[05-08] Crash Redux

Karl Jak

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(Please be certain to have read the updates provided at the end of the previous thread)

Droog
Tommy Oliver
Michael Liberty
Perry
Misha
Della Duck
Ronny
Mortimer Mouse
Karl Jak
Kevin
4 other Syntech execs
All other survivors
 

Aku

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"Brace yourselves, back there!" Della yelled loudly to get everyone's attention that the ship was about to crash on impact. The people surrounding Misha were grabbing hold of something not to flail around when hitting the surface. He sees Perry looking around, unsure what to brace himself with due to his size, but in a flash, the merc in red picked him up quickly and covered him entirely with his brutish-built body. The top-secret agent was trying to refuse his comrade's help, but it was no use letting go on how gently and compact Misha kept him against his chest while his arms pressed against the bipedal platypus. Only now can Perry close his eyes and hope for the best to make it out alive in one piece.

Deep down, Perry became worried about Misha's survival ability. Still, it's strange to have this feeling for another mercenary working alongside him, only knowing the giant Russian half of a day. He wanted to find another way for the big guy to protect himself. Unfortunately, there was no time at all as the ship crashes violently against the surface of an alien planet. Metal scraps fly and pieces of the spaceship break apart due to the impact's speed, crumpling the hull.

Terrible noises fill the ears of everyone inside, with the ship moaning in a poor result. The vessel moves a couple hundred more feet, flinging dirt everywhere from the surface until it stopped. Della in the cockpit had a three-point seatbelt tightly wrapped around her to prevent herself from being thrown out the cockpit's glass window. Everything around her was damaged, but she didn't suffer from any injuries, luckily. Her eyes remained shut, fearing the fatal crash causing harm.

After a moment of silence, she opened her eyes and sighs in relief that she's still in one piece. Foreign soil filled the cockpit view that belonged to this mysterious planet; they now are left stranded. Della unhooks herself quickly and jumps out of the chair to check everyone's safety. She first sees Kevin pinned to the cockpit's back wall, dazed and confused after the dramatic landing.

"Kevin! Oh boy, are you ok?" Della's words scrambled out of her bill, worrying for his wellbeing. "Y-yeah, I think I'm fine" Kevin speaks up and rubs his head after impact, attempting to lift it but feels his spine throbbing.

After seeing Kevin responding, Della rushes toward the room behind the cockpit to check in on the rest. The area was a disaster being all mangled and exposed wires sparking from the ceiling. From ten feet to her right, Karl Jak remains to lie against the cold hard steel floor with his once proper attire becoming ripped and battered from the hell of a day he is having.

"Oh man, oh man, oh man, please don't be dead!" Della worryingly muttered underneath her breath about Karl's life. Before she could speak to see if Karl Jak could respond, he groaned, attempting to sit up but felt his bruises that form. She sighed in relief and helped the CEO of Syntech to stand on his feet. By the time Karl Jak stood, he had leaned against the wall of the crashed ship.

"Check on the others. Don't worry. I'll be fine." Karl Jak maintained his posture, eyeing around the wrecked scenery. Della nods with certainty, climbing over the wrecked crates seeing the other three. Joy appeared to be acceptable as her eyes awakened, but she did have a bruise across her right cheek. She lost her glasses upon impact as she scrambles to find them.

"M-my glasses, I need my glasses to see." Joy worryingly speaks while on her knees, moving her hand blindly through the wreckage. Before Della makes a step, she sees a pair of rounded glasses next to her feet and picks them up from the floor. The duck space pilot walks over where Joy is searching, having her eyeglasses in both her hands.

"Here ya go." Della hands the eyeglasses to Joy, surprising her that she indeed found them. "Oh, thank you so much. Without them, I would've gone blind." Joy mentions, adjusting the glasses upon her little nose. Della Duck smiles back after helping her then looks over on her left to see Misha's body not moving,

"Oh no!" the adventurous pilot nervously says with no movement showing from her tough friend. She rushes over to where he's lying face down on top of Perry. The fedora platypus crawls out from underneath Misha's body and stands up, adjusting his hat correctly. "Perry! Help me flip over our pal!" Della struggles even to push over Misha. Perry nods and attempts to put more muscle along with Della's to move the heavy mercenary.

They successfully flipped the heavy weapons guy over to see if he's still alive with one final push. His body did not make a single movement, and Della Duck panicked that her first friend she made in space is dead. Perry hops on top of Misha's stomach and kneels to stick his head against the Russian's chest to hear a heartbeat. After a second passes, the bipedal platypus sticks a thumb up that Misha was ok. The space pilot duck wipes the sweat off her forehead from the unease that she could've killed someone.

Misha remained unconscious after the severe impact they took, breathing normally.

"I'm still a good darn pilot even when we're even falling in style." Della remarks on her talented skills when it came to saving everyone's life. In the meantime, Perry could not get over the emotional feeling of how Misha was willing to protect him at all cost. He's never had anyone in the field that would risk their life for his in danger. The agent couldn't help but want to thank the merc in red looking out for him.
 

Godzilla

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Droog jammed the point of his looted spear against the deck below him, grasping with the clawed fingers of his other hand for anything to find purchase on. His eyes remained locked dead ahead, staring at the looming purple planetoid as they careened toward it in an increasingly disorienting spiral. Something about the planet below set off warning bells and alarms in his head, that deep-rooted animal level feeling of 'this is a bad thing' clawing and screaming at him, telling him not to go there. The carapacian clenched his jaw and squinted his eyes, staring distastefully at it, as if this entire mess was entirely the fault of the diminutive stellar body, as his mind raced frantically and desperately for any solution or means to escape from what seemed like certain death in the inevitable crash landing.

He snarled and growled and cursed at anything and everything in the final seconds before impact, only to have his frustrations drowned out and cut short by the horrid noises of the crash. Everything went black in the dersite gangster's mind.

It could have been mere seconds later, or it could have been hours or days later for all he knew, when he regained his senses. He almost wished he hadn't woken up at all, as feeling began to spark back along his extremities and announce itself with fresh waves and stabs of agonizing pain.

Everything was a hazy, red-tinged blur as he tried to blink his vision back to normal, even as the world stubbornly did gymnastics around him just to spite his sensibilities. A pervasive, shrill ringing whine echoed in his ears and just barely failed at drowning out any other sound. Miraculously, nothing appeared to be broken as far as he could tell, his pride notwithstanding.

His immaculate appearance was ruined, well-pressed and kept suit soiled and stained with blood and dirt and torn from glass and metal. His hat had vanished entirely in the chaos. There were several cracks and scratches in his insect-like carapace, but blood that was actually his only showed through in a few places. Overall...he would count himself lucky to have come out of things so relatively unscathed. Crashes of any kind were a messy and dangerous business, to say nothing of the kind that involved plummeting down to a planet from space.

The process of hauling himself up to his feet was a lengthy and laborious one, which brought with it no small amount of anguished wheezing and unsteady shuffling. "F-Fuckin'....hell...." he rasped, wiping a smear of blood from his chin with the back of a hand. He squinted his eyes, peering around and trying to ignore or power through the ringing haze in his head and gain his bearings. "...from a failing ship...to a falling ship...to some random-ass bad-news planet..."

He tried to take a step forward, only to have a sudden bodily disagreement; his insides felt as if they very much wanted to become his outsides, as they danced the samba and sent fresh waves of fire and ice radiating through his body. They reverberated especially strongly in his skull, and all he could manage was a choking, sputtering hiss as he threw his body against a wall, sliding down it to crumple into a half-kneeling, half sitting position and delicately clutch at his noggin with the cracked fingers of one hand.

He wasn't a doctor...but even he could tell when something was seriously wrong. Outwardly, physically he might have gotten off fine, but seemed like something inside didn't agree with getting thrown around in the crash.

Deep breaths, Droog...deep breaths... Walk it off.
 

Jason Lee Scott

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Tommy awoke to the scent of sulfur in the air. He blinked a few times to get the haze of the probable concussion out of his mind. Sure, he was getting knocked all over the ship enough to discourage him from ever traveling into space ever again, but the important thing was to keep moving forward. Since his last memory was the escape craft heading violently towards anywhere except that monster infested ark, he was eager to see if his dreams had come true and he could leave.

He sat up, noting the damage to his green breastplate had grown a bit more, and he could see bits of his white undershirt underneath. He figured armor lacking integrity beat no armor at all, so he ignored it for now. His brown robe, however, was damaged beyond use, so he discarded it as he stood. With his hood gone, his messy and unkempt beard and hair were on display to any fashion critics that might have survived the chaos.

Tommy checked that his pistol was still secure, not noted his rifle was gone. It didn’t take much looking around the damaged room to find the twisted metal heap that used to be his long gun. He scooped it up for a minute to look it over, but then tossed the now useless object away. He would certainly miss it in this unknown place, but better it destroyed than him.

“You okay?” a voice called.

Tommy looked to see an equally disheveled Syntech executive perched on a platform above him.

“Yea,” Tommy responded, still in a bit of a daze. “What about you?”

“I think so,” the man admitted from up top.

“…Did anyone else survive?” Tommy asked as he looked around the empty room.

“I don’t know. I haven’t left from up here,” the man answered. "It's safer."

Tommy rolled his eyes. Great to know that he could have suffered a more severe injury and bled out under this coward’s helpful watch. He instead looked around for an exit. Surely someone in another part of this craft had survived the impact. Just as he started to move around the destroyed room, there was the sound of rustling. He quickly looked around and caught sight of something slithering under a piece of metal.

“What was that!?” the man shouted from above.

“I don’t know, I’m looking,” Tommy said as he pulled back the damaged floor, only to see nothing but more destruction, but certainly nothing living.

“Me too! I will do what I can… but from over here,” the executive helpfully announced.

Tommy ignored the man’s words and stood back up, looking around as he did. He never got a clear look at the monster that had attacked him and the others, but certainly it or its spawn couldn’t have escaped with them? Could it be a new danger, and the old left behind? Either option was equal parts concerning and exhausting.

One thing was for certain: they weren’t alone.
 

Sandro

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Liberty held onto a guardrail for dear life as gravity seemed to disappear, the inertia grabbing him from the relative security of the floor and holding him in the air like he was suspended in water.

The tired reporter anxiously remembered that water was not, in fact, as protective as the movies, and that if one kept picking up speed the difference hitting the water could be like striking solid steel.

Of course, he'd instead be striking steel when the ship made a sudden halt, and the thought made him wish for another sweet release from thinking.

The Ship's crash brought all of that to a halt for a few dozen seconds, and all Mike could perceive was blurred vision of the rest of the people in his corner of the ship, the sharp pain coming from his jaw, and the screams of panic and pain from those who took the bumpy landing a little more noisily. He figured he must have been moved to a compartment for the injured - and that it was taking among the worst of the crash.

Pulling himself up after a moment, Liberty quickly brought his eyes up - he needed to be awake and alert, even if every part of his body wanted to take a nap right now. He didn't notice anyone else around this area, except...

oh.

"Trent! Trent, buddy..."

Michael brought himself back up on legs of jelly to come over to Kirsten. Trent seemed to be sat up next to a rock - or was it a piece of the ship's upholstery? Kirsten was currently occupied with both hands on his neck...

Liberty saw the traces of red, and looked for a medical kit.

"Kirsten, Do you have first aid training?"

Kirsten nodded, looking over to Mike. "If you can press the wound, I think I know where the medical kit is. Think you can t... take care of the big lug for me?"

Trent gave a little smile to that, and Mike was quick to hurry over, putting both hands on the cut. He breathed a sigh of relief when he saw it - it was long, but it was shallow, and it wasn't particularly nasty. he didn't know if Trent would be up to much, but he could live through this.

The two exchanged a quick look as Mike waited for Kirsten, and the reporter cracked a smile.

"We made it. let's keep making it." Liberty would say with a smile. "I need you for an interview after this."

"Listen... I better have my name mentioned in the paper." Trent answered.

Liberty would just nod. "Just make sure you're around to let me know in person." The reporter responded with a sigh. he'd seen enough people die in front of him. he was looking forward to seeing this guy live through this. Guys like him deserved to live through this.
 
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Arthur Morgan

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Still a bit muddled from the crash, Perry stumbled as he hopped off Misha’s chest, keen to do all that he could to return the heavy weapons specialist to the waking world. The bipedal platypus backed off to the side for a moment, gaining a new perspective with which to examine the immobile man— and yet, despite his ordinarily no-nonsense nature, Perry could only stand there, trapped in a state of utter shock at his fellow mercenary’s selfless actions.

“That bump on his noggin looks pretty bad,” Joy said from over his shoulder, adjusting her glasses as she leaned forward to get a better look. “Does anyone here have any medical experience?”

“Sorry. I’m a pilot, not a doctor,” said Della, giving a solemn shake of her head.

“Non,” agreed the rat perched on her shoulder. “Je suis un chef!”

Noting the streak of blood across Misha’s brow, Perry wracked his brain for a way to help. It must have been one nasty knock to the head to rend such a mountain of a man unconscious... how long had it been since someone had been willing to sacrifice serious injury for Perry, much less put their life on the line for him? A very long time, he supposed— at least, not since he’d been transported to another world. It was enough to stagger him. He wanted... no, needed to repay this debt. But how?

After a moment, the platypus reasoned that in order for him to properly thank the large Russian man, said man would likely need to be awake. A most perplexing problem, but one Perry was fairly certain he had the solution to.

With a swift, sure movement, Perry swiped the (somewhat crumpled) brown fedora from the top of his head, peering at it with a critical eye. He reached inside it, fishing around for something with a look of utmost concentration on his face.

Joy blinked down at him, marveling at the apparent logic-defying depth of the little guy’s hat. “Oh! You have something that might help?”

Nodding distractedly, Perry continued to palm around inside the hat— then paused, a triumphant gleam in his eyes. With a flourish, he held up a small tube of smelling salts for her inspection.

“Smelling salts!” Joy exclaimed, smiling. “Good idea! Do you know how to use them?”

Perry nodded, giving her a strange look like do I look like I don’t know how to use them? before stepping forward, waving the tube of salts a short distance away from the unconscious Russian’s nose. With bated breath the four waited, staring intently at Misha’s sleeping face.

Almost as soon as the salts were brought close enough, the heavy weapons guy’s nose twitched, a slight grimace overtaking his face. His brow furrowed as if caught up in a bad dream, the faint burn of ammonia failing to rouse him. Perry was about ready to give up when suddenly—

“ACHOO!” Misha jerked awake with a hearty sneeze, a sound equivalent to an elephant’s trumpeting emerging from his nasal passages to baffle and astound those gathered ‘round him. After taking a moment to recover, the man blinked blearily at his surroundings, startling a bit at the small pocket of concerned faces peering down at him.

Slowly, one hand reached up to prod at the tiny dent in the middle of his forehead, a look of confusion blooming across Misha’s face as his fingers came away flecked with blood. The man sat up, waving off any that moved to help him do so.

Finally, he turned his head to squint groggily at Perry. “Ah... you are not hurt, friend?”

The platypus shook his head with great vehemence, patting the man’s leg in reassurance.

Misha nodded to himself, chuckling. “That is good. I... do not know if my head could win fight against spaceship again.”

Perry wasn’t sure if he would call what happened “winning” by any stretch of the imagination, but he kept those thoughts to himself.
 
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Hisoka

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The harsh crack of the clipboard striking the steel floor hung on the air for a moment as Mortimer and the doctor regarded one another. The Mouse wasn't really sure why the doctor seemed so surprised to see him, but he certainly recognized a tense situation when he was in one. But that was where he thrived, and the lanky anthropomorph slipped smoothly from the cold gurney, smile warm and gracious as the white sheet that had covered his nudity fell away.

"You got some real miracle workers here, Doc, you know that? I feel like a million bucks!"

"W-we didn't do anything…" The man muttered, voice still strained by surprise. "You were dead… Shock… By the time you got here, it was already too late. This… this is impossible."

Taken aback a second by his words, Mort's knees quaked, before he quickly regained his composure. With a wry chuckle, he placed a hand upon the gurney behind him and looked down at it.

"Dead? Come on, Pal. Get serious! Do I look dead to you?"

"Well…"

"You must have just made a mistake, right?" Mortimer continued on, his eyes returning to the man.

"I mean, maybe I was just almost dead and all that magic juju that heals guys like me kicked in? That's not so strange, right?"

"I gue-" The Doctor began before cutting himself off, a hand raised to his stubbled chin in thought.

"No… that's impossible too. Mr. Jak proved those physics no longer apply here."

"Listen, Doctor…"

A quick glance at the man's lab coat revealed a name for the Mouse and he again smiled, his bare foot slapping against the floor as he began to walk towards the Doctor.

"Chuck. What else could it be? If you guys didn't fix me up, then something must have, right? Let's think about this logically."

As Mortimer made his way towards the man, so too did the man back away. But, whether by curiosity, trust, or even just plain stupidity, Doctor Chuck was hesitant in his movements. And, it would cost him. The center of Mort's chest shuddered almost imperceptibly, before a scorpion-esque tendril burst forth from his flesh. Lightning-quick, it snaked towards his victim, and, with a single, precision movement, cleanly pierced Chuck's neck, severing the spinal cord.

Unceremoniously, the man collapsed, his eyes already growing dark from the grip of death. As quickly as it emerged, the tendril disappeared back into Mortimer, as he continued towards the fresh corpse before him. But any semblance of a warm expression had, almost immediately, faded from the anthromorph, and he stared down, cold and inhuman, at the body before him.

"Ha. Cha. Cha."
 
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Sigmund Vrell

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Ronny had been standing a little distance away from the congregation, organising his paperwork. Unfortunately, the duo had decided not to sign his waivers, leaving the lawyer with a couple of loose ends. His quiet mutterings to himself about the rudeness of the hired help were quickly interrupted by the sky falling on the attorney. Ron’s embarrassingly slow reaction times did little to help as the ship slammed into the mysterious planetoid, sending him hurtling away.

“It’s ok! Surely some kind soul will catch me!” The corporate suit thought to himself, moments before he was jettisoned back down the hallway he had reached the evacuation zone from. Ronny yelped as he was caught not by one of the assembled survivors but by his faithful cardboard box. The lawyer’s groans of pain went unheard as he bounced down the hallway, slamming against the unyielding floor of the ark time and again until his box finally slid to a stop.

With heavy breaths, Ron kicked open the flaps of the box and did his best to scramble out, tipping the packaging over as he did so. The attorney took a few moments of silence before spilling his lunch all over the floor, his stomach still doing loop de loops after his trip down the hall.

“Feels like I've just been in a roller coaster accident.” The salaryman thought to himself, shaking off the shock. His dazed mind couldn’t help but wander to the thought of suing for damages had he been in an actual roller coaster accident, snapping the lawyer back to the present. “Shit, this isn’t good. I knew we should have done more maintenance on the ride… I mean, should have hired a professional pilot.”

Ronny attempted to scramble to his feet, only for sharp pain to shoot through his left arm as he attempted to pick himself up. He glanced down at the limb, only to find it dangling uselessly a few inches below where it would normally be sitting. Fantastic. Gritting his teeth, the corporate suit carefully rose to his feet before addressing his dislocated arm.

“Come on Ronny, just like in the movies.” He whispered to himself, undoing his belt before sliding the leather into his mouth. Biting down tight, the lawyer did his best to tense his arm before grabbing a hold of his arm and trying to shove it back into place. A muffled scream slid past the belt as he tried and failed to set the limb. Another attempt brought about the same results, tears forming in the corners of Ron’s eyes as he bit back another cry.

Taking a deep breath, he took a few moments to line the joints up as best as he could before relaxing and attempting to slide his shoulder back in place. This time, with a jolt of pain and a cracking sound, his arm slid back into place. The corporate suit breathed a sigh of relief as he felt his limb return to functionality, though the pain had yet to fully abate. Taking stock of the rest of his body, Ronny determined that he had definitely had better days, but nothing was as immediately concerned as his shoulder.

“It looks a lot easier in the movies.” The attorney groaned as he put his belt back on, taking his time to readjust his suit and tie as he did so. A little spaceship crash was no excuse not to look your best, after all. Ron glanced around to get his bearings, deciding on the quickest route back to the survivors. He briefly considered bringing his box with him, it had managed to keep its shape rather well despite how much it had been through, but he decided that carrying it around would probably be more trouble than it was worth.

The corporate suit began to make his way back to the survivors before remembering that they weren’t alone on the ship. If he had survived the crash, and he assumed that most of the others had too, then the monsters infesting the ark had definitely lived through it as well. Glancing back, Ronny’s gaze fell upon his trusty box.

“Maybe I spoke too soon.” He muttered to himself as he slipped under the protective cover of cardboard once more.
 
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Karl Jak

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End Round 5 / Begin Round 6

Droog
Tommy Oliver
Michael Liberty
Perry
Misha
Della Duck
Ronny
Karl Jak
Kevin
Mortimer Mouse
Kirsten
Trent
Joy
About 23 survivors (mostly Syntech, some mercs)
4 other Syntech execs

While they had landed safely, the mood quickly grew sour as everyone started to filter out of ark’s oversized ‘lifepod.’

Karl glanced at the battered and beleaguered group and found any words of solace (or sass, for that matter) gummed up years before they’d reach his lips. He merely made eye contact with a few of them and shrugged his shoulders as the reality that they were still stranded somewhere entirely foreign continued to hang thick in the air around them.

“Any ideas what we should do, Mr. Jak?” The voice was from Ronny, who took a few steps toward Karl and half-whispered his next inquiry. “Should I prepare a new batch of liability waivers? I’m not sure how many contingencies were covered in the fine print of the second series.”

“No, you’re fine, Ronny,” Karl muttered as he glanced at the anthropomorphic duck and the small crew that hung around her. “This lifepod is fitted with enough food, water, and basic materials to let a group this size live comfortably for a period of time. Much of it is miniaturized in the hold.”

“I prefer my food not miniature,” Misha remarked as he looked down at the variety of undersized individuals around him. “No… offense.”

Karl furrowed his brow. “All the supplies are in storage that’s bigger on the inside. It’s all in capsules, which are technology from my first place. You’ll figure them out once you see them. It isn’t that hard.”

“But then what do we do?” That voice was from a young man that Karl vaguely recalled. Tom Olive? It would come to him in a little bit.

“We’re stuck here for the moment,” Karl noted as he pointed to the lifepod. “This thing can run on renewable energy,” he gestured to the orange-ish sun that hung low in the sky behind them. “But it needs a long period of exposure to build a big enough charge to jump to even semi-FTL speeds. In the meantime, we can either bunker down here, or we can…” He glanced at the loose copses of trees that surrounded them. “Explore, I suppose. This place didn’t look that big from outside of its orbit.”

“Is that safe?”

Karl turned back to the crowd and shrugged his shoulders yet again. “Who's to say that staying here will be any safer?”

As if waiting for a cue, a throaty voice spoke from behind the group. “The man has a point, y’know.”

Gasps rang out as some people turned to look back at the ship and promptly stumbled back to give a larger cushion between themselves and the stumbling, blood-stained mouse emerging from the lifepod. A grin was on Mortimer’s visage as he dragged half of a body down the ramp. The mouse’s teeth--jagged and yellowed--were soaked in blood and decorated with a variety of biological bits.

“What… what did you do?” Della Duck stepped from the crowd and stared down her fellow anthropomorphic animal.

“I got hungry,” Mortimer spoke cooly as he whipped the remains into another portion of the crowd, causing the survivors there to squeal and scatter. The mouse turned his focus back to Della, Karl, and a few of the others, who now stood loosely together in the path of the murderous rodent. “It feels wonderful, you know. But I look forward to some more substantial food.”

Misha, with Sasha leading the way, stepped from the crowd and grinned as the barrel of the minigun whirred to life.

Before rapturous death could burst forth from the barrel of the Heavy’s beloved weapon, Mortimer stepped forward. As the mouse moved, tendrils tore from his flesh and lashed out suddenly at the startled mercenary, whose right cheek was ripped open by a hooked blade. Bullets came sputtering from the weapon, but they sailed into the sky as Misha fell backward, his chest adorned with a second jagged wound. Della Duck stepped forward to protect her new friend, and she received a laceration across her own face and chest as compensation for her heroics.

Mortimer, eyes wide at the fresh blood everywhere, advanced on the group, but as he reared back his tendrils, the now mad-eyed mouse was struck in the face by a …

“A clipboard?!” He asked as he looked down at the object now resting by his feet and then back up to its owner. The fire never left Kevin’s eyes, but before Mortimer could make the ginger pay, the mouse’s entire body shuddered.

“Oh…” he murmured as he glanced down to see his chest quivering and shuddering like it was made of gelatin. “I don’t like this at all.”

In a burst of blood and twisted bits of muscle and bone, something erupted out of Mortimer’s chest and flopped down onto the ground near the group of survivors. Some of them caught a look at the shrieking, writhing monster before it went skittering passed them, dragging all of their eyes to its blood-smeared trail into the trees.

With everyone’s eyes on the trees now, someone asked the obvious question: “What the fuck was that?”

Unfortunately, the answer came in the form of another statement altogether, as someone tugged at Karl Jak’s barely existent sleeve. “Look!”

Everyone now turned to see that Mortimer Mouse was gone--another trail of blood leading far away from the lifepod.

“Well fuck.” Someone muttered.

Della Duck has been eliminated from final prize contention and will require some serious medical attention (likely require stitches, since her skin not as durable as Misha's).
I’m not sure what Perry’s strongest desire might be at this point, but he’ll find it in one of the many capsules

Mortimer Mouse, your chest has been torn apart but you remain alive, albeit almost entirely feral at this point. Your biology will likely continue to alter in more alien ways

Survivors can get to unpacking the lifepod, which will contain various supplies in capsules (this includes rudimentary weapons). The capsules will contain crafting supplies, and some of the faceless survivors might turn to their inner Valheim to make this situation a little more bearable. Karl Jak will likely opt to go out into the surrounding jungles at some point, whether that be during this round or the next. If some of you opt to leave camp during this round, let me know so I can spin you off into a separate thread.

Please get out at least one post by Saturday the 27th at 11:59 PM. It should be clear that I’ve opted to not kill people for not posting.
 

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Slowly, agonizingly, the creature dragged itself through the fallen leaves and low foliage of the forest. The dirt and debris were rough, abrasive, scraping away fur and skin alike and leaving behind a trail of gore. But, that was ok. The being once known as Mortimer Mouse didn't need it anymore. A part of it, buried somewhere deep below the churning instinct to kill and devour, balked at what it was becoming. But what could a mouse really do against an apex predator, but to struggle feebly and die?

And, the part of it that was once a a suave, if somewhat selfish, mouse was most assuredly dying. Once, he had even relished the changes, riding high on the swell of power. Now, he was nothing more than a tiny spark of terror, watching impotently as a passenger in what was once his own body. A spark that sputtered pitifully, like a candle in the wind, and as easily snuffed.

As the creature moved, acute pain wracked its body. Bones cracked like kindling, reknitting themselves before breaking again. Muscle and sinew tore and snapped free of their moorings, reshaping themselves into strange, alien forms and reattaching. Its nervous system cried out with each change, and the beast howled, sending a flock of black-feathered birds to flight.

It grew tired, its metabolism struggling to fuel the changes it was undergoing, and hunger settled upon it like a lead blanket. One arm after another, legs and what was left of its feet trailing behind, it dragged itself onward in search of a meal. Something, anything, to alleviate the pain and exhaustion. But, so strange and fearsome it was, the small, furred animals of this planet instinctively fled before its presence. It was wrong, on a level beyond the simple predator/prey relationship, a fact that did not escape their simple minds.

Fatigue lay heavy on the anathema, and it didn't take much longer before even the act of dragging itself through the forest was beyond it. With a final, shuddering gasp, its hand fell in mid-reach, and it ceased movement entirely. What was left of its feral mind was crushed under the weight of the nothingness that crept in on it, though that last remaining part that was Mortimer Mouse couldn't help but to feel satisfaction that this was the end. Of course, that was the first part to fall away under the blanket of death, the last vestige of a Mouse who just wanted to be seen.

Suddenly, it felt something. A sharp, tearing sensation that cleared the fog from its mind and eyes. It, as yet, was unable to move, but a dark blur moved furtively before it, tapping almost gently upon its body. Again, it felt pain as the tap turned hard, the black beak of the bird taking a chunk of flesh with its latest peck. It mustered all the strength it could, or, at least, it tried. Control slipped through its grasp like oil, its body refusing to obey. But, in the end, it managed just enough to do the deed.

A small, almost needle-like, spine of boney flesh erupted from its shoulder and struck out at the scavenging raven, piercing its body. It wasn't a killing blow, no, and the bird immediately attempted to free itself, but it was held in place ad tendrils exuded themselves from the new appendage, growing through its flesh like roots. And, like roots, they slowly, but surely, began the task of draining nourishment from their medium.

It took longer than the anathema would have liked, even the simple task of eating was herculean when on the brink of death. But, eventually, nothing remained but a small pile of black feathers. And, though saved from immediate death, the creature found that such a small meal did little to sate its appetite. Not only that, but it was bland… tasteless. It needed something larger; something… more delicious. And so, it continued to lay in the forest, awaiting its next meal to approach.
 

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In the moments following the attack, Perry had found his body beset by a most uncharacteristic stillness. Try as he might to will himself into action, the semi-aquatic personification of (ordinarily) unstoppable dynamic fury could only gape in shock, stricken by the sight of Della lying in a pool of her own steadily trickling blood.

Of course, to an outsider, this period of inaction appeared to last... a mere three seconds, if that. An agent of Perry’s calibre couldn’t afford to be slow— being slow would’ve cost the freedom of the entire Tri-State Area, once upon a time, and Perry had always been at the top of his class. Thus, just as Della Duck truly began to bleed out in earnest, Agent P had already darted back inside the lifepod, intent on locating the cargo hold.

Seeing that Perry was a mammal of relatively small stature, not many noticed his disappearance. A decent number were primarily focused on their own problems, though a few had gathered around Della with the meager hope that she could be helped. One such person was Joy. Although she was terrified out of her mind and completely out of her depth, the woman remained steadfast beside the fallen fowl, attempting to stem the flow of blood with gentle, indescribably useless pats from her hands.

“Oh god... look at all that blood! She’s dead for sure...” Joy fretted aloud, cringing at the mess of gore and feathers that clung to her hands.

“Do not speak so poorly of our feathered friend,” a sudden voice boomed from behind her. Turning, Joy beheld an equally bloody Misha, the merc’s chin tilted downward as he prodded at the fresh hole in his chest with a frown of mild annoyance. He looked up and met her gaze, then, a bloodthirsty grin splitting his face. “She is not too different from her cousin the goose, our Della! And we all know that nothing can stop goose.”

The two were interrupted as Della, in a show of astounding resilience, groaned from her place on the ground. “Thanks for the vote of confidence, big guy, but I’m not feeling so hot...”

It was at this juncture that Perry emerged from the lifepod in a surge of motion, brandishing something in his hands that glittered bright silver in the glare from the planet’s sun. Although Della couldn’t quite make it out through the pain and blood loss making her vision all fuzzy, she didn’t really need to— Joy’s reaction was enough of an explanation, anyway.

“A spray can? Perry, what in the world—“

Perry stepped into view, his teal-furred appearance seeming more like a brightly colored jellybean to Della’s delirious brain. Blinking hard, she forced her gaze to focus on the object in the agent’s grasp, her eyes juuuuust barely managing to pick out a crisp green label with a pair of very promising words scrawled across it: First Aid.

Chattering impatiently at Joy to get out of the way, Perry moved forward, spray can at the ready. Della gave an agonized hiss as the woman’s hands lifted from the gash across her chest, only to immediately sigh in relief as the can’s contents were liberally sprayed over her wounds, a cool, refreshing mist speckling across her feathers. It almost smelled... minty? And perhaps a bit sterile as well, like the inside of a dental office...

At first, nothing happened. The spray merely settled over the open wound in thick, dewy droplets, bubbling and sticking like glue before seeping inside Della’s shredded skin. Then, to everyone’s surprise, the edges of the gash began to ripple, pulsing like a heartbeat as the skin slowly knit itself back together. In a matter of seconds, the wound had to all appearances vanished, nothing but brand spankin’ new skin left in its place.

Slowly, Della eased herself into a sitting position. Eyes widening when she didn’t feel any pain, she then gently poked at where the wounds had been before, marveling at the near-complete absence of blood and torn flesh.

Turning to look at Perry, she snatched the spray can from his grip, frantically reading the label once more “...Cinatiropa? First Aid? ’Life Safe?’ What is in this stuff?!”

A hand reached from behind her, deftly plucking it from in between her fingers.

“Certainly not cocaine,” said Ronny Syntech, stuffing the now empty can inside his suit— out of sight, out of mind. “Or heroin. Or any number of experimental pharmaceutical compounds. Coincidentally, I have this medical liability waiver prepared, so if you’ll just sign right here on the dotted line...”
 

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In the meantime, Misha used his impressive brawn to help unload the lifepod filled with supplies. He wasn't the only person unloading the wrecked ship but a mix of Syntech staff, stranded spectators, and leftover mercenaries aided to get the essentials moving. They needed to set camp up before whatever nightfall is on this mysterious alien planet. The heavy weapons expert hefted a case over his shoulder and another wrapping his arm around, hugging to his left side. His footsteps stomped down the ramp while he grasped the hefty supplies tightly.

The bloody battle scars he received from that anthropomorphic monstrosity stings from the hard work he is finishing. Misha would call these scars received on his cheek and chest "scratches". He courageously ignores the annoying stingy sensations, marching back up the ramp that leads to the inside of the lifepod. While the merc in red enters and exits out of the wrecked spaceship with cases a couple of times, he witnesses Della receiving the first aid spray that incredibly healed her quickly. Seeing Misha working nonstop made his comrade duck fret over his safety since he also got hurt during the short fight.

"Hey um, Misha, don't you think you earn yourself a break? You already got a ton of supplies off the ship. Besides, it would be best if you tried this stuff. It really works!" Della optimistically mentioning about the first aid spray can that still has enough left to heal a wound. "Net, sooner I get tiny crates off this tin can, the sooner I kill mouse. Anyone hurt comrades must die." the Russian brute coldly responds to Della Duck, a manner of Misha she has never seen before.

Anger fills his mind from watching his feathered friend getting hurt by that demented monster, making Della concerned about her big Russian friend. "Listen, everything is going to be alright. I mean, see, my wounds have already healed thanks to the first aid spray. I already feel like I can take on the world now!" Della confidently mentions, smiling and wanting to ease Misha about the whole situation they just faced.

"Yes, but mad mouse must be put down before anyone else gets harmed." the heavy weapons expert speaks, still focusing his sights on killing instead of relaxing in the case most of the survivors wish they could for the moment.

The peppy space pilot that was once wounded sighs about Misha not willing to let go of the killer side that has been stuck with him ever since becoming a mercenary. She signs the waiver that Ronny presented to her for legal purposes under the company's name. Ronny takes the signed liability waiver and stuffs it in his suit that has many pockets. "It's best if we find a reliable water source for the company's sake and the guest's, but if non-Syntech individuals want to depart the campsite and enter the potential hazardous wildlife environment, it is a must require they sign a liability waiver before leaving." the Syntech attorney eyes at everyone surrounding him and vocally announces to catch the attention of those that are not the company's staff daring to explore the wild of the unfamiliar planet.

Perry turns and looks up to his mercenary ally, nodding that they need to find a water source before the temporary water runs out, knowing that it can be a long time until they can get off this rock. "Yeah, finding a reliable natural water source would be helpful." Joy joins in on trying to ease Misha's vengeance surge as the three stare at the heavy weapons guy to watch what will be his response.

"Eh, Fine. If I see that monster out there, I'll be sure to kill it." Misha caves in on the objective of finding a natural water source. He walks to where he left Sasha leaning against the wrecked ship, grabbing hold of the minigun. His hand grips the carrying handle tightly and walks back over to the comrades he landed with upon the crash.

"Now, who's ready to go." the merc in red speaks, having a courageous grin and lifting Sasha to be tightly held in both hands.
 

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They had barely touched down and already there were fireworks amongst the survivors. Tommy realized quickly that this band of survivors was facing just as much danger on a planet than in space, or wherever the hell they had really been. It didn’t matter too much, because the mercenary was intent on making good on his promise to himself and the others.

Tommy helped unload the supplies and take stock of everything, but shortly after that he had begun to pack a backpack of his own. A few of the Syntech employees looked at him curiously as he did, but just assumed him to be pitching in and working like everyone else. The former Ranger, however, was making sure he had an appropriate amount of food and water, as well as various other supplies he would need to venture out on his own and abandon this group forever.

He didn’t have much guarantee this place was even settled or civilized, but it had to be better than whatever they had only maybe escaped from. The retired superhero was committed to taking his chances. His fervent packing of supplies appeared to attract the attention of none other than Karl Jak, himself, who approached the previously hooded mercenary.

“Let’s call this payment for services rendered,” Tommy remarked as he packed his fair share. Hard to believe he’d only come to Syntech for a job and glimpse at a contestant that might have been of his own original world. Not that it mattered now. “Pleasure doing business with you, see you next apocalypse.”

“You think you’ll do better on your own than here with us?” Karl Jak asked with a bit of amusement at Tommy’s determination.

“Always have in the past,” Tommy replied quickly, but suddenly found his voice stuck in his throat as he remembered the five that had taken him in before. The life he’d run away from. “…Usually.”

“I won’t stop you,” Karl Jak retorted, paying no attention to Tommy’s hesitation. “But don’t expect me to send my people running to your rescue if you get in over your head.”

Tommy slung the backpack over his shoulder with an unimpressed look at the displaced host.

“Thanks for the business,” Tommy remarked as he departed.

“May happiness follow you, wherever you go,” Karl Jak countered.

Tommy paused for a moment, unsure if that was sarcasm or genuine, but if was enough to make him turn around. His gaze went past Karl Jak and locked on Trent and Kristen, who had been busy helping them unpack the ship. They looked lost, confused, and scared about this new situation, and a little disappointed he was leaving. After all, he’d been able to get them to the escape pod if nothing else. Once upon a time that look of innocence and fear would have been enough for Tommy. He’d have jumped into action without missing a beat, no matter the odds. That was back when he had been the Green Ranger.

He wasn’t a Power Ranger anymore, though. His powers had been ripped from him by the forces of darkness, and he had been told that he could never sustain the green powers ever again. His days as a hero were done. Now he was just trying to survive, and what a task that would be.

There was some hesitation in his step, but Tommy walked away as he had always done.
 

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Ronny allowed himself to breathe a sigh of relief as he shuffled his freshly signed waivers. To others, they were simply sheets of paper hastily shoved in their faces by a borderline manic lawyer, but to him they were a shield placed between Syntech and the horrifying prospect of lawsuits. If they just had a shield between the soft, squishy bodies of the Syntech employees and the thing that had attacked them, everything would be perfect! The memory of the mutant mouse still fresh in their minds, a few shifty glances were exchanged between the assembled survivors, everyone wanting a good source of water but few willing to go look for it.

“Well? Do not say you are little babies.” The biggest exception, both figuratively and literally, chuckled. “Who will come with heavy?”

Though a source of water was certainly needed to support the survivors, sending the injured man to look for it was not something that the attorney was looking to do. Even beyond the legal repercussions of sending an injured man out into the wild, Misha had proven himself as one of the best mercenaries that Syntech had hired and Ronny was reluctant to risk losing the man in the jungle. The reluctance also certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that the giant Russian had taken wounds that probably would have left a lesser man bleeding on the floor.

“Are you sure you want to go?” The lawyer asked hesitantly, eyeing Misha’s new scars. He knew that the mercenary was tough, but it wouldn’t do them any good if the man ended up dead on the jungle floor. “Your injuries could be serious, we really shouldn’t be sending you back into the field until you’ve been cleared by-“

In response to Ronny’s fretting, the heavy simply laughed heartily. “Oh ho ho, these little scratches? Paper cuts.” The giant took a moment to observe the smaller man, slightly trembling in his custom-made shoes beneath Misha’s gaze. “You are like Karl Jak’s Miss Pauling, da? You will come with heavy, make sure we don’t make too big of a mess.”

Before he could ask what a Miss Pauling was, Ron realised that the mercenary had a point. The attorney would have vastly preferred to stay put and wait for the hired help to go do all the dirty work, but he had a feeling that whatever the ragtag group did, it definitely wouldn’t be following the Official Syntech Mercenary Guidelines(™). It was, regrettably, his duty to keep things up to code. Plus, if Perry decided to come, Ronny still wasn’t sure how company policy applied to fedora-wearing platypi.

“Jak help me.” The Syntech suit muttered under his breath before nodding to the heavy. “Yeah, I guess I will.”
 

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Somewhere along the line, while trying to get his body to cooperate and work with him so he could get off this damn wreck...Droog had decided he needed a rest. His head was spinning and there was an unpleasant echoing aching pang in his...everything, really. He would just sit down somewhere for a minute to let the agony pass, let his headache descend from a migraine-esque throbbing behind his eyes to only the dull ache of a week-long crime planning spree he was used to.

He lit a smoke, slid down on shaky legs to sit...

...and woke to someone shaking him by the shoulder. "Hey, man. You still with us?"

The gangster groaned and lifted an arm to his eyes, spitting out the long-since extinguished cigaratte in his mouth. There was an acrid, metallic tang there that he couldn't tell if it was blood or bile. He clawed at his face, willing the continuing ache to depart, as he slowly cracked open his eyes to peer out through splayed fingers. He squinted and hissed at the light, which sent a fresh wave of nauseating backflips through his stomach. He was outside now, that much he could tell...and there was a great number of supplies already off the jumbled mess they had crashed on.

"You good?" One of the Syntech employees had crouched next to him, hand still resting on his shoulder. "Thought we lost you, with how you just dropped out here."

"I'm...." He nearly choked on that one word, forcing himself to swallow with a throat that felt like it was made of sandpaper. "...I'm fine." With all the stubborn energy he could muster up, he dropped his hand from his face to the ground. His entire body shook as he forced himself up onto one knee, then up onto one foot...and finally managed to stand. He immediately staggered, and had to wipe at a fresh trickle of blood that spurt from a crack in his carapace at his waist...but he was upright.

He felt like warmed over death. He probably had a concussion. His entire body was on fire. There was more cracks and chips in his carapace than he wanted to think about. At least one missing tooth. He honestly wasn't sure if carapacians had any bones to break...but it sure felt like something was broken inside. His suit jacket was torn and shredded but miraculously still hanging on. His treasured hat was long gone. His once crisp white shirt was soiled and stained with blood and who knows what else. His shoes were scuffed and covered in grit and dust. One leg of his pants was shredded and in ragged flaps.

....he was battered and broken, his immaculate appearance was in ruins. He was absolutely livid beyond words and imagining. But he was still alive.

"....yeah, you don't look fine." The Syntech employee just shook his head and stood up. "But you do you, man." And then he just turned and jogged off to rejoin the ongoing efforts.

Droog wiped at his maw with a filthy sleeve, his eyes still narrowed to gleaming white slits as he watched the man go. Why did it seem so bright out here?

He let his arm drop to his side, turning his head with an agonizing pop from his neck to look over the rest of the scene at hand. It took a monumental effort of will to force one leg in front of the other to start walking and get himself moving. Like something stuck between being blind drunk and barely alive, he staggered into earshot of a discussion about going somewhere...to try and find water?

Water. Water was good.

He coughed, trying to clear his throat, as he put on his best be grateful i'm even offering to lend a hand with this mess gangster scowl as he stomped his way into pushing weakly past the attorney and lifting his bloodshot eyes to glare up at the behemoth of a man trying to gather support for this outing. "Count..." He coughed again, this time spitting up a wad of equal parts phlegm and blood, spitting it to one side. "....count me in...too. Need to...to stay active."

In spite of all his angry and stubborn defiance, in spite of all his cool and levelheadedness telling him he was tough enough to shrug off something like this, in spite of having lived through several scenarios just like this one before...some deep, gnawing feeling deep in his innards was telling him one thing with violent certainty: If you sit down and rest again, you won't be getting back up. Something about his injuries, or this planet they'd crashed on, or something else...was setting off warning bells in that primal little part of his brain that knew more than it should.

He didn't like it.

He didn't like it at all.
 

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I thought I was used to it - watching a living breathing person transform into an alien, vicious nightmare. I’d convinced myself throughout my time working in Coruscant that I was ‘used to it.’.

There’s simply no such thing. You don’t get used to it. It gets a little easier to keep your wits about you and pull your gun up as you learn to accept the grim reality that it’s them or you, but you never get used to seeing someone infested like that.

The chill was visible throughout the camp. You could see the effects on people, the look of horror that danced at the edges of their eyes. We were being tracked by the terror we had just escaped, and it had changed all the rules. We didn’t know who the next Mortimer Mouse waiting around the corner might be.


Liberty held the C-14 impaler high, looking at the trusty weapon like it might jump up at any moment and bite him straight on the neck. He’d grabbed this gun to defend himself from monsters, and to defend the people he’d been stranded with, too. It wasn’t a gun he’d picked up without reluctance - he’d given up the fight to tell the stories he had to a long time ago.

Now, there was a large russian man asking for Volunteers to search the jungle, and he knew he’d regret it immensely if he let him leave with nothing but the corporate tick that Karl Jak had handed Contract papers to for assistance.

Hell, as much as he’d love to lie to himself and say otherwise, he was pretty invested in keeping the lawyer alive too. He had a terrific survival instinct, and seemed very committed to the job for him to be volunteering to head directly into danger for the sake of his job. He was a brave human being, and that counted for something to Liberty.


They’d have to see if he was smart, but then again, as Liberty held up a hand, he realized he might not actually have room to talk.

“I’m coming, too. Seems I crashed with just enough gear to leave me north of defenseless.” Liberty added, looking forward through the brush. “I’ve grabbed a couple things that’d help us see if the brush gets thick, too.”

The Russian man looked back to him, and gave a slow nod.

Liberty waited for more, but there was nothing but a long silence, before the large man turned around. A man of few words… but judging from how lovingly he held that chain-gun, Liberty had a feeling he let his oversized slugthrower do the talking for him.
 

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End Round 6 / Begin Round 7

Karl Jak
Kevin
Kirsten
Trent
Joy
About 23 survivors (mostly Syntech, some mercs)
4 other Syntech execs

The groups had just landed, and despite some sass and aches, no one perished in the initial fireworks that had unfolded outside the landing craft.

Now that some semblance of calm had descended over a few of them, they had worked out their next steps. Tommy Oliver, on his lonesome, had set out into the nearby woods with nary a visible means to defend himself outside of a piece of jagged fuselage.

On the other side of the camp, Della, Misha, Perry, and Ronny had set out in pursuit of the ‘mad mouse’ who would likely return at some point to do them additional harm.

With the mercenaries departed, that left Karl Jak, Kevin, and the others to continue setting up the makeshift camp. “Let’s get those palisades up, quickly,” Kevin projected his voice as far as he could as he oversaw the construction of the perimeter fencing. “No one here wants that malevolent mouse getting the drop on us, right?” He continued to pseudo-shout before stooping to offer words of encouragement to someone toiling with stakes.

***​

Droog
Michael Liberty
Perry
Misha
Ronny
Della Duck

A lawyer, a duck, a platypus, a reporter, a ‘friend’, and a Russian walk into a forest …

While they had been able to initially follow some of the signs of Mortimer’s retreat, the group quickly became turned around in forests that seemed to increasingly become more congested and primordial.

“I feel like I’ve seen this tree before,” Ronny muttered as he stepped up and poked his finger against a tree that bore some distinct traces of sap running down its trunk. “This little clearing we’re in has to be familiar, right?”

“Look around you, there are a dozen other trees just like that one,” Della spoke softly as she pointed out a few. “I once explored these jungles where the trees leeched out this sap that could burn through feathers and flesh like it was nothing!” Della snapped her fingers to punctuate her point, and Ronny jerked his hand away from the tree as if he’d been zapped with an electrical current.

“Maybe we should return to camp and come back with more people,” the lawyer replied. “Surely with more bodies we could spread out and canvas this area more thoroughly.”

“Smaller man has good point,” Misha spoke with a scowl as the heavy Russian craned his neck in a few different ways to try and find some landmark he could recognize.

“I’m certain we haven’t doubled back, though,” Della muttered as she made eye contact with Perry. The platypus nodded his head but couldn’t seem to offer up any course of action.

“I still thi—” Ronny paused mid-sentence as the color drained from his face.

Michael was the first one to glance over at their companion. “Are you okay?”

Before a response could come, something crashed into Misha and drove the giant of a man down into the ground. Ronny, his eyes impossibly wide, fell backwards as the sleek, black monster perched on the man tilted its elongated, eyeless face toward him and curled back its lips in a slobbering hiss. “I didn’t prepare a waiver for this!” The lawyer shouted as he tried to scoot backward toward the trees.

Before the alien creature could pounce, something smacked into it from the other side. It twisted its head at Della Duck, who defiantly held a tree branch in her hands. The duck didn’t waver, even as the monster pounced from Misha and speared her into the ground.

While the initial impact had likely concussed him, Misha made it to his feet and got Sasha into his hands. The minigun—its roar a bit muted by the ringing in the heavy’s eyes—spewed metal and death toward the alien monster, which was knocked back by the impact of the weapon. Misha, his feet wobbly, took a step toward the creature and went once more for the trigger, but the alien had already slipped into the forest, leaving behind a trail of blood that seemed to boil the earth.

“Is everyone okay?” Ronny muttered what felt like hours later as Misha slumped against a tree before sliding back to the ground. The Russian squeezed his eyes shut as he tried to make the world stop spinning. As Ronny drew closer, he caught the sight of the duck, her body torn into nearly three pieces by the alien. “Oh, no…”

***​

Tommy Oliver
???

Mortimer Mouse

Tommy’s exeunt from the camp had been a little calmer than he had anticipated. Aside from a few startled deer, he hadn’t encountered anything much larger than himself over the last four hours.

Unfortunately for Tommy, he reached the top of a little hill and spotted a tiny column of black smoke drifting up from a crater in the ground. Given the size of the impact site and the number of tilted and shattered trees, Tommy had to assume that the remaining pillars of smoke were leftovers of what had initially been a much stronger blaze.

“This had to have crashed here before we did.” He spoke as he reached the edge of the impact site and looked down into the charred pit to see…

“What are you staring at?” The masked man writhed as he tried to remove a piece debris that had crushed down over his legs and kept him firmly trapped. “I was just about to chew off my legs.”

Michael Liberty has been eliminated from final prize contention.
Della Duck has died.

The squad with Misha et al – you are helplessly lost despite your best navigational skills. If you turn back, you can eventually make it to camp, but if you press forward, you’ll eventually come across an abandoned village with Mesoamerican stylings. The creature hunting you is unkillable (it has plot armor, you might say), but you can evade it or just traps if it pursues you too much.

Mortimer and Tommy+New Friend, you are in the same general area. You can decide to avoid one another or settle any grievances.

This round will run until Saturday, April 3rd at 11:59 PM.
 
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In reflex, the moment the bizarre alien crashed into Misha, the dersite’s hand flashed into his jacket, half-numb fingers groping abou for his pistol as he did a clumsy hop-skip-jump back from the fray. His unsteadiness proved his downfall, quite literally, as he went for a tumble to land sprawled on his back.

His clawed fingers gave up on the gun he had managed to grab, darting up to clutch at the sides of his head and cover his ears, trying desperately to drown out the noises of the creature and of the heavy’s minigun. It was a futile effort, and his head set up a renewed bout of ringing and throbbing.

Tiny white sparks and black spots danced in his eyes when he finally blinked, making him realize he had squeezed them shut so tightly his face stung.

Gingerly he lifted his lead, taking a few precious seconds to manage himself into an upright sitting position. That…thing, whatever it was, had flown the coop it looked like. Good riddance!

“Oh, no…”

Droog rested a hand on his aching head as he slowly turned toward the source of the words. That damn lawyer, or whatever...looking pale as a prospitian and looking down at…

At…

white feathers and red blood and a mangled body

...at the remains of the duck. Surviving that hell on the ship, and the crash itself, only to end up dead from this? The gangster’s maw curled into an ugly scowl, as he pushed himself up onto wavering legs. It just wasn’t right. Wasn’t right that after all that, and trying to save somebody else, that she’d be reduced to…

To…

fresh meat ripe for the taking

...just some shredded apart corpse like that.

A fresh pang of agony swept through him, his guts feeling as if some mischievous imp had tied several more knots in them. And a deep, rumbling growl squealed out of his innards, forcing a hand to his stomach to futilely massage it, as if that would somehow alleviate the feeling.

He bent down and swiped up his dropped gun, taking a full five tries to get it successfully back in its holster in his ruined jacket. Wiping his mouth with the back of one hand, he didn’t even register that it came away damp. All the blood on his face had either been wiped away or dried by now.

He stalked forward, toward the rest of their merry bunch of fools.

By now, that reporter — Liberty, or whatever he was called, had moved several paces ahead and was looking around frantically out along where the monster’s trail of bubbling, boiling blood-goo went.

The large man had sunk down against a tree, one hand over his eyes. His deep, hoarse voice spoke softly to the attorney who had rushed to his side to check on him. “Is...is tiny duck girl alright?”

Ronny’s face twisted into an unpleasant mask. “Things...didn’t go so well…”

Diamonds Droog came to a halt with the toes of his once flawlessly-polished shoes just touching the blood spreading from the mangled mess that was once Della Duck. He staggered down onto one knee, kneeling beside her, and staring down with the same ugly, this shit shouldn't’ have happened gangster’s scowl. “Not right…” he grunted. “...this is why you don’t go tryin’ to be a hero…”

just going to rot uselessly

His eyes squinted into paper-thin lines of white. Shaking fingers moved forward, down to touch the blood...and when he pulled them up, wet with the red, something in his head snapped. All the built up frustration and indignity he’d been through so far, having to fight for his life in some cosmic fuckup that he had earned a break from…

make use of everything

...with that same rumbling, growling squeal — echoing in stereo in both his guts and his head — the cold, calculating and murderous tendencies he’d barely kept in check came screaming forth. His eyes snapped open wide, a haze of red clouding his sight and leaving his actions in a blur. His lipless maw parted in a vicious, silent snarl...and he knelt down and forward.

He all but dove into the shredded remains, with both hands and his teeth. It wasn’t a silent or clean affair, ripping apart the remains of the ridiculous pilot’s uniform, tearing of skin and muscle, and much crunching and snapping of bone.

fresh food is always best

Images of his past, lost in the desert after his fall from grace in the Dersite court, passed through his head. How desperate he’d been for anything to eat or drink, anything at all, let alone something that was still fresh and actually fit for consumption.

eat it all and stay strong

This was necessary. Vile and unsightly, but necessary. They didn’t have the time to worry about carrying her remains back to the others, or to do anything official like a burial. They had to keep moving, and either evade or find and kill that damn alien freak before they all ended up like this.

This was just a quick solution. A few minutes to dispose of this useless pile of feathers, and…

He stopped dead, his shoulders hunched. Slowly, his head pivoted on his neck, joints popping and protesting. As his eyes fell upon the others, fixing him with expressions of mingled disgust, horror, and anger, his eyes narrowed again to his normal disgruntled scowl, and he crunched down on a bone in his teeth, spitting out the half not in his mouth.

“The fuck…” he snarled, throuh chewing on the precious meat in his mouth. “...are you lookin’ at? Shouldn’t you be watching to see if that thing comes back?”
 

Arthur Morgan

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“As if being stranded on an alien planet wasn’t bad enough,” groused the lanky blond-haired man standing next to Perry, one Michael Liberty, if he recalled correctly.

And really, the platypus had to agree. Despite the various horrors he had glimpsed while wandering the halls of one of Syntech’s fine space-faring vessels, nothing could have prepared him for the sight of yet another friend being brutally ripped to bits by a monstrous alien. But this… this was truly something else.

Droog sneered in the face of the other survivor’s collective scrutiny, the midnight black of his shimmering carapace stained with blood— some of it his very own, mind you, but the rest indubitably came from the shredded carcass of their fallen feathered friend, her lifeblood slicking down the carapacian’s front in thick, syrupy droplets. His bared teeth, Perry noted with the type of special attention only a prey animal could manage, were perfectly jagged and shark-like, the points glistening wetly with viscous crimson fluid.

Now, Perry was only a platypus. What’s more, he was a genuine Australian by birth. Thus, he was intimately familiar with how Mother Nature tended to work. Unfortunately, he was also quite domesticated. After years of living in the States and being trained from a young age to carry out tasks no reasonable person would expect of an ordinary semi-aquatic mammal, Perry had grown accustomed to a life of comfort and rationality.

Nothing about Droog crouched over the remains of Perry’s friend, gore and other disgusting giblets dribbling from his fanged mouth, was comforting or rational. But, again, Perry’s genetic code was literally programmed to handle seeing his fuzzy little animal friends torn apart. He could bear it, and use his training to—

A crunching of leaves came from behind Perry. So strange, that something as mundane as a leaf should exist on an alien planet, but that wasn’t the main focus of Perry’s attention at the moment. No, the primary focus of his attention was the sight of Misha shifting onto his feet from where he’d been leaning against a tree, the dour look on his face seeming carved from the most unforgiving of granite slabs.

The once cheerful Russian man slowly glanced around, committing the carnage strewn about the forested area to memory. The sadness had left, and rather than the ferocious fury Perry might have expected to erupt from his fellow mercenary, there existed the considering look of a cold-blooded killer, a kind of dead-eyed stare that Perry had only caught the faintest glimpses of when they had battled their way out from the dankest, darkest bowels of the Ark.

It occurred to Perry, then, as he watched Misha take one great, lumbering step forward, then another, the deep lacerations across his body seeming to trouble him very little overall, that Misha had all the marks of a family man. While the man was not a gentle giant by any means, his broad smiles and reassurances had proven to be more than enough to bolster their small party to the escape shuttle. His willingness to place himself in harm’s way to defend Della, and in general to act as a broad-shouldered wall of meat and bone between Syntech’s employees and danger, cemented his image in Perry’s mind as a protector, not unlike a mama grizzly bear with her cubs.

And now… well. Now, it seemed that Diamonds Droog had awakened that bear.

There was a strange glint in Misha’s eyes, though a shadow had fallen over his features. Not happiness— for who could show joy in the aftermath of such great loss?— but something much darker. Matching the man’s gaze was like being caught between the jaws of rage incarnate, where no sane man would ever wish to find himself.

The heavy weapons specialist’s signature minigun lay forgotten upon the ground as Misha’s weighty, ponderous footfalls brought him closer to his target. His body leant forward, like a hound on the scent, or perhaps a mad bull preparing for his thunderous charge.

“So. Little insect-man thinks he can trick me? Pretend to be different from mouse-man?” the large Russian asked. A resounding crrrck-ckk-ckk! rang out as he cracked his knuckles, like the sound of dry kindling popping in a campfire. “We will see.”

Droog, having already risen to his feet at Heavy’s approach, only scowled further. Though he was intimidatingly tall to someone of Perry’s diminutive size, he had absolutely nothing on the Russian behemoth bearing down on him.

Despite this, the carapacian’s clawed fingers flexed at his sides, his milky white eyes narrowing down to murderous slits. Even if he appeared unarmed, it was clear that he wouldn’t go down without a fight. It was almost admirable, really, and if Droog hadn’t just been chowing down on his friend’s remains moments before, Perry might’ve considered it a real David and Goliath scenario.

“Who’s pretendin’?” Droog drawled, one claw-tipped finger picking at a piece of—eugh—gristle caught in his frighteningly sharp teeth. “I’m not one of those disgusting things, if that’s what you’re suggestin’.”

Heavy chuckled. It was not a pleasant sound. “Then you will be simple to crush, bug.”

Perry’s eyes widened, darting between the two survivors squaring off. An out-of-his-gourd gangster versus an equally deranged, grief-driven mercenary… yes, this could only end well.

It was only when Misha had drawn within ten or so paces of Droog that a light weight landed on his arm. Turning his head with an agonizingly deliberate slowness, the Russian beheld one Ronny Syntech, the much smaller man’s hand placed in a staying manner on his arm. It was enough to give him reason to pause, a slight crease appearing between his brows.

Seeming about ready to shake to pieces, Ronny shook his head. “I-I won’t let you do this, Mr. Mikhail. It wouldn’t do for someone contracted by Syntech to attack a civilian, even if he is acting a bit… erm… off. Think of the potential assault and personal injury lawsuit!”

At first, the mercenary seemed fully prepared to shake the lawyer’s grip from his massive bicep, even going so far as to curl his lip at him in clear aggression. Finally, though, the mercenary relaxed enough for Ronny to feel comfortable about letting go of him.

Throwing a sharp glare at the still wary and watching Droog, Misha emitted an ugly rumble of a laugh. “A stain under my boot will not press charges.”

For a moment, Ronny seemed to actually consider that as a valid defense. Thankfully, he snapped out of it with a shake of his head. “No, no, let’s not be hasty now. That’s— we can’t do that. We don’t know for certain if he’s one of those… creatures,” Ronny added, shuddering.

“Can’t!” the large Russian exclaimed, throwing his hands into the air. He jabbed one meaty finger into Ronny’s face; the other man eyed it warily, certain that the merc could brain him with a single flick, but Heavy only continued to rage. “Can’t?! Only babies would say such things. We crashed on strange planet, our friend Duck is dead, and I am surrounded by BABIES!”

Finished with this declaration, Misha made to lumber toward Droog once more, ignoring Ronny’s stuttered protests and feeble attempts to physically stop him, when a dreadful, bone-chilling screech came from somewhere beyond their little cluster at the center of the forest, the cry echoing through the trees with all the subtlety of a gunshot.

All activity in the clearing immediately ceased. Heavy’s steps ground to a halt, and even Droog paused in his hateful glaring to glance around, shoulders hunched. Each survivor seemed to hold their breath, eyes turned to the foliage around them— waiting for what, Perry did not know. A repeat appearance of the alien that had attacked them earlier, perhaps, or maybe an entirely new bestial menace to contend with. Whatever it was, it seemed to have fallen silent once more… possibly content to continue the hunt now that its targets had stopped causing such a racket, Perry imagined.

Perry’s gaze flicked to Misha, searching his face for some clue to his thoughts. His fellow merc met his eyes for the first time since Della’s demise, a strangely somber expression worming its way onto Misha’s face, and the platypus tipped his fedora in return.

A silent understanding passed between the two hirelings: they still had people to protect. Liberty and Syntech were counting on them. If Droog was left behind or injured in the process… well. There had been many great losses today; what was one more?

The heavy weapons specialist turned a fierce glower on said Dersite, who seemed to have grown less tense in the meantime, for he promptly stiffened as Misha’s glare returned in full force.

“I am not done with you yet,” said Misha. “And I do not forget.

“And this is me not giving a fuck,” spat Droog. He had the good sense, however, to step away from the bloody chunk of flesh he’d been partaking of, though he eyed it hungrily after.

Perry made a mental note to avoid that guy, considering he had a taste for small critters now.

Snorting aloud, Heavy walked over to pick up Sasha, the familiar weight of the minigun settling comfortingly in his grip. His eyes travelled downward, catching sight of some of Della’s bloody remains. A heavy sigh gusted from his chest, his proud shoulders falling into a dejected slump.

“There is no time for proper burial,” he said, casting a cautious look at the quiet trees around them, every faint rustle of leaves arousing suspicion and terror. “The monster hunts us as we speak. But I will say few words from book I once read.”

Misha knelt down on the ground, placing one palm flat to the earth. His eyes closed, a sad smile on his face. “‘One thanks some people for being alive at same time; I thank you for having met me, for being able to remember you all my life.’”

Perry removed his fedora, holding it flat to his breast with great solemnity. He only replaced it upon his head when Misha was on his feet once more, a new and unsettling light flashing in his eyes.

The platypus sighed softly. This… could only get worse.
 
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A beast stalked through the woodlands. The thing that used to be Mortimer Mouse slunk through the underbrush, its presence bringing an unnatural quiet and stillness with it. Small, brown-furred animals shivered in their burrows, instinctually praying that it would pass them by. Birds took flight well ahead of its coming, something primordial within their avian brains triggering the response to flee.

It had been long since it had even resembled the Mouse from which it had been born. The last shreds of black-furred skin hung limply from dark-red and brown crusted muscle. Black holes existed where once there were eyes, and even its lower jaw had fallen away, it's tongue hanging freely down its neck and chest, like a bloody tie. In the center of its chest, what was once a mortal wound, had become the anathema's new mouth, a funnel-like orifice with two spiraling rows of teeth running from rim to bottom.

As the creature strode forward, it seemed unhampered by the lack of sight, small tendrils forming instantaneously from various points of its body, snaking out and retrieving sustenance from the small burrows in which it hid. These animals struggled impotently against their coming doom, up until the point where they were torn to shreds by the creature's strange mouth. It didn't need sight anymore. Or skin. It had evolved beyond such primitive things.


And it was, as yet, evolving still. Though beyond any other creature in existence, it was not yet a perfect being. That was the sole driving force for its hunger; to fuel the changes it was going through. Every so often, it would stumble and fall to the forest floor, as its bones softened. They bent under its bulk, like a reed in the wind, before being filled with a viscous fluid to provide them a new type of support.

It never lasted long, and the beast would soon rise again to continue its trek. The anathema-

"Jesus Jeff, that prose is so purple, Karl's going to make a suit out of it!"

The voice came from somewhere ahead of the thing; from a lightly smoking crater. As inexorable as death, it shuffled on.
 
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