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 Post subject: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:29 pm 
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The collapsing cliff had been a stroke of genius, if he did say so himself. The lead and a brute went over the side to slide ass first down a rock face of shale. It was like rolling down a mountain made of razor blades, likely not fatal for Wraith but it would curb their enthusiasm for the hunt for a while. The other two brutes weren't nearly so cooperative as they both stepped right over the trigger for the dead fall on their way to Ronon's position. He'd have to do it the hard way, he decided. He managed to drop one of them with the particle magnum, a shot that made him grind his teeth as even though he had plenty of ammo for it currently it was still a finite resource. He didn't get a chance to burn a second shot, the last brute was on him too quickly.

That fight didn't go as well as he'd liked, though the first few shots had been all Ronon. Those things were built like tanks for a reason, though, and Ronon found it to be a battle of attrition that wasn't favoring him. About to switch tactics his foot slipped on a piece of shale and he found himself in a grapple with the brute. It was all Ronon could do to keep its hands away from him, it was utterly impossible to get his feet back under himself and that meant he was going to lose. Eyes wide, looking around for something to change the situation, he remembered the dead drop. It was desperate, it was going to hurt, but that was all he had to work with. He braced the leg that hadn't slipped out from under him and pushed off hard. They stumbled sideways and the snapping sound was all the warning the brute got before the somewhat sharpened point of the log smashed into its back.

Being at a lower leverage than the brute Ronon just got ran the hell over. The brute's body smacked into his chest and head, rolling over him and grinding him into the shale before it tumbled over the cliff. A long yell that ended abruptly. That brought a satisfied, if pained, smile to Ronon's face. Breathing hurt, hurt like nothing else in the world. That meant broken ribs. He could feel liquid warmth on his back, the shale had cut him up as he'd slid before losing the brute. He lay there for several minutes, watching the log swing until it finally settled to a stop. Then, with the titanic effort of the injured, he started to roll toward the side that hurt the least and had to suppress the urg to bark a laugh when he came face to face with his particle magnum. He grabbed it and started working his way... where? His camp. It was a long way, an eternity with the injuries, but it was where the rest of his stuff was.

The cave, he just had to get to the cave. He could patch up. He stumbled and a limp became a crawl... and then he slipped into the darkness of unconsciousness there on the forest floor...


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Wed Nov 05, 2014 10:34 pm 
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The Marketplace. Different peoples had different names for it – to the Genii it was Cynosure – but that was what they all boiled down to. It was simple, direct, and descriptive, as that was what the world primarily was. It was a hub, where the traders and merchants of dozens of worlds met to do business and where the occasional traveler passed though on the way to somewhere else. As is usually the case with such crossroads, a sprawling settlement had sprung up, carved out of the jungle-woodland to service the visitors' needs – be it for a bed, a meal, a drink, or company. There were even a few small warehouses for rent.

With all that on offer, most visitors didn't stray beyond the settlement's unofficial borders, where the cleared area ended and the heavy forest began. Few other than inquisitive peoples like the Genii – or, as they were known here, the Tyrians – bothered to go venturing out to see what was there. But Genii inquisitiveness walked hand in hand with their acquisitiveness, so they knew a bit about this verdant world.

There'd been a civilization there once, one advanced enough to build large complexes of cleverly-fitted stone, and with leisure enough to adorn them with elaborate and intricate carvings. But whoever they'd been they were long gone now, their legacy just ruins being inexorably consumed by the tentacle-like roots of the Ilang trees.

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Had Ladon been of a more philosophical bent, or lived in a place and time where such tragedies weren't an everyday occurrence, he might have mourned the loss of all that that unknown people were and might have become. But he was a human in the Pegasus Galaxy, where genocide was part of life, and wistful regret a useless frivolity. So, when he walked into the central plaza of the old ruin, he saw only broken stone.

Having spent practically his entire life underground in either the main bunker or the cavern complex that served as his lab, the Chief Scientist of the Genii always felt vaguely naked outdoors. Even with the massive trees towering on all sides and extending their branches overhead, he had the sensation of being exposed. The armed soldiers bracketing him ahead and behind helped, but he still didn't like it.

Normally he didn't go off-world much, items deemed of interest were brought to him for analysis instead, but this was a special case. Something on this world was interfering with radio transmissions, and he was here to find out what it was.

Him and a couple of muscleheads. Ladon sighed inwardly. He wished Dahlia were here, but she was hard at work on the atomics, and he didn't want to distract her. The other scientists he could have brought along were either helping her or had projects of their own. He could have ordered them off them and with him, but outlander technology was his specialty, and it seemed like a straightforward enough exploration.

At least it did until from off in the distance came the faint but unmistakable predatory keening of Darts.

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:47 pm 
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Terror.

Pure, unadulterated terror.


The blood drained from Teyla's face, her heart pounding wildly while her entire body trembled uncontrollably. She stopped in her tracks, and her brown eyes went wide with horror.

“Teyla, what's …?”

The leader of the Athosians grabbed her friend's arm. “They're coming, Jaythan.” Her voice was soft, trembling. “The Wraith. We need to go back to the market and get everyone to safety.” Her words broke the grip of fear that held her motionless, and she began to run back in the direction she had come. Jaythan followed, his longer stride easily overtaking hers. He tried to grab her hand but she pulled it back. “Go! I'll be right behind you.”

He sped ahead, plunging through the forest, bushes rustling in his wake. How much time they had, Teyla did not know, but she hoped it would be enough. Her companions had been sent ahead with the supplies they had acquired, and they should be safely back on Athos by now. She had decided to stay a bit longer after running into Jaythan, whom she had known since she was a child. He was from one of the worlds they traded with, and her father had often taken her with him when he visited, and she and Jaythan had become fast friends.

Today they had encountered each other quite by accident, and during the course of their conversation, he had told her that he had discovered some ruins in the forest that spoke of a long gone civilization. Intrigued and curious as to whether it resembled the City of the Ancestors on Athos, she had asked him to take her there. They had been walking for only about ten minutes, surrounded by majestic trees and fragrant, verdant foliage, when the utter fear that warned her of Wraith attacks had assailed her.

The high-pitched whistle of Darts pierced the air, and Teyla veered off the faint trail she and Jaythan had been following and headed deeper into the woods. Had her friend reached the market in time? She prayed that he had and that the Wraith would find no one to cull, although unfortunately, the signs of human habitation would be clear, for the stalls would still be set up, merchandise from a hundred worlds abandoned.

Sharp branches pulled at Teyla's hair and clothing as she fled further into the dense forest, which impeded her progress significantly. She slowed down, daring to believe that she might have escaped detection. As she heard no screams, she assumed that Jaythan had been successful. She did not want to contemplate the possibility that she was too far away to hear, but it was definitely probable. The young woman had no idea how far her mad flight had taken her.

She almost stumbled over the man, lying unconscious on the ground. He looked as if he had been injured rather severely, and she fell to her knees beside him. The rise and fall of his chest assured her that he was still alive, but his breathing seemed a bit shallow. Her eyes fell upon a weapon a short distance away. It had probably fallen from his grip when he had collapsed. Teyla had never seen its like before, and she wondered where this man had originated and who … or what … had done this to him.

But none of that was important at the moment. She needed to get him somewhere safe, and for that, she would need help, for she was too petite to move him by herself. Perhaps, if she could revive him, he would be able to walk with her assistance. Gently, she reached out and placed a hand upon his cheek, hoping that her touch would wake him.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:47 am 
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Ronon was in that twilight place that only pain could take you. Where his mind was no longer filtered by his self-imposed filters and trained discipline of thought. Where his old sorrows could haunt him without impediment. His grandfather's sad smile as he taught his all too talented descendent how to kill. His Taskmaster swearing at him to work harder, to fight through the pain. Then the sound of a voice. Melena's voice. All too calm considering the distant sound of Wraith aircraft. Wake up, Ronon. He shook his head slowly in his mind's eye, not wanting to anymore. Not if it meant leaving her again. Ronon, you have to wake up. For me. He cursed her in the same breath that he called out to her to not leave him. Her hand touched his face, his cheek, and she smiled.

"Melena... don't..." He blinked blearily at the figure over him and for a moment thought that they had finally found each other in the afterlife. "Am I dead?" Ronon asked as he started to lift his head, but his body answered him long before the figure looming over him had a chance. The sound he made was of pain, but of both body and heart. Oh, by the blade, he'd hurt himself more than he'd thought. The adrenaline dump had left him flat on his face in the dirt not a hundred meters from where he'd fought the Wraith last. That wasn't remotely far enough. "My camp... I have to get there." He ran his hand along his chest and down the side until he was suddenly wracked with such pain that he had to grind his teeth together to keep from giving away their position to half the forest.

He dropped his head and his eyes rolled for a moment as he rode out the pain. "There is medicine there... we can hide from them." He was talking about the Wraith he had fought that he presumed to still be alive, knowing nothing of the attack that had followed elsewhere. "I need your help," he bit the words off, not liking that particular turn of events but having little alternative.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 10:37 pm 
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For an instant, Ladon froze like a hopper caught in the open by the sound of a raptor's hunting cry. It was the visceral, instinctive reaction of a prey animal, but it was washed away a moment later by a surge of determined, disciplined rage. Prey did not thrive among the Genii. He might have been physically smaller and weaker than those around him, but he had taught himself from the time he was a child to not let that fact cripple his greatest weapon – his mind.

Reactions barely a half-second behind those of his escort, Ladon broke into a sprint for the dark rectangle of the complex' doorway. Though his gaze was fixed on his destination, he was aware of booted feet stumbling on the cobbles behind him as the rearguard – Audel, he remembered the man's name was -- tried to run and scan the sky above at the same time. A few steps ahead of him, Holner reached the doorway and pivoted to stand next to it, unslinging his auto-rifle to provide covering fire if needed.

And it was. Just as the wiry scientist leapt over the sill, landing in the deep shadows beyond, chaos broke out in the courtyard. Inhuman roaring was interspersed with all-too-human screaming, peppered by the flat crack of an auto-rifle being fired as fast as its wielder could pull the trigger. Managing to halt his forward momentum just in time to avoid plowing shin first into a large chunk of stone fallen from the ceiling, Ladon spun, clawing his pistol from its holster.

Framed in the doorway and lit by incongruously cheerful sunlight, was a scene out of his worst nightmare. There were two Wraith, their black leather garb tattered and streaked with dirt and rock dust, their long white hair grimy and tangled. One crouched atop Audel, pinning him to the flagstones with one hand while it fed with the other, ignoring the Genii soldier's efforts to bring the shotgun up between them. The other charged Holner, jerking but not slowing as bullets impacted its body, swatting the rifle aside and slamming into the man with a sickening crunch of bone.

Ruthlessly suppressing a surge of panic – promising himself he could collapse into a quivering heap later – Ladon opened fire. His pistol lacked the stopping power of the auto-rifle, let alone the tri-barreled shotgun, but the magazine held 15 rounds and he was at nearly point-blank range, so none were wasted. Stomping down on the terror with a mental boot, the scientist let training he'd never had to use in combat before take over. Feet braced, aim steady, center-mass, breathe.

The smell of cordite clogged his nostrils and his ears rang from firing the powerful handgun in a stone room, but from out in the courtyard he dimly heard the boom of the shotgun, even muffled as it was by the triple-mouthed barrel being pressed up against a Wraith's chest. The howling there fell abruptly silent afterward, and Ladon hoped that meant something good, but he was too busy killing his own alien predator to look.

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2015 12:58 pm 
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The man stirred and spoke a woman's name. Teyla lifted her hand from his cheek, not wanting to alarm him when he discovered that she was not who he thought she was. He must have been dreaming, even as grievously injured as he was. She wondered who the woman was, and if she had been with him. Was she, too, lying wounded nearby?

Who or what did this to him? It couldn't have been the Wraith or they would have taken him back to their hive ship. Maybe hurt himself while trying to avoid a Dart? Or are there predatory animals in this forest? She had never been so far away from the village before. There was no telling what kind of dangerous creatures lived among the verdant greenery.

He tried to lift his head and groaned in pain. Teyla didn't reply to his question because he had obviously discovered the answer for himself. She wanted to tell him to lie still, but he was going to have to move if he wanted to reach the camp he spoke of. As he assessed his injuries, she watched him silently, hoping that they weren't too severe.

As a wave of pain overcame him, she took his hand, her expression full of concern. Would he even be able to make it back to his camp, even with her assistance? That there was medicine there was welcome news. She knew a fair bit about healing and could possibly tend to him herself.

And who did he want to hide from? Now, however, was not the time for questions. Teyla smiled wryly at the resentful way he asked for assistance. He was clearly accustomed to taking care of himself and didn't like needing help. Some of her people were exceedingly self-sufficient, and she knew well how to deal with them.

“Can you stand?” she asked, ready to assist him to his feet. “Point me in the direction of your camp and I will get you there and tend to your wounds.” Teyla spoke in her usual confident and no-nonsense manner. “We need to find a safe place to hide as soon as possible.” She said no more about the danger they were in. He had enough problems as it was, and there was a chance that the Wraith would not sweep the jungle if it was generally uninhabited.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Sun Aug 23, 2015 12:19 pm 
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"Not by myself," That and that alone was the reason he needed help. Ronon might have been able to, eventually, reach his feet but by the time he managed it he would have been so exhausted and in pain he wouldn't be able to make it far. With someone else to assist him and to lean on during the journey, he stood a ghost of a chance. And he needed to disappear his signal again quickly, before the hunters got back into proximity. "Uphill..." He gestured toward the slope of a nearby incline that ran up toward the low and isolated mountain range the weren't far from. "Top of the river, there's a waterfall. Cave around the back of a large boulder, a mineral in the walls will hide us from the Wraith."

Ronon cocked out the elbow on his bad side for her to take hold of while he used his good side to slowly prop himself into an upright position that gave him a chance to get a hip under himself in preparation for forcing his way up. He was bigger than her but would be helping, and she looked strong for somebody her size. The cave would be a pain to get to, and it would only hide them for a couple of days -if- they got to it before the Wraith got back on his tail. They used the tracking device because they were terrible trail readers. If they lost him outright they would have to grid search, it would give him time to heal. If they were on top of him before he got to the cave... well, at least he could shoot a couple as they came through the mouth.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:27 am 
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Ladon fired until his gun ran empty, even pulling the trigger a couple of times after that until the clicking sound of the hammer falling on nothing got through to him. Though he'd scarcely moved except to pull the trigger, he was panting as if he'd run a marathon, gulping in breaths of gunsmoke-scented air. The Genii scientist lowered the weapon to his side, the ringing in his ears the only sound.

Holner was dead, sprawled bonelessly on the ground with his neck bent at an impossible angle. The Wraith that had killed him lay on its back half across him, a line of bullet holes beginning at its navel and culminating with one that had torn off the side of its head. Despite Ladon's best efforts to keep the muzzle level as he'd been taught and the cylindrical shroud that served as a muzzle brake, his shots had walked up the alien's body. On the other hand, that meant the last had been decisively fatal, so he counted it a win.

Nevertheless, Ladon gave the Wraith as wide a berth as he could, circling around to peer out into the courtyard. Two more dead there, the shriveled corpse that had once been Audel and the alien, its chest a blasted ruin. Pivoting out of the doorway, the Genii put his back to the wall beside it and steadied his breathing. He was alone, he realized suddenly. Completely cut off. It was a novel sensation. Not that he wasn't a fairly solitary person at home, but in the bunkers there was always someone nearby, even if not actually in the room with you.

An image of this entire planet scoured of human life save for him popped into his mind, and he pressed his shoulders harder against the cold stone. It didn't matter. He would survive this. He was Genii. He was Ladon Radim. Glancing down at the gun in his hand, he pressed the release to eject the now-empty magazine and began the mechanical motions of reloading to keep his hands from shaking while he organized his thoughts.

He couldn't stay here. Sooner or later, the Wraith would come looking for their missing comrades, and would find them. There was nothing he could do about that. Even if he could drag the one in the courtyard to somewhere more concealed, the shotgun had blown its chest open. There would be a giant bloody smear pointing like an arrow right where they should look. He could possibly hide Audel's and Holner's bodies, but it would take too much time and at any event there was no way to cover the fact two Wraith were dead and at least one human was still alive. All he could do, hopefully, was hide himself and the weapons.

It would mean going out in the open, a prospect that made his blood run cold, but there was no help for that. As much comfort as he drew from being sheltered by solid stone walls, he didn't know the size or layout of the ruin complex, and the dust on the floor would make him easy to track. No, he was going to have to strip both bodies of munitions and find somewhere else to take shelter. And he was going to have to do it now. The longer he waited, the worse his chances became.

Holstering the pistol, Ladon retrieved the auto-rifle and ammo pouch from Holner, slinging the former onto his back and slipping the latter onto his belt. Then, steeling himself and casting a last, wary look at the sky, he darted out into the courtyard. The Wraith there, effectively disemboweled by the shotgun blast, was lying on top of Audel, and by the time the Genii scientist had the weapon in hand, both he and it were liberally smeared with Wraith blood and his terror was mounting. Yanking the bandolier of shells over Audel's head -- and ignoring the way the drained corpse's hair crumbled at a touch -- Ladon danced back from the bodies, then spun and sprinted for the trees.

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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2015 4:09 am 
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Ronon awoke again, laying where he'd thought he'd started. The pain had sent him into delusions stacked atop delusions. He worried himself for a few long moments before finally making the effort to check himself out. It wasn't as bad as he'd thought, or hallucinated. Or whatever. The whole thing gave him a headache. Ronon rolled, slowly, to his front and then pushed himself up to his hands and knees. The process continued until he was standing, holding his ribs, and limping out a shuffling gate on his way back to the deep cave where he could hide out and heal for a while.

The wet, sloping rocks outside the cave were difficult, he had to move at half the already cautious speed he'd already been using. Up to the boulder, inch by pained inch, until he was pulling himself through the opening and into the dark. Ronon immediately dug the flint and steel out of his pockets, struck them, and had his already made torch going. The torch lit the fire. There were still hours of daylight, nobody would notice anything near as weak as reflected fire light at that time of day and he needed to be able to see to begin the effort of fixing himself.

He was about halfway into getting his first dressings ready when he heard the scuff of movement from deeper within the tunnel. His particle magnum was out so fast a person might swear he'd already had it in his hand. He stared in silence at the turn that led to the rest of the cave's depths, waiting for whatever it was to reveal itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather Truce
PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2015 4:37 am 
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While it was better than naked open sky, the forest canopy wasn't nearly as reassuring to Ladon as a nice solid roof of earth and stone, the thicker the better. So as he hurried away from the ruined complex, alternately dodging trees and clambering over their roots, he kept his eyes open and his mind working. He'd recognized the kind of stone that had been used to construct the buildings and courtyard and knew that it was both hard and heavy. It would have been difficult to transport blocks that size very far through terrain such as this, so he was gambling that somewhere nearby there was a formation of it. A formation with plenty of caverns and crevices formed where inclusions of dirt and softer stone had slowly been eroded away by precipitation percolating through on its way to the aquifer.

Drawn by the sound of water cascading from a height, which he reasoned must be composed of something solid enough to not have been washed away over the millennia, he emerged from the forest at the base of a tall escarpment. An escarpment composed, he was happy to note, of exactly the kind of rock he'd been looking for. A waterfall nearby cast off a mist that would make for slippery climbing, but there were enough deep and promising shadows between the slabs of stone to make the effort worth it.

Unslinging the long guns, Ladon put them to one side and scrambled up. The first two crevices proved to be too shallow, but the third gave into what appeared to be a proper cave, going into the cliff as far as he could see. Extracting a flashlight from his gear, the Genii scientist flicked it on and shone it into the darkness. It did, indeed widen out into a large space not far past the entrance. Then the light picked out something on the floor and he crept in further for a closer look.

It was a fire, recently-laid, but so far unlit. Playing the light around methodically revealed more signs of habitation, including an unlit torch by the entrance, but no other living soul. Perhaps whoever it was was caught outside by the Wraith, he thought. Regardless, though, shelter was shelter, and when the Wraith came culling, even the bitterest enemies could den up together, nevermind total strangers.

Being careful not to disturb the fire, Ladon ventured further in, finding at the back of the cave another opening. This one was slightly narrower, and made a sharpish turn before running a short distance and widening into another, smaller cavern. That was as far as his light would reach from where he stood, and the Genii decided that was good enough. Hurrying back out and down, he retrieved the weapons he'd left behind and returned, his slender build standing him in good stead for once as he ferried his gear into the inner cavern.

He'd just gotten it all nearly stowed when a sound different from the rush of water caught his ear. Flicking off the flashlight, he froze in place. It came again, louder and closer, and then a third time, recognizable by then as a grunt of combined effort and pain. Still motionless, he listened as someone entered the outer cave. Whoever it was sounded big, but that might just have been the acoustics. There were a couple of chinking sounds followed by a crackle, and a few moments later a warm light flickered from that direction. That was followed by more rustling and another couple of grunts.

Realizing that he couldn't crouch like a tanga back where he was indefinitely, Ladon crept forward. Or tried to creep, but his boots didn't lend themselves to stealth and one of them scraped against a protrusion sticking low out of one side of the tunnel. Well, so much for that, the Genii thought, steadying his nerves with a deep breath and moving forward more boldly, poking his head around the corner.

Ladon found himself looking at the business end of the biggest handgun he'd ever seen. Biggest ... and most fascinating. That was no common projectile weapon, he realized immediately, and only the presence of the hulking figure behind the weapon in question put the brakes on his curiosity. "Uhm. Hello," he said, resisting the urge to crane his neck for a better look.

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