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The bickering never ends by Sol4rpleXus
The bickering never ends
Snippy and Engie from ROM.AC as birds, inspired by roleplays over at ask-irl-engie and ask-irl-snippy.

Original photo: [link]
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Category: Sci-Fi / Humor
Characters: Snippy, Pilot, Engie, Captain
Words: 2,800


Chapter 6: Trust Issues

Pilot wearily trudged through the forest, every step a torment to his injured leg.

How long had they been walking? It must have been over 40 minutes, if his perception of time was correct. His head hung low, though every few moments he glanced up at the sniper scuffling sluggishly in front of him.

He will change again. Filthy, treacherous zebra. Must stay wary, Pilot thought to himself, almost waiting for his drained-looking companion to turn into a monster any moment and eat him.

Suddenly Snippy raised his arm, and with suspicion in his keen eyes Pilot stopped and watched, judging his companion's every move – but it turned out that the shoe was just scratching the back of his head. Sighing in relief, Pilot resumed a more relaxed stance and continued walking.

Maybe what he said is really true. Could it be? Pilot wondered. The alien scarf was very pale and didn't seem to be doing so well, but Snippy seemed all drunk and dazed too. Hmm...

Thoughtfully, he watched the sniper dragging his feet and occasionally raising his hand to his forehead with a moan.

His leg was too damaged to run and in the condition Snippy was in, he could turn at any moment.

What should I do?

In front of him, said person was visibly shivering. Was he cold? Pilot remembered that the sniper often trembled like that when he came home with an injury. But when they spoke earlier, the sniper didn't look hurt at all.

Perhaps he just caught a cold and is getting sick. Who knew? People could be so fragile, after all.

As if he had heard Pilot's thoughts, the exhausted-looking man in front of him suddenly stopped in his tracks and stood with his hands on his knees, seeming to breathe quite laboriously. The way he stood and threatened to fall over a few times gave Pilot clear signs that he wasn't doing so well.

"Hey Pilot..." Snippy turned to him and uttered. "Mind if we rest here for a while?"

"Ugh... okay," the aviator reluctantly agreed, but felt slightly annoyed; he didn't feel in need of a break at all.

_______________________

Snippy approached a massive tree stump, took the backpack from his hurting shoulders and sat down with a long sigh. Pilot seated himself on a different trunk nearby. A good forty minutes' walk lay behind them, but for some reason it exhausted the sniper a lot more than he thought it would, which seemed rather odd. Was the Biomatrix to blame for this? For now he could only speculate.

He rid his aching feet of their black boots and began stretching his stiff toes, then he grabbed his left boot and turned it upside down, trying to get out the sharp-edged rock he'd been walking with for who-knows-how-long.

Once he finally felt comfortable, a long, silent yawn escaped him.

Oh how great it would be to be home now... he thought longingly as he began putting his boots back on.

Snippy opened the zipper of his backpack and felt relieved to see that his supplies didn't get destroyed in the crash.

"Are you hungry? I've brought some canned food with me; we can share it if you want," he offered to his comrade.

"No," Pilot muttered flatly and turned his head away. "The gooblegooks tell me that red high heels cannot be trusted."

Snippy indifferently shrugged off Pilot's nonsense, pulled down his mask, opened one of the cans and began to eat. He'd been through too much today to still have enough energy left to let his companion upset him, so he decided to stop thinking about it and try to relax for now. Being at the edge of exhaustion, he definitely needed every minute of rest he could get before they moved on.

Silently he looked about and saw a gleam of light at the end of the road, where the density of the dead forest progressively loosened. Spending most of today in darkness had left him feeling rather gloomy, so Snippy felt relieved that he would still get to see at least a glimpse of the sun before it set, even if its light was damped by thick ash clouds.

He cast a glance at Pilot, who sat on the other tree trunk, tightening the bandage on his left leg. Snippy thought this would be a great moment to make an attempt at getting through to him and find out why he'd been avoiding him to such extreme ends.

"So... what's on your mind?" he carefully began the conversation, setting his can aside.

Pilot didn't respond and only gave him a short glance, before he continued fiddling with the bandage, even more nervously than before. Snippy's patience didn't last very long, and after receiving no reply for a while he just sighed and continued eating his cold rice and vegetables.

From the corner of his eye he eventually noticed that Pilot stared at him every time he looked down into his can. Eventually the awkwardness reached a point where Snippy just wanted to tell him to stop it, but obviously that wouldn't help.

"Oh come on..." Snippy eventually grunted. "You've been acting weird ever since we started walking, refuse to accept anything from me for no reason, and now you're giving me the silent treatment? How much longer are you gonna keep this attitude up?"

Pilot flinched in an almost-ridiculously dramatic way at the sniper's admonishment.

"We're supposed to work together!" the sniper exhorted him further.

"Holy lights of Captania, keep the angry high heel away from me!" Pilot yelped nervously, hiding behind a cross he just formed with his two index fingers. "I will find my way back to Captain alone if I must..."

"No you won't. Just look at your injured leg. A steep descent is up ahead, and we both know that you won't make it far without my help."

Pilot suddenly froze as if he had completely forgotten about it for a moment, then he stared at the bandages, slumping his shoulders and hugging himself in distress, avoiding further eye contact. But no matter how hard he tried to hide it, to Snippy he was showing clear signs of feeling uncomfortable about his impairment, which awoke a growing feeling of compassion in him.

"Look... I'm the only one here who can help you, but... you see, it's no use if you don't let me," Snippy carefully explained. "So will you cooperate?"

His green-eyed crew-mate looked very clueless about what to do.

"Let's seal it with a good old-fashioned handshake, eh?" the sniper suggested, trying his best to not lose his confidence.

With that, he slowly extended his hand, and after some hesitation, Pilot did the same.

But the very moment their hands grasped one another, a strange energy shot through Snippy's arm, feeling like a thousand needles tinctured with a numbing poison rocketing down his shoulder and curling around his hand. He felt the scarf around his neck stir, then it took the shape of a snake and arose from its sleeping position.

"OUCH! MY HAND!" Pilot screamed in terror and jumped back, legs kicking wildly, tumbling backward.

"I KNEW IT! IT'S BEEN WAITING FOR ME TO GET CLOSE ALL THIS TIME!" he yelled at the top of his lungs.

"No! Listen Pilot, it's not-" Snippy tried, but the other man continued to drown out everything he said with screams of senseless accusations and loud cries.

It all seemed hopeless, until something completely unexpected happened. Snippy saw a bunch of needles shooting by his head at Pilot and felt alarmed as he yelped in terror. Instinctively Snippy ducked for cover, trying to figure out what direction the shots came from – until he realized that his scarf was the one who fired them, and was just about to produce some more from its red skin.

In that instant he grabbed the scarf and choked it, feeling the needles boring into his hands, but he didn't care.

"What did you do?!"

"I sedated him," the Biomatrix answered calmly.

"You did WHAT!? WHY?" Snippy shouted in agitation, gripping the scarf even tighter.

"Oh, I completely forgot you are unable to perceive status reports on other sentient beings. Let me inform you that your friend's heart rate was rising critically, so we took action and made sure he wouldn't die of organ failure. You should thank us for it."

"That's not the point! You can't just go around sedating people!"

"We also required a little donation of organic resources to restore our body, which you alone were unable to provide after we had to completely drain out our organic matter in order to return you to your previous state. But thankfully your friend was kind enough to provide it."

"That's it... You've gone too far," he hissed, barely able to contain his anger.

With that, Snippy grabbed both ends of the scarf, wrung it out vigorously, and tied it into a tight triple knot around his neck.

"NOOooooo...!" The scarf screeched in pain and fell silent.

Next to him Pilot was quietly sobbing and groaning on the ground. Snippy watched the poor guy trying to wriggle away from him like an animal with a broken leg, and deep regret welled up in him.

"Pilot...!" he called out, concern in his voice.

Snippy tried to fight the urge to check on him, as he knew that his companion wouldn't allow it after what happened, but no answer came from the ailing aviator, and his senseless flailing continued.

"Pilot, stop!"

Without spending any further thoughts on what may happen, Snippy skidded over to him and held Pilot down. For a while Pilot flinched and wriggled under the sniper's weight, trying to fight him off, but his strength was starting to fade.

"Let go of me, slug!" he snarled defiantly. His voice trembled, though, as if he was... frightened?

"P-Please listen to me... I understand that you are scared of my red scarf – you have good reason to be. But I swear, I will make sure that you will be safe around me from now on," Snippy tried to console him, though desperation tinged his tone. "You have to trust me on this one, you hear me?"

His frightened comrade finally relaxed, though the sniper wasn't sure if it was courtesy of his words or the effect of the sedative needles kicking in. After getting off him, he indicated him to turn around so that Pilot was lying on his back. Quickly he spotted the needles in his comrade's chest and neck, then proceeded to pluck them out one by one. To his surprise, Pilot didn't even try to resist, though he incessantly kept his eyes on Snippy.

"I know this may all be hard for you to understand right now, but you've got to believe me. My psychopathic scarf did this to you, and up until it happened I had no idea that it planned to tap you."

Snippy took a deep breath, removed the last needle from Pilot's neck and set it down with the others.

"...But I handled it, and... I have it under control now—this time for good. You don't have to be afraid anymore, and I promise that everything's going to be alright from now on. I won't ever let it hurt you again."

Slowly Pilot sat up, and after a while he finally dared to take his eyes off Snippy. Tentatively, the sniper reached out and laid his hand on Pilot's shoulder.

"I know it's a lot to ask for, but you gotta trust me. Please try, at least for today... This concerns both of us, so it is very important that you listen to me."

Pilot sighed shakily, slowly relaxing his shoulders and nodding in agreement.

"O-okay... I will try," he finally responded, and a smile formed on Snippy's face, hidden below his mask.

_______________________

The train rattled as it suddenly began to slow down, making alarming noises that indicated that something wasn't right.

Engie jumped up from his seat, instantly checking all the levers and power displays, and felt disconcerted when he couldn't find anything.

“No, No… Please don’t tell me something is busted for good. It worked perfectly all this time, and now… !” he uttered, knocking on the displays and frantically fiddling with the levers. “Come on, this isn’t supposed to happen. What made the propulsion stop so suddenly?”

He brought his hands to his head in despair, trying to come up with a solution. Captain got up from his seat and strolled over to Engie's side.

"Hmm..." he hummed, his thumb and index finger stroking over the lower part of his gas mask. "I think I know what is missing."

"How-" Engie spluttered. "I mean, what do you think is missing, Captain?"

The train got slower and slower as Captain left the engineer waiting impatiently for an answer, until they finally drew to a halt, stuck at the entrance of a terrifying tunnel. Engie deeply hoped that it wasn't inhabited by enormous tunneler worms.

Captain stared down at the stuffed teddy bear sitting in the front window.

"Mr. Teddy, I have to inform you that you have failed in your job as a surrogate hula doll. You are fired!"

"Uhm..." Gromov tried to make sense out of Captain. "How is that of any importance right now? We're stuck here, and the damn train won't move!"

Again he tried to push the buttons and levers, but to no avail. In that second, Captain turned to look at him, and the engineer could nearly feel his piercing cold stare.

"Doctor Engie, we just lost an important employee," the Captain said sternly, making Engie flinch. "I hereby promote you to his rank."

"What."

"From now on you are to do the hula doll's task in this train. It is of utmost importance that you perform your task well."

"You want me to... dance?" Engie choked out disbelievingly and had to suppress a giggle.

"Yes, mein engineer! Swing your hips and dance, like you are merely seventeen! For you are the dancing queen!"

"No. I will not dance," he refused and went to sit down on his chair.

Before he could lower himself onto the chair, it was torn out from under his bum and he painfully fell on his tailbone.

"Resistance is futile, Mr. Engie," Captain spoke, holding the wooden chair in one hand. "Now jump up and show me your moves!"

Gromov sluggishly got up with a frown behind his goggles, slowly rubbing his now terribly aching backside. He stood there frozen and was caught off-guard as Captain grabbed his hands.

"Now come on, mein minion! I will show you how it's done," the Captain told him and shook his hands like the reigns of a horse.

The enthusiastic leader swung his arms and started to sing the lyrics of Abba's "Dancing Queen" as music began to play out of seemingly nowhere.

At some point Engie stopped wondering if Seven had secretly repaired the radio of the train in a moment he wasn't looking, or if it just miraculously started working because of his infinite luck.

"Come, Doctor Engie! Let us dance, and all our worries will disappear!" he commanded, pulling that heap of grumpiness along.

After almost stumbling into Captain, Gromov tried to tell himself that this wasn't so bad, so he bashfully attempted to imitate Captain's dance moves.

"You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only seventeen~!" the Captain sang along in a surprisingly clear voice.

For a moment Gromov forgot about his worries and actually started to enjoy the embarrassing tune and danced in almost perfect unison with his leader.

Captain let go of Engie's left hand and they began to spin through the room. At some point Captain almost stumbled into the controls board, but managed to catch himself. The song continued playing for what felt like forever, until the train suddenly came back to life, the floor below their feet vibrating satisfyingly.

Engie's heart was pounding heavily, and he wasn't quite sure if it was because of his excitement over the sudden start of the machines or from exhaustion from the dance he had just performed.

He pushed the lever up, and... the train began to roll.

_______________________

...to be continued.
RA: To the Horizon [Chapter 6]
Chapter info: Snippy didn't think for a second that traveling with Pilot would be easy, but he never expected it to be that difficult.
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Chapters:
 Previous :reading: remake Next (coming soon!)
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Story on FF.net

Test-read by eight0fhearts and Corv.

Edit: Edited Engie / Captain part.
_________________________________________________
Title art by Alexiuss, edit by me

Romantically Apocalyptic and its characters belong to alexiuss
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Category: Sci-Fi/Humor
Characters: Snippy, Pilot, Engie, Captain
Words: 3,870


Chapter 5: Engineering marvel

With an exaggerated frown Dr. Gromov traversed the city, en route to Train Station 5 to meet with his insane commander. He dreaded the thought of what Captain had planned for him next, considering his day had already been absolutely horrible thus far; but Gromov built his hopes on the belief that his streak of bad luck would simply have to end at some point.

The poor engineer had spent the last two hours being Captain's test subject for a series of ridiculous ideas on “zee most ecological methods of transportation.” Despite Alexander almost getting his head bitten off in an attempt to put a bridle on Photoshop, refusing to get inside of a circus rocket and ultimately ending up drenched by twenty bottles of fizzy water blowing up in his face, nothing beneficial to their situation was achieved.

After being laughed at for slipping on icy ground and falling on his bum, Dr. Gromov was told to change into dry clothes and meet his Captain at Train Station 5.

As the commanding officer finally left, Engie took the first opportunity to make himself a cup of hot coffee. Having ditched his wet clothes upstairs, he dressed himself in something dry and went back into the kitchen, where the prepared coffee was waiting for him. He poured the delicious beverage into a blue mug, grabbed a woolen blanket from his bed and wrapped himself up. Still feeling frigid to the bone, he silently cursed the absent captain for his miserable day.

What if I stay here for just a little longer? he wondered, sipping from his mug.

Captain probably wouldn't even notice if he was late. He would wait for him, the engineer was sure of that; and if not, he would just go back home. There was absolutely no reason for Engie to burden himself with unnecessary stress after being dragged through hell.

Setting the empty mug aside, Engie began looking for his backpack and found it near his bed. He figured it wouldn't be a bad idea to take a few supplies with him in case he ended up with cuts and bruises all over again. After packing a first aid kit, a can of food, some water, a pair of dry socks and a jack knife, he rolled up a blanket and tied it to the top of his backpack.

The train station was deserted when he arrived there. Engie scoured every corner for Captain, but the crazy man was nowhere to be found. After about five minutes he came to a standstill with an annoyed sigh and abandoned his search.

“Oh come on... Is this another stupid joke of yours, like the last five I had to endure in the past few hours?” the frustrated engineer shouted and peered around. “Hiding behind pillars and jumping out to scare me has gotten quite old by now, don't you think? There's no way I'm gonna fall for—
Agahaaaahhh!”

He was caught completely off-guard as Captain swooped through the air on a rope and crashed right into him, sending the two of them toppling over in a heap.

“Ow!!” Gromov uttered fiercely and sat up.

“Whee, that was fun!” Captain cheered, almost smacking Engie in the face with his arm.

“No it was not.”

“Anyways, thanks for catching me!” he said, giving the grumpy man a smack on the back. “Now come with me, mein minion. There is work to be done!”

Suppressing the urge to shout at him for almost breaking his back, Engie just let the perky leader drag him along. He was taken to the outer rails where an old diesel locomotive resided and stopped at its door. The engineer eyed it, waiting for Captain to explain his ridiculous plan.

“Ta-da! Our vehicle,” he announced. “A nice little diesel train, short and suitable for the most romantic togetherness!”

“Uhm, you do know that any last drop of diesel in this thing has probably dried out by now, right? We can't get this thing moving without any fuel.”

“Nonsense! Fuel is completely overrated in the century of Captain,” the commander exclaimed.

Then he began striding alongside the rails, where this train appeared to be grounded since at least three decades. The leader proceeded to gently search the pockets of his army coat.

“Aha! Here you are, my sparkly friends. Your mighty Space Wizard requires your assistance.”

From the distance, Gromov watched as the Captain seemed to be mumbling and giggling all sorts of nonsense to his hand, while opening the fuel tank cap and pushing air inside with his hands.

What the… Engie thought, blankly starring at Seven. Has he gone mad for good now? There’s no way the train will be powered by some toxic, radioactive air.

“Most exciting adventures lay ahead of us, mein minion!” Captain's voice boomed as he returned to him, the light from above reflecting on his mask in a way to make the horizontal strap on his mask oddly look like a big smile. “This vehicle shall feel the refreshing air passing around it once again.”

“It sure will,” the engineer said to fill the awkward silence.

“Absolutely! My magnificent idea will save the day,” he stated and gave the smaller man a strong pat on the shoulder, then proceeded to dreamily gaze at the train. “Fairie magic makes efficient and long lasting fuel. With them operating the train engine, we shall reach Pilot and Snippy in no time! Now go inside and check all the lever gaps on the control panel for bugs, mein minion. You see, the fairies don't like those very much.”

“Of course… Whatever you say, Captain.”

Snippy... Engie thought, absently blocking out Captain's chatter as he ascended the steps of the old train. Man, I really hope you are still alive out there.


_______________________

Pilot sat with his back against a tree, the belt-whip still held tightly in his nervous hands.

The forest had grown silent since the Snippy-monstrosity collapsed in a bloody mess on the ground, crimson tentacles wavering over his limp body and giving out seconds later. Pilot couldn't call himself an expert on red tentacle creatures, but judging by the way its limbs shattered to pieces as they touched the ground, he had a feeling that something wasn't right with it.

Pilot found it hard to follow its intentions. Why did it suddenly collapse to the ground? That fleshy tentacle monster turned Snippy into a bizarre monstrosity, but now it appeared to have changed him back—if Snippy was even in there anymore.

Pilot felt so utterly disturbed by that thing that he was at his wit's end on how to handle this situation. All he knew about that abomination was that it was extremely dangerous and that he shouldn't trust it. He remembered that it seemed to be in pain as it kept talking to itself for whatever reason, just before it fell to the ground. That was probably the weirdest part about it. Were there two minds in one body, or was it simply soliloquizing? Pilot could only guess.

The fleshy thing hadn't moved in a while, so the aviator warily crawled closer and craned for a better look at the motionless, prone form.

What was the meaning of all this? Was this some sort of cheap trick to lure him closer and devour him like one of those beasts once he would dare to fall for it?

Pilot hesitated as more doubts trickled into his head.

Perhaps it ran out of power and needed to rest, or feed again to replenish its batteries. On the other hand, it hadn't seized the opportunity to kill him as he sat right there in front of it. Instead it had done nothing but stare at him with its ugly face.

The true nature of that abomination was a mystery to Pilot. Despite being aware that getting too close to it could get him killed, his own curiosity eventually urged him to approach the motionless body anyway.

Carefully he inched over to it, crawling while trying to avoid straining his injured leg more then necessary. As he extended his hand to take another step, he suddenly noticed something white protruding from the ruffled earth. Quickly brushing the dirt aside, he exposed what turned out to be Snippy's goggles and assumed that the sniper must have taken them off at some point.

Pilot thought it would be polite to bring them to his comrade, so he picked up the eyewear and wrapped it around his neck where it wouldn't hinder his movements.

After ensuring that the body remained still, he continued to crawl closer but remained wary, his belt wrapped up on his left hand always ready to be used for self-defense if necessary.

Pilot took his last few steps towards Snippy until he finally crouched by his side. This had gone better than expected. The sniper lay face down on the ground, still not showing any signs of life.

What if he was dead?

Pilot reflected on how this would influence his progress, and looked down at his injured leg. Such wounds did not allow him to walk upright, and it would take forever to crawl or limp down that hill, even if he managed to obtain a makeshift crutch. But the chance of some hungry mutants finding him was high, and in the event of, he wouldn't be able to run away no matter what.

He hated to admit it, but he needed that shoe alive. Snippy wasn't allowed to be dead. He had been disobeying Captain's orders for long enough and Pilot wasn't about to let him to do it once again. Snippy will live – he would make sure of that.

Tentatively he reached out and rolled the man over, hoping that no pointy tentacles would shoot out and kill him. Instinctively he skid away from Snippy and cowered on the ground like a frightened turtle, but seconds passed and nothing happened. Pilot finally dared to look and
much to his surprise, Snippy didn't look at all like a big scary monster anymore. In fact he looked quite fragile how he lay there and strangely peaceful with his eyes closed like that.

“Snippy...?” the green-eyed man asked and joggled him, but his unconscious comrade remained silent.

“Snippy!!” he yelled, shaking him harder, but to no avail.

Quickly Pilot took his glove off and placed his hand on the man's forehead. He was still warm, but his face had a rather pale tone.

Pilot knew that pale, clammy skin was never a good sign – Engie had told him that once, and the fluffy slipper seemed to know a lot of things. He proceeded to check for other indications of life, and as he hovered his hand over Snippy's face, he registered a faint breath. Good.

Another thing that he remembered Engie saying was to never let your patient grow cold. Pilot found that easy to remember, because the slipper would never let his dinner grow cold either.

Hope wasn't completely lost, but if he wanted to keep it this way, he would have to ensure Snippy wouldn't freeze to death before he could wake up. He would have to keep him warm somehow... perhaps with a cloth to cover him.

Hastily Pilot rummaged through Snippy's backpack, but couldn't find anything suchlike and the backpack itself wasn't big or flat enough to serve as a cover. In disappointment he sighed and looked around, trying to find anything useful. As he spotted the stacked pile of wood near the campfire, the most brilliant idea popped into his head.

He found himself a sturdy walking stick and began piling up firewood around Snippy, who still lay unconscious on the ground; then he covered the formation with leaves. Moments later Pilot proudly gazed upon his masterpiece.

With a flick of the wrist he swept a thin stick through the flames that flickered all around them, held the ignited end to the wooden pile, sat down and happily watched as the fire spread. The man was certain that Snippy wouldn't be cold anymore once the flames surrounded him completely.

_______________________

A faint scent of burning wood tickled his nose, and soothing warmth embraced his whole body. But the temperatures continued to climb, producing an alarming amount of heat. The bitter smell of thick smoke suffused his lungs and his throat felt sore as particles of ash started affixing in his respiratory tract.

Wearily Snippy opened his eyes, blinded by glaring light all around him, the heat reaching enormous levels.

“Bwah?!” he exclaimed in terror and sat up.

Another billow of smoke filled his lungs, and he fell into a horrible coughing fit. Just now he began to realize that he was sitting in the center of a big conflagration. Quickly he got to his feet, trudged out of the flames and collapsed at the safe end of the fire wall, coughing his soul out.

His eyes were watering from the smoke, and his lungs burned so badly they felt like they were on fire. After realizing that his gas mask wasn't in place, he rose his hands to his neck and pulled up the respirator mask that loosely hung there – but where were his goggles?

His vision still blurry, he rubbed his eyes with one hand and fumbled his way around the place with the other. Eventually his foot bumped into something on the ground, and he squat down. Upon analyzing the object and diagnosing it as his goggles, he put them on his head and sighed. As soon as he affixed them to his face, he tried to get a clear head for a start.

Why had he just woken up in the middle of a fire, and why was his mask down? Was Pilot responsible for almost burning him alive? Snippy never felt so thankful for his fire-proof clothes, because without them he could have been seriously injured - which made him wonder if Pilot was aware of that, or if it had even been his intention to hurt him. The mere thought made him furious.

The way his head ached made him feel terribly hungover, and despite his eyes still struggling to adjust, he began to scan the area. Where was that screwball hiding?

Once he spotted movement behind a nearby tree, he looked for something he could use as a weapon. He picked up a rock from the ground, nearly losing his balance in the process, before he gazed in that direction again and slowly made his way there.

After passing by a tree, he heard something behind him and received a blow to his back with enough force to knock him down.

“Bwah...” he groaned as he slowly gathered himself and looked up, making sure to shield his face with his arm in case any more attacks would follow.

“Pilot!?” Snippy yelled in a turmoil as the man in the green-tinted aviator mask looked down at him, grasping a metal bar. The sniper grit his teeth, got up and grabbed him by the wrist. “Did you try to incinerate me?!”

Pilot flinched at the angry sniper and whimpered like a child in utter terror, losing grip of the metal bar in his hand.

“Please don't drain my life! I don't taste good!” he jittered, cowering before him.

“What...?” Snippy was puzzled for a second. “Oh...”

As he began to understand the reason for the man's fear, he let go of Pilot, who instantly sank to the ground.

“You still think I'm a monster...” he said lowly and wondered what he had been expecting.

The sniper's headache persisted, and in that very moment it felt like it grew even stronger. Ailing from throbbing pain he pressed his eyes shut and groaned, trying to mitigate his condition by massaging his temples.

With hesitation Pilot ceased his defensive stance and curiously glanced up at the afflicted sniper. That didn't last long, because just as Snippy had somewhat recovered and looked at him, Pilot flinched back with a yelp. Even though Charles couldn't see the other man's face, he could read obvious signs of intense fear in his body language.

Snippy didn't have a plan on how to deal with that problem, but he knew that it would be better to leave this place immediately. It would be a bad idea to stay here until nightfall.

He turned to his frightened comrade again and tried to think of the wisest thing to say that could ease Pilot's mind.

“Alright, look. First off, you need to understand that my, uhm... scarf is to blame for all of this,” the sniper stuttered.

The other man just looked at him with his head tilted, and even though Snippy knew that getting him to believe his little story was pretty much hopeless, he still gave it a try.

“As I was maimed by those beasts, my alien scarf took over my body, absorbed those mutants into it and changed me into this monster. But I swear I never agreed to this, and I told it to stop! So now the Biomatrix has turned me back to normal again, and I can assure you that it didn't and never will have any intention to harm you. Right, Cancer?”

About to grab the end of the scarf-shaped alien that rested around his neck, he felt his blood freeze at the unexpected sight.

The shock ran deep and he could hardly believe his eyes. The cold scarf was faded to a sickly pale color and had lost most of its glow. Holding it in his hands, Snippy could feel a low pulsation and wondered why it was so lethargic.

Troubled by a pang of worry, he began to knead it in his hands, but his attempts remained fruitless - Cancer didn't seem quite with him in that moment and didn't show any indication that he would respond anytime soon. Did the system crash damage him? It was highly assumable, but the sniper didn't know how to handle it.

Despite him feeling guilty about it, he tried to tell himself that the alien would be alright, and decided to set his worries aside for now - he would have plenty of time to take care of it once they got out of this forest. Quickly he closed the zipper of his jacket, picked up his backpack from the ground and swung it over his shoulder.

Snippy knelt down and looked his reluctant comrade straight in the eyes.

“Pilot... We need to leave this place,” he told him. “I know you find it hard to trust me, but if we don't get out of here now, the wolf monsters will come back. Do you really want to stay here?”

“Okay,” his comrade muttered shortly, looking at the sniper and giving him a nod. “But don't come any closer.”

Well, at least the message seems to have gotten through, Sniper thought contently.

Pilot skidded across the ground to grab his sturdy wooden stick and slowly got to his feet. The way he wobbled he seemed rather unsteady with his injured leg, but tried his best to maintain a straight stance once he stood upright.

Snippy understood that he would cooperate, but as soon as he felt like things would be alright now, he made a terrible mistake. For a moment he had forgotten about the compromise and wanted to give the impaired man a hand, but Pilot yelped before Snippy could even touch him and dodged his hand, almost losing his balance in the process.

“Stop! Don't touch me!” Pilot shot at him furiously. “I can walk on my own, I don't need your help!”

“I'm sorry, I-... I should have known,” Snippy spluttered.

Silently he cursed himself for his inconsiderate action. It was foolish to assume that Pilot would trust him so soon after giving him such a scare.

“Let's just go,” the sniper suggested, and started walking.

From now on he would try his best to respect his comrade's wishes. Perhaps that would earn him his trust.

_______________________

With meticulous precision, Engie checked the train's system from the control panel, looking for faulty parts and left nothing unchecked in fear of ending up guilty for the crash of yet another vehicle.

To make sure that the brakes were functioning properly, he decided it would be wise to check the wires under the control board. After unscrewing the screws and lifting the board, he screamed as a furry animal the size of a cat jumped out and leaped onto his face. Then it jumped off and ran away, probably even more frightened than the human. Engie sat up, shuddered and shook his head, trying to focus.

Was that a marten?

Carefully the engineer glanced inside under the control board, hoping that nothing else would jump into his face from there, and saw the damage the animal had caused. Most of the wires had been chewed through.

“Yep, definitely a marten,” the engineer mumbled to himself with a sigh and proceeded to patch up the cables with isolation band.

“There, this should do.”

Quickly he closed the board again and went outside, where he spotted the next problem: The left front light was completely busted.
Luckily Engie managed to find a new one in the repair and assembling shop of the railway terminus and carried the heavy item to the train. Careful not to cut himself on the broken glass and sharp metal, he pried out the damaged headlight and pushed in the new one.

At the end he went for a jog to the other end of the train to make sure the other three lights were intact. Exhausted but triumphant, Engie looked at his work with satisfaction. Surely Captain would be impressed by his feats. But where was the crazy officer?

The engineer walked around the corner of the vehicle only to find said lunatic painting 'Property of Captain' on the side of their train. Engie felt a bit arsed about it, since he did all the hard work to make the train function while this guy was just wasting their time painting.

“Hey Captain, uhm...” he tried to win his commander's attention. “I think the train is ready now.”

Abruptly the man stopped in his spraying process and stared in his minion's direction with a soul-piercing glint in his menacing purple lenses.

“The train is ready when I say it is,” he breathed out in a tone so creepy it made Engie shiver.

“Ugh... okay,” he stuttered hesitatingly. “I guess I'll just... occupy myself until then.”

With that, he left the Captain alone and headed to one of the station shops in hopes to find a toilet, and perhaps something to read. Soon he came back with a magazine in his hand, and after pushing away one of the skeletons that were scattered all over the station, he sat down on the now free seat and started reading.

About five minutes later, as Engie was in the process of reading an article about parasites, Captain popped up behind him and scared the hell out of the poor man as he peered over his shoulder asking him about it.

After Gromov had recovered from the scare, he led Captain around and inside the train, eagerly presenting him all the repairs he made, but his self-proclaimed leader seemed unimpressed.

“You boob!” he eventually shouted, interrupting the engineer in his presentation.

“...Excuse me?” he asked in utter confusion, feeling a bit offended by his rude interruption.

“You forgot the most important installment...” he said eerily. “The hula doll! We cannot depart without one!”

Engie fell silent, unsure of what answer to give the crazy man. There was probably nothing that could top this in stupidity, so he just sighed and pretended to accept the Captain's silly demands.

“Alright, fine. I'll go see if I can find one in the station shops,” he moaned tiredly and left.

Three minutes later he came running back to the train with something dangling from his hand, and leaped inside. The first thing he did was lean against the nearest wall, heavily gasping to catch his breath.

“Here, I brought you a damn doll. I suggest we leave right now!” he shouted at Captain.

“What- This ain't no hula doll! It's a teddy bear. This isn't what I didn't pay for!” Captain ranted, wildly gesticulating with his hands, throwing the teddy in Engie's face. “Your Captain does not accept such rip-offs. Go back to the shops and bring me what I ordered!”

“Look, there is a tall creepy monster with big claws out there and it saw me! It will be here any moment, so if you don't want it to kill us both you better move aside so I can start the damn train!”

Engie didn't expect him to cooperate so soon and froze with his mouth agape as Captain stepped aside without complains.

Telling himself to hurry now, he quickly snapped out of his frozen state and jumped to the controls. Hoping that Seven's “magic” would work, he pressed the button that would start the engine and slowly rose the lever to adjust the speed level. To his surprise, the vehicle actually moved, progressively gaining speed as Engie turned up the power.

“...It works!” he cheered, trying to suppress the urge to jump with joy.

How in the hell did he do it though? Engie couldn't help but wonder.

“Do not doubt the magic of friendship, mein minion – it always works!” Captain told him sternly. “I hope this teddy bear you brought will be skillful enough to occupy the hula-doll's spot and do her job for this trip. You shall look for her later, though – for future provision.”

Gromov sighed noisily at the last comment. On the other hand he was relieved to have avoided the annoying task this time, and telling Captain he got chased by a big ugly monster actually worked surprisingly well. Engie didn't think Captain would buy his lie.
RA: To the Horizon [Chapter 5]
Chapter info: Engie is having a horrible day, but despite Captain's shenanigans, his mission is progressing.
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Chapters:
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Story on FF.net

Test-read by Creepiest.

EDIT: Changed parts with Captain and Engie. :3
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Title art by me, Engie cosplay by Creepiest , Captain cosplay by Powl

Romantically Apocalyptic and its characters belong to alexiuss
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Sol4rpleXus

Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
Germany
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Writer, cosplayer, occasional artist and lucid dreamer.

I love to read stories with intense drama and books that make your soul freeze, giving the reader the chills while reading and stirring them up in a good way. I always enjoy stories about brotherliness between characters.

My biggest obsession are apocalyptic books of all sorts and I most prefer the genres Horror, Action, Suspense and Drama. Not so much into zombies though.
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Interests
Yo dear followers!

Good news: I think I finally managed to fix the color-correction problem in Photoshop that made all my images dark as fuck, and now that I know how to work around it, the results are already looking far better in comparison to my old pictures. What is color correction, you may ask? It is the way the pictures are being displayed in Photoshop. It used to be way too bright, so I ended up editing all my pictures too dark.

What about my fanfic projects tho? Well, I could start listing a shitload of excuses here now, but I'll spare you that part and am just gonna say now that the last chapter of To the Horizon is almost done, and as soon as I find enough time to continue working on it, it won't be long until it will show up in your feed. :3

~Sol4rplexus

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:icontyrickeu:
TyrickEU Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Oi! You still rollin'? :o
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Sol4rpleXus Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Yes! You?
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:icontyrickeu:
TyrickEU Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2014  Hobbyist Interface Designer
Nah, not really.
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:iconsol4rplexus:
Sol4rpleXus Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
oki
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WildPencil Featured By Owner Aug 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanx for :+fav:ing :salute:
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sheiku92 Featured By Owner May 13, 2014
UWAH!

:iconthankyou1plz::iconthankyou2plz::iconthankyou3plz::iconthankyou4plz::iconthankyou5plz::iconfav3dplz: :iconletmehugyouplz:

.. and also for the watch! :D
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Sol4rpleXus Featured By Owner May 13, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
np :hug:
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zomi-zomi Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thankies for zee fav <3
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Sol4rpleXus Featured By Owner Apr 4, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
gar kein problem
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Deemonef Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:squee:Thank you so much for the fav:glomp:
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