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The Multiverse

Sky's Edge

70 INK

a part of The Multiverse, by Remæus.

A planet with terrestrial features whose primary terrain is jungle. Unlike other planets within the system, it is superficially Terran in it's nature. Except for a few items of toxic plant life, the atmosphere is breathable and manageable for most humans

Absenthia holds sovereignty over Sky's Edge, giving them the ability to make limited changes.

3,198 readers have been here.

Setting



The ecology of Sky's Edge is superficially Terran, and includes recognizable plants and animals such as the hamadryad, but has been known to be metabolically incompatible with Terran flora and fauna, causing fatal anaphylactic shock in any creature or person who tried to consume it.

Sky's Edge was relatively backwards compared to most other human-settled worlds, as it possesses little in the way of high technology, and few can afford things such as the "immortality" treatments readily available elsewhere in colonized space. With perpetual war raging on Sky's Edge is the reason for this: the planet has exported little except a few biological products harvested from its extensive jungles, and most of its industries are already devoted to the war.

Trading ships stop by about once a decade, usually after being snubbed by traders in more lucrative markets such as the Yellowstone-Terra or Langara-Yellowstone-Sol routes. The people of Sky's Edge rarely buy anything but weapons from the passing traders.
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Sky's Edge

A planet with terrestrial features whose primary terrain is jungle. Unlike other planets within the system, it is superficially Terran in it's nature. Except for a few items of toxic plant life, the atmosphere is breathable and manageable for most humans

Minimap

Sky's Edge is a part of Epsilon Eridani.

9 Characters Here

El Frente Rojo [78] A faceless, dying outfit indistinguishable from the sea of other Skye's Edge rebellions
Yuri Nikolaev [78] Former mercenary, and now unwilling Captain of El Frente Rojo
The Montesquieu Twins [76] The Newest Generation to the Korpulu Sector Terran Old Money Family, Aimless Dilettantes with too much spare time.
Sprinkles Thothess [72] Bvetin encouraged my matriarch to take chances. So here I am!
Todoroki [55] Todoroki. What else?
Thomas Lawson [50] I will devote my life to fighting the Aschen Empire. I will only rest when the fight is over.
Jack Scott [23] Children of the Ash member, Underground radio talk show host.
Xamoyan animals [9] A placeholder for posts relating to animals native to Xamoyos

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Vehicles

Indefatigable


Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dread Pirate Captain Blackheart
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#, as written by Sepokku
"Come one, come all! I've got weaponry to conquer the entire planet! Buy now, before your competition grabs it up and ousts you!" The ex-pirate smiled a wolf's grin and kicked his feet up, leaning further back in his lawn chair as he did. A long sip of a Pina Colada wet his whistle, and the man couldn't help but daydream about his unfathomable success. Omnia giggled in his ear "You'd think these people have never seen an undead robot before."

"Can't blame 'em, this ass-backwards planet is practically stuck in time." He took another long sip from the straw in his coconut cup, before his favorite servitor poured him another drink. His ship was behind him, casting a long shadow, which he lounged in from the comfort of his lawn chair. So far he'd made a killing selling literally any weaponry he could get his hands on, most of which he'd appropriated from his bounties. Business was so profitable, it allowed him to purchase a large factory, which was now pumping out more and more for him to bring here and sell.

"It's like printing money! These people are so desperate to kill each other," he Captain barked a laugh, unable to contain himself. Not to mention the dead bodies they leave behind make great servitors. Ahh such is the circle of life Bezalel immediately ruined the Captain's mirth and a frown spread across his face. The demon was right, of course, it just wasn't how he wanted to start his day.

Blackheart tried to distract himself by climbing his ship, The Bleeding Heart, but as he hung from an ion cannon he couldn't help but feel a little empty inside. I really am no better than those Terran arms dealers I so readily condemned. I can't even be bothered to care about the lives I'm destroying here. What's wrong with me...? The howl of wind answered his question, and he had to put a hand on his tricorn, lest it be taken by the sudden gale.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo
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The sudden noxious hiss of a nearby grate jogged Captain Nikolaev from his cross-eyed stupor, the tiny ember that had burned its way down to the filter etched in the center of both retinas. Before he was capable of any real coherence the hair on the back of his neck began to bristle, and a klaxon horn of alarm began revving in the back of the mercenary's mind

"Still do the cigarette thing, huh?"

"да." He let the spent butt fall from his lips freely, and a veritable cloud of stale smoke erupted with his brusque response, blanketing the tiny, fetid alleyway. Demonstrating the sort of habitual muscle memory only an addict could achevie, his foot shot forward of its own accord, stamping it out under his heavy black work boots. "Who's asking?"

"Private Alonzo Varela, señor," The voice was much closer now, indicating an unsettling ability for concealed movement to the Captain. "We met once, last summer in Mexia actually."

Yuri turned slowly, his left hand inconspicuously
disappearing into his jacket, an extra sidearm tucked away mere inches from his pack of cigarettes. Just in case. "Not my favorite meatgrinder, was too damn hot for a 'major city'."

A small wave of relief washed over the eternal pessimist as the familiar, grinning face of the Private greeted him. Tall, and wire-y Alonzo was a recognizable man with his sharp, but attractive features, bleached blonde faux-hawk, and twany, dark brown skin. He was clad in the same dull blue maitence jacket, cargo pants and work boots as Yuri, with the added bonus of an Autogun slung over his right shoulder. The two exchanged quick informal nods, the days of saluting and pomp long gone, before embracing, and patting one another on the back as comrades.

"That it was Captain, really made those unfortunate enough to die pungent, too." Alonzo pulled back from the brief contact, rolling his shoulder to reposition the rifle. "Two more men are en route, and the medic is already waiting at Bay Seven."

With another nod the Captain took a second to think, creating a convient moment to light up another smoke. "Xороший, хороший," he croaked between a heavy drag, "Has he said if this one is worth a damn?"

"Well..Our contact sure can't sing its overly vague praises enough."

"Hah!" A thick streams of smoke oozed out of both of Yuri' s nostrils despite his best effort to contain a snort. "Nor could he the last three disasters. If this one doesn't yeild anything of value.." He let himself trail off, exhaling another miniature nicotine cloud.

Having someone on the inside track of the largest - and almost only- Orbital Drydock for Sky's Edge was supposed to be a massive tactical advantage. A treasure trove of supplies, and raw materials. Yet so far it had been nothing but a procession of red herrings, and rusted scrap to the point Yuri half wondered if he wasn't being sent in a goose chase. One that had already cost him several men, and now had the last of their dwindling rations staked on it.

Glancing down at his watch he couldn't help but sigh as anticipation started to mix with dread. "Ten more minutes, да?"

"Yeah, then it's balaclavas down, guns up."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo
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Across the dark expanse of space surrounding the planet, communications bands crackled to life with radio traffic between the small orbital dry dock and a nearby tug towing in another ship for scrap as part of Baqui's orbital reclamation projects in the Epsilon system.

"Victoria Approach, tug 121SE Atlas requesting to transition your airspace to the north." The tug's pilot requested over the channel, his words barely understandable amidst the static and background interference. Holding the com and waiting the pilot checked his external monitors one more time. The ship was an unusual one with it's ice coated hull and flat black paint; it had seen quite a bit of damage outside of the Epsilon system from something that he wasn't terribly interested in guessing at. All he knew was he got paid either way, as long as he continued to work this route.

"Atlas one-two-one, turn left heading two-seven-zero to intercept the localizer, cleared for dock two-four into station, maintain two-thousand-five-hundred feet until established." Came a hissing and popping response over the coms band. The tug pilot sighed in relief as the station traffic control responded. "Turn left heading two-seven-zero, cleared for dock two-four into Victoria, maintain two-thousand-five-hundred feet until established. Atlas one-two-one." He replied as he fed the instructions into the navigation AI on the ship. It was a simplistic thing, and was really only good for what it had been designed for.

It didn't take long before the hulking mass of the ship was situation with scraping thud into the dry dock. On closer inspection, the hull where the ice had been scraped away was full of dents and several gouges. Main communications and cameras had been violently torn off, and it appeared that the starboard navigation package had been completely obliterated at best. The ship had likely seen better days, but this seemed like the end of the road for it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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"Hey, hey!" The effort it took Behzad to choke out just those two words was staggering.

They rattled out of his chest in ragged gasps, reverberating more from a quartet of broken lungs than his damaged vocal chords, barely managing to crack the cell's oppressive silence. Fuck. Mustering what strength he had left, and using the chain that connected his various shackles to a tract in the ceiling, the soldier forced himself up off the damaged concrete floor. Twice he stumbled, unable to put his full weight on a battered shin, but the cuts and gouges the loose rubble have him just served to piss him off more, and gut it out.

"Hey, you!" he croaked, straining against the vertical limits of his chains to get a glance at what amounted to the last beacon of hope in his dimming world.

The cell, a large, decaying concrete cube roughly the size of a shipping container, had all of one light source - a half dead, low output LED bar that slowly flickered right in the middle. Part of Behzad wondered if that wasn't just neglect, but a psychological weapon as he squinted to catch a view of the mystery woman on the other side. He couldn't see shit. A lot of that was the dehydration, head trauma, and caked on blood, but blaming that Betepian fuck made him feel good. Helped him cling to life.

Bracing himself Behzad took a deep, hissing breath, willing his body to function whether it wanted to or not. "HEY LAD-" A violent torrent of coughing cut him short, adding to the agony, but echoing through the cell like thunder.

"I'll take it," he thought, wiping the blood from his mouth, and focusing on where he was pretty sure they had dumped the woman.

At least he thought it had been woman, the guards had just drug a beaten, bloody mass in and quite literally threw it in. He only got a brief, hazey glimpse, but he was pretty sure, and from the shape the guards were in, and how they talked about their newest prisoner, she gave as good as she got. That's what sparked hope, but that was hours ago. Many hours ago.

And he hadnt heard a sound since.

"You even alive over there?" Damn did speaking hurt more than ever.

Behzad would give it a minute, but if she didn't respond soon he wouldn't give up, scooping up some small rubble to toss over.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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She was alive, as evidenced by a low moan of pain as she struggled to roll over before lapsing back into unconsciousness. Everything hurt, and she couldn't remember what had happened this time. Things were starting to get out of control, and waking up in strange places wasn't on her list of approved activities.

"F..uck.." Rei groaned as she started to come around again. Running a tongue around through her mouth, she could feel a few loose teeth and empty sockets. Nothing that wouldn't eventually get sorted out, but for now it made for a gore filled and bleeding mouth. Further contemplation only made her realize how much everything hurt, and why she hadn't opted to have any sort of the medi-chines or pharma packages installed; that could have at least alleviated some of the pain. Just laying there and breathing hurt, and the whine of the ballast on the electronic lights over head didn't make it any better.

"Kill me.." She coughed before spitting up blood onto the dirty concrete of the cell. This likely wasn't going to kill her, not this time anyway, but it was damn sure going to feel like it.

That still didn't change the fact that Rei had no idea where she was at the moment. Briefly she remembered something on board Ghost Dance, but that had been a brief scuffle right? Nothing too uncommon when someone decided that the terms of a deal weren't worth adhering to. However, she found herself increasingly concerned that she was just now waking up in some strange cell somewhere. Briefly her mind flashed back to the Aschen ship she'd run into, and wondered if this was the last stop before they decided to kill her for some imagined insult or broken rule.

'No..' She thought to herself as she tried to concentrate through the pain that seemed to threaten to engulf and drown her into it's depth. Then there was a voice, it didn't sound Aschen, but there was a first for everything she supposed. However, it's sudden interest in her well-being immediately made her reject the idea that she was somewhere close to near Langara. The oppressive heat, humidity, and stench, what little she could smell through a nose clogged with blood, told her no.

She had never known the Aschen to like the heat, or even remotely tolerate it. They generally opted to inhabit cooler climates, and also didn't tend to toss people into concrete cells.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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"Well I'll be damned," Behzad could hear the skin of his lips cracking with each vowel, "You really are alive, aren't you?" He tried to chuckle, but all that came out was more coughing, blood, and phlegm. Looking down at it churned his stomach, reminding him if just how long it had been. Three days since I've had a fucking drink. Five since bread.

His vision blurred, the lack of oxygen from this coughing fit taking him dangerously close to unconsciousness. All I have to do...Is give up. Even the mere thought I stopping seemed to send his body into shutdown, strength fleeing. His legs began to give out underneath him, causing Behzad to stumble forward, planting both legs out of instinct. Full weight on the leg they beat made him want to scream, but it also sharpened his vision up, kept him awake. Wide awake.

"Embrace the suck!" A sea of flashblacks broke, days in basic, Airborne CRT, Delta One training. Years of pain, and agony flew buy in mere moments. Lances don't relent..Not a single step back..

"You..You as fucked up as you looked?" Behzad rhasped, reaching up as best he could to grab onto his chain for support. "Can you move?" He wrapped it around his left arm repeatedly, then went limp, letting it keep him upright at the cost of his shoulder.

To the last breath..

"If you can you need to move your ass, now, lady.." His eyes shot over to the door - a singular steel slab amid all the concrete. It had a pneumatic locking system, and biometrics. Opened from the outside only, and as far as Behzad knew, was the only thing keeping them here. That, and his chains.

"I didn't see them shackle you, and you've been out hard for hours." He tried to do the math, but days - let alone hours had blurred together weeks ago. It was pointless. How long have I been here.. "Fuck, that means they probably medicated you, that Yeti-fucker likes his sedatives, but you being awake means whatever dose they gave you is burning off. A dose they calculated.."

Behzad figured they had minutes at most, a whole half hour if it was a busy day. He prayed his cellmate had maimed, or murdered enough to leave them understaffed.

"They don't just leave us unattended, and free to roam. If you want to make it out of here, you need to get up! Now!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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"I was last time I checked." Rei replied bluntly to her cellmate as she rolled over onto her back. Healing from this little adventure was going to suck, especially with little to no medical assistance apparent wherever there was. Rei knew that for whatever odd reason she healed quicker than most, but the trade off seemed to be an inability to tolerate most technological advancements in medicine; at least what had been available to her. Drugs seemed to not have much affect at the least or didn't last long before her system purged them.

"I'll survive.." She groaned as she did a quick mental head to toe scan. A few deep bruises where the first things she noticed, then the pain began to settle around certain areas like her arms, legs, and ribs. It hurt to breath, it hurt to speak, it even hurt to think too much beyond a few choice words to her new cellmate. "Drugs.. oh that's nice.. yeah those don't work so well on me." Rei muttered as she slowly sat up, only to lean back over and vomit dark bile.

"Fuck this..." She grumbled to herself as things spun dizzily. How much of the sedative had they given her? She hadn't had a reaction like this before. Vomiting was generally a sign of worse things, like her body's inability to process whatever they had given her, and the potential for the dosage to more than kill her.

"One thing at a time, keep your damn pants on..." Rei snapped as another wave of pain washed over her. Trying her best to ignore it, she looked at the door then ventured to ask, "Where is here..." as she pushed herself away from the puddle of fluids on the floor. Leaning back against a wall, she closed her eyes for a moment trying to replay events in her head. At the moment she didn't have much of a desire to get out, just for things to stop spinning and her stomach to stop trying to turn itself inside out.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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A genuine smile began to form on Behzad's craggy, bleeding lips. He'd been hoping for a soldier - a fellow Lancemen preferably, but hell IDF, FPF, IIP, any would have done. Would've given them a chance. It was clear this woman however didn't have a lick of discipline, or self restraint, probably never saw a useful day of training in her life, and wouldn't know honest work from shoeshine. A civvie.

And yet..

There was just something about her, a glint under that blustering persona that drew his eye. He was a pretty good judge of character, and knew it; service had taught him well.

Thirteen weeks of watching egos, and swinging dicks wash out does that..

Behzad pulled himself back up, and tried to get a good view again. "Drugs don't work, eh?"

He caught a glimpse of her - or at least he thought he did. Sitting upright as far as he could tell. Damn good sign..

"Well miss shit hot endocrine system, you are currently packed nut to butt on the Fucked Express.." he stifled another cough, all too aware of how close to tearing his throat was. The blood from his lips helped keep the dryness down, crude but effective.

"Also known as 'El Cenote,' a giant underground filing cabinet for a man named Yuri," Behzad would've spat the name, but that took energy. "You probably met him on the way in. Likes to keep his hands dirty."

Pausing for a moment, Behzad thought as quick as he could in his battered state. If she was the real deal they had time, possibly hours to ready themselves. All he had to do was get her on the same page, and something told him that was going to be the real bitch of it all.

"Semper I, fuck the other guy." Just what I need for a second time..

"Alright, my turn, you gotta name, lady?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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"Yeah, Harkov." Rei replied, as she massaged and worked her lower jaw. 'Damn... that hurts.' She thought, partially distracted by the pain and wondering if she dared to attempt to move any more. Rei had pronounced the name like most natives to the Epsilon system, where languages had become a mash of various old Terran cultures and anything else the early colonists had brought with them from Sol. Eventually the language had split into at least three different variations, Canasian, Russish, and Common, with a few other trade languages sprinkled in for good measure.

"No.. drugs don't work 9 out of 10 times." She confirmed a second time shaking her head gingerly. "It's complicated." The woman added almost as an after thought. Rei knew that there was supposed to be more to this, but the details were just out of reach under the surface. 'El.. Cenote... oh hell...' She thought again, realizing where exactly she was. It wasn't Origin or any of the Aschen planets, but instead a distant, lush, tropical world that was deadlier than most ever realized. Sky's Edge, while beautiful, and more than capable of supporting human life, had since it's settlement been home to a perpetual war waging across it's jungles.

"But Yuri huh? Sounds like the bastard I found on my ship after waking up." Rei said after a moment, thinking just how satisfying it had been to break the intruders bones. In her defense, coming out of a hastily prepared cryo-stasis wasn't always easy, and she had been understandably disoriented. What she remembered before going down, was that Specter, her AI had been instructed to wake her when they reached an appropriate repair point. Rei hadn't exactly expected to wake up to what looked like someone trying to hijack her ship.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Harkov..

The name, and woman's accent bounced around his head, tripping entire fields of mental alarms he was too exhausted to suss out. He attempted to place it, but a general discomfort quickly washed over him. It was that familiar feeling again, that one were he suddenly felt profoundly wrong in his own skin. Itchy. Even his eyes.

True cognitive dissonance, Behzad knew the answer to a question his mind was too depleted to properly formulate yet. He also knew he couldn't except it, couldn't stop to deal with it, not yet anyway.

"Improvise..."

"If that's even a third true," he didn't notice he'd been scratching his left arm until a filthy, shattered fingernail broke skin. "God damnit," he hissed, "If I don't starve first, I'll die of fucking dysentery."

Suddenly restless the man paced back towards the wall, his chains rustling with each limping step. "Yuri Nikolaev to be exact, calls himself 'Captain'.." This time Behzad did spit, blood, and ooze hitting the ground with an exaggerated splat. "Merc out of Betep, that pinko little icecube of a planet on other side of the Aschen line. Fancies himself a saviour. You mentioned a ship, though.."

He thought for a moment, wading through months worth of eavesdropped snippets he was lucky enough to catch. He knew for a fact El Frente Rojo was still Sky's Edge contained, and it sure sounded like the clusterfuck of an "uprising" was on the ropes. They wouldn't have a chance if they opened up another front, not to mention the possible attention from the Navy, Baqui..

Baqui! Frasier ain't dead then...

"Well Ms.Harkav," Bezhad's left hand twitched, nails raking his other arm absent mindedly, "I've good news, and I've got bad. Good news is I know where your ship is, bad news is its probably not in one piece anymore."

Bezhad leaned against the wall, his leg screaming for relief even if it meant fractructed ribs scratching his lungs with each full breath. Just think about gutting him, just think about gutting him..

"They run a chop way the fuck out in the jungle, then use their contact," My fucking contact. "to launder in parts, or deliver to buyers who just don't care.." Bezhad nodded to himself. "They break shit down fast."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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"Just... Harkov..." She said as she fought back another wave of nausea and pain. Things would sort themselves out eventually, but this time she wasn't sure where she and her new companion in the cell would be going. Either way, it looked like she was being held captive on Sky's Edge by some small time pirate stupid enough to try to traffic parts out of the system.

"Depends on if they got past the overrides..." Rei said tiredly, noticing that they'd taken liberties to check her person for weapons; removing the blade she tended to keep in her right boot and the coms bracelet. "It's an old ship though, so..." She added with a halfhearted shrug. Though, she would still pay good money to see them go up against an Alpha level, when most ships were Beta or below. But still, when she thought about it, it had been a good run and the ship had proven itself nearly invaluable. The Ghost Dance had it's share of unusual equipment, and a good bit of it was designed to keep intruders out and client's relatively honest.

However, there was still the nagging question of the strange Aschen woman and her ship. Thinking back to it, none of it added up. The other shouldn't have let her go so easily, or only demanded payment for damages that she hadn't even inflicted. Most of those were from the woman pulling maneuvers meant for suicide missions.

The resulting running fight had been mostly what decimated Ghost Dance like it was, and in some ways Rei was thankful that a stray shot had taken out a critical memory bank. Not for the AI, but other information stored on day to day activities.

"Hah, other side of the Aschen line... imagine that." Rei snorted having a fair idea where that line stopped recently. Most patrols in the system by the Aschen were half assed, and done as little as possible. In many ways, she suspected that they didn't know what to make of such a system like Epsilon; especially with it's potential to become dependent again. "But.. it doesn't surprise. Sky's Edge is known for that." She commented.

The planet and it's constant war, was most smuggler's fondest dream. Things could be off loaded with no questions asked to a clientele that was far from choosy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Everything in this disused musty place already had the noises it would die with. They echoed everywhere through a meagre ventilation system small enough to be clearly not invested in their continued breathing. Fan bearings creak or hydraulics sing telltale pitched screams before their final energetic peal before ultimate death. Though another noise stood out from those rhythmic ones as an unrelenting periodic. Chains raising from the floor from familiar clinking. The impulse of force conducting through stone somewhere nearby. Simultaneous choruses of metal arise as links pull taut then scrape against each other in complaint at the force used. However the chain's pitched scrape wavered with a flexing anchor. Fracturing amalgam leaking out as stone fails to hold firmly together. Showers of pebbles heard raining from wounds on mouldering concrete earth then to scatter.

In the cell one over a lanky female shape with bulbous eyes stood one leg firm to the concrete wall then pulled hard. As her body gave way from her injuries the cracking stops. As Sprinkles crashes to the floor of her cell to recover for a few minutes. Thereafter the clinking chain began once more as three arms struggle to reposition the exhausted body as muscles shake to stands once more into the dark. A milky leaking hand grasps the chain to begin again the will of a matriarch battered but still unbroken. However no voice rang out from pain not even one to vocalize the effort. Only the chain itself made any effort to alert as to its existence and uncertain future.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov
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Drip followed drip after drip, as water patiently wore a path through the cement and ancient stone of the cenote carved deep into the planet's bedrock. Scattered across the planet's surface, whether they result of early pre-settlement planetary impacts or the local geology was unknown. Although artifacts from an earlier time had been found in cenote's of the past, those were now long gone having traded hands several times over, as groups eager to continue the planet's status quo had seen these as a source of funding. What was known however, was that the environment of the cenote was especially useful for getting rid of things you didn't want around anymore. In the case of Sky's Edge and it's constant civil war, that meant people.

This particular cenote happened to have been a favorite with the local rebellion out of Nueva Valparaíso, who had sunk quite a bit of time and effort into their holdings deep under ground.

With the central shaft of the cenote to provide them access for small aircraft, any further tunneling was carved into the native bed rock. Reinforced with shotcrete and steel, it was primitive in comparison to other installations elsewhere in the galaxy. But what it lacked in cutting edge technology, it certainly made up for elsewhere. Anyone foolish enough to go down into the cursed hole and live to tell the tale was often regarded as insane at best.

Drifting in and out of consciousness, Rei found herself unable to tell how long she had been down in the cenote. She remembered talking to a man who for all she knew had been one of the guards sent babysit her. What she did remember was coming out of cryosleep and finding it strange that there were people on what should have been her ship. They had put up quite a fight, but Rei generally gave as good as she got and had likely left several of them with lingering injuries. "Fucking hell hole..." Rei thought to herself as she strained to listen past the silence for anything that would tell her something, anything about a way to escape.

The reward for her efforts was more silence and darkness. It seemed to say that they had put her in holdings at some far corner of the labyrinthine passages dug off the central shaft of the cenote, and then promptly forgotten about her.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins
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The Montesquieus were never meant to be in a place like Skyfall. Circumstances that were WILDLY out of their own control in the last forty eight hours had left them with a huge supply of contraband that they could not get rid of and if they had been caught with could mean several life sentences over. They needed to dump everything. And dump everything fast.

"You are not holding it!" Edmund had whined to his brother. Both now carrying what was a large biohazzard container between the pair of them. The young men were protected in environmental exo-suits which covered them head to toe in a light armored padding and a shielded visor helmet over their heads. Skyfall was an extremely dangerous place, and thankfully off the radar of several major governmental entities.

Almario Montesquieu shifted his full weight forward. Not to help. But to slap the other's helmet in disgust. "I WOULDN'T BE LIFTING ANYTHING if YOU Hadn't agreed to be a dam mule you idiot!" He cursed the other. The two were at the base of the cenote. Moving among the old structures of the semibombed out ruin.

"There should be an old war shelter underneath this this pile of stones and bones! Help me find an entrance."

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins
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How the twins had gotten themselves across the wide empty gulf of space between planets was something that most of Sky's Edge and its residents wouldn't care about. The planet was constantly in a state of flux thanks to a 300+ year long civil war, a war that many forgot what had even started it and people came and went. But when the Aschen had come however, all they had left a trail of chaos in their wake as they attempted to assimilate the local populace and waged battle with the local flora and fauna. After all was said and done, all they used it for was as a testing ground for the exploration and potential colonization of other similar worlds. More than wary of the bush and it's potential inhabitants, soldiers didn't tend to venture out far past the reaches of their barracks.

Just when Rei had been about to resign herself to whatever fate awaited her in the cenote she heard a noise. 'Wait..' She thought to herself shaking her head. The darkness could do strange things to anyone down in it long enough. But there it was again, a scraping noise and what sounded like voices. To her it sounded like they weren't speaking the native Norte, a Spanish amalgamation spoken by natives on Sky's Edge, but she couldn't be certain.

Drawing a ragged breath, she squinted across to where she guessed the cell door was. That's where she had to be right? She had woken up, face first on the wet floor of the cell, or so her companion at the time had informed her. What had happened to him, Rei didn't know. 'This is getting out of hand...' She thought to herself as she listened to more of the noises. It definitely didn't sound like any of the ones who had thrown her down here, wherever here was. A cenote could mean so many things, and while el cenote wasn't exactly vauge, it wasn't exactly specific either. "Hey!!" She shouted, trying to make herself as loud as possible.

"Hey!! Someone's down here!!" Rei shouted again. She wanted out of whatever this dark, wet, hell hole was supposed to be and to get her ship back. After that she was burning ions until she put enough distance between herself and Sky's Edge.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins
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The Montesquieus both looked to one another. “What was that!?” Oh fuck! Someone was down there!? They sounded angry. Edmund began to hyperventilate inside his exo-suit. Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Almario SMACKED the other’s helmet again. “Will you stop being such a god damn chickenshit!? You were the one that wanted adventure! Well this is what adventure is stupid! Its dangerous! And puts us at unnecessary risk!”

“Shot it! Shot it!” Edmund pleaded. Dropping the huge biocontainer on the rough wet ground. Stumbling behind his kin as if the other could shield him from bodily harm. Almario hands were shaking as he took out his sidearm. Standard p22 pistol which he took to SWAT his brother into the chest. OW! The other went on his knees for a moment holding his chest.

“Stop it! I didn’t even hit you that hard!” The other complained like a shit. Ow… Ow… Sob… Sob… Oh for fuck sake. “…I…” Common. Quit it. “I hate this place…I hate you!” Was he crying?? “You don’t hate me…” Almario uttered a little concerned. “YES I DO! I will hate you all of my life! You are cruel!” “…Quit it…”

It was then when the two twins realized they were now standing in front of the barrels of weapons that were FAR more powerful than the measly peashooter they shared. Right across from them in combat fatigues and mismatch of looted uniforms, military equipment and hardware were six very rough looking people. Each armed with a heavy bolt action rifle, plasma thrower, or repurposed miner laser as it seemed the local populace would fight with ANYTHING they could get their hands on.

Holyshit! Holyshit! Both raised their arms up as a rather large woman moved up and just took the handgun off Almario’s hands. “Oh god! We are going to die! We are going to die!” Edmund panicked as Almario was trying to make his brother to SHUTIT!

Two of the armed bandits forced the twins to take the old root entrance further into the darkness. Knowing that there was usually a holding cell in old bases like this though not yet aware that there had been a leftover occupant in that cell.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins
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As Edmund and Almario were lead further down into the complex, it became clear that this was more than just an old war shelter. In fact the complex went deeper with corridors drifting off at random intervals. The bandits roughly pushed and shoved the pair down further into the complex of twisting, turning dark tunnels.

Meanwhile, Rei sighed in frustration realizing that all she had done was alert her current captors to what should have been a potential rescue. "Good job Rei.." She mumbled in the dark to herself. No one would miss yet another smuggler and pirate on the bleeding edge of what might be considered legal, and besides it wasn't like clients couldn't find another grey market source for technology. Gifted though she may have been in getting some of the older technology from previous occupations to work, so were others in their own way.

"Shut up and keep walking." One of the men told Edmund and Almario as they went ever deeper into the cenote.

The thing about cenote's on Sky's Edge is they were synonymous with the words prison and hell hole. It didn't matter who you were once you found yourself at the bottom of one of the complexes, you weren't likely to ever leave, and if you did you likely weren't the same as when you went down.

It didn't take long before Rei heard foot steps, wet and squelching against the floor of the cenote. The grating sound of a key in a rusty lock and the scrape of metal against stone stilled her as she realized it wasn't the cell adjacent, but the one she was currently held in.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins
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The two were beginning to panic. It was obvious they were not usually adept in dealing with situations like this and now being the prisoners of battle harden fighters created a sinking feeling of dread. "WAIT!-Wait!" Edmund turn at the entrance. Almario tried to PUSH his brother in. Knowing that he would get a hit FAR worst than what he had mustered.

The two came to the center of the room. Both not realizing Rei was in the corner as weapons aimed at them. "We are rich! We have money! If you let us contact someone offworld! We can get you paid!? Paid... Yes?" Edmund tried to babble the two didn't seem to care. Money was close to useless here. Mostly things were bartered and materials were acquisition. Sometimes for selfish reasons, sometimes for communal ones.

Both sort of stepped in behind them. "<We need to search them for any more weapons. The Commander wants them alive. He thinks they might know something more.>" One spoke to the other.

"Face the wall!" The other barked. Shifting his body VERY close to where Rei was but still in his blindspot.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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'Those two are gonna get themselves killed.. but...' She thought as she squinted in the darkness. The lights from the other men cast lurid and strange shadows across the wall of the cell. Something with which Rei was more than happy to use to her advantage. Moving silently as she possibly could across to where the man stood barking thickly accented orders at the other two being pushed into the cell. These men were ignorant and over confident in their so called skills as guerilla fighters in Sky's Edge's resistance.

Slipping a hand down to the man's side, Rei deftly broke the restraints on his side arm. Drawing it quickly with a sound of plastic on plastic, she then rammed it hard into the small of his back while wrapping a pale arm across his chest. <"Hello sunshine, remember me?"> She asked in the same language as the others before clicking off the safety on the pistol. It's sound rattled off the hard walls of the cenote, and echoed down the corridor.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Click. That was the sound that made Edmund close his eyes tight. His breath heaving. His body shaking. Oh god. This was how it was going to end. "I slept with your boyfriend!" He finally confessed. I mean! He was hawt! And all it took was a change of hair color. God athletes could be so STUPID sometimes couldn't they?

Wait... No pain. Oh fuck. Oh fuck.

Almario was sort of speechless for a moment. Yes. Yes. He was so angry he somehow broke to the point where rage could not be expressed. But the two of them were very much alive and very much the witnesses to a new development.

The two others had stopped dead in their tracks. Both guards shifting their eyes to the figure in the corner, something the brothers could actually see much better from where they were standing. It was a woman and a very tough looking person ontop of it. The makeup across her face made her appear both colorful and powerful and gave a strange emotion of unease.

"H-Hey!" Edmund said. Was she here to rescue them!? "Should we... take their guns?" He looked back to Almario. "We should take their guns ri-" "YOU BITCH!" Almario hissed. Oh there was the anger. "AH! I am sorry! I am sorry!" The brother lunging after the other looking like he was about to strangle him to death!

The Montesquieu Twins materializes from the void.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Pale Oculi Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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The young squat spider aptly named Pale arrived on Yellowstone to assist the matriarch seeker Sprinkles. The Gardener Matriarchs as a matter of necessity were interested in any planet with extremophiles or just odd-natures. As generally neutral parties rather than participate in the war they opted not to sell weapons, but foodstuffs, medicine, filters, and other sundries. Their interest in flora was for its noxious nature rather than weapons dealers and such bought particular live flora or seeds. This did not mean nemesis did not send a security contingent to the area with a seeker however. A careful eye kept Sprinkles from being shot at or ransomed as well as eyed developments for coming threats.

This is what brought to their attention that a foreign false Matriarch had entered the locale known as Cenote. Various parties knew what they disliked and leaked information for different reasons. While they wouldn't interfere with the conflict between the natives other than humanitarian reasons, imprisoned foreign parties were another matter. Thus they'd sent Pale to gain information in lieu of any of the Intel caste among Sprinkle's employ. A mixed-lineage birth of healer by Matriarch Oculi with both physical and psionic cloaking.

Dispatched to gather information about the false Matriarch Pale's time was limited by supplies so was well-fed before leaving. Though to properly use his abilities he could not carry much if anything at all. An illusory bush with a gun or a water bottle attached was too obvious. Pale's ability was a combination of natural cloaking with a psionic amplification of pareidolia. It didn't work quite as well on the resistant or immune and the cover 'object' tended toward increasing incongruity. Which unfortunately Pale could rather not tell unless they started looking at him while frozen in place. An odd attraction indeed a wooden sign saying 'THIS SPACE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK' arrived in a corner of the room with hoofprints trailing it.

While remaining out of direct eye or camera sight as much has he could stayed in the fringes until a moment he could get inside. That moment came after a set of particular unfortunates surprised the guards. The lot of them walking toward the door Pale shuffles quietly from cover to cover his pointed legs leaving little to scuffle for noise. Then pale heard what he recognized as the vocal fold noises of a false Matriarch! Freezing in place when a camera panned over him his natural psionics tried to reach across to impart his particular infectious pareidolia to them that the monitor would change as well. Though random corridors might appear to acquire odd boxes or shifting piles of flora. When the shot rang out from the open door Pale climbed up a wall to the ceiling corner.

Pale tried very hard to concentrate on being an innocuous mushroom pile while crouched into a ceiling corner. Especially as people with guns approached.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Pale Oculi Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Rei paused at the scuffle between the twins, it stirred something in her battered and beaten brain cells for the briefest of moments. She could have sworn that she had had a similar relationship with someone as a child, but she was quick to dismiss the idea. There was no telling what had been in the drugs they had given her, or what sort of reaction they had had with her system. But all it was right now as the distraction she needed to get out of the current predicament.

"Hey tweddle dumbass and tweddle dipshit, make yourselves useful before I decide to shoot you." Rei commented tightening her grip on the now squirming guard. She spoke with heavily accented common, clearly used to another language as her native tongue. If she could use the two to her advantage, all the better. "You know how to shoot? Grab the rifles and let's get going!" She commanded, giving neither of the twins room for any questions. "I've got business with the head honcho and a bug to find. You two just happen to be my ticket out of here."

Rei wasn't terribly adverse to using others like this, especially given the state of mind between the two men. They appeared to be more concerned with whom had slept with whom, and whose fault it was than actually getting anything accomplished. In her opinion, they didn't seem to have two brain cells to rub together past what was required to fight.

Time however was limited, no doubt news by now had reached reenforcements elsewhere in the Cenote. She hadn't been exactly quite with the gun, and sound tended to carry in strange ways this deep underground. It didn't take long either, and she could hear the shouts and footfalls not far from the cell. "Look I don't care if either of you die here, but I'm getting out!"

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Pale Oculi Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Joke was on her! Neither ONE of them could shoot a gun! ... Guys why were you trying to be drug dealers!? With that said. The pair snapped their attention back to the woman. Who made her intentions very clear. Back her up. Or be left behind. And they did not want to STAY in this hell hole. So the two did what they were told. Automatic High Caliber Rifle and Advanced Plasma Rifle between the two of them following behind their now apparent rescuer.

"Wait!" Almario finally snapped out of the situation. Now in the corridor as he tried to use the keys the Rebels had used to lock the pair in.

"...We need a plan. There are five others up there." Even with the three of them. He didn't like those odds. "Look! Most of this is underground! Which means some of it might cave in! Which means the builders have had to design another route out incase something like that happens yes?" He asked her. Trying to interrogate Rei of a way to slip out entirely unnoticed.

On the floor above. The group remaining had began to secure the cenote. At least they would have. If not something awful had just happened. When Pale had stumbled upon the scene. One of the Rebels was now on the ground. Violently shaking and having a full on seizure. The group had opened the biocontainer the twins had brought in. Hundreds of round cubes of solid Dernasus Spice. A highly illegal hallucinogenic that was so illegal not by the effects of the drug, but that they often amplified the ESPER abilities of Physics. Making it a dangerous substance for the stability of most world governments.

What made it worst is that one of the fighters had mistaken the cube for food. And had taken a huge bite out of it. And that was the person now on the floor. Having ingested a large amount of something you were supposed to shave a small shaving off to inhale into smoke or put into a drink.

"<Get the doctor in there! Get Alberto and Maria back up here!>" They would need to pump this guys stomach and make sure that their heart didn't stop. Three of the rebels now making a hustle for the downward cells.

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Character Portrait: Rei Harkov Character Portrait: The Montesquieu Twins Character Portrait: Sprinkles Thothess Character Portrait: Pale Oculi Character Portrait: Yuri Nikolaev Character Portrait: El Frente Rojo Character Portrait: Behzad Salehi
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Pale's weapons were very limited by their nature. It could not carry weapons other than what came by nature. Thus when three men ran past it, knowing there were five it had passed, Pale wheeled about. Skittering was not something uncommon to the cenote even if somewhat louder as Pale returned to the previous corner. One guard focused on a compatriot the other twitching on the ground. Food of some kind in cubes on the floor. Even while he was of a kind to survive the toxic shock the plants here left Pale still knew better. It remembered the three that passed in a hurry their images marked as hostile in its memory. Only one too focused on the soldier too sick to respond. Pale wasted no time now that a false Matriarch had called for help from these imprisoners. Retribution pounded for attention as deep drums thrumming the pace of thoughts in his brain.

Fauna on Yellowstone did not spare the unwary and Gardener healers acceded to no Hippocratic oath. His instincts called for the removal of a threat to a Matriarch and since the Blood war, any matriarch. Fangs sprinted toward the man looking with care for his twitching comrade laden not with healing but wrathful cancer. A psionic disease was communicable by sight to the threats imprinted by Pale's mind. 3" fangs rammed through pant legs deep within the thickest muscle of the body to forcibly inject ounces of white fluid. Pale didn't stay for the scream as he withdrew his fangs a twitching paleness spreading through the veins as something worse than black sepsis. That the injected victim laid eyes on the already inflicted man painted him with the same affliction. Five men marked for death by a psionic infestation of Pale's chimera cells intentionally throwing human cells in the hated to a self-destructive cancerous rage.

Immune to any screaming suffering of ones that imprison a false Matriarch pale skitters in chase of where three men went. Out of sight, they would still pose a threat until the infected looked at them.