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 Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}

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PostSubject: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:19 pm

The Mule

The Trailer

The Wastelands were no place to be by choice, but business sometimes brought you places you wouldn't normally go. You choose what jobs to take, you chose how to carry out the job, but once the job was taken, you didn't choose where it took you. The latest job that Malik had taken for the Pride was to track down an assortment of rift beasts that were known to inhabit the Dark Forest. Omni needed them for research in their labs, but corporate employees did not venture into the Wastes. They outsourced the dangerous work to individuals more suited to the task, and less vital to the company should things not go badly.

The Dark Forests was three days journey from the city of Librium. It was on the edge of the Elyrian border, but the Others did not claim the territory as theirs because of the complications that would come with it. If they chose it as a territory, they would be responsible for keeping the things that dwelled within it under control, and liable if any harm befell someone do to going in or something coming out. With their shrewd choice of location, the Others kept themselves from being encumbered, while gaining a border that had a natural defense. No one went into the Wastelands by choice.

The Mule trudged along the landscape for the second day, pulling the cart behind it. The two were a military troop and cargo transport that Malik had purchased from a scrap yard. Fixing it up and maintaining it had become a constant effort over the years, but it was a labor of love. It was home. The Pride's mobility was its stock and trade so he made sure that the family had a home with them where ever they went. The trailer section of the Mule had been refitted to act as a mobile barracks, armory, and cargo hold. The quarters weren't overly spacious, but it helped that the Pride didn't mind sharing their space with one another. Everyone had their reasons. Some because they were once soldiers and were used to less than ideal conditions, while others just enjoyed the company in a world where everything was broken apart.

The sun had made its way across the sky and now started to sink low beyond the distant horizon. The once blue sky took on a deep purple hue, and quickly darkened to black. Malik brought the Mule to a halt on an open tract of land. It was visible to the surrounding lands, but it also gave him full view of everything around him. The war was over so covert travel wasn't necessary, but traveling at night near the Wastes was risky. The landscape bore hazards that could be hidden by nightfall, and with the possibility of rift beasts in the area, it was best to give them no place to hide from you. Malik didn't want to drive into a ditch, or break a tread, then get attacked by something hiding in the underbrush.

Well practiced hands moved over the dashboard flipping switches and pressing buttons. The Mule's engines cut off, and the almost nonexistent hum of the mana collectors kicked on. Malik opened the door to the Mule's drive cabin and unfold his long legs from its confines. He had been driving all day and it felt good to finally stretch. Muscles flexed beneath his black t-shirt and military issue cargo pants as he stood on the ledge outside the driver's side door and raised his hands to the sky. After letting his body relax and exhaling the contents of his lungs in a cleansing breath, Malik grabbed the edge of the roof, and quickly vaulted himself upward. Leaning over, he closed the door and then leapt across the gap to land on the top of the trailer. Fingerless gloved hands rubbed over his buzz cut head, and he walked along the roof.

From a pouch on his hip Malik produced a small pair of binoculars which he raised to his eyes. Lenses brought the horizon closer, and digital read outs clicked off the range of things that occupied the center their view. "This is as good a place to set up shop for the night." he said to himself before stamping his booted foot on to the hatch upon which he stood. The dull thud rang through the metal and would be heard by the trailer's occupants. "Alright kiddies!! We're stopped for the night! Pile out and stretch if you want!" He raised his voice and yelled out knowing that his loud baritone would pass through the window slits that were open for ventilation and view. The other reason for yelling was to see if anything came out and attacked him for being so noisy. If your eyes failed to see a threat, make yourself a target. If that didn't work, odds are it was safe.

The trailer had a number of exit points. The hatch that was right below his feet opened into the center of the armored length that was almost as an eighteen wheeler's payload. That where they kept their bunks, and made a communal living space. The interior was very utilitarian by design. The bunks were arranged in pairs, one over the other, and folded up into the walls when not in use. The center of the 20 foot by 10 foot room was occupied by a few sofas that could be locked into place with large throw pillows that could serve a number of purposes for comfort. Other places on the wall housed consoles for linking with what used to be military command, and expandable surfaces that could serve as shelves or desks. The floor at the center of the room held an aftermarket modification that Malik had installed. With clear space and the press of a button, hydraulic presses would lift the floor to become a six foot long, three foot wide table. With some folding chairs, it gave the Pride a place to come together and eat. It was the one feature that made this vehicle feel like a home, the rest was all them. Any place those people were felt like home to him.

On the driver's side wall of the living space was a massive door that would open up to the outside, and a set of collapsible stairs that could be used for ease of access. Towards the front of the living space, closest to where the Mule docked was the armory. It was where they Pride kept the tools of their trade when not in use. The other end of the room was a wall in which was a heavy blast door. On the other side was the almost 20 foot long cargo hold, which doubled as a kitchen thanks to portable appliances. The far end of the cargo hold was the back of the trailer. There was a door in the corner that could be used, however the entire back wall was designed so that it could be lowered, providing a ramp to load and unload large items.

When doors and hatches finally opened, Malik looked down over the sides to see who the first to pile out where. He couldn't help the smile that hinted on his lips before disappearing as he looked at them. He remembered what it was like to be alone. It was a time that he didn't look back on fondly. They were dark times, and like many others, he had to do bad things to survive. Malik couldn't change the past, and he didn't pretend like it didn't happen. Everything he had done was his burden to bare, his sins to suffer, and his reminder to appreciate what he had now. Only those who have been in the dark truly appreciated the light, and refused to let it be taken. "We've got about an hour of useable light left. You've got until nightfall, then we're locking down. Who's turn is it to cook tonight? I'm hungry."

The Mule

The Trailer
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:11 am

Vanessa had been catnapping on one of the low couches in the living quarters of the trailer, but the feeling of the Vehicle coming to a stop woke her up. The instincts that had been drilled into her growing up as a soldier never left, and she made sure they never did. She didn't awake with a start, she simply opened her eyes and sat up. Raif lay on the floor at her feet, where she'd set him after she'd finished cleaning him. Reaching down, she hoisted him over her shoulder and then reached up to pull the ladder down that led up to the hatch just beneath Malik's feet. With perfect timing it would seem as the thudding of his booted feet echoed downwards. Reaching up, she unbolted the hatch and flung it upwards, climbing out onto the roof to stand beside him.

Vanessa was quite the striking figure standing next to Malik's bulk, though she seemed tiny in comparison. Her outfit was military issue, meant specifically for their covert ops snipers who sometimes needed to crawl through things that made them wish they'd never been born. A mix of Leather and Kevlar that could protect her from small caliber rounds and offer limited protection from stab wounds...like the knife she'd taken to the thigh the week before. Her outfit had stopped the knife from causing any major damage and Vanessa never mentioned whether or not the wound still bothered her. Her long dark curls had been pulled back into a pony tail, perhaps a tad messier then it should have been considering her military background.

"You call me Kiddie ever again Furball, and I will put a bullet in your brain pan." Vanessa wasn't looking at Malik however, her focus was on their surroundings. This was where she excelled, with her robotic eye, she far surpassed the felines she surrounded herself with. The rest of the time they made her feel less like a super soldier, which was exactly the way she preferred it. Movement caught her attention in the distance and Vanessa smiled in triumph. Raif found it's way into her hands, Vanessa never felt more comfortable then when she held her prized weapon. A shot rang out, and without the silencer she usually attached to his muzzle, Raif could be nearly deafening.

"Hey Dash! Get up here! You're making Venison tonight!" Vanessa called back to the Cheetah as she climbed out of the trailer. Her expert fingers discharged the spent round, catching the shell casing in her gloved hand and sliding it into her pocket.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:38 am

The dull hum of the engine lulled her to sleep. She'd never admit it, but it was one of the few comforts that she had in her world. Like miners who take canaries down into the shafts with them. As long as the birds are singing, all is well in the air, but the moment they stop, something is wrong… the engine was her canary and when it was cut, there was either danger or duty to do. She'd been laying on a soft across from Vanessa's, trying to fall asleep but it wouldn't come easily. Things were bothering her. Thoughts and memories of her war days often haunted her. The thought that her life's purpose was to serve under the boots of mankind, her life was so frivolous to them they would send her into a mine field blind only hoping she'd secure a clear path.

But that was in the passed.

She passed her time by chunking throw pillows at Vanessa and slaying shutting her eyes when she suspected that the human would wake up and retaliate. Soon enough she'd fallen prey to the dulling hum of the engine and drifted to sleep. Now, however, one eye opened… her canary had stopped singing. Even though she didn't hear well, it was the vibrations that dulled her senses. Malik's voice boomed in her ear as she rolled over to try to rouse herself. It was all very annoying, just as she'd fallen asleep. Sitting up, she surveyed her surroundings, Nessa and Malik were outside already…

Stretching from her fingers to her toes, he rolled off the couch and headed outside to join them. As Nessa announced she was cooking, Lisette raised an eyebrow, "You want me to cook… like, with an open flame? "She gave a small grin and shook her head. "You guys know all I ever make is a mess… And Nessa, Malik will kill you for suggesting such a thing… Then again, he may not, I mean, you look so cute when you sleep!" Her voice raised higher and higher with each word after 'look'. She eyed the military get up of her comrade, it was so complicated compared to Lis's own outfit. She was in jeans, decorated in frayed holes with a white wife beater to cover her top, but not just any wife beater, tis one was ripped down the front to give a sneak peek at cleavage. She crossed her arms and surveyed the area. " Fucking…A, Malik… where are we? "
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Tue Apr 03, 2012 4:40 pm

Malik felt the vibrations in the hatch beneath his feet as Vanessa spun the handle to disengage the locks on it. He stepped off of it a split second before the heavy steel plate rose, and the slim brunette emerged. As always she had a scathing tongue, but that was part of her charm. It was the same with the more petite form that he saw on the other couch through the hatch. It looked like she was still protesting consciousness even as she was uncurling from the ball she had curled up in. "You prefer Cyclops?" he asked her in a similar tone. "You won't get much warmth curling up next to a corpse, and Lis squirms too much for such a light sleeper."

He turned to look at Vanessa to see her reaction but the sniper was already in motion. She was like a well oiled machine, finely tuned for her job. Malik had good eyes, sight better than a normal human's, but Vanessa's eyesight was even better than his with the assistance of binoculars. She could see further, in greater detail, and zero in on a target better than anyone he had ever encountered. Nessa had scanned the distance around the Mule and spotted a target. Before Malik could search the distance and find what she was targeting, Raif already cleared his throat, and Nessa was catching the ejected shell casing. "What's the distance?," he asked her knowing that she already knew the number down to the centimeter. He didn't need to ask what the target was. The mention of venison already had his stomach growling.

While Vanessa was making her kill Malik heard the thick bolts of the trailer's side door drawing from their housings and the heavy door opening. Leaning forward he looked over the side as the stairs dropped down into place to assist exit, and the petite brunette stepped out. Looking down at the ground stirred the urge inside to let himself fall. It was the feline in him, his soul speaking. There was no danger for him in falling. His body would twist naturally, and he would land on his feet. Malik resisted the urge to let gravity and instinct take can control, and stepped onto the ladder instead. His wounds weren't done healing yet. The bullet wound in his shoulder and the tears in the muscles of his right arm were still on the mend. For all he knew, that fall would have been enough to tear the repairs to his brachial artery, and cause him to bleed to death.

Malik knew his limits. A good soldier always knew his limits. He was tough and he healed quickly, but he wasn't invincible and healing still took time. You learned how far you could push your limits and respected it or died in the process. Once safely on the ground, Malik walked up behind the much shorter Lisette and stood behind her as she peered out across the flat landscape. "Kentucky flatlands. We're about a day and a half away from the Dark Forest," he said in the rumbling baritone. He looked down at her, and from the height difference he saw everything that the rip in her white wife beater hinted at. "You ruined another one of my shirts didn't you?"

The question was unnecessary because he already knew the answer. His sensitive nose could pick up hints of his own scent mingling with hers. She was notorious for laying claim to his clothes, and he enjoyed her responses when he called her out on it. After Nessa called out the distance on the deer's fallen body, Malik leaned down so he could talk into Lis's one good ear. He kept his voice so low that it was almost a rumbling purr when he spoke. He knew that she had hearing as sensitive as his. "I'll cook with you tonight. Cooking is like making a bomb.... you follow the recipe right, and you get the explosion in your mouth later."

He stood up but stayed close to Lisette when he raised his voice to be heard by Vanessa. "Hey, Nessa! How 'bout a little wager? Lis can get there and bring it back in under five minutes. She does it and you share your cookies for dessert tonight." He looked back over his shoulder to where Nessa was no doubt still looming in her perch. He had set terms for his winnings so it was up to her to set terms for his loss. He was confident in Lis's speed and strength, and even if he lost it was bound to be an experience. That was what it was like in the Pride. Win or lose, you weren't alone. His large hand moved and cupped Lisette's ass giving it a few pats. "I'm betting on you..... She's got Snickerdoodles."
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:18 am


Human corporation. Arms supplier. MagiTek manufacturer. Breeder of unnatural beasts.


During the war, this human corporation had created the New Breed; genetically engineered soldiers that had been responsible for the deaths of a great many Others. These 'soldiers' were, in truth, little more than savage beasts, in the true barbaric traditions of humanity. The so-called 'scientists' who had created them considered them a marvel of advancement and a newly created sentient species. Many Others viewed them only as feral beasts, and a sign that humans were reverting back to the useless, tree-swinging, crap-flinging animal roots they had emerged from.


Intelligence from the Courts now showed that Omni was looking into more crude and dangerous experiments. The foolish human corporation was actually trying to capture Rift Beasts. This was dangerous. It was stupid. And it was, arguably, a treaty violation. Sure, Omni claimed they wanted the beasts to research defenses against them, but the Courts were not fooled. They were confident that the humans were trying to figure out how to create a Newer Breed of mystical beasts, and these would be far more dangerous than the were-beasts they had already created.

Aranel had been tasked with stopping them.

The Court of Light had sent her to Librium to gather information, and return with the new intelligence. They wouldn't authorize any actual action against Omni during time of peace. The Court of Shadow had supported the mission, but then given Aranel secret orders on the side. She had already spent an extended time in Librium, gathering all the information she could about Omni's efforts. Yet during that time, she had learned of an expedition into the Wastelands to 'acquire samples.' Her secondary orders from the Court of Shadows included engaging any targets of opportunity. A group of New Breed, isolated from reinforcements in the Wastelands, was quite a good target.

Aranel was alone. She preferred working alone. She was also confident that she could eliminate an entire pride of New Breed animals single-handedly.

She had followed the Mule from a good distance, riding on a two-wheeled mana bike. She had stayed far enough back that even with binoculars, they stood little chance of seeing her. Her bike rode silent, and had no lights. With her elven vision, she didn't need lights. It was also dark enough in color to blend in quite well with the landscape around her, as was the dark clothing she wore. The Mule, on the other hand, was a lumbering beast that could be seen for miles. It had been quite a simple task to trail it and keep sight of it, without ever getting close enough that she would be seen.

When the lumbering beast filled with more lumbering beasts stopped for the night, Aranel drove back a good distance until she couldn't even see the Mule anymore. If she couldn't see them evey with binoculars, large as their vehicle was, then there was no chance they could see her. She then dismounted, and focused her mind to lift the bike from the ground. It was designed to be lightweight, but even then it strained her ability to lift. After lifting it, she laid a hand on it and teleported a quarter mile away, then paused to rest. After catching her breath, she teleported another quarter mile, and set the bike down. She had been miles from the Mule before she even teleported, and the teleportation had carried her a good half mile further out. It was a tactic to fool sniffers. Even if, by some stray chance, the New Breed trailed back the miles it would take to find her trail, they'd find the trail ended abruptly. They'd never be able to pick it up again when she was half a mile from where it had ended.

She concealed the bike in some deep underbrush, ensuring that it wouldn't be found. She then rested and ate, recovering her strength before she would move in.

Once she had recovered, she set out to scout. She crouched low to the ground, her eyes scanning the horizon and picking out a point to jump to. Then in an instant, she was there. She paused, catching her breath, and picked out another spot. She continued slowly, jumping hundreds of feet at a time, but spacing her jumps out enough to avoid exhausting herself. In this way, she closed in on the Pride, stopping when she was far enough back that she could only just make them out with her high-powered binoculars. There was no movement to draw their attention, as there would have been if she was walking across the ground. She left no scent trail, since she skipped over the intervening area, and she chose a position where the wind would carry her scent away from the beasts, instead of towards them.

She watched the group preparing their camp for the night, studying them through her binoculars. She was armed with a sniper rifle and several small arms, though they certainly weren't her first choice for combat. She also had a backpack filled with a selection of small explosives, and of course, she was bristling with hidden blades. A computer pad had the details of the beasts before her, taken from Omni's own files before she left Librium. Leader: Malik Karver, former Master Sergeant in the human military. Now a mercenary. Vanessa Sirnos, listed as having sniper training. Lisette Lovett, Chemical Warfare and demolitions. A dangerous team, all of whom had seen action during the war. All of whom were NOT to be underestimated. She would have to choose her moment to strike carefully. She would only get one shot at surprise.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:37 am

"I survived without you Furball, I can do it again." Nessa arched a brow and did something rather unlike her, she stuck her tongue out at him. She'd been hanging around Lisette too much it seemed. While she had no social skills what so ever, learning them from Lis probably wasn't the best thing for her. "354.6 yards." Vanessa answered his question about distance, though she left out the other variables on distance that she had learned he could give a crap less about. Nessa remained on the roof of the trailer as Malik climbed down to the ground with Lisette, she had a much better vantage point from where she was in case anything was trying to sneak up on them. Truth be told the last rays of sunlight upon her black armor felt very good and she was loathe to climb down just yet. Besides...something didn't feel right, she felt like she was being watched.

She surveyed the landscape once more, trying to find the source of the feeling though it seemed to leave just as quickly as it came. She had missed something it would seem, and that angered her. Her mind was so focused on what she could have missed that she barely registered the taunt Malik threw up to her. She smiled to herself, though she was facing away from the two of them. "Fine, but if she looses, you both have to sleep on the floor like the good pets you are." She then turned her face to them, giving them a wink to show that she was only joking. Vanessa was probably one of the only humans on the planet who could call a Werefeline a pet and not get torn to pieces. "And you have to eat dinner shirtless." She added this last by pointing at Malik and blowing him a kiss. Definitely hanging out with Lis too much.

"Well, what are you waiting for Lis? If you don't hurry up something else is gonna be having Venison for dinner tonight and I won't be very happy if I have to share the first deer we've seen in weeks with a flock of vultures." Hunting was never an issue for the Pride, the Weres ate a lot of meat anyway, it was the things they couldn't hunt that were hard to get. Fruit, bread, even vegetables were all a bit scarce, and sometimes Nessa would kill for a strawberry. The feeling of being watched was completely gone now, and she made a mental note to keep an eye on the perimeter sensors once night fell.

The wastelands were only a terrifying place about thirty percent of the time, the rest of the time they were boring and hot as hell. Nessa itched for a bit of excitement, but she knew she'd get some eventually. The Wastelands always held excitement, you just had to know where to look.

Last edited by Vanessa Sirnos on Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:56 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Tue Apr 10, 2012 7:36 pm

You ruined another one of my shirts didn't you? Lis only pursed her lips into a smile. "If by ruined, you mean you left it laying on the floor and I had to pick it up… and then improved it.. then yes."
She only batted her eyes and then stretched out her arms to bask in sunlight. She listened as he explained cooking. Her plan was to agree to help, but mostly Malik would do all the work and she would add in comments and be the official taste tester. She only shook her head back and forth at his 'play on words' with sexual innuendoes towards her.

He challenged Ness to a wager, to which of course, they were betting on or against Lis. As if she couldn't break five minutes. Pfft… child's play. Head lifted to look at Nessa square in the face as she explained that they would sleep on the floor tonight. The cheetah scoffed, " Deal Hot Shot. But if I make it. You share cookies with Malik, and you rub me down before I go to sleep. All you humans are taught to do that right?
As Ness added in the last little bit, Lisette laughed, "Shit. I thought you were talking to me… now it's a party."

As she spoke, Lis was doing something very strange for a 'human'. She had taken off her boots and was unzipping the skirt from her hips. Wriggling them, she loosened it and slid it down to stand out for the world to see in a lacy pink thong. While they debated back and forth, she stripped off her shirt and tossed it to Malik. "Hold that for me."
in her underwear and bra, Lis strolled away from them to conceal herself behind the trailer on the other side. Of course, while Nessa on top, she could easily peek down at her if she wanted, but Lisette was indifferent. She was about to bend the rules to this little game, but it wasn't cheating… Nessa or Malik never said she had to be human for it.

[color:4cd0=fbb117]"What, I can't hear you, I'm deaf…
She said to any objections from either of them.

It only took a minute for her body to take form. Mana surged around her and produced the cheetah print pattern that she was so familiar with. Her small body grew several inches larger and she up on weight. Soon, she was no longer the petite, sassy mouthed brunette, she was an animal, built for speed. There was no real powerful roar, she was unable to do that… but instead, the big cat re-appeared around the trailer and walked straight to Malik. Placing her large head against his chest, she rubbed as only a cat could, and the smallest purr escaped from her chest.

As soon as she'd done it, it was over, and Lis took off towards the fallen animal. She ran so fast on all fours that her hind legs landed right on either side of her head before she exploded forward again. It had felt like days that she was pinned up and Lis was one who needed to be free. She was a hellcat, and the confides of a cage did not suit her well. In little time, she landed her mark, a fallen deer. Sniffing it twice, her jaws clamped around the animal's thick neck and she secured a hold. Her speed would be slower now, carrying extra weight, almost her identical body weight, but she'd make it back in less than five minutes. Legs stretched and strained as she covered ground as quick as she could to make it back to the trailer.

Once she was within twenty feet of Malik and Nessa, the cheetah slowed her pace to a trot. Flicking her tail happily from side to side, she strutted the last few feet before dropping the dead animal not far from their feet. A low, playful growl escaped her as she laid her body flat against the ground and rolled over, kicking her legs in the air, just feeling grass against her. Lis loved to be outside. It was one of her passions. After getting the proper amount of attention, she rolled back over and on to her feet. She was not a were like most, Lis traveled most of her time on all fours. She looked very much like a very large cheetah, not often did she travel bipedal, that slowed her down.

Trotting to Nessa, she nudged her with the tear stained face of a cheetah and a purr rumbled though her chest. She'd take a little of her rubbing right now. She did what any cat would do. Cheek to Nessa's chest, Lis rubbed downwards, making her 'scent' on her. Of course, only she and Malik could smell it, but this warned other New Breeds not to touch what wasn't theirs.

The wind shifted a bit as she loved on Nessa, and the cat took notice. All the sudden she went ridged, as if something was wrong. Her spotted neck craned to the side, as if staring at something unseen. Black ears, donned with a white spot perked up as she smelled the wind. After several seconds of complete stillness, Lis's tail twitched as she dismissed the smell as nothing. Retreating to the otherside of the trailer, the Cheetah took her human form again and re-dressed herself in the undergarments she'd left there. She took the same path as she picked up her skirt, and then held out her arm for Malik to give her shirt back. Smiling to Nessa she said, "I think I'd like you to use some of that lotion when you rub me down… makes me smell nice."
There was a wink that followed, but Lisette was dead serious about shoulder rubs. That girl would do anything for affection.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Thu Apr 12, 2012 10:53 am

Every bet had to have stakes that went both ways so that winning was favorable for both sides, but sometimes there was need for renegotiation.  Hearing Vanessa's prize alone was enough cause for that, but having Lisette add her bid showed him just how much he shortchanged himself on this wager.   "Hey, cookies aren't that great a win.  She winds, I want rubs too."    he said looking up at Nessa.  He looked back when he felt the t-shirt landing on his head to see Lis stripping down.  It looks like their winning the bet would be in the bag.  Lis was faster than an Olympic runner in her human form, and in her Were form she was faster than almost everything else alive.  The show was nice, but over quickly as she ducked behind the trailer to complete her transformation.  Some people weren't comfortable with others seeing their bodies go through the change, but a smile came to his lips when he saw the end result glide around the corner towards him.


  "Beautiful."  The smile came to his lips and grew wider with each step that drew her closer.  Arms moved apart and then closed when her head nuzzled into his chest.  Fingers pushed through fur following the contours of firm jaw, and massaging into strong muscles.  Malik lowered his head to burry face in her fur.  This was their way, closeness and companionship.   "Rubs and cookies.  This is going to be a good night."  His one hand reached out and slapped against her flank a few times.  For as lithe and sleek as Lisette was in this form, she was solid muscle, hard like a coiled spring waiting to be unleashed.  When Lis pulled away, Malik simply leaned his back against the trailer, and lifted his watch to set the stopwatch in motion.  It was just a formality so he didn't bother watching.   He wanted to see Dash run.  She was off like a bullet with the trigger pulled, and the grass parted in the wind from her wake.   "Beautiful."


In no time she had returned with dinner in her jaws, and Malik's stomach was already growling.  The deer fell at his feet and Lisette leapt skyward, clearing the top of the trailer easily so that she could lay claim to Nessa as well.  The smile came to his lips once more.  It was their way and Vanessa had accepted it, and them as well.  It was rare to find a human that could not only understand them, but accept them as well.   With a happy anticipation for a good meal quickening his step, Malik made his way into the trailer for the necessary tools.  He stopped abruptly before entering because he caught something on the edge of his vision.  Lisette had ended her reveling in Nessa's presence, and was now standing stiffly, looking around as if she had noticed something.  When one didn't have a voice to speak, every other manner of communicating became that much more important.   The way her tail flicked and her nose tested the air didn't sit right with him.  

Trusting her instinct, Malik lifted his nose into the air and started to draw in deep breaths searching for something on the wind.  He didn't find anything, and it seemed that Lis hadn't either.  Mailk dropped his head, entered the trailer, and soon returned with a tarp, a shovel, and a heavy bladed dagger.  The deer still needed to be field dressed and butchered.  While Lis transformed and redressed Malik spread out the tarp, dug a hole, and started the skillful process, of gutting, skinning, and butchering the deer.   The tarp was positioned so that blood drained off into the hole.  The entrails and the skin was also disposed of into the hole since he didn't have time for tanning it.  Once he was done quartering and butchering the meat, Malik moved it all to the chest refrigerator, then filled in the hole with dirt once more, and gathered up the tarp to be burned later.  

"Alright Lis!  Everythings all ready to be cooked.  I'm gonna clean up.  Nessa, arm the grid and lock us down."  he called out as he started to wash his hands.  The sun was going down and everyone new the routine since they had done it enough.  The newcomers to the Pride weren't a part of the routine just yet but in time they would learn. Before returning to the trailer Malik took took the time to relieve himself on the packed mound of earth under which lay the entrails and hide.  It wasn't to disrespect the animal.  It was a hunters trick to keep wild animals from picking up on any faint sent of blood and digging in that spot.  He wanted to make sure that it didn't attract any unwanted attention.  Once the site was 'taken care of' Malik returned to the Mule and washed his hands again so he could settle down for some well deserved rest.        


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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Thu Apr 12, 2012 1:38 pm

Aranel continued to quietly observe her prey. The more she watched, she more she learned about them. Their actions towards each other were... personal. Their body language spoke of intimacy, whether it be sexual or familial. When the one shifted, the rubbing and petting that followed wasn't the sort of thing you'd expect to see among military personnel. No, these people cared for each other on a very personal level.

Good, she thought. Intimacy and concern for one another were weaknesses that could be exploited.

When the cheetah raced across the landscape, Aranel tracked it with her binoculars, the visual display measuring the running speed. She was fast... faster than any living thing Aranel had observed before. Not faster than thought, however. She'd just have to make sure not to get too close to that one. At a distance, she could easily teleport away before the cheetah closed in. In close range, on the other hand, that speed might be faster than Aranel's reflexes. Teleportation was only as fast as one's ability to react and realize that there was a danger approaching. Something that came at you faster than you could react to couldn't be dodged by teleport.

When the cheetah returned, the head tilt was a dead giveaway. She had a sense of Aranel's presence. As quick as she saw the shift in the cheetah's body language, Aranel teleported to a new location. She landed behind a light shrub, a bit further away than last time, and in a completely different direction. It happened without light or sound, and she never changed her body's position or moved from her crouch. Any body movement on her part would risk drawing attention to her new location. Luckily, the cheetah soon relaxed, and the others went about their business of making camp.

They had hunted. The man was cleaning the carcass for a meal. This, too, told Aranel a lot about them. They could have simply eaten store bought food. If this were a true military expedition, they'd be eating rations out of foil pans. Instead, they were dressing their meal to be cooked over the fire. They liked to live naturally. Likely they were the sort that wanted to 'be one with the land,' and 'embrace their animal sides.' Raw. Primal. Bestial. It was indicative of how they would act in combat. Their military training and the presence of weaponry, like the sniper rifle, indicated they had discipline and knew tactics and procedure, yet the animalistic side indicated they would be feral and wild. A balance of strength and strategy, of fighting from the heart while using the mind.

Either alone had a clear weakness. A beast that fought purely from its animal side could be easily beaten by superior planning and strategy. A man who relied purely on tactics and planning could be overwhelmed by the raw power and ferocity of a creature that didn't care for planning. A creature that used both? That was a challenge.

Aranel continued to carefully observe, already planning ways to exploit what she was learning. When it came time to strike, she would know her enemy quite well. They, on the other hand, had no idea just what sort of monster was coming for them.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Fri Apr 13, 2012 5:04 am

In the time past the wars, she had learned to be on her own. It would be just as her own natural species, the silent leopard stalking alone in the dark world. Cyd had yet to find her place in the changes. She had gone from being a part of a unit, a military pride, to an unneeded soldier. Freedom had come at a bit of a cost, and that had been the companionship of others.

As she stepped out of one of the back doors of the large military unit, there had been not a sound when her boots met the soft ground. Muscle and bones took command of the shock of bounding down so far to the ground. Her knees slightly bent, shoulders forward as if to catch herself on all fours. Yet, her graceful pounce kept her upright, and she would stand up slowly again. Tall on two feet, here she could survey this newest stop on her journey to no where.

Over her shoulder, she could hear the content sounds of the unit that had made itself familial. A corner of her mouth pinched into crooked thought. Casting a side glance towards them, she felt the wanton tug of her kind. Their feline scents were like a sweet caress in the air. She wanted to feel them, to brush against skin and fur. Just to hear a purr rumble against her body again.

A deep pull of breath and a turn of her eyes back into the focus of the forest, and Cyd would push away such longings. The forced nurture of being a lone cat riddled the want of her natural needs. One too many wounds from untrusting felines had perhaps worn her own trust too thin.

Thick souls of her boots glided across the ground, as she reached up to comb ivory fingers through the saffron ribbons of her hair. Pushing the few tangles out of her silk locks, that had been made curled up in a quiet bunk on the ride here. She hadn't minded the journey, the hitch of a ride to whereever this crew was now headed. The MULE was a bit comforting to be in, so much of the metal den she'd been born to know.

The scent that had drifted just beyond the range of the temporary camp had not gone unnoticed by the new one in their midst. It was far to chaotic in it's changing course to be one of Malik's pride. Like a bird uncertain of it's perch, it moved with a flash. Yet, for the most part, Cyd would ignore it. As long as it kept it's distance, she would allow herself a moment of ease.

Stopping, Cyd found herself a place to sit down on the warm earth. Just beneath her bright blue oculars, the obsidian cat eased it's inward pace and glanced beyond. With her hands on her knees, she closed her eyes. Shutting herself off from site, where here other senses would now bound and thrive. She took long deep breathes. In and out. Each push and pull of oyxgen like a mantra that calmed her soul, eased her into the simple existence of nature and feline oneness. She did this for a several minutes, until finally she let her dark blonde lashes drift apart. Her shoulders relaxing forward, and a slight calm smile tilted on her face.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:03 am

Nessa wasn't stupid, she had known the fur balls were going to want some of her cookies, they always did, and Nessa always bought extra just so she could have a secret stash all to herself. The emotionless robot had one weakness, and it wasn't the Pride. She simply smirked as Lis started pulling off her clothing, knowing full well that if she hadn't specified which form she had to run in, Lis would pick the faster. This was the way the Pride interacted, like it was all one big game and everyone wins.

While Malik voiced his opinions of her Were-cheetah form out loud, Vanessa kept her thoughts to herself. With her eye she could see just how beautiful and powerful Lisette's wild side really was. Her mouth was already watering at the thought of fresh meat and all it cost was the price of a bullet. In this age, you couldn't get better then that, and when you had Nessa on your side, you rarely had to settle for worse.

Resettling Raif on her shoulder, Vanessa stood on the trailer of the Mule, stoic as ever as she watched Lis bring back her kill. While she was perfectly capable of cleaning her own kill, hell she'd done it enough times just to survive on missions, but she knew Malik would take it upon himself. His Alpha breeding kicking in, seeing as he hadn't made the kill, his instincts would force him to contribute somehow, and in finished the job in true Alpha fashion.

While Malik cleaned their dinner, Nessa wrapped her arms around Lis, rubbing her own face into the Cheetah's soft fur. Touching had been something entirely new for Nessa, until she'd joined the Pride and found Lisette. It had taken time, but she'd grown used to the constant need for attention the Pride showered her with. When the Cheetah stiffened beneath her touch, Nessa instantly lifted her head. Twisting to face the same direction she focused her eye on the distance. Scanning the horizon, her eye flipped through it's many different functions. Infrared, heat, and all the spectrum of the rainbow. Sadly, her eye was pure technology, she had no way of sensing Mana streams. There was some residual heat in the distance, but it was too faded to know what it's original shape was.

The fact that Lis had also noticed something put Nessa abruptly on edge. She stood back up as Lis left her to return to her human form. That feeling of trouble was back, and this time it pissed her off. Stepping to the edge of the trailer, Nessa leapt to the ground, her boots absorbing the shock as she bent her knees, her thigh crying out in pain as her landing jarred her knife wound. "Something isn't right Malik, against Rift Beasts this is the perfect position. It's too open for anything else. I suggest we stay inside tonight, we lock up, arm the perimeter, and keep out of sniper aim," As a sniper, Nessa thought like they did, and standing on top of the trailer as she had...she was lucky she wasn't dead.

As Lisette came back from around the trailer, Nessa gave her a wink in response to her mention of lotion and then jerked her head in the direction of their newest recruit. "And bring your pet with you." Nessa told her, before stepping back into the trailer to arm the custom made protection grid, nothing would be getting within a hundred yards of this trailer without Nessa knowing...not tonight.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:42 pm

She look on her face was a bit… worrisome as Malik told her that they needed to start a fire to cook. That was kind of her thing. While Malik did his business outside, Lisette busied herself with gathering things from her personal stash. This was supposed to be a simple task, light a fire, but fire was as unpredictable as the cheetah herself. She grabbed a tin of lighter fluid, a lighter, some gun powder packets, and matches. Walking back out with her loot in tow she laid it all down but the pit. Cracking her knuckles she turned and glanced at Ness, ready to give her a wild smile, but the disapproving look discouraged her. Maybe just a small fire for now. There was no one to impress, and no one to be marveled at her creation, so she kept it simple.

She was a young soldier, 'too young' some thought, but it didn't mean she'd not seen action. Sure, she only caught the last few years of it, but that still counted. Anyone who discredited her for less… she'd just give the finger to and make a note to blow them up later. After the fire got going, she started to cook the meet, thinking to herself. Nessa was on gee about something, it was the same spooky moment that Lis had felt earlier. Something didn't settle right, but then again, hanging around war vet's… nothing ever really set right.

"Geez… lighten up Nessa. She growled as the sniper retreated from her. Her golden eyes looked out towards the direction Vanessa had indicated. So the newest was out there… After Malik returned, Lisette excused herself. "I'll be back, I need to go deal with this somehow… She followed the same path that Cyd had taken, not making any attempt to be completely silent. She was quiet, but anyone with keen ears would know that she was on her way. She didn't want to seem like she was creeping up on her. There was a feline hidden within Cyd, and Lis knew it. Unless it was another cheetah, she'd get her ass handed to her. She cocked her head as she eyed the other, obviously in some type of meditation.

She studied her for a few seconds until eyes fluttered open. Baby blues turned on her and Lisette held up her hands in the 'i surrender' pose. "I come in peace."
She said, waiting until there was a calm nod to assure her all was alright. "Are you running away? Or just hiding from Nessa's grouchy ass? She said, smiling. Then she remembered her manners, "By the way, I'm Lisette. The one-hit-wonder is Vanessa, and the large black man is Malik. As you've noticed, two of us our new Breed soldiers, Ness is a human with a certain set of skills that even we can't match. We, um… well, we live in the trailer, run in the mule, and have a lot of excitement in the process, heh. How would she explain what they did? Malik was a much better speaker. Sarcasm was Lisette's best speaking quality, that and mouthing just enough to ruffle someone's feathers. "Anyways, if you are hungry… we've more than enough. And if you don't like meat, we can accommodate that as well, just ask." She'd said her peace. She'd like to escort her companion back with her, but some people liked to be alone. Lis wouldn't pry, she was being strangely friendly and it thrilled her that Nessa didn't like it.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:43 pm

Malik had watched in silence when Cyd went off on her own while he worked on butchering the deer carcass. He had told Lis that things needed to run their natural course and unfold as they were supposed to. It was something that he held to. When they essentially kidnapped her, Malik told her that they would let her leave whenever she wanted. She had not voiced a desire to leave, and Malik had not told her to go. So, she was stuck going where they went whether she liked it or not. Malik went on about his business and continued the task at hand.

He heard Vanessa call out to him through the open hatchway while he dried his hands. Most alpha males wouldn't take advice from others, but Malik wasn't one to argue with good sense. Vanessa was one to make a great deal of good sense. She was a sniper to the core. Sometimes being the one who watched the unknowing gave an unnatural awareness to when they were being watched. That added to the way Lisette had acted earlier was more than enough to convince him. "You're right," he called up to her, "As soon as those two get back, we'll lock it down."

He gave the heavy lock wheel on the Cargo hold door a spin, and pushed the heavy slab of steel open. On the other side there was a propane powered stove top and oven. Nearby were the coolers that held their food stuffs. From there he produced a mix of potatoes, and other vegetables that were quickly diced up, and put into a baking dish with some herbs and spices. Once they were covered with a lid, he popped them into the oven and turned it on. He had no illusions that Lisette was actually going to cook tonight. Malik knew full well that it would be him cooking and her making a mess, but she was now busy bringing Cyd back to the Mule, so he just got down to business. The slow roasted potatoes and vegetables would take a while to cook, and the steaks could be done right before they sat down to eat so Malik left them to cook on their own.

He climbed the ladder to the roof the trailer and saw Vanessa still peering off into the distance looking for trouble. Even though she didn't know anyone was out there, paranoia was a hard addiction to shake. That's what having people in your life was good for. They chased away the phantoms and reminded you of what was real. Malik walked up behind Vanessa and placed his large hands on her shoulders. "We'll be fine." he rumbled into her ear while his hands flexed and massaged the tense muscles of her back and shoulders. It felt like she was carved out of marble even though she was made of flesh. "You know the lines of site to look for, and you'll be able to get a shot off while they're still lining up their cross hairs." Vanessa wasn't the touchy feely type. She rarely initiated, but she seemed to accept it when it was done to her.

He waited up there with her for the pair to return from their short trip out into the surrounding lands. With Nessa on edge, Malik felt a little tense at the two of them being separated from the group, but he knew Lis could take care of herself. If Cyd was New Breed then she was a trained soldier by birth. Once the two of them were near the trailer he called out. "We're locking down for the night and dinner will be ready soon." With that he waited until he waited for Nessa to enter the hatch, followed her down, and closed it behind himself. "Who wants a drink with dinner?" he asked the group and then looked to Cyd, "How do you want your steak done, and don't be shy about eating or else you're gonna starve around us." While she answered, me moved over to a terminal on the wall and armed the perimeter sensors.
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PostSubject: Re: Are We There Yet? {{ PRIDE ; Open to Logical entry }}   Thu May 03, 2012 4:50 pm

She had hear the faint steps of the young New Breed, only a few moments before the wind twisted it's course and sent the brunette's scent to be caught by Cyd's keen senses. Her head would tilt slightly, listening to the soft crush of grass coming closer and closer. Then at the sound of the light voice, her long blonde lashes would open. Her jawline would lift, then turn to steer her gaze upwards to the cautious youthful woman.

Cyd remained silent, as a course of questions spilled from the girl's lips. Her blue eyes darting towards the one that she had already figured out to be called Nessa, then shooting back up at Lisette. All the while, her features remained stoic. Being cautious, she had been constantly pocketing away the information she had picked up from the three. And as Lisette continued, there would be a contemplative look shot into the direction of the man who was clearly the leader.

Soundless, she rose from the grass. Her palms dusting off bits of grass from her cargo pants. She stood for a moment, as uncertain eyes swept over towards the other two. Cyd had easily picked out the two of her kind. The other woman, even with her feline green eyes and dexterity, she was nothing near to being cat. One thing was clear though, she did not care at all for the straggler in their mix. And so far, Malik had seemed to be rather easy going about the drifter's attendance.

"No, I like meat," she said softly. Her hands reaching back to hook her thumbs in her back pockets. "I'm Cyd."

"Are you sure your friend wants a guest to dinner?" Cyd nodded her head towards Vanessa, as she began to take long prowling steps back towards the MULE. She realized that she wasn't the most social cat for them to run upon. Even so, she figured they pretty much understood what it was like to be a lone soldier or New Breed now adays. "I don't want to cause trouble. And I've got dried beef in my pack."

Walking closer, she heard Malik explain about the lock down. Bright eyes sent a glimmered view towards the hidden in the forest, then back. Keeping her stride near to Lisette, before she stopped, "Thanks. A bit rare.. actually."

Cyd's gaze followed Malik for a moment, sweeping over the terminal panel. It was like reading a familiar book, watching his fingers move like a musician's tuning an instrument, "You know, I can fix that." She began, bringing a hand out of her pocket and motioning towards one dial that flickered it's needled back and forth. "It's a radiation sensor. They tend to go on the fritz rather easy with this model."
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