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Deviant for 6 Months
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Literature
An Avian's past #20
        Sledge jammed his thumb down on the explosives, producing an earsplitting explosion and sending out plenty of smoke. A perfect distraction. Sledge tossed in a grenade, and they heard the crumph and crash of the explosion a moment later.
        “Okay, everyone in.” Sledge said, running forwards and dropping into the opening in the floor. The others followed suit, and they were all in a smoky corridor, looking around. Emjay tossed a smoke grenade before the temporary cover of the explosion could fade, and the hall was instantly filled with thick chemical smoke.
        “There's a door over here.” Emjay said. Her helmet allowed her to see things faintly in the smoke that none of the others could. She felt around for the doorknob, and pushed in on a bar, swinging the door open. “Come on. Let's get out of the way of the response team that's probably charging this way right now.”
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Literature
An Avian's Past #19
        “We cannot. We will help you sit up again, but we will keep your wings bound. You are permitted to slip your wings up and off the back of the chair, so that you are no longer trapped.” the soldier said. Crystal was almost amused at their robotic way of speaking. She realized how terrified they all must be.
        “Are you scared? Talking with me would make you disappear, wouldn't it?” Crystal asked, slipping her wings off of the chair and standing up straight. She wast still about ten centimeters shorter than the shorter soldier, but she was not intimidated. She had learned to hide weakness the hard way.
        Kluex, she hated elementary school.
        The soldiers said nothing. They were clearly scared.
        “Let's go, you in front of us. You will turn right, and follow our directions from there.” said the taller guard.
   
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Literature
An Avian's Past #18
        Crystal swallowed, and she felt her heartbeat double in speed, “Where am I?”
        “We can't tell you that. I'm sorry.” the apex said.
        “Do you have a name I can call you?” Crystal asked, keeping her face neutral and a little frustrated. Inside, she was furious and...scared.
        “You can call me Gerald. It pains me to meet you again in such circumstances.” the apex said.
        “Again? I don't believe I've met you before.” Crystal said.
        “Of course you don't. We wiped your memory for any time before you were ten years old.” Gerald said, looking uncomfortable.
        “What?! But...I remember...I remember my parents being avian.” Crystal fell silent, and thought back to when she was younger than ten years. She couldn't really pin down a d
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Literature
An Avian's Past #17
        “Seriously? You'd think that by now the Apex would have it through their thick skulls that splicing Floran and Apex genes is a B-A-D bad idea. They obviously can't be controlled, so why keep trying?!” Emjay threw her hands in the air. HQ wanted them to go after another information cache that the Apex were rumored to have hidden away on a planet in the Echelon Ravine. Cherry, Sledge, and Emjay sat in the posh waiting room for their overseer's office after receiving the orders. The walls were expensive, dark wood, and the roof was ornately carved in square sections with simple gold and blue paint adorning some of the ridges of the carving.
        They noticed none of it, in their frustration. Emjay, however, was by far the most upset about it. After watching Cobalt kill himself to save them all, and watching how it hurt Crystal, Emjay had seen enough. She wasn't happy.
        “The lure of a bat
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Literature
An Avian's Past #16
        They landed in a port completely ringed in large skyscrapers, with glittering windows and neon signs. Obviously, this place was a high-density habitation and commercial zone. Pedestrians were mainly Hylotl, and the towering constructions bore marks of their architecture.
        “When you said a large port, I didn't think you meant literal sky-scrapers every block or so.” Crystal said, craning her neck to look up at the huge structures around her. They truly seemed to scrape the sky.
        “We live in a relatively wealthy and clean area on Earth. The buildings are spaced apart and well built just because of how the laws work.” Kevin said, “That said, it's pretty incredible, isn't it?”
        “Seconded. I think this is new for all of us.” Natasha said. Everyone was silent for a time, staring around at the buildings, before Crystal realized she must l
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Literature
An Avian's Past #15
        Crystal met Kevin, looking fresh, and dressed in his protectorate officer uniform, at eight o'clock on the second. He had his Manipulator clipped to his belt, and had his arms folded. Beside him stood another human, this one a woman with a rather pretty face and glossy brown hair that reached halfway down her back. It was well maintained in a single long ponytail. She stood in a slightly more open manner, hands clasped behind her back. She wore the same uniform as Kevin, but with her Manipulator clipped to the left hip instead of her right. Apparently she was left handed.
        Crystal waved, and Kevin introduced the two: “Crystal, this is Natasha, my usual partner in operations. Natasha, this is Crystal, my usual partner in saving the universe.”
        Natasha held out a hand, a slightly confused look in her eyes. Crystal shook hands with the human, and stepped back. “Saving the universe?” N
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Literature
An Avian's Past #14
        The rest of the paper in the chest was just more pictures, each one containing the blue and tan feathered avian, and sometimes with an uncomfortable looking apex in a voluminous coat and mirrored glasses. Finally, the face of the younger avian clicked: It was her face, but rounder. Less angular. Younger.
        The ship slowed with a jerk, and gradually descended through the atmosphere, non-friction paint eliminating most of the heat that was such a problem to the older spaceships. She gently settled to the ground with a barely noticeable bump, and the avian got out of her seat, then left the ship.
        She paid the rental after a difficult time of convincing them that Cobalt was not coming back, and could not pay them until his inheritance was sorted out. As far as Crystal knew, he hadn't written a will yet. He didn't have any relatives, if what the papers said about his history was true.
     
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Literature
An Avian's Past #13
        Crystal came back to the dashboard, and back to the screen that had gotten them into so much trouble. It still showed its flawed translation of the garbled distress call. Crystal dismissed the message, then pressed the 'CONTINUE' button on the screen. The ship began to accelerate, and the two sat down. Emjay next to Crystal. Emjay still wore her armor, and so did Crystal.
        After a few minutes of silent waiting, they felt the jerk of deceleration move them forwards in their seats. They waited until it had lessened, and then, after orbit had been established, approached the teleporter again. Crystal wordlessly beamed them both down.
        The landed in what looked like a battleground. Ruined husks of buildings stood here and there, and scraps of once colorful banners were scattered around. It was a marketplace, judging by the flimsy wooden sticks and panels everywhere. Anything of value had been scavenged, it se
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Literature
An Avian's Past #12
        “Ready...NOW!” the three fighters dropped to a slide at once, confusing the monster and slipping underneath Sledge's swing.
        The monster took the two-handed swing with all of Sledge's strength behind it directly in the chest, making a loud thud and flinging the creature backwards. Sledge's hammer leaped out of his hands as the monster's momentum transferred to it. Emjay unhooked and tossed a grenade into the hallway, and Sledge pulled the three exposed team members into the safety of the hall branching to the left.
        A massive explosion tore through the air, everyone's eardrums only being saved by mufflers in their helmets. Shrapnel punctured the wall panels and left dark holes all along ankle height.
        Mute poked his head out from around the corner, ready to pull it back at a moment's notice, and spotted the monster lying flat on its back, limbs sprawled out in differ
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Literature
An Avian's Past #11
        Crystal turned her attention to the other papers scattered across the table and floor. It wasn't the only cache of information in the place, but it was the biggest and so far the most fruitful.
        “We're looking for information on a test subject named Cain.” Crystal said, showing Emjay and Cobalt the paper she had originally picked up with the three profiles on it.
        “Are those other two profiles...yours?”
        “We don't know. I wasn't those dimensions when I was that age.” Crystal lied.
        “Mmm.” Emjay discarded a paper, and picked up a new one, “I think there might be something useful in this one.” Emjay passed the paper to Crystal, but before she could take a good look at it, Mute's steady hand landed on her head, pushing her down. The others followed suit. Mute crouched, taking cover behind one of
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Literature
An Avian's Past #10
        They landed one after the other, quickly spreading out and checking the room for a possible ambush. Nothing laid in wait for them.
        “Team one, continue forward until the point of division.” Dasker said. They advanced down the hallway for a tense two minutes, until Dasker broke the silence: “Peach, Cherry, Sledge, and Emjay, continue on the left branch of the hall. Cobalt, Crystal, and Mute, continue down the central hall to the genetics lab. If you do not see the target, remain there and wait for instructions.”
        The all obeyed the pilot, and they split apart into two groups. Cobalt didn't know why, but he felt safer with Mute on his team. Of course, he also liked having Crystal with him. Again, there was a tense silence regularly punctuated by the sound of their footsteps.
        “The target appears to be stationary in the genetics lab. Advance with cauti
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Literature
An Avian's Past #9
        Cobalt's eyes sluggishly opened for the second time, but this time he was staring up at an avian face, and not a monster's face. He recognized that face...who was it? It was female face...Crystal! Who was Crystal...? Ah, yes. She was his friend. They had...what had they been doing? He blinked several times, but the sleepiness didn't go away.
        Crystal noticed Cobalt's unfocused gaze, and helped him sit up. Cobalt slouched against the wall. “Feeling better?” Crystal asked.
        “Mmm...” Cobalt nodded slowly.
        “Have some water.” Crystal handed Cobalt a cup of water, which was hesitantly taken.
        “Thanks...” Cobalt said, but it sounded more like thenks.
        “Mm-hm.” Crystal watched Cobalt down the water, then shakily put down the cup beside him on the metal.
   
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Literature
An Avian's Past #8
        Cherry poked her head around the corner of the indentation in the wall of the ship where they housed Cobalt: “What was that about?”
        Mute showed her his previous note, and Cherry quickly read it.
        “Damn...So it's almost invincible now, unless you burn it or completely obliterate it. I guess it could suffocate or freeze dry, if you somehow managed to get it out of the station.” Cherry said, putting a hand to her chin. She felt the strap under her hand, and took off her helmet, which she had forgotten was on. She hadn't taken if off since she had put it on for their initial retrieval mission.
        “Or if we blew up the station, which would be almost impossible, considering its mass. Doing so, though, would probably make the Apex mad at us.” Peach emerged from the niche a moment later, stating her idea and then just as quickly dismissing it. “C
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Literature
An Avian's Past #7
        Sledge took a step forwards, hammer in hand, but stopped when the monster shifted Cobalt in its grip to hold the claw a millimeter closer to the avian's undefended throat. Even an involuntary twitch could end his life at that distance.
        “Does it know our language?” Emjay wondered aloud.
        Mute set down the grenade launcher and pushed past Sledge, who took a step backward in surprise. The monster did likewise, shying away from the approaching soldier, but didn't slit Cobalt's throat. The team behind Mute stood in silent tension, every muscle ready to move.
        To everyone's consternation, Mute gave a small wave to the creature in a friendly gesture, then beckoned for the monster to come closer.
        Of course! Sledge thought. If anyone is going to be able to communicate without spoken language, it's going to be Mute!
   
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Literature
An Avian's Past #6
        Crystal's eyes popped open when she became aware that something was not right. She looked and listened for the monster, but heard nothing.
        “Repeat: this is the U.C Umbra. We have arrived at the station, and have landed a team to retrieve you. If you can, please approach the center of the station. It should be near the genetics lab.” said a different voice from the distress beacon. Apparently it had sounded once, and woken her up, then repeated itself.
        “I copy. I have an incapacitated member here. He won't be able to move. I think he's been drugged in some way.” Crystal said, giving Cobalt a light slap. There was no response.
        “Acknowledged. We have your position in the station. Stay where you are, and we'll come to you.” said the voice.
        “Try to be careful. I'm currently hiding from the thing, but it c
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Literature
An Avian's Past #5
        Cobalt slowly got up from his crouched position, his heart having slowed from panic to a normal jumpy speed. He stood on shaky legs and ever so slowly peered out of the door. Nothing threatening was in sight. Never so carefully in his life did Cobalt walk than those next few seconds, scouting out the surrounding hallways and ambush spots. He suddenly became aware of running feet. Cobalt was about to turn and flee, but then his brain rationalized: It the sound of sandals hitting the ground, not the sound of claws hitting the ground. Cobalt turned towards the noise to see Crystal rapidly approaching. She looked terrified.
        Cobalt didn't ask, since he already knew the only thing to be afraid of on this station. Hell, the only thing besides them that was even alive, to his knowledge. The station was a big place, though. Cobalt turned and trotted away, beckoning for Crystal to follow. Crystal obeyed, darting in after him, taking
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Literature
Starbound, The Last Protector (Chapter 32)
We walk in into a room, only to find Kaichi again, and it looks like he has some information for us.
“The library's motion sensors are picking up movement below your location. Please, be careful,” he said.
We look at each other and we pulled out our weapons.
“Are you prepared, Leinari?” I asked, as I tighten my grip on my spear.
“You bet I am, Heath,” said Leinari, loading her guns.
We silently walk down the stairs and sure enough, we could hear someone talking nearby.
“Worried. Did you heard what our boss said?”
“No. What iss it?”
“Explain. According to her, we got two intruders coming down here,”
“Nice! Floran was getting bored, anyway,”
I nodded to Leinari, signaling that I was prepared to attack and she nodded me back. We jumped down the stairs and I used the secondary function of my spear, barrier, to create an Ice wall to protect ourselves.
“There they are!” said one of the fighters, d
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Literature
Starbound, The Last Protectors (Chapter 31)
As the elevator makes its way down, some of the lights went on.
“I can't believe that there isss an artifact here,” I said to Leinari.
“Me either. We mussst get to it before they do,” said Leinari.
“Agreed, but we mussstn't forget that we need to help Kaichi,” I said.
“True. Just... let'sss hope for the bessst,” said Leinari.
“It will,” I said, looking down the elevator.
“Current exterior pressure reading 15 quash. Scans show this structure is capable of withstanding in excess of 80 quash. Chance of survival – surprisingly high,” said S.A.I.L.
Once we reached the bottom, we step of the elevator. We looked around for someone or something suspecios, until Kaichi showed up again.
“This library is suffering from sorry neglect. I'm afraid you might need to take the long way. But I can assist you! I can monitor the library through these old holographic projection displays,” said Kaichi.
“That'sss
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Novakid - Starbound by LaviWasTaken Novakid - Starbound :iconlaviwastaken:LaviWasTaken 16 6 Baron Platinum by d99n48 Baron Platinum :icond99n48:d99n48 9 3 Space Mech by Meursing Space Mech :iconmeursing:Meursing 10 2 The Battle Begins by Bronuh The Battle Begins :iconbronuh:Bronuh 17 13 Personal sketchbook part 1 by Proxie02 Personal sketchbook part 1 :iconproxie02:Proxie02 4 2 Crystal pixel art by MysteryCatGames Crystal pixel art :iconmysterycatgames:MysteryCatGames 3 2 Methyl by MagicalZombie Methyl :iconmagicalzombie:MagicalZombie 40 5 New Star by Avalir New Star :iconavalir:Avalir 18 4 The Best Possible Use Of My Time by Moonlit-Comet The Best Possible Use Of My Time :iconmoonlit-comet:Moonlit-Comet 31 12 The Matter Manipulator by Pitool The Matter Manipulator :iconpitool:Pitool 25 8 Intruders by woundedskies Intruders :iconwoundedskies:woundedskies 10 9 Beyond the Stars [real life remake] by Proxie02 Beyond the Stars [real life remake] :iconproxie02:Proxie02 12 4 My Starbound Comic Page 10 by BilalBK My Starbound Comic Page 10 :iconbilalbk:BilalBK 9 4 Pizza  by PinkFluffyTurtlel Pizza :iconpinkfluffyturtlel:PinkFluffyTurtlel 5 2
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        Sledge jammed his thumb down on the explosives, producing an earsplitting explosion and sending out plenty of smoke. A perfect distraction. Sledge tossed in a grenade, and they heard the crumph and crash of the explosion a moment later.
        “Okay, everyone in.” Sledge said, running forwards and dropping into the opening in the floor. The others followed suit, and they were all in a smoky corridor, looking around. Emjay tossed a smoke grenade before the temporary cover of the explosion could fade, and the hall was instantly filled with thick chemical smoke.
        “There's a door over here.” Emjay said. Her helmet allowed her to see things faintly in the smoke that none of the others could. She felt around for the doorknob, and pushed in on a bar, swinging the door open. “Come on. Let's get out of the way of the response team that's probably charging this way right now.”
        They all ran through the door, weapons in their hands, and spread out in the room. Emjay gasped at the sight that awaited them.

        Kevin was startled out of his boredom by a loud explosion that shook the whole lab. He heard other, softer noises before a second explosion sounded, then a hissing sound. He heard rapid footsteps outside his door, along with hurried voices: “An explosion...” “Hallway B-2!” “Main entrance...moving to intercept!”
        Crystal was in the process of being shoved into her room when the explosion temporarily deafened everyone. She was closer to the explosion site than Kevin. Her two guards turned their heads, and Crystal stepped back out of her room to see what was going on. Tendrils of smoke were drifting down the hallway. A small, metal object that tumbled down the corridor a moment after the smoke made her two escorts dash into her containment room. Crystal followed a second before another explosion rent the air. The two guards stood on either side of the door, pressing against the wall, and produced their weapons. Crystal quickly walked to the right side of the door, beside the taller apex.
        They heard tense voices, then they heard a door open, and the clatter of heavy boots hitting metal as whoever was there vacated the vicinity.
        The apex received orders in their helmets, prompting them to run out of the room, close the door behind them and run closer to the explosion. Crystal was at the door a second later, growling in frustration at its stubborn refusal to open. She sank down again, saying a few choice words to the door. The door remained where it was, unmoved.

        In front of them laid several human-sized vertical tubes of a clear substance. They were empty. The base and top connected with the floor and ceiling, and tubes snaked off to enter the roof and floor at other locations.
        Sledge ran onward, prompting the others to snap out of their wonder and do the same. They needed to get as far away as they could from the explosion area, before apex with guns arrived. They heard footsteps already out in the hall, and Sledge didn't want to stick around. They ducked into a side door, and continued running.
        After winding through the facility for a moment or two, Dasker stopped them: “There are strange readings on the other side of that door. They're...flickering."
        “Emjay?” Sledge gestured for her to open the door. It had a keypad, which none of them knew the passcode to. Emjay produced a strange object that had eleven small metal appendages on it, branching from one large one which had a series of buttons on it. She held it up to the keypad, and the smaller metal appendages began to rapidly move, punching the buttons so fast the arms were a blur. It was trying different codes faster than any human could.
        Suddenly, the door sprang open, and they all cautiously advanced.
        The interior was dark, until their helmets adjusted to the low light and focused. Two rows of the tubes they had seen earlier continued down the room-more of a hall-and terminated at the end, where a single tube resided. Unlike the cylinders they had seen before, these were filled with luminous green liquid.
        “What are these...?” Sledge wondered aloud, touching one of the cylinders. It felt like glass under his glove. Something caught his eye farther down the row of tubes, and he turned to look at it.
        It was what they had seen at the station. A monster that was almost identical, but floating in green liquid, and with smaller claws.
        “It's...It's the monster!” Peach breathed.
        “Not possible. The one at the station didn't have a head.” Dasker said.
        “Are they...making more of them?!” Emjay wondered. She looked farther down the row, and to her horror, many more of the monsters were contained in the tubes. They looked like they were asleep, though.
        “Oh my God...This is horrible. Didn't they learn their lesson at the station?” Cherry wondered, staring at the rows of tubes.
        “Apparently not.” Sledge walked slowly down the length of the room, looking around at the horrific sight, until he reached the last tube, centered at the end of the room.
        Inside was Cain, the monster at the station. They could tell by their blackened chest and lack of a head.
An Avian's past #20
The Ocassus begins the assault on the miniknog facility, where the heavy weapons team makes a terrible discovery...
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        “We cannot. We will help you sit up again, but we will keep your wings bound. You are permitted to slip your wings up and off the back of the chair, so that you are no longer trapped.” the soldier said. Crystal was almost amused at their robotic way of speaking. She realized how terrified they all must be.
        “Are you scared? Talking with me would make you disappear, wouldn't it?” Crystal asked, slipping her wings off of the chair and standing up straight. She wast still about ten centimeters shorter than the shorter soldier, but she was not intimidated. She had learned to hide weakness the hard way.
        Kluex, she hated elementary school.
        The soldiers said nothing. They were clearly scared.
        “Let's go, you in front of us. You will turn right, and follow our directions from there.” said the taller guard.
        “Yessir. Why don't you just speak normally?” Crystal asked, giving the tall soldier a salute.
        Neither of the soldiers said anything, and Crystal realized she was endangering them simply by speaking.
        “Oh...I'm sorry. I guess I'm being dangerous just by talking, aren't I?”
        Of course, neither of the soldiers said anything. She took it as a yes.

        Emjay looked at the dashboard of the ship. Words were continually scrolling across the screen, repeating themselves: “WARP IN PROGRESS. DO NOT TELEPORT.”
        She wondered what would happen if you tried to teleport while the ship was jumping. She didn't want to find out. She looked around at her other crew mates, all of them stoic and staring at the ground. The only one who appeared remotely cheerful was Mute, who was cleaning his RPG and looking around at the inside of the Umbra with a certain degree of boredom in his movements.
        “Prepare to disengage from jump speed. Everyone buckle up.” Dasker said.
        Everyone buckled up in silence. There was the usual stress and jitters that always took place before a fight, but it was somewhat subdued. They had all been affected by the death of Cobalt, which could have been avoided if nobody had been stupid and combined Apex and Floran genes. They never seemed to learn, no matter how many people died.
        But this time, Emjay was going to film the true horrors of genetic modification going too far with her helmet, and drop off the footage anonymously on their supervisor's desk. They all knew this would be the time to do it, too, because rumor had it they were breaking right into the thick of it: one of the Miniknog's three main laboratories. It was doubtlessly going to have heavy security -most likely some of the best in the galaxy- but that was where the Special Ops teams would come in. They would be the ones who would sneak past and grab what they needed, then hopefully leave without being caught and detained.
        They would be the ones who would go in heavy, and storm through the front door with fragmentation grenades and smoke. They weren't even supposed to go in, but only distract the security while the Special Ops made their move.
        The ship rapidly slowed, throwing the team in various directions in their seat belts. They quickly unbuckled and slipped on helmets and masks, getting ready for the fight.
        “We'll be over a heavily populated area, so we're going to have to go in quickly, and get out quickly. No civilian casualties, or the overseer will have your heads on a pike.” Dasker said.
        “Hmmph. Why don't you come in and help us this time? There are probably so many apex in that place, the scanner is just going to be solid red.” Sledge folded his arms.
        “I think I will.” Dasker stood and retrieved his UMP 45 from his compartment in the dashboard, checking to see if it was loaded and on semi automatic. He slipped on a helmet that viewed things in infrared, as well as visible light, and a vest like those of his companions.
        “Special Operations is ready for action.” said their partner ship, hovering in orbit just a few hundred meters away. It was coated in Effigium alloy, which made it almost invisible.
        “Heavy weapons likewise.” Dasker said, “Landing in five, four, three, two, one...” and pressed the button.
        They landed in a back alley, and quickly regrouped.
        “The lab is hidden underground, and the entrance is in the ground floor of this building. I have located it, and we will breach when special operations gives the word.” Dasker said.
        “Got it. Should I go first, since I have the explosives?” Sledge asked.
        “Yes.”
        Sledge took the lead, and they crept over to the rusty metal back door of the apartment. Emjay quickly picked the lock, and the door swung open. Typical: nobody ever thought about the back door. The team hurried in, and Dasker indicated a square of floor about one by one meter in size. Sledge hurriedly shaped the plastic explosives around the square, and they all backed away to crouch behind a nearby kitchen counter to shield themselves from the blast.
        “Explosives are primed. Give us the word.” Sledge said.
        There was a pregnant pause, then: “Now.”
        Sledge's thumb depressed the button.
An Avian's Past #19
Crystal is returned to her cell, her interrogation finished. Meanwhile, Heavy Weapons prepares to begin another mission.
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        Crystal swallowed, and she felt her heartbeat double in speed, “Where am I?”
        “We can't tell you that. I'm sorry.” the apex said.
        “Do you have a name I can call you?” Crystal asked, keeping her face neutral and a little frustrated. Inside, she was furious and...scared.
        “You can call me Gerald. It pains me to meet you again in such circumstances.” the apex said.
        “Again? I don't believe I've met you before.” Crystal said.
        “Of course you don't. We wiped your memory for any time before you were ten years old.” Gerald said, looking uncomfortable.
        “What?! But...I remember...I remember my parents being avian.” Crystal fell silent, and thought back to when she was younger than ten years. She couldn't really pin down a definite event that happened at that time. She had avian parents, and she remembered them...didn't she? Her mind, scrambling for an answer, could only find one: Gerald was lying.
        “Let's move on, please.” Gerald said, shifting in his seat.
        “What would you like to move on to?” Crystal kept her voice steady.
        “First and foremost, how did you come to acquire those wings?” Gerald asked.
        “I...ahm...I don't really know. It wasn't very well explained.” Crystal said, her wings fluttering a little behind her. She put her hands in her lap, and tried to cross her legs, which immediately failed.
        “Did someone give them to you, or did this happen on its own?” Gerald asked.
        “S-Something gave them to me. It was a sort of snakelike metal tentacle...” Crystal trailed off, wary as to whether Gerald was believing her or not. Gerald's face betrayed no emotion beyond mild interest. Crystal didn't know why she was spilling everything to this apex, but something about them. Something that reminded Crystal of her father. She hadn't the foggiest idea of why, since they were different species, but the fact remained.
        “Go on.”
        “It stabbed me in the shoulder blades, and ten minutes later, I grew wings.” Crystal said, summing the whole thing up.
        “Really? Were you experiencing any pain?”
        “Yes...A lot. The wings were growing underneath my skin, and they had to come out some way.” Crystal said.
        “I see. Genetics of you and your...partner suggest that your wings would be developing while you were still unborn, so to speak. When they didn't appear, we thought that it might occur during puberty. Obviously, we were mistaken.” Gerald said.
        “I don't think that the wings were naturally occurring. Reggie said that it was just a fast-acting mutagen that they put into my shoulder blades.” Crystal said. The events of her great adventure were still fresh in her mind.
        “We've had Cobalt only under occasional observation. Since you're closer to him, can you recount a time when he felt any pain in his shoulders or back?” Gerald asked.
        “He's dead.” Crystal said in a dull voice.
        “I'm sorry?”
        “Cobalt's dead.”
        “Oh...I hadn't heard yet...I'm so sorry.” Gerald said, looking positively wounded.  He must have had quite a close relationship with Cobalt, to look so devastated.
        “Did you know him?” Crystal asked.
        “I did. Very well, for the first fifteen years of his life.” Gerald said, trailing off.
        “The first...wait a minute. What's going on? We weren't born?” Crystal asked.
        “No, not technically. You were created...artificially, because...Avian and swans don't have sexual relations...very often...if ever.” Gerald said, fiddling with his pen.
        “B-But m-my parents were both Avian!” Crystal felt as if the very ground underneath her was crumbling away. Her most basic, accepted truths were being swept away like dust in front of a broom.
        “They were...Let's turn this around. This is turning into an interrogation of me, and not you, which is what we are both here for.” Gerald said.
        “Mmm-hmm.” Crystal said shakily. Her sweaty hands twisted each other nervously in her lap, and she made a conscious effort to stop.
        “Secondly, why were you trying to track down Doctor Able?”
        “Because I found a paper in...I guess a kind of keepsake of Cobalt's. It said that he had been provided with a backup clone, courtesy of Doctor Grace Able. I went to my friend about it.”
        “The Protectorate officer.” Gerald inferred.
        “Yeah, and he said that Grace was a wanted fugitive for a massive counterfeiting scam, and that she had fled to this planet to escape the authorities.” Crystal finished.
        “But she was immune to that, as long as she was no longer in the system.” Gerald said.
        “Right, but we found another charge against her: illegal cloning, which had been proved by the document I had found. So we went after her, and Kevin was questioning her when, um...”
        “When we came in. I see. Your friends are waiting in holding cells, but we can't let them out of here.” Gerald said, looking unhappy to deliver the news.
        “Why not?” Crystal asked. She already knew, but she just wanted to hear Gerald admit it.
        “Because, well, they know too much. If we had let them question Dr. Able, then we would have lost one of our best geneticists. Now that we've silenced you and your two friends, we really can't let them go.”
        “Well, what's going to become of them?! I dragged them into this! It's my fault, so why go after them?!” Crystal shouted, leaning forwards. They didn't deserve it, but maybe she did, for taking them into something that was extremely dangerous...and for her own personal gain, too.
        “We can't let them out, or else they'll have physical proof that we kidnapped them, and the political mess will be nightmarish. Not to mention that we'll all be executed for allowing someone to escape.” Gerald said, his face going blank and his voice likewise.
        “This is beyond cruel. Can't you wipe their memories like you did with me?” Crystal said.
        “Well...a child's mind is malleable, and can recover easily. With adults, though, it's a messy business. They'll permanently have a blank space in their minds that they will always be aware of, and might investigate. We can't use the hangover cover on these two because Protectorate officers are sworn to be sober. There's really no easy way out of this.” Gerald said.
        “What's the 'Hangover cover'?” Crystal asked.
        “Exactly what it sounds like.”
        “So...what, are we just going to stay here? Are you going to kill us all?” Crystal asked, slumping back in her chair. Her wings were a little loose in their restraints, but it didn't help her.
        “I would vouch for simply keeping you here, but Grace...she's always had a mean streak. She's going to use you three for tests, and there isn't anything I can do about it, even as senior researcher. I would have to be overseer to override a majority vote in this lab. Then, of course, there's the great Big Ape, who can do whatever he wants.” Gerald muttered.
        “Grace meaning Dr. Able?” Crystal said.
        “Yes, of course.” Gerald quickly corrected himself.
        “I don't think you're much of an interrogator.” Crystal said, smiling.
        “I was always too kind, and kind of a pushover. It was only my skill in my profession that got me this far.” Gerald admitted.
        “Be more assertive. You'll get much farther that way.” Crystal said. If only he had, then maybe he could have been high enough rank to override Able's request to use us for tests...
        “That's enough. You will be escorted back to your cell.” Gerald stood up suddenly, gathering writing materials and pushing his chair back. He exited the room silently, the almost invisible door shutting behind him.
Crystal waited. Then the doors opened, revealing two guards that looked much like those she had seen on the desert planet in her first adventure(Fanbound #17).
        “We will release your wrists, and you will place them on top of your head, keeping them in sight at all times.” said one. The other apex stepped forwards and slid a keycard over a small laser scanner in the arm of Crystal's chair. Immediately, the two manacles popped open, and Crystal placed her hands on her head. Her mind was racing furiously for an answer to her situation, but none came. She knew she wouldn't be able to stage an escape. Not with guards threatened with death if they failed guarding her.
        “Next, keeping your hands where they are, slowly stand up and step away from the chair.” said the apex. The silent one with the keycard repeated the maneuver, and the ankle cuffs sprang open. Crystal obeyed the directions, and slowly stood up.
        Or, she tried to. Her wings got in the way, being bound to the chair, and she fell backwards, hitting the ground at an awkward ankle. The breath rushed out of her lungs. “Ow. Can you get that band off my wings?”
An Avian's Past #18
Crystal speaks with the mysterious apex who seems to know more about her than anyone other than her parents should.
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        “Seriously? You'd think that by now the Apex would have it through their thick skulls that splicing Floran and Apex genes is a B-A-D bad idea. They obviously can't be controlled, so why keep trying?!” Emjay threw her hands in the air. HQ wanted them to go after another information cache that the Apex were rumored to have hidden away on a planet in the Echelon Ravine. Cherry, Sledge, and Emjay sat in the posh waiting room for their overseer's office after receiving the orders. The walls were expensive, dark wood, and the roof was ornately carved in square sections with simple gold and blue paint adorning some of the ridges of the carving.
        They noticed none of it, in their frustration. Emjay, however, was by far the most upset about it. After watching Cobalt kill himself to save them all, and watching how it hurt Crystal, Emjay had seen enough. She wasn't happy.
        “The lure of a battle lusting, intelligent supersoldier is too strong. They want to be able to manufacture them, no matter their own casualties.” Cherry said, shuddering as if the idea disgusted her.
        “It's not our problem.” Sledge said.
        “You keep saying that, and I'm starting to wonder if you're wrong.” Emjay said.
        “Look, we don't know anything about this, so why worry?” Sledge said tiredly.
        “Why worry?! There are lives at stake! We should go to HQ about this!” Emjay said, getting up and pacing around the lobby.
        “We could, but what are the chances that they would listen to us?” Sledge asked.
        “Better than if we didn't complain at all.” Emjay said, stopping her pacing, “In fact, I think I'll go in there right now.” She pushed the slick door to their overseer's office, and walked in.
        A few minutes later, she stormed out, her cheeks flushed with anger, and the tips of her ears red.
        “How'd it go?” Sledge asked.
        “I got let off with a warning, but the next time I show such 'attitude', I'll be kicked from the team.” Emjay growled.
        “Maybe this next mission will help them understand. Anyone got a camera? I want to get the whole thing on video.” Sledge suggested.
        “That wouldn't be such a bad idea...I have one in my helmet, and it has about two gigabytes of film in it.” Emjay said, a smile starting to appear on her face.
        “I don't think they understand what it's like to see that sort of carnage. You have to have a stomach for violence if you can look at what happened to Cobalt and not flinch.” Cherry sympathized.
        “I guess...let's go, then.” Sledge said, getting out of his chair.
        “We'd better be paid well for this...Two missions in a row.” Cherry said.

        Kevin's eyes opened slowly at first, then sprang open as he remembered what had happened. His hand automatically went for his matter Manipulator, only to discover that it was gone. He no longer felt his AI on his wrist anymore, either. Kevin rolled to his knees, and slowly stood up, shielding his eyes from bright white light. He still wore his Protectorate uniform, although the tough material had taken a beating. He had been dragged a ways, by the look of it and by the bruises on his elbows and spine.
        “Oww...” Kevin muttered, rubbing his elbow and looking around. He was in a featureless, white room that appeared to be made out of painted metal. He knocked on it, and heard a hollow-sounding impact. Kevin paced back to the middle of room, and looked around for a door. There was none apparent at first, but as Kevin's eyes adjusted to the harsh lighting, and he saw a faint outline on one of the walls in the shape of a door. Kevin knocked on it, getting no response. Whoever had put him there wasn't willing to take him out.
        Kevin slumped to the ground, sliding down the wall and pulling his knees to his chest. He stared at the wall, and was immediately extremely bored.

        Natasha was slightly more energetic when she woke, and sprang to her feet, whipping around to look at the door as it closed, leaving only a barely-noticeable seam.
        Suddenly, her knees buckled amid a wave of nausea. She had forgotten that it was best to stay down for awhile after you woke up from unconsciousness. She focused on a corner of the room, almost invisible because of the uniform color throughout, and slowly fought the feeling down. She slowly got to her feet again, and walked over to the door. She knocked. No answer. Unlike Kevin, she opted for pacing around instead of sitting.

        Crystal woke up in a chair, and lifted her head slowly. She looked around the room she was in: all white metal except for a single, wide window looking out into a clean hallway. The chair she sat in was opposite another on the other side of a table.
        An Apex sat there, looking tired. They had a face that betrayed his moderately old age, lines branching out from the outside corners of his eyes, and he wore a gentle smile. Crystal tried to stand up, only to discover that she had been restrained. Her ankles were fastened to the legs of the chair, and she barely had enough room for circulation, let alone to wiggle her ankles. Her hands weren't free, either, but they had a limited range of movement: They were attached to the chair by short, white cords. Her wings were tied to her back, and clamped the back of her chair between them and her spine.
        Crystal pulled against the cuffs on her wrists, but she couldn't do more than stretch the cords. She returned her gaze to the apex sitting across from her. He still wore that warm, disarming smile. Something about his face was familiar.
        “Hello...Why am I here, and where am I?” Crystal asked.
        The apex took a deep breath, as if he really didn't want to say his next words, “You're here because you dug a little too deep into Miniknog affairs, and also because you're...an old member of an important project. You're here in this room to be interrogated.”
An Avian's Past #17
The three adventurers come to their senses, and find they are in a mysterious facility, which Crystal discovers is run by the Apex Ministry of Knowledge.
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        They landed in a port completely ringed in large skyscrapers, with glittering windows and neon signs. Obviously, this place was a high-density habitation and commercial zone. Pedestrians were mainly Hylotl, and the towering constructions bore marks of their architecture.
        “When you said a large port, I didn't think you meant literal sky-scrapers every block or so.” Crystal said, craning her neck to look up at the huge structures around her. They truly seemed to scrape the sky.
        “We live in a relatively wealthy and clean area on Earth. The buildings are spaced apart and well built just because of how the laws work.” Kevin said, “That said, it's pretty incredible, isn't it?”
        “Seconded. I think this is new for all of us.” Natasha said. Everyone was silent for a time, staring around at the buildings, before Crystal realized she must look like an idiot to those around her.
        “What's the address of our quarry?” Natasha asked, rubbing her neck to chase away the slight cramping.
        “Southwest Ever Street, Sparrow condominiums, number 482-B.” Kevin said, looking at the AI on his wrist.
        “How far? Do we need transportation?” Crystal asked.
        “We can probably walk it in about fifteen minutes. Not that far at all.”
        “Nice place to live, near public transportation.” Crystal said, noting the bus terminal and teleporter bank across the ship landing platforms.
        “Nice that you could find her exact location. If she's a fugitive, though, I would have thought she would have picked a less obvious place.” Natasha muttered.
        “It's most likely a trick. I'm willing to bet she doesn't actually live at that address.” Kevin said with a tone that was borderline nonchalance.
        “Are you concerned.” Crystal asked.
        “Yes.” Kevin said, still deadpan. Kevin led the way, after a momentary hesitation, hand near his matter manipulator.
        They walked for almost exactly fifteen minutes, which made Crystal appreciate technology a little more, crossed several crosswalks-nearly being run over twice- pushed past too many moody pedestrians to count, and finally ended up at a nondescript condominium on the second floor.
        “Should be the place...Step back, Crystal.” Kevin said. Crystal obeyed.
        Natasha knocked on the door: “Protectorate!”
        They waited for a long time, and finally the door softly opened. They had begun to think they would have to leave and come back tomorrow, which wouldn't have been fun.
        “Hello...What can I do for you, officers?” asked a timid looking Apex with chocolate colored fur, wearing a dapper white coat and skirt paired with high heels. She looked like they were just about to go to work, or had just gotten home.
        “Miss Able, we're here to investigate on a rumor of illegal cloning taking place under your supervision. We have a piece of writing that may concern you.” Kevin stated plainly.
        “Cloning? That doesn't sound good. Come in, and we'll take a look at the papers. Wouldn't be good if they were forgeries...” Able said. Crystal was surprised she had brought the issue of forgeries up. She was jumping the gun. Nervous. The two Protectorate officers entered the house to see that it was clean, well kept, and quite new-age, actually. All of it was in dark or honey colored wood, and light metal and stone. It looked like the house of a wealthy, single artist. Which, Crystal mused, Is kind of what she is.
        Able showed them into her house, and they all sat down around a low table on two couches. Crystal remained outside, because it would be illegal to trespass.
        Kevin wasted no time: “The paper we are concerned about is this one.” Kevin showed Able the letter, and she read it.
        “Doctor Grace Able...hmm. I was involved in genetics replication and modification when I was younger in the field, but now I'm mostly a simple pediatrician. I can tell you, though, that I have been smart enough to avoid that sort of thing.” Able said, giving them a reassuring smile.
        “Is there anything else do you do as a profession?” Kevin asked.
        “I analyze genes of possibly sick individuals for genetic faults or mutations, sometimes. I usually just take a good look at them and ask the battery of questions suited for that diagnosis.” Able said, shifting herself in her seat.
        “Back to the paper, though. It clearly states that 'Subject A-22(“Cobalt”) has been insured with a clone, courtesy of Doctor Grace Able.'. How can you explain this, when it has been illustrated with the watermark of the Apex government?” Natasha said, noticing they were getting off track. She held the paper to the light, revealing the faint but distinct insignia of the Ministry of Knowledge.
        “I can't. I've never done anything like that before.” Able said. Kevin felt his heart speed up. The excitement of the chase. They had this one down, though. It couldn't be any clearer, now, unless they had video proof that she had done it.
        “But the document states that you have, even marked with the official approval of the Big Ape, as can be seen by the watermark.” Kevin said.
        “I swear to the Big Ape I haven't done a day of that stuff in my life.” Able said.
        “This is not open for dispute. If this paper is authentic --which is is, if it has the watermark of the Big Ape-- you have insured 'Subject A-23' with a clone. Whether you deny it or not, you still must present valid evidence that this is false information.” Kevin said, keeping his face and posture neutral, as much as he wanted to frown and lean forward.
        “Then that paper is not authentic.” Able said, looking annoyed. If she was guilty, she was good at playing innocent.
        “Provide evidence that it is not authentic, and no further investigations will have to take place.” Natasha said.
        “I don't know how to prove it, I'm sorry. How am I supposed to prove that I didn't make a clone of...Cobalt? I'm going to guess they're a male. How am I supposed to prove something I have no knowledge about?”
        “You tell us.” Kevin said.

        Outside, Crystal's hands, already clasped behind her back, were pressed together, and her beak was clamped shut, a finger finding her nostrils so that she couldn't make a sound. Quick as a flash, her wrists were bound with a zip-tie, and her beak was held shut with a roll of tape. She kicked out behind her, hearing an gasp, and whipped around to face her attacker. She didn't get a good look, however, before something else came down on her beak. It smelled sickly sweet and...and...
        Crystal hit the ground, unconscious but she was caught as she fell so as not to make any noise.
        Inside, Kevin and Natasha, unaware of Crystal's sudden predicament, remained confused of why Able was silent.
        “Ma'am?” Kevin asked.
        Natasha, becoming suspicious, looked out the window, where she saw a dark shape flit past.
        Her hand was already drawing her baton when she was suddenly yanked backwards over the low couch and held on the ground. Kevin was slightly slower, but he leaped forwards, and vaulted over the table, then dodged to the side as their assailants attempted to waylay him. Too late Kevin recovered from his large and erratic movements, though, and he was struck on the side of the head. His vision was filled with stars, and he stumbled, stunned. Strong hands grabbed him and pulled him to the ground a moment later. He felt his hands bound behind his back and something strong and sticky was quickly slapped on over his lips.
        He heard Natasha start to struggle with something, but the sound was cut off a moment later. He heard a loud impact, and Natasha's struggling ceased. Kevin swung his legs upward, and attempted to vault up onto his feet, but he was stopped halfway by an arm in black garb. He made a muffled “oof!” through his nose, but it was quickly cut off by a pad of some sort. Before the hapless human could figure out what was going on, his eyes had closed.
An Avian's Past #16
Kevin, Natasha, and Crystal close on their target, but someone else -someone powerful- has other ideas.
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So...I'm using FireAlpaca as my way of converting my paper/pencil art to digital, but it doesn't have the most intuitive or versatile masking options(I'm going to have to get pretty creative if I do what I want to do, and it makes my head hurt when thinking about how I'll do it). I'm considering buying Paint Tool SAI, but I don't know if it is a waste of time(Apparently it has a hard time with Windows 10). I would really need to have it on my computer to have tutorials make any sense at all.
There may be some slight delays because of this. I apologize in advance.

deviantID

Isvus's Profile Picture
Isvus
Tryna Draw
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
United States
I will admit to being in the lower bracket for skill when it comes to art, but I'm working hard and learning fast. My whole goal for my drawing hobby is to be able to draw characters from various stories that I have written(another hobby of mine) with as much skill as I see fit.
When I'm not drawing or writing, I can be found playing video games, walking on scenic routes, and...well, doing homework. Fortunately, my life is sufficiently stable right now, and I can turn my attention towards art and literature.

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Also, watch this, and turn down your volume:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=pD_imY…
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:iconmysterycatgames:
MysteryCatGames Featured By Owner Jun 15, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
I just realized that all the 1s and 0s on your artist bio could have something to do with the binary alphabet!
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:iconisvus:
Isvus Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
They very well could... I'll give you a hint, each sequence of 1s and 0s, divided by spaces, is one letter.
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:iconmysterycatgames:
MysteryCatGames Featured By Owner Jun 16, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
Dun dun dunnnn
I don't know the bianary alphabet, I mean... Why should I I'm not a robot.
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:iconisvus:
Isvus Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
There are a number of online translators you can use!
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:iconkaelius:
Kaelius Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2017
I had to ask, because I saw it the first time, and then some, and then was still bedazzled. So I took a second look, the second time, and remained happily confused. It was then that the third time came eyes deceiving judgement, that I wonder if that is indeed a rock or a planet as your deviantID :^)
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:iconisvus:
Isvus Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
It's a boulder on a bunch of sand, just in front of a cliff. It does look kind of confusing, doesn't it?
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:iconkaelius:
Kaelius Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2017
Quite x)
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:iconmysterycatgames:
MysteryCatGames Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2017  Hobbyist Artist
I thought it was a potato for a while, then I saw its a boulder.
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:iconreksanden:
Reksanden Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for watching~
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:iconisvus:
Isvus Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2017  Hobbyist General Artist
Mhm! I saw Fluffdi mention you, so I took a look. Needless to say, I liked what I saw here.
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