Interlude: A Pause Between the Acts of a Play


Only a handful of noteworthy things happened for the rest of the week. A common language was established between the scientists and the mysterious girl Kurt's squadron found. Apparently, she was from a tribe that had been in the middle of relocation, having been removed so one of the local nobles could expand their territory.

Who these nobles were, what entity they served, and their place in society – apart from being of a higher class than most, that much was obvious – were a mystery as the girl, now identified as 'Fuku', knew little of the world outside her tribe. Said tribe had been ambushed during relocation. Its members had been kidnapped or killed by the small green creatures that Kurt's squadron had engaged while on a scouting mission.

It was suspected that the girl, Fuku, was their target, not Kurt's team. Omar believed that the 'goblins', as Fuku called them, were simply trying to tie up a loose end but ran into the aforementioned recon team. According to him, the goblins feared one of two things; A, Fuku was some kind of expert fighter with years under her belt, or B, Fuku could get help from a nearby town and that would lead to the death of their own tribe.

From Omar's perspective, it was a simple territorial dispute between two different tribes, no different than the ones between nations on Earth. It was unknown if anyone other than Fuku managed to survive the incident but Omar knew one thing, if there was one territorial creature in a forest, there were a dozen more elsewhere.

On day two industry was starting to be set up. The more technically inclined of the scientists had set up a large 'atomic splicer', in lay-mans terms, a fabricator. It worked by arranging atoms to create different substances, however, it required the exact atomic make-up of said substance. One couldn't make something that required iron, magnesium, and carbon without the magnesium.

There was an in-built safety feature that wouldn't allow the machine to attempt to make something unless the recipe was matched exactly. This was due to the possibility of a careless operator creating a brand new volatile substance. That was exactly why Robertson was not allowed within a hundred feet of the machine.

Speaking of Robertson, he spent two days in the sickbay with scientists that poked and prodded him, as they tried to figure out what had been injected into his system and how it worked. It was discovered that the gel was part of a plant that bore a remarkable resemblance to Aloe Vera.

After several hours of testing, they determined that the plant increased aggression and increased the time it took for the brain to transport signals to the rest of the body, vice versa. This resulted in an angrier but slower person. As far as they knew it had no permanent effects and lasted upwards of about twenty minutes.

The fabricator had made several MIS parts that were assembled by the crew. They would help in the gathering of materials for the fabricator, as a second one was planned to be built by the third day. It was nightfall by the time a second fabricator had been set up but the MIS continued working through the night. They charged at a biomass-fueled generator and loaded materials into the pair of fabricators.

By day four-thirty extra MIS had been produced, along with another fabricator and three biomass-fueled generators. On day five construction on a settlement began. An apartment building was made with enough room for ten occupants. Five more were manufactured by the sixth day.

The buildings were quite spartan, each room had a small kitchen, a bedroom, and a bathroom. The buildings had two floors, each containing five apartments. The bottom floor contained a recreational area and a cafeteria. They were made of the steel-colored a dull gunmetal gray, standard colors for prefabricated colonial buildings and warships alike.

And on the seventh day, Kurt woke up from his nap. As it turns out, smoking alien flowers is a bad idea, especially when the side effects are unknown. He received a scolding from Ilhan after he had woken up. Kurt barely took absolutely nothing from that lecture other than, 'Don't die, I need more cute aliens to hug!' He had begun to question the woman's sanity, along with his own.

He signed up for this, after all.



"So how's your week been?" Kurt asked. He was sitting on the steps of an apartment complex smoking a cigar. Where flowers once bloomed now laid grayscale apartments. A road divided them, half on one side and half on the other. The road led to the Covet and had an intersection just after the third apartment on the right. This lead to a storage warehouse for supplies that doubled as a servicing station for the MIS.

"Boring, had to work with the bots just to keep myself busy. Nothing to do around this dump." Kenley sat crisscross in the grass, his arm rested on his leg and face supported by his opened palm.

"No scouting missions with Mute? I would've put money on him mapping this planet out crust to core." Kurt said. He watched several MIS haul machine components and various other objects down the street. They were seven feet tall, Kurt stood just below their shoulders, and humanoid.

They were bipedal machines originally used as replacements for humans where the environment was too dangerous. They were weaponized during an uprising on Mars, they had been reprogrammed to use weapons and attack anyone who wasn't wearing a specific uniform. Fifty years later and they were being used in militaries across Earth. The United States was the first to adopt them, followed closely by Russian and Japan.

The MIS was the first semi-sentient robot to be mass-produced. They were cheap, performed multiple roles, and could quickly be refitted. It didn't have the combat ability of the MIF, Mechanized Infantry Fighter, nor the construction versatility of the MIE, Mechanized Infantry Engineer, but it did have the abilities of both.

The MIS could withstand several short bursts from an HMG before its armor began to fail and could build basic structures such as sandbag walls, HESCO walls, and other structures so long as blueprints were provided. It saw through a camera on its metallic 'head' and provide up to ten times magnification, negating the need for scopes.

"Oh, he is... without me. He found the hole those green fuckers, goblins, crawled out of. It's a cave twenty miles deep in the forest. Found a small tree house village as well, he estimated about thirty people living there." Kenley said. He inspected a purple flower with fading white edges.

"Don't mess with those flowers, little fuckers put me in a coma." Kurt chuckled.

"Kinda wished you would've stayed in it. No offense, it's just..." Kenley paused for a moment. "Some bullshit always happens when you're around."


"Case and point," Kenley spoke before he took a swig from a flask.

"Speaking of bullshit, did the nerds ever find out what was killing our electronics?" Kurt rubbed his weary eyes. Not even a week-long nap could cure his tiredness.

"Something something radiation, something something something else. I didn't really pay attention." Kenley picked the petals from the flowers and rolled them into a ball. He tossed them at a nearby MIS.

"Radiation that kills electronics? How fun." Kurt sarcastically said.

"Sure, sure. Could you hold this?" Kenley stuffed his flask into Kurt's hand.

Kenley sprinted off down the street toward the Covet dodging man and machine alike. Kurt had only seen the man run like that twice before, and both times had to do with Nayan and her alcohol.

It dawned on him.

"Kurt." He heard a feminine voice to his left. Kurt looked over and saw a panting Nayan covered in sweat and a few droplets of blood. She wore a black tank top and a pair of sweatpants. Neck-length damp hair hung from her head. It looked like she had been working out before getting a craving for alcohol. Specifically, for the alcohol Kurt had in his hand.

Nayan flashed a toothy grin.


Kurt ratted out Kenley in what must've been record time. All it had taken was a name and a point in his general direction and Nayan had snatched the flask and taken off sprinting down the street. As Kenley and Nayan were occupied, visiting Robertson didn't sound appealing, and was most likely recovering in the med bay, Kurt had taken it upon himself to see how his smoking buddy was doing.

It took a quick trip through the hangar and up an elevator before Kurt ran into Ilhan, who was roaming the halls with her newly found companion. She held a datapad and was entering in data as she and Fuku walked together. The latter had switched outfits, she wore a white lab coat with blue scrubs underneath. It was a few sizes too large for her but had been adjusted to be bearable.

Upon his initial glance over, Kurt had spotted a slight bulge in her left sleeve. He quickly determined this to be his knife.

"I was just about to come find you! What's the saying...?" Ilhan thought for a moment. "Are you fully operational?" She looked proud of herself for remembering. She stood on her toes, arms poised on her hips, and looking up at Kurt. He was taller than her and by a good bit, not to the degree of Fuku but somewhere in between.

"Don't smoke the flowers... learned that the hard way," Kurt said.

"Indeed you did. Now," Ilhan gestured to Fuku. "I believe she had something to give you."

"My birthday already?" Kurt joked. Fuku stepped forward and pulled an object from her sleeve. Kurt already knew what it was, his knife. She held it slightly upwards in two hands as if she were presenting a sword to a knight. Kurt took the object and inspected it; the blade was clean and clear of the few scratches that once dotted it The handle was similarly taken care of, it was as if the knife had just come from the factory.

"She did all of that by herself. Her way of thanking you." Ilhan said as she stroked the top of Fuku's head. The girl's ears twitched and her tail fluttered as she covered her face in embarrassment.

"This thing's never been cleaner. This is some damn good work." Kurt said in astonishment. After a few more moments of admiration, he slid the knife back into its holster and clipped it on his belt. "I was actually looking for you, was wondering how the girl was doing."

"She's doing fine, we managed to find a way to communicate with her. She speaks Latin if you can believe it. A dead language, found out to be still alive only a week ago. It's a good thing my degree required I know it, we would be having to use translators otherwise!" Ilhan chuckled at the thought.

"We've managed to learn quite a lot about this planet thanks to Fuku. I've been documenting her tribe's culture while Omar focused on the kingdom outside of it. We have plentiful knowledge of the former, but the latter... it's limited." Ilhan sulked for a moment before perking back up.

"We do have a lead on more information though." This caught Kurt's attention.

"Do tell." Kurt made a move to take a cigar from his pocket but was shut down with a wave of Ilhan's finger.

"When those dastardly green creatures attacked fuku's tribe, she had caught glimpses of them taking prisoners, and since Mute found their location..." Ilhan smirked. "I'm sure you can fill in the rest.

"Hostage rescue? Haven't done that in a while. What's the environment like?" Kurt questioned. This had officially piqued his interest. He knew how deadly modern weaponry was to those things and while he didn't enjoy war, he likened this to hunting rabid dogs instead. The close quarters of the cave would undoubtedly make it more challenging.

"A cave that's some ways into the forest. Mute took pictures but he won't be back until this evening. Other than that you'll be dealing with a thick forest and a tight cave." Ilhan said.

"Sounds like I have some planning to do. I'll be seeing you two later." Kurt gave a nod to Ilhan and a pat on the shoulder to Fuku. He walked down the hall and took several turns until he stood at the door of his room. He grabbed the handle and pushed the sliding door into the wall.

Kurt moved to a stand containing his weapons and picked one up. "Well girl, it's your time to shine." He muttered.

He pumped the shotgun, clearing the chamber before he sat down on his bed to clean it.


2,185 words 12,508 characters (roughly)

A note from Write-Anon

This is officially the longest story I've ever written, the second came in at about 10.2k words.

We're at 11.5k right now!


Thank you,


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