302Kowlin had his arms behind his back like a wisemen as he looked from left to right just searching through the dense and thick forrest. Beside him was Quinn, his partner in crime as she had a facial expression of not liking this area one bit. She was terrified of bugs and boy did it show.
"Was that a bug? I think I saw a snake! Oh my god is there a spider."
Kowlin could only sigh as he shook his head in disbelief.
"You are a shinjin, how the hell could you be scared of tiny things that aren't even a threat to you?"
"Well, they look ugly Kowlin! and and..."
She looked at his face with puppy dog eyes as she stared up at him.
"They scare me."
Kowlin shoved his hand straight into her face and pushed her to the side.
"Listen, I only invited you here to come because you know the ancient text of old Earth right?"
"Well yes but. What are yo-"
Her eyes had glittered with sparkles as she looked at the stone statue ahead of her! She rushed towards it with joy and her fear of bugs had seemingly disappeared as she ran straight for the statue. Kowlin could only sigh to himself in further disbelief of how crazy this girl was. He finally met up with her as she started to read the text.
"What is it Quinn?"
"Well, the majority of this writing has faded and these cracks over here has ruined the text entirely. So I can't read it.."
Kowlin just dropped his head in shame. They had walked over here for nothing and it looks like they couldn't discover the past, the present, or the future of the ancient text of the scroll in which they were after...
It wasn't like Planet Plant had no forests. There were some. But they were small, contained, and highly monitored. Ensuring the proper amount of ecological diversity and sustaining it through the hostile environment that the war had created was the life's work of many of Sheri's people. Seeing so much truly untamed and wild forest was something that she was still coming to grips with.
If Interim Command had expected that she would just chill out and enjoy the state of this planet, they really had no idea what Sheri was like. When she looked at all this lush plantlife and vegetation, she didn't see the beauty of nature and all its myriad wonders. She saw vulnerability. An ecology that was undefended. It stressed her out, to think that it could all so easily be taken away. The people on this planet didn't seem to have any idea what it was they had, so they didn't bother to defend it.
She was trying, though. The sooner she proved that she was capable of relaxation, the sooner she'd be allowed back to frontline duties. She had to get there. If she didn't, she just knew that something terrible was going to happen, and she wouldn't be there to stop it.
Lost very much in her own head, she only perked up when she heard voices. When she saw the Shinjin and their companion, one eyebrow raised, and the diminutive Tuffle emerged from the surrounding forest to inspect the statue.
"Hey." She said, "You guys having some problems?"
She cast her eye over the broken statue. It definitely looked dilapidated and ancient. Another thing that seemed to be common on Earth. Though their history clearly had involved struggle and strife, it hadn't been anywhere near as complete as the war which raged on her own home. When the Saiyans and Tuffles clashed, there was rarely anything left to serve as evidence of what had once stood there. The Tuffle people weren't just losing their land, they were losing their history, where so much of humanity's remained buried in these ancient and forgotten places.
She stepped closer, inspecting the ancient statue with more scrutiny. "It doesn't look like it should be impossible to reconstruct a fair amount of what was here." She mused, mostly to herself. How long had it been since she had to think back to those techniques from her education? Decades. She'd had no use for Tuffle data gathering techniques of that sort; she needed to worry about tracking and scouting, not historical records.
"Do you want a hand, or do you want to have the fun of figuring it out for yourselves?"
Because, obviously, this was a couple of people out having some fun with a hobby, nothing more serious than that, right?
About that time, a human had came by or rather what they thought was a human was really a tuffle. Kowlin looking at the figure up and down with a hand to his chin.
"You must have more knowledge than me human when it comes to these ancient text then?"
Quinn however was too busy just examining the damn language. Whether or not the tuffle could decipher the language wouldn't matter. Since soon after, Quinn had accidentally knocked the head of the statue over, which resulted in a hidden button just at the collar bone area. She had raised a brow and so did Kowlin. They both looked to their newfound friend and smiled.
"Your more than welcome to join us. We are explorers in wanting to find all knowledge of magic. Whether its ancient or new, we enjoy learning about it."
About that time Quinn had let out a sly remark as she chuckled a bit.
"Speak for yourself brother, none of our other brothers and sisters of our race sticks to their books all day and night."
While Quinn took the lead, Kowlin would bring his hand close to his mouth as he whispered to the tuffle.
"Don't mind her comments, she's just mad that she isn't considered one of the smart shinjins of our world."
Quinn could tell he was saying something but couldn't hear it. She overlooked her shoulder.
"How's about you speak louder brother? I didn't quite catch your remarks."
Kowlin had an awkward smile on his face as he stared at his sister.
"Oh it was nothing nothing..."
Where they were walking to, was a downward spiral staircase that had been opened up next to the statue which lead to an underground tunnel. Quinn had taken the lead and Kowlin was right behind her.
Sheri has found herself confused for a human more often than not. It doesn't really bug her that much, at least when people aren't confusing her for a human child, but she does correct the misapprehension anyway. "I'm a Tuffle. Captain Sheri Zveet of the 611" She says, by way of introduction. "Just here on leave, that's all."
The revelation of the button gets a raised eyebrow from the commando, and she watches with interest as the secret entrance is revealed. Now that was something she didn't see coming. She didn't know what a Shinjin was, either. Not an alien species she had encountered before, to her knowledge, and not one that she had been briefed on. Magic talk doesn't exactly enamour her to the pair, though.
Magic was just what less advanced species called phenomena that their scientific understanding was too limited to comprehend. She could empathise with it to some degree. She was not one of the more scientifically gifted members of her race; there was plenty of stuff that Tuffle scientists were able to harness and utilise which she simply could not understand. But that didn't mean she was any more open to the idea of everything being called 'magic'. That just meant that you opened yourself up to misunderstanding about what you were actually looking at. In her line of work, that meant that you'd soon go crazy and start collecting necklaces of Saiyan tails to keep away the spirits of the dead.
She'd seen that sort of thing far too many times.
"You sure you really want to head down here without understanding what it is?" She asks, "What if the engravings up there mean 'this is not a place of honour' or something?"
It was a bit of a moot question as both the Shinjin were already heading down into the revealed space, and she didn't see much point in staying back. She was really curious about what had been stored here by the human ancestors. From what she'd seen of the people, they weren't a particularly advanced species - but this was interesting. Who knew what mysteries might be waiting to be uncovered?
Besides. What was the worst thing that could happen? Nothing she'd seen on this planet so far was any kind of real threat, and she doubted that there was anything that could have survived underground for the centuries that this place had obviously remained sealed. Nothing to fear but dust.
So long as she was wrong about the place potentially being a nuclear hazard facility.
As the three of them traveled downward, Quinn and Kowlin started to spawn in a lantern on each of their hands. This would provide a big enough light source to where they would be able to see everything all around them in this big open space.
"Your a tuffle huh? I have heard your planet is in a war right now. And your species is very well verse in technology. It's quite interesting to say the least."
Three statues stood before them in this big open space. One statue was that of a minotaur holding a giant axe. It had the singular word of, "protector" engraved. The one in the middle had the image of a king and underneath it said, "ruler". The last statue on the right had an image of a Mage and underneath it said, "Sorcerer" As little clues as this provided. Quinn and Kowlin started to tinker with the statue before the cave itself started to shake violently and a wall started to open up at the left side of them. A minotaur had come out of the wall and started to bomb rush the both of them as they evaded it with ease. It looks like they would have a big threat to deal with.
Sheri began to reach into one of her many pockets to produce a flashlight, but that was soon rendered unnecessary as the pair brought out lanterns instead. "That's one way to put it." She said, "Another way is that we're trying to fight off alien invaders. But yes. There's a lot of war. Always has been. Don't know if I'd say interesting is the right word."
Well. Always had been for as long as she'd been alive at any rate. War was just a fact of life, and she was supposed to be getting away from it here. She should probably try not to fixate--
And then the wall explodes and a bull-headed figure comes charging out of the shadows towards the group.
So much for nothing living down here.
A spray of ancient brickwork and debris scattered across the diminutive figure, cutting her face and exposed hands. Nothing serious, but enough that she felt it sting.
The string of cusswords which come from Sheri's lips are not at all ladylike and should dispel any possibility that she was a child from the minds of any curious onlookers. Immediately, she's jumping backwards and away from the charging creature, and all at once, she's back in the unforgiving Saiba Wastes, with its lurking wildlife and brutal patrols.
Instinctively, her hand reached to her back - but her rifle wasn't there. She'd had to turn it in. Her scouter, too. She needed to get another one of those as quickly as she could. If she'd had her scouter, she wouldn't have been taken by surprise.
She didn't know who these brother-sister explorers were, but neither of them had seemed to be particularly combat savvy. Her heart was pounding in her chest, adrenalin coursing through her veins. She couldn't let them get hurt because she had been pathetically unprepared. How dare she let her guard down? Stupid, stupid. This was how people got killed.
It definitely seemed like the bullish creature had been intent on the two explorers more than the diminutive soldier; probably because they were the ones fiddling with the statues. With a shout, the Tuffle lunged towards its back in a blur of orange and purple to try and attract its attention and change that. More important than maintaining the element of surprise, in this moment, was making sure that the minotaur didn't crush the civilians; or do so much damage to the ancient structure that it is brought down around all of their ears.
The strike that she aims to deliver with one knee, right into the spine of the much larger, much more muscular, beast still packs a startling amount of strength behind it. Time to see if this minotaur could be the first thing on the planet that lived up to being a legitimate threat...
The knee attack that he had perform on the minotaur was enough to cause it to collapse to the ground in anger. As he turned, he grabbed his axe that he had dropped on the ground and proceeded to aim the axe just over his own head as he was ready to kill this tuffle for the surprise attack she had dealt. Kowlin had yawned, as he causally pointed his finger at the edge handle of the battle axe and ripped the axe part away from the handle itself. Which had caused the battle axe to impale the minotaur itself and causing it to collapse on the ground face first. Kowlin had casually walked over to this minotaur and then looked at the tuffle and smiled.
"Nice distraction partner, looks like we make a pretty good team huh?"
He chuckled as Quinn had been reading some ancient text on the walls before screaming at her brother.
"Hey KOWLIN, I think I found something!"
She pressed on the wall and then it had opened up, the concealed door looking like a wall had opened up. Vast amounts of treasure had presented itself to the explorers of these ruins. Kowlin looked to the tuffle and smiled.
Sheri is startled when the individual she'd thought was pretty weak just casually breaks the axe and cuts down the minotaur as though it were nothing. That was unexpected. The soldier's head pounds with the sudden resurgence of combat, the scent of blood and the collapsed, dying creature before her. The pair are acting so nonchalantly! As though this were all just perfectly normal and what they were expecting.
"It's, certainly something."
The Tuffle doesn't pay much attention to the revealed treasures. Worldly wealth like that just isn't something that means much to her. The being bleeding out on the ancient stonework in front of her though... that means something. She hadn't intended to kill the minotaur. This was where the creature had been making its home, they'd just invaded it. She'd intended to knock it out until they'd done what they needed to do. She had no idea how intelligent the minotaur actually was; it had a tool, which implied a base level of intellect, but on a galactic scale that could mean anything.
"You guys, do what you need to do. I'll try and take care of this."
From her pouches she pulled out a series of bandages, a sharp needle, thread, sterilizing agent, and glue. Compared to the facilities her home had on hand, this stuff was hopelessly primitive. But in the field, she'd found it had saved more lives than she cared to admit. Sometimes, you didn't have access to the best, you just had access to what was good enough - and you had to hope.
With some effort she managed to haul the blade out of the collapsed creature, and then she set to work. Sterilizing agent first, and she flinched as she saw just how deep the wound was. Even with her best efforts, there was a good chance that this wouldn't wind up being enough. But she'd do what she could. She was just a visitor to this world; an interloper who was supposed to be here learning how to chill out.
But in this moment, she is back in the Saiba Wastes, cradling one of the rookies who had taken an energy blast to the back whilst her medic worked. That poor soul hadn't made it. This one... might not either.
Blood coated her hands, hot and slick. Small, calloused fingers working hard in the here and now to try and help her escape the ghostly clutches of the past.
"Stay with me big guy. We'll get through this. Stay with me. You're going home, y'hear?"
MYSTIC ARTS You can heal your allies with your magical abilities. You can generate a heal valued at 75% of your PL for 3 KP, 150% of your PL for 6 KP. This interacts exclusively with your base power level, and heals based on your target's base power level. Once per thread regardless of level used.
"Rather interesting to say the least. I have never witness a being such as yourself provide medical aid to an enemy opponent before. Here he was about to kill you and here you are trying to save its life. You have a kind heart, but saiyans tend to see a weakness in that and will use that to kill you. Remember, not everyone is kind hearted."
Quinn had searched the treasure and nothing else could be found in the room but that. She had given up her search as she looked at the girl and then her trying to patch up the minotaur. Kowlin would approach the minotaur and placing a hand on the minotaur's head as his hand started to glow a violet color in nature as he closed his eyes.
"Stay back. As advance as your species are. It won't do much to heal this wound at all. Sometimes, magic is needed to heal a being."
The minotaur wound started to seal up, to the point where not even a scar would show on where it got hit at. Kowlin's magic was that strong and the minotaur's eyes started to slowly open up. Going from a daze to a clear vision. The minotaur spoke up, as he looked at its saviors.
"You saved me.... but why... Many invaders have discovered this place and all of them came for that treasure and yet, you lot don't seem interested in material things..."
"If it was a Saiyan, I wouldn't be trying to save anybody."
Sheri's voice was colder as she said those words. As much as she might respect Saiyans, she'd killed many of them and would - in all likelihood - kill many more.
"But that's different. War is war. We don't know anything about this guy. If anything, we're the intruders here."
There's that talk about magic again, and Sheri sets her jaw as she ties the bandage tight in place. It was all she could do anyway. Backing off and letting Kowlin do what he was going to do didn't feel like it would cost her anything. But she didn't really believe it was magic.
Even when she watched him undertake the effect, there was no evidence of that. Some kind of ki technique. She knew it was theoretically possible to stimulate the regrowth of damaged tissue with ki energy. Ki is life force, after all. If anything, it was a mystery why it was so hard to do; it seemed like something that should be easier. But that was the way of the universe. It was always easier to harm than to heal. She didn't believe in them, but if there were Gods, they'd definitely made an uncaring reality for their subjects to live in.
It still worked, though, where her efforts hadn't. She gave a small nod of respect to Kowlin as she packed her tools back into her pockets. "These guys are here to learn the story of this place, I think." She said, jerking her thumb to the pair of Shinjin. "I just happened across them and figured I should make sure they don't get themselves killed. I don't know about them, but I don't have any interest in precious metals or gemstones. What would I do with them?"
She knew there were plenty of people in the galaxy who were motivated by such things, but she was no mercenary. Cleaning her hands of the minotaur's blood, she was reminded of all the times she'd done the same thing on the battlefield. There was little doubt about how her story would most likely end; and a soldier's funeral was a cheap affair.
"You three aren't as greedy as the last travelers who had discovered this place."
He spoke with pain in his heart as he got up and thanked them. He would then open another hidden wall that wasn't so obvious to find. After opening it with a certain spell underneath his breath. The ground shook and the minotaur took the lead as the area started to brighten up. Kowlin and Quinn followed right behind the minotaur.
"This place is very sacred. Our city is underground and only a few of our kind live. I would say about a hundred of us or so still remain. Our once prideful King, was a human who had discovered us centuries ago. While we were learning about the outside world and how dangerous it was. People started to find this entrance and we kept having to seal it up. We loss many of our kind battling the outsiders. Now all we want is to be left alone. But when you guys came here and didn't want the gold we had laid out as a trap. That's why my other brothers didn't come out to attack. You guys are different than the others and that's why I am inviting you to the underground city."
As they reached the hallway, an elevator shaft was present for all of them to enter and down below they went. As they reach the bottom, plant life could be smelled from miles away and bright sun light could be seen as well. This sun was artificial of course but it worked the same way somewhat. The three of them were in for an adventure of a lifetime...
"Well, it looks like you're going to get the answers you were looking for." Sheri said to the pair of Shinjin. She wouldn't have believed what the minotaur was telling them was even possible, if it wasn't for the evidence that the creature presents just moments later.
Bunkers and fortifications aren't something the commando has spent a huge amount of time studying. She knew that these were options which High Command had considered, maybe even put into practice, at various points. But the logistical challenges of sustaining an entire population underground were not to be taken lightly, even for a civilisation as advanced as the Tuffles. Ultimately, you would always require a link to the outside world; to dispose of waste if absolutely nothing else. And those points would become weaknesses in any attempt to hide oneself.
More disturbingly still, these minotaurs had apparently managed it whilst being troubled by a people primitive enough to go hunting for gold and be distracted by it.
"The galaxy is a brutal place." She said to their apparent guide as they descended in the elevator. "The more you want to be peaceful, the more likely you'll wind up having to fight. That's the great paradox of our age."
She still couldn't shake the feeling that this wasn't, quite, right, though. A paradise hidden miles beneath the earth, populated by just a few hundred bull-people? Maybe it was the relaxing scent of flowers and the brilliant 'sunlight', but the entire situation set Sheri on edge. She'd let her guard down for a moment before, and the two civilians she was with had almost been killed - even if it turned out that they were more capable than she would have initially guessed.
Not for the first time since she'd handed it back in, her palms itched for the comforting weight of her rifle. A sidearm at least. But she didn't have anything like that; just the strength of her own limbs to keep her safe.
The bull brought the three of them to their new king, who was a minotaur. He stood proudly before them as he wore a golden crown over his head and looking at the four of them before him. He spoke, with a low tone of voice but it was deep in tone.
"You have brought outsiders I see onto our land. You seem to trust them. If they are willing to help us with our problem. I am willing to pay them handsomely for it."
Kowlin had now spoken up as he saw the King.
"It's nice to meet you, your majesty. I am Kowlin and what seems to be the problem?"
"My guards have been attacked by a parasitic being. We would have sent more, but our scouts have stated that the being is just too strong for them. If you can handle this matter, we would be grateful."
"Perhaps you could show us how the guards who were affected look like."
The King nodded and brought them to the medical station that was literally 5ft away next to them. The knights laid on the medic bed. About five of them and all of them covered in pink goo. It wasn't something you could contract or contagious. Since the parasite enters through the body before all this happens.
"The parasite itself sends spores, which attaches onto the weak. Our strongest warriors haven't been affected by the parasite. But he isn't strong enough to handle the parasite at all."
The King waited to see if help would come to them.
From fighting against the minotaur to being brought before their king just because they didn't immediately go for the gold. Sheri's eyebrow raised sharply when she realised where they had been led. It was a miracle that these people had survived for as long as they had. If they were half as hunted as they seemed to think they were; half as hunted as they would need to be to justify the extreme measures to cut themselves off from the rest of the world, they were far too trusting to let them come before their leader so swiftly.
When they reveal the infected are being held so closely, she practically jumped out of her skin.
"That is NOT proper containment protocol."
Sheri's disapproval was written over every inch of her. She didn't have her weapons. She hadn't seen anything like that disturbing goo before. She'd known these people for less than an hour, and they'd apparently swept her into some hidden plot going on just beneath the surface of the planet.
"If you have a sturdy container, I can try and take a sample back for analysis." She said, "If it's a parasite, though, and especially if it uses SPORES, you NEED to get those people somewhere they can be contained. Without knowing the full lifecycle of the infection, there's every chance you're sitting feet away from a pair of bombs."
From one of her many pockets she pulled out a filtration and strapped it firmly onto her face. With the mask in place, her words were a little more muffled, but she wasn't about to risk infection.
"How did something like this even find you here? I thought the entire point of this place was that you didn't have contact with the outside world."
She really didn't like any of this; none of it seemed to add up. Every detail just raised more questions about the last. She'd feel so much better if she had her firearms at least, but all she could think looking at the state of the infected was that she couldn't risk touching an unknown substance like that. You didn't survive long in the Saiba wastes if you were quick to go fondling unknown organic threats.
Kowlin had looked at his newfound friend putting on a mask and such and complaining about the disease. Perhaps Kowlin and Quinn should do the same and they did. However they poof up hazmats suits for the both of them, even creating a third one for their friend as well if they chose to wear it. Kowlin even had an oxygen tank on them. Kowlin would step into the medical room to see it closely. The doctor that they had wasn't a minotaur, but a tuffle. This tuffle male was an elder scientist who had long abandoned the war and stood at 3'7ft. He looked at the towering Kowlin and greeted him.
"Hello there, I am the lead doctor on this little outbreak we have going on. As far as I am able to analyze this. Its not contagious and it doesn't affect the strong. Those who are weak, like myself. Have to wear mask around these beings. But I wouldn't worry too much since this isn't a life or death situation. The infection only last for a few days and its minor stuff here and there. However, they just need rest now. for these five were just infected. While the others we had before were also infected just days ago and were treated appropriately."
The others he spoke about, we the two minotaur scouts that had taken the lead, while the five warriors came in days later.
"If any of you guys have any questions just let me know."