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 Discoveries [Malik]

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PostSubject: Discoveries [Malik]   Fri Aug 10, 2012 12:47 pm

Marina needed to get out of this city. Roam around. Her bones were aching for some action. In the years since she had been bitten, she had become restless. It was hard for the woman to stay in one place very long; this world needed her to explore it. And she was more than willing to do so. She had left the Imp in the last city over, hidden in an under ground garage, and it was time for her to go back and grab it. Move farther West perhaps. See what had happened there. She had managed to stay out of the loop when it came to gossip about the fate of the rest of the world. The guys at work hardly wanted to talk news with her. In fact, most ignored her. A woman mechanic was hard to come by. And while hard to come by, they were almost unrecognized for the work that was considered man’s work. The burly men she had called coworkers always ostracized her. Or stared. Either were a commonplace occurrence in her work.

She hadn’t given them any notice. They had enough workers, though not nearly as skilled as she, that she wouldn’t be missed. Not that they would have missed her had she put a notice in. People up and left all the time. She was just a list of many that had already done so. With her combat boots strapped tightly to her feet, she tromped through the dust lined streets, passing people she had never seen before in her life. The ever changing flow of the population, people doing the same thing she did; just passing through. She kept her head low as she walked, her long brown hair falling and covering her face.

A large duffel bag with everything she owned was slung on her shoulder, her left hand gripping the strap tightly. Her lips were pursed tightly, her eyes shaded by her favorite yellow sunglasses. No one would pay attention to the random girl leaving the city. No one ever did. Not even a pretty face such as her own. Out of her peripherals, someone decided to break that thought, a man. He stared quite blatantly, eyes roaming over her in a manner that she normally would have considered an invitation; one she would have taken. Her mood, on the other hand was not one that was accepting of such forwardness. She discreetly gave him the middle finger before continuing on her way.

Dust clung to her faded red and blue plaid shirt. She brushed it off where she could, and pulled her shorts up. The heat was sweltering, and she wanted to be in the next town now. A two day walk was ahead of her, and she was not looking forward to it in the slightest. As she approached the outskirts of the city, the crowds thinned out, letting her walk freely without dodging the throng of people. She broke free of the city just as the sun was hitting high noon. She was the only one leaving today; the roads out were completely empty. Marina scanned the horizon, hoping to avoid having to run into anybody. People beyond the city limits were not as friendly as those within.

It was this preliminary scan she noticed it. It was old. Beat up. But my god if it wasn’t beautiful. Her chameleon sight focused in on it, the vision magnifying it. An old troop transport. A gem these days. Her fingertips started to buzz at the thought of getting her hands on it in some way. It looked abandoned, though one could never be too sure. It hadn’t been there when she had come into the city a couple of weeks ago, and certainly would have a protective owner. Only one way to get closer. Camouflage.

She envisioned her chameleon form in her mind. Bone rearranged themselves. Elongating. Growing thicker. She hissed in pain, her skin forming into the scaled armor that would protect her for the most part. Her hair hardened into the horns she could, and would, use as weapons. Her tail elongated, and she felt her tongue grow an extra couple feet, curling in her mouth. When she was finally in her were form, she willed her body to blend. Practically invisible, she moved swiftly to the vehicle. The element of surprise would be her tactic should she encounter someone.
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PostSubject: Re: Discoveries [Malik]   Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:32 pm

There were a number of small cities that dotted the wastelands surrounding the giant metropolis of Librium. They were safe havens for travelers coming from other cities, braving the wastelands. They were also hotbeds of commerce and trading for goods without the government looking over shoulder too closely. Malik and the Pride's reasons for being out here were similar, a trading of goods and services. The Pride frequently found work hunting Rift Beasts for the Omni Corporation. Their catches were usually handed off to Company Caravans at these cities, so they could be taken off to whatever research facility they were fated for. The latest had off had gone without a hitch, which was surprising because taking the beast down had been such a pain. None the less, money was in hand, and it was time for some downtime.

The rest of the Pride were off in the city doing whatever it was they felt like to relax. Malik on the other hand, didn't have the urge to be cooped up inside the city. The full moon was coming. Even though it was still a week off, the beast inside him knew it, and started to pace in anticipation. It made being cramped up inside a crowded city very uncomfortable. For the moment Malik preferred to be out in the open outside the city, spending some time with The Mule, and drinking some of Lisette's latest batch of homebrew. The pyromaniac explosives expert of the Pride, Lis had a talent for all things chemistry, and fermentation was just a chemical process. Malik had her apply her talents to making something to take the edge off during down time. What she made was booze that tasted half decent, but had such a high proof it could put almost anyone on their ass. It made since though. The higher the proof, the better it burned, and Lis loved things that burned. Anyone drinking it was safe as long as they mixed it with something, and kept it away from open flames.

The noonday sun was high in the sky, but it didn't bother Malik much. He had his shirt off, and his mocha skin drank in the sun, warming the beast within. His bald head was covered with a black baseball cap, and beads of sweat traveled down his neck, shoulders, and along the contours of his toned body. Dark green military style cargo pants were tucked into the tops of dusty combat boots, and a 9mm was holstered on his hip just in case anyone wanted to travel this far outside of town to start trouble. The strap holding the gun remained snapped securely, because the landscape was flat, giving good view of all sides. Malik was also being careful with his drink to keep himself in a good healthy buzz, without getting sloppy. He was pretty confident that no one would sneak up and get the drop on him.

Taking one last sip of his drink Malik set his drink, Malik set it atop the tank tread, and crouched down to take a closer look at the linkage housings and rotors. The Mule was a Wartime relic that he saved from the salvage yard with the money he saved up from his first few years worth of mercenary jobs. Even though it was old, it was a beauty, built to last. It was a two section combat all terrain vehicle, with a heavily armored troop transport cargo trailer, one of the later models made during the war that had a mana collector fuel cell. The entire rig was powered by a redundant system that collected mana from the surrounding area and converted into useable electrical power. A lot of the systems like this one were overloaded and destroyed during the Enlightenment's mana storms, but this one managed to survive. Even though it survived, the war was over and it was decommissioned and scrapped anyway.

Now the Mule had a new purpose and a new life. It was home, and it kept the family safe. It took care of them, so Malik took damn good care of it. Even though it was battered and beat up, he still spent any free time he had fixing her up. He was handy with tools, but he wasn't a corps pool mechanic, so there was a limit to what he could do. Malik basically tinkered and tuned things here and there, doing what he could to keep her running smoothly in between visits to an actual mechanic. That was another problem he ran into with the Mule. Being decommissioned equipment, finding a parts wasn't easy. Most parts were either rebuilt scrap or had to be custom fabricated. In either case, finding a mechanic who had the skill to do the work was no easy task.

"So that's what's got you limping baby..." he said as his hand touched a broken track pin that was supposed to be holding one of the track guides in place. It wasn't enough to cause any problem with the drive works, but the grinding noise was loud enough to stand out to Malik's keen ears. He knew every sound of The Mule by heart and didn't like when she sang out of tune. "I thought so. Looks like metal fatigue. Let's swap this out and get you singing again." His large hand reached down into one of the three tool boxes he had sitting at the ready, and pulled free an adjustable wrench, while the other rummaged through a box of parts for a replacement pin. "Dammit... I know I have at least three in here. It's like the damn things hide when you need'em" he said as he put the wrench down and devoted both hands and his full attention to the search.
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