Forsaken Heroes (Kaisaan & Catalyst)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Kaisaan, Jan 27, 2015.

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  1. It had been nearly five years since they'd come, the morphers. She supposed that wasn't really what they were called, but hell if any human knew their real name. Morphers they'd been dubbed by the people who used to live in the places like New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware - the entire eastern seaboard really - and morphers they'd stay until someone said otherwise. Perhaps not even then. It didn't really matter what they were called, though, not really. They were still here, still killing, destroying and that was all that was important.

    Millions had died in the last five years, but that didn't compare to the billions that had fallen in the initial invasion. Nothing had been able to compare to that carnage, that level of devastation and loss. Mankind was teetering on the brink of extinction, but like the fighter he was, hanging on to every possible advantage keeping him alive. Fighters, those strong in body and mind were all that was left now. There wasn't room for anything less than that. Not in this world where your next breath could be your last and where no day, no hour, no minute was guaranteed.

    Mesenia was just one such person who knew these laws in the new, harsh and often savage life survivors were forced to lead lest they disappear entirely. She'd been in New York when the end of the world had started five years ago and had lost both parents that first day. Nothing could have prepared her more for the changes that would overtake her life and the lives of every human on the planet.

    Cities had toppled, burned and those in high-population areas had been the first to face mass massacre, unable to escape. There had been no time for evacuation and no where to go. It had taken the morphers all of six months to wipe out every major government and a year total to eliminate all major military forces. Five years of fighting, retreating, losing ground, striking back, losing more ground and just trying to stay alive, always on the move, had dwindled the population to a few ten thousand from eight billion.

    Mesenia often wondered if she should feel lucky to be counted among those still living. She was only twenty-four, nineteen when the invasion happened, and already she could see little in her future to look forward to, had seen things most people twice her age hadn't and had done things few would ever do in their life-time....or perhaps such had been true in the old world. In this new world, everyone did things they never thought they would do. Some people even became something they'd never considered possible. It wasn't common knowledge, but Nia was one such person.

    Oh, she was considered strange already, that was for sure, but most people didn't know the half of it. With straight, dark brown hair that only just brushed her shoulders, a slim build that boasted few curves and a fair complexion that just refused to tan, she wasn't much to look at, she knew. One could easily skim over her face in a crowd for she wasn't of any great beauty, nor a great ugliness. She was....forgettable. The only remarkable thing about her, perhaps, were her amber eyes. Like that of a wolf, burning and intense, her stare unnerved most people. Mesenia herself was the only one who knew that such a color had not come to her irises until after the invasion - her eyes having been a brown just as forgettable as the rest of her before the end had come. Still, that wasn't what made the young woman so strange in the eyes of others.

    No, it was the creature that could often be found twined about her shoulders. Long in body, covered in brick-red scales and sporting a pair of leathery wings, the small dog-sized dragon could be mistaken for nothing else than what it was. The creatures had come after the invasion and it was quickly deduced that they belonged to the aliens, to the morphers. Vicious and deadly, they'd killed nearly as many humans as the morphers themselves had and were sneaky creatures who constantly found and gave away the position of rebels. They were hated little creatures....and the fact that Mesenia had one tamed to her hand alienated her from the others...even as they saw use in her.

    It was a delicate line she walked, but Nia was good at balancing.

    Still, even she was rocked by the news when the Commanders came back from their meeting. Taking shelter in the ruins of a city was not safe, but it was necessary to bring all the factions of the rebellion together for even brief meetings to discuss supplies, attacks, strategy, status of the factions and their next movements and meeting points. It rarely involved the entire 'army' getting an announcement from all five Commander's though, and like the rest of the population, Nia moved to hear what would be said.

    What was shared was almost too strange to believe.

    Another alien race that wanted to help them? What the hell was going on? What kind of trick was this?
    #1 Kaisaan, Jan 27, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2015
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  2. Five years of war was easily like an ant under a boot compared to exhaustive centuries spent fighting and losing and trying to put an end to the war, but never prevailing.

    But... humans were a relatively weak species in their defenses. So the billions they had lost over the years - that was not something to overlook. The strong had survived and the weak had died. Many on each side and all the in-between had been at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was as simple as that, but the Athrun Tih'ahl were compassionate. They and the humans had felt the same pain, even if the war in space had spanned out longer than the one on Earth.

    Still, it was kind of a shock that the Athrun Etz'os were now conquering the planet. There was always that possibility lurking in the back of every Tih'ahl's mind, but nobody actually thought that it would happen. They were desperate for new resources and apparently Earth was their sole target. Metals, materials, plants... those were not the only resources the Etz'os intended to take. Resources also included more workers. It came to the point where if the humans were not killed and not totally useless, they would be put to work.

    It was about time the Tih'ahl intervened. Where the Etz'os could gain slaves, the Tih'ahl could gain allies.

    Secretly, a few representatives of Gehenna - the capital, if you will, of the equator line of the Athrun planet - were sent to Earth after intel on the surviving groups had been acquired. After calmly informing the humans on guard that they were not Etzo's, or morphers as they called them, and gaining just a pinch of trust, they met with who was in charge. The Commander who was currently on scene. And then the rest of the Commanders came, and after meeting and discussing everything in private, the representatives left.

    They would be coming in small waves for the next few weeks. And it turned out Tohq Djrirahn would be part the third fleet to land. Him and the others would be stationed in New York for the time being. After everything settled, however, it was possible he would move to the next land over. Everybody would be in one mass and slowly move outwards toward other surviving humans who needed the aid.

    The destruction was incredible. It was amazing to see how well off some of the rebel groups had come to be, but there was still a lot of work to be done. A lot of help to be given. For the time being, it seemed trust between these rebels and the Tih'ahl was the only thing that could possibly set back progress.
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  3. She might have been short, only standing a piddly 5'3, but Nia managed to part the crowd around her easily enough. The creature on her shoulder guaranteed that much, it's sparking mouth ensuring that she wasn't overwhelmed by all the taller people around her and at the same time singling her out to those elevated above the gathered rebels. Mesenia would soon come to regret her decision to venture closer, but as of now she listened with all the others to the news being delivered. The new aliens calling themselves Athrun Tih'ahl, a race that claimed to have been fighting the Athrun Etz'os for centuries, were now offering their assistance to the nearly extinct human race. There was instant grumbling and more than a few outright shouts about these new aliens' timing.

    Mesenia had to agree.

    Where they hell had they been five years before? Bloody moons, what about just four or three years ago? What hope was there now? Their world would never be the same again, not with this kind of devastation and death-toll! Her line of thinking begged the question of why she fought, however, and the young woman shook it away. She fought for survival, but not for restoration. Nothing could ever go back to the way it had been, could not be mended. Anyone who thought otherwise was a complete fool and she would tell them so. There was little hope anymore, just the instinct to keep breathing. Humans could do nothing less, could they?

    "Mesenia, you'll be among them."

    Huh? What? Amber eyes snapped clear of their musings to look up to the leaders. Rachel Thorton, middle-aged, Romania descent, long, curly brown hair and serious, but empathetic black eyes; former school teacher. Michael Quentis, middle-aged, American, short-cropped black hair and unforgiving green eyes; formerly military. David Hughs, late twenties, African descent, short black hair and laughing, but calculating brown eyes; formerly unknown. All were looking toward her - as were others, lots of them - and Nia found herself raising a brow, searching her mind for some hidden meaning to this, a wisp of conversation she might have picked up subconsciously, but could come up with nothing. Giving a shrug, she easily admitted as much. "Repeat? I'm afraid my mind was elsewhere."

    Rachel appeared exasperated, Michael rather irritated and David amused...but David always seemed amused by anything Mesenia did. It was both reassuring and unnerving, and she could never decide which to feel. At this point she focused on Rachel, the one who spoke. Rachel or Michael often did most of the talking to the crowd, but Rachel had far more patience for Mesenia that everyone knew Michael did not. "We've selected a small group to represent us, to be go-betweens."

    Mesenia snorted, folding her arms. "To keep an eye on them and report back to command you mean?"

    A sigh. "Essentially, yes, but we have some reason to believe that the Tih'ahls are truthful in their report of their own specie and that of the morph- the Etz'os. What we need is for relations to work between our peoples."

    "So why do you want me?" Surely if they wanted this crazy idea to work, SHE was not the person to choose! Mesenia knew that and many in the crowd knew it, too, and agreed. Rachel appeared as if she was developing a headache and would have rather announced all this in private. Michael took that opportunity to step in, his demeanor as unyielding and unamused as it always was with Nia. "Because you can finally be useful to us. I would think you'd accept our decision seeing as you're always so eager to prove yourself loyal to our cause."
    #3 Kaisaan, Feb 8, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  4. A few days later, Tohq's fleet arrived. A troop exited the ship almost as soon as it had landed on the ground where there was room for it. After weeks of making sure everything was prepared, that he himself was prepared, Tohq was finally here.

    It was the first he had visited Earth, which was the same for many of the men and women alongside him. If asked about his first idea about the place, it wasn't what he had imagined. But, if asked about what he expected, it... was basically that. Except worse. Destruction was always worse when you saw it for yourself rather than just hearing about it. The skies were not as blue as he had been told. The city was desolate; no bustling streets, no crowded areas... nothing except in the safe havens, like this one Tohq was at.

    It was explained to the representatives what their duty was, their responsibility. They knew their mission and they knew how to act. Now all they had to do was put that to work.

    After settling in and shown around their own quarters (if they could be called that), the brunette decided to accompany another one of the reps who had arrived with the first fleet. His name was Luthran. Taller than Tohq by at two inches straight and with a few more pounds of meat on him, Luthran was perhaps Tohq's favorite as far as the rest of the others went. He was easygoing, knew how to have a good time, and about as loyal and faithful as a dog. If there was anybody's presence Tohq had to be in, it would be Luthran's.

    "Do you think the humans trust us?" asked the lighter brown-haired male, his seasonal green eyes taking in all that was around him. Tohq snorted. "Compared to the Etz'os? Yes, I think they trust us."

    "Not enough to not follow us, though, huh?"

    The brunette gave a side grin to the other. "No. Not quite that much." For behind them walked a woman and a man who had been trailing the Athrun since they left their side of the building. It's not like they were trying to be absolutely discreet, but it did amuse the two aliens.

    "I suppose we would feel the same if our positions were switched," Luthran posed. Tohq shrugged.
  5. The conversation had escalated to include the crowd, an unruly mess of voices that Mesenia herself had not participated in, merely folding her arms and observing until the three leaders had decided that to speak of this with the young woman they needed her away from the many voices of differing opinions. Mesenia followed them, never unfolding her arms or losing her resistant expression as they all gathered in the abandoned building that had been set up for headquarters. Away from the crowd and in relative quiet, the conversation had continued, but not in the leaders' favor.

    "My loyalties? I've never given you reason to doubt them!" Nia wasted no time in bringing the course of topic back around and Rachel sighed, looking tired, but no less diplomatic for it. She was the most patient of the three Commanders and the people trusted her for it. "You were held by the enemy for six months, Mesenia. Anyone would come under suspicion after that and't help your cause. Nor does your lack of memory about what happened to you."

    "Her claim of no memory." Michael interjected with a scowl. It was clear he was not in complete agreement - or any agreement - with this course of action. What Rachel lacked in discipline and the ability to make harsh decisions, Michael made up for in abundance. The rebels would have been run far more strictly and much like a military operation if he'd had his own way with no outside influence from Rachel and David - the latter who was remaining very quiet. He usually did until he had something of note to say. People listened for that reason when he did speak.

    Amber eyes snapped fire and the creature on Nia's shoulder hissed its displeasure, only the young woman's hand upon its tail, cautioning stillness without thought, that kept it to her. "I have done nothing but prove my loyalty to this cause since I got back!" she ground out, barely resisting the urge to land a fist in Michael's face as he answered, the judgement sneer still in his tone if not on his face.

    "The manner in which you do so falls under suspicion as well."

    The brunette looked ready to launch herself across the room and Rachel moved bodily between the two, trying to bring the situation under control, not an easy task with these two as past incidents had proven. "You're special, Mesenia. That is why-"

    "I'm not special. I'm just a woman. Nothing more." was the interruption, the small woman's expression hardening and closing off completely at the mere mention that there was something different about her. Rachel had known it was coming and only gave Nia a long look. "You can walk away from an explosion without a single scratch, Mesenia. That is hardly normal. The Etz'os pass right by you and anyone you are with as if they can't see you."

    "That's because they don't. That's all."

    David finally included his voice, making a noise of disbelief, crossing his arms over his chest with an amused expression to the whole thing. "There are men and women who would swear otherwise. And regardless of the reasons for it, we feel that your unique perspective of the aliens would be of benefit."

    "I don't have a unique perspective!" Ember finally exploded and she glared at all three of them, biting out her next words. "And no, I won't be your spy. I've got better things to do than babysit more aliens."

    The memory of the conversation kept replying in the woman's head no matter how she tried to banish it. She'd kept true to her word, keeping away from the camp, spending her time scouting. She was not among those that met the first wave of new aliens when they came and she made careful habit to stay away from the parts of the city they frequented. It had been nearly four days since the last ship had landed and now another came. Mesenia was the first to report it, as was her job, but she didn't go to view this arrival either. So far, the only thing she'd seen of these new aliens was their ships from a distance and even those were cloaked until they drew closer to the earth and then out of sight.

    That suited her just fine, though.

    She didn't want anything to do with these newcomers. The rebels looked at her with enough speculation and suspicion already, as if being captured had been her choice! Many probably thought it had been, that she was a turncoat, a spy. Well, they could shove it up their-

    The small body flinging itself from her shoulder broke her thoughts into shatters. "Asirin!" She called out for the creature as it skittered over the roof and down the wall, Mesenia not far behind. She gave no thought to the launching of her body into space, Asirin himself using his claws to walk down the wall, launching himself from the brick surface to the crates directly across from the man and woman in the street, his mouth opening in a snarling hiss full of sparks as they started to pass.

    "Bloody hell!"

    The shout was all it took for Mesenia to leap from the roof, her nimble hands catching hold of a long-abandoned flag pole about three-quarters of the way down. It groaned under her weight, but she was already swinging from it, sending herself into a flip that slowed her descent further and saw her landing on the crate Asirin occupied in a crouch. With her scorched, ripped clothing, wind-blown hair and dirt and grease-stained skin from maneuvering among wrecked cars, she looked just as animal-like as the small creature in that moment. Her hand found purchase on the crate, once more sending her body into a small, twisted flip that sent her to the ground before the man and woman. "Relax Jethro. It's just mine."

    The words were calm. The man was anything but. "Damn snake! You're no better than that vile abomination! I should shoot you both!" He'd already drawn his gun, leveling it at the female and laughter rang out from the small woman as the red creature crawled across her shoulder, tail twining about her neck and a hiss leaving its mouth toward the man holding a gun to Mesenia's head. She raised a brow. "Well, go on." A grin touched her lips, a glitter in her amber eyes that turned them from beautifully strange to wildly lethal in a moment. "Unless you think I wouldn't die." The man's hand shook just slightly, but whether in indecision or rage was uncertain and his friend set a hand on his arm, her voice firm. "Just let it go, Jethro. It's not worth it."

    The wiser of the two pulled the angry one away and Mesenia watched them go before the feeling of being watched, something she'd felt during the entire situation, finally made her turn her body and her gaze behind her. In an instant she knew the difference. They looked human, but they were not. She could feel it. The same way she knew she could feel when an Etz'os ship was passing overhead. The sensations of tingling over her skin was familiar, but different, too. They were no less powerful, though, and she found herself taking a step toward the two figures, her amber eyes catching and holding the golden ones of the darker-haired male, before stopping. She was completely puzzled then as she felt a wetness slide over her cheek. Fingers raising, they came back wet when she looked to them. Tears. No, not just tears....grief that brought a profound and sudden ache to her chest.

    What the hell?

    Frowning, she reached up and brushed the evidence of the liquid away roughly, pushing the feeling away with the same force before she looked to the aliens again, this time far more wary of the powerful pull that urged her toward them, resisting it. Instead she offered a grin that might have been just a bit predatory. "Well, there go your shadows. You're welcome. Proceed with your dastardly plans."
    #5 Kaisaan, Feb 10, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2015
  6. The hiss was what caught the two wanderers' attention first. It sounded all too familiar, that almost shrill-sounding ring in the hiss, and for a second neither of the Tih'ahl could believe that there was a Torsir behind them. An actual Torsir on Tohq's first day - bloody hell! It didn't appear to be very large, however. If it had landed on the ground already, it wasn't heavy enough to shake the land beneath their feet. And if it was still in the air, there was no gusts of wind coming from its wings.

    Tohq and Luthran caught eyes before both turned at the same time, stances ready to take on a fight if need be.

    With its back turned towards them stood a red Torsir, small in size but no less dangerous (or annoying) than a larger one. Luthran took a step forward, thinking that maybe the beast was attacking their followers as an aim to kill more innocents, but Tohq extended a hand to Luthran in order to stop his actions. The Torsir was threatening - but that was all.

    And it was not even a moment later that a dash of a figure caught the corner of his eyes. The male followed it as best he could and it led him right where the dragon - as the humans called them - was. A female, by the looks of her physique, since neither Tohq or Luthran could see her face.

    Stranger than the woman having purposefully landing near the small beast and stranger than the man who was following them pointing a gun to her head, was the fact that the Torsir was climbing up her body and curling itself around her neck as if it had done this a thousand times, as if... as if it was a blasted pet!

    If it was strange for humans to see another having a tamed Torsir, it was even more so for the Tih'ahl. True, they knew that not all dragons were trained by Etz'os, that many dragons actually lived in solitude on their own. And yes, they had seen dragons as simply pets before, but it was very rare and hardly ever seen outside of Etz'os territory. And the fact that a human had apparently tamed a dragon (whether the dragon picked her or not), it had the Tih'ahl winded.

    Jethro and his partner left. It was only then that the newcomer turned around and faced them. Her tattered and dirty clothes were not the worst that Tohq had seen on his short walk, but they weren't the best either. There was something wild about this woman, may or maybe not even including the tears that had fled from her eyes, but she didn't come off... hostile.

    "Dear girl!" Luthran spoke first, his exclamation aided by an incredulous smile. His hands rose to rest on his hips. "How in the world did you get that Torsir??" Tohq continued to look at her, curious in his own way but not voicing it. He expected an answer. For now, all that mattered was that creature around her neck.
  7. Torsir?

    Wolf-like amber eyes strayed from the two aliens to the creature on her shoulder with a slow, curious tilt of the head that the red beast matched with almost deliberate motion. Their gazes held, Asirin's yellow-green gaze piercing and almost hypnotic, but hardly drawing Nia in as a smile pulled at the corner of her mouth and her teeth grazed her lip ring as she chuckled quietly. "Torsir, eh? Is that what you are?" A crooning kind of sound answered, somehow equally chilling as it was clearly loyal and the woman looked back to the Tih'ahl with very human amusement, but her body spoke another story entirely. One of caution and lack of trust as she seemed to gain control of the instinct that had made her initially start to approach them. Now she radiated the tension of an animal liable to bolt unless cornered into striking - both of which it would do without hesitation.

    Nevertheless she answered their question, though, likely not in the way they hoped. "You'd have better luck asking him. I don't know how he ended up with me." Ember shrugged, hooking her thumbs into the belt loops of her pants. "I have a few lapses in memory. Asirin happens to be part of those memories." As did everything to do with the time she'd spent in Etz'os hands, but she wasn't going to divulge that much. "All I know is that I woke in the forest in the middle of the night and there he was. He's kept close ever since." She made it sound simple, but Ember knew it had been anything but that. She'd woken in those fog-covered woods with only moonlight to show her the scene around her. She'd been naked and covered in a substance that had proven to be blood....still warm. She'd had a knife clutched so tightly in her hand that it had been almost hard to uncurl her fingers from the weapon....and the Torsir had been draped over her stomach, it's head resting on her chest just above her breasts, merely watching her with its glowing green-yellow eyes. Nia could remember feeling no fear of the creature that had created so much terror for her people, her blood-covered fingers rising to touch its head, leaving a gleaming streak of red upon already red scales. The Torsir had given her that now familiar crooning sound and Ember's fear of all around her had simply calmed.

    The creature had not left her side since that night.

    Shaking memory from her mind and the haze of it from her eyes, Nia looked back to the two males, the two aliens, that somehow appeared so very human....and yet were not, something she could feel down to the depths of herself. They were not human, would never be human and she would never mistake even one of their kind of being human. Just as the morphers could not fool her either. It was almost as if that thought summoned the man who came into the street, his head swiveling this way and that until his blue eyes landed on Tohq and Luthran with relief and then took in Ember with an expression that almost showed delight.

    The woman groaned at the reason behind it, knowing very well what the male would want even before he spoke. "Ember! I had not expected to see you here. Are you coming on the recon mission? The Commanders have decided the Tih'ahl will accompany us."

    A brow rose sharply upon the female's face and she glanced from the two aliens, trying to not linger too long on the darker-haired of the two for reasons that eluded her, back to the man who looked so expectant. The answer was rather easy. "No, I'm not coming, Thomas."

    "Ember..." The protest was clear in his voice, but he sighed before giving voice to emphatic thought, shaking his head instead. "Your presence would ease many minds." He gave her a look at the snort that answered the words. "Regardless of personal thought toward you, Ember, your skills are not in question. You can sense them before they come!"

    Nia rolled her eyes, gesturing to the two aliens. "You don't need me anymore. You've got them. Surely they can do the same thing. They've been fighting this war for centuries, remember? They're the ones you came to find, so go on and leave me out of it."
    #7 Kaisaan, Feb 14, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2015
  8. (( I'm so curious to know what happened to her! ))

    The humans didn't know much about the Athrun, did they? Well, that couldn't really be helped, not when they were busy fighting or being killed. Still, it seemed a little strange to Tohq that they didn't know basic terms used by Etzo's; surely they must have heard "torsir" before, hadn't they? Ah, well, maybe only right before they met their demise. Besides, who was he to really say anything? He didn't know much about their planet either.

    Tohq shifted his weight to both feet, keeping his stance completely grounded seeing as how there was no actual threat. While the woman's expression told one of amusement, her body was ready to dart at any second. There would be no point in chasing after her, and the two Tih'ahl would not attack, either. Distrust was common among everyone. You mostly see it between enemies, but there is also a great amount between potential allies. However, there needs to be some lenience - otherwise there would be no alliance. No chance of victory against common enemies. So, she was relatively safe. At least from them.

    The woman spoke then. Waking up in the middle of the night in a forest? And with a Torsir with you? Sounded like hell for most. But the laugh through his nose and the small, amused smirk on his face gave evidence to the amusement Tohq gained from the story. The kind of luck this woman has...

    But Luthran was completely enthralled. He wanted to know more, he had so many questions! And maybe Tohq would, too, if in a different situation. He figured that he wouldn't get to know this woman, that they would only see each other around every once in a while. The Tih'ahl had been told that one of the designated representatives for the humans decided not to participate, but he had no idea that that person had been her. For now, he had no desire to learn.

    A mere sound from Luthran's mouth was heard, but before the words could form, he was interrupted by the other presence. His mouth shut, respectively giving way for the newcomer to get what he needed. It was then that they learned some, if not all Tih'ahl, and themselves were going on a mission with the humans. In the background, Luthran's voice could be heard. "We do have names." Tohq nudged him with his elbow and he bit back a chuckle.

    After the woman, now known as Ember, and Thomas finished speaking, both Luthran and Tohq were looking at her again.

    "You sense the Etz'os?" Tohq asked, the question being the number one thought in both aliens' minds now. It was clear that this piece of information had caught their attention.
  9. (( know I won't tell. :P ))

    The question made Thomas start slightly, having almost forgotten their audience and his hand moved with lightning speed to his hip where a gun rested. Ember sighed and brushed his arm, a wordless reprimand. "Jumpy." was the teasing murmur and Thomas blushed, lowering his hand even as the woman looked to the Tih'ahl, her hand rising on reflex to trail her fingers over Asirin's scales, the Torsir shifting on her shoulder, tail uncoiling from her neck to wrap around the arm at her side. It's clawed feet dug into her shoulder, rendering tears in her clothes a little at a time and no doubt pinpricks over her skin, perhaps even enough to draw blood. The small woman didn't seem to take note of it, nor of the heat the creature exuded, clearly leaving scorch streaks on the clothing that covered her shoulders.

    Thomas, though he appeared less wary of the creature than the people who'd been here before him, still kept a wide distance from the Torsir, going so far as to take a step away from Ember even as she spoke.

    "I do. It's nothing special."

    Thomas gave her a look and a snort. "You're a terrible liar, Ember."

    The smile she gave the blond was sweetly murderous. "And you've got a big mouth, Thomas." The man only laughed, albeit with a slightly nervous edge as the female crossed her arms, clearly not pleased, but it wasn't Ember that Thomas spoke to again but Tohq and Luthran. "Ember doesn't like to say, but she's the best scout we have. I've known her able to pinpoint a morpher's ship in the sky well before it descends close enough for us to see it. She even knows where they are when they cloak. It's saved a lot of lives." He gave the woman a narrow-eyed look. "Which is why we'd like her on this mission. It's dangerous morpher territory we're traversing."

    "I'm not some dog to perform tricks on command." Ember bit out, her amber eyes sparking warning, but Thomas didn't back down and it should have been becoming clear that while the two didn't seem to agree on much, they were friends of a sort and knew each other well.

    "No, but you are the only one to have gone into Red Zone and come back alive."

    Ember's expression changed almost instantly from angry-defensive to worried-disbelief as she uncrossed her arms, brows furrowing. "The Red Zone? You're going into the Red Zone? Why?"

    "The Fourth Division had children taken, about fifteen in all. It's part of the reason the Commanders were willing to form this alliance with the Tih'ahl." Thomas shook his head, a weariness in his words. "We grow too weak and too few to do this on our own anymore, not when we can't even keep our children safe. We all have to work together."

    The words hung in the air and amber eyes looked from blue to a pair of gold, drawn there by a force she couldn't name, but that was hardly uncommon for Mesenia these days. "And what say you to this? You came to fight an old enemy. Are the affairs of my kind beneath you or are you truly allies in all things?"
  10. (( I know n_n ))

    In response to Thomas' jumpy reaction, Tohq and Luthran did nothing. They knew that they weren't in real danger - they could read the situation well enough to know that he had just been frightened. Soon afterwards, Tohq took to Ember again when the Torsir shifted its position on her neck. It was then that he took in everything. And it appeared that either the Torsir was careful with its heat to not hurt the woman, or the woman was unaffected by the heat. It was leaving scorch marks on her already dirtied clothing, so it was strange that Ember wasn't reacting to it.

    Everything about this woman was strange. She was now perhaps the most interesting person on Earth.

    Hearing how accurate her sensing was, Luthran shook his head in disbelief and smiled while Tohq raised his brows. He didn't doubt the human's words, especially since the woman was being... modest about it, but he still would like to see it for himself.

    What the Red Zone was exactly neither Tih'ahl knew, but it sounded the most dangerous place to be. Common sense told them that because of the area's name, and Ember's reaction to the information only supported the notion.

    Why she kept looking to Tohq more than Luthran, Tohq didn't know. But that usually happened anyway when he was accompanying people. He tended to be more... intimidating, and thus people couldn't stop looking at him. He figured that was the reason why he kept feeling her eyes on him.

    "If human affairs were beneath us, we would not have formed an alliance and we would not be here," Tohq said gruffly. He uncrossed his arms. Luthran gave a taming smile and tried to ease the tension before it could snap. "Ember, was it? Join us on the mission. It couldn't hurt."
  11. Ember hardly bristled at Tohq's tone. In fact, she rather liked his answer. It was impatient, anything but diplomatic, but above all else, it was honest. A grin etched her features and she dipped her head in slight acknowledgement to the male before her gaze shifted to the lighter-haired of the two. She really needed to find out their names, such becoming clear to her when her own was mentioned - or at least one of her own. His words elicited a laugh, but it was hardly mirthful, her eyes glittering with some intense emotion she seemed unaware of. It almost looked to be brought on by some kind of forgotten memory.

    "Oh, it could hurt quite a bit. To the point of death, I assure you."

    It was all she said before turning and starting to walk away. Thomas looked at her, a smile twitching at his mouth. "So you're coming, then?" Ember didn't even look back. "I'll meet you at briefing." was the returned call before she took off, the Torsir leaping from her shoulders to crawl along the walls, keeping pace. The woman herself didn't stay on the street for long, a running leap taking her to the roof of a broken down car and then another leap to a window ledge where she brought her body into a painstakingly perfect handstand. From then, the heels of her feet hooked on the edge of the roof and she pulled herself into a sitting position against the wall and then up further until a front roll saw Ember on the roof. She was up and running again a moment later, the whole process taking no more than two minutes at most, and out of sight sooner than that.

    Thomas only shook his head, having watched the entire thing and then looked back to the two aliens he was left with. He smiled, the expression easy-going if made a bit nervous by them. "Sorry about her. She's...difficult, but she really is good. The Commanders wanted her to be a representative because of what she can do. Personally I think she'd be horrible in the position." There was clear amusement in the words and he gestured for the two to follow him.

    "You said you were called Luthran and....To...Tohq, right?" He waited for confirmation before continuing as they walked, growing closer to the rundown, crumbling motel that had been set aside for the Tih'ahl if they wished to stay somewhere other than their ships and the humans chosen to be assigned to them. "I want to thank you for your help. I know it might not seem much, but I think you both convinced her to join far more than I did, though, how you did it I can't say. Ember's mind is her own to know and no one else's!"

    They'd come to headquarters now and Thomas gave a slight wave to the two. "Well, I have to finish preparing. I am sure if you find Lieutenant Hartford he will tell you what the mission entails."
  12. Luthran's lips split to a smile at Ember's response. Hmm.... who did she remind him of? Oh yes, that's right. Green eyes looked slyly over to Tohq, a hidden agenda working itself out in his head. Quickly looking away before Tohq noticed and gave him a death glare, Luthran looked back to Ember. The agenda didn't include romance or more intimate matters - no, the Tih'ahl were not here for that. But how awesomely hilarious would it be to see the two of them working together?

    They watched her leave, disappearing onto a rooftop after doing an incredible set of acrobats. She must have been something incredible before the war with those skills.

    Attention directed back to Thomas, it was then that they learned Ember had been the representative who rejected the offer. Tohq supposed he could see that happening. He hardly knew the woman, but from his first impression... yeah, he could see it. Following Thomas back to the motel, Tohq nodded when his name was said right.

    "You should thank Luthran more. He is the one who turned all... gentle," he snorted as he looked to his friend, who only grinned and owned it.

    "In any case, thank you for finding and telling us. And it was nice meeting you." Luthran returned the wave to Thomas and then turned toward Tohq, punching him in the arm. No words were exchanged about it because the two of them already knew what would be said. "First day here and you're on a mission. Lucky you." Tohq hummed and looked around, not quite headed for his room yet.

    "Should we find this Lieutenant Hartford?"

    Luthran shrugged. "There isn't anything better to do."
  13. Lieutenant Hartford was a relatively young man, perhaps just heading into his thirties with shockingly red hair, freckles, but sharp hazel eyes that missed nothing and an even sharper tongue that could cut a man to the bone. It was he who assigned recon and retrieval missions, not even the Commanders stepping into his domain and his rule very often. They simply passed down orders and Hartford got them done. He ran his Unit with an iron fist and woe to the person who tried to change his ruling.

    Nia happened to be one such person who did it often....and somehow she always seemed to get away with it, too. Some thought it was because of her skill, that Hartford might not approve of her attitude, but he overlooked it for what she could do. Others said it was because Ember was sleeping with him, something the woman herself only laughed to hear and still more people speculated that the harsh man harbored some kind of fondness for the daredevil who drove him to premature gray. Whatever the case, when they got in the same vicinity there was sure to be yelling before there was acceptance.

    If Luthran and Tohq were to come into the main room of the hotel in that moment, they would have been greeted by a nearly red-faced Hartford towering over a defiant Mesenia, her hands on her hips as the man came nearly nose to nose with her, both glaring murderously. Asirin, oddly enough, was nowhere to be seen.

    "This mission was classified. Tell me where you got your information!"

    A roll of the eyes followed Hartford's question. "Oh, please! You really think your missions are 'classified'? This isn't the damn government, Hartford! Half the Division probably knows about this!" She shrugged, ignoring the way the man's face grew redder with the action. "Even if they didn't, I don't reveal my sources, you know that. Besides, what does it matter how I know? I know and you need me. Can't we just stop yelling and say we did?"

    "Mesenia...." He nearly growled her name and the woman in question grinned, head tilting. "Yes?" The word was entirely too innocent and Hartford's hand clenched and unclenched as if he desired nothing more than to strangle the small brunette. His hazel eyes narrowed, taking a different approach. "You have gear?"

    A foot nudged the bag by her leg. "I always do."

    "The Commanders know?"

    A slightly sheepish look. "I left word for them. They'll find out..eventually."

    Hartford pinched the bridge of his nose between thumb and forefinger, but sighed, peeking an eye at the woman again. "Nick is going." A grimace followed the statement, but Mesenia seemed to square her shoulders just slightly and nodded. "Right." Hartford narrowed his eyes once more. "He's not going to want you there. I expect no problems, however, not on a mission this delicate. We're already working with new allies. We're going to have another trouble with differing opinions, I am sure."

    "I won't cause trouble if he doesn't."

    The man sighed again and finally gave a curt nod. "Fine. We leave in an hour. The darkness will serve us better than the light when we leave." As Ember nodded back and gathered her bag to leave, he turned his hazel eyes to the two aliens, something sharp and guarded in his gaze, but not necessarily unfriendly. Simply one fighter to another. "I suppose you'll be wanting a briefing." He didn't wait for confirmation, beckoning them over to a table where a map was spread out. "We go into the Red Zone, about a week out from our current position by foot. It is a morpher base here on earth. They take humans they capture there along with resources gained from this planet. It seems to be a refueling station for their ships and quarters for their soldiers. It's a military base as best we can tell and any technology that gets close to the place seems to alert them to our presence. That means no vehicles, no ships or even communication devices."

    He showed them where they were, the First Division, and then where the Fourth Division was. "Another part of our force was attacked and fifteen children taken. We seek to see if they can be reclaimed at best and at worst what has become of them. They have not targeted our children before, never to take them alive anyway. We need intel and to get it we must go in virtually blind." He pointed to the Red Zone on the map, its perimeter outlined in red.

    "That is our destination. It is not certain we will make it back even if we only go to its borders." He looked up then to the two. "Would your people risk such?"
    #13 Kaisaan, Feb 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
  14. It appeared that where they needed to be was actually in the hotel, a place where they wouldn't have gone back into except that they really did not know where else to go and they thought that maybe someone in there would know where to find the Lieutenant. Just a single step inside gave way to what the two Tih'ahl were looking for, and more.

    There they found Ember again. She was in a... similar situation, only this time yelling back and forth with man who was as red as a cherry in the face. "...op yelling and say we did?" It was this part of the conversation and the rest that Tohq and Luthran caught. They stood quietly by. It was in their nature not to interrupt unless need be, and whether they watched in amusement or simply watched, one couldn't say.

    It was clear to even the newcomers that this sort of ordeal happened often between Ember and Lieutenant Hartford. Luthran thought that, more or less, Ember probably won most of them. Tohq was more focused on the Lieutenant. Based on his knowledge of human militarism, Hartford looked just the part for "Lieutenant." A hard man, but... kind enough to be part of the survivors.

    When they were finally acknowledged, the two aliens gave a nod and followed Hartford to the table with the map on it.

    "Do you have an idea of why the Etz'os would want to take the children?" Tohq asked, golden eyes looking up to meet those sharp hazel. It was strange that they were targeting the children.... for what purpose, Tohq didn't know. It could simply be a trap, an attempt to lure out more of the humans so they wouldn't have to take so many trips. However, he could not be certain. Not until they actually went on the mission.

    "For children especially, yes," Luthran answered Hartford. He had a soft spot for kids, mostly because he was goofy enough that children liked him. It wasn't uncommon for Luthran to be seen with little ones clambering onto him.

    "We have weapons better equipped for use against the Etz'os. We can supply the everybody going on the mission with them after teaching proper use." Tohq had his arms crossed, a normal pose. "It would be good for all of us to learn more of what exactly is going on in the Red Zone."
  15. Hartford shook his head in answer to Tohq, giving a nod of acknowledgement to Luthran's assurance that the Tih'ahl would help them on this mission. The Lieutenant ran his hand back through his short hair with a deep sigh. "No, we're not sure as to the reason the children are now being targeted. There has been...rumor that the morphers, Etz'os - whatever they are - are experimenting on humans, but nothing has been confirmed. I pray to God such is not the case here."

    He pushed away from the table then and gave a curt nod in approval to the offer from the two aliens. "The weapons will be appreciated. Now, I will leave you to prepare. You will meet the rest of your group within the hour."


    Ember was the first person at the meeting spot at the eastern end of the city. The fog had rolled in thickly from the island that was New York City, forever cut off from them, the bridge long since destroyed. It was still strange to the woman, even after five years, to journey back here and see the home she'd once known, now destroyed and beyond her reach. She couldn't go back, trapped on the mainland now. Trapped by the war they were all a part of whether by choice or by necessity. Her thoughts were broken as a figure appeared in the mist, hardly alarming to Ember who sat on a broken car's hood in plain view. She could sense their enemy. What fear did she need to have? Most would have called her foolish, but Mesenia herself could only shrug at the accusation. Perhaps she was, but she wasn't dead yet and there were many she had know that now were.

    There was only one in this group she could wish that same fate on, though. Fortunately the figure that appeared was not he, but Thomas, the man grinning from ear to ear to see her. Unlike his usual demeanor and love to converse, he remained quiet as he came closer, constantly scanning the fog. Thomas was often mistaken for being too easy-going, a jouster and hardly the kind of man someone would want on a stealth mission, but in fact the opposite was true. It was Thomas who claimed the title of sharp-shooter, the rifle across his back not merely for show. He was pretty deadly with the thing, too, and he was very dedicated to keeping his Unit alive.

    Nia was glad to see he'd been chosen.

    What she was not so happy about was the presence of a Hispanic male, about her age, with disapproving, challenging dark eyes and even blacker hair. He said not a word to either Ember or Thomas, but the curling of his lip in disdain when he passed the woman was clear, causing her to bristle as a cat might when he passed by her perch. Asirin was still missing from her shoulders, no where in sight, but the fact didn't seem to worry Nia as she watched Nick take up position beyond them.

    He was the leader of their little group...and he happened to loathe Ember just as much as she did him.

    She'd promised Hartford she'd be good, though! With a frustrated sound that was suspiciously growl-like, she turned her amber eyes away from the male and back to the fog and the city, awaiting the arrival of their next four teammates.
    #15 Kaisaan, Feb 17, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2015
  16. Experimenting on children was probable, but the reasoning behind it? It was more likely just the fear people held that got them talking, thinking of the worst possible things that could happen. And once people talked, ideas often became rumors without any substance to them. Still, nobody could risk the chance of letting go of the children and letting the Etz'os continue doing whatever they were doing. Even if it was just a rumor, it was too serious to dismiss.

    Once free to leave, Luthran and Tohq discussed any ideas they had, thoughts they had on the recon mission, and anything else relevant. Of course, Luthran asked the hardy one what his thoughts were on those he met so far, but Tohq had little to say. Ember's - or Mesenia? they still had to ask about that - skills from what he had seen were impressive. The others' he had yet to see. As for his personal opinions... if he had any at all, he didn't voice them.

    The hour passed by quickly. The Tih'ahl were quick to dress in proper attire, supply the others with weapons if they so desired to use them, and teach. It was basic maneuvering - similar to a human gun, just a different feel. Knives were given to those who knew how to use them. Bows and arrows, too. Luthran stuck with guns and his sword, and Tohq with a sword and his bow.

    When all was ready, the males left with their two other comrades: a white male and an African American female. Harry, a young ex-street rat with a knack for deft hands, who preferred the nickname Nug for some reason; and Candice, the only other girl joining them on the mission besides Ember. She was just around the same age as Nug, older or younger no one knew. Nug didn't remember his birth year, something he claims only because it isn't really important, but it also had to have something to do with the fact that he had been in and out of orphanages until the invasion struck, hence other things being on his mind. There was a little something missing from there - his mind - but he was good people. And so was Candice.

    The group of four appeared to arrive just on time at the eastern end of the city, though they were later than the rest. By much, no one knew; no one really asked because as long as they weren't actually late, then it wasn't a big deal.

    "Nia! Thomas! Ahh, it's good to be on a mission with you two again," Candice approached them with a grin. "Especially you, Nia. Glad you decided to show." She gave her a wink before turning her head to look to Nick. "Hi, Nick. Always happy to see you." Meanwhile, Nug put his hands in his front pockets, a smile on his face to greet everyone with it. The two aliens stood beside him.
  17. A genuine smile crossed Nia's face at seeing Candice. The two had worked on a few missions together and go along well. Women were not abundant in the scouting assignments of the Division and if they were they had to be good at what they did. Candice could be counted on, Nia knew it for a fact. Harry was not quite as high on her list of people that she would do a mission with, but that was mostly because Ember didn't really understand him....though, they were both rather fond of discussing their methods of pick-pocketing with each other when the mission allowed idle conversation. It wasn't that they didn't get along so much as it was that they had little in common. Perhaps the same was true of Ember and Candice, but both being female sort of made up for it in a group of males.

    Either way, looking around, Mesenia could admit that Hartford had put together a good team....with the humans. The aliens were yet to be tested and it was that aspect that truly made her so nervous about this. Regardless, though, she had committed to the mission and she wouldn't back out now.

    "Well, some people wouldn't stop nagging." was the reply given, a pointed look shot to Thomas who only grinned like a Cheshire cat. The blond bowed dramatically. "I take humble and full responsibility for the fact that our arses shall not be morpher BBQ in the coming days." Nia snorted, unable to help the amusement, but Nick didn't crack a smile, only surveying his team with thoughts that were his own to keep and did not show on his face. His eyes landed on Thomas. "Venez." The tone was snapped and the blond immediately came to attention. "You will tail the group until we reach the forest. Candice will accompany you." Thomas dipped his head in understanding and shouldered his rifle. The alien gun rested against his hip, but for familiarity's sake he'd stuck with his own weapon for the time being. A grin was directed to Candice. "Well, you heard the boss-man."

    Nick frowned further at the title, but Thomas had already disappeared into the fog and he turned his attention to Mesenia. "Ember, you will-"

    "I know. My weird voodoo magic. I'll be scouting ahead." She half-saluted before jumping off the car, ignoring the way Nick's eyes narrowed almost dangerously, crossing her arms and raising a brow. "Who's my partner?" The Hispanic didn't answer for the longest moment but finally the words came, perhaps just the slightest hint of a smirk on his lips. "Tohq. I'm sure you'd feel more comfortable with an alien."

    Nia's fingers curled into fists, but she kept self-control, her eyes hard. "As you command." Her amber eyes moved to the two new additions to the team and it occurred to Nia in that moment that she wasn't actually sure which brunette was Tohq. She'd still not gotten their names.
  18. Candice looked over to Thomas. Leave it to him to always somehow get through to Nia, right? Candice liked her. What she wouldn't admit in words, though, she would show in action. She would stick up for those who didn't deserve harsh words or attitudes, and she would be that person who would lend her shoulder just to have it cried on. She was also a little stubborn, which was why her and Nia probably got along, at least on missions. Girls had to stick together. It was just one of those things.

    She was good with having a birds-eye view of everything that was happening around her. She knew where this person was, where that person was, and the two most-likely steps that person would take in order to dodge an attack. Where she was sensitive to others' movements, she was sensitive to what they probably thought.

    Candice skipped along to Thomas' side and disappeared with him into the fog.

    Tohq's golden eyes flickered between Nick and Ember for a few moments before turning to Luthran who looked at him with a small shrug. Then Tohq took a step forward to meet Ember half way. He would let her lead, considering he didn't know the area around him at all.
  19. As soon as they were away from the others, Ember's entire demeanor seemed to change down to the very act of her movements. Gone was the soldier of precise movements and the stiffness of protocol hovering over her shoulders, rather it was replaced by a creature that moved with all the lithe grace of a cat and about just as much silent stealth. Amber eyes almost appeared to glow in the light cast by the moon overhead, rays of pale brightness working through the fog to gleam off her reflective irises as they moved through the highway packed with cars, all long since dead and drained of gasoline. Nothing but a maze to work through now if they wished to leave the city and reach the forest along the highway beyond.

    Weaving through those cars, Ember kept her focus on the job at hand. Not only would it mean the safety of the lives of those following behind, but it kept her from venting her frustration against Nick. Now was not the time or place for such. It certainly wasn't the time to be studying her partner, either, but that she could not help no matter how illogical the inclination was.

    Humans usually grew unsure, nervous, even suspicious when she reverted to this kind of....behavior but the Tih'ahl didn't seem fazed and strangely enough, she rather appreciated it. She'd been told she was a freak one too many times for the word not to cause pain by this point, even if Ember was excellent at hiding it AND getting revenge on the person who'd called her such. The alien, though, he interested her for more than she would have thought possible - and she didn't like admitting that even just to herself. His physique was nothing to ignore, of course. He was amazingly built and it was with a small smirk that Nia knew she could have gazed at him, tracing all the contours of his chest alone with her eyes and not grow bored of it. No, he was certainly arousing, there was no denying that, but she found her eyes straying to his own far more. There was a tempting, unpredictable kind of fire within his gaze that sent shivers down her spine.

    Whether of danger or something else entirely, Ember wasn't sure. It made her nervous, but perhaps that was wise. He was dangerous, that she could sense without needing any kind of power, and she would be smart to keep distance. Safer.

    Nia had never really been one for smart or safe, though. The thought brought a smile even as her body froze and she held up a hand for Tohq to do the same, not knowing if he'd sensed what she had or not. Slowly the the mic in her ear was pressed, her voice low to warn the others. "Halt. Stay down." Her amber eyes looked to the fog-covered sky above, tracking something yet unseen, tingles traveling over her skin in intense, almost sickening ways as the Etz'os ship finally appeared overhead, lights visible first and then the ship itself, resembling something like a beetle in form. It was scanning the highway.
  20. And Tohq noticed this change. It wasn't surprising in the sense that she had changed; when you give a maverick some space and stop judging their every move, they tend to quiet down and mild out. Tohq had dealt with this in several occurrences over the course of his time serving the Tih'ahlen army. What was surprising, though, was what she changed into. Or, more specifically, how much more at ease she was away from the others. How much more delicate she appeared, how much more delicate she could be. And not delicate in the way that she could be broken - no, that certainly wasn't the case. But delicate in the way she seemed much more... refined.

    Tohq's own demeanor was more or less the same. It was like this in almost any given situation, except when he was away from all the mumbo-jumbo of military means and strangers. Why, you might think him an entirely different person if you saw him having a good time, though he still usually appeared a bit... husky. Probably still a little aloof.

    He might not have looked it, but the tall male had been taking in every bit of information that he could see as they began crossing the highway. There was not a single green breath of life anywhere. If there was even a hint of any sort of plant life, it was dead leaves or broken twigs. He didn't know how the forest was going to look, but he was doubtful that it was healthy.

    Ember - Nia - whatever her name was, the question crossed his mind again. However, he didn't ask. There were many chances for him to, but he figured he would know what the story was by the time they were finished with the mission. If not, only then he would ask.

    She was talented, Tohq could give her that. But it wasn't normal. Years of experience gave veterans the feeling that something was off or wrong, but Ember? Had she always had such accurate readings? There had to be something more to her story, something behind her waking-up-in-the-forest explanation. The alien was not judging her or thinking her a freak, but.... there was a lot to this woman and when things caught his attention, it was hard to get that attention off.

    Behind a wreckage of cars they stayed, the Etz'os ship on the farther side of the large street. Tohq didn't know if it would scan the all highway, but it was moving closer with each scan. He looked to Ember. "Do you people have a way to conceal us?" he asked, voice barely above a whisper. If not, he had just the thing.
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