|“||-'Got a bad feeling about this' is an understatement.”|
|— Averii • A Dark Apotheosis, Part One.|
Born deep below the urban hive that is the surface of Irk, within the automated heart of the life-creating smeeteries, the life of Invader Averii lay in the unconquered stars above - and he knew this well as he grew up in the depths of the Academy, growing from an anxious child into a survivor. Honed as any vat-bred smeet was in the art of warfare, each year saw him grow closer to both the stars, and his future.
However, he likely didn't see himself being assigned to a Military Training World, and his position as a 'Senior Invader' being the only thing keeping him from a full PAK re-encoding after being just a little too late.
Not to be mistaken for his Nightmare-World doppelganger.
Hatched out of a cloning vat as per the standard, Averii was a naive young cadet, heavy and quick with his hands, and light on his feet. Pricked and prodded by the Academy Overseers, he grew out of most of his innocence rather quickly as his mind was packed with all manner of combat data.
A fierce, brutal, and at times unhinged fighter, he still had a soft spot for his friends and the little people (literally). Graduating from the academy, he led a team of friends, and though he considered himself a professional, his little soft spot eventually gave way to one of his few 'failings'; a relationship with one of his subordinates, Entra.
Becoming an officer, it all seemed like he was set for life; respected, experienced, and skilled at his job, he reveled in it, and was on course for either a quiet retirement, or a fast-track to glory as the trials for the Elites began to draw near.
Then, however, Pirates robbed almost all of it of any meaning in a single battle, wiping out nearly his entire squad, making a slave-run, and running off with more than a few good friends - with Entra in tow.
Thus, for the past 50 years Averii's been clawing his way up as an Elite, hunting Pirates and Rebels, seeking to pay what only blood will pay for.
Appearance and Equipment Edit
He's about average in height, pretty fit, has blue eyes, and his PAK's got blue spots. He wears three outfits, and hates the normal generic one. Clothing colors are red and black, with bone-white detail, and he's got a red jacket and a a belt with a cloak, a proper black trenchcoat, and a full suit of armor for when things get rough.
His notable gear's his armor and a couple weapons. He's got a railgun that shoots a white hot metal spike at over two miles per second, capable of ripping chunks out of you in a single hit and making you die screaming; the Orbitbreaker. He also has a spear with gigantic blades to smash you, impale you, and fry you at the same time. It also shoots lightning, and goes by the name of Voidsplitter.
He's also got a ship called Rex.
Witty, sarcastic, and quick to learn - but he's also impulsive, stubborn, and can get a bit carried away, becoming brutal, almost primal or feral in combat, and at times, patience just isn't his thing.
He's got a soft side though, even if he's a little abrasive and cold to start. Get on his good side, and he'll be happy to share a drink and a story with you - and get your back in a fight, too.
However, if you wrong him, he will come after you, and he will not stop until he gets you.
Entra's basically his soul mate/fiancee/girlfriend, Talbolt's basically his dad figure, and the ghosts of his two dead best friends have regular chats with him because of the wonders of screwing around with technology you don't understand.
Theme Songs Edit
Take either Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, Hardcore Henry, or Halo 3: ODST, and that should work just fine.
Especially the first two.
Timeline of Life Events Edit
Goes from birth to present.
- Year 0 - Birth; induction into Academy. 169 years prior to present. Horrible Painful Overload Day Part One occurs. Averii meets and befriends Lek and Mit.
- Early Academy years.
- Year 10 - Despite zeal and promise, Averii displays a weak will, and a weak resolve. Fails initial assessment in a surrender, of all things.
- Year 10 - Following the first assessments issued to Averii's batch, he is selected for one of multiple examples to be made to the rest via public shock-flog. Averii is shocked (quite literally) into shaping up.
- Year 11 - Averii first meets Lurch. Soon, first fights Lurch due to discrepancies and accusations of 'being a total arrogant jackass', among further disagreements in methodology and command.
- Year 5? - Averii first meets Entra. Befriends her; begins defending her due to Lurch's influences and continued 'arrogant jackass' comments.
- Year 95 - Entra graduates early. Ave and company bid farewell; promises are made to keep in touch.
- Military Years.
- Year 100 - Averii graduates from the Academy with honors, and secures a squad command position over teammates Lek, Mit, and Lurch as Squad 223. Assigned aboard Viral Tank 0451, Vengeance, under Captain Talbolt. Entra soon returns to the team after a reencoding and change of career plans, replacing Lurch after another incident in which Lurch is promoted to 'manipulative bastard'.
- Year 10? - Planet Jacker-Irken treaty signed after brief skirmishes.
- Year 103 - Averii receives a promotion, and becomes an Officer.
- Year 104 - 223's service posting ends aboard the Vengeance. Posting aboard a Science Vessel is selected; Squad 223 then serves as chief security detail aboard the vessel.
- Year 106 - Security posting ends; reassigned to frontline duty in combat over worlds of strategic importance versus the Meekrob. Begin service under Major Strakke as part of the 12th Karkians.
- Year 107 - 223 nearly collapses under pressures of frontline combat stagnating. Entra is nearly annihilated in combat after a poorly timed retreat into friendly artillery; guilt shoves the team into a serious, if brief, period of refocus. Averii blames himself rather intensely, eventually confessing to a 'soft spot' for Entra. She reciprocates.
- Year 108 - Entra makes a full recovery; 223 completes their assignment on the front lines, and are delegated to garrison duty on the homeworld to recover after the past two years.
- Year 110 - Service under Strakke ends. 223 reenlists aboard the Vengeance, aiming to spend an entire tour aboard their first posting again. However, soon after returning, explosive sabotage occurs, and Mit is blamed. Adjucator Skabb takes command of the ship, and after an interrogation and investigation, finds Mit innocent.
- Year 111 - Skabb begins a personal crusade aboard the ship, tracking traces of conspiracy and treason.
- Year 112 - Averii and Entra confront Lurch in a final fight. Lurch is promoted to 'backstabbing traitorous sonuvabitch' before his summary 'execution'. Adjucator Skabb's investigation is satisfied. 223 resumes duty.
- Year 11? - Tallest Miyuki is killed. The Vortians are blamed; the Irk-Vort schism begins.
- Year 119 - On return voyage from lengthy deployment, the Vengeance is ambushed. It's sister ship is destroyed, the vessel itself crippled and boarded by pirates. Majority of command staff are slaughtered; massive casualties suffered; Captain Talbolt temporarily paralyzed and blinded. Averii takes command and leads a last stand. Irken Forces suffer continual losses, despite best efforts; Lek and Mit are killed. Reinforcements respond, and drive off pirates; Entra is captured in the retreat, dragged off either dead or alive.
- Elite Years.
- Year 120 - Averii is given his final orders from Talbolt; settle the debt. Irken Elite trials occur; Averii enters, and passes.
- Year 1?? - Averii is assigned to Mydra. Despite the success and effectiveness yielded by their partnership, they soon break apart.
- Year 1?? - Averii inducted into the Invaders for Operation Impending Doom; soon after, he is technically killed during a training exercise. Ave is resuscitated in critical condition, and is put into a healing coma.
- Year 1?? - Invader Zim begins a misguided rampage across Irk, nearly destroying the planet. Averii awakens, and as one of the only trained Invaders left standing, is put into standby.
- Year 16? - Averii recalled to Active Duty to assist in the training of next Invaders. Given rank of 'Senior Invader'.
- Year 168 - Averii incurs the wrath of the Tallest when he fails to show up on time to the Great Assigning. As punishment, he is assigned to Hobo 13.
- Year 169 - Present year.
Early Life Edit
No one starts as at the top; no one's born an Invader. You claw your way up to the very top.
Born about 170 Standard Years ago, during the last century or so of Almighty Tallest Miyuki's reign, Averii was a vatbred Irken male, wide-eyed and ready for duty the minute he awoke in the catacombs of Irk. In the few hours preceding the first Horrible Painful Overload Day, the 'whole of Irken Knowledge' was downloaded into his PAK, and he was shipped off to the Academy. Dumped into a uniform, and shoved into a hall filled with dozens of other newborns, Averii was quick to socialize among his batchmates.
Unfortunately, riding on the coattails of their birth was the chaos of Horrible Painful Overload Day. Explosions, screams, and darkness swept across the sector, spreading throughout the cavernous expanses of Smeeteries affected by a mysterious overload. Left in the dark, packed like sardines in a can, panic swept over the assembly chamber as the smeets were left alone and afraid, trapped in a metal box, with Ave as no special exception. However, as he cowered in the dark, afraid, he glimpsed an odd sparking in the corner - and then, for the first time in his life, he glimpsed the dance of fire as a pair of young males huddled around the charred, burning remains of loose wiring with excited hoots and hollers. Although the rest of the smeets seemed to cower from the fire, he found himself drawn to the light and warmth, taking a seat and introducing himself tentatively.
Eventually, however, when the Overseers came, prying the doors open, they were outraged to find that a solid quarter of their assembly chamber had been burnt by a few smeets. A few hours of reprimanding later, the three were let off with a few chores. Thus, Averii met his first true friends, the twins Lek and Mit. Nicknamed the Firestarters, they stuck together clear through the rest of their days of the Academy - and then some.
Although left a bit jittery and nervous after the incident, the Firestarters soon set about their academy lives as classes started up once more. Although young, he displayed promise; quick-witted, fast on his feet, and heavyhanded (for a smeet), with some training and growth, he'd make a fine front-line soldier - as would most of those of his batch.
So, to that end, he trained, bringing a rare zeal and energy to his actions and studies that seemed lacking in others. For ten years, Averii fought and studied, striving to perform his duty, eager to live up to the Empire's expectations - while also never losing sight of those he considered 'friend'.
Long story short, however, it wasn't enough.
Facing a full-on simulated assessment of everything from his skills, to his spelling, to his speech, it wasn't a lack of effort on his part. It wasn't a lack of strength, a lack of speed, or even a lack of intelligence - rather, in the end, it was a weak will coupled with a weak resolve.
Strong, but hesitant, Averii did display promise - but he was flawed. Hesitation and indecision got not just him, but even his teammates destroyed in combat as his usual zeal was overridden. He'd be outmaneuvered, too conservative, too timid in combat to send in the killing blow - or to anticipate it - and in one particular case, even surrendered as his teammates were slaughtered around him as his focus failed to keep him on task.
Outraged, when it time came to make examples to his batchmates, he was a prime pick for the Overseers as they marked cadet after cadet for all kinds of particularly nasty punishments - in his case, a punitive shock-flog.
Or, in more contemporary terms, public whipping.
Ashamed, scorned, and publicly humiliated, Averii found himself isolated from most of his 'friends' as he was left to think over his actions, and the stinging, bleeding cuts in his back as Lek and Mit tried to help him cope.
With his naivety quite literally shocked and whipped out of him, young Ave set his mind to the task - and only the task.
Taking a more bitter and cynical outlook on those around him, Averii was filled with determination as he saw who his true friends were - and who he could call his enemy. After all, he'd called many people his friend - and most of them had just up and abandoned him to be left alone, laughing as they left him in the dirt.
The first thing that Averii did was drop surrender from his vocabulary - before it came back as an insult.
Then, he did his damned best to settle the score, taking a chip out of more than a few teeth, and soon, nearly everyone all but 'forgot' the incident - either being on the wrong end of a shock-spear, fist, or a few (not-so) tall-tales and rumors. Among the few holdouts was an older cadet by the name of Lurch. Self-described by Averii as an 'arrogant jackass' to his face, he was one of the first of Averii's old 'friends' to turn on him - and one of the most stubborn, as the two began a feud that would prove to last an entire century, starting and ending in a brawl.
Shrugging off the humiliation, Averii soon began to hit his goals, becoming a prized and vengeful spark in the academy, through either cunning brutality, or brutal cunning - yet he kept a soft spot for his real friends.
Meeting Entra Edit
Another year, another assessment.
At 50, Averii was still rather young by Irken standards, still considered a smeet - as he would be until he was 100.
Yet, he did as well as those twice his age.
Carving an infamous reputation for himself among his batchmates, Averii had made damned sure to do his best after his first failure - and though there were bumps in the road, he charged right across them, be they math, history, science, or, in this case, a certain arrogant jackass by the name of Lurch.
Pitted against him in the closing stages of the year's latest sim-test, the battle was quick, but dirty.
Lek and Mit lasted only a few seconds at best; two thirds of Averii's team eliminated by Lurch's latest catches.
Pawns, of a sort, Averii had long ago seen through Lurch's tricks; more often than not, he couldn't care less about them, most of them being blind and arrogant enough to follow a man as manipulative as him.Thus, as Averii strangled the life from Lurch, it was pure catharsis; nevermind the hole he'd gouged in his gut, or the chunks he'd taken out of his arms. Sometimes, you just needed to strangle someone.Though, as Averii returned the favor to Lurch and his cronies, getting ready to finish the last one off he couldn't help but pause as one in particular screamed, backing away from him in fear, eyes wide with terror, their weapon long knocked away from them.
For a moment, he saw himself. Too much of himself. Paralyzed by fear; alone. For that moment, he felt something.
With a sigh, he lowered his spear, and offered her his hand, and a fair fight for a female by the name of Entra.
Most of Lurch's little 'minions' were just swept up in his praise and arrogance. Most of them, anyway.
Sometimes, he just needed a little bit of fear, and a little bit of intimidation.
In the end, he might've won the fight, sure...
But she won his interest, along with some attention from higher up as they began to see more of eachother.
Although a bit apprehensive of Entra, the Firestarters took her in; Averii in particular becoming rather close to her. Serving as an example, he set about convincing her to sever their ties with Lurch, and break free of his manipulation. Although a bit mixed in effectiveness, being a bit more naive and timid than he, she proved rather capable - in fact, far more than Averii was, when push came to shove.
Late Academy Edit
Although still fueled by his drive to win, as the years went on, Averii eventually came to relax more - especially after his meeting with Entra began to ground him. Finding themselves in eachother's classes, as they moved up, they proved quite capable. Averii himself was actually quite good with numbers, and intuitive with things like angles and guessing weight, not to mention his handiness when it came to improvising, whereas Entra positively shined when it came to computing and science. Enjoying eachother's strengths, they also came to enjoy one another's company, and even Lek and Mit came to appreciate her as a member of the Firestarters.
As the end of their first century drew near, they came to have good times - but the future loomed ahead.
Entra began to make plans, looking towards an early graduation and a science carreer - Averii, meanwhile, having come to relish combat, looked to put himself on track for a field command, the universal dream of Eliteship sweeping him up. Yearning to live up to legends such as the Debthunters, Imperial Fists, or the Devastis Brawlers, he hoped for the day that the Firestarters could join such hallowed names; that along with his friends, they'd become legends.
However, the dream began to slip as Entra latched on to hers, and began to ride it out. Having struck a bargain with her Overseer, and unhindered by Lurch, she graduated with honors half a decade early. Planning to serve the rest of her five years in the military, and to use the service to catapult her into a top science academy, it came bittersweet - but not as much of a surprise, in hindsight.
Saying their goodbyes, Entra promised to keep in touch with them as she rode the lift out alone.
A few years later, Averii would follow.
Military Service Edit
Graduating with honors of his own, the the Firestarters were reunited again as Averii's batch was finally released to the surface - finally considered true Irkens, and smeets no longer - with one of the first people they meet being a familiar blue-eyed female. Having hit the end of her deployments, Entra returned to Irk to catch her friends as they rode the lift up - and together, they spent a fair few days partying and catching up on what they'd been doing.
When he told her he was heading into the military as a squad leader with Lek and Mit, she was ecstatic, being very happy for them all, and she absolutely beamed about how her plans to reach her dream science posting were going.
However, the best he could give her was a halfhearted thanks; she'd dashed a quarter or so of his hopes in a few brief words.
Squads were usually made of at least four people, after all.
The festivities soon grew quiet, and as the time to serve drew near, Averii did ask if she had any recommendations. She gave him a name; Talbolt. They submitted their documents soon after, and with what seemed like their final voyage, they set off. Averii himself was slated for almost half a decade attached to a Viral Tank; a carrier-type vessel, commanded by this 'Talbolt'. Entra, meanwhile, got the best thing she could've hoped for - Vortian Research Station.
She'd be dropped off at her dream job as their ship made to link up with the Armada.
Years 0 to 4 - VT0451 Edit
Inducted into the ranks of the Irken War Machine, Averii had lined up a full ten year tour of service as the head of his own squad. Clad in flexible armor, and given a spear and a rifle, it was almost what he dreamed it'd be.
The squad was built of four men. Lek was there, of course; a sharpshooter, if talkative, but consistently reliable as he'd always been. Mit was by his side, as was only fitting; you didn't have one without the other, and he himself was content with his job handling any and all demolitions. Averii, meanwhile, played both the role of command and recon, with their fourth slot rounded out by...
Lurch, of all people.
He wasn't so bad, though; not at first; but the dream of the Firestarters had quietly died for Averii. Spoiled by Lurch, and Entra's pursuit of education, the Squad's name burned in slowly; a simple three-digit serial. 223.
Boarding his first assignment, Averii found himself aboard the Viral Tank Vengeance. Entra's home for the past couple years or so, the ship was still relatively new, taking on fresh crew and supplies. The crew was agreeable, friendly, even, as his team got itself settled; the Captain himself, in fact, came in and met his new crew.
Named Talbolt, the name was familiar to Averii (due in no small part thanks to Talbolt's own service history) - and it would continue to grow familiar as time went on, as he proved to be one of the friendliest men Averii met.
Chillingly, however, was how Lurch seemed to be fighting to take that spot - adopting what at times seemed like genuine praise and interest, to his disgust.
Averii quickly grew to like the Vengeance, familiarizing himself with all the passages and weapons systems he could (to the annoyance of the technical staff), and especially Talbolt, once he'd connected a few dots. After all, when in the presence of one's smeethood role model, you can only restrain yourself for so long.
However, as time began to drag on, Averii soon began to try and seek out Entra, trying to make things 'right' in the little time they had - but he'd always just miss her, or somehow slip by as she herself seemed to avoid her old friends. They had less than two weeks before she was supposed to be dropped off, after all.
She'd continue to evade him until just about the very last minute; coincidentally, just about the same time Lurch decided to turn his sights on her, and showed his true colors.
He'd only gotten one glimpse before he charged in - Entra on the ground, Lurch's fist up in the air - but it was all that he needed to get his blood boiling as he shoved through a crowd, and into Lurch's back.
He only had him for a few moments, before Lek and Mit dragged him off - but he made every second count, leaving as much of a bloody and mangled mess as he could, promoting Lurch from arrogant jackass to manipulative bastard.
Breaking up the commotion, Talbolt, a crew-first Captain, was hard pressed; ultimately, however, to Averii's dismay, he gave Lurch two options. Stay aboard, or get out. Lurch, stubborn as ever, despite shattered teeth and a shredded arm, opted to stay - though Averii made it clear he had no place in 223 - the Firestarters, as he corrected himself.
Left with a hole in their Squad, Entra surprised them all by offering to give up her dream job, having grown tired of what would've been a self-imposed isolation rather quickly. Overjoyed, the four, reunited, took it up with Talbolt. Finding himself fond of the idea, Talbolt greenlit it, and a reencoding later, Entra took up the role of Field Technician - the squad's resident computer and robotics expert - and finally, the Firestarters were assembled.
Running trials by fire in bulk over the next four years, the squad came to work together quickly, efficiently, and effectively - though cleanly was another thing entirely. Each of them had been trained from birth to handle a battlefield, and they did make it show; Averii himself reveled in it, proving quite capable of the role 'Close Quarters Specialist' as he turned what was otherwise a nonlethal stun weapon into a flesh-melting mangutter. He certainly had a wide spectrum to work with, too, from rebels, to aliens, to AI, even rebellious alien AI plus everything inbetween.
However, together, it was a sort of organized chaos. The team was, at times, a walking banter. Lek was a motormouth, and a rather racy one, too; he'd draw Entra's ire, and Averii's shock while Mit would just chuckle it off, and then give them all heart attacks as he planted a shot square between the eyes of an enemy sniper. Mit was similar; befitting of one being Lek's brother, yet his particular thing was fire, and other hazardous materials he'd play with, exhibiting a childlike energy and simplicity - before using a single bomb to level an entire building.
Entra, meanwhile, was concerned about everything - although just as skilled (and better, he'd admit) than Averii in any given type of combat, she was the closest thing they had to a pacifist. A minor hemophobe, more than once did she make her feelings clear to Averii on things such as bloodsplattered ceilings, or how she felt about Mit playing with an armed grenade, and especially to Lek on just about whatever exited his mouth. The thing was, though, she covered one of the few things that none of them was actually equipped to handle - and that was generally everything having to do with computers and hacking. Averii made it a point to cover her at all times - on and off the field.Meanwhile, Averii would generally laugh, take it in stride, and keep at it - it being anything from reading to a heated hand-to-hand brawl. He kept himself light on his feet, and in his head, so to speak - keeping it clear so that he could focus on not leading the squad into their deaths. To this end, he always kept an eye out on the team.Every fight was a good fight, in the end. Even when it was a loss, a fight was always a good story over a meal, a drink, or a game - even a fire, when they had one going. As they continued their signature organized chaos, their success rate rose; and as a result, people took notice, and promotions began to trickle down as more and more aboard the Vengeance recognized them, complimenting them for a job well done.
Hell, Ave eventually even found himself with Entra, playing cards with Captain Talbolt over dinner and a war story!
Ave also began to notice he found himself with Entra a lot as of late. On the field, of course, but off of it, through the mess hall, barracks, and everywhere in between. She seemed to notice it before him, and eventually they began to share simple awkward stares and laughs as the ship sometimes became a bit suffocating. Entra was his friend, that he was sure of; though he couldn't help but feel something more.
Four years later, they found themselves shuffled off of the Vengeance. Freed for a short time, the Firestarters quickly decided on a new posting, preferring something a bit quieter, as well as more suited to their ranks.
Years Five to Six - Labs and Drabs Edit
Posted aboard a Research Vessel, the squad was assigned as the chief security detail.
Forming a command squad, of a sort, Averii was the overall head of security aboard the ship, in no small part due to his new First Lieutenant's bars, earned just before he transferred off of the Vengeance. Given authority over all areas of security aboard the ship, Averii typically had the final word, just short of the ship's Captain; typically, this meant anything from rations requests to risk assessments went through him, meaning plenty of paperwork, to his rather minor displeasure. Below him, the rest of his team handled their own branch, with Lek heading (flirting with) any away teams, Mit being in charge of shipboard security (being the researchers' personal bodyguard andguinea pig), and with Entra handling anything and everything related to cybersecurity (finding lost passwords, more or less).
Honestly? While Entra might've enjoyed it, they all grew bored in the end.
In terms of threats, the worst that usually cropped up was the odd pirate, or a loose experiment - and they were painfully uncommon. More often than not, they were cooped up inside their ship for weeks, even months at a time - and when they finally stumbled on an interesting planet or landed to run some tests, it was only ever for a few days. Lek was the first of them to grow antsy over it, being the chief officer on any given Away Team - and then the rest of them joined, with open space becoming a prized commodity due to onboard simulators being reserved for science.
In terms of the onboard tests themselves, they were typically classified and locked so tight that Averii himself never really knew what was going on - and outside of a few useful experiments and prototypes, he never got to play with anything new. Mit himself grew sick of science in general, finding himself quite commonly as the unlucky sod the scientists roped into testing some unstable compound, the odd vehicle joyride notwithstanding.
Averii himself was the first to truly become bored. In short, he'd gone from hacking apart the enemy in a heated burst of adrenaline, to hacking apart paperwork in a dull spark of irritation. He'd imagined journeying across the uncharted expanses, meeting interesting species and peoples - and then exterminating them - as he was confronted with drama after drama; something a bit more interesting than paperwork for a week, then a small disaster followed by more paperwork. It didn't help that the crew - mostly scientists - were a bit less than welcoming to their Chief of Security.
To his surprise, Averii noticed that Entra, too, became not just bored - but sick, having burned through all the information she could before hitting classified documents, what with all the spare time they had.
The ship was small, packed with identical hallways, sterile spaces, and some outright unfriendly people; in the end, it was no wonder they got sick of it. So, when weeks stretched to months, when Averii caught on to Entra's obsession with hobby-hunting, pranks, and breaking their own firewalls, it wasn't much surprise.
Then, with a smirk, he joined her in the fun. It was something to do, and no real harm was done; he'd make sure of it.
Both bored out of their minds, they gravitated to one another as they tried to spend the next two years sanely. From sparring to arguing, competing, and even just walking and talking in general, they found themselves at the other's side more often than not once again (and at Lek's throat, when he began to play with rumors).
When their term aboard finally ended, it was like being released from chains - and restless, they did their damned best to get picked for some real action. But, as they say, be careful what you wish for.
Years Seven to Eight - Blood and Mud Edit
One of the Irken Empire's most fierce, stubborn, and downright hated enemies, the Meekrob were a race of energy-beings, capable of changing form with ease, blending into surroundings almost seamlessly, and incredibly difficult to kill. Persevering even today, the Meekrob are no standard foe; thousands have lost their lives against them.
A valuable world, a potential key to the efforts of the Empire and the Meekrob, they fought over Sigis Major; host to valuable reserves of various resources (namely fuel and food), it was also an ideal location for a stronghold for the Irkens, potentially crucial for any future offensive efforts - and it was already host to the remains of an abandoned series of Irken and Vortian shipyards, both in orbit and on the ground; the main prize of the Empire, and a goldmine for the Meekrob's intelligence efforts.
As such, with these facilities in the balance, an orbital bombardment to stamp out the opposing force was out of the question; and located within a densely populated system, and orbited by multiple moons, it was no easy task to win the skies. Thus, the fight for Sigis, and by extension, the system of Mund IV, was a long and hard one, fought in everything from closed halls, to open trenches, and vast asteroid belts.
Seeing action in every single one of these places, Averii and his Firestarters underwent a true trial by fire.
Struggling day after day to survive against both the enemy, their allies, and their own allies, in the trenches of Sigis, death awaited every turn. The Meekrob were already difficult to point out in standard conditions - throw them into a ruined, derelict corridor full of debris, and it was just about impossible to spot them without the right gear. They showed little mercy to the unaware and the unobservant, and sometimes, they didn't even leave a body.
Under pressure, a team either held fast, becoming a solid chunk of steel in the battering ram that was the Imperial Armada, or they fell apart like tissue paper under a thousand gallon torrent of water.
The Meekrob themselves, although relatively few in number on Sigis itself, were difficult to kill, and quick to vanish after taking their victims, driving many a unit mad with paranoia. What you thought was a boot would wait until you turned your back, and morph itself into a gaping maw, ready to shred you to pieces - or, if they were feeling nice, they'd merely fry you alive with a jolt of electricity powerful enough to boil your skin.
Where the Meekrob failed, however, their own auxiliaries took up the slack.
A wide caste of races, some mercenaries, others rebels, and with even the odd pirate groups or defectors, the auxiliaries might've been diverse in appearance and ideals - but they were all just as vicious as the next. Nothing was quite like a Planet Jacker shrugging off gunfire as he charged through your lines, or like a Vortian, peeling apart your systems from afar - and turning them on you with a sneer. It was worse with the pirates, picking the battlefield like scavengers and always taunting and scheming away, stooping as low as to even feel out your ranks to find anyone willing to make a quick buck, or a clean getaway.
The 12th served across every front, and, like most other units, was subject to each and every single thing that could happen to them in combat as anyone and everyone against the Empire somehow made their way across Sigis.
From the blood in the mud, to the airless moons, the Firestarters found themselves stuck in with all kinds of scraps, shootouts, gunfights, skirmishes, and battles. They did all they could to win.
In the end, though, they had to to all they could to survive.
As it was, the Empire had hit a wall. The Armada overhead fought daily against constant lurking vessels, making hit-and-runs on the fringes, and hitting them where it hurt before they retreated beyond an obscure moon, or luring them into an ambush within an asteroid belt. Ships were being lost almost faster than they could be replaced, and forced to focus both planetside and starside, the fleet was weakened, it's attention split - and exploited.
Sufficient to say, that led to things quite ugly both in space, and on the ground.
A unit primarily oriented in infantry-based combat and recovery operations, the 12th Karkians usually found themselves on the front, and what used to be the front, clearing the way for heavier mechanized units, sweeping through installations, or, when they were being pushed back, breaking them down and recovering what they could. More often than not, they found themselves on guard duty as they worked to retrieve fallen tanks and mechs, or vulnerable computer data. Whether it was below the muddy surface of Sigis, or in the debris-filled orbitals above, or even outside in the cold, hard vacuum, the 12th was pushed and shuffled around from deployment to deployment.
The Firestarters themselves saw every one of those fields, assigned to replace a good chunk of the 12th's command. Functioning still as a unit in combat, each member of 223 was charged with advising and managing certain aspects of the 12th, from marksmen to cyberops, and overall operation command.
Consistently, they were pushed to the limit, with close calls left-and-right leaving them on edge, and with every firefight leaving someone with an injury - and everyone at eachothers throats. The Meekrob planted paranoia and distrust, undermining Lek's traditional reliability, and seeding doubt within their ranks as even Mit and Averii's rather extreme exterminations failed to catch their enemy, with the meatiest of the enemy's mercenaries breaking their lines, and Entra's protocols truly being put to the test against their foes.
Constantly shown up and caught off-guard, Lek grew unstable. Cracking and threatening to lash out, he eventually began taking potshots at things he even slightly thought were shapeshifters; even, at some points, raising his rifle against his comrades; the closest thing he had to a family. Averii himself even learned that at some point, he planned to desert - take a ship and fly it away, never looking back - something that Lek had trouble admitting when Ave confronted him over it, years later. It certainly didn't help when it was a rumor, spreading around the snipers that Lek was supposed to be in charge of, or around the demomen that Mit himself took command over.
Mit, normally calm and collected, quickly grew frustrated. Although something of a genius with explosives, the Meekrob were just as swift and observant as they were stealthy, and time and time again, what traps he rigged would fail to be more than a little fireworks show - or, even worse, be thrown right back at him. While he was still damned good at smashing structures and vehicles, the lack of any actual kills in combat began to gnaw at him. So, to compensate, he began to pack more explosives. And more. And more. And more. Driven a bit mad by the Meekrob toying with him, he was determined to blow them to smithereens - and, if need be, take himself with them. Obviously, this tactic didn't sit too well with the rest of the squad, or his men.
Entra, already anxious in combat, was quickly almost overwhelmed with stress. Dropped from the relatively lax lifestyle she had in the last two years, the first fight she found herself in was like a punch to the face - with many more to come, as they went from the caves of asteroids, to the barren remains of Irken colonies as they fought tooth and nail to keep the enemy at bay; even within their own computers. As the Meekrob did their best to harvest data, Entra was charged with advising and overseeing the security and general well-being of the unit's equipment and cybernet. Under this pressure, she began to break down, and tear herself apart from the inside as she began to take the blame for even mundane mishaps and failures, taking it upon herself; something that became increasingly irrational as time went on, slowly wearing through what trust and patience that their subordinates had with her.
Thus, with a jittery, half-snapped marksman, a suicidal bomberman, and a hacker slathering herself in anguish, Averii, too, cracked. A fight, he could handle; his squad, that, too; but together, for days, weeks, months at a time, even, he himself began to slip; especially as an Officer, having responsibilities beyond his team, reporting almost directly to their Major, and responsible for a fair amount more down the line. With the discord rooting itself within not just his own team, but his subordinates, as he was charged with the responsibilities of entire operations by Strakke. Growing unhinged, he became a sort of animal in combat, as frustrated as Mit, unstable as Lek, and as tormented as Entra. Eventually, he either threw himself into combat, or got so wrapped up in trying to give orders that almost nothing really got done, cancelling everything out, and frustrating his men. In short, where 223 had once been adept and skilled at organized chaos, the Firestarters had devolved into simple, almost orderless chaos. That's not to say that they were inept; far from it, as when they worked, they worked damn well.
However, it didn't help that Strakke himself wasn't a particularly experienced (or lenient) commander to start with. The 12th as a whole was mostly composed of replacements, in fact; most of the original unit that had been deployed had been either killed, deserted, or simply gone missing; including the majority of their command unit. Strakke was a major purely by emergency field promotion; and although he did what he could, faced with the near complete destruction of his unit and with the mounting pressure and disappointment of High Command, he grew strict and hardline in his tendencies. Forced to use a myriad of threats to keep people in line, he began instating all sorts of punishments - including shock-flogs, bringing Averii back to the darkest days of his smeethood.
Averii, in his stress, began to unravel further, with fears he'd thought banished as a child returning, leading to hesitation and failure. The Firestarters hadn't even thought it was him when he gave his first real retreat order in years.
However, when that retreat order got them caught in a friendly artillery barrage, Averii's world seemed to at once shatter as heavy shells and burning plasma rained around them. Angry screams and shouts filled what was left of their comms as they all argued at eachother, too busy running to focus, trying to reach the safety of the nearest trench.
They'd almost made it, too, when Entra just about ran into a hundred-pound shell, sending her flying with the hot shrapnel. Everything seemed to freeze for him as she flew through the air, her mouth crying out in a half-insult, half-scream as her blood splashed through the air, and her eyes filled with terror.
To this day, Averii can remember that terror.
The rest of the unit had run for the trenches, with Lek and Mit shouting the troops into the holes as explosions pounded left and right. However, Ave could only stand in horror as the same terror within Entra gripped him by his very core, the shells slamming around him as she landed in the mud, unmoving.
Then, he ran. Not for cover, but for Entra. For her broken body, almost certainly dead, he ran.
Carrying her back into the trenches, Lek and Mit screamed at him, livid, hysterical - they'd just retreated through an artillery barrage, of all things, nearly gotten them blown to hell!
Unable and unwilling to waste time, all Averii could do was answer them with a solid fist to the face, smashing them aside as he ran for the nearest med-station, slinging her body across his back, and he ran. Threats be damned.
Run he did, for miles and miles, until his legs finally gave out, having delivered her to an operating table, stuck somewhere on the fringe of life and death.
Giving in to his childhood fears and his primal senses, Averii couldn't forgive himself for allowing such a fatal mistake to happen in the first place. For all the fights they'd gone through, all the times he'd backed her up (and she backed him), all the arguments, debates, and conversations they had, the thing that had come closest to taking Entra from him - to ending her life - was his own damned fault.
One can only guess how things would've turned out for him had Entra not survived his terror-driven field surgery.
After all, love can drive a man mad.
Worry-stricken and guilt-ridden, Averii guarded her viciously until she regained consciousness. With apologies pouring like a waterfall, Averii declared his feelings for her (despite his own unfamiliarity with them). To honest surprise (and not to mention relief), despite a bit of hesitance, Entra forgave him - and returned his love in kind.
Thus began their first true steps into a forgotten, relatively alien realm to Irkens; one seen as senseless, mindless, even grounds for defectiveness, in these modern times; their first honest experience with what humans called 'love'.
Finally catching up to them, Mit and Lek stumbled in, half dead themselves, worn ragged, having to lead the rest of the troops on their own, and having hiked back to track them down; luckily, though, the had won.
Not that Averii really cared, moving to deck them again until the combined shouts from Lek, Mit, and Entra yanked him back down to reality. Sobered, they began to sort themselves out, and Averii ordered them to take it easy while he reported in to Strakke. He had technically deserted the front, of course. It'd take a bit more effort to make it through one of Strakke's lectures thasn usual - if he was lucky.
With that, the Firestarters began to make a return to their old selves again, resuming their classic line of organized chaos - and then some, as Averii took full responsibility for his actions, taking his punishment in front of the troops; what he intended to be the last one for all of them. Winning the respect of their men back, as their first year deployed to Sigis drew to a close, the name Firestarter began to cover more than just the four of them as they worked to connect to the troops. As the new year loomed, they came out swinging - and didn't stop until they'd finally left the system, having gone for a complete reform of how things were done.
It took time, and there were more losses - but in the end, Strakke decided to work with them, and the 12th became a well-oiled fighting machine, maintaining the standards established by the Firestarters under the command of now-Colonel Strakke.
Unfortunately, the Empire didn't win Sigis Major.
The Meekrob had begun a torch-and-burn operation, taking the data they could and destroying facilities as they began to retreat, ultimately reducing the whole system of Mund IV to roughly 50% of it's former efficiency, and leaving a whole host of pirates infesting the belts - until ultimately, in an act that still burns in the hearts and minds of Irken to this day, they destroyed the entire planet in an explosive blast.
Luckily, though, the 12th and the Firestarters were off-world by the time it went up, having been finally rotated out.
Years Nine to Ten - Sidelines EditAlthough the 12th had been on a major rebound in the past year, with the Firestarters proving to have a niche for deep-striking offense, due to their high casualty rate the entire unit was reassigned. Boarding outbound transports for the homeworld, the Karkians were put on what was essentially an upgraded police role, serving out of an orbiting garrison. Replenishing their numbers with fresh, wide-eyed recruits coming out of the Academy, the survivors of the Sigis campaign welcomed the relative peace - even Strakke admitted that it was a much-needed break, and universally the veterans counted their lucky stars when they heard of the destruction of Sigis only weeks later.
Handling everything from port security to police raids, as some of the most experienced command-capable staff aboard, 223 became what was essentially Strakke's go-to advisors. Especially so, in light of the 'outsiders' and 'fresh meat' coming into the unit, after the hell of Mund IV. Even with new Commanders, Captains, and Majors, Averii found himself speaking with Strakke often, now bearing the rank of Lieutenant-Commander; something he always found a bit funny, considering his earlier slip-ups with the 12th.
Leading and directing patrols around their home station, Averii took quickly to joyriding and playing daredevil in increasingly hazardous ways. Almost born to be an adrenaline junkie, it seemed, it was here one of his later hobbies took root; driving craft such as the Gash-Router through the rings of Irk, laughing his head off as he danced with death to entertain himself.
What was no laughing matter, however, was Averii's private affairs.
Freed from the pressures and torment of Sigis, the constriction and moment-to-moment fears that had once plagued him had dissipated - and in their place sat anxiousness and self-doubt as he dealt with Entra, all because of one little word - one that he barely knew the meaning of! Maybe love was hell!
He'd been worried out of his mind, guilt-ridden, unsure if she'd live or die - what if it was just heat-of-the-moment, some adrenaline-charged thing that only a fight could keep together?
Was it a mistake? What would Strakke do to him? What would his friends do if they found out he was indulging himself in such selfish things, and with Entra of all people!? Love was a particularly touchy forbidden fruit, after all! No matter what Lek said, it was always just joking around; they all knew that they'd be violating some obscure law, somehow, and that it'd never be worth it! Why risk it? What is it? Was it even legitimate? Did she even really care?
It didn't help that Entra seemed to be a phantom, there one moment and gone the next.
As his doubt came to a head, Averii found himself distancing himself from everyone, trying to make sense of things, and it came to a head when the very root of his thoughts confronted him. Evasive, nervous, and jumpy, Entra had caught him and countered him with focus, calm, and firmness, their meeting growing into an argument of sorts, with concern breaking into conflict.
Between the two of them, their grievances came a few simple questions.
"Is what I feel real?"
Through their zealous concern, it certainly felt real - adrenaline might've been part of how it started, sure, but adrenaline didn't drive them to hide - or seek eachother out.
Within each of them was a fire. One at once bright, hot, and protective; fiercely independent, yet intertwined.
With Lek, Averii was content to let him go off on his own, and suffer the (lighter) consequences of his yapping mouth. Yet with Entra, he was always ready to jump in - even at minor provocations.
With Mit, Ave seemed generally fine with leaving him to his devices - yet with Entra, he'd do his best to keep close.
With everything else, Averii took it in stride - until she was involved.
With Entra, Ave, in general, worried a helluva lot more - not that she couldn't handle herself, but he couldn't bear to let anything happen to her on his watch.
Especially after Sigis.
"...What do I really feel?"
Words followed by their first kiss; a confirmation of their feelings.
In a word, it was passion; and at the same time, compassion.
Fiercely protective of Entra, she herself had grown to simply know Ave - to not just understand him, but to feel him, to soak herself in empathy. They didn't just stop at knowing eachother, either - they were damned ready to give their lives for eachother.
Just a few components of love.
"...Is it wrong?"
As far as they were concerned, it didn't matter.
At least, as long as no one found out. Couldn't be too careful, either; after all, even while cutting loose, there's an inherent risk of discovery if they let their pleasure and passion blind eachother.
Words only reinforced as Lek and Mit's jaws could almost be heard dropping.
Despite some rockiness in smoothing out any issues Lek and Mit had (or would've made), Averii's personal affairs were soon straightened out - and were better than ever, in fact.
The rest of the Firestarters' time with the 12th Karkians was relatively peaceful and uneventful, and they finished their tour of duty with ease, being given temporary housing until they got themselves a job, or were redeployed.
As Captain Talbolt of the Vengeance pulled into their lives once more, returning to Irk after a lengthy deployment, they quickly found themselves being thrown back into the fray, attached as command staff aboard the mighty Viral Tank.
Year Eleven - Resurgence and Fraudulence Edit
In the wake of the return of his first - and favorite - commander, the Firestarters were unable to ignore Talbolt as he pulled into port - nor could they ignore his tempting offer of a few open infantry command slots aboard the Vengeance. So, at best, they were out of a job only for a few days before the four signed back on, taking on long-term command and advisory roles aboard the Vengeance.
Welcomed aboard once more with great enthusiasm by their Captain, as well as the remainder of the original crew, the Firestarters enjoyed a good amount of fanfare - even, surprisingly, from Lurch; one of Averii's equals aboard, having stuck on even through his embarrassment years ago. Having risen to prominence, despite Talbolt's own reservations, he claimed to have buried the hatchet, so to speak.
Not that Ave felt any better about him - or about the ship, for that matter, coming into detachment of troops that had been under Lurch's exclusive direction since the previous Lieutenant-Commanders fell in battle. Amidst so many unfamiliar faces who'd been under that thumb, Ave couldn't help but feel wary and cautious aboard the ship. Not one to gamble in such a scenario, he made it a point for the Firestarters to stick together - almost never leaving Entra's side, himself.
The rest of the team, too, reported the sensation of eyes constantly watching them; a feeling that continued to press on them as time went on, with the team growing accustomed to their responsibilities.
With Lurch, under the direction of one Commander Xyg, Averii had the overarching responsibility of organizing and directing troops during operations, coordinating with Lurch and acting as a link from command to his squads. In the field, he also acted as one of two voices of authority - his counterpart being, of course, Lurch. Really, what he did under Strakke; in fact, that's what the rest of the Firestarter's jobs really boiled down to, if only with a few extras.
Lek, the first of Ave's lieutenants aboard the Viral Tank essentially continued running sniper teams, directing them in person as Averii's chief overwatch and recon specialist. When they needed some precise cover, or a solid peek over a ridge or ten, he was Ave's first choice.
Of course, when he needed to make cover or plow through those ridges, Mit was his man. At his disposal weren't just teams of eager and ready pyromaniacs, or copious amounts of explosives, but the authority to call in bombardments and airstrikes from orbit. Not to mention any artillery guns or other armor on standby.
Granted, none of them would be getting that much done without Entra keeping everything running. Graduating from standard comms and cybersecurity responsibilities to logistics and defense in general, Entra worked less with mere computers, and more with automated attack bots, such as the Hunter Destroyer, as well as other various vehicles. With computers and robots as her forte, Entra managed much of the behind-the-scenes work that kept their detachment strong on deployments.
Overall, they did settle into their positions, and began to grow familiar and adept with the soldiers under their command. The Firestarters began to become a popular set of officers among the crew once more - and with his favorites restored to him, Talbolt made sure to make use of them. Although officers of their stature would ideally stay far from the front, with such a skilled and close set of veterans, the Captain made good use of them as a precise, elite kill-team whose caliber was rarely matched out of the crew.
Outside of combat, drama was relatively rare, save for whatever hell Lek raised.
That, and when Talbolt had called Averii to his office - along with Entra - and pried their secret out of them with a decisive 'How long have you two been an item?' Shocked and terrified, their jaws were agape - at least, until Entra frantically denied such a question, and Averii begged for Talbolt's forgiveness.
There, it was Talbolt's turn to let his jaw drop, having been half-sarcastic, calling them in for a card game.
A bit of warning on the dangers of romance and the unprofessional nature of the relationship later, he smiled, congratulated them, and gave them a few pointers himself before he laid out the cards.
A bit shell-shocked, the couple somewhat soaked up his advice - and would hear plenty more as time went on.
However, the quadrumvirate of the Firestarters was soon disrupted after only a few brief months in service.
Returning from a particularly successful deployment to a pacification mission, disaster struck in an apparent accident that claimed the life of Commander Xyg. Almost consuming the entirety of a hangar pod, the ship itself was temporarily crippled, with dozens of casualties and millions in damaged equipment. Initially, the crew itself entered a period of grim mourning as they struggled to return to port; most of them were still alive, the explosion at least having gone off before most of them had returned.
However, that grim mourning was replaced by an almost feverish rage as evidence pointed to sabotage committed by none other than Mit; or at the very least, fatal negligence. Spearheaded by a few of the lower lieutenants and sergeants in the ship's infantry detachment, a growing almost riot-like cry for blood spread among them, vying for Mit to take responsibility, and pay for his mistakes.
Rallying to his side, Averii refused to let Mit take the blame; at least, until proper evidence showed up; Entra and Lek, of course, were right behind, if the former was a bit more reluctant. Interestingly (but welcomingly) enough, Lurch himself joined him in his defense, pushing for a proper investigation by the authorities; and eventually, through his influence and calm, Lurch seemed to soothe the concerns and fears of the troops, appearing strong in a time of crisis.
Then, as they pulled into port, a complete lockdown was imposed as the strict and intimidating forces of the Imperial Eval-Force's Adjucators took control, headed by the veteran officer-manhunter, Skabb.
Combing through the ranks, Skabb put everyone to the grinder as he headed interrogations, putting even Lurch into a cold sweat - and especially Averii and Entra, for obvious reasons. Not only did their little relationship pose a significant risk in the presence of Adjucators, but their direct ties to Mit did them no favors. Mit himself had plenty of time under the magnifying glass, being a chief suspect in their investigation. Eventually, as days turned into weeks, the crew grew restless once more; Lurch himself grew doubtful of Mit's innocence, and to put salt in the wound, rumors began to spread of the direct involvement of the Firestarters; the possibility that they themselves were traitors.
However, such rumors were quenched rather quickly, like a candle under a torrent of water.
Mit was finally cleared of any charges, with irrefutable evidence and testimony after testimony in his favor backing his innocence. The Adjucators slackened their grip, and finally, the crew could catch their breath.
Though, not without a plethora of arrests, fines, and brig-time for much of them. As it turned out, Skabb had rooted out a significant number of issues and violations - and despite a majority of them being minor, evidence pointed to all sorts of things aboard the vessel being amiss. From a black market of contraband in the engineering decks, to corruption and bribery poking and prodding at certain departments as such things were hidden from the prying eyes of command.
Chief among Skabb's discoveries, however, was proof of sabotage - and of the corruption aboard the Vengeance being spread far and wide beyond it's underbelly.
Thus, having caught the scent of treason and conspiracy, much of the crew was shuffled off, and the Vengeance was ordered under the authority of the Adjucators, with Talbolt, Lurch, Ave, and the rest of the Firestarters sucked in with them. A hunt for blood had begun, and would not end until the web they'd stumbled into had been burnt to a crisp.
Year Twelve - Purge of a Scourge Edit
Commandeered by the Adjucators, the Vengeance was placed under the command of Inquisitor Halc - a distinguished, experienced, and merciless officer of the Eval-Force. Although she was still Talbolt's ship, the Viral Tank was under Halc's authority - if not by law, then by practice, as the majority of the crew - mostly the fresh - were transferred off and replaced by Adjucators and Subjugators. Older, trusted personnel and those vital to the operations of the ship were left in their place, such as Talbolt's XO, or Averii and Lurch, commanding what little remained of the ship's infantry detachment. Over them, Skabb took hold of the late Commander's position, and the ship was effectively under the boot of the Empire's manhunters.
Scouring the depths of space, from the fringes of Imperial territory to it's bloated arteries, such as Devastis or Foodcourtia, the Firestarters were already on edge, having come out of the sabotage fiasco. Even moreso, however, were Averii and Entra, as damn near every man onboard posed a sizeable threat to them - not to mention what privacy they had.
Regardless of his tension, however, Averii did come to greatly respect the Adjucators - and not just for the rumors.
Capable and firm warriors, although meticulous (and at times outright tedious) in their application of the law, they each carried themselves with a certain seriousness. Stoic and with their judgements set in stone, to say they were zealous would be to mislabel them; quiet and thorough, they rarely made a scene.
While at times it creeped him out, reminding him a bit too much of the academy, they rarely faltered in their duties, and for personnel meant more for policework, they were damned good with a gun. If he ever found himself in a trench, an officer would do just fine.
Maybe not Halc, though; what little scrapes Ave had with him were enough to tell him that he was dangerous.
Adjucator Skabb, himself Halc's direct charge, was interestingly enough one of the more amicable of the lawmen. A certainly competent tactician, thorough detective, and swift of mind, Averii found himself interacting with them rather often; at least, more than he did with the others. Sharing in their desire to serve the Empire, Skabb grew to favor Averii over their pursuit of the heart of this little treasonous thread they'd found. Eventually, he, too, served as a sort of mentor - but where Talbolt had been a more lenient voice of reason, Skabb grew to be a stricter voice of duty.
Hell, Tal and Skabb even got into shouting matches over their ideologies as Ave watched on in half-terror.
Coming to exercise his prior experience in police raids and pirate battles, he proved quite skilled and adept in the variety of situations they covered over the next year. Operating more quietly and covertly than usual, the Vengeance's bays full of heavy vehicles and it's armories stocked with high-power weapons saw little use in the pursuit of justice and security. Instead, quick deployments, lightning-raids, and the odd interrogation and barfight were the tools of the trade they'd been swept into.
Ripping through asteroid mining camps, back-alley dealers, high-office puppetmasters, and foreign conspirators constantly, as the Vengeance's new crew pulled on the thread, more and more of them appeared, the conspiracy unraveling before their very eyes. Then, just as suddenly, threads would go dead; suspects would vanish or show up dead; operations would've long scampered off; and failing that, the subjects of their visits would be packing heat.
Almost as if someone had warned them, Averii realized.
As if someone was aboard, and had slipped through the cracks.
Taking his suspicions to his Commander and his Captain, Averii was borderline shouted out and laughed out of their offices - Skabb refusing to think they'd missed anyone, with Tal concurring for once. Even his squad was doubtful; Entra herself worried that Ave was beginning to obsess over nothing.
After all, that meant it was either an Adjucator, one of the few in the Empire dedicated and qualified enough to give up a significant chunk of their lives in order to purge the unclean from within - or one of the few vets left aboard important and trustworthy enough to keep around.
Piecing together a puzzle on his own, things began to click into place - but not fast enough.
Impatient and growing desperate as things really did begin to get suffocating in the Vengeance, Ave turned to Lurch.
Meeting him in one of the best unmonitored sections of the ship, telling him of his suspicions, the data he'd collected, and of his lack of support, Averii laid his situation bare to Lurch. He was sure there was someone aboard, someone leaking information to the enemy, trying to keep things from looping back.
The truth was, Ave couldn't do it alone - and with no one else to turn to, he went to Lurch.
Arrogant Jackass. Manipulative bastard. Lurch.
Or, as Averii now called him, watching a killshot with a knife soar through his holoprojected double...
Backstabbing traitorous sonuvabitch.
As Lurch's curses and swears were broadcast through the ship, Ave had skipped a few threads, climbed his way back around the loop, and found his source, going in for the kill.
Barely escaping through an Officer's escape pod, Lurch crippled the ship as he left, disabling it's ability to pursue him, and most of the docked ships aboard.
Not that it stopped Averii as the Firestarters salvaged enough parts to shoot out a single ship in pursuit, backed by the support of Talbolt and Skabb as their spittle runner set off after the traitor, with Averii making a morbid promise to return with their head on a pike.
Attempting to lose them within the Empire's fringeworlds, Lurch eventually crash landed in Giedi Secundus, on Kharaa; the moon of Arraak Prime, a penal colony and source of beastly gladiator-animals.
Continuing their pursuit, the Firestarters set off, and despite Lurch's best attempts to fend them off, eventually he found himself cornered. Rather than die with his back to the wall, however, Lurch did what he could to go down swinging; always the egotistic hothead, beneath what exterior he maintained.
Armed with a mere half-charged pistol and a few knives, his gear having been whittled away by pursuit and the natives, Lurch managed to almost overcome all four of the Firestarters. Almost.
Taking refuge in a cavern filled with hot springs and lava flows, the heat and steam produced proved a solid camouflage for the stubborn male, and the formation itself gave the team only a few points of entry - all from outside, where the light shone bright, be it day or night thanks to the luminous Kharaa night.
Thus, funneled into a killzone and clearly highlighted against a bright backdrop, the Firestarters had no choice but to march into a trap to catch their prey - and trapped they were, as Lurch blew the entrance with the remainder of his power supplies.
Trapping Mit in the rubble, Lurch was quick to follow up, nearly blowing Lek's legs off and half-blinding him with a high-powered sideswipe glancing across his eyes. In the chaos and panic, as the remaining two returned fire, Lurch aimed his fire down at the water - and as steam filled the room, he was able to vanish.
Despite their injuries and inability to defend themselves, Lek and Mit urged Averii on - to finish their fight.
Following Lurch deeper into the cave, over boiling pools of water and simmering rivers of lava, they eventually found themselves in old ruins of some sort. Keeping alert, they kept their rifle at the ready and their spear by their side as Entra's guns covered the rear.
However, as he dropped from above, Lurch could only grin in delight as he kicked her over the edge, a knife in her back, and brought his teeth sinking into Averii. Biting into his neck, and jamming his last blade into his shoulder, Lurch had quickly gained the high ground - and sought to dispatch him quickly.
Entra, however, with decades to make up for, didn't take her fall so easily, and swung back around, planting her boots square in Lurch's back - sending him into a boiling pool, his PAK sent skittering across the rocks - and over a cliff's edge, never to be seen again.
Burning alive, his nerves practically melting away, and with his very life ticking away before his eyes Lurch began his final charge. Averii lifted his spear, placing himself between Entra and Lurch, and they said their last words.
Then, they got to it. After all, why should they be standing still when they've got blood to spill?
In the long-winded violence that ensued, Averii, in his love-maddened rage, and Lurch, in his hubristic final defiance, fought until they finally collapsed. Riddled with burns, cuts, bruises, and holes, they each gave as good as they got. Filled with passion and primality, they'd each charged into eachother amidst the steam and smoke of water and fire; yet in the end, as Lurch's life began to slip away, and Averii's grip on his own growing shaky, the green-eyed, square-jawed male had one last act to pull as he aimed his last shot at himself.
Entra, however, beat him to it, blasting the gun from his hand, preferring to deliver the final blow herself - and with Averii, fulfilled their grim promise.
Eventually, the Adjucators caught up with the team, and dug them from the rubble of the caves as they fought through the jungle to find their lost hunters and prey.
Their job over, Inquisitor Halc returned the Vengeance to Talbolt as they returned to Irk, and the Firestarters earned some much-needed rest after a tumultuous series of months, recuperating under Talbolt's watchful eye.
Years Thirteen to Nineteen - A Blur and a Rush Edit
Recovering on the homeworld, living under their Captain's care, the Firestarters returned to service (and a fully stocked ship) after a long few months. A bit worse for wear, but still just the same, the squad was as tight as ever - and grew better as time went on, as it always had.
Even if Lek's eyes were made of metal, or if Mit's limbs made robot noises.
The rest of the decade came to pass quickly - yet slowly.
Restocked and with a fresh crew, and a new Commander, the Firestarters continued to live the lives of Irken soldiers.
A couple years down the line, Tallest Miyuki died, allegedly by the hands of the Vortians. Not long after, the Irk-Vort alliance soon broke down, and the Irken-Vortian Schism began - introducing a new period of tension, contest, and conquest, in turn inviting conflict, protest, and rebellion.
Patrols grew common, and what was once the occasional revolt and skirmish now came often.
Fight after fight, day after day, the Firestarters persevered, and battle after battle, Averii found himself with Entra.
For almost eight years, the cycle would continue, and finally, their service would finally near it's end.
As the cruelty of life is, however, tragedy was bound to strike.
Returning from the Imperial fringes near the Vortian colonies, Averii had been contemplating the future for the first time in a while. For almost 20 years, he'd served in combat and pulled far more than his own weight - and he'd certainly left his mark, with the Firestarters growing in fame. Not quite among the names of the Elites, though.
On one hand, he could call it here; return to the homeworld, or perhaps go out to the frontier with Entra, make lives for themselves and take it easy. Settle down. A family, though, was out of the question; the Empire, no matter what fantasy he lived, would never permit it. Not unless some major disaster came up.
Somewhere in his head, his childhood dreams still ran, though.
While part of him had enough, another wanted more.
More glory, power, fame, fortune, and prestige. Recognition.
To go on, continue in the military; to grasp opportunity by the throat, and ride what he knew to the end.
In short, part of him wanted to take next year's Elite trials, and become just as prominent as his smeethood heroes. The squad was certainly experienced and competent enough; they were a little chaotic together, sure, but they worked, and that was that. Elites were the best of the best, and he was damned if they weren't good enough after twenty years of combat experience!
Plus, if you were lucky, you earned that little surname honor, and all the rights that came with it.
Including the right to mate; to start a family, and take on a heritage, and bring honor to it with a new legacy.
He knew Lek and Mit would be going for it; no reason to stop where they are. But Entra, however...
She was an unknown variable, and she was all that mattered, when it came down to it. They were just too close to just end it and move on; it simply wasn't possible.
As civilians, they could really get to know peace; relax and settle down, to let go of the wars and fights they'd been in, and cut loose.
As Elites, however, they could go far, grow into fame; to do what they knew how to do, and do it well; perhaps even secure a better life than they could hope for today. Perhaps they could secure a family; and do it legally, if anything.
Eventually, he got around to asking her.
However, he never got a response.
Ambushed by a small fleet of boarding vessels and strike craft, the Vengeance was disabled, ravaged, and lobotomized quickly and suddenly. From the shadows of asteroids, moons, and gas giants, the fleet grew, and the ship, caught between escorts, was overwhelmed. It's engines were smashed, it's bays blown out, and it's bridge crushed as the enemy threw themselves at it in a near-suicidal rush.
Breached violently and boarded by swarms of raving pirates, Averii found himself in command of the entire ship as the majority of the command crew was either dead or out of action. Caught with their pants down, the Vengeance had a tough fight, and one that seemed like it's last, at that. The crew fought tooth and nail under his emergency direction, fighting valiantly to push the enemy back and establish a line as they tried to get a distress call out, hoping to reach anyone as the enemy seemed intent on slavetaking and ship-snatching.
Confined to an emergency command room, Averii was forced to split the Firestarters in this dark hour.
Committed to command, whether he liked it or not, Ave himself continued to direct the defense as best he could. Within Engineering, Mit took control, working to keep the inner workings of the ship from being breached, and to keep everything running as best he could to prevent the pirates from gaining any kind of foothold. On the front, within the remnants of the ship's Hangar Bays, Lek played the deadliest game of countersniper he'd ever been in as he directed minute-to-minute defenses and micromanagement. Meanwhile, within the Medbay, Entra directed rearguard and medical actions, Averii somewhat biased in an attempt to shield her from danger - yet as the medbay overflowed, it proved valuable anyway.
Many crewmen died trying to hold the line, with Averii's 'No-Surrender' mentality driving them to fight to the very last breath; however, scores of pirates died in turn, with service drones and hardened soldiers alike fighting side-by-side. Despite the cost in casualties alone, however, Averii paid a very personal price.
Following the battle, only two of the Firestarters returned; Lek and Mit, in bodybags. Dead. He kept their PAKs.
Lek himself had been finally outfoxed for once; finally more talk than shot, he'd gone down midsentence, and with his loss, the front was pushed back. Mit, meanwhile, gave himself to seal Engineering, with detonators failing as the enemy pushed, forcing him to send himself out in a bang to protect the sensitive systems of the ship. Then, as things seemed bleak, Averii forced his way to the medbay as the enemy made their way there, aiming to take slaves.
Fortunately, reinforcements finally arrived, and the tide began to turn.
Unfortunately, they arrived too late.
As Averii chased a trail of destruction and blood out of the Medbay, pointed by the exhausted, broken fingers of his fallen Captain, he could only watch as a hulking monster of a Planet Jacker made off with the slumped form of Entra on his shoulder, retreating into a boarding pod as it jumped away, escaping.
Thus, Averii's world was shattered.
Then, it reformed as his heart began to burn with a fiery rage.
One question permeated his mind, amidst a storm of mixed emotions dominated by his fury.
Almost blindingly, it burned itself into his head.
W h e r e i s s h e ?
Years 120 to 147 - Cyclops Edit
His friends. His lover.
Just about everyone he cared for.
Averii, in the bloody aftermath of the battle that had taken almost everyone he trusted his life with, took to venting himself on the surviving pirates that had been taken prisoner. While effective, his methods were...
Bloody. Fatally so.
He gathered plenty of intelligence, sure, but with all the bodies he was leaving, and with his service at an end, Command pulled him out of duty, and was placed on the shuttle home with the wounded.
Enraged, all he could do was obey, and wait on the sidelines.
After all, he was a Soldier.
Aboard the transport, it wasn't very crowded.
The injured had either died on the field, or been dragged off by the enemy to be pressed into slavery. Ironic, in a way.
However, he did run into his Captain once more.
Missing an eye, and with various bones shattered, he was still able to smile as Averii made his way over; albeit a hollow one, as they both felt the weight of the dead upon their shoulders.
That, and the weight of the missing.
Talbolt kept their conversation brief with a final order to Averii.
Settle the debt, and get even for them. All of them.
Averii himself made it clear that only blood would pay for this; and all that Talbolt could say was 'I know.'
As soon as Irken Elite Testing opened, he journeyed to Devastis at the earliest opportunity, seeing a key to his answers and the fast-track to the battles he wanted in his reach. After all, they were the Best of the Best, the Elites. Highly independent, chose where they wanted to work, most of the time.Just what he needed, given that he pass the trials.Damned if he wasn't determined, because that he did. Pressing himself fiercely and relentlessly through the tests and rituals, he had only one shot for the next 70 years - and he was damned sure to make it.
With the brand burned into his skull, Lieutenant Commander Averii had become an Elite, Class One; a fresh inductee, but by no means a wide-eyed cadet. To an extent, he became a hollow shell of anger and seriousness, devoid of pride and humor, a contrast to the more zealous and proud among the other recruits.
At one time, this would've been a dream come true; finally an Irken Elite. Among the best of the best.
Now, though, it was only a bitter reminder of what had been taken from him.
Amidst the others, he kept to himself, and for much of his brief tenure as a Class One, he was an isolated maelstrom of violence in combat. He followed his orders, sure, but when paired with a partner, squad, or an entire unit of other troops, he was essentially a lone wolf until directed otherwise, leaving a red wake in his path. They were brutal, the enemy; pirates, rebels, terrorists, and other dissidents. But him. He'd be worse.
When he did socialize, it was brief and aggressive, which coupled with his combat tendencies gained him a bit of infamy among his fellow soldiers, with all sorts of nicknames cropping up.
Among the most long-lived of them was Cyclops, coming from a half-insult someone had flung at him over his one-eyed helmet. Other nicknames included Bloodtrail, Lancer, Nailbrain, and more, each with their own various stigmas and longevity.
Never again was he called Firestarter, however, for it was the title of a dream, dead and gone.
Armed at first with basic equipment, Averii's arsenal quickly expanded, due in part to his new authority as an Elite, and his violently effective performance in the field. Among his new and enhanced tools of the trade that he'd come to use were weapons, such as the Voidsplitter; a large, heavy sort of 'super-shock-spear', capable of carving up the night with devastating beams of energy and impaling itself deep through bone alike, or the Orbitbreaker, his original rifle, if incredibly modified.
Most notable was the changes he made to his armor, where he was clad in black and red scaled plates, with an ominous, red-eyed bone white helmet; the eponymous Cyclops.
In the years to come, Cyclops would quickly turn from an insult into a haunting legend.
Graduating quickly from Class One, Averii climbed the ladder of the Elite hierarchy quickly - and began going alone.
Demanding assignment to counterpiracy operations, such as infiltration, he was cut loose with a ship and some weapons upon the enemy - and with this, he did his best to sound their death knells.Learning or strengthening skills he'd later need as an Invader, Averii would flex them with every calculated victory.
Pirate bands disintegrated from within, destabilized; hidden bases would simply vanish, imploding in on themselves; legions of prisoners would be harvested from normally obscure worlds, suddenly surrounded by the enemy, and defenseless. Even fleets would be ambushed, led into traps, or torn apart from within as their own ships began to fire on one another. For nearly fifty years, Averii continued this bloody streak of terror, slipping through the cracks and stabbing the enemy exactly where it hurt.
Practically already an Invader, given what he'd done.
Eventually, however, his rage-fueled fire died down.
For what stretched into decades, he searched tirelessly for Entra; and yet he found nothing.
Not even a body.
Years 148 to 154 - Reignition Edit
Spirits came to grow low, for Averii.
He came to enjoy combat, sure; but it was hollow without her. Without anyone.
Talbolt tried to help; they kept in contact rather constantly. Hell, Ave even lived out of his attic, more or less, when he wasn't in the field. Every year, he'd take him out somewhere, a cruise, vacation, what have you - always as a grim anniversary of the ambush. As time had gone on, he'd graduated from tier to tier, having finally become Class 7.
Then, however, as Averii pieced through the PAKs of his fallen comrades, he stumbled upon something - and the dead began to speak once more.
Somehow, he'd activated some sort of consciousnesses - perhaps AI programs, of a sort, within Lek's PAK.
Not that he knew, right off, as Lek began to scream and shout in panic.
Eventually, after settling down and catching up, Averii once again had a friend; albeit, a disembodied voice coming from a metal backpack. Soon enough, he had two of them, with Mit being 'reactivated', as Ave called it.
Though he questioned his sanity briefly, the Firestarters came back together, in a way - and the embers remaining of his drive were stoked once more into a burning flame.Although merely using them for the odd chat, wary of anything truly amiss with the PAKs, soon enough Lek and Mit joined Averii in the field once more - somewhat. Mit, himself, was integrated into Ave's vessel, Rex, whereas Lek himself began to ride around, clipped to Ave's belt and acting as a second pair of eyes. At times, he even holoprojected himself - something that Ave, although pretty goddamn creeped out, soon grew used to.
Soon enough, someone else came into Ave's life.
Continually impressed by his capability, and seeking to augment it further, the Control Brains - quietly monitoring his progress and successes - assigned him to a partner once again. Hesitant and with low expectations, Ave had no choice but to really accept their orders, and shipped out immediately to rendezvous with them in the field.
The first time Averii met Mydra, he thought he'd gone insane as the Psi-adept Irken literally levitated.
Eventually, however, they came to be outright devastating together, the Cyclops and the Psychic.
Thin and deceptively strong, Mydra herself was a quiet-seeker - and also a powerful warrior, as Averii came to learn, capable of things he hadn't even thought possible - both in combat, and out. Bringing a whole new area of strategies to the table, Myd's impressive control over her mind proved instrumental, more often than not - and when it wasn't, Averii's brute force was more than ready to take up the slack. Serving as brains and brawn together, of a sort, the two went on to be incredibly effective - if somewhat awkward together.
Averii himself continued his quiet tendencies, chatting with Lek and Mit as he obsessed over anything they'd recovered. Keeping his helmet on, he never really bothered to talk to her - meanwhile, Mydra seemed to grow frustrated with him on a regular basis. Constantly surprised by Ave, and unable to read him, he appeared as a mystery to her - and one that grew deeper as she began to peer into his work.
Quickly, Averii realized that she was trying to solve him - beginning to try and crawl through all the information she could get on him, he moved to pull the plug - and then confronted her.
Removing his helmet for once, he introduced himself to her all over again, and proposing a deal.
Stop digging into his past. In exchange, he'd simply tell her himself.
Thus ended the first few weeks between Averii and Mydra, and from it was born a true partnership.
In the weeks after, what started as this fragile deal grew into a chance to simply talk to someone new. Mydra herself was already an anomaly to Averii; a Psychic, singled out as psi-sensitive in the academy, and grown through isolation and training into the sort of shut-in she was today. Motivated not by zeal or pride, she wanted independence and calm - coming across as a free spirit, almost imprisoned by her handlers until she escaped into the Elites.
Surrounded by the simple and dishonest, she was honest when she told him that she thought he'd be another egotist. Aiming to prove her wrong, Averii began to not just surprise her, but entertain her. Looking to keep things varied and spiced up, Ave always aimed to give her something interesting - but never the complete story.
He could never really explain Entra to her - especially not now.
Day by day, week by week, they began to figure one other out, howevere. From combat to the mess hall, they'd begin to pick up on little tells and habits, and began to mesh and fight faster and more ferociously than before.
Even outside of work, Mydra seemed to gravitate towards Averii, outright spending entire leaves with him, rather than spending them alone, meditating or practicing. Talbolt himself was ecstatic to meet her, inviting her along on their little vacations - even Lek introduced himself to her, to some dramatic (and panic-inducing) fanfare.
However, Mydra always sensed that missing truth in their conversations. Too curious and shy for her own good, she eventually went looking - and not through the infochannels, but in his mind.
Although stone-willed, there was one time where his defenses could fail - when he slept, and welcomed the night's embrace, opening himself to whatever nightmares and dreams awaited. Perfect prey for a prying psionic.
That night, he felt something touch his mind - and at first, he shrugged it off as just an odd dream.
Though as Mydra grew distant, almost contemplative on something, Ave's suspicions nagged at him, and he finally confronted her over it.
In the end, their partnership was shattered.
In the end, their friendship had nearly died.
In the end, Mydra confessed to Averii.
Having violated their deepest layer of privacy, and their oldest agreement, Mydra had learned of Entra - and to boot, offered to comfort Averii over her, the long-lost core of his obsession, willing to make amends and help him cope.
Blinded by her betrayal, and his own anger, Averii simply left, with a final pause as Mydra tried to stop him.
To Lek's bewilderment, the Cyclops and the Psychic split - eventually, with Mydra leaving the Elites in shame.
Even today, she tries to apologize - and even today, Averii still can't forgive her - or himself.
Years 155 to 161 - Operational Setbacks Edit
With his fire reignited and stoked even hotter, Averii carved through the enemy relentlessly once more.
As time passed, and the new Tallest solidified their rule, Ave was eventually selected as one of many candidates for the upcoming Operation Impending Doom, where he'd join others in deep infiltration missions to enemy worlds. Given more trials to pass, Averii went through - and passed with flying colors, earning his place as an Invader.
During one of his final tests with equipment, however, he was nearly killed in a violent case of friendly fire and computer error; an incident that occurred during an intelligence gathering test with a SIR unit.
Coded SIR-1201-A, the unit and he were performing rather efficiently in the field, identifying targets, points of interest, and gathering data in a field exercise. From populated civilian streets to the heart of a military facility, they avoided detection, and worked together effectively.
At least, until the pair triggered the military base's security grid.
With turrets opening up and security bots deploying, Averii and 1201 (later the combat-bot known as BLU) were quickly surrounded, and without heavy armaments, were like lambs to the slaughter if they left cover. Requesting backup and assistance, Ave and the SIR dug in, attempting to fight off the machines.
They were doing pretty good, too, until the backup arrived, and delivered a misaimed rocket right on top of them.
Battered, broken, even legally dead for a short time, Averii was lucky not to be torn to pieces, with everything from head to toe, front to PAK, was slammed by the blast. Sticking to his side, and injured itself, the SIR obeyed it's programming as it attempted to revive him, alerting more emergency units. Despite failure for a worrying few minutes, combined with the PAK's own resuscitating shock, Ave began to breathe once more - yet so injured was he that he had to be placed in a healing coma, and would miss Impending Doom entirely.
As his PAK tried to revive him, scarred by the explosion. Nonetheless, the SIR, obeying its programming directives, stuck by his side as it alerted emergency response units. Despite failure to return his heartbeat for a worrying amount of time, however, it was successful, yet the injuries were so extensive he was to be placed in a healing coma, forcing him to miss Operation Impending Doom.
Fortunately, as it would turn out.
Years 162 to 168 - Impending Doom's Aftermath Edit
Upon reawakening a couple months after Invader Zim's misguided rampage, Ave was placed into standby by the Control Brains as repair efforts and mourning filled the Empire. Despite his strong internal disagreement with their decision, he was completely unable to vocally challenge them.
He was still a soldier, after all.
Thus, Averii resigned to his non-combat fate reluctantly and decided to put the time to good use, despite initial resentment, and the SIR unit that continued to follow him.
Firstly, he needed a real residence, however, sick of living out of his ship for the last few decades. In the chaos following the failure and disaster wrought by Zim, though, few residences were available, and those that were would cost him quite a bit, even with his savings and pay.
Fortunately, Talbolt resolved to just outright let Ave live out of his place, given a small monthly rent was paid, and Averii quickly agreed with his former commanding officer. To this day, Averii's official residence is Suite 1201; shared with Tal, he's done much behind the scenes, such as integrating a fort's worth of defenses into it. Not that the owners of the rest of the building actually know that.Essentially forced into civilian life, Ave began to try and tinker and train as weeks became months, then years.Fixing up his new home with all sorts of features, Averii converted the top floor to his domain, making it a combination workshop-security hub - and within it, he got to work. When not working on fitting more guns somewhere in the penthouse, he was cleaning and maintaining his weapons; when not doing that, he was experimenting with attachments and derivatives, and when not doing that, he took to experimenting with the damaged SIR that hounded him like a puppy.
Studying Engineering at the same time, Averii's experiments on the SIR led to the first iteration of what he called BLU; Battlefield Longevity Underminer. Built from spare parts and leftover pieces, the machine, although still short, quickly became distinct - and powerful, as Averii worked to stuff all sorts of gadgets into him.
Guns, blades, saws, knives, missiles, claws, and more made their way into the machine as time went on - and to test them, Averii went downstairs, to the Training Room's simulator, another subject of his time away from frontline combat. A perfect escape from reality, Averii came to generally use the simulator for everything from combat exercise, prototype testing, and even plain entertainment.
It became a little more exciting, too, when he discovered how to turn off the simulator's safety features.
Not exactly one for going out and enjoying Irk's nightlife, Ave's life soon found itself host to all sorts of little projects and experiments, his days filled with training and tinkering. Eventually, though, he did find himself out on the town, if only because Tal had convinced him to help out at the bar, or grab some things from the store - eventually taking on hobbies such as poetry, writing, and music, in his spare time.
Though, there wasn't much that could replace the rush he got taking a hovercraft into orbit, and steering it through Irk's rings with reckless disregard for his own personal safety; something he got around to doing more often.
Largely, though, he never really left the home system, save for the annual vacation. Some might say he mellowed.
Eventually, Impending Doom 2 began to form, however, and he was called back into service.
Year 169 to Present Edit
Pulled out of the fridge, so to speak, Averii was first promoted to 'Senior Invader-Class'.
Being among the last of those originally qualified, Ave was therefore the most qualified to oversee the training of the next generation of them; an assignment he took to with great enthusiasm, having been waiting for so long. His expertise was in demand, and he could only oblige as he finally had a proper job again.
Although he was not directly involved with most of the actual training and trials that the new generation underwent, Ave was still on hand to offer his advice when they were selecting operatives and putting them through tests. Generally, although a bit less capable than their OID I predecessors, most of the subjects were what they needed. They would do, although not as handsomely as the last batch; such is what happens when one gathers the cream of the crop, only to have it blasted apart by particle cannons and plasma.More interesting than note-taking and mourning, however, was Ave's little uses of materials and tools to continue his habits of tinkering. Signing out various components and alloys, in addition to more complicated tools, Ave's workshop was quickly bolstered and stocked, allowing his private projects to grow in scale and ability. New machinery and parts found their way in, and all sorts of home-grown prototypes and modifications came out.The pinnacle of these was BLU's second iteration; a similar design, but quite simply grown into a hulking beast of metal, stocked with all sorts of weaponry.
Although a few took notice, few questioned him, and none challenged him - aside from a few overly inquisitive drones.
Perhaps the large, increasingly armed combat android was a part of it.
Meanwhile, as the trials wrapped up once again, Averii found his notes - the useful ones, at least - being put to good use as he oversaw the assignment of 32 worlds to 32 Invaders. Some of them were of more importance than others, for sure - for example, a world such as Blorch was, in all practicality, a pointless assignment for an Invader, being host to primitives - serving more as extended trials than actual conquests.
Others, such as Meekrob or Vort, were significant assignments that could make or break the efforts of the Armada. Averii himself hoped for a world of such value, yet at the same time, he couldn't envy those who got them; they were tall orders, especially for lone agents such as the Invaders.
Finally, the trials ended, and all Averii could do once more was wait for the call to Impending Doom II.
The rumors were everywhere; that it'd be held on Devastis, or Irk once more; that it'd be assembled in the great briefing hall of the Massive, and that there'd wouldn't be a great assigning at all. However, with fans of ceremony like the current Almighty Tallest, it was really a no brainer that they'd host it on a world meant to hold massive gatherings. Thus, when it was revealed that it'd be held on Conventia, it was no big surprise - at least, not to Ave.
After all, Irk itself was still in recovery, and it was good to keep it away in case of another disaster.
Laying out his best uniform, and assembling a mask of professionalism and seriousness, Averii was eventually the last Invader to leave Irk for the assembly world.
As if it was a bad omen, the Universe then seemed like it began to single biggest campaign it could to prevent him from reaching the Great Assigning on time; and it was a successful one, at that.
Traffic problems, fuel issues, navi-errors, even space pirates cropped up as Averii found himself dragged through a hell of frustration that dumped him in an ocean of shame and embarrassment. Kept waiting for hours by faulty Traffic Control protocols, hit with engine trouble and faulty fuel gauges, thrown into a Quarantine Zone of all places, and held up by a small gang of Pirates, by the time he reached Conventia, he'd slipped back into his Elite tendencies, with wreckage and destruction trailing his rage-filled voyage.
He'd let no pirate or decontamination protocol stop him.
However, that was far from letting them slow him, and as he arrived as the Assigning broke up, with Invaders and attendees leaving left and right, it was the most he could do to keep his blood from boiling, and his heart stopping, as he was hailed by the Massive itself.
It probably didn't help he wasn't in a pleading mood when the faces of the Almighty Tallest appeared on-screen.
Shouted at, yelled over, and outright interrupted by the Tallest as he tried to explain himself, Averii quickly learned a few things in the commotion and arguing that ensued.
Firstly, his world?
Taken from him, and reassigned to some other Invader.
Secondly, any chance of being assigned?
Out the window. Should've begged for forgiveness.
The only thing between him and an outright complete reencoding and reassignment as a Janitorial Drone of all things wasn't his history, his experience, his prowess, or even his loyalty. Don't even care about the fact that he oversaw the training of the people they were sending behind enemy lines. Senior Invader? Sounded made up, to them!
Oh, no, oh no no no, it was his HEIGHT.
So, in the end, instead of sucking vacuum (or filth with a vacuum), he was given a banishment - though what they called it was an 'assignment'. He liked training the Invaders so much, did he? He'd love Hobo 13, then! That's all they do there, anyway!
With that, they cut the transmission, and a few escorts peeled off to oversee that he proceeded to his 'assignment'.
As of present, Averii labors daily, seeking any possible excuse he can take whatsoever to get off-world for once, forced to manage the daily military training, day in an day out, on the desolate desert training world of Hobo 13. Although an adept trainer, for sure, and although he found it at least somewhat enjoyable, by no means does Averii see it as a permanent assignment. Doesn't stop him from taking pride in it, at least.
Lately, he's had a few run-ins with some unique individuals, such as Darrz, and gotten wrapped up in some interesting drama with people such as Mario and Jib, and has taken on a charge by the name of Vigil; or Vil, for short.
Appearance and Equipment of Note Edit
Physical Appearance Edit
Bodily speaking, Averii is neither short nor tall - he's caught in the middle. Or at least, the upper end of the middle.
For an Irken.
At five feet, four inches (or 1.63 meters, depending on your preference), Ave's taller than most, shorter than some, but in the end he generally evens out as simply average, edging out above his peers, but unable to compare to his elders. With a slim, fit build, Averii regularly exercises and trains with everything from treadmills and weights to simulations and multiplied gravity - and it pays off, being capable of packing a formidable amount of strength and speed into a relatively compact frame, despite the typical less than healthy Irken diet of sugar and snacks he partakes in.
His antennae are a bit longer and better-defined than most, and just as sensitive as the next person's. His hands and feet are relatively standard; three fingers, three toes. In terms of skintone, Averii is something of a 'tanned' green, not being particularly vibrant or dark, but not exactly pale or colorless. Primarily, his real standout feature are his blue eyes, a sort of rarity among Irkens, with matching colors for his PAK. When picking him out of crowds, these two features would be the go-to identifier - at least, if he wasn't wearing anything unique.Notably, across his upper body, Averii has a whole spectrum of scars left from his days in the military - as well as truly ancient mishaps dating back to the academy, with his shock-flog scars still present, if faded. He primarily keeps them out of a mix of stubbornness and laziness - they're no harm (not anymore, anyway), and they can serve as great mementos, reminders, and at times, icebreakers.
A bit less regular in his outfits, Averii has a bit more variety and spice to his clothes than the usual military operative - something he loves, having grown to hate the usual garb.
Typically, he wears his clothes in two to three layers in red and black.
The first layer, worn just over his skin, is a black skinsuit. Rather simple, and a standard issue piece for most all Irkens, it comes in a sort of hexed pattern, and is designed to protect it's wearer from heat, water, the cold, and short spurts in airless environments. Similarly to the smeet version, worn by all Academy Cadets at one point or another, a barcode and serial are printed on the chest, and is the primary reason why Irkens can survive exposure to vacuum when coupled with a PAK's 'bubble helmet'. However, in no way is this thin spandexy jumpsuit a stand-in for a deep-space rated hardsuit.
Notably, where smeet jumpsuits have open-ended sleeves and legs with stripes, much like their adult counterparts, Averii's is just pure, unstriped black.
The second layer is generally any other undergarments, such as shirts, pants, boots, etcetera - though generally Ave just wears armor plates, such as kneepads and groinguards, plus all manner of strapping and combat webbing.
The third layer, or the true second layer is whatever jacket, boots, belts, and gloves he deploys with. On top of his jumpsuit and whatever armor plating he feels he's paranoid enough to wear, he typically goes out with a simple red and black mag-clasp jacket, with standard elbow-length gloves and knee-high boots. Woven out of sturdier and padded with warmer weaving within, Averii has at least three copies of this specific jacket, all from Talbolt - and whenever he's out of the field, he always wears them.
Talbolt appreciates the use he gets out of his gift, but at times accuses the younger male of stealing his style.
With this jacket, Ave also wears a belt with a matching red cloak - and despite teasing for 'wearing a skirt' he continues to wear this shin-length extension to his jacket. Notable flaws with this outfit include the fact that standard gloves are not, in fact, waterproof, and that the jacket itself is only water resistant.
When out on business or some covert field duty, Averii dons a custom made military trenchcoat.
Generally similar to his other jacket, notable differences include a sort of inversion between red and black, with the additions of more formal features such as red trim, and shoulder flashes such as the mark of the Irken Elite. Ave never buttons it fully, however, preferring to fold the collar out in a personal display of 'style'.
Any padding on this set comes in a hexagon pattern, as are the gloves and specially hex-webbed boots. The interior is allegedly incredibly soft and smooth, according to Averii; overall, more comfortable than the red casual version, and being a military-issued item, it presumably has benefits in the field over standard civilian wear - perhaps being slash-proof, burn-resistant, water-proof, and more. Yet, he tends to restrict this to business matters (and cold weather).
It isn't actually known how many copies of this trenchcoat Averii has, though considering it's history of regular use in covert actions, he likely has a few spares to compensate for combat damage.
Notably, it's not unknown for him to wear this over lighter sets of armor - and conversely, it's not uncommon for him to wear this under his heavier armors.
Speaking of armor, Averii's worn more than a few sets of it.
From his years with Talbolt as an NCO, to his vengeful days as an active Elite, he's gone through dozens and dozens of sets - be it through battle damage, repairs, replacement, and upgrades.Today, as the pinnacle of almost 70 years of combat experience (and a fair amount of paranoia), Ave's default set is the Cyclops; the final evolution of the set he used during his tenure as a full Irken Elite.
During his service as an Irken Elite, Averii gained access to premium equipment and materials otherwise unavailable to him, and quickly he got to work crafting this unique set - be it through personal customization, or official requisition - and came out of it with a go-to set meant to even every playing field he'd expect to see.
And then some.
Forged from an expensive blend of high-grade alloys, the Cyclops was relatively light and durable. Worn over a special skinsuit, it allowed Ave to blend in with the shadows easily, and let him move quickly, even after a solid hit, and automatically sealed itself to boot. Keeping him mobile, concealed, and running, even if he took a hit in hard vacuum, he was covered.
The skinsuit itself was actually dual-layered, the standard with another worn over it, segmented into scale-like chunks. With all sorts of webbing and straps attached to secure armor plates and utilities, it proved a very capable and versatile system for Averii. Similar to the technology used in military Phantom suits, the webbing dissipated the wearer's heat, and helped them stay concealed in the field in addition to an optic camouflage system.
Over the skinsuit, armor plates were worn - on the torso, this was a system of proper armor 'scales', with multiple plates allowing for flexibility whilst maintaining a protective shell. The arms themselves merely had dual-layered pauldrons, however, with the bulk of protection being afforded by Averii's gauntlets, themselves featuring an additional curved plate on the outside. His legs were even plainer in protection, with a groin guard, kneepads, and then boots.
Atop the plating, Averii usually just wore a belt with a similarly-scaled shrapnel-resistant robe draping down - though it's not unknown for him to wear some sort of cloak over it.
Packed with various tools, however, Averii rarely hindered his armor with such a thing; partially because he looked ridiculous with those shoulder pauldrons jutting out under the robes, anyway.
Instead of goggles or a standard headset, Averii notably wore a single-eyed helmet. Bearing a heavy resemblance to those worn by Irken Announcers, the top section was able to split into two halves, assisting with storage, and could even be worn the same way said announcers wore their own.
Designed to almost completely seal Averii in from the exterior environment, the helmet provided communications, tactical feeds, and much more in addition to being an imposing piece of armor. Stamped on the left half of the helmet's forehead is the Irken Elite's insignia, and on the right half is a single blue stripe, specifically in memory of Entra.
Notably, it was capable of at least partial deployment from his PAK.
Across the rest of the armor, various little engravings, scars, and decals paint the plates. For example, on the outer plating of the gauntlets, blue stripes also streak down them in honor of Lek and Mit, respectively, with each of the gauntlets being named in honor of them (Right and Left, respectively). Other decals include crossbones on the torso plate's right chest, the Military's Insignia on the left, and a sort of 'Jolly Roger' on his right shoulder.
During the services used this set in, Averii would build a reputation under the nickname of 'Cyclops', its origin in an insult directed at Averii. Despite his actions not being that well known throughout the Empire, the name grew in the minds of those who resisted it as Averii infiltrated everything from storage sheds to hidden asteroid bases, and even a few capital ships.
The name would stick with the armor set, as Averii found even himself calling it the Cyclops.
Weapons and other gear Edit
While proficient with many weapons, Averii personally prefers to utilize rifle-like weapons, such as the Type 223 Lacerator, as well as the Shock-Spear and Stun-Claws. While there are better shots with rifles, there are few with the focus and speed he has with the firearms, especially so with distance weaponry.
When it comes to melee combat, his proficiency with the shock-spear is unmatched as far as he knows, and he's not too bad with the wrist-mounted blades of the aptly-named Stun-Claws either.
In fact, his favorite weapon is the shock-spear.
Notably, he has a habit of nicknaming his favorite equipment, such as his vessel, Rex, or his personal rifle and spear, Orbitbreaker and Voidsplitter.
Orbitbreaker | T223CR Edit
First issued to him about 70 years ago, Averii has carefully maintained and upgraded his original Lacerator Carbine.
Reliable, accurate, and deadly enough as it was, the Orbitbreaker, as he fondly called it, saw its first and arguably most notable upgrade during his fifth year of service. Courtesy of a few scientists experimenting with rarer materials and magnetic weaponry, the normally painfully slow firerate of the carbine was doubled, and rivaled that of the heavy variant of the weapon with a fraction of the weight.
It saw various other upgrades come as well, such as an extended munitions tank, as well as some highly advanced targeting software, the latter of which allowing the rifle to automatically adjust the trajectory of any munitions fired as they leave the weapon, but the one that has served Averii most effectively has been the 'repeater' upgrade.
In terms of its appearance, the Orbit was originally stock imperial red, with little to no custom decals or markings. However, upon Averii's induction into the Elites, Averii meticulously chipped away and repainted most of the weapon a pale grey, leaving only the scope the original red. Then, he carved, painted, and stamped a variety of things on, over the years; from the insignia of the Elites, to both his and Entra's names, and even a miniature mural in honor of her.
Notably missing are skulls Averii used to have to indicate kills; similarly to his ship, it eventually became too much work keeping track, and so he cleared them away from the weapon.
The Voidsplitter Edit
A masterful wielder of the shock-spear, Averii has trained with it for practically all his life. Preferring to wield his spear either two-handed or with a firearm, he has developed many techniques and tactics involving the spear, and has discovered just as many uses, both on and off the battlefield. Although seen as a nonlethal weapon, left better in the hands of a guard than an Elite, Ave was more than capable of making it one of the deadliest things on the field.
During his service as an Elite, however, Averii increasingly found himself in situations where the standard Shock-Spear just wouldn't cut it, despite all its usefulness to him.
However, to compensate, he commissioned this superior model with newfound Elite authority.
Crafted from the finest of materials, and the strongest and most lightweight of alloys, the Voidsplitter, as Averii affectionately calls it, is certainly something.
Able to discharge lightning-like bolts of electricity, bring forth a barrage of lasers, and fling balls of plasma at the enemy, the Voidsplitter is all it was before, and more. Able to chop, slice, stab, and crush just as well as anything else, it is a versatile and effective weapon, one far outstripping the original model Averii grew to love. A truly lethal feat of Irken Engineering.
Lethality enhanced by the skill of the wielder.
Notably, among the flaws of the Voidsplitter, aside from cost, are it's tendency to overheat, and to quickly run through available power, outpacing the recharge rate of the energy collector... As well as the sometimes inconvenient size of the blades, when collapsed and holstered.
- Jetboots (Upgrade to Elite-Issue boots)
- Anchoring bolts
- Maneuvering Thrusters (Used for jet-kicks)
- PAK Flight Module (Upgrade to PAK thrusters)
- Stim Module (Deploys Combat Stims at will)
- Automated Medical Treatment Unit (PAK Module, accelerates healing at cost of higher calorie intake)
- Elite Battle-Gauntlets
- Typical loadout of Averii:
- Built-in holoprojector
- Standard-Issue Welding Unit
- Combat-grade emergency laser (Twelve shots before the main powercell is drained)
- Computer Interface Spike (Similar to BLU's)
- Combat-grade Plasma Vent (Plasma Flamethrower)
- Miniaturized Anti-Armor Munitions (A rack of four minirockets) (Unreliable)
- Emergency Grapple Launcher
- Self Destruct!
- Maneuvering Thrusters
- Typical loadout of Averii:
- Holos of Squad 223 (Picture capable of being projected three-dimensionally with proper equipment)
- Holos of Entra
- Copy of Rarl Kove's guide to Nachos of the Galaxy, latest edition
REWRITES IN PROGRESS
A man of sarcasm, wit, and a mouth faster than his brain, Ave may not be the more technically minded person - but he's pretty smart, and quick to pick up on things.
And impulsive. And Stubborn. And damned if he isn't outright vengeful.
A bit of a daredevil and risk-taker, when worked up, Ave can get somewhat primal, feral, even, in combat - a bringer of death, plain and simple, especially when he's out to get even with someone. Even off duty, Ave's the type to welcome a good fight, coming to crave them and enjoy a good old scrap or ten in his line of duty. He's liable to get lost in a fight, too - and he makes sure to hold his grudges damned well.
However, he does have his soft spots - something that's persisted all his life, moreso than other things. Although he can be a bit cold and abrasive at first, Ave's quick to sympathize with the underdog type, having been one himself, and can warm up quickly to those who don't outright antagonize him, happy to share a drink and a story when in a good mood. In general, when in a good mood, he's rather tolerant, lacking the zeal behind the almost universal Irken xenophobia.
Even when he's in a bad mood, though, if you're on his good side, he'll make sure he has your back, being quite protective of those he's close to, molded by the various twists and turns in his life into something of a jaded fighter.
Going from dutiful, naive and hopeful smeet to aggressive and distant, then merely growing abrasive and closed as he grew older, Ave's live has seen him rethink things more than a few times.
Among the (sometimes conflicting) words that one may use to describe him are:
Notable Relationships Edit
The Almighty Tallest (Current) Edit
Despite the fact he's literally hard-coded to obey their every word and follow them to death, Averii strangely as of late seems to be somewhat irritated with the Tallest, and has even expressed disgust at some of their behaviors. However, he has actively done this in almost unnoticeable ways as to make sure he doesn't get shot for treason, thrown out the airlock, or fed to a hog-beast.
Averii's actually never met them in person, as it turns out.
One of the few people Ave has truly opened up to, Entra and he were notably close friends after graduation despite a somewhat detached relationship while cadets, and later entered a more personal relationship prior to her disappearance about 50 years ago.
Serving on the same squad, he's always had a soft spot for her.
They often had light-hearted arguments and sometimes rather deep debates on occasion, and served together for almost two complete ten-year tours in the military, both on the same ship. As a result, they formed a very close bond throughout their years of service. Week after week, month after month, year after year, they had eachother's backs, with Entra's practically infallible skill with computers being shielded by Ave's combat skill and direction... in addition to her own squadmates' respective skills. She would pull them out of tight spots, and they'd keep her out of them with blood, sweat, and tears.
Notably, he was very, very protective (abnormally so) of her prior to her disappearance, placing himself directly in harm's way much more often than he did with anyone else, which didn't help quell the rumors about the two blue-eyed Irkens that resulted from his initial soft spot for her.
Eventually, those rumors would actually bear weight only a few years later, despite uncertainty and inexperience in the more-than-personal bond they developed. Due to the general Irken Attitude towards relationships of their nature, they kept it a mostly discreet thing to even Lek and Mit. At least, until they walked in during some particularly intimate discussions.
Even then, the two saw it as strange, unnatural.
At least, initially.
To this day, he is more than occasionally haunted by the unanswered question of her fate, and it has driven him for nearly his entire career as an Irken Elite, then remained hanging above him as an Invader.
Notably, Averii has one of her two favorite handguns in his possession, finding it after sweeping the Viral Tank in the hours after her disappearance. It is one of his most prized possessions.
They also celebrated her Birthday every Standard Year (February 25th, on the Human Calendar); a tradition from when she was just a little smeet, attempting to survive the onslaught that her older classmates brought.
As for his own birthday, he normally pays little attention to it, unless she insists on celebrating it.
The first time Averii had met SIR 1201-A, it was under a partially controlled Invader's trial in the weeks prior to the disastrous Impending Doom I.
Immediately, the loyal and on-point nature of the SIR's default personality stuck to him during the trial, with each proving excellent at helping the other do their jobs quickly and efficiently. Averii would provide clear guidelines, instructions, purposes for information, anything the SIR needed, and the SIR provided everything Averii needed to know, and then some.
Damaged in the incident that sent Averii into recovery, the SIR relentlessly stuck by it's master's side - and despite his own apprehensiveness, he's has come to appreciate the now-evolved SIR. Even with their shortcomings.
Shortcomings he himself tweaked and overcame when he transferred the personality, or the 'mind' of the SIR and placed it in the BLU chassis, after some tweaking to give it at least an inkling of a sense of humor.
Currently, BLU is his right-hand mechanical man, and usually refers to Averii as 'Commander' rather than 'Master'.
However, Ave personally withholds information from BLU, such as the full nature of his relationship with Entra, at times seeming to irritate the former SIR unit.
Notably, sometimes refers to BLU as 'Clanker' and 'Scrapheap', to which BLU will usually reply 'Meatbag' and variations thereof.
The first of the two that Averii had first bonded with in the Academy, Lek, Mit, and Averii served together all the way until his last breath... And then some.
Despite his occasional questioning of Averii's logic, methods, and orders, he has been and still is a reliable and a trusted source of opinions, one that stood the test of time during their two decades of military service, as well as the odd occasion during his Elite days due to his PAK being in Ave's hands.
Ave keeps his PAK close by, sometimes accessing it for fresh perspectives on situations, and even taking it with him into the field for everything from an extra pair of eyes to watch his back, to a voice to talk to on the long stakeouts.
He once considered replacing BLU's personality with Lek, but reconsidered after prolonged thought on the subject, worried at how he would respond to the metal body as well as how he'd be wasting the loyal companionship of the machine.
Lek evidently does not agree at times, and has, to Ave's dismay, attempted more than once to take control of BLU's body from time to time.
Notably, he initially disapproved of Ave's relationship with Entra, or at least keeping it secret despite the fact that he provided much of Ave's relationship advice, for better or worse.
That, and for a long time, he considered Averii and Entra's pairing a 'rackjack' by the former, being a bit jealous.
However, he's reconsidered his standpoints long ago.
The second and shortest of the two Averii bonded with in the Academy, Mit served with Lek and his taller blue-eyed friend until his own death at the hands of his explosives.
He often had a strange, sometimes disturbing understanding and acceptance of things (especially explosives), and Ave constantly trusted him with anything that he felt could be solved with them. It's notable he said the occasional piece of random philosophy from time to time, and was often underestimated in combat.
Mit's death was a harsh blow, but Ave knew had had at least gone down fighting. That gave him something, at least.
Until he discovered that their PAK was effectively Mit in a backpack, and decided to transfer him onto his ship.
Despite initial panic and negative reactions to the fact he possessed a spaceship for a body, Mit appreciated the fact that he wasn't entirely confined to a metal backpack.
That, and the fact that he could shoot lasers.
Notably, he was unsurprised by the revelation of Ave and Entra's more personal relationship, though he was still unhappy about how it was kept secret from he and Lek.
First taking a liking to Ave after he lived up to Entra's recommendations and stories, the two shared common interests in firearms and certain academic fields, as well as a common love of nachos. It probably also helped that Averii considered him among the most prominent of his smeethood heroes, being the former coleader of the Debthunters unit.
As Ave rose through the ranks and departed after his initial four years in the military to another assignment, Talbolt had grown fond enough of the blue-eyed male that he even gave up some of his favorite jackets as a parting gift to the soldier, and made them promise to keep in contact, which he did.
When Ave returned to the Vengeance after six years, he and his entire team were welcomed with open arms by the Captain, who was overjoyed to see the return of some of his best and brightest soldiers, and made it a habit to meet with them for an archaic game of cards, over which they would bet and share stories from their careers.
Notably, he almost instantly recognized a strange relationship between he and Entra after they returned, and actually made a half-hearted prediction as to the existence of their relationship, which Averii unwittingly confirmed, to Entra's horror. However, after a lecture on the dangers and abnormality of such as relationship in Irken society, he gave them advise and wished them luck, leaving them bewildered and with a trusted friend.
He's also the legal owner of Ave's current residence.
Talbolt is the one man that Averii trusts the most in the many galaxies.
One of Averii's first (and worst) friends, he and Lurch had a feud lasting over a hundred years.Rife with manipulation, brawls, arguments, and more lies, their relationship is best told in the above biography.
A partner Averii had for a few years during his Elite service, Mydra and Averii's relationship is a bit complicated.
One of the rarer psionic Irkens, Mydra was a bit of an enigma to Averii. In their first few weeks, Ave was mostly content to just do his job, and to try and do his usual information-hunting act, but Myd caught his attention, no small thanks to her powers. Quietly, he observed her.
So, when he proved to be a mystery to her, and she began to dig, he sighed, took his helmet off, and just told her outright to ask him, preferring their partnership to be face-to-face instead of cloak-and-dagger.
What ensued was the best friendship Averii had been a part of in years, the closest he'd been to moving on in years, and the worst fallout he's ever had.
In an act betraying their first deal, Mydra, sensing something hidden, decided to outright dig into his dreams instead of asking him face-to-face.
Not that he was sure he could tell her about Entra, anyway.
She tries to make it up to him rather often, but Ave would prefer just to forget it.
Monkeys in General Edit
This one picture sums up his relationship with the monkeys of the universe. As one may gather, it is a negative, mind-tearing one of blood, fire, explosions, and general madness. Ave is not on good terms with monkeys, and they are not on good terms with Ave, whatsoever.
It can all be traced to a certain deployment involving a research outpost, 'peace talks', valuable ores, and military operations gone awry followed by more 'peace talks', where Ave was dragged in and captured, somehow held prisoner by the low-tech tribes of Psi-Monkeys on a currently undisclosed world.
There, he endured horrors he wishes not to speak about, involving the throwing of fruits and more, and finally got out after Entra battled passionately through the monkey legal system, of all things, for his release.
Notably this is where Entra gained her love of Monkeys, and where Averii, initially disliking monkeys due to a freak smeethood incident involving a monkey toy, gained his burning hatred/fear of primates.
In a way, a sort of Imperial manhunter, Skabb's one of the few Irken Evaluation Force's Adjucators; legendary warriors who quietly root out conspiracy and occasionally massive threats, often caused by defectives.
He took command of the Vengeance immediately after the start of Averii's second tour of duty, and the two shared a notable respect for each other throughout their service.
Over the course of their service together, Averii grew to know more about Skabb than the average soldier (Which would be 'Scary old guy/What hunts defectives). On occasion, Skabb would offer a glimpse or two into his past, and in return Ave would grow to view the veteran not just as a commander and soldier, but as something of a uncle or grandfather type.
The effect was not lost on Skabb, and despite his professional attitude he did grow at least somewhat fond of Ave, and regards him as one of his most notable comrades.
Notably, he viewed the possibility of a relationship between Ave and Entra as a potentially damning problem, which had the latter on edge almost the entire time he was present.
A little passenger Averii picked up on the way home from some shenanigans, Ader's effectively a fully sentient three-year-old crab-lobster-pet.
Stubborn, a bit dull, but obedient, Ave regularly leads Ader around with promises of food - and failing that, a shock to their shock collar.
Generally, Averii regards Ader as a sort of weird stray dog, but tolerates him for the time being. Even if he eats all the food in the fridge (and sometimes the fridge).
A clingy superfan that sends horrible things in the form of fanmail, Averii finds himself constantly cringing in a unique combination of pain, agitation, irritation, anger, and rage around them. And yet, he does, at times, have to accept and even congratulate the Elite that is Darrz.
The first time Averii heard of Darrz, it was when his handler on Hobo 13, a grizzled Major, recoiled and fled in fear of their mere name. Ave soon learned why he should be afraid of them. Or more specifically, the tidal wave stupidity and the chaos that usually follows with it.
As it stands, Averii does not exactly 'like' Darrz, yet is forced to accept his existence (and his tons of fanmail). Occasionally, Averii is sometimes surprised by Darrz showing a bit of competence or sense, and can bring himself to congratulate the soldier. This doesn't happen often, though.
More often than not, Averii honestly wishes to punch him.
In the face.Really, really hard.
Not on the best of terms, Averii first met Mario when he was dumped on Hobo 13 by Vok; his less-than-pleasant father.
Refusing to leave and refusing to participate on the grounds he wasn't supposed to be here (and he'll just be brought back anyway), a seed of aggravation was planted in Averii's mind by their defiance. Mario would refuse to fall in, and refuse to do anything, even threatening Averii's life when he attempted to do his job.
While their relationship isn't exactly friendly, it isn't exactly hostile, either. At times, Averii does try to look out for or give advice to Mario, but they often misunderstand each other and end up arguing.
Notably has something of a grudge against Averii because he shot him in the foot with a Lacerator. On purpose. And then a few times with a (simulated) laser pistol. And then the various other times Averii has somehow inflicted harm upon Mario.
One of the newer people Averii has met, he finds Jib at the very least a very tolerable and understandable person, a voice of reason within the nonsense and convoluted garbage he's been dragged into as of late. As such, he finds himself sympathizing with them rather often.
It's more than can be said for most other people around him.
Notable Quotes Edit
What the section header says; these are some of the more notable quotes of Invader Averii.
- "So, how was getting spaced, then?" - A taunt Averii once used in the Academy.
- Notably, has stuck with Entra for decades, conjuring feelings of rage and embarrassment even with her damaged memories.
- "I wonder who the sniper would shoot first; You, or me?"
- "Allow me to retort!" - One of Averii's hostile responses to insults, punctuated commonly by action.
- "Why would they cut out the rails?!" - Averii on the typical Irken Elevator.
- "Hostile... Dehostilized." - Attempt to shake up the monotony of 'Hostile Neutralized' and it's variations.
- "That's not a word." - Lek.
- "Does the word training mean anything?" - Ave on incompetence.
- "Since when did stupidity become the standard?"
- "Considering it's shooting at us and anything green-skinned, yes, Mit, you get to blow up all of it!"
- "Cut it off! CUT IT OFF!" - Ave on parasitic creatures.
- "Can someone just shoot him already?" - Averii expressing impatience in regards to annoying and obstructive individuals.
- "Oh yeah. I'm freakin' ending you." - One of many threats Ave has made to targets.
- "For those of you too simple-minded, dumbstruck, or slack-jawed to realize, this is Hobo Thirteen!" - Averii addressing a new group of cadets (HOBO 13 is HOBO 13).
- "You have two hands. TWO HANDS. Use them!" - Criticism on notably poor aim.
- "HOW ARE YOU STILL ALIVE?" - An outraged remark used on occasion; recently on Hobo 13. Often.
- "Just DODGE!" - Outraged remark used to criticize poor evasion skill.
- "Just let me have my robot, damn it!" - After failed bargains with security (Trials and Errors).
- "There is a point where I will have seen everything. This has gotten me a fair amount closer."
- "Die screaming, if you want! No one's gonna hear it for long." - On railguns.
- "Violence is definitely ensuing!" - Fancy way of saying things have become or are becoming violent.
- "For all our intelligence, sometimes we, oh great-and-magnificent space-faring races, forget features like time telling." - Hatbot Noir, Sarcastically on advanced technology, but the lack of basic features.
- "-'Got a bad feeling about this' is an understatement." - A Dark Apotheosis (Part One).
- "...I can sorta live with that, actually." - To Vil telling him how they'd trade Jib for ship parts. Tanz von der Krabben.
- "Well, ain't this just a wonderful new smell we've discovered?"
- "JIB-THROW!" - Throwing Invader Jib at the enemy on impulse to distract and disable.
- "-Yeah, That's fine and all, but you still owe me 20 monies."
Created to fit with the trend of giving one's characters a particular song as a theme, this section is dedicated to the tracks that fill the noise behind Averii.
Songs are organized by the source, IE, a Halo Song will be listed under the subsection of that specific Halo.
Unless stated, none of these were created by Cravitus and are property of respective owners.
Black Mesa - Joel Nielsen. Edit
- Forget About Freeman - Intense combat.
Halo 3: ODST - O'Donnell and Salvatori. Edit
- Traffic Jam - Cutting loose.
Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory - Amon Tobin. Edit
- Ruthless - Panic.
- El Cargo - Work & Stealth.
- Displaced - Fights.
- Ruthless (Reprise) - Main.
Splinter Cell: Double Agent - Michael McCann Edit
- Main Menu - Love & Reminiscing.
- Shanghai Infiltration - Quiet Relaxation.
Alternatively, Hardcore Henry in general is a kickass and utterly fitting soundtrack, so sayeth the Krev.
Below is a list of roleplays that Averii has appeared in so far.
- HOBO 13 is HOBO 13 (Incomplete, Paused)
- Hatbot Noir (Incomplete, Paused)
- Dark Apotheosis, Part One (Complete)
- Tanz von der Krabben (Incomplete, Ongoing)
- Trials and Errors (Non-canon to the Fanon) (Paused) (First Appearance)
- All is Fair in Snacks and War (Non-Canon) (Incomplete)
Other Facts Edit
- Ave’s teeth are notably sharper and more angular than those of most Irkens, who have more nub-like rounded teeth in comparison.
- Ave was born on November 9th, if you went by Human Calendars - though he doesn't traditionally celebrate it.
- Alternatively, he was born on the 313rd day of a Standard Year.
- Notably, he shares his Birthday with Halo 2's release date.
- Averii's favorite method of deployment to almost any fight is by orbital drop pod.
- Failing this, his favorite deployment method is simply jumping out of a perfectly good craft or building
- Averii has either been defective his entire life, and has been pushed further by his injuries he sustained after his run-in with his somewhat explosive destiny, or that he's become defective due to damage from it to his PAK.
- His position as ‘Senior Invader’ was made up on-the-spot by the Control Brains.
- Averii is quick to believe (perhaps rightly so) that his interest in poetry is, to be blunt, utterly useless.
- Averii is afraid of singing, no matter what Entra or Lek claim his voice sounds like.
- This doesn't stop Talbolt from convincing him to perform down at his bar.
- Speaking of Voices, Nathan Fillion (Mal Reynolds, Firefly) and Andrew Chaikin (Delta 40 'Fixer', Clone Advisor, Star Wars: Republic Commando) are generally agree to be good fits for Averii.
- Averii once took a dancing course in the Academy. He has only ever put it to use with Entra.
- That said, he became highly skilled in partner-based dances. Not that anyone but Entra would know.
- Ave tends to often fake a poor to nonexistent grasp on dancing when in any public scenario involving it.
- He can, in fact, play the Guitar quite well, having learned it as part of an 'experimental act' he thought up with Talbolt for their bar.
- Averii sometimes freezes when dealing with situations involving the word ‘cute’.
- Among Averii's fears are a small dread of Heights, and a massive fear of being captured.
- Averii does not fear the monkey. Rather, the hates the monkey.
- Averii has a distinctive hatred of Soda, and believes that white chocolate is the best chocolate.
- Ave also hates dark chocolate.
- Like Entra, Ave prefers to have spiced meads when selecting alcoholic beverages.
- Unlike Entra, Ave started as a lightweight drinker and progressively became highly tolerant of Alcohol.
- Ave was known to play around with Entra's antennae to tease and comfort her. Seen as somewhat odd.
- Averii’s favorite snackfood is Nachos. Most of the time, anyway.
- Noodles, especially wheat-derived ones, are Averii's other favorite, as is generally anything fried.
- Spicier foods, such as pepperjack cheese, are among Ave's preferred ingredients in bigger dishes.
- Ave also prefers sweets when it comes to desserts.
- Averii has a very high cold tolerance, but has a rather low heat tolerance due both to high blood pressure and a higher-than-average body temperature - as well as an inherent resistance to cold.
- The current Averii was inspired by various things, like Nathan Fillion's characters of Mal Reynolds and Edward Buck (from Firefly and Halo, respectively).
- His serial number (A-1-22-16-66) references the name he originally had in 2011 (AvP66).
- Ave’s shock-spear is essentially a bigger, tougher, and sharper version of the standard painted in neutral colors.
- With the ability to shoot laserbeams and lightning bolts, as well as plasma.
- In other terms, it’s a Shock Rifle from Unreal Tournament built into a bigger, scarier Shock Spear.
AvP66; The Averii of 2010 Edit
The following is a general February 10th, 2015 summary of the 'Original' version of Invader Averii, AvP66, created back in mid-2010 for a deviantART fanfiction called Zim's Assistant.
Little to no planning, almost zero experience with fanfictions beforehand (save for an ill-fated attempt at a Halo fanfiction, perhaps 2008 or 2009), and a total lack of skill with MS Paint resulted in the original Averii.
Edit 8-25-2015 - I suck at summaries. Will rewrite later.
Do NOT read the following if you dislike poorly thought-out/written characters.
Invader AvP66 is the one Invader who didn't get assigned, being late to Impending Doom II and missing Impending Doom I due to medical reasons. Zim annoys the Tallest for another assistant because GIR's being exceptionally annoying, and so they draw Ave from a random list of names and send him in via teleporter. However, Tak crashes down through the base, hijinks ensue involving a xenomorph that has gestated for years from Av's past. While in a vat of regenerative macguffin, AvP66 gets acid for blood, increased strength and agility, and other abilities due to alien DNA or some such thing. Zim finds more aliens in the bermuda triangle, and Ave gets woken up by a super predator from the Predator franchise. Averii, freshly imbued with things that would require major suspension of disbelief, solves both things with combat-related ease.
A young Invader, AvP66 is oddly named, purely because of his indecision at birth, leading him to choose his Smeet batch number instead. For the first few years of his life, Av (As some called him) served in the Academy for the standard ten years along with his future squadmates. Immediately after graduating from the Academy, Av and four of his squadmates (Lee, Kai, Mai, and Zoe) (Green-eyed pervert, orange-eyed short demoman, purple-eyed generic annoying girl, red-eyed tsundere for Lee) enlist in the 'Irken Marine Corps' along with an unnamed technician. AvP66 then specializes in sniping.
Ave builds a reputation as a merciless fighter and a merciless freak who can't share nachos, and due to this is kept at LCPL. Due to association, his squad is made of privates by the time they graduate, and before they even get assigned a starship, Averii and generic technician lady fall off a cliff, and he is forced to eat her to survive, prompting traumatization and introduction of Entra V1 (Initially nameless girlfriend) as her replacement. They are assigned to the Ishipan, an Irken Starship meant to go out and chart planets for future invasion.
Over the course of vagueness, Ave and Entra get in generic romance that I (Cravitus) never explored as a young 2010/11 writer outside of hinting at it in the main fanfiction known as Zim's Assistant V1. It is also important to note that AvP66's backstory was never this explained at the time, and probably never was until now.
The Ishipan then originally got extremely damaged up in orbit around a world with xenomorphs on it, and crashed on it. Survivors get picked off before they realize what's happening over a few days of repairing, and eventually Ave is left in charge and decides to blow the nest up with a bomb while the rest of the survivors camp at home base, Entra included. Bomb is planted, but upon Ave returning alone he discovers the camp is screwed up and the escape craft seems destroyed. Really, though, Entra fled in the ship, forced by Captain Talbolt to evacuate. Also notable is the fact that Captain Talbolt is never actually seen or described in the tales of Old Averii. In fact, not even his appearance was decided until 2015- years after his creation as the ominous overly-tolerant Captain of the ship.
Ave then passes out, depressed at the apparent loss of everything, and is secretly facehugged as a Predator ship arrives full of the classic 'jungle hunters' and adopts him. He survives, no one the wiser, and he learns their culture as he gets plasma guns and wrist-blades and all that. He later fixes up an old predator craft, and flees in it when the hunters are attacked by the super-predators.
In the alternate version, the ship gets screwed up on Blorch in an event known as the Blorch Stranding. At this time, the character was being reevaluated in terms of 'is this good', prompting the removal of all Alien and Predator elements from the story entirely. Averii and Entra are rescued by separate ships, notably, in this version of their separation, with Ave going off to activate a rescue beacon and Entra staying behind. Averii does not learn of any other survivors than the few who are recovered by ship A.
Ave's survival is quietly celebrated. Entra is never informed of him and he never of her as he is promoted, then Invader for his service. Misses Impending Doom I due to plot medical reasons as he recovers from an incident involving someone with explosives during the trials. Misses Impending Doom II due to his ship's lack of fuel.
A bit later, 'Invader' Zim continues a cycle of calls to the Tallest asking them for something, ANYTHING to at least supplement him in terms of assistants, with GIR being absolutely infuriating. The Tallest, sick of hearing his voice, have an Advisor look for someone suitable to be sent, yet trustworthy enough to prevent things such as horrible demon squids being sent to The Massive. AvP66's name is top of the list, and thus he's sent.
Cut to the short version at the top.
And thus was basically all one needed to know about Old Averii; also known as AvP66.
I regret a good amount of this, but upon review, without it I'd probably never have reached a point of at least semi-acceptability.
- Cravitus (author of page and creator of Averii).
- Michael McCann. "Shanghai Ambient." Splinter Cell: Double Agent Original Sound Track. 2005-2006. Michael.McCann, https://soundcloud.com/michaelmccannmusic/shanghai-infiltration-360, 2011-2012. ?-?. Digital. | Page Theme.