Ever wonder what happened to Vurio from Skrapping? Speculate no longer. Yes, there will be plan elements. Yes, it will be a quite exciting story. We have quite a few "author planets" (like Heartforge, Nevermore, etc.) around Multiverses, and I shall be introducing another one. No prizes when you guess which author. So without further ado, a synopsis:
Vurio returns to the shop, but is confronted with a most curious customer carrying an equally curious assignment: find and kill a rare biomechanical beast from a hostile planet. This challenge will end up being more than the taxidermist bargained for.
Five turned, and listened to the night. There was sound in the darkness from all directions. He could hear the snappers chittering away somewhere up into the trees.
None of them were here by choice. Sure, they were on duty, but it didn't have to be here. This was the last place they wanted to be.
Five snuck a glance at Two, who was taking a "quick nap" like the rest of the troop. Naturally, there was a large scuffle about the overnight watch, and, as usual, Five had drawn the short straw. Typical.
He now stood in the cold forest, keeping an eye out for things. But there was one thing on everybody's minds, and that thing was somewhere out in the night this very moment. It might even be watching them right now.
Five shuddered at the mere thought, and tried to pull his mind away. There had to have been something else he could think about. Like the noise of the snappers. The rocks in the ground. The leaves on the trees. Food. Food was a nice thing to think about. He was starving.
A harsh, indescribable sound shook from the forest. Jumping, Five grabbed his ignipistol and scanned the darkness around him.
He knew what the sound came from. He didn't need to see it to know. All he could do was keep his guard, and pray that it didn't come close.
Somewhere out in that night, it was hunting again.
Vurio sat, his newly acquired weapon in his hand. He was thinking about his main customers, and what he gave them. To anyone watching, he would seem entirely oblivious to outside activity.
He was sitting in the taxidermy shop, now his and his alone. It did actually have a name---Exquisite Mounts---but everybody in town just called it the taxidermy shop. Over the years it had mounted the rarest and most dangerous species you could think of, and many more. Business usually consisted of mounting Sklashers for the green folk, as everybody else saw enough Sklashers for their liking anyway. But there were unique cases every once in a while.
The shop consisted of the front display room, which was relatively large, and a back room that was even larger, used for preparing mounts. New customers were usually impressed. Vurio always thought they should be; the shop was the largest of its kind on Skrap (and in fact the only one) and possibly the whole of Viperius, although he never bothered to check.
It was a slow day, and nobody had showed up yet. The last activity was yesterday, when a guy picked up his Aragtora from the shop. He was a bit enthusiastic. But since that, nothing. Nothing to do but admire stolen property.
The glass door to the shop opened, and an electronic chime rang out. It was the most advanced piece of technology in the building, and it meant there was a customer.
Vurio put the Ray aside and sat up straight. Presentation, as they said, was everything.
The customer, a Ranaptor dressed in a finely made suit, stood in the doorway and looked around before advancing forward to the desk. Vurio could see the mind of a businessman in his eyes, but the newcomer looked mysterious at the same time.
Vurio smiled and said, "Hi. Anything you're looking for in particular?"
The Ranaptor paused for a moment. "Yes, as a matter of fact," he finally said.
"Well, we do commissions. If you'd like something rare, we can get it." Vurio enjoyed talking to customers, it was so much fun to reel them in.
"I've gotten all the rare ones, actually," the Ranaptor said. "It seems there's only one target left for me. That's why I'm here. Oh, but I haven't introduced myself. You can call me Blue, for the time being."
Vurio nodded. He was familiar with this kind of talk.
"I'm looking for a very nasty beast. It's very unique, and might present you with a couple challenges. I don't think many taxidermists have worked with biomech before."
Vurio's eyes lit up.
"There's only one of this thing, and found on one planet only. It's only accessable by wormhole. I would go hunt it down myself, but you know people. They always have...business to attend to."
"I know the feeling."