Shady dropped to the ground alongside the new Exile recruit. Before them the hill dropped into a shallow valley and the Dominion squad of hunter killer robots could be seen hovering around some sort of half buried relic. Shady switched the Protostar scanner to long range and frowned as the display cycled, flickered and then cycled again. 'Looks a little problematic, sir' the recruit commented quietly, almost swallowing his tongue as he realised he had used the word 'Sir' again. Shady glared at him, as the recruit corrected himself, 'Sergeant sorry, I mean't sergeant'. The sergeant disregarded the recruits mistake and turned to his gunner who had crawled up behind them. 'Give them a 490, right in the middle,....not on the edge like you did last time ok gunny' Shady whispered. 'Why do they call it a 490 Si...Sergeant?' the recruit asked. The Sergeant was around 5ft 9 and 230 pounds, a goatee beard encompassed his mouth but his squad were unsure whether he trimmed it close or whether the repeated cloning and medical repairs he recieved just hadnt allowed it to grow longer. His left arm had a scar which ran the length of it and had been received after his last medtech had tried to administer a tissue sample while Shady was still coming around from surgery. The med tech had sustained greater injuries. His other arm had the unmistakable tattoo of 'Serenity Rangers' and his forehead had the remains of a deep burn scar from a heavily outnumbered encounter with the enemy some years ago. He was the kind of man who had been through hell, then been patched up, repaired and gone right back there to establish permanent residence. Shady looked at the gunner as he readied the weapon and then turned to the recruit shaking his head. 'Do I look like Im some sort of geek head who stamps numbers on guns all day and draws pictures of how things should work !' 'We fire the gun, the Doomies explode into 490 pieces and then you get to collect them for the labcoats, will that for you ? ....or.... gunny here misses again and we have a dozen shiny, metal menaces trying to fry our faces, so be ready kid !' One of the other rangers jumped into the conversation, 'Another Doomie group,.... looks like they are about a click away, Sarg' said the soldier. Shady looked irriated and the recruits face looked panicky. He thought it time to square away some rumors they had all been hearing recently at the barracks. 'Look kid, whatever you have heard, Doomies are bad, they chase us out of our homes and run us around the universe, just so they can live in their 'better world'. They call us savages, sinners and thieves but all we want is the same as any other, to live, love and take care of our own. The only reason they want you to defect is so they can have your DNA, they are so inbred they are weak now. Once they have that then you are worthless to them.' Shady reassured the group. 'Yeah Doomies, thats Doomed to fail', those suckers are going down if they try to get my strands'. The gunner stated confidently. Shady reevaluated the situation and switched tactics, popping open a backpack, he dropped the grenades on the ground. 'One each ! Gunny and I will drop fire to each flank and keep them together, that way these will have maximum effect, we will have about a minute before the others get here, so make it fast newbie' he spoke to the recruit as he signalled the gunner, who in turn began to target the '490' on the robots. 'Give em pain,' the Shady roared as the 490's shell hit the group. The first three Dominion robots shattered into scrap metal as the combined force of the grenades and the shell flung their metallic organs in all directions. The newbie stumbled and fell forward covering his face from the flying spent cartridges as Shady released the firing handle on the P'Rotocannon and a deafening roar of hundreds of bullets erupted from the gun. Fumbling with the grenade, finally flipping the safety and then tossing it into the middle of the robots the newbie ducked behind a nearby rock. The plan worked well with only one robot left standing from their initial combined attack as Shady's gun rolled to empty. The newbie looked at the sergant with worry as the robot aimed at Shady and shot a fusion round towards him. Shady dodged to the right, slipping a little on the wet ground, he looked impatient but not afraid. "Anytime now would be good !" Shadys laughing voice roared back behind them to the treeline some distance away. As the robot hovered closer and prepared for another shot, a single pencil thin lazer beam shot out from the trees and hit dead center in the robots left eye, its servos shuddered for a second before it crashed to the ground. The newbie scrambled forward and began collecting the smouldering pieces of the robot as the others reloaded and walked over to the relic that had attracted the Dominion robots. Lying half buried in the ground was a greenish yellow sphere about 15ft in diameter, numerous black lines criss-crossed the surface and a small panel with strange Eldan characters glowed dimly on one side of the sphere. Shady called the gunny over and the two looked at the object quizically. Shady tapped it with his boot, "what do you think gunny ? worth a try or shall we head to cover ?". The newbie looked at the proximity scanner flashing red and hastily readied his weapon for the incoming Dominion force. "Yeah it looks workable," the gunny spoke as he pryed open the control panel like an eager child with a gift wrapped Starfall present and hastily fixed wires from his powerpack "just gotta figure the symbols". Shady looked at him, a little surprised "thats why we gave you the books gunny, tell me you did read em right ?" the sarge shook his head as he readied his weapon and the gunny frantically tried different combinations of the symbols on the control panel. The first three Dominion soldiers fell to the invisible lazer sniper in the trees. The rest of the 20 strong force returned fire showering the trees with bullets that all missed the well hidden Exile. But the distraction bought gunny the time he needed, exclaiming with joy he shouted to the others "Yeah we are hot !" Shady immediately grabbed the newbie and dragged him to the side out of the way as the ground trembled and the sphere began to rise. The sergant laughed over the noise to the new recruit "Im a first class sergant kid but a terrible driver". The new recruit and gunny watched from shelter as the sphere unfolded its parts and Shady climbed aboard. A deep rumbling eminated from the hovering device as it became a seated platform with multiple weapons at the front. After several jerky manouvers in the wrong direction Shady shot them an apologetic look and shrugged. "The bad guys are that way Sarge" the gunny laughed pointing in the Dominions direction, Shady figured the controls at last and the machine lurched forward towards the enemy, a shimmering shield surrounding the platform as it rose to some 40ft in the air. It took a short while for Shady to remember the complex and confusing Eldan controls as bullets from the Dominion soldiers bounced off the protective shielding but then he was ready to return the guesture. Multiple precision rockets shot out of the platform and terminated at least half of the Dominion's while a dozen small lazers struck the others with surgical accuracy, in a few seconds only one of the enemy remained standing. The bewildered soldier dropped his weapon to the ground and raised his hands as the new Exile recruit excitedly levelled his weapon at the man and flipped off the safety. "Stand down soldier," Shadys voice boomed out of the platform's loudspeakers, and the recruit immediately complied. "this one is going to run back and tell them all to keep their patrols out of this sector, cause Shady's Crew own this piece of loftite laden dirt, isnt that right ?" the sergant drifted the platform closer to the frightened Dominion man. The man nodded and hastily backed away before running for his life back towards the roadway. Shady shouted down from the platform to the recruit, "Inside every one is an Exile waiting to awake kid, just takes some of them a bit longer than us. If they aint risking your life or the lives of others let them free, could be theyre the next to wake up" The platform bobbed for a few seconds then fell to the ground with a crunch and a sizable quantity of sparks erupted from the controls. Gunny approached as Shady exited as quick as he could. "Protostar power packs," the gunny scratched his head and continued "they just aint made for this Eldan tech Sarge" The Exiles looked at the device as it buzzed and sparked until Shady spoke, "Its a pity,.... with a fleet of these we could really give those DumbOnions a run for their money. Guess for now we will just have to stick with doing things the hard way." the sarge picked up the P'Rotocannon and shouldered the heavy ammo pack. He glanced up at the sky thoughtfully before speaking to the squad, "Its a great big universe, plenty of room for us all but the Doomies wont stop until they own everything, Nexus is the line, this is where they fall"