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The Beauty of Incomplete Things | The First Order

- - - - - FO The First Order First Order Halm Spooky Scary The Mummy Returns

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#1
Natasi Fortan

Natasi Fortan

    Everything Ends

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Bracing herself against the railing of the yacht Iris, Natasi felt as though she had all of Halm in her gaze, from the distant city on her extreme left peripheral to the mountains on the extreme right. In between were the vast planes of dunes, in places battered by sandstorms, in others calm and serene. But taking up the largest portion of her field of view, some distance dead ahead of her, was the ancient city that First Order historians had identified as Abydisia, the mythical lost city of the ancient Halm civilization. Natasi was not a historian, nor was she a scientist who could make sense of the strange energy readings emanating from certain portions of the city, but she had always taken an interest in Halm, from negotiating its entrance into the First Order to overseeing the construction of New Heliopolis to building a home of her own there. 

 

Even this yacht was a commitment to Halm; the expensive, impressive craft designed to navigate the broad, deep waters of the Equitorial River was often used to entertain diplomatic officials and businessmen to entice them to enter a relationship with the First Order. Currently, it served as the mobile headquarters of the First Order's expedition to Abydisia, moored at the nearest point along the river. A makeshift motor pool and security perimeter had been set up around the yacht's position, allowing for easy transport to the dig sites after disembarking, so that the scientists, historians, archaeologists, soldiers, and other interested parties could come and go from the staterooms, mess halls, and supply storage aboard Iris. Natasi had rather enjoyed the last two days she spent aboard; the ship was a central hub of the operation, so she was kept up-to-date on progress, and got to witness the easy camaraderie of the people involved, debriefing around the mess tables over cold ale and simple food. 

 

It was midmorning now; warm but not yet hot. In the distance, Natasi could just see a motorcade of speeders disappearing over a dune on its way to the dig site. A man cleared his throat behind her, drawing her attention. She turned to view the Chief Technician of the Abydisia project standing nearby. "Good morning, ma'am," he said, bowing slightly. "I thought you'd want to know that the last several static generators on their way to the site. Soon, they'll be up and running and the dig site will be safe from the dust storms. It will improve the speed of our efforts if we don't need to stop and then dig out the same sand we just shoveled."

 

"Excellent work, Chief," said Natasi. "Tell me -- how did you come to determine this was the location? The site has been lost to Halm for centuries."

 

The Chief, a broad man with a large mustache, gave a toothy grin. "Equal parts diligence and dumb luck, ma'am," he said. "A sandstorm blew enough sand away from the site that we began to detect the electrical signals with our flypasts. We're still not sure what the signals are; ancient technology, maybe. The legends about this site do say this was the seat of an ancient civilization, even older and wiser and more powerful than the ancient Halm we know about -- their ancestors. We know almost nothing about them; even still we can't say for sure they aren't a myth."

 

"Here's hoping you can write a little history, Chief," said Natasi. "The military is standing by, just in case?"

 

"Yes, ma'am." He glanced at his watch. "The generators should be up and running in an hour, and we'll complete the first portion of the excavation then."

 

"And open it up?" Natasi asked, her lips twitching up at the edges in a smile. 

 

"And open it up, yes."

 

Natasi paused and slid her sunglasses down her nose slightly. She peered over the rim of the glasses at the Chief. "I'd like to be there for that," said Natasi. "I want to see what it looks like before all the tape and strings and barriers go up. You don't mind, do you?"

 

The Chief did, in fact, mind. After all, it was a centuries-old ruin that may well collapse. "It might not be safe, ma'am. Maybe you'd like to wait until the structural integrity has been verified."

 

"Don't worry, Chief, I'm made of tougher stuff than all that. Did you know I fell down a shaft in one of these old ruins? Oh, years ago now, but I was fine. You needn't worry about me, and if our fighting men are there I'm sure anything that might happen would be easily dealt with by your men or mine."

 

The Chief gritted his teeth but knew that he was beaten. "Very good, ma'am. I'll get you a safety vest."

 

"That's the spirit," Natasi enthused. "I'll wait for your call, Chief."

 

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OOC NOTE:

This is meant to be a fun, pulpy, action-adventure type thread for the First Order. 

This will not be DM'd, but anyone wishing to generate a story is welcome to do so!

The location is an ancient, recently excavated city ruin, so it is large enough to have multiple location stories.

Think: Tomb Raider, Uncharted, Indiana Jones, Strange Brigade, The Mummy, etc.

Supernatural is OK! Mystical MacGuffin artifacts are encouraged. Have fun!


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#2
Luther Ando

Luther Ando

    Intelligence Officer

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Iris - Deck

Lightweight Clothes

SE-14r Blaster pistol

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“Take it easy, Agent” Luther mimicked in the high whiny voice of his doctor. “It’s in my professional opinion that you take several months leave to recover. Well up yours, doc. I’m up and about and I’m doing fine-”. His words were complemented by the ironic ‘tap tap’ of his cane, like a slow clap as a counterpoint to his delusions. He shuffled along the deck of the Iris, slowly making his way to where the speeders were docked.

 

It was strangely circular and curious as to how he ended up in such a state. As a Deathtrooper he had scaled buildings, leaped from great heights and shrugged off blaster fire. Now those same augments that made him superhuman were slowly killing him. He’d never been in a situation where he’d missed taking his meds until the incident on Commenor. He’d never considered the ramifications, and now he was feeling all too mortal.

 

He wasn’t one for sitting around twiddling his thumbs, however, and thus he’d come along for the expedition, very much against the advice of all medical professionals. It had taken a few favours, ones that probably should have been saved, but he had a major case of cabin fever. Doctor’s didn’t understand that he needed to be out and about, it was good for his soul. Medbays were for sick people, and he was adamant that he’d stay sick while staying in one.

 

He rounded the corner of the ship, spotting the passengers ready to board. It took him far longer than he liked to join the crowd, but his timing was good, for they were just starting to board. He moved forward, presenting his ID to the guard. The trooper paused, looking him up and down. “Can I help you, Private?” Luther asked wearily. The man hesitated before speaking. “Are you sure you are equipped to enter the dig site sir? The ground is quite uneven”.

 

Luther frowned, and spun his cane around. With it, he hooked the private’s ankle and sent the man sprawling. He then walked, without his cane, along the boardwalk to the speeder. It took all the strength he had not to cry out in pain, but it was worth it. “I think I’ll be fine, Private” Luther said as the man got back on his feet. “In fact, I worry for you. You can barely stand on flat ground”.

 

He sat down on the speeder, a feeling of pettiness mostly outweighed by wry humour. The private scowled at him and moved over to start the speeder’s engines.

 

| Natasi Fortan |



#3
Lynda Dorn

Lynda Dorn

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Zarha DT-313

Iris, Cargo Hold

Nearby: Luther Ando

 

"They tithed my friends, reduced Kothal to a ghost town conscripting them into their army." Zarha paused while the crimson-red armour she wore steadily entombed the Death Trooper, surrounded by white lab-coat wearing technicians, one of them catches a glance of the symbol featured on DT-313's left-pauldron; a planet cracking under the weight of bloodied leviathan jaws. "We, the local security guardsmen turned against them for bringing the war to our beautiful home, and in return, my suburb was burnt to the ground during the chaos, my Brothers nearly died within that inferno, Agent." Snarling angrily, the helmet begins to lower over Zarha's blonde crown and once it seals around wide jaw the pair of deep blue spheres sitting in round sockets turn towards the Agent who had just been so bold as to query the Death Trooper's commitment and loyalty to the First Order. If glares could kill, the man's constituent organs would be splattered across the hold, once the armour whirred to life the several technicians stood helplessly while Zarha walked with a steady fury in their direction any smugness Agent Kraznov once possessed disappeared as the nigh seven foot supersoldier looked down upon him, quickly realising any attempt to resist his murder would be impotent and useless.

 

Zarha notes the visible fear that contorts across the man's visage and rests her knuckles softly atop Kraznov's shoulder, swallowing sharply he remained silent with the technicians froze still. "I decided to return the favour, I have a long memory." Satisfied Zarha's hand trails down the front of the man's uniform before pushing past him near throwing the man towards the deck with their stride, ascending up a flight of stairs to the gangway surrounding the hold, Zarha slides along the hallway with spine against bulkhead until finding the sun glittering down hall from an opening on hull, pivoting their crimson silhouette in its' direction. Emerging from the Iris' superstructure on the port-side, Zarha took a moment to survey the river's bank taking a few steps towards the railing. Placing one hand on the mahogany surface Zarha muses in silence at the sheer value the railing alone would command, and how it must have been several times that of her family's annual income when she was but a child. Shuffling towards the red colossus is a pair of citizens who halt in their step like statues upon spotting the gargantuan armoured warrior, when the brass visor turned in their direction both straightened frightened by such an intimidating countenance.

 

Blue Spheres study the pair for a moment and after examining the goldish bands around left-hand finger concluded the two were married. "What are you looking at?" No response was forthcoming with the genetically engineered Supersoldier's steps causing the deck to groan painfully Zarha paid the noise little mind and continued into the motor pool off the moored yacht's starboard side. Peering around for the Private who had been tasked with ferrying personnel to and from the digsite, Zarha scowled seeing as he rose with uniform covered in sand. "Hold up." She commands firmly. "I'll be coming along." The speeder droops slightly with Zarha seating herself adjacent to a scrawny man who she spares a glance towards from behind opaque visor, holding a cane the Death Trooper shifts her helmeted head to the side slightly for its' owner has the appearance of one far too young to conceivably require such aid. Zarha holds her tongue albeit only barely with eyes shifting to the back of the Private's antron-covered head. "Any day now Private." The Sergeant orders with an overt impatience. Luther might take note of the Death Trooper's pauldron and the insignia displayed menacingly upon its' crimson surface; a pair of jaws clamping down around a cracked planet ripe to explode.


Edited by Zarha DT-313, 06 January 2019 - 09:51 AM.


#4
Lucius Vinticus

Lucius Vinticus

    FN-4229-BNEG-PFC-FOSC

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Iris- Upper Deck, Starboard side

Equipment- Standard issue Blaster Rifle and Sidearm, Infantry Ruck, Vibroknife

Objective- I USED TO BE AN ADVENTURER LIKE YOU 

 

Lucius stood among the veritable throng of First Order personnel waiting to board speeder transports with a relativity apathetic disposition. Lines still tended to cause the trooper to become a touch spacey, disappearing a portion of his attention to the part of his brain that regulated daydreams and wandering thought. He figured it had something to do with a social anxiety issue of some sort bred into him through years of only interacting with a handful of individuals at any one time. Lucius ignored the thought and stowed it deep within the recesses of his mind, such weakness wasn't befitting of a trooper and he wouldn't allow it to creep up for more than a few moments before flinging it down a pit. 

 

The sun glared down like the eye of an angry god, reflecting brilliantly off both the dunes and the deep blue of the river the Iris had settled near. Apathy was washed away in a single moment as awe took hold. Spending most of his life in a self contained bunker had left him with a deep appreciation of any nature he got to see without an environmental suit constricting his movements. Lucius smiled behind the monolithic Stormtrooper visor and felt a deep wave of contentment working it's way to the surface, the eternal shifting but largely constant topography of celestial bodies gave him a strange feeling of peace. The river would shift and the dunes would rise and fall with the slow progress of the ages but the essence of the world would be maintained at least centuries after his own corpse had returned to the ecosystem of one world or another. 

 

His musing were interrupted when the tell-tale click clank of a falling trooper snatched his mind and eyes to roughly half a meter in front of his position in the line. A man with a cane (Luther Ando) sauntered smugly best he could onto the speeder the before mentioned line was for. Lucius let out a chuckle as his comrade picked himself up and took his position in the speeder before placing himself near the thus far unidentified cane man. He tapped the Private in the driver's seat and then tapped underneath his own helmet's visor when the private turned about in his seat. The private nearly grumbled but stowed it, apparently taking minor offense at the teasing, a universal sorta "Pay attention to what your doing before you embarrass your fellows dumbass" gesture. Lucius snorted and settled in for the ride feeling a bit of amusement for picking at his thin skinned brother in arms. 

 

A woman larger than any he'd yet encountered (Zarha DT-313) berated the driver for the second time in minutes before placing herself in the speeder, noticeably causing it to lean to one side. Lucius laughed and tapped his left hands index and middle fingers onto the right side of his chest, a symbol that some who'd spent large amounts of time in EVA near certain systems would recognize, a thanks of sorts for the continuing harassment of their sensitive chauffeur. 


Edited by Lucius Vinticus , 06 January 2019 - 05:16 PM.


#5
Kyrel Ren

Kyrel Ren

    The Enforcer

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Equipment: Vader's Bane, Kyrel's Harbinger, Raiment of the Vigilant 

Location: Iris, Hanger 

 

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Kyrel stood eagerly aboard the First Order vessel over Halm. A clue of the Unknown Regions was undiscovered.Puzzled by this event, Kyrel sought to uncover what was said to be a burial chamber down within the world, hell it was even said that an entire city was said to be down there of course. Did the Master of Ren know that for sure, of course not? But it had been intriguing enough that whatever was within. Perhaps what he would seek would curry favor with the Supreme Leader, as whatever he found down there would be going back to the Bastion. Yet he didn't know what could be there. Who was to say that what he would find down there was a waste of time. That he had gone all this way for nothing. 

 

Equipped with his armor, both of his lightsabers hooked to him. He made his way from the quarters in a brisk stride towards the Hanger bay, very eager to finally find what was down there. Kyrel had been to tombs before, one vividly burned into his very memory. That of Darth Thaxsis within Vader's Sanctum on Mustafar, remembering how the man awakened from the clash of Dark and Light within the sanctum. Wishing to take vengeance upon the Jedi, he wished to possess Kyrel. Using his obsession as a way to gain his body. Kyrel ultimately refused but used his power to help fight in the Battle as a young Knight of Ren at the time. 

 

Now Thaxsis was long gone, nothing more than a distant echo within the back of his mind. He looked at the various transports being prepped. Not speaking a word and crossing his arms. He began the slow walk to his own shuttle. Whatever brought him here, whatever he may find within such a place. He knew that the Force always had a guiding hand into every event. Even if his First Imperial brethren believed the Ren to be nothing more than mystics. Some even disregarding the very nature of the Force, for that of technological terrors to rule both that of the Western Reaches and the Outer Rim. 

 

Taking a seat within the back of the transport, the engines slowly firing as the shuttle began its slow descent through the hanger and into open space. Towards the planet below. Kyrel had a good feeling at what he might find. If not useful to the Supreme Leader or to the very Ren. It would be nothing but ashes by the time he was done. 



#6
Natasi Fortan

Natasi Fortan

    Everything Ends

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The Grand Moff emerged from her cabin in a lightweight white blouse, form-fitting khaki slacks, and a pair of shin-height boots, dangling a wide-brimmed hat from her fingertips as she shut the cabin door behind her. Her chestnut hair was pulled back into a neat bun at the base of her skull, and she had a pair of tortoise-shell sunglasses which she pulled from the breast pocket of her blouse and slid over her brown eyes as she emerged onto the deck. The Chief Technician rounded the corner just as she came onto the deck and they met half-way. "Ma'am, we're ready to open the doors, but may I please caution you once again that you should remain here until we can verify the safety of the dig site before you come down."

 

Natasi smiled and placed her hat on her head. "You worry too much, Mr. Preston," said Natasi with a wry smile. She reached into her pockets and pulled out a pair of driving gloves. "I'm made of sterner stuff," she said, tapping the Chief Technician on the shoulder with her gloves. "Will you drive or shall I?"

 

Preston frowned slightly. "I'll bring the speeder around, ma'am."

 

* * *

 

The speeder eased to a halt some distance from the primary dig site, and Natasi and the others from the ship clambered out and began the walk across the dunes. The Chief Archaeologist from the First Order's Historical Recovery Division was there with her team, overseeing a pneumatic wedge's installation to a heavy sandstone door. "I have to insist we hang back for a moment," said the Chief Technician. "That wedge can produce dangerous shrapnel." Natasi raised her eyebrows and then nodded mutely; they stood back and watched the Chief Archaeologists do her work, then her team retreated to a safe distance to activate the pneumatic wedge. Slowly, it whirred and groaned until at last, the stone walls parted. 

 

Was it Natas's imagination, or did the air scream as it escaped the long-sealed doors? She looked around at the Preston, who didn't seem to notice. "Shall we?" he asked her, gesturing for her to move forward. Natasi agreed and strolled down the shallow, sandy ramp and into the cool, musty subterranean chamber. Preston offered her an electric torch, which she activated and played across the floor and walls. "By the Balance," said Natasi breathlessly, her dark eyes drinking in her surroundings. The walls were beautiful, painted in gold and jewel tones, with vivid hieroglyphs painting unknown tales across the vast hall, up and around the six columns that formed a central walkway through the room. "It's beautiful," Natasi murmured to no one in particular.

 

"Don't stray too far, Your Excellency," called the Chief Archaeologist. "We need to clip you."

 

"Do what?" Natasi echoed in muted amusement to Preston softly as she moved deeper into the hall. 

 

Preston followed along, trying to keep the Grand Moff in his line of sight. "When mapping new places, the HRD places personnel on tethers to avoid them getting lost. It's just a carabiner clip to a belt or belt loop." Natasi pulled a face in Preston's lamplight. "Due respect, ma'am, you did say you wanted to be first in."

 

"Yes, I suppose I did," said Natasi with a smirk. Preston turned to take the tether that had been tossed from a nearby archaeologist. He clipped the carabiner to his belt and tugged it a little tot est that it was attached correctly.

 

When he turned to pass the tether to Natasi, he found only her hat, upside down and rolling along its dome. "Ma'am?" he called. His voice echoed off the chamber walls. "Your Excellency?" he called, a little louder, casting his light around. He rushed forward, looking frantically around for his charge. The woman was nowhere to be seen. "I need eyes on Nebula," he muttered into his shoulder-mounted commlink. "Right now."


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#7
Luther Ando

Luther Ando

    Intelligence Officer

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Dig Site

Lightweight Clothes

SE-14r Blaster pistol

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The speeder sped along the water, the private piloting the vehicle with a practiced ease. Luther relaxed into the seat, soaking up the pleasant setting. He was impressed with the skill of the driver, who managed to keep the craft on course despite the weight caused by the gargantuan women next to him. The thought caused his eyes to flicker over to her, examining her with a critical eye.

 

It was hard to believe was ever like her. The woman towered above her comrades, clad in the finest and sturdiest armour the First Order could make. A symbol of the First Order’s potential, and the vastness of their bank accounts. He wondered what ALPHA would think of this new upstart and felt a guilty feeling rise up in him. He’d barely thought of his old squad since he transferred, let alone communicated with the trio. He’d knew that Twigg at least would forgive him, if not understand. But Rexus and Kyli, he wondered how they would react if he ever ran into them again.

 

He was shaken from his reverie as the speeder came to a halt outside the dig site. He straightened up in his seat and motioned for Lucius Vinticus to exit the vehicle. “You first PFC, I need to get my cane out” Having to use the walking aid damaged his pride enough, and he wouldn’t embarrass himself further by tripping over the stormtrooper.

 

The dig site was much more technical than Luther expected, but he supposed he had quaint ideas about archeology. It had amused him much more to think of the crew as doddering old men and women, hunched over in the dirt with brushes. Instead he was greeted by a large pneumatic device that was being used to pry the doors apart. “Overkill perhaps” Luther muttered. “But if it works, it works”. He kept his distance from the door as the machine did its job, finding a small fold-out chair to sit on.

 

He motioned for one of the troopers assigned to security. The man approached with a wary look in his eye. “Luther Ando, Intelligence Officer, FOSB” he said tersely. “Get me a commlink with the security channel”. The trooper nodded, leaving and returning with the device. Luther strapped it on, looking up as strange noise issued from the newly opened portal. ‘What a bizarre sound’ he thought. He was no expert on abandoned tombs, but he figured all kinds of sounds would issue as the ancient air was released, the pressure finally stabilizing. Nevertheless, his arm hairs stood on end.

 

He watched as several people entered, including Natasi Fortan, and decided that he’d probably regret making the trip if he didn’t at least view the chamber. He rose from his seat, slowly making his way to the entrance.

 

He was nearing the great door when the commlink crackled to life. “I need eyes on Nebula, right now”. Luther paused, trying to recall the codenames, before letting out a loud groan. He gestured to those around, getting their attention. “In you go” he said. “Make sure our esteemed Grand Moff has not tripped over and cracked her head”. Many of them surged forward in a rush of patriotism, but Luther ensured that some stayed to guard the entrance.

 

Once that was settled, he hobbled into the darkness.

 

| Zarha DT-313 | Kyrel Ren |



#8
The Major

The Major

    Cosmic Hunter

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Warping in near enough to the Iris, the FIV Tortuga popped into position and exchanged the usual procedural pleasantries with the crew left in charge. While it would have possibly been a much more simple endeavor to secretly steal unto the planet without anyone being any the wiser, the Director had instead chosen a more straight and honorable path for this occasion. Her presence wouldn’t be kept a secret. With the recent exchanges and developments in tandem with Imperator Graf’s unofficial official reinstatement Lady Shepard knew when one should and one shouldn’t stomp like a madman stranded upon a decaying rope bridge. 
 
Now was the time of careful restraint; thus, when it came to matters of her work as of late she made sure each and every bit of it, no matter how monotonous was carefully filed, cross checked, and approved with her superiors in the form of the Security Minister and Grand Moff. She suspected nothing she could do would ever fully clear their suspicions or even their active search for her replacement -no matter. Nothing lasts forever. Though it posed the greatest of risk it seemed more sensible to undergo the chance with her life and career, if nothing else than to shake the status quo and show that the Director had her own designs.
 
Today her designs included something in the realm of tomb raiding. Now, she was no simpleton, although she might on a lonely night internally debate that fact. She was aware that the Grand Moff was present (as of course the security detail for this mission was handled by the Director) and that they had not directly spoken since that night. It wasn’t her intention to run into the main teams conducting operations upon Halm, so she would handle something personally with a few trusted agents. Waiting for another day to crack at it separately might seem like the correct move, but the reality was that what she hunted might be more easily taken on if there were other distractions nearby.
 
Activating their trackers so as to avoid surprising the rest of the elements working below, the Major’s team deployed from their ride to the dig site. It was large enough for them to pick a landing zone without disturbing the proceedings.
 
At least, they would remain undisturbed for now.
 

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#9
Lynda Dorn

Lynda Dorn

    Ruthless Pragmatist

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Zarha DT-313

Halm Surface, Near Equatorial River, Abysidia Catacomb Entrance

Nearby: Luther Ando, The Major, Lucius Vinticus, Natasi Fortan

 

The pair of beige dust covered stone obelisks that formed the doors quite literally screamed open and Zarha immediately raises her G-12A Blaster Rifle in their direction and holding the pitch black void behind held in sights for a few seconds before lowering her rifle and slinging it atop shoulder. "Anybody else hear that or am I hearing things?" Words rolled out through the annunciator at the First Order personnel surrounding the Crimson-armoured Trooper. The Grand Moff boldly launches forward into the long forgotten halls and Zarha's inner soldier finally takes over she lunges forth and rudely pushes pass Natasi as her adjutant offers the aristocrat some safety device. "Excuse me Ma'am, for your own safety." It was undeniable that the petulant child took a certain pleasure in brushing passed the head of Government in such an abrupt manner to be the first to step inside the ancient city. 

 

Zarha's helmet-mounted LED lights cast four piercing beams of life through the pitch-black darkness her pupils flex with incredible power bringing the walls and their glyphic details into fine view, smirking slightly the talkative and rather ill-disciplined young woman couldn't help but comment further examining the floor closely and advancing with measured, carefully-planted steps. "Watch your step, the egg-heads up topside don't appreciate blood in their sand boxes." Zarha jests drly, implying somewhat cryptically that she viewed the scholars who dutifully plied the digsite as comparable to enthusiastic children in a sand pit. The deep blue orbs sitting in eye sockets roll around with the Chief's voice entering Zarha's helmet in a barely controlled panic. "Don't worry Chief, I'll find her. Can't have gone far." Gaze studies the macromotion tracker for a moment and spots a contact displaced to the right of their party.

 

"Wait here." Zarha casts the command over shoulder towards Luther, putting him down under the nigh blinding beams of light shining from her helmet. "I'll find her."


Edited by Zarha DT-313, 13 January 2019 - 02:20 PM.


#10
Natasi Fortan

Natasi Fortan

    Everything Ends

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One moment, Natasi had been leaning forward to brush the dust off a vivid fresco. The next, she had lost her footing and stumbled forward; the wall gave way and she fell through the gap. She turned towards the trap door and tried to push it open. It didn't work. She tried to pull it. Again, to no avail. It seemed to have latched shut behind her like a trap. The Grand Moff brushed the dust from her breeches and picked up her torch, shining it around her surroundings. Gone were the beautiful jewel tones and golds of the painted hall she had been in. This was a drab corridor, sandy and undecorated. 

 

Natasi turned back to the door and gave it a few knocks, then pounded her fist against it, shouting: "Hello! Hello! Help!" But it seemed to be rather thick and she wasn't sure whether the sound was coming through to the other side. She frowned and turned again, then began to make her way gingerly down the corridor she found herself in. Was it her imagination, or was the walkway sloping downwards?

 

She continued on, letting the torch light the path in front of her until she reached a broad staircase leading down. She couldn't see what lay at the bottom, or indeed, anything beyond the one or two meters immediately around her that was lit by the torch. But with nowhere else to go but down the steps, she did so, carefully picking her way down the broadening stairs until she reached what she thought was the bottom. She moved forward until she caught sight of something structural -- a large, painted column, not unlike the ones in the entry chamber. The difference was, of course, that these were much taller, disappearing into the darkness far above Natasi's head. She called out: "Hello!"

 

Her voice echoed for a long time, giving her some small idea of just how large the chamber she was in could be. 

 

Luther Ando The Major Kyrel Ren Zarha DT-313 Lucius Vinticus


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