RocketBoy

[J21 - Imynusoph - CFS] Perilous Tales VI: The Great Beast of Imynusoph

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Previous chapters of the Perilous Adventure!
Chapter 1: Meet our heroes!
Chapter 2: Meet the devious Colonel Corbett!

Chapter 3: Raiders of the Lost Jungle Planet!
Chapter 3: Torture, Love, and Civilized Conversation!

Chapter 4: Fight and Flight

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The chase comes to a very sudden stop! High in the Imynusoph mountains, our heroes reach the Thrilling Conclusion of their adventure! Read on to see how it all wraps up!

THE THRILLING CONCLUSION

Spoiler

Smoking wreckage covered the mountainside. A mess like that would take a long time to clean-up--but it was the last offense the pirates would ever commit against Imynusoph.
Speaking of the pirates, most of them were unconscious or might as well have been, lying in the fetal position and groaning, well and truly out of the fight. Miraculously, the only causualty of the crash was the AT-Hauler's pilot. Everyone else had been thrown clear onto the thick snow, which provided a enough of a layer of padding to soften the fall. 
Our heroes were only a little better off--the Incom speeder proved to be surprisingly sturdy; Kitsa and Professor Floon hadn't been thrown from the wreckage, but they had both taken some pretty rough knocks to the head. Wishing she had been responsible enough to don a helmet, Kitsa had dragged the Professor out of the crumpled airspeeder into the snow, where they caught their breath and looked desperately for any sign of Clod. To their relief, he was already crawling towards them, groaning from the pain and disorientation, but honestly playing it up just a little bit. They noticed he had somehow already retrieved his hat.

"Look at you two," he croaked. "Right as rain. Good."

"Glad to see you're more-or-less alright, Clod," Kitsa said. "Professor?"

"O-Oh, I'm quite shaken, Ms. Rigo, but I am primarily relieved our collision was not worse!"

"As am I!" said a familiar voice, and the trio startled at the sight of the prone, disheveled, but shockingly cheerful figure of Colonel Corbett.

"You son of a--" Kitsa began, lurching towards him, but she was stopped by the Professor. 

"Please, Ms. Rigo! No more violence, unless it is necessary." A resolved look took its place on the Neimodian's face as he turned to the Colonel. Practically a scolding look. "Colonel! I admit I'm relieved to see you. But...look at what you've done!"

"What I've done?" said the Colonel, looking surprised. "No no, Professor. This was my men!"

"Surely you are responsible for your men, sir!"

The Colonel cast his gaze around the mountainside at his scattered corsairs. He sighed, and shrugged. "Perhaps you are right. If only I was more so. I tell you: difficult to control, these crazed, stranded marauders. Brigands, the lot of them. Quite tired of them, I'll admit. Much prefer searching for the great bird. I relinquished command to my second, he's a bit of a wild dog, but it takes a load off my shoulders. This is why I was relieved to meet you, Professor! A man of culture and dignity! Someone who understands my fascination with the great beast, if not my glorious intentions regarding its killing."

"C-Colonel! I believed you to have diverted from your murderous plans. You cannot be serious!"

"Indeed, Professor," said Corbett heavily. "I am unwavered in my convictions that doing so would bring me enormous glory! Such is the burden of a hunter like myself."

"You might get your shot," Clod interjected, looking at something above them.

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Gloriously, terrifyingly, a massive creature alighted on the mountaintop. It towered over everything and seemed to absorb and radiate the sunlight itself. Raked feathers and wide wings, an enormous head that perched and cocked to look at them with a huge, intelligent eye. Its beak opened wide and it roared, like something halfway between a dinosaur and a gargantuan bird of prey.
Everyone awake on the mountain cowered and scrambled away. The Colonel and the Professor's argument was punctured--they were both knocked into a snowbank by the force of wind from its wings. 
After a shared moment of awestruck staring, the Colonel grasped for a nearby rifle. Triumphantly, he got it in his hands. Then he was blindsided by the last thing he would've expected: the Professor knocked it from his hands, and with the last of his strength hurled the weapon off the mountain and out of view.

"Professor--!" the Colonel gasped, fury seeping into his voice. Denied his chance at the very last moment.

"Colonel, I beg you: look!"

There was a quiet, still moment, where the four conscious observers watched the creature, and the creature watched them back. Kitsa thought it was the wildest thing she had ever seen. Clod thought it looked like a giant chicken, but he was still impressed.
And for the first time, the clouds broke in the Colonel's mind, and he saw the creature for what it was, witnessed its glory and complexity and strength and majesty, and didn't consider those things in light of what he might become if he could conquer the beast. His ego, his sense of self--it all melted away. Finally, peacefully, he was able to truly appreciate the rare sight he was being granted.
The Professor put his thought into words.

"Behold it! There's no need to conquer something so beautiful. Just to see it is the greatest honor."

Wordlessly, the Colonel looked at him with appreciation, and clapped him sturdily on the shoulder. He struggled to think of something to say, but nothing seemed right. So, tearfully, he gave up, and felt an unfamiliar feeling surge in his heart as he looked back at the enormous king of avians.


The arrival of the bird brought the natives, who bowed respectfully before it until it left, its job done.
The pirates and the Colonel were corralled and imprisoned, though there was no sign of the vicious Slyfoot. They presumed he must have died in the crash as well. 
Kitsa asked the tribe if Deksen might be released, and told them how he had helped. They agreed, so long as he left the planet. At Kitsa's invitation, he was more than happy to do so. For her part, Kitsa finally came to a reluctant decision not to publish her record of their journey. She would return home without a story.

"Imynusoph doesn't need any more attention," she said. "It should be left alone." 

She turned to the Professor.

"Although, the tribe said you could set up a research outpost, right Professor?"

Floon looked uncomfortable. Finally, he confessed, "I rather think I've changed my mind about that. Planets like this must be protected, and even a well-conducted operation always poses a risk of upsetting the natural way of things. I think Imynusoph is fine how it is."

"But, your discovery?" the Colonel had protested, shaking his chains. "Think of the renown, Professor!"

"Hm. I'm rather pleased without it, I think! That's not to say I'll be leaving," he said sheepishly. "We have spoken, and the High Matriarch has agreed to let me stay with her people to study for the pure pleasure of learning. Never to be published."

Clod gave him a curious look. "That must break your heart, Prof."

"Not as much as I thought it might, Mr. Clod," replied the Neimodian with a small smile.

Returning to Clod's ship, the medical supplies were offloaded by the interns and given to the tribe, who's Matriarch expressed her thanks.

"What about my treasure?" Clod asked, earning him an elbow from Kitsa.

"You have already seen the greatest treasure Imynusoph has to offer," replied the Matriarch, who could see right through him. "Your companion understands this. But I know what your heart desires. You have given us what we asked you to bring, so you will have your gold."

Have his gold, he did. Almost more than he could fit on the ship. But looking back at Kitsa and the Professor, he had second thoughts about what he would do with it. Groaning at what his bleeding heart might cost him, he gathered them together before the big departure.

They were stunned by his offer. For Kitsa, a full license to investigate anything she pleased, she wouldn't have to be concerned with any editors or deadlines or shutdowns. For the Professor, funds allocated to any cause of his choosing, either now or in the future. A research foundation, a conservation trust, anything.

Clod sat stiff and uncomfortable while Kitsa gave him a ferocious hug. Floon followed suit with the awkwardest, most genuine embrace possible.

"Alright, alright. Enough of that."

"You know we are most grateful. But what of your dreams, Mr. Clod? Your hopes for broadened employment opportunities?"

"Running hyperspace scouting trips into the Deep Core? Well," he avoided their gaze. "That was all just to get a bigger paycheck, and now I don't need one. I'll probably pay the interns fairly to start with, now that we can afford it. And I'll repair my ship, get her those parts she's needed. And then...well...I guess we'll see where the stars take me."

They all wished each other a happy goodbye, and Floon stood with the tribe to wave them off as the ship took off from the jungle, and swooped away into the starry sky.

Professor Floon smiled bittersweetly to himself, reflecting on all the wild adventures they had shared together.

"Safe travels, my friends."

There was a lot of work to do.
He could not wait.

 

THE HEROES

Spoiler

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You already know these three! But just in case...

Harnaby Clod: Hyperspace scout and treasure hunter, the sardonic Clod has two pet peeves: people making fun of his face, and being kept from a big score.

Kitsa Rigo: A reporter from the Galactic Gazette sent to record Harnaby and Floon's adventure. Would much rather get back to her investigations in the Core Worlds.

Professor Pod Floon: The neurotic professor is here to meet the local tribes and, with their permission, establish a CFS research post. Hungry for excitement, but entirely new to danger.

MORE PHOTOS

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Thanks for looking, and coming on this adventure with me!

Edited by RocketBoy

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Noice! The overall composition of this is amazing, the text, the mountain background, the big, fluffy bird, and the ground. 

The ground does look a bit patchworky. Not inheritantly bad, but ehhhhh.

Really enjoyed the story Somwise! 

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I'm still super amazed that you got that much expression into the face of the bird... Again, a brilliant idea, and an awesome execution! Great work Sam! :pirate:

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That bird is amazing! It has such organic shaping and the joints provide some great possibility but aren't obvious in a way that detracts from the build. Great way to end the story as well - I like how all of the major characters have developed a lot (except for perhaps Clod who is still perhaps at the beginning of a moral development like that of the others [though this in its own way suits the character of Clod]) is really nice because it does bring that sense of connection and interest with each of them. This really feels like all of them have a chance to learn something rather than having one "main" character and a number of supporting ones, each has really had their own story fleshed out without detracting from a larger narrative. I must admit that I wasn't sure of the concept of an Adventurers/ Star Wars hybrid at the start of this but the story telling has been so good that it really fits well within the style of both themes. 

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