• Nobles of Null is a forum based roleplay site where sci-fi and magic collide. Here, Earth remains fractured and divided despite humanity reaching out to the stars. Worse still, the trans-human slaves of one major power have escaped, only to establish their own Empire, seething with resentment at abuses of the past. Even the discovery of aliens, though medieval in development, has failed to rally these squabbling children of Earth together with its far darker implications. Worse still, is the discovery of the impossible - magic. Practiced by the alien locals, nearly depleted and therefore rare, its reality warping abilities remains abstract and distant to the general populace. All the while, unseen in the darkness of space, forces from without threaten to press in. For those with eyes opened by insight, it is clear that an era is about to end, and that a new age will dawn.

Chapter 1: Vital Signs Unwelcome

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
"I'd throw a grenade, but I dumped all my unused ordnance on the floor back there," Vladimir said as he reloaded. "Did anyone see another corridor that could help flank the monster?"
 
"It's sergeant next time!" He yelled at Korofi, not realizing how the stress of dealing with an alien threat previously never encountered was testing his normally steeled nerves. A few more bursts fired out, shattering the windowed partitions and tearing through tables, cubicles, and computers. Even in spite of the hellish cacophony he could still hear the body of the creature bumping against chair and table legs. They could toss in a grenade but he wanted to preserve the body (mostly) and from what he could tell the bullets were hurting it enough to force it to retreat.

40 rounds left; just a few more bursts. He motioned to the rest of the squad to move forward, marking a series of paths leading through a few of the glass doors among the office space partitions and gaps amongst the supplies haphazardly strewn about. He then switched to his private squad channel.

"Box is running a bit low, no explosives for now. I want this thing dead but intact! Vladimir, grab a few squaddies and put the fear of humanity into this bastard!" His voice had steeled, rigid and brilling with tenacity and focus. For all of the strange mystery of the creature, they had it cowering in the abode of currently absent, likely perished pencil pushers. Another burst sounded out followed by sustained rifle fire; a few stray rounds landed with audible, tearing, wet thuds. This creature wasn't going anywhere soon.

Behind them, the trooper stabbed by the needles was struggling to his feet, nodding to Rafael as he began to re-enter the fray, weapon at the ready. Whatever those needles were, they were either intended for softer prey or GDW armour was tougher than he remembered.
 

space_person

New member
With the scans coming back normal, Rafael let out a silent breath and brought his attention back to preventing the damage, not just healing it. The creature cornered, Rafael took the time to switch his rounds out and return to using his rifle. He moved forward along one of the paths through the partitions and let out a few shots, trying to aim at the areas the creature had taken the most damage.
 

Poe

Member
The figure at the back of the room moved imperceptibly, crouching down in a fluid movement. His outline was murky, aided by the shadows and his black clothing, and the fact that he was now half hidden by one of the partitions as he flicked the mount open at the top of the barrel of the sniper rifle, perching it on a box. He didn't like moving around during a fight, but he hadn't had a clear line of sight in his previous position. His right arm came up to support the barrel of the gun, with light reflecting off of the titanium surface of the robotic appendage. It was relatively plain, black with dark grey accents, the only point of real interest being a metallic ridge over his knuckles that functioned as a knuckle duster.

This was Lars Jespersen, eagle-eyed sharpshooter.

Raising his left eye to the sight of the rifle, the Danish man lined up his shot. He wasn't a zoologist, a biologist - whatever - but he figured that he understood a little something about the sensitive areas of a snake-insect-hybrid, mainly from the five seconds of intense thinking that he had just experienced whilst setting up his gun. Eyes, nose, mouth. Those three words repeated in his head as he aimed and fired towards the eye of the creature, not daring to break his eye away from the sight as he watched the shot hit. Jespersen barely moved during this time as he tapped the pressure trigger once more, this time aiming for the nose. After this, the Dane conducted a mental review of his efficacy.

Wow, he thought to himself, I've really missed this.

Lena hadn't been too fond of sending him off, back to war, but Lars had been raring to go. He still felt guilty - his job had been the reason for the split between him and Lena's mother, and why he hadn't been present during her formative years, but that had changed. He'd helped Lena at university, had bought a flat with an extra room for her, been a better father. It would only be a short mission, and Lars was certain of that.

He frowned, snapping out of his thoughts - distraction was not good. He could tell that he had been out of the military for a while - three years, to be exact - as before, when he was in the special forces, distraction was not something he had to worry about. Lars had been so focused on his job that he had gained quite a reputation - he was known to stalk and follow his targets for days if required, unflinching in his positioning.

The man lined up another shot, firing at the eye-area once more. His gun hissed slightly, and Lars shifted his position so that he was further behind the partition.
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
Vladimir nodded, pointing at a few squaddies, saying, "Follow me, comrades," before charging off through a side passage. Though tempted to not take time to check for trouble, he didn't know if there weren't more than one of the aliens running around, so he took a little time as he sprinted from threshold to threshold to both check that there wasn't another alien and to see if they'd drawn even with the first.

Not finding anything, Vlad soon drew even with the row of cubicles that the injured alien was hunkered down in. "Stay here and start firing," he told the squaddies, before rushing to the other side of the row, dropping to the ground behind an overturned office chair, and started firing at the alien himself.
 

Trell0

New member
Korofi moved up along the desks and cubicle walls hoping to stay in cover from any needles that may come around. However upon hearing the gunfire onto the alien? One part of him told to take place in what he viewed as the potential slaughter of this alien. The other part? Potential paranoia that an alien or some other, hopefully human threat, may take the opportunity in using this as a distraction to open fire on them. Which he detested the thought of those spikes coming in as apart of some sneak attack. He tapped into the communications through his helmet.

"Sergeant Boss Man sir! Suggestion to put me on look out for any other hostiles! This alien looks like he's gonna be nothing but molded swiss cheese at best and nasty toilet soup at worst!" He took a brief moment or two to look out at the sides away from the alien creature in hopes of catching movement around aside from the other soldiers.
 
Whatever the creature was it clearly was at least smart enough to know to keep its head down. It had displayed impressive durability but far from invincibility. For all of the tenacity it displayed, here it was cowering behind the increasingly debris-filled, fragment saturated ruins of a humble office space as sparks and shredded furniture filled the air with particles and light. In desperation, its body peaked out from behind a few of the chair legs and desk dividers, firing an inaccurate spray of spines most flying wide but sending Jurgen and a few other squad members ducking for cover. Its compound eyes spotted Rafael, turning his way as it cautiously peaked; a few of his bullets slammed into its body but it had wisely hidden from where it had bled and unsightly trail of fluid onto the floor. The shots slammed into its frontal torso, cracking shell and drawing blood before it drew back.

Not fast enough; a loud crack as a high calibre weapon spoke and a fragment of a millisecond later, was reponded to by a disturbing crunch and splatter. A sound like a bunch of razors scraping down a ventilation shaft screeched outwards as tables and desks were knocked over and a spray of purplish blue blood splattered in an impressionist arc around the floor. Limbs twitched and a few spines shot upwards, digging into the ceiling and sending bits of rubbled raining onto its fading, desperate life.

There was little mercy as Vladimir and his detachment neared. A hail of bullets slammed into its body as tough shell was torn away to expose increasingly minced meat beneath. It became clearer after a few dry magazines that it had been twitching less from the last of its dying nerves but the ferocious storm of lead rocking it like a hailstorm.

The quiet in the wake of the battle did not last long. Not saying a word, Jurgen pointed at Korofi then a few positions opposite of where the beast's mutilated body lay - covering positions, heading in to investigate. He looked over to Vladimir and motioned for him to come with him then pinged to Lars and Rafael via HUD's - set up the perimeter, sweep the rest of the office.

"Damage check everyone, no punctures, impact wounds?
" He spoke over the coms before he pulled out his knife and neared the body. His blood was still pumping wildly but with his handgun in one hand and a steel ruler in the other, he poked at the corpse of the creature.

"Thing looks like the last meat loaf I had now, Christ..." Jorg couldn't help but mutter under his breath. It wasn't hard to see the resemblance; the cobra-like hooded upper body had been reduced to what was best described as a meat sauce based imitation of a craggy rockside. Like flames captured mid 3D image, bits of its inner flesh, nerves, and organs stretched out like little grasping tendrils still dripping its multicoloured internal fluids, squirting aginst the careful touch of Jurgen's ruler. The big man's visor had darkened again to an opaque green as its complex systems began to analyse the remains of the formidable creature.

"Hey, anybody seen the small one?" Anna's voice spoke over the coms, the sound of her magazine swapping and a fresh one clicking in momentarily interrupting any conversations. "Little critter didn't look like much but if he's on the same side. Maybe he's smart and he's calling for his buddies."

For Jurgen, something wasn't right about this entity's body. It was something minor at first; there were surprisingly little proper organs inside. Some sort of embryonic shapes seemed to be embedded in the meat, almost egg like but he couldn't identify what was accurately inside them; a jumble of nonsensicaly digital data came back. Yet there was something else he noticed; odd magnetic signatures, as if there was something metallic stuck within. Not the bullets but something else entirely. Pushing deeper, this time with his combat knife, something began to slide out of a gash he was carving, clattering to the floor.

He paused and looked in disbelief.

"There's some sort of electronic device I just pulled from its body. Intact, miraculously. I don't think it ended up in the creature by accident."
 
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Trell0

New member
Korofi nodded in acknowledgement of Jurgens' order for him, which he moved up and crouched at one of the covering positions. Also at this time he swapped out the magazine of his M17 for another one, all the while keeping the old one just in case. "No damage on me Sergeant Boss Man, although do splinters count? What about dust? I'm just curious. Also no sight of the small one, but it could be trying to file a complaint to its' HR staff. Probably wants a refund on it's ugly body mass and or armor? Plates? Also it might be jealous of my ugly mug called a face giving them bad luck."

All the while making his jokes to hopefully bring some if not a little light to this serious and scary situation; his eyes were on alert in his position making sure to look at corners and sides. Then it dawned on him about the electronic device and to say something about that. "Electronic device? You don't think some probably crazy people had them tagged with that do you? Trackers? Also no my brain is not big enough to figure out what it is."
 

space_person

New member
"Let me call in a medevac for that splinter. Stay strong." Rafael deadpanned to Korofi as he moved to Lars' position. He gave no indication on whether that snark was meant to be a friendly or aggressive gesture. He always assumed anyone on the receiving end of his remarks knew, even if it was nearly impossible to tell.

Rafael nodded a greeting at the sharpshooter and motioned for them to start sweeping the office. Although laser-focused on the task at hand, the voices of the others in the comms still caught his ears. "Keep an eye out for the smaller one," he mumbled to Lars. As far as they knew, it could be right under their noses or long gone by now.
 
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Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
"Better it meatloaf than us, da?" Vladimir asked, reloading his gun as he walked up to Jurgen. "If we're worried about the electronic thing, should get that back to base, unless one of you forgot to say that you're an electrical engineer."
 

Poe

Member
Lars couldn’t help but notice that the creature didn’t like being shot in the head. He wouldn’t either, but it was exceptionally annoying for the sharpshooter. “Kom her, din lille skidespræller…” he murmured, tracking the creature until he was able to find a clear shot. His finger inched closer to the trigger, before a sound like hell itself opening pierced through the room. Instinctively, Lars removed his gun from his make-shift perch and slid down the side of it until he was nearly prone on the floor. It was only when pieces of creature began to rain down next to him did Lars realise he was safe.

It was only moments later that a ping sounded through Lars’ HUD, and he stood, clasping the gun and attaching it to the strap so that it sat on his back. He didn’t want to leave it behind with a bunch of people he didn’t know. Maybe when he trusted them more. Maybe. For sweeping rooms, rifles with a sharp-shooting layout were not adequate, so Lars engaged his sidearm.

It was then that he stepped out from behind his hiding place, wiping a bit of the blue-purple blood from his prosthetic arm. He was planning to make a comment about it when there was a clatter as something fell from the creature. “Make sure that the device is not active, whatever it is,” he commented, returning Rafael’s nod before following the man.

The Dane took Rafael’s comment on board, but did not reply. He was used to remaining quiet in his usual role, and that’s exactly what he did. Besides the slight, almost imperceptible sound of his footsteps, the man was silent. A dead man walking, with a gun in his hand.
 
"If there's any civilians down here, they've no doubt heard the firefight. So have any more of... whatever this was. Maybe it's some science project gone wrong, some sort of experimental bio-machine. There should be another way to the surface not far from here especially for an area where a lot of civilians were working. In the meantime-"

Before Jurgen could finish, the device began to spark and sputter. He coughed as a foul reek emerged from its smoking, fluid-doused mass. Burnt electronics and melted wiring spread their pungent aura like a bad omen and he hastily dropped it onto one of the nearby tables, watching as it smeared the purple-brown gut juice against its surface, sliding a few inches over a few papers. That seemed to take care of Vladimir's concerns.

"A plastic bag would be appreciated to store it in. It looks quite clunky, almost like a CPU. I don't think even Daqin has something like this but I'm no spook." A few of the other troopers immediately began fanning out or rummaging through their supplies for something to hold it in. The object itself wasn't large; roughly square shaped and blocky like some old fashioned modem but with frayed wires sticking out of its front and back. It looked almost mundane if anything compared to the bits of viscera and guts hanging like meat off of near bare chicken bones. He could hear a few grumbling under their breath; they all knew the importance of recovering such strange technology but that reek was going to haunt them.

"While we're waiting on that, ammo count everyone? You've all got some combat footage I hope. Whatever we saw up here is going to have to go our respective government agencies for whatever politican to decide on a course of action." The sergeant turned his now transparent visor to Vladimir; he seemed solid enough of a person after a rough initial meeting. Some intelligence spook? Probably not; he doubted the Soviets would be sending them out to a backwater like this.

Jurgen flipped up a quick program on his armor's digital systems; he'd mostly used up one box and was taking the time to unload a few more bullets from a spare storage space within. It got him thinking just what that thing was. Initially it seemed unstoppable, barely flinching from their bullets tearing into its body. Yet it still retreated and it was clear that its wound ran deep. Some combat automata were capable of that sort of careful self-assessment, even programmed to take cover, but beyond its clearly biological composition something about its movements and prior actions did not feel like a machine.

After all, it crept out of its containment to face them down. Had it experienced some sort of doubt? Had that now inert device been used to still such fears? Just what the hell did that have to do with the rock fragment that Jorg had been poking at earlier? That too had some sort of cybernetic component within... was it related?

"Hey, heard something. Scratchy sound, near the end of the aisles, like something's dragging on the carpet. Pinging coordinates." One of the perimeter troopers pointed over to the end of the office desks, down a clear row of otherwise immaculate cubicles save for a few bullet holes . "Can't get a scan of it but it sounds near. Guessing it's the cobra's friend. Sergeant, we gonna flank it?"
 
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space_person

New member
Rafael appreciated the silence from the sharpshooter. Everyone was on-edge even with the moment of peace, and although he didn't allow the emotions of others to affect him, Rafael still preferred the company of someone who could keep quiet. He was swapping out his ammo, mind empty, when the trooper called out.
The area he pointed to was close by, and Rafael immediately readied his sidearm, not wanting to take any chances. He kept his eyes trained on the area, but waited for the signal from the Sergeant to proceed.
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
Vlad was busy repacking his backpack from the ill-conceived attempt to catch the alien when one of the troopers said he heard something else. "Next time, I'm advocating for just nuking the entire place from orbit," he said, sighing as he zipped his pack closed. His supplies repacked, the Russian followed the rest of the group, but stopped to tap Rafael on the shoulder. "When we go in, don't go first," he said, pointing at the medic's pack. "Never send the medic first, let other dumb dumbs like me go first, da?"
 

space_person

New member
Rafael blankly stared at Vladimir with that unchanging mix of "not amused" and tired expression that he always kept on his face. "I know." And let the rest of the group move past him. The Spaniard let out a small breath. Maybe this whole situation really was...almost getting to him. He let that thought go before getting back into the zone.
 
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Trell0

New member
"Scratchy sounds? I'd normally say it's some thirsty sucker from a hard night of partying and drinking, but I don't think there's been a party here. Also in case I don't get a chance later, my contract says medevac comes with parties and liquor of all kinds. Except beer, that is nasty." The jokes were coming, but his eyes were still showing signs of being on alert for this hostile. "Maybe there won't be much to worry about with that little one, but if it brings friends? HR? Medusa? I'd recommend cover Sergeant Mafia Don and if it's many of them? Maybe be ready to fall back and shoot them so much, we could make them light it up like one of those ancient disco parties."
 

Poe

Member
The sweep of the room had gone well, but it was then that Lars noticed a small vent in the top corner of the room, situated just behind where he had shot at the creature from. He headed over, stacking a few boxes before hoisting himself up, flicking on his torchlight. Lars heard the crackling noise of the machine self-destructing over the HUD and winced at the sharp sound. He had no idea what had happened and began to shine his torch down into the vent, waiting for some sort of communication to come through that wasn't just chatter. "Don't you even think about putting it in my gun bag," Lars spoke over his shoulder when he heard the rustling prompted by Jurgen's request for a plastic bag. His gun bag wasn't exactly a plastic bag, but he felt the need to reiterate the point - it was gun storage, not... unknown device storage.

The call for an ammo check was given, and Lars sighed. As he hadn't used his side arm, Lars knew how much ammo he had for it. His rifle, however, was an unknown - but he couldn't just stop to check it whilst he was stood on top of three stacked boxes in an attempt to reach the vent. He cursed under his breath before suddenly perking up. Something had just made a sound in the aisle ahead of them. A ping on his HUD confirmed his worries.

He dropped down from the boxes and, once more, removed his sidearm from his holster. Instinctively, and not out of cowardice, Lars remained at the back of the group. He may need to set up the tripod and rifle, and he couldn't do that from the front. There was a buzz of noise coming from in front of him - jokes, apparently -and Lars flicked the back of Korofi's head with his prosthetic arm. "Shut up," he whispered.
 
Jurgen had managed to find a storage component just large enough to stuff the filthy box-device into. Oh well, it wouldn't be that bad to clean up after. They had a job to do. With his box loaded full of bullets, he moved to the middle of the formation.

"Vlad, you sound like you're volunteering; take point. Lars, move around the outside of the aisles to get a better firing angle around the corner. Korofi, what Lars said and go with Vladimir. If there's another one of those things we're in for a possibly worse fight given the tight quarters. Spread out and make sure you aren't getting in anyone's line of fire."

Just as Jurgen had finished his orders, he looked over his shoulder to notice the boxes that Lars had set up and paused for a second, taking a moment to look up to the vent. He raised a fist, signalling to the rest of the squad to pause and hold their positions.

"Did you see something up there?" He asked, feeling anxious that they were possibly losing ground on any leads in the investigation. "If not, you're making yourself an easier target."

A thud and the sound of heavy steps. They didn't need a squad member to call it out. Something had been moving just on ahead with the thudding of a manual door sounding in its wake.

One of the troopers peeked out from behind a cubicle but swung back immediately as the space his head occupied was filled by a beam of purplish radiance. Air oxidized into a pungent reek and carpetry sizzled and burned from the energy beam's impact. Jurgen's heat sensor's spiked and he sprinted over to a firing position.

"Covering fire, get ready to advance!"

With the size of the rounds he was firing, he did not need to directly expose himself and his armor's on-board tracking systems could follow the heat-trail in the air straight to its point; a door at the end of a corridor around the corner.

He pulled the trigger and a stream of bullets ripped through the corner, spraying dust and debris as a rain of shells slammed through the door on the far side, hinges tearing off and the sound of multiple clattering sounds sounding out. Maybe it was falling bits of doorway or whatever that was hiding behind them.

"Visual, anyone got visual?" He shouted, motioning for Vladimir and Korofi to advance and for the others to leapfrog towards them in groups of two.

"Negative, just the beam! Door was open and I saw the glow, something that looked like a barrel!" The trooper who'd nearly been decapitated shouted back before cracking off of a few shots, wary for the possibility the aggressor might be more accurate the second time around.
 
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