The trip through the edges of Dinosaur Swamp hadn’t been easy or quick. There’d been all sorts of obstacles to overcome and the journey isn’t over yet. After their encounter with the Fire Eyes, the group had stopped for the evening, Ardul letting Felipe tend to her wing, she had indeed been caught by one of the barbs, fortunately it had glanced of her wing and not embedded. The rest of the evening had been spent with Hunter and her making what repairs they could to his WolfBot.
After starting out early this morning, they’d finally made the edge of the marshes just before noon and found the cave system not long after. It wasn’t hard, really – the rock edifice surrounding the marshes was a little obvious. Now they just had find which cave, get in, get the supplies and get out.
Hunters systems register something in the caves to the left of the edifice. A half dozen heat signatures, a few that move across the area, the rest seem stationary. It also picks up the various signatures of the Caterpillar they saw the tracks from …
Apart from the obvious tracks through the marsh, Pegi’s identified ones that lead to the side of the same set of caves. An alternate entrance perhaps?
It had taken them long enough, but Pegi is glad that they’ve finally reached the place they had sought out. Hopefully they’ll be able to find what and who they’re looking for. The caravan had had quite the head start on them, but after everything that their own small group had gone through, there was no chance calling it quits now.
The young Saurian moves slowly, slower than she usually would, but she doesn’t want to make too much noise, and so extra care is taken in her observations of the area. After reporting her findings to the others and seeing what else might have been found, she looks towards the caves anxiously. So close, but she knows that rushing in won’t do any good.
“…how we do this? Someone scout ahead?” she suggests, her amber gaze looking over each of their unusual team.
Tending to minor injuries within the group is a small glimmer of good news on a trip such as this one. Getting to their intended destination brings about a wider range of the effect, reestablishing determination and the eagerness to get the job done.
Somewhere behind Pegi, Felipe absently rolls his shoulder. Under the bandages he put on himself, the dull throb of pain runs down his arm, fingers flexing to shake it off. “That might be the best choice,” he answers in a near-whisper, gazing out at the caves before looking back at the others. “We’re lucky enough to have gotten here without any other problems, but who knows what else is waiting inside.”
Hunter is busy in his cockpit marking targets. He might not be able to take his bot in to the cave network but even if it narrows or is too small he can transfer the sensor data to something a bit more portable.
Were there only raiders in there, or if he knew who they were, he’d give them an alpha strike and call it a day. Sadly there is some chance that there are prisoners so that’s not an option. And if he can avoid it, he’d like to not have any more divots in his gunwolf. The encounter with the ‘fire eyes’ had been bad enough.
Since he’s really only the ‘muscle’ on this particular excursion he hasn’t said anything yet. He’s just waiting for the Saurian, the Ieyesgarthian and the… uh Dogwoodian? Whatever, waiting for them to decide how they’re going to approach this.
Ardul frowns at the information, looking out over the caves as well. “Scout ahead is a good idea.” she nods to Pegi and Felipe and looks to Hunter, who has been quiet up till now. “What do you think Hunter, will the wolf-bot fit in those caves? They got the Caterpillar in there, didn’t they?” beat “Let’s go. Pegi, lead the way.”
The path to the side entrance is clear but well hidden. It’s going to take Pegi some effort to guide them through it.
When they do though, the opening is certainly big enough for Wolf-Bot and if Hunters readings are correct, continues to stay that way.
The entrance doesn’t seem to be guarded, which might be right – it’s well hidden and if it wasn’t for Hunter, they wouldn’t have found the cave at all.
Pegi does take a moment while they consider their options to wrap the bottom portion of her metal appendage with a scrap of animal hide binding as tightly as she can with leather cord. At least it should minimize any metallic scrapes and sounds from that leg, though she’ll still take care when she walks.
“Okay,” she says, nodding at Ardul before she sets off ahead. She keeps her axe strapped on her back, its handle within easy reach over her shoulder should she need it. Keeping close to the wall, the young warrior is cautious, keeping on the alert for any odd smells or sounds.
Fortunately everything seems to be clear, and the mouth to the caverns is huge. Pegi looks back at Ardul and Felipe, nodding. “Hunter can fit. Probably. Should we go ahead?” She’s not sure how quiet the massive mech can be, but she’d feel better having it in support, especially if there are people with heavy weapons within.
One last sidelong glance is cast in Hunter’s direction. A hint of concern crosses the doctor’s features since the wolfen hasn’t said anything aside from finding the location, and if there is any answer to Ardul’s question, he may have not heard it once he also checks the contents of his bag.
Rifling through the supplies he has on hand, Felipe makes sure to sort them in an order that helps muffle the amount of noise they make whenever he moves. The last thing he needs is everything rattling around and spilling out at an inopportune moment.
He does, however, take out the gun and its holster, quickly fastening it against his body. He then fixes his coat and bag. “Whenever you’re ready, Pegi.”
“Entrance is big enough. Caves may narrow once I’m inside though. Caves are tricky like that and most aren’t twenty six feet tall.” Yes, they got the crawler in there, but the crawler is eight feet tall at the most and probably a bit less. So it’s dismounted this time.
And no, Hunter hasn’t said much. Not in… a while.
The back door hisses and the wolfen gunfighter emerges. He still has his coat on. It’s getting to be springtime but it’s still pretty chilly. He’ll go when the others are ready.
The walls to the tunnel are covered with lichen and at intervals there are lights that illuminate enough of the area so they can see where they’re going. They’re powered by some of form of battery by the looks.
Pegi might recognize the lichen as something her people use when when making fibers and sometimes in healing. Maybe Felipe does as well if he’s spent enough time among the Saurian.
There are tracks on the ground showing that heavy vehicles have been through here. The caravan and armoured escort, perhaps?
Before long the group can see the end of the tunnel and the glow of lights that illuminate the cavern they’re approaching. There are figures moving across it and two, at least are armed – they can see that much.
“I don’t care, Doctor…” a voice filters clearly from the cavern. “If I lose another of my squad to this infection, you’re going to lose your assistant. Is that clear, or shall I give you a demonstration so it is?”
There’s a muffled cry and the sound of a laser weapon powering up.
Ardul looks to Hunter and then to others, taking a moment to decide the best approach.
“Hey. What are you doing here?” Those armed figures head towards the group. They’ve been seen…
There’s been an intangible tension hanging between them ever since they’d parted from the crashed ship. Pegi has only addressed Hunter as necessary since, still wary of the Wolfen, perhaps even afraid of him. She hasn’t shown it, or at least she tries her best not to. You don’t show your fear, her brothers taught her that. Besides, she has to keep Felipe safe, and Felipe had agreed to do this mission, so they’ll see it through.
They’re definitely on the right track, given the unmistakable trail that leads further into the caverns. And there are voices to confirm that whomever they’re seeking, they’re here. Pegi’s already reaching for her axe as she slows to a stop, her eyes roving the surrounding lichen-covered walls. She freezes as another voice speaks up, this one more direct. Uh-oh. Her clawed hand hovers over her shoulder, but her head is tilted in Felipe’s direction. What do they do??? Those people have long-ranged weapons, so running at them with an axe is clearly a bad idea.
It’s easy not to think about it, easy to deal with it since he has no deep ties to the swamps or Saurian culture, to the history behind an ancient ship belonging to the Wolfen. At the same time, he knows he ultimately did something that favored one group over the other. Given the Wolfen’s current state of mind, the doctor wonders if an apology would even cut it.
But focusing his attention on the mission is given precedence over the choices he has already taken to get this far. Mentally taking notes of the lichen and the lighting also distract him from going further down that particular rabbit hole, reminding him to mind his steps and the rest of the party as they travel down the way.
Peering around the corner, he can’t help but flinch at the sound of the voices and the laser threatening to blow a hole in one of the people they’ve been looking for. Brown eyes barely catch a glimpse of Ardul’s gaze before being interrupted by the armed figures, jumping over to them as they approached.
“Uh,” Felipe starts, shoulders hunching for a brief second before dropping. //Spotted. Not good.// “Hey.” His eyes dart off to one side as his brain flies through a handful of responses. //Quick, say something…!// His posture then straightens, commanding confidence as he clears his throat. “We’re selling these fine leather jackets.”
Hunter’s hand had been going for his gun. He pauses when Felipe announces that they’re basically merchants. Merchants who arrived with no visible vehicles other than the combat robot which is over yonder a distance. Merchants who want to offer things to a group of people who so far as they know took another caravan hostage after shooting it up. He very, very sincerely hopes that they don’t intend to offer his coat as a sample.
But he’ll go with it for now. Especially if it gets them a bit closer. The grey furred D-Bee checks his Padd. “Six heat signatures inside the cave to the right. Another four to the left. Two further inside. Dunno what these //strakhan// want.” No translation is offered for that but it doesn’t sound pleasant.
“I don’t really think this is a good time to break out the sales pitch… boss.” He’s trying to reinforce the notion that Felipe is indeed some kind of merchant. It doesn’t have to hold up for long. Just long enough to get them to lower their guard and get a biiiiiit closer.
Ardul has noticed the tension and not mentioned it. She and Hunter had spoken the evening they’d left the crash site and the blonde understands the Wolfen’s anger. That said, she thinks she also understands Pegi’s and Felipe’s motivations. But on mission isn’t the time to try and address it. They’re all acting professionally, for the moment, even if they aren’t speaking with each other.
They sure don’t look like merchants – particularly not the blonde in the gleaming armour. Maybe … she’s the muscle? The Wolfen is probably the model – just look at that coat he’s wearing, after all.
But Felipe’s … ploy … has the guards hesitating, the beady eyes in their avian heads blinking slowly. It’s quite the sight really. And it buys the group just a little time.
Keeping the group moving, Ardul glances at Hunter. Juuuust a little bit further and … yes, they’re in.
“Hunter and I will take of these, you take Felipe and find the medic.” Ardul tells Pegi. She hadn’t missed the bit about the brigands and infection though and she worries but there’s to be done about that just yet. “Watch for the other…”
With a glance to the Wolfen, Ardul unhooks that cylinder from her hip “We have holo images of our wares …” she’ll try to play along but sales isn’t really her thing.
There’s a ‘hum’ as her energy sword flashes to life and she’s engaging the nearest guard… which isn’t easy, the bird headed D-Bee starts shooting at her, her armour glowing as each bolt is deflected. The other avian D-Bee is taken just as much by surprise and points its weapon at Hunter…
The group of four heat signatures to the left are figures laid out on stretchers. It’s a makeshift hospital. To the right, are more stretcher with bodies on them and, from what they can see, at least one upright figure. This one, at least, doesn’t seem to be armed and she turns as Pegi and Felipe come into sight. “Hey …”
And that’s….why Pegi never lets Felipe try to sell anything during the market days. She peers hard at him, resisting the urge to facepalm, but the look she shoots him might read clearly enough. Dummy, you not even wearing leather!
Still, he does manage to sound believable, which is why Pegi clamps her mouth shut. Even if he’s a terrible salesman, he’s got a way with words, and certainly much better than she does. What surprises her even more is when Hunter seems to be playing along. As Ardul moves to ‘assist’ him, the Saurian nods a little, stepping back towards Felipe a little. They have their part to do, and she’s pretty sure that these guards will catch on that they really don’t have any spiffy jackets to sell them.
The moment Wolfen and the winged woman make their move, Pegi nudges Felipe to hurry along to where they’d heard the other voices. “Hunter say there are four and two…here is closer,” she says lowly as they come across the first opening that branches off from the main area. Her hand is on her axe now, and she’s pulling it free before she pauses once they step into the room. “Oh..”
Felipe was trying to distract them! Even //he// thought it wouldn’t work, but he wasn’t telling anyone that.
In fact, he’s relieved that Hunter and Ardul latch onto the idea, spreading his hands out as he lets the winged woman step forward. “Ah, my good subordinate,” he laughs, speaking charismatically to the Wolfen, “it’s as I always say: any time’s a good time for selling.” And although he also sounds a tad crazy, he nods, catching Ardul’s passing words as she presents the armed avian D-Bees with her cylinder. “Take a good look, boys! See if there’s anything you like…”
He’s very thankful he’s not the one taking a looksee at what Ardul has in hand. Taking the cue, he accidentally bumps into Pegi, grinning apologetically. “–Ow. That went well!” he says, taking note of Pegi’s relaying of information as they go to the nearest setup. The high from his deception has worn off the moment he follows the Saurian into the same chamber. “Oh. Hey.” Wait. Shaking his head, he holds up his hands in a placating manner. “–We’re not here to do any harm, we’re here to help.”
Hunter draws, his red coat fluttering as he does. He starts to fire with practiced precision at any target that presents itself. This is not an ideal form of stress relief but he’ll take it. Six shots go out quicker than most men can get off two and the wolfen is already reloading and checking his pad again.
Hooked in as he is to his Bot’s thermal senors, hiding will be difficult from him. In fact his next shot is taken without even looking. He’s still looking at the pad. He just points off to his right and pulls the trigger.
“You shouldn’t be here.” The female avian nearly squawks at the Saurian and the Doctor. She’s moving towards what seems to be some form of alarm. She probably shouldn’t be allowed to set that off. Pegi’s axe could be useful here…
As Felipe looks around, it becomes clear why the caravan and medic was taken – if the words from earlier weren’t enough. Those figures on stretchers to the left are ill. All hooked up to drips, it would seem. One of the patients tries to sit up, nearly ripping the drip from its arm.
The ones of the right move quickly enough as Hunter and Ardul start the fighting, gathering their weapons and bearing down on the pair.
Ardul slices through the weapon of the avian closest to her, spinning in an arc to avoid the fist that is thrown, reversing her sword and driving it back. It’s … a messy end for the bird.
Hunter’s first shot finds it mark – the D-Bee dropping with a squawk. As more bullets go out, more birds fall … there’s one left and it’s trying to sneak around the corner. It’s seen what happened to the others and would like to avoid that fate.
“What’s going out there?” the original voice is getting closer, along with muffled protests.
“You should not take what not yours,” Pegi counters, frowning at the avian, but as she moves towards- well, the Saurian isn’t sure exactly what it is, but she lurches forward to hurl her giant axe at the alarm, letting the weight of the crudely shaped head carry it round and round.
“What happen here? Where the healer you take?” She continues forward even after she’s thrown the axe, ready to reclaim it, her eyes flicking towards the patients before she fixes her attention back upon the one who’d tried to sound the alarm.
The doctor bites down on his lower lip, reaching into his coat to reach for his gun. Except Pegi is faster. Which is fine with him in this case. She’ll let her do the talking as he runs over to the patient who almost rips their IV drip from their arm. “No, no, stay there,” Felipe whispers, checking the midline catheter to see if it’s still in place. “It’s okay– ”
He’s cut off when the original voice approaches, eyes darting to and fro as he tries to come up with a reply. “Uh, everything’s under control,” comes his words, improvised yet steady as he responds. “Situation normal…there was a problem, but we’re perfectly fine. We’re fine, we’re all fine here, now.”
There’s a beat. He takes the time to get his gun out. “…How are you?”
Hunter’s weapon swings toward the voice approaching. “Stay where you are. I’ve had a bad week and there is a non zero chance that shooting you will make me feel better. Don’t tempt me.”
Hunter is… it’s instructive to remember that he’s spent the last eight years wandering the frontiers, wild places and boom towns of the ‘New West’. He is used to violence and utterly willing to resort to it first and often if he thinks it will get him what he’s after.
Pegi’s axe finds it mark as the female avian’s hand, claw, is nearly on it and the bird jerks back with a squawk. Her beady eyes dart from Pegi to the hallway when the Saurian asks about the healer. “With him…” she says. As to why? “… and look around you. We’re sick…”
Felipe’s patient struggles to sit, even as the good doctor delivers that update so calmly. Although the bird does give the Doctor a bug eyed look when he takes his gun out and asks ‘how are you?’ “I’m sick, what does it look like?”
As Hunters weapon swings round, a tall, muscular avian enters the area from the back of the cavern, dragging with him a human male, holding a pistol to his head. “Maybe you should drop your weapon.” There’s a muffled sob from behind that pair “I’ve done everything you’ve asked. Let him go…”
Watching as her brother goes into doctor mode, Pegi keeps an eye on the other avian, the female. “So you steal a healer? Why you not ask for help?” Or was there something worse going on here? She doesn’t understand why they had to go to such extremes. She doesn’t understand a lot of things, but she tries.
Again she looks around at those who have been set in beds, but her head lifts as she realizes the noise of Hunter’s shots have ceased out there, but there are other voices. She starts edging towards the opening of the tunnel to the makeshift infirmary they’d found to look back where they’d left Ardul and Hunter. …and now two more- the others that the Wolfen had mentioned. Pegi blinks, then glares. Is that the healer they’d stolen? Oh no…
Felipe steals a glance back toward the patient, keeping the gun away from the avian. He then shrugs. “Well. Obviously.” He looks up again at the other patients, thinking aloud as the other voices come closer. “But why…?”
From where he’s placed himself, he can’t do anything to join Pegi in seeing whatever is happening outside of the chamber. One can only hope the confrontation goes a little better than their earlier stunts getting in here.
Hunter’s eyes narrow at the sight and he shifts his stance slightly. “Let me explain to you what’s going to happen. You will be dead in less than thirty seconds unless you drop that gun. If you shoot him, I will kill you. If you try to shoot me, I will kill you. If you run, I will kill you. The only way you survive is without that gun.” Beat. “Trust me, you’re not fast enough.”
It sounds like bragging and to an extent it is. Hunter is, in fact, that accurate. And that fast. But the point of the cold, harsh speech is to terrify the avian with the hostage. He’s already scared Hunter is guessing or he would have attacked directly. He thinks he needs a human shield. If he’s pushed a little more he might lose the will to fight altogether.
Oooooor it could back fire spectacularly and terrify him into killing his hostage. That’s a possibility. So it’s a gamble but the grey furred wolfen doesn’t think twice about it. Great prizes are won only at great hazard.
What it may or may not do to his companions to see him that cold he has not considered.
Pegi’s question just gets a blank from the Avian. “We’re thieves…” as if that should answer Pegi’s question. The avian woman hasn’t made a move to intercept Pegi, just peers out the door with the Saurian.
For Felipe, the answer isn’t so obvious. Out of the four patients there, one appears to human or humanoid at least, the rest are definitely avian. There’s a pad on the table and when he gets to review it, it seems the birds contracted flu like symptons about a week and a half ago. It transmitted to the humanoid about three days ago. They may be dealing with some form of … bird flu.
The muscular avian turns its head to look at Hunter, it’s hard to sneer with a beak but somehow he manages it. “You won’t shoot me, your healers and their assistants are too valuable…” It seems he’s not going to back down. The pistol is pressed harder against the mans head “I’m calling your bluff…” His finger starts to squeeze.
“Please …” Pegi can see him now, the human medic is clinging to the wall behind. Very scared.
The avian woman’s response is just puzzling. Just because thieves were thieves, it meant they took everything? To her ten-year old mind, it makes no sense. But then even the concept of thieves isn’t one that she’s understood very well.
Just seeing the Wolfen set and ready to fire is a chilling enough reminder of that day with the other Saurian tribe. Pegi can just sense that same aura off of him, and the words he speaks are so matter-of-fact that they give him an even sharper edge that she has no desire to be near. She cringes behind the wall, not wanting to see and yet knowing what would happen next.
It’s only in seeing the human that’s being held hostage that she pushes back her own fear. With the poor medic in such a dangerous situation, she doesn’t want to risk his safety, even if she might trust Hunter’s aim. It’s without word or warning that the Saurian moves back into the hall, trying to be swift but quiet, but she knows that moving with her prosthesis, even covered, won’t mute the sound that well. Maybe it’ll distract the Avian holding the medic hostage. Maybe it won’t. He’s not her intent anyway. She’s moving to grab and pull away the poor medic.
There’s care put into laying the Avian patient down back into its cot, murmured words of reassurance trailing off once Felipe takes another look around. When his eyes finally end on the table, he strides briskly over to pick up the pad, laying the gun down flat on top as if an exchange is needed to review its contents. He skims over the details, brow furrowing the longer he reads. “…This is all too recent…”
In the next few moments, things speed up. The man looks up and out toward the entrance of the chamber where the Saurian warrior makes a daring move under the standoff between the unseen Hunter and the muscular avian D-Bee.
The pad is forgotten, clumsily hitting the table’s surface as the gun returns to his grasp.
Hunter watches the avian for micromovents, tensing in the arm and face that indicate that he might be ready to fire. Then a flash of something out of the corner of his eye catches his attention. It’s Pegi, running right into the line of fire.
To him, time seems to slow. He snaps out one shot as Pegi makes a grab at the Medic, striking the avian’s gun arm in the bicep. Hunter has no idea what kind of creatures these are. If they’re like humans that arm is done for. If they’re not, it’s still going to hurt like hell. As the avian spins in pain and shock a second shot snaps out to strike his opposite knee from behind and send him tumbling to the ground.
To anyone watching it took less than a second and sounded like one shot.
Hunter moves forward at a brisk jog to kick the gun a way and plant a booted foot on the avian gunman.
“ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?!” He snarls in Pegi’s direction.
The medics assistant stumbles as Hunters shot, or is it shots, ring out, straight into Pegi’s waiting arms. Too dazed, too scared to do or say anything. Pegi is soon joined by the other hostage medic “Jeffrey, are you alright. I’m sorry… ” he looks around at the group “… thank you, who are you?”
The avian gunman is whimpering, if that’s what you call those strange sounds from his throat, in pain. He’s not going anywhere, except with this group … back to Vesper and the Armsmen. Or maybe the Sanotorium.
Ardul follows behind Hunter. She’s seen him in action before and had elected to stay silent during the showdown . “Steady, Hunter.” she says quietly. Maybe she should have asked him not to growl at the others.
“Pegi…” the blonde levels a look on the Saurian. The disappointed kind of look that a mother might bend on a child or a mentor on a protegee when then done goofed. “That was very brave but very dangerous. You could have been hurt and the medic along with you.” Looking around Felipe, the blonde raises an eyebrow “What have you got, Doctor? We’ve people here to see too.” Anything more between this group will need to wait till this cavern is secured.
The hijacked caravan is there, they can see it and Felipe will find most of the medical supplies in the makeshift infirmary when he looks. Some of them sold on, it seems.
It’s going to take some time to tidy up here and be on their way again.
She holds onto the poor medic tightly the moment she gets him aside. Her eyes are squeezed shut, but she keeps moving until she knows she’s well clear, her shoulder bumping the wall, her head hunched over the man protectively. Her heart is still pounding, but it’s in a split second that her fear turns on its end. Craning her helmeted head about, she glares at Hunter.
“YOU OUT OF YOURS!” the Saurian actually growls back, baring teeth. Hopefully she doesn’t squeeze the medic too much, but he’s momentarily taken the place of Felipe by way of a security blanket. “Why you think shooting fix everything! You no care how scary you are! You just do job!” Tears burn in her amber eyes, but she’ll relinquish Jeffrey to the other medic with some coaxing.
She stolidly meets Ardul’s look, trying not to cry. “Pegi not sorry,” she says, swallowing before she pushes to her feet, limping off to go cry somewhere where she won’t be seen.
Too late to warn about that. And too late to not trigger the protective streak in the fast-approaching doctor.
“DON’T //YELL// AT HER!”
Unlike Ardul’s approach, Felipe is far from cool the second Hunter yells at Pegi. Forcing himself between the Saurian and the Wolfen, he train his own gun on the avian that’s being stepped on. His glare, on the other hand, stays on the Wolfen. Between breaths, he flinches when Pegi yells back. Eventually the calm in his tone and composure returns, albeit strained. “She was trying to //HELP// you. I know it wasn’t the best plan of action to take, but I can only assume she did it to make this one of the better case scenarios we’re all used to seeing!”
Most of whatever the winged woman is saying to Pegi is ignored as he draws in another breath, holding it in before exhaling a weighty sigh. Eyes narrow, breaking up the glare into a weariness he’s used to hiding. Wasting energy on one person when there are several to tend to upset the docto-patient ratio, and there is so much more he can be doing than…this.
After another beat, he shifts his gaze onto Ardul. “…Flu-like symptoms,” he replies curtly. “This has lasted for nearly two weeks. And since they’re mostly avian in species, it’s highly likely it spread within the group…”
He doesn’t even remember the rest of the conversation, or how it ended. They still have a lot to do, but he can’t help but look in the direction Pegi had gone off to. “…You need to work on your people skills,” Felipe says quietly, more to the other two than to anyone else. “She’s only a kid…”
“She’s a kid who almost got herself and a medic killed. Which one of those do you want me to coo at her and tell her that it’s okay for?” Hunter’s eye twitches and his ears flick.
Hunter looks around for an Avian still standing. “Move your people. Now. You have twenty minutes. Then I’m going to collapse the caves. And so help me if I find out you’ve killed any of the caravan…”
Hunter looks at Ardul. “Clean up this mess. I’m going to bring my bot forward.”
The missing caravan is found, the reasons revealed, and tensions still high.
March 10, 2410