• 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

Rafael moved up behind the tank, purposefully avoiding eye contact with the bent corpses nearby. He quickly set up watch, relived that they got there with no incident but feeling incredibly exposed in this position.

"That's the most stupidest tattoo idea I've heard," he muttered to Korofi, dark eyes locked on the rest of the squad moving up towards the windows. "...How's the wound?" he added.


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Vlad kept his eyes on his surroundings as he walked to the door, frowning at the dead soldiers as he carefully stepped over them. "Hope you took some with you, comrades," he muttered, before dashing to the door.
Doug sighed as he moved up to the window. "I feel remarkably expendable." he said under his breath as he moved, coming up to the window he would peer inside but due to the fogginess of the window he couldn't see much into its blackness let alone the fog. "hey sir I cant see much permission to breech the building?" he asked stacking up near the sliding door.
"He said to take a peek," the Russian said, pulling out a pistol as he put his free hand on the crack of the door. "3, 2, 1," he counted down, before pulling the door open, pointing his gun into the building.


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Following orders, Leif took went with the others to take a peek. Using an elbow he tried to clear his view through the window. " Hmmm."
The door creaked as dust shuttered off of its top. A dim white light flickered, blinking over an armored body in last-generation armor and the shattered rifle it held in its hands. A trio of black marks on its back revealed the gunfire patterns that lead to their death, the lack of blood and black-marked meat visible around the entry points denoting energy-based entry wounds.

They would have been perfectly framed in a long, white corridor. There was still a fragment of it; roughly 50 feet of it before the walls fell away into leaning, collapsed rubble piles and a cross-section view of collapsing floors slouching towards the ground floor. What looked like a reception further down the hall had been crushed as if by a giant boot, its roof and windowed walls slanting inwards and giving them a view of a wider lobby beyond it.

A lobby wherein whole chunks of upper flooring had fallen onto, piling up in heaps of mismatched desks and furniture, and on which more bodies lay half buried or crashed into the tables and architecture.

"Report in. Hostiles, movement, friendlies?" Jurgen called, peeking around the shattered brick barrier at Vlad and his team. "We can move soo-"

In the corner of his team's vision, something flickered in the windows above. Jurgen's eyes darted to a flicker of purple and faded grey on a third floor window, seeing a large and brutish shape dart away.

"Movement, third floor, fourth windows from left!" His weapon swung up, not bothering with the bipod as he balanced it against the top of the chest-high brick wall. "Door team, hold position for now, eyes on the doorway!"


Komeo laughed at that response from Rafael. "You mean the best idea. It's advertisement and either makes the scar look awesome or can hide it...The wound is alright, it wants to flare up again but I'm holding with jokes and duct--" The conversation was cut off as he heard the enemy movement, which he placed himself beside what piece of the tank he could and would only peek out from a corner and to the windows. "I knew this was going too easy for awhile there!" He would do his best to focus his attention on the doorway ready to pull the trigger at the slightest hint of non-human movement.

"Ready and aimed Sergeant Jurgen, only waiting for a bug to come up for it's daily dose of the Bug Killer Dinner special!"


Douge hugs the wall keeping his mouth shut before scooting closer to the door leaning his head out just enough to peek inside the room.
as their sergeant barked out for them to hold position and watch the doorway, he would let out a annoyed sigh. "Aye sir watching doorway."
Douge was getting tired from all this; you get into one battle you wait for a ungodly amount of time and get a short skirmish rinse and repeat at nauseum. He was thankful for his Sargent keeping them all alive. "Sir if your alive by the end of this I'm going to request you get promoted for managing both groups and keeping us alive or at least trying to." Douge said before checking his ammo and guarding the door.


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"Really should have looked over the dead to see if they had explosives," Vlad muttered, holstering his pistol and aiming his rifle down the cooridor. "You'll tell us if it comes out the window, right Sergeant? I'd hate to be looking in here just to be flanked."
"We've got you," Rafael said through the comms, his eyes trained for any sight of more movement as he readied his weapon. He carefully scanned over the other possible exits and windows to see if there was any movement from a possible second party that could sneak up on Vlad and Doug's position.
"Move in, that thing is big. It's goitng to be making noise and we've more cover inside." Jurgen kept his gun on the windows before motioning for those with him to move up to the doorway, hurrying towards the others half crouched, gravel and debris crunching under his boots.

"Can it Doug, take point, rest of you eyes on the reception and surroundings!"
Jurgen grunted, sliding up against a wall and motioning for the others to take positions with him or the wall opposite. With how the floors above were exposed by something having smashed through them, they simultaneously had more and less cover. More from the ruins around them, he noticed as he kicked the hand of the fallen colonial militiaman out of the way, and less from the fact that the upper floors were now able to fire down directly. "Korofi, short bursts. No idea if the armoury's been emptied."

Yet nothing happened yet.

"If that thing is around, it might be looking for any survivors. Let's make sure he doesn't get that chance." He kept his machine gun trained on the approaching rubble of the reception, motioning for the others to keep their eyes elsewhere. Most of this floor was rubble piles, with many of the rooms completely buried behind the collapsing upper floors. It was enough rubble that some of the stairways were not entirely necessary; huge piles of wreckage lay stacked up and almost hill-like, leading to above. "Vlad, eyes on the upper floors. It was running from us; maybe it's the one that got away or it's a scout."

From the footprints on a few of them, he could tell it was not merely the aliens who had used them. Human footprints; not necessarily that old, still visible in their shape. Maybe they understood getting to high ground was a necessity.

As Jurgen swept the floor, those watching the upper floors would see but first hear movement. Ambient sounds of flickering lights, sparking wires, and crumbling architecture could have been heard from the outside but inside it was as constant as a distant waterfall or the cries of animals in the wilderness. Yet a series of sounds like footsteps but clackety and scraping immediately cut through the randomized layer of sonic decay. Jurgen was slow to hear it initially but the rest of the team would notice it; a shape large and arthropod like, familiar even, marked with purple blood splotched holes and cracked armor.

Not standing, but creeping like an overlarge earwig on the third floor, much of it cut away and scattered on the bottom gloor, leaving a patchwork rebar frame in a semi-circular shape. Enough of the floor was exposed they could see it skittering away, its weapon hidden but entirely obscured beneath its body as it crawled away from them, further into the building.

Jurgen swept his machine gun up but the blink of time needed to change his focus from potential ground floor hostiles seemed enough for it to have skitter-clattered into some of the upper floor's rooms.

"Shit, we've been made haven't we? Nothing here, that stairway with the red carpet on it - let's keep moving, catch the bastard if we can!"

He'd quickly sprint over, motioning for the others to follow as he skipped every other step, dashing up and panting audibly. Reaching the top, he'd pause for a second, mounting his machine gun over a half-crumpled couch, waiting for any sign of the creature to pop up from the doorway it had escaped to. Yet only the sound of the rotting structure greeted him.

As he looked towards another stairway, this one framed behind a doorway with its doors fallen inwards, the sound of familiar skittering limbs would greet them.

"There's more of them!" He called out, weapon sweeping around, ready to cover his squad. "Doesn't sound like the big one, must have more of its friends but... they're heading back-"

A third sound; Jurgen almost jumped in his boots. A buzz not from the environment but his com systems - one that would replay over the rest of the group. Garbled, crackled signals and blurring audio, modulating and blurring from pure static incoherence to the vague semblance of a voice. Split between focusing on potential swarming creatures and human contact, Jurgen hesitated for a moment before tossing himself prone, rolling towards cover and uring the others near him.

"That can't have been an accident. That sounded human," He commented, raising his weapon and moving towards the stairs, peering up and finding it intact. "Anyone got the drone still? We might be able to cannibalize it for signal boosting parts."


Korofi would have given a nod to Sergeant Jurgens order of using controlled bursts. "Short bursts? Got it." Korofi would have changed the fire selector towards bursting fire, which was his preferred unless he was being a distraction. That didn't end well last time and the rounds were running low. His eyes were searching the stairs and hallways as he went further up with the Sergeant Jurgen making sure to check corners and windows when he could. However once they spotted the skittering? His finger was on the trigger, but not fast enough as it skittered away from then.

"Why do they have to skitter? It's disturbing, but effective I guess? Do you think they skitter like that in their boot camp? I'll be taking cover and watching our tail ends."

Korofi will make sure to be more near the back of the group in the hopes of not slowing them truthfully, as he didn't want those painkillers to wear off and reach critical pain in the line of fire. That would be bad for everyone. His train of thought was disturbed upon hearing those strange signals. "I hope they're human and they can tell us what is going on because this doesn't look like some party where they're serving everyone the good barbecue."


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"Roger," Vlad said, waving to one of the remaining Russian soldiers to follow him as he sprinted up the stairs ahead of the rest of the group. Pausing for a moment at the landing, he burst into the closest room, checking it was clear, then turning around and aiming his rifle down the hallway. "Clear so far," he said as Jurgen ran up the stairs.

The sergeant frowned as static played on his comm. "We sure that isn't just an equipment malfunction?" he asked, taking a knee while still focusing down the hallway, looking for non-human forms.
Rafael, always the skeptic, thought the same as Vlad at first. But as he glanced down at the human footprints and signs of death around them, he knew there wasn't any room for doubting. Still prone under cover, he looked over to Doug, hoping his tinkering skills could boost the signal or else they'd have to go and see for themselves. Either way, he thought, they'd be meeting that chaos face-to-face one way or another.


Doug took point as he was instructed. Listening to everything as he moved through the building quietly. At Jorgan's question about having been made, Doug responded "I don't know sir maybe that one forgot his welcome sign and went back to get it." Honestly he was as equally creeped out and on edge with everything going on at the moment. That was until the door that was fallen inwards started making noise again.

catching the glance from Rafael as the creepy skittering sounds started up again. He lowered his head before shouting
"I still have the drone sir if you can provide me some cover I'll try to get the signal boosted."

taking a knee behind some rubble he took out his earpiece and the drone and began taking it apart to build a signal booster from it.
"That skittering means we can barely see the bastard move through cover Korofi. Profile's cut low enough he can move around the railing and furniture and we'd at best make out an inch of him." Jurgen crouched and mounted the machine gun on a surprisingly intact desk, noticing a few burn marks cutting trenches across its top... and the hole-punched, cauterized wound-holes on a business suit clad man slumped over on another desk.

His wounds were old and the rot that had set in not yet eating him to his bones.

"If they have boot camp, I've got questions. We haven't even seen a full squad, just one of those creatures surrounded by its little critter friends. Those things were not anywhere near as tough. I'm almost convinced this guy was cut off, much like we are."

There was no silence to break up the mounting of weapons and the shuffling of booted feet, but every single sound - from pits of ceiling tiles falling to the vague sound of sparking electronics - put Jurgen on edge. He was sure this extended to everyon else.

"Very convenient time for that when we're where a lot of personnel could be holed up Vlad. Buildings like this always have hidden shelters, bunkers even, probably private com channels for emergencies." He replied, pointing to Rafael then pointing down the corridor while his machine gun aimed down the floors they had ascended. If a bunch burst in below, he had the perfect way to greet them. Meanwhile, Rafael's rifle would likely see increased lethality against targets funneled through lengthy passages.

"Get on it. We just need its signal receiving tech. Anything coming our way, we'll deal with."

A silence pregnant with tension, fear, and anxiety ensued as the Soviet machine was tinkered with.

Time passed and soon, the garbled signals crackled with eggshell breaking crumples and Jurgen winced, hoping this wouldn't private the momentary break in the whole squad's concentration for a surprise attack.

It was a sign at least that the signal was being tinkered with, morphing from garbled and incoherent into a steady stream of sound and more importantly, comprehensible language. Interference remained, masking some of the finer details but soon, coherence began to seep back into their in-armor audio systems.


Before anything else substantial and fragmented could be uttered, the signal began to cough and stutter, blurring once more into incoherence.

Rustling rubbage and creaking furniture sounded out down the hallway Rafael was told to cover; a flicker of motion between the desktops and shattered glass pane dividers.

A faint glow coming from the holes along the corridor's walls, seeming to almost stare not so much at Jurgen but past him and at Doug.

Before he could say anything it-
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Douge was busy ticnkering with the drone to boost the single as things starting to stutter. "come on not now." He said as he kept trying to get anything substntial to come threw. When A shot from the wall flew past Jurgen and into Doug burning his arm off slagging metal to flesh before the remainder of the blast hit him in the side knocking him on his ass.

Crying out in pain unaware of how bad his injury was he reached for his arm and began to panic more. "m-my arm, they took my arm!" he screamed in pain as things started to kick off.
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Korofi unfortunately knew that cry of pain anywhere, as he resisted such a thing when his side got turned to overcooked barbecue however this was an arm that was off. This was going to be far worse than he thought. Earlier there was hope of just silence and paranoia, but no forces out here. That hope was broken, but the hope of protecting one of the team? That was something that could be in progress at the least, which it was as he sprint out of his spot in back of the team. He relied on his bodies' adrenaline and refused to acknowledge the consequences of straining the burn on his side. Once he made it near to Doug? He turned his rifle in the direction of where that glowing shot came from and fired a couple of rounds in that direction.

"Sir bad idea time! Give me covering fire and I'll grab Doug! Rafael be ready to administer the good stuff! I'll tough it out if I have to, pays to have pain tolerance!" Korofi was going to make a joke about having thick skin from so many rejections, but this was Doug and he lost an arm. That was no laughing matter even for him. He knelt down and slung his rifle over his body and pulled out his pistol, as he started to scramble and help Doug up along his shoulder. All the while firing a couple of pistol shots in that direction. "Fight through the pain Doug! I'll need you to be moving fast! Get to cover yesterday fast!"


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Of course the stupid radio gives out on the very key words, Vlad thought, sighing as he looked down the corridor. He was expecting fast movement, but was caught off guard by the subtle glow and then lightning fast shot that hit Doug. "Gavno," he said, followed by him and the rest of the Soviet soldier firing at the glow, hopefully giving the medic clearance to deal with the wounded.
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Rafael's head whipped towards the sound of Doug's cry and booked it back down the corridor, staying as low and covered as he could. Part of him was grateful as he watched Korofi reacting quickly and scooping Doug up to safety while the medical half of him was internally screaming at Korofi for straining the wound site.

He slid baseball-style behind cover with Korofi and Doug, pressing the buttons on each side of his pack as the kit opened with a slight hiss.

Shit. They needed backup. If everything had gone to plan, he'd have a medivac ready to go for Doug and Korofi would've been out of here ages ago. Rafael took a deep breath, his internal anxiety absent on his face.

"We've got you, Doug." Scorched bone was exposed, the upper layer of Doug's skin fused to the side of his gun. Okay, okay. Don't let the shock kill him. He reached for the pills before changing his mind and jabbing a needle into Doug's thigh. The dosage wouldn't be high enough to stop the pain, but anything at this point was better. At least he didn't have to worry about him bleeding out.

"Korofi," Rafael muttered, "Tell him some jokes."
Jurgen's reaction was immediate. Not as much as the flash of light and sound of liquefying, sizzling meat but his weapon had been already prepared and he was all too eager to demonstrate its capabilities. An armor-piercing hail flew and tore through the hole ridden wall the beam had emerged from, kicking up dust and decimating abandoned desks.


Anger and frustration flared across his features. One of their own blindsided just like that. It could have been anyone. Unfortunately for the attacker, they had not chosen the man with the biggest gun and the most bullets. That suggested they knew a vital target then.

Another flash of light, flying past its mark and scorching a burnt, flamed trench along the ceiling and raining dust and debris upon them. Jurgen retaliated as the top and bottom halves of the wall became fully separated, the clouds of dust clearing as multiple rifles tore into the barrier and the flimsy desks and furniture behind it.

The massive shape of some enormous, arthropod figure scuttled as rounds pinged against its carcass. A few cracked and its body jerked and twitched, creeping across the ground with some enormous tubular weapon visible near where its upper body could be seen on its silhouette.

As sights and scopes trailed the monstrosity across the office, the carnage created drew enough attention towards its creeping form another was able to get into position. Behind the cracked glass of another smaller partitioned sub-room, a living weapon shrieked and gargled.

One of the Russians turned just in time for a storm of buzzing, crackling spine-like projectiles to ping and patter then dig and devour through his armor. Jurgen turned just in time to see the partially skeletal, partially meat-and-metal scarecrow torso of the soldier fall and the shape that stood framed by the enormous hole it had blown through the barrier.


The beam weapon screamed and finding it too close for comfort, Jurgen tossed himself down just in time to see a hail of the ravenous bullet-flies soar right over where Doug was huddled with his comrades, tearing clean through the wall behind them.

"Shit, they have it out for Doug, get to better cover you three!" Their private coms crackled into life as Jurgen pointed to a GDW marine, gesturing for a grenade, just in time for a beam to piece their sternum and slice upwards. Their split head came apart as their body slumped forward.

A sound like a vaccuum having sucked up something larger than its tubular neck could take before spitting it out drew his attention upwards. A spherical object purple and spiked spun through the air, arcing towards them as the creature in the mini-room retracted a tubular appendage from its left shoulder.

It was like an urchin with shorter, stubbier spines and patchwork plating beneath, and it was clearly aimed towards those three.


Douge gritted his teeth as he moved to the medic the pain flaring us as his side hurt as well as his missing appendage. Adrenaline spiked after the injection taking some of the edge off but not enough for the pain as he delt with the situation. Unholstering his pistol he chuckles as the doc is trying to find a way to cheer him up or that was what he thinks of it.

"Hey Doc, do me a favor, stay alive you and the jokester over here for me if nothing else than do that for me okay." he said face turning pale. as several rounds rip through the wall behind them causing him to flinch. "Takecare of yourself you hear, okay?" Racking the slide of his sidearm using his utility belt he gritted his teeth and turned as the spherical orb came at them. firing three to four shots at it he took off hobbling towards the drone to get a signal going at this point it was either get a clear signal or die as far as he was concerned, and he was willing to do both if it meant protecting everyone else. <they can just replace me if I die Privates are a dime a dozen anyway.> he thought to himself as he tried to speed up his time but with working with one hand in a crouched position made everything a bit harder.