Xenoblade X fanfiction. Features a brief cameo by Phog.
A ten meter tall blue and white 330 Verus clomped its way into the Intercepter's Hushflood Base Camp. Maneuvering past the canopy tent covering stacks of boxes and supplies it continued along the side of the BLADE trailer. Reaching the side of camp facing the cliff that overlooked the lower tier of The Everwhelm Falls it knelt down and the cockpit adjusted to allow the pilot to dismount.
Brigid stretched up onto her tiptoes, making her six foot frame look even taller. Brushing a few strands of her purple hair away from her face, she turned and grabbed her weapons out of the skell's weapon rack. Walking along the BLADE trailer she could see the supply helicopter being unloaded by Miguels squad of Reclaimers under Ciska's watchful eyes. Passing the entrance to the BLADE trailer she saw Miguel using an oily rag to clean his assault rifle.
Miguel stood up when he saw Brigid walking towards the mobile Interceptor sign. Stuffing the rag into his cleaning kit he called out to her "Hey, what did you do with Sean?"
Leaning back against the mobile sign Brigid grinned at Miguel "I took your advice. I ditched him on the way back and now that I'm a free agent I think I'll hook up with you."
"You know, I had my doubts about your taste in men. But I like where you're going with this."
Brigid gave him a thumps up. "I also decided I needed a nickname. Hows does 'The Black Widow' sound?"
"Not as awesome as Leather Mistress. Also doesn't sound like someone I want to hook up with long term. Maybe short term though."
A screeching noise could be heard approaching camp. "Sounds like he made it back, we just weren't meant to be." As she spoke a battered black and brown 530 Inferno drove out of the undergrowth surrounding the clearing that held the base camp.
Miguel mimed an injured heart. "Our time was so sweet, while it lasted."
Brigid walked to meet the Inferno as it stopped just inside the camp. She waved at Phog as he climbed off the back and went to meet the pilot of the supply helicopter. Sean climbed out of the cockpit and gave Phog a sketchy salut of his own as he passed.
"Looks like Raccoon is going to need serious work." Brigid said as Sean studied the damage. He turned to look up at Brigid as she stood over him, his eyes were even with her chin as they stood next to each other.
Sean nodded his head as he brushed his dark hair from his face. "I'm amazed it made it into vehicle mode. The right side is pretty messed up. That arm looks totaled." He grinned at her. "My M-Sniper is still good though."
Brigid laughed. "You and that gun. That thing is way too much for your rickety Skell."
"That's why I augmented it. It draws way less power. Doesn't overheat the connectors nearly as much as it used to."
As they discussed the damage and repair possibilities, Phog returned from talking to Howard, the helicopter pilot. Speaking in a low tone Phog apologized to them. "Sorry about your Skell. Not sure why we didn't find that vein of Miranium in there."
Brigid winked at Sean and turned towards Phog. "Yea, way to go Phog. I put some serious time on Blue Jay's systems. She only has so much left in her you know." Brigid waved at the battered Raccoon just as a panel popped into a slightly straighter plane. "You can see Sean's poor Raccoon for yourself. We'll probably have to scrap it." Brigid grinned as she nudged Sean in the gut. "Right?"
Sean gave Brigid a look. "Jeez Brigid. Don't be such an ass. Phog said it in the cavern not all the numbers have been checked against reality yet. Some growing pains are expected before we can really get FrontierNav rolling." Sean looked towards Phog. "Right?"
"Well... Not exactly those words, but yea. It looks like that probe might need to be repositioned to increase efficiency. I'm going to pass it along to the Surveyors and the Prospectors will adjust our own systems until it's figured out."
"Well fine then." Brigid stood in a thoughtful pose for a second then rushed on. "Still have a busted Skell and the only reason we were there was because you Prospectors needed a guard." Brigid spread her hands "That has got to be worth something, right?"
Phog hesitated. "I'm not really authorized to make purchases that large."
"No, no no no. My Raccoon is not going anywhere. We can look it over tonight and have a list of replacement parts ready by morning radio check. I can get it up and running in no time at all."
Phog nodded "You did fulfill the contract. You weren't supposed to find any Miranium. Just protect me while I looked. There is some kind of trouble in Oblivia with our probes so I am heading back to New LA as soon as your supply chopper is unloaded. I can let my boss know. She'll expedite your parts on to the next supply run."
"That plus our reward should set us up nicely." Brigid wiggled her eyebrows at Phog and Sean alternatively.
This time Sean had a grin as he rolled his eyes. "Thanks Phog. I know nobody on Mira is exactly overflowing with resources, but that'll really help us out."
Phog gave them a hesitant smile. "No problem. Um" As he searched for something to say Ciska walked up behind him.
"We're leaving. You want to get back to NLA tonight you should hurry, I'm not waiting around."
Brigid smiled broadly at her. "Yoohoo. Ciska! You are a ray of sunshine in my gloomy life."
Ciska grumbled under her breath before she smiled woodenly "That ray of light shines just for you."
Sean gave her a thumbs up from behind Brigid as he mouthed 'Nice'
Ciska rolled her eyes "I am out of this place."
Sean crawled out from under his Skell, still in vehicle form, and wiped his hands on a rag. "Frame is as solid as the day it was cast."
Brigid was leaning against the much improved front fenders. "Looks like the self repair functions managed most of the cosmetic damage. Just leaves us the stuff that needs to be replaced right?"
"Couple actuators and a gyro. And the cabling for just about everything on the right side. Mostly plug-and-play parts. Which reminds me," Sean gave Brigid a hard look. "Next time you try to replace Raccoon I will melt your Blue Jay into the biggest paper weight ever and use it to hold all those reports you still need to write."
"Oh, come on. You know nobody is going to replace that Skell. The only reason you got one is because it's second-hand from the junk dealer. We are way too low on the totem pole." Brigid gave Sean a grin and winked. "Besides you got to go big or go home."
Sean sighed. Then smiled. "At least you didn't try for a new gun with the replacement parts."
Brigid hugged him and gave a playful kiss on the cheek. "I might be a little mercenary but even I know not to mess with your baby."
"Don't mess with my baby or my darling." Sean returned her hug. "Thems my number one rules. Now I'm feeling hungry! What did the supply chopper bring?"
They began walking towards the center of camp. "Well there is some good news and some bad news with that. They sent the last of the emergency stashes we're supposed to stage around the Hushflood area."
Sean raised an eyebrow. "That's...good...news?"
"They had to leave something out," Brigid shrugged "so no fresh food. We do still have plenty of rations until the next shipment though."
"That is some bad news."
Brigid darted ahead as she called out over her shoulder. "That's not the bad news. The bad news is that I finished all of your hot sauce with lunch!"
Sean gave a mock roar as he took off after Brigid.
Miguel and his squad sat with Brigid and Sean around a card table eating rations.
Nichole sat back after finishing her ration. "Does anybody else wish we could just plug in and power up instead of eating this stuff?"
Miguel didn't even slow down as he replied. "Nope."
The rest of his team looked at each other.
"Care to flesh that response out any?" Brigid asked.
Miguel sat back and looked at Brigid and Sean. "Neither of you are prior service?" They both shook their heads.
"Alright then, let me educate you. These aren't really any worse than MRE's and they have one giant benefit. Never have to deal with constipation. Let me tell you, that isn't so important the first few days, it does get a lot more important though. I mean we've been here for a week and nobody has had an issue." Miguel returned to his half eaten ration. "I do miss the cheese spread though. I liked that cheese spread."
"You guys have been here a week looking for wreckage and we haven't heard anything about you having military experience. What's up with that?" Brigid leaned forward and raised an eyebrow. "Hmmm?"
"I had intrinsic philosophical differences with an immediate superior and ended up getting an early discharge. By that time I had already been accepted into the ECP so they looked into it and decided it wasn't a big deal."
Brigid and Sean shared a glance. "What do you mean.."
"Look guys, you're both good people, I like you, but I made a nondisclosure agreement to get out how I did. I know technically our country doesn't exist any more, and neither does that agreement. But my word means something to me, so I can't talk about it anymore than that."
Brigid raised her hands. "That's fine with me. I just would have loved to know you had some experience, I mean we've never even dealt with any military people until we were woken up here on Mira."
Sean nodded. "Seems like just about everybody above us is in some exclusive club and we have no idea how to get in."
Miguel nodded "It isn't the prior service that does that. I woke up after we landed too. I think it was the attack and emergency landing that did it. Shared experiences form bonds, the more extreme the experience the tighter the bond."
"So, outsiders for life?"
"No, just need to be here for awhile. Then those bonds form. It's also like being inside a group that just formed. We will get traditions and crap like that, then we will start working together."
Brigid and Sean looked at each other. "So we just have to do our job and wait?"
Miguel gathered up the remains of his meal as he continued. "Kind of. There's other stuff that matters too. And if what I heard is true then we will see all of BLADE pull together like nothing else."
"What do you mean?"
Nathaniel answered Brigid's question. "Just before we left NLA some of the other Reclaimers were talking. Elma and some noob she was training ran into some xeno opposition."
Brigid and Sean both sat back in their chairs. Sean asked in a quiet voice "You mean they followed us down?"
"No official word on that." Miguel shrugged "Looking like it though."
Walking out of the BLADE trailer Brigid felt the change in humidity like breath of fresh air. The inside of the trailer was kept at a constant 23 C but the dehumidifier couldn't keep up with the tropical climate, that meant what was ok during the day could become stifling at night. Adjusting the sling holding her assault rifle Brigid walked down the steps and let the door slide shut behind her.
She circled the trailer and approached the edge of the cliff. Brigid looked out over the lower Hushflood and watched it flow into and mix with the ocean of Mira while she considered this planet and the place humanity was struggling to create for itself.
"Hey." Sean was rubbing his arms as he approached. "Bit early to be staring out over this vista with such melancholia isn't it?"
"Didn't mean to wake you, sorry about that."
"No big deal. There's no way to sleep well when you're as sticky as I am."
"Just thinking that a person could hate this planet and all the vicious life forms and uncaring gargantua."
"Really?" Sean sounded surprised.
"Yea, and then you walk outside and are completely blown away by this beauty and you realize...Tigers were magnificent beasts. And also just about the most deadly."
Sean studied Brigid as she focused on the view before her. "This planet is like a tiger. You have to be aware of the fact that it evolved to have a dozen massive killing machines. But you can still appreciate the brutal magnificence of it."
"So not a good candidate for a petting zoo?"
Sean turned towards the view himself. "Well, as long as we don't get too intense this early in the morning then I think I can appreciate your point."
They shared smiles. "OK. Just so long as we're clear."
The massive lower set of falls that made up Everwhelm Falls created a constant roar that Sean could feel through the soles of his boots as he studied the wide expanse of the Hushflood as it flowed into the waters surrounding Noctilum.
"Speaking of massive killing machines, you remember that mortifole we stumbled on when we crossed the Hushflood?"
"Yup. Should have seen that coming, I mean, since when do flowers grow to four meters across."
"Since we got to this planet. That wasn't much bigger than some actual flowers I've seen. Anyway, my point was that I heard back from NLA yesterday. They officially classified it as a tyrant. And they accepted my name for it."
Brigid tried a look on him but it didn't squash his spirit in the least. He waited for her to speak. "What did you suggest?"
"What! You ass. I really should have gotten rid of your broken down wreck."
Sean hugged her. "Come on. Your name is as beautiful as this planet and it deserves to be out there in it! So if you insist on going by your middle name that's fine. But Katerina will be out there terrorizing people for months, maybe even years, just like it deserves."
Brigid pouted for a few seconds then smiled and returned Sean's hug. "Fine you get a pass this time. But only because Katerina will give people some attitude. And it was a pretty giant flower."
Sean pumped his arm. "Score."
"Parts are coming in today?"
"I have, in fact, been assured that they will be here by noon."
"See that island in the mouth of the river?"
Sean looked into the distance and saw a spike of an island standing in the center of the Hushflood's mouth. A land bridge could be seen arching out to it.
Brigid started to become animated as she continued. "I want to head over there. I think if we can get there then we should be able to reach the bottom of the cliff next to the Nightwoods."
"They haven't finished surveying the Nightwoods yet. There might be a way to get down there without going quite so far around."
"There probably is, but I bet it isn't as scenic as that isle out there."
Sean raised an eyebrow. "And maybe we would be the ones to find the way up, hmm?"
Sean studied the cliff face. "Looks like we can try following that path, maybe it will lead to that land bridge."
"Or close enough. That's what I was thinking too. Although there are a lot of those flowers."
"They must be ten feet wide to be able to see them from here."
Brigid arched an eyebrow. "Remember it's three meters, not ten feet."
"Ugh, I hope Katerina has a sister down there waiting for you."
Brigid elbowed Sean gently in the side. "Knowing her like I do, I think any siblings would go for you, not me."
"That's reassuring. Raccoon can take anything they could dish out."
"Maybe it could take it, but Blue Jay could run..." Before she could finish a primal scream pierced the early morning.
"Shit, that sounds close."
They took off running past the BLADE trailer to the other side of camp. As they reached the Interceptor sign standing at the edge of camp a juvenile Simius that out massed them both came screaming in and swiped at Sean. The only thing that saved him was that his attempt to stop on the treacherous ground put him on his back.
Brigid brought up her assault rifle and unloaded a full magazine on it's sternum and face. Brigid felt the thump as it hit the ground.
Brigid hurried over and helped Sean up. "What the hell was that."
Sean shook his head. "No idea but it isn't over." He pointed as he regained his footing. "Looks like a whole troop over there getting psyched up."
Another scream pierced the air. This time Brigid could hear the sound of a full grown Simius pounding the ground with its fists. "Lets get everybody up."
"Get Blue Jay I'll get everyone up."
Just as they reached the door to the trailer Nathaniel opened it. "Whats going on?"
Brigid continued on towards Blue Jay as Sean stopped and turned back to the troop stalking towards the camp. "Get everyone up and in their gear, we have trouble."
"What kind of trouble?"
Two more Juvenile simius charged the camp. Sean brought up his gatling gun "Now!"
One fell before his hail of bullets, holding the trigger he tried to muscle it around and get the other. A line of divots explode behind it as the simius charged into the storage tent.
"Hurry up guys! There are alot more and we already got one in our rations."
The others piled out with armor and weapons on and not much else. Taking a stance next to Sean Nichole looked over. "At least it isn't anything important right?"
A boulder flew out of the darkness and hit the mobile Interceptor sign, rocking it over before it slammed back down on its wheels. The troop in front of them followed right behind it. The squad of Interceptors opened fire. The assault rifles added to Sean's gatling gun swept the half dozen juvenile simius off their feet and slowed the larger four meter tall simius as both raised their top pair of arms to shield themselves from the rounds as they continued forward.
Sean called into his comm. "Is Blue Jay up and running? Because we aren't slowing the big ones by much."
Clomping foot steps approached from behind them. "On my way. I saw that boulder and stopped to get a little present for whatever threw it."
As Blue Jay passed them Sean saw his M-Sniper attached on Blue Jay's shoulder. "As long as you're careful I think I'll let it go this time."
"You better. You owe me after Katerina."
Sean turned to Nathaniel next to him. "I think we can manage now that Brigid is here. Can you get on the radio and contact HQ?"
"And request backup, hell yes I can." Turning he ran into the trailer.
Sean turned to his other side. "We should clear that tent while we have a chance."
The metallic whine of the M-Sniper's capacitors discharging sounded as the M-Sniper cycled. "That's one down."
"Keep the pace steady, don't overheat it when you need it."
Brigid's voice crackled over the comm. "Yes mom."
Sean and Nichole turned to deal with the simius in the tent just when it decided it wanted out. Scattering supplies it swung it's arms around and knocked them both over. Sean managed to keep his gatling gun on target and pulled the trigger. When the ripping sound of his gun cycling stopped there was another simius body on the ground.
Brigid activated the grenade launcher and continued firing her shotgun while the M-Sniper cooled down.
As Sean and Nichole stood up, she turned to him. "I think we can clear these guys out if we keep them from getting in the camp with us."
Nathaniel ran out of the BLADE trailer "Thats good. HQ has fully committed all the fast reaction forces to another action. We have relief coming from the next Base Camp, in two to three hours. We're on our own."
Brigid sat in her skell's cockpit and waited for the M-Sniper to cycle again. She could slow the massive skell sized creatures with her usual loadout but not stop them. The only decisive weapon in the camp that could put them out of the fight was the slow cycling gun she had taken from Sean's redlined skell.
Sean's voice came through the comm system. "We aren't going to get any backup. Think your fuel will hold up? My baby likes to suck that juice down when he goes to work."
Brigid's eyes flicked to the fuel read-out as she finally managed to cycle the big gun. Seeing the visible drop in fuel level she felt her chocolate complexion pale just a little. "Yea, we are doing great. Don't think it will be a problem."
Waiting for Sean to respond she used her shotgun on a simius about to throw a rock as big as her torso.
Sean's voice was flat when he finally responded "You're in the red already aren't you."
"I like to think of it as incarnadine. Sounds less like a bad thing. Besides I'm about out of things to shoot at."
Cycling the M-Sniper one last time Brigid droped her Skell out of fight mode. "In fact that was the last one. I'll start recharging as soon as we're sure none of the little guys are wandering around."
A warning tone sounded as Blue Jay picked up a projectile and entered fight mode. Brigid cursed as she dodged the boulder. Half the size of her skell the boulder flew through the space she had occupied and bounced right through the tent scattering supplies twenty feet in every direction.
Voices came through the comm stepping all over each other, Brigid muttered to herself "What the hell was that."
Around a rock formation ahead of them came two screaming simius. Brigid managed to deploy the M-Sniper and hit one just in time for the other to slam into her skell, knocking it back. Brigid felt her straps bite into her shoulders as the jets on the back of the skell fired, attempting to keep her upright.
The Blades jumped in, switching to melee weapons in an effort to keep from damaging Blue Jay. As the Simius spun to attack this threat Brigid stabilized her skell and emptied her shotgun at point blank range.
Dodging the body as it fell everyone started cheering.
Brigid reached towards a control to switch off fight mode when she noticed the sounds of celebration disappear from the speakers that relayed external sounds to her.
Looking around she saw that the sun had risen above the horizon and everything around them was drenched in golden splendor. She could see the meter long turba's wasp-like shapes becoming active through the trees on the bank ahead of them as well as a massive tectinsula forging the waters as it made its way to an island in mid stream.
All of this and more was pushed to the back of the mind by the fifty foot tall simius with its two left arms grabbing the scissor lift portion of the Interceptor sign. Snarling, it flexed its arms. Overstressed hydraulic lines burst, spewing fluid over the simius and the ground around it. At first the sign collapsed down, as the simius continued to apply force it started to bend in ways it was never designed to move.
Brigid activated her comm "Run. I'll slow it down. Just get out."
Bringing the M-Sniper up she aimed for the massive simius's head.
Sean's head whipped around towards Brigid and her Blue Jay. "What! Hell no. We'll never get away. Our only chance is to take it on together."
"Miguel, you and your team need to get out jump off the cliff. The water should be deep enough. And it'll give you a better chance than fighting this guy will." Brigid refined the targeting, dialing in tight on it's head. The time the M-Sniper would take to cycle meant that she would only get one shot before it was all over her. Maybe the only shot before the beast destroyed her skell.
Miguel gave Sean a pleading look, begging him to understand, as he responded to Brigid. "As soon as you give the word we'll get. Just promise to try to get out yourself."
Brigid completed programming the next few steps into Blue Jay. She patted the console fondly. "You have my word.Go on three."
Brigid sat back and felt a tear trickling down her face. "One."
It always felt so weird that she could feel tears on Mira. "Two."
"Three." She activated the subroutine as she said it. Blue Jay whirled so fast it strained it's operating limits. With its empty hand it grabbed Sean and tossed him over the cliff. Brigid was jerked and twisted in the straps as she roared out "GOOO!" Miguel and his team ran.
Blue Jay had returned to it's previous speed as she yelled out. Back into an aiming stance, Brigid saw that the sights were right back on the head, Blue Jay's systems stabilized and the M-Sniper was triggered.
The giant simius staggered back like he was punched in the face. Instead of falling over backwards he stood upright and roared. His face was bloody but intact. Throwing the remains of the sign it rushed forwards. Brigid brought up the shotgun and fired.
The shotgun knocked him back a step. One step for an entire magazine. Brigid knew it wasn't enough. As the automated systems began to reload the shotgun Brigid tried to throw her Cracker-FM. Before she could even release it the simius was infront of her and backhanded the grenade. It flew thirty feet, Brigid found herself thinking that she really should practice using meters, into a minor portion of the Hushflood.
Brigid activated the V-Knuckle attached to the right hand as the simius put its upper hands together and slammed it into the skell. All the readouts for the right side grayed out as she managed to punched the simius in the face. There was a satisfying crackle of electricity as the V-Knuckle was succesfully deployed before shut.
The simius grappled with the left side of the skell as Brigid activated every system she could. A needlegun started spitting its magazine and was crushed half way through. Her skells arm couldn't reach the claymore to activate and her shield module gave only seconds of protection instead of the minute or more she was used to.
The simius began battering at the skell. Brigid was thrown against the straps again and again until she could hardly tell what was happening. Then it was over. The skell was a battered ruin. None of the combat or motive systems were operable and only one of the screens in the cockpit was showing anything, even that was more snow than picture.
The little she could see showed the skell laying on the ground with the simius's feet to one side. In front of her she saw undergrowth rustling and then a ten foot xeno stepped into the clearing. It was a pinkish brutal looking creature. Looking up at the simius it said something and waved an arm before turning back and walking back into the vegetation.
Brigid saw the simius's toes very clearly as it took a single step. Blue Jay's remains swung up. Brigid could see the top of the simius's head and then, swift movement.
The screen showed frantic movement while Brigid only felt confusion and a serene sense of floating. Until it stopped suddenly.
Blue Jay flew through the air and slammed into the trailer. They both tumbled together until they reached the cliff's edge. The simius saw this and roared as it rushed forward. It punched the trailer so hard it nearly folded in half. The trailer fairly leapt into open space while Blue Jay flopped like a broken toy and tumbled down the cliff to crash in the water.
After just having made it to shore, planning on running along a giant root to the top, Sean turned towards the water where Blue Jay had fallen and dove back in.
Miguel could see the crumpled cockpit from where he stood on the bank.