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File 166330157149.png - (411.94KB , 822x1140 , f6c113279b9a510eeaee79183208539179c823d1eac9a29661.png )
1043923 No. 1043923 ID: a7b16c

Crossposting with https://getyeflask.net/quest/res/827.html for the time being. I'll probably be more attentive to posts there

Kicker, a herreras and a claw captain of the 557th squadron of the great Mountain's grand army, deadpanned. Lowtail, herreras and claw on-field medic, grinned at Kicker.
“A group photo.” She said, crossing her arms. “You know we'll have to burn it, right?”
“It'll stay here.” Lowtail poked his head. “This is the furthest we've ever been from the mountains, and it's not like we're doing anything else.”
As he said that Snapper, a feather, landed near them and picked up a bag. They were about to cross a very rickety bridge over a very deep creek, and nobody trusted the bridge to bear the weight of their equipment so Snapper was flying it across beforehand.
They'd been marching counterrootways for ten days and then ten more now, tailed by a tooth unit, under strict orders to avoid being sighted (Or, failing that, deal with anyone who saw them) and to signal the tooth of anyone who might see him. Kicker hugged herself a little tighter. “Fine. But we burn it.”
“And you have to be in it.” Added Lowtail.
Kicker grunted under her breath.
“What… Scraptooth.” She said, sliding a claw to the shotgun on her waist.
Scraptooth laid, bored, on the ground, oblivious to the… thing silently coming out of the sand behind him. “Captain.” He saluted. “What's with the look?”
47 posts omitted. Last 50 shown. Expand all images
No. 1048725 ID: a7b16c
File 166786942669.png - (155.21KB , 720x372 , 1667868792.png )

Another shot.
Kicker's anger took her over for a moment, and she found herself turning to growl at the aggressor.
Another shot. Sand splashed her feet.
...to growl at an aggressor who wasn't there. Not right next to her, anyways. This was a sharpshooter.
Another shot. This one just buzzed by her crouched head. Five now?
...not much of a sharpshooter. The rimlights were fading into dusk, but she was still perfectly visible. The rate of fire was respectable, but Snapper would've got her in one. She held the irrational want to laugh. That was the thirst and hunger and heat and loneliness, it had to be. She'd never be so unprofessional otherwise.
Something slammed her on the back hard enough to make her stumble forward a coupld steps. Six shots, and the only hit was on her armor. The shots came from a rock outcrop a ways behind her.
No. 1048731 ID: 4bbbb8

Either dive for cover nearby if you can find some you think you can reach, or... well. The other option is running backwards towards the source. Which isn't a GOOD idea, but it might get you closer to the gunner which at least lets out another option.

The only other thing you could do if you don't want to get closer you could get down on the ground and cover yourself with your armor, just keep in mind that you're a sitting duck there but it might make them stop.
No. 1048734 ID: 15c72a

Optimally you move from cover to cover until you get close enough to kill the shooter with your own gun (if you still have one), but surely the enemy isn't alone? Well, you could at least try to make the enemy run out of ammo by provoking it from a good defensive position.
No. 1048746 ID: a7b16c
File 166794187750.png - (120.10KB , 510x308 , 1667941286.png )

tgc >>1048734 >>1048731
qst >>5456468
With no cover or weapons, her only options were to charge or to cower under the armor shell, and cowering would get her killed. Who knew how much ammo they had?

Gunshots cratered the sand around her, and she turned around and began running in one swift motion, the sand slipping from under her feet from the sheer force the adrenaline conferred her legs. She bit her tongue and felt herself scream, forcing herself to move. Another shot flew by, gracing her neck. She lowered her head and shut off everything but running forward.

Thirty steps. Sand cratered in front of her, splashing her face. Inhale. Exhale. Her legs pumped. Her wounded arm screamed. The sand kept sliding from under her. She adjusted her feet, shifted the angle slightly to adjust. More shots flew. Two graced her face, and one hit the shell and almost made her legs buckle under her.

At some point she found herself at the rock outcrop. The shots had stopped a while ago, but she still twitched every time she expected one to happen. Like this, panting and forcing her breath to calm down, she walked all around the outcrop until she found a door. Ancient wood. Something engraved on it. She was still panting, but had almost calmed that down by now. Through the cracks in the door, she could peer ancient steps sculpted into the stone, going up a winding and twisting stairway.

Kicker pocked her wounded arm into the hallway, but it wasn't shot off and, having no other options, she climbed up the steps. Coolness hit her like a brick wall when she entered, giving her a brief dizzy fit. The climb was uneventful other than that, and at the top she peeked her arm, then her head into the room.

The bug inside wheezed as hard as she had after the charge, its legs shaking just with the effort of staying. Some kind of creature she vaguely recalled from photos of bug guns stuck to the side of its body, breathing more calmly, its long snout poking out the window almost a foot long.
No. 1048815 ID: a2d88b

Jump this bug, pin them. Try to keep them alive, for now at least.
No. 1048820 ID: a7b16c
File 166803172150.png - (164.80KB , 755x456 , 1668031014.png )

tgc >>1048815
qst >>5457065

Kicker didn't waste time and jumped, arcing back her good claw during the motion and bending a knee to spring forward, allowing herself to freefall for less than a split second. For that brief instant, the dizziness and exhaustion and heartache stopped existing, replaced with the cold calculation of where and how to land the hit.

She reached the right spot and sprung up her bent knee, noticing the bug was moving its arms. Time didn't slow down for her: Once violence exploded it only burst by faster and faster. She readied to use her wounded claw. The bug grabbed something from the windowsill- a gun aimed at her face. She slapped it out of the way with her wounded claw, and was surprised at how strong the bug's hold on its gun was. Flame burned at the back of the claw as the gunshot went wild, scrapping against her scales.

The claw she'd swiped with connected: Without a thought she'd grabbed the by the shoulder with her good claw and was holding the gun at bay with the other, though she didn't have the strength to make him drop it. His strength continued to surprise her as she pinned it down, not quite managing to break out of her hold with his weak legs but able to match her arm strength equally.

And, jut like that, the violence was over. She panted. He wheezed more. What now? The adrenaline would fade. They'd grow exhausted.

“Here to finish the job?” He said, pronouncing it something like “'ere to fi'ish the yob”. She had noticed how rugged he looked, but by the mountain, his voice sounded ancient, and manic. It wasn't a wonder his legs were so weak and he'd missed so many shots.


“Here to finish…” He wheezed again. “The others aren't answering. I knew the war never ended, I knew it…” War? The war had ended before her grandmother was born! She let him spin his wheels, catching her breath. “I keep asking the Whole for orders, and they say it ended, until they just stop answering… and now the others don't answer either. But you finished them off, didn't you? Your people was right patient, it was… I'm next, aren't I?” A small burst of strength came to the leg he held a pistol with, but she was able to keep him pinned. “Betrayers, sibling-killers…”
No. 1048822 ID: a2d88b

Tell him your only "job" is to get back to your friends safely.
You're not here to kill anyone if you can avoid it.
No. 1048992 ID: a7b16c
File 166813590156.png - (96.30KB , 429x288 , 1668135662.png )

>qst >>5458245
>tgc >>1048822
“I have no quarrel with you.” She pressed his shoulder harder. “I am lost and looking…” Did she really want to mention her friends? The mission still required discretion. “…for safety and you shot me unprovoked.”
“Like shit,” He trashed and screamed, shooting his handgun- she couldn't tell if on purpose or on accident, but it made her ears whistle. “A saur whould never, you'd never be here for no reason-”
No. 1049018 ID: 1224af

If you were here to kill, you'd probably not be cuddling him on the ground right now
No. 1049023 ID: f2320a

well dont randomly shoot strangers first and i would have no reason to hurt you for trying to kill me
No. 1049115 ID: a7b16c
File 166829523906.png - (69.72KB , 382x218 , 1668295210.png )

tgc >>1049018 >>1049023
qst >>5459218
“You fought in the war?”
“Then you know I could've killed you.” Kicker pressed his shoulder harder. “Do you think a herreras claw would stop at just cuddling if they wanted you dead?”
He mumbled something, but cut it out and stopped the trashing, his antennae relaxing.
“Good.” She continued, relaxing her grip just a bit. “I won't hurt you if you don't make me. Can I trust you?”
The bug was frozen for a moment, tensing again, so rigid for a moment Kicker considered he might've had a heart attack. But he relaxed again, and mumbled out something.
She let him go, still tense.
He slapped his bug-gun rifle out of the wall, where it was waving its snout in the air, “You're lucky. Nancy almost shot your brains off.”
“My farshooter.” He said as he huddled down, crossing his arms and seeming to wither into the corner under the window. “Don't mater if you got them or this freak heat did. They're gone.”
“Who is?”
“My friends. Not answering the radio. Too old to go check.”
Kicker turned around and scanned the room as he spoke: for being seemingly alone in the middle of nowhere, he was well stocked. He could probably last two more weeks if he ate as much as she did just on the jars here. And water! It felt like ages since she'd seen a whole glass of water, nevermind a bottle.
No. 1049116 ID: 1224af

Ask him for some water, then ask his name.
No. 1049169 ID: a7b16c
File 166838233629.png - (116.27KB , 664x305 , 1668382300.png )

tgc >>1049116
“You have a name?”
“Not for your kind.” The bug said, his voice surprisingly calm for how hostile the words were, and then gestured at the water. “What you looking at.”
“I need water. And food.”
“Stuff from the bottom shelf shouldn't make you sick.” He gestured at it with a leg, still huddling in the corner. “The others bring it.”
“Your friends?” What did that have to do with making her sick?
“Not them. The villagers. They bring me'n'my friends food and water. We kill beastlies that might attack them. Hunt for them when the heat's not killing us all. Chat and play poker sometimes. I tell the kids tales.”
Before the bug was done talking Kicker had already taken a jar and had to stop herself from gulping it down in a second.
“There's a village.” She said, trying to show some manners and not scarfing down the food. Little pieces of… it was meat, between her claws. Eat slowly. Lowtail would be mad if she made herself sick. “Where.”
“Beats me. Haven't left post since I was a lad and the war started. Me and my friends, we swore we'd only be back when the war ended. Couple saurians at the village, good boys, good cooks.” He was silent for a moment, and added more sadly. “They haven't come for a time. May be too hot for them too.”
No. 1049354 ID: 1224af

Seems to be quite a coincidence that both this Nancy and that village have disappeared recently.

Also, oldbug here seems to shoot strangers pretty fast for somebody who has visitors from time to time. How does he know that there's a pair of saurian cooks in that village if he's never even visited it?

Might tell him that the war's been over for a long time, too.
No. 1049497 ID: a7b16c
File 166864139094.png - (90.16KB , 507x304 , 1668641234.png )

tgc >>1049354
“Excuse me, I got lost. Nancy is one of your friends? And she's not been answering the radio?”
“Ay? Nay, saur. My friends are my lads, my troop, them's not been answering. We set up around here during the war, watched for incursions. Your kind was very insistent, lass. Almost respected it.” The bug made a gesture with his leg as if to say 'I was this close', and showed her his weird gun. “This is Nancy, see? Never seen a farshooter before?”
“Not a bug one.” She didn't dare try touching it: The 'gun' was waving it's snout/cannon in her direction aggressively. “Not outside books, anyways. How do you know there's saurians at the village if you've never been there? Are they herreras like me?”
“Because they visit me! And nah. They're… aqua, aquee…” He shrugged. “Something like that.” He said it like 'Sumetin'
“You don't just shoot them too, do you?”
“And why would I?”
“You just shot me.”
“Well look at yourself. Wearing some beastie's hide, and that on your back. Don't think I don't recognize saur army gear when I see it, aha.”
No. 1049522 ID: a2d88b

Well it's a good news that there's at least one village here peaceful enough for both saurian and bug... but highly disquieting that contact with it was lost.

Still, not our current mission. We still have a defined objective, and should depart when temperature becomes acceptable again.
No. 1049535 ID: 1224af

We'd best take some water and food with us if we intend to keep on moving for an unknown period. Does the bug mind sharing a bit more supplies?

We should consider our wound, too. If it's not getting any better we might not get far.
No. 1049623 ID: a7b16c
File 166888644781.png - (227.85KB , 665x725 , 1668886314.png )

tgc >>1049535 >>1049522
"It's complicated. When did this village drop contact?"
"Last visit was..." The old bug looked at the jars. "The week before this heat started. You heading there, lady?"
"No. I have things to do."
"Reckon it takes a good reason to keep marching on in this heat."
"It's complicated." She repeated. "Can I stay here until tomorrow?"
"You know how to play poker?"

The next day, Kicker woke up not overheated for the first time in weeks. At first sight she'd thought the bug's hideout was just crudely dug stone, but now she looked at the ceiling and wondered if all the little carved patterns on the ceiling somehow helped keep the place cool.
The bug was on the other side of the room; For all his acting like he was A-Okay with her he had never let her out of his sight nor the guns out of his reach. Nor had the guns themselves allowed her to be too close to them, or too far from their aim.
"Rest well?"
"Best I've had in a while." She tried stretching, but flinched when her wounded claw ached again. The inflammation was going down... but she was living rough, barely eating, and had used it to hold the bug in place. It'd take more than just a few days to heal a near-fracture.
"You're welcome. What happened?"
"Thanks. It was black scarabs." She massaged her wrist. The bug had given her wraps to bandage the gunshot wound on her hand, but it still hurt too. "They were in a panic at night."
"Saurs call them rousebugs. Frisky fuckers. Barely worth eating, too- cook them and they'll poison you."
"Ah. Can I..."
"You want more of my food and water to travel."
"I'm sorry."
"Do me a favor in return: If you run into the village tell them I can only go alone for so long."
And that was it. She departed with one jar each of food and water.
She trotted until the night ended, and buried herself in the sand as the rimlights relit and burned with scornful heat.


The next two days were uneventful: She woke up, crawled up from under the sand, and marched on. The root and mountain behind her gave her a reliable compass to guide herself, to march counterrootways deeper into bug territory. Every afternoon she drank and ate just enough to not pass out during the day, and every afternoon she woke up convinced her wounds would be infected and this'd be it.

On the third day, right as the rimlights lit, Kicker saw another stone outcrop. She took the detour, and it didn't take her long to find the door.
This one, like the sharpshooter's, had some symbol carved on it.
Nobody had shot her on the way here.
That was a good start, wasn't it?
No. 1049692 ID: a2d88b

Reassuring for now, but possibly ominous...
Well, gently knock for now. Hope someone friendly answers.
No. 1049771 ID: a7b16c
File 166906196721.png - (70.11KB , 537x643 , 1669061927.png )

tgc >>1049692
"Hello?" She knocked the door and called. Nobody replied, so she shouted- the hideout proper was probably up a fairly long flight of stairs. "Hello! Anyone here!"
Nobody replied. A light breeze picked up, hitting her with hot air.
No. 1049899 ID: 1224af

Guess we better enter and look around, then.

Open the door carefully, in case somebody decides to shoot at the doorway or something worse.
No. 1049912 ID: a7b16c
File 166915757043.png - (169.91KB , 1290x490 , 1669157513.png )

tgc >>1049899
“Hello!” She called again, pressing her palm to the wood. “I'm going in!”
Nobody replied as she climbed up, or when she called out again near the top. The entrance proper was covered by a small curtain, and she steeled herself for what she'd see when she swatted it aside.
It wasn't in vain. The sharpshooter had been right.
A cicada laid dead for days or weeks, on a mattress in the corner of the room.
No. 1049921 ID: 15c72a

Bug to your right. Be ready to defend yourself.
...might be worth checking the cicada to see what killed them, once the room is secure.
No. 1050011 ID: 1224af

Seems to be some bug appliance to the right... Hopefully this one won't be spitting bullets at you. I suppose it's some sort of a bug radio?

Check the body and try to find out the cause of death. Then check this device.
No. 1050062 ID: a7b16c
File 166925058092.png - (98.58KB , 603x402 , 1669250498.png )

tgc >>1049921 >>1050011
Kicker scanned the room just in case, and had a scare when she saw a small bug hanging from the wall. But nothing happened, and it wasn't like any bug-gun she'd ever seen.

Still, she kept it on the corner of her eye as she approached the corpse just in case. The check was quick and fruitless: It laid relaxed on the mattress, with no wound and barely any fluid around it, just some… spit? Bile? Around the mandibles. Maybe it had died on its sleep, at ease. There was a cold comfort.

Next she checked the radio. The box itself was an ancient imported model from the outer rims of the leaf, far away from bug or saur lands- she guessed it was bought during the war. But the controls were legible enough, and maybe it had a builtin speaker? She poked at the controls, noting the bug on the wall was wired to the radio.

The radio turned on. And the bug hung on the wall opened its mandibles, and began… buzzing static.
No. 1050064 ID: 15c72a

Bug may have died of poison or disease... worrying.
Scan through radio frequencies, see if you can get something.
No. 1050113 ID: a7b16c
File 166931944523.png - (96.29KB , 578x474 , 1669319409.png )

tgc >>1050064
Kicker looked back at the corpse, had it been poisoned? She was no doctor. Everything was at question.

She sighed and turned back to the radio… alright, the bug on the wall was the speaker, was it the mic too? With that in mind she scanned through the frequencies, dronning out roger rogers to the bug.

There was another burst of static, and the sharpshooter's voice blared out of the speaker-bug deafeningly loud. “Lady! Lady. Is that you?”
No. 1050119 ID: a2d88b

Time for the hard, but necessary part: Tell the bug no one was answering and you found a corpse in the first house you checked.
No. 1050142 ID: 15c72a

Tell him the bad news. Describe the corpse, maybe he knows what happened. If that's not enough info to go on, you can make a full investigation of the village.

Worst case scenario I guess you can get some supplies, and leave some behind for him in case he wants to move here.
No. 1050171 ID: a7b16c
File 166941252807.png - (81.42KB , 494x480 , 1669412242.png )

tgc >>1050119 >>1050142 >>1049354
“I think I found one of your friends.” She tried to keep a sensitive tone. “It's not good news.”
He was silent for a moment. “Guessed so. I know her radio's buzz. She dead?”
“Yes. I'm sorry.”
“She die well?”
“Looks like she was asleep. I can't tell if it was poison or the heat or age.”
“No signs of fighting?”
He was silent again. “There's worse deaths than sleeping, for sure.”
Kicker didn't answer.
“Told that fool her lookout didn't cool too good a million times, that we'd swap with her. But she said she had the place right how she liked it…” He trailed off muttering to himself briefly. “But we always knew we'd die in this damn war. Just didn't expect it to be from age or a freak heat.”
Kicker spoke as delicately as she could. “Mister, the war's been over for over a hundred years. You beat us. We had to sign your treaties.”
“Now you may even believe that, miss, but I was there. I saw you herreras rain mortar and fight with three limbs missing, and felt your tyrs shake the earth…” He trailed off again. “Your kind's not quitters, for good or ill.”
No. 1050180 ID: 1224af

...He's not really wrong, is he? With you running clandestine ops in bug territory and all.

Anyway, ask if we should do something about the corpse (if we're even going to spend time on it) and then look for some supplies we could borrow.
No. 1050291 ID: a7b16c
File 166952325248.png - (249.33KB , 877x921 , 1669523097.png )

tgc >>1050180
Could she say he was wrong? She was infiltrating bug territory. Crazy or not, he'd been right about everything so far.
“Alright. Are you going to need her food?”
“I can kill myself trying to get it. Take all you can carry.”
“Thanks. Do you want me to do anything with the body?”
“The only thing one can do for the dead, miss.”


An hour later, Kicker stood over the grave. She'd found a shovel and, in doing so, the cicada's guns- another pistol and rifle, hiding behind the shovel. They'd looked up to her quietly, not aiming their snout-cannonsat her but not letting them quite relax while she towered above them.

She looked curiously, and backed off when they didn't do anything.

The sand made it easy to dig, and she wrapped the cicada in her mattress and carried her, carefully, down the stairs. Her wounds and exhaustion made digging take longer than it should have and now she stood over the grave, with her back to the root and Mountain. She'd have to rush back in to sleep off the day's heat.

“Why do I feel guilty?” She asked aloud. “I didn't do this.”

The corpse, obviously, didn't answer.

The guns stood on the hideout's stairway, looking at the grave. Their snout cannons were relaxed now. They'd starve, if she left them here.
No. 1050292 ID: 15c72a

If you take them with you, there's much less chance of bugs shooting at you without warning; it's not like you could have taken them by force after all. Plus, extra firepower in case you need to fight some hostile fauna!
No. 1050326 ID: 1224af

Will you even be able to use these things properly? Like, how would you pull the trigger, what do they eat, do they have some sort of a friend or foe system for bugs?

Not sure if you can keep pretending to be just some traveller with a rifle on your back. Then again, an experienced bug can recognize your army gear anyways, as we've found out...

I guess you should grab both guns if you can use them and if the rifle is not too heavy.
No. 1050336 ID: 1224af

(Also, are these the creatures you saw by that dead horror when you woke up? Are you having hallucinations?)
No. 1050442 ID: a7b16c
File 166967913995.png - (170.49KB , 767x483 , 1669679001.png )

tgc >>1050292 >>1050326 >>1050336
Was there something touching her leg? Kicker looked down with a start, reaching for a gun she wasn't wearing, but there was nothing.
“And now I'm imagining things.” She said.
The gun bugs were still on the doorway.
“Come here.” She crouched. “I can take care of you.”
They stepped back.
“You'll die if you stay.”
The rifle hopped forward, but instead of walking to her it skirted a wide circle around and dug a little on the grave, then curled and laid in the hole.
No. 1050477 ID: 15c72a

Tell them you won't force them. If they want to die with their owner, that is their choice... but you don't think she would have wanted that.
No. 1050485 ID: 1224af

I agree. They seem to have some degree of free will, so offer them a choice.
No. 1050580 ID: a7b16c
File 166982225099.png - (122.19KB , 515x581 , 1669822098.png )

tgc >>1050477 >>1050485 >>1050326
“You're more clever than I thought, aren't you?” Kicker asked. “More than just animals.”
The rifle didn't answer. The pistol, still on the doorway, watched them silently.
“You don't have to lay and die here.”
A small breeze. The rimlights, burning around them. The desert with its hollow silence continued to not-happen around them.
“Would she want you to do this?”
The rifle opened a single eye and kicked sand at her with its hindleg. It then closed its eye again, and that was that.
“Very well.” She stood back up and stretched her back, hoping the rifle would take that little moment to reconsider. But it didn't, and Kicker returned inside. It wasn't as cold as the sharpshooter's, but it was enough for her to sleep through the day's heat.


Kicker woke up exhausted, feeling like she'd trashed too much in her sleep. While she stretched, she noticed the pistol gun bug was watching her from the doorway. She kept up the eye contact, curious as to what it expected. It just looked at her, from a safe distance.

But it was easy enough to understand when it perked up at her opening a food jar, and she threw her a chunk of some vegetable she didn't recognize. It tore it to little bits with it's legs, then vacuumed the bits up it's canon snout.

How would she fire it, if things came to that? Kicker tried having a closer look but it backed off away from her, keeping an eye on her claws. She couldn't blame it; she kept them even sharper than army regulation required.
No. 1050583 ID: f2320a

Is rifle bug dead now have gun bug?
No. 1050599 ID: 15c72a

>how to fire it?
I think that's something you'll have to figure out when it trusts you enough to let you handle it.
It might be time to go, if you've scavenged what you can. Say goodbye to the rifle bug on the way out.
No. 1050655 ID: 2422f9

Kicker could really use a little gun-buddy right now. An ear(?) to hear her laments on the trail.

I don't think Kicker'll find this place again for a while once we leave it. Try gaining the pistol-bug's trust before we leave.

Wait a minute... 1 week is exactly the length of time it's been since we got lost. It must be the one the trackers came from.

That village! It's our only clue. We should find it.
No. 1050667 ID: 1224af

Check on the rifle and prepare to move on.
No. 1050684 ID: a7b16c
File 166993926428.png - (72.06KB , 412x416 , 1669939186.png )

tgc >>1050581 >>1050599 >>1050655 >>1050667
“Alright, there's time.” Kicker took back her claw.

The next while was spent stashing as much food and water as she could in the turtle shell, as well as ammunition for the pistol- the magazines were neon green, made of something semihard that felt organic.


On the way out, she checked on the rifle. It was where she'd left it, it's breath labored after being spending so long under the rimlights.
No. 1050730 ID: 15c72a

Offer some food.
No. 1050830 ID: 2422f9

Offer it some food on the way out, but I don't expect it to change its mind. It wouldn't still be there if it wasn't sure. Seems it's been crying.
No. 1050847 ID: 1224af

Maybe you have some experience with losing somebody close to you? Try to give some kind words, if so.

Offer it some food, too.
No. 1050872 ID: 398700
File 167011208648.png - (208.18KB , 775x924 , surrogateupdater.png )

Kicker crouched and gave it a small morsel. It didn't move to eat, but the pistol bug ran up to it and tore the meat into small bits it fed to the rifle slowly.

“She must've been something for you to do this.” Kicker said softly. “I have to go. I can't stay here to take care of you.”

The rifle seemed to nod, slowly. Or maybe it was just chewing what the pistol fed it. She couldn't tell.

"I know what it's like. You just need to give yourself time to get better."

it kicked sand at her again, much more weakly than before.

The pistol bug nuzzled the rifle before they departed, and that was that.

The desert was like a crystal ball, silent and hollow, where nothingness relentlessly crushed everything. Kicker marched on, and the bug choose to stay in it.


At first the pistol had chosen to cling to the tip of her tail, but by the time she stopped before morning it had conceded so far as to climb up to hide from the sun under her rag tunics.

She prepared their rations, and the pistol bug sat on its haunches looking back in the direction they'd come from.

internet situation got complicated at home. may disappear for a bit. -cammy

sup lads, just forwarding update materials! -riot

No. 1051002 ID: 15c72a

Look back. Is the rifle following? If not, maybe the pistol is just thinking about them. Offer comfort. Things will get better.
No. 1051010 ID: 2422f9

Ah having no internet sucks sometimes. Don't worry about it.
There's no way the farshooter has kept up with us. Pistol-bug must be homesick and worried for the rifle. Thing must be as old as the Sharpshooter, thinking about it now.

Spend a moment with them. Ask if it remembers the last time it left the hideout.
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