna and is not me hates them :D
     
    R-z and Golem2God like this.
  6. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

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    This one is not based on any game experience, and just serves to build on the characters. It also includes a funny joke @Wolf came up with, although the context for it here might not be so funny. Anyways, I quite enjoyed writing it, and I really hope you guys enjoy it too.

    Downtime


    The mess hall of the Uratak Assault Carrier was, well, a mess. It was easy for the assembled Morat soldiers to just get too carried away, too excited and end up breaking something or starting impromptu fights over small mistakes or perceived slights from rival regiments. In fact, such outbursts were expected, and many commanders incentivized their troops to vent their anger or built up tension with any kind of competition or contest that they could come up with in their downtime.

    Even in moments of alleged peace, the soldiers were coiled, tense, every male and female a spring loaded to strike. In fact, as some of them had their food, a pair of Rodoks settled some dispute with an arm wrestling contest, their fireteam members goading and hollering in cheer for their respective champions. At another corner, a pair of Yaogats practiced target shooting on their empty beer cans, their pistol shots ringing as the two burly soldiers tried to fire one eyed, missing the cans as often as they hit them.

    Kasaro was sitting on the officer table, groaning as his meat smelled overcooked and looked more like a piece of charcoal than fresh, red, tasty Rigorok meat. “I swear to the gods, sometimes I feel old one hand Viron does this just to piss us off” he smirked as he cut a piece of that rubbery meat and shoved into his mouth, chewing loudly on the stubborn flesh.

    “He does this just to piss us off” Hideosh laughed, taking his chance to bite off a larger piece, his teeth chomping in, gleaming white against the dark, nearly black beef “I think he’s still mad about you denying him deployment again” Hideosh was an older Suryat, and while he and Kasaro wore the same kind of battle armor, his was more worn, with older, deeper scars that made the two of them look different enough, Kasaro’s suit still gleaming even if it was steadily picking up more marks with every deployment he faced.

    “He’s only got one hand!” the young Warrior Officer growled “And I would rather…”

    “Deploy with Ren’ehk. We know” Another Suryat, this one darker skinned and sporting a long grey beard, chimed in, his voice gruff from the replaced throat he displayed with some pride. His name was Kamhor, and while he was not a Warrior Officer, he got to sit with the rest of the Suryat squad by virtue of simple, gregarious behavior. “We don’t blame you. She is one hell of a huntress.”

    Kasaro was getting better at reading body language, and the way his fellow warriors spoke, their lowered brows, their high grins, the relaxed shoulders, the word ‘huntress’ in that sentence was more in relation to the Oznat’s beauty and ability to produce offspring than her actual hunting skill. “She is extremely useful” The younger Warrior Officer tried to deflect the subject, but now he was the focus of the whole squad and their teasing.

    “Of course she is!” Kamhor punched the table. “If I had to choose between a one handed brute and a female with all her assets, I’d choose the female too!” Then he casually bumped his shoulder on the younger Suryat’s “Shame Hirok already has dibs on that hunt, huh?”

    There was an annoyed growl on the lips of the older Warrior Officer on the table “Be careful with what you say, Kamhor. Last thing we want is the old geezer stomping in and teaching you a lesson about respecting his lady.” There was a round of smirks and scoffs as Hideosh let the other warriors simmer and shrink back into their suits. He allowed the silence to settle in before joining the rest of the squad in picking on the young one “That is if the whelp here doesn’t do it for him!”

    They all laughed. And for one moment Kasaro considered punching either of them and reminding the squad why he had been promoted first. But in the end he choose not to, as he had never found these mess hall games any more fun than an actual training session. Besides, his attention was diverted somewhere else, as his eyes, used to picking up small details on the battlefield, drew him towards the other side of the hall “Wait. Guys, attention!” he called out in his command voice, and the chuckles stopped “Something’s up.”

    On the other side of the hall, a squad of Vanguards was having their lunch, and their meat was juicy, bloody and tasty. Viron was a good cook, and aside from the Suryat squad whose food he consistently botched on purpose, everyone else in the regiment got to enjoy the best of Ugaratan Cuisine as long as they did their job well.

    “So the human machine wanders in, shooting like some half blind whelp who just now learned how to pull a trigger, right?” Edorok, the squad’s missile launcher specialist, was telling a story they had heard before, but it was still fun. “It lines up it’s sights with me, and I pull my gun up. Bullets are going everywhere, I can feel them whistle past my ears and my beard is clogged with soot and grime. But you know how human bullets are so flimsy, they don’t really have any penetrating power, so I don’t care.” He mimics holding his tube launcher “Boom. One shot. Robot does down. Dead.”

    The squad cheered. Of course, they had been there, Morok had been spotting for him, and Ragarat had been the one to patch the wounds of his reckless exposure (human bullets did penetrate). The squad commander, Ourato, had been watching a different approach, and their hacker, Gurlot, was huddled behind a piece of cover, unable to see the battle but hearing the shootout the same. However, it was a good story, and reviving it felt good.

    “You know what they say about TAG pilots, right? Females can’t hold the pressure, they get too excited, go nuts. That’s why they are always exposing themselves to gunfire. They can’t handle the heat.” Most Morat TAG pilots were female, and it never occurred to them that other species might have male pilots, or even TAGs that were basically oversized combat drones controlled by AI.

    “Hey, I have a joke.” Morok said after that cunning observation “How many females does it take to change a light bulb?” he asked with a smirk as the rest of the squad shook their heads. After a moment of silence, he finally answered “Who cares about the lightbulb? Why are they out of their hunting party?! When I get home after a battle I want my dinner on the table! I want my meat bloody from the kill and my wife challenging me for the right to eat first!”

    Raucous, cheerful laugher wracked the five assembled troopers as the Forward Observation specialist finished his joke, their feet stomping the ground in approval. Morok himself allowed his lips to curl into a cheeky grin before a faint, small, perky and slightly high pitched voice joined their laughter too.

    “hahaha haha haha.” Said the female sitting on their table. As in literally on it, her legs crossed as if she wanted to emphasize how much smaller than the five of them she was. She wore the clothes of a TAG pilot, but had a tribal necklace made out of a collection of claws and teeth around her neck and many other knickknacks and trophies hung from her arms and on her hair to set her apart from the average pilot “great joke, guys. Real funny. I laughed.” Her smirk was mischievous as she finished her words, showing tiny, sharp teeth.

    Oyat Karakot was probably the most accomplished Raizot pilot in their ship, and her eccentricities were as well know as her admittedly impressive skill when piloting her red plated beast. She was also a well known troublemaker without much regard for authority figures or the chain of command, the kind of maverick most Morats despised and who was only marginally tolerated for her impressive skill piloting the Storm Dancer.

    “Although I got a funny one too: Have you heard the one about the Vanguard who arrived at Twelve Hours? No? Well, that’s because none of them make it past ten!” She threw her head back, laughing loudly and forcedly at her own joke at the usually short lives of the Morat Vanguard. If she were being honest, both jokes were funny, but she wanted to pick a fight and five knucklehead foot soldiers seemed like easy prey.

    “That is not funny, you skinny metal jockey. Our mates die out there while you feeders get the easy job. I’d rather be home hunting beasts than out there getting shot at.” Edorok was the first one to rise to her bait, and that made the young pilot smirk so wide her teeth were all showing. She was giddy with excitement, slowly changing her position as their banter grew more vicious.

    “Wait, does that mean you want to be a lady? I’m pretty sure making you a new body like that is easy.” She laughed out loud, waving a hand in a dismissive fashion before they could answer “Oh, calm your tits, big boy. It was just a joke. I thought we were making funny jokes about stuff!” she was now sitting with her knees pressed to her chest, her hands spread behind her “I mean, you guys are Vanguards, right? You guys *are* the joke” And that, more than anything, triggered the males. One could insult their gonads, their skill or even their ability to kill the enemy as much as they wanted, but an insult to their regiment had the five warriors fuming with rage, all that rage directed at the small female right in front of them.

    Edorok came swinging with a fist nearly as big as her head, but she ducked under it, coiling her feet back and springing on her back to plant both dewclaws on his chin, knocking him out cold with a single, bucking impact that rang loudly across the hall. Nobody batted an eye, except for a young Warrior Officer on the other side of the room who now took an interest on the overly confident female and the mess she was making.

    Oyat was so excited she could feel her hair stand on end, the thrill of a simple fight something so basic yet so much fun! One of the larger Vanguards came at her with a downwards hammer strike, and she rolled to the side, dodging the brutal fist slam while grabbing a food plate. It sounded like a gong when it hit him in the face, bending over with the force of the impact. As small as she was, the pilot was still Morat, and her lean arms had more muscle than a human twice her size would have.

    Of course, the same was true for the males, and half the fun was knowing one blow that landed would lay her out half dead on the floor. This was the closest she’d ever get to hunting back home now that she was attached to a regiment: being cornered by hostiles, knowing that any misstep could be the last. So lively!

    Two down, three left, the males finally stood up, just as she did the same, kicking a mug full of fungus beer onto one of their faces and vaulting over the other. Her style was acrobatic and gracious, more akin to a ballerina than a fighter. Which meant, for anyone watching with enough attention to those details, that she wasn’t taking it seriously.

    And that was her mistake, as when she landed behind Morok, he swiftly turned with a spinning backhand punch that hit her on the chest like a gunshot. She shrieked in pain as his balled, armored fist punched into her sternum and took the air off her lungs, but the pilot did not go down. Instead she brought her fists up, weathering a sequence of punches so intense she could feel her arms start to swell and bruise every time mailed fist met naked flesh.

    Vanguards wore armor, light yet blocky, strong armor. TAG pilots wore flimsy jumpsuits made to interface with their heavy Tactical Combat Gear. However, TAG pilots were also trained huntresses, used to being outnumbered and facing more dangerous foes without the help of a regiment or squad. So Oyat played dirty, stomping down on her attacker’s toes before kneeing him in the gut, his armor only slightly less hard on that area.

    A loud cheer came from behind her as a crowd gathered to watch one lean female, small for the standards of their species but still six feet tall, lay out a whole squad on the floor as if she was dancing with them. Oyat spun around, a fist missing her face by less than an inch as she whipped her long hair like a weapon, cutting into the attacker’s eyes. She kicked him in the groin, then spun again as the last Vanguard came at her with a vicious cross hook. She raised her arm, blocking the blow but still staggering under the impact, taking a step away from the two remaining soldiers.

    “Hey, guys, you might want to quit now.” the pilot smirked while backing up against another table, her hands feeling around for anything she could use as a weapon. Eventually her fingers closed around one of the feeding spades the soldiers used to spoon food into their mouths, and it had to be enough “You know, it’s only three of you down, I wouldn’t want to have all the family on the infirmary now.” She taunted, goading the two closer.

    The two Vanguards charged in, and she ducked under their arms, stabbing the leftmost one in the throat with her makeshift weapon, the small spade cutting into what little exposed flesh Ourato still had under his gorget, and the officer landed on the ground, choking and hacking blood on the floor. Usually, this was the moment when an officer would intervene, but the one that should have was laying on the floor, sputtering and hacking as blood fountained out of his neck wound.

    “Stop!” Kasaro had been paying attention to the fight, and had stomped his way through the crowd around the group, waiting to defuse the mess when it got too violent. He decided to do so just as the young Raizot pilot was about to chomp the fingers off Gurlot before he could choke her to unconsciousness. “That’s enough for today. Someone get me a medic in here.” He snapped his fingers at the first soldier that looked his way, making the order more direct.

    “It had to be you, hadn’t it?” The young Suryat sighed as he helped the Vanguard troopers that could still walk get up again. If he were to be honest, seeing the five of them get beat up by a female half their size had been fun, but he wouldn’t want the five men in the infirmary, or worse, their best TAG pilot missing one arm. “Oyat. Why?”

    The female smirked at him, shrugging her slim shoulders while raising her hands in an open, defeated gesture “Sorry. I got carried away.” Her words lacked any honesty in them. At the end of the day, Tactical Armored Gear pilots were not part of the military, and it showed on how insubordinate and reckless the little one could be even with what was just mess hall games.

    “Sorry is not enough” Kasaro looked her in the eyes, matching his yellow, beady eyes full of cunning and commanding power with her bright white, young and cheerful ones. He was a Warrior Officer, his age be damned, and at this moment even the usually careless Oyat lowered her head as he continued talking, acquiescing his authority for the first time. “I couldn’t care less if you knocked these men out, but you didn’t have to escalate it into a mortal fight. That was very impolite of you, and it offends this regiment that our best Raizot pilot is a reckless child.”

    “Yeah, kinda got carried away.” She said sheepishly, even managing a sly grin at him before he raised a finger for silence.

    “I will talk to Ourato. This kind of offense demands repayment. You will fight a duel with one of them. Straight, fair fight. That should allow this to be settled fairly.” as he spoke, the Suryat looked back to the Vanguard Officer, who managed to nod in agreement while his medical officer patched his bleeding neck “Now…” he snapped a finger, calling for one of the Raktorak officers to take the pilot to her quarters where she would wait until the Vanguards decided on who would fight her.

    Kasaro returned to his table to a slow clap from his own squad, the assembled Suryats all nodding and hooting in approval “That was good!” Kamhor said simply, his stance showing much more approval than his words could convey. His arms were wide and his chest exposed as he was welcoming the young one as one of his own.

    “I’m still pretty sure he only got involved because that’s Ren’ehk’s sister” Hideosh smirked again, and this time Kasaro allowed himself to join their laughter as they pulled him to sit down again. He was not a whelp, it was hard to make them understand it, but every little moment, every little decision reinforced the concept: he was a Warrior Officer, and a good one too.

    “You know what, Hideosh? I think you’re the one all red faced here.” Kasaro finally shot back “I mean, at least I can get both of them to join me in battle. When was the last time you got a female on your side again? Your mother doesn’t count” More laughter wracked their table as the older officer took the ribbing and raised his fists in mockery.

    “Oh, that’s some fighting words! You wanna go at it, boy? Come on! Fight me!” they started by mock punching of each other, but eventually that became real punching. Kasaro didn’t care much for the fight either way, he just wondered about the packmistress whereabouts, as he’d have loved it if she could rein in her bellicose sister before Oyat caused more casualties to their regiment than an entire human army could.

    ______________________________________________________​


    Ren’ehk hit the floor with a grunt, air out, eyes watering, fingers digging into the dirt as she felt her dewclaws curl in a mix of anger and excitement. “Get up!” a gruff, older and much deeper voice said behind her. “I wouldn’t take you for the kind who shows her back to the enemy, packmistress.” The teasing was not unwelcome, but it was still annoying.

    Hirok twirled a simple, wooden staff on his hands, stepping back to allow the Oznat to get up. They had similar weapons, and both wore no armor for their little sparring session, which allowed the female to enjoy the rare sight of the Superior Warrior Officer’s unarmored bulk. Hirok was a giant, easily two heads taller than Ren’ehk, who was already pushing close to seven feet in height, and so much broader that his scarred, red shoulders could obscure the lighting in the room depending on how he moved.

    The Sogarat was the definition of a Gesurat, a true Morat warrior, completely dedicated to the cause and the Regiment. He was large and muscular, strong as a wild beast, yet cold and hard like tempered steel. His face was marked with scars, and his beard was short, cropped and square, with a visible gash where some ancient cut had never quite healed properly on his chin. As any Sogarat should, he was a good shot with a gun, and a great fighter with a blade. He could lead, and he could take orders, and he was so loyal to the Supremacy his briefs had the EI stamp of approval.

    Ren’ehk stood up, her own staff at the ready “Are you the enemy now? Shame, I was enjoying the sparring.” Her voice was relaxed, at ease, as was her stance, her arms low and holding her staff across her waist, in a defensive but not very threatening position.

    She struck with a series of short, quick blows, alternating between high and low in a steady cadence. The tapping of wood on wood was the only sound on the room for a long while, their simple dance more an exercise in calisthenics than a real fight. Then she thrust her weapon, locked it under his arm, and spun with the same ease she would open a door, sending Hirok’s staff flying in the air to land a good ten feet away from both of them. The huntress smiled for half a second as she planted her staff on the sandy floor beneath them, using it as a support to smash both feet on his chest.

    It was Hirok’s turn to hit the sand, his back scratching as the female stomped on his muscled stomach “Yield?” she asked with a mischievous glint on her white eyes, bending over his prone form to look him in the eyes. They were fighting in one of the many arenas the Carrier had, this one had sand up the ankles to make the fighting harder, and it showed on the sweat running down their brows and making their red bodies glisten under the orange lights of the arena.

    “Would I ever?” the Sogarat smirked back at her as he grabbed her by the ankle and rose up. For a moment she cursed her carelessness as she was thrown bodily in the air, landing on a roll that ended with the huntress on her feet. “May I recover my weapon, packmistress?” Hirok asked while turning his back, trusting that she would not attack him while he made a move for his fallen staff.

    “No!” Her both feet smacked on his back again, and this time he fell on his face, her staff coming down hard on his back and the back of his head, beating twice before she tried to pin him down on the sand with the long, wooden haft. keeping her distance so he couldn’t sweep her leg off again “Didn’t you say we were enemies, Officer? Enemies don’t get to pick their weapons up.” She was teasing, he could hear it in her voice, but his answer took her by surprise.

    “So we are enemies.” It was flat, lacking the mirth it had earlier, enough to make Ren’ehk pull back and let him get up, even kicking his staff back at him.

    “Hirok, that was a joke.” She said with some dread on her voice, her staff no longer held up for her own defense while the Warrior Officer had his poised and ready to strike again “I mean…”

    “Was it a joke when you and Kasaro killed ten Onyx operatives and stole their files last month?” he asked flatly, the question hitting harder than any of his strikes had earlier, although he did come at her again, swinging a powerful downwards blow that she parried only barely, the impact of both staves shaking her arms to the bone.

    Part of her was very impressed that the Sogarat had somehow figured it all out. Another part was absolutely dreadful of what it would mean to her and the others involved. Although her rational mind told her it wouldn’t be so bad, as there was no Umbra death squad waiting in the shadows, so Hirok had probably kept their secret, at least for now. That being said, he could still crush her skull with a fist, and seemed intent on doing so as he came swinging hard, using all his superior strength to make every blow she parried hurt her arms to the very bones. She could feel the vibrations on her muscles and tendons, almost as if the strength was being sapped from her arms.

    “How did you figure it out?” her own question came as a surprise, but Ren’ehk was not going into a fight without making sure she knew exactly what she was fighting. A discussion was just fighting with words added to the fists. She turned the offensive on, riding another of his overpowering blows before moving to try and sweep his leg.

    “Which kind of Officer would I be if I didn’t?” he asked as he raised his leg, dodging her sweep and stomping down on her foot, causing her to take a step back to dodge too, but give him some terrain with every step she took back “It was not easy. But you guys left some clues I followed.” he took a sideways strike, aiming for her ribs.

    As Ren’ehk parried that sweeping blow, she dove into his guard, balling a fist and swinging to hit him on the chin, her knuckles hurting from hitting a jaw that felt like metal armor “We left no clues. I made sure of that” she snapped back, rethreading the mission debriefing and how she and Kasaro had hidden all clues of their little treasonous insertion.

    “One promising sniper dead. Sor’kan Urdrot, promoted during the Wotan Incursion. On a joint recommendation between Superior Warrior Officer Hirok Sundgror and Packmistress Ren’ehk Karakot” Every word was punctuated by a headbutt or a punch, and the smaller female had to raise her arm, dodge her head, do her best not to get hit with the full force of his blows as he listed on “No body to recover. No cube backup. That could only mean Vodootech was involved. You guys couldn’t bring him back because he was killed by an Umbra Samaritan.”

    Ren’ehk found herself smiling at how easily the Warrior Officer put two and two together. Her smile disappeared when he trapped her in a bear hug, though, her chest nearly crushed against his, air quickly running out of her lungs “It could have been… An accident. Corrupted. Cube data.” She hacked before biting his neck, chewing off a piece of skin and making his arms waver for just enough time to allow her to break free, catching her breath and swinging her staff at his head.

    “Yes. It could.” He agreed as he mimicked her earlier tactic, parrying her blow with a spinning strike that passed under her arm, disarming her in the exact same way she had disarmed him earlier “But there was a window, about three days, where this accident could happen.” he explained as she hit the sand, and it was his turn to step on her stomach “And within this window I found a pair of Ikadrons and one Med-tech also had their memory wiped. And no accidents whatsoever in any training involving our Yaogats”

    As he spoke, Hirok kept the pressure on her chest, the Oznat squirming and clawing at his leg, stripping off skin and flesh as she tried to get it off. Hirok grimaced, but held on, no matter how much his thigh throbbed from the intense pain. But he was used to pain, he did not yield “I pieced up your strike team: Three dead Yaogats: Sor’kan, Thurok and Ezarak; one dead hacker: Specialist Ohorod, one Rasyat who was nearly killed: Lorkan… Two Krakots: Esuri and Bhorkor, also dead. And you, Ren’ehk, you and Kasaro. Kasaro! Another one you helped me promote! Why did you do this?!” he raised his staff, ready to bring it down and crush her head into a pulp.

    “For the record: it was his idea” she spoke calmly, like all Morats, calm at the moment of death “He convinced me by appealing to my protective instincts. I couldn’t let a boy I helped become Warrior Officer go and get himself killed. And he does have a point.”

    Hirok didn’t expect that, and he pulled his bloody foot back, his own dewclaws spasming at the pain as he stepped down, favoring his left, unwounded leg “What? Oh, please, don’t give me that-”

    “Shut up.” Ren’ehk barked at him, sitting up and clutching her chest “Shut up and listen. Neither him or I want to start a war right now. That’s just dumb. But you said it to me the day the Raxxora fell, remember? The humans might win this war, they really have a chance, we both know that.” she hissed, shaking her head. Her whole body hurt to the point the very act of speaking burned her throat, her muscles throbbed and ached, and even her bones felt as if they were an inch away from spontaneously splintering.

    “So we wait. We scheme, we prepare. If they don’t win, they might at least weaken the Combine long enough for us to split off it. We are the Morat Supremacy! There’s nothing supreme about being shackled to a giant motherboard and you know it, Hirok!” Her throat hurt even more now, the huntress did not allow herself to catch her breath.

    There was a long silence. Hirok thought, he considered, and he looked at the female hacking and coughing next to him. He considered his actions, his inactions, his decisions, but in the end his course of action was clear, even if he could not accept it yet. After what felt like an hour but was close to a minute, he finally extended a hand, helping her get up “Perhaps you are right. I-”

    “Shut it” she put a hand to his mouth, pressing down to really hold his lips shut “You can’t lie to me. You don’t like it, I can see it on your face. I am grateful for you not giving us out to the Umbra, but I don’t want your help until you really make up your mind, you big oaf.”

    And with that, she stepped away from his body “Go have a look at your leg.” She said, averting her eyes. Part of her wanted to smile, but she still had not recovered her breath, and her heartbeat was pounding her ribcage in a mix of fear and excitement for the future.

    “And you go check your chest, I think some ribs cracked” He answered, moving in the opposite direction.

    “Same time tomorrow? Hand to hand?” She asked, finally allowing herself a smile even as she moved on, still averting her gaze.

    “Sure. See you.” he nodded, also keeping her away from his sight.

    As they parted ways, the Sogarat felt conflicted. That old question of whether his loyalty was to the Supremacy or the Combined Army floated in his mind, making him question his every limping, painful step. He was loyal to his regiment, though, and for now, that was enough.

    END
     
  7. DaRedOne

    DaRedOne Morat Warrior Philosopher
    Warcor

    Joined:
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    Okay, this one is a completely different take from what these stories are usually about, and follows a different character. This was going to be my pitch to @stevenart74 for my player character, but I ended up going with a different concept. Still makes for an interesting write and, I hope, and interesting read.

    Death and Honor

    She sat alone in the troop hold, her legs folded in front of her as her spear laid across them, balanced along her armored knees. The constant vibration of the hull around her was something she was used to and, aside from that, everything else was so silent she could hear her own heartbeat.

    “I am the rock, the prey breaks against me.
    I am the blade, the prey bleeds before me.
    I am the call of thunder, the prey fears me.
    I am the whisper of death, the prey ends upon me.”


    She didn’t speak, but the words repeated on her mind, over and over, every sentence repeated in a steady cadence that kept her heartbeat constant and her breathing timed. In that state, that almost trance-like focus, she could wait for days if she had to.

    But the wait was much shorter, a mere hour between sitting down to meditate and the ping on her ear that signaled it was time to act.

    “Uhbonit. We have clearance. Dropzone is marked and ready.”

    She stood up, flexing her arms and easing her shoulders, the vanes on her jump pack moved along, answering to her shoulders moving as if they were actual wings. Her spear had a simple telescopic function, it could retract back so it looked like a particularly vicious stick no longer than her forearm. In that collapsed form it was easy to stow the weapon on her back, opposite to the heavy looking shotgun firmly strapped in.

    “Thank you, Jedak.”

    She answered to the pilot by commlink as she prepared for the drop. It had to be quick, but precise, so she started by pulling her long, braided and bone white hair up, scrunching it into a bun at the top of her head so she could pull on the crash helmet. It was a simple, but fearsome visage, the face of a snarling gurlanak beast drawn on top of it, adding a feral look to her armor.

    As the side door of the troopship started to open, Uhbonit reached up to grip a safety railing, the potent winds buffeting the empty hold as the female Morat stood alone. It was dark outside, pitch black night, but she didn’t need to see the drop zone with her eyes. Behind the gleaming eyes of her fearsome visor, a complex HUD overlaid to her all the information about the incoming drop, her mission, her allies nearby, it was all clear, even if the sky in front of her was not.

    “Try to stay around. I might need extraction later.” She spoke to the pilot, smirking behind the visor, her own sharp teeth almost matching the creature whose face she wore so expertly.

    “Sure thing, huntress. Good luck.”

    She didn’t leap off so much as she took a step into the dark and dropped down, her lean, tall body completely still as she fell in a vertiginous drop. The huntress wore full, void pressurized armor, so the cold, buffeting winds were next to nothing, as long as she kept her mind calm and her focus on the plotted flight path.

    There was an E-Drone somewhere down on the ground, and she was glad the little thing had already triangulated her perfect drop position. It lit up in her HUD as a large, bright orange circle on the ground, giving her plenty of time to fire up the thruster jets on her back, their glowing beams burning bright as she cut the dark skies.

    Wing vanes flared to stall her descent, turning breakneck speed into merely bone jarring. But she was used to those conditions, and the objective was clear as she broke out of the cloud cover, surveilling the battle below her as her body turned, spreading to offer more resistance to the air now.

    It was a human city, ravaged by what looked like a pitched battle between the Combined Army and some human force. Uhbonit was a Rasyat, a Morat Diplomatic Officer, but that title could be very misleading. As Morat Diplomacy often involved very up close, violent combat, Rasyats were employed as stealth, rapid insertion assassins more often than they were in any kind of negotiation that didn’t involve high powered shooting.

    The city below her passed by in a blur of buildings and lights. Uhbonit could see the landing zone coming clear now, and as she passed by the tall buildings and their neon facades and heterogeneous mix of art styles and what she imagined were advertisements for some pointless product, the Morat wondered how the same species that built these horrid cacodemons to live in was resisting the Combine so vehemently.

    However, it was not her place to wax poetically about the failings of her species where a much lesser one was succeeding. It was her place to fight and kill, and she was coming in fast into the engagement zone.

    It looked like a hellhole, and Uhbonit snarled when she noticed the forces engaged in combat. She saw an Overdron lumber into position, its hulking, armored form moving slowly as it lowered one shoulder to present the superheavy gun on it, laying down a stream of covering fire that was as inaccurate as it was dangerous.

    While the mobile artillery was pinning down the enemy, a squad of Rodok enforcers bounced forward under the cover of the dark, their gleaming black and yellow suits drawing another snarl from the diplomat as she banked in the air, streaking past the soldiers. They were digging in to draw enemy fire, cleary setting up to allow her a clean kill.

    She would have respected that, if those were real Morat.

    Apparently the Rasyat had been called in to support an Onyx Contact Force assault, and the ground pounders were being properly humiliated by the human forces on the field. Uhbonit saw a ninja flicker into existence at the top of a roof, putting her sniper rifle down and preparing to take a shot at the Rodok team, only to be completely evaporated by their machine gunner in an expert display of marksmanship.

    It would have been a nice showing, if they were real Morat.

    Her target was clear, and she turned in the air, directing her jump pack to put all force into arresting her descent so she could fall in hard and fast. The speed at which she hit the ground would have broken a human’s knees, but for a Morat it was barely an inconvenience. She did remind herself to get her knees looked at by a doctor later, just in case.

    She landed behind a broken down building that seemed to have already been hammered with several missile shots. There was a large hole on the side where she could run in, but she wasn’t going to dash in through the obvious entrance and get shot down. Instead she moved around the wrecked place, silent, a huntress stalking for her prey.

    There was a locked door between Uhbonit and her target, and she cut it open with a swing of her spear, holding it with just the blade extended from the haft as a makeshift short sword. Keeping the long, elegant weapon on her hand, she moved in slowly, turning around the tight corners of the human building as she heard the sounds of violence around her, the battle raging on.

    The Rasyat disliked a lot of things about human architecture, from the way everything looked too complex to how they enjoyed pilling buildings on top of buildings. But the thing she hated the most was how cramped they felt. She wasn’t even tall for her kind, standing at roughly seven feet, she was on the average for a Morat female, and her build was lean and strong, only bulked up by her drop armor. Yet still it felt like she was taking up whole corridors on her own.

    Finally, the sounds of gunfire were close, close enough she could smell the burnt metal on the humans’ guns. She didn’t need her tactical computer to tell her there were three of them in the next room, but the confirmation was welcome.

    It was fast and brutal. She kicked the door open, firing her shotgun one handed, caring not for precision when her weapon was made to saturate the area with hot metal anyways. The two escorts of the human commander went down under her loose blasts, but the commander himself was wearing heavy armor, and weathered her shots with the same ease she had weathered the buffeting winds.

    He stood as tall as she was, his yellow armor looking sleek and aquiline, the many fins on its back flexing slightly as he drew his sword, a slightly curved, beautiful blade that shimmered with power. It made a dull thrum when he activated it, giving the blade a menacing red glow.

    Uhbonit instantly liked this human. She dropped her shotgun and extended her spear sideways along her arm, holding it across her body as she struck a fighting stance, grinning behind her helmet and once more matching the leering snarl drawn on it.

    Their blades met, elegant alien chaos striking methodic human precision. She struck in long, deceptively quick strikes that swept at him, keeping his shorter blade at reach so he couldn’t leverage the enhanced strength of his suit against her unpowered armor.

    The commander was fast too, his suit moving with unhurried precision as he parried one of her attacks with his glowing sword, then slid down along the haft of her spear to punch her in the leering face of her helmet.

    Uhbonit took the blow more as an insult than as any damage, but answered in kind. She stomped down on his foot, trapping the human close to her before punching under his suit’s chest piece. She hoped it was similar to Suryat armor, where the armorweave was slightly less resistant on the soft belly side than the heavy chest and crotch plates.

    Her claws, armored or not, could never penetrate a powered suit, but a nice punch to the gut staggered the human commander. There was a split second when he reeled from her blow, and that allowed her just enough time to flourish with her spear, decapítating the human in a single, arcing blow that was more dance move than martial strike.

    “Enemy commander is dead.” She finally opened communications with the Onyx Contact Force commander in the area, her mission was done.

    “Good. Stand by for further orders.” Said a deep voice in her ear, and the Rasyat reeled when she figured it was an Umbra.

    She waited, taking the lull in the battle to walk over to the human’s severed head and pick it up. Removing the head from inside the helmet was relatively easy, but cleaning the blood from it was harder. Once clean, the aquiline helmet would make for a good trophy, and she tied it to her belt before respectfully leaving the head on a table for his underlings to find later.

    There was an explosion to her left, and she walked over to the room’s window to see out into the dark city they were fighting in. She could make out the Rodok team in an entrenched position, dug in on a rooftop a couple blocks down and trading fire with the lumbering form of a Guija Battle TAG.

    The heavy combat robot moved slowly, holding its oversized gun on both hands as it advanced from cover to cover, trading fire in a methodical, controlled fashion. The tiny hands of the pilot could be seen jutting out of the robot’s armored belly, mimicking the movements of the heavy arms as it fired on and on, one burst taking out the Rodok missile launcher specialist’s head and half his torso in a single salvo.

    Uhbonit watched without passion, at least at first. She was one of the many Morats that believed the Rodoks were not worthy of praise or concern both due to their relative new age, and their affiliation with the Onyx Contact Force putting them under command of the Umbra instead of the Supremacy. But they still fought like Morat, they fought hard, professionally. They weren’t real Morat, but they fought like Morat, so maybe they were real Morat after all.

    The Diplomatic Officer put one of her hands to her belt, pulling out a smoke grenade from it, and leaving it primed and ready on her hand, gripping the release mechanism so it wouldn’t fire off. She knew interfering now could put whatever the mission these ground pounders were on in jeopardy, but watching her kin getting killed, disdain or not, wasn’t exactly easy.

    “We got the cargo. Pulling out now. Vedorak, you have rearguard duty.”

    The Umbra spoke on the general channel, so the Rasyat picked it up even if the order wasn’t directed at her. She snarled at it. Vedorak was the Rodok leading the team she had been watching, and not only had they already suffered casualties, the Umbra had just sentenced them to death if they had to rearguard against a Battle TAG.

    “I’m in position. I can take the TAG.” She spoke curtly, not wanting to talk more than necessary with the Umbra.

    “Do it. But I’m pulling the Overdron out. Good luck, diplomat.”

    The poisonous words of the Umbra made Uhbonit snarl again as she broke into a run. Without the heavy firepower of the Overdron and with the Missile Launcher dead, there was nothing short of the Rasyat’s blade and the demolition charges she carried on her belt that could even scratch that monstrous warmachine, and the Umbra knew it!

    It was death. They were going to die. But Uhbonit charged in anyways, swinging her arm to throw her smoke grenade as far as she could, an attempt at blinding that behemoth for a second. Maybe, just maybe, she’d get the chance to come close to it.
    _____________________________________________

    Back at the Carnorri assault carrier, Umbra Legate Sejanus confided with Sogarat Gor’rok of the Morat Aggression Forces. He would have to explain why one of the Sogarat’s Diplomatic Officers, and one with Uhbonit’s track record to boot, didn’t return from what should have been a simple assassination.

    They stood in a war room, talking over a table that displayed the records collated from all the troops that had participated in the brief skirmish. It was missing the Rodoks’ information, and the Rasyat’s too, probably because they were all dead and their Cubes couldn’t be recovered during their retreat.

    “As you can see, your lady did not complete her mission. The enemy chain of command was not affected by the death of the Hsien warrior, and we were forced to do a hasty retreat that cost me my Rodok fireteam.”

    Sejanus spoke in the mellifluous, poisonous voice that most Umbra Legates had, his lips, thin and red as if they lacked skin, moving slowly as he spoke. It felt like a mockery, as if he was slowing down his speech pattern so the Sogarat could understand it. Gor’rok was not amused.

    “I can see on the recon reports that the enemy had a Pheasant Agent in their forces. Is it possible that upon the Hsien being killed the Pheasant assumed command to keep their troops from breaking into disarray? That would explain the Guija assault coming right after the assassination was complete.”

    The Legate scowled, mostly because some oversized ape in a power suit was questioning his motives. He had noticed the Pheasant, he knew of the possibility of him assuming command, but the Hsien had been overwatching an important access to their intended cargo, so he called down the Rasyat earlier than he should have. Of course, he wasn’t going to dignify the Morat veteran with such a complex answer.

    “Yes. That is a possibility. Our mission was complete, though, so I-”

    “Left us to die.” A voice snarled from behind the Umbra as a battered Hsien helmet landed on the table, broken from a bullet punching through it. “Edorak, Mor’grul and Rossor are dead. Vedorak is in the medbay and Sorok needs a new arm and a new leg.”

    Uhbonit came in, fuming as she held her spear in one hand, gripping it firmly and menacingly. She still wore her armored dropsuit, but it was scorched from the fight, and she held under her arm the oversized head of the Guija TAG, a massive cut nearly bisecting it from top to bottom. Soon that heavy head joined the smaller head of the Hsien on the table, both of them proof of the huntress’ skill.

    The Rasyat looked like a ghost from the afterlife, she had her visor up, showing her face covered in soot and grime, and her hair frazzled and torn, missing patches where her skin had been grazed by the oversized hands and blade of the battle TAG.

    “You bastard! You had an Overdron! You just had to make it lay covering fire and I would have killed that TAG without another Rodok dead! You killed us.”

    They might have not been real Morat, but Uhbonit had watched those Rodoks fight and she was not willing to let them die for some red faced coward. She held her spear close to the blade, the long shaft shortened down into a stabbing configuration.

    “Uhbonit?” Sejanus took a step back, his hand reaching for his sidearm as the angry, wounded diplomatic officer stepped closer to him. “It was necessary. We needed to ensure the cargo was properly loaded, and if I had left the Overdron-.”

    He never finished his sentence. Uhbonit knew how fast Umbras were, how dangerous they could be, so she wouldn’t give him a chance to react. It happened in the space of a blink: her spear shot up, stabbing under his ribcage, up through his left lung to punch into his heart and tear out of his back, dripping black blood from it.

    The Rasyat pulled her weapon out of the dead Umbra Officer and stood to attention, only to meet the bewildered, confused eyes of her Sogarat Officer. Gor’rok frowned as well, folding his arms over his armored suit and shaking his head. It was almost hilarious, the way he acted as if he were scolding a whelp that had misfired their first gun.

    “You killed a superior Officer, Uhbonit.” He spoke as if to make sure it really happened.

    “Yes.” She answered casually.

    “Do you understand this is a death sentence? There is nothing I can do to save you from this.”

    “I can fight my way out.” She extended her spear, holding it across her back in a defensive position.

    “No.” The Sogarat shook his head again “There’s only one way this ends: you die.” Gor’rok pointed at her for emphasis “Even if you beat me, and you’d have to kill me too to get away, you’d end up having to fight the whole ship. You can’t beat those odds.”

    The Sogarat allowed the female before him to say anything. She stood silent in the war room, casting a look at her trophies on the planning table and then the dead body of the Umbra next to it. She tried to find any regret for her actions, but could not. However, she had no satisfying answer either.

    “If we fight, you will be killed like a rabid Gaki being put down” Gor’rok resumed, his arms folding again, showing no fear “Stand down. Surrender yourself, and I will make sure you are sent back to Ugarat for a proper execution. It’s the best you can have.”

    Uhbonit nodded, then put her blade down on the table before her, the Umbra’s black blood still dripping from it. She was surprised at how easy a decision it was: between dying with honor or dying without it, she’d rather keep what she had. Her helmet soon joined the two human heads on the table, and she straightened up, presenting herself as a prisoner.

    “I stand down.”
    ______________________________________

    The prisoner ship was another hellhole. It was dark, crowded and smelled of sweat and rancid fluids. The hold was made to transport prisoners by the hundreds, all sitting in lines of fifty each, shackled by their hands and feet so they couldn’t try to escape. There wasn’t even a physical guard, just patrolling Unidron combat bots that moved in unchanging patterns unless a prisoner got sick or started to fight.

    Males and females were not separated, there was no sense to it when Morat physiology meant the genders had next to no difference in how strong or how aggressive they were. Uhbonit sat quietly, stuck between two burly males that felt more fat than muscular, she closed her eyes and immersed herself in the old mantra.

    “I am the rock, the prey breaks against me.
    I am the blade, the prey bleeds before me.
    I am the call of thunder, the prey fears me.
    I am the whisper of death, the prey ends upon me.”


    “Hey! Army girl! You awake?”

    Uhbonit opened her eyes to look to her side and meet the yellow eyes of another Morat prisoner. She instantly snarled at him, realizing it was a Krakot she was talking to. He was a real Krakot, a slave prisoner condemned to work in the war but not fight on it, probably on his way to dig trenches and build latrines in Paradiso. For a moment, the (former)Rasyat felt offended merely for the Krakot talking to her, then she remembered how she wasn’t that different from him.

    “I am. No need to scream.”

    “So, what’s your deal? I’m Bor’zul. I’m in for stealing from a big general or something. Gonna serve him ‘till I die, it seems.”

    He was fat, and his speech had a lot of spittle to it. Kind of a simpleton too, not the kind someone like Uhbonit was used to dealing with. She had no patience for his words.

    “My name is Uhbonit. That’s all you get.”

    “Ooh, we got a badass over here!” he called out in a jeer, laughing out loud in the silent cargo hold. His laughter echoed along, almost as if it was multiplying. “You think you’re any different than us, army girl? You’re gonna dig trenches with all of us dirt pigs.”

    She shook her head, stoic and elegant, as if she was answering the question from a general.

    “Not me. I’m going to die.”

    The way she answered made Bor’zul take pause. He looked one way and another, as if he was trying to process the idea of someone being so casual about their own death. It must be a military thing, he figured out.

    “That’s an oddly calm voice for someone who is going to her execution, Uhbonit.”

    “It is inevitable” she shrugged “I am dead. Might as well have some honor about it.”

    The Krakot snorted, shaking his head and looking away from her.

    “The way I see it, there ain’t any honor in dying. It just means someone was stronger, bigger, badder. Figured you military types would be all about being the bigger, the badder ones. Heh, I guess I have seen everything, a Morat that welcomes death.”

    His snorts disrupted her meditation, and she sucked her breath in. He was, in a way, right. She had welcomed death, but for a good reason, to salvage her honor. She’d be buried as a military hero, a true huntress. It should be a good death.

    She didn’t feel like it was.

    The trip went on in silence for a few more hours, but Uhbonit couldn’t bring herself to continue meditating now. She felt as if she had wasted something, she felt empty, as if by giving herself up freely she had somehow relinquished the very core of her being as a warrior. She had surrendered after all. Morats weren’t supposed to surrender.

    There was a violent rattle on the ship, and it suddenly bucked hard, tossing the prisoners forward, some of them dangling from their chains. Uhbonit felt the ground beneath her feet shake, and she recognized the hull was giving out too. It felt ironic, that her ship was giving up just like she had.

    Something broke behind her, and she instinctively dodged to the side as a piece of metal embedded itself where she had been half a second ago. The ship was splitting in half! The (former) Rasyat looked around herself, seeing the other prisoners panicking around her, but she herself was calm. This was no different from a hot drop.

    Looking up, Uhbonit found something akin to a safety railing and reached for it, gripping the metal with both hands and heaving herself up, her chained feet snagging on something. She grunted, realizing she was stuck.

    It was not a hard decision. She just had to reach down and twist her ankle to the side, snapping her ankle from her foot, dislocating it and allowing it to slip off the cuffs. It hurt, but she bit the pain down, chewing on her lower lip until it drew blood. The really bad part was repeating the process on her other foot, so she had both legs free, heaving herself into the ‘safety railing’ atop the prisoner seats while the hull continued to tear itself apart around them.

    There was a sudden burst of sunlight into the dark hold as it finally split completely open and began spinning down towards the planet below. Uhbonit saw the world outside, the lush green forests, the bright sun: Paradiso, the forefront of the war… But she had little time to see any of it before the hold began to spin, and she focused on holding on, on enduring the crash.

    It was over as fast as it had started, the ship crashing through foliage and gouging a mile wide trench into the lush forest. Maybe the trees had cushioned their impact, or maybe the angling had allowed the ship to hit the ground at less force. Or maybe it just wasn’t her day, but Uhbonit was alive, and unlike the other prisoners, she was not chained down.

    She looked at the jagged, yawning open maw of the wrecked hold, inhaling deeply as she realized this was an unique chance. She was free. Free not just from her sentence, but free from her own people.

    Oddly enough, she felt satisfied with the idea. She had a new chance, a new opportunity to regain her honor, to regain her soul as a huntress.

    The first thing was getting rid of the shackles on her hands, though. She couldn’t break her wrists like she had broken her ankles, or she’d be left defenseless in the jungle. So instead she crawled along the metal pipe she had rode as a safety railing, looking for one of the Unidron bots.

    She found one, the gangly creature pointing its plasma carbine back and forth between a few prisoners that had managed to escape too, trying to put them back in their seats. The huntress dropped on top of the machine, wrapping her shackles around its neck to pull firmly. The flexible metal of the Unidron carapace was strong, but not strong enough to stop it from behind ripped off by a Morat’s raw power.

    With the robot dead, Uhbonit crawled to its gun, not paying attention to the other prisoners thanking her for freeing them. She jammed the muzzle of that plasma carbine between her shackles and bit down on the Unidron’s neck. The weapon was built into the machine, so she had to bite the right cybernetic nerve to make it fire, and it took her a good five minutes of biting and tugging until she found the right one.

    Bright green light was added to the cargo hold as a plasma discharge tore Uhbonit’s shackles open. The closeness had burned her palms, but the pain only kept her sharper. With her hands free, she picked up a broken shard of metal that had split off from the hull and used it as a makeshift knife to rip the carbine from its socket in the unidron’s arm. That would be an useful weapon, if she managed to jury rig the firing mechanism, which was not something she was going to do in the middle of a cargo hold filled with panicking prisoners.

    The (former) Rasyat dragged herself to the edge of the broken open cargo hold, inhaling the forest air of Paradiso, the scent of wet dirt and wood. It was not a bad place to make a new life. However, as beautiful as it was, it was still a war zone.

    Uhbonit had an idea. She had heard about Morat fugitives that worked as mercenaries for the humans. At first the idea had been repulsive, and in many ways it still was, but now she had little choice, as rejoining the Aggression Forces would just lead to her being put in another ship like this.

    The huntress sat up and leaned against the metal of the hold, craddiling the plasma carbine and starting to work on it. First she’d have to survive until her feet healed, then she could think about where to go next.
    ____________________________

    Martino Correa was getting really pissed off. He needed someone to clean up that fucking Tunguskan mob from his turf. He hated when others interfered in his business, but in a place like Corregidor, he had to deal with it all the time. Everyone wanted to be at the top, and that meant shoving off the dumbass who occupied the spot right above you to get there.

    And Martino might be a man of action, but he wasn’t dumb. The Tunguskans had hardware he had never seen out of a holocast: Heavy Armor, big guns, bad moods, those guys were nasty. But while he didn’t have the hardware, Martino had the money, and money got him what he needed: a killer.

    This one was supposed to be the best of the best, but Martino was very much not prepared for the… thing that walked into his office.

    She, it was a she, and a very well endowed one too, the bitch wore next to no clothing, probably to show off her fugly alien musculature, her red skin rippling as she stepped in. She had a spear strapped to her back, and the jaws of several very unlucky sods hung on her belt. Adding her white warpaint to that, the white streaks on her body and face that gave the appearance of claw strikes, and the bitch looked like some tribal specter.

    “The hell are you?”

    “The name is Uhbonit. I was told you needed some people dead.”

    Martino cocked his head to the side, then looked at his Comlog. Sure enough, there was a file about this ‘Crimson Huntress’ on it. It was odd, as it said she was one of those Morat Fugitives that had escaped from Paradiso a while back, but specifically said not to call her a ‘Krakot’ like the others. But her record was solid, if it was true, that was.

    As the Corregidoran Drug Lord looked back at the alien woman, his eyes landed on her white braid, and he blanched when he realized her hair was done up with human bones. Yup, she was just as grizzly as the Morat were supposed to be.

    “Yeah, I need some Tunguskan blokes ventilated. What’s your price, Uhbonit?”

    The alien woman gave Martino a grin that would haunt him for the rest of his life.

    “The price is a good fight. Show me your enemies.”

    END