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 Verion - Hunting Season - Cassus Drugari

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Robless
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Join date : 2012-02-12

PostSubject: Verion - Hunting Season - Cassus Drugari   Wed 22 Feb 2012, 9:34 pm

A short story I wrote regarding the events preceding Cassus Drugari's introduction to the RP on Warship 666.

_____________________________________________________________

The great Mt. Century towered over the peacefully sloping hills of the cold planet of Verion. A wide snowy valley opened out below, nested between this overlooking rock and a frozen lake off in the distance. Several rough ridges stood between the valley and the mountain, with small clusters of trees interspersed. Fresh snow layered over everything within sight of the mountain. It was a nice winter day for Verion’s tundra, with the sun creating dazzling displays of sparkling snow crystals and animals coming out of hiding for the hunting season.

Normally, almost all of Verion’s hunters would come out on a day like this, but this day, there were none but one. He stalked through the forested ridges below the mountain, careful not to disturb any prey. This lone hunter was nearly completely hidden from sight by the brush; the stealth cloak he carried would be unnecessary in this area, but there were no chances to be taken for this man. His rifle was concealed under his backpack, leaving his hands free at his sides. The hunter progressed slowly and carefully, a phantom to all but the most attentive of animals.

His sleek movements defied those of a tiger’s. Nothing was disturbed, and it was doubtful that even an enhanced human eye could detect him. Pine needles lined the floor of the forest but it did not matter to someone who could sneak through a room full of broken glass without making a sound. Every step was calculated and precise, landing on the ground with a sound equivalent of the snow falling from the sky. The predator was not to be found.

After several hours of trekking through the woods, the solitary hunter found his prize. The woods disappeared from vision and fell away behind him, and a solid rock face with several crags and edges sticking out. He deftly scaled the wall that was between him and the perfect vantage point. Upon reaching the top, the hunter pulled out his rifle and unfolded it to its full length. A long-range targeting sensor was set up next to the rock where the weapon leaned against. The charge was loaded into the rifle’s battery chamber, lethal to anything short of an armored vehicle, to a range of up to ten miles.

This loadout was not designed for the petty game that roamed Verion’s woods. The hunter’s prey was no small target. In fact, it was probably the largest, most powerful on the planet. If the hunter hit his mark, it would be felt across the entire system. The prey called for one of the greatest hunters of the Stalker Legion, with a lethality ratio exceeding that of even the most legendary Stalkers. No mere animal would be a match for him, as the only prey he hunted was the thinking kind of prey: the human.

A light snow began to fall, despite the sunny weather, and glistened in the sky, creating a smokescreen through which the slight shimmer of the solemn hunter’s cloak would melt right in with. Small rocks on the edge of the cliff stuck out slightly, providing a place to rest and stabilize the great EX-9 “Excalibur” sniper rifle. It was probably the most versatile, powerful, and accurate rifle in the entire arsenal, and a weapon of choice for this exceptional hunter. He set the range and checked his calculations multiple times, comparing it with the readings on both the rifle and the rangefinder. Each part of this mission was to be done thoroughly, quietly, and efficiently. Perfectly, the hunter silently remarked. Just as always.

Crawling into a comfortable and stable position, this seasoned veteran shouldered the rifle and aimed down the sights. At a range of 5 miles, the scope was amazingly precise. Each man appeared as if the hunter had been standing on the walls of the camp, each movement caught with perfect precision. When he had adjusted the scope to catch the decorated official that was just now stepping up on a platform, the sniper now had begun the waiting game.

Murmurs and side conversations continued in the ground, but they were all hushed as General Isenkirn raised his hand high into the air. Words were spoken, no doubt with an air of importance and the feeling of great power. It was all a play to the hunter; only an act on the grand stage to please the audience. Isenkirn continued the speech, applause and quiet whispers abound in the mesmerized crowd of normally stern-faced soldiers. As it picked up momentum, Isenkirn waved his hands in the air, gesturing to the men to stand up and cheer for him.

This is the moment. The perfect time to strike, the hunter held his breath only in anticipation, as the rifle already stabilized itself. His eyes narrowed to slits, adrenaline rushed into the man’s bloodstream, and his heart pounded against his chestplate. Isenkirn would not get away this time. No quarry ever escaped this hunter. Nobody ever escaped Cassus Drugari. Time seemed to slow to a crawl, snow crystals sparkling in slow-motion. All of the Marauder troops stood up, their cheering drowning out Isenkirn’s voice.

By the time that Drugari pulled the trigger, he heard nothing but his own thoughts. His stealth cloaking device rippled slightly, attempting to compensate for the massive flash of the barrel. The charge left the barrel, glowing blue-hot as it flew its trajectory. It flew through the air at speeds inconceivable to the naked human eye. To Drugari, it was a long, drawn-out spectacle; a piece of art to admire before it was too late. Nothing would stop this bullet, hurtling through the sky, closing the distance with each passing millisecond.

The Marauders continued to cheer, and even Isenkirn joined in, unaware of the imminent danger that approached. Through the scope of the EX-9, Cassus Drugari watched as their faces snapped almost instantly from celebration to shock. Panicked soldiers ran from the site, with the more experienced ones running to their gunships to chase down the threat. An alarm was set off, lights and speakers blaring, and an effort was made to re-group and take out Drugari.

Cassus Drugari switched his efforts from predator to prey within the few seconds of confusion that he had just caused. The EX-9 automatically folded back up along with the rangefinder, picked up by the already running sniper. He wasted no time scaling down the wall, deftly landing on his feet and taking off to a sprint. Despite all of his movement, he made not a single sound. No animals scattered, no twigs snapped, not even branches swayed. The cloak and his sheer skill at sneaking were his only defenses against the wary enemy patrols.

Gunships flew overhead, dropping full squads of troops throughout the forest. Their footsteps were brash and careless to the sniper’s eye, giving away their positions before they even knew where he was. Drugari knew not to underestimate them, slipping through the shadows and avoiding their routes to the utmost extent. All it would take was one misplaced foot or one caught tree limb and Drugari’s life would be over before he knew it; a pathetic end for someone as experienced as he.

He froze. Another hunter had taken his place, and the prey needed to be extra careful. His eyes were cold and ruthless, a sign of experience and knowledge to a fellow sniper. Drugari felt the Marauder sniper’s eyes examining him, turning to each point on his body. I’m spotted, Drugari worried to himself, It’s all over now. But it was not all over, as the Marauder turned around and scanned the tree line on the other end of the forest.

Now was the time to act. When the predator is caught off guard, sometimes the prey must turn aggressive while it still has the chance. A darkened blade was drawn, and Drugari stepped forward with a purpose. With a silent running start, he sprinted towards his target. In the last few seconds of his life, the unwary watcher tried to reach for his headset and warn his allies. Drugari didn’t give him the chance.

The dagger found its way to the base of the Marauder’s neck and through his spine. “May the wind carry you home.” Drugari whispered the ancient Black Legion sniper’s saying. The body crumpled to the ground. His still-living adversary did not have time to bury the body, as two squads of Marauders converged on his position. The trees to his left and right were peppered with fire and snapped into pieces as a deafening roar came from behind.

Drugari emerged from the edge of the forest and sprinted across the open snow field. His high-end cloak began to lose its stability as his movement disrupted the cloaking field. He pressed a button on the pad mounted to his wrist, and his previously hidden shuttle powered up its engines, the powerful vibrations knocking off parts of snow. A round hit him in the back and he felt a sharp pain, but no injury. The suit could only take a few rounds before losing its defensive capabilities, but it saved his life many times nonetheless.

Heavy assault rifle fire melted small spots of snow and began pelting against the shuttle. A masked voice came through Drugari’s helmet, presumable from the pilot sitting in the shuttle. “We have to get out soon! I don’t think the shuttle can take much more!”

“Pilot!” Drugari called to the shadowy figure in the cockpit, “Get this thing going!” He sprinted towards the shuttle, pumping his legs. The augmented servos in his suit kicked in and he jumped aboard through the open hatch. The sniper barely missed his extraction as the shuttle jolted upwards before the door even shut all the way. Promptly afterwards, Drugari fell back into the seat, stressed from the close mission. “That was way too close.” As he raised his arms up to stretch, a note taken from the man he killed slid onto the floor. “This note…”

He opened it up. Hand-written notes held the utmost importance and were commonly used to hide messages that couldn’t risk being traced electronically. A sense of importance and anticipation engulfed Drugari.

Before our Lord can take full power, there are certain…loose ends…to tie up. The leader of these traitors has resurfaced in the 12th dimension. I’m afraid we cannot let him live any longer, ‘lest he threatens the power of our new great leader. Infiltrate his ship and dispatch this target, along with any other targets of strategic interest in the area. Report to the fleet command ship ASAP. You are the most effective assassin we have. Do not fail us.

“Pilot. Take us to the 12th dimension. He’s returned.”
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Verion - Hunting Season - Cassus Drugari
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