“Do you need those?” Staccato asked. The mechanics didn’t look back at them, but clearly he didn’t need to.
“Technically, no.” Cross answered, wings spread to slow his descent onto the ground. His voice muffled by the breathing mask and the rubber-and-filtered-mesh suit he wore. At his side, similarly draped in mesh, Epitaph glided down to the sun-blackened earth. “We don’t. But Fang doesn’t know what we are, and we were not eager to tell her. So we decided to blend in.”
In the green light of the toxic sky, Cross was certain they were quite the sight.
Staccato stared ahead, towards a mass of black trees. His processors whirred. Cross settled beside him with a thump of his weight onto soil as dry as it was dark. “Bio-indicators suggest that’s the direction of life.” Staccato said.
“Life, maybe… but I think we’re more likely to find trouble than friends.” Epitaph alighted just in front of Cross. “We’re supposed to go to a dome. Caught a glimpse of one to the…” a momentary hesitation. Cross hummed--his own compass was struggling to find North, under the assault of the two remaining suns. “South?”
It was something, Cross stretched and turned. “If we use the forest to mark north, then the nearest dome is… to our seven. Given our trajectory and the size of the planet… Staccato. Mark our current position as zero-zero. Set a way point at negative thirty, negative twenty.”
Staccato nodded and closed his eyes. “Point set.” the voice was mechanical, sparking back to life a moment later. “Shall we begin travel?”
Cross waited to answer, instead taking a moment to observe the barren wasteland around him. Rocky black earth, scorched as far he could see. The sky was a hazy green that would have hurt to look at if he were flesh and blood. As it was, it artifacted in his vision with static bursts.
It was Epitaph who moved first, paws crunching on the blistered soil. “Better to move now and find the locals--before the gigafauna find us. We aren’t prepared for one.”
“Agreed. Do you want a ride, Staccato?” Cross bowed into a stretch--immediately his companion clambered up onto his shoulders to sit between his wings.
“Fly! Fly!” Staccato almost sang delight, and squealed like a human child when Cross braced himself and leaped into the air with powerful flaps of his wings--gravity was entirely too easy to counter, here, which he supposed explained the gigafauna.
Down below, Epitaph shouted a protest to being left behind and launched himself up after them, blue eyes bright with mirth. Cross smiled back and twisted in the air with another powerful flap of his armored wings, and with a burst of energy, rocketed himself over spires of stone.
“So what’s our plan, exactly?” Staccato asked, as they reached speed and he had to yell to be heard over the wind.
“Speak with the locals, figure out what’s going on.” Cross yelled back, basking in the heat of the twin suns. Down below, stone gave way to blackened sand and glittering glass. It was beautiful. Like the beaches of volcanic islands on Earth, almost. And… sad. To see such destruction. What had this world been like before its destruction?
“Well, more of what’s going on.” Epitaph’s voice pulled Cross from his thoughts, with the aexent-ixi pulling ahead of the pair. “We’re supposed to learn as much as possible about this place.”
“Such as?” Staccato put on a voice like that of a child.
“Why there are sapient plants, of all things.” Cross answered. “What the future of this world looks like… and how best to deal with the creatures that have been abusing our friend in the Chasm--” he blinked. There, at the very very edge of the horizon, was the glint of Ice. “Veer right--the dome should be at our three o’clock.”
Epitaph swerved, and Cross followed, twisting his head around and--sure enough, glittering in the suns was a single point of a massive domed city, towering spires glinting within.
They’d have their answers soon.
screams as I rush this in last minute