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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Someone or something had ravaged Thessalonica. Corpses still rotted in the streets of staked to building, the blood sprayed across alleyways and doorways had dried to a deep crimson that was almost brown. The hustle and bustle of the Lower Hive had died away, although the screams of the grey twilight had not entirely disappeared. The moans of the dead and dying still echoed through the streets a hab complexes. Even after the decimation, life still persisted. It is one of the most remarkable about humanity; its ability to endure. One of it most horrifying characteristics is the ways in which it can endure.



Kirai "The Rat": You are on the far western side of the Lower Hive, on the fifth floor of a habitation block. You have been there for three sleeps, although that does not necessarily imply three days. The rations you had are all spent and your small frame is struggling to cope with the lack of nutrition, limited as it was before. You must venture out to find some or perish. In the most recent hours you have heard noises echoing through the ventilation shafts. However, one thing is certain, you cannot stay here for much longer. Hunger will drive you on or it will kill you.



There is a ventilation shaft in the room you are holed up in, although you have not explored far into it. There is a double bed in the room, high enough off of the ground for you to sneak under if needs must. There are a few cupboards in the room as well as a desk. The room’s only exit leads to a corridor. Your room is at the end of a corridor of 12 rooms, 6 on either side. At the end of the corridor there is a left turn, leading to another corridor with 16 rooms, 8 on either side. There is a T-junction at the end of this corridor, right leads to a staircase allowing you to move up or down floors. Left is more corridors.



Gabriel Frost: Hunger is an issue for you. Your stomach growls loudly and you know is has been far longer it should be since you last ate. You can survive for a while longer but the longer you wait the more your awareness and your ability to act will diminish. You swig some of your water at some cross roads on the west of the Lower Hive, your shotgun held loosely in your other hand ready to act at a moment’s notice. You have been wandering one of the main streets of the Lower Hive for a few hours now and had only just passed the main munitions factory on your right.



Forward and to you right is row after of habitation blocks, likely some of them are occupied by people of varying humours. Forward and to the left is the Arbites HQ. Behind that is the main elevator that leads to the upper levels of the hive. You know from experience that it is locked somehow. Only those from the upper hive can call it. The lower denizens have to have the elevator sent down to them. Surrounding the elevator shaft is more hab blocks.



Samuel Holst: You are on the far western side of the Lower Hive, on the fifth floor of a habitation block. You have been there for three sleeps, although that does not necessarily imply three days. The rations you had are all spent. Although you could last a little while longer, you can tell Kirai is not doing well. She is sleeping more and longer than she had been when you first met her. In the most recent hours you have heard sounds echoing through the ventilation shafts. You might prefer to not move from where you are, relatively obscured, but if you do Kirai will not last long and you may soon follower her.



There is a ventilation shaft in the room you are holed up in, although you have not explored far into it. There is a double bed in the room, high enough off of the ground for Kirai to sneak under if needs must, but not high enough for you. There are a few cupboards in the room as well as a desk. The room’s only exit leads to a corridor. Your room is at the end of a corridor of 12 rooms, 6 on either side. At the end of the corridor there is a left turn, leading to another corridor with 16 rooms, 8 on either side. There is a T-junction at the end of this corridor, right leads to a staircase allowing you to move up or down floors. Left is more corridors.



Kanis Strike: In the last few hours the voices began to cause you a terrible migraine so you decided to travel back to the chapel and pray and found no one else there. The pews were overturned and most of the valuables ransacked, although some of the bodies remained decomposing silently. However, the statue venerating the Emperor still remained and kneeling in front of it and offering benedictions helped. However, your need for food compelled you to leave, and the voices began to stir again. This time it was no words, but a heightened awareness that you are being watched. You look around but cannot find any eyes spying on you and do your best to dismiss the feeling.



Something compels you to the east of town, heading down the street to your right and then taking a left at some point. You know the manufactorum that produced the majority of the food for the Lower Hive is in the North East quadrant of the city, although most of it has likely been ransacked by now. However there is a chance there may still be something there, or perhaps those who had raided the manufactorum would still be nearby, unwilling to leave what might be a prosperous source of sustenance. You start to walk this way, although there are also several habitation blocks to your left, unlikely to be as rich in resources but also far less likely to be targeted by raiders.



Callista "Cally" Santigue: You are in the basement of one of the habitation blocks close to the ammunition manufactorum. With the auxiliary power generators humming around you and the warmth they give off, it is as close as you can get right now to the familiar surroundings of the kilns you are used to. There is a problem however. There is neither food nor water down here and despite your natural affinity with heat and machinery, the environment is taking its toll on your body. You are becoming dehydrated and if you don’t find water soon your condition will deteriorate.



You have a few options open to you. You can choose to go up into the higher levels of the habitation block of that you are in currently. The lower floor are likely ransacked by now, but the higher floors might prove fruitful. You could venture into the open and check the workers quarters of the manufactorum or raid some of the other habitation blocks. Whatever you do, your priority has to be finding food or water as without these you are unlikely to last much longer.



Pieter Hark: You have wandered to the south of the lower hive, you are currently in a 3rd floor of a habitation block which is directly opposite the Church of the God-Emperor. The weak light reflects of its gilded roof and in through the solitary window in your room, perhaps a sign of the Emperor’s favour on this position. Regardless of whether such an absent God favours this building or not, you have exhausted your supplies of food and will have to find more soon or starve.



Out of the window you see a man whose head darts left and right. A small skull bobs behind him. It’s as if he is looking for something. He appears anxious to you. He appears to have recently left the chapel and is heading to the east of the Lower Hive. Perhaps he could use some company, or perhaps you’d rather steer clear of unknown people. Alternatively you might want to call to him and get his attention. Your room leads into a corridor, at the end of which are some stairs which will allow you to ascend or descend although about an hour ago you heard several sets of feet use the stairs, whether they were coming or going you couldn’t tell.
 

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Gabr glances down at his shotgun opening the breech to check his shell count.

"Hm running low, gonna have to search for ammo soon or I'm done"

He contemplates going into the munitions depo he just past but the urge of hunger had set in by now, and
He can't afford to retrace his steps with what ever lurks in the darkness still lingering ready to pounce.

After much debating in his own mind he enters one of the near by Hab blocks in search of sustenance he walks through the Han block checking rooms his shotgun drawn... Just in case.
 

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Kanis raised his hand to temple, massaging his head to try and alleviate the pain. But it was no good, the voices had wrestled control. It had been almost a decade since they had been able to induce this much agony. It felt as if a mental dam had burst, releasing the voices into his mind in a swirling torrent. Every step he made sent shivers of pain through his body, but not with the intensity within his head.

He knew this was his fault, he had gone too long with proper subsistence and sleep. It had drained him of his energy to keep them locked up. A lapse in control, even for a second, can spell major consequences. He decided that he needed time to recharge, enough to at least stave off the worst of the migraine.

Staying close to the ground and moving with as much speed as he dared, Kanis returned to the chapel, the place he had called home for so many years. However, the bustling masses on their way to praise the Emperor had been replaced with decomposing bodies, some contorted into horrible positions. Kanis shuddered as he walked past them and through the open archway.

Poor souls, may the Emperor’s light guide and protect them in the gloom of the afterlife’ he thought

The passage of time was very difficult to measure in the twilight which now engulfed the lower hive, but it was clear that there had been activity here since Kanis last visited. The pews had been overturned, smashed into pieces.

Probably scavengers, getting something to burn for a fire

He glanced around the great hall to see that nothing had been left undisturbed. All the murals and artefacts of the chapel had gone, leaving nothing but a fine layer of dust and bodies. The number of bodies had increased since last he was here, suggesting that the looters must have fought over the remains of this once glorious beacon of faith. Kanis felt only sadness, for he knew that this was done out of desperation, not malice.

Hard times such as these are the true test of a man’s faith, and many fail

As he approached the statue of the Emperor, the focus point of the whole place, he was relieved to see that it had been left fairly unscathed. The voices in his head already began to retreat back into the depths of his mind as he glazed upon its majesty. But they were not going quietly. He could swear they were hissing curses at the glorious figure before him, as if being this close to the statue hurt them. As he kneeled to pray, the last vestals of resistance from the voices vanished. He felt the pain recede, and a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He prayed for the souls that still remained, and asked the Emperor to look down upon them with mercy, and to guide them to his light. As ever, all that he received in return was the statues stony silence. When he was younger, he had asked how the priest knew if the Emperor could hear their prayers. He was told that the greatest gifts the Emperor could bestow on his followers was hope and faith, and that if he believed strongly enough, he would know the Emperor was listening to him.

Kanis opened his eyes and immediately launched himself backwards. His servo skull had hovered in front of his face while he prayed, meaning that when he opened his eyes it floated only a few inches from his nose. Swearing silently as only a mute could, he got back to his feet. He watched his silent companion for a few seconds while he caught his breath. Kanis had always admired the servo skull. It was a relic of the chapel, being in service for countless years. Overtime, its machine spirit had gained a curious nature, as if it had a child’s curiosity.

It was then he felt his stomach churn, with his attention on his pounding headache, Kanis had neglected the emptiness of his stomach. A quick scout of the area showed that everything had now been taken, so he would have to search further afield.

The Emperor likes to test to flock, doesn’t he

Checking his pack and making sure all his belongings were in place, Kanis left the chapel through the rear entrance, in case he had been followed. He began heading south, towards a habitation block, but then froze. Something was wrong. Another side effect of his prolonged battle with the voices were that occasionally, they granted him a heighted sense. He couldn’t explain this even if he could speak, but it felt like he was able to get a glimpse of the surrounding world through disembodied eyes. He was being watched.

Hitting the ground as quickly as he could, Kanis looked around, incase someone had taken arms against him and were hoping for a distance shot with a rifle. His first day out of the chapel had seen him run into a gang armed to the teeth. He had escaped by the skin of his teeth, and had made him more wary of being out in the open for too long. After a few moments, he decided that it must just be a side effect of the earlier battle with the voices and returned to his feet.

Kanis considered his next move. With a feeling of unexplained dread of the habituation block in front of him, he decided to go East instead. He vaguely remembered there had been a manufactorum that produced vast quantities of food, and thought that perhaps there could be some scraps left over. He moved quickly, trying to dispel the feeling of being watched. He was sure he could hear something a voice perhaps, but decided it must be his nerves playing tricks on him. The further east he travelled, the more Kanis felt happy about his decision, he couldn’t explain why but he felt that every step he made was right, as if he was treading a path which had been laid out in front of him.

Perhaps my prayers have been answer

He headed down a narrow street, turning right down an even narrower corridor. Bodies still littered the streets, some looking fresher than others. He then found himself turning left onto a main street until he could see the manufactorium in front of him. But something was wrong. He could see in the distance the doors were wide open, and what appeared to be a glint of metal.

Raiders

Kanis dived behind a wall, waiting for the sound of incoming fire. After a few minutes of silence, he decided that either he had not been spotted or the glint was just a metallic piece of rubble. Not wanting to risk an ambush in unknown territory, Kanis decided that he would have to find another potential source of food. He looked up at another habituation block just a few yards from his hiding place. He could see the doors were still closed, and there appeared to be no tracks leading to or from the building. It seemed odd that this building had been left untouched, but perhaps the raiders didn’t want to leave the manufactorium in case a rival gang swooped in and took it from them. Knowing there would be less food to find, Kanis slowly crept up to the doors, deciding that at least this should lead him away from a firefight. He still could not shake the feeling something was watching him, waiting for him to lower his guard just for a second. He pulled out his knife from its sheath around his belt, its weight comforting in his hands.

May the Emperor guide my blade to victory, so that I may serve him and bring justice in his name’ he silently chanted as he pushed open the door.

On the cusp of hearing, Kanis heard a familiar voice, the first voice he had heard as a child when the curse began. It only surfaced when the others disappeared, as if waiting for him to fall into a false sense of security before striking. It was the only voice that he truly feared, for it took the guise of his former self, the child who had his tongue ripped out, the child who had been left to die, the child who sought the darkness and who the darkness still seeks to claim.

POOR CHOICE
 

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After a short while of advancing down the corridor, gabe knocks a tin can imediatly snaping his weapon to the then possible threat, realising his error he lets out a sigh and lowers his weapon, before having a swig of water and continuing through the hab block.


One thing keeps running through his mind,

"Am I the last one ?"

Why did he deserve to live when others fell into the darkness, it wasn't fair. These thorght where not healthy they would only lead to his desendance into madness.

After the best part of an hour he decided this was a waste of his time and walked out into the street, looking in all direction for some sign of contact friend or for he dosent care, what are these things waiting for...,

Was this his final punishment for passed sins ... Emperor have mercy.
 

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Despite the chill in the air, Pieter felt warm inside. A feeling he had not experienced for the first thirty seven years of his life, it was now his constant companion. Though it ebbed and waned, the feeling was always there, the touch of the Emperor's love and his favour for a simple power plant worker on a faraway world. This was a good place, Pieter knew this. He stood at the window of the tiny hab room and bathed his face in the soft light from the church roof. The Emperor could see him here, could protect him here. He would remember this place. It was not his destiny however. He had already turned the room upside down for some sign, some clue as to why he had felt drawn here but there was nothing. He had rested though, better then he had in days. Perhaps that was all he needed, to sleep soundly in the safety of the Emperor's embrace so as to begin his search with renewed vigour.

A figure emerged from the church and Pieter ducked down sharply. Though he had exited the church, he carried himself with none of the peace such a place would imbue upon the holy. Pieter peered uneasily and watched the man walk away. He jumped as his stomach growled so loudly he feared the man would hear it. For all the Emperor's protection, Pieter knew he must still sustain himself. Slowly standing up again, he took a deep breath, soaking in one last dose of the soft soothing light, turned and walked out into the corridor.

He searched each room between his and the stairwell. In the third room along he found a nutri-bar. A short slab of processed grains infused with minimal requirements of protein and vitamins, cheap to produce and supply to the impoverished. It was brown and unappealing, the first signs of fluffy white mould forming at the tips. Pieter ate it anyway. It was bland and heavy and took so much chewing it made his jaw ache. He savoured every bite, for such was a gift from the Emperor.

With nothing left to find, Pieter walked boldly once more into the corridor and took the staircase down towards the street.
 

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Kanis remained crouched, fear had frozen him to the spot. The voice had caught him unawares. It took all his willpower to force himself forward into the corridor. He tried to calm his mind, his thoughts returning to chants of praise. He decided that he would start his search on the first floor, any raiders or looters passing through early during the mad panic would have surely swept the ground floor clear.

By the time he began climbing the stairs his mind had returned to state of calm. He found himself cursing his moment of weakness, and thanked the Emperor that it had not cost him more than just a few moments of panic. Still remaining low, Kanis moved down the first floor corridor, and picked one of the rooms at random. The door was unlocked, so he pushed the door open slowly.

He found himself in a small room, the floor space almost taken up completely by the small single bed. Apart from the bed and a few discarded possessions, the room was bare. He searched underneath the bed and found what he believed to be a survival bag. Those who were on the run from gang members tended to make up small packs, in case they needed to make a quick getaway. They usually consisted of a small amount of credits, clothes, and a bit of food to keep them going until the next safe point could be found.

Sure enough, as he rooted through the bag he found a can of processed meat. Kanis pried the can open with his knife and quickly devoured the contents within seconds. He settled down on the bed to allow his stomach ample time to digest the measly meal. It would sustain him for a while, but he would soon need to find some more.

It took Kanis a few moments to realise his mistake, and when it registered he could feel fear attempt to grip him once more. He had left the door of the complex open, and it wouldn't take a fool long to figure out someone was here. This fear was quickly replaced by another. This pack had been left here in case of emergencies, if a man needed to escape in a hurry. So why was the pack still here?
 

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Cally stared at the humming machine with both loathing and love. She'd been talking to it lately, having no one else around to make any sort of conversation with. "You know... I could likely get a drink from you if you didn't run on that blasted concoction that you do now." The generator likely didn't answer, which made her roll her eyes and get up. She'd collect up her few implements and decide to start looking around the upper floors.

Caution was foremost in her mind, something she supposed should help for sneaking around. She stayed ducked or crouched most of the time because it seemed like a good idea, and made traversing slow enough on purpose to conserve both energy and to eye over anything of use she may find. Food and water being her priority, she also kept an eye out for other goodies, particularly a metal cooking pot of some sort. Bowls, cups, other assorted vessels, bags and cutlery as well.

She was hardly adverse to picking up anything at all she might find useful, already plotting a way to try and work her way back towards the Manufactorum. She'd collect away, if she found anything, till she could carry little else of true use to her, then she'd retreat back down to her warm little slice of hell.
 

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Dr.Holst Stood at the center of a square room, it was scarcely furnished, with very little present except for a double bed, a desk and a few cupboards. Though he could not complain it was a change for the worse when compared to his own apartment and while his might not have been fancy it was surly not as bad as this one. He has been here for a day or two, he was not sure for how many, he slept thrice already but since the automated time tracking system went offline along with the rest of the auxiliary systems it became hard to tell how much and for how long he had slept.

Samuel was about to move onwards when realization dawned upon him, he completely forgot about Kirai. He was unused to having to look out for someone, especially when they were not a patient of his. Nourishment and water were very sparse, they were in need of a proper meal and swiftly, more specifically Kirai was in need of food, her skin seemed grey and unsustained, she was sleeping most of the day, her body conserving the little energy she had.

With resolute steps the doctor approached Kirai, he grabbed her swiftly by the chin, turning her head to the sides, looking at her perceptively, analyzing her current condition, if he was good at anything it was medicine. Her eyelids were wide as if having a hard time adjusting to the dim lighting, her body was changing, trying to match the new conditions she had to deal with but without the proper supplies it could not finish the job. The obvious signs of energy loss were not good, unsatisfactory Samuel deemed her.

He snorted letting her now he is not satisfied with her current condition. She had to start keeping herself more healthy. "You need more food child, otherwise..." He trailed off "Otherwise you are done for, we have to move out." Samuel did not forget the strange noises they have been hearing for the past time, it seemed like they were coming from the ventilation shafts but he dared not risk crawling into that tight unmaneuverable space and he would never allow Kirai to go in there, not right now with the danger possibly lurking about. "Pack your things Kirai, we are moving, food is thin and we need more."

Waiting for Kirai to finish packing her belongings and pet rat he meanwhile looked outside the door, watching for any sudden movement. The whole Lower Hive became a grim place since the Event, he honestly did not know why he was spared, was he lucky, was he chosen for something, it did not matter... His chances of survival were low, with no armed experience he will be food for brigands quickly. But... It was no longer about him alone. He had Kirai and in a way it gave him strength, fighting this new city alone was too much for him... He embraced death a long while ago... He was always just a step from accepting it but Kirai somehow made him go on, maybe by reminding him how young and precious life is, maybe simply because he had a purpose of keeping her safe... He did not know and it did not matter. He had to keep her safe. That was certain.

"Come on gal!" He ushered Kirai forward, chastising her for taking so long. "You have to hasten your step little one." He muttered softly to her as he caught up. He was trying to desperately to act like nothing is wrong but he was not a good lair, he never lied to his patients as well, the ones he did lie to never believed him so he learned to tell the truth always but for her sake he tried, she needed the hope more than he did, but if she would look she would easily see his worried eyes. They had to find food, and fast, the child will not last without it...

They skipped the first rooms and took the left turn at the far side of the corridor, more rooms appeared before him and he felt like there might be something useful in one of them so they began searching.

(Leaving a room for you Ratty, I'll post another if there will be time.)
 

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Kirai was roughly awoken from her delirious sleep by a skeletal hand snapping her head this way and that, the light dim as it was hurt her eyes and the man continued to stare down at her, his face seemed familiar somehow she thought sleepily that it might have been her grandfather by the way he softly but firmly held her chin but realisation slowly crept back....his name was Holst. Samuel Holst. he was a Doctor of sorts she hazily remembered. Then came the admonishments, do this do that, pack your things, hurry up. Always the same, she knew that he cared, she knew that he was looking out for her but she was so tired, her body ached there was a constant growling in her stomach as the small rations that she had stored had long since been finished.

He was trying to make her feel safe, she felt sorry for him there was not much safety left since the event. Pushing the last remains of her belongings into her pack she hastened to the doorway as quickly as her tired frame would allow. Just as she was ushered from the room she glanced at the air vent system desperately wanting to crawl inside and sleep some more, then she remembered the sounds and her hope faded. The only place that she had found to feel safe lately had just become somewhere where she feared to go, she could not describe the sounds they were not something that she remembered hearing before.

Taking the left turn on the corridor Kirai saw more rooms and the Doctor disappeared into one and began searching, Kirai stood and watched him for a while. He was a good man, and as hungry as she was she knew that he must also eat soon. Determined to find food for the pair of them she turned and entered the room adjacent and began searching, hoping and praying to find food and water trying and failing to put the thought of the noises from the ventilation from her mind
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Kirai "The Rat": You are in the room adjacent to Dr Holst. It is largely identical to the room you were previously in. You search in drawers, in the cupboards, everywhere. Your search proves successful. Tucked underneath the bed is a full glass of water, about 500 ml. A small ration, but it will be enough to keep you from dehydrating for a little while longer. You go to take it through to Samuel when you hear footsteps coming up the staircase.

At the top of the stair is a well-muscled woman with a wrench held loosely in one hand. Her face is obscured by an Arbites helmet, although an orange jumper and beige trousers imply that it is likely looted rather than part of her original attire. She appears to be scanning the hallways, whether looking for foes or allies or merely to get a lay of her surroundings. She begins to wander down the corridor perpendicular to yours. If you wish to break for the room Samuel Holst is in, now would be a chance to do so. Or you might want to call him over to yours. Or remain where you are or maybe make a break for the staircase.

Gabriel Frost: You step out of the hab block and onto the street again, your spirits sagging. You turn right, away from the manufactorium and toward the south of the town. As you walk you see a figure disappear into a hab block to your right. Although you don’t know who they are, or even if they are particularly friendly, it at least means you are not alone. The need for companionship briefly overwhelms your caution and you chase after the figure and arrive into the opening foyer of the hab block.

The foyer considers of two corridors which peel off to your left and right with small rooms dotting the walls. There is a table with some chairs scattered around it, some more broken than others. There is one completely intact, steadily collecting a film of dust. Directly in front of you is the main reception and on either side of this medium sized booth are stairs which merge into one main staircase behind the reception desk. You hear the faint sound of footsteps from upstairs, although it occurs to you now that just because you are happy to see another person doesn’t mean they will be. You may either ascend the staircase in the hopes of finding the person you chased or remain on the ground floor and search the room for food, still a concern for you.

Samuel Holst: You are in the room adjacent to Kirai. It is largely identical to the room you were previously in. You search in drawers, in the cupboards, everywhere. Your search proves successful too. In the cupboard you find 3 tins of pre-packaged post natal food. They have not been opened, although you know that this means the occupants of this room were with or had recently had a child. Perhaps the idea of them being killed or surviving the event troubles you, perhaps it doesn’t. In any case it is good news for you and Kirai. Speed of growth was of key importance to the overlords of Thessalonica and this post natal food will likely be packed with carbs, fat and even vitamins and minerals, even if it is not the most tasty. You go to take it through to Kirai when you hear footsteps from the staircase.

At the top of the stair is a well-muscled woman with a wrench held loosely in one hand. Her face is obscured by an Arbites helmet, although an orange jumper and beige trousers imply that it is likely looted rather than part of her original attire. She appears to be scanning the hallways, whether looking for foes or allies or merely to get a lay of her surroundings. She begins to wander down the corridor perpendicular to yours. If you wish to break for the room Kirai is in, now would be a chance to do so. Or you might want to call her over to yours. Or remain where you are or maybe make a break for the staircase.

Kanis Strike: You freeze for a few moments, wary that the owner of the knap-sack you had been pilfering may come back at any moment or that a trap may spring and leave you wounded or worse. However nothing of the sort happens. You are just about to relax when you hear footsteps pounding up the stairs. In the scant few moment you have you dive underneath the single bed in the room and pull your servo-skull close to your chest, deactivating it briefly.You push yourself a close against the wall as you can, hoping to remain unnoticed. You see a set of legs enter the room.

A figure drops down to the bag and rummages frantically to the very bottom. As the figure rummages you hear another set of footsteps, much slower and much more deliberate. The first figure pulls something from the bag and stands up, facing the doorway. He mutters to himself “Can’t go back, not there. Can’t go back. Can’t go back…” his voice trails off at the end. Another, paternal voice echoes through the room. “Come on child, don’t hide. Come out, come out wherever you are.” A moment later the footsteps stop and you hear the click of a pistol’s safety being taken off. “There you are.” A gunshot sounds and a boy no older than 15 drops to the floor with a hole in the back of his skull, blood and brain matter leaking from it. The other voice sighs, you can see his legs in the doorway. “You’ve gone and hidden again, haven’t you. Don’t worry I’ll find you. Daddy always does.” The legs disappear from the doorway but you can hear the man has not gone far. The pistol is still limp in the boy’s hand and is within reaching distance if you wanted. Or you could make a break for it, or remain exactly where you are.

Callista "Cally" Santigue: You begin to steadily make your way up into the higher levels of the habitation block, checking occasional rooms as you go. Compared the heats you are used to these higher levels are considerably colder and it makes you shiver slightly. It is not until you get to the fourth floor is it that you find anything of note. You manage to locate a communal kitchen area. On top of one of the stoves is a pan that contains some kind of broth. Although it is stone cold by this point and the gas supply to the stove is probably off or ruined, there is enough furniture in the surrounding room which you can break to make a fire. You resolve to do just that.

You journey between rooms, breaking down chairs and wardrobe doors to form kindling for your fire. As you cart several desk legs back to the kitchen area and begin to arrange your wood on a pile, you hear footsteps. You turn to face the doorway but seen no one. A moment later though an elderly man come round the corner, a pistol in his hands shaking slightly. You aren’t sure if he is afraid, nervous or the jitter in his hands is simply from age. “Who are you? What do you want?” he barks at you. Everyone is on edge since the event and if you don’t handle this properly it may end badly for you.

Pieter Hark: You got down several flights of stairs and encounter no body. Whoever the footsteps were earlier, either they have left or are in the higher levels of your habitation block. Either way, you remain alone for the time being. You step out into the grey hazy light of the street and see from the corner of the street you stand on two things.

Firstly, ahead of you in the distance you see a figure dressed in mostly black enter a hab block. He appears to be carrying something although at this distance you couldn’t make out what it was. To your right you see a young boy sprint into a hab block followed by an older man, who seems to check behind him and the boy. You can’t quite be certain if the boy is running from the man or ahead of him while the man keeps watch. You may wish to follow either of these two sets of people, perhaps relishing for a chance to interact with others and do the Emperor’s work. Alternatively, you may wish to visit the chapel near you to seek the Emperor afresh or simply let his will guide your feet and journey in whatever direction you see fit (If you chose this option, PM me and I’ll let you know what you see)
 

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Sleepily Kirai searched the room, her eyelids felt heavy and the lighting did nothing to alleviate the pounding in her skull. She rubbed her eyes as knelt on the floor looking under the bed. She blinked and forced her blurred vision to focus, there appeared to be something stashed out of reach. Sliding to her belly she worked her wiry frame under the bed and retrieved the item that she spotted. Cold plastic touched her finger tips and she grasped the bottle and pulled it close to her chest as she worked herself back from under the bunk.

The seal was still intact, a momentous feeling of hope and success raised in her chest as she stood and started towards the door intent on sharing her prize with Dr Holst, despite his insistence she still could not refer to him as Samuel. Her grandfather taught her to respect her elders and she still clung to his lessons. As she approached the doorway she froze, those noises were back. No, they sounded like footsteps, she risked a peak around the door frame and saw a large character ascend the stairway and turn down the other corridor. The brief glimpse she had of the person was wearing a strange helmet and garishly orange jumpsuit, they were also holding something heavy in one hand.

She darted into the room that Dr Holst was searching, clutching the bottle to her chest. She sprinted over to her guardian "someone else is here" she whispered hurriedly as she got close all thoughts of the water and hunger forgotten in her fear. "They've gone down the other corridor, what do we do?"
 

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Upon seeing the figure gabe raises his weapon taking aim as he darts after the shadow unsure if it's friend or foe, as he enters the room he takes a look around unsure where the figure went.

Stopping a moment to have a drink of water keeping his shotgun close just in case, he then looks to the hall way and decides to search for food, in one of the rooms he finds half if some sort of nutrition bar stale and soggy but it will do he eats it tasting like some form of foul rot in his mouth he frowns but moves on, he then makes his way back to the reception when all of a sudden he hears footsteps above drawing his gun again he makes his way up stairs and begins to clear the rooms in search of whatever was up here thinking to himself "whatever you are I'm ready for you!"....
 

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He looked behind, finally Kirai followed, she seemed a bit dazed but all in all she was fine and alive. Seeing that his 'adopted daughter' was fine he took the turn left and entered the first room his eyes saw. He saw Kirai walking on, probably to the adjacent room, he was not worried that she wandered alone, this building block should be safe as they did not meet or hear anyone when they arrived. Although... The strange noises from the ventilation system could mean that someone was nearby... He shook his head, better not to get all paranoid.

As Samuel entered the room the first thing he noticed is how astoundingly similar it looked to the room where he and Kirai camped before, it resembled their camp so much, even to tiny details like bed and desk placement, that's imperial standards for you, he chuckled as he moved on tearing through the room trying to find something edible.

After a few minutes of back and forth the Doctor found what he was searching for, three tins of pre packed natal food, a disgusting mixture of vitamins, carbs, fat and other essentials for fast growth. It wasn't even considered food to be exact more like ingesting essential elements to the body. Still, the government of Thessalonica did not really care about how tasty the paste like food is, is only cared for the growth rate of the population and for how quick a newborn can become a workhorse.
Then it hit him, who would keep natal food? Grown ups did not eat it only young children, his gut wrenched at the thought, Samuel preferred to think that the family simply had to abandon their home and not that they were killed, why would someone kill children, what harm can they bring... His mind turned on itself, going through memories from the Event, gloomy he got up, it did not matter anymore, he was looting from dead men and what they cannot use he can, more importantly, Kirai can.

Kirai... He did not hear from her in a few minutes, why was she always so silent... She even managed to sneak on him from time to time maybe the rat gave her special powers, he laughed silently... As Holst was about to call Kirai over he heard quick footsteps followed by heavy breathing, suddenly Kirai busted into the room, she seemed panicked? He was not sure. Her eyelids were wide, a sign of fear most of the time, or of readjustment to the lightning of a new environment... "Someone else is here" she whispered to him in a voice on the verge of tears it seemed. Who was this someone else? Holst was thinking rapidly, he was not a strong man, if there is more then one person he will not be able to physically deal with them, if the other one is alone he could get the drop on him and maybe stab him with a knife or the medical tools he had in his pack...

What was he thinking to himself, violence? Stabbing? Killing? That wasn't him talking, it was panic. He swore a duty to the living and to life, not to add furthermore to the deathcount created by the Event already.
Well first things first. He will have to see who they are dealing with, and if Kirai could see them from the corridor so could he. He stepped carefully towards the door, kneeling on one knee he grabbed the sides of the entrance and slowly pulled his head outwards, revealing as little of his frame as possible, trying to get a glimpse on the "others" before they could see him.

Success, at the top of the stair what seemed to be a woman dressed in an orange jumper and work trousers , she had a Arbites helmet on her head, something did not sit right, his mind raced quickly leading to the conclusion that it was probably stolen, looted, or worse... She did not notice him so he kept looking his heart pumping faster and faster. The newcomer was physically fit, well built, he could not take her in a fight, not a fair one at least, but he already decided earlier that he will not fight, not just because he could not but also because of his moral code... That left three options, one, running, at first it seemed like the best idea but further thought led to the conclusion that Kirai will be dehydrated before long, and he was not strong enough, at least not in his current condition to carry himself, Kirai, two bags, and a rat...

One option was gone, two left, they could hide, but if she was part of a gang or something, she might be scouting the area... Maybe the gang wants to relocate here... He estimated that there is an equal chance of them found or evading sight, yet it will not solve the problem that will come later. This left only a single option for him, confrontation... "Kirai... Listen carefully, I'm going out to confront her. We will try being calm and peaceful but first take this..." He handed her the food. "Hide it along with anything you found if you found any, we do not know her intentions..." Slowly he came out of the room and once his whole frame was outside in the hall he called, "Stranger? What is your doing here? My name is Dr. Holst, may I assist you somehow?" he spoke as confidently as he could.
 

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Pieter walked absent mindedly out into the street and looked around through vacant, uncomprehending eyes. There were people around. That was unusual, or at least to see more than one person at any single time. The man ahead was dark and suspicious. Pieter couldn't tell what he was carrying and didn't trust that it would be something good. He watched as the man disappeared into another building and forgot about him.

Down the street two more people ran by towards another of the hab-blocks. It was good when people ran. Running meant you had to get somewhere. Getting somewhere meant that you had a purpose. It was good that those people had a purpose and it was good that they each had a friend. A thin smile briefly tugged at the edge of his lips then faded back into the shadows with everything else.

His own purpose still evaded him though his belief that it was out there never wavered. These people around him were not a part of it, he knew that, or the Emperor would have guided them to him, not away from him as they all were moving. He looked around, waiting for his gut to tell him which way he needed to go but nothing struck him which was unusual. Then it dawned on him that was already where he should be, or at least almost. He wandered wistfully into the nearby chapel.

Inside was a horror story. Bloody desecrated bodies laid strewn among the pews and fallen masonry. Pieter didn't notice. The grand statue of the Emperor himself stood proud and unbroken and Pieter's eyes never wavered from it. He moved down the aisle, not even looking down when he tripped and stumbled on a body or almost slipped in a pool of blood. Quietly he found a seat a few rows from the front, sat down and waited.
 

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The silence that followed seemed to go on for a decade. Kanis listened intently for any sounds of movement, but there was nothing but the pounding of his heartbeat and the gentle hum of the servo skull, who was intently staring at the bag.

‘If this was a trap something would have happened by now’

He relaxed again and allowed himself the luxury of closing his eyes. The past few hours had drained him of what little energy he had left. The measly meal would take some time to replenish some of his stores so it was probably best to rest in relative comfort for a while.
He wasn’t sure how long he had shut his eyes for, but as shown as he heard the footsteps he knew the time for rest was over. Acting on instinct, Kanis jumped up from the bed, grabbed the servo skull and dived under the bed. Under any other circumstance Kanis may have simply waited and perhaps even announced his presence, opening a friendly palm. But his recent encounter with the voices had made him more wary.

“BIG MISTAKE” the words rattled round his head.

No, he could take no chances. The voices were a nuisance and a curse, but they had saved his life in the past. The skull tried to fight his grasp, desperately trying to escape. He touched the activation rune and the skull powered down, he couldn’t afford it giving away his presence.

The footsteps echoed down the corridor until the door of his room burst open. Kanis shuffled as far back under the bed as he could, hoping he could go unnoticed. A figure entered the room and grabbed the empty bag. Kanis couldn’t see anything bar the person’s legs, giving him no indication of who they were or their intentions. The springs on the bed gave way slightly as the bag was thrown onto the mattress. It was clear the intruder was searching for something in the bag, it wouldn’t be long before he would discover the missing food.

“Can’t go back, not there. Can’t go back. Can’t go back”

The figure muttered as it rummaged through the bag. The voice was male, but as choking fumes in the hive tended to deepen everyone’s voices, it was difficult to determine an age. Eventually, the man must have found what he was looking for as the feet turned away from the bed and towards the door. It was then that Kanis heard the second pair of footsteps.

This was not panicked running that had propelled the first figure here. No, these footsteps were far more ominous, each carefully placed to project the echo as much as possible. This person clearly wanted their victim to hear their approach, to terrify them, perhaps to make them reveal their hiding place. With every footstep the first figures breathing became more rapid, their muttering increasing until Kanis was barely able to tell what they were saying anymore. He knew he had to keep his wits, to remain calm. His thoughts returned to happier times in the chapel and prayers to the Emperor.

“Come on child, don’t hide. Come out, come out wherever you are”

Kanis’ heart stopped dead. The voice echoed from the corridor, it was clear that the second figure had reached this floor and was getting ever closer to the room. The voices in his head began to stir, he could hear them laughing and taunting him, mocking his attempts to keep calm and telling him to run. He tried to block them out but this just spurred them on. The footsteps reached the doorway and stopped.

Click

Kanis knew that sound only too well. The gang leaders always carried a pistol to show their superiority, and anyone who heard that click knew that their death would soon follow.

Thud

Thud

Thud

“There you are”

Kanis heard the first figure gasp. He wrapped his arms around his head, and waited mere seconds for the inevitable.

BANG

The first figure collapsed to the floor, blood pooling out of a head wound. He could see that this was just a boy, barely at the cusp of manhood. The dead eyes stared into his, and all Kanis could do was stare back. He knew that things had gotten worse after the Event, but he didn’t expect this. This wasn’t a man protecting his own from a band of looters, this was a boy who had been hunted for sport.

*Sigh*

Kanis turned back to the doorway and saw the legs of the murderer. He gathered they must be admiring their kill, for they made no effort to move towards the boy or to loot his remains.

“You’ve gone and hidden again, haven’t you.”

Kanis almost jumped at the suddenness of voice. The playful tone had been replaced with an urgency, as if this man’s life depended on finding Kanis, like a father desperately search for a lost offspring. Did he know he was here? Was there someone else nearby?

“Don’t worry, I’ll find you. Daddy always does”

It was clear the murderer was a psychopath. There was no pity, no remorse in that voice. It rattled through the ears and plucked at the primal regions of the brain, the parts which know why you should fear the dark, and those who dwell it in. The legs disappeared back into the corridor. By the sounds of footsteps, they were moving further down the corridor.

“DOESN’T THIS SEEM FAMILIAR?” The voice mocked him, drowning out the others. “COWERING, LIKE THE PATHETIC INSECT YOU ARE. DO NOT WORRY, IT WILL ALL BE OVER SOON”

As long as I draw breath the Emperor will guide me, The Emperor Protects!

The voice sneered and disappeared once more into the throng of the others, clamoring and clawing at his mind. He knew he had three choices, he could try to defend himself, remain hidden or make a bid for freedom. He knew that no man could outrun a bullet, and it was only a matter of time before he was discovered. So that left only one option.

Kanis had never killed a man before, even on the streets he had always fled before a situation had escalated that far. He reached for his knife he stowed away in his pocket before he had hid. He would have to get close, and that would be a very dangerous thing to do. It was then Kanis noticed the glint. The boy had been clutching a pistol in his left hand. Slowly and quietly, kanis raised himself from under the bed and grabbed the pistol. It was cold and its weight felt unfamiliar in his hands. This was the first time he had ever held a firearm, he had no idea how to use one. He couldn’t rely on himself being able to use it effectively without risking his life unduly. He didn’t even know if it was loaded or how he would even check. Would the Emperor condemn his soul to oblivion for killing his fellow man?

No’ He thought, ‘This man had lost his human status the moment he fired that weapon, he is nothing more than an animal

Kanis quietly slid the pistol into the open bag and slipped it onto his shoulder. When he had time he would figure out what to do with it.

It was then he got an idea, perhaps there is a forth option.

Kanis re-activated the servo skull and activated the control dataslate. He quickly typed a command to the servoskull and watched it fly out into the corridor. Muttering a prayer under his breath Kanis quickly typed a message and hit send. The servo skull spoke in a loud, automated voice.

Citizen, you are in direct violation of the laws and ordinance of the hive! Put your weapon down or face the Emperors Justice

As soon as the skull had begun to play back the message, the animal in the corridor raced towards the sound. Kanis could not judge how far they had run, or even what direction, but he saw this as his only chance. He ran towards the staircase as fast as his fatigued legs would carry him.
 

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Cally could do with the cold broth. She gave it a stir to see if there were any bits of creepy-crawly proteins in it or not. At this point, she hardly cared to eat a bug honestly. With or without them, she'd go about and start breaking apart furniture to create her pile indeed, already missing the warmth of her earlier spot. Turning to the door at the noise she watched and waited, one of the short desk legs in her hand. The elderly man surprised her, not thinking someone of that advanced age would have lived this far, and it brought her a spark of hope.

The pistol, however, didn't do much for her. She'd stand a little more upright, slowly. "Searching for food, water, and kindling. I am sorry if I've invaded in on you, but.. Well, hunger drives us all at this point." She tried to quirk up her lips into a smile to ease him a bit. She wasn't the most charismatic after all. "I would be more than happy to share what I have with you, if you were to kindly lower the weapon. I mean no harm to anyone." She'd very slowly set the desk leg down, standing up again to show empty gloved hands. "I was a worker at the munitions Manufactorum.. Displaced and lost, like anyone else alive I'd assume. What is your story, Sir? What've you seen?"
 

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Kirai "The Rat": Samuel tells you to hide. He has left you with the food and the water you were carrying and ventured into unknown territory. Perhaps unwilling to let another paternal figure be killed to protect you, you don’t instinctively hide as asked. Instead you wait just behind the door entrance, out of the line of sight. You hear Dr Holst repeat himself before a gunshot goes off. The noise makes you jump, sloshing the water cup about and spilling some of it on the floor.

At this point you have a few options. You do not know if Dr Holst is the one shot, but it certainly sounds like there is a scuffle going on just down the corridor so if he was shot he is likely not dead yet. You could either venture out after him, risking yourself getting attacked by whoever is still out there but at least confirming if your adoptive ‘father’ is alive. Alternatively you may now wish to hide in this room. There are several cupboards you could fit in, as well as ample space under the bed-frame and even behind the door that is ajar, although sadly no vents. Finally, you could make a break for the room you started in and escape into the vent. This has the advantage of being nearly inaccessible to those larger than you, but you will not have time to look back if you do run for it.

Gabriel Frost: As you make your way up the stairs you hear a voice call out from about a floor up. “ Stranger? What is your doing here? My name is Dr. Holst, may I assist you somehow?” Perhaps that is true, perhaps it is a ruse to lure you into a trap set up by whoever you followed in here. You might choose to call back or not, but regardless you decide to very cautiously make your way to the bottom of the stairs leading up to the 3rd floor. As you get to the bottom, you hear a gunshot. Reflexively you recoil out of the stairwell, away from the line of sight of those above.

You look at the walls and cannot see any bullet holes in the walls and you have not been hit, so either the shooter was not aiming for you or they simply fired as a warning to you. You cannot be sure. However, from above you think you can hear the sounds of fast footsteps and heavy-breathing. You could lie low, either by exiting the building or by hiding in one of the rooms. Alternatively you could make your way up the stairs and investigate who or what is up there. (Note that if you do ascend the stairs, you will only be able to see the knife-wielding man and the Arbites helm woman you followed in there, one or neither could be the voice that spoke to you. Anyone down the corridor is obscured from your sight.)

Samuel Holst: You call out but get no response from the woman. You begin to wander further up the hallway, closer to the junction at the end, and repeat yourself. You can still hear foot-steps in the corridor, which stop as you near the end of the hall. Suddenly a gun-shot rings out, proceeded by grunts, the sound of metal striking metal and then the softer, wetter sound of metal striking flesh.

Before you can have time to wonder what or who was making the noise, a middle-aged man skids down the hallway on his back, as if thrown. He scrambles to his feet. One of his hands seems damaged, the palm concaved in an odd way. He scrabbles at his belt, finding a knife. As he does so the Arbites helmed woman, who now has a bullet-dent in her helmet, appears swinging the wrench furiously. Neither seem to acknowledge you, locked in their own private duel. The man’s eyes are wide and blood-shot, the visor of the woman hides most of her face. You have a weapon of your own and could choose to aid one of them. Alternatively you could try to defuse the situation. However there is no guarantee that either option will end well for you, and Kirai is still down the hall. Both seem to be oblivious to your presence. It’s possible that you could simple move past them and let them brutalise one another.

Kanis Strike: Your sprinting carries you past the man searching the building and down the stairs before he has time to react. Hypothetically a normal person would have been able to effectively escape their pursuer. Unfortunately, your servo-skull is pre-programmed to follow you and so diligently bobs after you. As you glance behind you see it trailing, followed by you the man. You can see that, whilst he is certainly wielding a shotgun and has a knife strapped to his belt, neither of those weapons would have caused the shot to the head the boy suffered.

You make it out of the building before he catches up to you. You expect to be stabbed or shot, but instead the man simply throws his arms around you. “Oh son, I thought I had lost you. It was all so dark, and I…” His voice trails off and he releases you. As you back away slightly, he regains his composure. “…But I’ve found you and now everything will be ok. Just like it used to be.” Clearly this man thinks you are his son, but he cannot be more than 10 years your senior so it’s unlikely you bear any genuine resemblance to the man’s child.

Before you can ask any pertinent questions or set the man straight, you hear barking. You look down the street towards the manufactorium and see a cyber-mastif in the middle of the street, staring at you and barking. The man grabs your arm “Come on son, let’s go!” he pulls you after him for a while before breaking left slightly ahead of you. You can either follow him, whilst he is clearly unstable he may have resources you can use, or take this opportunity to break right, leading you back down the street towards the chapel.

Callista "Cally" Santigue: His handle on the gun is a little shakey, the tremor seems to start in his right shoulder and work its way down his hand. He keeps it pointed at you all the while you talk and for a few moments afterwards. Slowly he lowers his weapons and grumbles “I thought you were one of those piece of shit raiders from a few hab blocks over.” He sits himself down near your growing pile of kindling, although he makes no effort to assist and does not holster his gun.

A few more broken bits of furniture later and expending one of your fire-starters (5 left) you have a fire going. The warmth begins to spread through the room, and you set the broth on top of the fire to get it warmed up, occasionally stirring it. The man has not spoken since he sat down and is still shivering slightly. He can’t be cold, but there is likely something wrong with him. As the broth begins to boil he asks you “I lost my daughter, and my grandson. I came home and they were gutter. I’ve not seen my son since it happened.” he rummages in his pocket and takes out a faded photograph and shows it too you. “Have you seen him?” Unfortunately, the fact doesn’t look familiar, but lying might help the man hang onto whatever hope he has. You might also ask about your family, perhaps he has seen signs of them?

Pieter Hark: You sit in the front pew and stare at the statue venerating the Emperor. Surely is can be nothing short of a miracle that everything else in this chapel is damaged except for this one statue. You wait for several minutes under the shadow of the Emperor but feel no different. You are in his sight and yet feel no more direction or purpose than you did before you came in. Perhaps you expected a booming voice of direction or a soft tug of your heart strings to guide you. Whatever you expected, it doesn’t seem forth-coming.

Your focus on the Emperor is broken by a mirthless laugh from the rear of the chapel. A man, about the same age as yourself, stands in the doorway. He is wearing an officer’s coat but if does not fit him well, although it’s long flowing fabric hides whatever he keeps at his hips, if anything. “The faithful return to their thane!” He says, his voice filling the empty chapel. He walks down the central isle, easily stepping over corpses and blood pools. “But what power does an idol have, except that which we ascribe to it?”. He appears to be asking the question to you rather than rhetorically.
 

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Kirai looked crestfallen as Samuel told her to stay put, she did not want the man to leave her alone in this strange place with strangers about. She made to grasp his hand but he was already out of reach after handing her the food that he had found. She was debating going after Samuel and was in the process of working up the courage to stepping out of the room when she heard the gunshot and a scuffle. The gunshot shocked her to the core and she felt the loss of the liquid that spilt to the floor. Not wanting to waste the rest of the water she quickly downed the remainder and thrust the food into her satchel along with the empty water container. She had decided what to do and sprinted along the corridor to the room where they had holed up and slept in previously. Quickly she threw herself into the air vent and moved about 5 metres along the shaft, waiting for her heart rate to return to normal she retrieved one of the food jars from her satchel and started to eat the paste to settle the pains and cramps in her stomach ignoring the taste of the puree and her tears as she waited and prayed for Samuel to find her
 

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The plan seemed work. The skull’s announcement drew the predator’s attention for enough time for Kanis to escape. He flew down the stairs as fast as he dare move. It was then he heard footsteps, chasing after him.

‘That accursed skull must have led this way!’ Kanis thought.

Kanis darted behind a wall and glanced behind him. Indeed, there was the servo skull, closely followed by a man. He was carrying a shotgun with both hands, but it was not raised. It seemed to Kanis that his pursuer wished to finish this encounter close up. As he began to run towards the main entrance a thought crossed his encumbered mind, the man was not holding a pistol. A shotgun at that range would have splatted the poor boys head, so was this the same man who was stalking the corridor?
Kanis burst through the door and fell down the front steps. He cursed silently at the sharp pain in his knees as they connected with the hard ground. He could not keep this pace up, this was where he would meet his end.

‘May the Emperor have mercy on my tattered soul’

He thought as he turned towards the front door just in time to see his pursuer catch up to him. Kanis raised his arms outward to expose his chest and closed his eyes, hoping for a quick death. He heard the man run towards him and felt a tightness in his chest. But there was no pain, only a warm and tight embrace. Kanis opened his eyes to see that the man was hugging him, as one might embrace a loved one. This puzzling turn of events became even stranger as the man spoke.

“Oh son, I thought I had lost you. It was all so dark, and I…”

He pulled away, tears streaming down his face. He met Kanis’ with an intense stare, a stare which mirrored that of his own parents when they told him to run. It was a face put on to shield a child from the harsh reality, attempting to look calm and reassuring. But it was the eyes which concerned Kanis. They looked half-crazed, the eyes of one who has seen too much for the soul to handle. Kanis tried to back away slowly, it was clear this man’s sanity had not survived the time after the Event. But he moved closer, wiping his tears from eyes.

“But I’ve found you and now everything will be ok. Just like it used to be”

The man looked barely older than Kanis, and yet was convinced that he was his lost son.

‘Perhaps I can reason with him’ thought Kanis as he scrabbled around in his pocket for the servo skull console.

Suddenly a howl emanated from the end of the street. A huge beast stared at him with cybernetic eyes. He knew that some of the families were able to afford cyber-mastiffs, but this was the first he had seen. It was more machine than dog, its hind limbs and head glinting with robotic enhancements. It barked again, this time with a tone of urgency, as if it was willing them to move on out of harm’s way.

“Come on Son, let’s go!”

The man grabbed Kanis’ arm and pulled him down the street and followed the cyber-mastiff down an alleyway. He felt the grip lessen and was able to pull his arm free. Kanis looked behind him, he could easily make his escape now and leave the poor soul and his dog to their fate.

‘No, I swore and oath to help those in need’ he thought, ‘This must be the Emperor’s plan, he leads the faithful!'

'NOT ALL MEN OF FAITH FOLLOW THE SAME PATH' The voice sneered.

Taking a deep breath, Kanis followed his new companions.
 

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Callista stayed patient and waited for him to come to the better conclusion on his own. She sighed softly when he settled down and took his aim off her. The pistol could stay out, it was good for safety in her mind. She'd get the fire rolling and the broth cooking, standing to stir it while occasionally looking over at him. She forced a bit of a side smile, trying to be more kind than her usual self. "I haven't seen many faces around here.. To be honest, your's is the first living one I have seen. It's sad and good at the same time. I don't particularly have any desire to see what did all of this, myself."

She'd carefully move a little closer once the broth got up towards boiling so it'd stir itself in some way, stomach giving a grumble. "He will likely turn up. After we both get something warm in us, we may even go look for him together? I've not much holding me here, but I wouldn't mind returning either. My body's too accustomed to high temperatures. It's a comfort for me I suppose. Something to focus on right now." She'd turn her head, looking for something to put two servings of broth into - a cup or bowl, or something. If she could find it she'd make a serving up and offer it to him, and one for herself of course. If she only found one she'd give it to him first to try and better ease his nerves.
 
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