Savagery

Ciana took cover behind a downturned pillar as a flurry of bolts sailed over her head. On her headset she could hear radio chatter from numerous seekers trying to keep the army of shadowkin at bay.

"Hold that line, seekers!" Marcus shouted over the radio. "Don't let a single bugger in!"

Ciana gripped her rifle and popped out from behind cover, lined up a shot on a shadowkin soldier and managed to pop its head with a single shard round. Green plasma exploded out of its missing head as it fell over on the ground. Ciana ducked back as a bolt from another bug nearly struck her. She looked over to Marcus and saw that he was gradually advancing across the battlefield. He'd launched another one of those needle-firing drones and it was providing covering fire for him.

He reached a fox hole full of shadowkin and began to mercilessly fire into the group. The sound of his pistol roaring through the quagmire of noise from the battle. Some of the shadowkin were trying to flee, but Marcus left no survivors. Those he didn't fell himself were claimed by the needle-spewing drone as they attempted to flee.

Ciana couldn't believe the utter efficiency Marcus displayed as he made his way across the battlefield. She was still crouched behind a broken pillar, taking pot shots from afar with her rifle. Even the other seekers who had joined Marcus were being more proactive in their efforts, dancing around the field like acrobats. She wasn't going to ingratiate herself with her new crew at this rate.

She'd have to up the ante.

To that effect, she put away her rifle and summoned a pulse energy shield in one hand and produced her own blaster with the other. Then she charged into the carnage.

----

T'ren sat in the common area of a large ship on its way to The Expanse. Most of the crew was comprised of shadowkin, members of his own hive, it was his only way in to the city as no seeker crew from The Expanse seemed to want a shadowkin on their team. It was a typical response many who live there had, given their harsh experiences with his kind. He didn't necessarily blame them, when you see a certain face as a mortal enemy for so long it was going to be difficult to accept a similar face as an ally.

No, it was those of his own kind who were to blame. Instead of allying themselves with others like he and his hive had done, they'd opted to fight anything not shadowkin. They believed they were meant to claim this dark universe. An evolutionary right.

One of T'ren's kin sat in front of him and eyed him quzzically, shining yellow with curiosity.

You've been silent. He said in their bioluminescent tongue.

I ponder our wayward brethren. Why do they hate other so? T'ren asked.

They think themselves superior.

Do you? Think we are superior to the others, I mean. T'ren frowned.

They need things that are rare to live. Air to breathe, light to see, food and energy to consume. We were made for this world. They were not. Perhaps we are superior?

I do not think so. T'ren shook his head. Both Simulacra and Automata were here before we were.

They come from a time of light and life. That is not this time.

So you do think we're superior. T'ren continued to frown at his brother.

Merely intended to survive in this environment.

The others seem to be surviving just fine. T'ren turned and looked to the nearby screen. Everything was actually rather dark inside the ship, since it was a shadowkin ship light wasn't necessarily needed. The screen was the brightest thing in the room at the moment. The screen indicated that they were nearing The Expanse and would be exiting out of N-Space shortly.

-----

Plasma scorched the air as Ciana, Marcus, and the other seekers carved a swathe of death and destruction on the invading shadowkin. Ciana had discovered she could deflect bolts of shadowkin plasma with her pulse shield. And that had given her an idea on how to stop the horde from pouring in from the hole they had melted in a nearby wall.

A large metallic pillar, similar to the one Ciana had used as cover before, was erected near the hole and was large enough that it could stem the tide if it were toppled. Ciana had proceeded to deflect bolts of plasma at the pillar, which ate their way through the metal with ease. Once enough of it had been eaten away, she signaled one of her teammates to topple the pillar over.

The pillar groaned and fell on top of the swarming buggers and blocked their point of ingress. After mopping up the stragglers, silence fell on the battlefield. Marcus regarded Ciana with a nod and commended her for her quick thinking.

"It won't hold them back forever. They can eat their way through again." Ciana pointed out.

"We're going to send in some combat engineers to apply a substance that neutralizes their plasma." Marcus told her. "They won't be able to burn through this spot again."

With the fight over for the time being, the seekers were ordered to return to the Crucible for their next mission.

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