The sky went red for a brilliant moment as debris plummeted through the atmosphere. The ground shook for miles around, pocket marks scarring the pale flesh of the dust.
Something living crawled a few feet from the small shell of twisted metal it had descended in, blood and sizzling purple leaking from lacerations and broken bones. Rasping breath caused coughs, splattering blood and more of that purple across the beige in front of them. The massive hunk of metal, blackened and red-hot, pinged and sizzled softly as it cooled. Certain spots in the crater had turned to glass, making macabre sculptures across the desert landscape. All was quiet but these small interruptions as sand was carried by a gentle wind around the collapsed figure.
The surface of pandora seemed silent with concern.
Then there were howls, skags, bristling and massive, appeared over the lip of the crater. They seemed to hesitate there, waiting for some unseen signal to move in. One of them, large and painted with blood red markings, sauntered down into the dip. A few who had been next to it whimpered softly, closing the gap.
The beast circled the wreckage, pausing to closely inspect the bleeding thing. It snuffled softly at the figure and turned in time to witness a humanoid form round the crest.
Other skags had parted for this figure, who none-too gently leapt down to the lone skag. This figure was a woman, lean and muscled, with holes where her eyes should have been. The surrounding area on her face as scarred pink from the dark brown of the rest of her skin. She was wrapped in Kevlar and burlap, a bright poncho covering her.
She bent down, hand going to the skag's head. It lowered it down to the figure's face. Her hand shifted from the skag to the figure's cheek, and she stiffened. The figure breathed out.
"Mi amigo, how did they survive?"
The beasts response was a soft hoot, too gentle for the source.
"No hablo skag, amigo." She replied, running her hand down the figure's side. She encountered the figure's arm, and traced dimly glowing markings, which made the barest indents into skin. "No way, a siren? Aren't they able to use eridium for healing? Cogjaw, get eridium!"
The skag turned lazily and padded off at a slow pace until- "QUICKLY, YOU SMELLY LUMP!"
As the red painted skag tore off, followed by a small band of yellow-painted ones, the woman gently hoisted the siren into her arms. A groan of pain escaped the slender figure, and the woman hushed her softly. A small cluster of skag pups parted as the woman climbed the crater rim, one or two brushing against her legs, directing her the way she came from.
The sound of gasping breath filled the small room, the pale siren laying upon the cot in the corner struggling to breath. A skag was resting on the floor beside the bed, and when it heard the siren's struggle, it grabbed the girl's arm, shaking gently. The girl snapped awake, sitting up, blue eyes wide, looking like a drowning fish. She grabbed a bar of eridium off the shelf next to her bed, clutching it tightly. It melted in her hands, markings flaring up brightly as she absorbed it.
The skag released her and went back to its spot. Through a small window next to the girl's bed, the first rays of the day were crawling across pandora's surface, tinting the dunes across the horizon a vicious pink. With a sigh, the siren slid out of bed and made her way to the door, careful not to disturb her roommate.
Upon entering the hall, she was greeted by the smell of freshly-baking crepes. With a grin, she traversed the maze-like warehouse, reaching the industrial kitchen, where her host was cooking, despite her missing eyes.
"Good morning Alpha" the siren rasped, her throat raw from her sickness.
"Good morning, child. Would you like crepes? I am going to be cooking Rakk strips next for Cogjaw, if you need the protein."
"No thank you, crepes are fine. Is this the stuff you got from Skipper?"
Alpha nodded, clicking her tongue. Cogjaw, the red-painted skag, turned off the stove. The siren took the spatula when it was offered, and removed the crepes from the pan, moving them onto cracked porcelain plates. She handed the older woman a fork and got to eating her own food. She would have killed for sugar or strawberries to put atop the crepe, but considering where they were, she was grateful enough.
"Sweetheart." Alpha suddenly said, jolting the siren out of her food-dreams. "I think we should see about alleviating your eridium problem. As in, we must make some sort of portable injector for you. Then you can leave here and do whatever it is you need."
"That sounds like a great idea," said the girl, brushing her black hair from her left eye, only for it to slide back into place.
"We can ask Skipper, he probably knows enough to make one. He also needs to find us a new eridium supplier. Unless you want to do that yourself," Alpha continued, setting her fork down on the counter beside her.
"How would I find eridium though, Alpha? I can't exactly just ask someone to supply my eridium addiction."
"Easy, can't find new suppliers, find a vault. I heard of a deal- ten million for a vault key. If you ask Ellie, she can get my old car for you."
The siren nearly dropped her plate. "Ten million dollars? We can't afford that!"
"Easy, honey," said the woman, taking her plate and setting it down on the counter. "You can take one of the skags with you, like Lophead. Steal it."
The image of the skag that was sleeping in her room popped into the girl's head. "That... Doesn't sound like too bad of an idea. But it's probably heavily guarded, and Hyperion-if there is a key, they would want it."
"Oh honey, of course it will be guarded, that's why you'll take Lophead. And some of skipper's guns." Alpha grinned, and made a soft clicking sound with her teeth. Cogjaw snuffled in reply and slunk off.