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Narisi Nueva (played by SylOfficial)

The Beginning

The jungle grew dense away from the shore. Vines slithered their way over crumbling marble and stone, remnants of a civilization long gone. Broken shells of homes flanked a castle of crumbling ruin, all comprised of the jungle’s most insistent and invasive foliage. Cerulean waves lapped at the soft sand, frothy whitecaps bubbling back and forth as they tumbled forward. 500 years had passed without hide nor hair of life. The silence deafened more than the loudest sound. That is, until it was broken by a soft song of a Nighthawk.


It was a calm and quiet morning once more. There hadn't been any other kind of days lately. The waves of the bright blue ocean crashed against the edge of the beach and a single bird sang it's song in a high tree top amidst the jungle. A single bird, the first sign of renewal of life on the island, something that hadn't happened in 500 years. Generations had passed without a single sign of life to be seen and in the middle of the jungle, nature had taken over and regained power over the ruins of the last civilization that once lived there. Leftovers of old buildings were now covered in plants and while one could still see that the few remaining stones used to be small houses surrounding a castle, not much else was clear. It used to be a home of thousands of people and when the last ones passed away, the island had remained empty.

For a while, it had seemed like there would be no change to this situation but this morning felt different. This morning, there was hope. Hope of a new future with new inhabitants that would make the island lively again. In the middle of that hope a portal opened, dropping a young lady with bright red hair on the white sand before disappearing as quickly as it had appeared. At first, it seemed like the body of the young lady was quite lifeless but once a wave reached her fingertips, the cold feeling of the water woke her up. She let out a loud low growl and pushed herself up on her knees before looking around and slowly standing up. Confusion was shown on her face, confusion and a hint of panic. She had no idea where she was and how she found herself there except for remembering that she had decided to walk through a portal she had found in the forest close to her home. Her soft grey eyes widened at the sight of the huge island that was stretched out in front of her, and the even bigger ocean that was found behind her. While she stood there and brushed the sand off of her long black dress with dark red corset, she wondered what she had to do now.

Little did she know that a few miles away from her location and deep inside the jungle, a small house appeared that resembled the houses in her hometown. As more birds appeared and joined the singing of the first, it was clear that the quiet and lifeless days of the island were over. Soon enough more portals would open and with the arrival of new people, the island would continue to adjust itself to their needs and hope they would stay. A new era has begun.

~ Permanently closed ~

Click me if you'd like to have more information about The Island, some general rules and guidelines.
Sarah Da'naou (played by staticnightmares)

She didn't know how she ended up in this situation, but here she was. A pair of cheaply made fake handcuffs slapped on her wrists, restricting her arm movement as a large man had his arms wrapped tightly around her thighs to keep her legs from moving as well. He was on his knees, his grip frigheningly strong as he held her in place. Another man quickly slipped a knife from his pocket, holding it against one of Sarah's fluffy wolvern ears and pressing it into the sensitive fur, cutting it easily. He was about to take her whole ear off before they were all startled by some kind of portal appearing in front of them.

"Whadda we 'ave 'ere..." one of the men inspected the portal, clearly suspicious before his devious red eyes lit up with an idea. "'Ow 'bout we throw her in there? Gotta lead to some demonic hell, right? Canna go wrong with that- tortured for eternity." They seemed to agree, and it wasn't long before she was being guided to the opening in reality. She continued to struggle against their holds, but her attempts were futile. She let out shrieks and screams which were droned out by the rage of war within her planet, Xy'eoi'l. She was then shoved through the opening, still restricted by her arms.

She wasn't entirely sure what happened after that, until she realised she was falling from a dangerous height. She let out a loud curse as she tried freeing her wrists, only to no avail. She prepared herself for her doom before she felt her body hit the cold surface of the water, and her whole body tensed. She soon relaxed and began forcing herself up, coughing and spluttering once she broke the surface. She looked around and saw the beach, which wasn't too far away. She began trying to swim, to which her attempts weren't of much use considering she had no use of her arms or hands still.

Despite this, after longer than she wanted to admit, she managed to make it to the edge of the beach. Still with water in her lungs she collapsed onto her side, curling up with her arms handcuffed behind her. She coughed violently, leaning her head back when she was done. Her short and shaved hair was sticking to her face, her wolvern ears wet and flattened against her head. Her fluffy wolvern tail was also soaked, twitching behind her against the sand.

"Jesus..." she muttered quietly.

She caught her breath quickly and sat up, trying to break the cuffs. Despite them being cheap and unreliable, they sure did seem strong. Or maybe she just felt weak and drained from fighting all day, but that wasn't much different from her own everyday life anyways.

"God damn it. Stupid Jaxuon..." she muttered again as her red orbs darkened, her brow furrowing as the cuffs indeed thick red lines into her wrists, and ultimately cut her skin as well.
Gravedigger (played by Mr_Stick)

Gun fire blazed, echoing through the halls. "KEEP FIRING! HE'S A MAN NOT A GOD!" Barked a man in a cheap suit, blood dripping from a gash in his forehead.

"Kill him and the boss will reward you! He'll pay you your weight in gold!" He yelled again, pointing at the the lone figure slowly stalking towards them.

Shots rang out, most missing the figure, dressed in black, strange tattoos glowing like burning embers on his arms. A few impacted his shoulder and chest, causing him to jerk back, but only for a moment.

"EAT THIS!" One thug roared, grabbing a grenade and pulling the pin, tossing it at the lone figure. "NO YOU IDIOT!" The leader of the group yelled, too late.

The explosion rocked through the tight hallway, the shock wave knocking most of the criminal thugs down, dust and dirt filling the small space.

The leader coughed, sitting up and waving the dust from his face. "Bastard..." He choked as he stumbled out of the hallway into a bigger room. "Idiots! I hope the Gravedigger kills them all!"

"No....just you." Before the leader could react, a chain ending in a spike ripped into him, puncturing a lung and going out his back. The chain lifted him up as he gasped and coughed blood, bringing him close to the skull masked visage of Gravedigger.

"And it is Gravedigger. Not THE Gravedigger. A name, not a title." Gideon growled, reaching into the man's pocket to pull out a sealed envelope. "Here we are..." The chain retracted back into Gideon's body, vanishing as if it was never there in the first place.

The leader, flopped to the ground, dead, blood pouring out of him.

"Another step closer and I..." Gideon walked, holding the envelope....only he was no longer walking on hard concrete. He was walking on sand. "What? He blinked, turning around to see a portal to the criminal hang out quickly shrinking, vanishing as if never there, leaving him on an unfamiliar beach.

Sarah Da'naou (played by staticnightmares)

Sarah continued to struggle, clearly now getting pissed off. She stood up, kicking sand annoyingly as she continued to get even more frustrated with herself and with the hand cuffs.

She was a small 17-year-old, standing at 4'7 and weighing a meakly 90lbs. Her skin was a ghostly pale, her brown hair cut extremely short with half of her head shaved off. Her eyes were a striking red, her lips full and plump. She looked to be wearing a small amount of makeup, but not much. She had a cut on her cheek was bleeding, and her ear was dropping blood down her head and over her face.

She was wearing a black and white bomber jacket, which was your stereotypical high school jock jacket. The main base was black while the sleeves were white. The sleeves were also quickly becoming red from her blood, which was seeping out of her wrists as the handcuffs restricting her movements cut her skin deeply.

She didn't pay much attention to anything or anyone around her, set on freeing her hands from the cold, uncomfortable metal. She growled to herself as she began searching for a rock to lay down against, hoping to maybe cut the chains on the handcuffs. Unlikely, but possible. As long as she wasn't stuck with her arms behind her back for her entire life.

Her wolvern ears twitched as her frustration grew, but she tried to ignore it.

She eventually gave up on finding a rock, once again collapsing to the floor, mostly from the fatigue she had felt in her whole body. She curled up with her arms restricted behind her back as she sighed, closing her eyes tightly before opening them to see if it was a dream. It wasnt, which confused her more.
Zombie Girl (played by Mr_Stick)

"No no no no no!" Zombie girl yelled as she ran, a stack of papers clutched to her chest. Behind the green woman, shamble-ran a horde of feral zombies, all snarling and chasing after her. "NO NO NO NO NO!"

In her travels, she hard learned she was part of some super soldier experiment, and was now trying to find out more about it. Only thing she did know is that it, or some earlier version of it, created zombies. Herself included.

Unfortunately these zombies were not the same as her, desiccated and grey with bright yellow glowing eyes. Not green with purple eyes. And they did not take kindly to anything not like them.

"NO EAT ME! NOT TASTE GOOD! LIKE SOGGY NEWSPAPER!" She yelled. In truth she could easily tear each of them apart, but she simply didn't have time too! Or the energy. Her limbs were already starting to burn and ache, which means she'd soon start getting slower and weaker if she didn't eat something. And the thought of eating zombies....well it wasn't even on a list of any sort.

"Noooooo....." She yelled. Running on.....sand?

She blinked, stopping and looking. The zombies were gone. Her sneakers were now covered in sand. The smell of the ocean in her nose.

"Huh? Where am at?" She blinks, turning around to see...Sarah Da'Naou

"Huh? Who is you? Why you look like wet dog?"
Narisi Nueva (played by SylOfficial)

After some serious consideration, the young red-haired female had ended up deciding to explore her surroundings. She had realized that since she was stuck there without an obvious way out, exploring was likely the best option. While her curiosity had led her to this island after her impulsive decision to walk through the portal, she somehow still didn't seem too cautious in her approach of the current situation. Unprepared and without being weary of the potential dangers ahead, she pushed some plants aside to be able to take some steps into the jungle. The area had clearly been untouched by humans for a very long time and for her that seemed enough reason to not have to be scared. Dangerous animals that she could run into if she traveled further hadn't even crossed her mind yet.

She had only managed to take a few steps before her skirt got stuck on a branch that was laying around. The sudden unexpected hurdle stopped her mid-movement and caused for her to fall down face first and growl once more. "Stupid" she muttered to herself while she remembered all the times that John, a men in his mid 40's that lived next-doors back home had told her that her beloved gowns weren't proper hunting attire. They most likely weren't the best choice for the jungle either but it wasn't like she had any saying in the matter or any chance to dress for the occasion. She sat up and took out her hunting knife to cut off the excess part of her gown, turning it into a knee-length skirt.

Her mother would most likely shake her head at her behavior. It was improper for a lady and very different from the way she was raised. Then again, her mother had never truly approved of her hunting or carrying around weapons either. It was a month since the woman had passed and about two weeks since she had left her hometown but she still missed the woman and her wisdom a lot, even if she had been overprotective rather often. Once she finished cutting off the extra fabric, she shoved it aside and into the plants before putting her knife away and standing up. She was about to continue walking in the same direction to explore further but her attention was captured by the sound of other voices near the ocean. Slowly, she turned back and walked towards the sound, pushing some plants aside that she had just passed to be able to see what was going on.

In front of her, at a distance she could see other creatures that had apparently arrived right after her. The both of them appeared to be female, yet unlike any creatures she had ever seen before in her world. In the corner of her eye, she saw a third creature that was completely different from the other two as well and on top of that a male. She tilted her head and felt very confused by the appearance of all of them. They hadn't been there ten minutes before and now there were 3 of them, all 3 of them seeming to be as confused as she was but at first glance they also seemed relatively harmless. Deciding to take her chances, she stepped through the plants and onto the sand. She stopped there and put her hand on her knife, choosing to overview the scene for a moment before getting closer.

Curious as she was, she finally gathered some courage and slowly walked up to the two females that were the closest to the ocean. The male she would deal with later she figured, as he seemed rather busy dealing with his own confusion and too busy to notice much else of what was going on. The closer she got to the female creatures, the more she wished for the best and the more weary she became of her own appearance. When she figured that her ripped clothing and boots that were now covered in dirt and sand as well as her ash-grey skin tone would give the two of them enough to wonder about, she debated on whether or not it was truly necessary to keep her hand on her weapon. However, once she saw that one of them appeared to be in trouble, she walked close enough to kneel beside her and took her knife back out.

"Stay still", she said. Her voice was commanding and calm but friendly as she used nothing but those two words to warn the woman before she cut through the lock system of the cuffs, causing for them to pop open and give her the freedom to move again. Once they were popped open, she stood up and immediately took a step back to try and gain some distance between them. If this would lead to a fight, at least she wasn't unarmed she thought.
((Woof! I may be interested in joining, what kind of character requirements are there?))
Narisi Nueva (played by SylOfficial)

((Hello there! You're welcome to join with any character you please if you believe that it can fit in this setting. You're allowed to alter the island and add stuff onto it to fit your character's needs as long as it's not a way to escape. Any character goes!))
Mirah (played by Mr_Stick)

Deeper in the forest, in the jungle, all was still quiet. The birds hadn't quite reached that far. Like every where else, nature had taken over. Moss, grass, leaves, and strangling vines.

Some stones clung to reality stubbornly, refusing to vanish after so standing there for so long. Green things were not going to destroy them!

Thing wasn't something green that demolished the stones.

Small tremors began to shake the area, light and imperceptible from afar. Soon though the ground heaved and bulged as something pushed up out of it.

A stone coffin rose up out of the ground, bound in chains. A single glowing red circle pulsed from the center of the lid, as the chains attached themselves to the ground and trees, anchoring the out of no where coffin on the spot.

It would open, not yet....but soon.
The Mercenary and th (played by KansasVenomoth)

The day had started out like any other for the peculiar trio, they had begun their morning like normal. They cooked up breakfast, washed up, and left to go who knows where. Today, they were busy making their way back towards Kaede's village, hoping to collect some herbs and medicine for the road ahead of them, of course if they ran into Kagome's group, that'd be just as nice. The weather was nice, the birds were chirping, the fish were fishing... it was a good day, the air was clean and peaceful, no demons had shown up to ruin their day, at least not yet. Though the day was peaceful, it was admittedly quite boring; Roy loved the thrill of battle, though he didn't always enjoy putting Reina in danger just to have that rush of adrenaline. From the time they woke up and until about mid afternoon, their journey was peaceful, quiet, and relaxing.

"Brother, do you think we'll run into Shippo and the others before the sun sets?" Reina asked, keeping close to her adoptive brother. "I mean.. I know we just saw 'em a couple days ago, but do you think they'll be heading towards the village as well?" She just wanted to make up some conversation, she didn't like it when everyone was completely silent. Her adoptive brother shrugged in response. "I doubt it. Unless Inuyasha had pissed off Kagome or somebody got hurt again, I doubt we'll be seeing them." Roy replied, though just as he was about to open up his mouth again, something caused him to pause. A demonic aura slowly begun to creep around the trio, prompting the mercenary to grab the hilt of his signature sword, even their turtle companion perked. The demonic aura was familiar and unusually powerful, most often belonging to the incarnations of Naraku.

"What's the matter, brother?" Reina asked, clutching her mother's staff. Roy took a quick look around the area before drawing the blade, "There's a demonic aura closing in... one of Naraku's minions have come to pay us a visit.. though, there's an unfamiliar aura in the vicinity as well. Stay close, Reina." He suggested before setting Moko on the ground. The once tiny turtle had shifted into his larger, more threatening form, making light growls in the direction the aura was coming from. Soon, the incarnations, Kagura and Kanna had appeared from the darkness along with a strange looking demon behind them. "It's been awhile, outsider..." The wind sorceress greeted, hiding her face behind her signature fan. "What do you want with us this time, Kagura? I find it surprising that you took the time to hunt us down and not Inuyasha's group." The red head responded, keeping his sword at the ready.

"Oh, we're not here to fight you... or your child. Rather, we've just come to give you... a farewell gift." Kagura made a motion for the demon to approach. "Naraku's nearly completed the Shikon Jewel and with it, he's able to create some unusual beasts like this one." She took a few steps back as the demon readied a strange, violet colored orb before firing it at the trio. Bracing himself, Roy raised his blade, standing in front of Reina and Moko, though surprisingly enough, the orb had phased through them. "Are you joking, Kagura? That didn't---" Before the red head could finish his sentence, he had turned to see a large, colorless void opened up behind them. Like Miroku's Wind Tunnel, it had almost effortlessly swallowed the three before closing. The wind sorceress watched with mild amusement. "I don't understand what Naraku's plan was, losing the shards that child carried, but I suppose that's his problem now..."

After what felt like an eternity, the trio had been dropped into a strange land, a seemingly deserted island. This wouldn't be an issue had they not been separated. Reina and Moko ended up together away from Roy, so at least they had each other, Roy was all alone. The red head woke up soon after arriving on the island, though he quickly fell into a panic. "Reina?!" He called out, frantically searching the area around him. "Dammit... don't tell me... Kagura!" He shouted, his panic quickly turning to anger. "That... that devious bastard... she... she cast me away and left Reina back there! Her magic isn't strong enough to fight Kagura..." His frantic search for Reina had turned into a frantic search for a way to get back home. "Moko isn't with me either... I hope he's still with Reina, at least then I could rest easy." Roy kept his sword readied for anything that might cross his path, whether it be a demon or dinner. 'I'm sorry, Tochu, Sawaze... I failed to protect your daughter... I'm sorry..' Tears had threatened to fall from his eyes at this point. He didn't want to be responsible for the potential death of either his adoptive sister or his turtle companion, and he certainly didn't want to die alone, not in a place like this.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the island, Reina and Moko were searching for their companion. The demon turtle had carried the child on his back, though even an intelligent demon like Moko had difficulty navigating the dense forest of the island. He had to be careful with his flames, since a forest fire in a place like this would not be a good idea. "Roy!" Reina called out, hoping to get some kind of response from her brother. "Brother! Please, if you're out there, say something!" She clenched her teeth, becoming rather nervous. This was the first time since they had come together that they'd been separated, and understandably, panic had begun to set into both parties. There was no way for them to know if they made it here in one piece, or if they had even been dragged to this place at all. For now, it was just a time filled with frantic searches for the other.
Tempest woke up with his face stuck in sand he coughed up some sand "what the Hell?" he said "where am I?" he said. He tried to teleport back home but he couldn't "That's strange." he thought he put his hand to his side, there was golden blood leaking from a wound in his side "Well shit." he said tearing a bit of his shirt to try to make a makeshift bandage. He walked a couple of feet and stumbled to the ground. "oh great my prosthetic is at low power." he said holding his leg sending an electric current though his leg. He would need to do this for about half of an hour.
The waves gently lapped at the pearly shore on the southeastern side of the island, far away from even the remnant of civilization further inland. Almost blending into the white sand, the unconscious body of a young Lexta lightly grips carved stone trinket in their hand, their eyes flickering back and forth beneath their eyelids, almost as if they are struggling to wake up.

Hours pass, the sun moving throughout the sky, but no movement occurs. They simply lie there, unconscious, undisturbed by the waves gently lapping at them, until near nightfall. As the tide rises and threatens to drown them, their eyes abruptly shoot open, and coughing, they recoil from the ground, expelling sea-water and sand from their mouth. Suddenly alert and confused, they quickly get to their feet, lightly sinking into the wet sand, and in a panic look around themself, the dark trees of the forest surrounding the narrow bay they find themself in.

As they glance down at themself, and see a furred tail, they give a shout and fall over backwards, panicking, before realizing that its their own. Confused and weary, they look up at the sky to see unfamiliar stars, look at the horizons to see unfamiliar terrain, and look at their memories to find nothing but confusion and blank spots.

After some time of calming down, they slowly get back up to their feet and in the fading sunlight, look down at their reflection in the water, confused to see unfamiliar features reflected back at them. Their features are still somewhat recognizable, but distinctly altered- dark blue bird-like eyes, violet-pink pearlescent skin, and perky, triangular ears adorn their face. With a confused tap to the top of their head, they feel their ears, but recoil at the touch and bite their lip- Only to recoil again at the pain, as they realize their canines are sharp and elongated.

Confused, Len steps back from the shore and asseses the situation. Without any idea where they are, what they are, or how they came to be there, their survival instincts kick in once more, and they start up the hill towards the forest in search of something they can work with.
Tempest's leg had finally charged fully, but this left him feeling very winded and ill having used almost all of his stored electricity just so he could walk. he tried to call his sister on his cell. no signal. Why would there be? he thought I'm in the middle of nowhere with no one else to be seen. He then catches sight of Len. He is quite startled at this and looks for a place to hide. damn he thought. There were absolutely no place he could hide. he just hoped that either they were kind or did not see him. His vison swims and he sways on his feet then falls flat on his back. He passes out from his blood loss in his side wound.
David is just about to shoot an arrow at a deer he has spent 2 hours tracking. He makes sure to stay upwind of the creature, because he hasn't had a good hot bath in weeks, and he knows the creature will catch his odor otherwise. The busy village of Scarborough is so close he can see smoke rising from the houses there as citizens warm themselves by the fire -- but he's welcome there. If he shows his face in a town -- any town in England, he'll be sent to the gallows. He killed the wrong man, a powerful man. No matter that he had stolen his wife. He had done it, and now they were looking for him.

Nearly a year, he had been on the run. Living on what he could hunt and even steal. He was a blacksmith by trade, but those days were over. And now, all he wanted was deer meat roasted over a campfire. His mouth watered for it. He rubbed the sweat out of his brown eyes; they stung with the salt of it. His brown hair was dusty, but he'd managed to keep it short with his dagger. His face was stubbled, for he'd stolen a razor the last town he had slinked through, and he kept it in the leather sack around his waist. His body was clad in brown leather and underneath it, he was all muscle. Crouched down, he aimed the arrow carefully. He couldn't miss this shot. One shot and the animal would be spooked.

He let his arrow fly and a glowing disk suddenly opened up behind the deer, the deer jumped and the arrow landed in it's side, missing the target and only delivering a flesh wound. The deer tensed and, the portal on one side, and hunter on the other, the deer ran toward the light, and vanished.

David stood up, jaw agap. Then his face contorted in a furious scowl. He kicked the ground in front of him.

"What the...what the hell! This is witchcraft!" Loading another arrow into the bow, he ran into the disc of light, following the deer. To his confusion, he was suddenly running in sand, his steps slow and heavy. He stopped and turned, facing the ocean and saw endless waves rolling towards the sandy shore. The sun was setting, and a shaky pathway of light reflected onto the vast canvas of blue water. The sky, dotted with clouds, was shades of pink and purple, and the sun was a large orange half disk on the horizon.

For a moment, David forgotten the deer, forgot his hunger, forgot his banishment, forgot everything. It was replaced by a sense of awe.

"Wow," he breathed, slowly lowering his bow. "Wow."

He looked around, turned, and saw the jungle behind him. Trees he didn't recognize. Smells that seemed exotic.

He sees a humanoid creature with what looks like...furry. A furry tail...and ears...heading toward the jungle.

"Witchcraft.." David whispers again. "What is this place."

Desperate for answers, he follows the creature towards the jungle, arrow drawn.
Len glances around, to find an unknown humanoid with a bow making their way for them. Eyes widening, Len scrambles to move faster into the forest.
What did I do, what did I do?

Looking back and forth in a panic, Len takes in their surroundings, desperate to find something to defend themself with or hide. Their gaze shifts down to their hands, and the sharp hooks protruding from their fingertips.

...I have these... can I climb? but I've never used them, I wouldnt know how to...

Len glanced behind themself, to see the man gaining on them through the forest. Len stumbled here and there, clumsy and unwieldy, not used to their new proportions, and with a gasp, looked back forward. There, ahead of them, was a rocky mountain range, and in particular, a massive rocky cliff. If they could climb it fast enough they could escape their pursuer.... but they would be completely exposed while climbing, if they even could.

What do I do, what do I do? Biting their lip again by habit, but quickly releasing when they recall their sharp fangs, Len charges towards the rocky formation... and then, just out of the corner of their eye, spots a hidden crevice.

There, I can hide there! With a quick glance behind to make sure the man didnt have a clear sight line, Len slid down into the crevice. Just barely, they dropped to the ground and fit into the narrow, rocky formation, and froze, trying to remain entirely silent.
Tempest wakes up again and fishes a bottle half full of a silver liquid. He drained the bottle and put it in his bag, he got up unsteadily and started to stumble towards a rocky formation maybe I could climb that to get a lay of the land he thought. That's stupid you can barley stand much less climb. He hears footsteps...running foot steps then he heard the sound of nail scratching rock. he heard another pair too, he drew his two and a half foot long double edged sword in panic.
Mirah (played by Mr_Stick)

((Hey, you guys might want to stop and wait for other people to join and add new posts okay? I mean if no one else has an issue with this, and Syl okays it, it's fine. But for now? Please stop and let others catch up))
((ohhh...ok. Thanks for explaining that Mr. Stick. I honestly wouldn't have known the etticute otherwise because I just do the PM stuff))
Ship’s Log: Colonizer Mission 4, Sol 39 of 80

Captain Tyrelle Anvindr of the Starship Artemis.
She leaned her forehead into her hand, elbow on the table, as she sat in front of the camera. With a sigh, she started her log for the night. All she wanted was to go to bed.
“Everything’s going according to plan. The crew did wellness checks on the colonists, regularly scheduled maintenance on operating systems within the homes, and continued construction on the neighborhood wall.”
She stifled a yawn.
“Suspicious activity has been reported. The first since the beginning of the Colonizer Missions. They say they hear voices, clicks, and odd noises surrounding the camp at night. We thought Mars was devoid of life, but it looks like we hadn’t looked hard enough.”
She paused, looking out the window at the silhouette of her ship. The Artemis had a faint blue-grey glow, interspersed with dim, white track lighting on the upper half of the hull. Sand blew up into the dunes just outside of camp, the grains swirling in the chilled Martian breeze.
“First Officer Murdoch and Security Officer Woods are putting together a scouting mission to case the area and secure it from unknown species. There’s no doubting that the footprints seen just outside the camp were not human, nor spacesuit made. Inspections of the colonists’ footwear have been done. Everything is as it should be. At least for now.”
She entwined her fingers in her braids, staring at the metal table. “Chief Medical Officer Remigio is scheduling her first round of nerve port tests on the colonists tomorrow morning. I was given my tests today. All systems are fully operational. Endurance testing can proceed as regularly scheduled for the crew of the Artemis, myself included.”
Another stifled yawn.
“Murdoch and I will both report on the scouting mission. I plan to attend and gather as much data as possible. I will upload tomorrow’s events upon our safe return.”
End Transmission
Tyrelle tiredly shoved herself away from the desk after switching off her webcam. The ship log is immediately uploaded to her supervisor’s computer for review. Normally she’d plug into her nerve port, but tonight she felt like retaining a bit of her humanity and unceremoniously falling into bed. She even left her braids in. Although, she neglected to thread her Viking beads into her braids this morning, so it shouldn’t be too uncomfortable once she woke up.

A shrill ringing speared the silence. The house lights of her bedroom softly began to glow with the coming sunrise, and her alarm continued its shrieking, growing louder by the moment. Every muscle tensed and, resisting the urge to smash her clock, she lifted herself from her pillow and switched the damn thing off. She let herself fall back onto the bed, burying her face with a muffled groan. Captain or not, she still hated mornings.
The soft chime of her door summons interrupted her grumblings. “Just a moment!” she called. She sighed, stood, and dressed. “Come,” she responded shortly after, and the doors slid open just as she finished detangling her multiple braids.
First Officer Murdoch stepped into the door way, his broad shoulders nearly touching either side of the frame. As her makeshift sunrise continued, the light gave his red hair and beard a fiery look in the morning glow. He clasped his hands behind his back.

“Good morning, Captain Anvindr,” he said, watching her brush and redo her hair. “I hope you slept well.”
“Well enough, after Remigio’s testing.” She finished tying off her last braid as she walked into the sitting room of her personal quarters. Her bedroom door slid closed with a soft hiss.
“Would you like a cup of tea, perhaps a muffin, before we embark on our mission?” he asked, moving toward the replicator near the door to her quarters.
“Sounds wonderful,” she replied. Always the polite Scotsman. She expected nothing less of a man from her neck of the woods. She still missed Ireland from time to time, as beautiful as Italy is. The space program she belongs to is based in Milan, so she and her best friend moved right after Tyrelle graduated from her academy.
Her breakfast materialized quickly as she took a seat in a plush easy chair behind a small coffee table. Murdoch brought over her meal, taking his own seat across from her. He gave her the rundown of the mission as she began eating.
“All packs are filled with the necessary supplies, lightweight and easy to transport. Woods is gathering three other crew members to join us in scouting the nearby rock formations and caves. Here’s hoping we don’t find anything.”
Tyrelle nodded, sipping her tea. “Affirmative.”
“Permission to be informal a moment, ma’am?” he asked, a slight twinkle in his eye.
“You’ve got a piece of granola stuck in your teeth.”
“Gee, thanks, Pearce,” she said, rolling her eyes and running her tongue over her teeth.
He snickered. “Just sayin’. I could let you walk around like that all day, you know.”
“Yeah, yeah. Lets just get this show on the road,” she said, standing. He followed suit, still smiling.

Just beyond the community hall, the scouting group met at the gate to the neighborhood. Pearce and Tyrelle shouldered their packs at the gate.
“Alright, everyone’s here,” Security Officer Neil Woods began. Standing at 6’4”, he was nearly as broad shouldered as Pearce, and much more intimidating. “Captain Anvindr, you and Murdoch will take Johnson to the Northern hills. I will take Smith and Wilson here to the Southern plains, circling the neighborhood.” He looked each member of the team in the eye. “Keep in touch. This should be a simple perimeter check.”
Everyone nodded, some readjusting their packs. The gate slid open, and each half of the team went their separate ways. Gravity on Mars was becoming easier to navigate. The colonists have gotten used to it by now, but the crew of the Artemis have to start over every time they leave the ship.

The trek didn’t take long. After a short time, they approached the Northern hills, tall misshapen stacks of rock and sand reaching for the sky in thin and thick tendrils, much like those of a lava lamp. Carved out bowls of rock sank between the stacks. One such bowl offered a relatively flat trail in the bottom, open wide enough for three to four abreast. Pearce jerked his thumb toward it, unwilling to speak in case others might be near.
The team of three entered the bowl. With a glance up, Tyrelle felt small in the shadow of the stacks. Just as she noticed a cool discoloration in the leftmost outcropping of rock, she nearly stumbled over Pearce, who had knelt to inspect their pathway.
“More footprints,” he said simply, rising. He continued walking.
Just ahead, a sheer rock face flattened the back of the bowl. As they neared it, their path fell into shadow. There didn’t seem to be a way out other than from where they had come. Confused, Pearce and Johnson each angled the edge of the wall. Tyrelle, however, continued straight forward. Through the darkening expanse, she noticed a crack in the rock, just barely wide enough for her to fit through. She tapped the side of her helmet.
“I think I found it,” she said into the radio. The sounds of her companions changing direction echoed through the minor static that followed. Bending down, she found the same set of footprints, and without skipping a beat, they threaded themselves into the crack of the cliff. After a moment’s hesitation, she squeezed into the rock face, becoming enveloped in brief darkness.

She was being compressed, both from behind and in front. The uneven rock face scratched her back, and with the burning scrape, she tried leaning forward as safely as she could. “Can’t be much farther now,” she muttered, taking a few more steps through the crevice.
Suddenly, the crevice opened, and her boot sank into a different material. The suit now hung on her heavily, unassisted by Martian gravity. It was nearing dusk, wherever she ended up. Looking around, she noticed a long expanse of white sand, short in width before meeting the edge of the jungle.
“What the hell…” she looked around. “Run evaluations.” Her in-suit computer scanned her environment in the blink of an eye, displaying statistics over her faceplate of her helmet. Wherever she was, it had the same oxygen levels and atmospheric pressure as Earth. Gripping the chin of her helmet, she peeled it off, carrying it beneath her left arm. The smell of the ocean hit her quite suddenly, if not unwelcome. As her eyes adjusted, so did the video feed through her left eye, recording everything she saw. She trudged through the sand. When she turned around, she expected to see the cliff face, but was met with the ocean’s large, cerulean body.
Confusion and mild panic colored her expression. Looking back toward the massive foliage, she made her way to the shadow of the trees, attempting to find some sort of shelter before true nightfall.

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