It had been a long afternoon, going through the mining encampment checking the buildings for any clue as to why the Xiticicks swarmed or what they might have been looking for. Ardul had started in the admin building and hadn’t got very far. Few of the records were hard copy and those that were tended be hand written on vellum.
The computer that housed the data for the settlement was offline and it had taken the blonde a good couple of hours to get it working. Whilst the Valkyr is no technological slouch, rerouting power conduits and rebooting an unknown computer system still takes time.
By the time that Hunter finds her, she’s got some video playing and is fast forwarding and rewinding through that. Her helmet sits on the console next to her and her blonde hair cascades down her back and over her wings.
Hunter had spent the time combing over the wolfen-made section of the settlement, which seemed to have been a post-arrival shelter of some kind long since buried by the elements. He hasn’t found much that gives him a better theory than what he already had, that the attackers were looking for some kind of wolfen tech. Specific wolfen tech based on how much was left behind.
“What have you found?” He says quietly from behind her. Yes he can move quietly when he has a mind to do so.
The quiet approach doesn’t make the Valkyr jump but she tenses for a moment before letting out a breath. “I’m not sure, really. It’s the footage of the invasion before the systems went offline. The last few minutes are patchy and I’m trying to clean it up.”
Ardul glances up at the Wolfen as he approaches offering a faint smile before looking back to the console in front of her. “They were intent on that building there, if I’m not mistaken…” She rewinds the video again and the scratchy images start showing. There’s Xiticicks, so many of them and in the background they can just make out the lower portion of the walking apartment block. The majority of the bugs seem to be heading to what is labelled a scientific lab. “I don’t recognise the symbols though. I’ll have to get you to teach me Wolfen.” If that is, indeed, what the symbols are.
It’s hard to tell though. There’s so many bugs and regardless that so many seem to heading in that direction, the others are just swarming everywhere.
What Hunter might notice on the ones closest to the camera are the strange protusions from their head. Hard to say what they might be without examining that farther.
“Footage is pretty low resolution, the writing is hard to read. I think I can make out ‘laboratory’ but that’s about it.” That’s not one of the rooms he looked in so when they’re done he’s going to have to go looking for it. It’s probably out toward the woods on the west end.
“Hold up. Stop the film? There. Can you zoom in on the corner there? Those bugs… those things on their heads aren’t standard issue.”
“I only made it this far. The power had been pretty badly damaged and it took some time to fix it.” Ardul murmurs distractedly as she watches the footage “There was nothing of note in the others building I checked until here. If that’s a lab, we should check it next. Perhaps tomorrow, in the light, though.” Night time is falling and they’ve been travelling and investigating all day.
At Hunters request, the winged woman frowns and rewinds the footage a few frames, taking moments to get it to zoom in. There might be a few choice words to go with that. When it finally does resolve, and the resolution is very pixelated, there is certainly implants on those bugs heads. Implants the Wolfen has seen before.
As they watch the playback in very slow motion, an arc of light hits one of the bugs and its heads is split into parts, the bit falling to the ground as the swarm marches onwards.
“That’s….” Ardul struggles for words and looks to Hunter. Did the bugs seem to be brainless drones or was there more?
“Was that a weapon, or an accident or something else?” Hunter frowns. And more to the point was it the intended function of that device or an accident or unrelated. He frowns and shrugs. No answers here.
“Save it. See if you can find better resolution of it. We’ll have to catch it later. It’s getting late and we probably don’t want to be out in the open around here.”
“I don’t know. It looked like it came from the north east vector. Something attacking them, perhaps? Like an automated defence system?” Ardul is frowning and leans forward to look at the screen. It’s possible this encampment had some level of protection even if it wasn’t sophisticated and it worked for a small time before it was overwhelmed.
“It was certainly destructive, whatever it was. We should inspect that site in the morning.” She knows it’s getting on and the light is failing but there might something on that area that gives them more information.
“I’ve saved it off and there’s more files here. It’s going to take the best part of the evening to go through them. I take it … ” she looks up to her Wolfen companion again “… we’re here for the night. I identified a couple of accomodation huts on my way over that are still functional. But if you’d like to head back, I’ll dump what I can to a data crystal.”
“Less ‘head back’ and more ‘sleep in the bot’. Probably the safest thing here. Unless you think the huts are secure. We’re in no man’s land right now. Monsters and such.” It’s not every night a monster or demon happens across a place like this but they are drawn to sites of death and suffering and this is definitely that.
Besides, you only have to be unlucky once.
Ardul groans and gives Hunter a flat look. “In … the bot.” He knows, from sharing a living space with her, that she likes to stretch her wings out. Literally. And the WolfBot, whilst spacious for one is cozy for two.
“As long as you don’t complain about mouthful of feathers like you did last we did this.” In truth, they didn’t sleep in the bot it had just been a long trip. “And, no. I don’t think the accomodation huts are secure enough, much as I would like them to be. I’ve not had time to look them over.”
Reaching a hand out to touch his arm, the Valkyr returns her attention to the screen “I’ll need a bit to get this all transferred. What did you find? Anything?”
“Little bits and pieces. Nothing that gives me an opinion one way or the other. Theres a lot of tech here. If the bugs were looking for something here it was something specific, or they didnt look for very long.” Its possible they felt they didnt have time. Had they still been here when Hunter arrived they would have had to confront him in his bot.
“Gather what you need. I will prep the space.”
“I suspect it’s both.” Ardul murmurs, engrossed in transferring the data. “Something specific and some of they didn’t expect some of the automated defences they encountered. Maybe.”
His comment about prepping the space gets a soft snort. “Prep the space. Does that mean you’ll be dimming the interior lights before we enter?” She teases a little “I’m almost done here, I’ll meet you there.”
Whatever happens, it’s not going to be an overly comfortable for either of them.
“And finishing the candle light dinner.” Hunter snorts. she knows he’ll be pushing the chair forward and getting the sleeper out. Its still going to be tight. Her wings wont really have anywhere to go.
But she will adapt. He’ll be about ready by the time she gets back and just stowing the last of his armor.