Putting up something to try and kick my muse back into action. Maybe it'll be good, probably it'll be bad, but hopefully I can at least make this a decent attempt. EDIT: Here's the link to the Universiad Index: http://forums.spacebattles.com/threads/the-universiad-stories-index.239807/ ******* Chapter 1, Part 1: The Rain It was the rain that woke her up, and as it pattered down on her, a pair of eyes blearily opened and stared up at the dark sky. "Wha? This ain'..." The girl suddenly jerked upright then immediately collapsed on her side. Another few minutes of flailing around finally brought her hands into view and she stared at them in shock, "Hands...I've got hands..." She looked down and her fears were fully realised as she stared at the totally different body that she was apparently inhabiting. "Ah horseapples, this just ain't right." Carefully, slowly, the girl picked herself up and got to her feet with a degree of wobbling, "Woah, this is plain wierd. Okay, any moment now you'll wake up and it'll all be a dream. You're going to be back in your bed at the farm and you'll forget all about...where ever the heck this place is." Now that she was looking at surroundings with some attention, it was a dreary place, nothing but mountains and rain pelting down on dirt and more rock. There was some rather scraggly looking trees stubbornly clinging to life but on the whole, the place was lifeless. At least that was the initial thought, because no sooner had the girl formed that thought, a loud bang made her head whip towards the north as it echoed across the plains before it was joined by a series of sharp pops, like bursting balloons she thought, and the unmistakable snaking of a smoke into the air. Before she realised it she was already running in the direction of the sounds, hoping against hope, intent on finding out what was going on. --- "We got more coming over the ridge! Left side!" It was not a good day for the small group of soldiers defending the glowing artifact behind them as with a gut-wrenching symphony of gurgling moans and roars, a fresh horde of walking dead shambled steadily towards the hasty defences. "Shit. Snipers! Pick your targets carefully! All others, maintain fire discipline!" The leader snarled as he pulled a fresh drum for his SAW from a large pack strapped to the small of his back, a fresh one seemingly constructing out of nothing but light as the dumped clip vanished in a similar manner. "Whoever belayed my order for HMG's to be deployed on this mission is going to be receiving my boot up their ass for this fuck up!" The leader pressed a finger to his left ear, "Gideon zero-two-zero to Lightbringer!" The wind began to pick up as the rain turned from a light shower into a full-blown torrent as running boots churned the dusty ground into a layer of liquid mud and the roar of the falling water forced him to shout, "WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU GUYS? WE'VE GOT WOUNDED AND ONE-HUNDRED PLUS HOSTILES!" A blast of lightning came down and blasted a crater in the dirt as Gideon020 snarled and hefted his SAW, "DAMMIT! WE'RE ON OUR OWN PEOPLE! STORM'S FUCKING UP COMMUNICATIONS!" "SIR! UNKNOWN CONTACT COMING IN FROM THE SOUTH!" Gideon blinked and before his eyes, he saw a human figure approaching. So did the zombies unfortunately as the group began to change direction towards the lone prey. This was their chance. "FIRE FOR EFFECT! THIN THEIR NUMBERS! YOU TWO!" Gideon pointed towards two people in full bodysuits, "WITH ME!" Not waiting for a reply, he clambered over the sandbags and began rushing towards the running figure, firing at the zombies as he did so. The two glanced at each, before the female shrugged and followed after her leader, while the male stared and then face-palmed his faceplate, "Keelah...wait up!" --- The storm had gotten worse by the time she had reach the top of the steep hill, so she only caught a glimpse of the carnage, but it was enough to give her pause for several seconds before she pressed forward. Whoever these people were, they certainly needed help and she'd be fucked if she didn't at least try to help them! Fucked? That didn't sound right. She shook it off and kept running towards the sound, when suddenly a series of loud bangs sounded right in front of her and spots appeared in her vision from the flashes that accompanied them, and she tripped over her feet and pitched face first into the watery mud with a pained yelp. Then before she knew it, she was being lifted off the ground as a voice shouted over the roar of the downpour, "YOU ARE ONE FUCKING LUCKY BITCH! IF WE LIVE THROUGH THIS, YOU OWE ME ONE!" Then the banging sound started up again, and she winced as her ears began to ring from the noise while her rescuer shouted orders to two more people who had arrived, and they began heading back the way they came. It was then that a bolt of lightning chose that moment to strike the ground nearby, sending her flying once again into the mud, scattering the trio. As her ringing ears slowly cleared up to the sound of rain once more, she looked up and stared at the creature approaching her.