1d100:  = 51
1d20:  = 10
1d100:  = 66
Leo helps his family and friends shore up the farm's defenses as evening approaches. At dinner, he sits next to his mom, and chats with her, steering the topic away from his enslavement at the hands of the Splugorth, and instead telling stories of his new friends, the Templar, and asking about what's been going on at the farm.
She seems as tired as I've been feeling lately,
he thinks. A beat later: Something is seriously wrong with me.
He does not tell her the things he's wanted to say to her over the past three years. The desperation, the loneliness, the self-loathing. The people he's had to kill. All the times he's nearly died. When he was a child, she was always there, always strong. Now, she is fragile. It's his turn to be strong.
He looks around the table at his new friends and old, and his family. The Templar took me in when I was on the run, without even a second thought. They're good people, through and through. And the family is still out here on Dad's farm... some of us older kids have drifted off, and some have stayed... but we're still here, still working the land like Dad taught us.
He spares a glance at Konnor. Some of us, anyhow. Others are working the con. Konnor, you're gonna get yourself killed, and maybe get others killed in the process. Why, your whole life, you always gotta try to find the easy road, when you can't see the danger, is beyond me. When are you gonna wise up?
He turns back to his meal. Hungry as he usually is, he finds he is barely able to finish his meal. He masks his grave concerns, however, with laughter and joking, finding the joy in being home again, even with a storm on the horizon. We can weather it together. We always have.
At the end of the meal, he stands and walks over to Jason and the Templar. "I'm gonna have a quick nap - won't need much, you know. Then I'll take watch."
Leo sleeps for four hours, and then, his body, torn between the chemicals juicing him, and his newfound bone-tiredness, wrenches itself awake. Leo straps on his armor and jetpack, and takes a position on the wall, hammer strapped to his battle harness and railgun in hand, watching for threats.
He feels as he used to feel in the gladiatorial arena, just as they were about to introduce him and his opponent, before he knew what he'd be facing.
Memory wrote:The scarred Titan Juicer stands in the shadows, looking out into the arena. It's periphery protected by a light-blue force field, invisible unless you were looking for it, with the harsh sun beating down on the packed earth and sand floor. He could hear the voice of the announcer echoing through the stone corridors.
"GENTLEBEINGS! We have collected for you today some of the fiercest combatants in the Megaverse!!!" He could hear the rumble of the crowd going wild.
"YESSS! We have such treats for you today, such masterpieces of violence lay in wait! For our first bout, we have a human, augmented by science into a monster that repulses even his own kind!!" Leo frowned. Do I? Am I repulsive? He looked down at his body, ridiculously enlarged by the Titan Juicer process.
The crowd began jeering, stomping. The adrenaline of his body activating his juicer rig, Leo's hands began to tremble. He gripped his battle-hammer.
"But he has found a home here in our arena! YESSS! We do not care how repulsive he is!!! We only care what violence he can bring to entertain us!! BEHOLD!!!"
The stone began to rumble now, as the portcullis door - mostly for show, began to raise. Simultaneously, a portal appears in the barrier forcefield to allow him through. He stepped into the light, stomach uneasy, hands still quivering.
"He has no name! But the other gladiators FEAR him! His blows are SEISMIC... and they call him... QUAKE!!!!"
Leo flushed. They do call me 'Quake'... but it's not out of fear. He looked down at his trembling hand - it would not be visible from the stands except to the very keen of eyesight but his fellow gladiators knew it well.
The memory passed, Leo feels his hand trembling on the handle of his railgun. He grips it tighter, and continues to scan the horizon.
When Teres approaches he offers her a reassuring smile.
"Oh the prairie dogs are angry all right. I dunno how many of their homes we turned up digging them trenches."
Teres wrote:"Nice view from up here. How are you holding up? Is there anything more exciting than angry prairie dogs out there yet?"
He laughs. "They'll get over it. They don't need to be so close to the farm anyway. A cow'd break it's leg stepping into a prairie dog hole. Them trenches did us more than one favor."
He scans the horizon. I must be worse off than I thought at first, if she's checking in on me. Maybe she's just... a good doc. Good bedside manner. "Nothing downrange yet, though."
He smiles at her again. New friend, cares just as much about me as the rest of the Templar. She'll fit in right well.
If nothing happens during the night, Leo wakes Jason as requested, 2 hours before dawn.