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Page: Pt 2: The Last Praetorian
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Annikah Vance
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nara supported Annikah with one arm, the other grasping the rifle as they hobbled through the woods. Both women's bodies ached horribly, but they knew they couldn't stop. The Praetorian was hunting them and he couldn't be far behind.

Through her anguish, Annikah began to realized it was futile. Sooner, rather than later, he would catch them. And that would be it. She was not going to make it. But Nara could.

The mechanic's foot caught a root and she slipped out of her friend's grasp. She hit the dirt, her dislocated arm crumbling beneath her as she shrieked. Nara was on one knee immediately, propping her back against the tree and trying to pull her back up. "Come on! We gotta move!"

"No..." Annikah said through pained tears. "Just...just go."

The redhead's brow furrowed a moment before she shook her head. "Not gonna happen! Come on, on your feet!"

Nara tried to pull her up drawing a yelp as she grabbed her bad arm. "Stop! STOP!" Annikah pleaded. She looked up at the former bounty hunter, eyes wet with tears. "Save yourself, Nara. Please. I'm just slowing you down."

Nara swallowed hard and shook her head obstinately. "No. We can make it. Get off your ass!"

"Nara..."

"I said no! You've always been a pain in the ass! For once, JUST for once! Do what I ****ing tell you! Let's go."

"Where? Where are we going?" She asked...and Nara didn't have an answer. She just stared down at her. "Everything hurts. My legs are giving out. You can't carry me forever." Annikah reached up with her good arm grabbing the bounty hunter's shoulder. "You can make it. You can escape. Please...just...just tell Page I..."

Nara nodded, placing a hand at the brunette's scratched cheek. "I will." She forced a smile. "Annie...I...I'm sorry." Her voice broke.

Annikah stared up at her. She'd never much cared for Nara before, but now that the end was so near...she wanted nothing more that the woman to live. To thrive. To get off this planet and do everything in her power to bring these bastards to their knees. Nara handed over the rifle.

"You'll need this." She said gravely. Annikah looked down at the weapon and then back up, making a weak effort at a smile. Nara's emerald green eyes peered down, one last moment between them as she rested her forehead to Annikah's, both of their eyes squeezing closed.

Without another word, Nara tore off into the woods. Annikah took in a deep breath and readied herself, propping up one knee and resting the rifle on top of it. "Alright...come on, you son of a bitch."

Just the sounds of nature all around her, waiting for him to come tromping through woods. She was thankful for the weapon. If she had to go out, **** these people, she was going out fighting. She tried to think about good things, the best times. Growing up, rough housing with her brothers. Her father, hoisting her up on his big shoulders. Those huge, mechanic's hands that seemed like they could bend titanium so careful with her. Mostly, she remembered his laugh. That deep, low laugh that was just infectious, filling every room it was unleashed upon. And Page. Page...The lingering looks...the denied feelings. That night when they gave in, finally. It felt like it was so long ago. And it ended so quickly. That they had a second chance was a gift. But it ended here. It ended today.

The slim mechanic grimaced, and exhaled a shaky breath.

Suddenly the sound of boots landed right beside her. Annikah's heart nearly jumped out of her chest, wheeling the rifle around on the sudden intruder. A strong hand grabbed the rifle's foregrip, pushing the barrel away from them, the blast bolt firing harmlessly into the air.

Nara stared down at her and pulled the rifle from her hand. Annikah, glared up at her. "What the **** are you doing?! I told you to go!"

The fiery haired huntress sat down beside her. "Shut up. I'm not leaving you alone."

Annikah went to argue...but her voice caught in her throat. Instead, a weak little smile crossed her lips. "Thank you."

"Besides. Once he offs you, I'm gonna need this rifle." Nara said with a little smirk.

"Oh...I get it. Self preservation." Annie said as if she'd just realized it.

"Of course."

"Doesn't mean you like me."

"Hell no. You're a pain in the ass."

Annikah smirked over to her and leaned against the woman, resting her head on her shoulder. Nara's sharp green eyes, turning down to her, a smile forming on her face.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

His targets were out there. Two adult females, both injured. The smaller of the two with a dislocated (if not broken) shoulder. The larger one, clearly trained in armed and unarmed combat would be slowed as well. Without the benefit of his helmet, Fox had to use those cybernetic eyes to track them as best he could.

The would not get far. There was nowhere for them to go, and the difference between them and him...was that he didn't need to sleep.

He would need to be careful. The females were armed. His own rifle lying useless with a stabbed battery pack, he would have to improvise. The knife she stabbed him with in-hand, he moved through the trees.

The stab-wound at his shoulder ached sharply. No matter. Pain could be compartmentalized with the right training. The strength of mind. Fox put it aside. His injury could wait.

The Praetorian stopped suddenly. He could hear them. Their voices a whisper, but enough for his enhanced hearing to pick up.

"Hell no. You're a pain in the ass." One of them, most probably the older one, said. Her tone suggesting she said so in jest. His head turned to one side slowly. They were waiting for him. He could use a diversion.

Fox's hand reached behind him, grabbing a device from armor and tossing it on his left, the metallic object landing loudly in the leaves. He could hear them gasp and turn their attention to the direction of the sound.

His fingers danced across a holo screen at his forearm, activating the device. Suddenly a holographic representation of him appeared and moved forward along with a gust wind, the trees rustling gently. Fox prepared himself.

His hand clutched Nara's knife tightly, his knuckles popping. Nara turned to fire upon his holographic doppelganger, and in that moment, he lunged through the trees, full speed charging at them. Nara pulled the trigger, finding the weapon non-responsive and realized all too late that she'd been had. Horror and hopelessness crossed both their faces as they turned to catch sight of him charging.

Fox was almost on them when he noticed something in the upper right of his periphery. He skidded to a stop, ducking and spinning as the figure descended.

Delta slammed down onto the ground in a crouch before him, her make-shift machete slicing into the dirt. Those eyes, mirror images of his own, turned up to him, but what was behind them was something different. Something terrifying.

Rage.

Slowly, the girl rose, one hand clutching her blade, coated in the blood of her Praetorian brothers. Keeping herself between him and the girls, she stared him down, keeping his focus on her.

"Subject Delta. You are ordered to lower your weapon and stand down."

"No." She said simply, acid in her voice.

"You will not be told again." He said in that monotone, threatening voice.

"You do not understand what is happening, Subject Fox."

She had been warned and now he would keep his word. He moved in, slashing at her, but Delta used her superior speed to evade him. "There is more happening than you know."

He grit his teeth, he knew her strengths and her weaknesses were few. But then, she had become compromised. The emotionally compromised made mistakes. Perhaps she would be no exception.

The two of them were in a deadly dance, Fox slashing, stabbing, throwing punches, elbows and kicks, but she maintained her defense, countering and blocking every attack with pinpoint precision.

"She's trying to kill us all, Fox! You must listen to me!"

He didn't respond, just another attack. This time, she caught his arm and slammed him face first into a tree, shaking it down to it's roots. His teeth grit hard, reddening as his blood flowed from his lip.

"We must join together!" She insisted.

He threw an elbow back and caught her in the jaw, knocking the girl back a few steps before swiping at her with his knife.

Delta leaned back out of it's path, grabbing him by the shoulders and thrusting her knee hard into his stomach again and again and again. Her elbow bent, she thrust it upwards catching him under the chin.

The impact nearly took Fox off his feet, his vision going white for a second. Delta put some distance between them. "Fox. Please. Don't make me kill you." He fist clutched her weapon still, ready to use it if she had to.

"You are a liar and traitor."

"I am not lying and I've betrayed no one." She insisted, a few strands of black hair loose from her bun and hanging in her face.

Fox noted the changes in her speech...the emotion in her voice. Good. Let her anger. Let her get sloppy.

"You will die here, Subject Delta. As Alpha and Charlie before you." He said, all business.

When he mentioned Charlie, something inside her lit up. She wasn't quite sure what it was by the look on her face, but it was consuming her. Delta's hand turned up that jagged blade in an aggressive position.

"I'm going to send you screaming to hell." She said simply.

A small smile crossed Fox's lips. He knew he had triggered something inside of her.

Delta's face contorted in pure, unadulterated rage as she lunged for him, blade drawn, a hoarse battle cry leaving echoing through the jungle.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"You will die here, Subject Delta. As Alpha and Charlie before you." Fox said. The second he mentioned Charlie, something inside of her snapped. Suddenly, she was young. No more than 11 years old. She was on a playground at William J. Hudson Military Academy.

A tiny thing, she stood at only 4', the runt of the litter, as it were. They were playing a game she recalled being given the moniker "tag". Some of the larger boys took it as an excuse to bully and push around the weaker kids. One of them had apparently decided she was to be his target for the day.

Fortunately, despite her little legs, she was fast. Darting left and right at random, she kept the older, stronger boy at bay as she made a brake for the safe zone, or "base" as they called it. She could feel the elation running through her body as she neared her goal, and the righteous pride as her hand tagged it.

But the boy was in no mood to obey the rules. She felt his hands slam against her back, and shove her hard to the ground, her face making contact with the concrete, that sharp pain coming from her cheek as it was scraped and beginning to bleed. For a moment, she was confused...then she was angry. She looked back up at the boy, petulant anger making her head hurt and her heart rapidly beat beneath her chest.

And then he laughed.

Her little fists balled up, ready to lash out, when a taller figure stood behind him.

Davey. The name almost whispered in her mind as she recognized him. Her brother. Only, the last time she saw him, his code name was Charlie. The bully was whipped around and Davey's fist slammed into his jaw. He was tall, even then for a 13 year old. As her antagonist dropped to the ground, Davey stepped up and took her hand, pulling her to her feet, checking her scraped cheek. He shot a dangerous look at the boy, laying on the pavement with a bloodied lip.

"Mess with my sister again and I'll beat you so bad your mother will cry when she sees what I've done." He'd said.


The memory faded like a mist clearing in front of her. Now all that remained was Fox. Sneering at her. One thought consumed her entire being in that moment. "I'm going to kill this son of a bitch."

Her fist tightened on her machete, her blood boiling, muscles tightening, ready for combat. Ready to kill. She reared back and roared as she charged, bringing that blade up.

Fox weaved out of the way of her blow as she brought it down, hellbent on bisecting her former comrade from should to hip. The blade passed through where he had stood and she followed through in her momentum to take a full bodied slash at his head.

Fox barely ducked in time to save his life. Delta was slashing and swiping like a mad woman, keeping him on the defensive. On her next attack, he darted to one side, grabbing her arms and directing her blow into the ground, grabbing the hilt of her blade with one hand. As he pulled, she threw an elbow up into his face. While he was dazed, he did manage to rip the weapon from her arms, throwing it aside.

Delta glanced at it for half a second, before dismissing it as a loss. She tackled the Praetorian man to the ground, her fist cocking back and crushing into his face like a brick. All her anger, all her aggression boiled over and was now being directed at his face.

Several blows later and he caught her fist, the two struggling against each other's incredible might. Finally, moved her arm to his left and out of the path of his face. His right came back and then jacked her as hard as he could across one cheek bone, the skin splitting and bursting with a mist of red.

Delta hit the ground rolling, completely dazed and seeing stars. Fox got to his feet and walked over to her as she tried to push herself up on shaking arms. His leg kicked upwards and stomped the back of her head, smashing her face into the ground.
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Page watched from his hiding spot in horror as Delta was taken down. When the warrior had stomped on her head, she did not move to get up. Her body lay limp, unresponsive. She was their last line of defense. Without her, he would surely kill Annie and Nara, and now he was turning to face them.

Nara tried to shield Annikah with her body, clutching the rifle to her like she might use it to hit him. She knew it would have no effect, but it was all she had. Annie clung to her, bracing for the inevitable.

Page's eyes shot around looking for anything he could do. He would not let them die, even if it meant his life. Finally, he saw it. The machete laying nearby. Those eyes turned from panicked to determined as he crept out hefting the blade up with two hands. Damn, Delta made the thing look lighter than it was. Quietly he advanced, with all his might, he swung that jagged, make-shift blade upward and readied to bring it crashing down at the back of Fox's neck.

But Fox was ready. He whipped around, his fist knocking the machete out of Page's hand and the other lashing out and back handing Page to the ground. He grit his teeth, working through the pain. Fox turned back to the girls and Page got back on his feet.

"HEY!" he shouted, Fox turning slowly to him. "That all you got, pussy?!" he shouted opening his arms. "COME ON!"

Fox went to ignore him. He would deal with the women and then dispatch the male.

WHACK!

A rock bounced off the back Fox's head. It barely even registered, but he wheeled around toward Page, towering over him.

"That's it! Come and get it, mother ****er!"

The Praetorian lumbered toward him slowly. Glaring. "Your death will be slow." He rumbled to the man. He began to pick up steam...and Page had a moment's worth of "Oh ****. Horrible plan."

He braced himself, internally screaming "Run, girls, run."

Suddenly Fox was grabbed from behind, Delta's fingers tearing into the stab wound at his shoulder, digging into his flesh. No matter of compartmentalization would numb this pain. Her face a mask of blood, bruising and unleashed rage. Fox howled in agony as she pulled at exposed, damaged flesh and muscle, tearing into him viciously. He tried to fight back, but she kicked out his knee, dropping him to the ground.

Page saw his moment, moving over and grabbing that machete. He stepped up before the Praetorian and, with his whole body, he swiped that blade through the air. The edge of it slammed through the muscles and veins in Fox's neck, finally stopping and catching on his spine.

Life sprayed from his new wound, filling the air with the coppery scent of blood. The light in those glowing blue eyes faded before Delta let his body fall, lifeless to the ground.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2016 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gulf, or Ian as he'd just discovered was his name, sat in that cell of his. Everything he knew had come crashing down and he was plagued with visions. A mother. A father. two younger siblings. An entire life cut short and discarded.

But there was more. He could remember...feel the lasers cut through his flesh. The needles in his skin pumping nanobots into his body, rewriting his genetic code with screaming agony. And those eyes. Those cold, uncaring eyes watching. She was there when he woke. The first face he saw. At the time, he didn't recognize her, but it was her.

Loren Metcalfe, his CO, the closest thing that he'd remember to a mother. She had done this to him. Took him from his family. Wiped him out from the grid. Stolen his future. They were to receive the best training, the best equipment. That was what he signed up for. They said NOTHING about tearing him apart and putting him back together a monster.

He remembered everything. Everything he lost. Everything they forced upon him. Suddenly things began to clear up. The reason Alpha, Charlie and Delta snapped. They remembered. They remembered and lashed out. To be honest, he felt like doing the same at the moment.

His fists clenched anxiously as he looked around the room for any method of escape. Even with his incredible strength, he couldn't break through the glass and even if he could get to the air vents, he'd never fit. He'd woken up in this room and when the door shut, the seams had disappeared, leaving a white, flat wall.

Lia stared at him, analyzing his body language, his facial ticks, everything she could observe. "Ian?" She said calmly. "You must calm yourself."

Enhanced blue eyes upturned to her, a stare that would make most shy away. But Lia Clark was not most.

"I want out." He said.

"I'm afraid that's not possible at this time. Now, tell me. What do you remember about your fellow Praetorian?" She said, fingers noting something down on her datapad.

"I remember what you did to us!"

"Subject-"

"We were little kids!" He shouted.

Lia glanced up with that clinical, businesslike gaze. "You were subjects in an experiment. Your parents signed contracts and you became the property of the United Systems Military." A slow blink and she continued on. "Now, once again, Subject Gulf. What do you remember from before the experiments?"

His mental implants struggled to regain control over his brain, the urge to fall in line an internal struggle for the scarred young man. "I remember...I remember Delta. She...she was...small." His fist clenched and began to shake, struggling to not obey those implants. "Fast."

"Does the name Kaila mean anything to you?" She asked him, typing away.

Gulf's teeth grit hard, beads of sweat forming on his head, his muscles tensing with effort until finally his eyes clamped shut and a bellow escaped him. His fist slammed into that thick, impenetrable window, slightly cracking the veneer, but otherwise leaving the surface intact.

"You've developed quite a temper, Subject Gulf." The Doctor's eyebrow rose slightly. "This does not bode well for you."

Lia stood up, gathering her things. "I suggest you take some time to calm yourself." She leaned her head back, peering through her glasses. "I will return later for further questioning."

He glared at her as she left. The Doctor approaching one of the representative the USM had sent. A tall, officious-looking man in a black uniform, he had the stiff, polished disposition she had seen in so many men and women serving with the Military's black ops groups.

"Doctor." He said, his voice deep and rumbling. Dark brown skin marred by a scar that ran from the top of his bald head down his right brow, ending at his cheekbone.

Lia glanced up to him, her lips turned downward in a frown. "His neural implants are failing. The boy is strong, but if he keeps fighting, he'll fry his brain."

"Does it matter?" The man said simply. "The point is to wipe the program and its assets off the map."

"Major Met-"

"Major Metcalfe has lost objectivity." he interrupted. "The fact that these...things are still alive is proof of that."

Lia didn't like that one bit. "Major Metcalfe understands what they are. And if you want to catch and eliminate Subject Delta, you will need them."

He sniffed out a derisive last. "And they've done a bang up job of that, haven't they? 4 of your Praetorian are dead, Doctor."

"Delta was always the best of them and she is not operating alone. But they cannot outlast them all." Lia insisted.

"And if they do? "

Lia did not have an answer to that.

He stepped toward the older woman, towering over her. "You two created these monsters. If you don't deal with them, we will."

"If the Praetorian cannot, what hope do you have?" she countered, her eyes narrowing at the tall stranger.

"Are you a fan of history, Doctor?" He asked, his head tilting slightly to the left. "I am. Do you remember how the Valarian wars ended?"

Lia did not need a history lesson. She served under the woman who had made the fateful decision to glass the planet Fall. Hell, this was the very ship that committed the deed. She knew full well what he intended to do if Loren and the remaining Praetorian failed.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2016 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Annikah took in quick, sharp breaths, preparing herself. Determination in her eyes, she sucked in a breath and held it. "Go!"

Nara yanked her arm, popping it back in its socket.

Well, the whole "breathing makes it hurt less" thing was complete bull****. Her anguished yelp echoed in the trees. She gasped, the pain slowly subsiding. "Oh...Oh...you bitch..."

"You're welcome." Nara gave her a wry little grin.

Page winced, watching the whole scene before Delta came up next to him. "We need to keep moving. They'll have heard that."

Annie looked up to the Praetorian, an exhasperated sigh leaving her. "You know, I really hate your friends."

"How many are left?" Page asked.

"Three. Juliette, Lima and Mako."

"Great. So we just take them out, find a ship and get the hell out of here." Page said, helping Annikah to her feet.

Nara quirked a brow at him. "Yeah? Just like that?"

"She's right." Delta said. "Mako and Lima are cunning. We need to be cautious."

"What about Juliette?" Nara asked, pulling her hair back to re-adjust her ponytail.

Delta pulled the machete out of Fox's corpse and turned her gaze to the redhead, making her way toward the path. "She's vicious. The only of the Praetorian to best me in hand-to-hand training. We'd be wise to avoid her."

Annikah gave her a look, fashioning a rifle strap into a sling for her arm. "When did ol' blue eyes here start using contractions?"

Delta glanced to her, not amused. She hadn't really realized she'd been doing it. Her voice was even beginning to show signs of duress rather than her usual robotic monotone.

"She almost sounds normal now."

Page could sense it was making the girl uncomfortable. He gave Delta a pat on the arm, stepping past her. "Another time. You both good to walk?"

Nara and Annikah both nodded in the affirmative. They were a bit sore, but at least they were mobile.

Trekking through the jungle, mostly unarmed but for a machete and a combat knife, they felt a little helpless. The three hunting them would be armed just like the others had been. Page tried to keep in mind that they were all currently dead, to boost his spirits. But that had taken its toll. Everyone was wounded, even Delta. They were tired, battered, and in strung out shape. If they were to survive this they would need food and rest. If they didn't they might get sloppy and-

Delta put her arm out, halting Page's forward motion. A grunt left him as he shot a dirty look her way. Bright blue eyes looked from him to the ground. He followed her gaze and spotted a tripwire. Page's eyes trailed over everything, eventually discovering the mine placed at the top of the trees, facing downward at their group. One more step and they'd all be dead.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Her eyes locked on the mine and then traced the trees around them. There were several placed around the clearing at odd intervals. This would be Mako's handiwork and that meant she and Lima wouldn't be too far off. Explosives and booby-traps were always her wheelhouse, and Lima was downright surgical with a sniper rifle.

Delta turned back to the others , her voice lowering. "Stay behind the trees." She said quietly. The wheels turned as she tried to come up with a plan. Those bionic eyes swept from a stone and then upwards, back up the explosive.

Not far away in the Jungle, Lima lay prone along the giant limb of a tree, her rifle trained on the clearing. If they managed to get past Mako's traps, she would most assuredly finish the job. For the moment there was only silence. Stillness.

Suddenly, something smallish came through the tree line, Lima was barely able to make it out as large rock. The projectile slammed into a mine on the other end of the clearing, bursting in a fiery explosion with a deafening boom. The force or the blast shattered the tree the explosive was mounted upon and leveled many to its side.

"Go! Keep behind the tree line!" Delta said, pointing.

Lima redirected her sights immediately to the point of origin, waiting for her shot.

Annikah was huffing and puffing as they sprinted, her pulse pounding in her ears. She was so distracted and focused on running, she didn't notice when she'd tripped a wire. The slim mechanic felt a great force pull from behind as she was launched violently to the ground...just as a makeshift rack of sharpened sticks shot up where she had been standing.

Delta stood over her and offered a hand. "Be. Careful."

Annikah regained her bearings and looked up at the young warrior. She just nodded and took her hand.

Lima saw a flash of something move through the trees. They were on the move. Lightning quick calculations ran through her head and she adjusted her angle and fired.

Page was trucking through the foliage, his arm up to shield his face from the leaves and sticks, when it happened. Lima's bullet pierced through the mine. The concussive force slamming into his body, sending him crashing to the jungle floor.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a moment everything was quiet, but for the ringing in his ears. His eyes opened, the light suddenly blinding. The old smuggler winced as his eyes slowly adjusted. Everything had a bit of a fog as he took stock of the immediate area and his place within it.

It all seemed distant, like he was watching through a screen. Annikah was pushing herself slowly from the jungle floor. She was covered in ash and dirt, fresh blood trickling from new cuts and scrapes. She was crawling toward him her mouth open as if screaming, but there was no sound.

Nara had pulled herself to a tree, her teeth grit as she fought through the pain of the burn that scorched through the sleeve of her tactical undersuit and into her flesh.

Delta was gone.

Suddenly, the sound came rushing back. Annikah was screaming, a fire raging nearby where several trees formerly stood. They were hidden for the moment in the wreckage, but it wouldn't last long.

A twinge of pain at his stomach stole Page's attention. He glanced down to find a sizable splinter of wood sticking out of the right side of his abdomen. A pool of blood soaked and spread through his shirt.

***. ***, this was bad, he thought as Annikah made it to him.

"Page! Page, my god! Are you alright?" She screeched, too loudly. She looked over his body to the wooden shard that had pierced him. "Oh god...no..."

The mechanic held to him tight drawing a wince from the wounded man. He weakly held her in return.

In her sniper's nest, Lima spied them all...all except the one she wanted. Delta was nowhere to be found. She swept her scope across the field...nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

The girl's brow furrowed as she searched, switching her helmet's optics to thermal. The heat from the explosions would make it a little difficult if she was anywhere near them, but it should-

Click.

She glanced down. Delta was running away from the tree Lima stood upon.

Lima flicked her gaze to the base of three. Beneath that helmet, her eyes widened. She scrambled to her feet when-

BOOM!

The mine Delta had placed blew, the tree bursting all around the Praetorian girl as she tried to leap from it. Lima crashed to the ground, the fall hurting even her. Slowly, she pushed herself up off the grass. Footsteps were rushing toward her.

Delta came sprinting at the girl like a wild animal. Lima tried to bring up her gun but it was too late. Delta leaped up and, with both feet, kicked her in the chest. Lima was sent rocketing backwards through the air, slamming down hard on her back.

Click.

Just as she opened her mouth, the ground fell away beneath her, dropping her into a pit. Huge, sharpened sticks pierced through every weak spot in her armor, her abdomen, her joints, her throat. She struggled for a moment before the life slowly left her.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2016 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Page wheezed as Nara and Annikah tried to help. Annie gripped the wooden splinter sticking out of him and was ready to pull when Nara stopped her. “No! You yank that out of him, it could cause more damage.”

“What are we supposed to do, let him walk around with a shard of wood in his stomach?!”

“If you want him to live, yes.” Delta said coming upon the scene, Lima’s sniper rifle slung over one shoulder. She reached into a pouch on her armor and withdrew a cannister,crouching beside him. Her hands gripped his shirt and tore it open around the entry wound. A white foamy substance was sprayed around the wound, rising and then constricting around the foreign object.

“It should staunch the bleeding and keep it from getting infected, but he needs a medic.” Delta informed them, standing and looking through the trees. Mako was still out there, and knowing her, they would never see her coming. Hell, to be killed by her, she didn’t need to even be on the planet, and she’d had an entire day to lay out her traps.

Nara approached her, battered, burned and alert. “Can we move him?”

Delta glanced back with a raised brow. “We must. But carefully.”

“Do you know where the ship is?” Nara inquired.

“Approximately two miles south of here when it landed.”

“That’s a long way to travel with your sisters hunting us.” Nara said quietly.

Delta turned to her. “What would you prefer we do? Make camp? Wait for them to finds us?”

“I’m just saying. It’s going to be rough with a wounded man.”

“We’re out of options.” The Praetorian said, emotion creeping back into her voice. Something about this jungle stirred something in her. The trees. The sounds of wildlife. It reminded her of…

Home. Callusport.

The name stuck in her head. It was a place she had forgotten...that was taken from her. Suddenly, she was there. Alone in the woods. Two children were playing in the woods, tracking each other through the forest, using sticks in place of rifles. Davey...the boy...that was his name. This time, he had shaggy black hair. He moved through the trees cautiously. His prey was somewhere out there. A rogue insurgent who’d been terrorising the good citizens of Callusport.

A pinecone suddenly landed in front of him, the boy’s eyes going wide as he dove away. “GRENADE!” he yelled as a little girl rounded the tree making an explosion noise with her mouth.

Delta went alert, catching herself as she noted he was referring to the pine cone. Her brow creased in confusion.

Davey jumped into the air and landed, rolling onto the dirt. He flipped over onto his back holding his stick up like a rifle, making shooting sounds as the girl ran sidelong, “shooting” back with her’s before taking cover behind a tree. Delta walked slowly toward her as Davey scrambled to his feet hiding behind another tree.

“This is Rogue Six, we’re under enemy fire, requesting an air strike, over?!” Came his voice from his hiding spot. Delta turned her attention back to him for a moment.

“Negative, Rogue Six, it’s too hot, we’re pullin’ out!” The boy said in a different voice. “Shoot!” He said in response, looking intensely over his shoulder.

The little girl leaned around the tree and made shooting noises back at him and Delta saw her face. Pale skin, big brown eyes, dark hair tied back in a ponytail. She couldn’t have been more than 7. She knew that face. She knew it because it stared back at her every time she looked in a mirror.

“Kaila! Davey!” a voice called out from behind. The boy, girl, and Delta turned toward the sound, alert.

“Dinner!” The voice called.

The little girl ran forward, straight at Delta. The Praetorian put her arms out to stop her...but the girl ran right through her.

Delta was left standing there in confusion. “Kaila.” Charlie...no. Davey had called her that.

She began to remember…

“DELTA!”

She suddenly snapped out of her mind...the others were reaching for her, Page using Nara for support. She looked to them, one eyebrow quirked curiously. The trap was already sprung..
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gulf sat in his cell, his knees held close. It had been hours since his meeting with Lia. She had said things to him...stirred memories that didn’t belong. Memories he didn’t like. Something inside of him was angry, violent. Wanted to punch through that impenetrable wall, rip his way through all the guards that stood between him and his goal.

The blonde Praetorian got to his feet and paced. He had to get out of here. He had to get down to the planet and warn his brothers and sisters. What they had done to them, what they were planning on doing to them.

A whirring drew his attention as a slot opened in the wall as a tray of food was dropped through. His eyes widened. The Praetorian rushed to the wall just as it closed, knocking the tray aside, sending its contents splattering against the white floor and wall. His fists slammed against it, then, the slot sealing shut, the gaps disappearing. Again he pounded against the wall, snarling in frustration. Gulf turned and punched the wall to his left, burning off the rage when he noticed something. He hit the wall to his left...and then the one in front of him where the slot had come through.

They sounded different. One was thick, impenetrable...the other was not. And average prisoner would not have noticed the difference, but he was not average. He turned to the wall before him and slammed his fist against it.

It shook slightly. A corner of his mouth upturned before he hit again. And again. And again. He smashed his fist into the walls cracking the outer later over and over, leaving a bloody imprint of his knuckles on the gleaming white. He put all his might into it, punching until he felt he couldn’t go on, and then forcing himself to do so. The seams around the door began to show. The door was cracking.

His guard looked back then, catching a bit of movement out of the corner of his eye, just in time to catch a glimpse of Gulf backing up and slamming an impossibly strong kick into the now-visible door. The guard’s eyes widened as he picked up his comlink.

“Code Red! Code Red! Subject Gulf is breaking down his door, repeat, Subject Gulf is escaping!” He called into it, charging toward the rear hallway the prisoner was attempting to burst through.

Gulf felt the door give beneath his boot. One final rear-back and the door’s lock shattered, electronics ripped apart and sparking as the metal hatch slammed against the hall. Gulf stepped out, eyes alert and ready.

“FREEZE!” the guard called out weapon drawn.

Gulf froze a moment and then grabbed the door as he opened fire, using it as a shield. The huge Praetorian charged the guard, eventually plowing into him and knocking the man across the room.

Sirens began to go off. He didn’t have much time.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nara watched in wide-eyed shock as a log swept down from the trees, suspended by steel cables, and slammed into Delta's back. The warrior was lifted off the ground and thrown ahead like a rag-doll, her body going limp as she hit the grass, rolling to an unconscious stop. From their vantage point, she couldn't tell if the girl was even breathing.

This isn't possible, she thought. Delta was like a walking tank. She could take anything...

From across the distance, the wounded bounty hunter saw a smaller figure step out from the trees. A woman with short black hair cut into a bob-style, a blue streak through the right side, framing her face. Those cold, calculating eyes were locked onto her former comrade as she prowled toward her.

Nara clutched Delta’s make-shift machete and stood, ignoring the pain in her body, calling upon all her training with the Order to continue onward. She hobbled out into the clearing, that massive blade dragging in the grass behind her. “HEY!” She shouted, her voice echoing in the trees.

Mako all but ignored her. “Step away, woman. This fight is not your’s.”

“Wrong. That’s my friend. This couldn’t be MORE my fight. Now, back the hell off.” Nara’s emerald eyes narrowed. He knew she wouldn’t stand a chance against the Praetorian in her condition.

Those glowing blue eyes turned to her slowly, Mako showing only irritation at her interruption. “You have been warned. I do not wish to kill you, but if you leave me no choice-”

“Get away from my friend, you bitch.” Nara hefted up that machete and readied herself.

Mako stared at her blankly. “So be it. Your death will be quick.”

The Praetorian woman began advancing on Nara, drawing her side-arm when a hand gripped her ankle. She shot a look down to find Delta glaring up at her, blood trickling from her battered, worn face as she clutched to her.

Nara was already charging slashing upward with the blade. Mako was barely able to dodge the attack with her arm intact, but her weapon was sent flying away. She spun, throwing an elbow into Nara’s back as she completed her follow-through, and then came back around, yanking her foot from Delta’s arms and planting it in the middle of Nara’s back.

Nara felt suddenly weightless. Her feet were off the ground and she was airborne. And then she came crashing down.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A guard was lifted and his head slammed into a bulkhead, his neck bending in an unnatural and fatal angle. More were still coming. Gulf ran around the corridor to find more guards, rifles trained on him. He brought up that door to use as a shield again as they opened fire. The strong, solid metal absorbed the fire, bucking in his left arm. He rose a pilfered side arm and fired three shots, all of them perfect killshots.

One more stood in the hallway, momentarily distracted by his dead comrades. Gulf charged him, that shield absorbing the blaster fire coming his way and then slamming into the man’s body, lifting and pinning him against the wall. The pistol crossed Gulf’s body, putting a single bullet in the guard’s brain.

He knew the layout of this ship well. He needed a shuttle and he knew exactly where to get one.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mako went to kick Delta as she was down, but the girl was prepared, blocking with her forearms. Pushing down with her left, she came up with her right, throwing an uppercut to Mako’s chin. The girl’s head snapped backwards from the blow, but she recovered almost instantly, throwing a quick jab to Delta’s face, sending her stumbling back.

Mako continued forward a leaping kick slamming into Delta’s chest, to keep her moving. A roundhouse kick was then sent right for Delta’s head.

But the girl was ready. Delta’s caught the kick on her right gauntlet, slipping her left arm under her attackers leg to hold it in place. As hard as she could, she drove her elbow downwards above the knee, hyperextending Mako’s leg in the wrong direction, drawing a shriek from her smaller opponent.

Mako lashed out in a blur of fists and her feet, striking Delta twice in the face with her fists before the foot on her good leg slammed across her chin. Both women went down to the ground.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Operative Briggs stood over Dr. Lia Clark as she tried to keep it together. She was fraying. “I thought you said he was secure, Doctor.” Briggs accused her in that officious military tone.

“Our facilities were not built with the Praetorian in mind! We had no way of knowing he’d be able to escape.” Lia snapped back at him before leaning into a microphone. “Alert, alert! All hands, we have a containment breach! Subject Gulf is on Deck B, heading for the hangar bays. I remind you, use of lethal force IS authorized. Say again, lethal force is authorized.”

Briggs scoffed and shook his head. “Seems you underestimated your creation, Doctor.”

“A momentary setback.” Lia said, her voice sounding unsure even to her.

“A momentary setback? People are dead, Doctor. You got one up here and you got one down there, and both of them are wreckin’ your **** up.” Briggs said. They had lost control of the situation and it was about time for him to step in.

Lia glared up at the younger man. “And the sooner you get off my back, the sooner it will be contained.”

“You think I’m on your back now, you better damn sure hope that boy doesn’t make it off this ship.” He said.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mako climbed on top of Delta threw vicious blows down at her face. Delta was spitting blood before long. The next blow was caught in Delta’s fist, the taller Praetorian slamming her right arm upwards into Mako’s face, knocking the girl off of her.

Delta climbed on top of Mako and was wailing on her face like a prizefighter, animalistic grunts with every thrown punch. Mako’s head was snapped left and right with every vicious blow. Her hands fumbled around for something, anything. Finally, it came down upon a rock. Her fingers grasped the stone tight and swung it up, catching Delta across the forehead.

She went down and Mako straddled her, hitting her in the face with the rock a few times before wrapping her hands around Delta’s throat. The girl’s blue eyes bulged, her hands clasped around Mako’s struggling to pull them from their death grip. Mako glared down at her with those cold, soulless eyes, a small sneer working its way onto her face every time Delta struggled.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 12:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gulf traded fire with the guardsmen, leaning around the corner to shoot and ducking back as a volley exploded against the wall. He had to ditch the door a few minutes back when it started to resemble Swiss cheese. The Praetorian flattened back as much as he could when a flashbag landed right near him. He immediately covered his ears and clamped his eyes shut.

BANG! The hallway exploded in a blinding flash of light. Slowly, in teams of 4, the guards moved forward, hidden behind shields. The moment they were prepared to turn and captured the no doubt dazed target, they found they had made a grave calculation.

The daze had vanished quicker than they could have anticipated. Gulf grabbed the first man’s shield, knocking his weapon upwards to fire harmlessly into the ceiling and kicked him with all his might into his comrades, sending all four of them flying into a wall, and keeping the lead man’s shotgun in his hand.

He turned the weapon on them and unloaded a few blasts into their scrambling, confused throng. The wriggling and struggling stopped and Gulf turned the corner, firing that shotgun at the other two teams, hiding behind his shield. He dropped several of them, but it wasn’t a lasting defense...A blast pierced through the shield and grazed his shoulder, searing his flesh.

Gulf winced and then threw the shield at one of the remaining. The edge ripped through one man’s face and then embedded into another. The remaining third man was lifted off the ground by a shotgun blast to his chest, slamming into the wall before dropping, limp, to the ground.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 17, 2016 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nara’s back was radiating pain. This had NOT been her best day. She blinked her bleary eyes and tried to get up, her body fighting her. She glanced behind her to see the two girls fighting. Nara watched, wide eyed, as Mako was choking the life out of Delta, the latter struggling, trying to land a punch and pry those hands from around her throat.

Nara pushed herself up on shaky arms. Her hands wrapped around the machete, propping herself up upon it as she rose. As quickly as she could, she advanced on Mako, ready to cut her down. The blade was risen over her head, her arms aching, sweat pouring down her face, when Mako threw one fist back, connecting with her sternum. Again, the redhead was sent flailing through the air.

With grit teeth, she got back to her feet slowly. Oh, she couldn’t wait to kill this little bitch...but it was becoming clear to her that her ability to do so was severely diminished. The was when she saw something in the trees. Something big. Something white, like bone.

One of the spiders. The explosions must have attracted it! A plan formed. She got up and moved toward it. She waved the blade, it’s metal glinting in the sunlight. “HEY! YOU! DINNER’S SERVED! COME ON AND GET IT YOU UGLY SON OF A BITCH!”

The creature clicked, agitated. It’s many eyes zeroing in on her. The second she ran, as much as she could, it was off. Charging at her with it’s long, spindly legs, it’s pincer jaws snapping. Nara hobbled along as fast as she could but it was gaining. She was almost in range of Delta and Mako, just a bit further!

Delta was beginning to feel woozy, she was losing the fight. Mako grit her teeth squeezing harder.

At the last minute, Nara dove out of the rampaging creature’s path...setting it right at Mako. The Praetorian turned her head, eyes going wide as the monster shrieked, a new target found. She released Delta, but it was too late. The spider slammed into her, it’s jaws latching onto her and carrying her, screaming off into the jungle.

Delta gasped for air, her starving lungs taking in everything they could. The girl coughed and coughed fighting to breathe freely again. She felt weak. For the first time in recent memory, she felt weak. It was an interesting, yet terrifying experience. Her back hurt, her throat sore.

Nara stood over her and offered a hand to the fallen girl. “What, are you just gonna lay there all day, soldier? On your feet.”

A little grin crossed the Praetorian’s battered, bloody face.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The hangar bay was loaded with troops. There was no way he could get in there without being caught and cut down. Not through the front anyway. Gulf sighed and thought up a new approach to this plan. And then something occurred to him, a grin spreading across his face.

The door to the armory opened, unveiling different weapons. Along with the layout, he knew access codes. Back-up access codes. Back-ups to the back-ups, even. The decision to implant them was now biting them right on the ass. It took a few tries, but he was in. Rifles, shotguns, pistols, body armor, grenades. Of course the armor would never fit someone of his stature, but everything else would suit him just fine.

The operators sat in their bridge, the ships and workers and soldiers within the hangarbay outside the windows and upon their surveillance screens. The doors slid opened behind them, one or two glancing back as a metallic orb bounced in. A few of them opened their mouths, but before they could say anything, a gaseous smoke burst and filled the room. In moments, everyone was on the ground, out cold.

Gulf moved stepped in, a gas mask strapped to his face, moving toward the defense console. His fingers flew expertly over the turret controls bringing them to life. The people on the ground would never know what hit them.

One of the turrets swiveled and pointed down, tracking multiple targets. And then, Gulf pressed fire. Suddenly the hangar was alive with laser fire, troops were cut down, diving for cover, caught completely by surprise.

Lia moved to the security console in the CIC. “Son of a bitch...He’s in the Aft hangar control room!” She whipped around and pushed the ship-wide comms. “All troops converge on the Aft Hangarbay control room!”

Meanwhile, Gulf had cleared the hangar bay of enemy combatants, trying to minimize civilian casualties. He also managed to take out all of the fighters in his assault, saving a dropship for himself. Now it was a simple matter of getting to the stairwell and-

The door was blown open, raining steel and fire into the room. Gulf covered his face, tiny bits of hot metal scalding and scraping his skin. When the smoke cleared laserfire poured into the room. Well. That canceled his escape plan. There was only one way out.

Gulf got a running start and sprinted toward window. He grabbed a chair as he ran, his body twisting and then whipping around, chucking it through the window. The blonde Praetorian leapt, arms forward to crash through the remnants of the frame, bits of glass and blasterbolts exploding outward with him.

His legs absorbed most of the impact without harm as he dropped into a roll, coming up on one knee. He looked back up, the dropship in sight. Those powerful, augmented legs carried him forward at unnatural speeds. Gulf’s fist pounded the door ramp controls, letting it rise shut behind him. He gunned the engine controls to life, overriding the remote pilot before they could even try to use it, and activated the deflector shields.

In the control tower, the troopers rushed to the consoles, trying to use the remote-pilot. “****! He’s disabled it. Shut the blast doors! Don’t let him escape!”

The dropship rose up off the deck as the doors began to slide shut. Gulf’s eyes flicked up to see them. Engines were put to full and he gunned it on the throttle.

Closer.

Closer.

The turrets began to fire at him, lasers searing past him. It was going to be tight. “Come on...come one, you big-ass piece of ****!” He said through grit teeth.

The sides of the engine plating scraped as the dropship threaded through the opening and out into open space. Gulf let out a relieved breath. He was free.

But it wasn’t over yet.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lia stared out the window, her usually calm demeanor cast aside as rage took over. She slammed her fist on the console in front of her, drawing looks from the operators on the bridge. Her body was shaking with anger.

Slowly, the old Doctor turned around to find an unimpressed looking Briggs staring back at her. He had his arms crossed before him, Leaning against a computer bank. The man ran his tongue around the inside of his lips and nodded.

Gods, how she hated that man.

He turned and walked out of the CIC.

Lia tried to control her breathing, but the adrenaline was still flowing. She rushed out into the hallway after him. “You can’t do this.” She said.

“Actually, Doctor, I have full authority to do this granted to me by Admiral Lanning and the United Systems Military. We’ve given you a chance to rectify this quagmire and you failed.” he said, striding down the corridor.

She gripped his arm, halting him. He glanced down to her hand and then back up at her, a threatening expression on his face. Lia just looked up at him, undeterred.

“Major Metcalfe is STILL down there. We have to give her a chance to get off-world.” Lia said. She let go of his arm. “Please.”

“Doctor, I’m well aware of who is down there. I respect Major Metcalfe and her place in the history of the galaxy...but I have my orders.” He said.

“She’s a legend.”

“And sometimes legends die.” His gaze leveled at the woman. "She has one hour. In one hour, we're glassing that rock. With or without her on it."
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2016 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loren and Juliette were examining Nara and Annikah’s crash site when the explosions first started. Juliette perked at the distant rumble, examining the tracks going off into the woods. Loren was stepping out of the wreckage when she noticed something was off with Juliette.

“What is it?” Loren asked.

“Explosives. Sounded like proximity mines. Approximately 3 klicks north.”

Loren glanced at her compass and turned in that direction. “That’s...that’s near-” Her eyes widened as the realization. “The shuttle.”

Juliette collected her rifle. “I suggest we mobilize immediately.”

Loren nodded, suddenly glad for her strict fitness regimen. “Go! I’ll be right behind you!”

Juliette nodded and tore off into the trees. Loren steeled herself and ran as fast as she could. Any hopes of catching up to the Praetorian were gone the second the girl started running. As she passed through a clearing she came to a stop. The bodies of Iroquois and Kilo lie on the ground. A bullet hole through the long haired boy’s head and a vicious axe-wound to Kilo’s neck.

Loren stared down at her lifeless creations, feeling as if her heart just burst. She’d killed them. The Praetorian were the closest thing she had to children and Delta had killed them. She would end that girl. She would choke the life right out of her and correct her mistake if it was the last thing she did.

As Loren continued running, she came across Fox and Helo’s bodies. Trying her best not to notice their ruined forms upon the ground in pools of drying blood. As she continued, Loren felt weaker and weaker. The stress and emotion finally getting to her. All she could see were their faces. Young. Stoic. Lifeless.

She stepped out into the clearing...Mako’s trap clearing. She kept going on, blissfully unaware until her ankle caught on something. The Major stumbled and fell forward, immediately, her training kicked in and she rolled, barely missing the rack of spikes slammed down right where she had fallen.

Loren turned, panting, staring at the spot that would have been her end. Her eyes closed in relief as she regained her breath. As she opened her eyes, she noticed that she had almost rolled right into a hole in the ground and peered down. The skewered, blood drenched body of Lima stared, wide-eyed up at her.

Loren’s stomach turned as a wave of nausea hit her like a truck. Those brown eyes clamped shut, blocking out that image as best she could.

Get up.

Get. Up, Loren.

The Major pushed herself onward, eyes now open for traps, as fast as she could.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Delta and the battered crew of the Dragonstooth made their way toward the shuttle. Juliette was still somewhere out there, she knew. With luck, they might make it to the ship and get the hell off that rock before she could find them.

But, she began to realize, Delta’s luck was being stretched pretty thin today.

The enhanced soldier trod onward, the sounds of the jungle mingling with the labored breathing of her companions as they struggled on. Wounds were still fresh, still aching, and slowing them down. She, too, was a little worse for wear. Delta’s head was pounding and the pain radiating through her back was difficult to ignore.

Push on, she told herself. The battle isn’t over, soldier.

“Thank god…” Page managed as they could see the ship in the distance. A wave of relief came briefly to them all. They were free.

But Delta’s was soon replaced by something else. This wasn’t right. This was too easy.

Her enhanced hearing began to pick something up and she perked.

Before she could even turn around she was tackled from behind, Juliette’s body slamming into her with all its weight. The two girls crashed to the ground, their armor splashing upon the muddy floor of the jungle.

Juliette wasted no time. She drew a blade and immediately stabbed at Delta’s face. She was small, but she was ferocious. Delta barely tilted her head out of the blade’s path. But Juliette wasted no time. She punched the larger Praetorian across the face. Once. Twice.

As the third descended, Delta caught her fist with one hand and brought the other up to strike. Juliette caught the blow with an armored forearm and dropped her elbow down at Delta’s face.

The larger girl managed to dodge and roll atop the smaller. Delta rained down a series of blows upon Juliette’s face, turning to the others. “GO! Get to the ship!” she shouted.

Page tried to argue, but was eventually dragged off toward the shuttle. “Let me go! She’ll kill her!”

Annikah gripped him from behind. “We can’t help her! Please, Page…”

Juliette took the moment of distraction and gripped that knife and slashed. Delta was barely out of the path with her life, but the razor sharp tip of the blade cut into her cheek, sending a spray of blood into the dirt.

The butt of the knife redirected and caught Delta between eyes, knocking from the top of Juliette. The smaller warrior got to her feet and rushed at Delta, only to get a powerful kick to the abdomen, sending her through air and slamming into the ground. The two girls squared off with each other as Delta rose, proud, strong, and pissed off. Blood trickled down her cheek, her blue eyes locked on her opponent blazing like an inferno.

Juliette rose slowly, her eyes a mirror image, filled with nothing but pure hate. She gripped that knife tightly as they circled each other, two predators ready to battle to the death. At the same time, they lunged. Their bodies a flurry of strikes, dodges, and counter-strikes as they moved through the clearing, beating each other mercilessly where they could, Delta barely evading the knife that slashed and stabbed at her.

She managed to slip away from a particularly vicious slash and ended up behind Juliette. Her leg lashed out sending a massive kick to the smaller girl’s back, sending the smallest of the Praetorian face first into a tree so hard, bark cracked.

A stringy trail of blood came from her nose as Juliette drew back, ducking just in time for Delta’s fist to slam into tree, right where her head would have been. Juliette’s elbow shot back, catching Delta in the stomach, doubling her over. Barely breaking momentum, Juliette twisted around and threw a thunderous uppercut, catching her opponent in the jaw and sending her stumbling backwards.

It took a moment for Delta to get her bearings, but Juliette was already on her. That knife was coming for her and Delta could only try to block. Agony was sent screaming up her arm as the blade pierced through the palm of her left hand, jutting out through the back. She back-pedaled as Juliette pressed on, pushing that blade and Delta’s hand to her face as the taller girl backed into a tree.

Juliette’s mud and blood spattered face sneered up at her, eyes wide with excitement and the thrill of victory in sight. Delta braced her arm with her right hand, but in return received 3 vicious jabs to her face from Juliette.

Delta knew if she let her guard down, she was done for, so she took the hits and moved her body to one side allowing her smaller foe to push that knife into the tree. The knife through her hand was sending agony down her arms, but she powered through, gripping the tight bun Juliette wore her hair in and slammed her face into the tree.

Wood and bone cracked as Juliette’s face crashed against the tree again and again and again. In the last thrust, she clenched her fists, extending the blades at her wrist gauntlets and lashed out wildly.

A sharp pain came from Delta’s belly when the blade cut her through her undersuit. Delta stumbled back, her good arm clinging to her cut stomach. The wound wouldn’t kill her, but it was deep enough to hurt like hell.

Juliette glared at her, the little one’s face smashed and slightly mangled from the beating she’d received. Those wrist mounted blades hung over clenched fists. Delta stared right back in her hateful little face, bringing up her impaled left hand and drawing out the knife with her right. Those big blue eyes rolled slowly, deliberately up to Juliette. The pair of them were silent for the moment. The calm before the storm, brewing between them, ready to explode. Then, they charged.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Page was being dragged toward that shuttle still squalling with the women carrying him. “We have to help her!”

Nara grit her teeth and pulled him roughly. “Enough! We get on the ship and man the weapons. That’s the only way we can help her right now!”

“You want to just run away, you coward…” He spat at her.

Nara whipped around and grabbed him by the shirt. “Look at yourself! ****ing LOOK!” those green eyes flared, staring at him. “You can barely stand! You’re bleeding through your goddamn bandages!”

Page stared at her, his jaw set defiantly.

“What are you gonna do? Bleed out all over her?” Nara glared at him. He knew she was right. She put a finger in his face. “Don’t you EVER call me coward again.”

“Nara.” Annikah said, trying to smooth things over. She locked eyes with the redhead, staring pleadingly. Nara softened slightly. “Come on.”

She took one step forward.

Click.

Her green eyes widened.

“GET DOWN!”

The three of them turned to dive as the shuttle suddenly burst in a fiery explosion, the force of the blast taking them off their feet and throwing them to the ground.

Everything was hazy. A piercing ringing in Page’s ears as he slowly came to. The world was all tracers and blurriness. He could smell burning metal and ship fuel, mingled with burning leaves and trees. Through haze of his vision he could make out a burning husk where the shuttle had stood. Their one way out, their last hope. Gone.

Annikah lay face down in dirt, her eyes shut. Nara was slowly trying to push herself up, but it was apparent that she was injured and she crumbled back down. The undersuit at her right leg was all burned away and the flesh freshly seared.

For the moment everything was numb. Distant. And then reality came roaring back. There were little burns and cuts all over his body, but he was alive. His abdomen ached from the splinter still embedded in him. Everything felt weak and tired.

Tired or not, he pushed on, slowly crawling to Annikah, his arms practically screaming in protest as he dragged himself across the muddy ground. Finally he reached her, shaking her. “Annie...Annie...wake up.” He muttered.

His heart sank as she remained still. Page’s brow furrowed as he shook her again. “Annie!”

But there was no response.

A figure came out from the brush, her face scraped and cut, but there was no mistaking her. Mako was covered in the insect-like creature’s blood. She strode out toward them, looking like a demon to his eyes.

He looked around in a panic for anything, spotting a rifle that had been thrown from the explosion. Someone up there must still like him.

The wounded man crawled and dragged himself as best he could toward the weapon, desperately clawing at the ground, trying to move faster. Finally her was able to stretch his body out, lunging forth. His fingers clasped around the grip of the rifle, and with one massive effort wheeled around to bear it on Mako.

But she gripped it by the barrel and ripped it from his hands, throwing the weapon to one side. That green and red blood-streaked face peered down at him, intense and angry. She reached down and grabbed him by the throat, lifting Page with the greatest of ease.

Page struggled for air, gripping her wrists tight and trying, in vain to pull them apart as his chest began to tighten from lack of air.

Nara was clawing her way to him. “Let him go! Let him go, you BITCH!” She screamed.

If the Praetorian heard her, she showed no sign of it. She just stared into Page’s eyes. “This. Is where your story ends.”

Everything was getting fuzzy again in Page’s vision. His hands pounding uselessly against his assailant.

Things began to go dark...darker...darker.

Quieter. Quieter.

Suddenly Mako lurched forward, her eyes wide with shock. Her grip loosened around Page’s throat until, finally, she dropped him. The old smuggler crumpled to the ground in a heap.

Mako dropped to her knees, the blast wound at her back still smoldering as she faceplanted in the mud. Annikah was still laying prone upon the ground, but she held that rifle in her hands. “Story ain’t over yet, you bitch.” She muttered and struggled to push herself up to her knees.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Annikah crawled over to Page and lay over him. Annikah took his face in her hands. “Page...wake up, baby. Come on.” She slapped his cheeks.

He lay still.

She slapped his cheeks again. “Come on, quit foolin’ around. We gotta come up with plan C.”

Panic began to set in as she shook him. “Page?” Annikah looked desperately to Nara, the pair sharing a worried expression. “Baby, wake up.” her voice began to crack. Annikah slapped him again.

“Get up! Please!” She begged him, tears streaming down her face. She lifted him up, cradling him in her arms, and rocking him back and forth. “Please. Please wake up…”

But Page wasn’t breathing. There, in front of the burning wreckage of their last hope, she held him. Clinging tight and praying for a miracle.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Juliette went flying through the air and crashed into one of the thinner trees, snapping it in half with the weight of her armored body. Delta advanced upon her, grabbing the dazed warrior by the chest plate of her armor and wheeled her around again, throwing her into a massive tree trunk with all her might. She hit so hard the entire gargantuan tree shook.

Again Delta descended upon her, pulling her to her feet, but this time Juliette was ready. The little Praetorian slammed her forehead into Delta’s face and brought her fists up, clenched. She pounded them down on the taller girl’s shoulders as hard as she could.

Delta let out a shout of pain, dropping the girl. Juliette was quick to move, grabbing her by the head and pulling the dark haired girl’s face into her rising knee. Delta stumbled backwards and tripped over a log, landing on her side.

Her face was a mask of blood, mud, and bruising. Those big blue eyes tired and in pain, the whites of one of them red with a burst blood vessel

Juliette stomped over and through an armored boot into her cut stomach. The breath was driven from Delta’s lungs as she was lifted from the ground, sent rolling away. Juliette glanced upwards and ripped a thick branch off a tree with a quick jerk.

Weakly, Delta was pushing herself back up to her feet when the branch came down across the back of her head. Again, she was flattened into the mud, sputtering into it.

Juliette glowered over her, triumphant, arrogant. “You will never leave this planet, Delta. Do you hear me? Never.”

She lifted the jagged branch over her head and brought down across the back of Delta’s knee drawing an agonized scream from the Praetorian. Juliette sneered. She had her. Now it was time to end it. She brought the branch up again, preparing to deliver the killing blow.

“Goodbye, Subject Delta.”

Then, out of nowhere there was a massive explosion in the distance. The ground shook as the shuttle was suddenly ripped apart in a fiery inferno. She had to shield her face from the flying, burning shrapnel.

It was all the time Delta needed. Ignoring the pain in her knee she rose and charged at Juliette, slamming her shoulder into the smaller girl’s chest. She ripped the jagged, thick branch from her hands, pressing her back, back, back toward a tree. Her hands redirected that make-shift weapon and then, with every last bit of strength she had, thrust it forward.

Juliette let out a blood-curdling scream, a spray of crimson flying out of her mouth as she was skewered. Shock and agony overtook her battered features as she gasped.

Delta took a step back and stared at her a long moment. “My name is Kaila.”
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loren ran until it felt like her veins were pumping acid and her heart might burst through her chest. Juliette had a helluva lead on her and the fight was already well underway. She was confident Delta’s companions wouldn’t be a match for Juliette, but Delta herself was another matter entirely. That girl was always the best of her brothers and sisters. Hopefully, the others had tired her.

Loren’s earpiece finally came to life as she hit a particularly open clearing. “-ajor -calfe. Re-eat. Major Me-alfe. Thi- -or Lia. It’s Lia. -o you copy?”

Loren pressed her fingers to her earpiece. “Lia, it’s Loren, over.” She tried to steady her voice as she panted.

“Major. -ou need to get off the -anet.” the voice crackled through the static.

“I’m sorry? Say again?” Loren responded, struggling to hear.

“You -eed to get off-world! Now!” Lia’s voice came back. “-ey’re going to glass the entire -amn thing!”

Loren’s eyes went wide as she managed to make out Lia’s garbled message. Lanning must have sent an operative. An insurance policy for if she failed her mission. And now the crazy son of a bitch was going to turn this rock into rubble.

She pushed onward for the shuttle, it was just ahead, she knew. It was only a matter of getting-

BOOM!

She came to a stunned halt as, right where the shuttle had been there was now a cloud of fire and rising smoke. No. No, Gods no! She pushed onward and came through a clearing just in time to see Delta impale Juliette with a thick, ragged-looking branch. Loren gaped in pure horror as the light left the little Praetorian’s eyes. She watched as Delta claimed her birth name. Loren had lost. Her Praetorian were all dead, aside from Delta, her only means of escape was now gone, and her own ship was about to reduce her and the entire surface of this planet to ash.

Delta slowly turned her eyes on the older woman. Loren’s hair was loose from it’s bun and plastered to her forehead with a sheen sweat. She panted, her fists clenched into tight little balls as she prepared for the worst. Tears rimmed the older woman’s eyes as she waited for Delta to finish it.

Instead, the bloodied and battered girl just stared in silence.

“Well?” Loren said, opening her arms. “What are you waiting for? End it! KILL ME!”

Delta didn’t look angry. No. The look on her face was not anger. This was pity. Loren’s eyes stayed on the girl. She didn’t WANT her pity. She wanted it to be over with.

“DO IT!” Loren shouted, her voice hoarse and cracking with emotion. “You’ve taken everything from me already, you little bitch, so just finish it!”

Delta’s eyes scanned the older woman for a long moment. And then, she just turned her back on the Major and started to walk away. Loren’s face contorted in rage. “Don’t you turn your back on me, Delta!”

But the girl kept walking, enraging Loren even further. “Face me!” She screamed.

But Delta just kept walking, leaving the raging Major behind. She could hear the footsteps before she felt the shove, but did nothing to stop it. Delta turned slowly, towering over the woman who had taken her childhood from her. She seemed so small now. So frail.

Slowly, the glare left Loren’s face. “Please. Kaila. Please.”

Those bright blue eyes regarded her with a mixture of sadness and disappointment. Her voice was soft when she finally spoke. “You can’t hurt me anymore.”

“I gave you everything you have.” Loren said, almost offended.

“Because you took everything else!” the Praetorian countered, the raw emotion in her voice sending a shiver down the Major’s spine. “You cut into my brain, mangled my body. You made me a weapon! A monster!”

Loren’s lips parted. “Then be the monster. End this.”

“No. Never again. I will never be what you want me to be again. It’s my life. And I choose how I live it.”

“We’re all going to die.” Loren said.

“Everybody dies.” Kaila responded. “You taught me that.”

“They’re going to glass this planet.”

“I know.” she said simply. “And I’m going to die with my friends. You can go die however you see fit. But I am not...and will not be alone.”

There was nothing more to say then. Delta made her way to her friends, leaving the Major behind, alone and defeated.
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