Diaries of a CSU: [Season 4, Episode 4] On Death's Door [SEASON FINALE]

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VS Ariadna


Mobile Brigada Marco Martinez kicked a door open, his power armor making easy work of the simple armored door. An ariadnan on the other side let out an audible groan as the door flew into him, pinning him to the floor. The brigada rushed into the room, fanning a burst of MULTI rounds to the first four ariadnans he spotted. Three went down, and one was quick enough to throw himself behind cover and draw his pistol. The rest of the team filtered in with Lucy the cheerkiller following in second behind Marco. She leaped forward with an extravagant flip, landing on the desks that the ariadnan was covering behind. He threw himself back in surprise when he stared down the barrel of her SMG. Lucy winked at the ariadnan and squeezed the trigger, putting five rounds in his chest and making sure he was done for.

The Reverend Healer Sherry came in afterward, spotting the pinned ariadnan underneath the door and Marco's heavy boot. The ariadnan spotted the caduceus on Sherry's right arm, reaching out to her, "Y- you're a medic! Please! Help me!"

Sherry pursed her lips and walked over to the man's side. Her cybernetic eyes were glowing underneath the shade of her drawn hood. The piercing blue eyes studied the man's injuries. Internal bleeding. Flail chest. A collapsed lung. He was practically already dead. Sherry knelt down next to the man and smoke calmly, "Tell me, ariadnan... Are you cubed?"

Blood leaked from the man's lips. He shook his head. Sherry nodded understandingly, "I'm afraid there is not much I can do aside offering you an end to your suffering."

The ariadnan swallowed, his breath ragged. Sherry didn't need an answer. She stood up again and looked to Marco, "A moment. Please." the healer said.

The mobile brigada glanced down at the man under his boot and stepped away, relieving the pressure for the man and allowing Sherry to help the man pass on to the next life. While she did that, Petra and Larry filed in and rushed for a computer while the taskmaster Hanz remained behind with the sin-eater Eifrig to cover the entrance to the operations control room. Petra didn't waste time going to the master control console. She physically jacked into the computer to skip needing to navigate quantronic space, opting to simply annihilate the civilian firewalls of the maritime control facility's system. Larry fell in next to Petra and looked at the screen, "So what's your plan to shut down the air defense?" he asked.

Petra tapped furiously at a keyboard, never taking her eyes off of the screen. "The air defenses here aren't native to the facility's power grid, but they are siphoning power from it to stay active around the clock. The operations center has administrator access to all systems in the facility, so if by coming here, we save time instead of having to reach the power plant on the other side of Okolnir."

Larry blinked, "You're gonna shut the whole place down?"

Petra grinned and glanced sidelong to Larry, "Total blackout. No doubt Ariadna brought backup generators with them, but we can use the chaos and confusion in the moment to slip away while the shuttle flies out of here."

Larry nodded, "Sounds like this might actually work."

"When have I failed at what I do best?" Petra asked.

Larry was about to answer that, but he caught himself and opted to keep his mouth shut. Her tendency to fail simple Spotlight uploads was probably something an Interventor wouldn't take much pride in. Larry just nodded and gave Petra an encouraging pat on her shoulder. "Keep it up, champ." He said tightly before awkwardly stepping away. She needed focus more than anything right now.

Larry turned around just in time to see the reverend healer sinking her blade into the pinned ariadnan's crushed chest. He moved around to the rest of the team, taking the break in the action to check up on their ammunition and wellbeing. He went to Lucy first, who was sitting against the edge of a desk and panting. She was looking absolutely worn out after taking on the frontoviks. "You good, toots?" Larry asked.

Lucy nodded despite her laboured breathing, "Yeah, yeah I'm good. Just uh... Need to catch my breath a little, is all."

Larry turned to check up on someone else, but Lucy stopped him by grabbing his arm. "Hey. This might be a good chance to get some shots for the show. You're kinda hot when you step into this leader role."

Larry furrowed his brow and glanced back at the cheerkiller. "Oh, right. I honestly forgot about the show thing... Look, Lucy... Now isn't really the time for that."

Petra overheard Larry turning the cheerkiller's offer to film down. She raised a brow, impressed that he wasn't taking this chance to propagate his growing fame and legend. Just about everyone on Corregidor knew his name, and even on Tunguska, Petra overheard the occasional mention of the Kruggernaut. Maybe she needed to promote him to second-in-command sooner if it meant he'd shape up and actually act the part sooner. But Petra didn't follow-up on her thoughts. She needed to get the air defenses down.

Petra narrowed her eyes as she worked the analogue computer into compliance. Her adaptive quantronic invader program struggled at first to make itself compatible with the old age tech, but it would eventually succeed in mimicking the computer's coding language and take control of the facility's systems. After sifting through the many files and sub-networks, Petra eventually found what she was looking for. The master control system for the entire facility. "I'm on it." Petra announced, "Get ready to move. I'm gonna overclock the system and burn it out. A fire at the power plant should take some of the heat off of us too."

Petra placed her hand on her ear and radioed Gin back at the shuttle, "Two, this is One. The sky's about to go dark. Is that shuttle hot?"

"Ready on our end, One..." Gin replied, sounding disappointed with this whole situation.

Petra picked up on it, "Something wrong?"

"No! No... Just- be careful. I got a bad feeling about all this..." the moira said back.

"Worry about our wounded, Gin. Besides, if we're wasted down here, there's always resurrection. That's why we all have cubes, remember?" Petra consoled.

"Right..." Gin said, "Okay. Engines are hot. Awaiting your go."

Petra didn't waste time. She pressed a key and pushed herself from the desk. "Overclock started. Gin, the moment you see the lights go out, that's your queue. See you on 'Hoff, out."

Petra gave a hand signal to the team to get ready to move. No words were needed as everyone checked their weapons and fastened their loose kit. The lights in the operations center flickered, then again, and again after that. A distant fireball bloomed into the dark sky with a billow of smoke, followed by a deep boom that shook the whole facility. The lights went out and everyone turned to look out the window to peer over the rainy facility. A single set of blue engine plumes lifted up over the facility's skyline and quickly launched up toward the dark stormy clouds. The team let out a collective sigh of relief as the blue lights were quickly smothered out by the clouds. They were gone and safe. Now it was up to the team to find their own way out.

Larry stepped up next to Petra again and stared out the window, "So what now?"

"Now... I don't know..." the interventor sighed.

Larry looked over to her, "You don't? ... Huh... That's new."

Petra ran a hand through her blue hair and looked down to the floor, "What is?" she asked, looking back to Larry.

"You're usually so on top of things. I figured you already had a plan to get out of here." Larry said.

"Well, I didn't really have a plan beyond shutting the air defenses down. I knew that we'd all be hooped if we didn't so... Spur of the moment, I guess..." she said awkwardly. Petra really wasn't expecting to have a conversation like this with Larry of all people.

"Well, I guess we better get out of here and figure it out before the Q.A.Z hits." Larry chuckled uncomfortably.

Petra blinked, "Q.A.Z? What are you-" she looked up and out the window, "Ohhh fuck..."

Petra's swear brought the rest of the team to attention, all of them filing beside the two and staring out at the mountain in the distance that was being pulled apart and lifted into the sky. The massive city sized boulders shattered into millions of smaller stone fragments as they lifted into the air, twisting and convalescing in a spiral motion toward a singular point. Light bent and shifted through the colors of visible spectrum near the singularity. It was getting closer.

Marco lifted his faceplate up to look at the distortions with his own two eyes to make sure his helmet wasn't on the fritz. "That's not good at all!" he said, stating the obvious.

"No shit!" Lucy snapped.

Larry unclipped his thermos from his belt and took a long sip of his coffee, "I think it's safe to say this qualifies as a real emergency now."

Petra nodded quietly, listening to the annoying slurp the CSU took from his hot beverage. Then something clicked. Emergency? Emergency! "That's it!" she said excitedly as she grabbed Larry by the shoulders for a shake. The CSU spilled his coffee on his shirt as Petra kept shaking, "Larry you genius! I know how we can get out!"

"Er- Yeah! That's what I do- What the hell are you talking about Petra?" Larry asked quickly, his eyes flicking between her and the Q.A.Z actively consuming the mountain.

"Emergency shuttles! Since the Durgama Crisis, O-12 mandated that all civilian facilities on the planet have emergency shuttles in case of a second incursion! Okolnir is bound to have some! We get to the shuttles and I can bypass the lockdown and then we get the hell out of her mach schnell!" Petra explained.

The team shifted, clearly reinvigorated by the new plan. Lucy cheered, "I love it! How about we move like... Right fucking now!"

Petra nodded, "Agreed! Let's get going team! Garcia, we're coming out, please don't shoot us!"

"Copy that." Petra heard back over her radio. Team two's crackshot intruder sniper, Garcia, had been sitting in a tower with his rifle trained on the building entrance this whole time, weathering the intensifying storm thanks to his camo cloak.

The team moved with speed to get out of the building. Coming out the door, they were blasted with an intense gust of wind and a spray of cold water. Garcia jumped down from his perch, followed by a spider-like reaktion zond that was watching their rear with its HMG. Petra waved her hand to bring up her holo interface, quickly switching it to a three-dimensional view of the facility. "There!" she pointed at a spot, "That's one of the shuttles. Marco, Hanz, you're in the lead. Move it team!"


The mission is Last Launch. Larry and the rest of his team volunteered to stay behind to cover the extraction shuttle's escape by shutting down the local air defenses. With that done, the team locates a shuttle, their ticket out of Okolnir. Will they make it?

Twenty minutes had passed. Thanks to the cover of darkness provided by Petra's detonation of the power plant, the team was able to move quickly and unseen. A few vehicles with their high-beams alight passed by, forcing the team into hiding until they passed. Loudspeakers on the tops of the vehicles were replaying a recorded message.


Petra felt a little bad for the innocent civilians in Okolnir, but such was life when the Human Sphere was on the brink of tearing itself apart. Besides, the light pollution and intense hurricane served to hide the imminent doom of the Q.A.Z approaching. Killing the lights at least alerted everyone to what was coming for them. Petra tucked herself low behind a dumpster and referenced her holo map again. The greenish-blue glow of the holo illuminating her pallid face in the dark. "Alright... The shuttle is just down the street. No doubt the ariadnans will be setting up a cordon to control the evacuation. We'll need to be ready for that. They wont let us on the shuttle unless we force out way on."

Eifrig and Garcia readied their weapons as Petra looked at them. "You two set up in a vantage point and get eyes on the sight. Take the zond. Go now, we'll follow up behind you."

The two nodded and quickly set off to find a good perch to set up in. The reaktion zond warbled quietly as it drove off behind them. Petra looked to the rest of the team, "Alright. We need to spread out on the ground and hit 'em quick. The facility's power is still down so I wont have access to the camera network like I usually do."

Lucy raised her hand, "Oh! I can help with that!"

Petra blinked and glanced over at the cheerleader. She unslung her backpack and opened it, producing a four disc shaped drones similar to what War Correspondents used to get their footage. "Could you use these?" Lucy asked.

Petra grinned and quickly interfaced her hacking device with the drones. Lights beamed on all of them as they hovered out of Lucy's hands. Petra flicked her wrist and the drones all whizzed away in different directions to get a picture to command from. "Alright. Spread it out, everyone."

"One, this is Garcia. We're in position, and uh... They have a bear." the intruder reported.

"A bear?! Ahh shit..." Petra groaned, "No doubt the same one that ripped Kana to pieces. The thing's been on our scent since we got here... Fuck it... No change. We're going in guns blazing anyways. We'll just have to focus fire on it and make sure the thing is dead."

Larry peeked his head out from their alleyway and looked both ways down the street. He signaled back to the team, "Okay we're clear! If we're going to move. It's gotta be now!"

Petra nodded to the team, "Game on, everyone. Time to go home."

((OOC: My goal was to cover the two long sight lines from my DZ's central building to keep my opponent's troops off of the two outer objectives. I placed my intruder, sin-eater, and reaktion zond on the central building and had very commanding sight lines on everything that mattered. Being Last Launch, I figured figured that my opponent would rush the objectives on turn 1 before filling into the objective room for extraction. Turns out my opponent wanted to just control the objective room knowing that I'd eventually have to get in there anyways. His plan would eventually prove to be the more effective one.))


My opponent opened the turn with a fireteam rush into the objective room. Denma Connelly rolled a mighty 20 on his metachemistry, meaning that within 8", he was auto-succeeding his smoke throws on 20's. Couple the +1 Burst from the fireteam, and there was next to no contest to get inside the objective room. My MSV2 Intruder Sniper gave him pause, but it wasn't enough to keep him from aggressively dominating the zone.

The reaktion zond panned its optical sensors in a slow, meticulous sweep from left to right. Rain pelted at its metal chassis and dripped off of the ridges to splash on the rooftop it was situated on. The robot was deathly silent aside from the dull mechanical whir of its azimuth motor turning the drone's upper body and machine gun. As it swept, the reaktion zond spotted movement. It let out an alarming beep and armed its machine gun, sending back a request to Petra for authorization to open fire on the movement.

Petra verified the drone's footage and referenced it with the cameras Lucy had provided. The movement was indeed hostile! Petra promptly authorized the reaktion zond to fire, which was quickly followed by a loud burst of heavy rounds breaking the tense rainy silence. The ariadnan was taken completely by surprise as three rounds punched into his chest. He grunted and fell over the railing he was in the process of jumping down. His limp body smacked the pavement below directly in front of the rest of his team.

Sensing the danger, the team immediately began to deploy smoke grenades along their axis of advance. The reaktion zond's firing halted, the barrel glowing a dull orange as a thin trail of smoke streamed from its HMG's muzzle. The smoke was obscuring its sensors, but Garcia, now alerted to the movement, readied his rifle. His multispectral visor filtered switched to a different spectrum, the smoke simply disappearing from Garcia's view as silhouettes could be seen entering the evacuation shuttle. Were they not taking care of the civilian evacuation efforts? Were they running their own lives?

Garcia squeezed the trigger at the first man through the door. He was a tall caledonian with an imposing stature and a massive claymore that looked like it was borrowed straight out of a museum. What amazed Garcia was the caledonian's reflexes. Somehow, despite the smoke, the huge man was able to predict the accurate sniper fire and dodge aside, the round hitting the floor where the caledonian once was. Garcia didn't waste time to try and track the big man, he simply sighted his rifle in on the next man through the door. Garcia let another shot out, this time hitting the man in the chest and blasting him off of his feet. He hit the wall behind him, cracking the back of his head against it and falling to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

"They're taking the shuttle for themselves!" Garcia reported to the team.

"We can't let them! Hanz! Marco! Get in there and clear 'em out, but watch your fire! We need that ship airtight if we're going to get it to the 'Hoff!" Petra ordered.

Garcia kept his sights on the armory door. His view was suddenly dominated by a massive imposing silhouette. The bearpode that he had spotted minutes ago. Garcia didn't need to aim. He pulled the trigger, but the round simply pinged harmlessly off of the thick armor. The bearman tucked himself out of view for now. It seemed the ariadnans weren't there for a fight.

To make matters worse, Garcia spotted movement from where the ariadnan he had shot in the shuttle went down. How in the hell did he survive that?! Garcia fired again, but his shot hit the cover obscuring the man's body. When he got back to his feet, Garcia growled in frustration, "We're going to need some bigger guns if we're gonna clear that shuttle out!"

((OOC: My opponent's first turn was just rushing the bulk of his forces into the objective room. My shooting was mostly unsuccessful, save for the reaktion zond downing a Varangian Guard in the first order, and my intruder downing Denma Connelly. Unfortunately, Denma regenerated. Worse yet, William Wallace, Denma, Varangians, and a Bearpode meant that setting foot inside the objective room would be an absolute slog of a CC battle, something which I couldn't really contend with as my Taskmaster was my only respectable CC model in my list. Elsewhere on the table, some camo markers moved up to the outer consoles. My discovery attempts failed at revealing them.))


Thanks to the massive reactive power of my list, I was able to hold back the initial onslaught. However, things did not go well for me as by the end of the first turn, all of my attack pieces were critical hit into hell, preventing me from playing aggressively.

The team wasted no time in rushing forward. In order for Petra to lift the lock down on the shuttle, she needed to get someone to the consoles flanking the landing area. Lucy made a run for it, but she was caught out in the open by a frontovik who was just running into the shuttle. The frontovik raised his rifle and fired at Lucy. The cheerkiller tried to dodge, but the rifle's teseum round hit Lucy dead on. The teseum fragmented into thousands of little slivers that shredded her abdomen and turned it into a bloody mess. She fell to the floor and died on the spot.

Petra cursed under her breath and switched her camera over to another one of Gin's team mates, a hacker to rival Petra's own skill by the name of 'Maria Troubles'. Strange moniker, but that didn't matter. She was the real deal. Maria fired a pitcher at the shuttle, hoping to gain Petra early access to the ship's controls. The repeater stung into the concrete ground and activated. Petra immediately began getting to work on infiltrating the shuttle's firewalls. A loud gunshot rang out, drawing Petra's attention back to the cameras. She saw Maria laying dead on the ground, her head blown open by a sniper round. "Shit!" Petra yelled with frustration. Ariadna was desperate to escape, and it showed.

"Maria is down! I see the bastard who tagged her!" Garcia said, training his rifle on the sniper that dropped his friend.

Garcia fired two rounds. One went wide, while the other hit the sniper in the ballistic plate. It shattered, and the sniper dropped back out of sight. But the ariadnan was still alive. Garcia kept his rifle on the other sniper's perch, waiting for an opportunity for him to poke his head back up.

"I'm hitting zem vere it hurts!" Hanz announced as he deployed a group of crazykoalas. The small suicide drones sprinted alongside the taskmaster as he brandished his sword and charged headlong into the shuttle.

"Hanz! It's too risky! Don't do it!" Petra warned, but the taskmaster just cut her off with a bellowing war cry.

The large suit of armor charged the frontovik that killed Lucy while two koalas leaped past him to cling onto the huge caledonian man. The frontovik threw himself backward while the caledonian pivoted in a beautiful display of acrobatics as the crazykoalas leaped over him and exploded against the shuttle's wall. Hanz changed his target, bringing his sword up to parry the caledonian's massive claymore. Even in the hulking suit of power armor, blocking the caledonian's sword sent a pang of pain down Hanz' arm.

Nothing was working! Petra looked out to the horizon and spotted the Q.A.Z drifting slowly toward Okolnir. Water from the nearby bay was getting sucked up into its singularity now while a few hulking cargo ships loomed in the air bending, twisting, and snapping in two. "We're running out of time! Shit shit shit!" Petra growled as she repeatedly punched the wall next to her.

((OOC: This was an incredibly rough turn for me. Everything that could have gone wrong for me did. My opponent was hot on the critical hits, and he hit me from tiny sight lines that I never even thought to check. Worse yet, few of my rolls were actually succeeding at anything, and the ones that did often resulted in successful armor saves for my opponent. This was shaping up to be one of those games where luck just simply wasn't on my side.))


My opponent's second turn was max aggression with the bearpode. With a sin-eater and reaktion zond, I managed to kill the bearpode, but not after it killed my last attack piece and chain rifled my sin eater, intruder, AND my mobile brigada all in a single burst to either death or incapacitation. It was after that when I had no feasible way of breaking through my opponent's staunch defense. I conceded the game, and so ended Shattergrounds.

Seeing Hanz' attempted breach of their escape shuttle. The bearpode roared loudly and rushed out of the room. It didn't want their escape to be risked like that again! Marco was positioned just outside the shuttle, ready to breach in when the bearpode rushed out. It spotted him immediately and charged straight for him. Marco cursed out loud in surprise. He tried to get out of the rampaging bear's path as it levelled its large chain rifle at him. Before it pulled the trigger, it spotted the rest of the nomad fire support team and stepped aside to fire a single blast of its deadly weapon and catch them all.

Garcia, Eifrig, and the reaktion zond all joined their fire to cover Marco, but the bear didn't care. The combined firepower of the sin-eaters machine gun and the reaktion zond's machine gun sawed the bear in two, but not before it fired molten hot slag from its chain rifle, catching them all in the torrent. Marco's armor was compromised, and he fell back onto the ground as his suit lost power. Eifrig and Garcia didn't have time to get out of the path of destruction after firing on the bear, and both of them were ripped to shreds and turned to unidentifiable piles of meat. The reaktion zond's weapon was mangled and its optical sensors were ruined. One of its legs suffered catastrophic damage. The zond let out a low droning warble as it lost power and went silent. The bear dropped dead on top of Marco, making the brigada groan from the weight. He was in critical condition.

Meanwhile, Hanz was engaged in a deadly battle with the caledonian man. The shuttle was not an ideal place for Hanz to maneuver and fight, and this caledonian didn't seem human at all. He was too fast for his size. Too powerful. He had only ever seen prowess like this in ALEPH's historical recreations. Who the hell was this man?! He tried back stepping, parrying another blow but losing his blade in the process. Disarmed, Hanz threw himself at the caledonian, hoping to pin the man and crush him under the pure weight of his heavy power armor. But the caledonian sidestepped placed the placed the blade perfectly between the armor plates of Hanz' armor. With a single draw cut, the caledonian sliced through the synth-fiber muscles underneath the armor plating and slashed deep into Hanz' core. The taskmaster gurgled and took a few lazy steps forward. The heavy armor slammed to its knees, shaking the entire shuttle as the ariadnans watched on.

The caledonian stepped in front of the taskmaster and positioned the tip of his blade under the neck plating. Hanz weakly reached up to his helmet, the caledonian reading his movement and allowing him the simply courtesy of looking his killer directly in the eyes. His helmet hissed as the airtight seals popped. The taskmaster lifted his helmet off of his head and dropped it to the floor. Blood leaked from Hanz' lips as he turned his blue eyes on the caledonian. His blonde hair was soaked with sweat and rainwater, and the life was leaving his eyes rapidly. The caledonian wordlessly nodded to Hanz before sinking the blade down and into the taskmaster's heart. Hanz let out a final gasp, and then a long, tapering sigh.

The caledonian drew the blade out of Hanz' body, letting the heavy armor slam to the floor. He stepped out into the rain and spotted Petra standing over him on a roof top. She looked mortified and unwilling to keep fighting. Behind her, lightning arced sideways through the black clouds, centering on the Q.A.Z's singularity and dispersing into a spray of multispectral colors.

The caledonian sheathed his sword and extended a hand to Petra, "If you want to live, surrender yourselves. We'll take you from this doomed place."

Petra's breathing was heavy and distraught. Lightning flashed and thunder boomed as rain pelted at her. She weighed her options. There was no way any of them were going to get through them all... Her shoulders slumped and she dropped her combi rifle. The caledonian nodded and gave a hand signal to his men to collect the surviving nomads. Petra raised her commlog to her mouth and gave the order. "Team... Whoever's left... Stand down..."

((OOC: A very quick turn. The bearpode found a perfect angle to hit not only my mobile brigade, but my sin-eater, intruder, and reaktion zond' too with his chain rifle. As was the trend this game, I failed every armor save, and all four of my pieces went down from the single attack. After that, I knew there wasn't a chance at winning, and so I conceded the game.))


Petra, Larry, Healer Sherry, and Marco were all thrown into the shuttle and restrained in some seats. The shuttle doors latched shut as the engines sent a vibration through the entire hull of the ship. The passengers felt the thrust under their feet when the shuttle lifted off. It swayed from the intense winds, but that wasn't anything the shuttle couldn't handle. With a sudden push, the main drive fired as the shuttle was screaming toward the sky. Behind the shuttle, the Q.A.Z began ripping neighborhoods and buildings from their foundations. Okolnir was being swallowed whole by the quantum anomaly.

The ariadnan that had killed Maria was administering first aid to Marco. Healer Sherry had her head down as she whispered a quiet prayer to her Lady of the Bloody Knife. Larry simply slumped in his seat, her eyes tracing the clouds as they breach the top of them and left Concilium's atmosphere. Where they were going, they had no clue.

Petra watched Larry as he just stared out to the void and planet below. He was clearly lost in deep thought. She leaned forward as far as she could, but the restraints didn't afford her much movement. "Larry?" Petra asked, her voice wavering.

Larry glanced over to Petra for a moment, "You did your best, Petra. I hope you know that."

Petra felt a frog in her throat from those words. She was expecting a quip or a completely mistimed shot at flirting with her. In that moment, she would have preferred it. Petra just dropped back in her seat and looked down at her bound hands. Her mind swam with anxiety over what was to come now that they were P.O.W's in the hands of the ariadnans. "Say something, Larry..." Petra said lowly, "Anything... Just distract me, please..."

There was a long silence shared between the two. Larry took a deep breath and let it out in a long drawn out sigh. "You have any family?" Larry asked.

Petra blinked at that. Again, it was not what she expected from him. She just nodded. Larry continued, "Do you talk?"

Petra pouted at that and shook her head, "No... Not since I joined Vortex..."

Larry nodded, "I imagine they're on Tunguska then?"

"Bourak, actually... They left the mothership to join a caravansary after I left. Supposedly they settled down in Bourak's capital. I guess not having me around spoiled Tunguska for them a bit... Stupid me..." Petra said, thinking about the last conversation she had had with her father. Her eyes flicked back up to Larry, "What about you?"

"Oh yeah," he chuckled as he answered, "Got a big family back on Earth. Talk to 'em for an hour every week. Friday at eight PM universal time. I can't imagine mum'll be too thrilled to hear about this mess we're in."

Petra stared out into space as she thought about that. She didn't know why she was so surprised to learn that Larry actually had human connections with a human life outside of the Hasselhoff. "When was the last time you saw them?" Petra asked.

"Same day your team came aboard my station and bumped into some Yu Jing operatives." Larry answered.

"The day you joined our crew?!" Petra gasped.

Larry nodded, "Yup. The day I met you and became a nomad. Best day of my life, if you ask me. Never looked back."

"I'm sorry..." Petra said, her voice wavering again.

Larry looked back to Petra and raised a brow. "For what?"

"For everything! My team held you at gunpoint and completely upended your life! If we hadn't arrived, then you'd still be with your family! I'm sor-"

"Petra," Larry interrupted, "If you and your team hadn't shown up. Those Imperial Agents would have put a bullet in my cube to keep their op a secret. You saved my life. That's why I'm always so sure you know what you're doing. Even in this predicament, I'm sure you'll find a way to get us all home."

Petra clenched her jaw, following Larry's gaze back out to space. Concilium Prima was no longer in sight. Just the endless sea of stars. "Where do you think we're going?" Petra asked.

Larry shrugged, "With you? I couldn't care less."



And there you have it folks! Four missions ran for Shattergrounds and what a ride it was! Like I said at the end of episode 3, I never expected to go this far with Larry, Petra, and the crew of the Hasselhoff. But now that I've sunk my teeth into developing the crew, their quirks, and a deeper narrative, I'm totally hooked on it!

This is not the end of CSU Larry! Although, it will be quite the wait for the next campaign where the characters will re-emerge to continue the story!

I sincerely hope for those who actually took the time to read through it all that you loved reading it as much as I loved writing it. Writing is one of my biggest passions, and I absolutely love bringing my hobby to you all!

Perhaps if I'm hankering for a good Larry side story, I'll post more one-offs in Corvus Belli's fanfic section in their forums! You can already find one there titled 'The Kruggernaut', lifting the veil a bit as to how he earned that title which ultimately led to the Tunguska Cheerkillers joining the crew!

Until next year, folks!

Go Go Nomads!

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