thatsagainstprotocol: (► I don't want to end up like Georgia)
[personal profile] thatsagainstprotocol
[ Connie and York are still asleep when he crawls out of bed at nearly two in the morning. He's sore and exhausted and shaky most of all, which means that sleep isn't going to happen any time soon. He takes his jacket off of the back of a chair and slides it on, and realizes he can't go with armor without being too loud. Well. The garden zones are safe enough, he figures, arming himself, slipping out the door with a note scrawled for the girls.

He makes it there shortly, and finds the nearest hill, flopping back onto his back, enjoying the press of grass. The desert hasn't been awful, but that and a ship-- god, he's just grateful for grass. ]

Date: 2012-12-13 08:07 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166061)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Like most of the older handlers, Tex doesn't need to sleep as much as a normal person anymore-- a natural result of the genetic augmentation. It doesn't bother her nearly as much as some of the other side effects, and has been especially useful aboard this damn ship without a regular maintenance crew to keep up with Omega's equipment. Now it's all on her to patch harness straps and hammer dents out of his plating and weld seams back together.

The ship keeps an artificial day cycle, so there's a holographic 'moon' floating high overhead, its soft pale light turning everything silver. It's more than enough light to see by, at least for her, although she's got a field lantern lit while she tinkers with some bit of electronics. Omega is coiled up a little distance away, keeping a jealous eye on Excidium and especially Crimson as he gnaws on dinner, though both seem to be fast asleep and hardly about to interrupt him. His snide comments about infants along their wireless link have finally slowed down, however, typical post-meal lethargy settling in, and after a few more moments she gets up herself to stretch her legs, trying to shake off the borrowed feeling of tiredness. She's in fatigue pants and a tanktop, feeling safe enough at this hour to go without something covering every inch of her skin, and the small patches of dragonscale along her spine and joints are visible, cormorant feather black and faintly iridescent at her elbows and spreading down one shoulder.

She cracks her neck as she walks, vertebrae popping loudly, and at first takes the man in the grass for Roland, tired enough to not pay attention and only getting a glimpse of a human silhouette rather than a Varier. She halts, running a hand wearily through short hair and wishing now for a jacket to hide her skin, even though Roland is hardly going to blink at any strangeness when she's already surrounded by so much, and more occupied with the health of her dragon anyway. ]

Excidium's asleep, finally. I think his cough has gotten better over the past couple days.

Date: 2012-12-13 08:10 am (UTC)
619b: (► Just say "sync" when she does.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ He hasn't been out much or often, really. he's done some wandering to try and get used to being out and about, but he knows that he needs to get out more, to do more.

Wash drags a hand over his face with a tired sigh, and isn't surprised at the footsteps- York, Connie probably followed him. He amends that quickly enough when he hears them come closer- they're not right, they don't match. He's not sure what time it is, or who's out, but he turns, sitting up and drawing his gun, leveling it at her. ]

Who are you?

Date: 2012-12-13 08:21 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166063)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Whoa okay. She goes into alert at the sound of the gun being drawn but holds perfectly still, not even bothering to raise her hands. This sort of reaction is actually pretty typical from nervous soldiers on the battlefield, over-used to Covenant beasts and assuming anything that looked different was there to kill everyone. She doesn't sigh, although it's a near thing. ]

Austin. I'm human, don't shoot etc. You'll wake the neighborhood, and you really don't want that.

Date: 2012-12-13 08:33 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166063)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ No, she shouldn't, but she's got an eight ton dragon just over the hill and hadn't really been worried about an attack in the middle of the night. She frowns right back at him. ]

And you shouldn't be wandering alone in the Variers' territory. You're lucky half of Niall's people are down on the planet right now.

[ He holds himself professionally enough, but that could mean anything from soldier to self-trained civilian. ]

I don't think I've seen you on the network before.

Date: 2012-12-13 08:57 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166066)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
The leader of the Variers. The aliens that have a--scientific commune, I guess, here in this zone. [She watches him intently, wondering if he's such a newcomer or oblivious... or a spy, of course.]

She's not very fond of soldiers or organized authority that isn't hers.

[ Eyebrow. ]

I got that, if you didn't recognize Niall's name.

Date: 2012-12-13 08:59 am (UTC)
619b: (► I don't want to end up like Georgia)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ Figures. He gives the area a once-over just to make sure it's empty where they are, and wonders if he needs to go. ]

I can't imagine she's happy with everyone here, then.


Date: 2012-12-13 09:19 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166069)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
No, she's not.

But fortunately for you she's not here, and I'm not one of her civilians--

[ Omega rumbles something over the wireless network, wondering what's taking so long, and she tilts her head to the side, touching her temple and grimacing. ]

--you hold on a moment.

[ Cue a moment of her standing in complete silence, gaze to the side and a bit empty as she tells her idiot dragon that she'd run into someone, no he's probably not a spy that needs to be eaten, no Omega can't come investigate, no he'd better not move his ass and wake Excidium. It would look a great deal like someone talking on the phone or helmet comm, if she had either.

Her gaze snaps back to him abruptly. ]

Sorry, but I think you'd better come back with me. There's a patrol headed this way and it's a little late for awkward explanations.

Date: 2012-12-13 09:21 am (UTC)
619b: (► Guess I'll reread my field manual)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ Oh, what the fuck, his life. He sees the way she tilts her head, the way she touches her temple, and feels something jerk in his stomach, unsettled. ]


[ Not only no, but hell no. He takes three sharp steps back, gun back in his hand, finding the heavy weight comforting. ]

I'll pass. I'll go the other way.

Date: 2012-12-13 09:37 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166081)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Now her eyes narrow, going from his face to the gun and back. ]

--don't be an idiot. Whatever you came for, you're not doing anyone any favors by pissing the Variers off. Come with me and you'll be clear in 20 minutes.

Date: 2012-12-13 09:38 am (UTC)
619b: (► I'm not sure that's sound advice.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ fuck.

He gives the whole place another look, and thinks he sees a flicker of lights from the side, forcing himself to focus. ]

What's in your head?

Date: 2012-12-13 09:44 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166069)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Is that all he's worried about? She gives him a half-exasperated look, turning to the side so that he might see the data port at the base of her skull. It's much larger than normal, cold metal grafted directly to skin and gaping open, clearly empty, and there's a series of circular ports heading all the way down her spine. The dragonscale scattered around them glitters cold in the moonlight. ]

Neural lace. Just a radio signal, cowboy.

Date: 2012-12-13 09:46 am (UTC)
619b: (► I'm not sure that's sound advice.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ He tenses at that, too, because that's not a name he hears often- at least, not from anyone that's not York. Still, no AI. Just radio, nothing creeping in her head. One more hard look, and he lowers the gun, though his hand stays on it. ]

Alright. Where to?

[ He shouldn't trust her, not just like that, not without it making any sense, but he knows her, knows her from somewhere. His past, maybe? A soldier he's met? ]

Date: 2012-12-13 09:53 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166063)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ For a moment she has to hesitate, wondering if it's really a good idea to bring someone so jumpy near the dragons... but it would be worse to let him get caught when he's clearly not the diplomatic type. She jerks her head to indicate direction, eyes busy on their surroundings. ]

Next hill over. My-- partner and I are bivouacked there, and the Variers know better than to bother us.

[ and dryly, eyeing his weapon, ]

I'll take point, but keep in mind that I'll break your jaw if you fire that accidentally.

Date: 2012-12-13 09:57 am (UTC)
619b: (► Just say "sync" when she does.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
I don't fire accidentally.

[ If he's going to fire, it's going to be without hesitation and entirely on purpose. Still, he'll go along with it for the time being, falling in behind her, trying to place it.

Red hair.

He knows it, he knows he does. Maybe she just reminds him of someone from his past. ]

Date: 2012-12-13 10:11 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166089)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ A snort is her only response. WHATEVER YOU SAY, SON.

Anyway it's like literally five minutes back to her little camp, obvious from the stacked crates of ammunition and weaponry and the handful of small lanterns set up. It might seem like an odd place to set up a camp, out in the middle of a random field, but the lights also catch on the glitter of obsidian black scales. Omega looks like a particularly genre style statue, metal spikes and bone spurs and arching black wings, his great horned head resting on crossed front legs like a cat. Excidium's bulk is only a little distance beyond, more sinuous and neatly coiled, and Crimson's bright scarlet hide beyond that. The cracked bones of some large herbivore still lay strewn around, bits of flesh clinging to them, as Omega wasn't particularly inclined to neatness.

He slits open an eye at their approach but doesn't even bother raising his head, letting out an explosive exhalation when Tex goes to him, both hands on his bony nose, blowing her hair back violently. ]

Date: 2012-12-13 10:15 am (UTC)
619b: (► I didn't really mean he-)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ Wash is expecting a certain level of weirdness with this place. After Freelancer, after how shitty everything went, and christ, after this ship? Yeah, weird is normal, now.

And he expects that he'll encounter things he's not expecting- like the hallway full of dead bodies. Creepy, but not altogether terrifying or unexpected.

It's why he doesn't bat an eye at shiny rocks, why he doesn't flinch at the bones, but--

Yeah, okay, nothing prepares him for the eyes opening up and oh holy HOLY HOLY FUCK that is not-- Wash's gun gets drawn all over again and he starts to think he ought to just surgically attach it to his hand, staring it down. ]

You have a --

Date: 2012-12-13 10:27 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166102)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ not looking back at him, and matter of fact, ]

Dragon, yes. Alien organic body with natural metal scales, AI chip interface for language and obedience. Technical classification aerial assault vehicle, contracted to the UNSC.

...also if you're pointing your gun at us, knock it off.

Date: 2012-12-13 10:32 am (UTC)
619b: (► Just say "sync" when she does.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
I-- what--

[ Oh for fuck's sake. York without memories, another him, male Yorks and now a fucking dragon?

Wash makes a strangled noise, trying to process it and then the second bit hits him. ]

AI chip interface?

Date: 2012-12-13 10:45 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166066)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ She nods absently, grabbing up a towel and some cleaning solution to get the dried blood off his jaws while he grumbles audibly, twitching his head out of her hands until she kicks him solidly with an armored boot. ]

They'd just be wild animals, otherwise. Without an AI implanted as hatchlings, they wouldn't be able to speak, or follow complicated commands, and they'd be about as much use on the battlefield as an eight ton cat.

[ dry, because she thinks it's much weirder for worlds to not have dragons, ]

Apparently my universe is somewhat unique. The Covenant use war beasts for their shock troops, and we use Spartans and dragons and anything else we can find to throw at them.

Date: 2012-12-13 10:47 am (UTC)
619b: (► I'm not sure that's sound advice.)
From: [personal profile] 619b
[ Oh. Oh, sweet mother of-- she's cleaning blood off his jaws and he feels himself grip the gun tighter even if it's not leveled at them. Unwise, but probably moreso to aim it at them. ]


[ Yeah, fucking apparently. His voice goes strangled, uneven and he stares at her, utterly blown away right now. ]

This is UNSC sanctioned?

Date: 2012-12-13 10:59 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166081)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ She slaps the towel against Omega's shoulder, where his serial number is emblazoned, along with a particular symbol that's been scuffed and scratched and may or may not be recognizable anymore. The letters "UNSC" are in larger font, though, and easily visible.

She glances back at him, and pointedly at the gun, becaue honestly bro what are you even gonna do with that. ]

It's all about numbers, and someone else was working on the supersoldier angle. If one Spartan is worth so many regular soldiers, one dragon and rider pair is worth a platoon.

We discovered the species at a Covenant outpost, actually. The UNSC was happy to devise a way to use their own resources against them.

Date: 2012-12-18 03:55 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166069)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer

Less than a hundred on active duty. 99% of the States are paired with a dragon but more of the Capitals aren't; the Project can't seem to get more than one or two eggs out of captive breeding and we're rarely lucky enough to stumble upon wild clutches in time.

Date: 2012-12-25 06:07 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166098)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Now she looks at him with more focus, brow furrowing. ]

--yes, actually.

Date: 2013-01-10 02:11 am (UTC)
dragonlancer: (pic#5166089)
From: [personal profile] dragonlancer
[ Omega rumbles, his great head rising to look at Wash with greater interest, and Tex doesn't move, although her posture immediately turns defensive and wary. ] we know each other?


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