• 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

Rafael ducked behind a cubicle near the end of the formation. He shuddered as Vlad yelled 'fire in the hole!', knowing what was going to come next. He didn't know if he'd ever get over that first impression.

He barely flinched as the flashbang exploded. Rafael nodded towards the soldier beside him, preparing to move up towards the corridor.
The nonlethal explosive erupted into a lightning-flash of eye-scorching white. The thundercrack soudn momentarily drowned the angry buzz-hiss of whatever weapon was sending its lethal beams their way. Something crashed and clattered, combined with unintelligible sawing, grating echoes from down the hall as the lancing shots went wide, tearing open ceiling tiles and missing squad-mates by impressively unbecoming margins. Their lethality was not in question but a haphazard, perhaps partially blinded shooter in some ways felt more dangerous than cool, collected killer. They were far more unpredictable after all and with that kind of firepower, it surely would do far more damage than the spines of the creature they had previously shot to ribbons.

Vladimir had taken point just in time to see movement in the door. A shape of some sort jagged and armored moved behind a blur of smoke, the protruding length of a barreled weapon of some sort, ribbed with a long strip of some metallic material over its top, like some sort of jutting and artificial crest. The rest of its body was obscured by both the smoke and movement but it appeared to be large; enough that its huge pauldron-like claws and shoulders could barely fit through and it was firing through the doorway more like some sort of gunport. It was a sort of faded greyish-white, its head semi-triangular with a pointed, predatory shape but its features vanishing soon into the dimly lit room, the air in front of it distorting with intense heat.

That was not before a hail of bullets flew down the hallway. Cracks and pings sounded out as the door was torn open and human bullets met an alien body. Loud pings and cracks sounded out, flashes of light as a few rounds ricocheted off into the floor, walls, and ceilings and others dug into its body. Trilling buzzes sounded out as the auditory report of deflected shots and scoring wounds diminished.

A sustained spray of machine gun fire ripped off the rest of the door, sending both halves clattering to the floor as Jugen took to the front, sending a HUD-overlay graphic of an arrow. It was time to advance as multiple squad members began kicking up the intensity of their fire upon advancing. A rifle grenade flew inside, chasing after the fleeting bulk of the creature and violently exploded but this time, there was no response.

"Move move move, we have the advantage! Short bursts and single shot, don't give him time to retaliate!" Jurgen advanced up to Vladimir and Korofi , tapping their shoulders and motioning for them to take point alongside him. "Korofi, on me, Lars, cover us, and-"

Whatever he was going to say was silenced by an angry cry as a blur of thrashing, serpentine motion leapt his way from the ceiling, clinging to his helmet and causing him to stumble back and drop his weapon. The centipede-like shape of the smaller creature coiled around his head, a parade of pointed limbs stabbing against the helmet with absurd, clattering tenacity. Their advance down the narrow corridor had awkwardly stopped and there was no telling if the large entity would be lining up for another shot.


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"Belay that, cover me, comrades," Vlad said, letting his rifle hang by it's sling as he grabbed Jurgen and pulled him back behind cover. "Keep firing, I'll get this off him," he continued, taking off the knife from his rifle, pinned the centipede down on the German's head with his left hand, and started stabbing the alien with his right. "Sorry, comrade, don't want it moving while I'm going after it," he explained to Jurgen.


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Korofi didn't seem to show it, but he was surprised the centipede-like smaller creature seemed to have come out of nowhere and go for one of them. Jurgen no less, which made him wonder if they had some form of knowing who was in command? It could have been weird animal instinct seeing him give them orders, but it was scary to say the least. However he didn't have time to be scared, as there was work to be done, arguably scary work at that. "You got your cover comrade, but try not to, uh, make his face look like his aunts spaghetti or those homemade pizza rolls!" Korofi popped out of cover and this time took a brief moment to aim for what he hoped was the creatures head and eyes and press down on the trigger firing multiple bursts in that area.

"I'm going to try to make him blind, but no promises! Good news though might be I'm going to beat him in a blinking contest and I haven't lost one of those in what feels like ages!"


Lars was glad to be backed up by Jurgen in his response to Korofi, moving to approach the outside aisles. He was about to respond to Jurgen's inquiry when the thud of a door reached his ears. He paused momentarily, civilian brain taking over, before remembering his training and continuing with his orders, just at double the speed. He remained crouched around the corner, setting up the tripod and rifle, before a pungent odour assailed his senses. Upon looking up, it only took Lars a second to put two and two together - that trooper had just had a brush with death in the form of a purple energy beam. Lars couldn't help but find himself not really wanting to stick his head around the corner. He was rather a fan of it remaining on his shoulders, rather than having it be disintegrated.

He paused for a moment, waiting for a reply to the request for visual contact, apprehensive about poking the barrel of his very expensive rifle around the corner in case it was hit. At Vladmir's warning, Lars murmured some sort of curse under his breath before turning away from the aisle and screwing his eyes shut. He heard the bang, waited a few seconds, before throwing himself to the floor behind his tripod, mirroring Vladmir's prone position, and gazing down his scope to assess what the fuck was going on. Unable to see anything more than brief glances of something metallic through the thick black smoke, Lars had no choice but to fire at whatever he could see.

He had expected Jurgen's order. He had not expected Jurgen to be cut off. He had definitely not expected Jurgen to be cut off by a fucking alien centipede.

Lars' instinct had been to reach for Jurgen, but then he'd remembered that he was positioned in order to deliver covering fire, not to provide support - besides, Vladimir seemed to be on top of that anyway. His next action was to fire a few shots at the creature before looking up towards the ceiling to try and establish where the creature had jumped from. Surely they would have seen it had it just been crawling along the roof? Then again, Lars contemplated, there was the elephant in the room of whatever was behind the door... or at least, what used to be a door.
Keeping his position in the back, Rafael made his way closer after hearing Jurgen cry out. Rafael sighed to himself when he saw the Russian briskly stabbing at the centipede creature currently wrapping itself around the Lieutenant's helmet. They should've caught that tiny alien sooner, and now it was biting them in the ass -- well, biting Jurgen in the head, more like.
"Watch the helmet," Rafael called out. A knife wouldn't pierce through that easily, but who knew if that alien could? And he really didn't want to have to deal with multiple stab wounds to the face right now.


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"Why do you think I'm trying to keep it still?" Vlad asked, grunting as the alien struggled underneath his hand and knife. "I'm willing to listen to better ideas, comrade, but I'm going to keep stabbing until then."
"DAMMIT, SHIT! Whoever's stabbing, get it off my head first!" Angry mandibles and claws had been slamming an erratic staccato rhythm against his helmet, scraping through metal as he flailed and yanked at the creature's serpentine grip. His vision was mostly its legs flattened against his visor and its malleable carapace squirming as he felt its body jerk and tense. Before he could so much as imagine what was going on, the creature shrieked and its grip loosened, enough he could see blood drip and hear steel scraping against his helmet.

For Vladimir, it was no less pleasant. Purplish fluids sprayed out like bursting plastic bags spewing out the juice within, splattering against walls and visors as the sand-coloured meat beneath the shell was desecrated. The creature's upper body writhed against his grip with impressive strength, threatening to break through. It would attempt to lunge at Vladimir, attempting to grip its claws into his shoulders and mandibles into his neck. Muscular mass could be heard tearing, splitting, and spraying from the horrific butchery inflicted as the centipede-like creature's last ditch attack commenced.

Korofi's rifle sounded over the feral struggle and scoring hits echoed down the hall. A buzzing drone-scrape echoed out as the same beam of heated purple energy illuminated the upper wall to the side of Korofi, melting through ceiling, brick, and wiring sending spark-blossoms and dust his way. The familiar oxidized reek returned along with a dull ambient buzz - the weapon fell silent but through the obscuration, the large shape could be seen shuddering back, one of its shovel-like claw appendages clutching around its side. Slick purple dripped through its multi-digited fingers, shading what little of its greyish-white covering could be seen a sickly purple.

That could be credited to Lars' sharp aim as the entity began its retreat, firing wildly with one hand and causing the door to fall off of its melted hinges and supports, creating a wider avenue of entry for the squad.

Unlike the prior room, these were long corridors up ahead with partially collapsed doors spilling rubble out onto the floor. The creature nearly tripped on one of said piles but something steadied it; some sort of shape of many pointed legs, the joints pointed upwards and connected to semi-bulbous bodies barely visible in the dim lighting and the growing smoke from rounds and beams ripping through the scenery. They seemed spidery in some capacity yet roughly the size of larger autonomous combat drones, roughly half the size of the hulking creature they were supporting.

Multi-tubular protrusions emerged form flattened plate-like turretry on their wide abdomen-backs, splitting open as nightmare mouths for arrays of pointed harpoon-spines to emerge. The sound of electricity crackled as a steady stream of spikes were fired, pinging against the armour of one trooper and toppling him over as both spiders quickly scuttled first sideways across the floor then onto the walls and ceiling. The sheer quantity was gradually picking up but they were pausing intermittently to try and dodge rifle fire, covering the now fully retreating brute-creature.


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"Whoops," Vladimir said, cringing at the scraping sound of his knife blade against the sergeant's helmet. "Sorry, comrade. Let me get a better grip on this damn..." He trailed off as the alien bug turned to come at him instead. "Govno, mudak," he said, pulling his arms in between his chest and the alien and grabbing it's mandibles with his free hand while stabbing again with his right, "idi na hui."


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Korofi believed his cover was great covering him from shots and possibly creepy little creatures, until the heated purple energy came and seemed to ruin all of that. An abrupt response of "Damn!" came before he leapt out of his cover and over to another desk in the area. A brief moment was taken so he could cough up some of the particles of dust out of his lungs, which after his coughing was done? He'd take a peek at the battlefield seeing these strange...Spider creatures? His head would poke back behind the desk and not only change his magazine for a new one, but also the rate of fire from burst to full auto.

"Okay if those things are it's babies, what the hell is it feeding them!? I assume they eat more than little snacks to get that damn big! Anyway I can be wrong, but that thing is probably trying to clear house! I'll be the distraction else this ugliness is useless to have, but we need an explosive in there on the big one to slow him down or to clear out these little ugly ones!" His head would pop back out and he would start to hold down the trigger and attempt to empty his clip on as many of the smaller spider-like creatures he could. "Get ready for this special can of RAID courtesy of humanity truly! All at the expense paid price of FREE."
Rafael's nose stung with the smell of the energy ray's effect as it blasted across the hall. He began firing at the spider-like things to halt their retreat -- he was getting frustrated at this game of hit-and-run -- but paused as Korofi shouted out about an explosive and turned to Vlad.
"Por el amor de Dios..." Raf muttered under his breath as he saw his predicament and moved in a half-crouch closer to the Russian. Rafael faced the back of the creature currently trying to get a taste of his shoulder and hooked his hands around its middle, attempting to drag it down and off of Vlad so he could get a better stab at its vital areas.


Lars found himself impressed by his own aim, still continuing to fire as a small smirk graced his face. He still had his old skills, and he was happy. When he had left the military, Lars' old commander had wasted no time telling him that he would lose his skills as soon as he stopped practicing them. Lena refused to let him go to shooting ranges... so Lars' skill had remained dormant for a few years. It was a nice little 'fuck you' to his commander, Lars thought to himself as he finally stopped firing, daring to look back towards Vladimir and the creature.

It seemed as if Lars had chosen the wrong moment to look away, because as soon as he did, he heard the sound of scuttling. It sent shivers up his spine and he instantly snapped his head back to where it had been moments before, eye gazing down his scope in horror at the strange spider creatures. The world went a little too quiet as his mind whirred, prosthetic arm reaching down to his belt to remove a grenade. He pulled out the pin, raising his arm to throw.

"GRENADE!" Lars yelled, before swinging his arm forward and throwing the grenade amongst the spiders.
Crackling spines and barking barrels argued through the narrow corridors as flashes of yellow-white and sparking blue illumianted the dillapidated scenery. A few came dangerously close to hitting the three-entity melee of Jurgen, Vladimir, and the centipede-like alien know attempting to drive its free mandible through the Russian's armored glove and into his flesh. Metal scraped against metal and if Vladimir looked down, the lieutenant's hand rose knife in hand, sawing into the coils of the creature as it spilled further fluids onto the gore-drenched commander.

Its grip was weakening however as its thrashing grew, too distracted from its live vivisection as Rafael's grip pulled it off of the squad leader's body, spewing foulness as in its dying, aged against his stern grip. It was no less dangerous. Its head began to shake, body convulsing, a heat building up within as what smelled like burnt meat began to cough out of its spittle-launching mouthparts.

Jurgen didn't have time to thank the two or even bark orders, flattening himself to the ground and rolling out of the line of fire, all the while furiously scrubbing the flesh-tinted gunk soup off of his visor. At least now he could crawl towards the machine gun dropped as he punch-pointed to a cover position, hoping Vladimir would take the hint and get moving. At the very least it seemed that their new alien aggressors didn't classify him as much of a threat. Perhaps they cared about their now dismembered pet more than he imagined. It was hard to tell with the heat-radiating death beams missing his prone body by mere inches, barely giving him the time he needed to swing his machine gun around and hastily fire a few bursts.

Interstingly enough, it was Korofi putting out enough fire to be suppressing. A hail of gunfire roared out over the staccato rhythms of the rest of the rifles, prompting a few soldiers to yell at him to get down. Bullets went wild, tearing through ceiling tiles, bursting flickering lights, and finding their targets from sheer volume. Yet the spiders here were far, far more durable than their Earth-dwelling cousins.

Rounds pinged against their armour, some finding their hides. One of them even gushed from its face, two of its eyes bursting outwards from scoring wounds. Yet there were no bestial shrieks or whistling hisses - they skittered back and scattered, moving in jerky zig-zag patterns transitioning from wall to ceiling to floor with no issue.

There an issue with his tactic in that it was rather distracting and for all his bravery, it didn't appear to suppress the creatures. There was a momentary pause in their firing however; the opportunity Jorg needed to spit a few rounds down range and slam it into the abdomen of one of the four spiders, prompting it to shuffle back a few steps and spill some of its blood to the floor.

It had also drawn the attention of the largest of them; the soldier they had scored a few deep wounds. Yet he had far more to spare and gift in turn - the long rifle seemingly unwieldy in these tight quarters turning to Korofi. The barrel glowed and high-heat, piercing hate shot out directly aimed at Korofi's torso.

Amidst the mayhem, a grenade sailed through the air. The spiders this time didn't respond as quickly. Yet it was the large, seemingly bipedal creature that froze for a second, hopping back to cover but not fast enough. A few rounds slammed into its left shoulder and it staggered rather than sprinted. The four spiders however seemed almost to blur as they move, their firing ceasing just a few half-moments before the blast. A burst of explosive force tore off more and more of the walling, shattering and causing parts of the ceiling to crash to the ground, and resounding in a few satisfying thumps and slicing, ripping sounds. Even though they had scattered, it seemed as if at least two had fallen from the walls and ceilings, limbs audibly scraping against the floors of the two side-corridor paths.

The larger one couldn't be seen yet but he could be heard - a sound of buzzing, charging electricity around the leftmost path. Was he recharging his weapon or preparing something worse?


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Korofi through his hail of gunfire gave a chuckle and yelled out while firing at the time. "Tougher than I thought, but something will get through eventually! Scared of my bullets or scared of my ugliness I bring to this fight!?" Once they paused for a moment? His job was done, more so when he noticed a few rounds went into one of those strange spiders. "Good shooting, but don't get their guts on me! Sergeant Mafia Don will need me at least clean for the Mafioso cookouts! Wait you do have cookouts right---" His joke was cut short as he looked over and spotted the glow of the heated weapon a bit too late, as once it fired? He attempted to move over and fire more bullets in the direction of the large soldier, but he hadn't been fast enough to avoid it.

He wasn't superhuman and couldn't have possibly dodged it, but bad jokes with bad luck to the enemy and himself? He had those in more spades than he could count, which the shot instead 'grazed' him in his side. That applied to bullets, which might leave some ripped flesh or two, enough to make those cool battle scars in the vids. Energy however? That left burns and if too close cooked skin, which the pain was instantaneous to his nerves and brain screaming pain and danger. He gritted his teeth and didn't scream, but he fell onto one knee barely holding onto his rifle that is until the grenade sailed through the air and detonated and that had the intended effect of making him let go of his rifle entirely and hang onto the cover he was behind. Once there seemed to be a moment to speak? It was expected, but shocking as well to see him make jokes while in pain.

"Damn why did no one tell me they like their burgers and steaks well-done? Let alone that I might be the burger and or steak? That weapon didn't pierce through me, but it hit the side of me...I'm good to go long as I don't look at it and whoever the hell does? You're gonna let me damn well know how badass of a scar it'll make and give me a scale of one to fuckin' one hundred on how cool it'll look for the ladies...Fuuuuuuck don't tell me they heard that?" It may have sounded and seemed dumb, but it might have been obvious to some? The jokes probably were an escape from the pain...Probably.
Once off of Vlad, Rafael threw the creature down and surveyed the chaos. Speaking of chaos --

"Korofi-!" But the air filled with the smell of burning flesh as the ray sliced the side of Korofi's torso. Rafael moved to reach him but had to quickly hit the floor again as the grenade exploded. He half-crawled half-crouched to Korofi's position behind cover and took out his kit. He unlatched a can of nanobiotic healing spray and some fast-acting pain killers.

"Take these before you go into shock. This is going to hurt." He sprayed a circle towards the center of the burn wound, which created a white foam before dissolving into a sort of artificial scab. Luckily, the ray had instantly cauterized the wound so there was no blood loss to deal with. Unluckily, the ray was powerful enough to instantly cauterize the wound.

"This will have to do until we can get out of here safely. That armor is melted to your torso." He unceremoniously covered the wound with gauze. "And that's gonna be one nasty-ass scar."

Rafael slung an arm under Korofi's shoulders and helped move him to a safer position. He shot him a look. "Don't move your right side. And don't do something that stupid again."
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“Vot eto pizdets,” Vlad grumbled as he wiped at his visor, trying in vain to get the alien blood off. Giving up, since he could see well enough to fight, he fired a burst into the alien’s smoking corpse before turning to Jurgen and seeing his directions.

“You know?” the Russian said, firing his rifle down range at the armored aliens from behind what cover he could find, “I really wish I brought more damaging explosives. If I knew there were going to be armored laser bugs, I would have brought some anti-tank ordnance or something. Just have one last frag grenade.”

Seeing Korofi go down, Vlad growled. “Fuck it,” he said, letting his rifle drop to his chest as he pulled his last grenade. “Fire in the hole!” he yelled as he pulled the pin. Instead of throwing it immediately, he let it cook for a moment, before tossing the grenade so it bounced off the right wall and into the leftmost corridor, hopefully blowing up in the enemy’s face.


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Corporal Doug Jackson had been laying down suppressing fire. while Rafael carried Korofi to safety. He won't lie this whole thing was like something out of those old monster hollo vids. Keeping his mouth shut unless spoken to while fallowing orders is generally how he believes Hes lasted this long in his time in service.

switching mags to a fresh one and placing the half full mag in its place. Jackson Would move up to wear Korofi was and took a knee before laying down several short, controlled bursts at the soldier whose beam had just hit the groups jokester. Hoping to pin the soldier down with bullets until someone could hit it with a grenade thankful that Vlad was that person. Before the Large robot had time to recover from the explosion, Jackson would pull the pin on his own grenade. "Frag out!!" He shouted before lobbing it in the direction of the large Robot.
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It was like slow motion as Lars watched the shot hit Korofi straight in the chest. He swore under his breath, trying to work out the best way to get over to him. However, Rafael seemed to have reached him already. At the shout for another grenade, Lars retreated around the corner and took a momentary breather. Fucking hell. He felt old now, his head was throbbing and his ears were ringing. Gone was any real confidence he had, replaced with bitter realism.

Another grenade flew past, snapping Lars out of his thoughts. Without aiming properly, Lars briefly poked his head from around the corner and let out five shots. "Status report for Jurgen and Korofi. Check ammo levels," he barked down the comms, momentarily forgetting that he was not, in fact, a commander anymore.
The smell of partially melted armor oppressed the olfactory senses of human and extraterrestrial alike. In the wake of the fragmentation grenade the fizzle-crackling filled the fleeting silence as bodies scrambled and GDW soldiers called out, trying to get a grasp on enemy positions. Sheer force and fragmentation had sent two of the spider drones falling to the ground, flat on their backs and remaining, non-severed limbs not curled up as with actual spiders but spread out like macabre flowers. A few of their tarantula-like appendages lay scattered about them, dripping purple fluid.

Two more were left and rifle fire sounded out, shattering the tension with precision and tenacity. Scraping against the walls and the ceiling; both spiders had been separated, each on opposite corridors and ducking in and out of cover. As much fire as they could put out, they were outnumbered and GDW troopers scored multiple hits against their bulbous abdomens and rigid throaxes, painting the floor beneath a slippery purple. As easy as a target Korofi and Rafael were, this was considerably less so when a vengeful Jurgen joined into the chorus of automatic weapons fire. The sound of an abdomen's upper half being sliced open then splattering to the ground was audible even over the long roar of his firearm.

The rest of the spider soon followed its own spilling innards from the ceiling to the splatter-pool right beneath it.

"Son of a bitch..." He was tempted to spit but that would just get saliva on his visor. Seeing one threat go down, he spared a moment to kick the body of the centipede like creature that had attempted to crack his helm earlier with a moist crunch. Swinging his weapona round, he simply blasted apart the corner of a wall, causing the spider to skitter back further towards its larger compatriot still hidden from sight.

Vlad had said something about grenades and the lack of them, probably not very well thought out on his part. He raised a hand to motion to him to get down but before he knew it, he'd cocked one and sent it around the corner. Before he could say anything else, another grenade followed suite. Oh well, they still had more.

As the grenades flew around the corner, the rising hum of electricity dimmed and heavy footsteps followed. A second later and the explosions drew a sonorous, deep rumble emerging like subterranean machinery rumbling through a subway. Another set of stumbles; the creature was running down the corridor and it was fair to assume even its bulk was not immune to the destructive power of shrapnel and blast force. Two grenades? This thing was tough but it wasn't stupid.

"On me, prepare for pursuit!" The other squadmates stacked up against the wall with Jugen up front, eyes already tracing the ceiling through the torn-open corner. Rather than taking out his machine gun, he reached down for his sidearm and gritted his teeth. A few barks of fire later and splatter dripps and the last spider fell to the ground. "Never getting jumped again..."

A com came in and he holstered the smaller weapon, turning his eye towards the top right of his HUD display - 65% box capacity, still good on spares. His brute size came with its perks.

"65% on the box, far more where that came from. Anyways, three, two, ONE!"

He swung around and barely hesitated the second he caught a speck of the huge shape falling to the floor only to bound like some enormous forward-moving crab. Other squadmates swung around, firing off a few bursts as a united advance began - every few feet, someone would stop and the others would half-crouch as they moved, letting weapons fire travel down the corridor towards the bulky shape moving towards a large dusty hole in a wall. A few rounds scored against its cracked, bleeding body but it was determined to escape.