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 On the Edge of Expanion (IC)

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Litschi

Litschi

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Nov 19, 2018 1:49 am

The words from Gorthrax interrupted Na'Nos thoughts about failing in combat. She always tries to avoid trouble by any means. How can I - a little Fio - even think about being as helpful as a confessed warrior? The big paw from the Kroot felt heavy yet somewhat pleasingly on her shoulder. Never had Na'No thought that a big wild Kroot like Gorthrax was, could give her that feeling. You are right, Gorthrax. I should study more to find out how can I help our company in the best way. She blinks in the direction of Elanro.

The last red lights, displaying alert symbols for the TX, turned grey and green. It seems like the TX is ready to go. Na'No moves into the direction of Vra'fa: "Let's quickly leave this dark place.". She makes a gesture to help Vra'Fa move.
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Iron and Metal
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Nov 19, 2018 11:05 am

The TX5 showed its resilience once again in how little damage it had taken given the abruptness and force of its crash. With a little help from Ar'Tol, Na'no easily runs a diagnostics check and ensures that all of the primary systems were in the green. It takes no more than fifteen minutes.

Of the arachnids, there was no more sign. Being that these creatures had not been encountered previously, it was well within your rights to name them.

With the sensor suite in the front of the vehicle actively scanning for webs, you get moving quickly - and safely.

It takes two more hours of cruising to clear the forest. The suns are high in the sky once you do, and the heat hits you again like a ray from a pulse rifle. But you all know that in only a few more hours they will begin to fall beyond the horizon and the absolute dark of night will emerge - as this planet had no moons to speak of.

The TX5 plots the path to the approximate coordinates of the Oasis that both Gorthrax and Na'no had mapped out. At your current speed you will arrive well into the dark. You could always drive straight there and set up camp or stop before you get there and proceed there with the morning light.

Or something else entirely.
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Carnelian
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Nov 20, 2018 3:37 pm

With an hour or so until dark Gorthrax calls a halt and so as the TX5 begins to slow he climbs out of his seat and stands on the hull to get a clearer view.

"We should consider stopping soon, unless we wish to press on well into the dark" As he speaks his keen eyes scan the horizon from left to right, taking in the landscape in between. Was there a suitable spot to old up for the night?

Survival:
 

Gorthrax rubs is eyes, they were a itchy, irritated. He blinks a few times.

Shrugging he returns to his seat.

"I be thinking we should camp up soon. Oasis' are a  magnet for wildlife. Best we go in with the sun at our backs."
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Nov 22, 2018 5:18 pm

Vra'fa smiled back at Na'no. It was a little wan, her face clearly showing strain and tiredness, her eyes a little duller but it was a smile nonetheless.
"You should not take all the weight on yourself Na'no. Difficulties will always present themselves. What is important is that we work together to solve them, rather than waste energy on blame. Our journey has just begun and it is to be expected that things like this will occur until we understand how to best use all of our skills to become an effective whole."

The earth caste seemed to be genuinely in distress and this touched Vra'fa's heart. There was no need for it. There was no way to know yet how serious her arm injury was, but even if it was broken, that was more of a reflection of her own frailties than any deficiency on their pilot.
Na'no moved without her however and their craft was quickly operational again.
She had listened absently while Na'no talked with the Kroot about becoming a better shot. Specialities in other fields were of course useful, but that particular one was one she wouldn't be exploring.

She stayed quiet as they restarted their journey through the floating plants. While the pain from her leg was a familiar throb, the fresh screams from her arm weren't and between the both of them, Vra'fa sunk into herself mostly unaware of all that was going on around her, staring blind at the passing scenery. She did rouse herself from this stupor when Gorthrax spoke up.

The sun's light was still blinding, but it was clear that they would disappear soon. She looked down at the relatively blank landscape before realizing that she had no idea what exactly would make a suitable camp site. For the first time in a couple of hours her eyes regained a little of their old glitter and the edge of her mouth tugged up.

"I have no experience with camping in the rough, so I will cede to whatever the three of you think best. Stopping before nightfall though sounds like a sensible option. We would at least be able to see where we would be laying our heads. Perhaps we should look for somewhere that might provide a little shelter? Ideally it would have a water source too but I imagine that might be unlikely."

She paused for a moment, imagining how good sleep would feel before another thought struck her.
"I imagine we will need to sleep in shifts, with one of us staying up as sentry during the long night?"
Her voice was a little hesitant as she spoke this last. She had read about such things in some campaign tales but she wasn't sure if it was accurate to actual life.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Nov 27, 2018 2:25 pm

Gorthrax nods at each pertinent point that Vra'fa covers when deciding when and where to make camp. There were of course subtleties, but she had covered some very important points.

"You have ah..."
he struggled for the word for a moment before finishing with "gist of it" in his broken Tau.

"As you say water might be issue, but as the oasis is not far that should not be a concern. Finding shelter the priority. May be predators about while the sun sleeps."

Gorthrax was silent for a moment as he considered the watch. His newly acquired drugs had been 'burning a hole in his pouch' for a while now and he fully intended to sample them when they camped, preferably without others about, so a singular watcher would work for him. Despite it being more sensible to have two watching at a time.

After perhaps slightly to long a pause he finally finishes with "Yes watch good idea"
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Nov 28, 2018 12:58 pm

Vra'fa was a little surprised but pleased at Gorthrax's comment, and she smiled at him with a little of her old vigour. It was a little thing but she was happy that her guesses hadn't been so wild and were instead vaguely sensible.
"Entirely by accident I assure you Gorthrax."

As he continued she closed her eyes for a second, missing his slightly elongated pause, and rubbed her chin into her right shoulder, where the cord from her sling was starting to dig in. She'd have to wear it until sleep at least.

"We have enough water supplies for the night I believe, so as much as I would like a river or stream, shelter takes precedent. As I suggested it, I should take first watch. Would you like second?"  
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Nov 28, 2018 1:44 pm

I'll see if I cant find somewhere where we can hole up for the night. And I can take the whole watch, I've napped enough in the vehicle to last. You kids looks like you need the rest more.

Elanro started looking around, trying to identify the best-hidden location to use. In case no location was readily available, he starts collecting debris to best camouflage their camp.

Stealth/Tactics (recon & Stealth):
 
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Litschi

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Nov 29, 2018 2:44 am

Sleep... Na'No just felt how tired she was after Gorthrax mentioned the camp. Her eyes suddenly began to hurt. The whole environment looks the same and she notices that this fact makes her even more fatigued.

The words from Vra'Fa echo in her head. It was clearly the water castes talent to use words as wisley to raise the feeling of comfort in Na'No.

While slowing down the TX to let the other orientate a bit more she looks up the surroundings herself.



Her eyes where way to tired to see something helpful. She nodded in Elanros direction: "Would appreciate some sleep. I will set up Ar'Tol to scan our closet environment as well. He will notice smallest movements." Na'No stopped the vehicle gently, and jumped out of the TX drivers seat. With validating eyes she walked over to Ar'Tol. Her drone was still a bit battered. After getting some rest she would need to check on that. With some controlled grips Ar'Tol started to download some datasheets about first aid and medic base knowledge. She wanted to read more about the related topic. With a snappy whoosh Ar'Tol hoovered out of it's place and started to check the closet surroundings. "We have some camping gear in the back of the TX."
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 01, 2018 9:41 am

Gorthrax scans the hard desert floor for a suitable spot to bed down, but it all comes up much the same. Eventually, he decides one spot is as good as any other and chooses. When the vehicle finally comes to a stop, and Bok is let out to stretch is legs, the group remembers that the TX5 came equipped with supplies for at least a few days out in the field.

There are rations, hydration tablets, and standard purified water packs. It is a testament to Bok's discipline that none had been ripped open. Perhaps he simply didn't have a taste for the stuff.

While Ar'tol's scans bring up nothing of immediate importance, Na'no is reminded that the TX5 has complete sensory suite on board. In fact, it is one of the vehicle's highlights for surveying teams. The camping gear in the back is packed near the rations. There is bedding for all, lightweight and extremely durable. There is also portable cover for adverse weather conditions.

Elanro, while not able to find a suitable place to hide, is able to position the camp so that the sun will rise to their backs and allow them to face the approximate direction of the watering hole.

+++

As you eventually settle down, Gorthrax notices some clouds forming in the sky.

Survival +10:
 
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Dec 03, 2018 4:34 am

Elrano wrote:
I'll see if I cant find somewhere where we can hole up for the night. And I can take the whole watch, I've napped enough in the vehicle to last. You kids looks like you need the rest more.


Nice try Tau. Gorthrax shakes his head. “That is not wise. If you stay up all night you will not be prepared for what tomorrow might bring. Take the majority of the watch if you wish but I will take my stint and you sleep.”

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As they prepare to settle for the night Gorthrax tosses a few strips of dried meat down for Bok, the hound making short work of it. He had enough for a few more days and had a plan to do some hunting when they hit the oasis.

With Bok sorted Gorthrax looks to his own care. The bedding looked comfortable but he wasn’t sure about the cover, he liked to see the stars. His gaze drifts to the sky and the gathering clouds. Was it going to rain?

Survival:
 
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Litschi

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Dec 03, 2018 7:20 am

After the camp was builded Na'No felt a pressure in her head, pushing behind her eyes and make her feel even more sleepy. While Gorthrax was standing there starring in the night, she searched for the backmost corner of the camp, nestling herself in a blanket. Already snuggled up she directs her voice to the Kroot: "You think we need the cover?" Hey eyes followed his and she stares into the clear, dark sky.

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Dec 05, 2018 5:30 pm

For Gothrax:
 

For Na'no:
 

For everyone:
 
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Dec 06, 2018 11:44 am

"The clouds bellies are not yet full, we should see a dry night" Gorthrax will comment. Noticing Nano also looking up he gives some pointers on why he thinks the clouds are not yet ready to give up their water. Educating the children was important.

He gestures at the gear knowing Tau were generally physically weak at least when compared to Kroot "You may still want cover it can get cold."

If he felt the cold him and Bok would share body heat.

Settling into his blanket he looks to Elrano "Will you share your fire song about the orcs?"
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 08, 2018 8:06 pm

Vra'fa was sitting up, her right leg extended straight, and her left folded, the foot resting on her right thigh. The fact that she was resting on her own bed roll, which she had retrieved from the Piranha helped give their campsite a familiar feel. This was lucky because she was decidedly uncomfortable at present. Ignoring her lopsided disability, which was making the simplest of tasks difficult, she felt dirty and itchy. Back in the academy, when a professor had informed them that they might have to sleep without conducting their nightly water ceremonies, she had duly noted the information, excited at the thought of being out on campaign. The reality though was a lot more aggravating and she felt little of the honour of relinquishing her nightly ritual. It was possible she might not be able to rest at all- she had no memory of sleeping without it.

Shifting again uncomfortably in her robe, she rubbed her right shoulder against her cheek before reaching down with her free hand and opening the pouch at her waist. With some care she withdrew first a dark brown bottle with a pertruding top, which she placed on the roll beside her, before following it with a wide and shallow carved cup. Finally she withdrew a long metal strip, which she placed in her lap. After pausing for a few seconds, she reached out for jar. At first she tried to pull the sealed stopper free but quickly found that her one hand was not strong enough to hold the jar still and prize the top off. She panted, frowning angrily, as her eyes quickly darting around her. Finding no other solution she resignedly lifted the bottle to her lips and bit into the top with her teeth. With her right arm wrapped around the jar, she jerked back and forth until her head finally shot back and a few drops spilled over her.

Grunting she manoeuvred the jar back the roll, before withdrawing the top from her teeth. Slightly red in the face she awkwardly filled the cup with liquid and then pushed the top back in. Turning to the strip lying across her folded leg she popped out two tablets and dropped them into the cup. It immediately began to fizz up to the rim. Waiting until the foam receded, she wrapped her hand around the base and lifted it to her lips to take a deep draft. Grimacing freely, she placed the cup back on her lap before brushing some free drops from her chin.

Looking over at others she spoke, her voice a little clipped.
"I don't think I'll be getting a lot of sleep tonight myself, so I might as well take a stint. The three of you are more vital to our survival tomorrow so it would make sense if you were well rested."

When the talk moved to the chance of rain, she looked up to the sky with some longing but managed to hold in her hope that it might rain. She was sensible enough to realise that as much as she would like the water to descend it would not be the best in their present situation. Grimacing once more, she took another sip from her cup. The drugs within might be important but that didn't improve their taste.

When Gorthrax asked Elrano about the Ork song, she twisted her head to look at him with a raised eyebrow before giving her head a rueful shake. Thought it might be a surprise considering their behaviour it was positive that the two were getting on. As bad as she might be feeling, the Greater Good was paramount.

Looking over at the Kroot, she asked,
"Please forgive my curiosity, but may I ask about your experience? You clearly have some understanding when it comes to conflict. What forces have you come up against?"
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 6:42 am

Was Elrano dozing, perhaps the old Fire Warrior was to old for the road and should have stayed back at the settlement. Gorthrax grunts at the old Tau and turns to Vra'fa giving her a nod.

Sitting cross legged Gorthrax took up his rifle which was by his side. Always by his side. Unless you forget it while drug addled he mused. He turned the rifle over in his hands for a moment inspecting the blades attached to the muzzle and stock. The weapon looked quite battered it was scuffed and scratched, but if you knew what you were looking for you could tell it was well looked after. Function instead of form.

Gorthrax points to a minor looking dent in the stock "this is where I stove a Gue'la head in" he rubs his finger over the mark. "I have fought Gue'la many times. The Sun Wolves, my tribe are renowned warriors and hunters all." this would prehaps normally be said with pride by a kroot, but Gorthrax did not.

"This here" he points to a small chip on the muzzles blade "This my rifle gained fighting the Gue'la giants of the Salamander tribe." Gorthrax shakes his head "their armour is thick and my blade was lacking."

For what seems like little reason Gorthrax pulls back into himself and suddenly falls quiet, he rocks back and forth a little cradling his rifle.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Dec 11, 2018 4:46 pm

Vra'fa lifted the shallow cup up to her lips and took another sip. The bitter after taste wasn't as bad now, but she still had half the cup to get through. She had been looking forward to ending this particular routine but her arm might extend it unreasonably. Why did she have to fall that way? Why did this always fall that way? Unbidden, she felt her eyes water, and she desperately tried to pull them back, biting hard into her cheek. She was not a baby, she would not be a liability to the others. Blood or breakage she would keep up with them, she would prove her worth.

Blinking, she focused all her attention on Gorthrax. She had talked the least to the Kroot warrior out of all her new companions, and he the same. What must he think of her- the powerful experienced and deeply practical warrior against the delicate and sensitive diplomat who just talked while their walls were breached.
He took up his weapon as he started to talk to her. At first she was distracted by it, it was a weapon of such obvious force and violence, it made her skin goosebump and a shiver rock up her spine. But as he continued, she noticed the weapon less and concentrated on his eyes and the sound of his voice.

He was not speaking like warriors normally did. Nothing like Elrano when he talked with caustic pride over his dealings with the Ork. There was pain in his words. Pain and shame. He was hurting. And not just physically. Something was eating at him from within.

As she watched him rock back and forth with his rifle, Vra'fa forgot for the moment about her own pain, the bitter thoughts she had against her body. Her face opened with compassion as she looked over at her companion.

"I have heard many terrible tales about the wars against the Gue'la. Their numbers and destructive technology is meant to be great. Even worse the Gue'la giants who have spilled so much of our ... of us through the stars. You of course know all of this much better than my second hand teachings. You have accrued much honour for your tribe and for the Greater Good, much more than I could even attempt to understand."

She paused for moment and gave a heavy swallow before continuing with sincerity.
"I am so relieved to have you with your skills and experience and honour along with us. I might be a broken child but I can recognise in others, what I am lacking myself and I appreciate you and your rifle Gorthrax."

Her face reddened a bit a this, and so she raised the cup to take another sip, while keeping her eyes on the Kroot.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 2:52 pm

The Tau's words stabbed at Gorthrax.

What honour and standing he used to have was great but no more. Vra'fa was right she did not understand. He had no honour and was all but excluded from Ank'pek's cohort. His skills and senses dampened by years of abuse and neglect. He could have been so much more.  

Gorthrax's shoulders sag a little at Var'fa words, he turns his head up and gazes directly at her for a moment.

:
 

He then abruptly stands throwing off his blanket. "Bok" he commands the hound to his side  "I'll patrol the area for a while." he says to no one as he starts to move off...
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Dec 12, 2018 5:01 pm

It was immediately clear to Vra'fa that her words had not the effect she intended. His shoulders sank and for a moment he shrunk into himself. No longer was he the tall, physically imposing warrior, but instead smaller and weaker than even her. He was looking with such agony, and hopelessness, a pain beyond anything she had ever witnessed. Steel closed over her chest, and she was struck on the spot, unable to move, to breathe or tear her eyes away from his.

Their eyes may have only been connected for a moment but by the time the Kroot suddenly stood and released her, Vra'fa felt aged. She had been trying to help and only succeeded in hurting him more.

"Gorthrax...." she whispered as he moved away, her one viable arm rising up before falling back to her side. Her ribs felt like they were being crushed, a vice squeezing each side in with resolute force. But though physical, this pain had nothing to do with her injuries. She had betrayed her ally somehow. Her stupid words had wounded an already devastated creature. Guilt and shame pounded through her and she had no escape. If she could, she would have run, screamed, escaped the recriminating voices in her head.

But she could not. She was trapped by more than her broken body. Without realising she was doing it, her hand had removed the black shape of Anda from her robe and brought him up to her face, until its misshapen belly was brushing against her lips. Her eyes stared unseeing over its head, and down into the half empty cup. She couldn't escape these feelings, she had to accept them. Again and again the Kroots face appeared in the still waters and she replayed his reaction, blind to the world around her.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 15, 2018 1:34 pm

Heya kid, dont get too discouraged. Life is rough when you spend your days fighting. You may have hit a raw nerve, or a hurt even he isnt fully aware of.

Elanro looked at the fire. He had never liked the name fire caste. It was appropriate, but always a bit unpleasant.

Come one, talk to me, I know you water casters love to talk!
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 15, 2018 4:28 pm

Dimly Vra'fa became aware that someone else was speaking. It was extremely difficult though for her to drag her attention back to the present. Her mind felt splintered, most of it focused on the incident which had just occurred, but there was a part of her which couldn't ignore conversation which was going on, especially if it was directed at her. She was a creature of communication. As much as she wanted to resolve this conflict which had shaken to her core, she also needed to listen.

She slowly turned towards Elanro and looked at him. At first her eyes were blank and demeanour distracted, before it suddenly hardened.

"Obviously" she snapped "he wouldn't have walked off otherwise."

There was a moment of silence before she brought Ando up to her forehead and pressed him into it. When she brought him back down again, her expression had softened again, though strain was clearly showing.
"I apologise for that Shas'La Elanro. It was not worthy of you or of me. We are only on our first night and yet I'm going to pieces like this."

Sighing she attempted to focus more of herself back on the Fire warrior. Though her face remained relatively open, the bones of her hand clearly showed against the flesh as she gripped her furry companion with a fierce intensity. It was the height of ironies. Elanro's replies had been terse or non existent for the past few hours, but as soon as she wanted silence, he desired her words. You aren't thinking clearly, a part of her warned, he's trying to help you. Don't turn down this olive branch.

There was one question she wanted to ask, but she couldn't. Not with Gorthrax within hearing distance and the damage she had already caused. She tried to give Elanro a smile but even she was aware that it was mirthless, forced and melancholy.  
"Please forgive my impertinence, but as you said, us water castes are eternally reaching out and finding new banks to explore. If you wouldn't mind, why did you decide to come to this planet? I... Well..."
She shook her head before continuing.
"I was not welcome where I came from and I am but a trickle and without experience. You are obviously a redoubtable campaigner with mature wisdom and understanding against some of our fiercest foes. I do not wish to offend and if you would prefer not to answer please tell me to shut my mouth but I am curious."
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 15, 2018 4:36 pm

While the Fire Warrior and Envoy speak, there is a slight but steady rhythmic beep coming from the TX5's console.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Dec 15, 2018 4:56 pm

Hey, we dont excatly get much choice on where we go do we?

Elanro pondered. How honest should he be? He had no reason to lie, save perhaps to spare this youngster's naivete.

Dont rightly know to be honest. The shas'ui never seem to like me. They act like suicidal fools, and get angry when I try to protect them. Its mystifying.

He wouldnt go further than that today.

Hey, anyone answering that comm?
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 16, 2018 8:12 am

As soon as Fire Warrior mentioned the Shas'ui, Vra'fa's eyes suddenly focused on him. She had been about to switch off from the conversation, considering Elanro was merely sprouting bland platitudes. For someone who proudly displayed his own brand of common wisdom and and experience, he was careful to say little beyond recycling war stories. Few got the chance to choose where they might go, but they had a good idea why they were sent to a world like this, especially the two experienced campaigners.

The honesty of his second sentence caught her full attention. A brief ghost of a smile flickered across her face, its presence so passing it was as if it never existed.
"Perhaps you and I are more alike than I thought. I am here too due to differences of opinion with my superiors. You'll be surprised no doubt to hear that I wasn't very popular."

After she spoke, the brief spurt of energy which had enlivened her face died again, and it sank bank into a strained lifelessness. She was about to focus on her cup again when Elanro mentioned the comm. Glancing at both her unmoving companions, she paused for a second before leaning forward and reaching for her stick.

It was a slow process to get to her feet, as she had only the use of one arm now. Eventually she managed to wedge it into her arm pit and hoist herself upright through a series of jerking movements. As difficult as it was to get moving, she was glad of the excuse. Getting to her feet or climbing up the ladder into the ship were such extended processes that they helped distract her from anything else in her head.

Once up on the ship, she slid across the burnished metal to the console to check what the noise was for.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 16, 2018 11:49 am

Gorthrax's ears are met by a beautiful serenity. The low desert which had stretched for miles and miles, seemingly uninhabited, had come to life. Even as his eyes adjusted to the encroaching, seemingly all encompassing darkness, his ears drank in the atmosphere. It was pleasant, but he knew in that pleasantness lurked predators. He had yet to be in an environment in which alpha predators ignored the night time to hunt.

But right now, in this moment, there was peace to be experienced. All he had to do was welcome it.


+++


Vra'fa finds two unread messages blinking on the vehicle's console. A 3D holopict projects the messages in order. The first is the nightly Neg'em* news brief. A handsome, young Water Caste male greets you with a bow and a smile. Even before he speaks, you can tell that he is bursting with positivity and love for the Greater Good. Vra'fa had seen him once before upon her arrival. He lived in Vasii'neg, the first established, and thus largest, settlement on Neg'em. He was colloquially known as "the voice of the planet," and no other name had been given.

He finished his bow and greeted all of his viewers. Many bountiful and wonderful journeys are taking citizens of the Empire to every corner of this planet; while we continue to grow and expand, I urge you all to look to the heavens! Do you see the stars? Do you see how they twinkle? Each and every one of them begs, pleads, and yearns for us! Why? Why might they need us when their stars burn so bright? I'll tell you. It is because a star is but a pinprick, and its light can only fight so much darkness before it vanishes. The light of the Greater Good, however, is the only light that can destroy the darkness eternally. It is for the reason every single one of us, Tau, Kroot, Vespid, Gue'la, Demiurg, and so many others must work harder than the days before. Our mission is the only true mission in the galaxy; ours is the light and the way.

For those of you in the settlements, meet each new day with vigor and positive thoughts. Remember you are a cog in the finest, most righteous mechanism the galaxy has ever known. Build, work, and register at procreation stations. The empire is depending on you. For those of you out in the field - take news of the Greater Good to all you encounter.

Thought for the coming days: Everything for everyone and nothing for ourselves.

Tau'va.


+++

The second message was a direct line from Fio'ui Aloalts. The stocky earth-caster looked much more grim than the water caste voice of Neg'em had, but that was to be expected. He gave a slight bow before jumping right into it.

"Field-team, I'm calling in for a status update. How's the TX5? Any trouble? Is it too much to expect you found something already? Has Elanro fallen down and been unable to get up?" At that, he gave a slight chuckle.

"Normally I wouldn't call for a status report. I trust you to do what you were tasked with, but Elanro's Shas'ui asked that I check in on you. I... no, we can talk about it when you return. If you could, keep me updated on your progress."




--------
*Neg'em Kre'ui Uan'voss (First Arid Planet, Third Sphere); Neg'em is the shortened name of the planet you are on, for those who may have forgotten.
Vasii'neg = lit. "Settlement 1"


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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 16, 2018 5:43 pm

Rather than slide herself into Na'no's chair, which though comfortable would necessitate an uncomfortable removal, Vra'fa was lying on her stomach across the slightly rounded surface of the Piranha, leaning in to the cockpit to access the console. Her position was awkward, but she felt beyond caring at this point. She didn't care what the messages might be, she just needed to access them and then report back to the rest of the team and let them deal with it. She just needed to be left to herself.

The first holo image washed over her much quicker than she expected and before she could prepare herself she was engulfed with it. Due to her position, instead of the image being projected to her, it was projected over her. Her momentary alarm though was quickly soothed as the 'Voice' started to speak. Her heart bounced, and she was overcome with a feeling of reassurance and familiarity with someone she had only seen once at a distance before. It wasn't who he was that mattered though, it was what he represented. It was the water caste, it was her and everyone at their very best. It was community, it was hope, it was the balance of collective energies, fuelling and inspiring each other to achieve something beyond what any one of them could dream of. The feeling she got was the message was so visceral, so much in her heart and spirit that she wasn't even listening to the words clearly. Unbidden tears sprang to her eyes, and flowed unnoticed down her eyes.
And then it was over.

The following message was a shock to her, first in that it ended her immersion and in its tone. Confused as she was, it was only at the end that she realised that she recognised the speaker. And then there was darkness, the only sound, gasps of breath. Rolling over on her back Vra'fa stared up into the sky, slowly centering herself and making sense of what had just happened. A swift swirling whirlpool of emotions were sweeping through her, elation, guilt, hope and despair. Her hand reached out and gripped Anda. It felt reassuring to know that she was not alone. But of course, she was never alone. She was not a lone stream, becalmed on dry rocky soil. She was part of something much greater. It was not about her. It was for Tau'va.

When she finally sat up, her body felt more exhausted than it had ever before. It was a weariness that had seeped into her very bones. But for the first time since their crash, a smile was playing over her face again. It felt like she had earned this tiredness, rather than being inflicted upon her. She had lost hope in herself but that was ok. It had never just been about her. It was about the collective. And their energy would never be spent. Their bodies would never be broken. They would never not know what to say. It was in them that she placed her trust.

It was a bit more difficult to reach down to the console to replay the messages, from her upright position, but she eventually managed it, and then sat back to enjoy the first message again. She would work harder and work more intelligently. And until a foreign intelligent species identified itself, that job was to help foster team unity. Her record so far might be mixed but she would strive to improve this.

Towards the end of the Voice's message she relaxed her mind to prepare herself for the next one, with a little reluctance. She had a profound feeling of affection for this water caste. He had helped redirect her flow. At some other point, she would give some time to what it might mean to her if she met him in person.

The Fio'ui's message was a little odd. That might be down to the fact that though open in its message it was clearly directed at Na'no. Vra'fa wondered again what the Earth caste might be tasked with, but that would come at some other time. There was no need to disturb her now. She was capable of answering this message. Reaching down she clicked the button to send a response, before pulling back up to her seating position. The camera on the console twisted until it found her. Green lines of light shot out in a cone around her taking in all the dimensions of the space before changing to red. They were now recording.

The image which would be sent displayed the water caste sitting up on the surface of the Piranha, next to the pilots depressed seat. Her right leg was extended straight, and her left folded, with her foot resting on the thigh of its opposite. Her left arm was in a clearly improvised sling, while the right was lying across her leg, her hand stroking a black furry indeterminate shape. Vra'fa's face was relaxed and calm though filthy with various stains. Her white robes were even worse, marked deeply with black and red liquids, as well as more earthy browns and greens.

"Greetings and good evening honourable Fio'ui Aloalts. I will be making the status report for this evening. As you can doubtless perceive in my appearance, our journey has been eventful though not of any significant trouble. The TX5 is in good working condition. There was an issue with it earlier due to a minor accident but Fio'La Na'No and myself were able to effectively repair it. We also encountered some local flora and fauna, but it was neither effective hunting material for Gorthrax or of sufficient intelligence for me. Both these incidents held us up somewhat and so we have had to make camp before reaching the Oasis. We should reach it though within short order on the morrow and from there seek to achieve our objectives. I shall ensure that you are kept updated on our further progress. Tau'va."
She nodded before reaching down to end the communication.

A couple of minutes later she was hobbling back over and then easing down to sit on her bed roll. Even from a cursory glance it was clear that she was in a very different mood to what she had been in prior. While still showing weariness, much of the strain was gone from her face and she looked much calmer and positive again.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Dec 19, 2018 1:47 am

I am not strong meat. I am not strong meat. I am not strong meat… the thought hammered at Gorthrax as he made his way out of camp and into the falling night. Angpak knew and there was no greater shame. He should keep to himself. Armour himself against the kind words of the water caste that caused him pain because he was not worthy of them.

Once he is some fifty metres outside of camp Gorthrax pauses with Bok at his side. The peaceful night was calming, if it were not for his tortured mind.

He had planned to wait until his watch but he needed a release. It had been over a day. With unusually clumsy hands caused by the anticipation of it Gorthrax retrieves the powerful pain meds from his pack. Priming a syringe he plunges it into a vein and waits for a moment.

The scenario had played out many times and Bok knew it well, watch over his master.

Gorthrax rocks back on his heels as his mind soars.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Dec 20, 2018 10:47 am

Vra'fa took first watch while Gorthrax moved beyond sight range. He knew that he didn't have to go far to do so; Tau eyesight was not anything to write home about. He did need to take into account Elanro's battle helm, as it could greatly enhance his sight. But he still found a quiet place to apply his medication while Bok took watch.

Had he stayed in his right mind, he would have heard Bok's growls and pacing throughout the night, fending off creatures that saw a potential meal in Gorthrax. Gorthrax might never know how useful and loyal his faithful companion had been that first night.

While Tau eyesight was less than optimal, they also required much less sleep than other beings. A full night of sleep consisted of only 5 hours, which perhaps explained Elanro's very practical decision to nap whenever he could. Neg'em's night cycle only lasted roughly 8 hours, which made staying up an easy task.

Vra'fa passed the torch to Gorthrax without a word as he was still out "on patrol." She was confident in him though. Meanwhile, Elanro and Na'no slept peacefully.

++++

The suns were already rising when Na'no awoke. A sudden panic gripped her as she realized she hadn't awoken early enough to start her final watch. Where was Gorthrax? Why had he not woken her up?

A quick glance around told her that all of her companions, save for the Kroot, were fine. Nothing had disturbed them.

Again there was a beep on the TX5's console.

The day would be hot soon. The oasis, if your calculations were correct, should be just beyond the next berm.

Your second day on the frontier of a wild, uncivilized planet greeted you and yearned you on to further adventure. The fulfillment of the Greater Good awaited.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Dec 20, 2018 1:06 pm

Spoiler:
 

The Kroot is no where to be found around camp, his bed not slept in...
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Dec 20, 2018 1:34 pm

Elanro stretched out his body then started looking around. The kroot was missing, his hound as well.

Up people, someone go answer the phone, I've gotta take a piss

He would hopefully find the Kroot still alive; though finding him half-eaten would probably support his requisitions. He knew he couldnt track the idiot, but a standard 55-2 circular search pattern should work.



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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Dec 20, 2018 5:27 pm

Vra'fa was sitting up, her face leaning down into her open palm, elbow pushing down into her knee. The little sleep she had been able to get, had little effect on her body. She was profoundly exhausted, down to the marrow of her bones. There was a pressure inside her skull, somewhere behind her eyes, that was making it hard to think. Indeed she wasn't quite sure how long she had been staring down into the end of the roll. It had one advantage though, she thought with a smile. Her arm and leg were only a dull throb right now.
Still though, as much as a relief that might be, she couldn't abandon her duty. Even if they couldn't find a water source, she'd have to get a good nights sleep tonight.

Her head turned as Elanro spoke. As he continued her eyes quickly scanned either side of him to find their other companions. Na'no looked fine- if a little worried. Gorthrax  though was absent and his bed roll pristine and undisturbed. A chill hand seemed to suddenly lay hold of her heart. Had he not returned since their talk? Had he been out all night?
Her eyes suddenly returned to the Fire warrior. There was no chance he hadn't noticed this either. Despite her worry about the Kroot, she was briefly amused. The events of the previous day had done little to shift his opinions. If it was games he wanted to play, she was well equal to that.

"While you are out, would you mind taking a look for Gorthrax and Bok and see what they are up to? Unless it is something particularly important, it would be better if we could all travel before it gets too hot again."

She had been planning to flash a smile at him when she finished, however her attempt to climb to her feet hadn't gone as well as prior. As soon as the words had left her mouth, she had slipped and struck her left shoulder with her stick and she grimaced instead. Her body was much stiffer than last night. Probably punishment for her attempt to be smart. She wished she could have gone with him to see what Gorthrax had been up to, but that was beyond her at the moment. Elanro had the best chance of any of them of finding the Kroot, or.... well aiding him if anything had happened. It couldn't, no way, she was over worrying. Nothing had come near their camp.

Leaning forward she took a deep breath before looking at their third companion.
"Na'no I think I'll head up to see what message we might have received. I need the stretch. Would you mind getting the rations ready? Personally I can't wait till we get to the oasis. I'm beginning to forget what water feels like."

As she hobbled towards the Piranha steps she had to resist the urge to scratch herself. It couldn't be much longer and anyway there were more important things than her water ceremonies. Still though at least it helped distract her from her fears about their missing fourth.

Eventually she reached the front of the Piranha again. Refraining from lying down as she had done the night before, she was sitting up straight, left leg extended as she pushed the icon on the console.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 23, 2018 3:56 am

QWaiting for now:
 
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 23, 2018 12:10 pm

Bok lets out a low throaty growl in warning as Elrano approaches. The hound is curled up at Gorthrax's feet, the kroot unconscious and snoring gently.

Gorthrax's hunting rifle lays discarded a metre or so away, not immediately to hand as a Tau Fire Warroir would likely expect and a couple of empty syringes are scattered to the left of the sleeping form.

The kroots satchel is safely secured across Gorthrax's chest, his left hand protectively over it.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Dec 23, 2018 12:53 pm

Elanro walked up, trying to keep the hound molified. He put his own rifle on the ground, and did a quick check on the kroot for obvious injuries. Seeing the siringes, he checked for track-marks, but his tough hide showed non of the obvious discoloration Elanro had seen on Tau abusing stimms & calmants. He took the syringes, put them in a small portable bag and recovered the rifle. He started talking:

Wake up kroot. If ya dont wake up I'll take your bag from ya.

He started poking the bag with the but of his rifle.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Dec 24, 2018 2:05 pm

Gorthrax stirs at Elrano's words, the large and powerful Kroot shifts in his 'sleep'.

As Elrano's boot touches the satchel Gorthrax wakes with a start his hand going to where his rifle should have been. It missed the mark by some margin, the weapon forgotten as it was.

Gorthrax eyes the Tau for a moment. Is there threat, accusation or guilt displayed in Gorthrax's expression? Or a combination of all three. It was hard to tell for he was Kroot.

Gingerly the Kroot stands, towering over the Fire Warrior. After a moment Gorthrax extends his hand and then a finger to points at his hunting rifle. His hand then extends open palm slightly closer to the rifle, his meaning clear.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Dec 24, 2018 3:49 pm

Elanro's helm let no emotion through, either way. His goal was to keep them all safe, and this jackass could put they safety in jeopardy. He backed up a step, just out of clawing range, kroot rifle in hand saying:

You want the gun back kid, you give me whatever junk made you ignore your job. Otherwise, I cant trust you with a weapon. I wont make you go cold fowl (cold turkey), but I'll make damn sure you wont have any when you have responsibilities to fulfill.

Elanro slung a rifle on each shoulder, looked in direction of the camp and turned to Gorthrax, saying a final word:

This aint a negotiation kid. This is an opportunity. Cause next time, I aint gonna bother with waking you up. Whats your decision?
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Dec 25, 2018 1:53 pm

Gorthrax's mind whirled, he'd taken to much and had no idea what had happened in the camp. He vaguely recalled Vra'fa finding him in the night and passing over watch so he guessed he'd not woken Elrano for the remainder. His mind foggy from the drugs and having just been woken... he just stands there for ten seconds in silence lost for words.

He had been discovered. If Angpak found out he'd e done for that was certain. Could he win the Tau around at some point?

Actions and consequences swirled. He could refuse and just take back his rifle when the Tau slept, but that would't help him when they returned.

Gorthrax's head lowers, his beak pointing to the floor.

He hated what he'd become perhaps this could be a way out?

"It's for my injury, I took to much is all."


He couldn't help but try lying the shame was to much.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Dec 25, 2018 3:24 pm

Well then child, I cant give you this weapon. You grow up and decide to start acting like an adult, come and see me.

While the orkish swears Elanro was fond of using meant little, his calling the kroot a child was a grave insult in his book. Elanro did not care whether he was lying or telling the truth. Though the fact he went so far from camp did hurt his credibility. He had compromised everyone's security through his actions. Sure Elanro had ignored some stupid orders, but he had never compromised on his primary goal of keeping his people safe. And this kroot had been dumb enough to incapacitate himself.

Elanro started making his way back to camp. He had no doubt the kroot would try to take the weapon back. And that he would be more troublesome than the two kids.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Jan 03, 2019 9:08 am

Last night passed quickly and na'No finds herself standing in the back of the TX5. She heard the first two mails with a distance. While Na'No slept very restless yet it made her feel good to calm down a bit. More than thankful that Vra'fa answered the Fio'ui she nodded over to Vra'fa. Her talent of speaking was truly a water castes one.

Na'No was right about to pack the camps stuff - fold and tuck everything to a convenient size as she notices a little pillow. Vra'Fa, you are looking like in bad pain. Please make yourself comfortable on the backseat. Did you get enough rest these night?

With these question in mind she wondered where Gorthrax and his fellow Bok were. The fire cast will find them anyway... Na'No bumped the trunk and waved over to her drone. She just wanted to have a little check on Ar'Tol, while they were waiting for the Kroot and Elanro.

Unsure about the fact that Vra'Fa looks really in pain, Na'no wanted to thank her for answering the mail right in the moment as the Por'la asked her to get the rations done. Sure!
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Jan 03, 2019 2:52 pm

Gorthrax cursed silently as Elrano turned away. He needed to make this good somehow.

Closing the distance quickly he places a hand on the Tau's shoulder and firmly but without threat turns him around.

"Here, take the meds from the satchel" which Gorthrax offers "My injury bothers me much, I'll need a small dose each day."
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Jan 03, 2019 3:17 pm

Elanro tried to dodge the kroot, but not seeing him he ended up dodging in the wrong direction, taking a a bump on the helmet. After properly turning around and taking the meds, Elanro said:

Good. In the future, you will take the first watch, I will take the second. You will receive one dose, if needed, AFTER your watch. And I will accompany you to go see a medic when we get back to town, at least to find a distribution method where you wont be sent senseless.

Elanro passed him the rifle, looked to the camp and made a polite gesture of passage and said: I will follow you back.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySat Jan 05, 2019 5:58 pm

Vra'fa looked down from the top of the Piranha down at Na'no. Her mouth eased into a gentle smile.
"Thank you for the consideration Na'no. I am feeling a bit out of sorts this morning but to be completely honest I am rarely healed from one injury before the next is upon me again. My body and myself have radically different opinions about how active I should be."

There was a flash of something on her face and she shot the earth caste a quick wink.
"I'm not sure if you've noticed yet, but I tend to rail against things I perceive to be wrong. We shall maybe have to hope that I have better success in this particular debate."

Her smile widened at this point to make clear that she was trying to joke with her last words. Despite this though, as with a lot of self deprecating humour, there was a hard backbone of truth to her words. For as long as she could remember, her body had been a problem, causing her to be closeted away and the recipient of many anxious and nervous looks. Once others learned how delicate she was, they treated her different. They left her behind, tried to protect her, tried to put her behind glass. Since leaving Dal'yth she had only confided her condition with one other. No one on this planet knew the truth, though she was afraid the medic back at the settlement might have suspicions. There was nothing she could do about that now though.

Most important now was not to be a burden to the rest of her team, to prove herself to be an equal party, despite her increased physical limitations. That was not to say she didn't appreciate Na'no's thoughtfulness. The kindness had passed into her and she felt its warmth. She just had to make sure that she was doing her share.

"Thank you for getting that ready Na'no. I'm just going to check this message here and then I might maybe do a bit of cooking with them. I have some limited cooking ability."


With this she turned back to the console and pushed the icon again so she could hear the message contained within.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Jan 06, 2019 12:36 pm

Na’no looked with big eyes at Vra‘fa. For a second she was figuring out weather the water caste was joking around. Na‘No followed her words and began to laugh. Quickly she put a hand in front of her face just to recognize that her hands a re really dusty.

Right after everything was fully packed she got her nano tool to her fingers. It was quite handy. If the kroot and the fire caste would not come anytime near Na’No would be ready to putter around at her drone. But as Vra‘fa started the mail, Na‘No stood behind the TX5 with her eyes wide open, spinning the tools between her long fingers.
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Carnelian
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Jan 08, 2019 2:06 am

Gorthrax took his rifle back with a grunt and moved passed Elrano and into the camp. Silently he sits by himself, with just Bok for company. The hound resting its head on the kroots thigh.
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyTue Jan 08, 2019 9:40 pm

Vra'fa wrote:
"Greetings and good evening honourable Fio'ui Aloalts. I will be making the status report for this evening. As you can doubtless perceive in my appearance, our journey has been eventful though not of any significant trouble. The TX5 is in good working condition. There was an issue with it earlier due to a minor accident but Fio'La Na'No and myself were able to effectively repair it. We also encountered some local flora and fauna, but it was neither effective hunting material for Gorthrax or of sufficient intelligence for me. Both these incidents held us up somewhat and so we have had to make camp before reaching the Oasis. We should reach it though within short order on the morrow and from there seek to achieve our objectives. I shall ensure that you are kept updated on our further progress. Tau'va."
She nodded before reaching down to end the communication.

Fio'ui Aloalts' image pops up on the hologramic mail. The time-stamp read from one hour previously. He looks refreshed. That is, he looks far less tired than he had in the last message and he had put on a clean set of coveralls.

"Minor accident?" he asked. "Well, as long as it was easily repaired then no harm. The local flora and fauna is much more interesting. Remember, you are not simply out there to hunt, or to be diplomatic. This is also a scientific expedition. I hope you gathered samples for study; we have very little idea what may end up being useful to the settlements. So, we must research all we can. I am eager to hear all about the Oasis. Oh, by the way, tell the Kroot that some of his kin came by here looking for him. Didn't say what they wanted." He shrugged, gave a platitude and then signed off.


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Wendigo Bob

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyWed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 am

Elanro followed gorthrax back to the camp. He could be as grumpy and withdrawn as he wanted; Gorthrax was part of his squad now, and Elanro would keep him safe, even from his own damn idiot self.
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Nitafrong
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyThu Jan 10, 2019 3:20 pm

Vra'fa looked the same as she did the night before, her face and robes deeply stained. Her face though again calm, looked a little more strained than prior, and there were visable dark circles under her eyes.
"Greetings and good morning honourable Fio'ui Aloalts. I hope the rains have come down to let the earth drink and spread its propensity for growth."

She paused for a second before continuing. Aloalts and indeed Na'no had not mentioned anything to her about this mission having a scientific element. It had been presented to her as a hunting mission with a chance for diplomacy. She had long suspected that there was more to it than simply that of course but she hadn't the chance to ask Na'no about it yet. She could reply with this of course, but it might reflect badly on the Earth caste. She might be keeping things back from her, but she was part of Vra'fa's team.
"I believe that Sha'La Elanro managed to get a sample of the flora we encountered. We will of course attempt to take more samples to the best of our abilities. We should be leaving shortly to the Oasis and later tonight I will update you on what we find and on our progress. As the water flows we hope to find something of interest. I shall pass that on to Gorthrax. Tau'va"

As the Kroot and the Fire Warrior entered the camp, she was leaning on her stick examining the rations that Na'no had gathered. Eyeing Gorthrax as he made his way over to one side to sit on his own, it was clear that he did not conversation. She looked up at Elanro but his helmet was as unreadable as ever. Curious as she was, it was evidently not the time to ask where the Kroot had been. Following his obvious mental stress the night before, she would have to be careful in what she said to him.

Adopting a neutral tone, and with her head turned back down to the rations she spoke.
"Fio'ui Aloalts passes on his greetings to us. He was pleased to hear that there was no permanent damage to our vehicle and asked that if we encounter any interesting creatures or plant life, we should take samples. Apparently we are on a scientific expedition as well. He also told me to mention to you Gorthrax that some of your kin had come by asking about you. Na'no has very kindly brought out some rations for today. I am going to take some of them and prepare a traditional breakfast which everyone is free to partake in, or your can eat the rations plain if that is your preference."

After she finished speaking, Vra'fa quickly separated a section of the rations and got to work. It was a simple enough recipe, and one she remembered her mother preparing to begin each week. Variously grinding, shredding and mixing, over the smouldering embers of their fire, the dish came quickly together. In very little time, she had a mini mountain of steaming ingredients in one large bowl and four empty ones in front. She looked up to see what the rest of her team would choose.
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Litschi

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Jan 13, 2019 2:03 pm

The answer from Vra‘Fa was well spoken. Na‘No was again thankful that the water caste was answering. Samples. Scientific expedition. ... Her mind was stumbling upon these words. She was unsure weather it was her specific task to gather such informations, yet she normally does take notes and sketches from her surroundings - but only when she has more free time. A queasy feeling soar in her throat. Na‘No gulps. I would love to try your traditional breakfast honestly. Is it inspired from your home planet? She feels just yet how empty her stomach was. It makes her throat even more dry. A well prepared breakfast would be a nice variation on her menue.

She just noticed the two other fellows entering the camp. Hey eyes linger a little while on Gorthrax. Does he looks worse than yesterday? While having the eyes on the Kroot she directed her voice to Elanro: Shas‘La Elanro, did you have specific task to gather more material and information about this environment? While speaking Na‘No took a closer look to the dry and rocky underground. She presses a little rock between her fingers and turning it around in front of her eyes.
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Wendigo Bob

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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptySun Jan 13, 2019 2:11 pm

Elanro reached the camp, took a quick bite of the standard rations, and started stowing camp supplies into the vehicle as he spoke to Litschi.

Just trying to catalogue any potential threats.
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Carnelian
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Jan 14, 2019 4:26 am

Gorthrax sits for a while, knees bent with his head slumped between them, his arms resting on his knees. The news that his kin were looking for him barely registered, although he doubted it was going to be good. He really wasn't good eating. The thought galled him. Vra'fa receives no response from the kroot as to her news of his kin.

He'd been stupid and the Tau had found him. It was a new low.

As he wallows in self pity the wholesome smell of the cooked breakfast reaches Bok first. The hound whines. Letting out a whistling noise Gorthrax takes one of bowls of cooked food and returns to his mat to share his food with the ever faithful bok.
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Nitafrong
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PostSubject: Re: On the Edge of Expanion (IC)    On the Edge of Expanion (IC)  - Page 4 EmptyMon Jan 14, 2019 3:14 pm

Waiting until the rest of the group had made their choice, Vra'fa then took her time settling back down to a seated position. She filled her bowl and then brought it to rest on her lap, feeling the pleasant sensation of heat spread through her thighs. Reaching inside her robe careful to not disturb her left arm, hanging in front of it, she withdrew a slim carved wood case. This next movement would be a little more tricky with one hand. Balancing it on top of the bowl, she first squeezed the two sides at one end and then moved her hand to do the same at the other end of its length. She was rewarded with a soft popping noise and the wood slid back to reveal two intricately patterned needles. Reaching into her bowl she took a taste of her creation.

Her lip curled. While the background taste was familiar, there was something offputting about the taste as a whole. Something clearly had gone wrong. She took another portion hoping that it might be a rogue section, but alas- it all tasted the same. It wasn't inedible or disgusting but as healthy as its ingredients were, they left a bad taste in her mouth. She might struggle to get the others to eat more of her food after this.

Swallowing down what she had hoped would be a pleasure and was instead a chore, she caught Na'no's eye.
"It is yes Na'no, its meant to be something my mother used to make to begin a busy week. However to say it tastes like how she would do it would be a grave insult to my ancestors as well as she who carried me. I must have made an error of some kind during the preparation. Please don't feel any obligation to finish it."

She smiled over at the earth caste.
"At least I always have my impressive martial abilities to fall back, if cooking doesn't work out. However I am certain this day will improve, we should get to the oasis before too long today."

As Na'no asked Elanro her question, interest suddenly flared in the water caste. She did mean to quiz Na'no when they were in private, but this was an ideal opportunity. Would she deflect or answer her?
Looking over casually Vra'fa asked
"I havn't asked before now but do you have specific task on this expedition? Beyond piloting us and repairing the craft itself of course?"
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