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Well, Riddick continued to surprise and impress Adlyn as they continued to work together. At the discovery that they had no weapons to combat the other interceptors, she had just given up on trying to combat them; steering clear and staying alive was her priority. But Riddick? He manoeuvred the ship in such a way that he crashed two others in to each other, the resulting explosion taking out others as well. And all that amounted to was rocking their own ship a little... Goddamn. This just reminded her not to underestimate Riddick [i ever].
Upon the completion of her conversation with Captain Quinton, they made a b-line for the Aquilan ship, the shields and blast doors opening up for them. It was a slightly tense landing despite Riddick's skill in piloting as the pirates used the opening of the hangar to try and guy the Aquilan ship and them. Fortunately, Riddick kept a cool head and landed them smoothly—or smooth enough—in to the hangar just as the Aquilans were closing the blast doors so no more weapons would be fired upon them. At this point, Adlyn's hackles were up; she's never been in an Aquilan ship, and having been born an Argonite, she was conditioned to hate them. Despite them saving their neck, she found it difficult to ease the tension she was feeling from being in here and from narrowly escaping being blown to space dust.
[b “Good job, Fly-boy.”] Adlyn offers Riddick weakly when they were ready to get out of their ship and meet the personnel onboard. [i But] there seemed to be another problem in the form of the exit hatch being jammed half shut, its gears whining and grinding to do the [i one thing] they were fucking designed for. Must've been damaged during the fight, but Adlyn still found herself cursing Toombs for his inferior spending abilities; the thing probably hadn't been serviced since he got the damn thing. She'd ask Sabre to do something, but it was doubtful he could without the proper tools she knew Toombs didn't have. [b “Ugh, we're gonna look like idiots crawling out of-”] And with a mighty kick, Riddick solves another one of their problems. At this point she seems less surprised, but equally impressed by the show of strength. It was a pretty impressive feat and it got her wondering just where exactly Riddick had come from. His files and what they said kept coming to mind, but everything he did and everything she saw made her questions the words on the documents.
The three exit the ship, just as three of the Aquilans come from a corridor about fifty feet away from them. They didn't start shooting at them, which was good, but they didn't come unarmed either, all three of them having a side arm already out and held at their sides as they walked. Because of this—and not just because he looked like the meanest, either—she could tell which one was Captain Quinton. His pistol looked like some kind of high-tech hand cannon prototype she's never seen before. It made the machine-pistols in her shoulder-holsters itch.
[+blue “You're Octavia?”] Quinton asks, and then gives a pointed look to Riddick. [+blue “Who's this?”]
[b “Yes, and this is Riddick.”] She offers and then pauses. He doesn't react, so she was right in the assumption that Aquilan special forces didn't give a shit about mercs and bounty hunters. She looks to Riddick with a slight apologetic look, having just wagered a gambit that could've started a fight.
[+red “Pleasure, you two.”] Another one of them steps forward. This one had a weird accent and a beard. [+red “I'm Caleb, Commander here. That over there is Lieutenant-Commander Raynor.”] She gives a stiff nod as way of greeting. [+red “As you probably experienced, we're right fucked courtesy of those pirate cunts currently beefing us. Now, what the plan is-”]
[+blue “What the plan is, Commander,”] Quinton steps in, a vice grip on Caleb's shoulder which he uses to move him slightly to the side. She didn't have to highly perceptive to notice the tension between Quinton and Caleb, both probably vying for leadership of the vessel. Weird considering her understanding of Aquilan rankings and autonomy. Questions for later, she supposed. [+blue “still the same. The pirates have use outnumbered, but we have them outgunned, and with the five of us, we can give them a second opinion.”]
[b “Six of us.”] Adlyn offers, and the three Aquilan Rangers look confused. She grins and makes a sweeping motion towards Sabre. [b “Sabre.”]
[b [+silver “If your fighters can be externally interfaced with, I can pilot them efficiently. I already downloaded the specifications and the novice, intermediate, and advanced training simulators. I am currently extrapolating data from the simulators and footage of the pirates to design a plan of attack.”]] Sabre injects, in his monotone mechanical voice. Adlyn found it humorous.
[+blue “I don't know how I feel about that.”] Quinton says, eyeing the mechanical hound suspiciously.
[+red “Feel about it later, Captain!”] Caleb says, already on his way to the nearest fighter. [+red “We got some pirates to lick!”] With a small growl, Quinton turns and looks at the two, nodding his head at them and begins heading towards another fighter and Raynor does the same.
Adlyn turns t look at Riddick, glancing sideways at the Aquilans getting in to their fighters. [b “I'm thinking I like Caleb the best so far.”] Seemed like the kind of guy that got shit done while Quinton was someone who got in his own head. Both had their pros and cons, but Adlyn was more of a 'getting shit done' kind of girl. [b “Anyway, I'm sort of pissed about those pirates wrecking our plans. Do you think you can do more of that fancy flying of yours from earlier? With actual weapons in our hands, I honestly don't think the pirates stand a chance.”] She grins at him, eager to actually show him what she is made of. Since they've teamed, she's been making nothing but an ass of herself; tripping in mud, fucking up her guns, and then unwittingly flying them in to the middle of a firefight. It was redemption hour for her now. So with that, she gets in to one of the many Aquilan fighters, gets herself familiar with the controls, starts up the thrusters as the hangar doors open again, and then peels out to go and kick some pirate ass!
[size12 Ever heard of things going pear shaped? Well, this just went squashed pear shaped. The pair were flying through empty space just fine not that long ago. Did a black cat shooting star cross their path or something??]
[size12 Riddick let out a low grumble though it sounded more like a growl. He squeezed closer to the window to see what Adlyn was talking about and sure enough, two large ships were duking it out in a fire fight for the ages. Riddick would have gotten a better look at the ships but it was too damn bright. He could still see very well but his eyes were better without the goggles.]
[size12 It seemed he didn’t need to use his eyes since Adlyn’s were working just fine. Though he hasn’t heard of these Aquilan’s, he’s going to assume she knows them very well. He wasn’t going to press for anything. Not now, anyway. Too busy not getting ass-blasted into stardust.]
[size12 A fly-by smacked into the ship and Adlyn was able to keep it from spinning into the void like a top falling off the edge of a table and off to who knows where. Riddick managed to keep from getting flung about but the initial impact caught him by surprise a little, causing him to jolt forward to catch himself against the seat and control console. He was pretty close to Adlyn as she got the ship re-stabilized, his body tensed as he braced against the strain, his face showing only a slight change as he braced himself. Once the ship stabilized, Riddick was able to get his footing back. He reached to check the damage indicators and there is some damage but not enough to be overly concerned regarding passenger survivability for normal travel. However, the ship likely won’t survive another hit so in regards to that, there was indeed concern considering the current situation.]
[size12 Adlyn seemed frustrated. Or mad. Maybe both. Riddick looked over to see what she was trying to do and figured it out in an instant. Weapons systems. And of course, there wasn’t one. It was one hell of a tricky situation. Riddick has been in sticky spots before but he always managed to get out but this time there weren't really any options. It was a ‘between a rock and space debris’ situation with an addition of crossfire.]
[size12 Just when there wasn’t much in terms of ideas, Adlyn had an idea. Like she said, it might not exactly be a good one but it would at least save the skin on their asses. What’s left of their asses when they get out of this situation anyway. Riddick smirked as he switched with Adlyn at the controls. He decided to have a little fun with the interceptors. While he had no weapons to fire, it didn’t mean he couldn’t take a couple of the ships out. He maneuvered around to get a couple interceptors hauling ass towards them, one from the front and one at the rear, and just at the right time, he yoinked the ship upwards and the two ships bashed into each other in a glorious explosion. There was debris everywhere and he was able to crash a couple ships into the bits and turned them into space dust. He had a grin on his face, which hadn’t happened in a while since he didn’t get to have fun like this often. However, he was paying attention to what Adlyn was up to, keeping an ear out for anything that was helpful.]
[size12 And it wasn’t long till he was able to do something other than play tag with the interceptors. After hearing the conversation, he yanked the ship around, hit the throttle and charged towards the ship that wasn’t the pirates. The hangar was open for them by the time he got there and he slowed down just as he approached the hangar for a soft landing. While the ride in was a bit bumpy since he had to dip and dodge and roll his way through a barrage of who knows what but he made it without much more damage to the ship.]
[size12 Riddick hit the switch to lower the hatch but it jammed halfway open. Riddick growled as he heard the whining of the gears and got up. He walked to the back of the ship to the exit hatch and gripped one of the ‘holy shit’ grip bars that lined the edge of the ceiling. He jumped, swung himself and then with a mighty kick, he knocked the gears loose and the hatch fell open. Having higher strength than most people did come in handy at times.]
[size12 Now it’s a matter of what happens next now that they are on the ship.]
Adlyn couldn't help her smile or the way her cheeks started to turn pink when Riddick said they'd get along just fine. Despite not really possessing the aggressive calm and mechanical rationale the Argonites were known for, she was still usually more reserved than she currently felt. Still, she managed to keep the girlish nature of this feeling in check as the three of them got to work moving cargo from one ship to the next.
Once they were all settled, Riddick took the pilots seat as Adlyn folded down a small work station attached to the wall to clean her machine pistols. They cleared the planet's atmosphere and soon enough were headed off in to space. When it was mentioned that there was a planet five days out, she nods her head absently. [b “Perfect.”] She says with another nod. Five days was a good time for them to resupply and then get on the move again. Once they did that, they could devise a more permanent solution to their problem and figure out where to go... She could probably try thinking something up now, but she wasn't sure how much she was going to be going in and out of cryosleep. From the looks of it, it seemed like Riddick was intent on getting some cryosleep, and she couldn't really blame him; stuck in a cramped ship with a killer robot dog and some mercenary chick who was hot for you made for a long five days... Though, she would take it as a compliment that he trusted her enough to put himself in a vulnerable position like that... Which sort of added more mystery to the man. Maybe she should give his file another read while on this voyage; the more she spent time with Riddick, the more his files didn't add up.
And that's pretty well how she spent three days. Well, technically [i two], as she spent one of them in cryosleep to pass the time. But with all the spare time, she cleaned out her primary weapons, did her best to get the smell out of the ship, and read up some more on Riddick. Again, she was awestruck by his file and how much it seemed to be pointing in the direction that he was a violent sociopath, which was not quite the direction her gut was pointing her in. Sure, [i dangerous] with a capital D Riddick might be, but all the senseless violence in the files versus what she experienced on Taameran-6 seemed to contradict each other.
After going over the files again, Adlyn looks up from the pilots seat, and swivels it so she's looking at Riddick in the back, sound asleep. Was he really the man described in the files? Was he just playing with her? She considered herself to be quite intuitive to that, especially after becoming a merc, you had to be in this line of work... But she didn't get the sense that Riddick was doing that. She wanted to talk to him about it, but she also didn't want to wake him up or pry. Despite their little team-up, they were on unsteady ground with each other... But maybe this was something he needed to talk about, to talk about the real thing, and-
The emergency lights and alarms went on first before the ship began rocking violently. What the hell? Did they fly through a debris field the sensors didn't pick up or some shit? Spinning back to face the outside, the blast doors shooting up to reveal explosions and other interceptor-class ships zooming passed them. It took her an extra second to process that there were also two other ships, heavy-cruiser class ships, locked in combat and [i The Gymnosomata] was now caught in the middle of it!
When Riddick joined her up front, she almost jumped out of her skin, but quickly calmed, assessing the situation and manoeuvring out of some flack at the same time. [b “Three days, and I don't know. A fight we're now in.”] Now that she was weaving in and out of danger, she got a better idea of what was going on. [b “We got two heavy-cruisers, one with no markings, probably pirates and they're the ones with the interceptors flying around giving us grief.”] The other heavy-cruiser didn't seem to have any infantry type ships out and about, but they had cannons and were firing in to the fray to repel the pirates, but without proper support, they were going to lose this war of attrition. It appeared their ship was heavily damaged, and when she looked more closely...
[b “What the hell?”] She says out loud, quickly looking at the star chart. She indicates the other heavy-cruiser. [b “That's an Aquilan Security Corp vessel. And not just any; they're Rangers.”] What the hell were ASC Rangers doing this far out of their system? And why were they engaged with pirates?
The questions didn't matter as [i The Gymnosomata] took a heavy hit by one of the interceptors on a fly-by, and Adlyn yanked hard the throttle so they didn't go spinning out of control. It didn't seem like the pirates much care if they were uninvolved or not. So, she reached for the weapons systems, and- [b “Toombs, you cheapskate!”] There wasn't one! He just had some shitty suspension system on the sides for gunners. Useless in this situation since they didn't have space-suits, they were flying at break neck speeds, and they'd just get turned in to mince meat if they even tried. Currently they were non-combatants and they were [i still] taking fire by the pirates. Either or, if they stayed out here they were dead. If they tried to escape, they were dead... She couldn't really imagine a situation where they didn't end up dead anyways.
[b “This is a bad idea, but I'm gonna hail the ASC. Our ship can't take any more direct hits and they're our best bet off the battlefield.”] Then they would have some time to think of how they could [i really] get the hell out of here. [b “Riddick, can you take the controls? I need to work with Sabre on hailing the Aquilans.”] It would probably be obvious enough to Riddick that Sabre could do the job himself, but what Riddick wouldn't know was what [i Adlyn] was up to. The closed frequency she used was an old Argonite Naval channel she jacked, and even without pirates shooting at them, the Aquilans and Argonites hated each other, especially their respective militaries. So what Adlyn was really doing was scrambling her own frequency to make it appear civilian so they wouldn't be shot in to space-dust the second they reached out to the ASC... It didn't take her very long, but it was a hack-job in comparison to what she could do with more time and less stress. She just hoped this worked...
[b [+silver “Their long-range communications are disabled, but their short-range communications are still operational. I have acquired the frequency and the channel is open.”]] Sabre says.
Here goes nothing...
Fucking [i pirates]. This was the last thing they needed, but he should have expected this, especially with the unfortunate events that preceded this fight. Their system, their home, it was-
[+purple “Quinton!”] He looks up from the railing he currently had a vice-grip on, and turns to face one of his crew members. It was Raynor, his Lieutenant-Commander. She was a fairly tall woman with a slim build, dark hair, and narrowed eyes. She was no doubt coming to him with more bad news about the state of their ship. After the war they lost with [i them], they had already been sitting ducks for days, their crew reduced to that of a skeleton, their ship barely operational before the pirates swooped in like vultures, and it seemed like they were the only Aquilans left. He didn't know how much more bad news they could take... But that's when Raynor hands him a data pad, a number scrolled across it with a blinking red indicator.
[+blue “Is this the pirates?”] Quinton asks, taking the pad and inspecting it more closely.
[+purple “It doesn't appear to be. A few moments ago we picked up an unidentified ship that seemed to have haphazardly flown in to the battlefield. It must be them.”] He looks to Raynor again, scowling slightly.
[+blue “Why do I care about some civilians trying to contact us?”]
[+purple “They're mercs; maybe they can help us.”]
[+red “She has a point, Captain.”] And coming to her defense was Caleb, a Commander from another ship before they retreated together, and unfortunately—by rank alone—Quinton's second in command. The two of them were about equal in height, but Caleb sported dark brown hair, paler skin, and a beard. He also sported an accent that came from Aquila Minor, and was known be somewhat... eccentric but effective in his operations. [+red “Right now we only have enough people to keep our ship afloat; mostly engineers with no combat experience and some chefs. We have whats left of the gunnys manning the cannons and the three of us standing around keeping the chain of command intact, essentially with our dicks in our hands.”]
[+purple “Hey!”] Raynor protests.
[+red “You don't have to remind me that yours is bigger than mine, love.”] He grins and she scowls at him. [i Enough of this.]
[+blue “Speak plainly, Commander. I don't like going roundabout.”]
[+red “Right, sorry, Captain. Lets get them on the ship, however many of them there are, and the three of us take some interceptors, and we go out there and start giving those pirates what for. Bingo-bango, Bobs your uncle, we dust those cunts, we get outta here and on our way to warn the Cazar System.”]
Hmm... Having them go out for an actual assault would make this situation a lot more palatable, and could potentially secure them an escape route. At the moment the pirates were just whittling them down until they could come in for the coup de grace. They had more firepower than the pirates, just not enough man-power to operate them, but a few extra hands to pilot some fighters could turn the tide... And considering how these mercs were gracefully navigating through the battlefield, it was obvious they had some valuable flight experience.
[+blue “Alright, we'll bring them aboard, but only if they agree to help us.”] Quinton says before pressing the blinking dot on the screen of the data pad. [+blue “This is Captain Quinton of the ASC Rangers. To whom am I speaking with?”]
[b “My name is Octavia, and as you can see we're sort of in a bind. Requesting to board your ship.”]
[+blue “Conditional acceptance to board our ship.”] Quinton says, and there's silence over the channel for a brief moment before it opens up again.
[b “What are your conditions, Captain?”] Raynor and Caleb step closer, both of them eyeing the communicator. Quinton gives them both a pointed look before answering the merc Octavia.
[+blue “You will listen to the orders given to you by me. And once you are aboard, you will exit your ship and you will pilot one of our interceptors alongside two of my officers and myself to clear a means of egress for our ship.”]
There's another long pause over the channel before there's a response. [b “Is that all?”] She asks a little more smugly than Quinton would've liked.
[+red “Ask if she's got beer.”]
He swats Caleb away from the data pad before opening the line again. [+blue “No.”] He states simply. [+blue “Come aboard quickly, we'll open the hangar for you.”]
[size12 With Toombs out cold, it was easy to move about. No guns were being pointed and bullets weren’t flying. Riddick grinned at what Adlyn said, finding humor in her words. While he dug through a pile of old boards, she came up with some ropes from another part of one of the busted up stalls. With her help, they strung up Toombs and attached him to a nearby post. There was no reason to kill him. Not yet anyway. Making a fool out of him and hauling off with his ship is one hell of an ego blow. Might teach him to go after the dogs instead of the lions.]
[size12 With Toombs strung up like a hog, it was time to finally get off this rock. It’s been long enough and with Toombs having showed up, more were sure to follow. It didn’t take too long to get back to the ships. The robo-hound appeared upon their approach and it was clear work has already started. The pair exchanged a conversation about the ships. The hound was damn efficient. It wasn’t long till Adlyn’s ship was now her ex-ship.] [b “Considering you’ve backed me up instead of shooting at me, I think we get along just fine. Let’s get off this rock.”]
[size12 Riddick helped Adlyn with the heavier stuff. The new ship had some gear and food rations already but not enough to last more than a couple days. Once the heavier stuff was secured, Riddick got to work with the flight controls. Thanks to his training back before he became a convict, he could fly pretty much any ship. This one would be an easy one to fly and he could hand off the controls to Saber or Adlyn even if need be.]
[size12 It wasn’t too long till the ship was loaded and everyone was on board, the hatch closing up with a firm thunk. Riddick was waiting for the duo to settle in. Of course, he noticed Adlyn’s cringe at the smell of the ship. That kind of happens with ships that belong to mercenaries like Toombs. They tend to stink like an old bar that usually sees the kind of people that fight a lot. Not exactly pleasant but after a while the smell kind of vanishes. It’s still there but the brain just learns to ignore it.]
[size12 Riddick made his way to the pilot’s seat and plopped down. The ship was ready to fire engines and take off. It didn’t take long for him to get the ship fired up. He heard Adlyn speak and that got him thinking. Did he ever know where to go? Not really. But in this case, he had to figure out a place to go that would be out of high traffic areas.]
[size12 Riddick pulled up the planetary locator drive and began searching for a system or planet that was nearby. In the meantime, he hit the throttle for take off and got the ship off the ground. The ship lifted up off the ground and once at a suitable height, he gunned it and the engines roared forward. The ship soared through the air, upwards towards the sky. It wasn’t long till it broke the atmosphere and they were off-world. Couldn't get comfy just yet. Needed to get a bit further out to break free from the magnetic field of the planet. Once they were free of the planet entirely, Riddick eased up on the throttle and leveled the ship out. At this time, the locator drive has found a nearby planet.] [b “There’s a planet about 5 days out. The ship is set on course for it.”]
[size12 Riddick heaved a sigh and shut the shield panels to keep out the intense light. The ship was on autopilot and the alert system was active. Though the risk isn’t zero, they weren’t in any danger of being hunted down. The pair could relax and recharge for the next stop. Though Riddick was generally always on guard regardless of the situation. Could never get the drop on him. He always got the drop on everyone else unless something happened that screwed everything up or he was somehow caught by surprise. But this time, maybe he could let his guard down just a tad. He trusted Adlyn enough to take care of things and to not try anything funny.]
[size12 He sat in one of the crew seats, though it was more a heavy flop than a sit, and leaned it back so it was reclined somewhat. They weren’t exactly designed to be comfy but Riddick has slept in much worse environments before. This was a bed compared to some of the places he has slept in. While Adlyn messed with her collection of guns, which was impressive to say the least, Riddick decided to hook up to cryosleep. He didn’t care what Adlyn did but he didn’t exactly want to stare out into the abyss for the next 5 days. Once the device was attached to his arm, he leaned back and let the sleep take over. However, it wasn’t going to all that restful. Cryosleep often never was.]
[size12 It’s happening again. Those visions, those dreams. Is he mad? Is it a curse? The hell if he knew. A wormhole ripped open in front of him and a strong, fierce woman stepped through. Despite her powerful appearance, she spoke softly yet her voice held a heat that said she was strong and a survivor. Each visit seemed the same. A world torn to shreds showing in the background, the story of a people destroyed en masse, hints to Riddick to a past he doesn’t remember, subtle hints to who and what he is. Riddick was too groggy to fully understand what was being said to him, something about his blood and discovering who he really was. The dream was quickly broken by alarms. He shot awake as adrenaline jolted though his body like hot iron, ripped the cryo device off and stood up. He spotted Adlyn at the controls and the ship was being yoinked around. He made sure his goggles were in place because he had to make sure his eyes were protected. That and he wasn’t sure if he took them off or not before he went into cryo. The ship jolted as he grabbed the seat Adlyn was sitting in and looked over her shoulder once he was stable again.] [b “How many days have passed and what the hell is going on?”]
Well, it seemed that neither Adlyn or Toombs was willing to let Riddick go, selfishly holding on to the idea of the man as if he was a possession. She couldn't explain her feelings, and after having been spurned for long in catching Riddick, she had finally given up until she saw him again only hours ago... Curiosity won supreme, as she did her due diligence to see if she was seeing things or if it truly was him, and once she found him, well... There came that confusion again. Like a dog chasing a car and finally catching it. But now there was Toombs, laying equal claim to Riddick, threatening to take him away from her.
It ignited something. Something deep and animal-like inside of her. She was no stranger to violence—it was part of the job—but this felt like something different. A belligerent need to inflict violence upon someone, and not simply because it had become necessary, but because they were encroaching on her territory, on her quarry. It wasn't rational, and it certainly wasn't grounded with reasonable judgment... She wanted Toombs dead. Plain and simple.
Adlyn was going to use the small gap in her cover to her advantage. She peers through it, gun up, and read to-
Standing right behind Toombs like a predator about to pounce on its prey was Riddick. Adlyn couldn't help but sigh in relief. [b “Oh, thank God.”] She says and sinks back in to her cover more comfortably for a second. At the first sounds of commotion, Adlyn is up and crosses the now vacant battlefield to Riddick taking care of Toombs. She couldn't help but be impressed that Riddick knocked Toombs out with a single punch; he was strong... Well, he already [i looked] strong, but his strength still surprised her.
[b “Here, let me help. They taught us a lot of knots in the Navy.”] She stops for a second, slightly embarrassed. [b “Forget I said that... Sounded cooler in my head.”] and Adlyn pulls some cordage from the broken stall and whatever else they could find so the two of them could string up Toombs like a prized hog. And at first, she had assumed Riddick was going to kill him and the other mercenary, but then it dawned on her: why bother tying up Toombs if that was the goal? And that thought stuck with her as they left him hanging about for the locals to find in the morning and headed back to the ships... It didn't make any sense to her, but if she thought more of it, [i Adlyn] being alive and working with him didn't make sense either. She must've read his file a million times, combing over every little scrap of detail, and every account that there was of the man said same thing: Riddick was a violent psychopath, an uncivilized barbarian that killed simply because he wanted to... But that wasn't what she saw here, not at all...
[b [+silver “Adlyn. Riddick.”]] Sabre says upon their approach to the ships. Both cargo doors were open on the ships, so it was evident that Sabre had already got to work... It was scary how efficient his AI was sometimes. Good thing he was [i unchained]. [b [+silver “I have already interfaced with [i Flattery C-19]. A tracking system was disabled, and I re-registered the transponder to Octavia Adlyn. I am awaiting a name for the transponder ID so the transformation may be completed.”]]
Adlyn had to think on that for a second, but it came easy to her because of how she usually approached naming ships. [b “How about [i 'The Gymnosomata']?”] And Sabre's eyes flash a brighter red for a brief second, indicating it was done. [b “What about [i The Physalia]?”]
[b [+silver “All information has been transferred to [i The Gymnosomata] and expunged from [i The Physalia], corrupting its systems. The transponder and ID have been wiped as well; it is now an unregistered ship.”]] And dead. Perfect, so that meant Toombs couldn't use her old ship, follow them, [i or] rat on them for taking his ride. Although, still, it was probably a good idea for them to lay low for a little while. Even if Toombs swallowed his pride—which was doubtful—and told people that he got his ass-kicked, and a former partner of his ran off with Riddick, mercs would still look in to it for the potential payday... And that wouldn't be good since she legitimately has Riddick with her which would put a price on her own head.
Turning to Riddick, Adlyn smiles genially to him. [b “Well, it looks like we're going to be working together for a little while longer, I hope that works for you. There's just a few minor things left to do and then we can get off-world.”] Mainly just moving some of her shit to the new ship. She didn't have a lot of personal effects since she basically lived in her ship, but there were still some weapons, clothes, supplies, and other things she'd rather hang on to. Plus, she wanted to make it as hard as possible for Toombs to land on his feet as her ship would probably end up in his hands one way or another.
Once that was all settled, Adlyn heads in to her new ship, and cringes slightly. It smelled like cheap liquor and stale cigarettes. Not great smells, and ones that might take a bit to get out, but she imagined she wouldn't be keeping this ship for very long, so she'd just suffer through it for the time being. Either or, the ship was primed and ready to go, but she was more focused on cleaning her guns, so she wasn't sure whether Riddick or Sabre was piloting the ship. [b “So, I'd stay out of major space lanes for a while. We don't want to get caught while we're still hot... Does anyone have any suggestions where we go next? We have about a weeks worth of rations before we really need to dip back on to a planet for more supplies.”]
[size12 Riddick knew the oasis having been in and out of it numerous times. He knew how to get out of it. Since his senses were sharper than most other human races, he could easily tell what was going on around him even while hauling ass like he was. He could hear the footsteps of the lady mercenary following close behind. Though he also did hear her huffing like a steam engine. She could keep up alright but it was clear she hasn’t done this much running in quite some time.]
[size12 With a crunchy rush of leafy brush, they broke through into civilization. It was brighter out in the open but not by much. Riddick still had the advantage. WIth the girls permission, not that he needed it, he took off running. There was that huffing steam engine again. Riddick almost wanted to laugh. She was a little out of shape. Or just needed a refresher course of heavy, long distance haul assery. Betting on the latter. There was the hound's voice again. Ah, so the merc went my Adlyn. He wasn’t worried about getting a name but he got one anyway. Might as well if they were going to be stuck on the same ship for a while. He listened as the hound spoke, giving them the other mercs position. They were trying to head back to the ships through a back route. Maybe they were thinking they’d pop up behind the pair and ambush them. Not today.]
[size12 It was suggested to head south. Bad idea. They would still get a surprise shoot down if they run into the other mercenaries at the wrong time. Riddick had a plan cooked up in his head. He was good at that. Really good. His plan? Pretty simple really. Keep moving forward a bit, till they were behind the others, get up to higher grounds and then jump their asses. Well, that was the plan until Adlyn had already darted off. Riddick just kept moving. Maybe this would work out better for him in the long run.]
[size12 He kept moving forward. Maybe he’d head for the ship and leave. But his mind changed when he heard gunshots. He shifted gears and headed up the wall of the nearest building. He slipped his goggles up to get a clear view of things and moved around on the rooftops till he found where the scuffle was located. They were currently at a ceasefire, one man down with a bullet lodged in him. Each side was hidden behind a structure, waiting for their chance to lodge a bullet into the other. It was a standoff.]
[size12 There was some bantering going on. Ah. Toombs. Alexander Toombs. Of course. Now he remembered the voice. Riddick dusted his team back on another planet and hauled ass. Adlyn and Toombs spat at each other with their words but Adlyn backed Riddick up. She was on his side, something that rarely ever happened. Riddick moved to the side of the roof away from Toombs and jumped over. He made his way down quietly and like a cat stalking its prey, he snuck up to Toombs position. Toombs was facing towards Adlyn, gun poised at the ready through a little gap in the structure he was cowering in. The mercenary was unaware of his impending doom creeping up behind him. Riddick stopped moving and peeked over Toombs’ shoulder. He could see there was a similar gap on Adlyn’s side and he was able to see her through it but Toombs was too dumb to spot it. He waited a moment, giving Adlyn the chance to spot him via the shimmer of his eyes. Then he quickly turned his attention towards Toombs.]
[size12 With one good kick, Toombs flew through the weak boards of the stall. He landed with an oof as he hit the ground, his gun having skittered and clanked a few feet in front of him.] [b “How many of your teams do I have to dust till you get the hint to fuck off?”]
[+red “Riddick, you bastard! If you’d just give up like a good dog, you wouldn’t be in this mess.”]
[size12 Riddick heaved a sigh.] [b “What was it that you said to Adlyn earlier? You don’t know shit about me? Well, you don’t know shit about me, either.”] [size12 And that’s when Riddick punched Toombs’ lights clean out. Of course there was a look of fear on the guys face just before it was lights out. Riddick stood up and began to rummage for something to tie the loud-mouthed idiot up. The other guy wasn’t a problem since he had passed out by the time he showed up. Couldn't handle being shot. He’d live since it was just his shoulder. But at least the guy was out cold.]
No wonder Adlyn would never catch up to Riddick over the last few years. The guy was insanely fast for someone his size, and the obstructions of the oasis didn't even seem to slow him down. With the grace of a panther, he glides through the brush, over toppled trees, and roots like they were minor inconveniences to him. Adlyn kept up, but it took her her best to do so, and only because she was following Riddick's exact lead. The flashlight on her belt helped with the darkness, but the oasis had other ways of obscuring dangers... It was fortunate she had a guide with her.
Riddick broke through the oasis first, Adlyn following close behind him. Once they were out of the thicket of the oasis, their next step was to keep their forward momentum going back towards the ship. [b [+silver “Adlyn.”]] The voice comes from her watch.
[b “Go.”] She says simply. She couldn't say all that much as they were running, and after running and jumping through the oasis, Riddick was really putting her through the ringer. Felt like Basic all over again.
[b [+silver “They are trying to circle back to the ships through the market. Head South-West from your position.”]] Good idea. If they headed straight for the ships, Toombs and his partner would end up behind them. Despite Sabre being on them, she still didn't want her enemies positioned behind her. Taking them down would be the best course of action; they could take their time flipping ships then.
[b “You heard the dog.”] And she does as Sabre had said, diverting from the direction they had been heading in, and towards where Toombs and his partner were headed. She passes by a few buildings, and around the corner, and just as she does, down the street and around the corner comes Toombs and his friend. It only took a fraction of a second, but the two groups spot each other. Toombs' goon raises his gun, but Adlyn was faster, pegging the guy with a small burst from her rifle in to his chest and shoulder. It was likely he was wearing body armour, but she was sure they wouldn't be hearing from him any time soon.
Toombs opens up on her, but she manages roll out of the way and get behind an empty stall as cover. Quickly she assesses her gun, taking note of how many bullets she had left. She also turned to ask Riddick if- Wait. Where the [i hell] was Riddick?!
“Where's the big guy, Octavia? I woulda thought he'd have skinned you like a sardine by now.” Toombs calls from his own stall he was using as cover. Despite Toombs being a more seasoned mercenary than Octavia, having worked with her, he knew better than to underestimate her. She was a good shot, as he noted Tags groaning on the ground, only one bullet having lodged itself in his shoulder... Luckily for them they spent some extra creds on body armour.
[b “They don't skin sardines, Toombs, they can them! And he isn't like that.”] She calls back. And to be perfectly honest, she had no idea where Riddick was; she hadn't even noticed he was gone up until a few seconds ago... Wait, was he just going to take the goddamn ship without her?!
A few rounds eat in to her wooden cover, spraying some debris, and she breathes out. “You don't know shit about Riddick!” Toombs calls out. “He's mine and you can either hand him over or die!”
[size12 Riddick was pretty much a master of weaponry. Guns, knives, makeshift. You name it, he can kill with it. He could even tell the quality of a weapon just by feel. Give him a weapon and within a few seconds, he can tell you the quality of it. His prefered weapons were blades though, particularly knives. He could slice through just about anything with a simple knife. They were easy to obtain, easy to replace and easy to makeshift. He’ll use guns if he has to but his specialty is blades. Definitely blades. How many does he actually have on him besides the ones that are visible on his back and his calf? Who knows.]
[size12 The mercenary took the rifle and did the same checks he did. It was either habit or a trust issue. Seems just a habit. He kind of had the same thing going, having been in a sort of military type gig for a while before he was forced to become a convict because of said military. Of course, no one really knows that about him since no one cared to ask. But then again, how many people have stuck around long enough to get that close? Not many, if any at all. And those that have become his friends he left behind to protect them from the dangers he seems to draw in. He is a lone wolf after all. A dangerous one at that.]
[size12 Satisfied the girl was armed, Riddick was about to turn to head back to take out the last of the mercs that came after them but her words stopped him before he could make a move. So, she got wind of what happened just before he got back to her. That’s convenient. Handy even. They could use that to their advantage. Infact, that’s exactly what Riddick began thinking about.]
[size12 Sabotage her ship. For a bloated ego and deflated brain, it was a good plan. For about 2 seconds. What sort of strategy would be effective that could involve the hound? Likely a chase and corner tactic. Wait for the pursuers to either run out of ammo or slip up somewhere to fall on their asses and then the pair flanks them or simply hauls ass to their ship. It all falls on the fact that they are clueless to the fact the pair is very much aware of what happened.]
[size12 Riddick crossed his arms and leaned against a tree. He wanted off this rock and it was clear she did, too. This was the opportunity he was waiting for to get off world. There had been next to no decent ships since he crash landed and traveling to another settlement would likely yield similar results as to the one he was currently in. He watched and listened as she seemed to be figuring out a plan. Then he heard her hounds voice over the comm unit on her wrist. Seems they came up with the same plan he did. He’s beginning to like how this girl’s mind worked. They seemed to tick on the same frequency. At least for now, anyway.]
[size12 Riddick chuckled.] [b “You came up with the same plan I did. Just one thing. We do this, you better keep up.”] [size12 Riddick was fast for a big guy. He would leave people in the dust if they fell behind. He was just that kind of guy. But he couldn’t be all that bad, could he?]
[size12 Well, he has the instinct of an animal. His mindset is basically either you keep up with the alpha or you get left behind. He might stop and show the way if he likes someone enough but that doesn’t mean he won’t leave them in the dust. Never slow him down. If he needs to slow down, he will. But otherwise, it’s full steam ahead. Especially in this dark oasis. He’s the only one that can see clearly in this lightless world. It’s either keep up with him or lose your way to go from predator to prey.]
[size12 Here’s to hoping this merc chick can keep up despite the lack of light. Riddick was confident she could but he wasn’t holding his breath. He never did. If she kept up with his pace once they started running, he’d be mildly impressed though he wouldn’t show it.]
Of course he wouldn't take her seriously. Who would in this situation? Adlyn certainly didn't... But she obviously was joking about him surrendering to her; like that would ever happen. However, that currently wasn't the issue. The issue right now was the mercs that tracked her here. She wasn't really concerned with [i who] they were, until one of them shouted in to the oasis to goad Riddick. She'd recognize that voice anywhere. [b “Ahh, shit, its Toombs.”] She mumbles to herself, her palm meeting her face. This guy was just as relentless in tracking down Riddick as she was, and he's had it bad longer than she has... [i 'So I guess it would make sense it was him.'] Adlyn thinks to herself.
Really what she should be thinking of right now is how they were going to [i deal] with him. Now, she'd never condone merc-on-merc violence, but she wasn't shy about it either; she didn't take kindly to vultures trying to pillage her collars... Not that Riddick was a collar, he was... [i Something] she was trying to figure out at the moment. Too many mixed feelings at this point in time, and adding the stress of almost getting eaten by a monster wasn't helping her head get clear. Toombs being here didn't exactly act as any assistance either.
Anyway, it was time to strategize. Toombs was probably working with a three to four-man crew, so they had the two of them outnumbered, but Adlyn and Riddick had the advantage of concealment, knowing where they were, and partial surprise. Adlyn was about to open her mouth to say something when Riddick looked back at her. Her voice caught in her throat when they made eye contact, and she began to stutter a little. Her heart thudded in her chest when he told her to stay here... Adlyn's been out of the Navy for a while now, so she wasn't used to people telling her what to do anymore... [i 'Muy Caliente']
As Riddick went to deal with their company, Adlyn took stock of herself and her gear. The worst condition she had was bruising, maybe a pulled muscle or eight that she'd notice after she slept.
She turns her head when the first shriek followed by a [i snap!] resounds through the oasis. [b “Well, that's one down.”] She says to herself, turning on the flashlight attached to her belt that she conveniently forgot about. It was at this point she looked at her machine pistols, noting that they were all gunked up with mud, so basically useless... Well, she had a knife, a grenade, and a few gadgets in her utility belt that she could use in a pinch. Once the got back to her ship, then she'd be able to take them apart and clean them out.
Inspecting her fingernails now that she had light, Adlyn waits for Riddick to return when- [b [+silver “Adlyn.”]] Her cybernetic hound, Sabre, grabs her attention over comms. Despite having a monotone and rough mechanical voice, it was good to hear from him.
She touches the comm in her ear. [b “Whats up?”]
[b [+silver “All the electronic components of [i The Physalia] were instantaneously disabled. I can no longer interface with its systems, or access its back-up systems.”]]
[b “Sabotage, then.”]
[b [+silver “That is a correct assessment. Vehicle ID: Flattery C-19, Registered to Alexander Toombs had landed approximately ten metres from the The Physalia in the designated landing zone. They were assessing your ship upon departure of their own. They must have planted an EMP device that evaded my sensors.”]]
[b “The power nodes?”]
[b [+silver “Unsalvageable.”]]
[b “Well, shit... Alright, start up a manual override of what you can and wait for more instructions.”] And as if on cue, Riddick reappeared from the darkened brush, handing her a rifle and informed her about the sabotage. She pulls out the magazine from the rifle, checking its ammo capacity and the likelihood it'd jam on her. [b “Yeah, my partner told me.”] She tells him, and suddenly felt the need to qualify the statement. [b “He's a robot dog.”]
[b “Since they disabled my ship, it means they're going to head back that way, probably to try and ambush us. If I didn't have Sabre—the dog—tell me, that's likely where I would have suggested we go, only we'd be locked out of my ship, and then we're fish in a barrel.”] It was a good plan, especially for Toombs, but they didn't account for Sabre spoiling the surprise.
His ship is near Adlyn's, so they'll probably try to get back to the [i Flattery] so they can arm themselves or to position themselves for a proper ambush... She wasn't going to let that happen. It'd take them a few minutes to get all the way back, so the two had time to quickly coordinate a counter-attack. She presses a few buttons on what looked like a watch on her wrist. [b “Sabre, can you get the bay doors on the ship open?”]
[b [+silver “Yes. They can operate manually.”]] His voice comes from her watch so Riddick can hear as well.
[b “Good. Do that, and when you see Toombs and his friend, head them off from the landing zone and keep on them so you can update us on their position. Riddick and I will be coming up from the rear.”] She looks up at Riddick. [b “If you're game, that is.”] This way, best case scenario they would flank Toombs and his goon, and worst case, they could corner them somewhere, which really wasn't 'the worst'. Either or, she didn't want to get stranded on this planet, nor did she think Riddick did, and if her ship was fucked, then their only option was to take Toombs'.
Pulling the strap over herself, Adlyn flicks a switch on the side of the rifle—full-auto. [b “Lets go get a new ship.”] Adlyn says and begins their way back out of the oasis with haste.
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/X8iWsEc.png?1]]
Not exactly according to plan, but his backup plan was fool-proof. Riddick ghosted Hoss and Li, shaving their numbers in half, but this was still workable. With Tags and himself 'retreating' from the oasis, Riddick and Octavia would most likely want to head to safer ground: [i The Physalia]. Except, thanks to his genius plan, it was now disabled and they'd be showing up to a fun little surprise party, courtesy of Toombs.
They were legging it pretty hard back to the landing zone, the both of them huffing a little bit—too much beer and cigarettes on their off time—but the ships were finally about to be in sight. And the second they were, the bay doors on Octavia's ship begins to draw down. The two of them skid to a halt. Drawing their weapons. “The ships supposed to be a brick!” Toombs spits.
“The thing can still be opened manually. It has hydraulics.” Tags responds. “I don't know who would open it... no one is supposed to be in there.”
But there was. Not a 'who', though, but a 'what'. Stepping out of the darkened hold and on to the ship's ramp came [i something]. It was canine in shape, servos and filament acting as its muscles. Its face was a V-plate forming backwards in to ears, with two glowing red sensors as eyes. Its jaws were metal, with jagged wide teeth, clearly made for ripping and tearing. The claws on its feet looked like they were for the same thing. It's mechanical filament tail swishes for a second before the canine rears its head back, and lets out a loud mechanical howl.
“What the fuck is that?!” Tags shouts, and starts opening fire on it. Toombs follows suit, but the thing was fast and agile, coming at them in a calculated zigzag pattern that ate up the distance between them faster than he would have ever thought it could. Even when they tagged it, it didn't seem to slow the thing down.
Tags turns and starts running the opposite direction. “Fuck!” Toombs curses and frantically does the same, just as the mechanical beast leaps in to the air and lands where he was standing just second before.
[size12 Riddick couldn’t help but to keep grinning. The girl looked quite the mess having basically done a swan dive into the swamp like slop of the oasis mud. He’s seen just about everything but the slip ups like this might be the most amusing.]
[size12 The woman was catching her breath leaned up against a nearby tree. Her words made his eyes shine not with his normal eyeshine but with something else. Satisfaction, maybe? Whatever it was, it was gone when the lady merc spoke again. This time, humor seemed to line his face. His eyes almost sparkled with it. He was almost going to laugh. Riddick surrender? Yeah, right. Does an animal give up fighting just because they’re cornered? No. But unlike an animal, Riddick had intelligence. It was all a matter of coming up with a clever plan to escape and timing it just right.]
[size12 Then a gunshot sounded, echoing through the oasis. Riddick turned to try and spot where it came from but whoever fired the shot was still too far off in the brush for him to see. Riddick looked at the girl when she mentioned being followed, his face back to being his usual ‘I’m mad at everything’ neutral look. He turned back then climbed up on top of the fallen beast to see if there was anyone coming which there wasn’t. Too far off still. He glanced back, his eyes shining in the dark.] [b “You, stay here.”] [size12 He slipped his goggles back over his eyes and then with a leap, he was off running.]
[size12 Riddick came up with a plan as he darted through the brush which was basically kill whoever was stalking them. He stopped just as he saw the four guys walking through the dense jungle-like oasis. They were twisting around and around, guns pointing everywhere and ready to shoot at anything that moved. Riddick crept slowly along the brush line of the path the men were taking. He watched the movements of each one, studied the behavior as if he was a tiger trying to pick out the weakest link. He listened for any sounds that were off kilter. There. A slight rattle. As if something was being shaken and the parts were clinking together. The sound of a gun in trembling hands. The weak link.]
[size12 Riddick stopped moving and poked his head up enough to see over the brush but still kept hidden. He lifted his goggles for a moment to find the trembling one. Of course, the scaredy cat was at the back. Riddick put the goggles back on and ducked back down. He scooted along the brush line till he was even with the chicken. He moved silently next to them, which was quite a feat considering Riddick’s size and build. There was a thicker bit of brush coming up and once the group reached it, Riddick reached out and grabbed the weakling's legs. He pulled the guy down and into the brush. The guy screamed as he did, though it was more a girly shriek. He fired his gun, the bullets going astray and hitting everything but Riddick. Then with a sickening snap, the oasis echoed into silence. Riddick had snapped the guy's neck, killing him instantly. One down, 3 to go.]
[size12 The remaining three started to move faster into the oasis. Riddick grabbed the ulaks from his back and chased after them. They were getting closer to the lady mercenary. He ran up a nearby tree a little ways and pushed off from it. He spun through the air behind the trio and as he did, he sliced into the neck that was bringing up the rear. Of course, the guy was walking backwards and turning side to side a lot so he was an easy kill. His neck was a gaping wound as he bled out in seconds and Riddick disappeared into the otherside of the trail, tucking his ulaks back into the holsters on his back as he took cover. The other two were only alerted when the sound of the guy’s body hitting the ground let them know Riddick was on their tail.] [+red “Shit. Shit. Shit. Shit! It’s Riddick!”]
[size12 Toombs groaned before yelling at the last remaining guy.] [+red “Calm down, you idiot. We can still get them. Thankfully, I had a bit of a backup plan in case something like this happened.”]
[+red “I hope it works because I’m out of here!”] [size12 The guy turned tail and began running back out of the oasis.]
[+red “Well, fuck me sidways. Good luck trying to get off this rock!”] [size12 Toombs took out a small device, popped the cover open and pushed a button that hid under it. The device beeped and began to blink with a red light. Toombs then began running after the other guy, a grin on his face as if he had everything planned out perfectly.]
[size12 Riddick had been listening and watching from the brush so he heard everything. They did something that made things lean in their favor. At least that’s what they thought anyway. Riddick decided to loot one of the bodies for a weapon or two. Not for himself but for the merc. Since she went face first into the muck, her guns were likely useless so she needed a new one. He grabbed a rifle, checked the ammo and functionality and was satisfied with it. He flung it over his shoulder by the attached strap and started heading back to where he left the woman.]
[size12 Once he got back, he took the rifle off his shoulder and held out to the girl.] [b “Pretty sure we’re down a ship. Your ship.”]
It looked like Adlyn was running further [i in] to the oasis. Of course, why wouldn't that be the case? She couldn't fucking see after all... Well, that wasn't [i entirely] true. She could see certain outlines here and there when the leaves above her were thin enough to let in the moonlight. And she could orient herself better from the light of the muzzle flash when she fired her machine pistols. She was still stumbling like a baboon through the woods, but she was able to keep herself upright and continued to carry her forward momentum. Despite the the somewhat feverish bits of illumination she's had, Adlyn wasn't actually sure if she shot anything, let alone the beast that was adamantly pursuing her. Statistically speaking, she should've hit something...
Adlyn doesn't deviate from her path, but she was sure there were enough subtle turns where she didn't know which way she was going... This goddamn oasis had to run out eventually! And she hoped it would soon, as the solid ground under her feet began to squelch and stick. It appeared she was entering in to more marshy territory which also had the subsequent effect of slowing her down some. Not good, especially since one of her guns just ran empty and she was pretty sure the other one was about to-
[i click click click click click]
Yeah, that sounded about right. Fortunately for her, the machine pistols were top-of-the-line HammerTech armaments and could be auto-loaded. Gave her a bit of an advantage in combat, and one while she was on the run. With a slight twist and flick, the spent magazines eject from the guns, and just as she's about to lower her guns for the next magazines to zip in to the well, her foot catches on a root concealed in slightly deeper water. As she flew forwards, she found herself wondering how this hadn't happened sooner before crashing in to the ground with her left shoulder, sliding a few extra feet in the mud. Immediately, she tries to get to her feet, but flounders in the mud and water, able to make it on to her haunches, the most effective form of retreat becoming her scurrying backwards until she backs in to something solid. The beast had been hot on her tail, she could hear its thundering gait drawing closer by the second, felt its weight heave from the ground as it jumped—she shields her face from what was coming next— it screeched, and then...
[i 'Nothing?'] She blinks a few times, trying to see in to the darkness with some of the moonlight that was she was afforded. Adlyn couldn't see much, but soon the darkness stirred once more, and out of the shadows came... [i Riddick]. She lets out a sigh despite her laboured breathing, slumping back in to the tree slightly while watching the ex-convicts grinning face. She wipes some water, mud, and her own hair out of her face, and couldn't help but grin back.
[b “I think, maybe, I'll add that one to the list.”] She responds with a forced chuckle. At this point, she was at his mercy. She was sitting backed against a tree, essentially flanked, weapons dry, and basically just waiting for the coup de grace... But she knew he wouldn't. He wasn't like that. And even if he was, it would have been much less of a hassle to just let the lizard-thing eat her. [b “Now that that's out of the way, I guess we can negotiate your unconditional surrender to me.”] She laughs in to a cough. Obviously that wasn't reasonable since Adlyn had literally nothing in the way of leverage—both figuratively and literally—it was just that now that she had Riddick here, right in front of her... She had no idea what to do about it. It was almost like the dreams she's had where she would be after him, the only difference being she didn't wake up just when she was about to catch him. It never really dawned on her what she would actually [i do] when she caught up to Riddick; it was always about [i the chase]. Her little obsession. And she had been scorned enough trying to get to him where she never even bothered looking at getting this far. If she had, it fled her mind long ago, and now she had nothing... Just bad jokes while covered in mud and sweat.
Adlyn begins picking herself up off of the ground, using the tree to help herself to her feet. [b “This isn't exactly how I imagined finding you. But now that we're here-”] [i blam!] A gunshot echoed from the direction the two had originally came from. Then a few more followed. [i 'Who the hell was that?'] She thought, and then something dawned on her, as she looked back to Riddick, her pupils dilating. [b “I must have been followed.”]
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/X8iWsEc.png?1]]
Toombs slaps the other merc in the back of the head. “Are you a moron or something? You just blew our cover! It was a fucking [i bird]!” Jesus Christ, so much for all the 'talent' that he had to work with. If Riddick didn't know they were coming, he definitely knew now, making it especially dangerous in there now. He had been hoping Octavia would be enough of a distraction for them to swoop in and get their paycheck, but that idea was shot to shit.
“Sorry, boss. It just flew out.”
“That's what birds do, numb-nuts. Now we're going in hot, so everyone keep your eyes triple peeled. If it moves, shoot to kill. If it has a gravelly voice and wears goggles, shoot to wound.” They all turn on the flashlights attached to their guns, Toombs turning to face the oasis.
“Come out, come out wherever you are, Riddick! I'm here for you!” Toombs calls in to the blackened brush before they all go in.
[size12 She was on major high alert as she looked around her surroundings, gun at the ready. She had training, knew how to handle danger. But did she know how to handle things when her eyes were no longer as useful to her in the dark?]
[size12 It wasn’t long till she made her way to where Riddick was perched and his voice caught her attention. She spun around, trying to figure out where his voice traveled from. That’s one of the fun things about the dark. When there’s a sound, it tends to echo when it wouldn’t before. Sounds bounce around and seem like they’re coming from everywhere. It’s the fear that bubbles up in most people that causes that distortion of sound. It’s a mere trick of the mind. Fight or flight as most call it. Riddick seems to only have the fight response and only when facing situations where he has to face danger.]
[size12 Riddick moved so that he was leaning slightly over, his palms supporting his upper body as he leaned forward on the tree platform. The platform creaked under his weight ever so slightly. He blinked, his eyes giving off that eerie shine. The mercenary spoke, standing her ground with a brave front. He almost wanted to laugh. Everyone is afraid of something. Specially of what they can’t see in the dark. He had a feeling she might end up eating those words.]
[size12 The oasis had gone quiet. Only the sounds of smaller creatures making their nightly song could be heard. The larger beasts have quieted, possibly the prey animals of the oasis. Something was on the prowl. Something big. Riddick stayed put. He knew the oasis quite well by now and what lurked in it. The girl spoke again, her words intriguing him. His eyes followed her as she moved, the only thing she could see was his eye shine. She continued to speak. He stayed silent. She seemed to be looking for a reply. Her talking was attracting something and she was about to find out what. Snack time?]
[size12 A lizard like beast leaped out of the brush with a snarling screech and it was big. She tactically rolled out of the way but the beast was quick for its size. She began to run and it chased after. Gun shots sounded as she ran. SHe must be shooting at anything that moved in the brush. Riddick grabbed the hunters knife from its holster on his calf and hopped down from his perch and ran after the lizard beast. For a big man, he was nimble, fast and agile. He darted through the dense oasis like he has been doing it all his life. It wasn’t long till he caught up to the girl just when the beast was about to leap at her. Riddick made a running jump just as it did and with perfect timing, he landed on its back near the head and slammed the knife blade into its brain till there was no blade visible. The beast let out a quick screech and crashed to the ground lifeless, Riddick poised on it’s back. He yanked the blade out with a sickening sound of cracking bone and something gooey. He hopped off the back of the fallen beast and moved to where he could be seen. He stood near the nose of the fallen creature and looked towards the girl, a smirk on his face.] [b “Still not afraid of anything?”]
Well, this wasn't exactly the most tactically sound decision Adlyn has ever made. The sun was getting lower by the second, and the further she decided to push in to the oasis the more light would be snuffed out by its brush... [i And] she was tracking a notorious Man-Hunter who could [i see in the dark]. Apparently she had gone insane a long time ago looking for Riddick if this was the type of shit she was throwing herself in to. She was the perfect target in the perfect place for him to ghost her.
She wades through some of the brush slowly, trying to listen for something, [i anything], but all she could hear was her blood pressure rising, and the strange calls of the wildlife in the oasis. There was more now as the sun sank lower, and she was pretty sure by the end of this, she was going to be blowing holes in something big and nasty.
The voice caused her breath to hitch and she quickly stopped in her place. The gruff disembodied voice of Riddick had her searching the brush with her eyes, but she stayed relatively still, turning occasionally to assess the area. It sounded like it came from everywhere and nowhere at the same time... Adlyn wasn't sure if the contents of the sentence were supposed to rattle her or not, but she stood her ground none the less. [b “I'm not afraid of anything.”] She says to the air, although she wasn't sure how much good it would do her.
After what she said, there was silence. And not just silence between her and Riddick, a eerie silence that was almost deafening. [b “Oh shit...”] Adlyn mutters, drawing her other machine-pistol from its holster. The sounds of the jungle had mostly disappeared, which was good indication that danger was near. Now if Riddick or Adlyn herself was the danger, she could not determine. The fact that the sun had now fully set, and she was deep enough in the oasis where she was mostly surrounded by darkness was not a good thing. She couldn't even see where she had come in from now, and had managed to get herself a little turned around. Real fucking professional on her part, if you asked her.
[b “I'm not here to collect the bounty, Riddick.”] She turns a little bit, eyeing the treeline, bushes, and darkness for any sign of movement as she herself moved slowly. There was a small stir in he shadows, and she cocks her head in the direction. [b “I'm here for...”] Well, she didn't really know what to say about that. Two shimmering eyes could be seen in the dark of the brush to her left, and Adlyn takes a slow tentative step towards it. They looked just like Riddick's eyes. [b “Well, I'm not quite sure...”] She takes a few more slow steps towards the eyes. [b “But I'm not an enemy.”] She finishes a little less than ten feet from what she thought was Riddick. [b “Riddick?”] She whispers.
And with an inhuman screech and snarl, something big jumps from the bushes at Adlyn. She didn't quite catch a full glimpse as she rolled out of the way, but she was pretty sure it had scales and teeth. [i Big] teeth. She opens fires on the fauna it had jumped in to after missing her, and the entire oasis erupts in to shrieks and snarls, as bushes, trees, and even shadows begin to stir, immediately triggering Adlyn's fight or flight. Before she even realized it, she was on the move again, sprinting through the brush, and opening fire on anything that didn't look human. If she was running back towards civilization or further in to the oasis? She wasn't the right person to ask.
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/X8iWsEc.png?1]]
Working with these novices was a real pain in the ass, but strength in numbers and all of that shit. Currently they were on the lookout for Octavia since she would be their best lead in to finding out where Riddick was. Or at least they could figure it out on their own. Octavia being here was cause enough for them believe Riddick was settled on this asshole of a planet.
She was originally a part of her crew on Abenic before they got fucking dusted by Riddick, both Octavia and himself being the only survivors. After that, Octavia resolved to hunt for Riddick by herself, and seemingly just as relentlessly as Toombs was hunting him. But he couldn't let that bitch get in the way of his laurels! He's been hunting Riddick for much longer. Since the fucking disaster on the Kublai Khan! Five goddamn years. Riddick was his, and his a lone, and there was no way he was going to let anyone get in his way of getting his hands on him.
Lighting up a cigarette, Toombs walks a couple paces around Octavia's ship, [i The Physalia]. It was a beat up lightweight transport vessel she had modified. Kind of a shit-bucket in his opinion in all honesty; she couldn't have jacked something smoother from the Argonites before she left?
“Find anything?” He asks, taking a drag off of the cigarette. The other three mercenaries with him were detailing the ship with scanners.
“No life signs, shes not in there. We [i are] picking up an AI signature though, one not endemic to the ship.” Huh, interesting.
“Well, lets crack this bitch open and see what we can find.” Toombs tells them, and just when they were about to grab the equipment to bust in to the ship, sounds of gunfire rattles through the quiet of the night. From the designated landing area, they got a good view of the town, and the oasis that it bordered, and since he couldn't see the flashes of gunfire in the streets, it was quite obvious where they originated from. “Nevermind boys, we now know where Octavia is, and no doubt Riddick is there too. Grab your shit and lets get a move on!” The men grab their guns and equipment, loading them up, and the four-man crew begins to make a hasty advance towards the oasis.
[size12 Riddick knew how mercs worked. They were like roaches. Where there was one, more often came out of the cracks. Like a scruffy worker bee leading the hive to nectar. Except this nectar happens to be a dangerous convict with a big chunk of change attached to his head. Of course, none of them seem to understand exactly who they are chasing after. It’s how a lot of them end up dead.]
[size12 He went about his day as normal. He didn’t seem concerned about the lady mercenary. If she left, great. If she stays, hopefully she uses her head. Of course, there’s no telling exactly what’s running through her mind. Her reaction to seeing just a peek of him was rather interesting. Was she hunting him or was she [i ‘hunting’] him? He didn’t care enough to find out but there was a feeling that he was going to end up finding out anyway.]
[size12 Time just ticked by. The day blazed away as it always did. Being unknown did have it’s perks. Access to liquor was one of those perks. Riddick stayed in the back of a little bar in the middle of the town. Riddick became a regular here. It was one of those bars that the lone wolves often go to just to get away from the bustling life and enjoy a quiet drink. Riddick is very much a lone wolf, rarely ever working with others. If he does work with others, it’s at his pace. He sets the rules and the pace and if someone can’t keep up or stick to his plan, good luck.]
[size12 The sun was starting to set. Mercs were on the planet with more likely on the way. Gotta start planning another escape. Just gotta do what’s always been done. Jack another ship. But none of the ships currently available can go off world. None accept the one the lone merc came in on. But she’s not causing him any problems yet so he’ll leave her alone. For now.]
[size12 Riddick had returned to where he was staying and got whatever gear back on and weapons in place. Mostly the curved blades he kept on his back and a couple pocket knives he picked up from the market. He also tied a big hunters knife to his calf. And that’s when he heard it. The sound of footsteps coming up to the housing area. Luckily, there was a back way out of the house. He quietly took his exit and headed towards the oasis.]
[size12 He peeked out from a bush to see what was going on. It was the lady mercenary. She decided to stay after all. And it turns out she figured out where Riddick was holed up at. He smirked, amused with the idea that a single woman mercenary has come after him. Does she even have easy access to backup if things go sideways?]
[size12 Riddick turned and headed into the darkness of the oasis. Of course, his movement would have alerted the girl and possibly sparked her curiosity. The sun was going to set soon and the whole planet would be set in darkness. Strange creatures would soon be waking up for their nightly hunts and being in the oasis when that happens is about as dangerous as being stranded in the desert with no water. Won’t last too long unless you know exactly what to do. Well that and having perfect night vision and can see everything coming. If this woman is going to do anything, she better do it now and she better do it quick.]
[size12 Riddick didn’t go too deep into the oasis. He climbed up into a tree that gave him a view of the housing area. There was a small platform in this particular tree that was there long before he came to the planet. With his goggles up and resting on his forehead, his eyes shined in the darkness like the eyes of a cat. He watched what the lady mercenary was going to do, having seen she was now on high alert. Sure enough, she’s deciding to head towards the thicket of the oasis. Critters were already stirring about, some were quite nasty.] [b “What’s going to get you first? The dark? Or what lays within? Hope you’re not scared of the dark.”] [size12 He says as he watches what events might just unfold before him.]
She was getting short of breath and she was [i walking] back to her ship. At the halfway point, she comes to halt, breathes in, and relaxes herself... It had been a long time since she had felt something like that; almost the same kind of rush Adlyn had felt when she first laid eyes on him. For the most part, she was resolved to just walk away from this, it had to be the trick of the light or her mind playing tricks on her... But at the same time, it seemed like if she had been close enough she could have reached out and touched him; very unlike a mirage.
It was time to for her to be reasonable about this, or at least [i reason] with it. Adlyn couldn't just let herself walk away now; she had to do her due diligence on the matter. If she left, she'd be wondering if it [i was] Riddick for the rest of her life, but if she investigated, she could at least put it all to bed forever... So it was decided then: she would stay to settle this once and for all. Alright, perfect... But where the hell did she start?
She snaps her fingers. The locals. If Riddick was here they would definitely have seen him, or perhaps could at least point her in the direction of someone who could. But she'd have to be careful about it; if she did in fact see Riddick, then it was likely that he had saw her first. That could put her in some danger, especially if since she was on her lonesome... If she wanted to do this properly-proper bounty hunter style-she'd need at least a five-man crew... However, she reminds herself she was [i not] hunting him down, she was [i searching] for him, which could be an advantage in of itself; he might not outright kill her if things came to close-quarters. She still needed to strike a balance though. If she appeared to be fervently hunting him, Riddick might just kill her, but if she didn't seem to be enough of a threat, he wouldn't even bother, just letting her tangle around the area until she left, so she'd have to approach this carefully. But for starters, she needed a lead.
Adlyn goes to one of the many vendors; this one in particular was selling hand crafted clothes, blankets, cloaks, and scarves. She hands over some credits and purchases a comfortable shemagh that went with her outfit. Wrapping it around her neck, she asks: [b “I saw a man in a cloak earlier, did he purchase that from you?”]
“I do not know which man you are referring to. Many purchase my wares.” Perfect, it meant she could ask without being too direct. Adlyn didn't know how connected he was to the town, so if she started asking [i too] specific questions, they might tip him off, and then she'd be as good as dead.
[b “I don't really remember. I think he was wearing black goggles? Kind of on the taller side?”]
“Oh, [i him].” Aha! “The outsider. No, he did not get this cloak from me. I have others if you might be interested?” So she [i did] see him! Good, she wasn't going crazy.
[b “Maybe, maybe. I might be back later, I'm not sure how long I'll be staying so I might need my own.”] And after that, she continued to ask some of the locals in very roundabout ways about Riddick. It was difficult, because she couldn't get too descriptive or pry for specifics; she had to find someone who was particularly chatty and would divulge the information without much prying or leading. And it did eventually come in the form of a little boy whom she shared some of her binangkal with.
The sun was starting to set at this point, so she was running out of time. [b “And this guy lives next to the oasis?”] She questioned as the boy stuffed more of the sweet treats in to his mouth.
“Yeah, yeah. But don't go there, my dad says its very dangerous. There are monsters in the oasis.” He takes the last of the balls and gobbles it down.
[b “Thanks for the info, kid.”] She turns to look at the vendor. [b “Yeah, can I get another helping of those for the kid?”]
She was finally off to the shelter near the edge of the oasis. Now, for the most part, Adlyn didn't believe in monsters, but she knew that on many planets there was strange creatures and wildlife that were dangerous to human's, so she wouldn't go in blindly. But at the same time, she was told this by a child, so it was most likely a story to keep them away from the actual oasis itself; it was thick with brush and fauna like a rain-forest. Smaller than most forests, but big enough for a person to get lost in. Saying that though, she did note that the town was encircling a safe distance from the actual oasis itself, most of the signs of local life being water educators and pumps siphoning from the aquifers underneath... Maybe she should have brought her hound, but with the sand she might've ended up carrying him back to the ship. And he was [i heavy].
Crossing the terrain between the town and to the shelter wasn't difficult, eerily quiet as she got further from town, but not difficult. The shelter in question was in fact uncomfortably close to the oasis as she had discovered, and it looked to be in disrepair. Definitely was Riddick's style to hole himself up in something like this, but she was also surprised it wasn't a cave or something... Although he probably [i did] have a cave or something similar in the event someone like Adlyn came looking for him. He had a high bounty on his head after all, so it was only a matter of time before someone came for the creds.
Now that she was outside of the shelter, staring it down, she waited a moment just to do some listening. A little bit of 'hurry up and wait', but adequately perceiving the situation with one's senses was never a waste of time; a handy lesson she learned from the Argonite Navy... but a lot of the officers she worked with had been exposed to the Argon gas, so their powers of perception were a little [i different] than hers, among [i other] things....
She heard no signs of life on the inside, and didn't see any shadowy movements, so it was likely he wasn't home... [i Or] waiting to ambush her... Most likely the former. If he saw her earlier, he would have definitely tagged her as a mercenary and wouldn't be running back to hide in literally the first place anyone would look... She was still going to look though.
Slowly, she approaches the shelter, keeping herself hyper aware of her surroundings and for any auditory cues... Which was kind of hard, because the wildlife in the dense forest-y oasis were making a lot of noise with their strange hoots, haws, and chitters. Nevertheless, she crept closer, placing one of her hands on one of her guns as she reached the other out to open the door when-
She turns around quickly, pulling out both of her machine-pistols and aiming them at the oasis. Some brush was still moving from whatever or whoever had stirred it. Normally she'd brush it off, but since it occurred nearly at the same time she was going to open the door, she didn't think it was a coincidence. Argonites don't believe in coincidences. Adlyn wasn't like most Argonites who were often considered to be very logical and lack a lot of empathy, but she was still mostly a product of her upbringing, and subscribed to a lot of their practices. The nonexistence of coincidences being one of them.
It could be Riddick. It was [i most likely] Riddick. And from the disturbed brush, it looked like he was heading deeper in to the oasis... [i Fucking great.] It looked like that was where she would be headed too. She places one of the machine pistols back in to its holster under her armpit, but keeps one primed and at the ready. She wasn't here to kill Riddick, but she'd be stupid to go in to the oasis where there were plenty of places for the Man-hunter to hide, unarmed. Not to mention she would also take precautions because of what the locals had said. They were pretty unspecific about exactly what horrors lurked in the the thick rain-forest-like brush, but she'd still be ready to defend herself in the event she was to run in to something she didn't like.
So, with a deep breath, she begin wading through the thick brush and in to the dark oasis.
[center [pic https://i.imgur.com/9llozSb.jpg]]
Flying down from orbit towards the surface, the [i Flattery C-19] breaks atmosphere and heads towards the town.
“How sure are you Riddick is here?” A man, gruff, with a thick stubble asks.
“As sure as my left nut, Hoss. That bitch Octavia has been all hot and bothered by Riddick since Abenic. She's almost caught up to him a few times now. Missed him by seconds.” He tells the other mercenary. Hoss nods at it, and begins thinking for a second. “Don't hurt yourself now.”
He ignores the insult. “Well, if Riddick is this elusive, and Octavia is a skilled mercenary, then how are we going to catch him?” And he laughs at Hoss' question. Head back, straight from the stomach and everything.
“Because this is a three-man job, Hoss, and I got four. Plus,” He jerks a thumb at himself as the ship lands smoothly, landing gears engaged, and everyone on board begins getting ready to depart for the hunt. “No one gets away from Alexander Toombs.”
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