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~ Part 1 ~ Exodus ~ Part 2 ~

It was about noonish as the sun rested high in the sky. Moonpool, a small settlement town named for a large lake which resembled a crescent moon, was buzzing with activity. Compared to other settlement towns in the badlands, it had a lot going for it. It was located in Outer Haven territory, and thus spared of any excess amount of propaganda from Inner Haven's tyrant. The most you would hear is radio advertisements and the more than frequent television commercial sponsoring hyper-tech industries.

Yet at the same time, it was close enough to the Haven to make bandits think twice about messing with the town. It was also one of the earliest settlement towns established on New Mobius, and would be reaching it's twentieth anniversary in just a few weeks. The calm and rather upbeat atmosphere was quite a contrast to how the rest of Mobius Neo was, making it almost easy to forget just how dangerous this world could be. The only real reminder was the occasional patrols that came through to collect taxes, tributes, and keep an eye out for trouble.

Near the center of the town around the marketplace was a large, black dragon wearing an equally black suit, who was easily over twice the size of most others around. Obsidian Stone was his name, and he scanned the area with his crimson eyes as he walked through, being sure to keep his huge wings folded against his back and long, spiked tail out of anyone's way. He had three upwards-facing spines on either side of his head and two ivory horns on top, a long muzzle with a jagged mouth, and a ruby on his forehead leading into a series of small spikes going down his long neck, back, and tail. His left horn was broken in half and his right eye was scarred.

Obsidian ducked through the entryway of one of the buildings, a bar from the looks of it, dingily lit and occupied by cutthroats, mercenaries, and bounty hunters. A voice called out to him, "Oi, wassis dappa gentleman doin' 'ere inna place like dis, eh?" He cracked a small smile and walked over to the source of the voice, a red wyvern wearing a cowl around his neck and a tattered cloak, sitting at one of the alcove tables.

"Ya'know you've gotta pret-ty big price on ya 'ead dere, mate, an' a lotta nerve comin' dis close t' Haven," the wyvern said as Obsidian came over and sat across from him.

"Well, Nabxahal, I've managed to keep my head thus far, and have no plans of going any closer," the dragon replied after taking a seat.

"Fair 'nuff," Nab said, lifting the glass in his hand to his mouth and downing what was left. "But really, what'ya doin' 'ere, 'Sid?"

Obsidian sighed. "I'm looking for work, and haven't had much luck further out," he said, looking off into the establishment.

"Ah, well, I'm certain somethin'll come in dat fancies yer preferences."

One of the bar's patrons sits in the corner, wrapped in tattered brown cloaks and wearing futuristic goggles. They held their drink in a rusted gauntlet, sipping it occasionally while staring into the distance, not really looking at anything. They seemed to perk up a little when work was mentioned.

Another patron walks up to the bartender. She was a black mockingbird with purple accents wearing a beret, cargo pants, boots, a black top and a single-strap backpack. On her belt hung a mask that resembled a plague doctor mask from medieval times, along with an array of gadgets and a stun gun.

"Good day, Thomas." she says. "Anything new on the bounty board?"

"Ello, Myra." the bartender says, not looking up from polishing a spot on the counter. "Not much new, but there was a raid on the Yellowrose settlement earlier this mornin'. They say it was one of the bigger bandit groups." he reaches under the counter and hands Myra a wanted poster featuring a large burly looking boar. The caption read:

Bandit Leader Bartholomew "Roadhog" Ellis

Wanted for Kidnapping, Raiding, Mansalughter, Cannibalism, Offensive Odor, Foul Language and more

Wanted Dead or Alive $$40k alive, 15k dead (with proof)$$

"They misspelled 'manslaughter'." Myra noted. "Sounds like more money goes into the bounties than hiring an editor to check for errors."

"Probably." Thomas shrugged. "The bad news is, nobody really knows where his gang's hideout is. They were seen heading Northeast out towards the badlands after the raid, but of course, nobody wants to get close to a fellow like that."

"I might have an idea of where they are." Myra said, putting the poster into her pack."Been after this bloke for a while now. Just have one stop to make before I go. A friend of mine's fixing something up for me."

"Be careful out there, Myra." Thomas said, still not looking up. "Hate to lose another regular. And I'm not talking about bandit attacks. HT industries has been increasing their patrols around the outer Haven territories. Apparently, bounty hunting's an offense now."

"So they ask others to do their bloody job for them, and then try to arrest us for it." Myra remarked. "Brilliant."

The cloaked figure in the corner kept still, seemingly not listen. In fact, they'd been listening to every word said in the tavern, looking for some way of making money. When they heard Myra talking about the bounty, they rose from their chair and walked over to her.

"Excuse me, ma'am," They said "Could you please show me that bounty?" The figure spoke through a voice modulator, making their voice deep and hiss with static.

"Sorry, mate, but this one's mine." Myra said curtly as she passed. "And I prefer to work alone."

"Of course, ma'am," They said, walking away "As you wish." Obviously they didn't mean it, but it would be hard for Myra to tell that through an emotionless voice modulator. They'd just have to be more crafty in how they picked up this bounty.

"Sir, if you're looking for a bounty, there are others to chose from." Thomas said, pointing to a bounty wall on the other side of the establishment.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

A bit away from the bar, an older truck rumbled into view next to a slightly futuristic house. An older gentleman, his wife, their granddaughter, and a friend of hers exited the vehicle and placed their bags down.

"Ah. I think this'll be the perfect place to set up my new shop," the older gentleman said, stretching and cracking his back. His wife smiled and rubbed his shoulder. "Oh Anthony, you're getting too excited. I think we should just slow down a little."

"Esperanza-" Tony was cut off as the back door to the truck shut, with a younger female hedgehog carrying a toolbox appearing. "Hey Grandpa, where do you want this?" "Ah, Reens, just put it in the house for now and we can take care of it later." "Okay," Reens replied, carrying it in and coming back to get more of their things. She was followed by an orange cat wearing a dark blue and electric blue jacket, who was also helping carry things into the house.

Tony continued as he carried in another toolbox. "And Reens, you and Static can start tinkering in the back. There should be a smaller workshop connected here." "I'm just excited to start helping people," Reens replied. "With all the tools we have we should be able to get started soon."

Static nodded in agreement. "Speaking of which, how's that other project of yours coming along?" he asked. "The one, uh, what was her name?" he muttered, snapping his fingers to try to jog his memory. "Oh, Myra. The project Myra has you doing. Something about repairing something she found?"

"Oh, the little robot?" Reens asked, adjusting her goggles. "He's almost done; I just have to make a couple little adjustments and he should be complete." She flexed her right arm and stretched it. "Once I've gotten him finished I can work on some other things." She picked the little bot out of a box and looked him over. "I hope Myra likes the features I added onto him."

Static took a look at the bot as well. It was somewhat oval shaped and now sporting a fresh coat of blue paint. The circular object near the top, which appeared to be the eye, was pitchblack, an indicator that the robot was still offline. It didn't have any legs, but it seemed to use hovering technology.

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