Kikata's eyes narrowed, the human seemed confident. She bit her lip, sliding two small strips of paper across the table.
"You can just fold you know"
"I know that!" She retorted.
"Alright, flip your cards" Richard said with a grin, having to struggle to turn over his eight foot tall, novelty neko playing cards.
"I win!" She gasped setting down her two kings.
"Yes! Look you only have an eight and a three!"
"But they are hearts, there are three hearts in the river. I have a flush, that is better than a pair"
Kikata ran her hands through her hair, "Ugh...I hate this stupid game. Go fish made sense to me"
"Yes but soldiers don't play go fish-" There was a sudden high pitch beeping that sounded throughout the ship.
"Yes" She said rising to her feet. She hurried up towards the cockpit, nestling into the seat before opening up the holographic display.
They had spent the past three days idly wasting their time. Richard had managed to teach her some card games with a pack of cards she had picked up at a gift shop the last time she was home. But now they had finally gotten what they were waiting for...a distress signal.
Realizing she had left the human on the table she quickly hopped back out of the deep sunken piolets chair and retrieved him.
"Thanks" Richard muttered as she placed him down into his makeshift seat...really it was just a cup holder.
"Right" She said with a nod, once again turning towards the display, "The signal is coming from here" She said pointing towards the star map. She flicked her finger across the display a few times, zooming in, "Hmm...it appears to be coming from this planet" She said pointing towards a large red dot.
"172-0874" He read off the screen.
"Alright hang on tight, we'll be there quickly" She advised.
Richard sat down within the plastic cup holder, his legs not even able to reach across to the other side to brace himself. He felt his back press into the hard face of the cup holder as the ship took off into speeds surpassing that of the speed of light. Even with the ships remarkable technology the trip was still a little uncomfortable, leaving his ears ringning as it finally came to a slower speed.
"How fast were we going?" He mumbled struggling to gain his balance.
Kikata grinned, "You don't want to know" She helped him up onto the arm rest so he could peer out the window.
"Woah" He exclaimed looking out over the red planet, it looked massive.
"Yes, it's one of the biggest gas planets in this sector"
"Gas planet? So there is some sort of base or something inside of the uh-"
"No, the moons" She said rolling her eyes, "These sorts of planets can harbor hundreds of moons, this one only has fifty, three of which have the capability of sustaining life"
"Right yeah, moons, I knew that" He said stepping forward to get a better view of the image.
"Here" She said, "Off the smallest one" They watched as the actual physical moon came into sight, a square box twirling onto the hud of the ship pointing the area of the distress signal. The strange greenish colored sphere soon filled their vision, "It's about one third the size of your earth"
"Huh" He grunted, once again reminded of how small he and his planet were.
The blinking square suddenly disappeared as they approached the planet, "Oh no" She muttered.
"We've lost the signal, this is strange. I think I can still locate it, the ship should have stored the location" She eyed him, "You may want to hop down I need to steer" She said motioning towards his little cup holder.
Richard sighed, but climbed back inside, "I really hope we can get me a seat installed or something"
She shrugged with a grin, "If we ever happen upon any tiny ship parts" Her face grew stern as they approached the moon. The atmosphere was thick, the air and clouds held a dark green hue. The ground became visible, the terrain looked almost like jungle though once they were close it proved to be very, very different than any earth jungle.
"Is it safe to breath the air out there?" Richard asked looking around at the thick fog.
"With a little extra oxygen in our blood yes, the air contains much more carbon dioxide than our planets" She set the ship down, there were a few structures visible through the thick mossy bushes, large mushroom looking plants towering over them.
She offered a hand to take him back into the living quarters so they could gear up. Richard's old clothes had been washed a few times over, even his old sidearm seemed to be functioning, though he was not about to test it. His eyes shifted upwards to Kikata, who was still putting her armor on. She lifted her chest and shoulder pieces up over her head, her thin figure returning to that almost machine like state. Had it not been for her head poking through the top of the white and blue painted armor you would not have been able to distinguish her as male or female, she said that helped greatly during training which was done mostly in their armor.
Richard lifted his jacket preparing to slip his arms inside.
"You won't need that"
"Yeah it's hot out there, the atmosphere retains a lot of heat"
"Right, that make's sense" He said dropping the jacket back to the floor, "So how are we going to do this?"
"Well first you need to look in here" She pushed the white crate towards him, the one where most of his new belongings came from, "There should be some oxygen masks, like I said you will need some extra in your system"
Richard nodded, sifting through the large white crate before he found a plastic bag filled with some clear rubber tubing and a face mask. The mask was simple, practically primitive compared to Kikata's incredibly intricate and resourceful Nova Armor, complete with air tight armor, carbon dioxide to oxygen converters, an immensely complex and in depth hud system, and many more gadgets and functions then one could possibly find use for...needless to say Richard was envious. He finished lacing up his boot and rose to his feet, staring up at the tall warrior that looked down at him, it was hard to imagine her youthful and rather pretty face behind the thick glass like wall of her visor.
"So how shall we do this?" He asked as she leaned down, he watches as her helmet dipped a bit in thought.
"Well you could ride on my shoulder for the time being?" Her now deep robotic voice boomed throughout the ship, "Otherwise I might step on you"
"What am I your parrot?"
"Never mind, yeah that should work" He said before pulling the face mask over his mouth.
~ ~ ~ ~
"Hello?" Kikata repeated in multiple languages. She knelt down once they were within what almost looked like a small village. "This was a scientific settlement" She said softly.
Richard was overcome with a sense of deja vu, "Are you thinking that these could be related to the same attack my group suffered?"
"The timing seems right" She said with a nod. The ground was pocketed with black holes, as well as the buildings.
"What sort of creatures lived here?" Richard asked, seeing that the buildings certainly would not have housed a neko.
"Hmm. Hard to say. These settlements are often mixed as far as species go" She offered him a hand, "Perhaps you should look through some of these buildings"
Richard climbed into her hand rather excitedly, finally he gets to do something. She helped him pull open one of the large doors, he guessed it was about thirty feet tall. The building looked like a large metal factory, or something along those lines. There seemed to be no power, the only light were the dim streams that cut through the pitch dark.
"No, it's dark. I have my light though"
"Okay, I will look around out here, don't do anything stupid"
"Yeah" He said with a nod, taking a few more tedious steps insight. He flicked his flashlight on, already feeling the sweat beading down his forehead from the muggy warm air. He wiped his arm across his head, catching the slight scent of the flower smelling soap that Kikata had washed his clothes in. He once again found himself by large household objects, desks and chairs, many flipped over on end. He continued to walk through the dark jungle of metal bars and broken instruments, his dim yellow flashlight scanning from side to side.
His eyes narrowed as his light suddenly fell on a greenish wall. He took a few steps forward, his neck tingling slightly as he saw that it was a some sort of long scaly arm laying limp on the floor. He stepped towards it, cringing as his light shown on the rest of the body. The creature was dressed in a thick black jump suit, a dark reddish liquid pooling from under its chest. He took a few steps closer, drawing out his side arm.
"Hello? Anyone here?" He called, though it was doubtful any other aliens this far out spoke english. He stared at the gaping aligator like maw, the creature looked to be around twenty feet tall...it's maw deeper than he was tall. He shook his head and continued further, grimacing as two more bodies lay against one of the walls, they looked as if they were placed there.
Light poured in through a gaping hole in the side of the building, there didn't seem to be anything else to see so he climbed through. A massive blast of wind raced past him as one of Kikata's giant legs landed not too far from where he stood.
"Anything?" Her voice echoed through the strange forest of fungi.
"No" He called up, stepping back as she kneeled down, "There were three bodies"
"Well that's something"
"I guess, but no clue as to what might have happened"
Suddenly there was a rustling in one of the adjacent buildings. They both turned, a guttural voice called out to them.
"What did it say"
"Help" Kikata said getting to her feet. She approached the building that hardly reached up to her waist at its tallest peak. She leant down, Richard made his way over, watching as she pulled a thin looking tool from her kit, shocked to see a bright red beam suddenly shine from its point. She cut a hole through the thick metal siding and tore it from the building, revealing another one of the scaled aliens. Kikata helped the injured alien out of the building, though his wound looked severe, a large dark wet circle flowed down his shirt.
Richard came to his side, listening as Kikata tried to communicate with the creature, "What is he saying?"
"She...and she is saying that they were attacked, by who she doesn't know" She turned back to the sputtering alien, nodding placing a gentle hand behind her back, "She needs aid" She straightened her back, once again detaching her large almost box like pack. She quickly sifted through the contents before pulling out a large white pouch. Working quickly she tore open the aliens shirt, he recognized the no fooling around attitude he had seen the first day they met.
"Is it bad?"
"Very, here" She lifted him up onto the frightened aliens stomach, "Hold this here" She ordered pressing a bandage around the wound. Richard set down next to it, feeling the hot liquid pooling beneath the bandage. He watches as Kikata reached back into the pouch producing a needle, she said something to the alien before digging the needle into the creatures side, "Hopefully this will help stop the bleed-" She cursed under her breath as the creature started to go into spasms.
Richard grimaced as the spasms stopped, the creatures head falling towards the ground, it managed to utter one more phrase before it's chest lowered in a final long sigh. They sat there in silence for a few moments, each a little startled by the sudden events.
Kikata finally shouted something in her native tongue, her booming deep voice only adding to the frightful scene. She dropped her head, "S-Sorry" Her voice crackled through the speakers.
"No it's fine, we did everything we could..."
"But we were too late" She sighed, lifting him off the fallen creature, "Twice now..." She shook her head "She said that they were taking prisoners, they left her to die"
"Prisoners?" Richard said, looking around, "That would explain the missing bodies...with this much action you would have expected a lot more" He gripped an edge of her armor as he was set down on her shoulder.
"So what now?"
"We need to search the area some more" She turned from the body, her mood indistinguishable through the mask of the voice altering radio, "I saw wreckage of one of the crafts, which means there might be some clues as to who exactly caused this. From what I heard from her it seemed to be no single one species in the attacking forces, this is a red flag for pirate activity...but there is something strange here...I can't quite put my finger on it"