1. Post #2721
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Ira grunted. "A little bit of both. That repairkit you gave me for my sixteenth birthday turned out to be useful. Again."
    She shrugged. "Not too much of an issue, as long as Maddie is here." Ira glanced at Alex. "The others aren't too bad either."

  2. Post #2722
    Seducer of Demons
    Infab's Avatar
    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    "A little bit of both. That repairkit you gave me for my sixteenth birthday turned out to be useful. Again. Not too much of an issue, as long as Maddie is here. The others aren't too bad either."
    "Yes, you and Taylor seem to work wonderfully together. It's a shame that she didn't follow in her mother's footsteps." said Lex, glancing to Taylor. Taylor was gulping down the rest of her Screwdriver, but replied once she was finished. "I'm in my early thirties. There's always the possibility of a career change in the future, you know." she said. "I'm just fine with mercenary life at the moment."

  3. Post #2723
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    I'm sorry that my superiors didn't manage to keep your men contracted, sir.
    "Not your fault, son." After Mr.White left, Seth send a message to Taylor detailing what Sol wanted them to do. Adding
    Try to tie up some loose ends if you can. There's still some time.
    After that he remained on the bench for a while, taking the scene in. It had been a while since he had some time to himself.
    ---
    Want a picture with me?
    "Would I?...I mean, yes, thank you."

  4. Post #2724
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    Sega Saturn's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,425 Posts
    We can take this stuff to the ship, then go find the others if you want. Or find some food.
    Ravis nodded. "A- Alright, yeah! I mean, I could eat, er, if you're hungry that is, otherwise, um..." he paused a moment and took a deep breath to calm his overactive nerves. "Maybe we could do both. I like the food Alex cooks, but there're some, uh, really cool exotic restaurants here, and maybe we could round a big group up and go."

    ---

    The Motchkir settled itself into the trench-like platform near the base's edge and waited for several minutes before opening its exits, allowing time for the gantry walkways to deploy from the skeletal frames on either side and meet up with the doors. Once everything was in place, various figures began to trickle in and out, some in white uniforms, some in armor, others in plainclothes, and finally, a small entourage of blackjackets. Most of them hung their heads and walked in a strange sort of hesitant manner, as if they were pulled along by imaginary ropes. Among them, and yet separate from all, was General Vorokar, who took special pleasure in being recognized by others and saluted, as it was proof that he was still revered by his government after having been "disgraced" just days earlier. He held his head high and took long steps, the conqueror of all that was miserable.


    The trip to Kanadys had gone well. The real Ryvik Sidikan had been transferred into a military hospital in Eihboh while the general himself traveled to the High Council for another hearing. This time, however, he had news to present. By the time the general arrived, late on February 13th, the events surrounding Stalnazyp and Vostokrebh had fully manifested. With the utmost delight, he announced that, in a joint operation with Black Fleet and Peacekeeper assistance, his cell of the GKVR had been responsible for running down Yanim Terika and killing her. Vorokar savored the reactions of Bikrata and his other harshest detractors as he described the various phases of the operation, how a GKVR medical team successfully extracted the Aurikha's location, how the agents responded to unforeseen interference from Killer Gemini and the khergian militias, and how, in the end, it was the batakya which failed to fully defeat the Aurikha despite high-quality intelligence gathered by a courageous GKVR lieutenant.

    The Grand Vizier made an appearance during the hearings, not specifically for the Terika-Belladonna matter, but rather in interest in the ongoing war efforts. The Councilors hoped he would bring a dose of skepticism into the discussion, to limit Vorokar's ability to take credit for the success. However, to their horror and dejection, he especially commended General Vorokar on his efforts, and requested advisement. "[What, sir, should I recommend your unit accomplish next?]"

    The Council was dumbstruck by the question- they all knew that the Vizier was a personal friend of Vorokar's, but they did not expect it to extend to such a formal level. Here, the highest executive in the Collective was asking his own subordinate what orders to give. Vorokar didn't allow himself to seem eager to answer, but given how smoothly he gave his response, it was clear that he knew exactly what he wanted and had anticipated this opportunity to advance himself.

    "[That is an interesting question,]" Vorokar replied. "[As is abundantly clear by firsthand accounts of the action on Rigel, our position on that planet is deteriorating rapidly, sir. As I said earlier, the UGC chose not to take part in the attack on the Aurikha. Had they done so, we might have finished the job completely, but as it sits, we have no more battle-ready units anywhere in the proximity and we can't afford to send them from anywhere else.

    "[In the long run,]" Vorokar continued, "[I don't believe that our partners in the Community will be interested in occupying a hostile planet, and our presence will either need to grow, or depart entirely. I cannot stress enough the need to retain a presence there. After all that has been sacrificed on that world, seeing it fall into the hands of savages forever would be an insult to generations of our kin. Moreover, we could expect to see more groups like Terika-Belladonna take root in our quadrant if they're allowed to infest that planet and the rest of the border zone.]"

    "[If I may interrupt,]" the Vizier said, clinching a fist and popping a number of bony old fingers before speaking again, "[if we are to increase our presence on Rigel, and escalation occurs as it has many, many times before, it would be catastrophic to the war effort, would it not?]"

    Bikrata, having waited anxiously for such a chance to respond, finally stood to be recognized. "[I fully agree, sir, the General is being too ambitious-]"

    "[Nonsense,]" Vorokar interrupted. Bikrata was mortified by the disrespect, but the Vizier waved her concerns away. "[Yredik, I have never mislead you about my capabilities. We can increase our presence while delaying escalation for as much as five years if we use sufficient espionage to disguise and downplay the occupation. The cell which operated out of Vostokrebh was too brash to stay hidden, and too restrained to be feared. If you place me, or any sufficiently-talented leader in control of a generalized espionage campaign there, we will be invisible, ever-present, and terrifying. It is not just possible, it is absolutely necessary that we begin working now.]"

    "[And you feel you're the best for the job?]" The Vizier replied, eliciting sounds of discomfort throughout the room. Vorokar, continuing to play ignorant, pretended to think for a moment. Finally, he nodded.

    "[No one would be better, sir.]"

    The Vizier looked at his notes for a moment, and the many Councilors waited eagerly for the floor to open to comment. Instead, the Vizier looked up at the room and without an ounce of concern, announced to them, "[It's settled, then.]"

    The room broke into an angry squawking as the Councilors accused each other of conspiring, as the Vizier was a Rozel and had given this new, important post to a Vor'Pangn he had only known for a few years. Bikrata immediately sought votes for a Council review of the Vizier's competency, but the younger Sidikans were too afraid of the executive's power to challenge him. There was no dignity, no principle, and no legitimacy to the proceeding. It was as if the system in which they had worked their entire lives to maintain had suddenly ceased to matter. Vorokar smiled to the Vizier- "[Delightful! Your insight is admirable, sir!]" And after a quick bow of the head, he exited the Council Chamber and began walking to the GKVR National Headquarters.

    There was only one concern still left on Vorokar's mind- that damned clone.

    He had hoped Ryvik's clone would dispose of itself. The bomb he had issued it was primed to explode on command or upon death, and would have ushered in an immediate atmosphere of war on the planet. Vorokar would have blamed Terika-Belladonna and their khergian protectors for the incident, and would have pushed for the same exact position. Vorokar hoped that his ascendance to general leadership of an entire planet's intelligence-gathering apparatus would enhance his career. After Rigel, he planned to move to one of the core planets. From there, he would attempt to place himself in control of the entire GKVR, maybe through acts which were less than honorable. And while his plan would take decades to achieve, they were well worth attempting. While still running the GKVR, Vorokar hoped he would then have gathered enough prominence to be appointed to the High Council by his clan, which had not seen leadership over the Collective in many years.

    But with the Director of the GKVR being a sitting Vor'Pangn, it might be possible...

    He shook the thoughts from his head. Despite his recent success, Vorokar still needed to tie up the loose ends from his last operation. According to Lieutenant Traginada, Ryvik's clone was refusing medical evaluation and claimed to have special information for Vorokar's ears only. He had also requested his own armor back out of concern of Killer-Gemini's return. Traginada had practically begged the General to not allow Ryvik to come into possession of his uniquely-destructive armor again, but the General wasn't so ready to distrust him. Ryvik's refusal to report for examination could mean anything. Witnesses described him as high-strung and uncommunicative, and that very well might be due to the death of his sister. Despite all of the exploitation, Vorokar felt a pang of sorrow for his protege, as the loss Ryvik felt was for the loyal Sidikan girl Yanim had been as a child, not the stateless menace she became as an adult. He remembered his own attempts, at Hanza, to recover her from the corrupting abyss of space, and wondered if his failure to convince her to return home ultimately led to her death. He wondered if Ryvik resented that.

    Additionally, the descriptions and video footage of Killer-Gemini was terrifying and sickening. He did not blame Ryvik for seeking the safety of his power armor. Now, a week had passed, however, and Vorokar did not remember Ryvik's special requests. The general hadn't just come to Rigel to debrief Ryvik, he had come to assume his new permanent post. He stepped down the long ramp and onto the snowy ground, and found Ryvik waiting for him off in the distance, staring intently at the sky.

    Captain Vixe could see the general leave his entourage behind and walk out onto the plaza where Ryvik stood, stained in shades of pink and orange from the setting sun. Quite fearful of what might happen next, she turned and ran all the way to the platform and begin climbing the stairs aggressively. While her bags were loaded into the lowest deck of the vessel, she checked herself in for transport and didn't look back. She forced herself to remember- [That's not Ryvik... That's not Ryvik...]

    ---


    Arkadam walked through engineering, ignoring everyone and everything on his path to the door at the back of the room. The biometric sensor seemed to await Yanim's thumbprint, and had kept everyone else from getting close to the Archive since her death. Arkadam, however, had changed the requirement when he was alone in the room and speaking to Starvis. Like his implant, the ancient AI provided him decisiveness that his own mind couldn't, and had helped him prepare for this moment. The biometric sensor was, in fact, programmed only to accept his own thumbprint. It slid away, and moments later, he was once again alone with the Archive. He took a knee, grabbing hold of a cable which had linked the Archive to his lover one week prior, and after a moment of searching, he found the socket on his own computer pack which would allow him to interface as well. He laid himself down on his stomach, took a deep breath, and pushed the cable in- and felt a jolt unlike anything he had ever experienced.

    The world assembled itself around him as he rocketed through it, a being of pure energy splitting through dimensions beyond comprehension, slowly taking form and becoming physical at the same time his surroundings became real. He felt compelled to look at his hands, and as he did so, he suddenly found himself standing on solid ground. He recognized it immediately- the concrete blocks which paved the entrance to the Academy at Eihboh, the great public school which he often passed by in his youth, but was unable to attend because he was an orphan, taking his own separate classes as the Collective molded him into a reluctant puppet of the state. He took one cautious step, and then when he felt himself move in the manner he expected, he allowed himself to look up and survey the world in which he was now standing.

    It was populated. There were hundreds of other people, not just kanads, but people of other races as well, unlike the real Eihboh. The buildings were an odd mixture of the familiar gray concrete facades and towering glass and neon, reflecting dozens of different styles of different cultures. There was a long roadway trailing away from the school which was overhung by the mag rail track, but trees - trees! - lined the sidewalk along one side, and names and hand-prints were sunken into the concrete in foreign script. It all felt vaguely familiar, and yet wholly new, like a dream. Snow fell in playful flurries in some areas, while others were bright and warm, and covered in stunning ivy greens, chartreuse yellows, and fiery red leaves of every season at once.

    "[Amazing, isn't it?]" an unexpected voice spoke to him. He turned and, within seconds, fell to his knees as he found himself looking at Vrasaya Rozel, the designated guardian of most of his youth... a woman who had been as close to a mother figure as he had ever known. She passed away from a sudden illness when he was 13, nearly an adult by kanad standards, but before he had completed his basic education. He had always wondered, if she had lived to see him as an adult, whether she would have approved of his eventual choice to run from the Collective. He studied every detail of her face as he looked up at her, and she was exactly as he remembered her.

    But her expression was surprised and concerned at his reaction. "[I- I'm sorry, Arkadam, I didn't mean to harm you,]" she said. "[I'm Starvis... do you understand? I try to appear only as familiar figures to those who come here, and only for the sake of trustworthiness. I'm not used to biological life, and I didn't realize that this form might bother you.]"

    Arkadam, no longer able to contain himself, simply sat and wept for a while. He had felt so much agony the week prior that he couldn't release, and even after the successful installation of his implant, he still felt a strange alienation from his feelings. But here, everything was so beautiful, so idyllic, that the addition of Vrasaya was far more than he could bare. It might as well have been heaven. "[It... it doesn't,]" he choked out. "[That voice you're using... it just- it brings back a lot of memories... thank you for using it.]"

    Starvis smiled, recognizing tears of joy. It gently reached down and lifted Arkadam off the ground. "[Please take your time. You're welcome to stay here as long as you like, but remember that time flows differently here.]"

    "[Did you create this for her?]" Arkadam asked.

    Starvis appeared humble. "[I helped. This world all around you is woven out of her memories; she stitched them together in a way which came naturally, and has never questioned their authenticity. She feels safe here. This is her world now.]"

    "[...Is she happy, then?]" he asked.

    Starvis nodded. Arkadam broke down again, finally feeling some of the weight come off his shoulders. He finally felt he had done something right to repay the kindness Yanim had provided him. And as he stood and openly wept, Starvis embraced him, and he, too, felt safe.
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  5. Post #2725
    Seducer of Demons
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    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    "Maybe we could do both. I like the food Alex cooks, but there're some, uh, really cool exotic restaurants here, and maybe we could round a big group up and go."
    "Sounds good. Let's go." said Valk, before walking down the sidewalk towards the docks. The others probably weren't far off. She remembered Amelia, Porter, Karl, and Sting were still on the beach. And Taylor and the others were probably in one of the hotels where Seth had dragged them off to.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    Taylor drew out her holotablet and flicked it on as soon as she felt it vibrate. A message from Seth appeared.

    Try to tie up some loose ends if you can. There's still some time.
    She replied promptly, glancing up at the others as she typed.

    The stuff I have to do would take a bit, so it can wait till after the op.
    After sending it off, she slipped her tablet back into her pocket, then looked back to the others. Nearby, Miranda straightened up, stepping back from the table and motioning Amy over. "Got a camera or somethin'?" she asked, motioning towards her. "Can't get a pic with no camera." she said, with a bit of a chuckle.

  6. Post #2726
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    Got a camera or somethin'?...Can't get a pic with no camera.
    "Oh yeah, right" Amy began to frantically search for something to take a picture with. "Come on, come on..."she muttered.

    "Relax, Fox. I got you covered." Alex chuckled while holding a camera "Just move on over and I can take the picture."

    "You're the best! What would I do without you?" Amy was said while moving to Miranda.

  7. Post #2727
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Shuttles carrying samples left for orbit while shuttles carrying supplies and equipment made for landwall. Since the week that had passed archeologist Kendra Raines had managed to set up quite an impressive basecamp around the Dirathian temple found several days before.
    Captain O'Neill of the Red Corsairs muttered angrily to himself from his position inside the improvized ATC-tower. Despite having a roof over his head and warm food O'Neill was as grumpy as ever. Had it been up to him he would have loaded up the temple on his ship and bailed but no, because according to miss "it would ruin the structural integrity" the temple would have to be studied on-site.
    Right now he watched as some of the newcomers, freelance scientists hired by Raines, logged everything they found and stored it within a fenced area covered by a blue tarp roof. He sighed and took a sip from his coffee. It was horrible.
    Anthrax entered and sat down. "Raines says she needs one more day untill they're done." O'Neill grunted. "About time. Let the crew know they need to make room for all this... shit." Anthrax nodded. "Right away, Captain."

    ---

    Carefully inserting a vibroscalpel between the two rocks Raines slowly started to wiggle it in an attempt to open up the secret space her scans had detected. Behind her two other archeologists stared wide-eyed with one holding a torch. "Just a little more..." Slowly the rock began to move before eventually dropping to the floor. Kendra smiled. Behind it was an advanced panel of a unknown metal with a single button adorning its surface. Raines pressed the button, causing the hidden doorway detected beforehand to open.
    "Finally." Muttered one of the pirate bodyguards, Shank, whom had managed to clean his rifle and sleep for two hours while the eggheads figured out a way to open up the door. Shank got up and readied his rifle before stepping in through the doorway, followed by Raines.

    Inside was a large triangular room. Obscure boxes of varying shapes had been positioned in one of the corners while several disconnected terminals occuppied the other. At the center of the room was som sort of podium and ontop of it was a tiny green crystal protected by a shield while hovering in the air.
    Shank began to rummage through the crates which were filled with small trinkets and devices. "Don't break anything." Said Raines. Shank grunted. "Got it, princess." He replied while waving with his hand in an uninterested manner.
    Meanwhile Kendra approached the crystal and began to observe it through her handheld scanner. "The readings are off the charts. If I'm readng this right this crystal could power an entire ship." She looked up from her scanner with a wide grin. "Amazing."

    Shank looked up. "You mean that crystal can make a battleship fly and shoot? For how long?" Raines shook her head. "Not sure, a week? A month? A year?" Shank grinned. "Well then, let's get it." He walked up towards the crystal and slammed his fist into the shield. In a matter of seconds his grin turned into a mask of pain as the shield burned his knuckles down to the bone. "FUCK!" The smell of burned flesh filled the room while smoke rose from his Shank's left hand. Raines stared in awe. "Amazing."
    Shank looked up with a bewildered look. "Amazing? That fucking crystal ruined my hand. Time for payback." He raised his rifle, switched the mode to automatic fire and pulled the trigger. Fifteen kinetic rounds were fire into the shield with none coming through.

    The bullets simply vanished on contact. Raines raised her scanner. "The energy is growing stronger." Shank shook his head. "Perfect. Now what?"

  8. Post #2728
    Seducer of Demons
    Infab's Avatar
    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    As soon as Amy was ready, Alex snapped a pic. Afterwards, there was a bit more small talk (with Ira talking to Miranda in private for a moment) before Lex got an alert on her holotablet. They had got a hit on their smuggler, he having been spotted at a shopping mall nearby. The pair said goodbye to the rest of the group, both hugging Taylor and Ira before departing to hunt their target.

    Meanwhile, Valkyrie and Ravis had taken their newly aquired stuff back to the ship, and were now hunting for the crew with Eve joining them. They found them after a few minutes, wandering out of the hotel that Seth and his crew had been staying at. After suggesting that the group go get something to eat together, they rounded up Karl, a drugged up Sting, Amelia, and Porter before heading out. The restaurant, a seemingly high-end place overlooking the ocean, selected catered to a variety of palates so none were left out. It wasn't entirely relaxed, though, as Alex would get into an argument with the chef over parts of the meal.

    The next day, the crew would run into Karina yet again. Taylor would pay off Amy's debt, giving Karina the credits, and Amy would hand over the blueprints to the stealth suit (though she had made a copy of the blueprints prior to the transfer for TBC use.) Eventually, things would round up on Trixina, with the crew departing alongside Seth.

    Soon enough, they'd be warping away from the resort world, off to join in an upcoming battle against the Divinity Creed.

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  9. Post #2729
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    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    The SNV Horizon slowly drifted in far orbit above the lush planet of Paraíso. Sitting in his chair, currently reading reports sent by Epsilon and Sigma teams was Captain Henry Marshall. Aside from the general bridge crew two other key figures of the Phantom Warrior Program were also present on the bridge: SSMC Captain Trudy Smith and Bobby, the onboard robot that acts as a tactical advisor.
    Trudy, standing at ease to the left of Marshall, was the first to break the silence. "Anything of importance?" Marshall grunted. "Indeed." He put down his holotablet. "Epsilon are getting itchy and Sigma somehow managed to rendevouz with the rest of the fleet. Also this Vulkov fellow managed to scrape up the funds for all the bounties Rollonso listed. In short; things are finally starting to look brighter."

    Trudy nodded. "What are we waiting for then?" Marshall sighed. "Those damn mercs." Just as he finished his sentence Bobby looked up from his screen. "Incoming jump signature. It's the Muramasa."
    Marshall smiled and got up. "Attention Muramasa. This is Captain Marshall of the SNV Horizon. We will jump in fifteen minutes, untill then; prepare your hangar for another ship." With that said the transmission ended and a few moments later a single shuttle carrying SDF markings left the Horizon heading for the Muramasa.

  10. Post #2730
    Seducer of Demons
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    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    "Attention Muramasa. This is Captain Marshall of the SNV Horizon. We will jump in fifteen minutes, untill then; prepare your hangar for another ship."
    "Understood." responded Taylor, standing from the Captain's chair. She pondered exactly who was coming over. Probably some of the leadership over the operation, she guessed. She departed from the bridge, heading down to the hangar to greet the others once they arrived.

    Already down in the hangar, still working on the tank, was Valkyrie. She poked her head out of the turret, peering over the armored plating as she watched the SDF shuttle gently entered the hangar and touched down. Taylor stepped into the hangar a moment later, strolling out and stopping with her arms folded. Valkyrie climbed from the tank, and simply sat down on the barrel, straddling it and lighting a cigarette as she looked on.

  11. Post #2731
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    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    Seth stood in the hangar next to Taylor. The Muramasa was kind enough to offer them a ride. Perfectly fine by him. Their previous ship that was borrowed wasn't exactly well fitted for a mission like this if his recent luck with ships was any indication. Once they got aboard and took off, he still managed to organize a few things on his end. One thing on the agenda, was Orso and his men. The five of them nearly fell over in shock when Seth dropped the bomb on them. Because of the skills, courage and initiative they displayed on RIger, they were now a part of the Wolfpack. An honor reserved for only the best of the Boome, second only to Father's honor guard.

    The mercs were 25 in total on board, not counting the crew. Small number, but most were veterans who have fought the Creed on many occasions. The last clash left many of them wanting payback. Seth was more than happy to take them to cash it in.

    Amy and Alex were sitting near the tank. For now they were more than happy to just observe rather than participate in whatever the plan was, but they knew they would have an active role in it. They just hoped that the commander would stay true to his word and not pull something.

  12. Post #2732
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    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    The shuttle touched down with a loud thud before slowly starting to de-pressurize the interior. White steam and smoke shot out from several smaller ventilation shafts as the ramp slowly deployed.
    Ten SDF OMS troopers walked down the ramp and formed up around the shuttle, establishing a protective perimeter.
    Right behind them was Captain Marshall himself and SSMC Captain Trudy Smith who approached Seth and Taylor while escorted by two of the OMS troopers.

    Marshall saluted Rollonso. "Commander, it's an honor." He turned towards Taylor and extended his hand. "Captain Caine, pleased to meet you. The SSOID has briefed my crew and I on you and the other mercenaries."
    He gestured towards himself. "I'm Captain Marshall and my colleague here is Marine Captain Trudy Smith."
    Trudy nodded. "Pleased to meet you all."

  13. Post #2733
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    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "A pleasure. Since you're briefed, then you know why we're here. So let's get on with it."

  14. Post #2734
    Seducer of Demons
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    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    Taylor simply tilted her head a bit, glancing to Valkyrie nearby. She was worried that Valk might do something, especially with ACTUAL SDF troops standing right in front of her...and her sitting on a still-running tank. Valk watched in silence, the cigarette hanging from her mouth and her eyes locked onto the SDF leaders in a sort of death glare.

    "What he said." said Taylor, looking back to the two before her. She wasn't exactly thrilled about them either, considering the SSOID had Maddox join the crew to spy on them. Otherwise, she probably would have saluted them.

  15. Post #2735
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    Radley's Avatar
    December 2009
    7,727 Posts
    Sting crawled out of her hut, looked up and pointed at Marshall, "Hol up, hoss. Yous gotta explain how ya can be both a captain an' Marshall at the same time. Ya can't do that."
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  16. Post #2736
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    April 2010
    3,425 Posts
    After taking off from the planet, Ravis decided to get some practice with his new 85BKM rifle, and traveled to the armory to use the shooting range. He was oblivious to the meeting taking place in the hangar. Still dressed in jeans and a carefully-modified hoodie, he felt socially at-ease with his comrades, but he still felt a nagging sense of unpreparedness. He had performed well on the last mission, but only in a role which required running and hiding; there was a knot in the pit of his stomach every time he pictured what would happen if he were forced to fight the enemy head-on.

    He shouldered the rifle and activated the range. Squeezing the trigger brought on a short delay with a whine as the kanad plasma coils reached their highest energy levels. The blowoff valve activated, knocking his aim slightly off center as the gun went off in full-automatic. Quickly, Ravis was off target completely and almost firing into the roof before he forced himself to release the trigger. He shook off his nerves and pushed the stock into his shoulder again. "Practice makes perfect..." he said to himself quietly before trying again.

  17. Post #2737
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    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Marshall nodded. "Very well, I'll signal my ship to begin the jump. During the jump Marine Captain Smith and I, as well as the soldiers with us, will remain onboard the Muramasa."
    Trudy spoke up. "We have been instructed to remain here partially to brief you on the tactical intel available and to offer any possible assistance but also to act as leverage."
    "The brass up top believes you'll feel safer having two high-ranking "hostages" onboard." Muttered Marshall. Both Marshall and Trudy displayed how greatly this annoyed them.

    "The jump will commence as soon as you signal my ship."

  18. Post #2738
    Seducer of Demons
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    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    Valkyrie perked up nearby as soon as she heard the word 'hostages'. "Hostages, eh?" she said, a sick grin stretching slowly across her face. "Valk, no." said Taylor, cutting her a look. Valkyrie stood up, balancing herself on the barrel of the tank's main gun. "I know, I know. I'm not going to do anything to them. We'd all be killed in the process! But..." she said, shrugging, "...you never know what might happen in the heat of battle. Friendly fire is a real bitch."

    Taylor sighed, then looked to the pair before her yet again. "I'll signal them immediately. Don't worry about her."

  19. Post #2739
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    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Marshall nodded. "I'm not too concerned about Miss Blackwell." He glanced at Valk with an uninterested look. "Where we are going there will be plenty of targets."

  20. Post #2740
    Seducer of Demons
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    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    "I'm not too concerned about Miss Blackwell. Where we are going there will be plenty of targets."
    "You really underestimate her hatred of the SDF, then." said Taylor. She glanced to Valk once more, then motioned for them to follow. "You can join me on the bridge as we warp." She then turned and walked back towards the elevator, heading back to the bridge.

  21. Post #2741
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    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "Oh, captain." Seth tried the get the SDF's attention "The SDF one, you still haven't answered her question." He pointed towards Sting.

  22. Post #2742
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    "If you insist." Marshall nodded at Trudy who nodded back in return. She stepped back and positioned herself infront of the shuttle while the two OMS bodyguards followed Marshall and Taylor. As they left the hangar Marshall glanced at Taylor. "I doubt Miss Blackwell's hatred outweighs that of the USR and its sympathizers."
    He shrugged. "Then again I'm impressed she is as calm as she is, considering her dossier."
    The captain grunted to himself. "Same goes for you, captain. Your records are not without its story."

    As the two of them reached the bridge the OMS troopers remained at the door. Marshall turned over a holotablet to Taylor. "When you're ready."

    ---

    Inside the hangar Trudy eyed the Koronovs with interest while troopers observed Valk with a growing sense of unease from behind their visors. Hopefully the trip would be relatively uneventful.

    Edited:

    "Oh, captain." Seth tried the get the SDF's attention "The SDF one, you still haven't answered her question." He pointed towards Sting.
    Trudy answered in Marshall's place. "He didn't answer because it wasn't an important question, sir." She stared at Sting. "Captain Marshall is a bit more special than your average deputy."
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  23. Post #2743
    Seducer of Demons
    Infab's Avatar
    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    "Same goes for you, captain. Your records are not without its story....When you're ready."
    "Of course." she said, cutting Marshall a look as she took the holotablet. "I was a pretty decent soldier, who became an officer. I ended up becoming Spec-Ops material. Instead, I became a mercenary. I roamed around, then I joined the TBC. And since then, I've done quite a few things that most frown on. But at least I own up to it. And I can rest assured that it was actually for a good cause. Just like I can rest assured that what we're doing now is for a good cause."

    She glanced down at the tablet, but continued. "By the way, I really would say Valkyrie's hatred of the SDF outweighs the USR. The USR hates you because Sol stripped away religion." Taylor looked back to Marshall. "Valk hates you because Sol killed her parents and tried to force her into a life she didn't want. She's only calm out of respect for me and this crew. Otherwise, she'd have used that tank to turn you and that shuttle into a fireball."

    After finishing her statement, she tasked Eve with signalling the other ships that they were ready.
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  24. Post #2744
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    Amy leaned closer to Alex "20 credits Sting jumps her."

    "20 more that she uses the moonshine."

    Seth took a cautionary step away from Trudy. He didn't know if the aracaan would respond to that or not, but he wouldn't risk it. "I see they don't teach you a thing in those schools, so I'll take my leave and go to the bridge." He looked towards Alex "You better come with me. Only fair you listen to the plan if you're gonna be involved." They both started to walk towards the bridge. "You nervous?"

    "Barely slept all night if that's what you mean."

    "Yeah, normal." Seth tried to think of something to tell him to calm his nerves, but nothing came to mind. What could he say exactly? They were both going into the lion's den and the whole operation hinged on that part going smooth. No pressure.

    The two of them reached the bridge to join in on the planning.

  25. Post #2745
    Gold Member
    Sega Saturn's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,425 Posts
    Vorokar crossed the concrete plaza alone and felt the crisp, adventurous chill in the air. Aside from the High Council and a few key figures in the GKVR, few were aware that Rigel was soon to be Vorokar's kingdom. So much had changed since that mission to the Hanza fuel station two years prior, and much of his success, ironically, could be attributed to his enemies. Only through their incessant lawbreaking had he been provided opportunities to elevate himself in the eyes of the Council. But now it was time to close that chapter for good. This clone of Ryvik Sidikan was the final loose thread.

    "[We're both very lucky, my boy,]" Vorokar declared as he finally came within earshot. "[Seems the Vizier was keen on my return to this planet in short order, making your unusual request quite possible.]" Ryvik finally looked down from the cloudy sky. His visor was retracted, and as he turned and made eye contact with the general, Vorokar could immediately read the intense sorrow weighing on Ryvik's mind. "[Are you alright..?]"

    "[Sir,]" Ryvik replied while calmly removing his helmet, "[I don't want to do this anymore.]"

    Vorokar, despite himself, felt a pang of empathetic remorse. The clone had always been a disposable fake, worthless in comparison to the real lieutenant. But the heartbreak in the clone's voice was as real as anything, and Vorokar could barely deny it. He genuinely cared for his protege, and hated to see even this facsimile suffer so terribly. It was supposed to be over quickly, not to be prolonged over an entire week of regrets and trauma. Just like at Yadakhmarot, he placed his hands on Ryvik's shoulders, but this time didn't restrain himself. He embraced the young man he was destined to kill. "[I'm sorry,]" Vorokar said, more genuinely. "[Things didn't go as planned.]"

    "[I know,]" Ryvik responded coldly. "[You didn't think you'd be returning for me.]"

    Vorokar released him quickly, indignant that he had been tricked into showing affection for the clone, when he was actually being lured into a confrontation.

    "[What..? That's a damned lie! How dare you-]" Vorokar shouted, fully knowing that the clone wouldn't believe him.

    "[The comm operator told me you departed for Kanadys as soon as Karma Unit left the fucking Perikal! You've been lying to me since kanadys, tell the truth, dammit!]"

    "[I left only because I was fully confident in your abilities!]" Vorokar argued, fruitlessly. "[By the time I arrived at the High Council, I was poised to tell them that you had brought in two of the most wanted rogues in the eastern quadrants, before anyone from the batakya could take credit for what you did. I would have made you the youngest captain in our department!]"

    "[A bit hard to do that when my blood and guts are scattered across a crater that used to be Stalnazyp, general,]" Ryvik spat. "[Or am I supposed to believe that the khergians would surrender out of fear of annihilation? When has that ever worked?]"

    Vorokar went red in the face. "[It works when you're man enough to pull the trigger!]" he screamed. "[I'm sorry, my boy, but I didn't want to say this... I know what happened at Stalnazyp, when Karma Unit was ambushed. As sideways as this operation went once Killer Gemini became involved, you failed to display the kind of leadership I've come to expect from you. If you don't think the khergians could sense-]"

    "[Sense what!? That I'm not a monster? That I'm not the reaper!? General, if you wanted to put fear into their stupid little brains with a nuclear weapon, you'd put the bomb on a drone, not on a soldier! Except that wouldn't work, either, because we've done it before and it's never worked. There was nothing about that bomb that was meant to frighten- that bomb was meant to kill!]"

    "[How dare you! You- you're grief-stricken, I get that-]" Vorokar grumbled, lowering his volume and trying to diffuse the situation as bystanders were beginning to take notice of the argument. "[That doesn't entitle you to throw around baseless accusations, especially to someone who's done so much for you. Maybe I expected too much of you, after all. You're just a kid,]" he growled, poking Ryvik in the chest. "[That's what the khergians could sense. If you want to quit the bureau, I won't stop you. But you're not special when you're standing alone, my boy. You'll follow the same rules as everyone else. So, first and foremost, I want you out of that armor right now. All those men who just saw us arguing will see an example of what throwing-it-all-away looks like.]"

    Ryvik's eyes seemed to glaze over, and for a moment, Vorokar believed he had brought him back down to size. But as it soon became clear, Ryvik was beyond mortal concerns. Unbeknownst to Vorokar, the Motchkir was departing for its next stop on Rigel, and had already cleared the landing towers. "[Yes sir, they will,]" he replied before suddenly seizing onto Vorokar's arm with nearly enough force to crush the bone. Vorokar cried out in pain.

    "[Get him off me!]" Vorokar yelled to the blackjackets who began to sprint to their position, but Ryvik looked to them with pure hatred in his eyes and shook his head.

    "[Dead hand,]" he warned. The others slowed to a halt, realizing the implication.

    "[W-What!?]" Vorokar stammered. "[You- you can't! How could you even... no! If you weren't willing to detonate that bomb in Stalnazyp, you sure as hell won't detonate it here and kill your own countrymen!]"

    "[The khergians weren't the ones who cloned me,]" Ryvik countered. Vorokar's expression melted down into pure panic. How did he know!?

    "[L-listen to me, listen... I don't know who put these ideas in your head, but you need to calm down-]"

    Ryvik simply began to drag the general down the road, the soldiers of the batakya and the Peacekeepers clearing a path in front of them, paralyzed by the fear that any attack on Ryvik would trigger the device within his armor. He had hidden his rage so exceptionally that no one had planned for this possibility.

    The visor slid closed on Ryvik's armor. His metallic voice sounded as calm and collected as ever- "[Dr. Marinaya cloned me on the Perikal. She told Captain Vixe of the Viokhmar, who happens to be a close friend of mine. I'm not worried for her safety now. You're the only one who knows she's helping me, and you're about to die.]" He ignored Vorokar's repeated denials and pleas for mercy. "[You are right about something though... Detonating the bomb here would be as wrong as detonating it in Stalnazyp. That's why you and I are taking a walk, sir. We're going to get nice and far away from the base before I set this thing off. That way it'll just be you and me, up in smoke.]"

    Vorokar began to scream in incoherent hysteria, thrashing about in Ryvik's grip and kicking unsuccessfully at his captor's legs as he was pulled further and further from the base. A siren began to sound inside Vostokrebh, the sort to warn the soldiers there of a weapon of mass destruction. In the distance, the Motchkir roared off toward the horizon. Minutes dragged on, and Vorokar's continued begging fell on deaf ears. Ryvik continued to speak in a nearly zen-like state.

    "[The ironic thing about all this is that you were the one who kicked off all this injustice to begin with. I didn't used to believe what the foreigners said about you, about what really happened at Hanza. You sent a clone in with a bomb, supposedly to strike to fear. But what did you do when the operation failed, general? Your clone killed himself rather than defusing the bomb, and killed all those innocents... and you certainly would have done the same. If this galaxy has no room for my sister, it certainly has no room for you, general.]"

    "[It was a mistake!]" Vorokar insisted. "[I wouldn't have wanted those civilians to get hurt, but I could see the threat posed by the Aurikha-]"

    "[Just like the threat posed by Iska Volgrim and her militia... save you breath, general. As you told me, there's no greater service to the Collective to sacrifice yourself while wiping out an enemy undeserving of life... And I know the Collective will fare better without you around.]"

    "[NO!]" Vorokar screamed, checking over his shoulder at the growing distance between the base and himself. His boots were beginning to wear through at the edges from being dragged along the road, as were his pant legs. "[No, no, no, no, no, no, no! Ryvik, I- I- fine! I admit it, I would have killed those people, too! And you're a clone, that's true too - please - I had you created so that you could die and neutralize Yanim and Iska Volgrim at the same time, but leave the real Ryvik without the trauma. I wouldn't have gone through the trouble if I didn't care for you-]"

    "[You care about exploiting others, nothing more. Preserving the original Ryvik only shows that you had further plans to advance yourself at my expense.]"

    "[Fucking hell! Is there anything I can say to get through to you!?]"

    "[No.]"

    ---

    Looking out the porthole window from the Motchkir's passenger section, Vixe watched as the pinkish tinge of the sky was overtaken by a blinding white flash. The explosion was somewhere far behind, but the sound reached them quickly- a heavy boom which seemed to resonate for many long seconds, shaking the craft as the shock wave traveled through the air. She buried her head in her hands and cried as the ship came to a halt, turning slowly in the air and rerouting itself back toward Vostokrebh. The Motchkir's crew would be among the first responders, but in truth the damage was surprisingly minimal. Ryvik had been true to his word; by removing Vorokar once and for all, he had done the Collective a great service.
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  26. Post #2746
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  27. Post #2747
    F T
    Gold Member
    F T's Avatar
    December 2008
    12,077 Posts
    (( He died the way every Artisynth child dreams of dying. May he Ryvik in Peace. ))
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  28. Post #2748
    Gold Member
    Radley's Avatar
    December 2009
    7,727 Posts
    Sting crossed her lower arms and used the on of the upper to take out her flask, "Oh yeah. Chalky always too important to answer the questions."

    After taking a swig she Headed for the armory. She had taken the large revolver from the loot haul from the fight on Rigel, and was intent on trying it out.

    Upon entering the armory she spotted Ravis. "Batman. Aint ya 'sposed to be on the bridge with all them fine army dudes?"

  29. Post #2749
    Gold Member
    Sega Saturn's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,425 Posts
    Ravis hadn't noticed Sting enter the room. He jumped so badly when she spoke that he fired several blasts into a light fixture, dropped his rifle, and then jumped and clung onto the ceiling. He froze in this position, bulbous eyes locked on Sting for several seconds before replying.

    "Uh... what army dudes?"

  30. Post #2750
    Gold Member
    Radley's Avatar
    December 2009
    7,727 Posts
    "Some SOL guys. You know one o thems got two titles?"

    She walked towards the locker where she had hidden her gun, "damn humans, always comin up ways to make everythin more complicatized. It's bullmess."

  31. Post #2751
    Gold Member
    Sega Saturn's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,425 Posts
    "Oh, th-they're from Sol?" Ravis replied, relieved that Sting wasn't judging him for his panic response. He gently dropped down from the ceiling and picked his gun back up. "Well, I've only known uh, a handful of humans, personally... and they were a lot easier to work with than a lot of other folks, a lot more open minded, but, um... for whatever reason, they've always got some kind of bone to pick with other humans. And they always want p-people to pick sides. That kind of sucks."

    He swapped the cartridge in his rifle and cued up another round of targets to shoot at.
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  32. Post #2752
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Marshall grunted. "You know her better than I do." After Taylor gave the signal Bobby, currently sitting at the helm of the Horizon, took up position infront of the Muramasa. A series of coordinates were prepared and the jumödrive began to charge.
    Meanwhile the Muramasa began to do the same due to a jump override which had been accepted, giving Bobby temporary control of navigation which allowed for a synchronized jump.

    Suddenly the two ships jumped out of the system, heading into possibly the biggest the TBC was yet to see.
    Placing his holopad on the bridge tactical computer Marshall activated a hologram which displayed Zyus II and the menacing Fort Morningstar just as Seth and Alex entered the room.

    From the gunnery console Karl observed the ordeal with a hint of curiosity. Following Alex was Ira, now suited upmin her signature Iron armor. She nodded towards the assembled people and positioned herself next to Taylor.

  33. Post #2753
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "This is what we know about the fort, at least what I've been given. The fort is located here and is dug in deep." Seth began to list off what they could expect. "Walls, trenches and turrets. A direct assault wouldn't be impossible, but it would slow everything down enough to allow Stanislav to escape. The compound has three main parts. The barracks in the lower right area, the temple in the upper right and the rest of the map as you can see is occupied by his palace or keep. Whichever you prefer. We know that the POWs are held in the underground part and the nerve center is located on the top floor and left and right wing are engineering and where he works on his own projects. Roof has a landing pad for smaller ships, such as those used by bounty hunters" Seth looked towards Iron and then continued "We know that there is a garrison of regular Creed troops there and a host of knights loyal to him. I would advice not keeping as much distance between them and you as possible. They are trained to turn anything that get's close into powder. There is also the big guys you need to worry about."

    "Big guys?"

    "Yep, your old man has been busy. He calls them golems after an old Terran myth. These guys have gone under some intense therapy that has enhanced their physical strength and size. Add to that, they come with heavy armor so that makes them even a bigger pain in the ass. I've seen them come in two variants myself One is equipped with a grenade launcher and the other carries around a flamethrower. Bright side is that there are few of these at any given time and that they can be taken down. Just needs some effort." Seth looked at Marshal "Anything to add so far?"

  34. Post #2754
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Marshall pitched in. "The Morningstar team will be supported by SDF special forces while any secondary teams will have their backs covered by SDF marines. We have multiple vessels on stand-by, each one eager to strike at the Creed."
    "Once the POWs have evacuated and once we know for sure that Stanislav is dead one of the ships will deliver a strike payload on Morningstar, effectively destroying it."

  35. Post #2755
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "Now the plan. If we were to just hit them with what we got, we would win, but Stanislav would escape through an underground tunnel leading outside of his base, so we need something to keep him in place and to keep the Creed distracted. The first part is where Alex comes in. A small group can pose as bounty hunters who decided to nab him and deliver him back to dear old dad in exchange for a reward. "Once again, he looked at Iron "Helps that we have an actual bounty hunter here. While we're inside the base, we'll give a signal for the assault to start, distracting them and letting us make a move to kill him. After, he's dead, the team should get to the control center as soon as possible and shut down the base defenses from there, making sure that the rest can come in and finish the job and get the POWs out and hit any high value targets with little resistance as possible. If you have suggestions, now would be a good time to say something."

  36. Post #2756
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Iron nodded towards Alex before looking at Seth and Marshall. "Sounds easy enough. I got the bounty primed and ready for delivery. Do we know anything about external support for the enemy?"
    Marshall grimaced. "The SSOID believes that if Morningstar gets the word out there's a large chance that other Creed forces will rush in to help, however it's worth noting that any incoming vessels will be taken care of by our own support ships in orbit. We have unconfirmed reports of smaller Fists of Sol fleets moving in the nearby systems, possibly relying on Fort Morningstar as a refueling point."

  37. Post #2757
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "I don't like the sound of that." Seth looked to Taylor. "Captain, anything you think you can add to this plan? You know your crew better than anyone here and what they are capable of."

  38. Post #2758
    Seducer of Demons
    Infab's Avatar
    December 2011
    3,792 Posts
    Taylor shrugged. It seemed everyone had everything all planned out. It really just came down to who was gonna be on the inside. "So Alex, Amy, Iron, myself, and whomever else get inside, kill Stanislav, take out the base defenses in the control center, and mop up while getting the POWs out. I'd suggest we take out comms too, or find a way to lure their support away. Better to just avoid an orbital shootout altogether if you can." She shifted in her seat.

  39. Post #2759
    Gold Member
    kilerabv's Avatar
    April 2010
    3,834 Posts
    "You can count me in that team too, captain. That makes us five. If Iron's ship is on hand, we can use that for our cover. The rest of the crew that want to deal some damage are welcome to join Orso and the rest of my men during the assault. Blackwell will be in better company there than any SDF." He glanced at Marshall "As for any reinforcements, that's up to you guys to stop."

  40. Post #2760
    Gold Member
    Viper123_SWE's Avatar
    May 2011
    14,291 Posts
    Iron nodded. "My ship has a shielded compartment for sensitive cargo. We could probably fit one or two people in there as backup."
    Marshall looked at Seth. "Don't worry sir, Lord General Cross and Lord Admiral Zhaneys will personally oversee the operation. If one thing's certain it's that we're gonna make it rain on Zyus II."