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Ria Murdock

"I'll be floating like a butterfly, and stinging like a bee."

0 · 94 views · located in Temple of Eden

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by Isra

Description

NAME: PATRICIA RIANNE MURDOCK
NICKNAME: RIA
TITLE: STUDENT AT UCLA FOR NURSING


Description: Ria was tall and graceful. Besides her smart brain, both educated and street smart, she grew up with her Daddy, Salem, always teaching her the importance of a good education. She was a spitting image of him, there was no denying who her father had been, ever, with her crazy red curls, bright green eyes, and down to each and every freckle that littered over her. She was athletic, and gifted with many curves, but most she didn’t flaunt, much to her Dad’s happiness.

Personality

One of the biggest thing about Ria is that she had one of the most understanding hearts, and with that came the trust. Trust was scarce, she learned the best from her Daddy, but ultimate betrayal was not something she understood nor tolerated. She was kind, patient, but also had a temper. She was very blunt, which most guys found intimidating. The fierceness of her words, of her actions which backed her words, most males did not want to challenge or put up with. She was also stubborn beyond comparison with most of the males. Which kept her Daddy happy, because he didn’t have to worry about anyone trying to get with his babygirl.

History

Raised like a boy, she was taught everything a son would be taught. Though, Salem had a better idea, after she was tough like a boy, he also made sure she was helped raised by the women of the club. Who would know better? Though she was the gold star among them, pushing her studies and getting top of her class like Salem always knew his Old Lady wanted for his baby. Though between the shine of her success, there were shadows which she hasn’t quite revealed to anyone, she was tough and unless it got to be too tough, there was no need to simply reveal that just yet. She chose to stay close to the club, even though she could definitely have gotten anywhere in the country (almost anywhere). The bond between her father and her was something else, and she valued exactly that.

So begins...

Ria Murdock's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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After a while, the enormous grey elephant Tumtu would leave the remote oasis within the Garden of Eden and head north along the riverbend, carrying the peaceful warrior monk Shi Zhen Li on his back. Li had come from the wild forests and jungles of paradise and was not like the other Edenites who lived in the guarded city walls. Li was from the outskirts of Eden, the vast wilderness which had belonged to no man, but was guarded by angels and cherubim.

But why was he there? Where did he come from, and how did he get there? He had no recollection of his infant years, his early childhood, or either of his parents. It was as if, like Adam and Eve, he just appeared or had been placed in the Garden of Eden, a fully formed and developed human man-child with the ability to learn and speak in common tongue. He had caught glimpses of other human beings before, and had a few brief encounters with them as a teenager, but for a great majority of his life in the forest, Li had never seen another human being. He was raised by animals.

He had heard rumors about the Tree of Life and the infamous Tree of Knowledge, but he had never actually seen them for himself, or attempted to eat their fruits. Eden was a large expanse of land covered with mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, forests and plains. A person could go almost their entire lives in the garden without ever coming into any sort of contact with civilization.

This was especially true in Li's case, for unlike Adam and Eve, he had never been banished from the most sacred garden, where the lions and the lambs co-existed in peace and harmony, and where suffering and death did not exist. He was in paradise, and at 36 years old, he had stopped aging, was immortal, and could never die. However, as Shi Zhen Li sat quietly in stillness practicing the sitting lotus, thinking about his purpose, he considered the idea that leaving the Garden of Eden would make him a mortal and leave a lasting effect on him for the rest of his life.

As the 15 foot tall elephant carried the mahout through the forest edge along the riverbend, heading north towards the mountainside, Shi Zhen Li would reach above himself with his walking stick and pluck 6 large green and orange melons with a single swipe, but catching only one of them. Tumtu the mammoth immediately started picking up the other five melons with his trunk, eating them slowly as he strolled by past a crocodile Li had named Noku that didn't even seem to be interested in them. Following the flow of the river, Li was heading to the Temple of Eden to discover his own destiny.

As he set his walking stick down, balancing it perfectly on Tumtu's shoulder before breaking the melon he caught in half over his knee, Shi Zhen Li looked up towards the horizon while taking a bite of the melon, his eyes widening as he chewed the juicy sweet fruit before swallowing. "Tumtu, look! It's the Temple!" he pointed and smiled. "It looks different than I imagined." The innocent looking bald-headed simple dressed peaceful monk was still sitting in the lotus position, gazing at the seemingly small white marble temple made of stone. It was facing them on the other side of the swampy river, it's entrance seeming to Li to be reachable only by air or water for there seemed to be no land bridge across, but there appeared to be an area resembling a boat landing directly in front of the entrance between four white marble stone columns or pillars.

There were what looked like four figures on the slightly tapered rooftop of the temple, but it was difficult to tell whether these were just statues or guardians. Perhaps both. Li noticed the bright green treetops hanging above the temple, providing a shaded canopy masking visibility of the temple's location from up above. As the large 15 foot tall elephant stopped at the bank of the swamp, Shi Zhen Li would grab his walking stick once again, finishing his green orange melon before jumping off of Tumtu's back almost as if sliding. Li landed on the soft wet squishy grass with bare feet and gazed up over the reflectively calm tea-colored murky water at the square shaped marble and glass architecture on the other side.

Tumtu grumbled lowly. "No my friend, it might be too deep" Li replied, patting the mammoth's hairless grey stomach. Li then stepped closer to the bank and stuck his toes in the water before taking a step into the river. Then another step, and suddenly he was already up to his knees in water. Li felt around the slimey mud with his toes as he shuffled forward, and within a few steps he was already up to his waist in water. Li turned to look back at his elephant companion. "Stay close Tumtu, I'll be back before nightfall." The large floppy-eared mammal would nod its head like a human and begin snorting down water with its trunk. As Li turned around to walk across the river, he suddenly felt a forceful wave of cold water across his entire back, drenching his entire body.

Shi Zhen Li stopped abruptly and looked down at the water before turning around again very slowly and looking at Tumtu. The elephant was standing on the bank of the river quietly, wagging and whipping its small hairy tail while sifoning water from the swamp, pretending he didn't just splash Li with 40 gallons of water. Li waved his finger at Tumtu and gave him a stern glare before turning around again and approaching the temple entrance, walking on the surface of the mud with a little bit of skill and caution, feeling around the mud with his feet as he took small slow steps, his reflection now distorted by the ripples caused by the water droplets dripping off of his neck and shoulders.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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The science of how such a feat was possible was lost on Sergeant Valerian as he prepared himself to step through the portal. His orders were clear, and when those who were higher on the payscale than he managed to activate the eldritch portal deep under the Tethys Ocean on Langara.

Valerian had no idea what was on the other side, and honestly expected a whole multitude of eldritch horrors to greet him once through the portal. But he didn't expect the cold embrace of river water.

In the middle of the river, roughly a dozen feet behind Shi Zhen Li, a strange portal filled with dazzling lights, and colors opened up. It crackled, and fizzed with the sudden expansion, and contraction of quantum waveforms, and spatial energies that allowed whoever opened the doorway to pierce the veil between the mortal, and the immortal worlds.

The Portal was somewhat translucent, and on the other end the eyes could see other people, soldiers dressed in black combat gear, synthetic ballistic vests, and helmets with attatched, somewhat reflective goggles. Each one of them carried unusual weapons, they were slender, smooth in appearance, with whites, and blacks running along the outside, their design was elongated, with a taper at the end.

A young man emerged through the portal, entirely, and completely oblivious to what lies ahead. Gravity inevitably took hold, and pulled the man down into the water with a loud splash. He was dressed in a similar manner, a dome shaped helmet, mirror-tinted goggles, and all black battle-dress that covered him from head, to toe.

The man struggled against the current for a moment, before he abruptly gained his footing, and propelled himself high enough, so that his head would pop out from the water. He shook his head violently from side to side, and pulled water from his face, and matted hair with hands gloved in black synthetic materials.

He struggled to swim against the river currents with all his heavy gear as the portal snapped shut behind him, disappearing into nothingness, eventually his hands, and his feet gained purchase on some rocks, and he slowly began to pull himself to shore, panting, and struggling against the water for a moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Shi Zhen Li wasted no time in getting across the river and over to the temple entrance. He prodded along the bottom of the mucky swamp floor, shuffling his bare feet through the mud. He was sure he could feel a fish or something slimey rub against his leg a couple of times as he slowly walked through the mud. By now he was up to his arms in water, and he would take a quick moment to relax and enjoy the refreshing stillness of hydrotherapy as he started to move more fluidly, almost allowing himself to lightly glide across the river. Soon, he felt something like a moving rock against the bottom tip of his walking stick. Li knew that it was either a giant snapping turtle, a mako shark, or a massive crocodile.

Li shewed the river monster away with his walking stick before carrying on towards the slightly raised stone boat landing. As he crossed the deepest part of the river, which was only neck deep to the 5 foot 8 inch tall muscular Asiatic bronze skinned monk dressed in a simple orange kasaya dyed with deep brownish red saffron, he started to hear a crackling noise, almost like a vibration. His kasaya was composed of a basic loincloth with drapery in front concealing his private area like a long skirt, and only one shoulder sleeve, almost like a toga, and besides the brown wooden round jar beaded necklace that he wore around his neck, along with a few faded scars and mysterious body tattoos, Shi Zhen Li appeared to have no other clothing, weapons or body armor.

Despite his heavily muscular body shape, his small stature adding only to his balance and stability, Li only weighed a measly 154 pounds and was by no means a heavyweight individual. This disadvantage only aided him in the water, as it allowed him to glide most effortlessly through the river as he reached the other side. Within moments, there it was, the fabled Temple of Eden, the mythical portal to the beyond, where those who were deemed worthy could go to gain spiritual insight.

Suddenly, there was a flash of colorful lights as what could only be described as a tinted glass halo seemed to surround Shi Zhen Li, and as he glanced up at the temple and raised his hands slowly, he could see a radiant light between his fingers and all around him. Li smiled and marvelled at the spectacle before him for a minute, wiggling his fingers and playing in the colorful lights.

Without warning, the halo disappeared along with all the bright colorful spectrums of light, and Li suddenly heard a loud splash. By now, he had reached the other side and was just about to reach out and grab the stone platform when one Sergeant Anton Valerian of the Aschen military unexpectedly fell out of the sky into the middle of the river. Shi Zhen Li turned around, witnessing the last instant after the splash. He noticed a strange looking man in all black, with giant silver eyes, wearing a turtle shell as a hat and all kinds of unnecessary clothing and equipment. Li's instincts told him it had to be a human. He had seen other humans before, and he had even made friends with some of them. But what just happened? And where did this person just fall from? Li did not see any tree branches hanging over the middle of the swampy river, and it appeared as if Anton had either fallen from the sky, or had somehow ran and jumped farther than anything he had ever seen.

Tumtu the elephant was just standing there, gazing at the whole entire incident in silence and complete stillness, unable to either perceive or describe what he had just witnessed. Tumtu's only instinct at that moment was for some reason, to stand perfectly still and act like a giant grey boulder just sitting there. Shi Zhen Li on the other hand, whipped around quickly and placed both hands on the stone ledge of the boat landing and pulled himself out of the water, his robes dripping soaked and wet as he wiped his face and peered out into the middle of the river with his back to the temple, looking at Sergeant Anton Valerian as his head popped out of the water. He shook his head in disbelief as the sergeant tried to struggle against the current for a moment, watching him finally reach some rocks on the other side of the river where Tumtu was still sitting.

Shi Zhen Li took a second to process everything in his mind before chuckling. He set his walking stick down against one of the marble stone pillars and began ringing the water out of his shoulder sash, smiling as he wiped the water off his face before resting his hands on his knees and squatting very slightly, looking over at the man in black on the other side of the river. "Are you alright?" he asked, noticing the panic as the mysterious stranger gained his breath, regaining his composure.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Now that the immediate moment had come to pass, and the marine had pulled himself to shore, and solid ground. He took a moment to survey his surroundings. Reaching up, he pulled the reflective goggles from his face, it revealed that he had stone grey eyes, that had a certain sharpness to them. These stone grey eyes framed a sharp, almost rugged looking face.

Valerian removed his helmet next, his auburn hair was cropped short, and fluttered softly against the wind. He held the black helmet, with the goggles placed on top under the crook of his arm, he spotted the elephant, and the primitive on the other side of the river. His eyes narrowed for a moment, before he grasped the synthetic nylon strap for his disruptor rifle, an unusual looking, sleek rifle that Valerian pulled over his shoulder, using the strap.

Water filled his boots, and each step was met with a squishing sound, but the light synthetic material of the boots drained the water easily, and it ran in glistening trails down the polished synthetic material of his bootsole.

He cantered his head, the re-calibration of the eldritch machine seems to have worked. Valerian smiled slightly at the revelation of this fact, and quietly marveled at the beauty of this realm. But that moment was fleeting, as the sergeant resolved himself for his mission, and what he had to do next.

The Empire was everything to him, and so were it's demands.

Water continued to drip from his black outfit, from his synthetic BDU shirt, and pants, to the armored chestplate, knee and elbow pads, it was beginning to dry relatively quickly, but it's weight was obvious with the way the man carried himself.

He watched the monk closely, his eyes were keen, subtly enhanced to see clearer, farther, like those of an eagle. He watched closely, his mind quietly ascertaining what, if any threat this other man posed, who seemed to address him in a language he didn't quite comprehend.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Shi Zhen Li watched as Sergeant Anton Valerian stepped out of the river and on to the shore, catching a glimpse of his entire frame for the first time. Who was he? What was he? And where did he come from? "That was amazing!" Li shouted, smiling widely as Sgt. Valerian removed his mirror tinted glasses and helmet, tucking them under his arm. It was at this moment that Shi Zhen Li realized that Anton's eyes were actually grey, not silver, and that the alleged turtle shell was actually not a turtle shell at all, but rather, some kind of helmet made from a synthetic material that Li had never seen before. Was this guy even from around Eden? Li didn't think so, but still, he had never seen anyone jump so far from the bank of the river before. Valerian had made it out to the center of the swamp, a good twelve foot lunge from where Li was standing. Even with all his years of tenacious training in the forest, Li couldn't jump that far. Surely, this stranger had to be someone of great skill and importance. Li decided to watch him curiously as the soldier grasped his rifle strap, pulling his rifle closer to himself.

Shi Zhen Li had never seen a rifle before. Such weapons did not exist in the jungle, and the need for any sort of weapon was a foreign concept to him, as he had never witnessed anything like war in his life. As the sergeant narrowed his gaze on the peaceful warrior monk, Li would smile warmly and raise one arm, waving at Anton with an open hand. By now, Li's saffron colored linen robes were also drying out fairly quickly, and the Aschen marine could see that he was quite primitive. Li himself realized that Anton was either deaf in one ear, or else spoke a foreign language, for the marine had not responded to his inquiry of whether or not he was okay. Li was hoping that the strange foreigner might understand some common universal body language as he waved happily, smiling at Anton as he greeted him from the other side of the river.

Afterwards, the plainly clothed bald-headed monk would turn and grab his simple makeshift wooden walking stick, and gaze out over the swamp to the other shore where Sergeant Valerian was standing. "It appears you went the wrong way," Li chuckled, tapping his walking stick twice on the stone platform. "Unless you plan on trying to jump across again, the temple is this way" he said before turning around and walking towards the entryway. But as he turned to walk away, Li suddenly stopped and considered for a moment that the foreigner might be out of place. Scratching his head, the shorter statured 5 foot 8 inch tall bronze skinned warrior monk turned around again and looked at the Aschen marine.

"You're not from around here, are you?" Li asked inquisitively. "My name is Shi Zhen Li, what's your name?" he said, tapping the base of his walking stick against the beaded jar necklace and draping shoulder sash over his exposed bare chest when saying his own name, then pointing the stick towards Anton while asking for his name. "Are you a spirit?" Li questioned, wondering now if this all wasn't just some kind of great big test from the heavens. He started to wonder if Sergeant Valerian might be an angel sent to guide him on his journey, as Li glanced back at the Temple of Eden for a brief second before staring at the marine dressed in all black.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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The marine continued to stare, quietly he watched the monk across the river. He seemed to be waving his hand, a universal gesture of friendliness, and greeting. The Marine recognized the gesture, but he didn't pay much attention to it. Rather his eyes continued to study the Monk across the river.

He reached down into a small pouch attached through small metal clasps on his vest, and pulled a small piece of plastic from inside the pouch. He pressed a button on the side of the small device, and spoke, his voice was deep, gravely, and his words were unusual.

"Transitum consummatum est vitam." He said into the device, before clicking it once more to turn it off. It was at this moment that it seemed the other was trying to address him, and while the words weren't being comprehended, Anton understood the gestures. However, unbeknownst to the monk on the other side of the river. Anton was no spirit, and he was no angel, rather he was a harbinger of destruction, and death. He was a vanguard for the Aschen Empire's never-ending military-industrial greed.

Valerian's eyes looked up to the Temple, and he looked back at the river, frowning. He didn't want to get wet, but the Aschen had the foresight to provide the sergeant with all the tools he needed to establish an operation in this strange new realm. So he reached into another pouch on his uniform, he pulled out a small handheld device from inside the pouch, and began to manipulate a holographic display that flitted to life from the device. The device itself somewhat resembled a doctor's Otoscope, but the device was far more advanced. It was a handheld light-mass fabricator that could fabricate entire habitats in seconds. It was an experimental device that the Aschen opted to send on this particular expedition.

Valerian pointed the device at the river, and pulled the trigger. Two thin strands of blue light shot fourth from the device's two light emitting nozzles. The streams of blue light danced, and flitted across the water as a metal bridge started to slowly shimmer into existence. With each pass of the blue light, metal, nuts, bolts, and welds were literally 'printed' into existence.

The entire process took minutes, and a small one-person bridge soon spanned the river from Valerian, to the steps on the other side. This bridge was anchored by printed piers that were driven into the mud, and sediment. Slowly, the Marine slid the odd device back into his pocket, and tested the now solid metal bridge with his foot, before slowly, and pensively crossing, closing the distance between himself, and the strange man on the other side.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Shi Zhen Li watched the Aschen marine on the other side of the river. Sergeant Valerian had plainly witnessed Li waving and talking to him, but rather than responding the black clad soldier just stared at him before going to work, speaking some foreign language into a small plastic device he removed from his pouch. Shi Zhen Li lowered his hand and stopped waving, figuring that perhaps the mysterious stranger before him wasn't as friendly or as social as he had expected. Li would lean and rest against his walking stick, observing the man curiously as Anton removed another device from a different pouch which began to emit a holographic light image over the river. To the innocent monk, the handheld light-mass fabricator looked much like a strange anthurium of some kind, only less natural and more synthetic. But as it started to emit two beams of blue light over the water, Li knew right away that the foreigner wasn't holding some ordinary rock or flower, but something else that was way more advanced.

Tumtu the elephant, now sitting behind Valerian and frightened by the emissions of blue light, would suddenly jump into action. Before the 3D printed metal bridge could begin its construction, the large 15 foot tall grey mammoth would rear his tusks and lift his head, attempting to push Sergeant Valerian back into the river with his 8 foot long 380 pound heavy trunk. Shi Zhen Li could only watch in speechless silence, his jaw dropping in awe and amazement at what was now happening before him. His eyes widened, and Li gazed cautiously at Sergeant Valerian as the startled and over-protective elephant charged at the Aschen soldier from only a few feet away, showing his animal instincts and spontaneous bull-headedness as the large mammal groaned, letting out a horn-like sound of distress with his mouth wide open and sharp white ivory tusks pointing at the sergeant as if ready to defend its habitat in fear. Tumtu's ears would flare up in an attempt to make himself appear larger and more intimidating as he stamped his feet on the riverbank, asserting his strength and dominance, his 26,000 pound body nearly causing the ground to tremble.

Tumtu was getting bad vibes from the man who fell from the sky, but Shi Zhen Li just observed quietly. Li had no fear but was unafraid, looking more like a bewildered and curious child than anything as he peered out over the river at the blue beams of light, wondering what kind of angel or spirit this strange person was. Anton certainly wasn't a cherub from what he could tell. But rather than running a million thoughts through his mind on what he could possibly be, Li just observed quietly and accepted what was apparent at that exact moment, knowing that all of the answers to his questions would eventually come with time, perhaps sooner than he was expecting.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Anton's concentration was focused on the fabrication of the bridge. Though he noticed the creature moments ago, he presumed it to be some sort of docile native creature. This presumption was of course in error, and one that the marine sergeant would be unlikely to repeat. As he held the device up to begin construction of the bridge, he felt the wind get knocked from his lungs as the creature struck him. Kanvium armor plating took a majority of the kinetic energy from the blow, the hard armor plate seeming to ripple slightly from the impact with the creature. Like a ragdoll, Valerian was thrown into the shallow water, and mud with an audible splash.

However, the man had drilled for this, and was trained for quick tactical recoveries to the point of muscle memory. He rolled quickly so that he was on his back, and with strong core muscles, he moved to sit up, despite all the heavy gear he was wearing, and he seemed to stare intently at the mammoth creature. In Valerian's mind, it was a threat, all he could see was this giant grey creature ready to gore him on those sharp tusks. This was a matter of survival, and protocol, and the rules of engagement were clear in this matter. The creature's life was immediately forefeit.

While sitting up, Valerian reached back under his right side, with both hands he clasped his fingers around the barrel of his disruptor rifle, getting firm purchase on the muzzle of the weapon, and with out taking his eyes off of the elephant before him, as it stamped it's feet, and tried to assert it's strength.

"Desisto!" He shouted, pulling the barrel of the weapon through his underarm, and gripping it in a two-handed rifle grip. The weapon itself was coated in sticky mud, but that didn't seem to deter Valerian, as he pointed the weapon square at the elephant's forehead, right between it's eyes. It was the perfect sight picture, and the course of events transpired in mere seconds.

His right hand, which grasped the grip of the rifle, and his left rested under the forestock, gripped the energy weapon firmly, his right thumb flipped a small, mud coated switch, and the weapon let out a shrill high pitched whine, holographic sights came to life, power began to be drawn from a small canister like fusion cell secured deep within the weapon's stock. This power was channeled to a supercooled capacitor, routed through a series of thermopole energizers, and focused through a series of helium cooled magnetic focusing coils which ran down the length of the barrel.

Four seconds lapsed from when he hit the mud, to when he presented his weapon at the stamping elephant.

In what could be described as a mixture of fear, resolve, and hatred, Valerian pulled the trigger, setting off a series of chain reactions deep within the weapon. A particle beam was ignited within the weapon's receiver, it was focused, and encased in a sheath of super-heated barium plasma with flash-spike temperatures reaching roughly thirty thousand degrees kelvin.

Mud that caked the barrel of the weapon was thermally shocked, and instantly turned to glass which fell in pebble-like drops from the muzzle of the weapon as it fired. It also produced a blinding green flash of light immediately followed by a deafening thunderous crack, which culminated into a brilliant streak of green light that seared towards Valerian's target point, the frontal portion of the mammoth's skull. The particle beam was hot enough to liquefy concrete, and steel on impact, and could cause crippling injury even on glancing hits. The heat from Valerian's weapon discharge was so intense, even the monk on the other side of the river bank could feel it, like standing next to a hot fire.

Steam rose in a plume from the water immediately in front of Valerian, and if the beam struck it's mark, the gargantuan creature would likely not survive, as it's flesh, and brain matter was subject to immediate flash-vaporization.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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"All suffering comes from the mind. There is no limit to what the body can endure."
- The Buddha


Shi Zhen Li could only watch as Sergeant Valerian was pushed back into the swamy river from whence he came. It was difficult to tell what Tumtu the elephant was thinking as he craned his trunk and shoved the Aschen soldier into the muddy water. The mammoth seemed frightened. Was it trying to help Anton get back into the river? Did he think that Anton was a fish? Or maybe a crocodile? Was he toying with him? Or maybe his fight or flight instincts were triggered by the peculiar synthetic device in Anton's hand. Whatever the reason for it, the small brained megacow was being defensive.

The next four seconds took seemingly forever to Shi Zhen Li as a million thoughts and scenerios ran through his mind. He was subconsciously doing math and science in his head, calculating every possible reality, the direction of the sun, the wind flow, the water current. Li was standing slightly higher up than Sergeant Valerian, about 18 to 19 feet away on the stone platform, resting his body weight against the 1.37 meter long 2 inch thick makeshift wooden walking stick. He watched Valerian spin around in the water as he reached for his rifle. Li watched quietly, thinking that the rifle must have been a case for something. But he had never seen a gun before, and having no concept of the danger and trouble Tumtu may have caused, Li smiled again and was about to laugh when suddenly there was a loud crackle and a bright hot flash, almost resembling a thunderbolt in close proximity.

Li quickly diverted his eyes, turning his head away and shielding his face with his forearm. He could feel the heat of the blast against his arm hairs as Valerian put a hole in Tumtu's forehead. The elephant was fast, but not fast enough to dodge whatever this was as the marine's shot hit with near perfect precision between the eyes, the mammoth's brains instantly splattering out of the back of his skull upon impact. Tumtu stopped dead, stumbled two steps to the right and fell over without moving another inch. His 26,000 pound body would crash against an overhanging tree, crushing it with his enormous weight. As the tree fell over under pressure, it hit the ground with a loud thud which shook the forest. As a result, one of the long broken lower roots of the tree was now sticking straight up above the ground over the swamp.

Shi Zhen Li watched in horror and shock as his long time animal companion was killed in an instant. His mouth open and his jaw hung in stillness, Li could hear the cracking and splitting of wood as the broken tree root started to collapse under it's own weight. Suddenly, like cause and effect, the long thick heavy root fell over, with Sergeant Valerian in its shadow. Once again, the poor lost panicky soldier would find himself having to react quickly as the large branch-like tree root started to collapse on top of him, it's long spindly fingers forming a trap or net which threatened to drowned the Aschen soldier in the mud. Li closed his mouth and swallowed, watching quietly as he lowered the arm he was diverting his eyes with.

His face suddenly went void of all expression. He had led his elephant to it's death. If he had never brought Tumtu along, none of this would be happening, Li thought. And who or what was this character before him under the shade of a root system? Li suddenly felt a great sadness and fear come upon him as he tightened his grip on the center of his walking stick. But as he started to breathe more slowly and quietly, allowing all of his emotions to come and go, Shi Zhen Li quickly freed his mind and started focussing only on the immediate still changeable situation.

The tree root was falling, and would crush Sergeant Valerian in less than two seconds. Li had never even seen death before until now, and already he had seen enough. Still standing about 18 feet away, Li considered the possibility of jumping across the river. He looked down at the running space around him, something which the battle-ready marine likely didn't have in the muddy water, which would slow anyone down even if they tried to roll out of the way. The wet earthy root system weighed around 800 pounds as the thick base snapped and started to collapse straight down on top of Anton's head with enough force that if it struck him right, it could immobilize him instantly.

Shi Zhen Li took a deep breath. Tying his shoulder sash around his waist, Li took a few steps back, and suddenly dashed forward, jamming the end of his walking stick between two stones and using it to pole vault over the river, hanging on to the other end of the stick with one hand as he threw his whole entire body into a cartwheel flip over the top of the walking stick, and using it to push off the ground even higher as he lunged across the swampy river and into the air, doing a single long distance cartwheel flip across the whole river. As his body rotated completely upside down and then upright again, Li bent one of his knees, bringing his leg in underneath himself as if sitting on it while extending his other leg in a sort of very high aerial side kick, throwing his entire mass and momentum into the base of the falling root system, channeling his breath and allowing all of his muscles to work in unison.

"Tsaeeiii!!!" shouted Li as he breathed out, tightening his leg muscles before impact. As his bare foot flew over his own head and hit the tree root, the variables and physics of its momentum would change, so that the root system would fall at a slightly different angle, collapsing off to the side just shy of Sergeant Valerian's position, far enough away that the tangly wooden net would miss him, if only by a few feet. Li kicked off of the tree as he pushed it with his foot, landing on his feet in the waist deep water, still holding his walking stick behind him quietly while looking at Sgt. Valerian blankly. Then, silently, Li would slowly raise his open free hand in front of his chest in a half praying hands gesture, bowing his head quietly while looking into the Aschen's eyes.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Valerian had scant seconds to reassess the situation after firing his weapon at the charging beast. Those scant seconds played out like a near eternity in his mind, as he assessed the immediate events to follow. His eyes followed the elephant as it stumbled, through the sight profile of his weapon. He watched as the elephant crashed against a tree, the steely-eyed Marine had no time to act, only react to the rapidly unfolding situation. He was almost unaware of the monk on the temple for now, focused primarily on his own survival.

Anton's mind swirled, as wood crackled above him. He took immediate action, dropping the rifle, and allowing it to hang loosely from the strap that was still affixed to his shoulder. He brought his left arm in front of his face, and squeezed his left hand into a tight fist. This appeared as if he was trying to shield his face from the crashing tree branch. He bent his knees slightly to more evenly distribute his weight in the mud, and there was a flash of shimmering blue light that emanated from his left forearm.

A shimmering bubble formed around him, that resembled the scintillating effect of sunlight on water, that danced, and shimmered in dazzling amorphous patterns of white, and blue semi-translucent light. He steeled his gaze at the falling tree, as the shimmering barrier solidified into something more tangible, a sphere of blue-white light that encased him in a dazzling cocoon that eagerly anticipated the impact from the tree roots, even at eight hundred pounds, Anton could brace himself, and shoulder quadruple that much weight, with his enhancements, he could shoulder the tree roots, and force them aside.

That wasn't going to be a problem, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw the Monk flying over the water, striking the roots as they fell allowing them to fall harmlessly to the Sergeant's side. The branches, and the roots fell with an audible splash, the ripples of water, and the mud going around the shimmering barrier, which seemed to buzz with a sound that could be described as a fluorescent light humming, or the sound of a bug-zapper.

With the immediate threat passed, the sergeant relaxed his fist, and the bubble of light dissipated with a soft whooshing sound, and the Marine sergeant stood up to his full height in the knee deep water. His eyes were once more fixated on the primitive before him.

"Ad incursus creatura." He said aloud, nodding his head to the elephant, which still had a gaping hole in it's head that was lined with charred flesh, and bone, and was still sizzling from the intense heat. "Nihil optio." He added. "Creatura netario est morietur" The Marine said, his voice grave, and matter of fact.


"Gratius." He said, before he started towards the dry riverbank, his eyes briefly on the temple on the other side, and then back to the elephant. He said very little, and casually walked past it like he didn't just shoot the creature dead a moment prior, to look around and survey his surroundings.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Shi Zhen Li watched quietly as the Aschen marine Sergeant Anton Valerian addressed him in a foreign language before stepping out of the mucky water on to the riverbank for a second time. After looking him over for a minute, Li then turned to look at his dead animal companion on the ground. The monk's face was void of expression, and for a moment Li was hoping that Tumtu might be okay and rear his head up, or say something. But as Li brought his walking stick in front of him and began to follow the mysterious stranger out of the water, the elephant never moved. Li shuffled his feet through the mud, prodding the murky water with his walking stick as he stepped out of the swamp and back on to the riverbank.

Once he was out of the water, Shi Zhen Li would sit down quietly on the shore between the dead elephant's legs, placing his free hand on Tumtu's belly. Only this time, there was no air pushing the large mammoth's lungs. Tumtu was not breathing, and his body felt colder to the touch than ever before. Li knew that Tumtu was officially dead, and for a moment, a deep surge of sadness swept over him. Then, for the first time in his entire life, something strange happened. A single salty teardrop ran down Li's cheek. Wiping it away with the back of his hand, the peaceful warrior monk glanced up to see Valerian looking around and surveying his surroundings.

At that moment, Shi Zhen Li gathered his thoughts and let go of his emotions, standing back up slowly while staring at the sergeant the entire time. Gripping the center shaft on his walking stick, Li stood up tall and straight with his feet together and his other hand down at his side. He did not say or do anything else, instead just standing there quietly, watching the Aschen marine to see what he would do next. But while he was assessing the foreigner in front of him, Li couldn't help but wonder. Why wasn't there anyone else at the Temple of Eden to greet him? Li was under the impression that there should have been an angel, or bodhisattva guarding the entrance to the temple. Was this him? Anton certainly didn't look like a guardian angel, or an enlightened individual by any means. He had just carelessly murdered a wild animal, and Li had no idea what to expect next.

But like all thoughts, this one too had passed quickly and soon the lonesome monk would free his mind and breathe slowly, allowing the natural cosmic order of the universe to guide him in stillness and harmony. Li had come to this place in order to find his purpose in life. He wanted to inquire the heavens above and ask for help. But perhaps the universe had already given him the answers. Fate, it seemed, was not without a sense of irony as Li stood there quietly, his saffron robes dripping wet from the muddy water. Li had let down his single shoulder sleeve and wrapped it around his waist before doing an aerial cartwheel flip over the river. It was only the added extension of his 1.37 meter long stick which had allowed him to pole vault across the swamp, otherwise he would never have been able to make it across.

With his entire upper body now naked and exposed, it was apparent that Shi Zhen Li was in remarkable physical condition. He had a full 12-pack abdomen and sharp muscular features on his whole upper body. Although the 36 year old monk only stood at a short height of 5 foot 8 inches tall, Li was absolutely ripped with the physique of a warrior. His pecks were strong, his shoulders broad, his back well toned, his arms built thick with muscles on top of muscles, and there were black faded tattoos going from the side of his neck all down his spine, covering his entire back, which was also quite muscular. The precise meaning and nature of these tattoos was unclear, and while some of the tribal designs resembled symbols or some strange form of writing, some of the other tattoos on his back looked vaguely similar to a map of some unknown place. Li seemed to be unaware of this, for although he knew his name was tatted on his neck, he was completely oblivious to the tattoos on his back, tattoos that he had never seen first-hand and had no recollection of getting.

As he stood there quietly, allowing the water to drip between his bare toes and evaporate, Li made no further attempts to dry himself off, instead just allowing nature to take its course as his bald wet shiny head glistened in the sunlight. He stood tall and straight, and absolutely still, looking at Sergeant Valerian the whole time, who was now only a few meters away. Rather than trying to initiate another friendly conversation, the monk kept his mouth shut and his eyes open, watching to see what the soldier would do next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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After surveying his surroundings, Anton selected a place where he would construct a temporary place to stay, he checked the alignment on his planar tether, warp eddies had seperated this plane from his home, and he grimaced at the possibility that he might be stuck here for a moment, with this elephant corpse. He bore a stone faced expression as he turned back to the asiatic monk that seemed to be following him. He knew he was being watched, but it didn't matter, though Valerian set among his tasks, he too was keeping a keen eye on the other person, even as he reached into his pouch to withdraw his handheld light-mass fabricator once more.

He played with the interface for a moment, letting his fingers deftly scroll across the holographic interface, he selected a large dome shaped habitation, with a solid metal foundation that drove piers deep into the muddy ground. The dome shaped image showed some kind of dwelling, with solar panels on the roof, along with other accouterments. It was a self contained system, with a hermetically sealed door, and a temperature controlled interior.

Valerian paused a moment, to check his surroundings, and make sure no more creatures would leap out and attack him, before he committed to building the structure. He would spend the night here until the planes realigned themselves and he could return home. He could also use the self contained power system to build a return portal back to the Empire.

Tapping the trigger, the device once more shot fourth thin tendrils of shimmering blue light, and the habitation began to take shape in front of him. If he was undisturbed for several moments, the habitation would be complete. Sitting on stilts a few feet off the ground. The building was far enough away from Tumtu's corpse that there were no issues of contamination, but the elephant could serve as a source of meat, or at the very least, biomass for the protein synthesizer that Valerian had planned to add to his dwelling. Tumtu would be a source of food, and thus would not go to waste.

Valerian started towards the dry ground closest to the dwelling, slowly he let the disruptor rifle slide off his back, where he took the weapon, and allowed it to lean against the wall of this newly built structure. Valerian then let the rucksack, and armored, load bearing vest slide off of his torso. This revealed a tightly fitting black BDU overshirt, which Valerian began to unfasten, and allow fall from his shoulders. He held the BDU shirt out, so that it could dry, and promptly tossed it onto the roof of the structure to dry.

Unclasping several fasteners, he revealed his toned muscular frame, which was broad, large, and imposing. A black synthetic undershirt that was form fitting revealed dense musculature, and his exposed arms and shoulders revealed thin scars that ran along the contours of his muscles.

There was one tattoo, and it was on the back of his neck, a simple barcode.

Valerian said nothing to Li as he did all this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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The forest was quiet now. Not a sound could be heard near the Temple of Eden, not even a frog or cricket. No birds were singing. No rabbits were hopping around. The bright flash of light, and the loud crackle of Sergeant Valerian's disruptor rifle had brought death and fear to the jungle. The rest of the elephant herd, alarmed by the death of one of their own, had fled the area in mourning and sorrow. Nature was aware, and had a keen sense for danger, something they had never experienced before in such a peaceful place. Only two animals remained close by, watching quietly from a distance, drawn to the area by the sound of a single gunshot. Laohu the tiger was crouched low on his haunches in the yellow high grass, about 50 yards away from where Shi Zhen Li was standing. Laohu was perfectly camouflaged in the jungle. She never even made a sound, just watching silently and stealthily from a safe distance away. Even the monk was not aware of her presence.

Noku the crocodile was also lurking nearby, and had slowly moved up river, his entire body concealed perfectly beneath the mucky water's surface. Only his eyes peered out of the river as he nestled beneath the tangled web of roots which overhung the water, casting a dark shadow for which the large reptile used to conceal itself, a few feet behind Shi Zhen Li, also never making a single sound. Li himself continued to watch quietly as Anton pulled out his handheld light-mass fabricator and began constructing a temporary dwelling. The quiet monk was not sure what to make of it, as he watched the Aschen marine's structure take fold. Li had never seen a tether before, or solar panels, and he was mildly curious as to what they were. Shi Zhen Li had no dwelling or shelter to go to. He lived in the wild, raised by animals, and pretty much slept wherever he wanted to sleep.

Ackwardly enough, Li had only curiosity and was quite inquisitive of the Aschen soldier, rather than being afraid of the potential danger. After silently observing Sergeant Valerian set to work for some time, and strip down to more casual attire, Shi Zhen Li finally stepped forward to approach his shelter, using his walking stick to pace forward before stopping at the entrance. "Are you the temple guardian?" he asked softly and passively. "Are you the creator?" he asked calmly. Li had many questions for Sergeant Valerian, and was hoping once more to communicate with him. But this time, Li was more cautious, and his body language suggested that he was not taking any chances. He kept his distance, still standing tall and straight with his free hand down by his side. Li's approach was neither aggressive, nor threatening, for he did not wish to be struck by lightning or do anything to upset the stranger before him. Li had never met the gods and angels before, and had no idea what they were capable of.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Now that the small white metallic habitation was complete, Valerian took a moment to slide the small fabricator into his belt, holding it securely for the time being. This primitive was fascinated with whatever he was doing, and a brief hint of annoyance seemed to flash across his face.

What would be even more fascinating was to come next.

"I am a soldier." The man replied, this time in Galactic common, or the common language of humanoid sapient life forms. He figured the primitive would understand him, since Li had spoken to him in something very similar to what the Aschen called Galactic Common.

"My name is Anton." Valerian replied, considering his next words. "I have come here to study this place, and determine it's worth to my people." Valerian added.

He moved up the steps towards the hermetically sealed door, and turned the latch, his toned arm grasping the lever, and pulling heavily on it, the door opened with a hiss, and bright LED lights flickered to life inside the structure, inside there was a bed, a small dresser, and a table. Valerian left the door ajar, before tossing the black armored vest with all of it's gear inside the structure. Valerian allowed his right hand to rest on a similar looking disruptor pistol, which was holstered securely within his belt holster, there were a few fusion cells as well, backup ammunition for the weapon.

Valerian's next movements were towards the rucksack that remained on the ground. He unzipped one of the pouches, and retrieved a small granola bar, which was filled with nutritious native nuts, oats, and grain native to the planet Langara.

Valerian took a bite, before once again surveying his surroundings.

"What is this place?" He asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Shi Zhen Li watched motionlessly from the stepped entrance to the hermetically sealed door of the reflective white fabricated shelter as Sergeant Anton Valerian tossed his BDU shirt on to the rooftop of his firmly rooted dwelling. Li looked at the door without approaching it, but instead turned to look at the Aschen marine with the barcode on his neck as he stripped down to his black skin-tight undershirt.

"I am a soldier... My name is Anton," The man replied, this time in a language that Li could understand.

Shi Zhen Li would quirk his eyebrows slightly and squinted his eyes, glancing towards the ground before looking back at Valerian once more. He could understand the sergeant's wording, but the Aschen's accent was very peculiar to him.

"I have come here to study this place, and determine it's worth to my people." the institutionalized highly trained marine would say, causing Li to wonder silently. Who are his people? As the soldier opened the door for him and stepped inside, Li looked in at everything inside but did not follow Sergeant Valerian, instead maintaining his stance with one hand hanging down at his side, and both feet together standing straight while loosely gripping his walking stick with the other hand. Valerian would toss his vest and gear into the doorway and then turn around again and go back to his rucksack on the ground to grab a granola bar.

"What is this place?" the man asked with food in his mouth, his words indecipherable to Li.

After briefly surveying his surroundings, Valerian turned back around once again to look at Li, who was now facing him directly but once again had never moved and was standing completely still. "I'm sorry, what did you say?" the monk asked politely and smiled, having not fully comprehended what the sergeant was saying. Li would briefly glance around as well, noticing the strange tether and solar panels on the structure's dome-shaped rooftop, before looking back at Valerian quietly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lisette Aeona Character Portrait: Kamala Ainsley Character Portrait: Al'myaz Malgun Character Portrait: Ria Murdock Character Portrait: The Laughing Figure Character Portrait: Anton Valerian Character Portrait: Shi Zhen Li

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Valerian quietly narrowed his eyes at the monk’s response to his question, by asking another question. Valerian dismissed it though for the moment, briefly turning back towards his small hut. He checked the readout on the return tether through a small handheld device that displayed the status on a small screen. The calibrations were running, and eventually they would interlink, and a return portal would be formed.

Valerian watched the device flash green, and a platform inside the small prefabricated domicile flashed green as well, there was a positive lock between this dimension, and his own. Valerian smiled.

“Excellent.” He thought to himself, with a two-way portal established through the platform, he could return to his people, and organize a more appropriate reconnoiter of this strange area.

He turned back to Li.

“I asked what this place was, if you knew anything about this place.” He said aloud, turning back to his handheld. He would have to get a seismic scan set up, and see what kind of valuable resources could be exploited here.

You never told me your name, I said mine was Anton.”

His gaze was locked onto Li’s, carefully watching his movements. “I’m going to be returning to my people soon.