|Summary:||Big cats, wandering Cylons, and somewhat ominous Centurion-speak. Samuel Blaine, and others, run afoul of local wildlife.|
|Date:||07 Aug 2042 AE|
|Related Logs:||Roll the Easy Seven and other Gem logs.|
|The Mountains around Lampridis|
|Mountains. Tracks. Cougars.|
|Condition Level: 3 - All Clear|
|Post-Holocaust Day: #527|
It's high noon in Lampridis, the sun hot in the clear blue sky, though the lake area at least makes this part of the country less baking than the higher desert. It's been a few hours since the Centurion disappeared from town. Or fled, more properly. The Elevens say the Centurions are afraid. Afraid of whatever lies at the bottom of the Temple of Aphrodite, which both the humans and Cylons both seem convinced is their possible salvation. Perhaps convinced because they're out of other choices.
Teams were hastily assembled to track it down. Each led by a Two, and with a tracker and a Marine or two in each, but mostly they just need bodies in the wilderness to find the lost Centurion before its lost in the canyon lands, where there seem a hundred different places to hide and strange paths to take. We open on one such team, trekking through the wilderness, up the path on the cliffs that lead to the Apex over Lampridis. They've found no sign of it yet, but the day is still young, and a large robot isn't the easiest thing to hide, no matter how many holes there are in the canyons.
"I'm not sure how one calls out to a Centurion," Bannik is telling his group generally, looking over at the various places — eyes just scanning the best they can. "Is it like a dog? 'Here, Centurion, Centurion, Centurion. Here, boy.'" He pitches his voice somewhat higher, the universal dog call.
What is the universe coming to when it appears that Captain Lana "Dizzy" Drake is on the same mental wavelength as wunderkind Tyr Bannik? "Here, Centy, Centy, Centy," she calls out in the manner one would say 'here, kitty, kitty, kitty'. "Come'ere, Centy." Complete with little kissy noises. At some point during her time spent on Gemenon, Centurions and Raiders went from being something to outright KEW to something akin to pets.
It's not that different from hunting, is it? And so Samuel's in place, making his way along with the others in the search team. Shrugging a little bit as he hears Bannik's words, and then Drake's, as he's unable to hold back a momentary grin, before one hand reaches out to adjust his sunglasses. If anyone remembers, it's a pair he managed to get hold of back in those days on Leonis. He's got his weapon with him, just in case. Who knows what lurks in the wild these days, after all.
Evandreus is along, as well, though who knows what good he'll do besides slow the group down with his lack of aptitude for sustained physicality. But he seems quite alright so far. Physically, at least. His brow is gloomy as he looks aside to the others, forgetting to do anything as useful as actually looking out, but folding his arms. "It's not an animal," he murmurs.
"They're really not animals," the Two accompanying this particular party informs the colonials joining them, "I mean… I won't say they're quite people, or anything, but… yeah, I wouldn't call them like that," he says, brow wrinkling at the pet-summoning instincts of his companions. With floppy hair and scruffy beard and hiking boots, the Two who calls himself Colin leads the way up the hill. "I mean, just calling Centurion is fine, I guess," he amends, "But you don't have to, like, hit a high note or something. Do keep on the look-out for tracks, though," he advises, "Marks on trees, stuff like that, too."
Marduk tramps along through the brush happily enough, whacking anything that gets in his path back out of it with a machete he has acquired from somewhere. It's totally unnecessary, as the brush on the cliffs is not exactly dense, but he seems to be enjoying himself. He sings under his breath as he works, hacking and slashing away.
"I know they're not." And Bannik sounds serious about that, almost apologetic for his joke. He, at least, was joking. Who knows about Dizzy. "They understand more than animals do. They have higher thinking now." He takes a deep breath. "Do you think it sensed something we didn't? I mean, many times, animals — not that it's an animal — but other types of beings — can sense things that humans can't. Bad things. Like horses before a storm or quake."
Drake is not so convinced, perhaps because she's such an animal lover, whether it be the cute and cuddly pet kind, or the delicious and tasty served up medium-rare variety. "Some people have," more like had, "pet dolphins." Besides, letting her consider Centurions and Raiders as pets means she's not about to automatically KEW (or, in this case, AP round) the rogue robot to death, as is her gut impulse as a Viper jock and once upon a time Evocati.
Samuel shakes his head a little bit, as he glances around. "Trust me, some of the pets I've seen have been far more intelligent than their owners," he remarks a bit lightly. Scanning the area for a few moments, before he adds, "It looks like we're on the right track, doesn't it?"
"It's like it's headed up towards the Apex," says Bannik, pointing up the hill. "Maybe looking for a better — view or something? It is the highest spot in the town."
"Ain't I seen you before, I think I remember those eyes, eyes, eyes, eyes, eyyy…" Fiasco sings as he walks, machete keeping the beat. If he notices anything useful he doesn't speak up right away… at least not about that. He does speak up, though, voice rising as he breaks into what must be the chorus, "Cause, baby, toniiiiiight, the DJ's got us fallin' in love agaaaaaiiinnn, yeah, baby, tonIIIIIGHHHT! The DJ's got us fallin' in love agaAAAAIIIIN…. oh hey, tracks!"
"Oh yeah," Colin-Two comes over to look where Bannik is pointing, crouching down to look at the tracks. He actually goes about touching the dirt in the center of the print, though he stops short of leaning down to sniff it or press his ear to the dirt or anything. "Definitely Centurion," he agrees, "And yeah, looks like the Apex. Huh. I dunno, maybe? Guess we'll find out."
Bright blue eyes flit to the tracks that the others see, registering them. A moment later, those very same bright blue eyes widen, and Dizzy gasps. Kitty! Thump-thump, thump-thump beats her fluffykins loving heart. "Ha," she says with no small amount of vindication, as if what she next says totally validates her opinion of Centurions as pets. "Kitty tracks." As in BIG kitty tracks. Like, mountain lion BIG kitty tracks.
Evandreus is busy staring at a tree trying to figure out what sort of marks one is like to find on a tree and which ones might be suspicious in nature. He hesitates behind in such deep consideration, before looking ahead and moving on to where people seem to have found tracks.
Wade is just following the group for this part. Yes, he has noticed all the weirdness and called out for the Centurion, even if he felt his neurons dying afterwards. At this moment? He is just pretty much quiet, walking with the rest of the group. When Drake says Kitty tracks, he turns his head and regards her for a moment, trying to see what she is actually seeing.
As they get further and further up the Apex, there are deeper Centurion tracks in the dirt, but still no glimpse of the toaster itself. Just signs that it's going higher, and higher, and higher. The party will start to see other things as well. Shadows. Dashing, lithe shapes, so tan and graceful they seem like ghosts among the rocks. But there are too many dashing flashes for it to be just a trick of the light.
"What?" Tyr's first sound is one of confusion. "What? What is that?" He asks the question more generally, his hand dropping down somewhere near his side where his Five-SeveN is holstered. Like if these forms are hostile, Specialist Bannik will be the one to stop them.
"It's up and away and over the city…" Samuel mutters to himself, pausing as he notices those shadow-like things. Making sure to check his weapon now, just in case. Glancing between the others for a few moments.
"So keep downing drinks like there's no tomorrow, there's just right now, now, now, now, now, gonna burn this motherfucker down, down, down, down, down, down down…" Fiasco doesn't even seem to realize he's still singing, but he is, the machete moving in time as he grooves his way over towards Dizzy, dancing up on her for a moment before leaning over her shoulder, still humming, and asking, "What was that? Kitties? Where?"
"Ummm… everyone," Colin glances around, looking concerned, frown growing deeper beneath the over-grown fringe of his hair, "Nobody freak out," he says, "But… I think there might be, like… umm. Animals. Around. Here."
Wade just looks at Colin as he speaks and half snorts, "No shit…" With that said, he unholsters his gun and realizes the total, cold, truth. He sucks ass, when it comes to firearms. Well, this might be a little interesting. The man narrows his eyes and starts looking around, trying to catch another glimpse of these shapes, shadows.
Dizzy lets out a bit of an exasperated sigh. "I told you, guys: I saw kitty tracks." And then Fiasco's dancing all up on her, which means she's automatically dancing all up on him in return, which means that she doesn't notice the darting flashes of tan fur.
"Wait. Like. Real animals?" Because, you know, Colin made clear that Centurions are not animals. Bannik keeps darting his eyes around, freezing in place. Because, really, what expertise does he have here?
Animals indeed. Cats do not usually 'hunt' in packs, but perhaps the desperation of the slowly but surely creeping radiation on the planet, as well as the proximity of humans with food, has driven them to it. As the search party goes along, they seem to melt out of the rocks. Five skinny, scraggly, but very big creatures, with bright yellow eyes and long, sharp claws and teeth. One of them roars.
Colin nods at Bannik, looking around warily again, hands up to try to shoo the humans into a group, "Yeah, they're… yeah," he says, nodding, "Everybody get together, and, ummm… well, you're armed, right?" he says, "I forget what you're supposed to do if you spot a mountain lion," he says, "Shit. They never used to come down this far, you know?" He shakes his head, and looks at Samuel, randomly, "Is it mountain lions you whack sticks together to scare them off? Or does that call them? I can't remember."
"Fraking great," mutters Wade to himself as the damn mountain lions appear. He removes the safety lock from his Pistol and takes a slooooooow step back, trying to get a better idea on things. "I have a better idea, why don't you shoot them…that might have better results," says Wade, not particularly directed to anyone but in response of the Two's comments.
"Big cats indeed…" Samuel mutters, making sure to get his rifle ready. "And I think he's got the best idea at the moment," he offers to Colin, nodding at Wade's words. "Who knows, might be some food left in them, or something?"
Colin sighs, looking unhappy but resigned, "I guess," he says, the cylon too sinking back a few steps as the cats emerge out of the rocks and prowl towards the party, "Just nobody run," he says, "I remember that for sure. If you run, they'll get you. But they're such awesome creatures," he says, shaking his head, "It's a shame."
"Aww. Poor things look hungry." And despite genuinely feeling sorry for those cougars, Dizzy unholsters her pistol and undoes the safety. "I'm not gonna be some catnip treat, though." One of the ravenous cats does not appear to share her opinion, subsequently targeting her as a tasty morsel.
Marduk, shirtless, or rather, shirtless on his torso but with his shirt tied about his head already, lifts his machete as the pumas appear, spinning it in his hand like a baton, blade flashing dully. He has a pistol in the pocket of his cargo pants, it's clear enough, but apparently he's happy with his current weapon. "Heeeere, kitty kitty," he says, grinning at Dizzy, "Dude, I have always wanted to wrestle a lion!"
Bannik pulls out his sidearm, keeping it out in front of him, waiting for — what, exactly? "I swear, most advanced computers in the history of the universe and we can't get you a basic wildlife reference downloaded?" Not that he has any better thoughts.
"I'm sure you would make fabulous catnip, though, sir," Samuel offers in Dizzy's direction, before he shakes his head at Marduk, while aiming for the cougar nearest him, trying to hit it between the eyes.
She, herself, wearing sunglasses, a floppy beach hat, and a super cute bikini top in addition to her cargo pants and rough terrain boots, Dizzy grins at Fiasco. "Man, I wish I had a video camera. That'd be seriously hot." And then it's trigger pulling time.
The cats do indeed leap on the humans as if they're catnip. Though the one that goes for Dizzy is no match for Lana Drake and her Evocati reflexes. The others are quicker, sharper creatures, and dodge the bullets aimed at them despite the well-honed aim of the Colonials. They keep attacking, rather frenzied now.
And hey, what do you know… Wade does suck with firearms. Needless to say, he misses his shot and the mountain lion seems to keep his interest on the Bunnyman. There's no time to kick himself for that; Wade just takes a good aim again -or tries- and gets ready to attack one more time.
Lunge! goes the cougar at Bannik. Dive! goes Bannik to one side, flying off to the right to avoid its lunge. Pop! Bannik squeezes off a shot, striking it hard in the leg. There's a crack as bone breaks from the bullet, but the cat is running on adrenalin now, not slowing all too much.
Evandreus just stands there for a good long while, staring at the cats with his head slightly askew, before an actual giggle is drawn fro him for the sheer surreal nature of the scene. But then he's hit, hard, by one of the cats, and, falling backward, sensible fellow that he is, he tucks up into a ball. Internal organs are good.
One cat leaps for Drake, and Fiasco charges at it, singing all the while, a different tune than before, if anyone can tell between two terribly generic club songs, "I'm tryin'a find the words to describe this girl without bein disrespectfuuuuullll…DAMN, girl!" He drops low and sweeps a slice at the beast's leg as Dizzy takes her shot, popping up to inform her, "Damn, you's a sexy bitch!" He laughs, and turns back to find the next cat, adding his own special touch to the song, "WOO!"
Firing, missing and stumbling backwards, Samuel is saved by his armor from the claws of the animal. Managing to keep his footing for now, he works on getting the rifle ready for another shot, and to protect himself from the incoming cat. "Go away, will you?"
"Evocati! Wooooooo!" Fighting like super tight wingmen and BFFs should, Fiasco takes the lead and soundly slashes into the wildcat lunging for the bubbly blonde. That's all Dizzy needs to set up her resounding killshot to the animal's head. At least it won't go hungry no more. "I know, right?" About being a sexy bitch. "Looks like that pussy is all hot for your sweet ass," she exclaims before taking aim at the cougar coming for Marduk.
Bannik diving out of the way put him on the ground. And Bannik being put on the ground makes him easy prey for a kitty swipe. Pop! Tyr puts a bullet in the cougar's chest, but rip! A claw covers his forehead in blood, sending it into the deckhand's eyes.
It seems that focusing a little more does help, or perhaps, it was just the fact that his target was currently eating Bunny, or trying to. The fact is, Wade's lands a good shot this time, straight into the mountain lion's chest, killing it. But still, more of them are still attacking, they are not out of the problem just yet, and because of this, he doesn't move towards Bunny to see what's his status.
Looks like Lana has super swift reflexes outta the cockpit, too. BLAM! That cougar now has a significant hole in its abdomen. It's enough to leave it wide open for her fellow Spectre-turned-Checkmake to give it a grizzly gash in the chest before his own hand gets clawed. "Bad kitty!" Off goes another AP round.
Marduk has musical ADD tonight, it seems, but hey, keeping a song in your head while being attacked by starving mountain lions is perhaps neither the easiest nor the most important things. As one big, bony cat makes a lunge for him, the former Evocati throws himself at it, as well, running headlong at the beast, slashing at it as he sings, "OH everytime we touch! I get this FEELING! OW!" he laughs, "Shit! My hand. Bitch! Everytime we kiss I swear I could fly! Can't you feel my heart beat fast! I want this to last!" Stab!
Curled up on the ground might be the best way to keep your innards safe from a lion attack, but it doesn't stop them from chewing on your arms, evidently. Hands balled up between up-tucked knees, Evan finds his upper arm suddenly unfortunately perched between large upper and lower fangs, a sharp pain drawing some weird combination of a scream and a laugh from the guy before the lion in turn slumps down at Evan's back, and the two of them, if it weren't for all the blood, might look as though they were curled up together for a cat nap.
Trying to run backwards while firing at an incoming Cougar is… well, to be honest, it's 'don't do this at home' material. Samuel's moving backwards ends up with him stumbling over a rock, just as the animal comes jumping in. He gets off a shot, though, just as the cougar lands on him, claw making a few deep gashes from somewhere right above his right ear and to the area above his eye before the animal dies, and the Marine remains below the animal for a little while.
The big cats make an effort to make meals out of the Colonials - balled-up Evandreus and inexplicably tasty Samuel first and foremost - but they're ultimately scraggly animals fighting a losing battle with bullets. Still, it's certain they're dangerous creatures who're going to leave some maul-marks behind.
Perhaps it's the gunfire that attracts it, but the little group is soon joined by something else. Clanging with that all-too-familiar metallic footstep. The lost Centurion has found them. It emerges from the bushes, red eye rotating around. Landing on the Two. Landing on the humans. Landing on the creatures attacking them. And then, it raises its gun. At the lions, though that still might be a pretty fearsome sight.
With blood in his face, Bannik focuses more on trying to avoid the cougar's blow than blowing its brains out. He fails on both counts. The big cat's paw slices into his heavy kevlar vest, the plate beneath blessedly keeping Tyr's insides on the inside. And Tyr's shot goes wide, leaving the others — including the newly-arrived Centurion — to help him out.
Wade gets to hit this new target, but it seems to be just a flesh wound. The man curses to himself and then takes a couple steps forward, trying to get a much much better aim. "Alright then…" says Wade, taking a deep breath. When the LittleCenturionthatcould hits target, Wade smiles, but it seems the freaking thing is Highlander.
It takes a little while before there's any movement from Samuel, but he finally manages to move the animal at least partially off him. Enough to aim for the last standing kitty cat, at least.
Marduk has blood on his face, too. Cougar blood, that is, which sprays all over him as he stabs the attacking beast in the neck. "WOO!" the pilot revels, "Cause everytime we touch! I feel the static! And everytime we kiss! I reach for the sky!" And he does, spinning, blood-coated machete in an iron-grip to lash out at the last remaining cougar, heedless of the bullets also flying at it, "Can't you feel my heart beat so! I can't let you go!"
The second AP round that Dizzy gets into the mountain lion's abdomen punctures a vital organ. It's all kind of moot with how Fiasco more or less slit the thing's throat. Turning, she takes aim at the last standing cat, but she holds fire until Marduk gets in one final dance.
For those paying attention, her neck moves back and forth, and her head bobs a bit in an 'oonce oonce oonce' dance club fashion.
The Centurion opens fire on the big cat, though it seems half-reluctant to kill the thing. It's certainly a sharp contrast to the plodding effectiveness in killing the 'non-free' Centurions have showed so many times when aiming at humans. It also aims carefully, doing its best not to create any danger of hitting a skinjob or human target.
Colin, for his part, takes shots at the cats most immediately attacking the humans near him, doing his part in their defense, though when only one is left, and Fiasco heading towards it, too, he lowers his weapon, either concerned at the possibility of hitting the human, or not seeing the point in joining in the final cougar's execution.
Although Bannik pulls the trigger, it's not him that ever thought he was going to put the kitty down. Thankfully, it goes down in a hail of bullets, none of which hit him. "Uhm! Someone have a bandage or something?" shouts out the deckhand, the collar and shoulders of his green uniform covered in a nice lair of blood.
Pulling the trigger, Samuel then tries getting to his feet again, a bit wobbly for now. Not to mention the bleeding from his gashes at the moment. "I should have a knife around here somewhere…" he mutters to himself, reaching for one of his pockets, a bit carefully.
Looks like that was the 9th life for each of those wildcats. "Momma said knock you out. I'm gonna knock you out. Momma said knock you out. I'm gonna knock you out." Singing such, Drake conducts a cursory scan of the area to make certain that all's clear. Satisfied, she safeties and holsters her pistol, then makes her way to the downed Evan and the medkit. "Hold on, Hot Crossed Buns."
"WOOOHOOHOOHOOHOOOOO!" Fiasco cries, as he emerges from the carnage, machete and fist raised, drenched in blood and the occasional bit of fur, "DUDES! Did you see that? Did you all see that? That was awesome! It was EPIC! I am a BADASS! WOO!" He laughs and then heads over to give Dizzy a big, bloody hug, lifting the blonde off the ground and adding one more, "WOO! And you! Sweet shooting!" he says, before turning to the rest, "Sweet shooting all around, dudes! Yes! WOO! Now, which one of these d'you think has the fewest holes?" He asks, looking around at the corpses, "I want a frakking CAPE!"
Evandreus is alive. Is not even particularly mauled. But he's never had a threshold for pain, and so when Dizzy comes to get the kit off of him, she's met with a series of decidedly unhappy grunts, his eyes squeezed shut, the Raptor Driver seemingly unwilling to uncurl himself.
Bannik gets a bandage for his forehead, and though it looked bad, it's really a pretty superficial wound. A gusher, but no real risk. "So what happened?" Tyr asks the Centurion that ran to their rescue. "What did you find up here? What did you come looking for?"
As the big cat falls - more by Fiasco's knife, seemingly, than by all the bullets it's riddled with - the Centurion lowers its weapon. Putting its gun away with a soft *whir-click*. Then it just stands, red eye going from one member of the search party to another. That eye is blinking a great deal but, if it's trying to say something, it doesn't seem to have the means to. Still, it doesn't run, or attack.
Good thing that Evan isn't horribly wounded. The attempt at first aid results in fail courtesy of Fiasco lifting Dizzy off the ground. Her surprised yelp dissolves into a fit of ebullient giggles. "Totally badass, Gabe babe," she wholeheartedly agrees. Oh, but then he wants a cape, which prompts her to realize, "OHMYGAWDS, I want a sexy cavewoman mini dress!"
"You stay away from this one," Samuel offers in Marduk's direction, gesturing to the cat he brought down. "It's mine…" Hand searching in his pocket, the other one going up to wipe away the blood from near his eyes. "Ah, found it…" Pocket knife coming out of his pocket, as he kneels down next to the big cat. "Good fight, but you still lost." Looking up to the Centurion, at least. "Seems we found you…"
Colin-Two, once he has checked that Drake has the first aid situation… more or less in hand, anyway, heads over towards the long-lost Centurion, stepping up to the big metal creature and setting a hand on its machine gun arm. "We've been looking for you," he says, "Why did you run up here? Is everything alright?"
"SAFE." The Centurion, after much effort, gets that out. It's garbled and mechanical-sounding, but it manages it. "SAFE HERE. MOUNTAIN SAFE. TEMPLE. NO. TEMPLE. NO. THIRTEEN. THIRTEEN. THIRTEEN. TEMPLE. THIRTEEN. THIRTEEN BAD. THIRTEEN BAD. SAFE HERE."
"What — what's wrong with Thirteen? Why isn't Thirteen safe?" Bannik can't figure it out. "What's back there? Behind the dig?"
"No! Wait! Cougarskin rug!" For sexy fun times in front of a fireplace, for whenever people might actually yet again have fireplaces. "I call dibs on the second one we killed," Dizzy tells her beloved cohort. "Can't have a cougarskin rug with half its head blown off. The other one has a bunch of gut shots. The back should totally be okay for a badass cape."
The stuff about the Thirteen doesn't appear to register. She's too busy discussing skinning cats with Marduk.
Marduk eyes the skin Samuel has his eyes on, and then shrugs, "Alright, man!" He goes back to looking at the others, taking in Dizzy's recommendations and then frowning, "Aww, but I want my cape to have the head on top! So I can, like, put its head on my head… like a hood! No?" He glances around and then peers at the centurion as it speaks. "Whoa. Is it broken?"
Evandreus finally untenses enough to flop onto his back. Or as far onto his back as the dead cat he's laying next to will let him. Mouth open, eyes barely so, he peers all upside-down at the speaking Centurion, wondering what universe he's in and how he got here.
Cougar head as a hood. "That would be really sweet," Lana admits. "Maybe I can trade someone else." As if it were the most natural thing that everyone would want to have a trophy. When Marduk asks if the Centurion is broken, she looks that way. "It doesn't look shot…"
Starting to work on getting the skin off the dead animal now, Samuel pauses for a few moments as he hears the Centurion, "Thirteen…" That said, a bit slowly, he gets back to his work, wiping away blood from himself once more.
The Two looks over at the humans getting to work on skinning themselves some souvenirs and his nose wrinkles a little, but he turns back to the centurion, nodding, frowning deepening further. "Let's get you back to town," he says, "We can talk about it more there. We can head back away from the temple," he adds, "If that helps."
"THIRTEEN BAD. TEMPLE. THIRTEEN. BACK. OK. NO TEMPLE. OK." The Centurion, even if it has managed that much communication, can't really go beyond it. Not in any verbal form, at least. Still, it bows its head to the Two, and its metal 'shoulders' relax. It will follow them in a relatively docile fashion back to town, though it will probably want to stick to the outskirts. Far from the temple.
"Right?" Fiasco replies to Dizzy as he continues examining his cougar options, waffling back and forth between two of them, leaning from one foot to the other. Finally, he picks, and gets down to skinning. He hums under his breath as he works, mumbling happily to himself, "Damn you's a sexy cape… you's a sexy cape…."