• 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 2: The Ruins Are Alive


Jurgen's limbs felt like they were attached to his armor and that the boundary between flesh and iron had vanished. The longer they were out of cover, the more he felt that every empty windows and crater in the roads was hiding the same monstrous horror that they had faced in the ruins. That wasn't counting the one that had gotten away. His mind flashed back to that enormous creature; its arms were thicker than his head and most of his body, its bulk armored entirely in a living exoskeletal shell, and the intelligence in its insectoid eyes undeniable in its ruthless efficiency.

They were not fighting some mindless beasts but some sort of sapient, cunning force that as far as they knew, controlled the ruins of Eos. As far as they knew, it had disabled communications and thus separated them from the rest of the squads. The immediate action was to try and regroup with the nearest one: gamma squadron, sent to investigate a government building that based on the downloaded map, just a few blocks down from the building they had just exited.

A number of quesitons remained on his mind: what was that rock they had seen earlier and were all of the more bestial foes they encountered from such things? The cybernetic component they had extracted from the first larger bioform; was it a control mechanism? Just how had these things cleaned the whole area out in what was possibly just a few days?

Did they have a fleet in the skies above? Eos was not a huge colony but it could not be steamrolled that easily.

Maybe whatever rumbled within the rubble of the city, making skeletal structures shake and winddows quiver, had been their ace in the hole.

The squad leader's weapon was half raised, his eyes scanning across the piles of rubble and jagged, pointed rebar and jutting furniture that emerged from it. In many places, there were not worn out carcasses of buildings but simply the fine, pounded dust and fragments they had been reduced to. Smaller particles danced and skittered about, moved by the rumbling that seemed to echo out of the structures that still stood and craters in the earth.

It was as if they were walking across a creature breathing and shuddering, waiting for the moment to cast aside its blanket of ruins. Every step with feet sinking into the rubble, trudging through as if it was a swamp, felt slow and dragging. Jurgen felt vulnerable and he was sure the rest of the squad would not disagree with that assessment. They had come out of the last fight with no deaths, maybe some cuts and bruises, but they had otherwise driven the enemy from the building. Only one of them had survived. After repeated scoring hits that would have slain any GDW soldier, it had crept away bloodied but far from crippled.

"Eyes sharp, this is ideal ambush territory." Jurgen motioned for the squad to start spreading out. They were moving acorss one of these patches of pulverized structure, where armored personnel carriers and power armored carcasses alike stuck ot of the soil like toys haphazardly left in a sandbox. The building this dusty patch had been had been reduced to the barest rebar and metal framing, some still containing chunks of concrete and material like twisting skewers. In a grotesque way it was almost like a forest with how tightly they were clustered, almost marking the shattered military hardware and the jutting cadavers like makeshift gravestones.

There was something unusual about this sand. In places it had been displaced, pushed off to the side, and the outline of some sort of large shape with curved limbs was drawn across it; almost as if horseshoe crab or some flat bodied arthropod had been dragging itself over it as opposed to crawling.

"It seems this might be a popular travel path for those... insects, whatever they are." He commented over the coms. He raised his weapon and it bumped against some of the metal; hardly ideal but surely it would not be any better for the creature they had wounded earlier, even if this was the path it supposedly had made.
 
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Each distant rumble sent a chill down Rafael's spine. They were cut-off. No backup, no eyes in the sky -- he glanced at Korofi.

No medical support.

Not that he was concerned for him, Rafael told himself. He just wished he could pass off Korofi's injuries to someone else to deal with. Why'd the guy have to pull a risky move like that? Didn't he have anyone waiting for him back home? Family to protect? Rafael shook his head. Those weren't useful thoughts to him right now.

He spread out, all senses sharpened for any sign of whatever made that trail, or any other enemy that would undoubtedly have the high ground.
 

Trell0

Member
Korofi for awhile was surprisingly somber after seeing the charred corpses for earlier and seemed to be keeping his focus on moving along, on purpose keeping to the back and out of sight as much as he could. There didn't seem to be any intense pain, but mostly discomfort from particular twists and turns he made. On purpose he only carried his pistol as he wasn't uncertain of the recoil on his body given his injury, but however the somber time couldn't last for long. Apart of him was under the assumption he would die here and if he were to go out? It had to be doing one or two things either going out swinging along with shooting or making jokes as he passed away. Both? He was certain Nirvana would accept him or maybe that one other ancient place...Valhalla? "

"Hah looks like I got my steps for probably the rest of my life today and might be a superstar in this new holovid called Ideal Ambush. I'll be the main lead, I'm an Improvisation Pro." Korofi told the joke quietly over his coms all the while looking up and taking note of any potential spots to kneel to cover just in case.
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
Vlad grumbled as he looked at his radio, which had gotten reset, its batteries replaced, and its settings messed with in a vain attempt to contact the Soyuz fleet. "Typical officers," he said, shaking his head as they walked, before joining Korofi in an attempt to add some levity. "Send us off and then decide to leave you high and dry. Some luck, eh comrades?"

Walking across the beaten path, he wished he had enough explosives to rig a mine for the aliens to trip over. "I knew I should have brought more," he muttered, keeping an eye out for targets as he kept his rifle at the ready.
 

Silence3726

New member
Doug would Stick with Korofi and Rafael as they moved through the ruins. "I don't suppose we have any more grenades if we run into more of those things do we?" He asked while white knuckling his rifle. As much as he's not willing to admit it he's scared from the charred bodies to the damage their beam weapons did to Korofi fusing metal to flesh He felt Vulnerable. and with the amount of concentrated fire they had to put in a handful of these things that attacked. So being outgunned and under equipped on top of No support while going this far he felt as if he was a animal in a slaughter house.


Douge would constantly be checking the windows as the moved jumping at every little movement. this was his first mission and already was he regretting signing up to the military.
 
"Just... shut up for a second Korofi. I need to think."

Jurgen had tolerated the security officer but the longer the mission went on, the more he wondered how the man had kept his job and his life. Had he been in any deployments previously? What had he been thinking, that he'd be some hero if he exposed himself as a target and somehow wouldn't end up like the charred remains they'd seen mere hours ago? Maybe that's what every building was full of; people that were dead days before the joint task force could arrive. Their only company as far as he was concerned were the very things that were trying to kill them and given how much ammunition they had spent clearing one building, he doubted they had enough for the rest.

Truthfully he considered the various other squads they could have checked on but Gamma was the closest. Given the maze-like layout of the residential section, the exposed nature of the communications tower, and the urban conflict nightmare that the industrial quarter might have been, Gamma seemed the least terrible. They had seen some of the government building during their descent, a proud and stately if somewhat old fashioned piece of western European parliamentary architecture, one that looked like someone had dropped a few passenger planes through its roof. It lorded over much of the surrounding city but that was due to the fact that much of the neighboring structures probably had not been entirely completed or were not as densely clustered elsewhere.

There were likely armories there as well and while distasteful to his mind, the soldiers who had been deployed to its defence likely had GDW compatible supplies. Gamma Squad presumably would be holed up in there but the only way to check was to get close and right now, he did not think they had a way to communicate to them directly without potentially being intercepted. At least, not until they were closer to the building and afforded a tighter signal.

That reminded him.

He raised a fist and motioned for the others to spread out into cover positions. At the very least, while the dusty debris piles seemed to suck at thier boots, the jagged mess of fang-shaped ruins mounted around broke up their visual image. He turned over to look Vlad's way.

"Vlad, did your commanders send out any reconnaissance drones as well? Ours were meant to be controlled by the fleet and if we can't reach them, then those drones are probably hidden away. If yours aren't, maybe we could even ping them a signal, try to get at least some functional eyes in the sky."

It was a long shot probably but he was hoping the next time they went into a derelict building they would not all be going in blind.

"On that note, if anyone here thinks they can reach our own drones somehow, take your shot. I'm open to anything at the moment.
 
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Trell0

Member
Korofi chuckled for a brief moment without pain. The small victories counted for something, at least personally to him. He responded to Vlad, "They at least could have left us high and dry with some good stuff to drink and with a goodbye to boot." Then he turned to respond to Doug. "Well look at it this way, if we don't have enough grenades? We definitely got enough bullets to light'em up like Christmas holidays just without the fancy colors on our lead." Once word came from Jurgen to essentially shut his trap for awhile? He gave a nod with one more response. "Glad to see you are thinking Sergeant unlike Command, with all due respect sir." Most circumstances were jokes and sarcasm, but that last bit? It seemed to sound sincere and honest.
 
Rafael got into cover behind a crumbling half-wall and glanced up, surveying the horizon.

"The rooftops," he muttered into the comms before speaking more clearly. "If we got into a higher position, we could reach a signal. Maybe." He shrugged. "Might expose us, though."
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
Vlad raised an eyebrow at Jurgen’s snap at Korofi. I get why you’d be annoyed with him, he thought, keeping his eyes on the ruins that surrounded the squad, but seems like his antics is just how he deals with stress. Saw plenty of that back in the mines.

Drones?” he asked, looking into the middle distance as he thought back to the briefing. “Some, but not as many as you had deployed, comrade, and all of them were being controlled from orbit. If they’re having the same communication issues as us, they’ll have landed in an open area, waiting for instructions. Guess we could try and find them from higher ground, though I’d worry about getting spotted.”
 

Silence3726

New member
Douge Looked to the rooftops as Rafael suggested it. Noticing no one's really volunteering for such a event he let out a sigh. "Sergeant with your permission I'll attempt to secure a rooftop as Rafael suggested." Douge Ended up heading to the entrance of a building with a accessible rooftop, looking around constantly at the other windows.
 
"That thing... I don't know if it was just some creature or drone but it didn't seem like a mindless animal. We fired enough bullets at it to kill a human, maybe even a daqin, at least five times over and it could still move that quickly. Maybe it was in charge of the creatures if they can be called that. I still have that device we cut out from one of their corpses. Hopefully if we've got anyone with a masters in theoretical technology, we could figure out what exactly this is."

He thought about reaching into his pack to take out the likely still meat-dripping device and mentally vomited at the thought. Even if they scraped all of the insect-meat off of it, something about it felt ugly and profane. He wanted to toss it in the nearest bin but it was vital intel. If they got out of this alive, his higher ups would need to see it and send it off to research teams.

Where the fuck were they now though? He had the suspicion whatever invasion force they had encountered had very deliberately caused this radio silence.

"Higher ground it is. That building off to the side - looks like a studio, cracked window in the middle, green door, seems moderately tall. We clear it out, get to the top, then we take a look around. Split forces between floors, eyes watching everywhere. Got it?"
 

Trell0

Member
Korofi for once in a long while during all of this gave an actual groan at the thought of going up there. "I'd like to file a complaint, which I think as a superstar I get one of those at least. Stairs are horrible and take work---shit that's right I work anyway. That joke came around to hit me back. Anyway on you Director Sergeant Jurgen, we'll make certain to make your movie and or sitcom a hot sequel. I'm well on my way towards making that happen." He couldn't help but to give a small and silent laughter at his joke, but seemed to be keeping up pretty well with the group. However there were a couple moments he was seeming to slow down to give small rests here and there to his aching and burned body.
 
Rafael nodded to Jurgen and motioned to a few other soldiers to form up. He nudged Korofi on his non-burned side as he passed him. "With me." Raf didn't want their only majorly injured squad mate to be too far from him in case the wound reopened. He said a silent prayer, hoping to God that the building wouldn't be full of any more of those creatures but preparing for the worst.
 

Silence3726

New member
When the sargent mentioned the building to check out Douge turned his attention to it. Unfortunately, with their low numbers at the moment Douge summerized that it might be best to have a low rank take point to spare more experinced soldiers from taking a hit. swearing under his breath at the realization that would be him he began moving to the building. "Taking point." Running up to the building he would flash his muzzle in threw the cracked window before moving to the green door when he didnt see anything.

Putting his rifle back on his mag harness he began feeling up the door for any boobytraps. after not finding anything that he could notice he would crack the door and move in with his weapon at the high ready position. "Im in clear so far sir."
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
"I'll take the rear," Vlad said, gesturing to the surviving Russians to follow the GDW soldiers, waiting for everyone to pass before getting up. Turning so he could face the way the team had come, he walked at an easy pace, keeping his rifle at the ready as he scanned the ruins for a sign of the aliens that had ripped apart the settlement.
 
"I meant it when I said shut the fuck up Korofi." He growled as he swung over to the building, visor darkening and colour-shifting as he scanned for any potential threats before shoving the door open, LMG sweeping and squad filing into the structure.

It didn't look any more or less decrepit than the last of city. Cracks in the ceiling, a few light fixtures hanging by wires, and rubble laying across the ground. Given by the holes in the walls, exposing the underlying skeletal frame of the building, something had crashed through here and taken the back wall with it. A common occurene from what they could see throughout the abandoned city. At least there were no bodies in this room.

Even better, after a few short minutes sweeping the structure, they confirmed themselves to be alone thankfully. Jurgen motioned for his forces to split between its two floors as he moved with a few others to the roof through a top floor hatch, taking out a bipod and attaching it to his weapon's barrel. A pair of blocky binoculars were taken out and passed around as he prepared to lay down any suppressive fire necessary.

"Drones, movement, humans, anything that stands out you let us know. Ground team, keep your eyes peeled for anyone trying to get into the building. If anyone thinks they can get a signal to any drones out there, now is the time."
 

Trell0

Member
"Wilco on being silent and back up for the young and healthy." Korofi will give a silent nod to Rafael and stick close to him and the group of soldiers formed up on him. He will move with as much as care as he was able to make the least amount of noise, while switching from his pistol and back to his M17 assault rifle. A quiet hiss of pain came forth from his mouth for a brief moment, before it dissipated into silence except for some of the quiet movement of his boots on the ground. For a moment he almost was starting to appear similar to a normal soldier being on the watch out for anything in strange or stood out.
 
"Copy." Rafael and his group took position on the ground floor, facing the exits. He set up towards the huge hole in the back wall, not bothering to wonder where it came from. He glanced to his side at Korofi and silently took stock of the rest of his med kit. The icon continued to flash on his HUD NO SIGNAL. Someone better be good at tech up there.
 

Acewing13

GM
Wiki Moderator
Vlad went to the roof of the building, saying "Спасибо" to the GDW soldier that helped him through the hatch, and started sending out a signal to try and recall any Soviet drones that were on standby mode. "Calling for any airborne drones, comrades. Make sure it's a bug before you shoot anything that moves," he said, putting his rifle to his shoulder and started looking through his sight at the surrounding ruins.
 

Silence3726

New member
Douge would climb his way up the crumbling ruins to get a better vantage point on the second floor of the building. Listening to the Korofi and sarge verbally duke it out, whether it be from stress from their current situation, or he was tired of hearing the bitching between the two Douge piped up. "Oi lay off him sarge you didn't have half your body fused to your armor, did you? if he wants to joke around as his way of dealing with his situation let him." after saying his peace he remained on overwatch hoping and praying that someone could get a signal out.

"Hey Ruskes you see any movement in your sectors?" He asked over his radio to the Russians as he continued to scope out from his vantage point. if he was being honest he wished they would get into another firefight cause wading through the city sized cemetery was more nerve racking when nothings happening. the calm before the storm is way more stressful that the storm itself.
 
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