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TheNohen roaming, lurking, arguing from Leipzig, Saxony Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
roaming, lurking, arguing
Jun 13th 2020 at 1:55:33 PM

Rungholt - Skies Above

The walls shudder, as a slight disturbance rocks the bus. Metal clangs and the engine sputters, as the core-drive flickers for a brief second. Still the anti-gravity-plates keep going, holding the metal box aloft in the rainy, stormy sky, until drive kicks back in again. The passengers barely react to the slight drop, so used to the shaking of the transport. Rain pelts the glass-windows, some of them cracked or words and phrases etched into it by previous passengers. The pyloleon-fabric on the seats was worn out and cracked, with the stuffing spilling out. Some seats were missing their backs, forcing the one sitting to lean against the metal framework instead.

It wasn't a comfortable ride by any means. Cheap, mostly. But this wasn't a luxury-cruise anyway. They were on their way to the Southern Wall. The bus was driven not by a civilian driver, employed at a minimum wage by a transportation-company, but was instead a trained military-pilot. One that could be trusted to bring his precious live cargo through the ever-worsening storm. And they were short on time, too.

In the seats behind him sat the recruits. Around a hundred of them that had made it through the years of training, back in the academy in Centre. Obviously they weren't the only ones, just the last batch that had the questionable luck of having to make the flight to the Wall in a thunderstorm. But, as mentioned, time was tight. The "Crucible", as it was called by the recruits, could only happen in a short timeframe. Their first real venture outside the wall, with real exo-suit, not just the training-dummies they had been using so far. Those that survived and fulfilled the high standards of their tutors would join the ranks of the Wardens.

The Wardens. Rungholts Saviours. Or at least, that was the common perception of them. The reasons for joining them were as varied as the recruits in the bus. Money, fame, adventure, bloodlust...it mattered little so long as one did his part to protect Rungholt. The last City on Earth.

It had only been a few years since the Long Siege ended and the alien, insectoid Zet had retreated back into the wilderness. Since then, humanity had slowly, cautiously begun to make its first steps outside of the Wall. But, earth had changed. It was no longer a welcome place for humans. As such, beyond the Wall, nature was still filled with danger, disease and radiation. Anyone, who was not a Warden risked certain death and even for them it was no easy matter.

As such, recruits were vital to replace yearly losses and the Crucible was ideal time to test their mettle. But for that to happen, the wild nature outside had to be tamed to ensure at least minimum safety for those brave souls. Weeks of searching and preparation to find a suitable location in which to conduct this final test. And it would not last, as the wilderness was ever shifting and what was a reasonably safe place just a week ago, could now be a spore-infested monsternest. And even with all the safety-precautions around thirty percent of all recruits died in the Crucible each year...

Those and other thoughts weighed on everyones mind, as they flew through the storm. The wind battering the rackety vehicle, ratteling the metal chassis. Rain pouring down and lightning crackling through the sky. The mood was tense, so perhaps it was unsurprising that some sought to distract themselves, be it through music, chat or simply pulling out a data-pad and reading a bit in the pale light of the LED-lights.

For all of them, today would mark a new chapter in their lives. One beginning with rain and lightning...

Edited by TheNohen on Jun 13th 2020 at 11:07:11 AM

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 13th 2020 at 2:16:30 PM

Tera

It had been precisely three years, six months, two weeks, and one day since Tera had woken up in the strange facility and stumbled into the the blinding sunlight of Rungholt. Since then, he'd felt many things, like awe, wonder, and confusion. Mostly confusion. However, on this bus ride, the stuffing leaking out of the armrest on his chair and an unpleasant scent in the air, Tera felt an entirely new emotion that he was certain was boredom.

Tucking a strand of black hair behind his ear, he started absently fiddling with his sleeves. The other recruits hadn't said anything about what he'd worn today—they'd been completely silent, actually, with very wide eyes—but Tera was sure he heard some snickering. He had no idea why; if it fit, wasn't that all that mattered?

According to what he knew about colors, the long-sleeved shirt was maroon—some would say red, but accuracy was important—the pants were just a shade off from sharing their color with that of a lime, and the boots were a very vibrant shade of scarlet. It was admittedly rather eye-catching, but most of Tera's peers wore varying shades of black and grey and white—why not stand out?

Well, anyway, he continued to fiddle with his sleeves, either not understanding or not caring about the danger he was about to be in. Probably the former.

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 13th 2020 at 4:30:16 PM

Jagoda

The girls in the seat in front of Jagoda were snickering to themselves about the android's eclectic choice of clothing. She sighed and tried to tune them out. What did it matter to them what someone else chose to put on their body?

She looked down at her own outfit. She didn't wear shoes, as her matte-black prostheses did the job far better. Her legs were clad in simple, soft black leggings, and her black tunic was similarly unadorned. Her only concession to style or modernity was a stylishly-cut grey jacket with chrome slashes down the sides and a holoviewer built into the sleeve. It had been a gift from Jorn.

Jagoda had gotten a lot of gifts from Jorn.

She brushed a lock of dirty-blonde hair out of her face and stared out of the window, trying not to think about that, but there was nothing to see out there, only endless, roiling grey storm clouds. She flicked her wrist, and the holoviewer sprang to life. Jagoda scrolled through her saved books until she came across one she hadn't read in a while, and settled in for the ride.

Jun 13th 2020 at 4:57:36 PM

Astrid's height and bulk had her sitting in a seat to herself. She towered over the seats and her enormously broad shoulders meant most folks would be crowded out anyways. She didn't mind keeping her distance, though she was disappointed people wouldn't notice that she'd gotten all dressed up fancy today: an olive drab full-body jumpsuit, freshly pressed, not even gray or black or white like normal! It was even still with the sleeves and all the buckles on. She knew this wasn't like the military where she needed a fancy dress uniform, but she was goddamn going to put her best foot forward.

There was an android right ahead of her, dressed just as finely as her, in their own way. She could stand to start getting something going with someone now, absolutely. Had to put out alliances now so she'd know she'd have backup. She reached forward and tapped the well-dressed android on the shoulder. "Love the look, where'd you get it?"

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 13th 2020 at 5:35:41 PM

Tera

"Hm?" He turned around. A cat hybrid, the biggest person there, was tapping him on the shoulder. At her question, his brow furrowed in confusion. "From a store. I thought that was where all people got clothes. Is that not normal? Where did you get yours?"

Well, she seemed friendly. It wouldn't do to be rude. "My name is Tera," he said. "I don't know much about myself yet, so I can't really talk about myself. What about you?"

Had he done that right? He wasn't sure.

Edited by LilyTheLitten on Jun 13th 2020 at 5:36:56 AM

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 13th 2020 at 5:44:30 PM

Jagoda

Jagoda glanced up from her book as the huge catgirl moved, then back down. Unfortunately, her concentration was soon interrupted.

"The sasquatch and the clown," Jagoda heard one of the girls in front of her whisper, and they both broke up in giggles. Without a word, Jagoda snapped her holoviewer off. She got up and moved carefully down the aisle, not sparing a glance at the two gossips. The shaking, rattling bus did not make it easy to move, but she managed to settle herself in a seat across the aisle from the catgirl and the android. She smiled shyly at them, then brought her book back up.

Edited by ChloeJessica on Jun 13th 2020 at 6:22:30 AM

Jun 13th 2020 at 7:53:39 PM

"Oh, cool, nice to meet part of the thirty percent. I'll make sure not to remember your faces, it'll help me sleep better." Astrid showed her teeth and nodded to the people ahead of them, then turned back to the android. "So anyway, I got this jumpsuit from an industrial supply store, actually, just called Czolgosz's. What I was asking, actually, was the store you got the clothes from. Unless they're hand-me-downs or something, you know."

Engaging on two fronts at once—catty bitches at long range and good conversation at short—was suboptimal. She cringed a little at being so direct on both without playing something else but on the other hand hopefully establishing a threatening aura out the gate would help. On the other hand with this robot, if he was just weird then no harm, and if he was fucking with her then she still should do it—she didn't play games, ever, she instead explained what stores were and told people they were gonna get eaten by Zeds. In both cases she'd determined long ago that this was the best course of action in present circumstances.

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 14th 2020 at 9:48:23 AM

Tera

Oh, that made a bit more sense. "A place called Olbrich's. I bought these because they fit." He shrugged. "I get the feeling that's not why normal people buy clothes, though."

Ten seconds went by without a word. Then, he turned to the other girl. "Hello," he said. "My name is Tera. What's yours?"

Edited by LilyTheLitten on Jun 14th 2020 at 9:50:01 AM

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 14th 2020 at 9:00:02 PM

Jagoda

She glanced up from her book. "I'm Jagoda," she replied, her soft voice barely audible over the rickety bus. She inclined her head towards the gossips, who were now sitting in sulky silence. "I'm sorry about them. Some people like to laugh at other people for no good reason. I think your clothes are nice. What made you choose those colors?" Glancing at Astrid, she added, "I grew up in the Aegis. Bear Clan folk don't like gossiping and things like that, either. It's a waste of time."

TheNohen roaming, lurking, arguing from Leipzig, Saxony Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
roaming, lurking, arguing
Jun 15th 2020 at 12:06:09 PM

Another roll of thunder shook the vehicle and a gust of wind made the whole thing bounce a bit. The driver silently cursed a bit and flipped a few switches, which stabilized the flight after a few seconds. To the side, a mutant was looking up, before looking back on his hands, the claws fiddling nervously. The only sign of anxiety on the chitin-plated face, which betrayed no other emotion.

In the back, a wolf-hybrid was loudly snoring, able to somehow find sleep. His black mane flowing down his shoulders and giving his handsome, boyish face a rather wild look.

The two girls, who had been snickering at Tera, were now quiet, not eager to provoke any anger in the intimidatingly large cat-hybrid. They were Admins, which was a rarity, considering that not many Gents voluntarily left behind their life in the Administratum. Their tanned skin, so carefully browned in a solarium, contrasted nicely with the red and blonde hair. The redhead had shaved one side short, in a surprisingly rebellious look for someone of her status, while her blonde friend had her curls at shoulder-length. Both wore expensive shirts and pants, the latter being made out of actual leather, rather than some cheap synth-fabric. They both shared the same dynasty-emblem, a purple vine swirling over their left cheek, suggesting they were from the same family.

It was colourful bunch, that sat in this bus, of which Tera, Jagoda and Astrid were not the strangest.

Edited by TheNohen on Jun 15th 2020 at 9:09:05 PM

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 15th 2020 at 12:12:22 PM

Tera

Tera blinked in response to Jagoda's question. "I just bought what was available," he said, wondering why both girls were so interested in his outfit. "I'm not very...what's the word...fashion-conscious? I've heard the phrase 'if the shoe fits, wear it' be thrown around. Isn't that why people pick their clothing?"

Another long pause. For a time, the only sound was that of the rain pelting the bus.

Eventually, Tera cleared his throat. "I believe that since we'll all be working together, we should know more about each other. That's how this works, right?" A pause. "I'll go first. I woke up in a facility knowing absolutely nothing about myself, or this city, or why there were so many bodies in the room." He said it casually, like he was just talking about groceries. "I went through some of the files at the facility, and found out that they were apparently doing something called Project TERA. That's why I picked this name."

He shrugged lightly. "After that, I wandered Rungholt for a bit before deciding I wanted to do something meaningful. So I joined the Wardens." Another pause. "That's everything about me. Would either of you like to go?"

Edited by LilyTheLitten on Jun 15th 2020 at 12:20:02 PM

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
Jun 15th 2020 at 12:47:41 PM

"Ex-mil, Cat clan, did one tour up on the wall, wanted to promote horizontally rather than go to leadership." Astrid raised her hand and spoke without being called upon. The convo was gonna get mad awkward if they stuck with clan politics, especially with a couple Admins and a fellow hybrid on board. "Internal policing and smalltime Zed hunting wasn't good enough for me so I'm getting myself a suit cleared for the same CQB and breaching ops I've done on foot."

Astrid had a lot of practice forgetting faces. Enemy and friend, at closer-than-close people came and went quick.

ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 15th 2020 at 12:57:24 PM

Jagoda

She looked down, fiddling with the zipper of her jacket. "I... had to leave the Aegis. I'd rather not talk about why," she said, her voice even softer than usual. "But... ever since I got my cables, I've wanted to know what it was like on the other side of the wall." She looked up again, making eye contact with the android, then the catgirl. "And... I want to keep people safe. Joining the Wardens seemed like the best way to do both."

Jun 15th 2020 at 8:06:51 PM

"You oughta know that it doesn't matter if you don't want to play the game, someone's gonna try to screw you over whatever reason you have for leaving the Aegis." Astrid replied, pointing at Jagoda. She fluffed her fur out more and jerked her head at the Gents. "The bitches right there have your name, your approximate home address, and a direction to dig in. I'm surprised you're that forthright about any of it. I'd be more worried if they were going to make it out of the Crucible but I've filed that out of possibility." She smiled and shrugged. "Juuuuust saying."

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 15th 2020 at 8:12:39 PM

Tera

Tera tilted his head. "Why would they do that?" He looked over at the Gents. "They have nothing to gain from it. Besides, it can't be that bad. If it was, Jagoda probably wouldn't be allowed to join the Wardens."

That last thing may or may not have been true. Tera wasn't sure.

"I apologize if that sounded dumb," he added. "I still don't know much about this city, so if any of my information is wrong, please let me know."

Edited by LilyTheLitten on Jun 15th 2020 at 8:13:39 AM

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 15th 2020 at 8:21:12 PM

Jagoda

She glanced back up at the Gents, then shook her head. "I don't care if they know. I wouldn't care if you looked it up on holonet right now. No one can hurt me with it more than I've already hurt myself... and that's why I don't want to talk about it. Okay?" She offered Astrid a small smile, then turned to Tera. "Some people don't need a reason to hurt other people. It just makes them feel good. I don't understand it myself, so I can't tell you why."

Jun 16th 2020 at 7:03:48 AM

"Oh, I worked with police, I know this one." Astrid raised her hand sarcastically. People in stuff like the PD, people standing in defense, believed in nothing, she thought. They wanted nothing! Sort of. "They want to hurt people like other people want food. It's pleasant. Brain chemistry and shit, they are rewarded for evil." She tapped her temple with an index finger. "Cures for such a disorder come in 9-millimeter, five-five-six, and double-aught buck."

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 16th 2020 at 5:02:17 PM

Tera

At Astrid's answer, Tera's head tilted again. "But that still makes no sense," he said. "How can hurting people feel good? Don't people have a...what's it called..." He bit his lip in concentration. "Con...con...con-sci-ence?" He pronounced the word like the word "science", just with a "con" at the start. "One of those?"

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 16th 2020 at 9:11:37 PM

Jagoda

She visibly flinched at Astrid's words. "I... I think I'd rather try to rehabilitate such people, myself. Summary execution seems... extreme."

Jagoda shook her head at Tera. "I'm sorry. As I said, I can't fathom it myself, so I don't know what to tell you."

"Anyway, why don't we talk about something less... sad?" she added. "You mentioned your suit, Astrid; mine's supposed to be stealth-focused, I was trained for recon before I joined up and it just made sense to stick with that."

TheNohen roaming, lurking, arguing from Leipzig, Saxony Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
roaming, lurking, arguing
Jun 17th 2020 at 12:45:51 PM

The bus swayed again, as a particular violent wind hit its side. Lightning cracked outside, illuminating the lands below. They had long left behind the skyscrapers and interlocked concrete-blocks of Centre, with its neon-lit streets, impossible traffic that was still active despite this weather and neversleeping bustle of activity below.

Now the rolling landscapes of the Sectors were below them. Miles upon miles of fields, hothouses, plantations and proteinfarms, only occasionally interrupted by settlements and smaller towns. Each sectors seperated from the other by fences. Some of the more...tense neighbours even putting guardtowers in place, as sabotage was a real thing sometimes when competing sectors got a bit overzealous.

But even that slowly fell back, as they got closer and closer to the Wall. The massive structure visible on the horizon already, despite them still being at least an hour away from it. The ground below now slowly dominated less and less by farms and fields and more and more by roads, stations, industry and fortifications. A vast semi-urban sprawl that thickened the closer they got to the Wall itself, like a fungal growth out of metal and concrete that clung to a rock or tree. The sectors here had specialized to cater to the needs of the Clans specifically, be it munitions-factories, forges and more.

"Hey, that's where I used to live!", said a young man at the front, his skin ruddery and his black hair cut to a stubble. His companion, a muscled pig-hybrid with a tooth peeking out from his lower lip, leaned over and raised an eyebrow. "What? That junkheap over there!?", he asked.

"Its a Recycling-Forge, thank you very much. I wonder, if they managed to bring the AN-T5 tank back online...dad had been working on it, before I left."

"Your family actually got an Ant-tank in the scrapyard? Geez, talk about antique..."

The two continued their conversation a bit more silent, as they noticed a few stares...

_________________________________________________________

Conversations died down in general, as the storm picked back up again and the bus now bounced around like being rattled by an angry child. The engines stuttered and spat and tension got thick enough, that one could cut it with a knife.

Then, finally, the storm slowly subsided. Rain still peppered against the glass-window, like it was trying to shatter them, but both the wind and the lightning slowly receded, making the ride a lot smoother.

Which was just in time, as they finally reached the Wall. It had already been huge from a distance, but up close it now became clear how gigantic the structure really was. A beast of metal and concrete looming over them, even as they were high up in the air. It had no end, simply stretching from horizon to horizon and into the distance forever, with its flat top being wide enough to allow a dozen tanks to ride side by side and still have some room to maneuver. Rusted metal-plates covered its entire surface, so vast it was impossible to stop decay alltogether. And yet, this wasn't even the full majesty of this impossible structure, as they approached it from behind. Its full armaments were on the other side, bared at the enemy and the wilderness outside, and currently hidden from their view.

Over the centuries, the hybrids had adapted and modified their eternal fortress. For Astrid, this was nothing new, since the Western Wall itself had by now mostly been covered by huts, buildings and other structures. Yet, for most of the recruits it was a weird sight to see houses, fabricators and rickety walkways litter the Wall like barnacles. Most were empty, as precaution because of the storm, but there were signs like empty flower-pots or naked ziplines for clothes, suggesting a civilian use for most of these structures.

Even stronger then was the contrast with the Aegis, as the driver swung the bus upwards and flew past those lower levels. As they came higher and higher, the surface of the Wall became smoother and cleaner. Houses vanished and were replaced by massive gates, gun-turrets and landing-pads. Then, they reached the lower parts of the Aegis itself.

It was breathtaking. Above them, they could see the shadows of the looming runways and guardtowers, sticking out from the top of the wall like fingers or horns, giving the Horngard its name. Massive communication-arrays blinked in the darkness, running smooth even after centuries of use. Grav-planes and transporters landed and took off at regular intervalls, even despite the weather, like a swarm of insects. And finally, they could spot the glowing deflector-shield, as raindrops peppered it, creating a fantastic, scintillating lightshow. Shields like this used to be everyhwere along the wall, protecting vital systems or command-centers. Over the centuries of battle, the Aegis was the only one which still had one fuctioning. An artifact of ancient times, able to withstand concentrated artillery-bombardment for weeks at a time.

The ascend stopped well before they could reach the Horngard. The bus hovered in front of one of the many gates, a giant metal maw of interlapping plates. The driver activated his transmitter. "Gate 241-B, here is Holle 13. Permission to enter?"

His radio crackled, before a hazy voice answered. "Holle 13, here is Gate 241-B. Permission to enter granted."

A loud screech could be heard, as the gate slowly opened. The plates receding like lips, as the old metal protested audibly. The driver then slowly flew inside. Metal clamps slammed into the bus, holding the vehicle in place as the engine stopped and the anti-grav drive was shut down. Just as that happened, the entire vehicle sacked down by a few inches, as weight and gravity suddenly reasserted themselves.

The doors opened with a hiss and the driver turned around on his seat, looking at the recruits. "Alright, boys and girls. Final station. Get out and good luck."

Edited by TheNohen on Jun 20th 2020 at 2:56:11 PM

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 20th 2020 at 9:20:33 AM

Tera

The wall was a very interesting place. Tera paused the conversation so he could stare at it through the window. He couldn't help but wonder why people lived here, despite the dangers. Maybe they didn't have anywhere else to go.

When the bus came to a stop, he was first to get up. By the time their driver told them to get off, he was already halfway out the door.

He stopped. Something about the station felt...odd. The weight of the air felt heavier, the colors looked less bright. Few people were there, and all of them were dull cloaks over their bodies and were hurrying through the station. Most didn't look at the recruits, and the few who did looked with suspicion.

Tera waved regardless. "Hello."

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"
ChloeJessica trying not to be so grump from the vtubes Relationship Status: Noddin' my head like yeah
trying not to be so grump
Jun 20th 2020 at 11:22:15 AM

Jagoda

She knew that becoming a Warden would have effectively nullified her banishment - no one told Wardens where they could and couldn't go. Still, she kept her face down as she exited the bus, hoping not to run into anyone who would recognize her. She kept an eye on Tera and Astrid, figuring she could do worse than stick by the only two people she actually knew.

Jun 20th 2020 at 11:47:01 AM

Astrid stood and used her superior size to keep an eye out for Jagoda and Tera. "Breaching, by the way." She jerked her head back to them. "Same as you, I'm taking what I'm good with and putting it in a suit. Shotgun, ballistic shield, flashes, the works." She jerked her head forward. "Disembarking's gonna be a rough crowd, stay on me so we can stick together." Astrid's left arm shot back to hold onto and clear a path behind herself for Jagoda and Tera, and her right arm helped wedge herself forward. "Us three, c'mon."

TheNohen roaming, lurking, arguing from Leipzig, Saxony Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
roaming, lurking, arguing
Jun 22nd 2020 at 10:12:36 AM

It was dark in the landing-zone. The pathways on the side were lit, but between them and the parking-zones, the room was cast in shadows. This was done to cut down on power-usage. The hybrids were notoriously power-efficient, so everything that didn't need to be active at any given moment, wasn't. It saved money and ressources, both which were always scarce. Well, unless you were a pig-hybrid, of course.

Between the clamps that held the bus in place and the actual floor on the far side were small walkways, which reached over the deep drop below. If one looked down, they could see the landing-zones beneath and a variety of other vehicles docking or leaving, which continued for several levels down. Falling here was probably not a good idea...

The recruits left their transport and carefully made their way to the other side. Once their boots touched solid metal floor, everyone made a brief sigh of relief. They didn't cause too much attention. The people still active to this late hour had mostly other things to do and bear-hybrids weren't known for their curiosity in general. A bored looking attendant sat behind a reception, while two engineers were busy inspecting the bus for any damages. A few others simply rushed through the station, on the way to other parts of the complex.

Colours were subtle here. Almost dull, really. Brown, black, grey, etc. A far cry from the flashy neon-lights of Centre and the fashion-scene active there. Heavy boots, tight shirts and baggy, functional pants were much more common here. The bear-hybrids were also huge. Astrid was by no means a small woman, but even she found herself in the rare position of occasionally having to look up to someone. Seven feet seemed to be the average height here and even the desk-jockey at the reception had a pretty thick neck. His huge hands were actually using a unique board, which had been enlargened to fit his fingers and allow him to type easier.

He looked up, when he saw the recruits approaching. There was a brief second of silence, before the wolf-hybrid from earlier stepped forward. "Hi, we are here for the Crucible. We are recrui-"

He didn't get to finish, as the man simply grunted disinterested. "Yeah, yeah. More meat, huh? Was wondering if they would be so stupid to send another batch through this storm...", he growled and looked at his grainy screen.

"Another batch?", wondered the young wolf. As far as they knew, they had been the only ones caught up in that weather.

"Eeeyup. Just got a crash-report from the transport before you. Looks nasty." The bear whistled a bit, as he looked at the pictures on his screen. "Aaanyway, the Assembly hall is down the left hallway, past the workrooms and then two corners to the right. Big factory-doors, cannot miss it." He waved them away.

The group walked through the hallways. Metal upon metal zoomed past them, with a few ads or posters here and there, faded or ripped off by someone and then plastered over by another one. The hallways themselves were narrow, allowing maybe three to walk side-by-side. Loud steps, industrial hammering and myriad of other noises echoed through them, carried an incredible distance throughout the Wall and ensuring there was never such a thing as total silence. Occasionally, someone pushed past them, not even really surprised to see them. For those, that had considered themselves special for being recruited into the Wardens, this was an uncomfortable revelation indeed.

Finally, they reached the Assembly Hall. Two massive doors were before them, similar to more of a gate really. They were functional and dull, like most things here, but the two armed guards on either side gave this gate nonetheless an aura of importance. The two hulking soldiers carried actual shardguns, a shotgun that magnetized its projectiles to incredible speed, and some nasty looking metal-clubs. Certainly more than just some honourguard...

They stared at the recruits, almost as if they dared them to do something stupid. Then one of them turned around and reached up to an opening in the wall beside him. His hand went past a number-pad, which looked broken and rusty. Cabled stuck out of it, jury-rigged to a smaller button, which he pressed. The gate then opened with a loud hiss, as the doors were slowly pulled back.

The Assembly Hall was massive. Comparable to a hangar or a factory-hall, its ceiling rose high up over their heads. In the past, it used to be a literal assembly-yard for tanks and so on, but with the growing scarcity of them it had fallen into disuse. The Wardens now used it for their exo-suits.

Most of the heavy machinery had been removed and space had been made. The floor had been removed in places to connect the hall to the work-rooms around it and allow for easy transport and movement of tech and material. Plattforms were arrayed in lines, each and every one housing an empty exo-suit, held up by cables. Engineers and Tinkerers were everywhere, running around, working and talking with one another. Just as they entered one platform hissed as it opened and a damaged exo-suit rose up from below, its armor-plates stripped off and cut to pieces and some sparks flying out of its open innards. Immediately several engineers rushed towards it, to assess the damage. Somewhere else, a young tinkerer-boy slipped into a light suit and tested its range of motions. When he raised the arm, it stopped short and he and his father immediately went to work out what caused the limb to malfunction.

And beyond that, in the back of the hall, space had been cleared and the other recruits were standing around. Some noticed them and waved, other ignored the newcomers. They were waiting for something...

LilyTheLitten Lord of All I Survey from Middle-of-Nowhere, Earth Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Lord of All I Survey
Jun 22nd 2020 at 10:24:17 AM

Tera

This place...was big. Very big. A bit too big. A strange sensation welled up in Tera's head, which was starting to spin. Was this being overwhelmed? He was pretty sure it was.

The guards cast him strange, almost scrutinizing, looks as he entered, but said nothing. Was it the clothing again? It was likely the clothing again. He chose to ignore it. It was just clothes, after all.

They passed several Tinkerers and engineers on their way to...wherever they were going. Tera waved at a few as they passed, but nobody paid him much attention. Well, except for one young man who'd been working on an Exo-Suit nearby, who looked up as Tera was walking by him and did a double-take, accidentally pulling the suit's entire arm off.

Hm. Maybe the clothes were a bit distracting.

Anyway, now they'd reached another group of recruits, some of whom had waved at them. "Hello," Tera said, waving back.

Edited by LilyTheLitten on Jun 22nd 2020 at 10:38:49 AM

"Anything can be a weapon if you use it wrong enough!"

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