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Aug 18, 2019 3:25 AM
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There’s too much happening and he can’t think, just lets his training move him, just fights. It’s not like there would be time to think even if he wasn’t overwhelmed.

All he sees and hears and knows is worldless chaos and death.

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The right way to do this would've been with any planning at all if planning it in advance wouldn't have tipped off Baron Praxis.

Val pretends he knows what he's doing and lets people think someone with more authority told him to take a hellcat cruiser. It's obviously the right place for a great shot who barely passed the fitness tests. Erol can tell him not to if he wants.

On the way out he calls his auntie and lets her know it's happening. If the metal heads are waiting for a good time they'll attack now.

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Hopefully they’ll be too busy defending themselves instead.

Erol isn’t stopping anyone from doing anything as long as it’s aimed in the right direction, and he’s just barely capable of noticing Val isn’t by his side. He half-falls sort of awkwardly back into the Commander persona, barks orders without paying attention to what they are, but they’re probably the right ones, Commander Erol Kamis is good at what he does. Commander Erol Kamis is eager for battle and Erol just sort of watches from behind his eyes.

This was what he thought he wanted all these years?

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They use the Precursor Stone to power Mar's gun and blow open the outer wall of the metal head nest. They try to hide it after but there's not much they can do. They guard it.

Tall thickly armored metal heads plod along trailing lightning. Little burrowing ones pop out of the loose gray dirt and try to slip their stingers between or behind the Krimzon Guards' armor plates. Metal heads jump down on them from cliffs and hover over them to drop dark eco and shoot them from the sky. A metal-pede digs its way out of a burrow and crunches someone in its jaws, armor and all. Then it goes running after someone else. It doesn't seem to notice when it gets shot.

There are more of them than there should be. The nest doesn't support this many at once. The nest never supports this many at once. Some of them have to have been called in from the wasteland.

They can't win. They could have if they'd had surprise on their side, maybe, and if they'd planned this better. But somehow the metal heads aren't surprised.

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Ashelin turns off her microphone, makes a call the other soldiers shouldn't hear.

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"Yeah, yeah, we're on our way. Had to steal a transport."

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"You found the rift ring, right?"

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"They were warned. We can't win this and I won't ask you to help us try."

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"Rift's in the nest. See you in a bit."

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She's just starting to ask where in the nest when he hangs up.

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Jak's not good at fighting with allies when he's in his dark form but he's not as bad as he was before he started running missions with Sig and training with the Oracle. He's not quite lucid but he knows any of the red-armored people could be Ashelin. He bites the throat of a metal head trying to eat a fallen Krimzon Guard. He runs ahead and finds where they're gathering behind a chokepoint, cuts his way into the throng of them, sends his eco out like lightning to strike every nearby living thing.

That's all he's got. His body shifts back to normal.

He's surrounded by metal head corpses. He doesn't stay out of eco.

Metal heads pour back into the space he leaves behind.

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Ashelin lets everyone know they have a wastelander with dark eco powers joining them, warns them to stay out of his way.

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Val decides on his own to cover him. The dark warrior is obviously the most valuable person in the whole army. Now and then he shifts back, takes a breath, looks around like he doesn't know where he is. Val shoots the metal heads that try to hurt him then, from far out of range of his eco powers. He doesn't even kill most of them, just distracts them and leaves them reeling. They die soon enough anyway.

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And the metal heads still manage to eat more human flesh than anyone hoped for.

Metal heads from closer to the city make their way back to the nest to answer their leader's call. The Krimzon Guard stops them from reaching the queen to protect him from the dark warrior.

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Jak makes it to the heart of the nest.

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The metal head queen has a child captive, unconscious, in his lair. The child matches the rumored description of the lost heir. So do a dozen other kids that age, but this is the one the metal heads bothered to take alive.

The queen monologues. He's just waiting for his children to retrieve the Precursor Stone from those incompetent Krimzon Guards who think they can keep it from him, then the child will play his final part...

"...don't you recognize him? The boy is you, Jak!"

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Val tries to line up a shot. The walls are in the way.

Who's he kidding, he could make the shot fine, but it's the leader of the metal heads. He won't even be distracted. He'll just lay more children to fight the dark warrior while he shoots Val down and then Val will die here. He hesitates. He barely breathes.

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He monologues. And then he shoots the ledge Jak is standing on. It collapses and Jak disappears under all the rubble.

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Did he just witness the end of the line of Mar. Did he just witness the metal heads end the line of Mar? All that matters now is that Mar's line should be avenged. So what if Val dies. He takes aim carefully. No sense wasting the one shot he's going to get.

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Jak throws off the rubble and stands.

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...Oh, fuck, nobody here is even on Val's level. He can't touch the metal head leader, he can't touch the dark warrior, he's useless here. He tells himself he's choosing to go someplace where he can do more good. He doesn't really believe it but he flies away without taking the shot.

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The fight he leaves behind is long and loud.

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It was Ashelin who gave them the heads-up about Jak so it's Ashelin he tells before he tells Erol.

"The dark warrior's fighting the metal head leader. Alone except for some orange animal. I heard the metal head leader say something weird, it was - uh - I think it was 'but the boy is you, Jak, don't you recognize him?' He had a little kid, captured alive, I think that was the boy he was talking about."

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"You saw their leader? Where is he? What else did you see?"

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Val gives her an approximate location. "...in a space with a pit and a - a teleport ring, but weird, it was bigger than usual and not all one piece. I didn't get a great view, the place had sort of a roof over part of it."

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