I glanced at the others as I finished with the armor, "Aris make sure you check all the weapons before they are put away. The next time I find one loaded I will take a tail."
They laughed as I moved to the next warrior and began inspecting his armor. They went quiet and I glanced at the hatch and straightened, "sir?"
The group strike leader gestured, "let your second finish."
I nodded and glanced at Aris, "no slack."
He moved towards me and I turned and walked towards the hatch, "do we have a mission sir?"
He turned and led me out and into the ship's hall, "your clan wish you back."
I growled and he smiled, "relax cub. They are sending the clan warriors to Aur. They believe your clan warrens there may be intact. It is a distance from the Kair clan find so warriors will be needed to protect those going to look and investigate. All clan Sar are being asked to answer the call."
I shifted while we walked, "to guard?"
He nodded, "do not take this lightly. There are wild Kratcal on Aur and even primitive Kaire that might fight you."
I nodded and stopped and turned, "when?"
He glanced back, "you have a quarter day."
He gripped my shoulder, "I have been honored to have you lead my warriors."
Those words still followed me as I packed and then said my goodbyes. I was transferred to a small cargo ship and found a few of my clan. They were not happy with having to return which made me growl and snap, "are you warriors or a herd beast! We are returning to protect a clan warren. Do not cry and whin like a spoiled cub. Think of how and what we have to do."
They stiffened and one cleared his throat, "protect a clan warren from what?"
I glared, "Kratcal for one and maybe primitive Kaire. Are you ready to face death warrior?"
They grinned because leaders always said that and one chuckled, "yes strike leader."
I nodded and returned to what I was doing. The port on Aur was busier than I thought it would be. They had a thousand people researching through the Kair warrens and thousands more that just wanted to see it. A young female was waiting and smiled as she led us to a large cart that carried us and our bags to a large warehouse.
The inside held hundreds of people and not just our clan. The clan leader was standing at a large map as I carried my bags in and set them down. I moved towards him and pushed a couple of younger warriors out of my way. They growled but moved when I looked at them. The clan leader turned and smiled, "Blaine."
I nodded as I looked at the map, "has anyone scouted the warrens sir?"
He turned to look at it, "no. Most of us only arrived a couple of days ago. We have two dozen clans that want to help but none are trained scouts."
I touched a building and had the board zoom in and magnify, "the Kair site buildings were still strong enough to land on?"
He nodded, "but we do not..."
I absently gestured, "I was not thinking of a flier."
I touched the building I was looking at, "I could take a strike team and jump using grav shrouds. We could land spread out on this building and do a search and inspect it. If it can support the weight of a flyer or transport we could use it as a base to bring everyone in for the others."
He grinned and then chuckled, "choose your team strike leader."
I turned to look around and he caught my shoulder, "I should mention we have many offers from several clans."
I glanced at him, "offers?"
He smiled, "for mates?"
I looked at all the people, "and they are here now?"
He nodded, "you are long past mating age Blaine. Four of your liter have died and you are the only one left."
I sighed, I knew they had died. We had all joined the fleet at the same time and more and more rogue systems were raiding now. Plus with the war against the Devaints the Kaire population had dropped by almost a third. At least now several of the human empires were helping.
I finally nodded and he patted my shoulder. I moved to my bags and yelled, "I need warriors!"
A minute and I had thirty standing around me. I checked each of them before I nodded, "okay we are going to be the first in strikers. Pack a single bag for a grav shroud jump. Carbines and hand weapons only. Make sure you have a regular knife and a sonic cutter. Leave room for rations in the pack."
I gestured and they moved away as I knelt to dig out my pack and combat gear. I looked up as a teenage female stopped beside me. She wore a combat harness with a pistol and long knife. She was green with silver spots and looked me over carefully, "I am Kinse Elic Nas Sil Altkin and I claim you."
I snorted as I went back to what I was doing, "do you even know who I am girl?"
She growled and bent as one hand snapped out and caught my wrist. I looked at her and then grinned as I moved and yanked. She twisted as she fell but still landed on her back as I moved over her and looked into her eyes, "I am Blaine Saj Nor Alt Sar and I see you. Listen to me wild kitten, mates do not demand or own each other."
I let her go and stood and pulled her up, "go pack a jump bag."
She looked at me and I returned it and she smiled and turned away. I finished packing and went to find someone who would know where to find grav shrouds. I was pulling a large float cart when I returned to find the warriors milling around. A small teenage female was with Kinse, she was white with black furred wrists and hands.
If I could have seen her feet through the jungle mocs I would have seen that they were black too. Like Kinse she wore a combat harness with weapons and looked a little defiant. I stopped and turned to gestured, "everyone take a shroud and inspect it."
They started to move and Kinse and the girl walked to me. The girl growled as her black tipped tail fluffed out, "I am Tear Urr No Press and I see you."
I glanced at Kinse and waited and she grinned and nodded. I reached out and rubbed Tear's cheek, "calmly kitten. I am Blaine Saj Nor Alt Sar and I see you."
I moved closer and reached around and down to stroke her tail, "I claim you."
She slowly relaxed and I turned, "now both of you get a shroud and check it."
I followed and checked one, I had brought back more than we would use. I lined everyone up and started down the line checking equipment. When I finished I nodded, "relax while I go find us a ride. Take rations and pack them away."
The clan leader had been busy and turned as I strode towards him and grinned, "ready?"
I nodded, "someone needs to collect the rest of our things to bring out later."
He nodded and I looked at the map, "it should take a few hours to get there and another to check the building."
I looked at him, "it will be dark by then. Tomorrow if the roof pads are safe we will clear them. If they are not we will clear a space between buildings."
He waved to a dark furred Kaire, "this is the pilot for the transport."
I looked at him and then touched the warren building, "you need to slow when you go over this building. You should be at a thousand kilometers. Some of those with me have not done this which is why we will be jumping from that height. You will need to make two passes."
He nodded as he looked at the building, "sounds easy."
I smiled as I turned to go get everyone, "that part is."
The transport was not new but seemed to be in good shape. I went over everything several times while we were in the air and choose the second jump leader. When we got the warning I stood and turned as both doors were opened. The hot and humid air quickly filled the transport as I looked back down the line.
I reached out to take the shroud activation cords from Kinse and Tear before I turned to look out and down. The forest looked more like a thick jungle and I shifted and turned to watch the ready light. It flashed and I spun and yanked both girls out and went after them. I pulled the cords and then mine and caught the steering handles.
I looked down as I turned and checked for the building. I glanced up and back to see both girls grinning fiercely. I smiled as they followed me and the string of other shrouds lined up behind them. The top of the building was thick with growing bushes but at least there were no trees.
I landed and moved forward and to the side as I tested every step. I turned to bring in the shroud and shut it down. I moved to help the girls and pull them to the side as the others landed. I watched but no one went through the roof. I removed my pack and started rolling the shroud, "we need warriors on the other door!"
I gestured to the girls, "watch that door."
I looked up as the transport turned and started back and finally the rest of the warriors started jumping out. I only relaxed when I saw all the grav shrouds deploy. When they landed I turned, "six warriors move to the other stairs and go down to the next floor!"
I moved to the door the girls guarded as the others followed. We had to force it open which was good. The stairs were thick with dirt and dust but only fungus grew on the walls. I covered my nose and mouth, "cover your face!"
I pulled my pistol as I started down testing each step. At the next floor I pointed to a warrior following, "watch the stairs coming up."
I turned and again we had to force our way through a door. I looked around and then turned, "okay listen up! Check for danger but also look at the structure! Check the beams and the ceiling as well as the floor!"
.... There is more of this story ...