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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
View Likes PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:28 pm 

It is a hollow shell of what it once was.

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The dog stirred, fixing the tent flaps with an inquisitive glare, and looked back towards the general with a sideways look indicating uncertainty. Graf considered the animal’s odd behavior for a moment before dismissing it, feeling no need for concern. If something was truly amiss, he would have been certain of it.

“Enter,” he said, remaining straight-backed in his seat as he awaited his meal. The footsteps outside had given him a sense of hesitation that he didn’t understand, but all would be made clear soon enough. He had a theory, at any rate, but he hoped he was incorrect. He was in no mood to waste time doling out discipline for trivial matters.


Emil took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself. Moving one hand under the tray's center so he could open the entrance, he left the cart where it was for now, and stepped into the general's quarters. While doing so, he glanced toward Graf, his professional stance kept even when he had been alone. Compared to the other soldiers in the mess tent, even higher-ranked ones, it was quite respectworthy. After that, he looked toward his dog. Large and menacing as it was, it was still a dog, and Emil smiled for a moment upon seeing it. He didn't waste any time in getting the entrance closed, however, and as soon as the barrier was in place once more, he took the tray in a solid two-handed hold and approached.

When he was close enough to the table, he stopped and straightened up, once more adjusting his hold on the tray to hold it under the bottom. His now-freed other hand snapped up into a salute. "Herr." Emil didn't know very much German, just a few words here and there, but he'd been told by a more helpful higher-up of the squad to use that title when addressing Graf. It was advice he would definitely keep in mind. Despite his form, he was still quite nervous, with lips pursed just a tad too tightly and a slight discomfort held while he awaited the general's allowance to proceed.


Graf’s eyes narrowed behind the spectacles, and he rose to a standing position without any change to his torso or back. The dog sniffed at the man’s boots, but at a sharp sound from the general it retreated to the back of the tent, behind where he’d been sitting. Graf inspected the man, noting his unfamiliarity; a round face, devoid of sharp angles, blond hair and blue eyes the older man was sure he’d never seen before. More noticeable than anything else was the youth, however — this soldier had not seen real war. Not yet. His inexperience poured off of him in waves.

“Marik usually brings my meals. Why this sudden breach of protocol? Who authorized him to forgo his duties? State your name!”
he barked, and although his tone hardened and the volume rose, his expression never changed. Down to the last facial muscle, he remained immobile as he regarded the novice.


Already, Emil regretted this. As the general's voice raised, he straightened himself even moreso, tensing up most of the muscles throughout his body. His jaw clenched as he yelled, and despite the internal feeling of fear that struck him, he spoke with a professional firmness that his training had instilled in him. "Tech specialist Emil Nylund, sir! Officer Matthias Fuchs requested I deliver this to you," He explained. His expression faltered slightly around his eyes, and a noticeable bead of sweat formed on his forehead despite the chill in the air.


“I see,” Graf said, observing the nervous young man. “Your face is not known to me, but your name is. The Chernovolk remember their own, and I do not forget. I never forget,” he added, taking a step closer to Nylund. “Your family has served in our ranks. Your connections have undoubtedly helped you gain entry sooner than most could have achieved. Tell me, what made you so eager to join us? Many spend years deliberating on making the jump, even after long, storied careers.”

He glanced down at the tray in Emil’s grasp and indicated the table near where he’d been sitting. “Set it down over there.”


Emil considered his possible answers. The truth behind it would have surely sounded like a child's dream to a hardened general, but he wasn't about to try and make his reasons seem less motivated. "I wanted to do as my family has done for years, sir. Protect and serve the people of Europe and reclaim what's been taken from us," He explained. "The situation required extra help, and I was qualified to take the job, it seemed like a natural decision, sir."

At Graf's command, Emil took another few steps forward, gently setting the tray down atop the table before he turned back to the general, straightening his stance once more.


“A natural decision. I see,” Graf said, even as he started to walk around the man in a slow circle. “You are one of many who have been promoted earlier than what would have been possible in the past. The pups of the Chernovolk, eager to prove themselves, ready to risk their lives for the cause.”

He returned to Emil’s front and stopped, watching him closely. “It is good that you wish to serve your people. That you want to fight, to reclaim what has been taken from us. I am told I have a reputation,” he said, his face unreadable. “I’m told that I am cold, and that even my own men fear me. But I am not an enemy to those who fight for good.” The dog moved back from the rear of the tent and sniffed at Nylund’s boot once more before retreating to Graf’s side.

“If you fight at my side, and you do what is required of you, you need not fear me - or any man. If you understand my vision, the vision of the New European Union, if you can see a world free of danger, free of mutants who kill and maim the innocent, and you are willing to fight for it, to die for it…”

“Then I would lay down my life for you,”
he said firmly, extending his hand to the young soldier.


A reputation was something that Graf certainly had. Emil had heard quite a lot about him, how he was merciless and emotionless in his pursuit of victory for the army. As he recounted those ideas, Emil could not help but tense up slightly more, especially with the stone-faced gaze locked directly on his face. What came next was utterly surprising. Emil's expression very visibly faltered, brows raising and lips slightly parting in confusion. From the general's renown, the display was entirely out of expectation. Even so, it was not an unpleasant surprise. His eyes went to Graf's hand as it approached, and when he looked back up, his shock had turned to a smile.

He extended a hand of his own, taking Graf's into a firm and somewhat excited shake. "Yes, sir! Thank you, sir!" He quickly spoke. The air of nervousness about him seemed to melt away, his entire form becoming less unnaturally tightened up. "I'll do my best, we all will!" Emil was positively giddy to have been given such an honor, especially so early into his career with the Chernovolk. He never would have anticipated it even after the potential years of upcoming service. It might have simply been a method to calm down an obviously nervous soldier, but it resonated with him.


Graf allowed himself a smile, the slightest upturning of the corners of his lips. The boy was just that, a mere child, unweathered and untested. He had training, that was a certainty, and he was eager to do his part, but the conditioning the general had in mind was not of the physical variation. Being a member of the hand of the NEU was a job that required a mental fortitude most people lacked. It needed a will of steel, and a sense of duty that trumped trivialities like empathy and moral high grounds.

Some have what it takes. Others crumble. Which will you be, Emil Nylund? Only time will tell.

“I have the utmost faith in you,” he said, releasing the soldier’s hand. “Now, if you are a tech specialist, I assume you just returned from the tower. Which means you are free to return to your leisure. Rest is necessary for one to be ready when duty calls again. Dismissed.”


"Yes, sir!" Emil withdrew his hand as the handshake ended, and before he left, he gave Graf a quick salute. When he turned away to leave, his already-sizable smile grew wider, and once outside he allowed himself a small celebration in the form of a fist pump and some quiet, enthused laughter. Maybe he'd do better out there than he thought for himself previously. What he knew for sure was that he'd do his damnedest to be useful for the team. With that in mind, he took the cart away from Graf's quarters, and pushed it back to the mess tent with a newfound spring in his step.


Graf moved to the table and lifted the metal lid from over his meal. The dog trotted over, looking up expectantly, and the general dropped the entire metal plate onto the ground in front of the animal.

“Vorgehen, Jäger,” he said, moving back to his chair. The meal was satisfactory enough, judging by its appearance, but Graf had no appetite for food. Not at the moment. The hound began eating with enthusiasm, and Graf took a seat, inhaling slowly as he closed his eyes. Many lives were going to be changing, and soon. The soldiers would see the change firsthand, and they themselves would change as well. Life rarely swept on past a person without leaving its mark, and the task set before them all would gouge deep, leaving furrows in the flesh as well as the spirit.

The Chernovolk would cleanse the land, restoring safety and order to a world plunged into chaos, where monsters were permitted the same rights as people. Where the tainted commanded respect and fear as they spread their own brand of hellish ruin.

“But no more,” he said quietly, clenching his fist.

_________________
Learning a simple lesson isn't always simple. Sometimes, you have to slowly lose everything great around you to understand the gravity of your shortcomings. Admit that your egos have grown too large, that you've lost your sense of what you realistically are, and maybe you can repair the road that has broken beneath the weight of your failings. Or maybe you'll just keep going as you've gone, and you'll learn nothing, and eventually, everything around you will become dust. To be honest, that's by far the likeliest of all outcomes.


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
View Likes PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:41 am 

eyy, senpai!

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Later that week


Days passed at the Stalker base. Viktor and his crew enjoyed their down time, and the new company would have had plenty of time to settle in more. But their rest couldn't last forever, and jobs passed out among the hunting party separated much of them. Viktor decided he'd see if some of the new folks could do some good out in the wilds. While the base was a safe haven, they couldn't stick around forever if they didn't do their part in keeping things going. It was a significant amount of new people at once, some very large, and while not all of them stayed there were still a good number there. Work around the base would have been a good, safe, and productive job for some of them, but Viktor saw potential in a lot of them to be real Stalkers.

One morning, Viktor entered the lounge, geared up with his new equipment. His outfit and vest were the same, but both of his newer guns were worn at his back and hip. The old revolver was still carried, the holster moved onto his lower back to accomodate both handguns. Some adjustment was done with other aspects of his loadout, including a knife on the front of his backpack's shoulder strap and a refill of field supplies inside the bag proper. In all, it was clear he wasn't going to be staying inside for much longer. To those inside, he spoke clearly of his intentions.

"So, it's time to head out. I've got a job to head into the city, clear out a radio tower some crazies are using to broadcast their station. It's not gonna be an easy one, but I think you people have what it takes to help pull it off. I'm heading out within the hour. Anyone who wants to come, meet me out by the trucks. It's gonna be a long trip." Whoever decided to come was welcome, and he needed all the help he could get. Of course, he also hoped to bring someone more experienced, in the event something went wrong or the group needed to split. As he left through the lounge's front door, he pulled his PDA from its pocket and typed out a message to Nikita.

Hey,
Heading out for tower job now. Meet at the truck. The cool one.
Don't be late,
Viktor


Once more, he stowed the PDA away, and pulled his hood up as he walked out into the chillier outside air. The snow was starting to melt, but the clouds were low and dense as ever. The fog itself was mercifully light after a few dozen yards. Higher visibility was always nice to have, but at the same time, it made someone who was used to stalking around in its cover feel a bit exposed. Viktor rolled his shoulders a bit uncomfortably, then made his way to the rear lot of the base. Under an awning fashioned from scrap metal and wood, there rested a large vehicle hidden under a tarp. The aforementioned "cool one," as he'd described it. Leaning against the covered truck, he crossed his arms and waited for his company.

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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:59 am 
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Only minutes later, a snout bumped the back of Viktor's leg, and a large white Samoyed emerged from under the truck, walking in front of the man and looking back at him. The dog wagged her tail. Her owner appeared shortly after, wet snow crunching under his boots as he walked around the front of the the so called "cool" truck. The saggy Stalker had a packed bag slung over one shoulder, crossbow hanging loosely from the side.

"So this one is the cool one?" Nikita asked, banging on the hood of the vehicle with his knuckles. The man eyed the questionable shape of the truck underneath the tarp, trying to make sense of how the shapes fit together. It was...unique, to say the least. "Very special," he commented. He looked a little longer before suddenly remembering something.

"Ah, I meant to give you this," he said as he dug his hand into one of the pockets of his oversized coat and pulled out a cylindrical metal object, surprisingly new looking. "I forgot I had it until I was packing my bag this morning. Picked it up during my last mission from the nomads. They always have good stuff. I don't know what it is but you could probably find a use for it." He handed it over.


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 2:04 am 
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Nikolav spent the better part of the days that passed just wandering the Stalker base and exploring, often conversing with others as she ran into them. She wouldn't say the time was eventful, a bit productive, but not eventful. Until Viktor came forth with his job offer, she had been sitting around in the lounge nursing a small hang over and trying to focus on a not so enjoyable book at the time. But she jumped at the offer, hoping that the fresh air and work would be good for her.

"Clearing out a radio tower, huh?" She said, placing her book down next to her. "Well if it's anything like some of those other buildings in the city you could use someone who's good with a lock pick." She stretched her arms and back as she stood up. "Let me go grab my **** and I'll be right out for that." Don't forget that nifty knife her voices whispered in unison, their interest in that knife concerned her slightly. It wasn't a long walk upstairs to the living quarters and to where she was sleeping, her bag nestled on the pillow, claiming the bed as her own. She worked fast as she pulled out all the holsters for her gear, strapping them to her. Her smaller tools, such as lock picks, were nestled into a small pouch on the strap to her shotgun's holster. She bent over and pulled her shotgun out from under the bed, and her pistol out from under the pillow. Slinging her shotgun and pistol into their holsters she grabbed her bag she headed back down with her helmet in one hand.

She waved at some of the Stalkers as she passed by them on her way back down, heading towards the direction Viktor ran off in. She wondered about who would join them on the job, hoping some familiar faces would be among them. Her mind wandered about what exactly they were going to run into, and what the reward would be, she wouldn't ask this out loud though. Ask for a new gun or two the voices whined at her, while not a bad idea she loved her crappy guns just too much to replace them, at least until they needed to be replaced. She would have to ask for a either a pouch or holster for that knife, having it in her bag wouldn't be the best if she lost the bag, or desperately needed the knife. She pulled her scarf closer to her face as she stepped into the cold morning air.

"Alright boss man, I'm ready to leave when ever everyone else is!" She yelled spotting the two men under the awning, Viktor leaning on what she could only assume was a large land vehicle under a tarp, that or a very expensive magic trick. Well, let's see where this leads she thought to herself as she walked closer scanning it over, and deciding it had to be some sort of large truck. "So, what exactly is this?" She asked, looking over the covered vehicle again. "I mean I assume it's a truck, but what kind of truck? And for what?"


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:02 pm 
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Inga passed her time in the Stalker base mostly by hiding from other people. It wasn’t that she liked anyone, exactly, besides her general animosity towards conversation. Everyone was friendly and patient with her and her lack of temper, and asked questions but usually dropped it when she made her displeasure clear. There were only a few people that made Inga actually uncomfortable or angry, and they were easy enough to steer clear of.

It was, in fact, the general lack of irritation directed towards her that made her anxious. It was just an unusual feeling to not be in constant combat with the people around her, so she stuck to just avoiding them. She mostly stuck to the library, except when the girl from their group who she had had an awkward conversation with when they had first arrived was there. Then she usually hid somewhere else and glowered at anyone who found her.

The library was mostly devoid of anything interesting, but she read anything that looked like it might be good. It usually wasn’t, but it was something to do. She found, surprisingly, one of the books she had been looking for, but it was the fifth, so it wasn’t helpful. Still, after Inga was done ogling at the dramatic increase in thickness, she swiped it. She wouldn’t be reading it for a while, but she wasn’t coming back for it.

Now, though, her time was occupied by waiting. Waiting, waiting, and more waiting. Until Viktor announced it was time to depart. After a few frantic moments of gathering up her supplies and the dog that had taken to following her around when he wasn’t sticking to Viktor, she headed out after him.

The cold air surprised her- she hadn’t been outside since arriving. Inga wrapped her scarf more tightly around herself, and stomped through the snow up to him. “When do we leave?” She asked.



Magpie had passed her time a bit more comfortably- she’d made a few buddies at the Stalker base, with Nikita’s help and without. Some had tipped her off a few leads on where to go hunting for valuable garbage from the old world. About ninety percent of it was total crap, and the other ten percent was probably crap, but it was appreciated none the same.

She was with Nikita when the message from Viktor came on his PDA, so she followed him to the truck. It was, in fact, a reasonably cool truck. She watched Tiny stick his snout in every crevice of it for a minute, then turned and watched others show up at varying speeds. She raised her eyebrow slightly at Inga- she would be surprised if Viktor didn’t make the kid stay at the base, or at least make an attempt.


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2016 12:29 am 

It is a hollow shell of what it once was.

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“What’s your name?”

“What?”

Darren smiled, leaning heavily on his staff. The woman looked about as conversational as she always did, which wasn’t very, but he had at least gotten her to stop walking. It was a start, if nothing else. “Your name. What is it?”

She eyed him suspiciously, as if wondering if he was going to be using the information for some evil purpose, but after a moment she shook her head slightly. He couldn’t help but admire the way her pale blonde hair swished back and forth when she did it. “Stacia.”

“Nice to make your acquaintance, Stacia,” he rasped, still grinning. “I’m Darren, as you probably already knew.”

“Yeah,” she responded shortly, now giving him a new look that was just as distrustful as the previous. At least she hadn’t gone power-walking off into the distance just yet. “Why do you always look at me like that?”

“What?” he asked, raising his eyebrows at her. “How do I look at you?” They were just outside the lounge, and thankfully there wasn’t anyone else around at the moment. If someone happened to walk by he was sure she’d have bolted like a rabbit being shot at by a bazooka.

“You… you just do it. You look at me. I always see you doing it. Why?”

“Because you’re nice to look at,” he replied without hesitating, and her cheeks reddened slightly before she stiffened, visibly irritated by her own reaction. Her grey eyes were difficult to read, but he thought he caught glimpses of something akin to embarrassment in them.

“No, I’m not,” she said quietly, turning her head slightly so as to made the scar running down one of her cheeks less visible.

To answer her, Darren lowered his hood and turned his head, revealing the scales he typically made some kind of an effort to conceal. Most people around the base had at least caught a glimpse of them by that point, but he had never willingly displayed them to someone in such close proximity.

She took a step closer, her lips parted as she reached out; her fingertips brushed against the scales behind his left ear, and then she appeared to catch herself. Without another word she turned and walked away, her brisk pace indicating she’d done something she hadn’t intended on. Darren stood there for a moment, watching her leave, before wordlessly turning to enter the lounge behind him.

(S)


Stefan had agreed to come on Viktor's excursion. With what the man went through, he'd probably need a doctor coming along for the ride. The past few days had been spent mostly preparing salves and pills, both to bring on the job and to leave in the treatment room for the medical workers who stayed behind. After a good night's sleep and a nice breakfast, he was hard at work once again, carefully loading vials of pastes and compressed pills into a variety of leather pouches on a harness. Along with those, he loaded a backpack with surgical supplies and aid kits. In all, he was very prepared to treat a lot of potential wounds. Until they got the call to leave, he set all those aside on an empty counter.

"Nadia, send for Darren, please? It's about time to fix that leg of his," He said to an assistant washing some scalpels. She nodded, and after cleaning a few of the tools, went to look for the scaly-headed man. Stefan thanked her, and in the meantime, took over with the cleaning.

(D)


“What?” he rasped, and the woman repeated herself. “Oh, yeah. The leg,” Darren said, feeling a pang of trepidation as he rose from his seat in the lounge. He’d taken to hanging out in there, even with his refusal to drink given what he and Viktor had experienced shortly after his arrival at the base. He liked the setting, mostly because it was public, and it was easier to avoid certain people if there were fewer witnesses present. Beyond that, he liked getting caught up in the conversation around him, and there was the added bonus of seeing friendly faces from time to time.

He limped after her, mindful of the glances he got as they moved; his reputation, whether it was as a mutant, the man who’d nearly died after drinking something that wasn’t alcohol with Viktor, or the guy who’d nearly lost a nipple to a certain Polish woman, seemed to precede him. He didn’t really mind; at least the stories had given way to a number of introductions and checkers games. He was anything but bored, those days.

They reached Stefan’s working area and the mutant grinned, his nervousness regarding what would be happening to his leg fading as he glimpsed the familiar mask. “Doctor, it’s good to see you,” he grated.

(S)


Darren's voice was unmistakable. The deep rasp accompanied by his ever-present friendly tone made him stand out among the crowd, and as Stefan heard it, he turned away from the sink, hand drying a tool. It wasn't as effective as an autoclave would have been, but their was in the shop for maintenance, so boiling water and antibacterial detergent was the next best thing they could do. Stefan smiled, nodding a little bit to acknowledge Darren's greeting, as his mask hid his expression. "Ah, welcome back! Good to see Viktor hasn't gotten you into any more trouble. How have you been?" He stowed his current work away, setting the scalpel into a drawer.

That done, he took some steps forward and offered Darren a handshake. "I do hope you're ready. Resetting bones is never a fun affair. Of course, we've got some pretty good painkillers here. You'd be amazed at what the right combinations of plant toxins can do." He motioned with his head towards one of the makeshift hospital beds, its IV stand set up and ready. While Darren settled in, Stefan opened a refrigerator to gather some fluids to work with. He hung the bags on the stand, talking about what they were all the while. "This one is saline. That is, water with a bit of salt. It'll help carry the painkillers into your system. What we have isn't quite morphine, but it's got a good kick." Said painkillers were a milky-looking substance, kept in a small glass vial. Stefan plucked it from the shelf and showed it to Darren, the label handwritten with the more important information about the medicine. "You shouldn't feel too much, ideally."

(D)


“I’ve been good. I spent some time getting acquainted with the base, and I’ve been keeping my distance from bottles with mushrooms printed on them. Good life lesson, that,” he said with a grin and a hearty chuckle as he shook Stefan’s hand. “I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, even if the timing means I’ll be missing out on Viktor’s mission. At least once I’m healed up I should be more useful, without the limp and all. I really appreciate this, Doc,” he added in a more serious croak as he got into the bed indicated by Stefan. “I’m sure you’ve got more than enough on your hands already. Taking the time to help an old mutant with bad skin and a shitty leg, that takes a man of quality.”

He looked around, focusing on Stefan’s words regarding the painkillers at his disposal. The man was certainly not without his resources, which definitely helped matters a great deal. “Whatever the ingredients might be, I trust you, Stefan. I’m ready whenever you are.”

(S)


The doctor laughed a bit as well. Indeed, avoiding the fluids of unfamiliar fungi was best for one's health. "You've got a very good point there," He agreed. As Darren moved away from the jokes, Stefan smiled again, and though it remained hidden by the beak of his mask, his tone was clearly uplifted. "It's what I do best, friend. After all, we've got to stick together." The exact meaning behind that may have been unclear, but given how extremely bundled up he was, there were some educated guesses once could make.

With another nod, he began to gather necessary supplies for the infusion. Plastic tubing, a syringe, a cloth, and some killer-proof alcohol were plucked from various shelves and placed on the counter. "We'll start off with the painkillers to give them a few minutes to kick in. Once you've gotten happy enough, the unfun part begins. It involves breaking the bone and adjusting it so it sets more correctly. Done well, this will get rid of that limp, and hopefully make moving around a bit easier for you. Now, to start with, I need to see just how bad the fracture healed."

Before he filled needles and connected bags to tubes, he walked to Darren's side and placed a hand on his shin. Moments later, said hand began to look very odd, turning a misty black and seeming to flicker as it slowly sunk into Darren's leg. Stefan felt the bone, slowly moving his hand up and down the limb. When he felt an odd bump, he stopped. "Ah, there it is." He removed his hand, rolled up Darren's pant leg so it was above the break, and made a small mark on his skin with an ink pen. "Now, with some assistance, we can get this done."

(L)


"I can assist."

She hadn't appeared to really enter the surgical suite, so much as simply begin to exist beside Darren's hospital bed. Whether she'd been standing silently nearby the entire time or hiding under the bed might never be revealed, but Liliana was there, her blank stare fixed upon the mask over Stefan's eyes. It actually wasn't completely strange for her to be in the area; she'd functioned as an assistant of sorts in the medical rooms for the past few days on and off, relieving the doctor's more permanent and experienced nurses or simply helping to clean, pack or make supplies. It was impossible to tell if she actually enjoyed the job, but she did continue to show up for random shifts and projects. Usually by less abrupt means.

(D)


Darren swore loudly and jumped, nearly falling out of the bed completely. His pants leg snagged on the side rail and he flopped over, his right elbow hitting the ground while his lower body remained up top with the linens. “****,” he grumbled, pulling himself back up with an effort, all while keeping an eye on the woman who appeared to have walked through the wall. To say she made him wary was a drastic understatement, but Liliana was so small and unassuming that he was sure he’d have been ridiculed for saying he was afraid of a Polish woman almost a foot shorter than him.

“Y-you’re going to assist?” he rasped, turning from her to the doctor with wide eyes. “What's going on with those painkillers, Doc?”

(S)


While not entirely expected, Darren's reaction was quite reasonable considering the last time he'd seen Liliana's techniques used on him during a treatment. Still, she was good help, and every extra hand in the infirmary was highly appreciated. Stefan glanced between the two, nodding to the small woman. Volunteered services from someone who knew what they were doing were always nice, even if said someone had a habit of appearing out of nowhere. If he hadn't known any better, he'd have guessed she'd walked through a wall into the office, yet she'd displayed no visible mutations suggesting she could do such a thing.

"Liliana's been lending a hand here quite a lot during your group's stay. She does a good job, too. Even the rowdiest Stalkers tend to cooperate when she's in the room. Can't imagine why." Stefan's voice took on a playfully sarcastic tone towards the end of his sentence, attaching tubing to the bags and a needle to the end of said tubes. He lightly saturated a part of the cloth with the alcohol, then rubbed it on Darren's arm to clean a space for injection. "On their way. This may pinch a little," He warned, feeling around for a vein before slipping the needle in. The tubing was then secured with a bit of gauze tape. With that done, he turned away from the two for a moment, preparing a syringe meant for use with the bag's tubing with an appropriate dose of the painkillers.

(L)


She watched Darren fall and clamber back up without batting an eye. After receiving the doctor's nod, Liliana calmly stepped over to some cabinets across the room and fished around in the back of them, standing on her tiptoes. After a second she withdrew a large black case and set it on the stand at the base of Darren's bed, beside some probably-sterile matting, and clicked it open; with a bright light shining from behind her, she withdrew a long, slender and wicked-looking bonesaw with wide, curving teeth set on the end of something like half of a scissors handle. The jagged, sharp edge glinted in the light against her silhouette and she held it steady, staring with eyes full of nothing at Darren.

With slowness that would have seemed very deliberate had anyone else done it, she set the saw down and removed another instrument from the case. This one looked like a pair of giant pliers, the biting end of them fixed with thick, metallic blades. She clamped them once, loudly, still maintaining eye contact with the scaly mutant on the bed, and set them next to the horrific saw. A long, rounded chisel and hammer, more resembling a railroad spike and a sledge, followed, and finally an old, loud drill. The Polish woman tested the charge, still staring at Darren.

The last things to be removed from the case were an ordinary scalpel and few differently sized blades, which she unloaded a bit quicker, along with some topical disinfectants.

(S)


An uncomfortable silence struck as Liliana began to display a frankly concerning amount of tools, many of which looked like they had no place in a surgery room in the first place. It wasn't a terribly uncommon phenomenon to repurpose things if they could be useful otherwise, but a few of them seemed to catch Stefan off guard. The good doctor wouldn't have knowingly stowed something he couldn't use in the room. With the filled syringe in hand, he looked the various instruments over, shaking his head a little at the full display. "The gardening crew must have misplaced some of their things in the wash. Oh well. If it comes to it, I suppose we could get some use out of those things." Little more time was wasted in the preparations, and the syringe's contents found their way into the tube that led directly to Darren's bloodstream. Soon enough, the patient would be very out of it, if not entirely unconscious.

As the medicine made its way into his arm, Stefan noticed Darren was looking quite discomforted. Liliana's menacing stare certainly didn't help matters, but he tried to offer some reassurance. "Don't worry too much, with this, you probably won't even remember the next hour. Just close your eyes and try to relax."

(L)


It wasn't long before Darren was on another plane of existence and Stefan was bent over the offending limb, his face presumably contorted with concentration. Liliana watched as he set his hand in a very specific position over the small mark on the other mutant's leg and slowly phased through his flesh, muscles tensing all the way up to his shoulder as he gradually squeezed the bone tighter and tighter. She assumed he was using a fair bit of force after a few moments, but there still were no sounds of cracking or shattering. The doctor finally withdrew his hand after a last burst, then rubbed the top of his mask contemplatively, still staring at Darren's leg.

(S)


"Hmph. Well, I can't say I'm surprised that didn't work. The fracture was healed already, but this is harder than I imagined it would be." Stefan frowned, giving one more attempt to snap the mishealed bone without ghosting his hands into Darren's leg. When it failed, he turned his gaze up to Liliana, then motioned toward the mark. "Time to try out the hammer. I'd normally ask an assistant not to get too overzealous with the thing, but with how built up the healing is, we may as well do what we can. When you're ready." When he finished talking, he gripped Darren's leg tightly on either side of the target mark, bracing it for the impact of the hammer.

(L)


Liliana listened patiently, then glanced through the available supplies, her gaze indiscriminately sizing up medical and gardening tools alike for a suitable hammer. She picked up a more moderately-sized one and tested the weight for a moment, then looked at Darren's glazed-over expression and picked up one that was significantly larger. The small woman positioned herself across from the doctor and took aim, both hands on the far-end of the handle, then reached in a full overhead wind-up and let it fly towards the prone mutant's leg with all of the force and momentum she and the sledgehammer could manage.

The bludgeoning end bounced cleanly off Stefan's mark and ricocheted back; it would’ve done impressive amounts of collateral damage if not for the hand bracing it from behind, stopping its progress. Liliana blinked, unable to keep the fraction of excitement from her face as she turned back to the doctor. "Should I try again?"

(S)


Stefan shook his head, frowning. "No, no, I don't think that'll work at this point. We're going to need something heavier." There was a pause as he considered just what they could do to break the bone. The hammer was anything but light, and for a moment, he considered bringing in the assistance of a certain other Hammer that he'd seen around the base a few times. Ultimately, he decided against it. He wanted to break Darren's leg, not have it torn off. He rubbed his chin, hand resting under his mask's beak. Finally, an idea came to mind. Perhaps not the safest one, but just about their only bet aside from having a giant mutant curbstomp the limb.

"A truck," He simply said. "We're going to have to bring him outside. Help me with that, will you?" Stefan walked around to the head of Darren's cot, taking hold of him under the shoulders. The man was a fair bit heavier than most people around the base, even considering his height, but with assistance they'd get him outside. He took most of the brunt, looking his arms beneath Darren's and silently cursing. The damn stretcher was in maintenance after a particularly weighty carry broke one of the handles, but it would have been a damn good help.

(L)


Liliana put the hammer down with as much of a resigned expression as her face could muster, then nodded and looped each of her arms firmly around the back of Darren's knees, bracing them against her hips for support. The two of them staggered outside with the dense mutant.

A few minutes later, Darren lay sprawled out in the courtyard by the vehicles. The wide truck beeped loudly and Liliana held the back of the passenger headrest, head twisted around to directly view her backwards crawl.

(S)


Outside the heavy vehicle, Stefan stood a bit nervously. He would freely admit to using unorthodox treatment methods in the past, but very rarely did he ever even consider trucks as a surgical instrument. He hoped this would work without causing unnecessary extra damage, and to prevent just that, he directed Liliana with hand signals. "A bit to the right," He ordered, attempting to prevent Darren's ribcage from coming into the path of the tire.

When his leg was properly lined up, he ordered the truck to stop, then crouched next to Darren and propped him up a bit. He pulled his other leg out of the way entirely, bending it at the knee so only the intended shin was under the tire. "Okay, go. Once it's broken, reverse until the tire is off of him. We don't need to run him over twice." In preparation, he moved one hand closer to the marked leg, ready to reset the bone as quickly as possible.

When his leg was properly lined up, he ordered the truck to stop, then crouched next to Darren and propped him up a bit. He pulled his other leg out of the way entirely, bending it at the knee so only the intended shin was under the tire. "Okay, go. Once it's broken, reverse until the tire is off of him. We don't need to run him over twice." In preparation, he moved one hand closer to the marked leg, ready to reset the bone as quickly as possible.

(D)


Darren floated along, his feet skimming the tops of clouds as he hummed merrily to himself. Who said life had to be hard? All one had to do was learn how to fly, and the rest just sorted itself out. A light approached him, and then another alongside it, and he grinned happily at the newcomers. “How’s it going, friends? Here to join me?”

The two lights continued to glow redly at him, not seeming interested in a conversation, until one of them released a series of beeping sounds that grew steadily louder as they approached him. “What’s happening? What are you-”

Darren watched as the trucks massive tire rolled onto his shin; there was a moment of suspended time, where the wheel simply sat on top of his leg, leaving the vehicle lopsided, and then after several seconds of waiting, it crunched down, snapping the bone underneath. The mutant stared, wondering why it didn’t hurt, and then as the truck rolled away he looked on as the doctor reached him and quickly passed his hands into his leg beyond the flesh. He stared numbly, wondering if the doctor ever picked up chicks wearing that mask, and then drifted back into beautiful unconsciousness.

He didn’t know how long had gone by, but his leg was feeling sore and his head was no longer filled with air and fluff as Darren sat up. He touched the shin gingerly, and was surprised by the lack of pain. “How long was I out?” he rasped to no one in particular. He already felt halfway healed.

(S)


Crouched over Darren, Stefan was giving a small examination, ghostly fingers lightly brushing against the bone within his leg. His eyes were locked on the area, and though he couldn't see inside the flesh, it always helped him to focus on where he was working. "Not too long, about half an hour. Your leg should be on the road to a proper recovery now. I'd tell you not to put too much weight on it, but at the rate it's sealing itself up, you may very well be able to by the time noon comes." The doctor's hand withdrew, solidfying again. There was a noticeable shakiness to his fingers, but he moved it out of sight before anyone could comment, rubbing his own wrist. "Bodily regeneration is a lucky catch in regards to mutation. If you feel anything wrong, let me know immediately," He added. Physical mutations were always intriguing to examine and treat, but even the most seemingly positive things could hide dire side effects.

(L)


"Viktor is leaving soon," Liliana said from the doorway, casually leaning against the wall just inside the frame. Her satchel already appeared fat with refreshed supplies and the tips of her nose and ears were pink with chill; if she had been there long enough to hear Darren's regenerative diagnosis, she didn't appear to have an opinion. Dziecko's telltale rapid hoofbeats announced his arrival almost four seconds before he dashed into the medical wing, skidding to a halt before spinning around in confusion. During the respite at the Stalker base, the piglet had put on no less than four pounds and had developed a series of small bumps along his once-smooth dorsal ridge, just around his head, of which he was clearly very, very proud. Someone had also tied a charming green kerchief around his fat little neck.

"People are already gathered around the trucks," she continued in a rare moment of unprompted explanation. She left Stefan's prepacked bag and harness of supplies, but swiped a few more of his expertly concocted remedies from the counter and placed them in the more well-padded areas of her leg holster. With a final glance, she left the room at a brisk pace, headed for the group, the pre-bacon hot on her heels.

Viktor and Nikita had been out here as she and Stefan had been dragging Darren's sad sack of a body back inside. With a vaguely uncertain air, she nodded to them, the equivalent of a warmly familiar greeting. Nikolav and Magpie were new additions, but Liliana was hardly surprised; they both reeked of wanderlust. Inga's presence gave her a slight mental pause. VIktor hadn't mentioned that this job was going to be particularly dangerous, but any venture outside the safety of the compound probably wasn't ideal for someone that young.

_________________
Learning a simple lesson isn't always simple. Sometimes, you have to slowly lose everything great around you to understand the gravity of your shortcomings. Admit that your egos have grown too large, that you've lost your sense of what you realistically are, and maybe you can repair the road that has broken beneath the weight of your failings. Or maybe you'll just keep going as you've gone, and you'll learn nothing, and eventually, everything around you will become dust. To be honest, that's by far the likeliest of all outcomes.


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:08 pm 

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The establishment was… Large. A realm unto itself composed of concrete and steel. As Halak strode nervously through the makeshift stronghold's passages, he was taken by surprise a number of times by men and women flowing in and out of hidden, out-of-the-way doors. People, and mutants for that matter, of all kinds filled these ramshackle halls, and even Halak had to admit that the shared atmosphere with people not wishing him dead was an enjoyable change of pace.

After maneuvering through a number of different areas he found himself in a large common room. Conveniently, the man he was searching for, Viktor, was toward the front of the establishment. As he spoke, Halak took in his words with undivided attention. It seemed that the man he wished to speak to was leaving. For something dangerous no less. If Halak was unable to speak to him now, he knew enough to realize that no man was truly fit for conversation before going into a dangerous situation, he would patiently wait for his return. But, seeing as how the doctor of these Stalkers did so much to assist him, Halak felt he owed them something and so he found himself moving toward the meeting place. The best way to repay their help was to keep their leader from dying. He supposed that this way there was a better chance he would return to have that conversation he planned to wait for as well.

After a lengthier time than he would have liked being lost in the strange depths of the Stalker compound, Halak found his way outside. He wasn't sure which truck constituted the "cool" one, but he assumed it was the one that Viktor stood in front of along with a few other individuals. Slowly, Halak walked over to join those who would be his companions on this new mission. The thought that no one really knew who he was never fully crossed his mind as he took a mildly protective, though non-threatening, stance a few feet to Viktor's flank.

_________________
~-----~

"Who put bacon in the soap?!?!?!" - Zim


I'm writing this story! It's called The Legends of Kal'duune. You can comment about things you like or hate, but preferably the first thing, here!

This thing is my resume! Reeeeaad iiiiiit...


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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:22 pm 

eyy, senpai!

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Viktor looked down, smiling a little at the big dog at his feet. "Hey there," He greeted, uncrossing his arms and leaning forward to give her a few rubs on the back. By the time he stopped, Nikita himself had arrived. The man's dogs were never far from him when he was around the base. The truck made a slight clanging noise on contact with his hand, as metal did when it was knocked on, albeit muffled by the tarp. Viktor's smile grew a litte when Nikita asked about it. "Damn right it is. I've been waiting to take it out for a spin ever since I finished the cabin."

Before he revealed the vehicle in its full, Nikita passed him a piece of technology that Viktor immediately recognized as a modified power cell. Turning the thing over, he admired the little details of the piece. It was in good condition, seemed to be full, and had some unique looking markings on the outer case. "Oh, this is definitely gonna help out. This here could power this thing for the next few months, at least. Thanks, man." It would be one of the most important finishing touches for the vehicle. Impressively engineered as it was, without a power source, it wouldn't be going anywhere. He was visibly excited to put the cell in and finally give the thing a try.

Nikolav's arrival and inquiries about the truck only helped to increase Viktor's already obvious hype over the thing. He nodded in response to her signing on to the job, as he'd been curious to see her display those skills she claimed down in the Underbelly to come along in the first place. "This is pretty much my life's work. Fully customized, made from all kinds of things that have been brought in here. It's built to be stronger, faster, and bigger than our caravan's usual cars." As for what it was built for, the answer was reasonably simple. "Can't always depend on the caravan for long jobs. They have their own things to do, so I can't take one of their trucks out for longer than a few days. Not ideal for jobs like this one. But this one, it's my own personal vehicle. No restrictions or anything like that."

Not wanting to waste any more time hyping the thing up rather than showing it off, he turned away from the two for a moment to take hold of the tarp and yank it off of the vehicle. The hulking vehicle beneath the cloth stood tall, a sort of heavily modified long-nosed semi truck at its most basic. The cabin had been entirely cut out and rebuilt, extended into a spaciously seated interior that utilized an entire smaller car's rear end, carefully positioned at a slight raise so that the trailer hitch could still be freely used. Welding marks and rivets littered the truck, sanded down to smoothness where applicable. The engine block was modified as well, vents coming out of spaces cut into the front hood, and a device made of a snow plow and backhoe hinges replaced a normal bumper. Multiple hinges were visible at various parts of the truck, both the back doors of the cabin and a sort of rooftop opening, in front of which was mounted a tripod that a gun could be mounted on. The exhaust pipes were impressively sized, the headlights were supplemented by mounted spotlights above the front windshield, and on the driver seat's door, a stenciled on design of the Stalker's symbol was applied with red spray paint.

Chain link fencing saw use in the truck's construction as well, reinforcing the front windshield and entirely replacing the windows of the back doors. A section built onto the rear of the cabin acted as a climbing aid, as did various steps made of bent and welded diamond plate metal across the vehicle on various points. Similar metal acted as a reinforcement to the truck's frame, armouring it to a degree that could resist small arms fire - evident in some minor dents left by risky testing in the past. The whole thing was meticulously planned out and put together, years of hard work and effort behind it. Viktor glanced back at the others for a moment, then got right to climbing atop the thing, using steps leading from the driver's seat to the top of the front hood to ascend in seconds. It was clear he'd been practicing maneuvering on the thing even before it was finished.

Once crouched atop the hood, he undid a few latches on a section and lifted it, hinges carrying the hood sideways to reveal a section of the engine. It was an advanced piece of machinery, but clearly something of a hack job compared to what it might have originally been decades ago. Viktor hoped that it worked, and with Nikita's gift in hand, he could finally find that out. A few more small latches were undone, opening the cell's awaiting plug. Slowly and carefully, he slid the metallic object into the plug, trying to avoid any possible last-minute failures if something broke. When it was fully nested, he gave the top a small twist to lock it in, then closed it in again, locking everything together once more.

"Okay, moment of truth. Let's see if this thing works." Viktor hopped down from the hood, about to climb up into the driver's seat. Inga's approach stopped him, and her question made his smile drop. Other people approaching seemed to have some similarly concerned reactions, and he shook his head. "Look, this job is going to be dangerous. What we went through a few days ago, that doesn't quite compare. There was a lot of **** going on, yeah, but going through urban ruins is extremely high risk. Those could crumble at any time, and there are a lot of bad people hiding out in some cities. Monsters are one thing. Murderers with guns are another. Sorry." He patted Inga's shoulder, and while he admired her readiness, she was just too young. Stalkers weren't the type to employ child soldiers. Labor around the base, sure. Everyone had to play a part there if they were able to. But giving a kid a gun and telling them to go on mercenary work wasn't something he was behind doing.

He looked to the pup that she was holding, noting that he'd already gotten a bit larger since their arrival, and a hell of a lot more upbeat. The dog pressed his ears back as Viktor's hand neared, giving his fingers a momentary sniff and lick before he started to nibble on them. "I don't think this little guy would have a good time out there, either." He gently wrestled his fingers away and rubbed the small dog's head, considering his decision. "If you did come, and that's a big if, you'd have to stay in the truck. I don't want you in any dangerous situations out there." A very slight give, but one that could be misconstrued by a particularly stubborn child as an invitation to come along. He immediately realized this, and silently cursed his poorly thought out wording. If Inga had proven to be anything so far, it was stubborn.

Before anything else happened, he looked over the crowd surrounding the truck to see who all would be accompanying him, tugging his PDA out of its pocket to type out the names of the team going on the job. Along with a few folks who were officially Stalkers, like Nikita and Stefan, he listed the names of the newer company that made themselves present. He paused when he noticed Halak standing there, only having a vague idea of who the man could have been. "New here?" He asked, casually switching to the PDA's messaging system. A small inquiry was sent to the armoury, as to whether the giant mutant with that stone hammer was still hanging around the area, and whether he was busy if he was. That done, he returned to the list function, his thumbs tapping away at the keyboard.

_________________
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 Post subject: Re: Tɧɘ Ғσᶃ [IC]
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2016 9:10 pm 
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Nikita's eyes flicked over the beast of a machine Viktor unveiled. "Cool indeed." He grinned in amusement, a facial expression that was fully lost underneath saggy cheeks. Some of the hunk of metal was familiar to him; bits and pieces he'd caught glimpse over over the last couple years. His eyes followed the curve of the car butt soldered onto the top, remembering the mission where he had helped the redhead nab it it. Other parts were very much new, and he suspected the Viktor had kept some pieces of his pet project hidden away, just for this reveal. Dramatic as always.

It looked sturdy, but Nikita wondered how well it would work in an area with packed snow or a lot of trees. Such a large metal vehicle was bound to have a good amount of weight to it, especially given all the reinforcing structures. Kind of an unconventional design choice, certainly nothing Nikita was used to seeing this far north.

"Looks heavy," he commented, grabbing onto one of the hand rails to haul himself up easily onto the drivers step. "How well does it drive in deep snow?"

The saggy man ducked into the cabin, tossing his things onto a chair. He immediately moved towards the back to poke around, opening and closing doors to see where they led to. It took him a few seconds to undo the ceiling hatch and pull himself up, climbing onto the top of the vehicle. He squat there and looked down on the others, relishing the feeling of towering above all the others for once.


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