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  1. #1
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    Default Snowblind [FF]...Complete

    Greetings and welcome to my novel.


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    Gif compliments of TheRealBigBoss


    Synopsis: This story chronicles the newly reformed Sigma squad, employing veteran Gears Damon Baird and Augustus Cole as they deploy outside of Port Farrall to locate and eliminate Locust outposts and Stranded insurgencies.

    Along with their rookie Gear, Sven Dunrich and their guide, Raven, they encounter almost calamity after calamity of unseen events that force the group of four to rely on each other to stay alive in the hostile environment around them and endure their clashing personalities as humility and hilarity ensue.



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    Other links to the uncensored story if the sensoring is bothersome:

    Gears of War: Snowblind

    Snowblind

    You can also download the PDF file to read at your leisure on your kindle, ipad, phone, what-have-you. If that link does not work you can try the following link: Snowblind PDF. Please note that document is large and may take a minute to upload.







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    Chapter Index


    Chapter 1: The S*** Starts Here....page 1

    Chapter 2: Splitting Up....page 1

    Chapter 3: Two Peas In A Pod....page 1

    Chapter 4: We Are Sigma...Again....page 2

    Chapter 5: Trial By Fire....page 2

    Chapter 6: Lost With A Broken Horse ....page 2

    Chapter 7: Funeral Pyre ....page 2

    Chapter 8: Head Deep....page 2

    Chapter 9: Incident at Hurl Dam....page 2

    Chapter 10: Warm Winter Night....page 3

    Chapter 11: A Cold Day In Hades....page 3

    Intermission I....page 3

    Chapter 12: Just Another Day In Paradise....page 3

    Chapter 13: The Hunters....page 3

    Chapter 14: Detour....page 5

    Journal Entry 1....page 5

    Chapter 15: Back To Square One....page 5

    Intermission II....page 5

    Chapter 16: Rude Awakening....page 5

    Chapter 17: Running With Scissors....page 5

    Chapter 18: Beautiful Disaster....page 5

    Chapter 19: The Iridescent Snow....page 6

    Chapter 20: The Harpies....page 6

    Chapter 21: Marching Into Darkness....page 6

    Intermission III....page 7

    Chapter 22: The Covenant’s Sharp Edge....page 7

    Chapter 23: Back On Route....page 7

    Intermission IV....page 7

    Chapter 24: The Fellbeasts Of Nexus....page 7

    Chapter 25: Riding The Pale Horse....page 7

    Chapter 26: Quid Pro Quo....page 8

    Chapter 27: Taming Of The Shrew....page 8

    Chapter 28: The Gallant Will Emerge....page 8

    Intermission V....page 8

    Chapter 29: The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes....page 8

    Chapter 30: Can You Hear Me Running....page 9

    Chapter 31: Captured....page 10

    Chapter 32: When Black Birds Fly....page 11

    Chapter 33: Revelations....page 11

    Chapter 34: And There Will Be Blood....page 13

    Chapter 35: Futile Escape....page 13

    Intermission VI....page 13

    Chapter 36: Returning To Fort Block....page 13

    Chapter 37: The Best Laid Plans....page 15

    Intermission VII....page 16

    Chapter 38: The Battle in Glacier Valley: Act I....page 17

    Act II....page 18

    Act III....page 19

    Chapter 39: If These Trees Could Talk....page 23

    Chapter 40: To Chase A Feather In The Wind....page 24

    Chapter 41: Das Arschloch und der Widerspenstige....page 24

    Chapter 42: Nevermore....page 27

    Chapter 43: Yearning For Yesterday....page 28

    Chapter 44: The Beginning Is The End Is The Beginning....page 32

    Credits....page 33

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    Snowblind takes place roughly after Jacinto's Remnant and during the bitter, hardened winter of the Frost, taking a toll on those still stationed at Port Farrall. The story begins at a fort not too far out from Farrall where the COG intends to launch an offensive against insurgencies threatening their temporary base before relocation to Vectus Island.


    WARNING: This story rated "M" for violence, crude humor, and adult situations.



    S N O W B L I N D

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    Fanfic by Jonesybites




    In a violent world where deceptions free
    Things I can’t control taking over me
    Did they try to take my identity
    So what the hell have they done to me

    I will take your thoughts away
    And I’ll ignite your fear today
    Well I can take you far away
    With my mind.





    Preface

    The cold, thin air felt like breathing a sodden robe as a lone Gear struggled to keep a steady pace, running through a dense conifer forest like a deer being followed by a pack of hungry wolves.

    He is what is left of Theta Four, sent to investigate a disturbance at an outpost located north on the border of Port Farrall. Since the incidents on the Vectus Naval Base a few weeks earlier, the outposts all around Farrall have been assaulted, struck down one at a time to test their defenses. By whom, they didn't know until recently. Although Locust attacks have been few in between, the others were most likely staged by Stranded insurgencies that were still gathering on the outskirts of Port Farrall.

    As he ran, he could feel the collection of moister in his helmet, beading and then sweating down the side of his face and neck. He meandered the trees, kicking up snow on the ground with only a pistol still in his holster as his only means of defense. His shotgun was dropped a ways back after he tripped, falling forward down a slope, only to quickly roll back up again and not look back as the falling snow, mixed with the fading afterglow of the setting sun made visibility difficult. He wasn't just being pursued; he was being hunted.

    They took out his squad strategically one at a time. His squad fired their weapons in vain before Theta realized they were already ensnared in their ambush. It was apparent that someone was expecting them, but before they realized what had just happened, it was too late.

    He cautiously galloped down an incline when suddenly, a shot rang out in the dense forest, whistling through the trees, and then he instantly sensed a sharp pain burst into the back of his thigh. With his leg buckled from underneath him, he came crashing down, tumbling down the rest of the incline, bumping into trees and brush along the way, until he came to a stop, landing on his back. His body was shaking from the sudden rush of adrenaline rush that had been pumping through his body. The palpitations in his heart beat faster, forcing him to pant for more oxygen as his hands trembled vigorously and his eyes to dilate.

    The area was instantly silent as he looked around, trying to stable himself, but he couldn't move. He then heard the footsteps of his pursuer, walking slowly with care as a dark figure could be faintly seen, moving around the trees on the incline and then disappeared. The Gear reached for his pistol still strapped in his holster, trying to pull it out, but the pistol wouldn't budge. The frost made the moister on the metal adhesive to the leather on the holster; damn.

    Slowly the footsteps were coming closer as the sound of crushing snow under someone's boots became even clearer, and the dark figure ascended from shadows to face him. It stood there glowering at him, although he couldn't readily tell what it was. A Locust perhaps, but its demeanor implied otherwise.

    It took a few steps closer to him and then carefully knelt down in front of him. Immediately, the Gear could tell it had a Lancer in hand, glaring at the metal teeth that glistened in the dim light before his eyes meandered to the hooded head, noticing the warm air seeping from the dark, cloaked figure's puffing. He was petrified the moment it spoke with firm clarity,

    "So…tell me Gear. What has Chairman Prescott done for you?" the figure asked in a low, grinding voice that could almost resemble human. He could see the warm steam coming from beneath the hood as it spoke, slowly moving and seeping into the air before it dissipated. The figure then cocked its' head and then turned to look to the side as the sound of more footsteps closed in.

    Oh, no.

    Other dark figures emerged from the trees and then stood in place, watching for the one who was knelt in front of him, waiting for its' next move. Looking over its' shoulder, it stood up, and then roaring out, revving the chainsaw mechanism on the Lancer as the phantom bellowed,

    "I…have…responsibilities, to my fellow citizens…I…shall…be loyal to them…" it reciting the words of the Octus Canon; the founding document of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, first recited by its founders, the All Fathers.

    "I…shall…remain…vigilant and unyielding, in my pursuit of the enemies of the Coalition…." the dark figure resumed reciting the oath, but in a more vile tone; an oath the Gear instantly recognized, but could only feel the callous tenor of the phantom's pitch.

    "I…am…a…Gear!"

    The crowd behind him shouted and ranted, raising their weapons into the air as the figure slowly peered back at his rowdy pack. As the crowd began to simmer, he slowly redirected his attention to the fallen Gear, revving the chainsaw bayonet of his Lancer once again, shuddering the silence with its fierce noise as the Gear glared at the teeth, bristling through the smoke coming from the drum.

    "Here is the message we will send to the enemy of the Coalition," the figure ranted, gripping the handle on the Lancer before raising it over the defenseless Gear, and then rammed it into him. The Gear let out a blood, curdling scream that echoed throughout the woods. The noise of the saw, cutting through armor, pulp and bone could be heard outside the thicket shortly after hideous shriek went mute, and then the woods went silent. As night fell over the crimson sky, snow began to fall, concealing the blood that drenched the ground beneath it.



    Chapter 1: The Sh*t Starts Here


    Only the dead have seen the end of war.

    ~Plato~



    "FORT BLOCK, Recruitment Staging Area..."

    …a sign frozen to the utility post hangs high, scouting over makeshift buildings and garages, looming with fuel heaters and generators as the scent of exhaust mixed with the winter aroma filled the air with bliss and promise of food, shelter, and possibly a warm shower for a group of grimy grunts just stepping out from their APC's from a long ride.

    In the distance, King Ravens land in an open, snowy yard just outside of the camp. Their clamor could be heard all across the fort as the pilots resumed their routine maintenance inspection before their later deployment. Fuel trucks camped along the makeshift roads while civilian volunteers shoveled snow and ice to make way for the gravel truck to expand their makeshift parking lot.

    More APC's began to pull into the fort, carrying reinforcements as they slowly drive over the grimy, icy roads. Coming to a halt, Gears soon exited the vehicles and marched their way to the fort mess hall where Colonel Hoffman awaited for everyone to enter the mass for debriefing.

    As Gears resume taking their seats, the air in the vicinity took a turn as several, unfamiliar women in leather battle fatigues and war paint entered the mess hall with nothing short of qualm. It could be said that there appearance was intimidating; branding armor that resembled what the Locust horde wore, made of Reaver hide and other, unknown leather materials that were light, but hardy.

    Among the five, three of them wore what appeared to be black war paint, possibly used to help them blend in with their environment. It was an alternative camouflage that could have meant to blend in the snow-littered thicket that made up, much of Farrall. The other two wore similar attire, but their faces were clean of cover, not that it was any less overawing. As the five, wild women, lined up behind Hoffman, the Gears could sense the Colonel was awkward within the presence of the rogue faction, only known to the COG as the Feral.

    As the group stood at the front of the tented mess hall, Colonel Hoffman made his way on top of a table that he intended to use as his podium. He looked around his fellow Gears as the crisp air around them set the atmosphere of apprehension. He could see the battle scarred demeanor of his mentally exhausted men, shrouding their self-assurance. The fact that they had lost their last place of refuge only made the men even more hardened to the bleak future that awaited them. Nevertheless, the fight for survival still ran deep in their blood, as if they were hardwired to wage war so they could exist. Colonel Hoffman had seen these faces before, more times than he would probably want to admit, though he himself was an old warhorse, still bucking against the odds while the barbwire would drive him even closer to insolence. Like them, he still had some fight left in him.

    "Men…listen up," he began as the cold air around him hung onto him like a wet napkin,

    "…it has been confirmed that we have a new menace. Despite recent events at Vectus, we are still under threat, here on the apparent home front of some other Stranded insurgents that are rumored to be located in the mountains. We also have reports of Locust outposts, scattered all over the terrain outside of Farrall, that are going to have to be dealt with if we are to protect the remaining citizens, here. Therefore, we have orders to deploy squads out into the uncharted territory to search for, and eliminate the Locust outposts, and locate Stranded settlements."

    Hoffman took a few seconds to collect his thoughts before looking over his shoulder to glance at the five women standing behind him, and then redirected his gaze back to his men.

    "To accomplish this objective, we have allied ourselves with the Feral clans. They have volunteered to help guide the squads through the terrain since they have extensive knowledge of the territory. With the Frost coming down hard on our asses, we must rely on their insight if this mission is to be successful."

    Hoffman took a deep breath before continuing,

    "Men, we are going to deploy the Ravens to the drop point in thirteen, hundred hours. Use this time wisely. Dismissed."

    Hoffman slowly stepped off of the platform before he directed his attention to the five women standing before him. Reluctantly, he went ahead and decided to finally break the ice,

    "Ok…which one of you can understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?"

    They glared at him with startling eyes, peering through their war paint as they turned to each other and then glanced over to the smallest of them.

    "That…would be me, Colonel," the Feral on the far right spoke out, stepping forward to make her presence known. She was somewhat apprehensive amongst the crowd of Gears that stirred around them, keeping a prudent distance amongst the two groups.

    Although she was a little shorter than the others, she appeared just as foreboding in her poise.

    "So what do I call you, Feral?" Hoffman directed his attention to her.

    "My birth name is Raven McNight, Colonel."

    "McNight, huh," Hoffman responded in astonishment, recalling several officers he once knew that went by that name, wondering if there was a correlation between the two, but dismissed it for the time being to address the immediate task at hand.

    He sighed, "Let's just keep it simple…how bout we just call you Feral?" said Hoffman.

    "Whatever will make you comfortable, Colonel."

    "It has nothing to do with comfort, ma'am."

    "Did you…need me for some reason?" she asked in provocation. Her blue-eyed icy stare irked Hoffman, but he had dealt with worse; this little wench is no different than that ornery bastard, Drill Sergeant I had in basic!

    "As a matter of fact, yes I do…Control," Hoffman demanded, speaking into his com.

    "Yes Colonel?" a female voice replied over the com.

    "Have Sergeant Fenix report to me please…ASAP!"

    "Affirmative Colonel, control out."



    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-17-2013 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Update

  2. #2
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    Good, I don't like the present-ish tense though, but I guess that's your writing style.

    Marcus has some sort of personality of the character in the game, but I think you should have created a squad to interact with Hoffman and such, because people don't like to see the same characters all the time, they like a change, a new personality, you know what I'm saying.

    Without further ado, continue.
    In Sera, peace doesn't exist...
    Snowfall's Dexterity
    ...and it never will.

  3. #3
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    Chapter 2: Splitting Up

    I expect Woman will be the last thing civilized by Man.

    ~George Meredith~




    Raven sat by herself in a wooden chair just outside of Colonel Hoffman’s office, waiting for the old man as she hand sharpened a pencil with her Feral dagger, a blade made of folded carbon steel that resembled a "bowie" knife. Occasionally looking up while taking a glance at others walking by, she would resume writing in her journal, ignoring the ogling Gears and recruits as they casually walked pass by, or at least she made it look like she disregarded them.

    Truth be told, Raven always kept a wary account on anyone and everyone, which often made her secluded if not paranoid. It had been awhile since the last time she conjugated amongst a group of people. Most of her days were spent out in the wilderness, surveying the land for nomadic Stranded or Gear outposts in hopes to access ammunitions and supplies. She recanted the days when she would chart along the territory surrounding Port Farrall, watching, waiting, and stealing. It was her vocation to sneak around outposts, even forts without being noticed, including this one. At a glance, she could recall the Blocks’ arrangement in vivid detail, only to look past the crowd to notice someone approaching directly to Hoffman's door. She subtly went back to her journal as the bulky Gear walked up to the entrance of Hoffman's office.

    Sergeant Fenix knocked on the door and then stood idle for a moment, keeping to himself, but occasionally taking notice of Raven's attire that closely resembled something from a Theron elite. He then reverted his attention to the door, peering through the fogged window to see Colonel Hoffman motioning him to come in.

    Fenix stepped in and shut the door behind him, not in the best of moods but not feeling for the worst for wear either. He wasn't too crazy about the COG’s superficial alliance with the Feral, but their other options were quickly thinning out as the winter conditions worsened within just the past few weeks.

    The Feral knew the territory pretty religiously while the COG satellites had difficulties just pin pointing their own outposts. This only made the Gears even more suspicious when it concerned the Feral. All this technology and resources the COG have at their disposal, and here we are, relying on the schematics of a bunch of primeval, eccentric women…what the hell were we thinking?

    Hoffman slumped into his chair, adjusting into the tight space before gesturing Fenix to do the same. In recent months, there hadn’t been a time Fenix would ever see the Colonel outside of his armor, and he wondered if the old man slept in it. But with winter supplies running short, their battle fatigues and rigs were the next best thing to keep them warm.

    "Have a seat, Sergeant…this may take several minutes," Hoffmann sighed, removing his cap to set it on the desk, and then rubbed his hairless head shortly afterward.

    "How are your men, Sergeant?" the old man asked.

    "Cold, tired…but for the most part, cold," Marcus replied.

    Hoffman let out a light chuckle, knowing Marcus' company all too well.

    "Are they coping?"

    "Depends," Fenix replied a matter-of-factly.

    "On what, Sergeant?"

    "On which one you wanna to hear about."

    "Well…I'll go ahead and just cut the sh*t, Sergeant."

    Fenix looked up at Hoffman with anticipation.

    "I'm going to reform Sigma One, so I'm putting Cole and Baird back to be deployed," Hoffman announced.

    Fenix started to slump in his chair, frowning after hearing the news as Hoffman continued,

    "I need some experienced Gears on this one, Fenix, we have way too many recruits. Plus, I need you for another objective for the same exact reason."

    "I take it we're short…"

    "That's just scratching the surface, Sergeant…and on top of all this, I have to depend on those wild *****es to guide them out in uncompromising conditions."

    "The Feral, sir?"

    "Unfortunately. Don't get me wrong, I don't underestimate their capabilities, but these women have been amassing arms and intel from COG outposts for years, so needless to say, my trust with their alliance only goes so far…but circumstances have pitted me between these Locust garrisons and the Stranded insurgencies and we need to act on this now before the Frost hits us even harder in the next few weeks. We can't relocate the rest of the citizens to Vectus until some of this is resolved. It's going to get worse before it gets better."

    "With all due respect sir, how can we be sure they know what they’re doing?"

    "About six months ago, Gamma Ten came across a decimated Stranded settlement, south of here. During the investigation, Gamma was ambushed by some unexplained guerillas. Hmph! Unexplained, can you imagine that?" Hoffman grumbled before letting out a cough to clear the congestion in his larynx. Although Fenix was seldom in the brightest light on Hoffman's stage, Marcus was just as cynical, if not more so than the Colonel was.
    Hoffman continued,

    "There was only one survivor, out of six! We lost five, able-bodied men by a pack of vindictive *****es! The Stranded apparently lost fifteen rebels, including their leader. Other squads later found those Stranded rebels of that same camp, mutilated Sergeant!"

    "Mutilated, as in,"

    "The leader was found, hung from a post, ass end up, disemboweled, with his genitalia removed and apparently shoved in his mouth! Now, granted, that was an isolated case, but the fact remains those *****es were able to squash fifteen armed men, relocate them and gut them, and then turned around to take out five, highly trained soldiers. We still have yet to figure out which clan was responsible!"

    "There had to have been a motive for their attack. I would like to think they have enough sense not to take on more than they can chew…"

    "Well, apparently the settlement was using Stranded women for profiteering, and to make a long story short, they rounded up some ladies against their will for their operation. Obviously, the Feral found it to be debasing and decided to wipe them out and take the women to amass their own numbers. Since then, they have been rivals over territory. Now why they attacked our men was never known…not that it matters since it's been rumored that the clans involved may all be dead now, according to these renegades…they lost several clans since the Locusts have been spreading out in the last year, scavenging the territory."

    "Sigh…permission to speak freely…"

    "Be my guest, Sergeant."

    "I believe this whole thing to be fubar sir…we ally ourselves with a faction that we don't even ****ing understand, we're sending men out to quash the hostilities without any intel on the terrain except that from what we gathered from these, Feral, to whom you have admitted that your trust is limited…and now you break up my team to spread out the numbers of experienced Gears along with recruits who don't know their ass from a hole in the ground, well sir, I see a list of bull**** directives that's going to put a lot of unnecessary amount of resources and lives to waste!"

    "Dually noted, Sergeant, but keep this in mind…I have over three thousand and counting, civilians to relocate to Vectus island. Our primary objective is to move them and our armories safely to our new place of refuge at all cost…but how can I do that Sergeant if I have Locusts and Stranded, picking at our defenses and supplies?"

    The recent events that took place at their outposts just outside Fort Block have nearly caused a widespread panic among Jacinto's remnant. Marcus, of all people, knew that the insurgencies were getting bolder and that it was not going to stop. He groaned, realizing that time was working against them. Sh*t, everything is working against us.

    Although he was not happy about the situation, he knew that there really was no other option. It was going to be a long day for all of them. Marcus finally succumbed to Hoffman's orders.

    "Sigh…understood. You want me to bring in Baird and Cole, or do you want me to tell them?"

    "It may be best if you tell them Sergeant. I am going to have to sit and talk to their linguist to iron out some details. Only one of the five out there can speak fluent Tyran, the rest have some crazy dialect, I can't understand a word of it."

    "****…understood. Was there anything else sir?"

    "While we're on the subject, I am going to assign a Feral guide with Sigma, so if you would, you tell Corporal Baird to keep his sassy flak to himself before he pisses off our only means of keeping friendly relations with the Feral."

    "Are you sure you want Baird to have that responsibility?"

    "He's an admirable soldier and I believe he can pull his foot out of his ass when **** hits the fan, but he needs to be thrown in the fire every now and then to redeem himself. He's done it before, he can do it again…besides, I'm tired of them two, running rowdy with idle hands, dicking around like two little boys who just discovered daddy's firework and porn stash."

    Fenix laughed to himself as he sat back up in his chair.

    "You’re dismissed," said Hoffman.

    Sergeant Fenix stood up from his chair as he proceeded to exit the room before Hoffman stopped him.

    "Oh, and by the way, you tell that little Feral girl in the front to come in here for me, please."

    "Sigh, yes sir."

    Fenix stepped out, leaving the door open as he reluctantly turned to the preoccupied to Feral, still seated in the chair next to the door. Not once did she look up to acknowledge him, but she could feel his annoyed ogling like a black cloud just hovering over her head, waiting for her to at least entertain his presence. Finally surrendering to Sergeant Fenix’s demeanor, she looked up. The moment her callous scowl met with his, they exchanged a brief distaste almost intuitively. Raven assumed that he wasn’t going to like her, any more than she was going to like him, but this was the general vibe she sensed from other Gears as well. This whole idea was sour to begin with.

    Marcus finally motioned her to go inside.

    "The Colonel wants to debrief you," he said in his usual low, course tone, which was only aggravated further by the bitter cold, constantly drying his throat to the point it made it sore.

    "Right now?" she responded with sarcasm, not the least bit intimidated by his demeanor, or at least she attempted not to show it.

    "Yea…now."



    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
    Good, I don't like the present-ish tense though, but I guess that's your writing style.

    Marcus has some sort of personality of the character in the game, but I think you should have created a squad to interact with Hoffman and such, because people don't like to see the same characters all the time, they like a change, a new personality, you know what I'm saying.

    Without further ado, continue.
    Well, without spilling too many beans, the story is going to focus mostly on the Sigma squad, while using the characters we already know as a catalyst for the "new" characters, and vice versa, if that makes any sense.

    I may be in error, taking for granted that those who read this is already going to know who Marcus, Hoffmann, ect. is, without going into a long drawn out process, explaining who they are. Oh, well, live an learn.

    I contemplated using third person, but I felt that it would limit the "catalyst' effect on the clashing personalities to one person, when it involves several. Though it's nice to have some "fresh eyes" on the document to see if the story flows, smoothly. That's my biggest concern.

    I appreciate the feedback.
    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-17-2013 at 10:13 PM.

  4. #4
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    Not going to read it, unless you promise no spoilers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by M4RCU5 View Post
    Not going to read it, unless you promise no spoilers.
    Arrrg...now I have to change the whole plot (bangs head on keyboard).

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesybites View Post
    Arrrg...now I have to change the whole plot (bangs head on keyboard).
    LOL....I hope your being sarcastic. It is not that big of a deal...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4RCU5 View Post
    LOL....I hope your being sarcastic. It is not that big of a deal...
    lol...yea, i was being sarcastic.
    Last edited by Jonesybites; 09-05-2009 at 11:43 PM.

  8. #8
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    Don't change everything just for one person. That's ridiculous. I haven't read JR and I don't care if there are spoilers. I liked your story so far, except I saw an unneeded amount of comas.

  9. #9
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    Ok, I got chapter three ready to go, and I'll post chapter four hopefully tomorrow. Chapter 4 is a little longer than the previous chapters, but that's where the plot really kicks in and the action starts, so hopefully you'll enjoy it.

    I also have some "journal pics" that I will hopefully start posting this week.


    Chapter 3: Two Peas In A Pod

    "This so, sucks balls, I can't even begin to tell how much sucking we are in for before somebody finally realizes, oh hey, wait, this really does suck balls..."

    …Damon Baird was ritually ranting to Augustus Cole as he fiddled with the motor on Cole's Lancer, trying to loosen up the chain on the saw bar while sitting on the floor with his tools lying in between his straddled legs.

    The two sat in a crude locker room in their bottom fatigues and undershirts as their armor laid spread out on the floor, allowing them to "air" out. The scent in the vicinity was typical for a men's locker room, filled with aroma of stale air festering along with the stench of soiled clothes that had been sitting in a locker for a week. The atmosphere was rather warm as the window unit pushed the cold air out, leaving the musty, humid air inside.

    Cole sat on a bench fiddling with his Cog tags, ignoring Baird's ranting as he watched him intensely remove the chain off of the drum of his chainsaw bayonet to replace the worn teeth with newer ones. It had become ritual for the two men to maintenance their weapons any chance they got, which had become a readable excuse to avoid janitorial duties that any Gear would make a point to avoid. Nobody liked cleaning up the mildewed, infested showers using nothing but bleach, but Baird most of all loathed it.

    Damon Baird was the more cynical of the two, often feeling that his empirical skills would be of better use than scrubbing the grout in the tile floor using pre-owned toothbrushes. Occasionally shuffling his carpet for a head, his bright blonde strands of hair were often subjected to the harsh, cold climate. It was only because he had lots of it, and that he only washed it once a week was what had salvaged his scalp from flaking.

    Cole’s tender scalp was not quite as fortunate as Baird’s when it came to keeping it hydrated, but he managed find a way, even if it meant sloshing a bottle of petroleum jelly to keep his own head from flaking off. He had kept his wiry, course strands shaved blunt along the scalp line to keep it manageable. One thing that he could, and often would brag about was his dark complexion, which was a comparison to Baird’s “pale ass.” He teasingly favored the usual cliché that the “ladies” preferred a man whom was tall, dark, and handsome. In his case, he was all three…or at least with the tall and dark part.

    Being the most optimistic, Cole would merely let Baird gripe over petty issues for the sake of keeping some sanity in the scheme of things. Cole knew that it saved their minds from wandering, which could lead a soldier into uncompromising depression. He’d seen it before, more times than he’d like to admit. So even if it was to put up with Baird’s excessive nagging about the lack of toilet paper in the John, it was the better alternative.

    Watching Baird finally snap the chain onto the bar, Cole could see he was nearly in completion, but as always, Baird would suddenly impede his concentration with something new to b**** about,

    "Sh*t, Cole, this is the third time I had to replace this…the hell are you cutting with this thing anyway, f***ing boulders?" Baird began as he assembled the casing to the motor.

    "Man, them Locusts feel like it…" said Cole. He then turned to peck Baird on the shoulder, "…oh hey, Marcus says he wants to talk to you."

    "What for…oh, f***, what the hell did I do this time?"

    "You think you're in trouble?"

    "I'm always in trouble," Baird began to rant, again, much to Cole’s delight. Here we go…

    "I swear, you and Dom can go run amuck, doing all sorts of **** while I'm minding my own business and somehow, some way, Marcus finds some implausible reason to blame me for it!"

    "Hehe, that's because if we mess up, we just say you did it," Cole snickered. Baird dropped his wrench as he sat up before turning over to look at Cole.

    "So that's why I'm always in trouble…because of you f***heads!"

    "Nah, I think Marcus is still pissed for what you did to him on his birthday."

    "For what…oh…wait, you mean when I tipped him in the portable potty? Oh, c'mon, that was hilarious, even Dom was laughing his ass off on that one, and you were busting out so hard you nearly wet yourself."

    "No, I was laughin' at the part when he came after you once he got out, heehee…I'd never seen two white boys run so fast! I'm just ticked that I missed yo ass beatin' when he caught up to you"

    "He didn't beat my ass because he never caught me! He's almost as slow as you are."

    "Yea, whatever…" Cole mused as Baird accomplished the maintenance on Cole's Lancer. Slapping the cartridge case back into loading chamber, Baird lifted the gun for Cole to see.

    “Viola…” Baird concluded.

    "Sweet, I can't wait to try this out," Cole beamed before carefully picking it out of Baird's hands, trying not to bump the bayonet against the bench, or more importantly, himself.

    "You'll need to run it a few times to get the grease going or else it will stiffen up, especially in this weather…we can't be running around with a stiffy now, can we."

    The two exchanged laughter, resuming to maintenance the rest of their armaments, all the while, a cold and sour Sergeant Fenix walked into the room. He appeared somewhat exasperated after spending the past half hour looking for them, all the while carrying some of their laundry they left behind at the barracks' laundromat.

    "So there you are," Marcus snorted. Cole let out a playful chuckle,

    "Uh oh, you busted now!"

    "Oh, hi Marcus, I mean, sir," Baird replied with a sarcastic grin.

    "Dipsh*t," Marcus scoffed quietly, approaching the two before informing them further,

    "Listen up, Hoffman is going to put you two back on Sigma to be deployed out this afternoon."

    Baird sulked at the news. The idea was already starting to suck balls. Speaking of sucking…

    "Sigh, with who else?" Baird moaned.

    "You'll find out when you get to your Raven, but I do know that you will have a Feral guide in your group, so try not to piss her off, please."

    "Now what makes you think I would do such a thing like that?" Baird was condescending.

    "Don't even start to patronize me, Baird."

    "Yea, yea, follow the objective without making the Feral chick mad, I get it."

    "I mean it Baird…this is an opportunity to redress your sorry ass, so try not to f*** it up…and Cole, watch and make sure he doesn't f*** it up."

    "You got it, Marcus," said Cole before slapping his big hand onto Baird's back. Marcus watched Baird cringe from the sting of the impact of Cole’s hand meeting Baird’s tender skin, much to his amusement.

    For the most part, Marcus could normally count on them for whatever calamity may come their way. Hell, the two have saved my ass on more than one occasion. They all shared a walk into hell and back, cheating death more times than they could shake a stick at. It was a sobering notion to suggest that they were "breaking" up, again.

    "So I take it you and Dom are going," Baird grimaced, still squirming from the sting.

    "We're to be deployed after you guys…you're going to be dropped off with nine other squads to spread out in pairs and comb the area."

    "So who are we pairing with?"

    "Gamma Four…and your assigned Feral is going to guide you through the region…they have scouted the area earlier this month, locating Locust camps and Stranded settlements."

    Cole became ecstatic,

    "Ah, sweet…we get to hang out with Gamma..."

    "Whoopie…" Baird muttered sarcastically. Cole attempted to cheer him up with his usual charismatic forte.

    "C'mon, Baird, it'll be fun! We'll get back out on the field, hang out with those Feral cuties, be back in time for supper…"

    "They’re not cuties, Cole, they’re a pack of ornery wenches…" Baird griped, "…did you ever hear what they did to Omega Five a few years back?"

    "What could a handful of little chickies do to an entire squad?"

    "Control lost contact with them, and they were MIA for a week."

    "So where did they find em?"

    "All over…a leg here, an arm there…it took the coroner a month to piece them together."

    "Oh," Cole's excitement dwindled down. If Marcus ever agreed with Baird on anything, the fact that their mission was going to have to depend on the insight of the Feral was unsettling at best. They were just as reliable as they were malicious. Not exactly the best combination for a couple of guys, whom for the most part can't seem to keep their idle hands to themselves. Marcus intended to prepare them as much as he could with the intel he had available.

    "I doubt you'll be back in time for supper Cole, so grab some food before you leave" said Marcus while Cole started to pout, "…and here…" Marcus sneered, handing Cole his freshly laundered undergarments. He then turned to Baird with his clean undergarments and threw them at him,

    "…change your damn underwear before you leave."

    Baird managed to dodge his undershirt before getting face planted with his over-faded boxers. Marcus shot a satisfying grin as he watched Baird yank his underwear from his face.

    "Hopefully you should be back by dark. Now get your sh*t put together…they want you to report in an hour," Marcus informed them as the two started to change their clothes and lift up their chest plates from the floor.

    "Oh, and guys…" the two looked back up as Marcus's expression turned solemn, "...be sure you come back alive, you hear me?"

    "You know it," Cole blasted.

    "Yea…we hear ya," Baird responded in a more sober tone.

    "Good luck, fellas."

    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-17-2013 at 10:22 PM.

  10. #10
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    “So I take it you and Dome are going,” Baird grimaces, still flinching from the sting.

    Dome should be Dom.

    “We’re to be deployed after you guys…your going to be dropped off with nine other squads to spread out in pairs and comb the area.”

    Your should be you're.

    I like the interaction between Cole and Baird; it makes me laugh.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf plastic View Post
    “So I take it you and Dome are going,” Baird grimaces, still flinching from the sting.

    Dome should be Dom.

    “We’re to be deployed after you guys…your going to be dropped off with nine other squads to spread out in pairs and comb the area.”

    Your should be you're.

    I like the interaction between Cole and Baird; it makes me laugh.
    Dome,Dom...Serves me right for proof reading late at night....lol, thanks for the correction...I totally missed that!

    Glad you enjoyed it.

  12. #12
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    Here is Chapter 4. It's a little longer than the other chapters, but hopefully the events in it will move fluently.

    Chapter 4: We Are Sigma…Again


    Cole threw his gear into their transport before he grabbed the edge of the hull to climb up into the King Raven cabin. The pilot and copilot could be heard doing their routine, radio tests the moment he hopped onto the frame. He quickly realized that the cabin was a bit warmer than the outside, letting out a shudder from the two air masses intertwining inside the cramped space. Two other Gears were already sitting inside while they anxiously waited for the rest of their squad mates to come on board. Cole found a place to sit opposite of the other two Gears in the cabin. One of them finally welcomed him,

    "Welcome back to Sigma…you must be Private Augustus Cole."

    "Yes sir, in the flesh," Cole responded with enthusiasm.

    "I hear you were part of the Lightmass Offensive, with Delta squad…"

    "Yea, that's right, baby…we blew those *****es sky high, hehe."

    The other Gear started to beam with zeal.

    "Holy ****, it's really you…the Cole Train," he blurted out.

    "Yea, that's right!"

    The first Gear turned to the other,

    "Ok, give him a break. I'm sure he hears that all the time,"

    "Nah…it's all good…everyone wants to see TheTrain, baby," Cole grinned.

    Much of Cole’s reputation as a thrashball talent and frontman for the Cougars, preceded him.

    The first Gear began to introduce himself,

    "My name is Lieutenant Milane, and this is Private Sven Dunrich,"

    "…yea, but everyone calls me Vin, or Vinny…it's just easier," said Sven, trying to break the ice.

    "You got it, Vinny," said Cole while Milane continued,

    "I understand that we have a technician with us?"

    "Yea, Corporal Baird…he's loading up some equipment. He'll be here, sir."

    "Great! We are also waiting for our Feral guide. Her name is Raven McNight, but everyone just calls her Feral. She should be with us shortly."

    "Sweet, can't wait," Cole gestured, turning his head outside the chopper to see Baird making his way to the entrance. Trudging through the slushy snow, Baird jogged lightly over to the King Raven, carrying additional baggage.

    "Hurry up Damon! Time to get this show on the road," Cole yelled out.

    "Yea, yea, working on it," Baird yelled back over the noise of the engine as he tossed a medical box and his equipment bag into the cabin. He jumped in and picked up the med box to strap it down near the bottom of the hull before proceeding to take a seat next to Cole.

    "Sorry I'm late, but somebody insisted that we take some additional medical supplies, and nobody else, but me, was apparently informed about it."

    Baird made a point to gripe, trying to get comfortable before Cole tapped him on the shoulder,

    "Oh…hey, this is Lieutenant Milane and Private Vinny Dunrich. They're on our team."

    "It's a pleasure to meet you Corporal," said Milane with nuance as Baird tried to extend something that resembled courtesy,

    "Likewise," Baird gestured in return.

    Lieutenant. Milane was rather cordial than most officers Baird had dealt with over the years, not to mention younger. Despite his youthful appearance for an officer, he was not near as young as the rookie Sven.

    Sven still had a "baby face," composure with his short, light brown hair slicked up into a short faux-hawk, which made him look even more juvenile. Milane, on the other hand, appeared to be more professional with his dark hair textbook shaved closely to his head, but dark enough to still visibly notice a hairline.

    Milane turned his head to peer out of the cabin.

    "Here she comes…"

    Cole leaned out, peering over Baird to watch someone approaching their chopper whom appeared to be wearing oddly constructed attire.

    "What the…is that a Feral?" Cole murmured while the other three turned to face the same direction.

    "Yep, that's our Feral," Milane answered.

    The Feral walked up to the chopper, meandering through the choppy, iced ground as she dismounted her equipment backpack to throw it in the cabin. Standing on the tips of her boots, she pushed her equipment bag into the cabin as far as her arms would allow her.

    The three just sat and watched in curiosity as the petite woman jumped up into the cabin, using the frame of the threshold to climb in. With her feet slipping slightly from the snow that was caked on the bottom of her boots, she attempted to catch her footing when Lieutenant Milane extended his hand to catch her arm. In return, she quickly whirled around, retreating her arm from him as if she was tenaciously avoiding contact. Milane shrunk back in response to her reaction, allowing her to place her equipment bag next to everyone else's without further interference from him. She then scanned the cabin, looking for a place to sit, but most of the area was taken. Milane backed up to give her room, feeling the atmosphere around her to be antagonistic, but nevertheless motioned her to have a seat anyway. She looked around with her wide, icy blue glare and then took up on Milane's offer to sit down in his spot.

    "Thank…you," she hesitantly said, realizing she may have made everyone uncomfortable with her conduct, attempting now to be as polite as she understood to be. Feral was not used to being around men, much less Gears, and she didn't like flying, period. The others could tell that she was twitchy.

    "You’re, welcome," Milane said, attempting to make her more comfortable, but it probably didn't help. Regardless, he insisted on introducing her to the others to ease the awkward atmosphere that was already cramping the cabin.

    "Just so you know, this is Private Cole, Corporal Baird…" Milane pointed as the two acknowledged his introduction," …and sitting next to you is Private Vinny Dunrich. We're all part of Sigma squad."

    "Of…course," she said timidly as she glanced at the three individually and nodded before slumping into her seat, trying to be discreet. She did not like being the center of attention.

    As the five settled in, the gunners took their positions while the engine on the bird began to roar loudly.

    "This is it," Milane yelled out over the noise. Sven sat up against the cabin, trying not to encroach on Feral's personal space.

    Baird turned to Cole,

    "Did you take that pill I gave you?" he yelled over the blaring engine.

    "Yea…what you say it was supposed to do?"

    "It's supposed to help your nausea, so I won't have to wipe your chuke off of my armor again."

    "Oh, yea!"

    Milane grabbed onto the handle as the rotors spun faster and louder, causing the hull to shimmy. Feral became tense, closing her eyes and grabbing the edge of her seat the moment she could feel the rattling in the cabin from the rotors increasing in speed. Her pale face began to flush in the cold air, accented by her feathery short, black hair as she curled her lip in anxiety. Cole could tell she was nervous, which only made her look even more endearing to him.

    Cole nudged Baird with his arm as he quietly chuckled,

    "Heehee…she's pretty, isn't she."

    Baird rolled his eyes to subtly respond over the ascending clamor of the Raven turbo shaft engine.

    "We're not going there, Gus."

    Cole started to laugh out loud over the noise of spinning rotors.

    "Oh, and by the way, I'm supposed to remind you not to f*** this up!"

    "Son of a b****, am I going to have to listen to this crap during the entire mission?" Baird blurted out as Cole snickered,

    "You bet your lily, white ass!"

    "F***," Baird growled, his voice now quashed from under the deafening engine.

    In the cabin they could hear the pilot on the radio,

    "Welcome ladies to KR Four-Three, and we will be taking off very shortly, if you have not already noticed but just so you know, my name is Captain. Nigal Jonas and I will be your pilot today, along with my co-pilot, Lieutenant. Samus Frank. Our gunners are Private Devon Fargus and Corporal Merl Jammacia, but we all just call him "Jimmie,"

    Jimmie waved his hand to the Gears.

    "…and just so you know, if you have not read the passenger manual for this flight, I am required to inform you that this is a non-smoking craft and that if you are caught smoking, it better be because your ass is on fire, which brings me to also inform you if in the event, the cabin, or your ass, is on fire, the extinguisher is located to the back of the cabin, next to the red label that says "in case of an emergency." Thank you for your audience and enjoy the flight."

    "Yea, right," Baird grumbled. Feeling the bird suddenly jolt, he peered out of the cabin and noticed that they were slowly beginning to lift from the ground.

    "Let's do this, Captain," Fargus yelled at the cockpit while Jimmie gave the cockpit crew a thumbs up. The bird elevated farther from the ground to fall in formation behind three other birds ahead of them. In ascension, four other King Ravens also began to lift off and follow after them. The crew in the cabin could see the ground turn, feeling the cold air rush around them as the aircraft picked up speed, forming into position along with the other airborne King Ravens.

    Cole closed his eyes, trying not to look down as the G-forces took its' toll on his stomach.

    "Ah, man…I hope this **** you gave me works."

    "Getting airsick soldier?" Milane noticed, watching Cole place his head in between his legs. Baird started to rub his hand on Cole's back,

    "Motion sickness, sir. I gave him something before we arrived to take the edge off…that, and I'm tired of cleaning up his barf," Baird explained while Milane chuckled in response before looking over to Sven and Raven.

    Sven peered out of the cabin in awe, savoring the moment of being in the sky since he seldom got to fly in a chopper. Raven, on the other hand continued to cling to the edge of her seat as her brow sat heavily over her deep, set eyes. She was not enjoying herself at all.

    "Feral here, doesn't like to fly, either," Milane informed the others with a slight grin. Raven just conveniently ignored him since her concentration was still entrenched on being hopelessly airborne. Baird redirected his gaze from the white landscape to the little woman sitting across from him, clinging relentlessly to the edge of her seat. He soon noticed her loosely familiar attire that complimented her minuscule figure.

    She had oddly shaped shoulder and back armor, made of some dark hardy leather-like material, while a piece of cloth similar to that of a Kantus robe, hung below her waist like a loincloth, dangling freely between her legs.

    Baird couldn't help to wonder how the Farel managed to get these dressings, much less custom them for their own personal use, but then again, he could recall the transcript Gears would customize their armor to suit their needs. Perhaps the Feral did the same, cause there's no way she would be able to fit in a Gear's armor.

    He quickly observed her side arms, both strapped to her thighs. She had a Boltok pistol in her left holster, with a Gorgon pistol on her right, both strapped on leg harnesses that were also buckled to her ammo belt. Although the rest of her leggings were made from some unfamiliar animal hide, her boots, however, were definitely Gear material, and were black instead of brown.

    Cole carefully picked up his head as he slowly opened his eyes, taking a deep breath to slowly exhale.

    "You alright, man?" Baird asked.

    "I think so…I don't feel too sh*tty," Cole answered back.

    Shortly after Cole's comment, the group felt a sudden bump as the five jerked inside the cabin.

    "Oh sh*t…I take that back!" Cole choked over the jolt.

    The craft shook violently before it suddenly jolted again.

    "Ok, now what the f*** was that?" Baird blurted out while Cole grabbed his seat, holding on fast. Blast sounds become audible around the cabin as Sven looked out to find other birds taking evasive action.

    "Ah crap…I hear gunfire!" Sven yelled as Feral clenched in her seat next to him.

    Milane peered over his shoulder to watch the gunners ready their chain guns, and then looked over to the cockpit. The radio began to sound off,

    "Hang on ladies…we got turbulence."

    "Aw, sh*t…turbulence my ass, we're being shot at!" Cole groaned, feeling the Raven tilt to the right, thus forcing the crew to lean as the bird bumped a few more times, more violently than the one earlier. Cole's dark face started to turn green before placing his hand over his mouth. Baird glared at him in horror, trying to hang on while shifting his body away from Cole.

    "Cole…don't you do it, man…or I swear," Baird sneered, leaning away from Cole to avoid the possibility of Cole's "vomit comet."

    Captain Jonas turned over his shoulder to face the gunners from the cockpit.

    "Jimmie, Fargus, fire at those b****es!"

    The gunners fired their chain guns while Milane peered out of the cabin to catch a Reaver passing by.

    "We got Reavers…sh*t," Milane barked before getting up to make his way to the middle of the cabin, hanging on to the handle as the bird started to shift to the left. They caught glimpses of the flying, mounted Reavers, taking gunfire as the gunners shoot a few down.

    Looking out, they could see the fire blasts coming from ground infantry as the other King Ravens attempted to dodge them. Suddenly, they see one of the birds get pummeled on the top of its hull, causing smoke to seep from the rotor. The Raven slowly started to drop as the blades fell apart before gravity finally clutched it to pull it down fast and hard, crashing onto the ground.

    "Oh sh*t, oh sh*t," Sven panicked as the others glared out in shock. All of a sudden, they received another strong jolt, but this time the warning light started to flash in the cabin.

    "Ohhh, that doesn't look good," Milane grumbled. The bird shimmied slightly, forcing the Gears to lean yet again. They could hear the pilot cussing over the radio, but somehow he managed to straighten the bird out for a brief moment before another jolt knocked it back onto its side.

    "F***…our fuel pressure is wavering guys…you’re going to have to get yourselves together because I'm dropping you, now!"

    "Wait…we're not at the drop zone yet," Milane protested while facing the cockpit.

    "We're not going to make it to the drop zone Lieutenant. Get your men ready!"

    "F***…alright…men, grab your gear," Milane ordered.

    The men attempt to collect their gear, all the while the aircraft began to tremor. They could feel the bird starting to drop in short, small bursts.

    Cole grabbed onto the cabin wall, trying to brace himself against the g-forces as he watched the bird hover even closer to the ground. Baird propped his foot against the hull so he could pull out his Lancer. Milane prostrated himself on the other wall as he too, pulled out his Lancer, carefully looking down and watching their Raven flying closer to the tops of the trees directly below.

    "Ok folks, this is it. When I tell you to jump, you jump! Don't hesitate, don't think…just do it! I am going to drop this thing as low as I can but it will not stay stable for long…good luck Gears," the pilot announced, trying to keep the Raven steady.

    The bird hit the tops of couple of trees on the way down, trying to dodge ground fire at the same time. The forest finally cleared into what used to be a small town surrounded by boulders and meadows, covered in snow.

    As the Raven slowed down, close to a hover over fifteen feet from the ground, the pilot tried to keep the rotor moving but the craft engine was choking on and off before it went idle.

    "Go, go, go! Move out!"

    "Sh*t, that's a long f***ing drop," Sven complained, bracing himself with one hand against the hull while clinging to his Longshot rifle partially strapped to his back.

    "Get out, soldier," Milane barked, grabbing Sven by his collar and pulling him towards the exit.

    Baird leaned over to the exit to grab the side of the door and leapt out. Cole meandered his way to the exit and then made the mistake of looking down.

    "Aw…sh*t," he bellowed, watching Baird make landfall as he rolled in the snow. Taking a swift deep breath, Cole jumped out, feeling the crisp air sting his bare arms before hitting the ground, letting gravity pull him forward into a roll along the slushy snow.

    The Raven continued to move forward while Feral was the next to have leapt out of the craft, dropping down into a snow covered, grassy meadow nearby.

    "Sh*t, I'm not going to…" Sven panicked before Milane cut in,

    "You're jumping! Now get your ass out of here!"

    Without further delay, Milane pushed Sven out of the door, watching him plummet into the hay bales below. The chopper started to teeter as the pilot yelled out from the cabin, in between sudden spurts of impact,

    "Get out Lieutenant, we're going down!"

    He could feel the Raven engine idle as the bird began to shift to its side, falling fast. Milane finally leapt out as the stirring snow stung his face from the churning blades above. Blinded by a bright white light, Milane slipped out of consciousness before plummeting into the ground below, losing grip of the reality of coming to a crash.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-17-2013 at 10:31 PM.

  13. #13
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    Ok, I have "journal" pics for the story, if anyone is interested. I have the novel cover here:

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/inde...ageID=20353842

    I have started a thread to post my fanfic art here:

    http://gearsforums.epicgames.com/sho...d.php?t=700119

    I also found some artwork that was done by another artist (with his permission) that I have rendered to fit the "journal" theme, here:

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/inde...ageID=20323208

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/inde...ageID=20323213


    You can view his original pieces at the following thread:

    http://gearsforums.epicgames.com/sho...d.php?t=682609
    I will have the next chapter posted tomorrow.

  14. #14
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    After being deployed from Fort Block, the King ravens come under attack, losing over half of their fleet . As Sigma's Raven goes down, they manage to exit the craft before impact, only to find themselves lost and miles from their droppoint. Can they salvage their team together before the Locusts find them...

    Chapter 5: Trial By Fire

    Baird ran over to Cole to help him get up from out of the deep, freezing snow.

    "Sh*t, that's cold, WHOO," Cole blasted, brushing off the snow that was caked onto his armor.

    "C'mon, get your ass moving. We need to find the others," Baird persisted, lifting his goggles to his forehead before he darted off running, leaving Cole to linger behind.

    "Hey Baird…slow down man," Cole complained, trying to move in the heavy snow. Seeing Baird prostrated up against an iced-up, shabby barn, Cole ran over to Baird’s position, panting as he breathed in the thin, cold air.

    "Well…what took you so long?" Baird mused with a grin.

    "Jackass," Cole muttered in response, still breathing heavily while supporting his weight with his hand up against the wood plank wall. Cole wasn’t used to running in the cooler, thinner air as he was with the more humid and warm atmosphere back home. He could handle the heat pretty well.

    Peering around the corner to look out into the snow covered meadow, Baird scanned the area, hoping to find the others. Past a rickety metal carport, he noticed in the near distance, Feral standing on top of what appeared to be a snow blanketed hay bale, trying to pull something out. Ok, now what the hell is she…wait, is that Sven?

    "Hey, Cole…I found them," Baird announced.

    He quickly glanced to see if it was clear and then suddenly darted off into the meadow, leaving Cole behind.

    "Hey, HEY…wait…sh*t," Cole yelled, following after Baird through the snow covered field.

    Feral was still trying to pull Sven by the shoulders, barely making any progress.

    "Sh*t, I'm stuck," Sven griped, attempting to wiggle out.

    "Hold still, damnit," Feral snorted, hanging onto him by his shoulder guards, but her hands slipped from the snow that was caked on his armor, falling backwards into the snow covered ground, which inevitably broke her fall.

    "DAMNIT," she blurted in frustration, only to suddenly whip around with her pistol in hand at the sound of snow being crushed under a pair of running boots.

    "NO…wait…it's just one of our guys," Sven yelled out as Baird made his way towards them.

    "Yea…friendlies…don't shoot me please," Baird scoffed. Feral groaned, placing her pistol down before brushing the snow off her black hair. Baird loaded his Lancer onto his back, freeing his other hand so he could extend it to help her up. Though hesitant at first, Raven cautiously accepted Baird's civility anyway as she grabbed his hand for Baird to lift her effortlessly from the snow blanketed grass.

    "I…can't…get him out," she panted, directing Baird to Sven, whom was still squirming in the snow blanketed hay bale.

    "Alright kids…give me a minute," he said to Sven as he hopped up on the bale, gripping him underneath his armpits to pull. Cole arrived, panting in as he leaned over to catch his breath,

    "Ok…I made it…so what's up?" said Cole in between breaths.

    Cole glanced up to see Baird trying to pull Sven out of the bale.

    "Sh*t…what the hell, Vin?" Baird griped, struggling to pull Sven out. Feral climbed up on the hay bale and pushed Sven from behind, but to no avail. Baird looked up at Feral,

    "Ok…on my count, you push, I'll pull, got it?" he said.

    "Yea, I got it," Feral acknowledged, bracing herself on Baird's count.

    "Ready, one, two, three…"

    The two manage to budge Sven at least a foot, but he suddenly came to a halt as if he was caught on something. The two gave up after a minute of not being able to budge Sven any further.

    "Aw, man, this sucks," Sven whimpered while Baird released him to wipe the sweat from his brow before it froze.

    "Aha, you see Cole…I told you this whole mission was going to suck balls, and it's only been…what, fifteen minutes?"

    "Let me try that," said Cole as he wrapped his arms underneath Sven's and started to pull. He managed to get part of the way before something jerked Sven into a standstill.

    "Aw…sh*t, he's got to be caught on something," Cole muttered as he released Sven, only to give Baird another chance to grab one side of Sven's armor as Cole grabbed the other. The two men yanked and jerked poor Sven simultaneously as Feral moved back to give them room. Peering around the men as they tugged, she noticed something wrapped around his boot.

    "Wait…I see what's holding him down," Feral leaned to get a better look. Wiggling through the two Gears, Raven slipped in and into the hay bale to see a vinyl strap snug around Sven's foot.

    "Geez, no wonder we can't get you out, Vin…you got a loading strap, wrapped around your boot…" Feral said as she pulled out her knife, "…give me a minute!"

    "Aw, man, I hate knives," Sven whined as Cole and Baird, struggle to hold Sven up.

    "Quit yer whining, boy," Cole winced as he held Sven up.

    "Hurry…Feral," Baird moaned while holding Sven up, waiting for Feral to finish cutting the strap.

    "I almost got it, Corporal," she said as she finally cut through the last nylon thread. Just as soon as she finished, the three Gears suddenly go flying backwards as Sven plowed right into Cole, and Cole collapsed onto Baird, forming one big pile of Gears.

    "Oh…wow, that's much better," Sven relaxed while Cole grimaced,

    "Vinny…you’re…crushing my jock, kid!"

    "Oh…uh…sorry," Sven quickly dismounted while Cole clutched his groin and cringed. Cole then felt a jab in his back as Baird yelled out.

    "Will you get the hell off me…please?"

    "Sorry Damon…hold on," Cole squirmed as he rolled off of Baird.

    Baird continued to lie in his spot, groaning as he took a few deep breaths, watching the warm air seep from his mouth and nostrils. While the three slowly gathered themselves up, Feral looked out from the top of the hay bale, scanning the field for a few minutes and then leapt back down to the ground.

    "I believe Lieutenant Milane may be further down towards the town," she said, pointing towards the east.

    "Groan…alright," Baird winced as he slowly got up. Cole moved over to help him on his feet while Sven pulled out his Gnasher shotgun, brushing the snow and hay off of it. Baird and Cole pull out their Lancers, brushing the grass and snow from the handles.

    "Follow me," Feral insisted as she started to roadie run towards the field. The three Gears meander behind her, moving to the other side of the white meadow towards a dense conifer forest nearby. Running through the frozen grass, they could feel the snow, crushing beneath their boots. Feral picked up her feet, moving from side to side, staying light on her toes to keep her trail faint. She suddenly halted at an iced-over, rusty bailer, sitting just outside of a thicket. The others make it to her position as they too, take cover behind the massive iced-covered tractor.

    "How do we even know that Milane got out of the Raven?" Cole began to question.

    "I saw someone jump out of our Raven while it was still sky bound," Feral replied.

    "Regardless whether he made it out or not, we still have to locate our ride…there might be survivors," Baird informed them as they peered from behind the bailer, scanning for Milane, or Locusts. They could hear a fire-fight in the distance as the sound of flying Raven's was still in earshot, but it soon dissipated over the forest and into the horizon.

    "Man…I hope the others get there ok," Cole pondered.

    "But what if they don't make it?" Sven asked.

    "There is nothing we can do for them now…the Corporal is right, we must help those in our immediate vicinity," Feral quietly responded.

    "Do you even know where our bird went?" Baird asked, skeptical that it landed at all; it probably crashed.

    "I know it went this direction, but I will have to get up high to tell you where it landed," she acknowledged while Baird responded with a nod, and then moved into the thicket, slowly.

    "Let's go…keep an eye out, and keep it low," Baird advised as the others march behind him.

    They walked around the tall, conifer trees, stepping over bundles of pine needles and cones, mixed in with the snow. Feral moved ahead of the group, quietly meandering around the trees, making faint noise with her feet on the snow covered ground.

    The scent of pinesap tainted the dry, crisp air as flakes of snow fluttered around the forest, making visibility faint. Feral slowed down her pace, taking larger steps over piles of forest foliage gathered in snow heaps on the ground.

    Suddenly, Feral halted and then crawled behind a brush while the others stopped in their tracks. Baird could tell that something spooked her, and motioned the others to drop down with his hand. They waited a moment, watching Feral for a motion or a glance, but she remained still, keeping her hands on her pistols.

    As they peer through the air ahead of them, they could softly hear footsteps moving on the snow-covered ground, closing in their direction. They quietly ready their weapons, waiting for the moving presence to reveal itself behind the frosty curtain.

    As the dark figure moved closer, they suddenly recognize it to be Milane. He carefully walked around the snow heaps, taking one step at a time, peering through the dense air.

    "Friendlies," he spoke out, as Sven, Baird, and Cole stood up.

    "Yea…friendlies," Baird responded while Milane carefully walked towards them.

    "You guys made it…that's a comfort," Milane continued, loading up his Lancer onto his back.

    "We didn't know if you made it sir," Sven added. Milane turned to address him,

    "Barely…our bird managed to slither a few more kilometers, that away…" Milane turned around to point, "…but I lost sight of it before it went down."

    "We was looking for our ride, hoping to find you first," said Cole.

    "Well, thanks for looking for me, but I'm afraid you'll have to turn back around…the Locusts are moving this way."

    "You've got to be kidding me," Baird griped.

    "I wish I was, Corporal…but we need to move, now."

    Just as Lieutenant Milane finished speaking, an earsplitting thunderous voice, blasted through the woods.

    "BOOM!"

    "GET DOWN, NOW," Baird hollered as the men scatter in all directions.

    Suddenly, a loud explosion pierced through the trees, as the noise rang in their ears behind the falling debris of snow, pine needles, wood, and blood.

    Oh God, someone got hit. Baird started to crawl on the ground, keeping his head down while trying to peer through the rain of debris, still falling in the air. He then looked up in front of him to see a massive figure, stepping around the brush up ahead as he recognized that all familiar, thunderous roar again.

    "BOOM!"

    Baird darted behind a neighboring tree as the Boomshot rang out. Pieces of branches and snow scatter throughout the forest, causing a haze to linger in the air between them. Baird flanked to the left of the slow moving, massive monster as he crawled behind another tree, only to roll on top of a bloody, strewn corpse in the snow, dense thicket.

    Ugh…damn. At first he couldn't tell who it was, but judging by the armor, he knew it was a Gear. He pushed the distorted corpse over to see if he could find the COG tags, but the corpse was so mangled he couldn't tell if the part was a torso or a leg; sh*t, what a f***ing mess!

    "BOOM!"

    Baird looked over to his right to find the colossal Boomer Locust, standing not too far from him as he could feel the ground tremor beneath him with each step the beast took. He remained concealed behind the tree while the Boomer scanned the vicinity with his beady eyes, breathing heavily as his raspy breath gurgled in irritation.

    "Landwalker gone…"

    Though the Locust was not the sharpest tool in the shed compared to that of the other Locust drones, what it lacked in smarts, it made up in immense size and firepower. Boomers carried a grenade launcher that could decimate a Gear upon impact. It was any wonder Baird didn’t take the bumbling beast lightly.

    "Over hear, sucka," a voice rang out from a distance.

    Cole…damnit, get down! The Boomer turned around in the direction of the noise, and bellowed,

    "BOOM…

    …the beast roared like some conditioned mantra before firing his Boomshot towards Cole's voice, distracting it from Baird's position. It was the only advantage they had to get out of the Boomers’ range of fire. Behind the thicket, Baird pulled out a Bolo grenade and moved quietly to flank the Boomer from behind. He could still hear Cole taunting it in the distance as the Locust fixated it's concentration in Cole's direction, reloading his Boomshot in the process.

    "Haha…you missed! You can't hit sh*t!"

    The beast fired his Boomshot again.

    "BOOM!"

    Just after the Boomer launched his Boomshot, Baird snuck up behind the creature and planted the Bolo grenade onto the Boomers rump.

    "FRAG OUT!" Baird yelled as he leapt into a nearby ditch behind another tree.

    "Get down," Cole blurted out. The Boomer turned around toward Baird's position.

    "BOOM?"

    Before the Locust could react, the grenade went off, tearing up the brush around it while the Boomer let out a chilling roar, flailing it's arms around the chaos. The Boomer's rump was in bloody shambles, trying to turn around on one functional leg.

    As the infuriated beast turned around to fire another round at Baird, a shot rang out in the thicket, echoing through the woods. The enormous brute let out a gurgling growl, dropping its Boomshot to the ground, and then its large body, started to slump down to the floor. It then laid motionless, its blood spurting on the white snow coloring it a deep crimson.

    Baird carefully stood up, brushing the wood chips and debris from his armor and hair as he looked over the massive creature to find Feral stepping around it with her Boltok pistol in hand, smoke still drifting from the barrel. Putting it back into her holster, she covered her nose and mouth with her hand, trying to block the stench seeping from the Boomer's fresh corpse.

    "You alright, Corporal?" she asked with her hand still covering her nose.

    "Yea…damn," Baird gestured, trying not to inhale the fresh, nauseating stench lingering in the air.

    "…and by the way, you're welcome," Raven quickly added.

    While avoiding the foul odor, Baird gave her a look of foul disposition at the same time.

    Cole shouted over the recent commotion,

    "Baird…you alright man?"

    Baird could hear Cole from a distance as he shouted back, "Yea…is anyone with you?"

    "I got Vinny with me!"

    Oh no…Milane.

    Baird turned around to locate the rest of the corpse. There were pieces scattered around the brush as he scanned the area, trying to make sense of the body parts…oh there's no way in hell we're going to piece this poor bastard together. Feral stepped down to Baird's position as she caught a glimpse of the bleak picture.

    "Who is it?" she asked.

    "I think it’s Milane, but I need to find his tags just to be sure."

    "Are these it?" Raven lifted up her arm, holding a set of COG tags as Baird came over to get a better look. She handed them over to Baird and then watched him analyze it. She could tell from his expression that it wasn't good.

    "Sigh…it's Milane's, f***," Baird mumbled, "…how well did you know him?"

    "What do you mean, Corporal?" Feral glared at him in puzzlement.

    "Well…it sounded as if he knew you so I figured you two…I don't know, got to know each other?"

    "Yea…during the debriefing, along with the Sergeant Harley from Gamma, but that was only for twenty minutes. So, to answer your question, no I didn't really know him," she replied stonily.

    "O…kay." Baird responded in astonishment.

    Cole and Sven carefully walked towards the Boomer's blood trenched body, still pointing their guns at it cautiously.

    "You can relax guys, it's dead," Feral yelled out, and then turned to Baird as he looked up at her.

    "We need to go back," Baird began, "…Boomers normally come in pairs…the other one will be close by, so we need to leave, now!"

    Feral nodded as Baird looked around to see Cole and Sven coming towards their position. They slow down as they get a glance of the sprawled body parts in the white snow.

    "Aw, man…we're f***ed now," Sven panicked as Cole started to shake his head.

    "You were right Damon…this is starting to suck," Cole groaned, looking at their bleak situation. They had only been on the ground for thirty minutes and they were already misdropped, lost, and their squad leader dead.

    Suddenly, they hear Feral coming down the ground from above, panting.

    "You were right Corporal…another one is coming this way, we need to go!"

    "Groan, I hate it when I'm right…get back to the barn, hurry!"

    Feral and Cole take off back the other direction while Baird grabbed Sven by the collar, pulling him forward.

    "Move, Vinny, go, go, go!"

    "BOOM!"

    "Sh*t…not again!"

    Baird and Sven hit the ground as fragments of wood and snow scatter a few meters to their right.

    "F***," Sven screamed as Baird stood back up, grabbing Sven and pulling him back up.

    Move your ass, Vinny," Baird yelled as the two dashed through the woods, running back to the meadow while trying to keep their heads down.
    Cole and Feral were already at the barn, waiting for Baird and Sven to come out of the woods. As they peer through the falling snow, they see Baird and Sven hauling ass through the meadow, motioning the others to get back,

    "Move, move…get back!" Baird hollered as he ran towards them. Suddenly, from the outside of the thicket, the massive Boomer peered through the brush, growling,

    "BOOM!"

    The beast fired blindly in their direction as the grenade passed them up, flying several meters ahead of them.

    Cole and Feral duck back behind the barn as Sven and Baird hit the ground, rolling a few times, kicking up the snow as they try to move quickly to the barn between the dusty haze stirred up from the Boomshot.

    "SH*T!" Sven yelled as Cole ran up to grab and yank him behind the barn. Baird was crawling over as fast as his legs and hands could take him, slithering behind the barn underneath the frosty haze. The four were hunkered down behind the barn out of the Boomer's sight.

    "Now what the f*** do we do?" Cole ranted with Lancer in hand, all the while Baird crawled up the wall.

    Feral redirected her attention to the others,

    "I know a way out, but we'll have to run towards the boarding houses further down over there," Feral pointed behind them.

    "How we going to get there without getting all blowed up?" Cole barked over the Boomers' bellowing, walking aimlessly looking for them.

    "BOOM!"

    "He's having trouble seeing through the snow…I can run out and draw his fire away from the barn," Feral again suggested.

    "Hold on a minute…you mean, run back out into the meadow, and do what? You won't last long against that Boomshot, Feral!" Baird argued, knowing that any Gear worth his balls stood no chance against a Boomshot, much less a little woman wearing next to nothing for armor.

    "I'm the faster runner…and I am also the smallest. He will have a harder time trying to see me than you guys. No offense, but you Gears stick out like a blinking, traffic cone…he'll definitely see you."

    Baird was about to snap back before the beast roared out again,

    "BOOM!"

    Baird grimaced, feeling the tremors left by the heavy artillery explosion coming from the hand-held Boomshot as the other Gears glared at him for direction, realizing he had nothing at the moment to stand on but Feral's suggestion. Biting his tongue while he rubbed his eyes, he then peered around the corner, seeing the Boomer walking around without direction in the snow.

    "Ugh, alright…but you haul your ass back to the boarding houses, we'll wait for you there."

    "Got it," Feral acknowledged.

    "I mean it Feral…you better be there within fifteen minutes!"

    "OK…I heard you the first time!"

    Before Baird could retort, Feral glanced around the corner, and then darted off into the meadow while the Boomer continued to scan through the falling snow. Baird carefully watched the Boomer as she leapt effortlessly through the snow-covered meadow.

    "What a b****," Baird quietly mumbled to himself.

    "Damn…she can move fast," Cole noticed, watching Feral dash across the field while Baird snapped him into focus.

    "Get ready, Gus…you too Vinny."

    Feral slowed down out into the middle of the field when she slowly stood up, pulling out her Gorgon pistol and fired it at the Boomer. The Boomer whipped around to find Raven waving her arms as she braced herself for the massive Locust to take a shot at her.

    "BOOM!"

    Flanking to the left, the shot missed her by a few meters as she ducked down into the snow, trodden grass. As the Boomer turned to walk over to her direction, the Gears ran out towards the boarding houses nearby.

    "Man, I hope she knows what she's doing." Cole whispered.

    "Yea…me too," Sven agreed.

    "Hurry up guys, we need to get over there to provide some cover," Baird reminded them, trying to keep their focus towards the buildings.

    Raven continued to move across the meadow as the Boomer slowly scanned the area, firing another blind shot at the evading Feral.

    "…ground walker?" the beast sneered, gnashing his teeth while trying to peer with his beady eyes before firing another blind shot,

    "BOOM!"

    The three could hear it roaring as they made their way to the first house in sight.

    "C'mon…over here," Baird insisted as they round up inside one of the houses facing the field. Strolling into the back room, Baird took his Lancer to knock out a window.

    "What are you doing, man?" Cole protested as Baird kicked out the rest of the glass still clinging to the window seal.

    "Vin, I need your Longshot…hand it here," Baird ordered.

    "Uh…sure," Sven obliged as he removed his Longshot rifle from his back to hand it to Baird.

    Baird quickly loaded a round into the chamber and then he placed it on the window seal, bringing his goggles over his eyes before adjusting the scope to focus in on the large Boomer across the field.

    "The snow is too thick Damon…you can't get an accurate shot," said Cole.

    "Yes I can…just watch," Baird reassured him, peering through the scope.

    As the Boomer continued to fire blindly while standing in the middle of the field, growling in agitation, Baird zeroes in on his head and then takes a shot. The beast suddenly stepped back, shrieking hideously while banging its head with its Boomshot in irritation. Feral looked up see the colossal beast turn around, snarling in fury. Geez, they have a hard head.

    "Aw, Baird, you just pissed it off," Cole griped, watching the monster face their direction.

    "One more," Baird said to himself as he loaded in the next round. He aimed again, carefully focusing on the beasts' head.

    "Just…hold still…for a sec."

    He could see the monster looking right at him as he peered into the scope, looking right in between its eyes.

    Baird fired the round, straight into the Boomer's forehead, causing the skull collapse and the brain matter to splatter onto the snow behind it. The rest of the body stood perfectly motionless as the rest of the pieces of its folded head rolled onto the shoulders. The corpse stood idle for a few more seconds before it slowly started to lean and then topple onto the ground.

    "Hehe, look at that," Baird mused to himself as he pulled the Longshot back into the house.

    "Yea, it's cute how they fall," Cole snickered while Baird handed the rifle back to Sven.

    "Wow…I didn't know you were a good shot, sir" Sven said in amazement while Baird pulled his goggles back onto his forehead.

    "That's just the tip of the iceberg, kid," Baird responded with Cole rolling his eyes.

    "Uh huh, now you dunnit, Vin…now you’re giving him a bighead," Cole whined as Baird turned to Cole while pulling out his Lancer, and then sticks out his tongue at him.

    Feral got up from her cover as she noticed the Boomer, lying motionless on the white ground. Peering over the snow heap as she gave the area a quick scan, she then moved over towards the houses, running through the snow covered grass until she got to the main road that meandered between the boarding houses. Slowing down her pace, she inspected the ground, looking for the Gears' trail in the snow; they have feet the size of a bears, their trail should be here somewhere.

    Finding some fresh footprints nearby, she resumed following them into a house, noticing the entry door that was already left wide open. She carefully walked inside, trying not to make too much noise with her footsteps, and then peered into a vacant room nearby. Finding it empty, she sighed and turned around slowly until she was suddenly startled by the sound of a gun being cocked back. Jumping back against the wall, Feral whipped around, only to find the three Gears with their weapons ready, pointing at her. She turned her head to her right to find Baird two feet from her as he lowered his Lancer, gloating,

    "Gotcha!"

    Feral flashed him an acidic glare and stood back, glancing at the other two with the same sour expression as they relaxed their weapons. They could soon tell she was not the least, bit amused.

    "What the hell, Corporal?" she hissed at Baird.

    "Oh, and by the way…you're welcome," Baird scoffed in return.

    "For what?"

    "Oh, for taking out the Boomer and saving your ass…you see, Feral, we're not a bunch of clumsy, incompetent meatheads…" Baird scowled as he continued, "…we've been pulling our weight through all of this sh*t for the past fifteen years, so don't you think for a second that you got anything on us that would deem inferior to the Feral,or anybody else for that matter."

    The Gears could feel the weight in the atmosphere starting to get heavy as Feral's expression turned spiteful. They waited for a moment to see if she would retaliate, but instead, she stepped away irate, marching towards the door, nudging away anything that was in her path, while the other two step out of her way, putting up their weapons.

    "Damn…she looked peeved," Cole quietly mumbled to Baird.

    "She'll get over it," Baird muttered, "…I'm not putting up with that kind of crap!"

    As the three exit the house, they could see Feral nearby, waiting impatiently for them to regroup. They could tell she was still miffed, but Baird continued to move on as if nothing happened.

    "We need to make contact with command…where can we go to get a clear signal?" Baird asked Feral. Without saying a word, she pointed towards another array of trees, just ahead of them as she turned around and started to hike there.

    "Heehee…she's giving you the silent treatment," Cole quietly snickered at Baird.

    "Whatever, I don't care," Baird shrugged as he continued to follow her, keeping the established distance she put between them. She then stopped to turn around and yell out,

    "This way!"

    The Gears followed her lead as they head out of the boarding community. Baird turned over to Cole,

    "See…she won't keep a grudge for long…we'll all get along just fine."

    "Yea, like cats and dogs," Cole mused.

    "Rowr…fft,fft," Baird gestured as Cole started to laugh.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-17-2013 at 11:49 PM.

  15. #15
    Redeemer
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    I read chapter 3. It was fine besides some misspelling and wrong word usage. I liked the cover and the art of the Feral-It was good.

  16. #16
    Boomshot
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurf plastic View Post
    I read chapter 3. It was fine besides some misspelling and wrong word usage. I liked the cover and the art of the Feral-It was good.
    If you don't mind, can you recall the mispelling? I went back to review it and I must be missing it. I had run through the spell check several times.

  17. #17
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    Sigma attempts locate their Raven in hopes of finding survivors and eventually moving on foot to their original drop zone.

    Chapter 6: Lost With A Broken Horse

    "Gamma Four, can you hear me, come in…"

    …Baird chatted on his com, attempting to make contact with the other squads.

    Deep in a widespread, snow buried forest, what is left of Sigma squad now sit in waiting, hoping another squad may be readily nearby, but as the static in Baird's com becomes more audible, so did inevitability. The air was bitter to breathe, feeling the chill making its way into their throat as they inhaled, but as long as they kept moving, they kept warm.

    Cole kept rubbing his flannel-covered arms, looking past the trees to keep watch, but Sven kept meandering in circles to stay warm.

    "Epsilon Six, can you read me, over…" Baird tried again.

    Cole and Sven directed their gaze to Baird, hoping by now he would get an answer from somebody, anybody; all the while Feral was climbing down from a tree she had crawled up earlier to get a better schematic of their position.

    "This is Sigma One, anybody, respond…sh*t!"

    Tossing his com, it was clear that Baird had finally gave up, letting out an abrupt sigh before looking around their present location. Meanwhile, Cole was the first gripe.

    "Man, where the f*** we at?"

    Sven rubbed the back of his neck, shaking off the accumulating snow, adding to Cole’s sentiment.

    "Man, I miss hot showers."

    "Yea, I know what you mean," Cole agreed.

    The Gears turned their attention to Feral, whom jumped from a nearby ledge and soon reunited with the group, all the while brushing the snow and pine debris from her shoulders.

    "We're at least six miles from our drop off point," she reported after spending the latter ten minutes sitting in pine needles, layered in ice and frozen sap.

    "Well that doesn't make any sense, we should be in contact range," Baird analyzed as he too brushed snow from his equipment that had been accumulating for the past fifteen minutes, …”somebody should have made it to the drop off point...hell, there were eight Ravens, two Reavers couldn't have taken them all down.”

    "It could be the terrain," Feral responded.

    "Or they could be in trouble," Cole added, getting antsy by just thinking about it, “…those Locusts were all over that place.”

    "Or maybe they're just busy," Sven jumped in without assessment. The others only turned to glare at him, as if he crudely broke wind, "…or…not…I'll… shut up now,"

    Baird turned to the others,

    "At any rate, we need to first find our ride, just in case somebody might be alive."

    "I saw smoke nearby to the north. It's just a kilometer or two," Feral suggested before shaking snowflakes from her black hair.

    "Then that's our objective…let's go ladies," said Baird. The other Gears gathered up their equipment to follow Feral into the wooded vicinity ahead.
    They moved cautiously around the tall conifer trees, stepping over snow heaps gathered on the ground as the cool air enticed the scent of sap and pinecones. Snow started to fall again, floating down in the cold dense air, further obscuring their already blurring visibility.

    "Damn, does it ever stop snowing? I can't see sh*t in this, man…" Cole complained, brushing the snow from his shoulder plates "…how we suppose to make out Locusts in this?"

    "I can see pretty good with these goggles," Sven beamed as he removed them from around his neck, holding them out for Cole to see, "…they even have night vision, pretty awesome, huh?"

    "Well it's not night time Vinny. Besides, they may be hiding in the snow, setting up an ambush…what good will those goggles be then?"

    "I doubt that," Feral remarked, meandering lightly around the crowding trees, keeping her movements subtle while the Gears, in comparison, brushed up against everything, making a noisy racket. Their armor was too thick to wiggle through the thicket without grazing the brush around them.

    "If the Locusts do find us, it'll be because you guys make way to much noise…also, their visibility is just as bad as yours, if not worse," she added.

    "You mean ours," Baird attempted to correct her.

    "No, I did mean yours…I can see just fine."

    "Uh huh," Baird mumbled coarsely, not wanting to get into an argument at the present. Feral returned an icy glare before moving ahead of them. Baird subtly grumbled to Cole,

    "I can already tell this is going to be a long f***ing day."

    "Whatever you do, just don't f*** it up," Cole conveniently reminded him.

    Baird scowled, making childish gestures as he imitated Marcus by lowering his voice to a course growl,

    "Whatever you do, don't piss her off…bullsh*t…f***ing piss her off my ass…" Baird continued to inaudibly ramble while Cole handily ignored him.

    The four continued to make their way through the thicket until they saw a dark haze in the distance behind the gathering trees. They eventually approached a series of fallen trees as a stream of black smoke could be seen nearby.

    "Wait…hey, do y'all smell that?" Sven blurted out as the scent of burning metal seeped into their nostrils.

    "Shhh,…geez Sven…you're the worst of the three," Feral sneered from the top of a fallen tree nearby. Baird moved up to take a look at the haze hovering in the air between the trees until he could see the thick smoke, winding between the brush just ahead of them.

    "That may be our Raven…we're getting close, so let's pick up the pace," Baird persisted, pressing the other two to move.

    Peering past the chipped bark of the conifer trees, they could see a collapsed Raven resting on its hull over a fallen log. Lying snuggly between the collapsed trees that were broken down from the impact, smoke bled slowly from its' chassis. The numbers on the side were clearly visible; KR, Forty-three.

    "Sh*t, everyone is going to see this smoke if they haven't already…we need to hurry this up," Baird urged. Cole had already began to climb up on top to get inside the cabin. Sven followed behind, attempting to pull himself up by the frame until his foot slipped from the snow on the metal. Cole quickly grabbed him by his belt before Sven fell off completely, hanging only by the edge of the sole on his boot.

    "Easy kid, I gotcha!"

    "Whoa, thanks," said Sven, still holding onto Cole's massive arm as Cole pulled him into the cabin.

    "Don't mention it, kid…the "Train's" always got yo back!"

    Baird started to make his way to the front of the bird to climb up to the windshield and get a better look inside, but the smoke mixed with the cold air fogged up the window, not to mention blood splatter. That's not a good sign. He wiped off the frost to get a better view inside the cockpit. He soon noticed the pilot was impaled into the cockpit door while the co-pilot was dangling motionless from his seat. Damn…we're too late.

    "Cole, anyone alive in there?" Baird yelled through the hull.

    "Nah, Jimmie's gone…Fargus too," Cole yelled out from the cabin.

    "I think Jonas just bought it too…damnit, he's got a door where his chest used to be...check Frank, just to be sure."

    Baird could see Cole through the windshield as Cole climbed into the cockpit. Looking around, Cole caught a glimpse of Jonas' mutilated corpse. He quickly covered his nose before he could inhale the nauseating stench.

    "Ugh…damn, Damon, you guessed right…****," Cole moved over to check on the co-pilot. As he leaned, he noticed a pile of what appeared to be bowels, sprawled on the cockpit controls.

    "Oh, sh*t…is he dead?" Sven peered over a nauseating Cole, trying to refrain himself from vomiting while getting a look at Frank still strapped to his seat. Cole reached over to check for a pulse while trying to avoid inhaling the stench festering in the air. Cole's face turned sour as he turned to look at Baird through the window and shook his head.

    "F***," Baird mumbled to himself before yelling back to Cole through the glass, "…you alright Cole?"

    "Yea…I just, need to get some air."

    "Alright, Gus, get out of there, man…" Baird lamented as he hung his head for a minute, rubbing his temples.

    "This sh*t's getting old," he mumbled to himself as he started to make his way down from the Raven.

    After nearly countless years of fighting Locusts, any potential hopes of reaching normality were nearly exhausted. A week never went by without meeting a new comrade in arms without finding him maimed a few days, maybe even hours later. Pictures of faces, people he knew ran through his head, lost to one calamity or another. How much longer will Cole last? How much longer can he last, not to mention Sven, who's just a kid?
    Cole and Sven started to make their way out of the cabin when they see Feral walking along the side.

    "Any survivors?" she yelled out.

    "Natta, their all dead," Cole responded while Baird moved to join Feral before she directed her attention to him.

    "Then we need to detonate this craft," she insisted.

    "Wait…what…did I just hear that right?" Baird glared at her in protest.

    "Take out what you might need and then detonate it," Feral pressed on, feeling the weight of Baird's expression of disapproval.

    "Look Corporal, you said so yourself…that smoke is going to draw attention to itself for at least a ten mile radius. The Stranded are going to find it and they’re going to salvage it for their own ammunitions. We can't let them do that."

    "So we just blow it with everybody in it, I don't think so!" Baird wrangled at the idea, but Feral was quick to respond back,

    "Listen, there is a rocky ledge not far from hear near that mountain. We can take the bodies there for cremation."

    "Cremation?"

    "We can't bury them, the ground is too frozen; their graves will be shallow and the animals will dig them up…and even if we could, we don't have the time."

    Baird turned away for a moment to let out a fuming sigh. He didn't like it, but he knew she was right, although he wasn't going to be the first to admit it. He stared at the mangled, smoking chopper for a minute and then returned his attention to Feral.

    "How far is the ridge?"

    "About a fifteen minute hike."

    Baird looked to both Cole and Sven whom were already eavesdropping on the conversation. Cole could tell that Baird was irritated as he looked up at them,

    "Get what you can, and get Jimmie, Fargus, and Frank out. We won't be able to move Jonas, so you'll have to get his COG tags. We're going to blow it up," said Baird.

    "So what are we going to do about Jonas…we can't leave him," Cole protested.

    "Damnit Gus, we don't have a lot time to try and yank him out of that door, or at least not in one piece."

    Cole turned to look toward the cockpit before his gaze drooped to the ground as he muttered,

    "You're right man,"

    "Look Gus, I don't like this either, alright…you may be right, the other squads might be in trouble, but we won't know for sure until we find them, if we can. Use the tarp to cover him."

    "You got it," Cole readily replied before slapping his massive hand over Sven's shoulder,

    "…c'mon kid, let's get this over with."


    Chapter 7: Funeral Pyre

    The fire blazed brightly in the winter air as the smell of burning pine branches accent the cremation's aroma. The three Gears watch the last remnant of their fallen comrades, burn into a funeral pyre made of rocks and tree branches that they were able to scrounge up within an hour.

    Raven briefly watched from a nearby ledge but then turned away to continue looking out for anyone, or anything, that might interrupt their eulogy. She could still see the smoke coming from the fallen aircraft they detonated with explosives earlier that afternoon, rising beyond the tree line into the dense, cold sky.

    The fire picked up the pace as the smoke began to lift further in the air, giving the fallen a final closure. The living, however, was going to have to move before the smoke drew any Locust attention, if it hadn't already. The Gears began to pick up their equipment as they turn to see Feral making her way towards them.

    "We got a problem," she announced.

    "A problem, imagine that," said Baird with a hint of sarcasm, but suddenly turned somber when Feral gave him a foul look,

    Rolling his eyes, he recanted, "Alright Feral, what is it?"

    "We have a snowstorm heading this direction," she reported.

    "You're ****ting me!"

    "Go see for yourself, Corporal."

    Baird stepped around Raven to hike towards the ledge where Raven was looking out from earlier, and sure enough a dark horizon in the distance was on the move, closing in towards the valley ahead of them.

    "F***!" he blurted out as the others picked up on the alarm in the tone of his voice.

    "What is it Baird?" Cole blurted out as Baird quickly leapt down from the ledge.

    "We need to find shelter, and fast," said Baird, turning his attention to Raven, "…I don't suppose you have anything in mind that is preferably nearby?"

    "We follow the river to the Hurl Dam…"

    "…but that takes us away from the drop point, Feral, and away from our objective…"

    "There is no shelter near the drop point, and even if there was, we wouldn't make it there before the blizzard does. You said preferably nearby, and besides, there is a major Stranded settlement on the other side of mountain near the glacier lake…"

    Baird lifted an eyebrow, giving Raven a glare of suspicion before she picked up onto his subtle hint of pessimism. Raven continued after letting out a large sigh,

    "…the dam also has a long range radio…you may be able to contact command with it."

    Baird turned his eyes to Cole and Sven as if he was looking for any other suggestions, but the two had nothing else to add that may have aided the conversation further.

    "Well…I'm sold. How about you two?"

    "Sounds cool to me," Sven replied with a slight shrug while Cole's face beamed with enthusiasm as he too replied,

    "To the dam, baby."

    Raven quickly turned around and began to hike, yelling over her shoulder while moving forward,

    "Hurry…this way,"

    The others started to follow as well, climbing up through the rocky ridge into another part of the thicket. As they entered, a light wind startled the stagnant air, a precursor of things to come as the storm slowly moved closer, and closer.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:01 PM.

  18. #18
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    Just a heads up, I have this story posted on the following link.

    http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5380395/1/Snowblind

    It may be a little easier to read without the "censoring," but I only have five chapters posted. I will eventually post six and seven but I would like to hear some more feedback so I can make adjustments, corrections, ect., before I go on further.
    There's alot more that is already completed but I've been spending alot of time "editing," making sure the story flows smoothly and of course double checking the grammer usage.

    Apparently I've been getting hits on this thread so somebody is reading it, or skimming it, either way, please leave feedback if possible so I can make it better and hopefully more enjoyable to read.

  19. #19
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    Although some things are left better unsaid, Raven entertains her "guests" while trying to stay focused on the objective at hand...and that's to keep them alive.




    Chapter 8: Head Deep

    Is it bright where you are,
    And have the people changed?
    Does it make you happy you're so strange?
    And in your darkest hour,
    I hold secrets flame,
    We can watch the world devoured in it's pain.


    ~Smashing Pumpkins~




    Sigma squad continued to follow the winding frozen river in the wooded area nearby, hiking through the densely sparse conifer trees while keeping their whereabouts invisible to whomever or whatever may be lingering close by.

    Behind the cover of the snow blanketed pine needles and limbs, Feral would stroll around the terrain like a meandering cougar by lightly planting her feet. She tactically concealed her path while the husky Gears, in contrast, plowed right through the snow and foliage, leaving tracks that would resemble a migration of sasquatches. Needless to say, they were not as conscientious about suppressing their trail as she was.

    A cold breeze ventilated the atmosphere with its ozone aroma, pushing the scent of pinesap to the wayside. To pass the time, as well as to take they're mind off of the obnoxious cold, random conversation was inevitable.

    "Sh*t, it's getting cold," Cole began to openly complain, not exactly a good start on taking their mind off of the less than tolerable weather, but it was the objective that was foremost on their list of agendas, which was to keep moving to stay warm.

    "It's been cold, what are you talking about," Baird mused at his friend's expense, looking over his shoulder to catch a glimpse of Cole rubbing his massive arms. Although Cole was wearing a fleece fatigue under his armor that extended past his elbows, the cold wind was still bleeding through the additional layering.

    "That wind is chillin' my ass off, man," Cole muttered in between shivers.

    "I'll say, it's like a meat locker with a giant fan in it," Sven added as he strategically attempted to avoid the wind by using the trees for cover. Although the strategy seemed feasible, it really wasn't all that effective.

    "C'mon wusses, a little cold won't hurt ya," Baird began to mock as he moved through the breeze without strain.

    "Yea, easy for someone who dives bare ass in glacier lakes," Cole grumbled back.

    "You better believe it. I made a lot of money doing that."

    "Ah, for real? How'd you do that, sir?" Sven perked up in interest.

    "Damn, Damon, you jumped in icy water on a bet…Marcus was right, you are bat-sh*t crazy!" Cole teased.

    "I needed the money. Besides, it's not that bad…well, at least the first five minutes of it," Baird admitted as he looked ahead, peering through the trees before something began to fester in the back of his mind. He finally stopped to take a moment to peer around the forest, noticing that Feral was nowhere in sight. Not quite sure what to make of it, he began to mutter out loud,

    "Alright…where in the hell did she go?"

    "Right here Corporal."

    Baird suddenly whipped around, only to find a serene Feral perched on a fallen log just beside them as the other two also turn to the sound of her subtle voice.

    "Sh*t, Feral, don't do that," Baird griped, subconsciously taking his hand off the butt of his pistol that was nesting snuggly in his holster, strapped to his thigh.

    "Do what, Corporal?" Raven responded as she leapt from the log and summersaulted onto the snow covered ground to ease the impact of the shock absorption. Using her momentum to stand back up, she turned around to face them again, brushing the foliage and snow off of her arms. All the while, Baird stood nearby with his hands on his hips.

    "Calling me Corporal, don't do that!"

    "Well then, what would you like me to call you?" Feral responded with some candor in her expression as she adjusted the holsters strapped on her thighs.

    "It's Damon Baird. You can call me Baird…"

    "…or Dickhead, or Jackass, oh, and Asshole," Cole snorted in return, finding amusement at Baird's expense. Instead of rebuking back, Baird just turned around to raise his arm and extend his middle finger. Meanwhile, Sven did his best to refrain from laughing.

    "What did Marcus call you that one time…oh yea…dip****! That was a good one," Cole snickered between chuckles as Sven gave up trying to save face and started to laugh too.

    "Oh, ha ha ha. Yea, laugh it up, smartasses," Baird sneered back at the two.

    Feral finally cut in to break the ice of Baird's less than conformist introduction.

    "Sigh, alright, so…Damon Baird it is. I don't know if I should even attempt to use the other suggestions…"

    "Give it time, baby; before you know it, you'll be calling him a jackass too," Cole added to further ease the atmosphere between the four.

    "Uh huh," Feral grunted before returning her gaze to Baird, watching him roll his eyes.

    "Anyway…" she redirected the topic of the conversation, "…the area ahead appears to be clear up to the edge of the woods, but I wouldn't let your guard down just yet."

    "Sure, whatever," Baird muttered. Feral acknowledge him a nod and resumed hiking through the somewhat sparse woods. The three picked up the pace as they too resumed their trek, trying keep close in the gap between them and Feral.

    "Damn, are we getting any closer to this place?" Sven complained. Baird intentionally started to drag his feet as he mockingly bellowed like a defiant child,

    "Yea, are we there yet?"

    "Almost," Feral merely remarked, still keeping her gaze focused on the trail ahead of them while ignoring Baird's blatant sarcasm. Sven moved up to the front next to Feral, hoping to pass the time by making random conversation.

    "So…Raven, is it…or, do you like to be called Feral?"

    Feral abruptly turned her head and glared at him with astonishment. It never occurred to her that a Gear would ever ask her anything, much less her name…but I suppose that it would be only natural for someone to ask for one's name.

    "You call me whatever makes you comfortable, Vinny," she responded in monotone as the other two divert their ears forward, eavesdropping on the conversation. Baird mumbled softly to Cole,

    "Yea, like psycho b****…"

    Cole was quick to place his hand over his mouth, trying his hardest not to bust out laughing. Normally he would rebuke Damon for being rhetorically blunt, but this one time, Cole couldn't help but to understand where Baird was coming from.

    "You know, these ears do work," Raven snorted back while still keeping her gaze forward.

    "Otay…" Baird could only retort while staggering his pace, imitating an insinuated retard, "…at least we know she's not broke!"

    Cole began to chuckle,

    "Man, you really do need to mature," Cole suggested while Baird turned over his shoulder to give him a sarcastic glare,

    "Then you need to stop laughing at me when I act immature."

    Trying to save face, Cole moved up closer to the front so he could be closer to Raven. Maybe she's just a little misunderstood...yea; Cole could only hope as he makes an attempt to keep the conversation going.

    "So, why did your folks name you after a chopper, anyway?" asked Cole. It seemed like a logical question at the time.

    Sven butted in from behind, trying to stay into the conversation,

    "Yea, I heard of people naming their vehicles after chicks, but I never heard of people naming their chicks after vehicles."

    Raven turned to glance at the both of them with a burrowed look under her deep-set eyes. Reminiscing as if she didn't think the question had any relevance to her, or the mission at hand, she began to subliminally recall the words of her clan leader, an aged woman of insight and wisdom over Raven's implied ignorance. Although she could remember being told that her solitude was merely a temporary walk of life that will one-day end, she never took it seriously and therefore has since then repressed it out of memory. Only now, when she most certainly least expected it, the words resurface to her forethought once again…damnit, I hate these déjà vu moments.

    She long knew that if she was ever to enter the right of passage for procreation, she must learn to understand man's plight…yea, the epitome of idiocy…but if she was ever going to maybe one day, reintegrate back into society, she grudgingly knew that she would have to be a lot more hospitable, including entertaining irrelevant questions.

    Reorganizing her thoughts, Raven replied with the most honest answer she could muster,

    "My…foster parents didn't name me after the craft, they named me after the color of my hair…like a raven, the bird," she diffidently explained. That should be enough, shouldn't it?

    "So…wait, foster parents? So…you we're adopted? I thought you were a Feral?" Cole buzzed at her statement, trying to make sense of it all.

    "I am…I became a part of their clan later on."

    "But you're not a natural born Feral?"

    "As I understood it, my biological mother was a Feral,"

    "And yo real daddy?"

    "I, don't know…she didn't get much of a look at him I guess,"

    Cole's expression turned perplexed, trying to read into what Raven had just told him.

    "You guess?"

    "She was raped, Private," Raven revealed subjectively and without conceit. Cole's eyes widened at the revelation, not so much at the shock of such a means as much as the frigidity in Raven's demeanor concerning the topic…and she's ok with that?

    Raven continued, "...which…consequently, led to my conception. All that I was ever told was that my father was a COG soldier, so it would probably be safe to assume that he is most likely dead by now. I never met him."

    "Oh…sooo…"

    "…and my real mother abandoned me shortly after birth, so I was adopted shortly later by a COG officer."

    "So your foster parents were citizens of Tyrus. That explains why you can speak our language so fluently," Baird butted in, subconsciously putting the picture together, putting his astute empirical skills.

    "Yes…you would be correct," Raven responded, lacking impression with Baird's insight. Baird pushed forward anyway,

    "…which means you probably grew up in a COG school, went to a COG church..."

    "…you got it."

    "So when did you become an official Feral?"

    "When did you become a COG soldier?" Raven turned the conversation back to Baird as she peered over her shoulder, watching Baird exchange glances with Cole, flashing a metaphorical grin for the sake of banter. Baird let out a sigh and decided to entertain Raven with an answer anyway, just to see where the conversation would take him.

    "I was nineteen…when I "volunteered," he said, signing quotation marks with his hands.

    "Isn't the recruitment age for a Gear seventeen? Why so late?" Raven asked as she turned around to face him, walking backwards while waiting for his response, but instead he just smiled, lifting his chin up to look down at her. Realizing she probably wasn't going to get an answer out of him, she turned back around and continued to move forward. Baird took it upon himself to press the topic even further,

    "Ok, so when and why did you join the Feral?"

    Raven was silent for a few a moments, continuing to hike forward as she pondered, wondering if she should even amuse him with an answer. But for whatever the reason, she decided to entertain Baird's curiosity,

    "I ran away from home when I was fourteen."

    "So why did you run away?" Baird persisted, hoping to get into her head.

    Raven suddenly came to a halt as she stood still, glancing at the ground while resting her hands on her holsters. The others also stopped, wondering what it was she was thinking. She then broke the awkward silence as she turned around to face them,

    "Because Corporal, I refused to be treated like some mare whom was to be bred to some stallion, under the false pretense for the sake of rebuilding humanity," she sneered rather callously, "…I ran away so the COG couldn't take me to some "breeding farm" where young girls we're being exploited, molested, and raped."

    The atmosphere suddenly went from friendly to rigid. The assertion filled their heads of what they truly uncovered at a "breeding camp," not too long ago. Although the details of those incidents were still blurred since most of the medical records have been skewed, they knew that Raven's accusation wasn't too far from the truth. It was just how she came to know about it at the age of fourteen was also unclear. Raven continued on,

    "I hiked into mountains outside of Ephyra where a Feral clan was just passing through…and then I was taken in from there. I was given a choice to either be a Stranded, or a Feral."

    Without saying another word, Raven turned back around and continued to hike again, putting distance between her and the Gears, consequently ending the conversation.

    "Damn…that was an earful," Cole mumbled quietly as he turned to glance at Baird.

    Baird shrugged his shoulders in response and continued forward, while Sven was still dumbstruck by the info overload, following the other two as best he could.

    So much for our "friendly" chat.

    They eventually caught up to Raven, finding her perched up on a boulder, looking out from the wilderness. Moving closer near the edge of the woods, the wind brushed through the branches which caused them to flap. Peering out onto the frozen river ahead, the Gears looked out from the sparse woods, only to find their destination at last…Hurl Dam.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:10 PM.

  20. #20
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    As Sigma squad attempts to find refuge at Hurl Dam, they come across a snag along the way.

    Chapter 9: Incident at Hurl Dam

    Roadie running through a rough landscape, in the cold, filled with rocks, big rocks, in three feet of snow and ice, while dodging bullets at the same time was not listed anywhere in the f***ing recruitment handbook…

    …Sven griped to himself, running close behind Cole and Baird while trying to make sense of the commotion going on around him. He didn't have the slightest idea where he was, or where he was going; all that he did know was that he was being shot at, right on the brink of an oncoming blizzard while trying not to slip and fall on his already frozen ass.

    The three Gears take cover behind a bed of rocks where Raven was already, impatiently waiting for them as she loaded her pistols.

    "Damnit, you guys need to keep up!" she barked over the noise of the endless ricochet glancing off the boulders.

    "It's kinda hard to keep up, Feral when we're carrying several pounds of armor and equipment, running in knee-deep snow, ON AN INCLINE!" Baird blurted out while trying to keep his head down with his Lancer in hand.

    "DAMN, where did this **** come from?" Cole howled, checking his Lancer to make sure there was a full clip loaded in it. Sven frantically packed his Longshot rifle with armor piercing rounds, trying to push one into the chamber with his trembling hands, pulsing from the sudden adrenaline rush.

    "I thought you were supposed to know where all the Locust outposts are, Feral," Baird nagged.

    "This was not here the last time I checked, Baird," Raven snapped back, ducking with each ricochet glancing off the boulder above.

    "Oh, and how long ago was that…last year?"

    "Well, ever since you eggheads dropped Jacinto into the abyss, the Locusts have scattered all over this area. They don't stay in one spot for too long…and just so you know, it was two weeks ago!"

    Suddenly they heard a shrilling growl, echoing from a distance.

    "Aww, crap!" Baird groaned at the sound of a howling that was all too familiar.

    "Yea, we've heard that noise before," Cole recapped, moving closer to Baird's position. Raven peered around the snow-covered boulder to catch a brief glimpse of the enemy,

    "Grinders!"

    Grinders was the code name for an massive Locust, similar in build as that of Boomers, but instead of grenade launchers, they were armed with a rapid-fire, cyclic multi-barrel gun they called a Mulcher.

    "Oh, sh*t…what do we do now?" Sven panicked. Although Sven hadn’t been Gear near as long as Cole or Baird, he understood the firepower Grinders could bring.

    Raven quickly turned around to face the three Gears.

    "There's a trench over there…to the left. That may be your better destination for cover."

    Baird moved over to Raven as she pointed towards the location of the trench, huddled behind a short slope that laid adjacent from their position.

    "…and that place over there?" Baird pointed towards a fallen tree next to a boulder incline, "…can you make that?"

    "There's a lot of crossfire between here and there. My armor is too light to take that much contact…I'm not a bullet sponge," Raven promptly analyzed, and she was right. Her armor was not as resilient as the Gears and was not intended for direct contact, much less blunt force trauma. Baird looked up to reassess their position and then dropped back down to turn to Raven,

    "Alright, look…we can make it to the trench if we haul ass. I'll get Cole and Vin to provide cover fire, but once we get there, Cole and I can draw their fire over there, and then Vin can draw their fire from here so you can make it to the log."

    "Yea…whoa, wait…I'm staying here, by myself?" Sven griped in horror.

    "Look, Vin, we need your sniper cover here, do you understand?" Baird glared Sven in the eye. He could see that the kid was scared; he knew exactly what is being asked of him.

    "Look kid, I know you haven't had a lot of encounters like this, but it's time to grow up, Vinny…this is what Gears do."

    As Baird continued to stare him down, Sven started to recollect himself and nodded his head in response.

    "Now, get your skinny ass up there, look through your scope and tell us what you can see?"

    "Y, yes sir."

    Sven moved up, carefully climbing on top of the side of the rock. Kicking the snow off as he planted his rifle down, he peered towards the Locust horde through his scope.

    "Sh*t…ok…I see two Grinders…uh…some Bolters, Grenadiers…there's another, a Cyclops maybe, I can't tell, the Grinders are stirring up too much snow."

    "Get back here, Vin," Baird called out.

    "On it," Sven yelled over his shoulder as he climbed back down to their position.

    "So, you got a plan Damon?" Cole asked over the noise of the bullets still drumming against the boulders.

    "Let's just say I have a general idea, but we need to spread out. Grinders get confused with multiple targets. Feral, you're coming with me," Baird gestured to Raven.

    She frantically turned her head around to respond,

    "Wait, what?"

    "You're coming with me…"

    "…now wait a damn minute," Raven began to protest before Baird interrupted her,

    "For crying out loud, I know for a fact you can haul your tiny ass across a field, dodging a Boomshot…this is no different…"

    "There's a big difference between dodging one Boomshot, verses six Hammerburst rifles and two Mulchers, Baird!"

    "…oh, cry me a river, you can do it…besides, I'll cover you along the way. Does that satisfy you?"

    Raven growled to herself before returning a sour scowl, but she knew that this was their only option and they couldn't waste any more time debating over it, so she nodded stingily in agreement. Baird turned to the others,

    "Cole, stay here with Vin and give him cover…see if you can take out some of those Bolters…"

    "You got it, baby!" Cole beamed with zeal.

    Baird proceeded to Raven's position.

    "Are you ready?"

    "Wait…"

    Raven pulled out her Gorgon pistol with her left hand and sat her Boltok on the ground next to her. She put in some fresh clips before picking them back up and then nodded,

    "Ok, ready!"

    "Ready Cole?"

    "I gotcha back!"

    "Let's go!" Baird yelled as Cole stood up to fire his Lancer towards the Locusts nearby. Baird and Raven hastily darted off towards the trench with Raven moving ahead of Baird. Directing his Lancer towards the Locusts, Baird began to fire at them as he continued to run sideways. Raven quickly leapt into the trench with Baird not too far behind, quickly rolling in and moving up right next to Raven. Prostrating himself against the trench wall, Baird shook the snow off of his head and goggles while Feral was rubbing the snow out of her hair.

    Cole and Sven continued to exchange gunfire, pitting the Locusts closer to the edge of the frozen river while the Grinders continued to open fire from a distance behind the frontline with ease. Sven moved his scope to take a shot at a Bolter close by, literally lobotomizing his head completely off the rest of its' standing body. The headless, upright corpse started to slowly slump down as blood from the main artery on what used to be its neck, continued to seep, spouting all over the white snow.

    "Oh yea, eat it!" Sven blurted out with more confidence now than he had earlier in the confrontation.

    "Good shot, kid!" Cole complemented Sven at his clean kill while loading in a new clip before returning fire, taking out a Grenadier nearby in the process, bellowing,

    "…WHOO, yea, I got enough for all of y'all!"

    Sven continued to take out the Locusts on the frontline, one at time,

    "Damn, it's like shooting ducks at the carnival," Sven mused.

    "Yea, them Grubs ain't too bright," Cole chuckled in amusement before firing his Lancer.

    At the trench, Baird quickly reloaded his Lancer while Raven pulled out a couple of "Nape" grenades and hangs them on a strap that was clung to her left hip.

    "You good?" he inquired to her as she prostrated herself against the trench wall next to him.

    "Yes, I'm fine…just...trying to get myself together here."

    "Ok, it's Gus's turn!"

    Baird directed his attention to the pile of boulders where Cole and Sven were still waiting.

    "You ready, Cole?" he yelled out.

    "You know me, the Cole Train is always ready, WHOO!"

    Baird rolled his eyes, "Yea, whatever, ready…GO!"

    As Baird exchanged fire with the Locusts, Cole darted toward Baird and Raven's location, pulling his legs up and over the thick snow as fast as he could move them. Sven continued to take out retreating Locusts that were already diverted to his position.

    Baird shot down another Grenadier before dropping back down to reload while Raven, in his place, fired her Gorgon pistol in short, abrupt bursts. Cole finally rolled into them before slamming his back to the wall next to Baird.

    "WHOO, yea, that's what I'm talking about…so now what?" Cole persisted, impatiently waiting to get back into the game. Baird turned to Raven before she handed him her Nape grenades.

    "These are napalm based, grenades…they have about a five to eight foot radius, and they'll burn up to fifteen minutes," she informed him. Baird nodded, trying to keep his head down behind their cover and replying at the same time,

    "Got it, just watch for my signal. Cole we need to provide cover fire for Feral so she can move, you got it?"

    "Yea I hear ya baby…just gimme a go," Cole acknowledged Baird. Baird then turned to Raven, carefully timing her departure,

    "Ready Feral…go!"

    Raven dashed through the snow on all fours, scurrying towards the broken down log nearby. She leapt into the snow and summersaulted under the log, brushing right up against the boulder that was wedged into the timber. Looking back over the slope, she gave Cole and Baird a nod.

    "That a girl," Baird mumbled to himself in a low voice, "…she made it."

    As most of the Locusts on the front line we're already picked off, the Grinders began to move in as the growling voice of the Grenadier before them, yelled at them to attack.

    "Grind…hahaha," the Grinders taunted, hideously laughing as they slowly marched forward, firing their Mulcher's toward Cole and Baird's position.
    "****, they just keep firing…don't those things ever run out of bullets?" Baird griped, peering over to Sven whom was still waiting for Baird to give him the signal.

    "Ok Cole, you got it?" said Baird as he handed him one of Raven's grenades.

    "You mean towards the Grinders?" Cole confirmed.

    "Yes…on my signal,"

    "But…these things aren't going take em' Grinders out, are they?"

    "We're going to find out, Cole."

    "Wait…these aren't frags!"

    "I know that Gus…just throw it…and don't miss please!"

    Baird gave Sven the signal to direct his Longshot towards the two Grinders moving towards the trench. Without second guessing, he hits one directly into the head, consequently causing the overwhelming beast to growl in fury from the bullet ricocheting against its helmet and toppling it off its thick head. The Grinder redirected his attention to Sven's position, peering towards the bed of rocks with its looming beady eyes.

    "Grind…" the monstrous sized Locust bellowed out, firing his Mulcher towards the bed of rocks. Sven quickly took cover behind the boulder, dodging the rock fragments raining on his head.

    "Holy crap…" Sven hollered, covering his head with arms to shield himself from the fragmented debris.

    On the other side of the two Grinders, Raven peered over the log to point her Boltok pistol towards the other Grinder and fired it towards the head, popping off his helmet. Shortly afterwards, she then fired a burst of shots from her Gorgon pistol towards the Grinders' torso, watching them glance off of his heavy armor. The brute Locust fixated his attention towards the log before turning his body to her direction,

    "Grind…"

    "Here it comes," she muttered to herself, quickly dislodging from the log to roll down to the ground and wrap her arms around her head before the wood chips scatter in all directions.

    With the two Grinders shooting in opposite directions, Baird and Cole get ready for the final assault.

    "Alright Cole, NOW!" Baird shouted out as the two swung the napalm grenades towards the Grinders. The grenades bounce across the slushy ground, rolling right under the Grinders' feet. The two suddenly cease-fire, their focus distracted from the unfamiliar objects that had just rolled underneath them. Looking back up to glance at each other, one of them growled in puzzlement,

    "Grind?"

    Suddenly the grenades burst into flames, splashing napalm in the air underneath the Grinders feet, scorching their legs. The burly beasts squealed like a pack of wild boars, flailing their enormous arms, which only made matters worse for them as it just fed more oxygen to the flames.

    "Yea, it's just like jock itch, only hotter," Baird shouted out while Cole stood up to taunt some more,

    "Haha, burn b****es, burn! How'd you like them f***ing apples?"

    Suddenly, a foul stench reeked into the air, spreading across the trench from the inferno in front of them.

    "Aw DAMN…that's NASTY," Cole moaned, quickly bringing his arm to his nose.

    The shrieking sobered down as the two beasts toppled to the ground, their flesh still searing in the flames.

    "F*** that stinks…VINNY, you alright?" Baird yelled out towards the rock bed.

    Sven slowly pulled himself from a heap of snow, mixed with rock chips as he stepped up into view.

    "Yea...holy cow, what is that smell?" Sven groaned, bringing his forearm to his nose.

    Cole turned to Baird, still covering his mouth with his arm,

    "Sh*t, Damon, the fire is still going…where did she get those things? They're not standard Gear equipment!"

    "The Feral apparently can make their own arms…those were definitely home-made," Baird replied as he too tried to keep a straight face despite the overwhelming odor of the napalm still burning on the Locust carcasses. Baird looked towards the log, still covering his mouth with his hand to filter out the stench of the burning Locust flesh,

    "Feral, you alright?" he yelled out. No response.

    Cole and Baird started to walk around the blazing meat pile, making their way to the log.

    "Feral…hey Raven, you there?" Baird called out again, but no response. Cole picked up the pace, keeping his arm partially over his face while trying to peer through the thick smoke coming from the burning carcasses.

    "Feral, you alright…say somethin’ baby," Cole started to worry as he pressed on, squinting through the black dense smoke.

    Despite that Feral was a cold, defiant hermit, he took a liking to Raven, but then again, he liked all "chicks." Maybe she'll eventually come out of her shell, but he wouldn't leave it up to Damon to help him with that…he's just as reclusive as she is.

    Cole meandered out of the smoke to make his way towards the log when suddenly, a gurgling voice could be heard as he whipped around to find a bleeding Grenadier, just about ready to come at him. But before Cole could even raise his Lancer, a loud shot rang out as the Grenadier's head blasted off its body and tumbled into the snow. Cole stepped back in into an opposing stance, diligently scanning before he finally found Raven, standing from where the Grenadier stood. She quickly swung the Boltok pistol back into her holster after apparently putting a bullet into the Grenadiers' unsuspecting head.

    "I'm fine...thanks for asking," she responded matter-of-factly as Cole just stood there, flabbergasted. Baird came running through the smoke, coughing nonstop with shotgun in hand.

    "Hey…damnit Feral, don't scare us like that again. You just shaved two years off of Cole's life expectancy…" said Baird in between coughs before turning to Cole,

    "Gus…hey, man, you alright?" trying to snap Cole out of the moment.

    "I thought I just saw an angel, man…I thought it was coming for me," he said, trying to sober up from what just happened and the obnoxious stench. Baird slapped him on the shoulder and then turned around to see Sven, staggering his way to them.

    "You ok Vinny?"

    Sven made his way through the mess, covering his mouth with his night-vision goggles still over his eyes.

    "Yea…geez, this place reeks! Can we get out of here?" Sven whined as he lifted the goggles from his face.

    "Yea man, let's get out of here…damn, that **** is still burnin," Cole couldn't agree less. Baird nodded his head with his hand still over his mouth and then turned his gaze to Raven. She signaled him with her left hand while her right was partially covering her nose,

    "C'mon, this way…hurry! The wind is getting worse."

    As the three Gears load up their armaments, they quickly made their way to the place where the Locusts were camping out.

    "Wait Feral, we need to check the bodies…look for ammo!" Baird advised as he began to rummage one of the dead Bolters for paraphernalia. Raven halted in her tracks, waiting for the Gears to scan the area for munitions. Looking up into the sky, she turned to take notice of the clouds thickening and the breeze in the air taking a nasty turn. C'mon guys, you need to move it!

    Suddenly, gusts of icy-cold wind thrust into the vicinity, nearly knocking Raven off her feet while the snow soared through the air, stinging the skin on her face. Bracing herself against a boulder, Sven moved up next to her, also bracing himself against the boulder. He too placed his hand over his face to protect himself from the flying snow from his already frost-bit cheeks. Raven began to coarsely shout over the gusts of wind,

    "Hurry Baird, we need to move, now!"

    "Alright, I'm coming," Baird yelled over his shoulder, taking a piece from a Grenadiers' nap pack and shoving it under his breastplate. He got up to run towards the others, making their way up to the dam entrance while trying to stay afoot against the chilling wind.

    They hiked to the side of a cliff where they find a metal door lodged into the rock. Raven stumbled toward it to latch onto the handle to open it, but it wouldn't budge. The wind was too strong for her to keep her footing against the iced over entryway while trying to open the door at the same time. Baird climbed up towards her to step in and turn the handle himself, but it still wouldn't move.

    "Oh f*** this!" Baird growled before moving Raven away from the door and pulling out his Lancer. He revved up the chainsaw bayonet a couple times before plowing it into the door's mechanism, severing the bolt-lock off. Pulling the Lancer back, he lifted up his leg to kick the door open.

    "Get inside," Baird hollered over the whistling wind. Raven is the first to scurry in as Cole and Sven follow closely behind into the complex. Bracing against the current of the freezing air and snow, Baird was the last to go in as he grabbed the door by its' mangled handle to finally slam it shut behind them.



    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:18 PM.

  21. #21
    Boomshot
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    Ok, here is chaper 10 and it's a bit long so take your time.

    Somewhat sheltered from the snowstorm, Sigma squad tries to make contact with command...



    Chapter 10: Warm Winter Night

    Part 1


    Growing up it all seems so one-sided,
    Opinions all provided,
    The future pre-decided,
    Detached and subdivided,
    In the mass production zone.
    Nowhere is the dreamer, or the misfit so alone.

    ~Rush~


    The stale, musty air had unsettled because of the noise of the clambering, echoing down a hallway from a room that apparently was at one time a kitchen.

    Cole was rummaging in the pantry, pulling out cans to check their expiration dates and the contents in them. Sven was on the other side of the kitchen, pulling out pots and pans from the cabinet and placing them on the counter, stacking them one on top of the other.

    "No…no…no…sh*t," Cole grumbled to himself as he glanced through the cans one at a time, tossing each one to the wayside, "…man, all they got here is spam and some funky looking beans."

    "Let me know what ya find, I got a few decent size pots to cook them in," said Sven as he continued to stack them on the counter.

    Cole sighed, taking a moment to glare at their bleak menu…spam and beans…damn. Cole moved away from the door to open up another pantry and rummage through some bags of flour. Shoving them aside, he accidentally pushed one off the shelf in the process. Plopping onto the concrete floor, the bag busted open and little roaches suddenly scattered from inside the bag. Cole abruptly let out a shriek before jumping up onto the stainless steel, countertop.

    "SH*T…" he blurted out, trying to keep his balance on the counter.

    The yelp startled Sven as he too quickly hopped up from the bottom cupboard, consequently bumping his head on the cabinet door above him and accidentally knocking the stack of pots onto the floor, causing a long loud, sequence of clattering.

    From clear across the hallway, Baird was lying on the floor in the communication control room trying to salvage the wiring from the radio console to an outlet that had long been corroded. Pulling out a clump of tangled wires, half of them looked as if rats were having a field day chewing on them. Cussing under his breath before trying to untangle the mess, he suddenly heard a scream, followed with a clamoring of falling kitchen utensils from down the hall.

    "What the hell…now what?" he growled as he looked up, trying to quickly untangle himself from the mess, pushing both, the chair and the console platform with his feet so he could get up and run towards the commotion. He darted outside the room, hitting the wall as he braced himself from slipping on the tile floor, running towards the kitchen. Barging into the room with shotgun in hand, he yelled,

    "What is it?"

    Quickly he scanned the room, only to find Cole standing on the counter while hugging the pantry shelves with one hand and waving a broom with the other. Sven was still fumbling on the floor with a bunch of steel pans.

    "SHOO…little bastards…those things are nasty," Cole barked while Sven was still trying to stabilize his equilibrium, clutching his head with his hand.

    "Aw man, does anybody have any ice…I think I have a knot on my head," Sven griped.

    Baird stood there, dropping his shotgun to his side before he begun to lecture,

    "I come running all the way down the f***ing hallway, thinking something bad just happened, and you two are screaming like a bunch of school girls over some f***ing cockroaches?"

    "BEHIND YOU," Cole shouted suddenly, consequently causing Baird to whip around, only to find an eight, inch and grotesque cockroach, prostrated on the wall behind him.

    "SH*T," Baird screamed out as he lifted up the shotgun to fire a round at it.

    "Sh*t yea, shoot it Baird," Cole hollered, watching Baird jump back from the menacing thing before realizing he missed the giant bug. Without warning, it suddenly leapt from the wall to the center island of the kitchen that just so happened to be right next to Baird.

    "F***, get away from me," he yelled before making another attempt to shoot it. Sven darted over to the corner next to Cole as he placed his hands over his ears, cringing from the shotgun blast.

    The unsightly bug managed jump and fly over to where Cole and Sven were cowering.

    "Damnit, Baird…you missed it, again," Cole yelled out while Baird was swinging his gun at the roach in last-ditch effort to kill it. Suddenly, all hell broke loose when it jumped away from the center island to land on Cole's leg.

    "SH*T…GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF," Cole screamed, vigorously shaking his leg, nearly falling off the edge of the counter as a squealing Sven ran over to Baird to brace himself on the Corporal's shoulder.

    "Will you get the f*** off of me…" Baird yelled at Sven, still clinging onto his armor while Baird tried to push him off. Cole finally lost his footing as he grabbed the top shelf to keep from falling, but he was just too heavy for the shelf to sustain his weight, so it snapped in two as Cole came crashing down, taking the other shelves below it, with him.

    As Baird tried to push Sven off of him, he stepped on one of the pots that was lying on the floor. He quickly lost his footing as it slide right out from under him, sending Baird's legs flying up in the air, taking Sven down with him as they both go crashing to the floor.

    Meanwhile, further down into the basement of the facility where the bathrooms were located, Raven sat partially comfortably on the toilet after warming the seat five minutes before hand with a towel, reading from a pile of magazines next to the sink that was left there some ten years earlier. She placed the magazine down to finish up with the usual paperwork and proceeded to pull up her pants when she suddenly heard what she thought sounded like gunshots. She quickly grabbed one of her holsters to pull out her Boltok pistol and then raced to the stairs, still holding her pants up with her other hand as she tried to make her way to the commotion. Dashing into hallway while trying to button up her fatigues at the same time, she could hear the uproar coming from the kitchen ahead.

    She ran into the kitchen with gun ready, only to find a dazed Sven sprawled on top of Baird, both lying awkwardly on the floor in an unflattering position. Cole was buried underneath a large pile of boxes, shelving, and food cans. She stood back in puzzlement, lowering her pistol before placing it on the counter next to the door, realizing that the three were still surprisingly alive.

    "What happened?" she demanded, listening to Baird's moaning from below.

    "Sven…will you please…get your ass out of my face and get the hell off of me…your crushing my balls."

    "Oh…ok…on it," Sven cringed, trying to prop himself on his hands and feet so he could lift his weight off of Baird. Instantly, Baird folded like a piece of paper into the fetal position on his side as he groaned, clutching his groin the moment Sven got off of him.

    "Ugh…sir, my head is spinning…" Sven whined as he shook his head, trying to lift himself up by using the countertop.

    "Shut up, Vin…my whole body is aching, no thanks to you, groan," Baird moaned.

    Cole began to move slowly, lifting some of the debris from his head and back while scanning around at the rest of the mess the three just made.

    "Damn…did we get it?"

    "Get WHAT…what the hell were you shooting at?" Raven demanded again, placing her hands on her hips this time while trying to make sense of the disarray.

    "Grrr…I think I…got it," Baird grimaced, still curled up on the floor and clutching his balls.

    "What…did…you…get?" Raven impatiently articulated.

    "It was the motherf***er of all cockroaches," Sven began, all the while Raven just glared at him with a bland expression, wondering if he was still loopy from falling on his head.

    "I swear…it to be about this big!" Sven continued as he lifted his hands, still trying to justify the means. Raven rolled her eyes before throwing her hands in the air in exasperation,

    "You guys we're shooting the damn cockroaches? What's the matter with you people, somebody could have gotten hurt!"

    Still curled on the floor, Baird slowly peered up at her,

    "Are you still here?" he griped, squinting from the throbbing pain in his groin.

    Raven scoffed at him before reaching over to pick up her pistol and storm out of the kitchen. She marched out into the hallway, cussing under her breath, stomping further to the staircase that lead back down to the basement bathroom.

    As Cole looked up from the floor, he noticed a few cans of chili shoved underneath the counter. His face beamed as he yelled out,

    "Hey, guys…looks like we got some grub, and it's the good stuff too."

    "Great…you get it started…I'm going back to the control room," Baird grunted as he finally stood up to grab his shotgun before limping back down the hallway.

    Raven was back in the basement, picking up of what remained of her gear before scurrying into the kitchen just earlier. Shortly after putting on her belt and holsters back on, she exited the bathroom to walk back up into the hallway. Moving through the functioning part of the dam complex, she strolled past the control room to find Baird fiddling with the wiring to the radio. Although she had never used the radio before, she figured it was in some working order…everything else here is working OK. Perhaps there was more damage to the facility than I remembered from the last time I stayed here. After taking a few moments to simmer down, she stepped in to see Baird's progress.

    "Is it working?" she asked, not feeling any less for wear, but most of the unpleasantry was coming from the gradual drop in temperature. The winter storm was already well into the area outside of the complex.

    "Just about…but only one of the generators is working right," he responded in between grunts, reaching over to grab his needle-nose pliers lying not too far from him on the floor.

    Baird was lying on his back under the main console, meandering through an array of wiring he spent the latter hour rummaging through, trying to reassess the damage done from the usual wear and tear from long-term erosion. He shifted his position to get more situated, cringing from the pain in his groin that Sven fell on earlier. Raven moved to the side of the console to get a better look at what Baird was trying to fix.

    "Yea, I know. When the Locust came, I believe they shut off the other generators, leaving the emergency one on. Over time, they started to corrode, with the exception of that one. But it has its limits…it will only switch on for no longer than about two hours," Raven recalled, bending down to where Baird is working.

    "Well that's no surprise. The filters haven't been properly maintained in who knows how long…when did you say this place was deserted?" Baird asked while turning his glance from the fuse switch he was working on, to Raven.

    "At least five years, maybe a little longer…but that's just according to the daily technical logs in the other room over there…" Raven turned over her shoulder to point toward a storage room on the side of the control room. She continued,

    "…but to put plainly, I don't think they did a lot of maintenance before they abandoned the facility. I think they just made up entries in the log to make it look like they were doing their job. Ever since the discovery of Imulsion, this place has become obsolete. It's a shame really…at one time, this place used to power the entire valley, including Port Farrall."

    "…well that's a nice history lesson Feral, but the wiring here is a big ****ing rats nest. I just spent almost thirty minutes trying to find the damn cable to the radio, and don't even get me started with the modem cable…and it's supposed to be wireless!"

    "…yea, well, what I was trying to get at before you interrupted me, a lot of the radio equipment here was hardly updated…so yea, naturally, the condition of the radio may be questionable," Raven made a point to mention, watching Baird groan under the mass of wires.

    "Pfft, questionable is putting it pretty lightly there Feral, and for the record I can fix it, I…just gotta sort out this mess. Sh*t, it's like untangling a hundred feet of stringed lights!"

    Leaning over under the console, Raven could only shrug at the com stations’ condition. She originally believed the radio to be in decent, working order, but I guess I was wrong…my bad. Raven finally had to ask after watching Baird's pitiless attempt at untangling the main console,

    "…sigh, do you need help?"

    "What, no…I mean…sh*t, uh, is there spare equipment in storage room?"

    "Yes, why?"

    "I just need a few wires to router these ones. They've been chewed up."

    "I'll see what I can find, but I can't promise anything," she said as she got up to walk over to the utility room nearby to look around for a spare computer console. Slowly opening the door, she reached around the door-frame to turn on the light switch. Gradually, the florescent lights flickered on and off before finally coming on, somewhat illuminating the storage room filled with boxes, old computers, and tube monitors. Quickly scanning the discolored, metal shelving, Raven peered into a corner and noticed several intact consoles sitting on a dented file cabinet. Moving around an array of storage boxes, scattered all throughout the room, she managed to squeeze in to pick one up. Holding it in both arms, she carefully meandered to the doorway and into the control room, lifting her knees over the boxes on the floor. As she exited the storage room, it suddenly dawned on her that Cole or Sven were nowhere to be seen or heard.

    Carefully stepping into the com room, Raven cautiously carried the bulky console over to Baird's workstation.

    "Hey, where are Cole and Vin?"

    "Why do you wanna know?"

    "…so I can find them in case they start shooting at the damn rats!"

    Baird could be heard letting out a slight chuckle before answering her question,

    "Cole found cans of chili underneath the counter, so their cooking it in the laboratory."

    "The laboratory?"

    "Yea."

    Raven knelt back down to hand Baird the spare console. Reaching over to place it on the floor, Baird he proceeded to take it apart. She then moved over to sit in a chair nearby and started to rub her temples.

    "Should I even ask as to why they're fixing chili on bunsen burners, when they could be using the stovetop?"

    "No, you shouldn't."

    "Ok, really, what were you guys doing in the kitchen?"

    "Don't ask that either…"

    "Well what the hell can I ask you, Damon?"

    Baird was silent for a moment while he continued to disassemble the console, pulling out the motherboard to access the wires. Realizing that Baird didn't respond, Raven took it upon herself to break the silence,

    "Ok, now are you going to start shooting at the sugar ants in the bathroom, because if you are, please let me know ahead of time so I won't have to go in there!"

    Baird grumbled to himself for a moment; she's not going to let this one down.

    "Yea yea, just keep rubbing more salt in the wound," he groaned.

    "Damn right I am…you guys nearly scared the crap out of me…literally!" Raven acknowledged him.

    "For real?"

    "I was in the bathroom when I heard you guys…doing whatever it was you were doing."

    "You'll get over it," said Baird, pausing for a moment to reroute the damaged wire, and then continued, "…is there anything else you want to ask?"

    "Ok, so why did you volunteer to join the COG at the age of nineteen instead of seventeen?"

    Baird was kind of surprised that Raven was still willing to continue their earlier conversation from earlier when he declined to answer it. But instead of rebuffing her, he went ahead to satisfy her curiosity.

    "I was an intern for technical engineering, but when I needed additional funds to work on my degree, I was given the option to either volunteer or I would have to pay for school on my own, and it just kinda went downhill from there."

    "So you actually went to a college?"

    "More like a tech institute."

    "You interned for two years?"

    "One and a half years."

    "One…wait, when did you graduate high school?"

    "Sixteen."

    "How…did you accomplish that? I thought you had to have at least, fifty-four hours of course requirements before you can graduate?"

    "I finished my junior and senior requirements early. Then I went to work for a year as an apprentice for auto mechanics and engineering, so I got a head start."

    Placing the pliers back down onto the floor, Baird looked up at Raven and observed the perplexed expression in her burrowed, blue eyes. He couldn't tell if she was amazed or envious, or maybe both.

    "I was dedicated, what else I can say…that, and it kept me busy,” he shrugged, and then resumed to fixing the other wire, “…besides, how do you know about high school, you never completed it," he conveniently added.

    "Are you calling me a stupid dropout?" Raven sneered.

    "Did I say that you were?"

    "It sounded like you insinuated it."

    For someone who didn't finish school, she's pretty sharp. This only tempted Baird to pick at her brain even more. Hell, she's doing it to me.

    "It sounds like you have a superiority complex."

    Raven instantly changed the subject,

    "Do you even like being a COG soldier?"

    "Do you like being a Feral?"

    "I became a Feral as a means to an end."

    "Well then, there you go."

    "So you do believe in the COG cause."

    "I believe in the cause, working together for the sake of humanity, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I blindly agree with all of their decisions."

    "For the sake of humanity…and this is coming from a guy who doesn't like being around people…I find that amusing."

    Baird paused in annoyance before resuming replying with his usual, complimentary sarcasm,

    "Oh, so I amuse you…well, I guess I should be glad that I'm useful for something. Seriously, do you actually believe that I concur with everything the COG does?"

    "Do you really believe that I agree with everything the Feral does?"

    "Sigh, so you don't like being a Feral, do you."

    "I didn't say that."

    "Then what are you saying, Raven? You don't like the COG and you don't like the Feral, what the hell do you like?"

    "It doesn't matter what I like, because this world will never let me be what I am."

    "And what is that?"

    It was Raven's turn to pause for a brief moment as Baird took notice of the silence before peering over his workstation. He could sense that she either didn't have an answer to the question, or she did, she just didn't want to answer it.

    He could only guess that she was wedged into two worlds that wouldn't let her fit in, and therefore defiance was her only means of self-expression while her true identity was suspended somewhere in limbo…is it any wonder she's so pessimistic. He decided to change the subject,

    "Is there anything else you would like to ask?"

    "Like what?"

    "Well, you can ask me if the radio is working."

    "Oh really…wait, you got it to work?"

    Raven got out of the chair to move closer to the radio console as Baird lifted himself up from off the floor.

    "Yea…I just need to get the tower online," he said.

    "You can do that by turning on the main breaker," Raven mentioned as she glanced over the control panel.

    "So where's the breaker?" Baird asked.

    "In the basement…I can get it while you get the signal started in the meantime. You should be able to access the transmission frequency from here," she replied.

    "Got it."

    Raven stepped out of the room towards the basement entrance, making her way down the stairs and towards the breaker box.

    For a recluse, she's too resourceful, Baird began ponder, which only made him even more leery. A nagging subliminal nick was tugging at his subconscious, telling him that she knew more than what she was letting on, and therefore something compelled him to find out what.

    In the basement, Raven opened up the door to find six, color coded handles, each labeled to represent one out of the six stations in the compound. As she pulled down the one marked "com tower," the lights flickered throughout the complex in short bursts. Cole and Sven were still cooking in the laboratory when suddenly they look up towards the commotion of electrical impulses fluttering through the florescent bulbs above.

    "What the hell was that all about?" said Cole while Sven was tending to the burners.

    In the control room, Baird finally was able to make progress in opening radio contact through the tower outside before Raven walked back in the room. The frequency could be heard through the static coming from the speakers.

    "Can you call command?" she asked Baird.

    "Working on that now…Come in control, do you read…this is Sigma one, do you read?"

    The audio from the speakers continued to put out static as Baird turned the channel to adjust frequency. Moving closer to the receiver, he attempted to make contact again,

    "Control, this is Sigma one, please respond…anybody, respond."

    As the static began to pulsate, a faint voice could be heard, seeping through the transmission.

    "Please repeat, your signal is weak."

    "…Hello Sigma One, please respond…"

    "It's Anya," Baird turned over his shoulder to murmur to Raven. She sat back down into a chair as she waited in anticipation for commands' response.

    "Control, this is Sigma one, can you read us?"

    "We can now…Corporal Baird, is that you?"

    "Affirmative."

    "We've been trying to find you since your bird went down. Other squads were deployed after we lost all but four Ravens. Alpha One has been attempting to locate the missing squads…who is with you?"

    "Private Augustus Cole, Private Sven Dunrich, and Raven McNight. Our Lieutenant, Milane, is KIA."

    "…Understood…what is your present location?"

    "We are at Hurl Dam. It was the only way we can make contact at this time. A snowstorm is in our vicinity and I do not know how long we can stay here. Over."

    "Understood Baird. Right now, we only know of three squads that are proceeding to their objective, so for now, Colonel Hoffman orders you to take charge of Sigma, and that you are to proceed from the dam when weather permits. What is your present destination?"

    "We will wait until the storm passes to proceed to go through an electrical conduit that runs through the mountain. It is rumored that there may be a major Stranded settlement somewhere on the other side, but we need to go investigate it to be sure."

    "Understood. Have you made contact with other squads?"

    "Negative…for whatever reason, we cannot make contact. Does command have a green light? Over."

    "Hold on Sigma…yes, proceed to your objective. The other squads are scattered and they're having the same problem you're having. Try and reestablish contact when you can. Good Luck, Corporal."

    "Sure thing…thanks Anya."

    "…and Damon…be careful."

    "Affirmative to that…also, have you heard from Sergeant Fenix or Epsilon one?"

    "Hold on Corporal…"

    Without warning, the speakers go static as Baird desperately tries to keep the signal connection intact.

    "C'mon, c'mon, don't do this to me now…control, can you read me, over."

    Raven goes out of the room to peer out a small window, only to find the storm gusting without pause, listening to the wind pound against the outside of the complex.

    "Control, this is Corporal Baird, can you hear me?"

    Nothing but static could be heard through the speakers now. Raven came back into the room to report,

    "The storm is probably interfering with the transmission…I strongly suggest we get moving into the conduit before the power goes out too."

    "Sh*t…alright. Go get Cole and Sven, and let them know what's up."

    "Alright."

    Raven stepped out into the hall and made her way to the laboratory where Cole and Sven were already stuffing their faces with a bowl of chili and some rolls they found in the freezer nearby.

    "Hey, Feral, look what we got," Cole beamed, holding out a bowl filled with rolls.

    "We got to pack up and go guys…the facility is going to lose power soon," she said abruptly.

    "But we just got here, and we have all of this food," Sven groaned as he tried to stuff it all in his mouth before departure.

    "Well, take the burners with you. They run on propane…and take the pot, there should be a lid for it…but we need to go, now!" Raven insisted. The two started to gather up their equipment and food before heading down to the basement and into the electrical corridor that led to the conduit.

    Along the way, Raven stopped along a storage room in the corridor to prop it open. She entered the storage room and began rummaging through the ammunition and supplies that was shelved along the wall. Cole peeked in to get a look at what Raven was hoping to find inside.

    "Ah, damn…where did all of this sh*t come from?"

    "Grab some ammo and flares...here," she said as she frantically handed Cole a couple of flares to place in his pack.

    "Hey, I don't suppose there's some Lancer clips lying around," Cole asked. Looking back up after pocketing some snub clips, Raven replied,

    "Be my guest."

    Cole stepped in to pick up rounds for his Lancer while Raven gathered up a couple of Nape grenades and the last of the flares. Sven also stepped in to take a look around.

    "Wow, it must be my birthday…look at all this stuff, man."

    "Yea, I wonder how it got here," Cole pondered out loud as Sven helped himself to the rifle rounds.

    After Baird finished up in the communication room, he gathered up his stuff before making his way to regroup with the others in the basement, just outside the corridor entrance. Meandering down the hall as the florescent lights flickered in short bursts, he finally managed to reunite with the rest of his squad whom were still rummaging the supply room as if it was a yard sale.

    "What…who…where did all this sh*t come from?" he gawked in astonishment.

    Raven ignored Baird's suspicion as she handed him some Lancer rounds and a handful of flares.

    "We'll need these to make our way through the conduit," she said as she handed them to Baird. Without further questioning, Baird took them to put in his leg pack before he suddenly noticed a pile of geobots stashed in a corner of the storage room, along with some other spare technical equipment and enough chemicals to make several widespread bombs that could take out an entire block. Where did she get all of this? The COG doesn't hand this stuff out just to anyone, much less a pack of guerrilla b****es.

    The lights began to flicker again, blinking in abrupt bursts until it stabilized again. Raven instantly grabbed some flashlights to hand to Baird and Sven.
    "These should aid us when the power eventually goes out," Raven concluded as Baird loaded up his Lancer clips.

    "Well with that said, we'll need to move. I don't know how much more output this generator can muster in a snowstorm," Baird elaborated before stepping out of the room to make his way to the conduit entrance. The others followed as they light up a couple of flares just in case.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:35 PM. Reason: insert image

  22. #22
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    Sorry, I had to divide it into two parts.

    Chapter 10 continued...

    Part 2

    "Give me a minute…this door's going to be a b**** to open," said Cole, loading his Lancer back onto his rig before turning the icy-cold handle to the pressure door. After a few stubborn turns, the heavy metal door creaked open.

    "Hehe, we're in business," Cole mused before pushing the door wide open and taking the first step into the dark, cold corridor.

    Entering past the metal frame along the industrial, mesh flooring, they peer into a large, dark void, taking notice of the electrical channels running along the ceiling. They suddenly feel a brisk chill in the air, entering their lungs.

    "Ah, what the hell is this? Why is it getting colder in here?" Cole complained, feeling the cold air tighten his chest.

    "The corridor leads out to the other side of this mountain. There is no facility on the other side so it would only be natural that the temperature will eventually conform with whatever the temperature is outside," Raven explained. She moved down a metal stairway and onto a concrete floor with a flashlight in hand.

    "Which means it's going to drop below freezing in here real soon," Baird added as he turned to Raven, hoping she had an alternative to walking through a freezing corridor with no power or light, "…so pardon me if I point out the obvious but I hope there is place we can hang out before we freeze our balls off, Feral."

    "...what would be the downside to that little mishap?" Raven muttered lowly to herself,

    "What did you say?" Baird inquired.

    "I said, there's a utility room ahead, Corporal. It's not completely insulated but it's better than nothing. We can stay in there," Raven acknowledged Baird's concern.

    "Yea, you see Baird? Feral takes care of us…we got grub, we got some light…hey, what else do they have at the room?" Cole asked.

    "There is one bathroom with a sink and toilet…and there are blankets and pillows," Raven reassured Cole as they continued to walk in almost complete darkness, if it weren't for the flares.

    "Hehe, sounds like heaven to me," Cole relished in thought before slapping Baird on the back of his shoulder. Baird punched him in the arm in return while still feeling the sting of the slap. Sven picked up the pace next to Baird,

    "So what do we do when we get there…I mean…how long are we going to wait out this storm?" Sven asked.

    "How the hell should I know…eat your food, take a sh*t, go beat off if you need to, I don’t care.”

    The tone in Baird’s sarcasm was becoming coarser the longer they trekked in the cold. Raven noticed that the group was getting pretty weary and tired, but most of all, especially Baird. He seemed already pretty battle hardened to begin with, but then again, he spent the first part of this day jumping out of a falling helicopter and running around in below, freezing weather; and all the while getting shot at. How would anyone feel after all that?

    Cole on the other hand, always seemed full of optimism and ready to take on anything as if he literally ate adrenaline for breakfast. Raven found the pair rather amusing since one seemed to compliment the other.

    "There it is, up ahead," Raven pointed out by raising her flare to reveal another metal door.

    "Let's get this bad boy open…WHOO, it's getting cold out here," said Cole as he began to turn the lever to activate the bolt mechanism of the air-tight door. The door cranked open as stale air quickly surged out through the crack between the door and the frame.

    "Wow, this thing must have been closed for a while," Sven noticed as he watched both Cole and Baird pull the heavy door open even further.

    "Get in, Vin," Baird ordered. Sven was the first to go in, followed by Raven whom reached over to turn on a switch to activate the lights. Baird entered in next, followed by Cole, and then proceeded to shut the door, locking it behind them.

    "Alright Sven, get the burners out man, let's eat some grub," Cole suggested to Sven. Placing the pot onto a nearby table, Sven set the burners out next on the table so Cole could relight them.

    "Hey, hand me some rolls willya," said Baird. Cole pulled out two rolls to hand out to him, watching Baird stuff one in his mouth before taking a seat next to Cole.

    "Not bad, huh," Cole grinned, watching Baird nodding his head while trying to chow it down. Feral stepped over and around the space-hogging Gears to help herself to the chili, scooping it up out of the pot with a coffee cup.

    "That's it, baby, take what you need…you look like you could use a meal," said Cole, watching Raven take a roll from the pot before taking a seat on the floor, propping herself against the wall.

    "Are you saying I'm too skinny, Private?" Raven responded before sipping her cup.

    "I'm just sayin’, you been working all day hiking and saving our hides, you could use a good meal…oh, and you can just call me Cole, or Gus, or the Cole Train…"

    "…or sh*tbag, or numbnuts," Baird added before Cole returned the insult by quickly kicking him in the leg.

    "Cole Train…I don't get it," said Raven, trying to make sense of the innuendo.

    "You mean, you never heard of the Cole Train?" Sven blurted out, glaring at her in shock along with everyone else in the room, especially Cole.

    "Should I have?" Raven admitted, finding little ground, if any, to be even remotely put any of it together. She actually doesn't know who Cole is. This was absurd, everyone knows who the Cole Train is, right?

    Baird started to chuckle while trying not to spit his food out at the same time,

    "You mean to tell us…that…you didn't watch thrashball…and therefore you don't know who the Cole Train is…oh, this is priceless," Baird continued to laugh, looking at Cole who was absolutely dumbfounded by Raven's ignorance. Raven rolled her eyes before responding to her bemused audience.

    "Actually, I did watch thrashball with my dad, like when I was seven…but whatever the circumstances may be, Cole it is; and speaking of meals, you eat like a damn horse!"

    "Yea, that's me, baby…my momma always used to tell me that she would go broke just fixin’ my breakfast."

    Raven could tell this guy didn't miss a meal. The man was built like the native snowbison bull, stout and resilient. She could see how some Feral would have found him to be potential for good breeding.

    Raven could recall that many a Feral breeder would pick men of impressive "genetics" when the option was available to them. Although she could see how he would be a potential, he wouldn't have been her first choice…but he is amiable, I'll give him that.

    "Yep, I could eat all day if I wanted to."

    "Idn't that the truth, " Baird mumbled before stuffing the last bit of his meal in his mouth. He then stood up to unhinge the strap to his chest plate.

    "Hey Cole, gimme a hand, willya?" Baird attempted to talk with food still in his mouth.

    "Sure thing," Cole answered as he got up to help Baird take off the chest plate.

    Observing the two while Cole was helping Baird remove his armor, Feral couldn't help but to wonder what hormones the COG were feeding these guys. Although Baird was not quite as massive as Cole, his physique was not lacking either. She knew that Gears were men of such quality and had to be in terrific shape, and although her impression of Damon thus far, was prospective genetically, the Feral would have most likely removed his tongue to silence his flak. They've done it before.

    Sven on the other hand, was slightly smaller than Damon, maybe a few of inches shorter, but still just as potential as any other competent soldier, if only he wasn't such a dits. Then again, his youth was the most practical from a breeding perspective since some breeder's preferred younger males, especially the juvenile females. The Feral seemed to frown upon senior males mating with their younger stock.

    Shutting down her primal intellect concerning the men of Sigma One, Raven proceeded to get up into another room to pull out some pillows and a blanket. Shortly later, she then brought them back, tossing them onto the icy floor before them. Though the air was not near as cold as the corridor, it was still a bit chilly inside the utility room, especially on the concrete floor where they would most likely have to sleep on.

    As Cole got up to walk into the bathroom, the other two try to settle down for the night by gathering the pillows and propping them on the floor, attempting to get comfortable. Raven walked over Baird's sprawled legs to a vacant spot against the wall while dismounting her holsters that were strapped to her thighs. Shortly after taking off her chest gear while leaving on the rest of her combat fatigues, she then sat down and started to rub her arms to stay warm, despite that she was still in her leather battle fatigues.

    "Cold?" Baird pestered, watching her trying to find some coziness by huddling against the mason wall…yea, I bet that's comfortable.

    "No Baird, I'm just hugging myself," Raven sarcastically responded, “…haven’t you heard, it’s the latest fetish.”

    "Smartass…"

    "Yea, well it takes one to know one, doesn't it…"

    Baird rolled his eyes at her, watching her recline on the wall while leaning her back against a pillow. Sven also huddled down against the wall after dislodging his breastplate and laying it next to his Longshot rifle.

    "Geez, can it get any colder in here?" Sven complained, shortly after taking the breastplate off, feeling the cold nip air graze his bare fatigues.

    "Well, Vin, since it's below freezing outside, I would say, yea…it's going to get colder," Baird scoffed in return as he removed his goggles from his head to shuffle his straggly blond hair. Turning his weary gaze to a distant Raven, he was quick to notice her minuscule figure under the leather attire. Cole's right, she is kind of petite.

    Despite her dressings, he could tell that there wasn't a lot of sugar coating to her. Reminiscing from after their long hike earlier in the day, he did distinctively remember occasionally getting a classic view of her derriere…and that sure as hell isn't lacking.

    Nevertheless, he figured that she ate sparingly when wandering out in the wilderness…for someone of her stature, she probably didn't need much to survive, but how she managed to get ammunitions and store them away in an abandoned facility was an entirely different affair. They had to have been stolen…even the most cunning of Stranded, (and that's an exaggeration), can't get their hands on that stuff!

    The lights inside the room began to flicker while the three looked up, wondering how long they had before the power went out completely. Baird sat up a flashlight just in case as the other two tried to get comfortable on the cold, concrete floor. Sven propped himself up using three pillows as he strategically placed them around his core to keep him warm, but it didn't seem to be working for him.

    "Ugh, this sucks…can't we use the burners for heat?" Sven moaned.

    "No Vin, we don't want to die from carbon monoxide poisoning." Raven responded, slightly shivering as she pulled up her legs to wrap them with her arms, curling up on the floor under a blanket. Ok, this is just pitiful, Baird said to himself, annoyed from looking at the two, trying in vain to find warmth on the rigid, concrete floor.

    "Sigh, alright…Sven, Feral, come on over here."

    "What do you want, now?" she looked up to glare at him.

    "You're not going to stay warm sitting up against the wall, Vinny's not going to stay warm humping the pillow…and I'm sure as hell not going to be getting much sleep trying to keep my balls from shriveling into peanuts, so come over here…you too Vinny."

    "Oh…uh…ok sir," Sven obeyed as he crawled over with a pillow in hand to sit next to Baird.

    "C'mon Feral, you too…we're going to have to huddle."

    "Uh, I don't like that idea, so…no," she grumbled before giving Baird a bitter expression.

    "Look…just…sandwich yourself between Vinny and I, so we can keep each other warm…it's the only way we may find some rest tonight, and I seriously doubt this storm is going to pass over before morning."

    Hesitant, Raven continued to give him a blank stare. Baird's brow drooped over his eyes as he continued,

    "Look, I'm not asking you to marry me…just…cooperate with us for a change instead of isolating yourself all the time. We're supposed to work as a team, so maybe you should start acting like it!"

    Even though she found the idea to be appalling, she grudgingly knew that he was right. Reluctantly, she began to make her way to the two Gears as she carefully nestled between Sven and Baird. Baird opened up some blankets and placed them on the floor underneath them.

    "Ok, put your back to me, and Vinny, you put your back to Feral,"

    "Ok sir…"

    "…and stop that sir crap, there's no formality here, kid."

    "Oh…sorry sir…I mean, sh*t…I think I'll go to sleep now."

    "Good…that means you can shut up now," Baird griped as Raven attempted to make herself comfortable between the two men. Nestling her backside closer to Baird, Sven would cuddle closer to Raven, with the back of his head resting against her chest while Baird rested his chin right above her head. After they all finally got comfortable, the plan seemed to work as they started to thaw out from the crisp, cold air. This wasn't so bad after all.

    Despite the awkward resonance that was mingling between the three, exhaustion began to take over as Sven was the first to conk out, leaving Baird and Raven still trying to succumb to sleep. Baird let out a sigh, propping his head on his pillow while feeling Raven's soft hair nestle under his chin and her back brushed up against his torso. For a petite thing, she's kinda cozy, but he didn't dare to think any more of it beyond just that. But he couldn't help to wonder if she thought of the same thing, which may have been the reason why she was so reluctant before he swayed her to the idea. He decided to break the awkward silence,

    "…and just for the record, this doesn't mean we're engaged or anything like that," he rhetorically mused. Raven could only let out a slight chuckle before Baird could feel her body finally relax, nestled against his.

    "Was that a laugh?" Baird asked in curiosity.

    Taking in a deep breath, Raven slowly exhaled as she warmed up next to him.

    "Yes, Damon…it was a laugh."

    "And I was beginning to think you hated me,"

    "Hate you…for what?"

    "Oh, I don't know…for being a dick, I guess."

    "You can only be what you are, Damon."

    "Yea, and that's a dick, right?"

    "No…just being Damon,"

    Closing her eyes, Raven was able to find some solace as the day came to close, finally surrendering to her exhaustion. Baird continued to lie still, drifting into thought as he savored the pleasant, floral scent of her hair, mingling with the musty aroma coming from the blanket that must have sat in storage for too long. Her response had rather caught him by surprise, not expecting anyone, much less a Feral, to accept him at face value. Baird finally shut his mind for the night and proceeded to close his eyes when suddenly, he could feel a pair of feet stomping on the floor. Ah, sh*t…

    "Ooo, oo, I want to cuddle too, move over, baby," said Cole as he dropped his pillow next to Baird and proceeded to cuddle up next to him.

    "Hey, hey, hey, easy Gus…sh*t!" Baird protested as Cole wrapped his big arm around both Baird and Raven, pulling them closer to him. Raven could feel the squeeze from Cole's massive brace, meshing her tight into Baird's sternum.

    "Ok, knock it off, man," Baird barked.

    "But you're so nice and warm, baby," Cole nuzzled in closer.

    "Hey, don't you call me baby when you got your arm around me…the matter with you?" Baird sneered before he jabbed his elbow into Cole's ribs, pushing him back.

    "Seriously…Cole…could you loosen up a bit…please?" Raven cringed, trying get past Cole's hand around her waist. He knew he kind of overdid it, but hey, at least I got to cop a feel, so he loosened up his grip at Raven's request. Sven wearily shuffled back up to Raven as he placed a couple of pillows underneath his arm to curl into the fetal position. Nuzzling between the pillows and Raven's body heat, Sven instantly drifted back to sleep.

    Cole threw a blanket over both him and Baird while Raven shifted herself under Baird's arm and Sven's backside. Despite the awkward arrangement, all four finally huddled together for the moment, continuously feeding off each other's body heat.

    "Hey, Damon," Cole whispered.

    "What is it, Gus?" Baird wearily acknowledged.

    "I love you man."

    "Keep this up and I'll shove my foot up your ass."

    "…Oooo, that sounds kinda kinky, heehee."

    "Oh, shut up…"

    Amused with Damon's homophobia, Raven smiled slightly before she too drifted to sleep. The lights flickered again until the power finally went out, leaving nothing but the flashlight as their only source of illumination. As the four huddled for the cold evening, Baird let out a sigh before he proceeded to make a point to the others,

    "…and just so you're wondering… Cole, and you too Vinny," Baird began to inform them, regardless if they were listening or not, "…this…does not, get out…ever."



    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:46 PM.

  23. #23
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    After finding fefuge from the winter storm for the night, Sigma One continues to the mission at hand...that is, if nothing else gets in their way.

    Chapter 11: A Cold Day in Hades

    Back and forth you wander through your mind,
    winter's passing over, but it won't find you.


    Take what you can, change the seasons.

    Isolate yourself and you will find
    there's no rhyme or reason that it won't find you.


    And I will find you, although I wonder,
    if I will climb through this rock I'm under.


    I'm turning the page for something new,
    I'm finding my way through life in bloom.


    Veer Union




    An aura of warmth cradled moaning Damon, succumbing to the temperate bliss of mingled body heat like an infant in utero. Stirring while half asleep, he peered with groggy eyes into the partial lit room they took refuge for the night away from the bitter cold that inevitably festered into the corridor. The strategy he compromised actually worked out a lot better than he anticipated in spite of himself. After giving his intellect another pat on the back for his ingenuity, he was finally able to get some decent sleep.

    Suddenly, an abrupt noise split between the sounds of the buzzing coming from the breaker box in the other room, and Sven's obnoxious snoring. Still twitching from the audible bang, coming from somewhere inside the conduit, Damon's dream state fluttered into a bright void.

    Still woozy, Baird rubbed his eyes before letting out a massive yawn, and then proceeded to take a look at his immediate surroundings, stirring between the two bodies still nuzzled against his. As he moved slightly, turning his blurry gaze down next to his torso, he soon realized that Sven, instead of Raven, was snuggled up against his chest. Repulsed as he let out an abrupt shudder, he pushed Cole's massive arm off of him and shoved Sven off of him, not fazing Sven at the least.

    ''Ugh," he griped as he got up to brush the male cooties off.

    On top of the male "bonding," along with the chilly, nip air and the sudden noise coming from conduit, it was not a bright morning. Or was it morning? Baird pulled out his watch from his pack as he peered groggily at the time. Crap…it is morning. That means we have to go out in this ****ty weather.

    Carefully getting up on his feet, he staggered around the two Gears before he walked over to casually kick Cole. He wasn't going make any effort to bend over and shake him to wake him up.

    "Cole…Cole, c'mon man, get up."

    Cole began to stir before he let out an enormous yawn, moaning at the same time.

    "Sh*t…what time is it?"

    "It's eight."

    "Already…damn," Cole snorted, slowly getting up. Baird walked over to Sven whom was still snoring, and started to kick him too.

    "C'mon…get up sh*tbag,"

    Baird kicked him a few more times, but Sven continued to lie there, still fast asleep.

    "Damn, that boy is a heavy sleeper," Cole chuckled. Baird then decided to walk over to the table to grab a cup and proceeded to the bathroom sink. After filling the cup with water from the sink, he walked back into the room and he made his way over to Sven to dump the water on his head. Sven abruptly let out a shriek, fidgeting on the ground.

    "F***, that's cold…" he yelled.

    Cole started to laugh.

    "Good morning, sleepyhead."

    "Geez, warn me next time," Sven groaned callously, slowly crawling over to a chair to lift himself wearily into it, using the blanket to wipe off the excess water on his head.

    "We need to get going. I heard something from the outside…wait…where in the hell is Feral?" Baird soon noticed as the other two just look at each other and shrugged.

    "Alright…just, grab your gear and take a blanket or two."

    "You got it," said Cole.

    "Sure," Sven yawned, gradually picking up his rifle.

    The three Gears assembled back into their armor and then loaded up their weapons, along with a couple of unused flares and flashlights. As they gathered up their supplies, Baird noticed one of the flashlights was missing.

    "Ok, I'm going to take a wild guess that Feral went out of the utility room," Baird casually mentioned while he loaded up his gear.

    "Maybe…whoa, wait…do you think she left us?" Cole pondered.

    "Sigh, how the hell should I know, Gus, I just work here."

    "Well, we need to go find her!"

    "Whoa, who's this we stuff?"

    Cole gave a Baird a conspicuous glare.

    "Whaaat?" Baird griped at Cole's retained demeanor. Without so much as even coming back with a sarcastic remark, Baird finally gave in.

    "Ugh…fine, we'll go out and find her…sh*t." Baird groaned as Cole started to beam.

    "Oh c'mon man, now I know you can't tell me you wouldn't want a piece of that."

    Baird rubbed his sinuses between his eyes in annoyance.

    "I was trying not to think about it, now damnit, Cole…f***, now I've got that in my head, thanks a lot, asshole!"

    "Heehee…I was right!"

    "Does that mean we're going outside?" Sven asked in between yawns. Baird turned around to give Sven a look of pure cynicism.

    "No Vinny, we're just going to sit here and sing campfire songs all day long until our balls freeze up and fall off,"

    "Ew, that's not cool,"

    Baird began to gesture his irritation.

    "YES VIN…WE ARE GOING OUTSIDE!"

    Irate, Baird stomped over to the door to yank it open and storm out into the corridor without so much as waiting for the others.

    "Uh, I guess he isn't a morning person," Sven muttered.

    "Nah, he's like that all the time…twenty-four, seven," Cole reiterated.

    "Great."

    Sven and Cole follow out into the corridor with their lit up flares and flashlights. Moving forward, they looked around the access strip of the corridor within the lit up area circumference, which was otherwise, pitch black and quiet.

    "Maybe she went back to the dam." Sven mumbled, waiting for another scathing from Baird.

    "Sigh, that may be a possibility…sh*t, I really don't want to have to go back there," Baird groaned.

    "Sh*t, me neither," Cole added, shifting his chest plate into place in the process.

    Suddenly, a faint noise severed the silence as the three Gears turn their heads towards the direction of the noise origin. Baird carefully lifted up the flare as he took a few steps ahead of the others, trying to extend their visibility. He yelled out towards the black void,

    "Feral…is that you?"

    There was no response. Baird called out again.

    "Ok Feral, if this is a joke it's getting old…"

    Again, no response, but a similar noise startled them again as it was much closer than the first time they heard it. Baird slowly moved his hand onto his pistol that was strapped into his holster. He slowly moved a few more steps forward while the other two lingered behind him, readying their weapons. The three tried to peer in the dark as far as the light would allow, but nothing came into site.

    "Maybe it's the wind," Sven blurted out loud before thinking.

    "No, it's not the f***ing wind, Vinny…and do you think you could talk a little softer next time, f***tard?" Baird quietly scoffed at him.

    "Wait…did you here that?" Cole whispered.

    "Yea…it's getting closer," said Baird, slowly pulling out his pistol. He turned his head over his shoulder to see the other two taking a few steps backwards.

    "Ok, what the f*** guys…get your asses up here!"

    But before they could respond, a low crawling, snarling beast suddenly leapt from out of the dark, advancing towards Baird.

    "WRETCH," Cole blurted out before could Damon whip his head around to see the Wretch coming at him.

    "SH*T," Baird hollered, dropping the stock of his pistol onto the creature's head, "…get off of me you piece of sh*t!"

    He struck the beast again and again, consequently shoving it back before unloading his pistol into it until it laid motionless. Carefully walking over to kick it a few times to see if it was dead, Baird was confident that the Wretch was dead.

    "Son of b****, that was close! There's bound to be more where he came from…we need to move in," Baird commanded.

    "You mean we have to go after them?" Sven griped at the idea.

    "If we don't, they'll just keep coming at us in the dark…ah damnit."

    "You think they got Feral." Cole began to worry.

    "Sigh, we're going to find out, Cole."

    Baird pulled out his Lancer and then threw his flare down the corridor, expanding their visibility a few more meters. Just as the flare rolls to a stop, more Wretches started to climb out from the darkness and suddenly leapt towards the Gears.

    "Oh, sh*t," Sven squealed with shotgun in hand.

    "Get em," Baird roared out. The three discharged their weapons at the incoming fray.

    "WHOO, yea, bring it," Cole bellowed out before firing several shots of his Gnasher shotgun, and then started to swing the stock of his gun on top of them.

    "Oh, you want some more if this?" Cole sneered, firing his Gnasher while Sven smashed the stock of his against the menacing beasts.

    "Yea, suck it down," Sven yelled as more charged in. He then took out two more with his shotgun.

    Baird quickly pulled out the melee handle on his Lancer to rev up the chainsaw bayonet. As a Wretch darted in his direction, he slammed the mechanism into the snarling beast. Blood and entrails scattered all around, blinding the other Wretches nearby. Pulling the Lancer back after he sawed it in half, he kicked another with his boot as he bludgeoned another with the Lancer, using the teeth of the saw to hack it.

    Nearby, Cole decimated several others with his shotgun, leaving a mangled mess on the ground as more kept coming.

    "Damn…we got some more closing in," Cole yelled over his shoulder.

    "I told you there would be more," Baird made a point to mention, although Cole had long learned when to tune Baird out when he was in one of his cranky moods, Sven on the other hand made a diligent effort to brace himself for the next assault.

    Making their way into the light, Cole and Sven stepped behind so Baird could fire his Lancer, taking out a few before they moved in closer to their position. Baird revved up the chainsaw bayonet and started to cut into the crowd. Sven bludgeoned with his Gnasher, swinging the stock of his shotgun and knocking off a few heads. Cole stomped on a few as he swung his Gnasher, sending one flying across the floor of mangled masses.

    After Damon finished cutting through a few more, the assault was slowing to a halt as they looked around, trying to find any more live ones.

    "WOOT…that was awesome," Sven hailed.

    "Hehe, you know it," Cole added, kicking a few corpses out of his way, "…I haven't had this much fun since we were walkin' tall in da queen's throne room. Hehe, remember that, Baird?"

    "I try not to…" Baird grumbled, "…seriously, I do try."

    Baird stepped around the garbled cadavers to pick up the burning flare he threw out in front of them earlier. As the three meandered their way out of the pile of Wretch remains, they suddenly hear a faint voice coming from a distance. They turn to see someone moving in, holding a light as it started to come closer.

    "Guys, is that you?"

    They instantly recognized it to be Raven, moving towards them out of the darkness, panting as if she had been running a marathon.

    "Damn, baby…you can't just be walkin' out on us like dat," Cole griped. Baird joined in shortly afterwards,

    "Cole's right, damnit Feral, we were thinking the worst."

    "Wait a sec…we were thinking the worst...or was it you that was thinking the worst?" Raven responded to an irritated Baird. While she was still trying to catch her breath, Baird instantly changed the subject,

    "You can't just keep leaving us in the dark, Rav. How the hell are we supposed to follow you if you're always a mile ahead of us?"

    "Well, first off, I thought you would still be asleep…and second, I had to check and clear out the corridor. Everybody else was looking for shelter from the storm last night, and this corridor was a perfect candidate."

    "Yea, well you missed a few."

    "These must have been the ones who took off. There were quite a handful of them earlier; we'll be passing them up here shortly."

    "What do you mean a handful?"

    "Sigh, you'll see Baird. This way, I'll escort you to the exit."

    Raven turned around and continued down the corridor while the others proceeded to follow her, keeping their weapons ready just in case. Turning over her shoulder, Raven added as she walked,

    "Oh, and by the way, the storm has passed."

    "It's still pretty f***ing cold in here," Baird growled, observing the warm air bursting from his mouth as he exhaled. Cole pulled out a blanket he took from the supply room and wrapped it around his arms while Sven placed his sniper goggles back into his pack to keep the frost off the lenses. Baird took out a torn bed sheet to wrap it around his neck, thus using it for a scarf.

    The three noticed that Raven had some additional attire as well, including a velvet scarf wrapped around her head and neck, with the long fringes hanging down her back. She also had some pieces of cloth tied around her upper thighs, above her holsters and around her chest. From a distance, Sven thought she somewhat resembled the town "bag lady," layered in leftover rags and scarves to stay warm during the cold months.

    As they continued to move forward, they soon noticed a fowl stench mixed with the familiar odor of wretches as they passed by their burnt corpses, apparently slaughtered by one of Raven's napalm grenades earlier that morning.

    "Geez, that reeks," Sven groaned, covering his nose.

    "Yea…those Wretches are pretty nasty, but this smells a hell of a lot worse" Cole griped as they carefully walked around the corpses, trying not to get any of their smelly bowls on their boots.

    "Ah, crap, Feral, you used your napalm grenades, didn't you," Baird complained further with his hand held over his mouth and nose, "…so that's what that noise was from earlier this morning, sh*t!"

    "You heard that?" Raven had to ask.

    "Uh, yea…those nades make loud noises, especially in a conduit. It's a perfect conductor. Sh*t, it f***ing stinks! Did you have to use them?"

    "Well, I couldn't have killed them all with just two pistols, now could I…so yes, I had to use the nades. They have a lot more splash damage for the job, but it did scare some away and apparently made their way back to you guys. I was trying to find them earlier but I couldn't see too well in here."

    "Ah, baby, it idn't nuttin we couldn't handle, right Baird?" Cole mused, nudging Baird with his elbow at the same time.

    "Yea, whatever…" Baird groaned, "…ah, damn, this ****'s never coming out of my fatigues; look at this!"

    Baird tried to brush the entrails that managed to splatter on the back of his legs and buttocks.

    "Hey, Feral…come over here and help me get this off since you're primarily responsible for this," Baird conveniently suggested, making a gesture as he continued to shake the mess off.

    "What? I'm not going to touch your ass; get one of your men to help you," Raven scoffed in return with an "as if," expression.

    "I'll do it," Sven openly volunteered.

    "Touch me Vinny and I'll shoot you," Baird warned, still attempting to brush his back while walking at the same time.

    "Don't worry, baby, I'll come and clean yo white ass," Cole joined in before he side-stepped to help Baird brush the back of his battle fatigues.

    "Hey, quit that!"

    Baird shooed him away until Cole finally backed off, laughing.

    "Yea, laugh at this, asshole," Baird sneered, giving Cole the middle finger.

    "Oh, you know you love me, don't deny it…you shoulda heard what he whispered in my ear last night," Cole chuckled as he nudged Raven with his elbow.

    "Ok, that's it," Baird began to fume as he turned around, but before he could do anything about it, Sven yelled out,

    "Hey, is that light up ahead?"

    All four turned their attention towards what appeared to be a bright white light ahead of the conduit exit.

    "What…wait…I think the kid's right," Cole admitted. Redirecting his attention from the group, Baird turned around to peer towards the bright light straight ahead.

    "Holy sh*t, we are actually coming to the light at the end of the f***ing tunnel! Imagine that!" Baird ranted. Quickly, he moved up to the front while Raven immediately raced behind him.

    "Wait, Damon…not so fast."

    "What the hell for?" he nagged, slowing his pace only slightly.

    "We don't know what's at the exit."

    "You just said you came from up there and it was clear!"

    "That was over two hours ago, Damon. Besides, what's the hurry?"

    "I'm tired of this conduit. It's dark and f***ing cold in here…"

    "…well, it's lit and f***ing cold, out there."

    "At least it's not dark!"

    "So you're scared of the dark?"

    "No I'm not scared of the dark, and that's not the f***ing point…"

    "…oh, so what is the point…that you're just so, damn crabby in the morning, right?"

    "I'm crabby all the time, or haven't you figured that out by now, der!"

    "…so I guess this is just all part of your charm,"

    "Damn right, quit f***ing it up by jinxing it!"

    As the two bickered back and forth, Cole and Sven watched in awe, wondering how the two have not yet managed to strangle one another. Cole began to share his thoughts openly as he leaned over to Sven,

    "Heehee, if you didn't know any better, you would thinks they was married," he snickered as he nudged Sven, whom was trying not to laugh.

    "I heard that, Cole!" Baird blasted over his shoulder.

    "Heard, what…what did he say?" Feral demanded while Cole and Baird instantly responded in unison,

    "Nothing!"

    "Agh," Raven miffed and quickly stormed off. Separating herself from the Gears as far as her short legs could take her, she trudged forwards, leaving the others behind.

    "Thank God, she's going away," Baird snorted. He slowed down his pace, trying to keep the distance Raven had already established well between them.
    As they hiked closer to the end of the corridor, their eyes began to flinch from the bright, winter light, reflecting on the ice and snow ahead. They were walking on the snow that was blown in from the storm the night before.

    "Damn, look at all this white sh*t," Cole scanned the area in amazement.

    "Geez, how strong did the wind have to be to blow all this in here?" Sven pondered as they trudged through the snow, getting deeper the closer they moved towards the exit.

    Suddenly, Raven's faint but audible voice could be heard up ahead,

    "It's clear, you can come out now," she announced from the top of the snow hill just outside the exit.

    "Alright, alright…sh*t, it's getting deeper," Baird griped, rotating his pelvis to pull his legs through the mess. Cole and Sven struggled to do the same, slowing their pace as they pulled themselves through the knee-deep snow and finally out into the open.

    "Wow, look at that lake," Sven pointed, directing the others' attention to a frozen, massive body of water ahead, "…after last night, I bet it's frozen solid."

    "It'll have to if we intend to cross it," said Baird while he noticed Raven slowly walking back towards them. She hiked through the snow, trying to regroup with them while talking at the same time.

    "We'll have to go around the lake," she informed them.

    "Now why did I have a feeling you were going to say that?" Baird moaned as he rubbed his eyes, shielding them from the bright light. He then brought his goggles down from his forehead and onto his eyes.

    "The Stranded settlement is somewhere on the other side, but it’s too far into the day to go investigate without being seen."

    "So we're going to check them out at night?" Cole asked.

    "Early morning, actually," she confirmed.

    "But why so late?"

    "Well, the alcohol usually hits them about one in the morning…"

    "And they will probably sleep in until hangover time, later that afternoon," Baird added.

    "Correct…they will most likely be coherent for the rest of the day until after nightfall," she reiterated.

    Anytime there was a Stranded colony, there was moonshine. It wasn’t hard to make and the ingredients were easy to come by in Glacier Valley. Raven soon discovered that the Stranded spent most of the harsh winter consuming it, since there was little else to do.

    "Do they have outposts nearby?" Baird asked, trying to map the area in his head.

    "On the other side of the lake they do, the last time I checked. So, if we go around, we can flank them undetected, unless they send out their scouts, but there's a lot of cover in the woods that we can use to our advantage if we take the route I'm suggesting," Raven confirmed.

    Damon narrowed his brow in suspicion as he gave Raven a frumpy glare. She finally gave into his cynicism.

    "Sigh…there's also a secret supply stash between here and our destination, but again, we have to go around the lake."

    "Uh huh…just as I suspected," Baird muttered. Taking a moment to adjust his Lancer, Baird started to make his way towards the snow covered countryside ahead.

    "Ok kiddies…through the mountain and around the lake, to grandmother's house, we go."



    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 12:59 PM.

  24. #24

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    Still going through some of the earlier chapters, guess being a slow reader doesn't help...

    But promise I'll push through and post some relevant feedback soon. Being a fan fic writer myself, I know how meaningful it can be to have someone post feedback... any kind of feedback.

    P.S. You posted that last visitor message on your own profile, lol, I do that all the time too, makes people think I'm ignoring them, lol.

  25. #25
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    HaHa...nothing says big time NOOB than posting messages on your own profile, der!
    and I'll still probably end up doing it again later

    Anyways, yea, it's a little long.
    I spent two days trying to catch up on all the "in progress" FF's that folks have posted recently here AND on fanficcentral, so i am somewhat caught up now.

  26. #26
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    Very nicely improved since your other pieces I've read.

    Like Boss, I'm still reading the other chapters, but trust me, this looks really good.
    In Sera, peace doesn't exist...
    Snowfall's Dexterity
    ...and it never will.

  27. #27
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    This one of several intermissions in between chapters to keep the background plot moving until the plot Sigma will eventually meet.

    Intermission I

    Fort Block, nineteen hours after King Raven deployment…

    APC's carrying additional recruits made their way into the Block to be stationed and reformed while officers made arrangements to keep them occupied, assigning them with a multitude of petty projects.

    Anya watched from the com station, noticing all of the fresh faces overshadowing the veteran one's that were now dwindling next to nothing. She peered out while waiting to hear from Delta, whom was dropped a few hours after the first deployment of the Farrall Offensive, and later picked up before the snowstorm came through. They were deployed the following morning to scan for the whereabouts of their last remaining squads. With six squads unaccounted for, and one that is lost off the mark, only four made it to the drop zone, but even then, only three made it back to Fort Block. Out of five of the Feral that were assigned to the squads, only three returned.

    Like so many missions before, the race to salvage what was left of Jacinto’s remnant had left them with little to go by as their outposts were under constant harassment; strategically picking at their defenses by either the Locusts or the Stranded. They were not entirely sure as to which.
    Although they found the alleged Stranded settlements, by the time they got to them, they were already abandoned as if they knew they were coming. Their Feral allies were able to regroup and guide the rest of the squads safely back to be picked up, but they lost one bird out of three in the process. They took out a handful of Locust outposts along the way, but there were many still unaccounted for. It didn't take long to realize the mission was a near failure.

    As the Lieutenant glanced over her monitor, she attempted to enhance the satellite picture of the valley that was taken a month earlier, but to no avail, she couldn't get an accurate reading of the schematics. What is wrong with the radar on this thing?

    Compiling a rough diagram of Sigma's last contact, she rested her head on her hand. Waiting in anticipation, hoping to hear something from someone, the radio suddenly began to sound off in between static transmissions. Anya reached over the console,

    "Hello, this is control, do you read?"

    She altered the frequency to get a better signal as the static slowly began to fade. Almost instantly, she could hear voices again.

    "This is control, do you read?" she acknowledged.

    "Roger that, control. This is Delta, over…"

    "Oh, thank God…affirmative Delta, I read you loud and clear, over."

    "We have searched through the wooded area just south of town and we found a down Raven along the way…it has been completely destroyed but we were able to salvage part of a serial number."

    "Go ahead, Delta…"

    "The partial number is XY78469…there's more but it is not readable, can you get record on it?"

    "Affirmative, Sergeant, I am searching the KR inventory now…"

    Anya waited as she watched her terminal search through a laundry list of countless sequences of serial numbers of every single King Raven that was ever manufactured, even though only a few remained active. The computer finally isolated a class of King Raven's, assigned by their assembly codes from their key manufacturing plant, recently desecrated from the Locust war machine.

    The list dwindled further into a handful of possible serial numbers, many of which were already destroyed prior before Operation Hollow. The computer screen came to a halt as it listed four possibilities of presently active Raven's.

    "Ok, Delta, I have four possibilities, but it may take a few minutes to narrow it down."

    "Understood, control."

    Anya started with the first, looking at its combat history and the pilots, co-pilots assigned to the bird during deployment. She moved onto the next as she again, reviewed its history, searching for anything that may have any relation to Operation Farrall, and sure enough, KR-four, three.

    "Ok Delta, I have found the King Raven in question…KR-43, and…oh God, Marcus…according to this data, that's Sigma's bird!"

    "…Affirmative control…when was their last contact?"

    "Their last contact was shortly before the snowstorm, yesterday evening from Hurl Dam."

    "Hurl Dam? But that's off of the route to the drop zone. What the hell are they doing over at the dam?"

    "They probably had to find cover from the storm, and according to Corporal Baird, they have reason to suspect that there was a Stranded settlement near the glacier lake, up north."

    "So it's possible that we deployed our men the wrong way."

    "It is the pending theory, Sergeant."

    "Sh*t…understood…have you received any contact from Sigma since then?"

    "Negative Sergeant…Corporal Baird mentioned that he couldn't contact the other squads…there have been reports that the radios are not functioning properly; they may still be having communication problems."

    "Understood control, so where do we go from here?"

    "Report back to Fort Block. We may have some updates on the schematics, according to the Feral scout team."

    "The Feral?"

    "Affirmative Sergeant…we have accumulated some more Feral that have been displaced recently, and three of them speak fluent Tyran. They claim to have some updates on the locations of the insurgencies."

    "Roger that control…we're in route now, over."


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 01:03 PM.

  28. #28
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    Waking up to a cold, bitter morning, Sigma continues their quest to the Glacier Lake, as random conversation becomes inevitable...

    Chapter 12: Just Another Day in Paradise



    We all have something that digs at us,
    At least we dig each other,
    So when weakness turns my ego up,
    I know you'll count on the me from yesterday,
    If I turn into another,
    Dig me up from under what is covering,
    The better part of me…

    ~Incubus~


    The storm left behind a winter wonderland as the terrain glistened from the midday sun. It was as if the storm cleansed the sky, filling the air with its sweet, frosty aroma, pushing away the stale air further towards the oceanfront, near Farrall.

    Moving along a wide-open area while hiking through knee-deep snow, Sigma continued to trek through the freezing terrain, relying on old sheets, pillows cases, and other layers of makeshift clothing they took from the conduit station to stay warm. Cole, Sven, and Raven walked together while Baird lingered back, going over his mental notes.

    Baird's pupils had finally contracted, adjusting to the bright light as he lifted his goggles from his eyes to get a better look at the terrain. Ahead of him, he could see Cole and Sven making friendly conversation with their Feral guide as they plowed through the deep snow, hiking around a large glacier lake east of the rolling valley.

    He scratched his head with a leaflet in hand, the same one he managed to pocket in his armor when they we're searching the Locusts back at Hurl Dam for ammunition. Reading the lettering, some of which he was able to decipher, the paper apparently was a "psalm" of sorts, chanting about "seducing," or "charming" the beasts of the Hollow with song. Beyond that, Baird could only guess that it was some religious documentation, but why it was in the possession of a peon Bolter baffled him. The meaning evaded him for the time being as he stopped for a moment to put it back in his leg pack and continued to chew on his thoughts, while following the others from behind.

    Up until now, this was the most at peace he had ever been in a while, to have a moment to appreciate the splendor in nature without just catching small glances while running for his life. Although he did not drop his guard completely, he continued to look around, finally having the opportunity to breathe at ease for the moment to ponder their present situation. For the most part, Cole was right. Feral had been taking care of them, which came to a surprise since she had long insinuated that she preferred isolation, rather than "hanging" out with anybody, much less a handful of male ****s.
    Why hasn't she left us? She could have abandoned us easily, leaving us to rot in this sh*t. Although Baird had his theories, the answer continued to elude him. Shaking the thoughts from of his head, he began to eavesdrop on the others' conversation, listening to Sven ramble on about his experiences in highschool…an all too common initiation most young males usually had to go through to enter the ultimate rite of passage, otherwise better known as puberty.

    "Anyway…I knew this one girl, back in highschool," Sven began his story before Cole interrupted.

    "Hehe, you knew girls in highschool?"

    Baird snickered to himself while keeping his usual musings restrained…Oh geez, they're talking about girls.

    Sven continued as if he didn't catch on to Cole's gag. Actually, it probably really did go over his head, but nevertheless, Baird could tell Raven was attempting to be polite by allowing Sven to ramble on.

    "Yea, and this chick was hot too! I mean, she was skimpin' in this one outfit…I could tell she wasn't wearing much underneath…"

    Raven interrupted,

    "Uh, ok, you're going to have to define "hot," for me," Raven suggested. Her request caught Sven somewhat off guard.

    "Well…uh…gee, I guess I would have to say…ah, crap…what was I going to say?" Sven fumbled.

    Good one Vinny, that was smooth, Baird mused to himself. Cole started to laugh.

    "Here…let me help you out, Vin," Cole cut in. Baird moaned to himself, oh God, here it goes...

    "What he means is the kinda chick that can make a man stand up straight by just walking by, ya know,"

    Raven just glared at him with an inkling in her gaze, somewhat blasé as to where Cole was going with it. Baird could tell she wasn't the least bit enthralled, but she gave it a chance by letting Cole continue,

    "Don't get me wrong, most chicks are not bad looking, and then there are others that are "hot," the kind that made you sweat from just looking at em!"

    "Uh huh," Raven replied, not exactly seeing it from his point of view. How could she? She's not a guy, so how does she know what the hell makes a guy "sweat" in the presence of a "hot" girl?

    "I mean the ones that have, nice, juicy, taataa's, those sour, pout lips, and the kind of ass that you just want to go, uh!"

    Cole tried to imitate his gesture by holding his massive hands in front of him as if he was going to grab something. Raven rolled her eyes when she came to realize that the topic was going nowhere.

    "You know…ok, I take it back…we need stop and move onto something else," she said bluntly.

    Baird jumped into the conversation from behind.

    "Yea, Cole's getting a hard on just talking about it," he chuckled. Cole turned around to the sardonic tone of his close friend,

    "Hey, since when did you decide to contribute to the conversation?"

    The other two were surprised by Baird's entrance since he was pretty much to himself for almost an hour.

    "The minute somebody brought up the topic about "chicks."

    "Sh*t, Damon, what do you know about chicks…in fact, when was the last time you had a G.F.?"

    "Well gee, Cole, since I spend most of my time, getting shot at, running around in Locust fortresses, crawling around inside giant worms…oh, and almost the entire time, I'm spending doing all this, saving your ass! So needless to say, it's been awhile!"

    "Yea, whatever. You haven't had any boon since…damn…it’s been awhile!"

    "Shut up Cole, you haven't been getting any either!"

    Cole was about to respond before he realized that Baird was right. Neither one of them had any romantic, social dealings with the female type in probably longer than either would really care to admit. It was, for the most part, against policy to fraternize with female officers, not to mention most all other females were relocated to "breeding camps," which made such social interaction limited.

    This brought Baird to question as to how the Feral sanctioned procreation. He had heard of stories, rumors about Gears coming across Feral camps, but they usually ended in a catastrophe. He since then had only heard of one incident where a soldier was coerced to impregnate a "breeder," and lived to tell about it.

    "So…what about you Feral?" said Cole, trying to keep the conversation going in a last ditch attempt to pass the time,

    "About…what?" she replied.

    "Ya know…got a man somewhere that we don't know about?"

    "Hey yea, you go out and get some?" Sven tinkered with the thought. Perv!

    Raven chuckled in amusement.

    "Are you kidding, please, the Feral are very strict about keeping our animal drives in check and breeding outside of the matriarch's counsel…besides, you Gears are pretty clueless concerning the female psyche…no offense."

    "Wait…counsel…is that what you chicks "call" it?" Baird's interest peaked up in curiosity.

    "Every Feral has a set of guidelines that she is required to follow concerning her advances. To deviate from those guidelines would end up in excommunication, or sometimes termination," Raven explained.

    "Gee Feral…you run away to avoid being bred like a horse, only to end up with a faction that dictates your sex life, or else! I'm having a hard time seeing the difference here…and you're calling us clueless?"

    Baird continued to pick at her brain, gathering mental notes on how the Feral functioned as a culture, since most of the COG's intel on the Feral was modest at best, but doing it without offending her at the same time was not something he did very well. Raven continued,

    "The breeding camps were exploiting the women for purposes other than just "breeding," Baird. The COG new damn well that some of the facilities was being run by pedophiles, and yet they didn't do anything about until it was too late. We knew about it because the Feral came across some of those girls whom managed to run away."

    The conversation took a turn that only Baird could entertain, trying to get the last word in,

    "Look, I'm not saying that nothing unethical was going on, but your accusing the COG of running people's lives without merit, while the Feral are practically doing the same exact thing. You're being kinda hypocritical, Raven!"

    "There's a difference in deciding something for the better welfare of the community, and then there is just plain, Jane, dictatorship."

    "Oh, and how's that?"

    "Do you really think Chairman Prescott is in all of this for the sake of "saving humanity?"

    "What do you think he's doing it for?"

    "Well what do men of power always want…more power…and how can he help it? He was born into power, his family, the Prescott "dynasty." What else can he be…he pretends to participate as a soldier to boost up his ranks and then wiggled his way into politics effortlessly, all the while, using the policies of his predecessors during the Pendulum Wars to wipe out settlements, confiscate weapons of mass destruction and obliterate almost all of what was left of Sera's resources. I mean seriously, do I need to go on?"

    "It's amazing what people have to do when their back is up against the wall, Feral, especially when we got a race of "beings," whose only intent is to wipe us clean off the planet! Like any other leader, he had to make difficult decisions…it's not like he had a lot of other convenient choices."

    "Do you really believe that, Damon? I find it hard to believe that you, a frequent delinquent, accept things at face value…especially someone with a countless history of insubordination!"

    Well that caught Baird off guard. Even Cole and Sven turn to her in shock. She continued while still perching on her high horse.

    "Yes, gentlemen…I know about your personnel profiles. I reviewed them before we left Fort Block. Don't think I was going to jump into something without doing my homework. And as far as the COG is concerned, I was raised, reciting the "Octus Canon," every damn morning before school started. My "dad" would take me to his base to show me how the Gears work, like taking your kids to work day and would attempt to orient me into the regime. So to answer the question that I know has been lingering in the back of your head, Baird, no, I'm not just some dumb **** who so happens to have some "beef" with the COG."

    "Well sh*t, Feral, excuse me for being clueless that you didn't have any personal issues regarding the COG."

    "I don't!"

    "Uh huh…so seriously, who are you banging?"

    "What the hell kind of question is that?"

    "I don't know, ask Cole, he's the one who wanted to know," Baird grins while Cole gives him a bemused look.

    "Oh, sorry Gus, we're talking about sex now" Baird snickered before Cole gave him a dirty glare.

    "Yea, very funny, jackass!"

    "C'mon, I'm just sticking out for ya…so anyway, Feral, what is your "present" breeding status?"

    "What breeding status?"

    "Are you single, or do you have someone you see regularly, are you still a virgin…"

    "Are we seriously having this discussion right now?"

    "Uh…yea!"

    Cole and Sven just glared in interest, waiting to see what she would say next.

    "Alright, Damon, I'm not going to give you the satisfaction of answering that question for the sake of your own personal amusement."

    "So you are a virgin."

    "Does it really matter if I am or not?"

    "Not really, I'm just trying to get a rise out of ya."

    "Cole's right, you are a jackass!"

    "Hehe, told ya, baby! Hey, Vinny…” Cole yelled over his shoulder, “…you owe me ten bucks!"

    Baird sneered back.

    "Oh, so you can hack into our computer network and somehow access our personnel files, which are classified, by the way, and now suddenly you take offense when we ask you about your love life, bullsh*t!"

    Raven snickered at Damon's defiance.

    "Well, that sounds more like a personal problem, Baird."

    "Damn right, especially when I'm taking some flak from someone who's never had any cock!"

    Well that did it.

    "Alright, that's it! This conversation's over," Raven storms off, putting distance between them as fast as she can, moving diligently through the knee-deep snow. The three watched her huff away, cussing under her breath.

    "Damnit Baird, I thought Marcus told you not to piss her off," Cole ranted at Baird.

    But it's too much fun!

    "We seriously need to work on your "talking to girls," skills," Cole continued to gripe, realizing Baird just ruined their chance to maybe somewhat bond with their Feral guide.

    "Geez yea…we were trying to get her to open up, ya know," Sven butted in.

    "We're not here to pick up chicks, guys," Baird handily reminded them without little, if any regret.

    Sven let out a whimpering groan, thinking back when he had some interactions with girls, wondering if he will ever have the opportunity to do it again.

    "This bites…will we ever get back to normal…ya know, when we could pick up chicks?"

    "Sigh…maybe one day kid, we just got to keep our head in the game for now," Cole muttered, thinking back in the day when he had women, jumping through fire hoops, just to say "hi" to him. But after fifteen years of fighting the Locusts, how much longer would it be before they could even say “things will get back to normal?”

    Damon kept to himself as he trudged on, trying not to let Raven get too far ahead, or she'll abandon us for sure. Memories of his past began to subconsciously surface as he halfheartedly revisited his own "social" experience with women. Needless to say, those brief moments of some remote companionship was very few in between. When he did, it was anything but positive which may have contributed to his "cynical" attitude, especially when it concerned girls. Although he is most likely capable of producing offspring, he avoided settling down as if it was the plague. To say the least, he was content living the rest of his existence as a "childless" bachelor.

    As he looked ahead, he watched Raven continue to storm through the snow, wondering how long she was going to hold a grudge now. Considering he’d been harassing her since touchdown, she seemed to be tolerating Baird, especially since most people, women especially, would normally take an instant disliking to him. But then again, maybe it's because she's stuck with him and she has no choice but to tolerate him. Or maybe she's just saving her "rants," and all of her frustrations to shove down his throat all at once, for later…oh that's going to be fun!

    He then realized something Dom told him once, which was very seldom, about how he dealt with Maria when she got mad at him for whatever reason and she wouldn't talk to him for days. Although Damon was never one to take any advice from Dom, however he did agree that no man knows no wrath, more loathing than a woman scorned. So something was going to have to give, before wrath bit Sigma squad in the ass…or worse.
    Sh*t. I'm going to have to kiss her ass, or kiss and make up, hmm…what would be the lesser of the two evils? In any case, he knew if he didn't somehow reconcile, he would never hear the end of it from Marcus, or Hoffmann for that matter, and then Dom would rub it in his face. F***tard.

    "Sigh…wait back here guys…I'm going to have to go and patch this," Baird loathed as he picked up the pace, with Cole yelling out from behind,

    "Hey…if you kiss and make up, I want details…remember…bros before hos!" Cole and Sven start to snicker as Baird waved his hand with his back still facing them.

    "You think he's really going to do it?" Sven pondered.

    "Sh*t, knowing Baird…I bet you another ten bucks she'll punch him in the face before he even thinks of laying a smooch on her," Cole snickered.

    "You're on!"

    The two clamped fists, knuckle to knuckle as they turn to look ahead, watching Baird climb up through the deep snow. He attempted to catch up as Raven kept her pace consistent, not realizing that he was trying to close in their distance. ****, does this chick ever get tired of hiking?

    He managed to get into audio range as he called out,

    "Feral…hey…wait!"

    "What for? I thought I told you…"

    "Yea, yea, yea, I heard you the first time."

    Feral stopped in her tracks, giving Baird a moment to catch up, noticing the other two were still lingering behind.

    "Oh, I see you left your "motley crew" in the ditch…were they boring you with more stupid, lukewarm banter?"

    Baird flashed a sarcastic grin before slumping back into his usual, face-melting scowl.

    "No, that's not why I sprinted all the way up here."

    "I'll say, you sure keep up better than Cole. He really needs to do more steady cardio and less weights…"

    "I know…I think his thrashball training has him brainwashed."

    Feral let out a slight chuckle as she started to move forward again, making a more conscience effort to stay alongside with Baird.

    "Ok, so are you still pissed at me?" he finally had to ask.

    "Maybe."

    "I suppose that's an honest answer…look, ok, I know I said something…"

    Here it goes,

    "…that was insensitive…"

    "Wait, are you actually apologizing…do I need to record this?"

    "C'mon, gimme a break!"

    "You, don't apologize to anyone, much less a *****y Feral…ok, what are you really trying to do?"

    "Seriously, are you going to let me finish?"

    "Relax, Baird…I'm not going to abandon the team, or drop y'all like a hat and leave y'all to fend for yourselves…"

    "And why wouldn't you?"

    "What do mean, why wouldn't I?"

    "Well, all we ever seem to do is to slow you down and piss you off."

    "Cole doesn't piss me off, Vinny normally doesn't piss me off,"

    "All right, all right, I get it, it's all me!"

    "No, that's not it either…"

    "Then what is it…why do you stick around?"

    "The same reason I agreed to come to the COG in the first place."

    "And what's that?"

    "It doesn't matter right now, what does matter is that I take you guys safely around the terrain to the Stranded rebel camps until the mission is complete."

    "Well, as you noticed, we strayed off that course a long time ago," said Baird, making a point for another excuse to groan, trying to make sense of things that he really couldn't confirm, but that only annoyed him even more…but at least I live to still b**** about it.

    "So, you're really not going to abandon us, huh?"

    "Just you."

    "Oh…alright…at least we cleared that up."

    Raven gave him a sarcastic look and then started to laugh.

    "Oh c'mon, I was just joking, at your expense of course, but still…you do really need to lighten up, Damon."

    "Yea…I get that a lot on my psych evaluation that I am required to attend, once a year…that and piss in a cup."

    Raven laughed at Baird making awkward gestures.

    "I know they did health checkups, but psych evaluations…that must be new," she said.

    "They started it almost ten years ago."

    "Well then I guess you must be ok…they haven't declared you insane."

    "Nah, or at least not yet…knock on wood."

    Baird gently tapped the buckle on his utility belt, while Raven covered her mouth with her hand to quash any potential laughter that would expose her delight in his innuendo. Finding composure, Raven resumed the conversation,

    "So what else do they violate you with?"

    "The usual…put a swab tip up the shaft to check for urinal infections, STD's, anal probes,"

    "Geez, Damon, seriously?"

    "Well, when the time is right, I guess, they want to make sure our plumbing is working properly, and safely. There's no point in the use if we're shooting, infected blanks."

    "They check your sperm count, too? I mean…what for if you guys don't find the time to…well…procreate, especially when they have regulations on fraternization?"

    "Well that's funny because I was going to ask you the same."

    "What do you mean?"

    "I don't understand why your…superiors…have to dictate your sex life to produce offspring. I mean, why not just go out, find some sucker, woo him to get you knocked up and then leave his sorry ass, return to your "camp" and live happily ever after with your little brat?"

    "Ok, I'm not exactly sure what they taught you back in sex ed, or, what your personal experience is, concerning the concept, but there is both a philosophy and science to human reproduction."

    "Uh…are…are you for real…because I never would have put sex in the same bracket as quantum physics."

    Raven gave him a sour look while Baird caught on to her insinuated expression.

    "Sigh…go on…" he let her continue.

    "Look…and this is assuming you have performed coitus before,"

    "Yes, I have, moving along…"

    "Every woman has a season where she is more "fertile," than others, during the cycle."

    "Cycle…as in every twenty eight days?"

    "Well, that, and once every year…out of four seasons, or quarters."

    "And you either fall into one of those four categories, during the year and month,"

    "Precisely…depending on the time of her birth, will dictate her biological clock, in reference to the seasonal terrestrial clock, Bloom, Brume, Thaw, or Frost."

    "I thought women could get pregnant all year round?"

    "Most normally can, it's just that during their estrus is when they are, I guess, much more susceptible to conception."

    "Ok…so, what terms do you use for the monthly cycle?"

    "We use Sera's elements…water, fire, soil, and air, to label the phase of the month"

    "Have you ever, "witnessed," the results of this so called rhythm method?"

    "As a matter of fact, I have. The Feral have successfully managed to assist women, who have been labeled barren, to producing, healthy offspring."

    "Really?"

    "I know what you're thinking, but as I have mentioned to you before,"

    "Yea, yea, not one girl is going to be the same as another,"

    "And on top of all this, some females are much more sensitive to their timing, while others are not. For some reason, they do not have the ability to breed all year round…therefore, if they do not mate within that brief time frame, any other attempt will be unsuccessful. I have reason to believe that the "breeding farms" dismissed some women as infertile, when, in fact, they have a capable system, it’s just finicky. Now, why that is, I am not entirely sure…that information was not oriented to me at the time of my own evaluation."

    "Wait, you've been briefed on your "custom" fertility rate?"

    "All of us have. We have all been cultured, and trained to be productive. It's just that the "breeders," have been conditioned extensively to seduce and mate, while say, my training, has been basic. They have found me to be…of more value elsewhere."

    "Should I even ask, as to how, they…demonstrate, or…um…"

    "Do you really want to hear this?"

    "Sigh, not really,"

    "Besides, I told Cole and Sven about it…I'm sure you'll hear it from them."

    "You what? Sh*t, Feral, and now I'm never going to hear the end of this!"

    "You’re welcome!"

    "I can't believe you've been telling them how to…"

    "Give it a rest, Damon…besides, the only things I told them is probably stuff they already had some knowledge on from reading the graffiti material, scribbled on the bathroom walls."

    "Uh huh…so scouting and hacking is more up your ally than…uh…ah, hell, I'll just say it, f***ing."

    "I …don't know…"

    "And you're…ok with that?"

    "…Not really…"

    Raven redirected her gaze to the terrain as she, subconsciously meditated to herself before the mood turned awkward for the both of them. Baird was carefully assembling the pieces together from what Raven has since revealed to him and the puzzle quickly became a riddle, begging to be solved. His boredom turned into fascination as he decided to press on at plucking at the layers surrounding her psyche, trying to gather as much information about the Feral that she was willing to reveal. Something productive better come out of this since I had to be the one to ****ing apologize!

    "Um…so…which season are you?"

    Raven looked up in astonishment but her expression subsided once she realized he wasn't being derisive. Believing he may have hit a sore spot, Baird tried to salvage the mood.

    "Look, you don't have to answer if you don't feel comfortable…"

    "Frost…and…fire," she blurted out without missing a beat, catching him in mid-sentence. He paused for a moment as he glared at her with a perplexed expression, on the brink of having to ask the question that was smoldering in the back of his mind.

    "You mean to tell me…that you are presently, in your more fertile time of your clock?"

    "In the year…the Frost is my fertile season…but not in month."

    "Should I even ask when that is going to hit?"

    "No, you probably shouldn't."

    "Ah, crap…ok, I'm going to ask this anyway, for the sake of everyone's sanity…I mean just in case you…go off your rocker,"

    "Oh, for peat sake, Baird, I'm not going to go on a rampage."

    "Like hell you're not…you're going to be "in heat" Raven! That's enough to drive any guy nuts, much less three."

    "Then, maybe, it would be best that you don't know!"

    Baird groaned before reverting to silence, a discipline he normally didn't perform well but in this case, he shut his trap before it got him into trouble again, and then it finally dawned on him as he looked up toward the edge of a sparse forest nearby.

    "Hey, are we there yet?"

    "Almost."

    "Define almost."

    "Well, you see that forest over there, between the lake and that mountain?"

    Raven pointed in the direction as Baird turned to get a look.

    "Yea…is that…where the settlement is?"

    "No…I told you, there's a place where we keep armaments and supplies, not terribly far from the settlement location."

    "Sigh…how far from our destination?"

    "About three miles."

    "Ugh…that means we have to hike some more."

    "There is a place we can go to for shelter…and food."

    "Where's that?"

    "In the woods…it's concealed."

    "For real?"

    Baird beamed in interest. The idea of warmth and food sounded even sweeter to his ears.

    "Don't get ahead of yourself Baird…we still need to investigate the area over there," Raven points to a section of the forest, lingering out in the valley not too far ahead.

    "Alright, now why do we…wait a minute," Baird suddenly halted as he looked back to see past Cole and Sven, whom were still somewhat behind, but gradually catching up. He peered further down, evaluating their trail in the snow as a frosty breeze slipped past them, brushing along their heads. His internal instincts began to creep into his conscience that only familiar soldiers can comprehend.

    "We're being tracked, aren't we," he said.

    "Inevitably...yes," Raven quickly responded as the cool air continued to brush along the landscape, nipping the bare skin on their faces.

    "F***…and we left them a nice trail for them to follow…"

    "…which is why I suggested going the other direction."

    Baird raised his arms, yelling out to Cole and Sven still lingering behind.

    "Guys…get up here, hurry!"

    Cole and Sven pick up the pace, pushing through the snow,

    "Agh…it's like walking in that pool of plastic balls they had at Wonderworld," Sven recanted, rummaging through his childhood memories when his older sister would throw him into the pool of balls, and then she would jump in to help him stabilize in the awkward environment.

    "Oh, yea…I remember that place," Cole recollected as well, going back down memory lane when his mom would take him there for his sixth birthday. He was so excited, due to the fact that he was actually tall enough to ride the bigger rides.

    "Will ya hurry up?" Baird yelled out, impatiently.

    "We're moving as fast we can, Baird," Cole blasted back, trying to pick his feet up over the snow, "…damn, it's not like running in a grassy field, man!"

    "Quit whining and get your butts up here!"

    The two finally catch up, panting as they finally come to a stop, taking a breather. The wind began to pick up, lifting snow from the top layer, brushing it against their legs.

    "Ah, c'mon…another storm?" Sven griped as Raven steps down from a hill to rejoin them.

    "We need to go into the forest. I saw something in there as I was scanning it," she exclaimed.

    Cole turned to Raven, still panting.

    "Like…what?"

    "I'm not sure, but either way, the wind is getting stronger and the forest may be our only means of protection right now," she said, pointing towards a patchy conifer forest.

    "And how's that?"

    Baird turned to Cole and Sven,

    "We may have someone tracking us."

    "Oh…oh, you got to be sh*ttin’ me!" Cole blurted out.

    "The wind can cover some of our trail that we left out here, and those woods will conceal us from here on out, but we got to move, now!" Baird settled it before turning to make his way toward the forest.

    "C'mon Cole…Sven," Raven groaned as she helped Sven on his feet, moving him forward while Cole followed close behind the two.

    As the four move, the overcast sky began to take a turn as snow started to fall, sprinkling the air while the breeze brush the flakes across the valley floor, concealing their tracks.


    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 01:49 PM.

  29. #29
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    As Sigma squad takes refuge into the forest, they make a grisly discovery, but that's not the worst of it...


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    Chapter 13: The Hunters

    The air thickened with snow as the wind pushed through the terrain, over the lake and through the mountains. The woods acted as a shield from the freezing breeze as Sigma One meandered around the trees into an open area in the forest.

    Raven perched on a fallen log to direct the others at an area that looked as if it was recently demolished. Trees looked as if they were knocked down and their brush tattered. It was obvious that something came through it fairly recently, judging by the potent odor of pine sap bleeding from the conifers’ pulp.

    "Look…see it?" Raven gestured again.

    The others peer through the snow-covered trees to get a glimpse of what appeared to be bare corpses, lying in the snow out in the open area.

    "Sigh…we're going to have to check this out," Baird lamented, wondering if the bodies may be that of other displaced squads. The three move carefully into the area as the snowflakes begin to accumulate on their armor once again.

    "Damn Feral, how did you know this was here?" Cole asked.

    "I noticed some of the trees from a distance were broken down…" Raven explained, "…and they weren't like that a few weeks ago, so something had to have happened here just recently. I originally thought it may have been another fallen Raven."

    "Well, the direction of the fallen trees doesn't suggest a crash site anyway..." Baird observed, "…more like a major firefight."

    Raven hopped down to join them while Cole and Baird moved forward to get a closer look at the bodies strewn randomly on the snow carpeted ground. Some of them were facing down, their skin almost as pale as the snow around them, making the blue veins more visible. Raven took another sweep of the area and then proceeded to join them, with Sven not too far behind.

    Baird knelt down next one to brush the falling snow from the almost naked corpse, faced down and pallid. He pressed his hand against the bare back, searching for contusions, and then took hold of the firm arm.

    "Ugh…it's hard to know how long he's been in rigor, the cold accelerates the process," Baird groaned, realizing that the weather was going to make it harder for them to calculate how long they have been deceased.

    "So there’s no way we can tell how long they’ve been dead, huh," said Cole as he looked around at the other bodies scattered around the vicinity.

    "Well, they couldn't have been here no longer than early this morning, otherwise they would have been buried by the storm last night," Raven pointed out while lifting a torn branch from the ground. Her eyes follow a mess of wooden debris so she instinctively moved toward the shredded brush nearby to investigate further.

    "Hey Cole…help me lift this one, willya," Baird asked.

    "You got it, baby!"

    Cole helped Baird gently lift the solid corpse as they turn it over, instantly recognizing the corpse by the emblem tattooed on his arm and the rigor of battle scars, who he was.

    "Ah, damn…" Cole groaned while Baird dropped his head in dismay.

    "Who is it?" Raven asked before reuniting with them.

    "He's one of ours," Baird grumbled “…they’re Gears.”

    Raven stepped around the two to get a closer look. The body for the most part was intact with the exception of a bullet entrance to the temple, fracturing the bones at the exit wound on the other side of his skull. Almost all of his attire, with the exception of his underwear, was gone.

    "He's been stripped…they all have, which means the Stranded probably got here before we did," Raven noticed.

    "Say, what?" Cole slightly bellowed in resentment.

    "They have been accumulating armor and weapons for some time now. I have seen them out on patrol, riding horseback and stripping armaments, but I can't tell you if they were responsible for their deaths," she explained.

    Baird lifted his head to brush the snow out of his ruffled, blonde hair before he joined in.

    "Maybe so, but I doubt the Locusts did this either."

    "How can you tell?" Raven curiously asked the empirical Gear.

    "Because they're, for the most part, intact...that, and they don't take COG armor; weapons maybe, but not armor."

    Sven walked around to get an eyeful of a bizarre situation, but it was one he had never encountered before. The climate around him felt psychologically cold, as if the place itself had a mind of its own. If only these trees could talk.

    "So which squad are they?" Sven asked after overhearing the three from earlier.

    "It's Gamma Four. I recognize the name on these tags," Baird responded.

    "Ah, sh*t...man…that means Harley's with em," Cole added, stepping around to take a look at the other corpses.

    "Who's Harley?" Sven asked.

    "Sergeant Brell Harley, is Gamma's squad leader," Baird answered as he too gets up to help Cole look for the Sergeant's body. Sven joined in, helping Baird brush the oncoming snow on another corpse nearby.

    "Guys, try not to move them too much. If we disturb the bodies, someone will know for sure that we came through here," Raven reminded them.

    "…and don't remove the tags," Baird added.

    "Then how are we supposed to report them back to headquarters?" Cole questioned.

    "I'll write their names down…but Raven's right. If we're being tracked, they'll know for sure that we came through here if we tamper with them too much."

    "Do you think the Stranded are the one's tracking us?" Sven wondered further.

    "I'm not sure, but Stranded scouts have been known to come near this area, especially at this time of day," Raven responded before looking up to peer outside the forest.

    The three Gears continued to look and take names, but could not find Gamma's squad leader among them. The snow began to lightly collect on the corpses again, while Sven brushed off the snow accumulating on his shoulder plates.

    Silent and surreal it all was, as if the place they were standing on was subtly screaming at them to look deeper into the forest primeval, and listen to the ghostly voices that whistled with the breeze, moving past the trees. Everything about the place was off. Raven turned back onto the edge of the wooded area to get a better look out in the empty, white valley.

    "Did Sergeant Harley survive, maybe?" Sven asked, holding onto a glimmer of hope.

    "With his squad all strewn out like this and leaving the tags, not likely…man, this makes no sense," Cole stood up to brush the snow off of his armor.

    "Geez, if they were shot down here, then where did their attackers go…I don't see any trails," Sven noticed, looking around on the glistening white ground.

    Baird sat still, knelt down as he drifted into thought as the other two turn to look at him. They could tell he was still analyzing the scene, deciphering the code written all over the area.

    "Uh oh, Baird's thinking…that can't be good," Cole blurted out.

    Baird stood back up to write down the last name in his journal, and then placed it back into his pack.

    "I bet you ten bucks these guys were dumped here…they must have been killed elsewhere, and for whatever reason, they were relocated and dumped here,"

    "How'd you figure that?" said Cole.

    "Look around, Gus…there's no blood on the ground, they have been stripped, and as Vinny pointed out, there's no tracks suggesting a firefight, much less someone stripping them down of all their armor. It would be logical to assume that they were shot down and disrobed elsewhere, then carefully dumped here while the snow must have covered their tracks…which means they had to have been here at least, since sometime early this morning, to give time for the snow to accumulate…"

    Before Baird could finish his sentence, Raven moved back into the area to cut in,

    "…and this area was demolished by some heavy artillery, I suspect by grinders, maybe a troika. If they we're killed here, they would not have been intact, as Baird mentioned earlier. Besides, their bullet wounds suggest smaller caliber rounds." Raven reiterated, dropping some twisted, marred twigs she found earlier hanging from the brush. The bark on the surrounding trees was also stripped on one side. Raven then climbed back out into the wooded area to look outside, leaving the others briefly to ponder over her hypothesis.

    "Smaller rounds, as in…" Sven asked. Baird continued,

    "Snub pistol, Lancer rounds…maybe Hammerburst, but she's right. The wounds indicate rapid fire but not the size from a Troika or Mulcher."

    "So you think this was set up?" Cole began to equally put the pieces together as he watched Baird return a nod.

    "It's a possibility, and I believe the Stranded may be involved," said Baird.

    "So what's up with the fallen trees if they were taken out elsewhere?" Cole asked, trying to make sense of the scene.

    "I'm guessing that they intentionally shot all this down to make it look like a fire fight…and then dumped the corpses here."

    "Well then we need to go over there and take them out before they ambush any more squads."

    "That's not our directive, Cole…and on top of that, who knows what arms they have amassed in the past few months. Sh*t, we know now they have at least four Lancers, some Gnashers, maybe a Longshot," Baird groaned at the bleakness of an already FUBAR situation.

    Cole thought for a moment and then he responded,

    "The Stranded are not that strategic…and even if it was the Stranded, why would they go through all this trouble just to set this up?"

    "Maybe their hunting down the other squads for more ammunition, I don't know for sure Gus, I'm just speculating…"

    "We can't let this go, man. Command needs to know about this, if what you say is right."

    "We're not going to let this go, Gus…but we need to get to the side of that mountain and wait until early morning."

    Raven abruptly moved back to their position.

    "And we need to do it real soon guys. I just saw some Stranded on horseback in the distance, and I think they're coming this way," she announced.

    "Well sh*t…that sure raises some red flags now, don't it," Baird growled.

    "No kiddin’," Cole couldn't agree less.

    "We got to take them out…if they did this, they'll kill us for sure and take our stuff," says Sven.

    "No…if we take them out, they can't report back to the settlement, and then they'll definitely know your position," said Raven before she turned to direct them into another direction.

    "Go this way…the thicket is too thick for the horses to follow effectively, and it will cover your trail. It will lead to the side of the mountain."

    "But what about the mess we made here, Feral? They're going to figure out for sure that these bodies were tampered," Baird mentioned, consciously trying to watch his step.

    "I can take care of it, I've done this countless times before. You just take Sven, Cole and go…hurry!"

    "Feral, are you sure?”

    "Look, Baird, you're just going to have to trust me on this, have I led you astray yet?"

    "For all I know, you could be just buying your time,"

    "Sigh…well then Corporal, I guess you're just going to have to make a difficult decision now, aren't you."

    Baird gave Raven a suspicious glare, realizing that she just turned his words against him from their previous argument. But what choice did they have? If they stayed and fought the Stranded off, sure it wouldn't be much of a fight. The Stranded were, for the most part, not as tactical and trained as a Gear, especially compared to veteran Gears, but whoever sent them will know for sure their most recent position, and that was the last thing they wanted to do, especially if any of the other Gear squadrons had fallen into the same trap. Something about it all wasn’t right, and Baird knew it.
    Raven started to get impatient.

    "We're running out of time, just…I'll meet you on the side of the mountain later, I promise. Cole you heard me, right?"

    "Yea, I heard ya baby…c'mon, Damon, we'll worry about all dis later," Cole insisted. Baird growled to himself before pulling out his Gnasher to check and see if it was loaded, and started to move to the thicket ahead.

    "Let's move," Baird commanded while Cole followed behind, gesturing to Sven,

    "C'mon, Vinny…we need to go!"

    "Alright…comin!"

    The three Gears made their way into the woods, trying to keep their trail concealed as much as they could, hoping the falling snow will aid covering their tracks.

    Raven quickly broke off a shallow branch from one of the conifer trees, using the bristles on the branch to level the snow around the area and around the bodies, hoping the falling snow will accumulate on top of them. Brushing the footprints left by her comrades, she dusted some of the snow from the branches of the trees and back onto the bodies as she scattered foliage around some makeshift, possum tracks. She climbed back up on a fallen tree, walking on it to a wooded area to climb into a shrub. Settling past the brush, she pulled out her Gorgon pistol, checking to see if it's loaded.

    Raven had done this numerous times before, almost as if she had the Stranded down to a science. She had observed their behaviors for some time now and found them to be simple people, not tactical soldiers like Gears, or malicious monsters like the Locusts. It was few in between that she would come across a Stranded whom went beyond basic survival instinct, but this circumstance was different. If Baird is right, then this settlement may be a force to reckon with; it would be a deadly combination of both the Locusts and Gears.

    She sat and waited for the horseback riders to make their way into the area; then I'll know for sure if it was them whom set all this up. Pretty clever, for a Stranded…Cole's right, it's not like them to take the time to be this tactical. She had seen Stranded ransack Gear equipment, rummaging in collapsed Centaurs or fallen Ravens, but they normally just take only what they could carry, like ammo, medical supplies, or radio equipment. Only recently has she witnessed groups of them stripping a fallen Raven, almost to the chassis, taking the armor plates and even the console. For what purpose, however, is yet to be seen.

    In the distance, she could hear the horses snorting, clopping through the snow. The beasts we're huge, weighing almost half a ton, often amassing some articulate armor and headdress. They had a generous amount of feathering on their wide hooves while their manes were cropped and their body hair thick as a means of adapting to the bitter climate. It was a similar breed of horse many of the northern Feral clans have bred and raised for their own cavalry.

    It wasn’t long before she could make out five of them, still lingering outside of the woods, peering in as two of the Stranded began to dismount. This is definitely a scouting team. They are way too organized just to be a handful of vagabonds simply passing through.

    She could see clearly that some of them were armed with Lancers. One of them still on horseback actually had Gear armor; a tattered silverback rig littered with scratches, but functional nevertheless, judging by the lights illuminating from the shoulder harness. It almost resembled the recon Gear armor, but not the latest manufactured all-purpose, blue armor that she had been seeing more often among the Gears. They may have customized for their own use…but for what?

    The armor was conspicuous to say the least, and most Stranded preferred hiding over getting into a fight with any Locust, and understandably so. The average Locust stood close to seven foot in height, often weighing twice as much as an average human, and had a large mouth littered with jagged teeth that could rip a man’s face off with little effort.

    The two men walked slowly and carefully into the woods, scanning the area. What they are scanning for is the more appropriate question. Are they looking for Locusts, or are they looking for Gears? And then it suddenly dawned on her; they have been listening to our radio transmissions! Damnit…why didn't I figure this earlier? Did Baird ever consider their transmissions to be jeopardized? Sh*t, well it's too late now…if, and when I get out of this, that is the first thing I am going to have to address.

    One of the men began to enter the open area while the other followed close behind. The first one was rather long and lean, not near as bulky as a trained, protein fed Gear. This was the common physical appearance of the Stranded, due to a shortage of food, especially in this climate. Most of these guys would go for days without eating, spreading out their meals so they would not run out too quickly. They had no other choice.

    He wore the typical Stranded garb, mostly ragged layers of garments for additional protection from the cold since most of them had little body fat. He carried a shotgun in his hands as he looked around the area, searching for something that apparently was eluding him. As he started to relax, he stood up straight to swing the shotgun strap onto his shoulder.

    The other man, however, was almost the opposite. He was bigger, not near as big as Cole, but roughly the size of someone between Baird and Sven, maybe bigger. Needless to say, he was not a typical scrawny Stranded. He moved into the area, cautiously as he carefully scanned the vicinity with each quiet step, even though his partner had already done it for him. This one is tactical!

    He wore a dark, heavy pea coat that hung below his pelvis, while wearing Gear boots and leg fatigues, with a Lancer strapped under his arm. His movements were similar to that of Cole and Baird; precautious and authoritative, maybe arrogant. Oh God…this guy is a Gear. There is no other explanation.

    His head was wrapped with a scarf, hooded over his head, leaving only the lower portion of his clean-shaved face to be somewhat visible. His brow was heavily shadowed, peering through the black scarf, draped over his forehead. He wasn't walking around aimlessly like the other one was. He was definitely searching for something specific.

    The other Stranded started to talk as he nearly stumbles over a body, mixed in the snow on the ground.

    "I…I, don't…see nothin’," the scrawny one jittered, as if he was literally in fear of the other. Can't say that blame him…the big one is intimidating.

    "Shut up and keep looking…" the other barked in a low, grinding voice. Slowly, he knelt over one of the corpses as he carefully brushed the snow off, glaring at it as if he smelled something out of place. Sh*t…he's going to figure this out.

    Still glaring at the body, he mumbled,

    "The tags are still here…"

    "Well…maybe nobody came by after all, or maybe they did come, but were in a hurry."

    "It's not like a Gear to leave the tags…unless they've caught on to us."

    "No, way…how…would they know that?" the scrawny one shivered in between words. He looked as if he hadn’t eaten anything for days. His shriveled face appeared sunken in, with only his cheek bones and brow illuminated by the overcast sky above them. Strands of shaggy insipid hair suggested that the man probably did not bath often, if at all.

    "Well, they managed to figure out our location…explain that one to me," the big one barked, his stern gaze turning to the other with a demeanor of suspicion.

    The other Stranded didn't dare respond. The icy glare from the big one was piercing through him, chaining the scrawny one to his attention as he continued,

    "We have the Jammer, that should have shielded us from the satellite…and those electromagnetic impulses should have taken out their communications, but somehow, some way, they know where we are!"

    So that's why the COG had difficulty finding them…and I bet that's why Baird was having a hard time contacting command, Raven pondered.

    He continued to contemplate to himself while staring at the body. He then slowly stood up to move to another corpse, lying half-buried in the accumulating snow. He knelt down again, brushing the snow off as he tilted his head, fixating his gaze to the inclusions that littered the pale backside.

    A chill ran down Raven's spine as he was much closer to her position now, hovering over the corpse nearby, studying it without a break in concentration. He was bigger up close, his shoulders broad and arms thick underneath the dark wool coat while strands of black hair wisped in the breeze that meandered between them. Suddenly, he lifted his head up and slowly peered over his shoulder, moving his gaze in her direction. Even though she was well camouflaged in the brush and snow, Raven almost forgot to breathe the moment she felt her eyes meeting his. Perched perfectly still, she nervously stared at his bright pale blue eyes that shot out from under his heavy hood, but he did not acknowledge her presence. Peering from behind the thicket, she doesn't even dare to blink while watching his blue pupils move across his glossy white sclera as if he was analyzing the brush. He then turned back around, redirecting his focus back down at the corpse. She could tell he was sensing something out of place.

    Holding her breath, she noticed something dangling from underneath his coat; oh God, are those severed fingers?

    Trying to zero in as he sat up, his back now erect instead of hunched over, she noticed his Gear issued utility belt, buckled snug on his hip with a Snub holster and a sheath; a hunting knife maybe…but what are those? Adamant as to determine what the dangling objects were, and sure enough they were fingers, but not human fingers. Those are Locust phalanges; Raven recognized them instantly by the black claws at the ends of the bony, severed digits. I’ve only seen these Locust badges on Gears, and even those are few in between.

    It wasn’t uncommon for Gears to take Locust paraphernalia, such as weapons or tags, but to take the time to sever off fingers, or a scaly scalp suggested something more unsettling for a man whom would take pride in keeping such souvenirs for his amusement. Although it had been known for some Feral clans to scalp their kills, it had been frowned upon as primitive or tactless. Only men of mindless intellect would do such a thing…

    "This body was tampered with…" the large man muttered . The other Stranded turned around as if he was startled by the others' statement. He then responded,

    "Maybe some animal messed with it."

    "Maybe," the big one growled, scanning the area to look for any tracks that may have eluded him. He shifted his head as if he was searching for a scent in the breeze that blew past him. Raven sat still, trying to conceal the beating against on her chest.

    "Or, it could have been a Feral."

    Suddenly the palpitations in Raven’s chest pounded harder; Oh God…he knows about us.

    The Feral seldom reveal their identity to anyone without purpose, or at least that's how Raven understood it. How does he know about the local tribes? Wait, could the Stranded actually be responsible for the missing clans?

    It was said that the Locusts ambushed and killed Raven's clan while she was out doing her recon work. She came across two of her sisters whom said they discovered remnants of the clan, almost completely annihilated. With the Frost coming down hard on them, it was decided that in order to protect what was left, an alliance to the COG had to be made. It had been imminent for quite some time, especially after the Lightmass Offensive. But what if it really wasn't the Locusts? What if it was the Stranded after all?

    Considering the amount of lost, the idea of the Stranded being involved seemed implausible, especially since they normally lack even basic resources, much less the means to form enough of a militia to accomplish such a task. Maybe we were wrong.

    "Oh sh*t…we need to get back! You know where there is one, there's more to follow…" the other man started to panic, his hands shaking profusely.

    "Relax Gil…if a Feral found this, she probably assumed it was the Locusts who did it…and even if she doesn't, I doubt the Feral are going to go out of their way to raid our fortress. They know better than that. They can't handle the troikas, their armor is too weak."

    He slowly stood back up as he scanned around one last time, giving the place a second glance to pick up on an elusive trail.

    "But your right Gil…we need to get back. Those Gear bastards are out there somewhere. It's only a matter of time they come knocking on our door, and then we'll be ready for them…and if they don't, the winter will slay em. Without food and supply, they won't last out here on their own, out of contact from central command. Now let's go…leave the bodies, we'll check them in the morning."

    He proceeded to step out of the area as Gil followed close behind, making their way back to reunite with the others still on horseback. They climb back into the saddles, turn the beasts around and gallop away.

    Raven carefully crawled out of the shrub, moving backward as she started to move quickly in the other direction, following the squad's, more than faint trail. The breeze picked up yet again as it shook the stems around the thicket, brushing along her armor.

    The events unfold in her head as she recited the scene over and over again, trying to see if there was anything she may have missed. It was too important, and she knew this was going to change everything they were set out to do.

    Things were taking a turn, realizing that they may have been blind all this time, both the COG and the Feral.



    Last edited by Jonesybites; 03-18-2013 at 02:07 PM.

  30. #30

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    Damn! You're a prolific writer! And I'm only on chapter five!

    Funny thing is, that's actually an essential part of being a professional writer, being able to crank stuff out as it were... but I digress, I usually do, bad habit? I dunno...

    Anyways, liking the interplay between the characters and the characters themselves (Baird and Cole rock the partay! ). Feral/Raven is cool too though and I'm interested to see how she develops (nice art BTW, but I commented in the art thread you made). It'll be interesting to see where the story leads and I'm hoping for a climatic payoff with a lot of punch.

    It's a shame more people haven't replied, but I guess school/college is keeping them busy. Anyways I admire your drive, keep going!

    Maybe you could pm USRangerJohn and have this added to the fan fic central archive sticky thread at the top of this section of the forum? That way, at least people who are late to the party have a chance of discovering it?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealBigBoss View Post
    Damn! You're a prolific writer! And I'm only on chapter five!

    Funny thing is, that's actually an essential part of being a professional writer, being able to crank stuff out as it were... but I digress, I usually do, bad habit? I dunno...

    Anyways, liking the interplay between the characters and the characters themselves (Baird and Cole rock the partay! ). Feral/Raven is cool too though and I'm interested to see how she develops (nice art BTW, but I commented in the art thread you made). It'll be interesting to see where the story leads and I'm hoping for a climatic payoff with a lot of punch.

    It's a shame more people haven't replied, but I guess school/college is keeping them busy. Anyways I admire your drive, keep going!

    Maybe you could pm USRangerJohn and have this added to the fan fic central archive sticky thread at the top of this section of the forum? That way, at least people who are late to the party have a chance of discovering it?


    Thanks for the review. Actually, to explain why I have been posting chapters regularly, I had most of this story already completed prior before posting. Im still writing other chapters while editing the existing ones. I was hoping for reviews to see if it was something worth reading, but you said so yourself, I posted it at an awkward time. Oh wells...

    Anyhoosits, yea, Cole & Baird are quite the odd couple, (in a hetero way, unless Epic decides otherwise ) but I felt there wasn't enough FF written about them so i just went from the there, while keeping the additional (my own) characters small so the focus is not taken to far away from B&C.

    I did email USRangerJohn, but I received no reply...but then again, I haven't seen any activity from them either...but I'm getting hits (if that means anything), lol.

    Oh, BTW, your mail box is full...

  32. #32

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    ^ Ahh yeah, you had stuff already done, I getcha.

    And yeah, so far so good. I get the impression that the characters are on a journey, that they're going someplace, so I'm interested to see what happens when they get there. Hopefully, the silent readers (those pesky hit people!) are interested too and will post something eventually.

    And yeah, I haven't seen John around much either. Ask someone the the Creative Zone forum, he might visit there sometimes, I honestly don't know

    Here's the link...

    http://thecreativeforums.myfastforum.org/index.php

    Been busy writing myself. Wanted to do something simple to kinda ease back in, but of course, it's turned into something really complicated. Or at least... to me it's complicated...

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealBigBoss View Post
    ^ Ahh yeah, you had stuff already done, I getcha.

    And yeah, so far so good. I get the impression that the characters are on a journey, that they're going someplace, so I'm interested to see what happens when they get there. Hopefully, the silent readers (those pesky hit people!) are interested too and will post something eventually.

    And yeah, I haven't seen John around much either. Ask someone the the Creative Zone forum, he might visit there sometimes, I honestly don't know

    Here's the link...

    http://thecreativeforums.myfastforum.org/index.php

    Been busy writing myself. Wanted to do something simple to kinda ease back in, but of course, it's turned into something really complicated. Or at least... to me it's complicated...
    Yea, there on a mission that was supposed to take one day...ends up being alot longer as they run into delay after delay, and on top of all that, they have to put up with each other...

    You aught to give comedy a try, that will definately be different from the norm, and the community could use a few laughs...

    Thanks for the link.

  34. #34
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    First off sorry for not reading and reviewing Jonesy...as mentioned before, we're all pretty busy. I really should return the favor though, seeing as you've read Blood-Drenched Fairytale, though I am a little wary of stories that don't feature OC's as the main characters, but that's mostly just me.

    Also, about John. I'm guessing he's pretty busy. I've barely seen him on the CZ forums and have only seen him online a couple times in the past couple weeks (though I really haven't been on either).

    Keep going though on whatever is unfinished, if Boss says it's good then I just might have to plunk down some time and give it a go over!
    My Fan Fictions:
    Gears of War: Children of War I & II

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  35. #35
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    I'm sorry as well, haven't read and reviewed much of this at all. I've been stuck driving school work and studying through mah brains. >_<. I'll get to this soon definitely, these have length, and when I've scrolled through the thread the chapters look very nicely organized.

    This deserves more views.

    Yeah, John's at College I think, erm, he's barely on CZ (a few times, only to check in on us) but I've seen him on Xbox Live.

    Keep writing Jonesy, it's very nice, and trust me, I'll be reading this soon, soon I tell you!
    In Sera, peace doesn't exist...
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    ...and it never will.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisX View Post
    I'm sorry as well, haven't read and reviewed much of this at all. I've been stuck driving school work and studying through mah brains. >_<. I'll get to this soon definitely, these have length, and when I've scrolled through the thread the chapters look very nicely organized.

    This deserves more views.

    Yeah, John's at College I think, erm, he's barely on CZ (a few times, only to check in on us) but I've seen him on Xbox Live.

    Keep writing Jonesy, it's very nice, and trust me, I'll be reading this soon, soon I tell you!
    LOL...I remember those days! I would actually get up at five in the morning just to beat Houston traffic, then either study or sleep in my car till class started, which was at eight. Of course that was back when gas was a $1.25 a gallon...

    But take your time guys, I'm putting this out rather faster than everybody elses...I'll probably slow it down to invest more in the developement of the chapters I'm presently working on while editing the existing ones.

  37. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonesybites View Post
    You aught to give comedy a try, that will definately be different from the norm, and the community could use a few laughs...
    Lol, although I do include humor in my fan fics from time to time... the one I'm doing now? It's kinda... well... grim...

  38. #38
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    I'll leave John a message for you , Sorry guys I haven't been around, my current internship takes up a lot of my time. But I'm still reading and watching.
    The Sons of Sera:
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    Governments Should Fear Their People!"

  39. #39

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    ^ Yeah, it's cool Waldo, everyone gets busy, and it's good to hear you're still around... lurking in the shadows... watching us...

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRealBigBoss View Post
    ^ Yeah, it's cool Waldo, everyone gets busy, and it's good to hear you're still around... lurking in the shadows... watching us...
    Someone has to, it gets a little crazy when someone doesn't
    The Sons of Sera:
    The Ruins of D'lanor
    [ My Fan Fic ]

    "People Shouldn't Be Afraid Of Their Governments,
    Governments Should Fear Their People!"


 
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