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Story The Rustlands: Ruins of Cetalon

To explain, this is an attempt to make a coherent story out of the various events and character actions in @Rastriavis' RP, The Rustlands. However, I'll admit to changes having to be made to make things make sense or flow better. However, if you're not apart of the RP then you'll likely not know what these changes were and the like. Anyway, hope you enjoy this as much as I enjoyed writing it. (Note: This is incomplete and I'll update it when I have a new chapter ready or just when I feel like it. Also, I have permission from Rastriavis to write this.)

Located 20,000 lightyears from any known inhabited planets, hidden in a nebula inside of the Artometus galaxy, and surrounded by an extremely thick asteroid belt that is nearly 5,000 miles in every direction is Cetalon. The climate of this planet is much like Earth’s, except it is a fair bit colder, and the sun casts a red, dying-looking light, and long shadows.

In the year 301 AR, a planet was discovered by an astronomer using a telescope. It was named Cebathalus 2, after a philosopher from long ago.

Then, in the year 996 AR, A group of astronomers were watching belt of asteroids surrounding their home planet, and they just so happened to peer at Cebathalus 2 through a very high-powered telescope. In awe of what they saw, they dropped their mission, and peered at it for months on end, gathering data from the sights they saw, studying the clouds and gazing at it with thermal telescopes. The telemetry indicated that it was incredibly similar to Cetalon, and the next generation of Boolean astronomical robots (1011 AR onward) attempted to use the flight to their furthest moon as a stepping stone to get there. They failed, however, due to the under-developed technology of spacecraft and crashed into an unmapped continent. But a corrupt government reported that it had a more hospitable climate, and was rich in resources. A new sensation swept throughout the people of Cetalon, one that had not been felt ever before. That of a new kind of exploration.

There was a race to construct huge ships, capable of long distance travel, and that sparked a war. It was a most violent conflict, and new machinery was needed. The planet was industrialized, and covered in machines, even more-so than it was before. Once the war was won, in 1031 AR, the victors being the Sileans, and the ships constructed, a peace treaty was signed by the major powers, and most of the civilizations left their planet in the great Colonial Ships, bound for Cebathalus 2, leaving behind their homes and work, and the planet was supposedly settled when the ships supposedly reached it in 1056 AR. They lost radio communication and crashed into un-mapped seas off the coast of the large uninhabited icecaps in the lower south seas of Cetlalon. The supposed landing of the ships was actually a dust storm on the surface of Cebathalus 2. The travelers left behind vast industrial civilizations on their home planet, however, and Cetalon started to reclaim its lost land. Most of the areas that were once occupied by cities are now forests, filled with lost buildings and interesting machinery left to rust. This planet, once named Cetalon, is now called Rustland. Those who couldn't get on the ships, stayed on Cetalon and formed into their own little groups.

The year is now 1087 AR, 31 years after society left Rustland. Some alliances/clans have been formed. The planet has retreated into a state of feral wilderness. Most, if not all of the land remains abandoned, filled with broken and rusting machines and cities. The total count of people on Rustland is somewhere around the mark of 60,500.

The largest of these groups is known by the name “Kratal's Fists”. It is a coalition of the people who rejected the peace treaty, and they are hostile to anyone who has left the planet, or who has proven to be dangerous. They are very territorial, and are known to start wars frequently. Their main goal is to get off Rustland, while breaking up the peace pact.

Most people tend to stick together in smaller groups, such as families, although there are other, smaller factions. Many people still hang on to the old ideals, such as chivalry and honor. Although, there is no honor in war.

There is now an ongoing war between factions, and many people are hostile. Most, if not all of the land remains abandoned, filled with broken and rusting machines and cities. Civilization is carried on by very small towns, and vast tracts of land remain wilderness, and full of danger. The towns are still surrounded by the vast walls left over from the Exodus War, the name for the conflicts which determined who constructed the ships, many people living in them seem to be fearful of strange creatures out of folklore, which supposedly lurk outside the walls of their cities.

It was relatively peaceful in the city of Crosstown as the sun set on another long day. The city was known as one of the biggest cities still remaining on Cetalon and something of a shipping capital on the central continent of Orcia. It is divided into four, somewhat mixed, sectors with the industrial sector being the largest. It is also known as the ‘shining city where honor and society prevails over all’. Founded in 5966 UN by the late King Fretelaos Phaedrus, it is a very strong and ancient city, which was expanded beyond the original stone sector shortly before the events of the Exodus War, in response to the use of 117-type bombs, in the year 1024. The Dieten river cuts right through the city. Practically all buildings in the city, excluding those in the stone sector, are made of metal with very obvious rust stains running down the sides and sometimes plant-life crawling up the sides of the oldest buildings.

However, towards the transportation sector, the sounds of gunfire and a tall, almost lanky, figure running down the city streets, and occasionally cutting through alleyways interrupted the peace that was descending on the city. This figure, a man, wore a gray trench-coat, gray gloves, slightly baggy urban camo pants, and armored boots was on the run from the city’s local militia, the Praetorian Guard. If one was of a keen eye, and saw him in a better light, they’d see that his eyes were that of a Silean’s, all black and reptilian in appearance. Although, unlike many others of his kind, the irises of his eyes were brown instead of black. His hands gripped his revolver, a Brook Dintyrr, tightly as he ran.

He casts a very brief glance behind himself to see if he was still being chased. He was able to briefly see the light blue fatigues with short, thigh length, grey-blue canvas coats that are typical of the Praetorian Guard uniform. However, he wasn’t able to make out much more as he hears a shot ringing out and a bullet hitting the side of the building he was next to. He nearly flinches, not sure if he was happy with his answer as he double-timed it away from these men, two in total, that were chasing him.

Too close... don’t look, Locke. Just RUN! He thought to himself as he ducked into a nearby alleyway. Tonight, the guard had decided to pay him a visit and busted down the door of his makeshift warehouse of guns and other types of firearms, all with the intent on selling them illegally on the streets under the assumed name of Strauss. His current destination was that of the train tracks that cut right through the city with the hope of boarding a train headed outside the city limits. Of course, he wasn’t too sure what he’d do AFTER getting out of the city but for now this seemed like a sound plan.

In the alley, he finds a nice nook to hide in. It would seem such a measure was unnecessary as the guard had lost sight of him just before he ducked into the alley and had ran past. Breathing a sigh of relief, Locke cautiously walked out of his hiding spot and made his way to the other end of the alley. He then started taking a more direct route to where he was headed towards. However, he ends up coming across a strange scene along the way. A crashed truck much like what he used to drive when he was younger and the sight of an ongoing fight between three figures. One looked to be an aging mining Boolean based on the presence of digging claws and mining light coming from its head, another seemed to be a young cat-like Ferisian girl... or at least he thought it was a girl, and the last one he wasn’t too sure of as they were completely covered in pure black armor, with a deep grey visor with teeth painted on the helmet. Oddly, he noted, was that the Ferisian’s tail was a bit more like a dog’s rather than a cat’s. To him, it looked to be a two on one fight with the Ferisian and Boolean on one side and this armored figure on the other.

“What in the world?” He wondered quietly in Silean as he hid behind the crashed truck to observe, looked as though a crane was used to stop the truck by having it crashing headlong into it. The front end was a wreck but it didn’t look like that anything was about to catch fire at the moment though. Uhh... looks like I have no choice but to watch. He thinks to himself as he looks around the street. There wasn’t really anywhere he could take around this fight. At least, not without being noticed.

Upon looking back to the fighting, he saw the Ferisian jab her rifle (fitted with a bayonet) into the helmet of the armored figure and pulled the trigger, sending the figure back a few steps as a spurt of blood came from the newly created wound, oddly the blood was black instead of the usual red. Falling onto their back, he thought they were killed but they still moved as they put a hand on where they were shot.

WHAT THE HELL!? Locke thought, very much surprised and alarmed by this sight. How the hell does someone survive something like that? Just what the hell ARE they? He thought fearfully.

:red:!” The figure howled as they fell onto their back. From upon the ground, they pulled out a SMG that Locke never had seen before. They then fired a five round burst at the Ferisian at point blank range but luckily none of the bullets fully penetrated the trench-coat that she wore.

Huh? Nice to know I’m not the only one with an armored trench-coat. Locke thought as he continued watching. He felt that he was fortunate that he wasn’t involved in this fight as he had little desire to ever go toe-to-toe with either of them.

The Ferisian then tried the same trick again with the other eye but unfortunately her rifle was smacked away by the figure. “How do you wish to die?” They asked the Fersian as they got back to their feet. Their tone was almost unnaturally calm for the situation as black blood flowed freely from their head wound.

“Was that Gzzrt necessary!?” The Boolean yelled at the figure. From Locke’s perspective it wasn’t certain of what this Boolean was talking about. However, likely it was to the very fact that it and the Ferisian being attacked by this figure... or at least what he was able to guess at. Although, it was certain that someone’s voice box was slightly malfunctioning.

The Ferisian only growled at the figure as she took on a combat stance with her rifle held low but ready to fire again if the situation demanded it.

Just what the hell is going on here? Locke wondered to himself as he waited for what would happen next. He was partially hoping that the guard would hear the commotion and sort it out or at least the fight would end up being taken elsewhere.

“No answer? Then tell me what you know of High Exarch Phraktos and maybe I’ll let you live.” The figure demanded from the two.

“We don’t Gzzrt know who that is!” The Boolean answered.

“Don’t you lie.” The figure growled, pointing a finger at the Ferisian. “I saw him with him earlier today.”

Wait... the Ferisian’s a boy? Uhhh... Locke thought very much awkwardly as he continued listening in to the conversation. Either I need my eyes checked or that’s the most feminine looking Ferisian boy I’ve ever seen.

“You’re serious?” The figure asked upon receiving no other answer than a perplexed stare from the Ferisian. “Another few years of tracking wasted!” They exclaimed as they threw up their hands in annoyance.

The Ferisian’s only response to this was bit of a sneer and a look upon his face suggesting he was thinking, ‘Do you think I’m kidding?’

The figure remained silent for a few moments before speaking. “I’ll take my leave before either of you think of jabbing another thing in my eye.” They said as they left the two to their own devices. Some time down the street, and out of sight of the two, they skillfully scaled a building and began keeping watch on them in the case they were actually lied to.

“Well, now that Grzzt that’s over, can someone Grzzt inform me as to Grzzt what happened in the Grzzt past few Grzzt years? And can someone Grzzt fix my communicator Grzzt box? It's been Grzzt acting up lately, if you Grzzt hadn’t noticed.” The Boolean said as the issue with its voice box was getting worse.

The Ferisian then returned his rifle to its sheath on his back and pulls out a wrench to likely begin working on the Boolean. However, first he directs the Boolean’s attention to a faded poster on a nearby wall that mentioned something about a ‘Second Pore War.’

Locke stares at this poster for a few moments before fully hiding himself behind the truck to only listen into the conversation going on nearby. He quietly sighs before sitting down with his back to the truck and shaking his head. Right... that will be starting soon... He thinks to himself as he continues listening in.

“I’ve been Grzzt for a few Grzzt. Now it's cutting Grzzt words! Can you Grzzt fix the Grzzt box before Grzzt explaining it?” Again, the speech issue becoming much worse.

The Ferisian then situated himself behind the Boolean and slammed his hand into the midsection of Boolean’s back, settling the diaphragm in his voice box back into place. “Better?” He asked, finally actually speaking. Albeit, it was fairly silent and not very easily heard. Locke had only barely made it out himself.

Some clicks and whirring was heard. Likely, coming from the Boolean before it spoke again. “Communication box reset. Faulty box repaired.... Ah, much better! Now, as I was trying to say, I have been offline for what appears to be a few years. So I don’t have any knowledge as to what that is. Please explain.” Likely, referring to the poster.

The Ferisian was silent. It wasn’t certain of whether he was thinking or just didn’t know how to answer the question. At least, that was what Locke was thinking. However, a few dozen sets of boots were heard coming up the street they were on. Getting up quietly and carefully looking to see what it was revealed that there were a few squads of soldiers coming. At least, he knew they were certainly not the guard. They looked far more well armed.

After, he started hearing the Boolean moving. “Hey, I never got your name.” It said to the Ferisian. Locke returned his attention to the two to see that they were on the move. He noted that the Ferisian was running a bit strange almost as though he had taken a hit to the leg.

I wonder... where are they headed? I guess out of the city if those soldiers coming are anything to go by. He thought to himself as he began keeping a nice safe distance from the two as he followed them. He still had his revolver out, just in case.

“Rastriavis... or Rast.” The Ferisian said in response to the Boolean.

“I’m Copper.” The Boolean said in kind to Rast.

With introductions out of the way for the time being the two started making their way down the street, away from the soldiers. Along the way, the sounds of the bullets that were shot at Rast by the armored figure slid out of his coat, clinking to the ground. Damn, kid. You’re lucky. Locke thought to himself as he followed after and saw the bullets a little later. As he followed, he kept his distance so as to hopefully not be heard by Rastriavis or Copper, Rast especially. He hoped that neither would take another look behind them and see him. Which, this fear made him try to stay in the shadows more where ever he could find any.

As they near an alleyway, the sounds of explosions are heard in the distance just down the street. That’s not good... it’s starting now. Locke thinks to himself, very much understandably alarmed by this. The other two go into the alley with him keeping his distance by observing from around the corner into the alley. As he would find out, the alley that those two went into had someone already hiding in it. Seemed to be another Boolean based on their rather stiff movement. Unlike Copper, it was much bigger and roughly looked like something like a knight. On its head, it had two rather lopsided glowing yellow eye spots, one towards the upper left of its ‘face’ and another towards the lower right, suggesting that might have had four but the other two aren’t working.

“What business you have here?” The Boolean asked, sounding authoritative.

“Getting out of the way of a few armed men.” Copper answered truthfully. At this point, the new Boolean’s head looked up to see Locke watching.

“Eh? Seems that you have a stalker.” It said which prompted Copper to turn and look, blinding him with his mining light that he had turned on.

“He’s right, there’s someone following us.” He said to Rast behind him.

Locke immediately drew his head back around the corner. :red:... He thinks to himself as he shakes his head to clear his sight. ...and he just HAD to blind me too with that damn light. His eyes hurt a little bit like they did the very first day he and his father spent on the surface after moving from Kimac to Crosstown. Although, Cetalon’s sun didn’t blind him this badly.

The knight-like Boolean then started making its way towards where Locke was but the sounds of explosions steadily getting louder caused it to stop in its tracks.

“Can’t vorry about zat.” Rast says to the Boolean, raising his voice over as a train runs by on the tracks. He starts running towards the train as it slows down just enough that one could safely jump into an open box car. He’s then followed by Copper and the other Boolean, who casted a brief glance back at where it spotted Locke before doing so. Shortly after, Locke also. The sounds of explosions were once again becoming audible over the train.

“Geronimo!” Copper exclaims as he jumps into the box car. Due to his bulk and weight, he nearly didn’t make it and clanged loudly on the floor within.

“Shhhhiiiiit!” Locke curses aloud in Silean as he jumps into the same box car as the other two. The only thing he was hoping was that he didn’t end up with a rifle pointed at his head as a result of him following. Whether he liked it or not, he had little choice.

As Locke stood up and dusted himself off, very much out of breath, he barely had any time to take in his surroundings before getting grabbed by someone. All he noticed before being grabbed was shipping crates, and a knuckleboom crane resting in the rear right-hand corner, idly connected by belts to a slightly dilapidated and underused electric motor. Also, he briefly saw a boiler of some sort resting in the left-hand front corner of the cart.

“Who are you?” It seemed that the knight-like Boolean was the one that grabbed him.

“Strauss... let me go!” He struggled to answer as the Boolean’s grip on his throat was pretty tight. Although, he was thankful that it didn’t out right go for the kill and chose to ask questions first.

As soon as he answered he felt the Boolean’s hand let go of him and he fell to the floor clutching his throat. Well... at least I didn’t get a rifle pointed at my head. Although, would have preferred. Locke thought to himself as he coughed a little bit.

“Hmm, quite dark. Eye light: on.” Copper said as he turns on his mining light to better illuminate the area. “Now, how do I fix this other problem with me shutting off?”

Rastriavis merely silently looked at the stranger. What’s with the mask? Is he a soldier or something? He thought to himself before hearing what Copper had said, hissing slightly upon almost being blinded by him suddenly turning his mining light on. “I’d need to dismantle you to figure that out.” He said quietly to Copper. After which, he directed Copper’s attention to Locke.

“Huh? Why are you... Ooohhh, yea. You humans don’t have surveillance lights. Right.” He said upon following where Rastriavis was pointing.

“And I think one of my electrical wires is loose. You may dismantle me for a short while to figure this out.”

“You... on the run... from them too?” Locke asked them before coughing a little. His voice was very much hoarse from being grabbed by the throat. That and being slightly out of breath made talking a bit unpleasant. Good that they think I’m Human but I doubt I’d be able to keep up that facade for long. Might have to ditch them before then.

Rastriavis merely nodded his head as the knight-like Boolean took to leaning against the wall next to the open door that they all had jumped in from. From there, he merely silently observed everything going on in the cart while keeping one of his still working eyes on Locke. Now in better light, it was very much clear that this Boolean had seen his fair share of wear and tear. There were a few dents here and there dotting his chestplate. The armor plating on his left leg extremely miscolored and rusty, almost as though he had taken a few sheets of metal plating and wrapped it around his leg to replace what was lost there. It would also seem that he had to do the same thing with his right arm as it was equally miscolored. Also, there was some rusted spots along his other leg and the rest of his body.

From what Locke could make of Rastriavis, other than his rather girlish figure, was that his fur was dark brown, nearly black, in color and he had long, almost wavy red hair that was tied back with something. Also, he had two red markings just under his cat-like eyes. He wore gray baggy cargo pants and a slightly tight black trench-coat, which now had a few bullet holes in it where he was shot before. Also, he noticed that the kid had taken a hit in the leg at some point, likely from before Locke happened upon the fight that he gotten into with that armored figure. Explains why he was limping slightly as he ran. He thought to himself. Currently, he was sitting down on the opposite side of the door from the knight-like Boolean.

“Where are you off to, anyway?” Locke asked them as the train cart rumbled as it continued on its way down the line. “Need some place to lay low until they forget about me.” He could almost feel the Boolean’s gaze burning a hole through his head upon him mentioning needing a place to hide till someone would forget about him.

Meanwhile, Copper was looking through the cart for anything useful to repair himself or the other Boolean that was in the cart with them. “I’m going to see if I can salvage anything from the machines in this room, if anything would be useful to you guys.”

He nods to Copper before answering Locke’s question. “Outside...” Rastriavis silently answers with a slight grin. It was just barely audible over the train’s rattling.

“With how much they were combing the streets like they were...? I guess best for business, that.” He replied with bit of nervous laugh before sighing. First time for everything, I suppose. Although, wish this wasn’t the circumstances that caused me to do this. He thought to himself as he watched what ever the hell Copper was doing. Which was looking over the old motor that was in the cart with them.

“You guys need anything?” He asked as he looked up from the motor. “This electrical motor is still pretty intact.”

Receiving no answers from anyone present in the cart, he grabbed a few bits of extra wire and other such parts to likely repair himself. “Well, fine. I’ll just look through here for myself.”

“So... what’s your story? How a bot like you get mixed up in all of this?” Locke asked Copper as he returned to the group.

From what he could gather from Copper’s answer, he used to be some mining Boolean that, for some weird reason, was being used as some sort of body guard for important people, deliveries, and other important treasures even though his owners knew he wasn’t meant nor was equipped for that kind of work. For a while, he believed that he was just some defective security bot before his creators came forward and told his owners what he was meant for. After, was brought into the mining business where he was designed for and enjoyed a life of being a mining Boolean. That is, until some war erupted and his creator, some gentleman by the name of Mr. Quincy, had deactivated him so as to ‘save him’ from something. He was only tonight was reactivated during a bit of a gun fight that Rastriavis was apart of before fleeing the scene with Copper in tow. The rest, which Locke knew of, was the two of them getting in that scuffle with the armored figure from before and them getting on this train.

After Locke was done processing what was told to him. He then hooked his thumb towards the large knight-like Boolean on the other side of the door to him and asked, “And him?”

“Heck if I know. I was only just reactivated.” Copper answered. Which, the other Boolean answered for him.

“Abaddon... that’s all I care to share right now.” He answered with just his name. “Not too sure of the details myself as I only recently wandered into the city myself. Anything before? Nothing but bad memories. Most of which are best left unsaid.”

“...” Locke remained silent for a moment before saying, “...and people thought I was shady?” He laughed.

“Heh. So, what is everyone doing? I'm trying figure out what the hell happened to the world.” Copper then asked a question of his own to everyone present.

“Clearly somethin’ big.” Locke answers before adding, “Bad for business, I tell you. What’s a man supposed to do to earn a honest livin’ without the Praetorian Guard bustin’ down the door?”

“Praetorian Guard? I guess this is one of those post-apocalyptic future scenarios humans from the past always thought of, where one evil government rules the world?”

Locke almost snickered at this. If he’s joking then I like this bot already.

“Nope... just ze local militia.” Rastriavis answers quietly after being in deep in thought for the last couple of minutes, not really paying attention to the conversation going on. As the train begins to go over a series of large bumps he closes the cargo door that Locke and Abaddon were on other sides of.

“What he said...” He agrees with Rastriavis before grumbling, “Although, they’re still an annoyance.” He then asks, “Reminds me, what’s the name, kid? Don’t think I got yours... or should I just call you ‘kitty’ for short.” Although, he already knew both Rastriavis and Copper’s names but he figured it was for the best to look as though he hadn’t been following them for very long.

“Go for zit.” Rastriavis responds with a shrug, although knowing that Locke wasn’t serious with this based on his tone. ‘Kid’ it is then. At least, until someone uses your name out-loud and it won’t look suspicious that I already know your name. Guess the same with Copper, too. He thought to himself.

“So, I assume you all are running from this city-like place for a better, less annoying life in a less annoying and better place with a better lifestyle?” Copper asked the group.

“Personally, just want a place where I can lay low for a few. They’ll forget about me... eventually.” Locke answered. Although, the idea of getting to see more of the surface was a little bit exciting to him. And considering the war they’re fighting back there, I think that is highly likely. He thinks to himself.

As this goes on, Rastriavis walks over to an open topped crate in a corner and grabs something from within it. “Just what was this war about?” Abaddon suddenly asks after being silent for so long.

“Hell that I know.” Locke responds.

“The war from before I was shutdown?” Copper responds with a question of his own.

“Yes, that one...” Abaddon responds, although not sounding all that certain himself. During this time, Rastriavis had made his way from the crate and sat atop a different crate with his legs dangling over the side. “So... what happened?”

“Oh, I think that one was over a planet called Cebathalus 2, some sort of planet rich in resources untouched by man or machine alike.”

Rastriavis turns a crank on the side of the object he found, causing it to produce a bit of a bag pipe sound and his ears twitching in response. He stops cranking it before looking over at Copper and silently saying, “Zat vas more zan 30 years ago...”

“30 years!? That’s how long I’ve been offline? Wh-It’s remarkable that I still function.” Copper says in complete surprise.

“You must mean that war that my... the Sileans won... I think, involving who would construct the ships that would fly up there.” Locke says, cutting himself off before almost accidentally saying ‘my kind.’ Real smooth, Locke... He thinks to himself. Still amazes me there are stuff just beyond that sky up there. Still feels like just yesterday that I saw the surface for the first time and the sky.

Rastriavis took note of Locke’s near slip of the tongue as he gave up trying to figure out the object he had found in a crate. However, he didn’t have the time to question this. Suddenly, loud footsteps could be heard moving toward the car from the front of the train while it moved past a set of warning bells and flashing lights.

“What’s going on?” Abaddon asks, sounding curious of the sound of warning bells. Only Rastriavis could hear that someone was coming.
Locke cursed under his breath in Silean as he reached in his coat for his pistol, a Brook pistol that is commonly called an ‘Ovipositor’ by some people, and began looking around for somewhere to hide.

“Something’s coming everyone, hide.” Copper said with some alarm before hiding behind an old crate. The others didn’t need telling twice as they looked for spots to hide. Rastriavis returned the object he was messing around with into the crate he found it in and hid behind that very same crate. Locke found a nice dark corner to wedge himself into and Abaddon hid as far behind the boiler he could. Almost as soon as Abaddon turned off the lights of his remaining eyes, rendering him blind, an old man in his mid fifties enters the cart. He held a lantern at arms length as he began search of the cart interior.

“What’s all this duff about load management, eh?” The old man says to no-one in particular, resting the haft of his pitch-cleaver over his left shoulder. He walks into the room, and inspects it, his hair blowing around in the breeze which is coming through the open door behind him. “Bunch of bollocks.”

The old man, named Syfrid, wore a red long-sleeve T-shirt, underneath a set of thick, light brown canvas overalls. Over this, he wore a canvas bomber jacket lined with fur. On his feet, he wore iron toe work boots, with an external iron cap. He was about seven feet tall, and was a thin man. He has long silver hair, which was tied into a ponytail. Over his hair, he wore a dun-colored engineer’s cap. He had a long silver beard which was braided.

As he walked along, both Copper and Locke were busy thinking of how to explain the group’s being there should they be caught.
I have a...good explanation for myself and that other machine here. So I shouldn't worry about us. What is a problem is getting Strauss and Rast clearance onto this train. Hmm... Copper thought to himself before stopping for a minute. However, curiosity ended up getting the better of him as he peaked a slight bit around the box in front of him to see who’s there, still with his lights off.

Syfrid shines the lantern about the car cautiously, grumbling to himself as he does so. He moves the lantern side-to-side, before seeing Copper’s head and stopping by it. “Cor blimey, I didn’t know they still made those blokes.” He walks over to the crate where Copper is, and attaches his lantern to a ceiling girder.

Rastriavis, from behind his crate, draws in his breath as the gunshot wound on his leg begins to sting. Meanwhile, Locke looks on as Syfrid takes notice to Copper. As long he’s the only one caught... we should be good. At least a bot like him makes some sense. He thinks to himself from the shadows of his hiding spot. Arguably, his was the worst of the entire group.

The old man notices a bolt on the floor, and tosses it away into the corner where Locke is hiding. “This train has been as messy as a pavement pizza since the new boss came in place, the old git.” He then kneels down to inspect Copper more thoroughly.

Believing he was caught, Copper then decided to say something to the old man. “Um, hello?” He said cautiously. “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am?” Of course, the fact that he was already activated aroused suspicions in the old man he spoke to. There was a collective, mental, face-palm by the group present.

“Eh?” Syfrid takes his pitch-cleaver off of his shoulder and rests its head on the floor. “You’re on a train, mate. Bound for some place way up north.” The train car rocks back and forth, and the lantern swings. “How exactly did you get to be activated with no one else around?”

“I’m...not entirely sure, actually. I may have been rocked around and that’s what started me. I’m quite surprised I’m even on. Look how rusted I am.” Copper said while showing the old man a rusted arm.

“I’m not inclined to think you were here when the train set off. I would know, because I check the load.” Syfrid said as he got up and pulls away another crate. “Your mates must be in this cart. I’m not an old git.” Rastriavis, upon hearing this, shifted nervously before deciding to cram himself into an even smaller space in the cart.

That ain’t good... Locke thought to himself as he slowly started pulling out his pistol, just in case. He further flattened himself into his corner.

“Sir, as long as I’m not planned to be dismantled, I’ll come along with you.”

“I’m not planning on dismantling any old sod. I want to know exactly who is on this train.” The old man began walking over to where Locke was currently hiding, causing him to start silently panicking.

This didn’t exactly go as planned. Rastriavis thought to himself as his tail flicked back and forth nervously. He cringes a little before tucking himself into a cabinet that was fastened onto the wall, wrapping his tail around himself.

Might be turning my eyes back on soon enough... Abaddon thought to himself, silently cursing that particular design flaw of his.

“I’m not entirely sure. The gears in my observatory sockets are still trying to turn.”

Syfrid hooks a crate, the same one that Rastriavis was previously hiding behind, with the spike portion of his pitchcleaver, and pulls it out of the way. “Why do you need to hide anyroad?” He asked as he continued his search for anyone hiding in the cart.

Come on, bot. Keep him busy... Locke thought hopefully as Syfrid drew closer to where he was hiding. Currently, he felt that he would regretting a few life decisions soon enough.

“Well, I did just activate in an unknown place, so naturally I would be cautious, just in case anyone wasn’t exactly friendly.” Copper said to Syfrid as he watched him continue his search.

“Righty then.” Just like that, Syfrid left, taking his lantern with him, and closing the door behind him.

“That... was simple. Guys, it’s clear.”

Locke was the first to step out after returning his pistol to his coat. “That...” He shudders slightly. “...no plans on going through that again any time soon. Good job, bot... err... Copper, was it?”

Afterward, Abaddon reactivated his eyes and stepped out. “That... normal on something like this?”

“Yeah it’s Cop...” Copper started before the door opened again and Syfrid entered.

“Wrong.” He smiled.

What followed after was a brief, awkward silence. “Uhhh...” Locke stared awkwardly at the old man as it dawned on him what just happened.

“...Oh. Touché, sir. Alright, you got me.” Copper said upon realizing what the old man had done. “But, I seriously am still trying to figure out what happened to this planet.”

“I only need to know that you were there.” Syfrid said before leaving once again.

“...Zat happened.” Rastriavis said as he came out from the cabinet.

“I feel the overwhelmin’ need to face palm... hard.” Locke just stood there as everything sank in.

“Indeed.” Abaddon said, agreeing with both what Locke and Rastriavis had said.

“Ugh...” There was a metallic clunk as Copper turns on his light. “I face palmed for you. Well, if there’s nothing to do here, I’m gonna follow him.” He said as he returned his arm to his side and exited out the same door that Syfrid went out through towards the front of the train. Rastriavis looked back and forth between Abaddon and Locke, stretching his legs out for a minute, and then followed after Copper.

“Thanks...” Locke said as he leaned his back onto the wall and slowly slid down to sit down in the floor. Pretty much, he felt like an idiot.

“Now what?” Abaddon wondered as he stood there for a few moments.

“Might as well follow...” Locke suggested quietly. “...you first.” He said to Abaddon as he got to his feet.

Abaddon stared at him for a moment before shrugging and following after Rastriavis and Copper. However, Locke didn’t follow and he started making his way to the opposite end of where the others went. He wasn’t sure what was going to happen as a result of the old man catching them but he was keen on not finding out what. However, after passing through an adjacent cart, he received bit of an unwelcome surprise.

Since leaving them to their own devices, the armored figure, a bounty hunter that went by the name of Vereth, that had attacked Rastriavis and Copper followed the two to the alleyway where they met up with Abaddon. After, they then hopped onto the same train to continue tailing them. Noting the newcomer, they hoped that they would know anything about the person they sought.

Vereth was very much a feared figure, said to be a ruthless bounty hunter who would do anything and everything in their power to bring in their bounties. Not much was known about them as none ever saw what they looked like under their helmet. However, it was rumored that they were very skilled in altering the sound of their voice, making their exact gender a mystery to all... at least, for those who cared.
As the rest of the group, joined by Locke, jumped aboard the train, they leapt from atop of one of the buildings closest to the tracks and the train. They landed on-top of a cart just adjacent from where the others were in and held on tight lest the wind rushing past them sent them flying off. From there, they started making their way to a spot between the carts but another train passes by the one they were on. However, a crane boom was rattled loose on this other train, causing it to swing towards them. They let go and let the wind carry them a cart down, regaining their hand hold.

From there, they climbed between the carts and was greeted by a large metal door with three latches on it, sealing it shut. Curiously, Vereth tested to see if they would do anything or were rusted to the point where they wouldn’t give at all. Thankfully, they did, although slowly, and Vereth cautiously entered the cart with their SMG out, just in case they met hostility within. They were only met with nothing but shipping crates littering the interior, mostly it somewhat resembled what the other group saw within their cart. After, they sit down near the door they had entered from and proceed to start patching up their still bleeding head wound.

Locke entered the cart and found that he had entered the same cart that Vereth was currently in. Although, from what he could tell, Vereth was without their helmet on and was in the process of finishing dressing the wound after they had cleaned it.

“What in the...?” Locke started to say before silencing himself and hiding from Vereth’s sight.

A gasp of surprise was heard as Vereth pointed their SMG towards the other end of the cart where they heard someone speak. “Who’s there!?” They exclaimed as they wildly looked around for the person they heard.

Locke remained silent as he flattened himself against the wall, completely hidden by a stack of crates.

“I know you’re there. You will reveal everything you saw or else you’ll die. You have five seconds.” There was a certain kind of panic faintly heard on Vereth’s voice as they spoke.

“I-I saw nothin’.” Locke answered. As he did, he was reaching for his revolver in the case things went even more sour. “Who are you?” Just my luck... He thought to himself.

“Vereth, a bounty hunter.” They answered almost sounding robotic when saying that.

“A bounty hunter?” Locke felt his heart sink as repeated those words. “:red:...” He silently cursed in Silean before adding the following in Skid, the common language. “...not after me, I hope. No... can’t be... I can’t be THAT big of a target for them.”

“Excuse me, but who exactly are you?” Vereth asked, catching what Locke said. “Name and profession please, and be honest. I don’t want to kill a potential asset.”

“Strauss... uhh... you could say I’m a gun dealer of sort.” Locke answered before adding. “Although, one without much stock at the moment.” He remained hidden although he knew that Vereth could simply follow his voice to his hiding place if they wished.

“There is a lie... or at least partial truth, as you freaked out when I had mentioned my profession.” Vereth stated as they stood up, their SMG still held at the ready. “...after all, an arms dealer doesn’t worry about a hired assassin like a traitor does.” They weren’t very far off from the truth there.

“Woah... don’t go throwin’ accusations like that. I’m just a bit cautious, and considerin’ the things that were goin’ on in Crosstown, who wouldn’t be a little jumpy and on edge?” Locke suggested, trying to think of another possible explanation for his behavior.

“I should know the difference between a hated figure and a smuggler. A smuggler has to worry about police, while a hated figure worries about assassins and hunters.” Vereth laughed/giggled slightly at this. Although, it was tough to make out due to how barely audible it was.

“Err... well... maybe my operations were a little on the illegal side of things... but... uhh... messin’ with or gettin’ in the way of your type? Ain’t good for business. If you were about to just pass on through here, then do so... preferably non-hostilely. I want no trouble nor desire to cause you any.” Locke said as his heart continued pounding in his chest. How do I keep on getting into these kinds of messes? First Kratal’s Fists and now this guy. He thought to himself.

“A little? I’m fairly sure that most people are too poor to hire a bounty hunter for every single little thing.”

“Same could be said with guns.” Locke replied. He stays silent for a moment before adding, “Anyways, what can I do?”

“Depends, what can you do that I can’t?”

“Possibly not a whole heck of a lot bein’ a gun dealer compared to you as a bounty hunter. In truth, I’d be willing to do just about anythin’ right now that won’t end with me bein’ put six feet under the ground or become a red smear across this cart.” He answers truthfully before an idea pops into his head. “The only thing I can think of right now is possibly information. I am, or was, apart of a bit of an underground type of business after all.”

“You know anything on someone by the name of Phraktos?”

“Uhh... who?” Locke pretended to not have heard the name before now. What is with you and him? He wondered to himself. Considering the title, that has to be a higher up with some group. Personal vendetta, maybe? Or, it could just be someone he was tasked with assassinating or something. That’s more than equally possible.

“Assuming that’s a no.” Vereth said as they put away their SMG and went back to work on finishing up what they were doing. “Shame, perhaps the group I’m following could tell me more? Thank you for being cooperative. Anything you want to know?”

“You’re welcome.” Locke said, sounding very much thankful that he was likely going to live through this. “...and no. I think what you said just about answered the question that’s been at the edge of my mind after figurin’ that I wasn’t likely your target.”

“You may leave then.” Vereth said as they applied a bit of gauze on both sides of their head wound and held them in place with a bit of medical tape. After, they put their helmet back on.

Locke then cautiously took a step out and looked down to where Vereth was. Partially, he was expecting to see Vereth with their SMG pointed right at him, ready to fire as soon as he took a step out. However, he was thankful that didn’t happen. Briefly, he cast a glance at the door that he had came in from and back to Vereth. Safety in numbers, right? He thought to himself. Something was telling him that going past the bounty hunter might not be a good idea, even if he wasn’t their target.

He made his choice and decided to start making his way back to the group but not before saying to Vereth, “You know... somethin’ of a gut feelin’ is tellin’ me to not go past where you are. You have my word, I won’t say anythin’. I didn’t see you.” He didn’t remain to hear Vereth’s answer.
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