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Sich Karis

Misranan guard and soldier.

0 · 498 views · located in Zanzaria City Hall

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

Groups

Lead by Dasaliz Rauta, the Nazuan Rebellion have long since been able to delude the Supremacy, and grows stronger by the day.
A handy guide for all things Misranan.

Description

Name: Sich Arrengard Karis
Age: 22
Occupation: Nazuan Soldier

Species: Human
Race: Nahatsan

Nationality: Pavnian
Place of Birth: Miserta Kara
Current Residence: Zanzaria


Equipment:

Callandeline ATW
Adaptable Terrain Walker, a variant of the Callandeline, a native feline species that roams Misranan forests. It is characterized by a tail longer than its body and paws with longer "fingers" that can be used to grasp objects. It is a very agile ATW that can be used to easily scale a vertical precipice. It is equipped with one light missile launcher and two rapid-fire guns that resemble machine guns.

Caster Gloves
Allows Sich to cast magic with the proper capsules

Image



Bio:

As a child, Sich had been raised with a father who served as a cop for the Supremacy. She admired him to no end, and always spoke about becoming a cop. Just like him.

Growing up, she witnessed the Supremacy's diminishing power. Watching the television about the attacks, she thought, "I'm going to catch those guys." It's what she expected her father to do.

No one expected Sich's father to have done what he did. Sich, least of all.

She never speaks about it, but anyone who came to know her knew that whatever happened created her drive to become an officer in the Rebellion's name, protecting some of the group's most righteous leaders. She aspires to one day clean up Zanzaria once the war is over and peace to Misrana is restored.

Sich came out top of her class in training. She is an ATW driving instructor, has extensive knowledge of weapons, and is an excellent combatant. Despite all her skill and knowledge, not one person who has ever met her will say that she comes off as an expert in anything, and comes off even less as a person in a place of authority. She's often chipper, quirky, easily teased, and has a comical temper. Her lesser officers often wonder how a child was able to take their rightful position.

So begins...

Sich Karis's Story

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Character Portrait: Sich Karis

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What a glorious landing it was.

The large luxury vessel, the Lalitia, lowered itself into the space port. Nearly the entire ship, of all its one thousand two hundred feet in length and four hundred in height, was doused in white. The entire thing was a cross between a cepholopod, insect, cetacean, and any other normal, giant metal spaceship one would normally see landing in the spaceport. There was what one would expect to be gold adorning the plated shell that made the back of the creature, and to keep it lifted from the ground, several segmented legs extended from the side.

The ship sang, a low, beautiful note echoing from its core.

The belly of the beast opened, and, parading out of it, a plethora of colorful figures dancing down a metal beam. Joyful music, all with the same haunting quality of the aforementioned echo, burst out and gave the silent port life. Dancers with long tails spun in orange and red dresses, those with horns adorning their heads beat jubilant drums, and more humanlike figures rode what seemed to be a mechanical mammoth out into the crowd.

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Character Portrait: Sich Karis

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As the golden mammoth strode out, trunk swinging from side to side, several figures could be seen on a pearly, extravagant howdah strapped to the animal's back. The one in the middle was a rather obese man in a suit, nearly as wide as he was tall. The second was a slight, beautiful figure dressed in a blue dress that streamed from the mammoth's side and licked the air. The third was the stoic pilot of the Lalitia, who had golden horns upon his head.

Striding beside the mammoths were two more vehicles. They resembled large cats, both flesh and machine, with tails longer than their bodies and long, slender legs, not unlike a cheetah's. Their riders were trimmed with bright orange.

As one passed Katie, she gave the man a wink, running fingers that were heavy with silver ringers through black hair.

He received similar treatment from the dancers with the barbed tails, who paused to run their hands along his chest and cheeks flirtatiously before flitting away.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: Sich Karis

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When the tail of the parade poured out from the ship, all but silence followed. Whispers along the receding crowd of amazed Terrans could be heard all around, and the chatter followed the parade out into the streets of Wing City.

Few people were left behind, many of which were Zanzarian guards.

Something broke the silence after the storm. One last thunder cloud, tumbling from the belly. "Hey, wait! You can't lea- ugh!"

A woman wearing black armor, riding a creature similar to the ones Katie had seen previously, but with much more squat, flexible legs. It paraded around madly, eyes wide at all of the new terrain. Everything it spotted, it pounced. Katie was no exception. The second the creature laid its eyes onto the archer, it began to bound toward him, its rider fighting for control. "Watch out!"

Katie's eyes were fixated on the parade; when it's numbers began to dwindle and people began to return to their commonplace activities, it wasn't something that he'd had the attention to take notice to. Only when it began to grow more quiet did he look around, his own smile receding a little when it showed that it hadn't been as well recieved to the Terrans as it was to him.

Still, it furthered his cause. The ship was undoubtedly going back to Misrana, no matter how many Terrans had obliged it's cause. The archer picked a guard out of the crowd with his eyes, and began to walk toward him, unaware of the events that were transpiring with the wild creature.

And although he wasn't the most reactive, when the creature bounded at him, there was nothing he could do that didn't involve taking notice. The sound alone brought his attention around, though perhaps it was a little late in doing so. Katie whipped about, and froze in place.

Just a moment later, he tripped over his feet in some sort of mock attempt to run forward, and landed smack dab under the underbelly of the beast. Covering his head, at that.

For someone who looked so combat-ready, there was nothing about his demeanor that screamed anything about bravery.

When the man suddenly disappeared from sight, the cat looked around, bewildered and confused. He had just been there! Did the beings upon this planet have the ability to cloak themselves? Amazing.

"Kaslane, sit!" the girl ordered the animal. With a low groan that any child would utter when they knew they'd been caught and had no choice, the biovehicle sat.

And immediately stood back up with a yelp.

The girl slid from Kaslane to inspect the damage. "What's wrong? What happe- ah...ahhhhh...haha." She pursed her lip at the sight before her, hand coming to rub the back of her neck. "Kaslane, I think we're in trouble. 'We should run from here,' kind of trouble, you know? I think you killed him..." Her eyes suddenly shot open, and she knelt next to the man, grasping for his collar. "Hey! Heeey! You aren't dead, right? Come on, I'll be in really big trouble if you're dead!"

A high pitched yelp came from underneath the creature as it's instructor had ordered it to sit. Katie didn't want to die, not under a large animal from outer space at a parade donned by a cruise ship to another planet. What would they put on his epitaph?

Just when the pressure had set on his back, it was released just as fast as the creature stood up. He dared peek past his arm, but it quickly covered his head once the girl slid from the creature. Finding that a few moments after, she had been speaking to get his attention, he looked up.

No, no, not dead at all.

He batted away the girl's hand from his collar and slid out from underneath the animal. Down he looked, almost in disbelief. He sat for a second with his calves sitting horizontally under his thighs before he pushed himself up and looked back to the girl.

After a few seconds of somewhat awkward staring, the archer spoke up.

"Not dead, am Katie. How to sign up for the ship?" He asked, and pointed a thumb toward the vessel. A wary eye was kept on the animal.

The girl blinked, looking up at him with a rather surprised expression. "Not...dead...is Katie a term for not doing quite alright? Maybe it's the term for a head injury on this planet..." she mumbled, standing up. It was there that she was able to get a good look at him. Her eyes wormed over his face, the tubes plunging into his throat, the armor, his weapons...

"So...this is the kind of soldier Terra has, huh?" she breathed, tone filled with shock and admiration. She circled him, trying to ogle at every inch she could lay her eyes on. Finally, she brought her eyes to his. "Sign up for the ship? Ah...ah...in what way? What are you looking to...ah...do?" she asked. The large robo-cat sneaked around her, looking Katie over just the same.

Any normal person might have felt like a garrotted slab of meat in a shark tank with how the two were scrutinizing him, but Katie didn't see it as anything but a way to get on the ship. "No," He said, "Katie is a term for my name." And although he'd almost been crushed or trampled just moments earlier, he smirked.

"I am not Terran, and not soldier anymore. I would like to go to your planet; Misrana. If it is too high of cost, I work good stow security. Would you allow me on your ship?" With that, Katie's eyes had moved past the girl and Kaslane, to the bug-like spaceship that still stood imposingly behind them.

"If it is not too much trouble, of course?"

The woman shook her head. "Oh! No, no! We just have to make sure you aren't trying to escape from the Aschen people! Of course..." She took another gander at him, "I don't think that would be too much of a problem if you'd really like my help..."

The cat smacked the woman in the shoulder with a paw, eyes still on Katie. The girl stumbled a ways, then ran her fingers through her hair. "Um...right! I'm one of the security leaders, Sich Karis! This is my ATW and partner, Kaslane!" She put her hands flat on her thighs, then gave a slight bow. "An honor to come in contact with another race, regardless of whether you're Terran or not! Here, if you come with me, we can sign you right up for sexu- I mean...security! If that's what you want to do! We'll love to have you!" She reached out to take his wrist, then drag him toward the ship. "Come on! The sooner the better, and after this you can show me around this place!"

Any hints toward hidden motivation on Sich's part had flown over Katie's head like a high-speed jet plane. Instead, he nodded as she talked, and grinned all the while. "I am not infracting rules by the Aschen. Only here on family business."

"Good to meet you, Sich," He said, with a nod and a confused look toward the cat which had pawed at the woman. Regardless, he returned the girl's gesture with a slight nod in her direction, which seemed to be his lackluster way of a greeting.

And it was a little surprising how willingly Sich agreed to his offer, but it wasn't something he was going to make a note of. He gave a quick, "Okay," Before following right along after the woman as she grabbed his wrist.

"Your culture is very assertive."

"We have to be! How else did you think we made it through the Aschen? I heard that doesn't happen much!" she laughed, dragging him into the ship. Of course, Kaslane was not far behind. Once Katie came into the ship, a sweet, heavy scent would hit his nose. Candles were lit all around the hallway, with its white, carved corridors and smooth floors.

The entrance would give way to a wide, round elevator cased by glass. Once boarded, it would reach an interior balcony, which overlooked quite a full and magnificent lobby.

Spiral stairs twisted around beams in a way that resembled strands of DNA, and lights streamed from the ceiling, pouring into small pools at the bottom. Sich dialed for an elevator by placing her fingers within a small hole in the wall and dragging at a small lever within it.

The elevator slowly descended, and as it did so, Sich turned to glare at the cat that had followed them. "You can't fit! Go climb one of the beams on the other side!" she scowled. The cat lowered its head, and, with a groan, began to bound off in the other direction.

The elevator doors opened. Something stared back at them from within it. It was a strange, grey-skinned alien. One of which Katie had heard about on the radio just the night before, with six limbs, two of which were small, delicate arms curled against its chest. The others were much larger arms that clung to the rails within the elevator, keeping itself up. It stared back at Katie and Sich with eyes that nearly took up half its massive head.

"Have you brought a Terran in already, Sich?" the alien replied, its head tilting to one side. "They look so very human."

Katie looked almost overwhelmed by the ship's interior; it wasn't anything he had expected. Not upon entering a giant legged arthropod cetacean insectoid spaceship. It was pleasant, though, and any look of awe had quickly subsided as fast as it had come. His legs worked in automatic mode as his eyes shot from place to place and the foreign architecture captured his attention.

Which was only brought back when they began to enter the elevator. By the time the archer looked back down to it, the gray alien inside was staring back at them. Katie flinched in macabre surprise, the appearence of... whatever the thing had been obviously surprising him.

He glanced to Sich, almost baring a questioning glance that said 'Should I run away?' or 'Should I be surprised?', or perhaps, 'Should I shoot it?'.

When it had spoken up, he glanced back to it. "Am not a Terran, I am human. A, um... Pleasure?"

His eyes widened, and blinked far less than normal as he spoke.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: Sich Karis

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The grey, multiarmed alien, who went by the name of Urian, lead them down the balcony, past the lobby, and into another set of white, pearly hallways. Intricate carvings decorated the walls, and liquid light ran through veins on the ceiling.

They came to a pair of black doors at the end of the hall. Where there should have been a doorknob, there was a hole. Urian, who had been climbing down the hallway using the silvery rails that clung to every wall and ceiling, extended one of her tiny hands and let it disappear within the dark hole in the door. There was a click, then a wail as the doors quite suddenly and violently slid open, disappearing within the walls.

Inside, there was a rather grey room. It was rather dull compared to the rest of the ship that Katie had seen. It had one black desk in the middle, two chairs in front, and one behind. The carpet was grey. The walls were grey. Even the liquid light ceiling seemed to be emanating a rather uninteresting glow upon the scene. Were it not for the medals and pictures upon the desk, coupled with a dozen papers, it would have looked very much like a jail cell.

Sich and Urian walked in, looking back at Katie. "Well, come on. We can put up a notification here. Of course, Vliyain isn't here, and head of Security went with him, so we'll have to wait until anything is set in stone." said Sich.

Katie followed near-to-close behind, his eyes tracing the various adornments and wonders that seemed to line the ship from deck to stow. It was much unlike anything he had ever seen, which kept his interest flickering from place to place.

When they had stopped, he almost bumped into the gray-skinned alien, as his eyes had been glued to the ceiling at that time. He caught himself, though, and flinched when his attention shot forward, and the doors ahead of him slid open. For a moment, he stood in silence, before speaking up. "The Vliyan does not seem like a very colorful fellow."

He walked into the room, glancing around it as he did, thinking that perhaps all the offices were like that. It was a cruise ship, after all. For all he knew, the Misranians lived their day-to-day lives in dreary jail-like abodes. The train of thought quickly dismissed itself, and soon enough, his eyes wandered back down to Sich and Urian.

"All your rooms look like this?"

"Oh, hardly! Vliyain is a nunki, though. Most of them like pretty dull things. If the design of the ship was up to them, it wouldn't be much of a cruise ship! Only this room was specified to be like this because it's his office. Isn't it dreadful?" she laughed. Urian sifled through a few papers, took a moment to stare at them, then picked out the one he had been looking for.

Turning back to Katie, the alien poked the paper in his direction. "Please fill the proper fields out. They are translated into the Terran language, English, so I hope you might not have any difficulty." he said, voice flat.

Sich's hands grasped together. "I'll have you join my squad! That means you'll have to learn how to drive an ATW! Or fly a Kamakina!"

As to what those were, Katie would be finding out soon.

Katie took the paper in hand, and glanced it over. He had a better time writing in English than he did speaking it, that was certain. He paced over to the desk and grabbed a pen, and began to fill it out over the desk as Sich talked.

"ATW?" He asked, half distracted. "Is like Terran car?"

"Oh, not at all," Sich responded. "You've already seen them! Don't you remember?"

The scrawlings that the man made were near illegible, reminiscent of handwriting harbored by doctors and cats. It was obvious that he wasn't used to writing in the language, but it wasn't as if they were going to have Tetan papers. After a moment, he finished, and handed off the paper to Urian again.

"Fly? I take very few plane classes when I was younger, before I crash and stop."

Oh, yes. He was hopeful.

Urian took the paper and placed it atop all the others. He brought two fingers of the smaller arms to his mouth, whistling three quick, high notes. From the little hole in the wall, something crawled out.

It looked like a smaller model of the entire ship. A small, white bug with a plated shell and a good amount of more legs than the Lalitia. Several sentacles hung off its sides. Urian tapped the paper that Katie had completed, then spoke, very clearly, "You must tell Captain Khoy that this is important. This is his first priority as soon as he returns to his office. Understood?"

The creature seemed to nodd, then crawl atop the paper and withdrew both legs and tentacles. It looked very much like an inanimate paperweight. Sich nodded, then leaned over to whisper to Katie, "That's a Flea. We use it for quick messages on the other side of the crew and little reminders like these. News travels pretty quick through them!" she explained.

"Flea," Katie repeated. "We have fleas on Terra and Teta IV. They are not nearly as useful as these fleas." He said, and prodded the small creature with a finger before withdrawing his hand rather quickly. "Do Misran have e-mail?"

In a change of subject, Katie cleared his throat and continued. "Thank you for having me on board your ship. You have been very kind," His gaze shot toward Sich. "And very enthusiastic."

Urian touched his fingertips together. "Any planetary foreigner is welcome, so long as they don't mean harm," he replied. "To us, that is." It was so slight, one could almost not have been able to properly tell if the gesture was purposeful or not, however...it seemed as though Urian had a smile upon those tiny, thin lips.

"Is there anything else aboard the ship you would like to see?" Sich asked. "Perhaps show you the...ah...I guess you'd call it a barn here. Or an armory. It's a little hard to categorize things when they're several things all at one time, y'know?"

"Barn... Armory? You keep your weapons where your animals are?" Asked Katie, though he was far less surprised, having seen the theme of the ship as of then. "Yes, I would like that very much," He said, with a smile and a nod. After he'd done so, he looked to Urian, and gave the same nod to him.

"Thank you again," He said. Any smile the alien might've worn was largely unnoticed by the archer.

"Lead the way, then." A few deft steps, and Katie was idle near the door from which they'd come from, waiting for Sich and Urian to pass through again.

Sich nodded, letting Urian climb on ahead. The alien went off down the hallway, in the opposite direction of where they needed to be going. Sich blinked. "Ah, I suppose he has other things to do. Ustelu expect people to read their minds, sometimes. Which...happens...sometimes, I suppose. But not that often." she said, as though it were the most common thing in the world. Mind reading. That was normal!

"Alright, this way to the, ah...just this way." she contined, leading him down the hallway to the right. The hall gradually became larger, and the texture of the floor changed from a smooth marble to a much softer substance. If one were to guess, it would seem as though they were walking upon the gigantuan organs of the ship itself. It certainly sunk beneath each step, even squelching at odd spots.

They came to yet another set of doors, these much taller, wider, and heavier than any they had seen before. An interesting locking device spanned the length of the door, with the engravings of two dog heads on either side, mouths closed over a bar that kept the door closed. Sich reached out, taking it within her hands. She closed her eyes and inhaled.

Veins that had previously been invisible to their eyes lit up along the bar, spereading along the faces of the metal hound heads. With a growl, their mouths opened, and the bar was easily pulled free in Sich's hand. She slid it over to a pocket in the wall to the left, then pushed the doors opened.

"I don't know much about this planet, but from what I hear...you guys have nothing like this." she told him, an undeniably satisfied grin spreading across her cheeks. What lay before them as the doors opened would make most jaws drop.

Thousands of machines lay inside, walking around lazily to get to their destinations. They all resembled Sich's animal from earlier, every one fused with machine and glowing tubes that ran from capsules on their sides to the back of their heads. Some were very much like cats, others wolves, and many were other recognisable animals.

The room was so large, it almost had a sky, and flying above were dragons. Green lizards with spines running along their backs. Sick spread her arms wide.

"This is the...ah..garage?"

Katie stopped when Urian headed the opposite direction, then becoming a little confused in his pursuits. He looked to Sich, and then to the departing alien, before hearing out her explanation and giving a curt nod. "There are people in Tetan culture who expect you to read their minds too, but we call them idiots," He said, "The only difference that it never happens."

When the masonry turned from marble to squishy organ-like material, Katie's steps became inexplicably faster. Perhaps it was due to disgust that he hurried, it only becoming more evident as his pointed gaze watched his feet shuffle in front of eachother, and grimaced at the first squelch sound he'd heard. It was beginning to make sense, though. Their animals were their vehicles.

And they were inside of one.

Regardless, when they came to the door, he pulled his eyes away from the unfortunate flooring to the door. He jumped when the doorknockers seemed to growl, but quickly composed himself.

"We do not have much of anything you do," He said, before entering the 'garage'. Accordingly, his brow raised as his gaze shot from place to place, animal to machine. "No," He said, "We do not have anything like this."

For a full few minutes, he took in the sight of all. When he went to open his mouth, it was hard to form words, though when he did, it was foreign and meek. Another clear of the throat, and Katie spoke up.

"Your garage is far larger than the one I have," He said. "No, I have never seen anything like. Think I can excuse the poor carpetries for this."

He looked to Sich again, for if there was direction beforehand, he had lost it.

She reached her hand out to grasp his wrist. "Well, I thought...y'know. Since you're signing up for security, you have to learn to get along with everything and everyone at some level." She pursed her lips. "Does this unnerve you, Katie? You...look really surprised." the girl noted.

Sich looked up, watching as one of the large catlike vehicles approached them. It was Kaslane, greeting Katie with a nodd of her head.

"No," Katie said. "Well," He hesitated, before giving a half shrug. "Anyone would be surprised at this. Unnerved a little, but your animals seem nice when they are not trying to kill me."

Speaking of which, he looked back down. Upon seeing Kaslane, Katie jumped. After gaining his composure, he nodded to the beast.

"Well, they're only part of everything we do. But I guess that really doesn't go for here, huh? Weird." responded Sich. She lead Katie on. "So, what do you think? You'll get to ride one, if you really want! Well, you might even have to. Especially if you come to Misrana. It'll be how you get from one place to another. We have some yet-to-be-activated ATW's in the back. Vliyain encouraged us sharing our technology, so no one will mind!"

She began to climb Kaslane, sitting comfortably in the cusioned seat all the way atop the beasts back. She extended a hand to the archer. "C'mon. It's a bit of a walk."

"I have noticed this. You fly around space in giant whale-beetle," replied Katie, with a nod. "I suppose it could not hurt, learning early, anyway."

He looked at Kaslane as Sich extended her hand, a little unnerved. This was the beast that almost crushed him. It was obviously a very opinionated vehicle. He gave a nod of acknowledgement to the animal before warily grasping Sich's hand, and pulling himself up. The worst that could happen would be he'd be reared off.

That said, Katie clutched onto Sich's shoulder like a scared feline.

"Okay. Am ready."

Sich certainly was not complaining. She bit her lower lip, then reached to take one of several wires that were bunched into a pocket right ahead of the bars she was meant to hold. She flipped her wrist over, then inserted the wire into a small port inside of her gauntlet. There was a tiny spark before they began to rush off.

Kaslane began to buckle and shrink below them. If Katie looked over the side, he would see the most unusual thing. Wheels extended from Kaslane's chest and abdominals, paws grasping their middles and acting as track forks to steady them. Her neck shrunk, and a metal plate was lifted over her head, curving over the front wheel.

If Katie did not know any better, he would think he was on an almost perfectly normal, if large, motorcycle.

"Alright, hold on!" Sich cried, revving the accelerator. The wheels screeched before they were sent shooting forward, dodging any animal, alien, machine, and person in their way.

Katie did know better, however, and the grotesque transformation of the animal caught him by surprise, and by the expression on his face, he'd found it quite macabre. "Do all your animals do this?" He asked loudly, over the whipping air, the grip on Sich's shoulders tightening a little bit as they'd gone faster. He could only wonder if turning animals into vehicles was morally sound at all.

But that train of thought was soon lost as Sich revved the accelerator, and they speedily shot through the garage.

"Only ATW's!" replied Sich. "And, well, a few of the amphib units. But not the Kamakina! You'll learn what these are soon!"

They neared the opposite wall, she began to break. As she did, Kaslane's paws hit the ground, her neck extended, and the wheels disappeared into her body. They skidded right in front of a massive line of ATW's held up by hooks. They had the same amount of variance as everything Katie had already witnessed, but without the glowing lights and...well, life. As Sich slid from Kaslane's back, she held out a hand, like she had done before, to help Katie down. "We're here."

By the time they stopped, Katie was white-knuckled. He was happy to stumble off the vehicle and regain his balance once his feet touched the ground, clumsily, at that. He took a moment to lean on Kaslane with a hand to regain his composure, before looking ack up at where Sich had directed them. He glanced toward her for a split second before approaching one of the ATWs.

"Do all turn into cats?"

He ran his hand over the bike for a moment, inspecting its' parts, before backing off and turning to look back at Kaslane and his raven-haired tour guide.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: Sich Karis Character Portrait: Jessica Rose

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"No. The Callandaline are popular, but they're not the only ones! We have a lot of different ones. What you want might depend on how heavy or quick you want your ATW to be. Callandaline ATW's can scale buildings easy, but they can't handle heavy attacks, nor are they the best with stamina. Walkers that are more like...ah...I guess you call them wolves! They're good at stamina, can't climb, and...so on! It depends on what kind of features you want."

"Will take wolf," Katie started off, "Is not my intention to climb buildings, and I prefer dog." He said.

For a quick moment, he glanced them over again, before looking to Sich. "How do you tell which are wolf and which are cat?" He asked.

Before Sich would have a chance to answer, a seam formed in the wall the pair stood near. The oddly illuminated veins split as a steadily growing crack of light formed, an unseen doorway swinging open to reveal a third figure, slight in stature, with a pair of massive, ebony wings folded firmly against her shoulders.

Out of her traditional Misranan attire, the girl wore little more than a pair of loose slacks, and a thin, sleeveless blouse that left her middriff bare. The veins beneath her skin were unusually dark, and glittered faintly in different shades of blue when the light struck it. The tips of her wings glittered with a fibre-optic effect, even as she stood there observing the others.

Her eyes, a strange, cobalt blue, seemed to glow in the darkness.

She seemed surprised that someone was there, and, self-conscious of the fact that she wasn't well-covered, ducked her head, muttering an apology before slipping towards the dead ATW's.

"Sorry Sich," she said again, rolling her eyes at her own informality before ducking back to search for something.

"Waiiiit! Jessica!" cried Sich. "What're you doing? We've got a...um...foreigner on board! He's not Terran, but I don't know. He seems like a right good soldier to me. Or, ah. Security, right?" She reached up to pat him on the shoulder.

"Katie! This is Jessica, and Jessica....Katie! She's the keeper of a rather destructive force on this ship. Her name is Shadow. Beware." she informed the man. "He's looking for an ATW since he's joining. Isn't that exciting? Do you remember your first Walker?"

Katie quickly looked to the seam in the wall as it split and grew, forming a doorway for the newly entering woman. She was strange, sure, but she was no four-plus limbed alien, for sure. For a moment, Katie glanced between Sich and the new arrival, Jessica, looking for a hint of surprise. But even then, it seemed that people with wings opening walls and trotting through happened on a day-to-day basis.

Foreigners were weird, but rarely were they ever that weird.

When Sich cried out and introduced him, he nodded to the woman, a slight smirk played on his face. "Hello," He said, "Am Katie."

Regardless of whether the winged woman was facing him at the time, out shot a hand for her to shake. "And I am from Teta IV," He continued, glancing toward Sich as he had done so. "Am not soldier."

The very moment that Sich called out her name, Jessica froze, glancing back over her shoulder to give the other a withering look. She disliked how perpetually excited everyone was, how no one seemed to be able to leave her alone. It was driving Shadow up the wall, which in turn drove her up the wall.

But, she wasn't going to be rude. She turned back to the pair, walking over to take Katie's hand. She had a firm grasp, but didn't let her hand linger in his for too long.

"Hi." she replied, delivering a slight, shy smile. "I'm Jessica Rose, and I'm neither a soldier, nor a fan of Walkers."

He hasn't the faintest idea of what he's getting himself into, does he?

The voice at the back of her mind startled her for a moment. She dropped Katie's hand, and reached to scratch the back of her neck. "I trashed my first one not a week after having it. They frighten Shadow, too, so I tend to avoid them." She gestured to the walkers at their side. "But, they're meant for some and not for others. What made you decide to come to Misrana?"

What? Or who?

Caldor, really. Be quiet.

"You're a real spoilsport. That's what they call those here!" said Sich, looking upon Jessica disaprovingly. Walkers were Sich's life. "After all, it's not like they're just lifeless vehicles. Unlike all the cars here, that is." she sniffed, scratching the side of her nose. She beckoned to her own Walker, Kaslane, who walked over and sat next to Sich.

"A pleasure to see you again, Jessica." she said, the speakers behind her ears letting fluid sound form into words that would be understandable to both the women and Katie.

Which might have come as a surprise to the Tetan man. She had not yet spoken since meeting him.

Katie smiled and shook Jessica's hand; his handshake was light and surprisingly curt, and he protested none to the quickness of which she withdrew her hand. "Perhaps I should pick cat then, since you have such negative review?" He asked, albeit a little more than playfully. Being subject to the quip of Jessica (albeit to Sich) wasn't entirely in his nature.

He let his hand slack to his side, and raised a brow when the name 'Shadow' had been brought up again. He was almost ready to question the name, before Jessica had asked about Misrana. An obvious look of confusion subsided, and developed into a grin. "Well, the question is why not, I am sure? I come to travel. Most people of my culture do not leave Teta IV, until their ashes are scattered into space."

"I come to Terra on family business, I find they are in process of war. Not very good vacation spot, all things considered. Your parades and ship and people are fantastically different, though, and I am not to pass up an opportunity when one arises," He said, before looking to the source of the new voice.

It had visibly surprised Katie when the creature seemed to talk, and he soon looked between the ATWs and the creature.

"In retrospect, I pick cat."

She'd forgotten that the walkers could speak. Jessica flinched, looking over at Kaslane before offering the walker a hesitant smile. "It...isn't so much a negative review. I just tend to cling to old habits, and Walkers don't fit into that category."

But her eyes came back to Katie, the cobalt irises flashing as the man talked about his desires to travel. There was something hidden there, something like regret, but she masked it well with a carefully arranged, apathetic expression. "I suppose traveling appeals to some. I thought about doing a little bit of my own when I was...younger."

The chuckling in the back of her mind, that only she could hear, served to irritate her. "But you're right about 'different'. Terra is remarkably...uneventful, compared to where we come from. There's certainly surprises around every corner."

And before she could be questioned further, the woman lifted a hand, excusing herself briefly to disappear between the deactivated ATW's. A moment later, she returned, with what looked like a robotic spine slung over one shoulder.

"It's mine." she reassured Sich. "Shadow likes to step on it, so I hide it when I have to walk around with her." She looked to Katie once again, shrugging her shoulders, as though the situation was a common one.

"Good choice," Kaslane purred to Katie, a semblance of a smile on her features as her lips curled behind her reinforced teeth. Sich searched the mechanic tail almost suspiciously. "Ah. Right. Alulan tech. Every race likes to build something in their own image, right? That's why Ustelu caster units have six appendages, not four."

She reached up on the conveyer belt to drag the line of ATW's hanging from the metal claws over. "Cats...cats...so, you like climbing? Speed? Silence? There's variance in every line. Oh! Also, there's male, female, some that are neither. Sometimes the gender really does make a difference, but it all depends on their programming."

She sifled through them, every type with different deisigns, build, and statistics written down on a holographic pad on the wall to the side.

"If I did not throw old habits, I would not be here, yes?" asked Katie, before moving to the ATW belt with Sich. He still continued to talk to Jessica, however. "We are not allowed to move from planet until twenty years of Terran age, and until we serve years in military. Terran is far more interest than Teta, even though we adapt some of their concepts. Misrana does seem more so," His eyes were too busy looking to the different options to notice that Jessica had disappeared and reappeared again.

"...Silence would be better. I do not mind gender. I also like color brown," the archer said, as he moved to the holographic pad on the wall. His face was cupped in his hand as he viewed the options. "Er... And smaller breed?" Katie uneasily looked to Kaslane.

Soon enough, he looked to Sich, and then to Jessica. "Is good?"

The woman thought about what he'd said. It certainly would be nice to move on from old habits, wouldn't it? But could she realistically do that? Was there a possibility for her to just...make a name and a new life for herself beyond what had already been laid out for her?

You feel indebted. It's why you never leave, and its why you babysit that wraith of a being twenty-four-seven.

"I guess traveling here is somewhat out of my comfort zone." she admitted, looking towards the conveyor belt before suppressing a frown. The one he'd picked, or at least the options he favored, seemed reasonable.

The fiber-optics in her feathers glittered faintly as her wings shifted, and she turned to look at the door. "I'm on the second deck, Katie, if you want company. I gotta head back though. Things to do."

She glanced down at her tail, and then back to the soldier. "Welcome to Misrana, I suppose." She looked to Sich.

"See you around."

And then, without a backwards glance, Jessica moved back to the same spot through which she'd entered, and disappeared through the doorway in a brief flash of light.

Sich stared at Jessica before she walked out, her brows pinched. Her attitude always rubbed Sich the wrong way...

"Um. Well. Alright." she said, typing in a few specifics for Katie in the interface. She shook her head slightly. She should not linger on her attitude. She didn't even work with her most times. It would be alright.

"Well, Katie, you'll meet your new ATW tomorrow. The download process for the spirit into the unit takes a day or so. I'm sure he...or...she...or it! Will be happy to see you, however. So, whaddya say about showing me around Wing City?"

The setting changes from wing-city-spaceport to Wing City

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Sich was...so breathless.

She had seen buildings very much like the ones there, but there was a distinct difference. Everything was sharp angles, made of cement and metal and brick and all sorts of things slightly foreign to her.

"It's...a little less colorful than Zanzaria...but..." She walked out, hands clasping at her chest, eyes wide as two saucers, "I...well, it's amazing. Such strong smells. And it's so..." She looked at a few beggars, the man drunk in the alley, the obvious damage here and there done by Aschen.

"Rough. And I love rough. That's a food stand, right?" She reached for Katie's wrist, pulling him toward it.

"I want to try! How do we pay?"

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"Paper? That's really weird. That grows on trees, right?" she asked him, looking at the picture menu on the side of the truck. She saw one that looked strikingly familiar to a cookie. Sich knew what those were!

"That one," she said, touching her finger to the cookie ice cream sandwich. "You have that, right?" She looked up to the lady with all the hope and innocence in the world.

"And Katie...I wanted to ask...how long have you been practicing English? It's different than everyone else who speaks it! I don't know if our translator is broken or not!"

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Sich watched as Katie slid his fingers back to activate the very strange object on the back of his neck. She was no genius, or a technician, but she could guess well enough what it was.

“Was that implant painful?” she asked, eyes on the tubes running into his neck. With the amount of biotechnology she indulged in, and her culture as a whole in Misrana, she simply could not be disgusted, but she was certainly curious. “Ours do, sometimes. More for the aquatic unit driver implants. You need something adjusted to your spine for those, so I guess it’s not the same…but it’s still really intriguing. Do you think it would be easier if you could breathe without the tubes, though?”

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"We could probably help you with that. We have an engineer called Helmi. She's a genius. I'm sure she could figure something out." she told Katie, biting into her melting ice cream cookie. The woman could not have been more surprised. She drew back from the sudden cold. "My teeth are frozen!" she complained, licking at her not-terribly-pearly-whites. She tried to bite again, this time not as eagerly.

"Aquatic driver implants, yeah. They have a more technical name, but I don't know it in English. Here, I'll show you mine-" She put her hand on the back of her own neck, lifting up her hair.

There, he would be able to see the circular drive, like a round USB port, embedded in a metal plate with her skin growing around the edges. "It's to connect with the unit, see their thoughts, controlling it with their own, know how it works. It's a really different experience than riding an ATW!"

She let her hair fall back down, concealing it.

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"Yeah! For driving. But Misranan marine life is really frightening, and there's sinkholes and dangerous currents that only they can see that we can't unless seeing through their eyes. We travel a lot by sea because the Triumvirate have a big hold on the skies, and the sinkholes are a lot more dangerous when you're traveling in the air."

She began to walk off, chewing the ice cream slowly. It was certainly very sweet, once someone got past how ridiculously cold it was. Why would someone think of freezing their food in such a way?

"Hey, you said you learned English for two years. You can't be serious, right?" she asked. "Most of us have picked it up in the last two weeks. Maybe it's just part of our translators, but it seems easy!"

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Sich laughed out loud, nearly spitting her ice cream onto the ground. Her hand came to her mouth. "Well, this planet seems to have its own charms! There's so much I haven't seen before! There's no bio matter anywhere! How do things work? Is this planet polluted? How do even normal Terrans breathe when there's nothing to filter the planet's air? You Tetans seem to have the right idea with that breathing apparatus." She sucked in a big gulp of air, then grimaced.

"The air smells really strange, now that I think about it. It's lacking something. A distinct scent. Maybe our air is very different, too. But just the smell."

Her eyebrows went up at Katie. "What do you want to show me? What is it?"

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Weapon enthusiast was Sich's middle name. She nearly dropped the empty ice cream paper, the food long gone once Sich figured out the treat's charm, and pressed one hand against the glass.

"Brighton." she repeated, looking back at Katie. "This is a joke. It has to be. Really? So this all belongs to you?" She wanted to bolt into the store right there, right then.

And she did.

Well, she tried to. If it was locked, she would smash right into the door.

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Sich was a child in a candy store. Her eyes were glued from one weapon to the next, and though she did not understand a lot of the properties Terran and Tetan guns had, she could still marvel and imagine, even ask questions later. She had been surprised at the clerk and his warning, but not for long at all.

"You're absolutely full of surprises. I think I like this planet. And this store. And your people!" And one other person. "Very much!" She kept studying every weapon she could possibly get her eyes on.

"How much? I have plenty of credits, and I'm sure Kaslane wouldn't mind being outfitted with a few new weapons! She'll be ecstatic as myself!"

The setting changes from wing-city to Wing City Spaceport

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"You ready, Katie?"

Sich turned to look at the archer over her shoulder as they walked, feet sinking into the soft flooring. They were in the massive garage of the Lalitia, which took up a massive portion of the ship. Even so, there was plenty of space for the pools, the theater, the ballroom, private quarters, lavish dining halls, and more.

As they came toward the opposite end of the garage, where the dead ATW's were held, Sich smiled. "Since you chose a smaller breed, the computer went for a Qaviseri."

The conveyor belt shifted, revealing a large gap between the ATW rows. In the center of them, there was a large, metallic, round machine that melded to the ceiling. Light poured from the cracks before an opening suddenly melted in the side.

Something came running out of it speedily, dodging between its soulless brethren. As it skidded out in front of Katie with a roar, Sich motioned toward the lovely brown ATW. Where the metal did not cover and meld with its body, tawny stripes could be seen making a pattern upon its back and paws. Its thin tail, much unlike the Callandaline's own for the lack of armor, lashed behind it. The creature perked up its curled ears.

"This is Narikit." she said, presenting the new ATW to Katie.

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Narikit padded all the way to Katie, looking the man over curiously. It passed a glance to Sich, who nodded enthusiastically.

The bio-machine seemed hesitant, however.

"Kaslane doesn't have a tempter!" laughed Sich. "I don't know where you ever got that!" She walked up to the vehicle, who was slightly larger than waist height. Still large, but much smaller than the towering Callandaline, who's shoulder height matched those of both Katie and Sich's.

"Alright, Narikit. Give Katie what the Terrans call a 'high-five', will you?" Sich asked the animal. It sat down obediently on its haunches, raising one paw toward Katie, revealing the black, soft material on the bottom. "You wanted her to be very silent, so her paws have been cushioned with a cottonlike substance on the inside." she informed Katie.

"Alright, Narikit. Give Katie a good look at how armed you are."

The Qaviseri ATW roared, displaying a row of pearly-whites, all very sharp. Metal claws sang as they extended from her paws, and several sections of metal slid out of view to allow two small machine guns to be released from hidden pockets.

"Less armed than my Kaslane, but, then again, not many take the same precautions as I do!" laughed Sich.

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Narikit was a large, dangerous animal. Not only an animal, but a bio-machine, all driven by a spirit embedded into its core. Even then, the creature could still feel at its nerve ends, and could not help but give a low groan of pleasure as it was scratched. Any hesitation from before had now been erased.

Sich could not be happier, herself. Katie was a ladies man, it seemed, and not just with humans. "I wouldn't pass up anything like that in a lifetime!" she exclaimed. "This...when do you want to learn? Now? Now is a good time! We should get to the obstacle course! Test her out while you learn!"

She turned around, one hand running up the Caster gauntlet on the opposite arm. It had been hidden behind the black sleeve of her uniform, which she drew up.

Right at the top of her wrist, there was a myriad of colorful buttons to one side, and several rows of similar grey buttons right beside it. Her fingers spread over to a square blue button, pressing it.

Just seconds after she had done so, a certain gigantic black ATW came pounding after them. Kaslane did no stop short, no. She kept running until Sich hooked her arm around her neck and swung herself up onto the propped seat on the creature's back.

"You don't have to learn to do tricks like that yet. Just board Narikit and I'll instruct you from that point on. There should be a foothold on the side to help you up."

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"No, not far. It wouldn't make sense to make it far from here, would it?" she told him, the information obvious to her.

Katie's seat would be cushioned, with the backrest coming to mid-shoulder blade. There were shallow grooves in Narikit's sides where the Tetan's legs would fit in perfectly, and if he did just that, straps would slither out and tighten over his calves and just above his knees, keeping him in place.

There was a sort of steering wheel, similar to that which one would find in an aircraft, sitting in front of Katie. Upon grabbing it, a holographic screen would appear in front of him, displaying a list of commands, a small, revolving display of his ATW and her condition, and yet more diagrams which he would have to learn in time.

"Alright, you see that? That'll tell you a bunch about Narikit when you ride. You can get rid of the display if you need to concentrate, though. There's a green button next to your thumb. Just click that and it'll disappear."

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"Press your heels back. Slowly at first! When you want to turn, you lean to the side. If you want her to jump, lift the handles. Got all that?" she asked him. She turned Kaslane, walking off down the garage floor, toward another large door not one hundred feet away. "C'mon!"

Kaslane began a slow canter, with Sich looking back to make sure Katie was able to follow.

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Katie's keels would meet the pedal he had expected to find, and Narikit began to walk forward. Despite shifting weight from one paw to the next, Katie would not find himself swaying froms ide to side upon the seat, the same as one would sometimes do upon a horse.

"Alright! You can walk, at least!" laughed Sich. "Try increasing speed a little. Get used to it."

With that, she bounded off with Kaslane toward the bronze door on the other side, coming to an easy stop in front of it. She brought out a card that had been in her pocket and slipped it within a small slit adjacent to doors.

The doors slid open smoothly, just like all the others Katie had seen previous. Sich rode her walker inside, placing her eyes forward, onto the long maze ahead of them. All they could see now was a narrow hallway, but once one walked further in, the real obstacle course would present itself.

"Heads up: it's a bit dangerous, but if you have even a bit of intelligence, you should get through it fine! First test is maneuvering, which is what you should learn first. Trust Narikit! Don't be afraid, okay?"

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"Alright, great! I'll be watching from an observation platform, so just go ahead and try to figure it out as you go!" she told him, disappearing from the doors.

It was just Narikit and Katie, now. The Qaviseri turned her head to glance at Katie, as if asking him if he was ready, then pointed her eyes forward.

The path would open up in a fork. To the left, there was a square room of about fifty feet in length and width. The room was filled with long poles that started from the ground and met the ceiling. Some were too close for even an ATW of Narikit's size to squeeze through. They were presented, here, with a winding maze.

One of the poles would spark.

They were electrocuted.

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Narikit, with a small groan that probably meant "Yes," obeyed Katie strictly, taking the turns and maneuvering as he ordered. There were a few round holes on the ground, probably where previous electric poles had probably been installed.

All thought of that had been erased as something extended from it into the ceiling. Narikit altered her movement just slightly to avoid it, giving a small growl of unease.

They would come to a clear path ahead of them with many of those same holes in the ground.

One could clearly guess what was about to happen.

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As they approached the hole, and again one of the electric pikes shot up, meeting the ceiling. The second they walked away, it would recede back into the ground, confirming one of Katie' theories.

The field in front of them confirmed something else: they would have to run it until they got to the other side.

It almost sounded as though Narikit sighed.

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As they ran, a river of electrical poles lifted behind them. They, too, picked up pace, and Narikit was beginning to get nervous, herself. Just as Katie began to relax, a wall of poles lifted up in front of them with a slim doorway, and Narikit skidded, halting by slamming right into the wall, but leaning away so that her rider would not come in contact with it.

The shock administered was not fierce, but it was enough to tear a pained snort from the ATW. She began to saunter through the low door, ducking for Katie.

That was one of the first rules programmed into the machine's mind: keep the rider safe at all costs.

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There was not much left of the room, and Katie only needed to keep a vigilant eye and have a bit of common sense to worm through the rest of the maze until they came to the doorway, which slid up to reveal the next room.

It was a long track, but only fifteen feet wide, with tall, dark walls on either side. There were arrows in the center of the track, pointing ahead.

A test of speed.

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The end did not come quickly. As they rushed forward, however, the holographic interface would suddenly pop up in front of Katie's face.

Remember how to jump!


It would dissolve just in time for Katie to see the seemingly bottomless pit opening up in the ground, with two arrows at the sides pointing upward.