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Krauser

[RP] The Water's Edge

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Krauser sat on a sun-dried log, a piece of debris washed up on the shore from the Inner Ocean. He chewed on a dried piece of jerky as he stared over the blue sea. The waters stretched out over the horizon and appeared to drop off the edge of the world. He quietly stood up and sat down again, observing the difference in what he could see from the three foot difference between sitting and standing. He noticed one particular island was visible while standing, but vanished when he sat down. He was bored and it was a trivial observance, but again, he was bored.

Krauser had spent a significant amount of time studying a strange brain parasite that he and Captain Rogers had discovered on an island in the distant south. During his observations, he discovered the creature was a product of the destruction of the planet-parasite which had been destroyed by Sunder on Planet Lunaris. Apparently the creatures remains had literally rained down upon Solaris and somehow survived the re-entry into the atmosphere. It concerned him because he was certain there could be millions of these parasites spread throughout the world now.

He quietly rolled a small stick under his foot, through the sand... He hoped someone would drop by for a visit, and perhaps he could discuss the subject of the parasites with whoever that may be. He had already posted a bulletin back in the city trying to spread the word. These creatures were incredibly dangerous and once infected, the victim literally would lose his or her mind. The creatures consumed the host's brain entirely and replaced it, taking over the body like it was designed for it by some malicious otherworldly entity. 

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Krauser quietly grabbed a small stone from the beach, stood up, and quickly launched it across the oceans surface where it proceeded to skip endlessly off into the distance.

He proceeded to take a second stone and do the same, this time added a little more oomph. The second stone went skipping, each hop a little further from the last. It eventually left the water’s surface and disappeared over the horizon.

Krauser then grabbed yet a third stone and proceeded in much the same manner. He gave this one even more effort and sent it flying even higher. A moment later a loud crack met his ears as the skipping stone created a sonic boom. He was content now and sat back down, continuing to chew on some jerky...

Perhaps someone would show up to investigate the sound... 

+138 EXP

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Krauser tossed a small metallic cube on the sand from a pouch on his belt. The cube immediately transformed into an impossibly large case. He flipped the latch on the case open and removed what closely resembled a fishing pole and additional appropriate fishing gear. After a quick moment of preparation he rested back and cast out a line a reasonable distance. He sat patiently and continued waiting... 

+68 EXP

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Krauser let out a sigh. Not a single bite, he thought. He began to reel in his line when suddenly he realized his bait was gone but he had nothing to show for it. He quickly baited his line again and cast his line out again, a good distance. As the line sank into the water he wondered what the hell had nabbed his bait. Had it been a fish? An octopus? Some other odd creature... who knew. He was now determined more than ever to catch something. He waited patiently. 

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Walking quietly down the beach.  Enjoying the afternoon sun when all of a sudden a sonic boom interrupted her quiet afternoon on the beach in her bikini. It might be noted that the pink outfit really might seem out of her usual hardened manners but she THOUGHT she was alone out here.

 

Mentally grumbling to herself that if this was Terra and her girl friend she was gonna kill someone.  While she started to head two a towards the sound carefully.  The sand adding to the ease of which she could quickly and quietly move.  Though as she got closer to that area of the beach she noticed someone just sitting there fishing.

 

Eyes glued to the figure as surely he didn't make the sound. It would scare all the fish away and likely ruin any chance to catch anything at all.  But she could tell this was the direction from which it had come from.

"Oh to hell with it." Spoken to herself.

Marching towards the man now just a little annoyed.  She was only in her skimpy pink bikini but only a stranger or a fool would think she was not ready to throw down.

"Was that you making all that noise?"

+205 EXP

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"Oh?" he perked up, finally, he thought, someone showed up.

"Yep, that was me. I figured if I made enough racket someone would come and investigate. Been getting kinda lonely... Not catching a damn thing either," he shrugged and looked at Odessa and her tiny pink bikini.

"Just out enjoying the beach?" he asked, genuinely curious. He was just trying to strike up a conversation.

"Back in the future world, this place was a giant sheet of glass... cause somebody melted all the sand!" he always felt inclined to share that tiny piece of trivia with whoever would listen.

"It was miles and miles of melted sand, as far as the eye could see," his line bobbed up and down suddenly and he sprang to action. He set the hook and immediately began working on reeling in the catch.

"FINALLY!" he shouted, getting to his feet and tugging on the pole... this thing seemed to be big!

+157 EXP

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"I was trying to enjoy  day at the beach yes.  That was until someone started making a lot of noise."

She started to take a closer look at the man because of how he spoke about the future and what this place as like, but was speaking about it in the past tense.   The idea of this making her scratch her brain mentally for a moment.   He looked familiar but she just couldn't put a name to the face at this time.

"You do know that the fish usually bite better when it is quiet?"

Though the idea of a glass beach looses a lot of appeal for bathing suits and swimming it does bring other idea's to mind.  Wondering what special properties the glass might have had if any, So many things in this world had unusual characteristics that she wouldn't be surprised if the glass was magnetic or even nearly unmeltable.   A multitude of tangent thoughts on what if any special abilities the glass might have had start running through the back of her head.

"Well You got a bite so don't loose it now!"

+187 EXP

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Krauser quickly reeled in the catch. It took some tugging and huffing, but suddenly the backside of a large aquatic mammal (something akin to a seal) came splashing up out of the water with a large fish in it's maw.

Krauser felt rage swell in his heart and he let out a violent roar of emotion, "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" The creature flicked and fluttered, yanking Krauser's fish right off the line, and then dove back beneath the waters.

Without a second thought, Krauser ripped his clothes off, well, down to a pair of crimson briefs, and tossed them all aside in a pile. He dove with near perfect form straight out into the depths and darted off after the large seal-like creature aquaman-style.

Who knew the guy could swim so well!? Must be the bald head... anyway, a few moments later Krauser came trudging up through the depths and made his way back to the water's edge, clubbed seal-like creature dragging along behind him.

"I broke it's neck, I think..." the creature slipped through the sands behind him like a rag doll, the dead fish hanging from its limp jaws, apparently caught in the creatures razor-like teeth. "Looks like we'll have something to eat this evening! How about it?!"

He grinned widely, swiping away some random beads of water from his perfect abs and pecks. This guy was chiseled like a body builder, likely the effects of years of war and combat. There were a few scars, but very few...

Solarians heal really quick, which doesn't give wounds the chance to leave a scar most of the time. In fact, any scars left on a Solarian were likely the product of some viscious wounds at some point.

"We need to make a fire so we can roast this beast..." he seemed pretty excited.

+305 EXP

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She couldn't help but snicker as the seal like beast stole the fisherman's catch.  Only to start grinning like a mad hatter as he started to strip to his red briefs.  Diving in after his long awaited and now ruined catch.

 

"Well if I didn't know any better I might believe you went fishing for that beast all along.  I've eaten far more questionable things than that before so why not.  I'll take you up on that."

 

She watched as he dragged it up the beach.  Her cybernetic hands starting to rotate and twist around oddly.  A personal twitch when she's excited that happens.

 

"Unless you want to wait hours and hours cooking it on a roast might I suggest one of us butcher the beast and one of us start the fire.   I'm quite skilled with a blade, or I could easily produce us a small cooking set up. I'll let you decide it is your catch after all."

 

Ok yeah she couldn't help herself.  She looked him up and down more than once.  Cursing his nearly flawless physique.  She on the other hand was covered in scars.  What it's left of her natural body is 60% covered by some scar.  The majority of those all originating from the accident that left her with no limbs at all.

 

"Not looking to bad there grandpa.  Must do something to keep in shape.  I'm Odessa Odetta by the way.  What is your name?"

 

She had learned over the last few years to be able to pick up on small details to help determine a Solarians age.  He seemed to be rather mature but not past his prime at all.  Yet she couldn't help but call him older than he appears.  Probably that bratty personality she has and being young.

+298 EXP

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"How about you carve it up for us and I'll get a fire started... I agree, carving it up will have us eating in no time," he immediately began gathering firewood and placing some stones in a circle.

He quickly established a sturdy foundation and masterfully whipped together a cooking-spit/Rotisserie in just a few quick moments. A moment later and he was lighting the wood on fire with a strange gadget from a pouch on his belt.

"So, Odessa eh? My name is Krauser," he briefly paused, "Krauser Killener... and OLD MAN!? I'm technically only 48 years-old thank you very much! I'm like a newborn baby in my people's years!"

Which was in fact true, Krauser still had several thousand years ahead of him, barring Grey Fenrir having anything to do with an untimely death. He chuckled, he knew he was well built and didn't bother to hide it... he really didn't think much of it though.

"So, where are you from? I've seen you around, but I really don't think we've ever spoken to one another much," he glanced her direction, not pausing on her figure but for a 10th of a second, though when you have a photographic memory that's all you need.

Krauser was indeed married though, and while his family was secretly stashed away in the depths of his ancient laboratory to the distant south, he wasn't a flirt by any means. He wouldn't dare cheat on his lovely wife back home, nor maintain a thought of it.

The bikini clad young woman sent a flurry of thoughts running through his mind though, not about her in particular, but the family he'd secretly hidden away many miles beneath the surface of the world.

He believed it to be the only way to truly keep them safe, until he could finally take care of Grey Fenrir and the Black Empire. No Killener was safe while a Fenrir walked the earth. They were mortal enemies.

Krauser didn't think much more about the young ladies comments about his age, though he did have a hint of interest in what happened with her body and limbs. He wouldn't dare ask though, as he believed it would be incredibly rude to do so. If she wanted to share that information, that was her choice entirely.

While awaiting a response to his question about where she was from, he leaned in to blow of gust of air at the flames, which promptly caused them to flourish and really take hold of the logs fueling their fiery grasp. Another breath and it was ready for cooking.

+434 EXP

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The Krauser Killener was standing in front of her.  Mother fucker.  She walked for days when she first arrived to try and meet him.  Wanting to ask questions only to find out he and all the able bodied warriors where gone to another planet.  She was still mad about that fuming for over a month when it happened.  Then a long walk back home only to realize when she got back there was a "quick way".  Pride kept her from trying to seek him out since.

"Hmmm well, I'm an honest born earthling to tell the truth.  Got brought here a little over 5 years ago.  Just about the time you decided to go save a planet."

A quick flick of her wrists as she walked towards the corpse of the seal like creature brought out the inch long finger blades across all 10 fingers.  She didn't hesitate or flinch as she started to bleed the creature.  Throat sliced, and a long cut near each limb to drain it quickly.  Once that was started she started to gut the animal removing the internal organs that shouldn't be eaten.  Her fingers where moving quickly and precisely as she cut into the meat.  Blubber and skin peeled away large sections of meat cut away and f set aside to be cleaned before it would be cooked.

"That fire pit seems to be coming along nicely.  We should have meat ready to start cooking by the time the flames have died down."

She tapped her right thigh and its compartment opened up. Pulling her void storage cube out of it and opening it up.  Delicately rummaging through getting an oily rag out she wiped away the worst of the blood.  A large bucket pulled out and filled with clean water from her supplies. Cleaning her hands before replacing the water and cleaning the meat more.

"I'm not really sure how to answer that question fully.  Yes I'm from earth but chose to leave.  Didn't really choose to be here but here is where I got dropped off.  Shiny new limbs but hardly a stitch of clothing otherwise.  Been living in the town under your protection since I got here. So I guess I should thank you.  Though I really want to punch you also."

Flash backs of the security droid making her helpless, dealing with the punishment. Not to mention also Norven!  She isn't a saint knows she has done bad but tries to do right by those she cares for.

"So you really wanna play the question game, that would make it my turn. Why are you really out here?"

+438 EXP

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(Sorry for the delay, spent over 13 hours at work yesterday trying to get a line running again... which we did!)

"An earthling? Another one... It never ceases to amaze me how earthlings wind up here," he paused briefly, tossing a log on the fire, "I think there must be a dimensional connection between our plane and the earth realm."

He continued honing his little fire and started skewering meat to place on a stick above the flames. As the flames licked the freshly slaughtered meat, the aroma of it filled the air. Perhaps it would draw in someone else?

"Lunaris? Yes, that was a critical endeavor. Now we've got another problem though. When the Elder God Sunder finished off the planet-eating parasite, the monstrosity exploded and send debris flying out in every direction... many of those particulates fell to planet Solaris.

They have survived the fall through the atmosphere and Captain Rogers and I discovered an entire island of people completely controlled by them to the south," he let out a sigh.

As Odessa commented on his fire pit, he smiled and nodded, "Thank you, I've made many of these over the years I admit."

Krauser caught her activities out of the corner of his eye. He watched the compartment of her leg slide open and noticed her Void Storage cube, which was a gadget he built in the labs.

"Exciting! You're using one of my cubes...." he grinned. As Odessa continued on about her being from Earth and winding up on Solaris he nodded and responded, "Well, I don't know why but for some reason earthlings often wind up here on Solaris."

"As I mentioned before, our realities are SOMEHOW connected across the dimensional barrier. We've seen many people of earth wind up here and get stuck. I will tell you this though, there are ways for you to return, if you wanted. I can help you find a way... I've done it before."

He didn't want Odessa to leave, but would always help someone who wanted to return home. It wasn't a one-way ticket as many thought. Interestingly enough though, many of the earthlings who learned it was possible to go back accepted that, but never actually chose to return home. Just knowing it was possible was enough to ease many of their minds enough to stay indefinitely... yet, where were those people now? Had they died? MIA? Or were they still out exploring the world, somewhere...

Finally, Odessa asked Krauser a question...

"Honestly, I just love it out here."

+423 EXP

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"Well I don't know about any portal or deminsional connection between the two places for a fact.  Like I said someone brought me here.  Just waiting to pay the Ferryman for my trip, and my new limbs."

She started to have flashbacks of her last few days on earth that lead up to her accident.   Smiling with friends and family having a blast.  Tinkering with a new gadget in the workshop.  Then her and her friend turning on their big project and everything that could have gone wrong did.   A large explosion, the machine acting like a giant grenade and the lab was a bomb site after.   She passed out from the force only to wake up days later in the Hospital.   Her friend was dead, she was left as a broken shell of a person.  Others nearby had been killed too.  They called her survival a miracle.  Though she felt death would have been a nicer thing than how she was left.

The news about the trip to Lunaris and the after effects made her nose cringe up but it helped snap her out of the flashback.

"So now we have some strange Planet sized STD that takes over people......Where was this place?"

She pulls up her left forearm and taps upon it a few times.  The info view 6000's HUD starts to come up and she starts scrolling around for the area wanting to insert a personal data note about this place and marking it as extremely hazardous.   Which years ago when she first got here would have been the whole damn planet but she has since gotten used to the world and changed her Hazardous grading scale.

"Oh yeah the storage cube.   I bought that a while back now.   I needed it for my trip into the Blasted Lands, and Vegonian Territories."

As if one cue about talking about the storage cube the lid lifts up seemingly on its own.  Only to reveal the robotic humanoid head of Scrapheap.  The strange mining robot that she found and patch worked back together while in the blasted lands.

"Hey!  I didn't say you could come out!"

With total disreguard for Odessa's desires at the moment it leaped out of the box and landed on all fours.  Starting to strut around and investigate the dead creature, then the cooking fire, before finally stopping near Krauser.  A strange robotic sniffing sound can be heard from its voice synthesizer.  Followed by what might seem like a playful bark and excited hopping around at his feet.

+424 EXP

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"Holy moly... I haven't seen one of these units in awhile!" he cheerfully exclaimed as the mechanoid literally barked at him. It reminded him of G.R.O., particularly personality wise.

"So you found and repaired him??" he was impressed, there was very few people in the world with the knowledge and expertise to rebuild a mechanoid. He was happy to find that someone else possessed the very same skills as him.

"You know, if you ever need any spare parts, or you need to make any upgrades you can always use my lab to the south... there's a gateway in the city that will take you there instantly."

Krauser quietly rotated the meat, careful not to let it burn. It was nearly cooked, "How do you like it cooked? Well done, medium, or still swimming the oceans?" He chuckled as some blood dripped from one of the large pieces and sizzled in the fire below.

"The place to the south was called Watercrest. The whole town has been wiped out. It's a ghost town now. After a closer examination of the infected, the parasites completely consume the brain of the host and proceed to interface with the brain stem and take control over all the host's bodily functions and ability. Once the brain has been destroyed, or consumed by the parasite, there is no recovery possible... unfortunately. Hundreds of the towns people fell victim to this. The parasites must be contained and destroyed. We sterilized the island, but I fear more of these creatures may be roaming freely in our oceans to the south."

He paused, "You know, I don't think the parasites can traverse the Inner Ocean, which is where we are now... There are dramatic differences in water temperature and salinity. From the subjects I've captured and tested on they seem to prefer high salinity environments and extremely cold water for some reason, at least until they find a host. The parasites seem to latch on to the victim in some manner, climb to the base of the neck and bore a tiny hole into the base of the skull where they insert a tiny tendril and quite literally inject their entire body through the hole into the victims skull. At that point they proceed to consume the brain and take control of the body," he took a breath after explaining it all.

"Ready to eat?" he cheerfully asked Odessa.

+401 EXP

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She tapped away at the HUD on her left forearm inputting the information and making a mental note about the event as he tells her about it briefly.

"Yes I'm a bit famished actually.  I prefer mine not quiet swimming but lets avoid it being burnt."

She reached into her void cube and pulled out two small boxes.  They where tiny travel mess kits.  A small plate and everything included she had them prepared a while back for her and two friends for a trip.   Going over to the cook fire and handing one of the kits to Krauser before she takes one of the medium sized pieces of cooked meat.  Just a hint of uncooked meat still in the middle of it and putting it on her plate.

"They are good camping gear, hard to travel around without one in my opinion."

Scrapheap sees Odessa getting her plate and wanders back over to her.  Settling down next to her and curling up like a faithful hound.   The strange part being that he looks like a human behaving like a dog.  Odessa reaches over and pets his head as she sits down onto a larger rock on the beach.  Not really a fan of sitting in the sand itself.  Gets into all kinds of places that get hard to clean without the sand!

"Ohh so just out here making noise ruining peoples quiet day at the beach cause it is fun?"  She was smirking at him as she started to cut into the meat on her plate.

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"Pretty much," he chuckled as he grabbed some well done meat and proceeded to simply eat it with his hands like chewing on some jerky.

He quietly observed the behavior of Odessa's mechanoid and smiled, his own mechanoid, the G.R.O., was shaped like a gigantic walking bird and also acted like a puppy... was this just a trait of some mechanoids?? Rusty on the other hand acted better than most people did, and he showed a high level of prestige to his behavior and actions toward others. He treated people respectfully and was always polite and well mannered.

Krauser tore off another bite and quietly chewed as Odessa mentioned her camping gear. He nodded in agreement. He also had some camping gear, but often just kept things simple when it came to eating. He paused, staring down the beach, remembering his beach resort, the Crimson Cabana.

"You know, I used to have quite the place out here on the beach. It was like a hotel, bar, and beach resort all wrapped into one. Didn't do a lot of business, but people who did come really enjoyed it. I eventually closed up shop and stashed the whole place away in a storage cube. Sometimes I think about breaking it back out, but eh..." he trailed off, knowing people probably had better things to do than taking a vacation on the beach.

"You know, this is a long beach but I  haven't seen a single ship since I've been out here... Captain Tillen's harbor isn't all that far from here, so I'd expect we'd be seeing some ships passing by, but I've been out here for hours and not seen a thing," he shrugged and scanned the horizon. It was certainly strange, not a ship in sight. Perhaps he'd have to go investigate that later.

+303 EXP

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"I can't say how unusual that is as I am not very familiar with the harbors or shipping habits of this area.  I've tended to stay more in land and around the Blasted Lands seems to be about the only place I can really find any old or unused tech to scavenge.  That is how I got scrapheap here.   Got him out of an old mine not far from the Black City actually.  Not crazy enough to go inside the city itself but with all the activity in that area made me think something was brewing.  Didn't see any actual troop movements but something is going on, but when isn't it?"

Her slice of meat was on the plate but she didn't use any of the utensils that was in the mess kit.  Instead you see her fingers open up revealing small exchangeable tool tips.  One flicks around and reveals a small two prone tuning fork that she uses to stab the meat with as she makes the one inch blade form on one of her other fingers on the same hand to cut the bite sized piece away before shoving it in her mouth.  All the while using her free hand to pet Scrapheap.

"That does sound like a nice place though I can't say that I would really visit a place like that.   I don't like making others uncomfortable when they are trying to relax and I know that my appearance and scars can do just that.   Wasn't expecting anyone making noise out here today or I wouldn't have been trying to go for a swim actually.  I've never heard of this Captain, is he a friend or someone a bit famous?"

Scrapheap was nuzzled up against Odessa his right leg actually kicking at the sand.   Making the occasional noise of annoyance when her hand stops petting him.

"Go play scrapheap, you are making it hard to eat!"

For once today he seems to listen to her and suddenly runs off.  Sand flying in the air and yep right across her plate.  Barking sounds are heard as he starts to chase some animal on the beach.

"Damn mutt!"

+361 EXP

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Krauser quietly listened to the story of how Odessa wound up with Scrapheap. An old mine not far from the Black City. Interesting, he thought. Perhaps he'd go investigate this mine some day. As he listened he took a bite of meat and idly chewed on it.

"You don't want to go into that place, trust me..." he warned, knowing she clearly knew better. Krauser had traveled into the city on multiple occasions and each time was a miserable experience. He witnessed terrible things in that place, cannibalism, murder, rape, slavery... you name it, Vegonaar has it.

He watched Odessa utilize her built-in tools to handle the meat. He couldn't help but be a bit impressed. The young woman had taken life's lemons and made some refreshing Kentucky Lemonade Cocktail with her modifications. He had half a mind to ask if she wanted new fleshy limbs, but didn't know how she'd react to such a thing. He'd done it before for others.

In fact, many years ago Krauser pulled Gremlock's alternate personality from his mind and made him his very own flesh bag... that flesh bag became Zenatory, and Zenatory had proven on multiple occasions that Krauser should have transferred his personality into a potato over the years. Eh, but that was a story for another day.

"Captain Tillen is a famous man around these parts. Eh, you'd just have to meet him to understand. He's one of those figureheads who is larger than life in many ways. When he's around, you know it... and he's managed some pretty impressive feats throughout the years," he smiled, thinking back to the time Captain Tillen single-handedly took out an entire fleet of Ardanian marauders. The man was a legend on the waters.

He watched as Odessa sent Scrapheap off to play and how the mechanoid bounded off into the distance like an energetic puppy chasing a Frisbee. God, that thing really did put him in mind of the G.R.O. He chuckled and took another bite of his jerky/meat.

"So did you give him that personality intentionally?" he had to ask as sand blew across her plate of food.

+356 EXP

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"I didn't have to go inside the city to see that anyways.   Plenty of barbarism outside of it as well.   I seen one Vegonian who couldn't decide what  he wanted to do with his captive one day.   So he started to rape her, and while in the process of doing that also started to eat her alive.  Started with her hands....  I made sure he only got one bite."

She muttered a little while listening about who Tillen was.  She wondered if he realized that how he described that man is probably very similar to how others would describe him.   He was young, charismatic, not to bad to look at either, plus willing to act not just talk about acting.   These where some of the reasons people respected him around town not just because he was known to be able to blow shit up and grinning like a mad man when doing dangerous work.  Dusting off her plate and removing the majority of the excess sand.  The rest well wouldn't be the worst thing she has had to eat on this planet or back on Earth.

"Actually yes I did.  It still had a functioning worker bot program in it but I really didn't like the way that the programming was done.  Almost as simplistic as base line coding.  Find rock.  Point mining laser. Activate Laser for 5 seconds.  Check progress.  Repeat Line 1......   I was like NOPE!  I saved it just in case I might need it one day but I started working on the coding for the basic artificial intelligence for Scrapheap from scratch.   I always wanted a puppy, and I doubt I'll ever meet anyone with a puppy like mine.  All fun and games until he sees Norven Nelbright again.   I added a little quirk in there just for him.   Scrapheaps gonna be trying to hump that leg like its a bitch in heat."

At the mention of her little personality quirk and who it is aimed towards you would have to be blind not to seem the gleam in her eye, and the smirk upon her face.  Maybe she is just proud of herself or maybe she is a bit vindictive towards people who try and fuck her over.

"Anyways so what are we gonna do about these brain eating parasites?  If they can survive in the outer ocean and eat creatures brains then they could literally get almost anywhere on the planet.   Parasites are notorious for being able to adapt so I wouldn't say the inner sea is safe for long or until they get a single host creature.   What works best on them to kill them?"

+443 EXP

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Krauser nodded in agreement to her comment about not having to actually enter the city to see the horrible conditions. What was really bizarre was that the Vegonian people lived that way and accepted it. The minds of the people have been warped and demented for so long, it's their way of life.

The problem is, they wish to force their way of life on the rest of the world. What made even less sense to him however, was the Ardanians, who willingly joined forces with the Vegonians to create the Black Empire. What the hell were they thinking? He could only wonder.

He continued enjoying his meal, even grabbing another piece and gnawing on it while she explained the situation with Scrapheaps programming. He was impressed. This girl knew her shit. Then she finally mentioned Norven and he instantly perked up.

"Norven Nelbright... one of the biggest trouble makers in the city!" he immediately had flashbacks of many different experiences with Norven over the last few years. The guy was a huge in pain in the neck for everyone who had the displeasure of meeting him, unfortunately. "What did he do to you?" he asked, clearly he had pissed this young woman off.

While Krauser paid as much attention as he could to the city, he couldn't be everywhere and see everything. Although he could always go back and look at Security Drone footage. Perhaps if he knew the day and time he could see what happened. Perhaps Krauser just didn't know how truly terrible the little prick really was.

"I'm doing some work back at the lab to find a way easily track them down and exterminate them. I'm also looking into making us very unappealing to them, so maybe they won't try to claim us as a host. I've got three specimens back at the lab, and I'm making some progress, but the creatures try to self terminate if you get to prodding around too much..." he sighed, "I fear we may have millions of these things swimming in the outer ocean."

"I may soon have a way to permanently immunize everyone against these creatures. They may still try to latch on, but once I figure out the right genetic markers, I think I can keep them from thinking we're an acceptable host. At that point they would just release and try to flee. It's all still up in the air though..."

+406 EXP

 

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"Well he came to me after I got back from the blasted lands for an extended trip.   We talked about that for a bit then he decided he wanted to offer me a job.  Wanted me to run Arnie out of town,  you know the big blue guy at the bar.   Really don't wanna know how long you have to haves blue balls before your whole body turns blue.  Anyways I had heard about the guy and one he was a friend of Gremlocks and you had spoken up for him.   20,000 to piss off two very influential and dangerous men?  Who could easily run me out of town.   I refused but he got under my skin.   We had a small scuffle he tried to take a dive as one of the security droids showed up.  I'm still not sure if I talked my way out of the clinch or if he has such a bad reputation they believe anymore else before him.   He got hauled off on attempted rape charge. "

 

Yes she was happy about this.   Smiling broadly while she spoke about this all light hearted. But she wouldn't mention how she did to him what he did to do many others.   Leaving his house empty sold to the lowest bidders. 

 

"well I'm glad you are working on something but what about in the mean time.   We can't just wait around for your miracle vaccine.   Everyday I bet someone is getting their brain eaten.   I'd like to not be one of them. "

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“Do you have any ideas?” He threw it out there, curious to see what Odessa had to offer. This was more of a test than anything. Krauser could use someone with her skills, but he wanted to see what she would do in a sticky situation.

As for Norven, he listened to her story about the man and shook his head. He’d heard a couple different stories very similar to this about the man. Norven was clearly a racist pig and that was not acceptable in the city.

”Norven is still in holding, last I heard. I think maybe an extended sentence would help him clean up his act... what do you think?” He already knew what she was going to say. 

“Others have complained about him before but I’ve just been so busy I didn’t have time to really take care of it. Sounds like it’s far worse than I ever imagined.”

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"well first thought that comes to mind would be to warn everyone about the issue so if they notice anything strange with people around them.   Advice them to wear protective clothing that covers the usual entry areas of the body.   Around the neck and the base of the skull but we can't rule out that they can get to the brain from any skin surface.  Since you have done specimens maybe you could determine if a particular energy type effects them more than others or a temperature which we could inform people about.   Beyond that if you meet an infected if have to say if you are a non combatant run.   Someone who is trained might be able to take out single infected or a small group but I'd warn against close quarter fighting.   This is also something I don't think should keep secret from the over city states or countries.  The Black Empire might even try to weaponize this parasite.   I'm more of a up close and personal fighter but i think I would try sticking to using bursts of energy.   Cie tends to melt most things pretty well after all.  The head would be the vital area.  Kill the parasite the host can finally die then too.   But I'd be worried about a new parasite being able to replace it so burn the body. "

She talked it a slow methodical manner as she explained what she would do.  There was no hesitation or waver in her voice or manners that might hint she would not do exactly what she is saying. 

"As for Norven.   Well nothing short of a shrink is gonna fix that.   Jail won't help only makes him worse might start being actually smart and fully planning his cons out before approaching someone new to town.  Been on the security droids work details once.   Paid my due community service.  Not gonna say I'm a changed woman I just try to make sure I'm sneakier about my actions if needed.    I'm a moral person at heart but sometimes the law just doesn't work in a good persons favor or is manipulated by the likes of Norven."

Scrapheap comes sprinting back.   A large piece of driftwood in its mouth.   Dropping it at Kaiser's feet seeming to know he likes a good dog.

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"Well, I've already posted a video bulletin on the matter back in the city... I'm sure the citizens have been spreading the word. At least I hope. Maybe I could design some special neck and head gear to help protect from an attack and pass them out to the general public," he briefly paused.

"From my research I've discovered that the parasites are fairly susceptible to just about any form of raw energy or element... Honestly, they are fairly squishy too. You could stomp one into the ground very easily," he said, pausing... "That's probably why these creatures seek out a host quickly when in the wild." 

As she mentioned the Black Empire he had a thought, "Perhaps we could gather a bunch of these things up and dump them in Vegonaar City!" He let out a lighthearted chuckle at the thought... but he was only half joking.

If there was one thing... one race... on the entire planet that he hated more than ANYTHING, it was a fucking Vegonian! He thought they were the scum of the earth, and that was BEFORE Grey Fenrir and Bahumura traveled back in time to corrupt them even further.

The original Vegonians in the future world had nearly been driven extinct, and in his perfect world, they would be extinct. The Vegonians are a vile and sadistic people... pure evil, as far as Krauser was concerned.

"Very good," he said after she finished her thoughts on the matter. He nodded and took another bite, chewing it thoughtfully as he stared off into space as his mind filled with ideas and possible plans.

Perhaps this young lady would be interested in a job, he thought. "Hey... so what do you DO exactly? You looking for work?" he asked, genuinely.

"....and as for Norven, that piece of shit can rot in jail for awhile," he said, flatly. "I'll leave him in there for a good while and when he's ready, I'll send him out for some community service and to work FOR my brother, Garr. Garr can straighten anyone out, even ole' Norven Nelbright."

Krauser grinned at the thought of Garr and Norven even being in the same room together. Norven was a completely racist scoundrel. He thought any species other than the Solarians were to be walked upon and used up. Working for a Guardian would be like a Nazi soldier working under a Jewish man, at least for a pig like Norven.

"It'll do that man some good to take on some honest, hard work under Garr for a year or two... He'll be a new man when it's all said and done," he winked, taking another bite.

+445 EXP

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"That's good to know about the base parasite but what about once it takes a host?   Are they still just as squishy or if one was able to bore it's easy into a full sized adult dragon would we all be running for the hills?   Some basic neck and head gear would be a good idea especially if you can provide it cheaply.   Plenty of charlatans would jump at the idea to bake a couple bucks by selling knock off equipment that doesn't work at all. "

 

She couldn't help but smirk at the half joke of dropping these parasites into the middle of there's Black City. 

 

"Don't forget to leave an adoption note on that special care package.   Dear Black City we feel these belong better with you."

She stretched out some and you could see she was looking on how to explain her "job".

 

"Oh hell with it.   Call me whatever you like in title.   Never really was job at labeling myself.  I've made it known around town I'll work for money,  I like to go exploring once in a while just for fun.   I won't do anything no questions asked but I'm not gonna say I haven't done some questionable things or by done people's standards immoral things.   Girl has to work to make money and eat after all.   Not like I was handed a guide book on how to adapt to this world or deal with its strange cultures.   Pretty sure I pissed off some big muckity muck bird man while back.   God he was making so much noise while I was trying to have a drink with friends.  Anyways I guess you could just say I'm for hire if the price is right and I don't mind the job. "

She nodded to him as he mentioned how he was gonna handle the Norven situation.   Unsure who this Garr fellow was but if he would straighten the man out all the better. 

"Can't say that what he does will stick.  Norven is used to throwing money around acting like he is big shit in town.  Can be hard to break that out of people.  Sounds like you have a plan though to rehabilitate him I hope it works.   Maybe a little clock work orange would do the trick. "

Scrap heap had sat patiently for a while but suddenly jumped up at Kaiser pawing at him and barking for the man to throw the small branch. 

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"Well, once the parasite takes a host, it takes on all the abilities and physical traits of the host. It literally just replaces the victims brain... with itself! For example if you were to become infected it would effectively kill you and use your body as a meat puppet! A mech suit! A GUNDAM!" he rattled on for a moment, who the hell knew what a Gundam suit around here was? 

"As for dragons, so far I don't think I've seen any creatures except humanoids become infected. The parasites only seem to be interested in humanoids for whatever reason, it's a very curious situation," he took another piece of meat and began chewing it. The fire was dying down a bit so he stoked it and placed another small log in it.

"Also, so far I've not seen any instances where these parasites have reproduced. I've wondered if the number of parasites that fell from the original "mother" parasite has remained the same since their arrival. We may be able to slowly drive them extinct! They seem to just be interested in taking over a host, but I don't know why yet."

He listened to her explanation of her current duties and as she mentioned the questionable things he chimes in, "We've all done things we're not proud of, in fact, in my past I did many questionable things in the name of keeping my people safe... and science," he shook his head and continued listening.

"Oh, I think Garr can straighten out Norven for us... he has a way with people," he winked.

As Scrapheap jumped up and pawed at Krauser, he quickly stood up and launched a tree limb down the beach about 150 yards from the bonfire. Perhaps that would keep the bot busy for a brief moment.

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An armor clad figure appears in the distance, drawn in by the pillar of smoke from the bonfire. She can see two figures, a man and a woman, sitting around a fire talking to each other and another third figure bounding off into the distance after a stick. It was strange to see such a large robotic form bounding across the sand after a stick like a dog. As she approached she hoped they would not mind her intrusion. It had been weeks since she had even seen another person around these parts so she was a little excited the moment she spotted signs of life.

+106 EXP

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"That is strange for a parasite as fragile as that to have such a specific desire for a host body.  When they take over a body are they able to communicate?"

Se mentally let out a gentle sigh of relief as she hated to think of many of the creatures here on Solaris taken over by these parasites, however humanoid is still a pretty broad grouping of creatures too.   Beast-kin, Solarians, Humans, Goblins, though she is unsure about demons by this description she refuses to rule them out as possible meat puppets.

She had her fill of the sea beast a long time ago and had noted how much Krauser had been devouring.  Either he was starved which didn't look to be the case, enjoyed the taste of this particular beast, or was more of a nervous eater?  She wasn't about to ask just something she was noticing.  Over the roar of the fire and scrap heaps barking she noticed the sounds of something approaching.   She started to look around with only her eyes.  Not moving her head around much to give away that she was searching.  The one inch finger blades started to form across each of her digits as it required only a mental thought for her to retract or form them.

"Reproduction would take a while anyways they could split to form new ones.  You said that the original was large enough it was actually taking over and killing a planet while it held a god in place after all.  Something that powerful isnt something I like taking shot in the dark guesses about.   I prefer to be overly cautious than reckless.  I learned how recklessness can destroy you a long time ago.  Got four large shiny reminders for that lesson."

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"Well from what Captain Rogers and I witnessed in Watercrest, the infected behaved very similar to the regular townsfolk. In fact when we arrived we had absolutely no idea we were walking amongst what amounted to a bunch of brainless zombies."

"People were talking with one another and acting fairly normal, though distant. All of them seemed to kept their distance. At night the townsfolk seemed to have yellow glowing eyes. I don't know why their eyes were glowing, but it was like nothing I've seen before. Very creepy... and I've seen a lot of shit over the years." 

Krauser finished his final piece of meat. He was like a garbage disposal when it came to food, even though he could go days without eating as long as he had the light of the binary stars sustaining him. When the man did it, he ate.

A moment passed and Krauser also detected someone approaching from the distance. Much like Odessa, he didn't really acknowledge it with a head movement. Around here you never knew the intentions of random travelers. 

He continued the conversation, "So far I've observed no splitting in the samples I have back at the lab. Perhaps you would like to come and see them for yourself? Ugly little buggers that's for sure. The seem to remain mostly dormant when locked up in a  big jar."

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As the armor-clad figure approached the bonfire she held her hands up as if to say she meant them no ill will. It was clear she was a well dressed young woman with moderately long blonde hair. "Hello, my name is Valene. I've survived this world for a few months now. Been out exploring for awhile and I just happened to see the smoke from your bonfire. Quite honestly I'm exhausted, my feet are killing me, and I'd really like to talk to other people!" Valene grinned sheepishly at the two, hoping they might invite her to take a seat with them. Perhaps it was strange, but she was a very outgoing girl and they seemed normal enough to her. Her first encounter in this world was a walking, talking cat-man... who was completely chill. In fact, that cat-man had made her a nice set of shoes.

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As Valene walked up and she could get a better look at her she relaxed a bit.  Her sharp talon like blades disappeared but it only took a thought to have them back once again.  She studied the traveler for a moment as something looked familiar about the girl.  That blonde hair and human!

"Oh hey Valene long time no see.   Solaris been treating you alright?"

Odessa was suddenly a bit uncomfortable with another woman around and her in her bikini.  Women could be such bitches when they could see more of her scars besides the cybernetic limbs.   She stood up and walked over to the void storage cube she still had out and pulled out a small blanket.  Wrapping it around her shoulders before she walked back over to the campfire.

"I am pretty sure we have plenty of that beast left to eat if the humanoid garbage pail hasn't devoured the carcass behind my back as well."

She couldn't help but tease him about his eating she actually envied him with his ability to eat like that she sure as hell couldn't without starting to look like a beached whale.  She was forcing a smile for the moment as she turned to Krauser once more.

"I'd love to visit this lab of yours I got a pretty good idea how to get there.  Just make sure you are home the next time I try and visit.  Do you keep them in separate jars or do you have one big jar?  Might be worth putting a few into one containment cell and see how they react together.  Maybe they are pieces of the original and could join to make a larger parasite?"

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Krauser remained in his shorts completely unphased by the appearance of a second lady. He quietly gnawed on another scrap of meat while noticing Odessa as she got up and grabbed a blanket. He then turned his attention to Valene.

"Have a seat! Grab some meat if you like, we have plenty," he said, gesturing to the cooked meat smoldering above the bonfire. He chuckled at Odessa's commentary.

"Have we met before? You seem familiar to me," he said with a friendly smile. Krauser was always friendly with just about anyone and everyone... except Vegonians.

"You seem to be doing pretty well for being out there on your own for so long," he added.

He suddenly perked up as Odessa started talking about the lab.

"I keep them all stored separately. I've experimented with putting two together but they don't have much reaction to one another." 

As Odessa made the comment about him being "home" at the lab, he suddenly started digging around in a satchel laying in the sand to his left. He removed a small gadget and as soon as she was paying attention, he tossed it to her. 

"You can use that to give me a call when you're on your way!" he said, as he basically gave her what amounted to a cell phone on planet Solaris.

+221 EXP
 

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Many things went through Odessa's head the moment he tossed the gadget over to her.  The first being YES! a new toy quickly followed by how quickly will she tear it apart, and intigrate it into one of her limbs so that she wouldn't have to deal with handling it.   The blanket got dropped around her as her hands shot out like a snake snatching the piece of tech out of the air.  Her eyes were light up like a chid given a new toy to play with.   Forgetting all about Valene being there now or that she was a little embarrassed about not just one but two people seeing her in her bathing suit which for her is more a private thing as she doesn't like being "girly" around anyone and letting others see her scars up close.

"Oh so you giving me your digits now, What if I wanna swipe left?"

She couldn't help make the very earthling joke as she knows Solaris doesn't have the kind of social media that she was used too back home.  Which she has honestly enjoyed that fact more than most might believe.   She was already opening the device and checking its functions and exterior for any connection ports it might have.   Without even thinking about it she whistled a short two tone notes.  Scrap heap was running back to Krauser with the tree limb in its mouth and suddenly drops it and goes over to the Void storage cube.  Its head disappearing inside for a moment before lifting up a large cie brick attached to a leather harness.   Scrap heap brings it over to Odessa who quickly slips it over her shoulders and straps it on.  Small wires sink into her shoulders as a power starts to flow from the backpack and her limbs creating a complete circuit.  While normally her limbs are powered by her own bodies ability to create energy they are now feeding the backpack to help it store excess energy when it is not fully charged which it currently is anyways.

"Anything special I should know about this thing first?"

 She really didn't wait for a reply. Oh her eyes where light up even bigger now.  Anyone would be able to see that he was kinda giddy at the moment as she started to test all its functions and check every detail about the device out.   Then her right hand stretched and her fingers opened up and revealed a torch tip at the end of each one.  As she didn't find any access panels or screws which she had noticed before with the security droids when she had a run in with them few years back.   She very delicately applied the cutting torches to the back and removed it to expose the internal parts.  One might note that even though she did this her skill in applying the small torch was so skillful that none of the internals where damaged.  Her hand was flexing again after setting the now cut away back panel down.  The torches being put away but other tool tips quickly and instantly replacing them.  A tiny screwdriver, a small soldering iron, soldering wire, a tiny pair of tweezers.   Her eyes glued to the internals of the device as she started to remove the components that it needed to work while leaving all the key components that would hold data alone as she gutted the device and started to set them around her carefully.   Once the case was completely empty she tossed it aside and actually removed her left arm from her body.  Laying it in her lap and started to remove a few service panels from the outside.   While removing any spare components of redundant components that where inside the cell phone like device that where already inside of her arm.   She started to work the new components into it and added the need connectors or wiring as needed from her supplies that she kept inside of her storage cube.   She was lost in her work and though she didn't mean to be rude to either Valene or Krauser this was something that soothed her soul.  It didn't take long as she worked even with one hand  to do the job.  He hand was a multi-tool of multi-tools not to mention she could get her hand into very unnatural positions that could make others just cringe if they tried to image a flesh and blood limb in that pose.

If someone was actually timing her on this on the fly modification they would see she was able to carefully and accurately tear the device down, remove redundant components, and install the components into a very sophisticated cybernetic limb without hindering its functions. Once the physical installation was completed she then reattached her left arm to her shoulder.  Opened up an access panel to reveal a display for the Infoview 6000 that she started to tinker with and added in its menu a button to go to the new device and started to program the old physical buttons it had into the touch display she had already build in.   Which was already made and designed to be used one handed since she installed it into her arm as well herself. 

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"Well thank you very much," she had not expected to be welcomed to this degree. She leaned in a took a small piece of meat careful not to burn herself. She sniffed it cautiously and then took a bite. A couple chews later and she grinned. "Hey this is really good!" she turned around and found a place to take a seat in the sand and quietly ate while slipping her shoes off and resting her aching feet. "So glad I found someone friendly out here. A couple weeks ago I ran into a group of large gray skinned guys who tried to kill me. I barely escaped!" She chewed another bite and suddenly had the urge to drink something. A second later she'd whipped out a large canteen and took a couple gulps.  

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Krauser watched with a grin as Odessa assimilated the gadget into her own body in mere seconds. Intense. He expected this from what he'd already seen, but not quite to this degree. He didn't understand what she meant about swiping left. He just smiled and nodded. 

"Well, it's just a basic communications device really... nothing spectacular," he admitted. At the same time he noticed Valene sitting off the side chugging water. 

"Glad you like it, Valene. It's fresh. Killed it myself... about an hour ago," he grinned through the flames at her. Some girls were squeamish about killing things, but neither of these women seemed squeamish at all about it. Let's face it, if you survived Solaris for any significant amount of time, you've probably been hardened to silly things like killing an animal for food.

Krauser paid close attention as Odessa dismantled the device and examined it. She was the real deal. He could totally see her working in the lab, or perhaps a lab of her own. Krauser was an enabler when it came to things like that. He was always more than happy to share tech with a budding scientist. He'd helped a few people out over the years, even Drake Raven!

"I see you've already assimilated some tech from my Infoview 6000! That's pretty impressive," he seemed excited by this. It appeared to him this young lady could integrate just about any tech into her own body. She could prove to be an incredible ally in the fight against the Black Empire. 

"So... Valene, do you have any plans for finding a place to stay? The city has plenty of room you know. We have an entire housing district if you need a place to live."

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"Can't stay squimish around here long unless you stay inside of town all the time.   But then there are cases like the pumpkin chucking demon,  or that crazy wizard Zola having a giant Sandwurm brought to town and harvested. "

More out of reflex that anything she rolled her left shoulder after reattaching her arm.   Flexing her fingers and double checking all physical functions to make sure nothing got interrupted from assimilating the call device.

"Oh that's not the only thing I did.   In my right arm I put the parts of a distress beacon. "

She tapped her right forearm to have a panel open up to reveal the buttons that would normal be on the distress beacons side panels. 

"Not hard to see I'm not like most people so I might as well capitalize on that strangeness when it helps me. One less thing to reach into a pocket to grab or could get dropped easily.   Won't say my arm couldn't come off without me wanting it but it isn't easily done anymore. "

She looked over to Valene also curious about the woman's plans for settling on this planet.   Not everyone got along in town but its was defensable. Regular trade and work if you where willing to do what the normal citizens couldn't or just wouldn't in some cases.

"I got a house there myself actually.   Though truth be told I wouldn't mind finding something roomier.   My junking is starting to take over the house."

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"Speaking of pumpkin chucking demons... I haven't heard anything from the city about that guy... yet," he shook his head. 

"What a nut job! Running around and scaring people with explosive pumpkins!" 

He glanced around. It was getting dark and he hadn't even noticed. The glow of the fire was keeping the area well lit, but beyond twenty feet or so it was pure darkness. The sound of the waves crashing on the shoreline was pleasant and peaceful.

Opposite the shoreline was a dense forest that lead to the north for quite a ways. All the typical sounds of critters and the chirping of insects filled the air.

Krauser gathered his clothes together. He had been sitting in his dark red trunks the entire time. He slipped his shirt on over his bald head. It fell loosely down over his chest and stomach. He pulled his pants on over his trunks and fastened the buckle on his belt.

His boots were next. He slipped them over his feet and the both of them seemed to tighten down around his feet (Back to the Future style).

"I probably better be getting back to the city actually. I mean, what if that dude does show up again. It's about that time you know." 

"The beacon implant, that's impressive," he responded to Odessa as she mentioned how she built the parts into her right arm. About that time was when she tapped her forearm, revealing the buttons. He smiled, impressed.

"Odessa, I'm sure we could find some more space for your gear and other equipment. I've been experimenting with void storage technology. Imagine having a wall with a doorway that leads nowhere... normally. At the press of a button, or a simple voice command, you could activate another room to your home!" and he wasn't kidding.

Krauser utilized void storage technology constantly in his day to day life. The lab was full of it, his home was full of it, and his pouches and pockets were full of void pockets filled with void cubes! The tech was based on the same dimensional technology employed by the Book of Solaris.

"Ah, well, I better be off!" he swiped his cloak and draped it over his shoulders, slipping his hood over his pale bald head. He plucked Pandemonium from the sands, where it had been the entire time, and started to step off into the darkness before pausing briefly.

"Odessa, Valene, it was good talking to the both of you. Be safe out there!" and with that, he turned and seemed to melt into the shadows beyond the glow of the bonfire. After a few more steps into the darkness his body lunged forwards and he took off in a sudden explosion of speed, which caused the bonfire to waiver from a sudden gust of wind. His form darted into the night, through the treeline, and he was gone.

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"Not gonna lie that offer sounds awesome.   I really do need the extra space been thinking of starting a small salvage business or something.   I'd start a shop but between your lab and Drake's gadget shop I'd be hard pressed for business.  Or so swamped that I never get out of the workshop.   If you can create void spaces inside of void space that is amazing that souls basically solve any over crowding issues inside of a city if done properly.  Also if got can set a scanner to a biometric scan you could also reduce the possibility of thefts.  Would need a public security override built it of course.   To allow the security droids access if needed or to clean out abandoned places.  Not everyone would likely want one of these but I could see an appeal for rooms like this. "

She realized she had been ranting and he had been getting dressed and suddenly leaped.  She took a deep breath and smiled.  It has been a good if not stressful meeting tonight.   A sharp whistle and scrapheap went charging down the beach and leaped into the void storage cube.   She tapped the close button and opened the side of her right leg up.   Placing the collapsed cube inside.   Closing that hatch only to tap the button on her right arm before closing that access panel too.   A brief moment and then she just disappeared. Teleported away by the function of the distress beacon to take her to a preset location,  her home in the city. 

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Valene wondered if she smelled bad or something. Everyone left almost as soon as she arrived. She let out a sigh and continued eating the meat they had left behind. It was nice to have a fire, she thought. The got into her satchel and removed some blankets. She laid one down near the bonfire and rolled another one up for a pillow. At least they left things behind! Over the next few minutes she filled her belly, stoked the fire, and laid down to stare up at the stars above the beach. She was alone again, but it was nice to have seen and talked with someone even for just a brief moment. She spotted one particular star in the night sky and a tear rolled down her cheek, "Maybe I'll see you again someday, love..." Valene gradually fell asleep by the fire. This place seemed safe enough, she thought.

(I'm so sorry for the delays. You all write way faster than I can even get back on the computer! I want to stay around, but I'll probably shy away from participating in busy sessions. Thanks for the RP though! It was fun.)

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