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La'vida

Guardian of Luminari, Iranimul, and their associated planet

0 · 413 views · located in Norline and Related

a character in “New Stars, Old Souls”, as played by Ambassador Karik

Description

Image


- Currently being played: The First -

Name: La'vida/The Guardian
Given Name: La'vida
Nickname(s): -
Gender: Female
Race: 36% Mirror Kind, 64% Other
Age: Unrevealed
Birthday: Unrevealed
Height: 5'6"
Powers/Abilities: Unrevealed
Equipment:
Family: Timesmith (parent), Ambassador (parent), Tev'tev (sister), Lo'tev ('sister')

So begins...

La'vida's Story

Setting

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Artificial. That was the only accurate term for the scene around her. It was metal. And cold. And.. artificial. And it was perfect. Outside, the only sights to see were darkness and the glow of distant stars. Thousands of them, each with their own set of planetary bodies and strands of history. Here was the middle-ground. The space between the homes of many another species. But here, in the confines of recycled oxygen and metal chassis, there was a freedom. Gravity and weather did not define where she could go; not even air would slow her down. She could go anywhere.

And right now, she was en route to the location given by a rather unreliable source. It had cost what money she had on hand, and it was almost certainly fake, but that was part of the thrill. She had 'bought' passage on this rickety spacecraft that flew with false codes to conceal its actual cargo; a small hoard of itinerants. Of which she was a part.

On her entering the central room in the ships' hold, she was greeted by one of the migrants. He was an Echani; one of pale complexion and snowy hair. He spoke no languages that she did, but over the past two weeks of travel they had worked out a way to acknowledge each other's presence. It was a simple moment of eye contact and a nod of acknowledgement. They knew why each other was here; both had defied their family's wishes and taken off for new lands where they might better fit in. For the Echani, he was passive. He chose to observe and try to speak to the others around them, not speak through fights. For La'vida... she had family to find. At the expense of being intercepted by all the people her mother had warned her about.

In the central room, she chose a seat nearest the Echani. They shared a small smile, for just a second. La'vida turned her attention to what they were watching; a reptilian humanoid with pale-grey skin and fire markings all over his body. He was sharing a story in a language none of them could understand, but the tones and body language was enough to be understood. He spoke with sweeping motions of his arms and wings, small flames manifesting off his skin during particularly emotional parts in the story.
He bent forward, voice quieting down to nearly a whisper as he slowly scanned the audience. La'vida leaned in, small hushes passing through the audience. The Dracona took tiny steps, shifting attention between the migrants around him. Each one prepared themselves to be the target; some covered their faces when they were looked at, some instinctively changed colors to a warning hue. Suddenly, the Dracona leaped forward towards the Echani. The latter moved in reflex, tackling the reptilian person and bringing them both into fits of laughter on the rough floor. They got up, sharing a gesture to let each other know they didn't mean the other harm. When the tiny crowd began to disperse, La'vida bounced up to the Dracona. She only reached the height of his chest, but he leaned forward to compensate for the weight of his wings. Serpentine eyes turned to land on her when her presence was sensed, and they too shared a quiet moment of connection. She could feel his thoughts brushing against hers; faint, only giving her enough to know he was safe to be near. The Dracona gently set a clawed hand on top of her head, then turned and began to wander towards where they kept the rations.

La'vida glanced upwards when a static-y voice played over the intercom. ".. Sisi ni kuingia katika mfumo wa Kivres-Servik sasa na itakuwa kushuka katika Oranig ya mvuto kuvuta hivi karibuni." The voice was gruff and belonged to another culture's language, but she recognized the names 'Kivres-Servik' and 'Oranig'. They were going to be entering the binary star system of the suns Servik and Kivres. It was the same that held the moons that both the Dracona's and some of her own family's ancestors called home. But the moons were not where they were going. No, they were giving up that sanctuary for something else: the unregulated spaceports of Oranig. La'vida cast her eyes across the small band of migrants who had left their lives behind. Very soon, each would be going out into the insanity of the metal wilderness on their own future-path. She hoped most of them would do well, but it was difficult to know. Anything could happen on Oranig; its government's jurisdiction ebbed and flowed, and most of the laws were suggestions rather than enforced. Combined with the massive waves of travelers that visited its surface... things could get out of hand quickly.

The setting changes from Space to Kivres-Servik System

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A hard hit introduced them to the gravity field of the planet below. Almost immediately, the passengers were pushed further over to the side while the ship turned. A bit of concern grew within her; what if the rundown smuggler's ship couldn't handle the pull? It certainly didn't have escape pods; it would just break apart. She sighed, keeping a firm grip on one of the ship's round doorframes while everything around her pulled on its restraints. Storage crates, plasteel containers... she only hoped the smugglers piloting the ship knew what they were doing. Some of the migrant passengers seemed to be becoming nervous; others were excited. The rest had too foreign a physiology to properly read. She shared quiet conversations with the ones she had formed some semblance of a friendship with; anything was possible from here onward. If they made it to where they needed to be... it was unlikely she'd see any of them again. She couldn't help but feel sad about that; these were the first friends she had made since finally breaking free from Timesmith's watch.

---

The world around was full of life. Lights of all types - artificial, bioluminescent, natural - compensated for the nighttime. In fact, had the sky above not been so dark, it could have been mistaken for daytime. Taking in a deep breath brought in the sharp smells of city life, and... just a hint of a familiar species. She set aside her curiosity for the latter, sticking to her pre-coordinated path to the docks. It was a little bit of a walk, and she did what she could to dodge grabbing limbs of species who didn't understand the concept of personal space. Fortunately enough for her, personal guidance systems were in effect. Pathways that led to her destination lit with green borders; a color only she and other travelers of the same destination could see. To others on the walkway, the colors would guide them to their own target location. The fact a telepathic connection could be used so simply as to help visitors keep from getting lost was fascinating to La'vida. It had so much potential to lead visitors astray, yet it wasn't used for that. What would be the purpose in it? The city was full of thousands of opportunities; from the high-society levels in the sky to the lowest realms of the undercity that held civilizations who had never experienced sunlight. The entire planet was like a living replica of a timeline; the primitive past with the fantastic future all balled into one experience.

---

An Ithorian's voice could be heard advertising some type of restoration project on a far-off location. The terminals were full of beings of every shape and size. Flyers buzzed and hovered along the little aerial paths, creatures crawled along the walls, bipeds and quadrapeds and more-legged creatures wandered along the ground paths. The smell of the area was too hard to pinpoint; at one moment it was sweet, the next it was pungent. She was grateful when she found the 'Biped: Humanoid' section. Here, there was much less a sense of wonderful chaos. It was quieter, species tending to segregate into their own groups while they shuffled along to the gates in various states of boarding and takeoff. Running along the walls was an assortment of foods and trinkets to buy. Some of them caught her eye, drawing her a few steps towards the vendors before she remembered she had nothing to pay them with. Not physical currency, anyway, and she wasn't quite ready to start selling memories for a piece of pottery.

A figure in a suit approached her, coming to a stop and staring for several moments. La'vida stared back at the reflective visor, then took a step back. The figure followed. Taking a few more steps back, she got a Twi'lek between them. The figure simply stood still, helmet visor slowly turning to watch her as she made her way closer to the terminal gatekeepers.

The setting changes from Kivres-Servik System to Norline and Related

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(Disregard)

The setting changes from Norline and Related to Kivres-Servik System

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At the gatekeeper, she was presented with the universal question: "Speech?"
"Galactic Basic. Oranig designation H-14."
"Language recognized. Greeting: Welcome to Oranig export terminal fifteen point seven point three. Query: what is your destination?"
La'vida scooted a tad closer to the gate, keeping her volume low. "Cosuna star system, planet Cosuna fourteen dash nine. I have a reservation."
A ring of light created a half-circle over the counter. She set her hand in, letting the system recognize her. When the light faded, the voice spoke again.
"Confirmation: Reservation recognized. Statement: Reservation pending approval due to insufficient funds. Query: Do you wish to pay now?"
She nodded once, casting watchful glances around her. A few of the other passengers were staring. Normal. La'vida stepped into the plexiglass cylinder when it granted entrance. Just in time to dodge the grip of one of the other migrants. The surface darkened, replaced with a soft light on the inside to grant privacy. La'vida took in a slow, calming breath while a thin wire descended from the top. She took hold of it, checking for the soft flexible needle. Moving her hair out of the way, she set the needle against the back of her skin. She flinched at the soft prickle and braced herself. A hard flash of colors and emotions passed for half an instant, and then it was over. She was left to breathe slowly, bringing herself away from the brink of shock. The needle cauterized the attachment on its exit, and left an anesthetic. When La'vida was recovered enough to walk, the plexiglass became transparent again and the door ahead retracted to the side. She began down the empty corridor to the shuttle bay.

She found hers easily; it was the only one in the bay that gave any indication it was awake. It chimed its welcome and granted her passage. Settling into the pod, La'vida smiled. "Hello, sweetheart."
The pod chimed back, closing the shell behind her and prompting a check for preparedness. La'vida confirmed, scooting around a bit for comfort while the pod went through the process of being granted permission to depart. Finally, the pod began to move forward. It gained speed quickly, and then another chime informed the passenger that they were outside the Oranig gravity field.

The setting changes from Kivres-Servik System to Norline and Related

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Inside, there was nothing to be seen. The pod's interior was completely shut off from the rest of the world - or space, to be more accurate - and offered nothing in the way of heads-up-displays or entertainment. Instead, the interior was coated with a gelatinous material that both absorbed a fair amount of shock and provided for a somewhat ergonomic experience. La'vida opted to turn her attention inward to her implanted media chip. Closing her eyes to the darkness, she settled in for a long trip in the worlds of unreality.

---

It was night when the tiny pod's second thermal layer burned off in the atmosphere. The entrance was a bit rough, but not as much as the "landing" would be. La'vida tuned her chip into the pod's feed. It was running a dozen different monitors, compensating for aerial density, gravitational pull, and working at a quick speed to determine where would be the safest place to come down. The pod's fourteen shield generators had already burned out, leaving the two emergency backups on standby. The land was coming up fast while the pod began to make broad downward spirals towards its target. It had selected a very wide part of what seemed to be the primary river of the area not too far off from one of the reported outposts. It was a few miles off and the pod recognized other ships, so it sent out its identification code as a non-invasive biopod associated with the Society of Lunar Exploration. After confirming with its passenger, it skimmed the water, threw on a backup shield, and then dropped down.

Large bone digits pulled a metal-esque pod out of the river of a jungle planet. The pod crawled upward until it got up onto a wide part of the beach, and then it oriented its center into an upright angle with its base on the ground. The face panel opened upward, letting its passenger leave the pod. La'vida took a few minutes to adjust herself to the environment. Turning to the pod, she received the signal to let it know it had completed its process of identifying the makeup of the air around them. A small bubble manifested on the inside of the pod, and La'vida picked it up. Holding it over her mouth, she took in a deep breath and absorbed the nanites. They buried themselves along her respiratory tract and then started about on their programmed activities. Almost instantly she was able to take in a deep breath of the humid jungle air. The scent of flowers and river were dominant, but that wasn't why she was here. She claimed one other object from the pod before letting it engage into land mode. Its panel locked back onto its base and the body of the thing lifted upward. It assumed placement over her, its long bone 'limbs' spanning out a couple feet around her. It stayed above while they began to walk, providing a very basic guardian. Its thermal coatings had burned away, revealing its bright-orange Society markings.

---

Dawn broke when she finally stopped to rest. She had made her way to the borders near the outpost, and decided to circle it from there. She had opted not to drop down directly into the Society's area, not while the rescue ship crew were assessing what had happened to their outpost. Sure, the other outpost had registered as having other ships near it, but it had come up in the files as being 'abandoned'. It seemed as good as any a place to try and track down the one she'd come to the planet for.

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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Trudging through the jungle was proving to be a bit more tricky than she had planned. The clothing she'd chosen was moderate in its quality; it could compensate for drastic changes in weather, at the expense of hardiness. She was accumulating tears in the fabric, some of which made it through to cause scratches on her skin. Her hair kept catching, until finally she pulled it back into a loose ponytail. It was long, but at least it wouldn't be haywire. The bioship above did what it could to push branches and leaves out of the way, but its appendages were too cumbersome for the finer plants.

The ship crouched low, face panel opening just an instant before closing around its companion. La'vida startled, fingertips digging into the gelatinous interior until the pod's message made her freeze. A moment later, there was a faint sound wave of bullet-shot. She held her breath, the pod just as motionless while it assessed the situation. The sounds lasted for a few seconds, but she wasn't released until another ten minutes later once scene safety analysis had been completed. Re-opening, it dropped her out and let her catch her balance on her own. It resumed the same stance as before, prepared to continue to travel and only mostly aware that its ward was trying to figure out what had gone on. The jungle held little evidence of the transaction, save for a few less birdcalls. Whether or not that was due to the bullet sound or the sight of what looked like a large metal spider with bone-legs walking around the forest was unclear. La'vida carried on.

---

It was only perhaps another half of an hour before the bioship acted up again. This time it crouched low but did not take her into automated protection. Instead, it sent out a faint ping until she set a hand on its scratched orange-and-white surface. It relayed its messages; humanoid lifeforms - bipeds - had been detected a mile from their location. The readings had been spotty at first, but after three confirmations it held confidence in its identification. There was also an old ship scan coming in. It was rough and hard to detect, as the humanoids had been, but finally confirmed. There seemed to be a fair amount of inorganic materials associated with the humanoids; the materials stood out against the planet as being non-native, and so the pod suggested that the humanoids and the ship scan were likely related. La'vida told the pod to put its identification code on automatic to cover a square-mile radius; enough that the humanoids could pick it up and find the bioship to be a registered passive-passenger craft associated with the Society of Lunar Exploration. The pod suggested La'vida wait within its shell, but she denied. The last few sleepless days had been spent in its confines; she needed to experience a living planet again. Instead, she decided to stand near one of its skeletal limbs and wait to see which direction the humanoids went.

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Character Portrait: Kaliska Character Portrait: Ambassador Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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Ambassador was quiet, listening to and keeping a watch on Kaliska. They seemed to be making a little bit of progress; at least communications were still getting through between the Misu. When she was done speaking, he gave a short nod. "I'll return before long." With an afterthought, he tried to console her again. "This isn't the end, you know. There's always a way to get out of these encounters without bloodshed." He offered her a hand on her shoulder before turning and heading out towards the corridor.

---

Back out of the basin, Ambassador decided to let himself air dry. The weather was much warmer than it had been last night, and the feeling of sun on bare skin was pleasant. The Misu had replaced his food basket, to his enjoyment. None of what had been brought last night had reacted badly with his system, so he was glad to dig back in. Alone, he was free to consume all of it with much less grace than he would have among others. Partway through the banquet, he wandered back over to dress. In his absence, the assistants had seemed to figure out how to wash his old clothes. They were folded oddly, but he appreciated the effort. They had even managed to do what they could to remove the mud and leaf stains from his boots. This time, he opted to don the heavier pants and boots. Their dark colors contrasted heavily against the lighter cloth that he kept for his top. He would stand out, but the trousers would be good to have during the next few days. They offered more protection and utility than the Misu's.

Like before, he was partway through a foodstuff when the pair of Misu from earlier knocked. They seemed to have a knack for interrupting food consumption. However, this time when they entered he managed to convince them to just share the food with him. The two seemed hesitant at first - this wasn't their direct job, after all - but Ambassador had experienced enough of their intimacy to sate his curiosity for quite a while. Instead, he spent the last bit of snack time listening to them share a story in their native language. He didn't understand a lick of it, but just listening to them speak was comforting. It was hard to know when the next time to listen to them would come around. He did wish he knew their language, but on the other hand it left curiosity in its wake. There was a type of mystery in not knowing what exactly was being said.

The day was interrupted a second time when he held up a hand. The speaking Misu paused, and Ambassador turned his head slightly. Something in the background had caught his attention. Turning, he looked over his shoulder out at the wild scenery. Nothing there indicated that something had been communicated. It was the same feeling as before; the sense that.. something.. familiar was near. This time it was a little stronger, but just barely. The three practically jumped from the tension when a rapid series of knocks were carried out on the door. The owner of the sound didn't wait for an answer before coming in, but he came to a sharp stop. An expression appeared on his face that crossed language barriers; he was worried he had interrupted a... private experience. Ambassador stood, heading on over to him. The messenger seemed anxious, but spoke nonetheless. It came in the form of a statement and then a type of question, none of which he understood. The two other Misu seemed to become a little nervous though, and cast Ambassador questioning glances. Ambassador held up a finger - what he hoped would translate to 'wait a moment' - and then headed over to pick up the cooling undershirt that still remained on the bed. Setting it in his back pocket, he gestured for the messenger to lead him. He called back a 'thank you' to the two Misu and then headed out into the corridor. They began swiftly to the next door only a few paces from his own; Kaliska's. Ambassador stood aside while the messenger knocked on her door.


---


La'vida shoved even more leaves aside before coming to a stop. She had chosen to follow the team as they headed away from the outpost. There were seven of them, and they traveled in a distinct formation. They seemed to know where they were going; they followed a somewhat specific path rather than patrolling. It was enough to pique her curiosity. She had paused when they did, not wishing to get less than half a mile from them. They paused long enough for her to peel a few layers off the bioship's gelatinous interior to eat.

After quite a bit of backtracking her earlier path, the pod stopped her. She herself had heard what sounded like a human voice carry through the jungle. The ship relayed what it had heard, confirming what she suspected. The last word caught her by surprise. Ambassador. A diplomat, or... She didn't hesitate to start closing the gap between herself and the team. The biopod alerted her to the decreasing distance, and she relayed her intent. The ship shared its disapproving opinion of the plan, and she noted that. And chose to proceed.

When the pod told her it had visual confirmation of the team-members, it took her a while to actually spot them. They blended in well with the foliage, and were on guard. She came to a stop; the pod crouched down, prepared to engage auto-defense if they were fired upon. The tiny ship pinged its identification to the crew a fair three-hundred feet from it, hoping to aware them to the presence rather than startling them like a predatory craft.

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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Nathan stared out into the village for a moment, waiting for some response, before turning around and seeing that Vyre had tensed up considerably. He seemed to be staring into space, probably looking at some message on one of the screens inside his helmet.

"I didn't... call for any... reinforcement..." Vyre muttered loud enough to hear, and wheeled around to face one of his men. "Sergeant, radio that signal. Tell them to identify. Everyone else on standby."

Nathan heard the familiar whirr of railgun energy cells charging up as the soldiers stared out into the foliage, getting into battle position.

Had they been led into an ambush?

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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No time was wasted pinging the information from the pod to the requester. It identified itself as "Non-Hostile passenger biopod, Society of Lunar Exploration serial number NH fifteen point seven point thirteen." with the intent of "Establishing non-hostile communications between passenger and exploration team." It had chosen to call the crew it spoke to the exploration team rather than 'scout' or 'soldiers'; the chosen term had registered as currently most-accurate in its databanks. Without being prompted from the other party, it identified its passenger as "Biped Humanoid, non-hostile, Temporary Society of Lunar Exploration Identification code fourteen point twelve point five, name 'Allison Ann Castle'. Language Galactic Basic, Society of Lunar Exploration code H dash fourteen."
The pod went back into standby to wait for the team's response. Its systems were on alert, quite aware of the others' weaponry and what threat that posed to its passenger. La'vida simply leaned on one of its skeletal limbs, picking away bits of leaves and frowning at the fact she hadn't grabbed some stronger materials before making the trip out here. She kept part of her mind tuned into the bioship's communications.

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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"Sir," one of the soldiers called out, presumably the Sergeant, "Relaying ident codes to you now."

Vyre went back into that state of staring into space, then cursed fluently.

"Of all the possibilities, had to be those 'we come in peace' eggheads, weak-willed bastards..." Vyre muttered. Nathan tensed. Peace... he had been under the impression that the Society were vicious murderers. What was going on?

"Stall them as long as possible. We'll deal with them as soon as we can. Worst case scenario, take a few potshots and try to hit it. We don't want to scare these natives too soon, do we?" Vyre commanded.

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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The ship continued to be the middleman, recording and offering suggestion to La'vida every time she sent a message. That was, until the ship started sending finer details. It's arrival time, Oranig departure time, current state of defenses, passenger health... She pulled the pod off auto-reply and connected directly. "This is Alissa speaking. I am here on an independent expedition. Requesting permission to enter your vicinity with non-hostile intent."

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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"Sir, turns out the messages were automated. The pilot is now requesting to talk to us." Below the Sergeant's helmet visor, Nathan could tell his eyes were widened with uncertainity.

"Tell them we're busy and send them some random nearby coordinates," Vyre barked, "And dispatch a team to meet them there."

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Character Portrait: La'vida Character Portrait: Lieutenant Nathan Auridaxe
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The team was occupied, but with what exactly wasn't disclosed. Instead, she received a location. Nothing else was offered; no instructions, no explanation for why the location didn't match what the pod had calculated based on its own visuals. La'vida coordinated with the bioship, working out a plan of what to do. The expedition team didn't seem at all interested in her being there, now that she had sent her identification. Still, it was safer that way than being happened-upon and getting shot. Only one shield generator remained on the pod for such an emergency, and it had no way of flying. They were earthbound.

The red-haired girl decided not to respond to the team's last message. She and the pod began traveling around their location without closing the distance. The bioship was detecting a slowly-growing number of rogue humanoids approaching her and the team's locations within a half-mile radius. They had a more erratic pattern of movement, and virtually no metal readings; probably indigenous scouts. When they had completed a quarter-circle around the team, the pod stopped in its tracks. It had detected a whole pack of bipeds like the ones closing around their location. There were denser materials as well, probably a village. Was this... what the other team was watching? Why did they need to be armed when the other bipeds weren't registering any significant metal levels?

A sort of anxiety was growing within her. What was she getting herself into here? Nervous, she again coordinated with the ship. They could go back to the team, but they were armed and that tended to indicate that either the armed ones or the others intended harm. While the former was armed and dangerous, they were also down here with what seemed to have been an expedition outpost. That made them likely to be researchers, or at least the security for them. As far as the natives went, there was virtually nothing on file. They could easily be just as dangerous as the team-members, even without metal weaponry. It was a bit of a predicament, but... the bioship was better equipped to handle assault from non-gun weapons. She chose to take her chances with them for now. If they turned out to be violent, she could seek assistance from the explorers.

Breathing deeply, she continued forth towards the biped base with the skeletal pod. They traveled parallel to the river, sticking along the border between open view and dense foliage. She didn't want to stand out too badly but didn't want to spook the locals either. While she walked, she felt the sense of kinfolk again. It was coming from the village. It was stronger this time, and carried a hint of Timelord to it. a smile crept across her face; she had found him.

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Character Portrait: La'vida
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La'vida found herself in the maw of the biopod again. This time, it was virtually the instant the sound of a gunshot reached her ears. Like it had before, it held her for a few minutes to ensure the scene was safe. Within that time, it relayed sounds it was picking up; a voice, shouting in Basic about burning down a village because the ones he'd called for hadn't shown themselves. This troubled her quite a bit. Clearly it wasn't an exploration team; it was a band of mercenaries. She told the pod to go into silent. It would drop off the face of any screen that picked up its codes and look suspicious, but it was worth arousing suspicion if it meant she'd be out of their range of fire.

Finally she was set free again, to which she stepped up the pace. Time was becoming a factor in this hunt. The rogue scout readings had paused for most of the time she was encapsulated, but a couple had started to move again. This time, much more slowly. They seemed to be just as wary of the team as she was. Smart, she thought.

Not much land had been covered when the pod stopped her for the umpteenth time. It was detecting one of the rogues in the direct vicinity of them, but was having difficulty getting a fix visually. La'vida scanned the area, eyes trying to pick up the sight. A bit of movement in the leaves drew her gaze. But then another, off to the side. She spun on her heels when a low voice whispered. Her eyes landed on the carved tip of a wooden stave. Holding it was the shape of a woman with bright blue eyes contrasting against brown-and-green face paint. The words were repeated, and La'vida slowly raised her hands to shoulder-height to prove she was unarmed. The individual ran her eyes over the newcomer, then cast very brief glances at the bioship. It was difficult to tell what the scout was feeling, and La'vida guessed that the individual was trying to make sense of the skeletal thing. It didn't exactly it into the environment around it. "I'm here for someone." she attempted. The scout's gaze locked back onto her. "Galactic Basic?"
No response. La'vida tried something else, offering a hand towards the woman's head. The scout met the gesture with a hard smack from the stave and a word of warning. Not telepathic, then. "Ambassador. Miss Misu." She thought she caught a glimmer of recognition in the scout's eyes. "I came here in this bioship. It isn't armed." The words wouldn't register, but she still felt obligated to state it. Maybe the tone and general message would translate. "Ambassador. Miss Misu." she repeated. The scout frowned, but flinched when the biopod suddenly moved. Fear flashed across the woman's face and she took a step back, lifting the blade to try and defend against it. The pod stopped moving, having lowered its central body down to the ground. It emitted a somewhat monotone voice. First to La'vida, "Language analysis complete. Attempting translation." and then to the scout in different words. The woman responded quietly, and the pod translated La'vida's intentions. After a long moment of hesitation, the scout pulled her stave back a little bit and motioned for them to follow. She seemed a bit fearful again when the pod began to move, but not as much as she had the first time. The woman took position behind La'vida and the pod while they began trekking towards the village. Finally they were making progress.

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Character Portrait: Ambassador Character Portrait: La'vida
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He stood on the edge of the path when the sensation was strong enough to be almost palpable. He knew it now, a subtle knowledge that summoned a warm sense of recognition. His sixth heart kicked in, letting him know he was approaching someone of Mirror Kind descent. And he knew who.

When the visual was made, Ambassador practically forgot where he was. The danger of the environment was left behind, a distant memory. Only a handful of paces away, his daughter stood under the cover of a bioship. He wasted no time closing the distance between them, pulling her into a silent embrace. No words were needed now. In its place, the warmth of kinfolk against him was enough. She was safe.

She spoke first. "It wasn't exactly easy to track you down, you know."
"Intended it to be." he replied. He couldn't bring himself to let her go. Instead, he gripped her shoulders to hold her out in front of him for a proper look. "You've grown."
A smirk crossed her face. "Seventy years, no thanks to you." She watched her face's expression pale. "Different timezone. Didn't intend it to happen but you know how it goes."
"Seventy..." he whispered. It hadn't been that long for him. She had lived ten times as long without him being there. What had happened? "How is Timesmith?"
Here, La'vida's smile began to fade. "Complicated. But for now, we need to get out of here. There's some insanity going on less than a mile off from here. Someone shouting out your title-name and someone else's. Are they yours?"

His expression soured, grip tightening a bit. He pulled her close to him again. "No. They're not. I'm here with the Misu, but I came in on a scavenger ship." A pause, and he looked at the silent biopod above them. Back to La'vida, "Society? How did you arrange that?"
"I traded in some memories of home." She acknowledged Ambassador's change in expression to one of irritation. "I'll explain in a bit. Where are you staying?"

A moment of quiet passed while he processed knowing that the Society had copied some of his daughter's memory. What exactly had been copied, he didn't know. He'd have to find out when the timing was better. For now, he spoke while they began walking towards the palace. He kept one hand's fingers interlaced with La'vida's to keep from letting her go. "Here, this way. The Misu I am affiliated with... she's guiding a troop to handle a group of others." a pause to translate back to the common language, "Non-indigenous. They came in with some organization called the Federation. They're causing trouble here. They mean to invade, exploit, possibly enslave the Misu. The indigenous." He looked at her, "You aren't with them?"
She shook her head. "Came here independent. I tried to establish contact but they said they were busy. I heard some gunshots and the biopod -" she cast a gesture upward to the skeletal bioship taking protective position above the pair -"Kept interrupting my hunt by engaging protection. How about you, why are you here with the indigenous rather than the scavenger team?"
"There was.. a scuffle." his gaze was sent back towards the way ahead. They were approaching the village outskirts again, several Misu vanishing from sight once they spotted what was coming towards their home. Ambassador worried that they would think he was invading them; he wished he could clarify it all. "I was with the crew for the same reason I had to leave you guys."
He stopped her here, turning her to face him. Her eyes met his, and he moved his hands to the side of her head. Bringing their foreheads to touch, he communicated the depth of his regret for having put them through the stress of having to outrun his past accusations. La'vida tried to reassure him that they hadn't suffered as much as he feared; instead, it had given them the chance to become established members within a tight community between the Stravin planets. Still, Ambassador felt guilt. She shared memories with him, showing a handful of the good times that had been spent among the community. When the connection was dropped, Ambassador looked to the red-haired woman. "Thank you." he said quietly.
La'vida nodded once, smiling. "No problem. Now, you mentioned Kaliska. Do you think we'll be seeing her before we shove off for Isottina?"
They were carrying on again towards the docks. He'd check in with the sailors and then round up Kaliska. If today's luck continued, she would be just fine and the whole issue with the Federation would be over with. His spirits were high. "I intend to. I owe her dearly for what she's helped me overcome here."

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The duet stood on a river's edge. They had paused here, choosing not to enter the town perimeter as of yet. There was still the matter of having a bioship in their company.

Many questions, concerns, statements were vying for attention in Ambassador's mind. There was so much to share, too much going on to just sit down and have a proper conversation. He needed to get things in order and squared away. "Here, the indigenous do not know what a bipod is. They don't even call this planet a planet, so far as I know. It's called a star." he explained. La'vida simply nodded, showing she understood.
"Well, this is a class four pod. Biodegradable, it'll dissolve into the environment once its consciousness has been downloaded."
Ambassador cast his gaze on the pod. It was silent, impartial to knowing it would physically die. "A class four... that carries restorative interior, doesn't it?"
She confirmed, "Yes it does. It's outfitted with a couple things to help me survive the planet." She reached into her pocket, fishing out a palm-sized blue-and-white capsule. "Respiratory or arterial?"
A smile of relief crossed his face. "Arterial. It's smoother."
La'vida handed him the capsule.
Ambassador turned over his arm, setting the blue section against his forearm. The thin needle appeared, and he braced himself. The motion was swift, the pain lasting only an instant before the anesthetic kicked in. What he hadn't prepared for was the apparently more concentrated dose. La'vida caught him when a wave of vertigo hit. Sitting down in the path, Ambassador closed his eyes. The world spun, not letting him focus on how he was oriented. The first heart began to pick up its pace, and then the second. The third. The fourth kicked in, oxygen hitting it. Finally his fingertips began to burn, fifth heart awakening from its hibernation while the nanites compensated for the lack of atmospheric oxygen. Fire burned through his skull, clarity flooding back. There was a feeling of calmness, simplicity. Home.
He opened his eyes, discovering La'vida was in the process of helping him cope with the recovery by offering some of her memories. Ambassador leaned into her connection, taking hold of the experience until he leveled out. It was then that he began to pick up messages from the bioship via his daughter. Something was happening on the edge of the town. It was far enough that it wasn't a threat at this immediate moment, but close enough that it was likely relevant to the Federation-Misu conflict.
Ambassador let the connection fade again, the humidity and heat of Norline's jungle reaching him. It sparked memories of when he had first left the scavenge team to take his chances in the new land. But finally - finally - he could handle its atmosphere.

Ambassador let the quiet moments pass. There was the sense of urgency in the air, but it was easier to think through the situations now. There was a plethora of alternatives; thousands, if he simply put together a time tincture. All of this chaos would simply disappear, a problem set in the escape-able 'future'. Anywhere was possible.

But first, he needed to gather the ingredients. Collect those who would be joining him. Kaliska, one or two of the Eagox pups, the entire civilization of Norline...

"Something's burning." La'vida interrupted.
He looked at her, then followed her gaze. Smoke plumes rose high into the sky, mingling with the haze of another storm. He hadn't even noticed it rolling in. He shoved himself to his feet, muscles a bit sore still. He felt the oxygen in his blood restoring the broken fibers already. Mopping up the mess he had left behind by pushing himself to survive a hostile environment. And then a realization struck him. Fire. Fire. The smoke was black, thick; structural. Houses were aflame. He cast a worried glance towards La'vida, hesitated, then began off towards the source of the fire. He needed to find Kaliska and get her out of there. Hopefully it wasn't too late.

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At the point where the path began to show maintenance was being kept, the two stopped. Only once did Ambassador catch sight of what he assumed to be a Misu; the rest had all but vanished off the planet. Smoke was drifting into the majority of the sky now, leaving a clear black-brown pointer to its source. The humidity-enhanced smell of it had long since filled his senses. For a moment, he pondered whether or not the biopod had the capability to help fight the fire. But it was an unarmed vessel, with no flight power and no canister of fire retardant. Not to mention that the Misu would likely be frightened by it rather than trust its assistance.

Ambassador turned to his daughter, meeting her sharp blue eyes. "Now would be the time."
La'vida focused her attention to the biopod, setting a hand on one of its four skeletal limbs. Rain streamed down it, running over her hand and bonding them in a way. The tiniest shudder was felt in its circuits; a tinge of excitement in knowing what would happen. Its manufacturer - grower was a more accurate term - likely had never felt the traces of consciousness that manifested within the bio-engineered products. And now, it would be able to change its form. The pod crouched down, positioning its body only a hand's-distance away. Its limbs relaxed, curling inward while circuits churned to condense its experiences. Closing her eyes, La'vida focused on the programming. Colors webbed over her inner vision, offering a secondary viewpoint on the journey from Oranig to Norline. Dozens of data entries. Insignificant things. And once - for a brief instant - the wonder and thrill of feeling a new planet's air on its surface. The pod powered down, its database transferred. Its last movement was automated; La'vida and Ambassador backed away from it while it dragged itself towards the edge of the river. It moved a bit awkwardly, looking crippled and leaving a trail of disturbed mud in its wake. The pod rocked slightly from the pressure of the river, before it finally was overturned and began to sink. The last sign it gave of its existence came in the form of a large bubble bursting off the water's surface. As if to honor the symbolic death, electricity cracked through the skies above.

The moment of quiet between the two was shared by a rumble of thunder. Ambassador kept an eye on La'vida, watching the drenched Timelord began to wander back to him. "Let's go find your Misu."
He set a hand on her soaked shoulder, and nodded. The two started back towards the village, Ambassador sticking close to La'vida. He knew they were heading the same way Kaliska had gone, and that arose concern. It was where the fire's roots had been lain down. That could mean....
The realization hit, finally breaking through the tranquility of the reunion with family. Fear gripped his chest; boot treads fought the slickness of mud as he broke into a run. Rain pelted his face, doing its best to obscure his vision. How could he have let it slip his attention; Nathan was out there. Kaliska had gone to confront him, and now the village was on fire. There were thousands of ways Nathan could have murdered her. Bullets, poison, electrocution... fire. The Misu would never stand a chance against them. Already, another civilization's blood was on his hands. It was day four.

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He finally had to slow to a stop when his lungs sent webs of fire throughout his chest. While the nanites did their job to supply his blood with oxygen, they did nothing for the cells detecting atmospheric input. He was left to run a body on adequate blood-oxygen levels and infuriated lungs. It was an odd mix of sensation.

Taking in a deep breath, he became aware that La'vida was close on his heels. She hadn't missed a step, unphased by the change in pace. Ambassador searched the haze ahead, looking for any Misu shapes within the blend of moisture, smoke, and buildings. There were none to be found; the residents had abandoned the scene long ago. At the point where the smoke became difficult, he backed off into an alleyway. The rain was cleansing most of the air, but not enough to make the path ahead transversable. Rather, he backed away further and began to move horizontally until he found a patch with a better line of sight. Cleaner air.

"What are you doing?" she interrupted, stopping Ambassador. "It's an inferno in there. Do you even know where the Misu is?"
"She headed this way, she has to be through here. When we were spoken to by the messenger, he said that someone had been shouting for us at the edge of the village." he indicated towards the smoke, "Hence."
"Right, so, even if she is there, what do you expect to do about it? You don't have an environmental suit, and you're most certainly not fireproof."
He stared at her. She was right, but...
"When I came in, there was a Society ship docked a bit into the jungle. They should be conducting a rescue here, yeah?"
"Only for their own base. If they intended to save the Misu...." he trailed off. He hadn't thought about it. Kaliska and him wouldn't be able to outrun them in such an event, but at this point he was willing to take a memory probe and possible incarceration over the probability that he would die right here, right now, at the hands of a simple flame that had already claimed the Misu's life. His eyes turned to the smoke, searching again for signs of life. The inferno was picking up, casting orange tongues into the sky in a battle against the thunderstorm. There was... nothing that could be done. The way was blocked. He felt La'vida's hand take his own, and he met her eyes.
"Then we're on our own. And we have to worry about us, not these people." she motioned towards a hut with dark trails of rain running down its clay surface. "Look, they haven't even invented space travel yet. The Society isn't established here; nothing is. This planet is nothing. It has no economical ties, no government headquarters. At best, it loses a few natives and then recovers. So what if it gets taken over?"
No words surfaced, lost to an unexpected response. Norline... had no value. She was right; there were no institutions of intergalactic governments, no archives of scientific research or multi-planet marketplaces. No, what it had was an ecosystem that thrived within itself, untouched and unscattered by the civilizations of others. It was purely, one-hundred-percent Norline.
The Timelord shrugged, letting go of the Mirror Kind's hand. It was clear by his expression that he didn't get it, and she wasn't about to listen to a lecture on how 'civilizations need to evolve without intervention'. One way or another, planets would be conquered. If nothing else, destroyed. Sure this one had potential for taking plants and creatures for planet restoration efforts, but that was it. And there were hundreds more equally-suitable worlds out there. This one was certainly not worth dying over.
He finally spoke. "The Misu are a fantastic people-"
"You've been here, what, four days you said? And you're just going to drop everything for a race you don't even know. What about your job on Oranig? What about Timesmith and Lo'tev? Are you just going to let them carry on in fear trying to live life under the shadow you've cast?" Adding a more accusatory tone, "Do you have any idea how long I've had to wonder whether or not I'd ever be able to feel safe?"
The words were like blades. They had gone beyond the Norline situation. Now it was personal. More deeply rooted. It was becoming clearer why La'vida had sought him out; bitterness. Anger. What had happened in those sixty-plus years she had grown up without him?

A sizzle in the air was accompanied by a flash and then a roar from the skies. Despite the activity of the world around, it felt... cold. Detached. "I'm sorry." It was the best that could be summoned.

La'vida scoffed, looking away. She had never known Ambassador. The best she got were stories from Timesmith. And those were glorified. No, the person that stood before her had long since given up his family. And now, he had placed the lives of strangers - primitive peoples - above his kin. She had learned enough to make her decision. Breaking the lapse in conversation, her face and tone took on an entirely different atmosphere. It softened. "I'm sorry, it's been a stressful travel to get here. You're right, the Misu is worth saving. Let's go get her then."

He blinked once, thrown off by the shift in emotion. But what was uncomfortable before had taken on a more expected atmosphere. La'vida was back on board with the plan... or at least seemed to be. He wrestled with the suspicions before finally stating a clearly-uncertain "Alright...." Keeping his eye on her for a time, he began away from the smoke source. "Listen, I understand that you're upset. And I really am sorry. Please, just let's find Kaliska and then I promise I'll be able to sit down and tell you what happened."
"It's fine." came a curt response.
It was back to the tension, and he just sighed. He could put up with her being angry with him if it meant she wouldn't leave his company. Not right now while all of insanity was breaking loose.

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Character Portrait: Kaliska Character Portrait: Ambassador Character Portrait: Follower Four Character Portrait: La'vida
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They stuck to the borderlands. Wandering a smoky ghost-town with rain pouring down upon it and the roar of flames in the back. It was the place between two elements, surely. Fire and water working in tandem to take down earth. Suffocating air in the process. They were forces to be reckoned with.

And right now, right here, they were inconvenient. It had taken what felt like a day to finally find a break in the onslaught of heat. They were on the outskirts of the village now, houses becoming spotty and giving way to the jungle. There was enough humidity to rob the inferno of dry fuel should it outlast the rainstorm and wander over. Ambassador breathed relief upon rounding a corner and finding an open path. It was not often that he got the chance to simply jump over the boundary of fires. He began to backtrack, moving outward from the village and towards where he assumed - at this point hoped on account of having wandered enough to lose bearings - was where he would find Kaliska.
-
In the back, there was only silence. La'vida had opted not to speak, and the Ambassador had apparently chosen the same. Still, there was a growing tension. Whether it was amplified by the frustration of slogging through cold mud in soaked clothing or being on a foreign planet was uncertain. But it was most certainly there. She had decided long ago to leave. Unfortunately, she didn't have a way to do that. Her best chance would be to meet up with the Society and hitch a ride back. But... that was quite a ways away. She would have to hope that the indigenous here - the Misu as the Ambassador called them - would be able to lead her back to the Society. The novelty of this planet had worn off.

-

Four struggled to see through the fog. Streams of water wandered off its body, while droplets forced their way between the exposed exoskeleton tendons. The latter was uncomfortable, feeling the slight adhesion within the bands. Four reminded itself that the rain was a gift - an omen of good luck - and had more healing to it than could be comprehended. The lightning, on the other hand, was a whole other thing.

Mood perked when emerald eyes landed on a form. A standalone, a biped, an Archive-Kin. The Archive-Kin that had been indicated. A 'potential ally'. There was a trace of anxiety in the Brakori's mind, not knowing what would happen as it continued to close the gap between the two. No data had been given as to what this species - let alone this individual - could do. They could be poisonous. Hypnotic. Shape-shifters. Perhaps this wasn't even their natural form. For every possible threat was also a possible gift. It was a gamble.

Four made itself known with a statement from its humanoid-esque 'rider' once it began to see the finer details of the Archive-Kin. The female, known to the records as 'Kakla'. The voice was organic enough, though to Four it still felt fake. "Generic interplanetary greeting, Kakla. This Follower speaks on behalf of the Autonomous Collective of Accepted Civilizations, an allied force in your efforts." It was perhaps one-hundred quadrupedal paces from the Kakla Archive-Kin now, her features becoming clearer. She was with another - one in bright orange - who was currently insignificant. Follower kept note of the other humanoid and paid more attention to the Kakla. The Brakori came to a stop thirty quadrupedal paces from the other. "You must inform this Follower whether or not it may approach."

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Character Portrait: Kaliska Character Portrait: Ambassador Character Portrait: Follower Four Character Portrait: La'vida
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- Follower Four -

Four found itself at a loss. It hadn't predicted the other to have such a different dialect. The fact she understood and could carry a conversation in Basic at all had been a blessing. It knew nothing of this culture, and it was entirely possible that Kakla meant Protector and the ring-ship had chosen to speak of the individual in that religious rank. If Four was looking for a Protector, and if that Protector was found, perhaps Four would be able to finally promote to an aquatic form. "Yes, that must be true." its mind was turning to try and improvise language. The Archive-Kin-Misu didn't know several words, or at least not in Basic. Perhaps Four had mistranslated. It studied the woman's form, thinking of what to do. Under normal circumstances, the ring-ship would have called for the indigenous to be collected for information. But Four was working outside normal circumstances; if the Archive-Kin-Misu could guide it to the Kakla-Protector, there was little sense in sending her up from the surface of the planet. "This Follower does mean water." The umbrella term - 'water' - felt stale and inaccurate. It was only two syllables... how could it possibly relay the importance of the element? "This Follower is looking to gain the favor of the Kakla on behalf of this Follower's congregation." Here, Follower thought over if it had given too much information. The thought quickly vanished with the strengthening of the rain; Follower Four was on the right track. But where were the other Followers? Why hadn't the ring-ship re-established communication?

- Ambassador and La'vida -

Fire in the village mingled with the tiny fires bouncing off raindrops. Pins of sunset light were piercing through, casting colors in odd places. It was difficult to tell how much of the sun was genuine evening light and how much was simply reddened by the smoke, giving the illusion that so much time had passed. Ambassador's clothes were nearly soaked through, fortunately the majority being in the region of the Misu cloth. He was grateful he had chosen to stick with the trekking trousers and boots; the latter offered complete dryness halfway up to his shins. The former was less resistant, but dark and unrevealing to the wetness. As far as the billowing shirt went, it was beginning to cling. Virtually useless for modesty where it stuck to his skin. The upside to the thin material was that it made it possible to feel the chilled droplets as they fell, counterbalancing the heat of the humid air.

An expression of relief and then frustration scattered across his face. He had lost track of the messenger, the Misu vanishing into the environment like a proper native. As it turned out, they had been following a short footpath he had thought the messenger was on but hadn't been. Residences - untouched by the fires - stood between the two and the rest of the village. The view of the river was effectively blocked, leaving him wandering again. And back to the feeling of frustrated anxiety. He didn't like being lost. Finally, he stopped and turned to face his progeny. Even with her frown and wetted-down red hair, he couldn't help but feel the upbeat of being near her. Seeing her again. So much taller than he remembered... "I don't know where we are." he admitted.

La'vida glanced out, sweeping over the area. She had a basic grasp of where they were, her tracker coordinating their location based on the saved points of the Society outpost, the village, and the river. They'd stayed relatively parallel to the last-mentioned. The thing was, she wasn't sure where they should be. The Ambassador hadn't provided her with coordinates. Presumably, he didn't have any. She was just as lost as he, though she wasn't about to let that be said. Looking back to him, "That one Misu you talked to was heading in a relatively straight path south-by-southeast. We're a little way off track, but I assume you wanted to follow him?" she received confirmation. Her eyes settled on a little colored beast peeking out from its shelter in the crevices of a tree trunk. It regarded her for a short time and then retreated back into its den. La'vida indicated off the path. "That way. If we stay lost, I have a tracker that is updating me on how far we are from where the river meets the village. We can backtrack if need be."

A quiet moment. How many... what did La'vida have installed? He had to be honest in his opinion; it was disapproval. No one needed implants, certainly not any child of his. He only sighed, trusting her guidance and veering off the path. The first step was tricky, requiring a cooperation of pushing aside plants and crawling up onto a slight ledge. His boots slipped once before he made it up there. There was the concern of not knowing which plants that were coming in contact with him were dangerous. La'vida would have a hardier system. She might even... he cast the thought aside. Medical implants were commonplace now, as much as he would have liked otherwise.
-
Quiet drops rolled off leaves of every shape and shade. Flowers cast their scent out, taking advantage of the humidity and filling the air with the mix of wet earth and attractive sweetness. Though the air was relatively clear of insects, many flyers glided. Some seemed to be intercepting water droplets, others seemed to just enjoy the mid-flight bath. Their calls and colors were becoming more familiar now, more comfortable. The rainforest never seemed to be quiet.
-
A clearing made itself known. They had found another path, this one with a plethora of fresh tracks. Almost all of them overlapped. In a few places along the edges, little puddles formed in indents left by paws and sandal-feet. They were on the trail of Misu and Eagox. A good sign. Ambassador stooped under a tree limb, pausing to hold it for La'vida before carrying on. Thunder rumbled in the back. The lightning, it seemed, had moved on to another part of the storm. He hoped any fires started by it had been snuffed by the rain. In the haze ahead, he caught what he thought was the shape of a Misu. And a stone or.. an Eagox. As he approached, he felt an instinctive fear arise. Something wasn't right with the Eagox. It lacked the long tail and looked a bit skeletal. It was laying down, though, seeming to interact with the Misu. And then a wave of joy washed over. The Misu. It was Kaliska. He stepped up the pace, casting a check-glance over his shoulder to make sure he hadn't lost La'vida. When they were close enough for him to see with a startle that there was a small rider on the Eagox, he remembered what Kaliska had told him. He slowed again, offering his hand to his companion. La'vida hesitated, giving him an odd look. "It's a sign of allyship to the Misu." he explained quietly.
She took the hand. "What do I greet with?"
Ambassador smiled slightly through the rain. "Kaixo. You learned her name, but I believe it is as it would be back home. For now, greet her as 'Miss Misu'. It doesn't seem to be a strict ban, but it did take me a couple of days to be told her name. You may introduce yourself as you wish. I am known as Ambassador to her."
La'vida nodded once, turning emerald eyes back to the Misu of topic. There was something.. not right about the creature beside the woman. A heavy frown crossed the redhead's face. The creature was white; it didn't bear jungle colors like the rest of the residents. Nor was its body structure similar. It was... odd. Maybe it was a mountain native.

Ambassador called out when they were a couple dozen paces from Kaliska. "Kaixo, Miss Castilla. Am I interrupting?" he carried forward regardless, casting a quick look to the other humanoid that seemed woven into the white not-quite-Eagox. The creature did not move its head, only its eyes looked to him. It seemed to have an immobilized skull. It seemed a little familiar, but he couldn't place it. The rider said nothing to him, its face hidden behind a smooth black helmet surface. He hoped with everything he had that this wasn't an associate of Nathan.