[09] Star Light, Star Bright

Karl Jak

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Round 9

Tommy Oliver – You’ll eventually make it back to camp, but you’ll find that the place has been ransacked, despite the best efforts by all the Syntech crew. No one is quite sure what happened, but Kevin (along with whatever NPCs you’d like to still have alive, perhaps Trent and Kirsten) will tell you that it happened shortly after the quick onset of night. Nothing attacked the camp, but the non-Syntech survivors (about 8 individuals) simply went insane, lashing out at everyone, killing about a dozen of them, before running off into the jungle like maniacs. While you were off tracking down the monster, Karl Jak managed to launch a small surveying/mapping drone. The executive producer set off into the jungle with ‘a bit of his own madness in his eyes’ en route to some ‘temple’. You can stay with Kevin in the camp to help the survivors… survive/deal with the most recent trauma, or you can pursue Karl Jak. Just be clear what your intentions are in your post. Deadpool will likely pursue Karl, but he won’t actively force you to do so.

Misha, Perry, Ronny, Droog – The xenomorph is circling in the darkness around you. Sasha only has so many bullets (I’m guessing, it’s been a decade since I’ve played TF2). Karl Jak will eventually stumble upon all of you as he heads to the temple. He’ll be armed with some improvised weapons but be focused on reaching the temple at other corner of the village. You can join him or get some sense of vengeance on the Alien, it’s your call.

Please post at least once before April 24th at 11:59 PM. This is the last time I intend to include a time limit, as I’ll assess and give out some tiny prizes after this. Anyone who wants to collaborate with me on the epilogue is free to do so.
 

Aku

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Beforehand, proper scavenged supplies were found when the group was searching in the desolate ancient village. The merc in the red strapped with two clay barrels that contain bitumen, a resource that the natives once used long ago on this uncharted planet. Next to his side, Perry walks along steadily with a well-made slingshot in his right hand that perfectly fits in his little paws. Thankfully, the lawyer found a weapon for self-defense even though his appearance doesn't make him look like a fighter physically but a man who can verbally fight during a court case. Ronny and Droog followed behind Misha and Perry as they both led through the now darkened jungle.

The heavy weapons guy quits firing his weapon for a light source to reveal their pathway as the obnoxious whirring sound of barrels rotating cease. They found a giant rock that can be a platform to stand on top of during their stand-off when the murdering creature returns. Enough is enough; this thing now took two lives from this group. Vengeance boils within Misha to avenge his comrades from this savage alien, ready to crush this bug. Dusk weighs heavy upon this group, giving their threat an advantage to blend in the surrounding darkness.

"This is the place to set up." Misha flatly responds to Ronny's words spoken a minute ago while they trekked through the dense jungle. After they stopped walking, the Syntech mercenary loosens the straps that wrapped the barrels against his back to transition the barrels to the ground carefully. Misha slowly lets the barrels sit on the floor while Sasha gets positioned against the rock.

"I'm going to pour the bitumen around us where we stand on that rock, watching our backs. This stuff here is flammable to give us a good light source when facing that beast or catch it on fire." Misha explains what they are about to do in the grand scheme of killing that thing for his fallen comrades.

"Sasha is losing weight each time I fire her. She might run dry here soon. If that comes to the case, I will put our comrade killer down with bare hands." The heavy weapons expert mentions how the situation is looking on his part when they initiate combat. "I don't want to lose another comrade. This thing won't claim another tiny soul. We fight now." Misha continues while preparing to pour out the first barrel of liquid bitumen.

Perry nods and agreement, willing to fight for his life, knowing that Misha is relying on him. Ronny nods about going forward with the big Russian's plan, clutching his club tightly with both hands. The jet-blacked Carapacian gangster grabs his loaded pistol within his coat, cocking the gun back for preparation. Perry puts one of his hands in his pocket to make sure he has enough smooth stones he grabbed along the way for ammunition. Everyone begins to get into position on the rock's surface except the Syntech mercenary.

Misha shuffles around the rock, creating a ring of blackened liquid bitumen that spills on the jungle floor. After emptying the first barrel, he grabs the last one and pours another layer of bitumen to make the fire spread out more. Most of the nocturnal creatures echo throughout the jungle. The surrounding messed with their ears and couldn't tell if their predator was stalking them in the dark. Misha throws the barrel to the side and climbs up atop the rock, hoisting Sasha off the ground. "Lighter," Misha demanded on the spot, standing next to Droog while holding his minigun by the carrying handle in one hand and the other with the palm exposed, signaling for the lighter.

The gangster mutters underneath his breath, knowing he isn't going to see his lighter ever again, rummaging in his coat's pocket for what the bald Russian man requested. He plants the item in Misha's big palm, and the mercenary flicks the lighter open making a metallic click. The lighter ignites with one attempt by his giant fingers and tosses it a couple of feet away from them, hitting the ring of bitumen. Combustion happens, and the circle of fire ignites, killing off the darkness surrounding the rock. The air heats up around them after igniting the fire.

Everyone grabs hold of their weapons and prepares for combat, Perry stretching his slingshot back with a stone, Droog aiming his gun out in front of him, Ronny grasping his club tightly while aware of his surroundings, and Misha spinning Sasha's barrels that roar to life.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!!!!!!"

The merc in red lets out a thunderous war cry that shook the trees near them, scaring any small critters within the vicinity. In the jungle, the alien monster becomes attracted by the echoing warcry. It witnesses the fiery bright scene that the survivors made and stood in the center of the rock, with their backs turned against each other close together. Misha's eyes stared back into the jungle with rage, ready to unleash for Della's and Michael's passing.

The alien's vision locks onto the scene, and it notices that the heavy weapons expert is staring right back into its soulless black skull visor even though all the Misha can see is the darkness that encases the jungle surrounding them.
 

Jason Lee Scott

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Trent gasped as he leaned back against his makeshift cover. He was out of ammo, and out of luck. He had sworn that he would never suffer the same fate as… well, he had already, but his chances were looking poor at the moment.

The insane warriors had returned. They’d been hired for various reasons originally, but all of them were supposed to be sane and level headed. They’d proven that wrong already, as they’d slaughtered half of the encampment before fleeing into the woods. That hadn’t been enough, apparently, because some of them had returned to finish the fight, and Trent had been one of the few armed well enough to hold them slightly at bay. Admittedly, it was his own determination that kept him going. He had lost it all before, and he refused to lose again.

Easier said than done.

The flimsy barricade he was hiding behind was literally ripped from the ground to his great shock, and he could only gasp as he looked into the savage eyes of a deranged mercenary he had once hid behind. Trent tried to bring his gun up in time to fire at the man, but he was too slow. The savage grabbed his weapon, and threw it aside. Whether it went five feet or five miles didn’t really matter, it was beyond being any help at this point. The man raised his arm to strike, and Trent could only watch with wide eyes.

To his great surprise, the insane merc was ripped backwards. Trent watched as Tommy Oliver pulled the man back and sucker punched him as hard as he could. The maddened mercenary thrashed back at Tommy with superhuman strength, catching his hand in his already damaged armor. Tommy only looked shocked for a moment at the damage his opponent was able to do, but quickly recovered and delivered two devastating punches to his enemy’s face. They stunned him, but didn’t down him. Tommy was happy to follow that up with a swift jumpkick, which sent his enemy rolling away.

Trent watched as Tommy landed and shed the green chest armor he’d worn this entire time. The mutilated chestplate fell to the ground revealed he was only wearing a pure white tanktop underneath, but Tommy Oliver did not appear to be the slightest bit concerned with his lack of defense. In fact, he appeared more alive that ever. He was once again working the mission that Zordon had given him years before: protect the innocent.

“So now you serve Karl Jak again!?” Trent shouted to the returning hero.

“I serve… a higher authority,” Tommy replied with an edge of cockiness, as he was already locked onto the next two foes.

They rushed forward, and Tommy was quick to charge and meet them. He jumped between his opponents, leaping as high as he could and swinging his legs at each, landing a simultaneous kick on each one’s face. They bounced away from the attack while Tommy landed effortlessly, one falling to the ground and another bracing himself against the nearest tree to recover. Tommy moved in on the one still standing, bashing his face into the tree before hurling him backwards. The other was clambering to his feet, but Tommy closed the gap with lightning efficiency.

Maddened by the world around him, he lashed out at Tommy, who blocked with effortless discipline. The man swung three more blows that were easily deflected. Tommy replied with a succession of quick retaliatory jabs. While his foe was stunned Tommy grabbed him and hurled him into the nearest tree he could find. As that opponent sank to the ground, Tommy looked for his newest ally.

Deadpool had impaled the nearest and last two enemies on his swords, and quickly ripped them free. Declining to openly comment on his ability to accomplish just as much with far fewer words, the merc with a mouth merely nodded to the retired Ranger.

“You good!?” Tommy shouted to the red clad warrior.

“Yea, but- oh thank fuck he figured out the right shade of red,” Deadpool shouted, collecting himself after changing topic momentarily. “But where’s Karl Jak!?”

“He left!” Kevin replied as he moved from the surviving Syntech employees. “He was looking for some temple he found with a drone. Didn’t say why, just left.”

Tommy cursed to himself as he looked over the weakened survivors.

“With no plan for how to hold out here,” Tommy grumbled.

“They’ll be fine,” Deadpool waved his hand dismissively. “I’m going to find Karl.”

“I should have known you were the type to abandon the innocent,” Tommy was quick to spit at Deadpool.

“Hey! I am the nicest guy!”
Deadpool retorted quickly and defensively while pointing a finger at Tommy. “I would have won this Charlie and the Chocolate Factory bullshit last time it came up if I’d just kicked that dog off the dock! I would have gotten my shit stomped in the epilogue, but Alex didn’t even get around to writing it that year!”

Tommy shook his head, long past trying to comprehend what his strange ally was talking about.

“There’s more of those nutcases out there, and no telling what the jungle has,” Tommy reminded Deadpool.

“And we need Karl Jak if we’re going to get out of here,” Deadpool reasoned. “Also, I really miss him. We’ve bonded. It’s a been a years long process, don’t try to understand it.”

“Then I’ll train the survivors, you bring Karl Jak back here,” Tommy decided.

“You can’t tell me what to do,” Deadpool scoffed. “I’m not your NPC anymore after this post.”

Tommy closed his eyes and rubbed his head slowly.

“He’ll probably, maybe want to come back,”
Deadpool shrugged. “I’ll see when I find him.”

“Good luck, then,” Tommy simply said. What else could he add?

The two partners briefly shook hands, and Deadpool turned and disappeared into the jungle. Tommy took a moment to size up what he had. Untrained, scared people in a new environment with little to utilize. It was going to be a challenge, but Tommy was beginning to remember the right way wasn’t always the easiest.

He took a deep breath and walked towards the survivors. It was time for day one of training.
 

Sigmund Vrell

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Ronny’s mind was a wreck as the remaining survivors gazed into the darkness, more or less ready to face their alien foe. He had been through a little too much a little too quickly and he wasn’t really sure how to deal with it anymore. Overwhelmed by the whole situation, the lawyer kept his eyes locked on the jungle around them and raised his club above his head, mimicking Misha’s battle cry.

“YAAAAAAAAAGH!” He cried. Though the attorney’s roar was far less intimidating than that of the minigun-wielding mercenary, his spirit was… well, also less intimidating, but not quite to the same degree. Ron kept his club trained at the darkness before him, every flicker of the flames looking like an alien beast stalking through the darkness to his panic-stricken eyes. Though he did his best to put on a brave display, the salaryman’s inner thoughts held much less bravado.

“We’re fucked.” He thought to himself. “Mom, Dad, thank you for having me, thank you for raising me, but I’m pretty much dead.”

Fear and despair running through him, his only lifeline, a flimsy club, Ronny glanced towards the heavy. Despite the dire situation, despite the fact that the group had already lost two members… Hell, because of that fact, the mercenary stood resolute in their last stand, as if fear was a foreign concept to him. As far as the lawyer could tell, Misha considered death to be as bad as death. And in this situation, they may very well have been one and the same.

The reassurance that the Russian Goliath gave Ron was minor, but it was enough to stop the quaking of his knees and the chattering of his teeth. He still knew that the odds were stacked against them, that their last stand very well could be suicide, but their stalwart rock in the fight gave him the confidence to at least go out looking his killer in the weird eyeless skull face, and while he may not have known his comrades beyond their most basic traits, he guessed that they shared his defiance of their possible killer.

Standing off against the darkness, Ronny wondered if his allies thought that they could actually kill the monster. It was certainly an appealing thought, the idea that the group would live to see another day, but it simply didn’t seem realistic to the corporate suit. Glancing between the group, his doubts began to slowly fade. Even if it seemed impossible, even if their odds were next to nothing, maybe they had a chance. And if that chance was there, he was going to take it.

“Come on then, you son of a bitch.” He grumbled under his breath, his teeth clenched in a fusion of fear, anticipation, and defiance. “We’ll teach you not to fuck with Syntech.”
 

Arthur Morgan

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In his own opinion, Perry the Platypus was woefully unprepared for a fight of this caliber.

For one thing, being a semi-aquatic egg-laying mammal, he was not big and sturdy like the Heavy Weapons Guy. Rather, he was small and lightweight, ill-equipped for piercing the hard outer shell their alien foe appeared to possess. He also did not have a hard, sturdy carapace like Diamonds Droog, nor did he possess a similarly survival-oriented mindset. Instead, Perry was squishy and furry— and what’s more, absolutely too soft-hearted for his own good.

Finally, the platypus most definitely was not like Ronny Syntech, with a clear dedication to the company he was named for. No, Perry had no attachment to the corporate nonsense he’d signed on with, didn’t believe in its mission of bloody entertainment. If given the chance, he would have been perfectly willing to leave this mess all behind if it meant he could have gone back to how things once were, with his owners, his boys, his family.

But one thing Perry the Platypus most certainly did have, was sheer grit. It was this grit that served him well when, all of a sudden, the alien simply… materialized behind the curtain of wavering orange flame, the evil thing’s black shell glittering splendidly in the firelight as it slunk towards them like some kind of demented panther.

The xenomorph was hard to keep track of at first, seeing as its form passed in and out of view behind the trunks of trees like a living shadow, but after they had caught sight of it once, its strange shape became much easier to keep a visual on. Each claw-tipped appendage padded silently through the jungle undergrowth as the xenomorph drew closer… closer... closer, its barb-tipped tail whipping back and forth like that of an agitated feline.

Although the beast’s distended cranium lacked any visible eyes, it was clear, at least to Perry whose every brain cell was screaming at him to flee, that the xenomorph was examining its prey very, very closely… searching for some method of breaching the blazing inferno crackling in a protective circle around them.

For now, it seemed that it was too fearful of the flickering tongues of heat to attempt it. That wouldn’t last long, Perry wagered.

The platypus shifted backward uneasily, the middle of his spine striking the rock at the center of the fiery ring. It had been a good choice of venue for a plan of this kind, he supposed, in that it practically forced them to put up a decent fight against the xenomorph. Like the tournament at the start of all this, only one victor would emerge from this particular arena— either the alien, or those who hoped to turn the cycle of predation around.

Perry could only hope it wouldn’t be the alien.
 
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Arthur Morgan

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For a moment, there was stillness. The alien merely watched them, this group of miserable survivors, and they watched it right back, the smell of desperate defiance simmering hotly the air. Or maybe that was just sweat and blood, Perry couldn’t be sure— it was awfully warm standing in the middle of a ring of fire, after all.

But, that sense of stillness and peace didn’t last long. One second, the alien was just standing there, staring at them, and the next it had scaled a nearby tree, clawing its way up the gnarled trunk in what seemed to be a split-second’s time, and promptly hurled itself bodily over the barrier of towering flame, directly for Perry and his compatriots!

The urge to scatter like rats was strong for the defenders, but the fire walled them in, forcing them to whirl around and face their foe. With a loud thump, the xenomorph landed heavily atop the rock in the middle of the ring, claws scraping noisily over the stone and scoring deep gouges across it. And there it perched, like a great big gargoyle, the firelight casting its emaciated, twisted body in a hellish red glow.

Slowly, the xenomorph looked down at the group, a rasping hiss leaving its throat, fangs bared and glistening with saliva. Its tail frisked about in the air behind it, hanging like the Grim Reaper’s scythe high over their heads.

Ronny Syntech gave an audible gulp. The xenomorph’s freaky skull-like face twitched in his direction, just slightly, and shit promptly hit the motherfucking fan.

In a blur of motion, the alien leapt from atop the boulder, pouncing on Ronny and towering above him like a cat lording over a screechy little canary. The xenomorph’s spear-tipped tail whipped around like a deadly scythe, forcing Misha to back off as he attempted to help and, in Droog’s case, prompting the Dersite to scramble backward in a bid to avoid being messily decapitated.

Weighing in at roughly 6 lbs and being overall much smaller and easier to miss, Perry merely raised his slingshot, a determined expression set upon his duck-billed face. As Ronny gaped up into the jaws of death, thick strands of rancid spit dripping onto his face as the xenomorph’s inner mandible emerged and prepared to punch through his skull, he whispered a quiet prayer under his breath. “Sweet merciful Karl…”

BONK!


The xenomorph froze as something struck it on the side of its elongated skull, pinging harmlessly off and onto the ground. Its inner mandible retracted with a throaty hiss—probably at the sheer indignity of the strike—head craning around to examine the tiny stone that had struck it. Then, it looked up at the stone’s source.

There Perry stood, striking a quite brave pose for a little platypus, prepping another stone with his slingshot. This, too, pinged uselessly off the alien’s hide, but that wasn’t Perry’s goal to begin with.

Now, he had the alien’s attention. Now, the real challenge could begin.

With a frustrated snarl, the xenomorph stamped on Ronny’s chest with enough force to crack his collar bone with a sickening pop, a strangled scream escaping the lawyer. Prehensile tail still thrashing about like a bullwhip, the xenomorph’s talons briefly dug into the Syntech employee’s chest, contemplative, before releasing him… and turning fully to face the pint-sized Agent P.
 
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Suddenly, gunfire! A great, shrieking hail of bullets rained down on the alien’s crouched form, poised to leap in Perry’s direction. The xenomorph shrieked in mingled rage and pain, turning its sights on another: Misha, brandishing his signature heavy weapon, the last of his bullets expended on saving his furry friend.

With fierce speed and bared fangs, the monstrous, biomechanical-seeming creature raised up onto its hind legs, stalking toward the hulking man. It was about seven feet tall, several heads loftier than the mercenary and spitting mad. Despite this, Misha only pounded his fists together in anticipation of their fight, his face split into a maniacal grin and his eyes flashing with unchecked rage.

“Come on then, monster! Let us see what you can do when your foes are not so little!” the gallant Russian roared, setting Sasha aside with such great gentleness that it was like watching a mother handle a babe. He surged forward to meet the xenomorph, hands braced in front of him, preparing to execute one hell of a grapple.

The two collided, the lithe form of the alien wrapping dexterously around the stocky body of the mercenary. Its clawed fingers grasped at his skull even as the man’s hands clenched around its throat, the xenomorph’s tail snapping around to spear at the Heavy Weapons Guy’s chest.

Yet, at the last second, Perry bounded forward, leaping expertly onto the alien’s back and grabbing ahold of its shoulder protrusions like a pair of handlebars. Using his slingshot’s surprisingly strong twine sling as a makeshift rope, he wrapped it around the flailing tail, dragging it forcibly backward with all the strength his little arms could muster— effectively pinning the tail to another one of spiny growths on its back, preventing it from lashing out at Heavy.

Not expecting an attack from behind, the xenomorph distractedly swiped behind itself with one arm, its claws catching Perry fully across his furry body. The wickedly sharp talons raked over his chest, the force of the strike sending him flying, pitching head over tail into the flames.

Or he would have tumbled into the fire, if someone hadn’t caught him first. Dangling by the scruff of his neck, dazed and in pain, Perry blinked up into the scowling face of one incredibly put-upon Dersite gangster.

“You owe me for that,” Droog spat, dropping him unceremoniously onto the ground. Then, he raised his pistol—eliciting a flinch from Perry— and fired off several crack shots into the back of the xenomorph’s head, a sneer on his face all the while. It didn’t seem to phase it much, but, well. What the fuck ever.

Misha, meanwhile, was busy straining to pry the xenomorph’s deadly claws from his scalp. They dragged across his bald head, leaving deep marks that would’ve torn right down to the bone were it not for Heavy’s mighty grip on its arms. Even then, though, it’s similarly-taloned legs curved up to scratch at his stomach and chest, attempting to slice him to ribbons.

Finally, Misha seemed to get the upper hand— bodily throwing the xenomorph to the side, and straight into the open flames roaring around them. Unlike Perry, there was no one there to catch the flying alien, and it spilled through the fire in a hail of sparks, legs bending and uncurling like an unfortunate insect struck by a lit match, screeching in agony all the while.

After much flailing about and splitting the party’s eardrums with its wailing, the xenomorph eventually managed to… stagger out on the other side of the wall of flames, absolutely dripping with sizzling, acidic green blood. It turned to look at the party, fangs bared, and appeared to consider making a rush for them once more… before turning tail and disappearing, melting into the shadowy jungle night.

For a moment, there was silence save for the crackling of the fire… before Ronny spoke up, managing to drag himself up into a sitting position against the boulder. “Did… did we scare it off?”

“Maybe,” said Misha, staring out at the trees. The firelight cast strange, unnatural shadows over his face. “Maybe.”

Perry merely sighed in relief, a great big whooshing huff, and glanced down at the gigantic scratch marks marring his torso. Blood leaked sluggishly from the wounds, staining his teal fur crimson.

Tentatively, Perry reached inside his hat, pulling out a roll of duct tape. He began to wrap it around himself, wincing at the pain, and hoped that they might come across some better supplies soon.
 
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Karl Jak

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End Chapter 9
-Part 1-

Karl Jak stood near the far end of the village. In the haze, he saw the other survivors scrambling around in the jungle as they tried to fight the xenomorph. Somewhere in the back of his head, a voice told the executive producer to turn back around and continue through the partially concealed stone doorway. After all, if they had needed his help than surely, they would have incorporated him in some capacity, correct? Clearly, these writers didn’t require Karl Jak’s plot armor to deal with the solitary xenomorph.

“Clearly.” Karl muttered as he watched the xenomorph batter the tiny platypus like a fluffy dog smacking away a plushy toy.

Even so, as Karl observed, the survivors managed to somehow use their numbers advantage to their benefit. They seemed to descend upon the alien monster in waves, with one of their number crashing into the indomitable bulk of the creature just as it almost got the advantage over a peer. Hidden traps roared to life as flames bathed over the haggard beast, and its screeching scream pierced the night sky as it slithered off into the darkness.

***​

Misha took a knee as he cradled a still-steaming Sasha into his bulky yet battered arms. She was exceptionally light in his hands now, and he knew that soon she would be silenced—maybe not forever, but he doubted they’d run across ammunition on this planetoid anytime soon. Yet, the true tragedy was the scarring along her sides from the claws of the sleek beast. While the wounds hadn’t compromised the minigun’s functionality, they were still a testament to the harrowing nature of their short time in this jungle.

“Should we pursue it?”

The voice was that of Droog, who sported a noticeable limp as he approached one of the still-burning patches of pitch. While the blazing ring had provided an integral means to combat the monster’s elusive nature, it now only remained alight in a few places. Smears of acidic blood had tampered the flames, but nevertheless, they had served their purpose.

Ronny Syntech was the first one to offer a response. “Are you insane?” The lawyer’s face was partially obscured behind makeshift bandages. While his first brush with the creature had only painted him with a layer of viscous saliva, the greater scuffle had led him to take a few drops of blood spray to the cheek and forehead. Through fate or dumb luck, he’d managed to scrape away the volatile ichor but not before it hard burned through nearly to his skull. In the process, he’d lost the majority of the skin from three of the fingers on his right hand. While the pain was awe-inspiring, there was a deeper anguish that Ronny felt in his heart.

His hand was mangled. It would be a long while before he would ever be able to hold a pen and sign a document.

“It’s going to return,” Droog stressed when he noted that the wounded lawyer was starting to zone out a little. “If we don’t kill it, it could just as easily come at us in our sleep. All we did wa—”

“Back lion into corner,” Misha interrupted as he laboriously pushed himself up to a vertical position. “Fortunately,” the Heavy adjusted his grip on Sasha as he turned to look at Droog. “Wounded bear great match for wounded lion.”

“Now we’re talking about woodland creatures,” Ronny groaned as he turned his one good eye toward Perry. Their group’s own woodland critter looked like something bound together after a trip through an active garbage disposal. “You signed the liability waiver, right?”

The platypus scowled before diverting its focus to the jungle that surrounded them. While the fires still burned enough to illuminate their immediate area, it was a genuine mystery what lay beyond the boundaries of their current location. There was pure darkness outside the ring of fire, which meant they’d have to play a guessing game to locate either the village or the correct path back to the crashed Syntech vessel.

“We need to think of something,” Droog remarked as he stepped gingerly over a still smoldering spatter of pitch and seemed to try and spot something in the near absolute blackness that engulfed them. After a few moments, he shrugged his shoulders and turned to face to the three others, who had turned to him in anticipation of a potential course of action. “We’re not going to b—”

Something, in what was likely some form of demented irony, bite off Droog’s head before he could finish whatever thought he had. Blood sprayed from the freshly severed arteries as the corpse fell sideways into a patch of flames, causing the new corpse to be instantly subsumed by a wave of now roaring flames.

From the darkness, the xenomorph lurched forward and sneered—its scarred, cracked visage a haunting reminder that there was yet more work to be done this night.
 
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