Hunter and Ardul have been moving for an hour. It’s tedious work. Enter room. Clear room. Move on. Most of the rooms are empty. Many of them haven’t seen habitation since Vanished Point returend from wherever it went. This place is huge and even with it’s multitude of inhabitants far more space goes empty than used, especially in the underways.
It’s that very thing that makes it so dangerous. Something could come at any point. From the front, from behind. Through a vent. The trecherous, sometimes flooded corridors are dangers themselves. The pair still needs to find a way up and back to the surface.
It’s only been an hour and Ardul is covered in … grime. Well her armour is. Hunter will know that the first she’ll do is to wash and polish that armour. Even before she showers or bathes herself.
She doesn’t complain though as they move through the area, her cylinder is gripped in her hand and her head is on a swivel. “I’m sure …” she bites the words off. She’s already said it three or four times. She’s sure she sensed something back there. But there hadn’t been anything – still, it worries her.
“Up ahead…” she finally says. “Another door. Ready to rinse and repeat?”
“Yep…” Hunter murmurs. He positions himself on one side of the door. Ardul on the other. They’ve done this over and over for an hour. Three, two, one, open the door, clear the room.
Except that’s not what happens. The door flys open and a thump announces something dropping down behind them. That’s never good. Hunter turns and blindfires but is knocked over by a figure with black wings who immediately wheels on Ardul and lunges forward with some kind of cylender that has a medical look to it.
Taking up position, Arduls energy blade hums to life. She’s been judicious in its use on their trek, without knowing how long they’re going to be down here – even with the long life of the power supply of her suit – she’s not risking it running down.
As the door flys open, she spins into the room, checking it for … crap, there’s something behind her and she spins again, blade spinning with deadly expertise, raising up try and knock that cylinder from the figures hand. “Hunter, back. Don’t let them get near you.” she growls a little, taking a stance and trusting that her armour will protect from … whatever that is.
It’s not her, she’s worried about. It’s Hunter and compromising him, to get to her.
There’s a spry. Some kind of aerosol. It feels wet on her face and the winged, armored figure dances back and produces a pair of energy daggers. The nanites that her uncle had been using had to be injected but could they have been aerosolized? Or is it a chemical of some kind? A poison? Either way, she was the one targeted here and not Hunter for some reason.
“Ardul!” Hunter calls behind her. He’s aiming but he doesn’t have a good shot. Not yet.
“Ack. What the … ” Ardul shakes her head and dashes a hand across her face. Aerosolising the nanites … or similar … would be the next step. But to //what// end and why target her?
“Hunter… ” the blonde stumbles and blinks, her vision blurring and not because she has liquid in her eyes … somethings affecting her and it’s hard to focus. “… get out …” She’s still worried about him.
The stumble has her twisting though, turning so the black winged figure turns with her, putting it’s back more towards the red coated Wolfen.
That’s what he’s been looking for. Hunter fires. Six times. Not that it can be told from the sound. It’ll leave a hole in that armor. And probably the person inside it. That’s the intent anyway. Hunter’s response to thse kinds of things is always immediate and violent. He knows something’s been done to Ardul and he’s not sure what.
There’s an explosion of black feathers as Hunters pistol hits. Ardul is coated in even more … grime, ichor really and the smell is … horrible. Yes, horrible – roasted innards and all that.
She’s not complaining at Hunters more immediate methods right now, the silver armoured woman stumbles and gags “… Hunter … I … water … ” she needs to wash her face and get this aerosol off her.
By the time he gets to her though, she’s starting to rise, a vague, distant look in her eyes. She’s still there but he’ll recognise it – he’s seen it in the Saurians and the Iyesgarthian in the Restorium.
Can he stop this?
Hunter produces some of their precious water from his pack and moves quickly to Ardul. He pours it over her face, holding her tilted back so it can run off her and hopefully wash the whatever it was away. He already suspects nanites and he’s not sure if they might have already been absorbed. It’s possible. Maybe he can get rid of enough of them to prevent the full effect. Or… maybe it’s too late and they’ll need more drastic measures.
Ardul lets the water run over face, the dust and dirt from the day forming streaks. “Hunter … don’t let them take me …” the blonde pants. She’s fighting it, at least.
But it’s not enough and her eyes continue to go blank, staring up at the Wolfen who’s holding her. What they haven’t known is how the nanites actually take control. All they’ve seen is the final result – the ‘host’ becoming a machine programmed to carry out the instructions its given.
But how is that first bit of control obtained?
“What is your command, my Lord?”
Did Hunter just thing about drastic measures?
“Fight, Ardul.” That might not be the first thing he wants her to hear but it is the first thing he says. Also they need to get out of here. Something he’s quite aware of. He knows the Restorium did manage to neutralize the nanites on one of their patients. He could try to get the blonde there. But it’s a long way to go. There are other possibilities but they’re drastic indeed. Like… try to burn them out. Introduce a big enough shock they might all go. That’s if they’re not just making physical changes that put their victims into a state like this. The good news is that Ardul doesn’t have any implants so she can’t be remotely controlled and if the nanites are damaged or fail they can’t be replaced.
The wolfen starts to pull on the blonde. Leading her on. THis just got more difficult.
Fight. Hunter said fight and Ardul nods, letting him pull her to her feet. “Fight what, my Lord?” She looks around but doesn’t argue with him, the energy blade humming to life in her hands.
She doesn’t have implants and … she’s bonded to him in a way. She wears his cuff on her arm to prove it. Burning the nanites out might be possible – a good electric shock or similar could well do the trick.
This has indeed just got more difficult, though at the moment, Hunter has one very obedient Valkyr at his disposal.