Log:An Unworthy Quest
The team arrived by ship, the CEC YT-1500 model named Nomad. It was set down in the southern regions of the Evergreen forests, a rural region of Gaavros' main continent, and definitely the most native.
Everyone has made it safely from the ship and now stand before a large treeline. There's a game trail that's muddy and marked with a series of varying footprints which leads into the woods. Looming above them as a tall distant tower is the atmospheric processor in question. It is so tall that the rain clouds block out its highest point, but even through the haze of light rain fall the team can make out the lazy flash of strobe lights.
Thunder rumbles low, blanketing the sky from one end to the next and the rain picks up a bit. Standing beside Dr. Aryn Cole, is the golden protocol droid C-3P0. It's the droid that shifts forward comical, glancing down at its boots. "This is dreadful weather, and I suspect it's only going to get worse. Have we any idea where we're going? Who we're dealing with?"
"That's enough, Threepio. We have the best landmark to follow. Let's just move toward that and see if a better path opens up." Aryn says, pulling the hood of her cape tighter to shield her from the rain.
Ah. It feels just like home, with all the rumbling, and the rain. Kasia answered the request for help because... well, she can be handy at times, and occasionally deadly, and also she was near enough to make good time in getting here. Which also helps. Presently she's bedecked in armor that's more formidable than what she usually uses, with a weapon on her hip, and a bag with a long strap that goes across her torso so it isn't easily lost. It probably has some supplies, and also some snacks, and also some stale snacks that have collected in the bottom. You know, emergency supplies.
"Hurmm.." the towering Houk rumbles as narrowed yellow eyes are turned toward the tall tower. "Grom instinctively distrusts anything taller than the Mighty Grom. LET US TO THIS ARROGANT TOWER, AND TEACH IT THE FOLLY OF SUCH INSOLENT HEIGHT," he bellows, before noting as an afterthought toward Kasia, "Or.. whatever it is we came to do." He occupies himself during the walk by trying to decide between weapons. By talking to them. "LAst time, Grom began with Gun. And Grom does not wish to show undue favoritism. Perhaps ax? Hurm.. though rain. Grom wonders what using sparkle stick to shock foes in the water might do. Hehehehehe..."
Protected against the elements only by a suit of form-fitting body armor, the woman standing near the easily spotted protocol droid and the noble-dressed blonde is concealed almost to the point of indescription. Only her eyes and a band of fair skin are visible, and that's only because the pair of goggles wrapped around her head are adjusted up towards the crown of her forehead. The rest of her is covered, and the only thing loose is the belt fastened snug near her waist. Fastened pouches sized the same approximate shape of blaster powercells are all that's on it aside from the right-sided holster containing her weapon. "Is this the part where he fights the explosion?" Jessika offers the muttered question to Aryn while eyeing the Houk.
Rain drips down the side of the pink woman's face despite the hood on her lightly armored suit. Dyannah pushes a blue strand of hair that has plastered itself to her cheek and does not let herself voice a grumble at the drop making its way down under her collar. Dr. Cole had put out a call to through the grapevine and out of curiosity and a lull in her schedule she finds herself standing next to a Houk that startles a jump out of her with his bellowing. She can't help herself, "Shhhhh. Wasn't this supposed to be a peaceful approach? Just...saying."
Like most motivations about the PI, his reasons for pitching in on this venture remain tucked under a blithe smile, all too easygoing. He'd napped most of the way over, clearly comfortable enough in any space, and only now had the short walk had brought a more pointed air to his rambling presence. The usual dusty brown attire was augmented with a bit of armouring, though the helmet had been left behind for whatever reasons, altogether lending Iollan a still amiable look. Absently, a hand scrubs through the damp fall of hair obscuring his vision in the gentle rains, before it falls back to rest open-palmed on the blaster strapped to a hip, keeping to the back of the group as he walks along.
Merek has put on his best smuggling attire to assist, while he has on a longcoat upon that black attire which he wears also. He is waiting about with the people as they make their way to assist, here on behalf of his Republic more than anything with his cybernetic golen eyes watching from the black sclera also.
A man keeping mostly to himself on the flight over has identified himself only as Axon, as was referred to only as such by others of the team. Whereas before he took his time with modifications to his appearance to obscure his identity, now he has resorted simply to a skintight mask that fits underneath the helmet of a body-tight Corellian Swoopsuit, leaving only a single oval for his eyes.
With a gruff voice, the man says simply, "Let's get this over with."
Threepio liked to have jumped from his circuits when the Houk bellowed about the tower. The mechanical whining of his motions sounds as he steps back cautiously. He had tilted his head to say something when the woman wearing the shadowsuit spoke about him fighting explosions. EXPLOSIONS?! "Explosions?! What do you mean fighting explosions? We cannot fight explosions Lady Cole, or.." He looks to the Houk, "..or towers!" The droid looks at Kasia next, his yellow 'eyes' meeting hers. "We're doomed."
"Stars above, I hope not." Aryn replies back to Jess, chuckling. "Lead us forward, Mighty Grom. Towers, explosions, mud or rain will not stop us today."
The golden droid stays with Aryn, who remains near the back of this gaggle. They walk for a solid 20 minutes, the ground level but dense with prickly, low hanging limbs, rain, and tall weeds or slippery mud. When the forest becomes less dense, there's movement up ahead (for those who passed spot), it's the shape of humanoid like figures. The sound of a battle is taking place (for those who passed listen), the tell-tale of metal against metal like old swordfighting. In addition to that, there's the sound of children screaming.
The movement and battle is partially concealed by the foliage, but it sounds nearby, no more than 30m and past a treeline to the north.
"I know that feeling all too well," Kasia assures the golden droid with a degree of cheer that doesn't exactly match the prophecy of doom. Though anyone that knows her would know that doom is a pretty regular occurance. A hand lifts to give Grom a pat on his large upper arm. "I think they'd like you to speak in your inside voice for right now," she tells him. "Maybe decide once you see where we're going to end up? If it's a small space, something you have to swing around might be a bad idea." At least it would be for everyone BUT Grom. They walk, and she walks along with the group, keeping near the Houk because he's large and easy to hide behind. As they near and begin to hear sounds of battle, she frowns a little and shoots a look up at Grom, then around to the others, voice kept low. "Sounds like we're getting close."
Grom peers down at the Zeltron. "Grom is being very peaceful," he protests, sounding both indignant and puzzled. "Look around us and BEHOLD how many trees Grom has already spared from chopping down! Or blowing up. Or shooting. OR DEFEATING WITH BARE FISTS. And before you ask YES-" he states with emphasis, "Grom HAS punched many trees into submission, before." A solemn nod of his ponderous head and a brandishing of one armored fist at a tree in warning. "Grom has spared THAT tree. And THAT tree. AND THAT TREE-" he shows great aptitude in the spotting of trees, but of little else. Doctor Cole's invitation to lead them forward brings a toothy smile to the Houk's face. "DO NOT WORRY, little talky droid-" he informs Threepio. "You will soon see GROM CAN FIGHT ANYTHING. Forward!" Then Kasia pats his arm, and he nods knowingly, repeating in a whisper (as near to a whisper as he seems capable of, anyway) "..forward!.." Drawing a his axe like some monstrous alien's idea of a marching baton and brandishing it at the air in time with his heavy bootfalls, Grom marches merrily forward.
There's no need for stealth at this moment. They lack any element of surprise given they're traversing the home terrain of the people they're trying to contact and there's the repetitious noise of C3PO's servos. The rain and distant thunder provide some means of dampening the noise, but not much. Not enough. Jessika keeps her head on a swivel, instead, watching for anything that might move among the foliage. Decreased light tempts her to bring the goggles into the play, but there's enough ambience that she doesn't need it quite yet. That sentiment is reinforced by the movement that catches her attention. She can't hear anything because of the pattering against the leaves and the trees, but she can see something up ahead. "Let's be careful."
Movement through the trees and not movement typical of dance, unless the dull flash of metal in the dim light counts for special effects for the prancing back and forth that seems to be going on. Not holding it against the Houk for having scared her badly enough to jump, even with her people's skills at reading others, the zeltron slows to peer through the foliage keeping a watchful eye on the axe that he is wielding. A half smile forms at the armored woman telling him to use his indoor voice.
In a stage whisper, Dyannah asks, "Does that look like fighting to you or am I," she sighs, "imagining things?" A grimace at the Houk is spared before she places herself nearer Dr. Cole and the droid, "We are not doomed...yet," she adds for the droid's benefit.
"No way that isn't a scuffle there, darling," comes the low reply from Iollan. It seems to have little sway on his progression though, sharp-eyed still in his way, as the only real change is how his thumb moves to the safety switch on the blaster.
Merek lifts up a hand to unlatch that rifle he keeps on a sling, then he pulls that to his longcoat while he takes a moment to look to what he sees. "Well, I'm not liking the looks of that," he says with a husky drawl, while he nods a bit to the others as well a bit also.
Rhysio Ando moves towards Threepio on their path towards the action, mentioning to the droid, "You're the one that said it, so if we're doomed, I'm holding you personally responsible." Even with the mask, it's clear there's a lack of malice in the statement. Moving on, he falls in beside Dyannah and looks towards her, narrowing his eyes, "You hear something?"
His hands reaches down to the EL-718 on his leg, pulling the pistol from its holster and taking it into a two-handed grip, held low but at the ready. He then angles away from the main group, staying within sight but far enough away where good supressive fire doesn't run the risk of atomizing all of them.
The foliage up ahead moves as if several things have passed between the branches. Small lizard like heads of Chistori children, purple and green scaled lizard like sentient natives, scream and run toward our group of heroes. Threepio shuffles to a large tree base for cover. "It's a battle! They've spotted us!" Yet these children carry no weapons. The sound of the battle grows louder now, there's grunting and war cries, even hacking sounds.
The children spot the Houk first, seeing that he is scaled like them, the hatchlings close toward him.
"Oh wait.. I think I can under--yes.."Threepio peeks from behind the tree. "They are asking for help. Whomever is battling means to kill them!" Aryn moves ahead and makes a friendly gesture, motioning for the children to come to her, but it's to Grom they go; all five of them hunker around his legs, while a slower sixth male limps closer. He is bloodied, hurt, but holding a weapon in one hand and stands beside Grom as if he means to do battle.
Aryn manages to get the children away from Grom with Threepio's knowledge of their language coaxing them to her. "Go, stop this madness.." Aryn says to the group.
The last 'friendly' warrior has fallen and four taller, blue-skinned humanoids appear from the foliage. The small Chistori beside Grom raises his small sword and points, screaming at them. This triggers the blue aliens to charge right at our heroes!
"Good job," Kasia encourages Grom as he finally attempts a whisper, which is the sort of whisper that almost draws more attention than avoids it. But it's the effort that counts. She's startled at the sight of the children running toward Grom, prompting her to step back behind the Houk a little more than before, simply watching as Aryn and the Droid encourage the children away. She takes a moment to look around at the others, making note of faces (or masks) of the people on her side of the fight, then turns her focus back around to the Houk, and also the blue guys that are charging. "Get'em, Grom." She doesn't attack yet, though she does pull a blaster free, ready to shoot after the sentient blender that is Grom to go at them first.
"So much for being careful." Jessika can't unpackage the entire situation with how quickly it transpires, but she gets the gist. The children are in danger, one group has lost the fight, and now another is coming to finish the job. She bets they weren't counting on running into anyone but the children, but she doesn't know if that gives them an advantage or not. Jessika's hand drops to her hip. She's one of the last individuals to draw her weapon, but she doesn't do it in a panic. Her hand finds the familiar shape of the grip and her index finger extends out along the leather of the holster, so that it's near the trigger and against the guard. The weight encourages her fingers to squeeze a little tighter, and the metal of the blaster rasps against its confines when Jessika pulls it free to ready for the fight.
The aggression the attackers show the children that flocked to the Houk like babies to a long lost parent shock Dyannah worse than the Houk's shout. Eyes narrowed she pushes empathetically, too late, too little to stop the rush. Grom puts paid to one before reluctantly, she draws her gun. Hope for a diplomatic resolution had brought her here; the hope is rapidly dissipating.
Informed that the battle is joined, Grom roars, "THE BATTLE IS JOINED." Urging the smaller reptiles to hide behind him with the rumbled words, "Take shelter, hatchings," and not noticing in the slightest when they are convinced to move, he nods once at the other reptilian warrior and informs the clearly hostile interlopers, "BEWARE, THE MIGHTY GROM IS AMONG YOU." A blow of his axe has horrific effect on the first foe to come within reach, the sort of damage typically reserved for lightsabers and high explosives. "Grom WARNED you to beware!" he scolds both halves of the enemy, sounding a bit annoyed. "Was Grom unclear?"
"There we go," comes to no one in particular, a grumbled confirmation of the inevitable and Iollan pulls metal form leather. Idle habit flicks the blaster in a circle before it settles into his grip, at the ready while eyes scan the treeline ahead of them. Something in him had hoped for a more peaceable mission, but here they were. Still towards the back of the bunch, he steps off to the left a bit, gracing him with a better eyeline and the slightest concept of cover from the foliage.
Merek moves forward a bit, while he takes a moment to take a position, then he shifts his rifle into position. He then takes a moment to take a clean shot which takes one of the natives to the floor of the forest, while he takes a moment to aim to another also.
Agent Axon pauses as the kids break through and rush Grom. He seems about ready to raise the blaster, his muscles tensed, until the blue natives break through behind him.
Axon drops into into a lowered stance, and as Grom rushes one to place an axe firmly in the path of one of the oncomers, the muscles defined by the Swoopsuit that the masked man is wearing seem to snap, bringing the pistol up, finding an aim point on one the the approaching natives, and fanning the trigger to emit a gout of blaster fire. Two of the bolts it the attacker center mass, while run flies high and wide. End result? One dead blue person. All in a moment's work for a super spy.
Blaster fire in close proximity makes ears begin to ring. The hatchlings huddled around Aryn use her cape to hide and cover their ears. Aryn places her back against the base of a large tree, Threepio is with her watching in terror as the battle follows. Aryn only has a clear sight to Iollan, which judging from his cool demeanor, things seem to be in hand.
Blaster bolts cut across the rain fall leaving contrails of steam that end when bolts crash into a pair of the charging warriors. Their chestpiece armor explodes with cascading beads and teeth (trophies), before they fall into the mud. The lone warrior that makes it to Grom is about to attack when the small hatchling with a weapon jumps on his back. The Chistori child is cast off to one side, the child hitting a tree and sliding down pitifully. The alien warrior strikes Grom, but is stunned when his trophy weapon does nothing against the massive Houk's armor but agitating it. He steps back, unsure if he should flee!
Kasia stands there for just a moment watching as Grom goes in and shows these people what's what, which is what he's really good at. Once she's pretty sure she has a clear shot, she lifts her ridiculously large blaster and takes aim for a few moments. Squeezes the trigger, and... misses the target entirely! The tree a ways to the left of her target will surely know to not mess with one Kasia Ashkuri, though. Take that, nature!
Grom turns back toward the unfolding, but increasingly one-sided fight in time to see a reptilian child attack one of the blue intruders, earning a booming approval, "FINE spirit, tiny one!-" the full grown warrior casts the child aside, and manages to strike Grom, scoring his armor and likely leaving a bruise beneath. Perhaps even a cracked scale. The effect is perhaps surprising: the Houk bares all teeth and declares, "WORTHY FOE!" The follow up blow of his pitted, scorched, and nicked axe tears wholly through the smaller warrior, sending a splatter of viscera over the tree previously defeated by Kasia. "Attend the tiny one," he bids.. someone? While pointing his gory weapon toward the fallen child. "Grom will seek MORE WORTHY FOES."
The relative quiet of the forest, disturbed by the rain and by the yelling of combat, is interrupted by the much louder sound of discharging blasters. Jessika's nostrils flare as the scent of burned ozone reaches her, but the acrid scent doesn't disrupt her attention or her focus. Raising the barrel of her weapon to bear, Jessika aligns her sights with the center mass of the remaining blue warrior. She'll wonder, later, when she has a moment of introspection, if he even comprehends what's happened to his friends. She doesn't know how advanced their society is. Just because there's an atmospheric processor on the planet doesn't mean they put it there. Jessika never gets the chance to pull the trigger. The warrior is dispatched in just as gruesome a fashion as his compatriot. As silence descends around them, Jessika lowers her weapon. It stays out, though. They've made a lot of noise, and this little entanglement could have been a small pocket of a much, much larger battle. She's anticipating company by cautionary instinct.
Rapidly holstering her gun, Dyannah heads for the child that has slumped into a heap at the foot of the tree he was thrown against. Kneeling by its side, she gingerly checks to see if it is breathing before calling to the doctor. "The child is alive, Dr. Cole but looks badly off. Leave it or go on?"
And quick as anything it's all over, blasterfire scattering and then fading into the canopy and patter of rain as Iollan keeps watching the front lines. His weapons stays up though, still ready, even as he steps back onto the path properly and looks to the Doctor briefly, and the children. "Sure that isn't over, but we can't leave nobody, yeah?" A nod to the one injured, but he seems only gently insistent. Free hand pulls through his hair again to free up his vision as he turns slightly, watching the dense brush on either side as if expecting a surprise that way too.
Merek lifts up his rifle while he takes a moment to look at all the others, while he nods a bit as well. "Well, that was a bit interesting," he says, while he seems to think as well, "What next?" he asks then of Aryn.
As Dyannah moves forward to check out the kid that got thrown into the tree, Axon falls in behind her, keeping his blaster low and away from the two, but providing cover if any others attack.
He looks up for a moment towards Merek, "We need to keep pushing towards the atmospheric processor that's been affected by the locals. I think this was just a tribal skirmish. The real deal is still ahead of us."
The call of her name has Aryn attempting to move, but the children have hold of her cape. It takes a moment to unclasp the family sigil broach, and the stylish fabric falls over the children who are quick to gather it up over their heads, shivering. There is no light here, no means for heat, and they are cold blooded. Threepio begins to interact with them while Aryn rounds the tree, pocketing her broach and moving her satchel to a more accessible position. "Leave it? Stars above, we should not leave him."
Aryn stoops down to examine the child and finds it extremely injured. He holds his 'sword' which is nothing more than a combat knife. Her assessment of his wounds leads her to believe that he can be safely transported without being harmed further. She copes the child up and he hugs her neck, his small tail limply wagging with her motion to rise. "Agreed." Aryn says to Iollan, and to Merek's question, Threepio speaks.
"The children wish us to follow them to their 'tall village', they say.. more of the blue skinned mean to kill their kin. Oh dear.. they are the ones living in the atmospheric processor.."
"Agreed," Aryn says again, this time in Axon's direction. "These children may be our ticket to cozy up with the natives. These blue skinned tribe seem to be their enemies.."
(Skipping us forward)
The trek to the atmospheric processor was short, and they did not encounter anymore of the blue-skinned tribes. However, our heroes were met with initial hostility when they came within range of the tribal defenses, wooden structures erected around the entrance of the massive super structure. Tall pine walls, walkways, and towers are manned by full grown Chistori tribes men. The sight of their children, and a surviving yet injured one, saw them past the gates and into the heart of the village's defense.
A few hours pass, and when Aryn comes back to join the group with Threepio, she is covered in a hue of dried purple blood. "Threepio and I have spoken with the local natives. They say that this processor brings them heat during the season of rains. This is a common practice for them. Every year they do this, blue-skinned raiders from the south attack their settlement. Their.. medicine man.. seer? Says he believes the blue-skinned think this processor is a bridge to their heaven. The presence of the scaled warriors taints hallowed ground, and they have sent blood warriors to cleanse it. These warrior wish only to fight and die for their gods."
Aryn motions around them, to the walls and defenses of the village. "I believe we have no choice but to join in this conflict. A large force of blue-skinned approach now, according to their scouts, and intend to attack at night. We've been asked to aid in their defense. If enough Blueskinned fall, they will retreat for the season and never return. In trade for this, the natives here will allow the engineers access to the processor to repair it. Now, I must return to perform surgery on this child. I'm no warrior, so I would only get in the way. I will leave threepio here to help you all coordinate the defenses." Aryn shares a look with them all before turning back to walk inside the processor itself.
With all the blue skinned warriors (and one tree) taken care of, Kasia slides the blaster back into its holster and casts a look around. She's no doctor, and she doesn't speak the language the children do, so she leaves comforting the little ones to someone else. The plan is decided, more walking. "I'm going to get blisters," she informs Grom, not complaining too much. Only a little. Once they arrive at the village, she settles in and gets comfortable as she can, which means taking off her boots and attending to said beginner blisters with something that she's got in that bag of hers. By the time Aryn returns, she's got her boots back on and looks ready to... do something. The news makes her furrow her brow, shooting a look around. "I don't know how long this place will be defendable. These walls aren't exactly," she motion towards portions of the walls that are merely wood and rope. "You know. Formidable? A knife, or a little bit of fire, and they're going to come at us from all over."
The blue warriors wish to die in battle? "HOORAY, Grom can help with this!" the Houk interjects, seeming pleased. More quietly (still not quiet) Grom informs Aryn, "Also, purple is a much better shade for the Little Knower of Words than mammal pink. A good choice." A firm nod to emphasize the point. Kasia's concern brings a thoughtful rumble. "Grom knows! WE can attack THEM. It is the last thing they will expect." This is of course a terrible idea.
Threepio's announcement that these children live in an atmospheric processor sends Jessika's mind to some imagined landscape, where she tries to form some mental picture as to what that just might look like. Surprise, however, is absent. Having grown up without many amenities of her own, she understands that need to use anything and everything around as a source of survival. She doesn't have to imagine too much longer. Their trek to the processor is uneventful, and their arrival only a little more so. While Aryn and the protocol droid go to deal with the injured child, Jessika takes survey of the place's defenses and satiates her curiosity regarding what life must be like for them. Aryn's return brings interesting, but bothersome news.
At the mention of joining the conflict, Jessica winces beneath the wet face covering. "Great." It's not a good situation, because this request is what it takes to get the easiest access to the processor. Not saving the processor means an untold amount of destruction. "Well, I hope we're not escalating this other tribe to declare some kind of holy war, but I guess the processor blowing up is probably the worst case scenario here." Taking a look around their location, she assesses it from a different point of view. "These walls are pretty indefensible. We've got zero visibility for range, and the fire marks our location. Our best bet is to narrow the approach of attack to the gate, if we can. Maybe the warriors can reinforce the walls with their shields. As a last resort, we fall back into the processor tower and hope we can hold them there. We don't have many advantages. It's getting darker and the temperature is going to start dropping, too."
"We should be knitting them coats so that the cold doesn't affect them so," Dyannah remarks offhandedly to Rhysio as she passes him on a walk along the perimeter of the processor. Sitting in place has worn thin over the hours so she walks to occupy herself.
Coming up behind the Houk, she asks, "Grom, does the cold bother you at all? These folk seem a bit under the weather. Sluggish with the cold."
She doesn't need to stay close to hear an answer counting on his vocal powers to make up the distance she puts between when returning to Rhysio. "These folk don't have distance weapons. Guess who will be doing the better part of the fighting?"
Despite the rain, despite what they are walking into and what had transpired already, Iollan has every indication of enjoying the stroll over. At some point, in a pocket of not raining so terrible, he'd managed a quick smoke from the cig tin tucked always into a discreet pocket. But there was still work to do; upon arriving at the village he had kept mostly to himself, smiling at locals when necessary and maneuvering mostly to make keen observation of the overall layout, wandering unhurried. He comes back to the small space they're made their own only just before Aryn does, tucked to the side to have yet another rollup.
"Last thing I think we ought to be thinking of is going out after anyone. We don't have the numbers. But-" a tilt of his chin and two fingers point up to the superstructure not far off, "-we do have the high ground. Couple of our better trigger happy friends can clamber up there, make a whole lot of difference, yeah?" He shrugs, broad shoulders lopsided for a moment, before scanning faces in the group for just a beat as if taking measure. All in all he himself remains unbothered, thumb hooked in the wide leather of a low-slug belt. "There's no good defense down here, you're right. But stepping outside isn't to our advantage, I'd say."
Merek nods a bit, while he makes his way to a tower, "I will take up overwatch," he says, while he offers a wave to the others also. He then makes his way up while he shifts that rifle of is while he does so as well.
Even playing it masked and cool, Axon's skillset leans in certain directions. As the more military of them go about gathering information and planning the next move, Axon goes out into the tribe to do what he does best. He talks, he asks questions as best he can, and with the help of hand signals and small words he's been able to pick up in the short time he's interacted with the Chistori, flirted. Even if he knew it or not.
He found himself in a group of warriors, showing the various weaponry he keeps on his person. He demonstrates the blaster, even going so far as to allow one of the warriors to hold it. Then the metal knuckles, which they seems to get the understanding of pretty quickly. Finally, the combat staff he keeps in multiple places about his person. He shows them the assembly, and usage of the weapon, with some very flashy holofilm type swinging stick BS.
As quickly as the demonstration was conducted, Axon simply disappears.
About an hour later, one might find him sneaking out of the inside of the atmospheric processor and attempting to get back out to the rest of his team as quick as he can. As he passes by Dyannah, he glances quickly towards her and shrugs, "I've warmed a good number of them up already." He then blinks from within his mask, reaching down to his belt and removing a round metal object. Presenting her a thermal detonator, he states, "Can you help find someone who can throw this a little better than I can?"
Threepio does his best to coordinate the various points each member brings up. The Chistori warriors do not have ranged weapons, but they have numbers, armor, shields, and melee weapons. Threepio instructs them to follow their 'scale-kin' Grom, and they form a shoulder-to-shoulder shield wall by the narrow passage of the main gateway. Secondary and tertiary gateways to the west and east which are held by rope and prayers are reinforced by diagonal uprights, the doors barred, and warriors with shields to man those passages as well.
The main wall, with view of the field and forest outside the Chistori village has enough cover, like Iollan pointed out, and is a good spot for our heroes to take up residence if they've a mind for ranged combat. There is a wall facing southeast and a wall southwest, with the main gate facing south.
These positions are marked by the braziers Jess pointed out. Threepio had warriors climb the tall towers to douse the braziers and leave them in relative darkness. This is ideal for Merek, who resides in one tower setting up his rifle to be a designated marksman.
Cloaks of fur are brought out to cover the Chistori warriors and help preserve their body heat. One is even brought to the mighty Grom, his the brightest so the other warriors know which to follow into melee.
A loud horn sounds in the distance, and screaming like that of high pitched war cries start. There's a sudden rustle like a bunch of people moving at once, the tell-tale their position is being assaulted. The second lead warrior of the Chistori screams, his voice and breath accompanied by a small fog displaying just how cold it's gotten. His scream is answered by all the other Chistori who slam their shields down into the mud to form their wall. The battle is about to begin.
The plans are made, and honestly, other than that big about the walls, Kasia doesn't have a lot of input to offer. She's not a tactician, and warrior strategy isn't exactly her thing, so most of her time is spent listening to the ideas of others. When a plan is put forth, or as much of one as they can slap together in very little time, moves to a position on one of the walls to watch for incoming warriors. The sound of the horn makes her jump, this isn't the sort of fighting she's accustomed to, but she moves toward the exterior wall and squints, watching for movement. This time she lines up a shot, squeezes the trigger, and hits something other than an innocent tree. One down! Probably a thousand to go. "This might've been a really bad idea," she states out loud, either to herself, or anyone else near enough to hear her.
Grom rumbles to Dyannah, "Houk grow slow and sleepy in cold weather, but Grom's armor keeps Grom warm. AS DOES BATTLE." He talks cheerfully with the reptilian tribe as he meanders about the stockade, happily unconcerned that he cannot understand him, nor they him. Finally inspecting the narrow main gate, he experiments with his reach, curious if he can touch both sides of the frame at the same time. Declaring the barrier, "GROM'S GATE," the Houk places himself there, as the shooting begins. "BEHOLD, the Gate of Grom! Grom's Gate! None shall pass it, EXCEPT THROUGH GROM. Which might be deduced by the name, Grom supposes.." The Chistori scream and slam their shields, and the Houk adds, "GROM IS ALSO HERE."
It's rudimentary, this defense. Jessika doesn't like it. They have no intelligence. No idea how many numbers they're facing. No idea how easily frightened their enemies are. For all intents and purposes, they're going at this blind, just like their ability to see into the distance. For most of them, at least. Jessika changes that for herself. Adjusting the goggles she's wearing down to cover her eyes, a few moments of adjustment suddenly turns the darkness surrounding them into something much more illuminated. Everything is cast in a green haze, which is the easiest for her eye to distinguish. She doesn't take up position on the wall. Her weapon isn't designed for accuracy, and they can't all fit onto the walls. That'll call too much attention to themselves. Some of them need to fight on the ground, and that's where Jessika decides to fight. She doesn't go to either of the entrances. Instead, she waits, in a triangulated middle, to see which section of the wall she's going to need to engage with first. It also puts her in a prime position to shift fire as necessary. "It's never a beach.." It's all she mutters to herself before adjusting her index finger so its ready to slip over the blaster's trigger.
Dyannah's eyes close as she makes an attempt to not know what Ando, the Masked, has been up to while warming the people they will be protecting. The detonator is in her hand before she has a chance to refuse it and she looks at it with real distaste but says, "I imagine, the Houk has a good arm on him."
Who could miss him, with an expression half of admiration, half wincing from the sheer volume of his voice. She slips up beyond him, "Hey. Hey Grom! HEY!" The last word has a mental push behind it that would normally stun a human. "TAKE THIS!" She shoves the detonator in his hand and then makes for cover along the wall. Up and over the top she takes a wild shot that trips one of the enemy rushing on them but then it recovers heading straight for the gate.
Following his own advice, Iollan takes roost in the available wooden platform. His blaster isn't quite long range enough to be comfortable higher up, at least not as accurately as he'd like. So instead he hunkers down with one of the furs distributed by the villagers, pulled loose over sloped shoulders as they wait. Luckily, it isn't long.
He waits for the first couple pops of blasterfire to sound off, snapping everything to attention in a rush. With a deep, measured inhale the PI stands up and fires into the line of warriors, going wide by a margin. Frankly, most of his attention skims over the battle at large, what he can see from here to keep a grasp on anyone trying to flank or likewise.
Agent Axon has taken position on the top of one of the walls, sitting any making himself comfortable until such time as the action starts. When he hears the screams and shield bashings of the Chistori, and then the statement of presence by Grom, Axon pops up from behind the battlements and shouts out, "I'm here too!" Damn it, that didn't sound as good as Groms.
Perhaps attempting to compensate for his lackluster battlecry, the Agent brings his pistol up, setting it on the side of the battlement and taking aim through the scope. He's quick on the shot and he rains hot death upon their attackers. His attacks mostly strike true, which one blaster bolt taking the one that tripped in the shoulder, sending it rolling only to catch his second blaster bold right in the chest which puts a permanent halt to its advance towards the gate. The next blaster bolt slams into the chest of the one right behind the first, starting a small pile on the path to the gate. He looks up towards Dyannah for a moment, calling out a "Be careful" before he turns his attention back to the battle at hand.
The night sky is lit by brief flashes of blaster fire from the friendly side. Some shots finding their marks, others going wide! Many warriors go down as a result, but it is not enough. Everyone can hear the screams growing louder, and louder, and louder until it's all anyone can hear. The blaster fire is not enough to deter the holy warriors, and they collide against key points of the walls. Almost immediately, the main gate bursts open and warriors rush in through the narrow passage toward Grom and the awaiting shield wall.
The southwestern gate manages to withstand the punishment, but the southeastern busts open as well and warriors begin to pour in there, colliding with the Chistori shield wall. The fighting has begun!
Kasia draws back after she fires one shot, having to quickly eject the cartridge from her blaster only to slam another one in. She has practice doing this, at least, and then she tries to line up another shot. Tries. The blaster bolt sizzles through the chilled night air, only to slam harmlessly into the ground well behind the warrior she'd planned on shooting. It's a near miss of a different warrior who she wasn't aiming at, and if anyone saw and asks, she'll claim that's who she was shooting at. No one eeeever needs to know.
Grom is distracted from the oncoming charge of invaders by a psychic nudge that pulls his attention. "Hurm? Take what?" She is pressing a detonator into Grom's non-axeing hand, "Ah, yes. GROM ACCEPTS YOUR GIFT. Grom already has two, but it is the thought that counts- GAH," the screaming horde of blue foes is upon him! "SCREAMING HORDE OF ENEMIES HAS SNUCK UP ON GROM." Swing and a miss from the distracted Houk.
The incoming attack is not quiet. The clamor of bodies hitting the walls defending the Chistori warriors is deafening. Jessika tunes it out. Rather than trying to find where the noise is loudest, she focuses on what her eyes can see. Where are the targets filing in the most? Grom has the main gate. The southwestern gate is holding. The southeastern one breaks open, and enemy warriors begin to rush in to hammer against the shield wall meant to work against their entry. Jessika's arm raises. She keeps in mind that slow is smooth, and smooth is fast, and goes through the same process of finding a suitable sightline on one of the warriors pressed up against the shield and trying to find his way through. She brings her breath to a halt for a moment, and squeezes the trigger. Gently. No jerk. The blaster reports in her hand and a bright red bolt whines out to punch a cauterized hole through the unprotected neck of the warrior she has in her sights.
Utter disbelief stuns Dyannah as she watches Grom pocket the detonator. She grits her teeth to bear down on a mental yell that makes her jaw hurt. "USE THE DETONATOR, GROM!" The words carry an image of the seven footer whirling the mechanism into the oncoming attackers and them disappearing in a vapor of (blue?) blood.
Her own shot is desultory at best and misses the mark.
The excuse is, it's dark. Very dark, save the flares of combat here and there. The second shot goes far wide of one of the dark moving shapes on the side of the horde. Luckily there isn't a soul up here to see the mild-tempered space cowboy snap out a curse, muttering a string of something under his breath as he lowers his weapon, taking a moment. The heavy fur is ripped off, thrown to the wood at his boots before he takes a moment to resettle his composure and find another apt target; still his attention scans one way and the other, searching for anything the ground forces wouldn't have an eye on.
As the screaming horde of enemies sneaks up on Grom and then subsequently crashes into the wall that Rhysio is on, the man takes only a fraction of a second to reach out to grab the edge of the wall he is standing on as it begins to sway back and forth. With a grunt, he engages his core to get his arm over the battlement. He fires off three shots in quick succession, and given the mass of opponents in front of the wall, it's naught but a twitch to bring the next target in line for the shot. Three more blue tribesmen go down.
He looks towards Dyannah with a look of terror in his exposed eyes, "Using it wasn't his first thought?!"
The final gate falls open now and the blue-skins meet shield walls there. The Chistori are holding the line successfully to the southern gate (GROM GATE), and the southeastern gate. The Southwestern gate is just now getting blood.
Warriors have begun to climb the SE and SW walls where many of our heroes are stationed. They crest the wall and swing their clubs/swords at them, attempting to bring down the height entrenched foe. Their faces are angry with intent to kill.
Threepio is in the center courtyard slowly shuffling away only to slip and land in the mud. He struggles to get back up amidst all the chaos. The rain begins to fall harder now and lightning flashes overhead, and the brief glimpse of the battle under the ambient glow is followed by the loud rumble of thunder!
While Kasia was unsuccessfully shooting at people further away, she failed to notice that someone was climbing up to join her atop the wall. Aw, company. Unfortunately it's bad company that lunges at her as soon as he's crested the wooden barrier. She scrambles back a few steps in an effort to avoid said attack, then steps forward and kicks up at the blue skinned warrior with as much strength as she can muster. Which, as it turns out, is quite a lot of strength. The warrior staggers backward and topples over the edge of the wall, landing unpleasantly atop a pike, which blossoms out his chest like an alien parasite. Which is equally as fatal. She shoots a quick look around for others that might've tried to join her atop the wall, then peeks out over the edge of said wall to get a look at what she can see of the fallen warrior. Which isn't all that much, thankfully.
Grom is best by a flood of blue foes when Dyannah adds her insistent instruction. Deflecting several blows, he peers back at the Zeltron to rumble, "Oh- you meant NOW?" Grunting aloud as one incoming blow creeps between the seams of his leg armor, and gets the Houk's attention back in the ongoing fight, he swings his axe in a broad swathe for distance- brutally cutting down one foe who did not dodge back swiftly enough- and activates the silver ball of doom in his other hand, hurling it toward the distant edges of the still approaching blue tide. "BEHOLD THE MIGHTY ARM OF GROM," he bids aloud.
The orb flies well past the gates, detonating in a shockwave so massive it briefly displaces the falling rain. Numbering the enemy dead is impossible, but viscera does begin to fall with the rain, for moments afterward. It is a heinous spectacle.
Her first shot downed an enemy. Her second doesn't, for a number of reasons. The first is that the sudden, brightly jagged line of lightning tracing across the sky forces her goggles to auto adjust so that her retinas aren't seared by the exposure and sudden intensity of light. The second is that there's a literal explosion. For a second, Jessika thinks maybe they underestimated the condition of the processor, and it's the beginning of the end, and they're all going to die horrible, fiery deaths. When immolation doesn't come, she's left to ascertain that someone's thrown something. The volume, which is even more powerful than the rumbling of the thunder, means it's steps above any legal form of thrown explosive. She wants to find out the party responsible for such a nasty surprise, but right now she's trying to reacquire sights on the growing number of enemies, which are breaching the walls. She doesn't have time to complain about some noise.
Around them the inside of the walls have turned into knots of tussling fighters, screams indistinguishable from friend or foe rend the air. Grom's voice though tops them all. No need for sharing at a distance, an eloquent lift of her hand towards Grom is enough of an answer to Ando; it nearly earns her a blow to the head from a warrior who has leapt up onto the wall. She feels the wind of the weapon that was swiped at her.
The gun is in her hand reflexively and pointed at the warrior with the temerity to swing at her. She watches him fall long enough to assure herself that he won't be returning anytime soon. And, nearly joins him in the fall reacting to the explosion below her. Deafened she puts a hand to her head and it comes away bloody from knocking her own head on the wall.
Everything is happening all at once; within the scatter of a moment, his shot missed and temper flown with it, Iollan keeps scanning the field until suddenly the rush of noise hits him. The detonator goes off nearby, perhaps too near for comfort, and atop the rickety wooden platform the tall staggers with the impact of it, barely riding the sway. Unfortunately it's enough for a window for an assailant to find his way up and level with the PI, club in hand. He turns just in time to catch the wide swing on the side of his face, clipping it onto the flat of his shoulder as it continues. Ringing immediately takes his sense, tasting blood, and with blind inaccuracy he fires at the blurry figure. A miss, of course. But there's enough sense in him still to grab at the arm as it comes in for another swing, locking into combat with the native as they grapple on the evening footing, rain pouring over the whole scene.
The explosion that sounds almost like a response to his question nearly sends Agent Axon toppling off the top of the wall, but he's able to hold one with his single hand for dear life as he aims downward and takes another shot at an advancing blue tribesman. As the trigger is depressed, he catches sight of another tribesman make it on top of his way. A spiked club is headed his way, and Axon takes a gamble by stepping backwards on the narrow wall. For a moment, his arms flail in the air, but he's able to regain his balance just long enough to stick the barrel of the EL-718 into the knee of the tribesman and pull the trigger. The resulting fall finishes the work.
He throws himself forward, gripping at the edge of the wall and bringing his blaster across to rest on his arm. In the matter of a split second, he has the tribesman wrestling with Iollan in his sights. With a smooth pull of the trigger, a red hot lance of plasma threads the needle just under the PI's arm to slam into the tribesman and free the PI up for his next engagement.
The explosion rattled the ground and displaced rain in all directions as a sudden and violent expanse of fire stretches out from the southern area outside the Chistori village defenses. A massive loss of life is the result of this, and the warriors who had vehemently charged the defenses of the village were now backtracking and losing heart. First the main gate clears as warriors scramble away from the massive Houk and his line of shield warriors. Then the gate Jess is watching begins to vacate.
The final retreat comes from the last gate to fall open. What began as a violent storming assault ends with terror. The remaining blue-skinned still in the area are slain by the host of Chistori still holding the line but advancing forward.
The battle is won!
The explosion coincides a little too closely with Kasia looking over the edge of the wall, the unexpected force of it making her go down onto her knees lest she go thoroughly off balance and fall off the wall to join the warrior on the pike below. One hand clutches the blaster, and the other grips the edge of the wall, taking a moment to collect herself before she pushes up enough to peer down at the space where the explosion was. There's a moment of anger where she fires off one shot at the fleeing warriors, not bothering to hard to try and aim, and honestly not watching all that closely if the shot hits anyone. She exhales a breath and slides the weapon back into the holster, then rises up onto shaky legs that only begrudgingly hold her weight. She would celebrate, but honestly she's going to save that for when she manages to get safely off the wall without falling. That explosion was big, it has her shook!
"GROM WINS," the Houk bellows, axe brandished overhead in triumph as the combined efforts of alien heroes and native Chistori set the attacks into retreat. Patting the shaken but still standing frame of the gate, he rumbles with approval, "Grom's Gate." Frowning in intent thought, the dull destroyer rumbles, "Grom is thinking.. was there some other thing we were meant to do?" The thoughtful moment passes quickly. "Ah well. IT WAS A GOOD FIGHT."
"Shoulda brought the ship." As quickly as it begins, it ends. The explosion is a terrifying force that drives the intruders away. Jessika wonders if this is really such a decisive battle, however. She has an unsettled feeling about it all. They've frightened fanatics, and individuals that are already unpredictable are set to become even moreso. The other problem is that they've shown a display of force that the Chistori can't hope to replicate, both because they don't have the weapons, and because they can't, in any kind of manner, provide them with said means. Puzzling over the situation, Jessika doesn't holster her weapon, but she does lower it. "Is everyone okay?" Her voice raises to a shout to be heard over the rain, and to try to get verbal confirmation that everyone that came with them is still here.
It takes a moment for the cheers she is hearing to resolve into meaning. Celebration rings through the camp, more clearly to her addled senses. Legs splayed out in front of her, she grins weakly wiping at her wet face as Grom nearly has a pensive moment and that becomes a chuckle as she rises dizzily and grips the wall. Peering over the edge, she calls, "Grom! You did it. It was a good fight! Now, help me down. Please!"
He has no idea which way the shot comes from; blinking through the blood and rain in his eyes, slipping back a half step on the too-slick timber, Iollan barely has enough clarity to catch his breath before suddenly the body in front of him grunts in pain. A familiar singed smell permeates the space for a moment, allowed him the split second to shove forward, heaving considerable weight into the wounded native and casting him bodily from the structure, just for good measure. Righting himself, the PI has only a moment to asses what is still happening, glancing this way and that to see mostly fleeing figures now. With only blind intention he flicks another shot off, catching a running body in the back. That's fine.
As he sees the native go flying off the wall that Iollan occupies, Agent Axon turns his attention back to the battle outside the wall even as he seems to haul himself closer to the edge while hanging on for dear life. Through the scope of the blaster, however, all he sees is an enemy completely routed and in full retreat. It takes him a moment to register this, and then he finally brings his blaster down low again. Adrenaline is pumping through him, and anyone watching him long enough will notice it takes the man three seperate attempts to reholster the blaster.
He stands up on top of the wall, looking down towards Pava and calling out, "I'm good!" He then turns his attention back to the fleeing natives, taking a good minute to ensure they're fully vacating the premisis and not regrouping for another attack. Satisfied, he begins the process of carefully picking his way down off the wall.
As the battle winds down, and life returns from the nature of primitive war, Dr. Cole is seen coming from the atmospheric processor looking a bit perplexed, if not dazed and disappointed. It is toward the main gate she goes once she surveys the area in search for her friends. "I'm fine," Aryn answers Jess in passing, the Ace pilot the first of the familiar faces she found. Aryn eventually walks to the hulking Houk and extends her good arm (the one not in a sling) to offer him a small combat knife, symbolic of the small warrior that had wielded it in defense of Grom. She couldn't save him, the Chistori child, but he wanted the 'scale-kin' to have it...