RP XSDF Roleplay Thread: Vanguard of Forseti

DarkGemini24601

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MarineAvenger and DarkGemini24601: “Obligatory Pool Scene, Part 1”

High Orbit over Forseti (May 16th, 2044)
The Einherjar (4:38 P.M., A.S.T.)
Floor 5: Natatorium


Connor walked with Tracey's hand in his, the girl skipping along with her father as she hummed happily, having barely slept a wink after the two got the invite from Avril to join her and some of the squadmates in the pools.

Normally Tracey would have no interest but of course, when she hears Fraser would be there, she wouldn't stop asking. In Connor's other hand, he held a paper bag that had a new pair of swim trunks for him and a new bathing suit for Tracey they had gotten on their trip down to the surface.

Tracey ran ahead and opened the doors for her daddy, running to the edge of the pool and waving a hand. "Hi everybody!"

Zoya and Karolina were submerged to the neck in the water, sitting on a low bench. The latter waved at Tracey. "Hi, Trace!" she called out.

Kriemhiel was sitting on the edge of the pool, just watching the others for now, and gave a slight nod of recognition to Connor. She and Avril explained the reason for the depth of the other two, Zoya in particular: their swimsuits - Kriemhiel a one-piece and Avril a two-piece - highlighted their endowed physique.

Fraser was lying on his back beside his mother, and glanced over at Tracey as she entered. "Bonjour," he said in greeting.

"Salut mon ami..." Tracey fumbled with, smiling in embarrassment as she butchered the words.

Connor put a hand on his daughter's head, saying to the others. "Be out in a minute." With that, the rather guided his daughter into the changing room where he got Tracey into a pink and blue two piece, only part of her stomach being shown and her bottom being more like tight shorts. When done, he sent her out so he could put on his black trunks and leaving his torso exposed, putting their clothes into the bag and in a locker as he went out to the others.

"How have you been?" Kriemhiel asked when the infantry exited. "I think the last time we spoke was a week or two ago."

"I've been... fine." Connor responded as he sat on the edge of the pool and set his legs in the water. "I've been trying to decide on modifications... To try and increase my odds of surviving this damn war."

"Well, skin ones help a little," Avril offered. "I plan on upgrading my anti-laser mod to the better vision tomorrow... Odincalor Dermis... something like that."

"Odiocalor," Kriemhiel corrected. "It's Latin for "Heat-Hating", I believe."

"That, maybe a few others like those Torpor Jammers so I don't get tired easily," Avril continued unabated. "If you're looking to increase your outright chances of survival, mon ami, then go for defensive crap. Otherwise, look for things like that bicep mod to increase your strength and aim with heavier guns." Avril rubbed her hands together, causing her to sink to her chin in the water. "I can't wait to give a fusion weapon a try."

"If it is all the same to you, I would prefer to stay out of the line of fire as long as possible. I'm not a soldier." Connor said honestly, looking over at a giggling Tracey as she splashed water on Avril's son.

Fraser closed an eye to avoid getting anything in his eye, and kicked a wave of water back at Tracey.

"You kind of are now, even if you weren't before," Avril replied, pushing herself back into a floating position and looking at him with her head tilted back. To her, he appeared upside down.

"Wouldn't be here if I didn't have to be. I got a fighting spirit, but the worse I got were some broken spots, bruises and cuts... Not bullet holes and limbs blown off."

"Well, speaking from slight experience, you tend to just black out from the worst of it," Avril replied.

"Thanks for that happy picture." Connor mumbled, looking away.

"Relax... you're an infantry. You don't stand out. Leaving the daring to us scouts, assaults, and destroyers," Avril responded. The corners of her mouth curved up. "Or is that concern for me I hear?"

"I guess it is. You are a teammate after all." Connor answered simply.

"Of course, of course," Avril said mockingly, nodding her head and creating slight ripples in the water where her hair met the surface and disrupted its tension. "Nothing more, I'm sure."

"What are you getting at?" Connor asked outright as Tracey grabbed the 12 year old and forced him into the water.

Avril glanced over at her son's struggles in amusement for a moment, then refocused on Connor. "I dunno... I just figured you'd be lonely after all this time..."

"I don't date anymore." Connor hopped off the edge and into the water, going down to his shoulders, closing his eyes.

"I guess I can understand why... but then again, it's hard raising a kid by yourself, you know?" Avril said neutrally.

"I'll... I'll deal. When I was younger I never thought in a million years I would have a kid, but... You just... never move on from what happened with me." Connor spoke sadly, waving at his daughter when she tried to get his attention, giving her a weak smile. "Besides... If I die, I already have someone who could be a good parent to her."

Avril sighed. "You sound like a defeatist there. You say "if I die", but you're thinking "when I die"." The Frenchwoman floated upright. "There's no reason not to have backup plans, but you should live as if you're going to make it through this. Otherwise you can't be happy... and she won't be if you aren't," Avril insisted, looking over at Tracey and expressing her signature grin.

Tracey chuckled nervously at Avril's look, finally letting Fraser go from holding him under.

Connor chuckled, shaking his head. "I'm not a defeatist, I'm a realist. And besides... how could I ever learn to love again? It was hard enough the first time..."

"Why's that?" Avril asked curiously. "You're a pretty hunky guy... and I don't need you to tell me personally that you loved your wife. Just the way you've talked about her tells me all I need to know about what she was to you."

Connor thought on how to respond, rubbing his arm. "When I first met my wife... I was a complete mess. I was high on drugs, asleep in an alley when the cops approached me to arrest me. She jumped in just from off the street and vouched for me, telling the officers we were just going back from a big party and I ran ahead. After that... she would come by the gym I was working at every week to check on me to keep me on track. After a while... We started dating, I had gotten into professional fighting, and I got her pregnant. Not exactly romantic, and I'm not a romantic myself." He explained, staying silent after he finished.

"So you think she was too good for you?" Avril chuckled. "You wouldn't have the same problem with me. You already know my story about how much of a sleaze I was... and probably still am... though I'd try to not be at least... haven't flirted with anyone else in about 11 days now, I'd say," she said proudly.

"Aren't you flirting with me right now?" Connor asked, the corner of his lip sort of curving upwards.

"Anyone else excluding you is what I meant," Avril said irritably. "Dumbass."

"I think you mean 'smartass', mother," Fraser said, still regaining some of his breath.

"Speak as I say, not as I do... shit, that doesn't work does it?" Goddammit... Avril thought as she realized she only messed up further in her attempt to correct the flawed logic by swearing a consecutive time.

Connor's eyebrow arched as he recalled something she said, "Wouldn't have that problem with you, huh? You sound like you almost want to be with me."

"Dear GOD, you are dense if it took you that long to figure that out," Avril whined. "When a girl calls someone 'hunky' they usually mean something by it..."

He shrugged his shoulders. "Not necessarily... like when a guy calls a woman beautiful. It could mean nothing."

"What guys do you know that call women beautiful and don't have some temperature of hots for them?" Avril asked incredulously.

"I call Tracey beautiful. I have called my friend beautiful when she has asked, and I feel nothing for her, and the other is my daughter." Connor answered honestly.

"But that's just you, Mr. Honorable." Avril rolled her eyes. "And besides, Tracey's a girl, not a woman. There's a difference."

"So... what? You want to go on a date or something with me, is that it?" Connor asked, wondering if this was the whole reason she invited the pair here. But then again why would she invite the others?

"Maybe later..." Avril said, swimming up to the side of the pool and pulling herself up by her elbows, her impressive chest supported by the tile underneath.

"This was your whole plan, wasn't it?" Connor asked, not angry.

"It certainly crossed my mind... and seeing you in a swimsuit certainly isn't a bad thing," Avril added. "I'm sure that's mutual."

He said nothing in response, letting her take that as she would. "Were you guys in on this? He asked the other women, clearly outnumbered except for the boy.

Kriemhiel glanced over, having been speaking with Zoya and Karolina about something. "In on what?"

"I knew!" Karolina admitted openly.

"And she made me stay silent or she'd..." Zoya trailed off.

He raised an eyebrow. "She'd what? Tell Mikhail how much you have a crush on him?" Connor shrugged. "I said I'm not a romantic, that doesn't mean I don't listen."

Zoya gave him a murderous look. "I do not..."

"You two totally do," Karolina deadpanned. "Don't even try to deny that."

He nodded in agreement. "You two would make quite the couple."

Zoya submerged her face in the water, and Karolina smiled sheepishly and just patted her on the back.

Avril grinned. "They've gone on a first date... she just doesn't want anyone to know." She held her hand over her mouth in mock surprise. "Do keep that a secret... what a slip of the tongue."
 

MarineAvenger

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MarineAvenger and DarkGemini24601:“Obligatory Pool Scene, Part 2”

Connor let out a brief, amused chuckle as he sank down into the water himself, though he went all the way, holding his breath as he just submerged his head and opened his eyes, feeling relaxed under the water.

After awhile of relaxing and swimming around, Avril got out of the pool, letting water drip off her. "So... is there anywhere you'd like to go for a date?" Avril asked forwardly.

"Oh..." Connor said, rubbing his head with a towel. "You were being serious..."

Avril put a hand over her heart. "That hurts, you know," she said indignantly.

"I'm sure... How about we just get dinner?" Connor asked, seeming very mildly amused.

"Fair enough," Avril replied. "I'll meet you in the mess after get cleaned up and changed." She smirked. "Unless you want to do that with me."

Connor got close to Avril, not able to stop a grin. "Sure... but I warn you, you might not be able to handle it." He was obviously teasing.

"We'll have to see about that one sometime," Avril responded, putting her hands on her hips.

He stared at the Frenchwoman a few moments before letting out a brief chuckle and went to go change with his daughter. "See you tonight."

Avril nodded, and departed as well.

***

When she joined Connor for dinner she was wearing a smooth black dress that highlighted her voluptuous figure. The semiformal clothing extended to her wrists, halfway below her knees, and curved above her chest. Although the round gray-lined neck did show a bit of cleavage, it was far less than one would expect from her. The wristcuffs and bottom trim contrasted with the clothing dark color and Avril's jet black hair, being a pure white.

Connor was merely wearing a pair of black dress pants and a white button up, a tie in his pocket that Tracey tried to do for him, the father just smiling and saying it looked good but immediately took it off when out of sight. When they sat down, Connor rubbed the back of his head as he looked to the side. "Hundreds of guys on this ship and you chose me. Why?" The Latvian man asked simply, seeming to largely ignore her body.

Avril's smile fell. "To tell you the truth... it's because you seem like an honorable guy. One that won't use me or be used. And you're in the same boat as me in regards to single parenthood, just under different circumstances."

"Trust me, there are better catches than me." He jabbed his straw against the table and put it into his drink of cola, Connor just rolling the paper against the table. "You look pretty." He said clearly forced.

"Thanks..." Avril said, clearly able to discern his lack of conviction. "I realize you aren't entirely interested in a relationship..." Avril began. Which is why you're trying to push me away, she thought. "...But as counterintuitive as it sounds, that just makes you a better candidate. If you're not an easy mark then that means if this worked out you'd be actually end up caring about me," the Destroyer concluded.

"Maybe..." The Infantry tapped his foot against the ground to a song that was playing in his head, his old fight music if he recalled correctly. "You seem like a decent… well… seem like an amazing woman, and I just don't want you getting too close. I don't want to leave people up to dry if I do fall, or,” Connor paused for a moment, “get back into unsavory habits." He looked away.

"You're doing it again," Avril warned. "You're practically setting yourself up to die if you acted so convinced that you are going to." She shook her head. "And isn't that the a reason to have people close to you? To keep you on the right path. So you aren't drinking, smoking, huffing, whatever your problem is."

Connor stared at Avril for a while, putting his chin in his hand. "You care for me, huh?"

"You're a nice, caring guy as evidenced by your treatment of your daughter. You're my squadmate and saved our asses on Operation Constricting Gears. And you're handsome," she listed, increasing the number of fingers held up as the quantity of good qualities increased. "Plus," she added, raising the count to four, "you're strong physically and still manage to have a good head on your shoulders," she finished, adding her thumb. "'course I do."

Connor nodded, poking at his food. "I guess you are worth a chance." He mumbled.

Avril smiled. "I'd call that progress."

"So... what are your plans for the evening? Just dinner?" Connor asked neutrally.

"I'm not going to try and bang you on our first date, if that's what you're asking," Avril responded evenly, leaning on her elbows. "I figured we'd enjoy a nice meal and learn more about each other."

"Alright. Tell me about yourself. I only know bits and pieces."

"Well... I was born to a fairly rich family in the aerospace manufacturing business in Paris. I slacked off and didn't graduate high school, eventually had Fraser from a chain of lovers and realized I had to shape myself up. Worked some low end jobs, but came here because those weren't paying enough," Avril exposed.

"As for my less depressing qualities," she continued, "I enjoy exercising, have a fondness for sports - particularly things in the ring, and enjoy a good book. Literature was just about the only subject I cared about in school."

"Boxing?" he asked, interested in that.

Avril nodded. "I'm not great at it, but I can hold my own, and I'm an enthusiast. Great stress-relief."

"You know the gym I got my first job at mainly trained boxers. I got into that, but found I was willing to learn more and I did. Trained while working, and eventually I got good enough to get into professional fighting. After a while, I was better than good." Connor explained.

"So you could likely kick my ass?" Avril asked. "Would still be fun to go up against you though."

"Sorry, but I don't fight women... have a strict rule against it." He protested, shaking his head.

"How chivalrous of you," Avril replied with a mixture of mirth and honesty.

Connor shrugged his shoulders and let out a sigh. "What, are you saying you would like to get pounded by me?"

"I'd be fun to try and beat a professional, maybe learn a thing or two even if I can't," Avril replied. "And obviously the other meaning of pounded..."

Connor raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms as he sat back a bit. "Which meaning do you think I mean?"

"I dunno... maybe both. Maybe you get frisky after boxing."

Connor shrugged. "Not particularly after boxing, just... when I'm in the mood. Been years though and..." He chuckled, shaking his head dismissively. "You don't want to hear about my sex-capades..."

"Don't I?" Avril inquired.

Connor rolled his eyes. "Well, it has been very void for a while. I... I haven't slept with anyone since my wife was murdered. Could never bring myself to do it, even with something non-committal."

Avril's expression became temporarily serious. "And you're noble for that. Don't let anyone tell you differently."

"I'm sure. I loved her, she loved me, I was devastated when she was taken from me. But... I wonder now if it was wrong of me... to go down that lonely and dark road. I doubt she would have ever wanted that to happen, even if her pride would never let her admit that to my face." He smiled, softly and warm, thinking of some good memories.

Avril matched his expression. "From what I know of her I imagine you're right on all counts."

Connor nodded his head, seeming to get lost looking at Avril for a second. After a bit, he sighed. "You're nothing like her." He stated suddenly.

"I... don't imagine I am, but do I have to be?" Avril defended, very much caught off-guard.

Connor shook his head slowly, closing his eyes. "No. No, I don't want a replacement, or a reminder. I want someone new, someone I can make new memories with, without having to worry about my past love. The fact you are so different is the biggest advantage you could have." When he got done explaining he opened his eyes and reached across the table, touching Avril's hand.

Avril smiled, this expression neither humorous nor feisty, but rather warm. "Glad to hear it," she said quietly.

"Where were we?" He asked, not removing his hand nor his gaze.

"I think we were talking about love and the like, though I have to admit my mind's a little fuzzy right now," Avril responded hazily.

"Yeah... mine too. Maybe we aren't feeling right. We might need to go lay down for a while." He suggested.

"Maybe we do... I can't seem to remember where the kids were, though. Wouldn't want to disturb them with us crashing."

"I left Tracey with Korra, so my room is empty. No roommates too, so if we decided to, I don't know, do something a bit out there: we could and do whatever we wanted, how we wanted." He explained.

"Lead the way then," Avril requested, getting up from her chair. Connor followed suit, taking her hand in his and quickly leading her out of the mess, through the halls, and into his room, swiftly locking the door without a second thought.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
New Arrivals

In Orbit around Forseti (May 17th, 2044)
The Einherjar (1430 Hours)
Main Gymnasium


"Have you seen the new ships that just came in?" Brigid asked, pushing the 200 lbs weight up for her eighth rep. "So sleek and smooth. Look like they can slip in and out of any situation with no problem."

Korra, standing readily over her just in case, grinned. "You could say the same about the new pilots. That tall one with the slicked back hair? What I would do to those washboard abs..."

Brigid chuckled as she pushed up. "What would... Kallpa think... if he... heard that?"

Korra blinked a few times. "H-hey... I'm Kallpa's. He doesn't have to worry about that. But..." She scratched her chin sheepishly. "Just because I ordered the steak, and I'm happy with the steak, doesn't mean I can't admire the other dishes I see around the restaurant, right?"

Brigid finished her tenth rep and sat up, shrugging. "Interesting metaphor. Good thing Kallpa doesn't seem the jealous type. Wonder if he would think the same about some of the new female pilots?"

Korra eyes widened. "You don't think he'd actually look, do you? I mean... some of them were kinda cute... for humans."

Brigid laughed. "Guess you might be the jealous type your..." A ruckus to the side of the room drew their attention. A group of soldiers and staff were gathered around a pair duking it out.

"They've been at it for a while. I think that is the same woman from the start, too." Korra looked over to Brigid. "Wanna check it out?"

Brigid wiped the sweat from her brow. "Nah. You go ahead. I'm hitting the showers."

Korra nodded, and went to join the crowd. They were gathered around a young Asian woman, looking as young as, if not younger, than Korra, with a decent bust, a tone, well in shape body, and a youthful, beautiful face, and a tall man of African decent, though if Korra recognized him, he said he was from somewhere called 'England'. Or 'Great Britain'. Maybe both, which Korra found suspect.

Based on the amount of perspiration on the fighters, it was clear that the man had just started fighting, while the girl had been fighting for a while, likely against multiple foes. This didn't seem to slow her down, however, as she easily jumped up as the man charged, wrapping her legs around his neck and using her weight to toss him off the mat. The man rubbed his now sore neck, waving a hand dismissively and walking off.

"Come on, man. Really?" The Asian girl scoffed. "Don't blame him, though. Come on, all! Is there no one that can take me? None of you?!" She grabbed two pairs of boxing gloves, slipping one on and offering the other to the crowd, though no one took them. "I don't blame you. I am a typhoon, raised and trained by the goddess of discord, as much a terror on land as I am fighting out there in space."

Korra glanced around at everyone else, their faces saying they were tired of her showboating, but none stepped forward, each victory they gave her feeding fuel to her arrogant fire. She suppressed a grin, realizing she was probably much the same when she started.

"Hey, you! Monkey girl with the tits. You're up."

Korra looked over to see the girl pointing at her. "Me?" Her eyes darkened. "M... m... monkey girl?"

"Yeah, you with the monkey tail. Let's go. You look tough enough to last at least a few seconds with me." The Asian woman stepped back as Korra approached, tossing her the boxing gloves and shrugging her shoulders. "Don't worry too much when I knock you down. You're fighting Dysnomia. Best up and coming pilot in the XSDF. Best pilot by far on the Einherjar. And the absolute whooper of ass of everyone who..." She ducked back, a heavy swing from Korra nearly clipping her nose. "Whoa, tits. Calm down there."

"You'll be dead soon enough," Korra said coldly, taking another pair of quick swings that nearly caught 'Dysnomia' off guard. "It is usually the ones like you, the ones that think they're untouchable, unstoppable, who are the first to fall."

"Pft. Whatever, bitch. You're talking to the real deal here." Dysnomia rushed forward, letting forth a flurry of punches that showed she might have been boasting about her fighting abilities, but that didn't mean she couldn't fight. Despite boxing, her speed and footwork told Korra this girl was trained in martial arts, likely similar styles to what Brigid had taught her. Korra held her own defensively, but couldn't find many openings to attack.

"So you... can fight..." Korra panted out, the girl's rapid blows quickly tiring her out. "What does that mean in a fight between ships? You'll be blasted out of the sky, your wreckage and body floating out there with no one to blame but yourself."

"Shut the fuck up!" Dysnomia's attacks faltered a bit, and the fight turned to equal part offense and defense on both sides. "I graduated top of my class. Took advanced flight courses and breezed through them. I have the fastest reaction time in this whole organization, and bagged three ships in my first battle. I am here to do two things. Kill pirates and enjoy myself while I wait to kill more pirates. I just hope those morons in charge know what they're doing, and know who they're dealing with."

Korra picked up the pace, an angry expression on her face. "Watch your mouth. Addington might be young. Probably the same age as you. But he's proven he's got what it takes. And Mason..."

Dysnomia scoffed, jumping back a bit, Korra's attacks becoming more intense by the second. "Commander Mason is a joke. People here might not have liked that other chick, but at least she had guts. This Freddy guy couldn't lead... couldn't... lead..." Korra moves turned to pure offense, shrugging off a blow to the stomach and connecting with a shot to the face. Dysnomia stumbled back a bit, and Korra didn't slow down, connecting with three body shots before another head blow knocked the Asian girl to the ground.

Korra panted heavily as she stood over her fallen opponent. She slipped off her gloves and said, "Addington and Mason were new to this when they started out. But they've had time to prove themselves. You haven't. And unlike you, Frederick Mason didn't strut around acting like he knew everything. He earned our trust. You? You'll die before that happens. Or your arrogance will get someone else killed. Either way, I doubt you'll be here for long."

Korra dropped the gloves in front of the young Asian woman and walked away. "Hey!" Dysnomia quickly climbed to her feet. "We're not done here! I'm on my feet, ready to fight! Get back here, you coward!"

"Forget it," Korra muttered without turning back. "You win. I don't care."

The crowd quickly dispersed, and the girl looked around in shock. She tossed the gloves to the side and rushed out of the gym after Korra. "Wait a minute!" She turned Korra around and pushed her against the wall. "You... that was... that was a good ploy. Making me drop my guard by saying how... how you think I'm going... to die." She chuckled, but the serious look on Korra's face made the color drain from hers.

As Dysnomia stepped back, Korra sighed, suddenly pitying the young woman. "Look... if you go out there like this, you won't last long. Who knows? Maybe you are the best. But trust me. I had to learn the hard way that this kind of arrogance gets you in trouble."

"I... I-I am good... you know?" The Asian girl smiled, though it was obviously forced. "I... I'll be..." Her eyes darted back and forth in a panic. "What... what do I do? I don't want to die! These... this new enemy, I..."

"Easy!" Korra placed a hand on her shoulder. "Be confident. Confidence is good. But you need experience to back it up. I also had to learn the hard way that there was plenty I had to learn from others. If you're open for it, you'll be fine. But if you think you're too good for everyone..."

The girl slowly nodded, smiling again. "Okay... thank you. Sorry I... I acted the way I did. I guess I... went a little over board, huh?"

"It's fine. Just remember what we talked about today, and learn from it." Korra extended her hand, and the Asian woman shook it. Korra laughed, and said, "I... I think you are about the... fourth friend I made who I had a big fight with first."

"My mother always taught me you can learn a lot about another person while fighting them." Dysnomia grinned. "She says I took after her a lot. Told me and my brother she met most of her best friends while technically on the opposing side of them."

The Tamearin nodded. "Name's Korra Devolina."

"Ayame Kasagi... junior." The girl grinned. "Daemon of lawlessness, embodiment of ruin, at your service."
 

BMPixy

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May 26, 2013
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“The Sound of Silence”
In Orbit of Forseti, Aboard the Einherjar
1536 Local; May 18th, 2044
Bar

Three pilots sat at the bar, gently nursing a drink - or in the case of the Sectoid, an IV. No words flowed between the trio, the gap of a single seat preventing conversation, despite the idle chatter of the other patrons filling the air, alongside the clinking of glasses and munching of snacks. Lawrence kept his eyes straight down, avoiding looking to his right to see the empty space - to be reminded of the absence of a friend, to remember those last few seconds, to allow the sadness to rise up and threaten to overthrow the buzz that filled the Luxembourger’s mind.

With a grit of his teeth, Lawrence pulled back another shot, the alcohol burning its way down his throat, leaving a warmth in his chest that contrasted with the cold in his heart. Thoughts continued to flash through his mind despite his best efforts - had he been a little quicker on the uptake, made that dive a little faster, kept by his side - Lawrence slammed the shot glass back onto the counter, the sharp noise driving away the thoughts for just a moment, a moment long enough for Laforge to refill his glass. The man snarled, and downed another shot.

Meanwhile, Hayden had yet to even take a sip of her drink. Her thoughts followed similar lines as Lawrence’s, but she did not try to force them back and instead wallowed in them - anything to hold onto the memory as Vincent’s presence faded from her awareness. A small sniffle escaped her, and she hastily covered her eyes with her hands, a gentle trickle of tears beginning to drip down her face. But just as quickly, she let out a calm breath, and the tears ceased. Even if she kept his memory in heart, she still felt she had to appear strong - just for now. Just while they’re watching.

Even so, the weight on her soul hung heavy, and she kept her hands in place, just in case the dams on her ducts gave way - and much like a desperate Netherlander trying to save her home from the sea, she too slowly began to curse the source of her ills. How could he go at a time like this; who did he think he was leaving them like this; why did he let this happen; those were the thoughts that began to fill her mind. Even if the back of her mind told her that there was nothing Vincent could have done - it was too quick, there was no time - she still refused to let her train of thought be derailed, lest she go crashing with it.

Contrary to the other two, Jefferson’s mind was on the future, rather than the past. As the Sectoid scanned down the bar - taking care to skip over the now vacant seat to his left - he let his mind analyze. It was not that the Sectoid had already accepted his best friend’s death - far from it - but he absolutely refused to dwell on it. Rather on his mind were the questions that would get him through the next few days - who leads this flight now, who will fill our vacancy, how would he explain this to her, how would she reac- Jefferson shook his head, and had his IV deposit another ounce of alcohol. No, he would let the news be delivered by someone other than him.

Jefferson let out a mental sigh. He glanced up at his flightmates, considered speaking, but then decided against it. It was still too soon, the wounds were too raw, all conversation would do is toss salt in it. No, all that should be done is stay close, keep together, and maybe in their shared loneliness they would find healing. With a course of action settled upon, Jefferson injected another shot of liquor, and let his mind drift to the next question to answer.

Gentle tunes drifted throughout the bar, some intrepid soul deciding that the jukebox was to actually serve its purpose rather than sit as decoration. The bartender slowly walked by the trio of pilots, reaching for the shot glass that sat in front of Vincent’s spot. Three sets of eyes locked on the man - glaring with the intensity of a thousand suns - and the bartender reconsidered the action. With a shake of the head and an inaudible mutter, the bartender continued down the bar. As he did so, the three returned to their previous gazing locations, each contemplating their navels in their own way.

Lawrence let out a light chuckle as his mind drifted back to better days - working through boot camp, getting Firestorm certified together, getting absolutely wasted the following night, all those memories flashing and blurring together. Still, despite the happiness of the memories, they were tinged bitter. He was now one of the few that carried memories of that man, a living monument to a life that had been snuffed out far too early.

Laforge cursed internally once more, annoyed that his mind had once again drifted to dark places. Another shot, another brief reprieve from the gloom that hung over his soul. Any questions over whether he was drinking too much, too fast, were banished to the place where all the thoughts he didn’t want to think laid, even as the buzz began to grow. After all, he was a Luxembourger and he owned his own vineyard, he could handle a little alcohol.

Finally having enough of this, Hayden carefully took a sip of her own glass, before knocking her head back and finishing off the glass in a pair of gulps. She briefly pondered being the first one to say a word since they had ordered their drinks, but shook her head. Now was not the time to cause a scene, she decided. Instead, she stood from her stool, shook her head, then made for the exit.

Jefferson, seeing this, figured it was time the rest of them left as well. The Sectoid slid off his stool and patted Lawrence on the thigh, motioning for him to come as well. LaLa shook his head dismally and returned to his drink. Briefly Jefferson weighed the consequences of staying with Lawrence or following Hayden, and settled on the latter. After all, who knew what she might do all alone in the bunk? With that, Jefferson left his wingmate at the bar, alone in a crowd.

After a long minute, Lawrence gently reached over to the shot glass at his side. He raised it along with his own, clinked them together, and muttered, “Here’s to you, buddy.” Then he downed both shots in a pair of motions, one after another.

_/ \_​

1321 Local; May 21st, 2044
Bern, Switzerland
Residence of Jacqueline Brandt

A cold sense of numbness trickled through Jacky’s chest as the XSDF officers returned to their vehicle, their dress greys standing out harshly against the brightly colored Bern street. She had accepted that this might happen, prepared that it might happen, prayed it wouldn’t, but nothing could compare to the sensation of it having happened. She gently rested her hand on the door, determining its exact position before she slumped against it.

“Dammit…” she cursed, tears just now overflowing the dam in her ducts. With a pained sigh, she pushed herself off the door, groped around for the handle, then gently closed it. Slowly she made her way back into the living room, hands extended to ensure she didn’t collide with something. Eventually, she managed to enter the room, Jacky’s nurse hastily turning her attention to the entrant, whilst the TV murmured some news story.

“I’m so so sorry,” Karen said gently, standing and taking Jacky’s hand and guiding her over to the couch. “I… I can’t imagine how it feels.”

“Neither can I,” Jacqueline replied in a hushed whisper as she laid down. “Can… can you please get me something to drink and a blanket?”

“Of course, dear,” the nurse affirmed as she set out to do just that. Slowly Jacky turned her attention to the television, hoping that it would provide some answers to her internal dilemmas.

“And in the latest news,” the anchorman said, gently adjusting his tie, “the XSDF has recently announced that they are having one of their latest body modifications, the Spatial Enhancer, clinically tested to determine if it can be used to cure Hohenheim’s Syndrome. We cut live to our correspondent within the XSDF for more info.”

Suddenly Jacky sat up, enraptured in the news report. Slowly but surely, the seeds of a plan to deal with her loss grew in her mind, enveloping it in its green, leafy folds. She could join the XSDF, get the mods, get Firestorm certified, and then unite with those who also suffered as she did. After all, misery hates company, and Jacky knew that Vincent wouldn’t want her to be miserable in the slightest. So what better way to get rid of it then meet those who knew her pain? As he plan finalized in her mind, Jacky let out a small smile, which quickly turned into a massive grin - at odds with the tears still stuck to her.

“This is for you, Vin,” Jacqueline swore.
 
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DarkGemini24601

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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53: “Desolation Within, Part 1”

High Orbit Over Forseti (May 15th, 2044)
The Einherjar (1109 Hours, A.S.T.)
Floor 5: Gym 3


Sasha briefly held up her right arm, wanting to waste as little energy as possible. The support soldier had been running on the treadmill at about 12 kph for fourteen minutes now; sweat made the dyed tips of her hair cling to her neck, and caused her shirt to hug her body. Just one more left to go... Sasha lowered her arm, the watch just becoming a blurred line of green on the peripherals of her vision.

Her breathing quickened further, and Sasha finished her 15 minute run with her leg muscles burning from a need for oxygen. The treadmill automatically shut off, and Sasha leaned against the handles for support, catching her breath a bit frantically.

"That running speed's not exactly XSDF standard, dear," a voice said to Sasha's right. "You can do better than that." Shifting her eyes to her side to discern the voice's source, Sasha recognized a woman she had caught watching her before. The other soldier had slightly tanned skin indicating Spanish origins, and brown eyes contrasting with long hair dyed blond that hid one of her eyes. The other woman adjusted the treadmill's speed up a kph and set it running again with a quick movement of her fingers.

Sasha's eyes widened. The support was caught off-guard, and lost her grip on the handles. She slipped, her trajectory going to end with her face slamming against the tracks. Sasha stopped a centimeter before that fate, using her telekinesis to narrowly catch herself. It wasn't enough for levitation, though. The female Dragomirov still slid off the treadmill, her display of power making her slide a few feet on her back.

"Not a lot of endurance either," the Spanish woman lamented, while a dark-skinned hand was offered to Sasha to help her up.

The female support pointed a finger accusingly at the woman. "Y-You did that on purpose!" Sasha stammered as she got up with the nearby man's help.

"Not really, I just expected more from a soldier like you." The other soldier crossed her arms with a bit of a sneer. "What, did you get hired for your name only, melon girl?"

Sasha's cheeks tinted slightly in embarrassment from her fall and that particular comment. "What's your problem anyway? I never did anything to you!"

"Like hell you didn't," the Spaniard spat. "You sure didn't use those fancy powers of yours to save my younger brother out there. Since you probably didn't even bother to learn his goddamn name, he was Felipe Gonzales."

Sasha's expression fell. "I-I can't use that much power on demand..."

"Then you're goddamn weak," another voice snipped, this one belonging to a Polish mechanic. "Which only accent's Inez's point."

"You shouldn't be here. I don't care whether they hired you because your daddy's a war hero or because they liked your fancy powers. You don't have any practical skills," Inez asserted, narrowing her eyes in contempt. "I hear that cowardly bitch Flores is trying to train you, but you're still a subpar soldier. And I have limits to my patience."

"Of course, you could make up for your mistakes," the mechanic offered, subtly running a hand along Sasha's thigh just below where her shorts ended.

Sasha jumped back as if she had been cut, her face aghast. She looked to the man who had helped her up, but the African scientist seemed to be with the other two, and just rolled his eyes. "What do you have against me..." she whispered despairingly.

"I just think you're wasting the science team's time by being here, and putting the other soldiers at risk. Nothing personal," the young man replied.

"Point is, shape up, or resign like you ought to." Inez walked up to Sasha as the other two dispersed. "Or make yourself useful," she added, her icy demeanor freezing Sasha in place as the other soldier traced a fingernail along Sasha's neck, stopping at the hem of her shirt and flicking it as if to solidify what she meant. Inez removed the digit and passed Sasha as if she wasn't there, leaving the support to shakily bring a bottle of water to her lips.

Sasha tried to keep herself together, but felt tears welling up in the corners of her eyes from shame and self-loathing. She ducked out of the gym, wanting to weep in a dressing stall rather than in public.

***

About fifteen minutes later, she exited, having washed the dried tears off her face. She hadn't changed, and headed to the second gym, finding herself a punching bag. She tried to picture Inez on it, but found herself unable to muster anger. Is she... right about me? I've never been up to snuff... never good enough... and it gets people hurt or killed.

Sasha began to deliver strikes at the bag, only of minor intensity. They were born from a need to lose herself, to let her mind go blank with a steady rhythm, and after a few minutes they accomplished that goal.

"Not bad,"a familiar voice said behind. "Maybe I should be learning something from you. What did that punching bag ever do to you?"

Sasha didn't glance back initially. "Nothing," she deadpanned. "Just clearing my mind," the Russian-American mumbled.

"I see." Korra stepped forward, moving around the bag to look into Sasha's eyes, not liking what she saw. "I was looking for you. Wanted to see if you needed a spotter. I couldn't find you in the main gym, so I... I asked around for you."

Sasha's eyes widened slighlty, and she stopped her strikes. "K-Korra? That's n-nice of you..."

"Is everything okay?" Korra asked seriously, though her eyes showed a high degree of concern. "Someone said you were talking with three unhappy looking people."

Sasha paled. "It... wasn't anything serious. Just a small misunderstanding."

"Are you sure?" Korra leaned forward. "They said you ducked out pretty quick when they walked away. And either the person who told didn't know who they were, or didn't want to tell me. Must have been something in my eyes that said I wanted to hurt them if they hurt you."

"T-They didn't hurt me! What's your problem?"

Korra looked a bit taken aback, and held up her hands. "Hey... no problems here. Just... looking out for a friend, is all. But I guess I was wrong."

Sasha shook her head. "I just... I don't want you getting overprotective... I don't need two 24-7 guardians."

Korra's expression softened a bit, and she nodded. "Your brother a bit pushy?"

"More than a little..." she muttered.

Korra rubbed her armnervously. "Hey, I... I'm sorry. Still new to this whole friend/roommate thing. I was just worried. Didn't mean to imply you couldn't handle things yourself. You are a soldier, after all."

"R-Right..." Am I? Sasha shook her head. "I'm not angry at you though."

"Well you're angry at someone..." Korra kicked her foot, and placed her hands in her pockets. "Wanna... talk about it?"

"I'm not angry at anyone..." Sasha insisted.
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53: “Desolation Within, Part 2”

"Alright." Korra smiled, and lightly punched Sasha in the arm. "Then lets drop it than. Not like I came here to bug you about that. I came here to... well..." She looked away, a bit embarrassed. "I thought we could... h-hang out a bit. After everything that's happened, I'd like to spend more time with my bust-sister."

A little extra blood rushed to Sasha's face. "Y-Your what now?"

Korra laughed. "Sorry. I guess my solution to being uncomfortable is to make others uncomfortable." She grinned widely, and leaned against the punching bag, holding it tightly. "Come on. Show me what you got."

Sasha took a quick but deep breath, and then launched back into her formula of blows, not being exceptionally strong or fast it would seem. By higher military standards she was likely below average.

Korra kept a smile on her face, however, and nodded her head. "Try putting some weight into it. I've learn, to hit something with extra force, you need to imagine you're punching through it, like there is something on the other wider of it that you're aiming for."

"I don't want to injure my hand though," Sasha protested.

"Well... it won't hurt as much if you follow through. Distribute the blow naturally throughout your body." Korra thought for a moment, and added, "Though I suppose I sprained my wrist once or twice before I got the hand of it..."

Sasha sighed. "I can try, I guess." She started delivering stronger punches, doing her best to ignore a rising pain in her knuckles. It seemed that applying more force tired her out much quicker than her previous rhythm.

Korra nodded after a few minutes,raising her hand to stop Sasha. "That's good. Very good. How do you feel?"

"My hands hurt..." Sasha complained -confirmed - her earlier fear.

"I know. But they'll harden with time. And you'll eventually wonder why they ever hurt at all." Korra stepped in front of the punching bag, throwing a few blows herself. "You have a lot of power. Just below the surface, just begging to be let out. Of course..." She fell silent and shook her head. "Never mind."

"..of course what?" Sasha asked with trepidation in her tone.

Korra sighed. "You just... always seem to be holding back a little, you know? Your strength. Your psionics. Your... emotions." She smiled at Sasha. "You remember when I started coming in to Mikhail that one time?"

"I'm not much stronger physically than you can see here," Sasha insisted, "nor can I do anything more with my psionics without emotional turmoil." She narrowed her eyes. "And why are you reminding me of that incident, pray tell?"

Korra avoided eye contact. "I admit... I didn't think much of you before that night. But then... in my usual bitchy fashion, I had to be pushy. And then, that girl that I didn't give a second thought to... knocked me on my ass. And I... was impressed."

"I was just mad," Sasha replied.

"Still stood up to me. Not that I'm all that intimidating, but it still took guts." Korra rubbed the back of her neck nervously. "Listen... I'm not the best at... paying compliments. I'm just trying to say... I have... more respect for you than you seem to think."

"I don't think you disrespect me," Sasha responded. "You just seem to think too highly of me, if anything."

"Oh... don't get me wrong." Korra gave her a malicious grin. "I think the truly strong Sasha is still locked away. What is on the surface... is still kinda weak. Dangerously so. We need to break through that surface."

"And how would you recommend we do that?" Sasha asked in a defeated tone, realizing there was no getting out of this one.

Korra thought for a moment, than waved Sasha over to the small ring on the side of the room. "You're a sweet woman. I like that. But this career usually needs something different. I needs mean. It needs angry. I want to see more angry from you."

"So you want me to fight you?" Sasha asked. "I... guess I could. Mom and dad gave me lessons on occasion..."

"Awesome!" Korra tossed Sasha a set of green gloves and pads, slipping on a red set herself. "Not gonna go crazy on you. Bad way to start off. But I want you to give me everything you have. Show me what you got, Sasha."

"Alright." Sasha put her hands up. “Just be aware we're not using psi powers. Unless you want another stint in the brig, that is."

Korra laughed. "I think I'd like to avoid that. Now... show me what you've got. Start with your fists. We'll worry about kicks if and when we feel comfortable. What kind of fighting do you know?"

"Just general techniques. Nothing fancy."

"That's fine. Gotta start somewhere." Korra took a step forward, a swung with a right hook, a little slower than usual. Sasha blocked with the back of her hand, not confident in the ability of her arms to handle a hit. She pushed the strike off and went for one of her own with a left uppercut.

Korra ducked her head back. "Not bad." She through another pair of punches, these ones a bit faster and with more force. "Stay on your toes." Sasha again blocked them with the backs of her hands, and then tried to force Korra's hands apart to land a right fistcuff through her defenses.

Korra was caught a bit off guard, having to step back when Sasha pushed her hands apart. Glad to see Sasha was taking it serious, she raised her arms, taking the defensive.

Sasha kept attacking, but was cautious: she didn't want to get caught in a trap as Korra had. Korra's eyes darted about as she watched Sasha's fists. She suddenly pushed forward a bit, but seemed to leave her left side open. Sasha struck out at the opening with her left fist, keeping her right defensively poised in front of her chest, only for Korra to sidestep and wrap an arm around the striking arm.

Using her free hand, she sent a jab straight for Sasha's face. Sasha tried to block, but this time her hand wasn't enough, and Korra's strike drove Sasha's own knuckles into her nose, making her stumble back painfully. Korra's eyes widened in fear as she stepped forward. "Oh hells. Sasha, are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Sasha said, holding a hand over her nose. "It's only mostly broken, not completely broken."

Korra chuckled, taking a few deep breaths. "Brigid got me with that one quite a few times. You did well. But you still seems to be holding back a bit." She cracked her neck, and stood up straight. "I want you to hit me."

"I don't have a strong desire to beat the crap out of you," Sasha protested. "Is that so abnormal?"

Korra shook her head. "Nah. But call it a test. To see your capacity for tapping into raw emotion." She tapped her chin. "Hit me. Floor me. Show me what you're capable of."

"...I'd really rather not," Sasha decided. "I'd rather not get sent to the brig over some arbitrary test."

Korra frowned, and folded her arms. "No one's looking. And we're just sparing. Not like I'm going to tell on you. Now hit me..." She narrowed her eyes. "...or I'll make you hit me."
 

DarkGemini24601

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Sep 25, 2014
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DarkGemini24601 and ZombieSplitter53: “Desolation Within, Part 3”

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" Sasha growled, backing up.

Korra cracked her neck, and grinned maliciously. "You know... I caught your brother coming out of the shower the other day. I peeked out of our room, and there he was, wrapped in a towel. The sweat and moisture just... rolling down his body. I couldn't help but just stare... and want..."

"You want me to tell your boyfriend you're turning into a sleaze again, you bitch?" Sasha snapped.

"Oh, he already knows. He and I have an understanding." Korra slowly walked up to Sasha, a big smile on her face. "Good thing too. Because I had Mikhail all alone, with no Sasha to ruin our fun this time. So... I slipped out of that bedroom..."

So much for being a friend. She didn't come here to train me, did she? Just treat me like everyone else does ,Sasha thought despairingly. Wisps of orange surrounded Sasha's clenched right fist, condensing additional layer of force around her trembling hand. Everyone sets out to kick me around, to fuck me over...! she thought as the rest of her form shook

Defend yourself.

Sasha drove her fist towards Korra's gut without a second thought, spurred on by the simple, quiet, yet galvanizing whispering in her mind.

Korra hunched over for a second, holding her stomach. After catching her breath, she let out a laugh. "Not bad... but could be better. I have no idea why Mikhail was so worried while I was pressed up against him, throwing that towel to the side."

Sasha released the telekinetic energy in a burst to stagger Korra. "Y-you soulless whore.." She charged a similar energy around her left fist, though this time the hint of a gauntlet formed around it, rugged and dry-looking. The support delivered another strike, aiming in a methodical fashion that even she seemed unaware of.

Korra dropped to the ground, breathing heavily. She weakly pushed up, looking into Sasha's eyes. "You're getting there. But if that's all you've got... I'll need to be there to comfort Mikhail when you fall. Not that... I'll mind... one bit."

"You're.. N-no..." Sasha whispered with horror in her eyes.

No different than them!

Sasha drove a halfhearted kick into Korra's side, and then stumbled back. Her expression evened out to one mostly nondescript but still tinged by anger. This anger was a more cold fury, however, accented by an orange haze around her eyes. The same glow surrounded Sasha's left hand and raised Korra a foot off the floor. A robed hand separated from her right arm, grabbing Korra's neck, squeezing.

"Will not hurt her... furth... er..." An icy voice spoke in a harsh retort to Korra. It exited Sasha's mouth, but didn't sound quite like her tone. It was older, seemingly. Though younger, conversely. More jaded, perhaps.

"Okay," Korra chokedout. "Might... have pushed... too far..." As she struggled against the telekinetic hold, she considered using psionics, but couldn't do it. This w as her fault, after all. "Sasha, please. Swear... didn't touch... Mikhail... a lie..."

"Trying to save yourself," the voice denied. The hand neither tightened nor loosened its grip. After a period of silence it added, "Want to hurt her."

"No... want to... help her..." Korra gave her a pleading look. "Sasha is... strong inside... wanted to... pull out. I... care about... my friends..."

"Lies." The telekinetic force surrounding Korra thrust her into the ground. Spheres of scarlet energy formed around Korra: destructokinetic orbs primed to explode. "Die."

Korra's luck won out, however. The periods of silence between speech seemed to have cost Sasha, and in her Reflection's protective anger too much energy had been wasted. All of the orange globes and orbs faded, and Sasha fell to her knees.

"W-what did I..." she stammered quietly.

Korra coughed vigorously, rubbing her neck. When she looked up, she was smiling. In a hoarse voice, she said, "You kicked my ass, is what you did. I knew you had a badass side to you, deep down. I... I'm... In sorry for what I said."

"That... wasn't... I nearly killed you!" Sasha said, her mortified tone quavering with fear.

Korra frowned. Damnit. "Listen, Sasha. I... I pushed you too far. And like I said, you have a lot of strength hidden beneath the surface. It's my fault it was drawn out in a way you couldn't handle. I did this to myself."

"I can't even control myself," Sasha mumbled, her fear growing and choking in her throat. "I let you goad me and I nearly murdered someone over something so..."

"Sasha, stop. Please." Korra stood up. After a bit of a stumble, she walked over to Sasha and placed a hand on her shoulder. "Listen to me. Even if... even if you were about to kill me, this might be a good thing. What if this had happened elsewhere, with someone who pushed you even more than I did? Now that you know this power is here, you can work to control it! You've got past the first step."

"No, I haven't. Not at all," Sasha said weakly. "The only reason Barbara went away is because she expended too much of my energy."

Korra let out a sigh, and sat down next to her Russian roommate. "You know... back when me and O'Brien had our little... spat... involving Desmond, she... lost control of her Reflection too. This... Morrigan of hers nearly broke my neck. Of Desmond hadn't stopped her..." Korra scratched her chin. "Her guilt was one of the few things that allowed us to make up, but it still are at her. But she used that guilt to push her into learning to control it better. You could do the same."

"No, I can't." Sasha shook her head. "Brigid has enough power to. I only have enough to summon Barbara when I’m out of control."

"Then we work on making sure you don't lose control again, except on the battlefield when pointed at the enemy." Korra looked away. "Damn it. I really fucked this up, didn't I?"

"I guess," Sasha said at length.

Korra placed her hands over her face, slowly shaking her head. "Is there...anything I can do to... I don't know, fix this?" Sasha just looked away, too shaken to say anything at the moment. Korra cursed a few more times,in both the languages she knew. She slowly stood up, and lowered her gaze. "I should go. I've... screwed things up enough for one day. No point in making them worse."

Sasha considered trying to stop her, but felt too weak and ashamed of both herself and Korra to do so. Instead, she merely gave the slightest of nods to the Tamearin woman.

Korra rubbed her arm nervously and said, "I'll... think of some way to make this up to you. I don't know how... but... somehow..." She sighed, and walked to the exit.
 

Taxor_the_First

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It Matters Not, Praise the Sun - Part 1

Einherjar, Weapons R&D
15th May, 11:27 AM



“I’m glad they learned a few things from the XCOM base attack,” Penny said, without looking up from her tablet. “Although I guess it’s pretty hard to hide a capital ship creeping up to you nowadays.”

“And they can’t just mass mind-control everyone,” Charles agreed. He frowned then. “I… don’t think they can, anyway. We’ve still got one of those shield things, right?”

“I think so. We just don’t have an Ethereal being a living battery for it this time,” his wife said, somewhat dismissively. “I actually feel pretty secure in here now, what with Mason’s revisions.”

That caused her husband to raise an eyebrow. “Is it just the security revisions you’re happy with, or are you also pleased by the one regarding what we can do in our spare time?”

A cheeky smile appeared on her face. “I won’t say I’m not,” she replied cryptically. “Although the prior restriction wasn’t exactly something I paid much attention to.”

“I noticed,” Charles said dryly. “Did it even apply to us though? We’re scientists, not soldiers. I don’t think there’d be much of an issue.”

Penny frowned. “Not sure. Probably best no one caught us anyway.”

“I’d be happy if no one caught us full stop. I’m no exhibitionist.”

“… really?”

Her husband looked over at her, concern lighting his features. “… are you?”

She bit her lip, but said nothing. Charles raised both eyebrows. “Dear god.”

“If you are,” said a gruff voice behind them, “you should probably learn to listen for the door opening at least so you know when to get turned on.”

Penny yelped, nearly dropping her tablet and hugging it close to her chest. “Dad?!”

Isaac, still sitting in his wheelchair in the doorway, shook his head. “Come to talk to my only daughter and this is the conversation I wheel in on.” He chuckled ruefully and wheeled himself forward, glancing around the lab and noting the various instruments and weapon parts. “Can’t say I’m too surprised, I guess. You did always like being the center of attention.”

His daughter’s face flushed red. Searching for the person that usually reigned her father at this point, it was only then she noticed Samantha was not with him. “Where’s Sam?” she asked, trying to change the subject.

Her father shrugged. “Wasn’t feeling confident with what nature gave her. She’s in one of those orange tubes right now, getting a few gene mods.”

“Really?” Charles said, surprise evident on his face. “And you’re ok with that?”

Isaac laughed. “Of course. It’s her body, not like I have much to do with it at my age.”

“Any particular reason why?” Penny asked, fishing for something to get back at her father with.

“Something I’ve always held by – never go into a situation if you can’t prepare.” He leaned back in his chair. “Take that how you will.”

Mildly disappointed that he had beaten her to insulting himself, Penny’s mouth curved downwards. “Uh huh,” she said. “Well, I hope she enjoys her new guns. Especially if she’s going up against that fire guy again.” A thought made her glance back down at her tablet. “I wonder if we could prevent people like him blowing up our weapons by insulating them, stop them having any heat to emit…”

“I actually came about that,” her father said, interrupting her. “I’ve seen them at work. I never got to hear how they work.”

“You came for a lecture?” Penny asked incredulously. “Are you feeling alright? You’re not acting like you should be.” Her eyes alighted on his feet, and she realized he seemed to have two. “Hold on, why do you have two shoes now?”

“Shoes, yes.” He moved his right pant leg so that she could see it was empty, thought when he replaced it he made certain it looked like it wasn’t. “Legs, no. Thought it looked less odd and more professional. Anyway, is it so out of character that I want to spend time with my daughter?” Isaac asked with a winning smile on his face. “That I wish to hear how her latest achievements function?”

With a grumble, Penny fetched her worksheets, shuffling through them until she found her report summary, the same she had submitted to her superiors. “Alright, alright,” she said. “I can’t give you the whole presentation, since we’re not in the firing range and I demonstrated the weapons then, but I suppose you’ve seen them in action anyway.”

Her father nodded. “I’ve seen the footage,” he affirmed. “I was impressed.”

“As well you should be,” Penny said smugly. “Lucky for us, both the weaponry types – particle and fusion – were achievable by fixing a major problem with our old MEC particle cannons. Cooling. If you’ll see here…” She reached over to one of the desks, where two oddly shaped objects sat. “These are the cooling systems. This one-“ She raised the one in her left hand. “-is the old one. Big, chunky, and inefficient by our standards now. Thanks to a new chemical compound that doesn’t boil when exposed to the aftereffects of antimatter projection or fusion reaction, we now have this.” She raised the one in her right hand then, returning to other to the desk. “Compact, efficient, and light enough to be carried in an infantry weapon. This same device is in all of our weapons so far, and once we work out how to make fusion weapons properly precise, it’ll probably end up in those too.”

“Unless we come up with a better one,” Charles added.

“Naturally we need to upscale for the MEC weapons – that’s what we’re working on at the moment – but so far the same process can be applied.” Penny placed the device back on the desk, a self-satisfied look on her face. “Once we had the cooling systems down, it was just a matter of working out how the guns fired. What they fired.”

“You say that, but we were calling them particle and fusion weapons almost as soon as we encountered them,” Isaac said.

Penny shrugged. “Lucky guess. Though with fusion it isn’t that hard to see it’s bloody hot, whatever it is. And plasma was already taken. Still, we went for particle first.”

“If I might interject,” Charles said, looking at his father-in-law. “Your daughter is incredibly smart, to the point where there’ve been multiple times just in the past few months that I’ve wondered if I’m really necessary. Most of this is her genius.”
 

Taxor_the_First

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Dec 7, 2013
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117 Victory Road
It Matters Not, Praise the Sun - Part 2


“Oh, stop it you,” Penny said, waving a hand at him. “You keep me in a good state of mind. I’d probably still be sulking about someone beating me to these if you hadn’t been there.”

Isaac groaned. “If I wanted to watch a romance, I’d follow Ezra after our lessons. Him and that Ensslin woman…”

“Ezra?” Penny raised an eyebrow. “As in Exalt? Good to see some of them are human.”

“Ironically the least human of all of them,” Charles said, a grin on his face.

“Less gossip, more report,” the ex-Overseer said gruffly, old habits returning to him. “You were talking about how the weapons worked?”

Penny moved over to another desk, where a dismantled particle rifle lay, pieces separate so as to define them. “Thanks to the soldiers, we got a few intact ones to look around. We worked out that the weapons operated by first requiring pulse laser technology. In order to extend the range before the antimatter particle hits a matter particle and fizzles out as designed, it fires a pulse laser directly designed to repel matter, with the exception of a few molecules and atoms necessary for the particle to actually travel, like a wave needs water. The particle is generated by a tesseract, which…” At that point she noticed Isaac’s brow furrow, and she realized he probably wouldn’t follow the explanation of that particular phenomenon. “… the spinny thing creates the ammo,” she said darkly, before moving over to another desk, this time with a dismantled fusion rifle atop it.

“Fusion weapons were a little easier,” she said, indicating the orange barrel of the weapon. “since they work on almost the same principles as a normal star. Once you work out the nuclear mechanics, it’s just a case of giving the flare somewhere to go.”

“I wouldn’t understand those ‘mechanics’, would I?” Isaac asked somewhat boredly.

“Probably not,” Penny replied cheerfully. “All you need to know is that it works in roughly the same way as your average solar flare, thought currently it lacks a few of the effects, like electronic interference.” She frowned. “Need to figure out why the particle beams have those but not fusion flares. Having an effect similar to an EMP just in firing a normal weapon could come in handy. Hopefully it’s not something prevented by the firing sequence.” A shrug, and another smile. “Sorry, always thinking of new things.”

“That’s the way we like it,” her father said, returning the smile. “That’s why you’re special to everyone else.”

“Not you?”

“Of course you’re special to me,” Isaac replied. “But because you’re my daughter, not because you’re smart or pretty or a good person. Even if you were none of those, you’d still be my daughter.”

Charles coughed awkwardly, and glanced at the digital clock on his desk. “Those components we ordered from engineering should be ready,” he said, rising and making his way to the door. “I’ll be back with them soon.”

When he’d gone, Penny turned her head back to her father. “He can’t stand the whole ‘family love’ thing. Probably because he hates his own parents.”

“Don’t worry,” Isaac muttered, a brief memory from his daughter’s wedding crossing his mind. “The feeling is mutual.”

She noticed his reaction, and frowned. “Am I the only one who actually thinks they’re alright people?”

“Yes, you are.”

“That’s not how it’s supposed to work!”

“Since when have we been a normal family?” Isaac asked dryly. He shook his head. “Actually, on the subject of abnormal, did you ever go and get yourself psi tested?”

All mirth instantly vanished from his daughter’s mind, replaced by suspicion. She knew her father, and that question was too out-of-the-blue to be as incidental as he phrased it. “Uh… no?” she responded. “Never really thought I’d be positive. Even then, what would I do with mind powers? My brain is big enough as it is, I don’t need anything else to gloat over.” She tilted her head. “Why do you ask?”

Isaac was silent for a minute, seemingly contemplating what she said. After that moment, he looked back up at her and smiled. “No reason,” he said nonchalantly. “Just thought it might be something you would have wanted to know about, whether you were psionic or not.”

“You’re not. Why would I be?”

Her father shrugged. “I don’t think it’s all determined by genetics, or at least by lineage. Besides, your mother could have been a psion for all we know. Might explain her empathy at times.”

“Right.”

“Go ask Vindicta if you want a proper explanation, it’s not really my field of expertise.” He smiled at her again, though Penny couldn’t help but feel it was forced. “In any case, my curiosity is sated, and I’ve wasted enough of your time. I’ll let you get back to your research.”

Penny nodded. “Alright, you take care. Tell Sam when she gets out I’ll be looking at heavier weapons soon, if not next.”

Isaac laughed in the doorway. “She’ll be delighted,” he said, before making his exit and closing the door behind him.

A few moments later, the door re-opened, and Charles returned carrying a number of objects that looked similar to pulse-laser focusing lenses, though with a few distinct differences in the complexity of the devices and a few orange-tinted additions. He scanned the workshop, not seeing the cripple anywhere. “Isaac bugger off?” he asked.

Penny looked back up from her work. “Yeah,” she said somewhat absently, without elaborating further.

Her husband gave her a curious look, before shrugging and depositing the lenses on the central table. “Let’s have a look…” he said, largely to himself as he worked. “See if we can get these solar flares under control.”

Rousing herself, his wife smiled and moved towards the table, past concerns willingly forgotten. “Yes, lets,” she said.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
Hesitant Bargains: Part One

In Orbit Around Forseti (May 2nd, 2044)
The Einherjar (1230 Hours)
Main Brig


Korra leaned against the counter, giving the guard her best puppy-dog eyes. "How you doing today, Jimmy?"

The guard rolled his eyes. "What are you in for now?"

"Nothing," Korra insisted in a playful voice. "I'm just visiting. Like that human game. Risk? I need to see someone."

"That's Monopoly, and no. You need to make an appointment, especially if you want to visit who I think you want to visit."

"Oh?" Korra stood up straight, and folded her arms. "How about you let me in, and I don't tell my boyfriend about you."

"Vizcarra? Tell him what?"

"About how... extensive your search was the last time I was in here. And how you just so happened to constantly start your patrol when O'Brien and I were changing."

Jimmy scoffed. "You have no proof."

Korra gave the look of a sad little girl. "I don't need proof. My strong, fearless Kallpa will fight for my honor."

Jimmy waved his hand dismissively. "I'm not afraid of Vizcarra. That cybernetic cowboy is all talk." He eyed Korra like a wolf eyeing its prey. "Though... to be honest, some of those mental images you left me are starting to fade. Maybe if you gave me some new ones..."

Korra giggled, and reached into her shirt. She produced a small voice recorder, and played back the last bits of their conversation. "So... can I get in now?"

Jimmy grumbled angrily, than waved his hand towards the cells. Korra bowed her head respectfully and walked in. Coming to the cell she was looking for, she stood before it and cleared her throat.

Within, two Tamearin women, one with red hair a few fades lighter than Korra's, the other with snow white hair, looked up. She could tell by their body language and the look in their eyes that the redhead was surprisingly timid considering her line of work, curled up in the corner, while the other had all the intensity one would expect from a pirate. "So... what do I call you?" Korra asked.

The white haired woman walked over and spat on the energy barrier. "We've already given our names. Leave us be! We have nothing more to say to you."

Korra held up her hands. "I haven't seen any reports. I only want to talk. And I'd prefer to do so without having to call you pirate one and two."

The Tamearin with white hair scoffed. "I'm Bentany. She's Terra. Now what shall we talk about as we wait for our inevitable deaths?"

"Deaths?" Korra shook her head. "We're not going to execute you. You're just..."

"Going to your space prison?" Bentany laughed. "If you think the TFD doesn't have plants in there to eliminate us for our failings, you're out of your mind. And even if they deem us not worth the effort, what do we have to look forward to? Prison. The same place we all end up the day we're born Pon-taer."

"That isn't true!" Korra got as close to the energy barrier as she could. "I didn't end up in prison. You had other choices. The XSDF is an alternative, but you turned to crime!"

"Fa lyh'd ymm ryja vneahtc eh rekr bmylac (We can't all have friends in high places)," Terra mumbled. "Bnehlacc Korra Devolina (Princess Korra Devolina)."

Korra's eyes widened. "How do you know who I am?"

Terra stared down at the floor. "I grew up in the capital too. I looked up to you. I thought... if a Pon-taer could be a princess, then there was hope for me. But then you left us. Your family used their money and power to get you into the XSDF. You abandoned your people to join the humans. You abandoned every Pon-taer who needed you."

Korra's eyes fell. "I never realized... I might..." She shook her head. "But I wasn't handed everything because of money and influence! I worked had, and sacrificed a lot to get where I am. And you can to!"

Bentany raised an eyebrow. "Look around, princess. It's over for us."

"It doesn't have to be!" Korra waved her hand towards the exit. "Our Commander is a respectful man. When everyone else had given up on me, he gave me a chance, and now, here I am. We can get you a job here or something. You can work for the good guys!"

Bentany shook her head. "Even if he tried something like that, there are Tamearin laws. If we stop being XSDF prisoners of war, we become subject to Tamear prisoner laws, and must be turned over to them. Frankly, I'd trust my luck here more."

Korra squeezed her eyes shut, suddenly feeling a bit sick. "There... there is a Tamearin ambassador on board. I can ask him to... speak on your behalf."

Bentany suddenly rushed forward, touching the energy barrier and helping as it shocked her. "Listen, I don't care what happens to me! I have done some terrible things for the Outcasts of Tamear. I've stolen. I've pillaged. I've murdered. But this was Terra's first mission! She has never taken I life, I swear it on my honor. Please... do what you can for her!"

Korra nodded. "I will. I can't make any promises... but I'll try."
 

ZombieSplitter53

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Staff member
May 27, 2013
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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
Hesitant Bargains: Part Two

Main Rec Room Bar

Geshtal watched with surprise and a bit of curiosity as his sister walked in and immediately started towards him. Expecting hostility, his escorts stepped forward to intercept, but he raised his hand to stop them.

"You know... your human lover insisted that I completely avoid you in the future," he stated with a slight smile as Korra sat down. "It is rather difficult to do this when you come seeking me out."

"I need a favor," Korra blurted out, surprising herself.

Naturally, Geshtal was more surprised, so much that it was evident on his usual stoic face. "Well... this in unexpected. I don't remember the last time you asked me for something."

"That's because I eventually got tired of you turning me down," Korra snapped. "And I'm not stupid. I... I know I'll have to pay for this."

Geshtal shrugged ever so slightly. "I suppose that all depends on what it is you ask of me." He smiled. "Does Mr. Vizcarra know you are here?"

"This has nothing to do with him!" Korra tensed up a bit. "And regardless of what happen or what you think of him, can you at least appreciate the fact that he was a loyal man standing up against another man who was dishonoring his girlfriend?"

Geshtal sighed. "Actually... yes. I considered reporting him, but I decided what he did was not worth the negative light that would be painted on me by the human soldiers... or the Tamearins for my outburst."

"So you admit it was all about you and how you would look?" Korra scoffed and folded her arms.

Geshtal shook his head. "Must you always think so negatively of me?" Korra remained silent, and Geshtal took that as a yes. "What is it you need from me?"

Korra tapped her fingers against the table. "The... the two Tamearins in the brig from the Outcasts... I want them pardoned or put on probation or something. Anything."

Geshtal gave her a frank look. "What do you need from me... that is actually in my power to deliver?"

"Please, Geshtal," Korra pleaded. "It isn't right. They're criminals. I get that. And they made the wrong choice when it came to life. If we fight them out on the field, then I will shoot at them. I will try to kill them as much as they're trying to kill me. But we have them captive, and we have a chance to set an example."

"An example?" Geshtal thought for a moment, then smiled. "Yes... show the Outcasts of Tamear that the XSDF is a safer, preferable alternative to TFD. That they offer forgiveness... and reward good behavior. It would cause dissension in their midst. It could cause them to leave TFD. It could even lead to them becoming allies."

Korra narrowed her eyes. "Aaaaand?" Geshtal gave her a blank look, and she scoffed. "And it would give all those Pon-taers hope for an alternative to crime! And the Balmadaar Elite still out there. If they see us showing forgiveness where the TFD shows punishment, it could lead to future Pon-taers and Balmadaar to come to us before the Outcasts. We could eventually destroy their organization by eliminating their pool of new recruits."

Geshtal sat back. "That is a good point. W... well done, Korra." He rubbed his chin. "It will not be easy, however. Even getting them a position in security will be difficult."

"They might have other skills," Korra insisted. "And the older one said Terra, the younger one, was on her first mission. You could at least save her. Please, just... try..."

Geshtal sighed. "It will take time. First, I'll need to delay their transfer off the ship. Then I'll need to arrange time to talk to the Commander. If he agrees, we will need to find a suitable position for them. Then I will need to get in contact with Tamear and convince them that they are working on the ship for rehabilitation means. Hard for the young one, harder for the other, especially if she has a criminal file as long as I suspect. But... it is possible."

Korra closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "And... what do you want from me?"

Geshtal thought for a moment. "Well... I would like you to quit the XSDF and take a position under me at the Embassy. Like... security."

"No." Korra said flatly, folding her arms.

Geshtal tapped his fingers on the table. "Stay here, but become one of my escorts."

"No."

"Keep your position, but undergo therapy for your Pon..."

"Nope."

"Stop going out with Vizcarra and..."

"Nuh uh."

Geshtal frowned. "Very well. I will do it... if you make Vizcarra promise never to strike me again, and allow me to talk to you, and... future consideration."

Korra narrowed her eyes. "What's that?"

"If I need something from you, you will keep in mind that I helped you when considering whether or not to agree."

Korra slowly raised an eyebrow. "Okay. And?"

Geshtal shook his head. "That's all."

"Really?" Korra gave him a disbelieving look.

Her redheaded brother sighed. "I... am not the monster you seem to think I am. I... might have been when we were young. And I... might have gone too far in many instances. But I have worked with many Pon-taers since gaining my position. And although we might not agree on many an issue, just as you asked of me, can you not at least appreciate that I was thinking of you... in my own... selfish way?"

Korra's eyes darted around. This is a trick. It has to be. But... I promised them I'd try. I guess it's a risk I'll have to take. She offered her hand, and Geshtal readily shook it.
 

Alzdude28

Active Member
Dec 9, 2013
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A Fresh Start
ZombieSplitter53 and Alzdude28


16th May 2044
The Einherjar
Hangar A
1420 AST

Ayame casually walked through the hanger, glancing at all the ships around her. She smiled as she did so, a sense of wonder washing over her as she looked at the great machines, one she likely wouldn't admit openly. "Hey!" she shouted out loud, drawing everyone's attention. "Someone show me around! Even the great Ayame Kasagi needs some directions now and again."

Over by a newly acquired Crimfeather, a small group of pilots and engineers looked up. "Do any of you know who that is?" whispered Hideyoshi to his companions. After a few minutes, the team got back to examining the spacecraft.

"Hey!" Ayame ran over, a big grin on her face. "Your salvation has arrived, though I'd like a chance to meet the people that'll be backing me up. Which of you guys are pilots?"

A couple of the group raised hands, but most just ignored her. One couldn't resist the opportunity and stepped forward. "Cat Weaver, Pelican squadron. Can you tell us who our salvation is, 'cause I don' see them around here." She said, in a strong Dublin accent.

Ayame scoffed, and did an exaggerated bow. "Ayame Kasagi, at you service. Don't feel too bad that you haven't heard of me. Anyone on the enemy's side who had faced me has died, and anyone on our side has kept me a well guarded secret. Can't have them fighting to rid themselves of the Typhoon of Destruction that is the unyielding Dysnomia."

"Well guarded secret? I'm guessin' they're too embarrassed to speak about you, when you talk that much bull."

Hearing this, Hide looked up. "Sigourney, lay off the rookie."

"Is that what you think?" Ayame's eye twitched in anger. "I can school you. The whole reason this 'rookie' is here is to compensate for the sorry asses of the current staff. So learn your place now, or you'll be sorry later on!"

Hide paused for a moment. He considered his options. Then he let rip. "HOW DARE YOU INSULT ME! YOU ARE ADDRESSING A RANKING OFFICER! I'VE BEEN FLYING FOR LONGER THAN YOU HAVE BEEN ALIVE, I COMMAND A FIGHTER WING, AND YOU HAVE THE NERVE TO TELL ME TO LEARN MY PLACE? YOU HAD BEST REEVALUATE YOUR OWN POSITION OR I WILL HAVE YOU GROUNDED, DEMOTED AND PUT ON A CHARGE WITHIN THE WEEK!"

Ayame took a step back, caught off guard. "You... you think you..." The words of her previous wing commander rang through her ears. What sounded like the taunts of a jealous bitch suddenly sounded like the concerns of a cautious CO. Ayame's head dropped a bit, and she mumbled, "I... I didn't know you were... I'm sorry..."

"Now, maybe you should introduce yourself again, properly this time." Hide calmly replied.

Ayame slowly nodded, keeping her head down. "Kasagi, Ayame. Serial Number 12115-3. Rookie pilot, transferred from the XSDF Battle Cruiser Excelsior. Age, 19. No... n-no ranks. No merits."

"Kasagi... Nihonjin desu ka?" Hide asked, slipping into his native tongue.

Ayame slowly nodded. "Hai. San shihanki. Ichi shihanki no Chūgoku... Sensei."

"Wakarimasu" Hide nodded. "Let's stick with English, for the benefit of the others, assuming you don't mind." Without waiting for a reply he continued. "I suppose it's my turn now. Takigawa, Hideyoshi. Number 28029-8. 1st Lieutenant, previously of the JASDF, former test pilot. Age 37, commander of Atlantic Wing, decorated for outstanding service in the Korean war, and survivor of pretty much every shitstorm since then. The list goes on... Have I made my point yet?"

"That you have had for more experience than me?" Ayame's tone had the slightest of edges to it. "Yes, sir. But..."

"Think very carefully about what you say next Kasagi..."

Ayame swallowed hard. "I... I graduated top of my class. One of the youngest to do so in a long time. I've had advanced simulation training. I lack experience, but I make up for it in skill and raw talent. I am one of the best, and... a-and I feel like... I deserve to be... to be recognize for as much. But no one... ever does..."

"I'm going to be honest with you Kasagi, and I think I speak for most pilots here with this. I don't give a shit about how you did at the academy, or how much sim training you had. I value actual combat hours. At an academy, you can learn all the theory, and in the sim you can try it out, but you can never get the same experience as an actual dogfight. So tell me, how many kills do you have to your name?"

"I-I have..." Ayame scoffed. "Three... but three in only one battle!"

"Sounds like you'll fit in well. I downed two and a half myself on our last sortie. Sigourney here got three, which makes her our newest ace, when you look at her previous experience."

Ayame shot Sigourney a cold look. "Bet she didn't even..." Again, the words of another rang through her ears, this time the Tamearin woman telling her to learn from her peers. She sighed, and tried for a pleasant smile. "I can't wait to... to fly with you."

Weaver scowled. "Yeah, fuckin' thrilled to have you."

Ayame's face twisted in anger. "Hey, I didn't ask to be here, okay? I was chosen! And this is my one chance to prove myself! And if you don't like it, than just stay out of my way! I-I don't need you! I'll kill all the pirates myself!”

"You don' need us you say? So when you get a load of bandits on your tail, you won't want us to haul your sorry arse out of there, because you'll kill them all." Weaver laughed and looked around at the other pilots. "Looks like we can just go and put our feet up, lads!"

Ayame took a step back, the words striking deeper than she would have thought. "That... th-that's right. I can win this... by myself... I don't... need anyone. You go out there, and you'll j-just be one more person I'll have to save."

Weaver took a step forward, a look of pure fury on her face. "You think this is all just a fuckin' cake walk do you? We go out, shoot up a few 'bad guys' then go home for tea and fuckin' medals? No matter how good you are, fly-girl, you're not above getting killed. I've seen it happen. Seven pilots have died in the last two missions: Akpabio, Yar’Adua, Crawford, Ueda, Itzal, Slament and Lindberg. Before that we came damn close to losing an entire squadron. Just ask Turtle about 'Swift Tumult'. The only difference between you and them is that you act like a right bastard. So wake up and smell the fuckin' coffee."

"I... I-I..." A few tears ran down Ayame's cheeks, though she didn't seem to notice at first. "I-I'm not... going to die! I'm to... I won't..." She looked between all of the other pilots, eventually stopping on Hide. "I... I can learn. I can be an ace. I... I'll work with others, I... I can't... die..."

Hide shrugged. "Sorry, but Sigourney's right."

"N... no!" Ayame took several steps forward, clenching her hands into fists. "N-no she isn't! I-I won't die! I'll be the best! I just... I just need to learn! You can teach me! I can learn! I can!" The tears came faster, and she made a futile attempt to wipe them away.

Taking pity on the new pilot, Hide put a comforting hand on her shoulder. "Just remember your training. Skills and drills. You'll always have someone experienced on ops with you, so there isn't that much to worry about, as long as you don't make mistakes."

"I do. I-I mean... I don't... I..." Ayame looked at the displeased look on the other pilots faces, and her eyes sunk in as she realized how much she would rely on them, and how much she had screwed herself over. "I... I-I'm sorry... I want to... fly with... e-everyone..."

"Pull yourself together Kasagi. Realising your mistakes is the important thing." Hide said, not unkindly. "Gambatte, ne?"

"Shikashi, karera wa... Karera wa watashi o nikumimasu! Karera wa watashi ga shinu yō ni narimasu!" Ayame rubbed her arms nervously.

"Ie, Ie." Hide replied. "Karera wa anata o shitte shutoku shite mimashou. Soon we'll all have forgotten about your first impression, and I'm sure you'll be one of us."

Ayame's eyes darted about the others, and she slowly lowered her head. "I... I-I'm sorry. I didn't... I know I'm arrogant. I don't mean to be. Please... forgive me."

The gathered pilots gave a mixed reaction. Some smiled, encouragingly, some did nothing, and Weaver stood there with her scowl fixed. "Once you've proven yourself, then we'll see about forgiving you." A handful of the group muttered approval of this statement.

Ayame nodded, taking a step back. "I-I will, I swear. Y-you'll see, I... I have a lot to offer you. I won't let you down, as... as long as you... don't let me down... y-you know?"

After a long pause, Weaver extended a hand. "You've got yourself a deal there."

Ayame hesitated, as if expecting a trick, but she stepped forward and took Weaver's hand. "Th-thank you."

As the two pilots shook hand a klaxon sounded. "Attention all non-essential personnel in Hangar A. Clear deck for launch." The group of pilots immediately disbanded, heading for the closest exit, as two spacecraft taxied towards their launch tubes. "Come on Dysnomia." Hide called back. "the crewroom's this way."

Ayame nodded, following after him. "Thank you... for standing by mean, even after I acted the way I did."

"No problem... just don't make me regret it."

"I won't... I swear to you."
 
Last edited:

BMPixy

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May 26, 2013
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ZombieSplitter53 and BMPixy: “Post Peak Awkward, Part One”
In Orbit of Forseti, Aboard the Einherjar
1431 Local Time; May 20th, 2044
Just Outside the Hydroponics Bay

Elicia glanced at her watch, shaking her head at her reluctance to get this over with. Geez, not like she actually slept with my boyfriend, she mentally admonished. Just, y'know, tried to.

"Bah, enough of this," Elicia said out loud. With that, she reached out and knocked on the hydroponics bay door.

"Come in," called a pleasant voice. "The next shipment for the mess hall is ready, and I have some extra for the surface."

Elicia nodded and opened the door. "Sorry, I'm not here for the food," she corrected as she entered the room. "I'm looking for Volupta'sumana, actually."

Volupta looked up from what appeared to be a purple pumpkin, and smiled. "Actually... that is something of a, uh... a pseudonym. I'm going by my real name now. Volupta'Aergianmacaria, at your service."

Elicia's eyebrow twitched slightly in confusion, but she shook it off. "Nice to meet you, then," the medic replied. "I'm Elicia Ensslin. Vindicta recommended that I meet you."

"Aw, yes. I have met her. She is quite a brilliant woman." Volupta turned to her. "Is it with advice in psionics?"

"Yep, biokinesis specifically," Elicia answered. "I've been trying to increase my precision, but I've kinda hit a roadblock trying to manipulate anything below the tissue level. Fairly important to my long term goals that I overcome that roadblock so hey, that's why I'm here."

"I see." Volupta sat on the floor and beckoned the woman over. "Come. Sit with me, and I shall probe your psionic pathways to assure there is nothing wrong."

"Er, alright then," Elicia said hesitantly, sitting down in front of the Ethereal. "So what does this probing entail?"

"Just a psionic link between the two of us." Volupta bowed her head. "I swear to you, I will not look at any memories or change anything without your permission."

"Alright, I'll hold you to that," Elicia said. With that out the way, the Anglo-German closed her eyes, and gently opened up her mind.

Volupta gently dove into her mind, and smiled pleasantly. "Ah... you are new to this. But you have talent. You can be quite skilled one day, and have naturally high potential. You do need more practice, though. Both your psionic pool and your draw power could use some improvement. How do you practice, my dear?"

"Mainly muscle repairs after workouts, a bit of imbuing here and there, and some general practice with Vindicta every now and then," Elicia replied, scratching the back of her neck awkwardly. "Pro'lly not nearly as much as I'm supposed to, but it's the most I can do with what I got."

"I understand," Volupta said. "You should take a flower from here, though. You can practice by giving it some of your energy, and feeding it power to make it grow nice and strong."

"Huh, really can't get away from gardening, can I?" the medic mentioned to herself. Speaking up, she added, "Alright, that sounds simple enough. Anything else you would prescribe to help, especially with my specific question?"

"I can unlock some of your psionic potential if you'd like you'd like. It would take but a few moments, and would not hurt at all."

"Wait, you can just... do that?" Elicia asked incredulously. "You can just walk up and boost people's psi potential for basically free? I mean, within their given limits, but... seriously?"

"Well, it isn't much of a boost, but yes." Volupta rubbed the back of her neck. "I am not sure if there are many of my kind who can. It is the results of many, many cycles of difficult research. I invigorate your psionic pathways to unlock some of your hidden potential."

"Huh. Interesting," Elicia noted, rubbing her chin thoughtfully. "Well, doesn't hurt to try, y'know. Go ahead and let 'er rip." Volupta nodded, and slowly sent a surge of energy into Elicia. It was a bit overwhelming at first, but it was mostly a pleasant feeling, like a suddenly charge of electricity in her very soul. When it subsided, it left her with a sense of empowerment, however slight. Elicia shook her head and let out a breath, a slight smile growing on her face. "Wow, jeez, that was certainly... refreshing, I guess the best word would be," she said, chuckling lightly. "Feels like I just put on a fresh pair of underwear on New Years' Day. Thanks."

"You're welcome. Please, feel free to stop in any time you need assistance." Volupta stood up and tapped her lip. "What... did you say your name was again?"

"Elicia. Elicia Ensslin," the Anglo-German said. Even as her suspicions provided a reasonable answer to why that question was asked, Elicia still had to ask, "Why're you asking?"

Volupta's eyes widened a bit, and she took a step back. "No, I... no reason. I just... friend... mentioned you name, I... w-what kind of flower would you like?"

"Would that friend happened to be named Ezra?" Elicia asked, cocking an eyebrow suspiciously. Relaxing slightly, the medic waved a hand dismissively. "Nah, I already know 'bout what happened. As long as you can attest that you didn't know 'bout us before hand, I'm willing to forgive and forget."

"Oh no, I didn't, I swear." Volupta stepped forward again, clasping her four hands together. "A-and it was this treat he gave me. It affected me in ways I have never experienced before. I swear, I didn't mean it."

"'Treat'?" Elicia asked. "What kind of treat, might I ask? Brownies, some sort of tablet, what?"

"Oh! Yes, please, come with me. I would like to show you." Volupta took Elicia's hand and pulled her along, all the way to the back. Stopping in front of a locked down, she hit a few keys on the pinpad and said. "You're the first one I'm showing this to. I have my own secret stash. You can't tell anyone, though. If you promise, I'll share some with you."

"Uh..." Elicia was at a loss for words, a bead of sweat forming on her forehead as her mind raced to conclusions. Oh God, did Ezra give her drugs? Do we now have a stoner Humiliata growing drugs in our hydroponics bay? Is she now offering me drugs to keep me quiet? "Al... right then, I guess I'll keep quiet..." Gah! Idiot! Why did you say yes!?

"Excellent." Volupta opened the door, revealing a large back room that was even more humid then the rest of hydroponics. It had a number of exotic plants and flowers, but the centerpiece in the center was a large Theobroma Cocao, with big yellow pods larger than they usually were. On shelves next to it were a variety of cooking ingredients and supplies, and a machine with a slowly churning arm. Volupta picked up a small brown bar in front of it, and offered it to Elicia. "Here. Give it a try. You are sure to love it!"
 

BMPixy

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May 26, 2013
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“Post Peak Awkward, Part Two”

Elicia cautiously took the bar, broke off a piece, and placed it in her mouth, chewing it carefully. "It's just... chocolate?" Elicia wondered aloud. Breaking off another small piece and eating it, she continued, "Yeah, just chocolate, good chocolate at that. Unless... no, why would you put drugs in a chocolate bar?"

"Drugs?" Volupta placed her hand over her mouth. "Oh, dear. I was told they were a confectionery treat. Are chocolates drugs?!"

"What? No!" Elicia exclaimed. "I thought there might be drugs in the chocolate! Otherwise, why would you, y'know, have done what you did? I mean, yeah, I realize that implies I think that Ezra might have drugged you, but who knows maybe he was planning some prank and got his chocolate stock mixed up and I'm just blabbering at this point, aren't I?"

"A little bit, yes." Volupta raised a piece of chocolate, turning it up and down. "I guess it does not effect humans the same way it effects my kind. You aren't feeling... flushed? Warm? Intoxicated? Um... lustful?"

"Nah, not at all," Elicia replied. "I mean, there are some compounds in chocolate that cause humans to feel relaxed, happy, alert, and motivated, but nothing to the same extent as what you're describing. Well, correction, you might feel a bit intoxicated if you eat a fifth of your body weight in chocolate, but that's besides the point." The medic shook her head. "Regardless, this certainly explains... a lot. Just hope I'm not becoming an accomplice to anything knowing that you have a secret chocolate factory down here."

"Of course not. I... I am sure it will be okay. I mean... it is just candy, right?" Volupta took a nibble of her own chocolate, her face suddenly flushing, her eyes dropping. "O... oops..."

"Oh scheiße," Elicia muttered. "Well, uh, hopefully poison is, ah, in the dosage, y'know?" she said, trying to fake calm to the best of her ability. "I mean, surely a little nibble wouldn't have that profound of an effect, right?"

Volupta breathed heavily. "Found that... dark chocolate... much more potent..." She stumbled to the side, starting to frantically open drawers. "Got... find... where... peanut butter..."

"Right-o, let's find you that peanut butter, then!" Elicia said, not pausing to breath as she moved to help Volupta search the drawers. Why did you use dark chocolate!? she internally screamed, I swear to God, if I ever get the chance I am going back in time and exterminating the cocoa tree back before mankind could discover them!

Volupta find a jar she was looking for. She twisted, but found she didn't have the strength to open it. "Can you... can you..." Volupta looked Elicia up and down. "You're... really... pretty..."

"No, no, we are not having this happen," Elicia adamantly denied. "Gimme that jar, now!" she barked, reaching out to grab the container.

"Ooooh." Volupta sulked. "Y-y-you don't think I'm pretty to."

"I wouldn't know, I'm no expert on what makes one Humiliata attractive to another," Elicia said, still trying to take the jar from Volupta. "I'm sure that your youthful appearance likely has some benefits, but that's just a hypothesis."

Volupta finally released the jar so she could put her upper hands on her cheeks. "Oh... thank you! That is so nice of you to say! I... I think..."

"Yeah yeah, no problem," Elicia replied dismissively as she took the peanut butter, unscrewing the jar with a grunt. "Now, you got a spoon somewhere or are we going to have to do this the messy way?"

Volupta dipped two fingers into the jar, almost seductively licking the contents off. She smiled at Elicia. "This stuff is good too." She grabbed another finger full and held it out to her. "You want a lick?"

"No... no thanks, I'm nowhere near drunk enough for that," the Anglo-German replied, gently stepping away from the offered finger. Oh God please let that peanut butter kick in as quickly as the chocolate did.

Volupta greedily licked it off her fingers, and it did indeed get to work fast. She shook her head, blinking several times and giving Elicia an embarrassed look. "Oh... or no, I'm so sorry. I-I can... can handle a little chocolate, but... but the dark chocolate... I'm so sorry."

"No, no, it's fine," Elicia said, gently setting the jar to the side. "Just so long as neither of us speak of this ever again, alright? I mean, you were under the effects of mind-altering substances, so I can't blame you for what you attempted to do, but still... this never happened."

"Agreed." Volupta opened the door for Elicia. "If only they made some kind of... chocolate and peanut butter mix. Like a... non-chocoholic treat, you know?"

"You might want to look into some American candy called 'Reese's' - I think that's it's name - it might have what you want," Elicia offered as she slowly stepped towards the door. "Or you could take up baking, and throw together some peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies or something like that."

"Cookies... intriguing..." Volupta walked Elicia to the door. "I am very grateful, Elicia. You have helped me as much as I have helped you. I do hope that you will come and visit me again." As they approached the door, she picked up a potted plant and handed it to Elicia. "This is a lilium lancifolium. Also known as an Asian Tiger Lily. It has been spliced with a Quin Daylily, hence the orange flower and the blue-green stem. It is a delicate flower, and needs care. It will make for an excellent training partner."

"Ah, thank you very much," Elicia said, graciously and gently grabbing the pot. "I'll make sure to take good care of it. And if you ever want to chat, I'm pretty much rooming with Ezra in everything but official records, and you probably know his policy on how ajar doors should be. Just, ah, mind the status of the doorknob."

"Doorknob... ah, yes, I was told about this. Its status can indicate the occupants are engaged in sexual activity!" Volupta smiled brightly, opening the exit for Elicia. "I shall be sure to give you your privacy."

Elicia flushed slightly at the sheer frankness of that statement. "Why did I even mention that?" she muttered to herself. Shaking her head and letting out a short sigh, the Anglo-German appended, "Anyways... I'll be off now. See ya later Vol." With that, Elicia gave a brief nod, and left.

"Vol... Vol... I like that..." Volupta closely closed the door, and went to return to her work.
 

ZombieSplitter53

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R'lyeh, Pacific Ocean, 47°9′S, 126°43′W
ZombieSplitter53 & Black0ut present:
Trying to Change: Part One


XSDF Battleship Einherjar
May 21st, 2044
1117 hours
Hallway, near Hydroponics


This is pretty sad...I'm lost. I mean, how the hell do I navigate so well in enemy territory and yet, I'm utterly lost in this ship! The medic sighed, the hallway looking exactly the same to him. Slumping down against a wall, Thomas began to wait for someone to show up. It's not like this pathway was built for nothing. Someone will find me...Hopefully. Maybe. Probably not. I wish I hadn't decided to go down that hall. What was I thinking? Exploring the ship and subsequently getting lost is a death sentence. Thomas thought wearily.

After a few minutes, a talk shadow fell over him, the Humiliata it belonged to giving him a concerned look. "Um... hello? Are you okay?"

"Yeah. Just lost." The cyborg responded gloomily, before looking up at the figure. An Ethereal. Great. Just what I needed. A power-hungry alien, that, if given the chance, would enslave the whole damn ship! The medic thought angrily, his face betraying no emotion. A memory flashed through Wolfe's eyes, making him remember his promise. With a resigned sigh, Wolfe asked, "Could you tell me where I've ended up?"

"You are close to Hydroponics. I am used to seeing soldiers around these parts." The Humiliata smiled, her unusually youthful face brimming with delight. "You are not here to steal some of my fruits and vegetables, are you?"

Wolfe attempted to grin at the joke, but failed badly. "N-no...just horribly lost at the moment. Umm..I don't exactly know where Hydroponics is..." The big man said. I know what Hydroponics is and that the Einherjar has one, but where is it actually located? Is it like a 'You find it once, you never find it again' type thing?

"I believe I have a map of the ship on the computer, if you'd like to come with me." She offered her hand. "My name is Volupta, by the way."

For a moment, Wolfe hesitated before taking Volupta's hand. "Wolfe." The big man responded quietly. "If you don't mind me asking, how did you come to work aboard the Einherjar?"

Volupta led Wolfe a little ways down the hallway, answering, "I came here after the Einherjar rescued me and my small crew from some pirates. They allowed me to take care of Hydroponics, as well as work as a doctor. I must say, it has been quite fullfilling so far. Quite the little adventure."

"What faction of pirates attacked you, if you don't mind me asking?" Thomas asked curiously.

"I believe... Human Triads and Replitan Venom." She smiled back as she reached the Hydroponics door. "Who knew they had a strict 'No Humiliata' hiring process. Good thing the same isn't true about the XSDF."

"I concur. The XSDF is a pretty outstanding organization, despite what XCOM had to endure to make it more than just a pipe dream." Wolfe said, his demeanour becoming increasingly cold.

Volupta hesitated as she opened the door. "Yes... it was... such a terrible waste of life. " She held the door open for Thomas. "Please. Come in."

Wolfe stepped into the room, and paused. The room had a peaceful, tranquil nature about it, which seemed to calm Thomas down. "This is a pretty nice place. Did you grow all this?" The medic asked curiously.

"I did. I believe I have what humans call a green thumb. I specialize in transferring my energy into others. Healing. Revitalizing. Giving... giving life. Volupta ran her hand across a large rose by the entrance like it was a child."

"Please tell me you did not bring back another random straggler," a voice called out from the back of the room. "You are worse at that than human children bringing home lost dogs."

Wolfe jumped, the voice startling him. As if by instinct, Thomas' twin Gauss pistols popped out of their respective slots. Turning around, the medic put his hands in front of him, as if to ward the voice away from him.

Tee froze in place, the Sectoid nearly dropping the potted plant he was carrying. "Another aggressive one, I see."

Wolfe stood frozen in place as well. After the medic calmed down, which was a couple of seconds, the twin pistols went back into their slots. "S-sorry, I'm a little jumpy at times. I got injured by not being as cautious as I should have been, hence my cybernetics. I'm sorry for scaring you with my guns." The medic said sheepishly, his face having gone red with embarrassment and shame.

"That is... quite alright. You are not the first to aim a weapon to me." Tee placed the pot on a counter. "At least you apologized."

Volupta stepped forward. "Tee, Mr. Wolfe is a little turned around and needs help finding his way back from our little back alley."

"Oh?" Tee gave Thomas a suspicious look. "Is that so?"

Wolfe nodded, "I was trying to discover new areas, but, much to my chagrin, instead of finding a new place I haven't been to, I instead got lost." Well, that and I'm...a bit challenged at navigating the corridors in this ship.

"I see. And... you are not here to bring harm to my mistress?"

"Tee!" Volupta placed her hands on her hips. "Don't accuse..."

"I feel with the notes slipped under the doors as of late, I am due for a bit more caution then I have shown as of late." Tee pointed an angry finger at the Humiliata. "You are too trusting."

Wolfe's gaze flitted between the two for a moment, before he said, coldly, "I'm not here to harm anyone. If I were, I would've already shot you, and Ms. Volupta, as I had the perfect opportunity to do so. And if I didn't decide to shoot you, I probably wouldn't give you my credentials, so you could check to see if I was telling the truth." Thomas extended his hand towards the Sectoid, a frown etched onto his face. " LCPL Thomas Wolfe, Combat Medic, at your service." I...will remain neutral, I will not be mean...
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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ZombieSplitter53 & Black0ut present:
Trying to Change: Part Two


Tee gave him a frank look, or at least what looked like a frank look on a Sectoid, and his artificial voice modulator spoke in tone that was respectful but agitated. "Mr. Wolfe, I apologize if I insulted you. But Ms. Volupta is my ward. I have sworn to protect her with my life. And when my ward receives a number of anonymous death threats, I am suspicious of everyone. It wouldn't matter if you were the Commander himself." Telepathically, privately, he added, Especially when they give off the color I sense from you right now.

Volupta laughed nervously. "I apologize, Mr. Wolfe. I am afraid Tee here has forgot his manners." She shot the Sectoid a cold look.

Wolfe retracted his hand away from the Sectoid, all traces of emotion disappearing from the medic's face. Wolfe looked towards Volupta, and said quietly, "It's ok. I've dealt with far worse than Tee. Besides, his whole purpose in acting in this particular way, is so he may determine if I am a threat to you. If he didn't act this way, he wouldn't be much of a bodyguard."

I wonder if you are currently reading my mind, Tee. Because, frankly, if you are, I don't care. I also don't care whether or not you believe what I said. Due to how you've treated me, and your hostile demeanor, I wouldn't mind hitting you as hard as possible. But I refuse to stoop down to your level, due to a promise I made. Now, I'm going to remain civil, because I don't know, or really, care about whether you heard me. If you did hear me, tell me what color you did you see that disturbed so much that you had to verbally attack me? Wolfe mentally vented, his hand curling into a fist, only to release a second later.

Tee stared at Wolfe for a few moments, then said, "Mistress? I believe we have a map of the ship in the back. It is on the top shelf, however. I can not reach it."

"No trouble. I shall retrieve it for us." Volupta nodded her head to Wolfe, and walked off to the back of the room.

Tee continued to stare at Wolfe for a while longer. When he finally looked away, he said, "I can not read your mind. I could only hear what you just thought now because you wanted me to. I am a type four Sectoid. The DNA used to make Sectoids like me is all but gone now, as it was deemed useless during the Ethereal Path through the galaxy. Do you know why?" He reached over to a water jug, pouring some of its contents into the pot he had been carrying. "It is because we can not openly read minds, our mind fray was weak at best, and we had practically no potential for reaching the 'Commander' status. We were intelligent, more so than most other Sectoids, but my people were the front liners. We didn't need to know how to think. We needed to be able to take down an enemy or two before we were inevitably killed, and all the other Sectoid types could do that better. But that didn't matter to my mistress. I became her favorite, even if I am not the strongest of her Sectoids, and she was devastated when the DNA storage for the type fours was contaminated. Even though she is hundreds of years older than me... I care for her like a daughter. Do you understand?"

Wolfe expression softened, "Yes, I understand. I'd probably act very similar if I was in your position. But, instead of acting with the aggression you showed me, I'd act with caution. You had no knowledge that I was a threat in any way, shape, or form, except by the 'color' I gave off and then you proceeded to verbally attacked me without a second's thought, which is unacceptable. I did nothing to gain your ire, except by standing here in the...Hydroponics room. Now, please, answer my question: what was so horrible about this 'color' I gave off that you decided I was here hurt your daughter?" Wolfe said calmly. If you had started out by explaining this situation in a calm manner, we wouldn't be at each other's throat. The medic thought.

"Type 4 Sectoids of a combination of empathic psionics and what humans call synesthesia. I can perceive the emotions of another in the form of a aura of color given of by that person. It is automatic, working on everyone except extremely high level psions and certain species, like Tamearins." Tee looked Wolfe up and down. "The deep red aura you've given off, combined with the manner in which it fluctuates, tells me you are being deceptive about how you feel around us. You are angry. You do not much care for my mistress, even if you are good at hiding it. Regardless of your actual intentions, it is the color of one who would see her harmed." He turned back to his plant, what appeared to be an over sized, orange tulip. "But I can not read you thoughts. I do not know exactly what is causing these negative emotions. So I must be cautious, because even now, the red is strong."

The only reason I don't care about you, or Volupta, or anyone of either of your races, is because of the war. The Subjugation War. Your race, maybe not your type, killed many of my friends and half of my family. Those same Sectoids proceeded to take my right arm. I wonder why I would still harbor some resentment against Sectoids, or the Ethereals, the race that decided to launch the whole damn campaign in the first place! The medic thought angrily. I...am trying to become a better person, one that can accept you and your 'master', without any resentment. But I'm not that person yet. And for that, I apologize profusely. But when all of the things you suffered through, all of the bullshit circumstances happened when you were 16, It doesn't go away. Traumatic events take a long time to heal... Wolfe turned away, trying to conceal his pain.

Tee shook his head, and looked back at Wolfe. I can sense that you are being honest. I understand... I really do. I have to. Volupta still harbors the same negative feelings towards her family, even her mother, and she has had much longer to get over them. I just hope you understand that... when I call her my mistress, it is not the same as calling her my master. She is not like the Ethereals from the war, or even the Humiliata now. A fact that often gets her in trouble. Even if you can not forgive the others... even if you can not forgive me personally, regardless of my lack of participation... she has suffered enough. Excommunicated from her planet and race, hunted, forced into seclusion, and now the victim of death threats for who her father has been revealed to be. It is unfair... and I honestly do not know how she has handled it for so long.

Wolfe shook his head, the medic looking increasingly older than he actually was. You mentioned that someone is leaving death threats at Volupta's door? Have you reported this to security?

Tee shook his head, his synthetic voice having a tinge of worry as he walked over to a desk near the door. "She does not want to bother the Commander with it, though I fear she might she might feel she does not deserve his help. I would go to security myself... but I am unsure who I can trust. If anyone." He pulled a few sheets of paper from one of the drawers.
 
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ZombieSplitter53

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ZombieSplitter53 & Black0ut present:
Trying to Change: Part Three


"I'd still suggest going to Commander Mason. Even if Volupta is nervous about going to him, you should still go. If not, I guess the only alternative would be me working as a bodyguard for Volupt, with onnly one other person. Well, if you'd allow it." Thomas replied. Besides, I hate bullies. Thomas mentally added. Dammit Korra...You're making me a softie...that promise is going to get me in trouble one of these days... The medic thought privately.

"Any assistance would be appreciated... but we would not want to put you out there." Tee turned back to him. "As I said, I understand why you dislike us. I would not want to impose in a why that would make you any more uncomfortable than you already are."

"I may dislike you, but I'm not a heartless bastard. And while that may not have been true a few months ago, I made a promise to my daughter that I'd change. So, while I won't be exactly comfortable, or friendly, I can at least let my conscious be at ease, knowing that Volupta is safe. I can also assuage my fears about you both, and, hopefully, get rid of my...rage by the end of this ordeal." Wolfe said, stifling a random yawn.

Tee nodded. "Very well." He walked over, extending the papers.

They were snatched from his hand by Volupta, who had rushed forward when she saw what he was doing. "What is this? Tee, Mr. Wolfe is our guest! We do not impose on our guest, especially such an annoyance as this. You should know better."

Wolfe shook his head, "It didn't impose on me. In fact, I asked Tee if he would show me these letters that you had received. Would it be ok if I took a look at them? I am quite curious as to the nature of those letters." Thomas asked, trying to take the blame for Tee.

Tee's nod said he appreciated as much, and Volupta slowly brought Wolfe the letters. "Okay, but... they're kind of... personal..." The letters depicted wrath and vengfulness in a variety of languages. What ones Wolfe could read were of a variety of threats, from simple urges for her to leave to blatant death threats. Some spoke of her as "The seed of Phobos" or "Thantos'Mictlanmacaria's whore granddaughter, while others referred to her as "Traitor of the Ethereals" or "Thantos'Mictlanmacaria's usurper". They were all typed, and it looked like someone, likely Tee, had already checked them for fingerprints.

Wolfe handed the letters back to Volupta, his face turning into a blank expression, to hide the anger he felt. "Those letters...are horrible. Have you gone to the commander about this?" Wolfe asked quietly, already knowing the answer.

"N-no. Volupta returned to the drawer, placing them in side. "I must be strong. He has enough to deal with. Besides, they... they are true. I am the spawn of Thantos'Mictlanmacaria. I do not blame them for their hatred. It is not like I am unaccustomed to it. A century or two of nothing but hate... and you get used to it..."

Wolfe shook his head. "It's still not right. Regardless of your familial connection, you should be treated fairly. You aren't Thantos. You didn't do anything to those people. You, in all rights, are an innocent person. And for these people to judge solely by your father, is unacceptable." Wolfe declared, a sad look in his eyes. "As such, due to my morals, I can't let this issue continue. If you won't go to Mason about this, then let me grab a friend and we'll protect you from these people."

"You will?" Volupta rubbed her arms nervously. "I... I would not be opposed to some protection, but... I barely know you. How could I demand such an imposition on you like this?"

"You didn't. I offered to help you." The big man said stoically, crossing his arms.

Volupta nodded, and smiled brightly. "Well... I thank you ever so kindly sir. Any assistance you can give me will be a big help." She offered him another sheet. "Here are the floor plans. I took the liberty of marking the path the the lift."

Wolfe took the paper, a slight smile escaping his stoical mask. "Don't thank me. I haven't done anything for you yet. Thank me when I complete my task. Thank you for giving me directions to the lift, Ms. Volupta. See you guys later." Thomas said, as he exited the Hydroponics room.

"Oh! One more thing!" Volupta rushed to his side by the door, and held out a large bar. "It is a confectionery called chocolate. I wanted to give it to you for the kindness you showed me. Just do not tell anyone where you got it."

Wolfe stopped, confusion being evident on his face. "Um...Thank you? And I won't tell anyone?' The medic responded, sounding very unsure of himself.

Volupta nodded her head. "Someone told me I'm not supposed to have chocolate. Just don't eat that in public. I don't know if you know this, but I think it is an aphrodisiac."

Wolfe stared at the woman for a second, then burst out laughing at her. "It's not an aphrodisiac to me. It's more along the lines of being a piece of candy, with the only diminutive effects of increased happiness to humans. However, the reason it acts as an aphrodisiac to you, is probably due to our different species." The medic said, a smirk on his face.

"Oh... y-yeah, of course. I remember now. How... silly of me." Volupta's cheeks flushed purple, and she bowed her head. "Have a good day, Mr. Wolfe. It was nice to meet you."

"It was a pleasure to meet you as well, Ms. Volupta. Take care of yourself." The medic said, a genuine smile on his face. And the same to you, Tee. Take care of her. The medic thought, before walking out of the room.

Volupta closed the door behind him, and smiled back at Tee. "He was quite pleasant, was he not?"

Tee nodded. "Yes. An... interesting man."
 

DarkGemini24601

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Sep 25, 2014
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BMPixy and DarkGemini24601: "Heinous Halogens, Part 1"

High Orbit over Forseti (May 22nd, 2044)
The Einherjar (1349 Hours, A.S.T.)
Floor 9: Biomedical Lab


Irina glanced over her datapad, popping open the can of green tea she had got from a vending machine. She took a drink of it as she went over the scanner diagram for a consecutive time. She put the drink away and laid the pad on the ground, projecting a 3D image of blue lined making up a woman's form.

Although the computer had been able to identify points beneath the currently-hidden white lines making up Lanore's alloy skin from which severing could be the most safely accomplish, Irina continued to verify those yellow indications. She had to make certain that they were as safe as possible, and even then she wasn't convinced.

There has to be a better way, the French doctor thought to herself. Irina had considered calling in a scientist to assist her in creating a solution that would damage metal and not organic tissue. Such a substance would remove the alloy harmlessly. However, nothing could corrode zero alloys in that manner.

Irina sighed. And the incesions might damage muscle tissue... she must have survived that material being bonded to points on her skin by the use of Tz6. Irina came to a realization. "Zoom in on the fused points, please!" The computer complied. "Scan them," Irina continued, peering closely at the diagram.

"...scan complete. Zero Alloy, Aerospace Glue, and Crystalline Nanite compounds detected," the computer drone.

Irina smiled modestly in excitement. This could work, she affirmed. If T6 was used to bond the materials to her muscles, perhaps we can program a strain to reverse the effect. "That just leaves a procedure to regrow her lost integumentary tissue..." The lesser metals that shield the rest of the her muscle tissue from abrasion and corrosion would need to be dissolved. And then we could use a skin cell donor to -

Irina's plotting was interrupted as her phone rang, giving her a warning that she was needed back at her office for an emergency. She quickly grabbed her datapad, shutting off the hologram and jotting down some notes as she moved quickly to the nearest vertical elevator and was taken to her office.

The Frenchwoman made it to her workstation short of breath. "What... what is the problem?" she asked the nurse present, her eyes drawn to the unfamiliar alien on the table.

"Hell if I know," the nurse replied, evidently off-kilter by this whole incident. "I was just called down to the pool over reports of this... Seikron, I think, writhing in pain and coughing up water." As if on cue, the Seikron in question went into another coughing fit, spewing forth a small amount of water - tinged with a very light, foamy pink - into a conveniently placed bucket. As the patient groaned pain, the nurse continued, "They've been like this for the past fifteen minutes or so."

"Get the scanning equipment," Irina instructed hurriedly. "I don't recognize the species so we're going to have to run tests before we can appropriately respond."

"Roger," the nurse said, as he hastily gathered up the equipment he needed - hooking them up where he assumed they were meant to go. Evidently some of them were in the right places - signified by the heart rate monitor chiming to life, whilst the rest of the scanners got to work. "280 beats per minute - I'll assume that's abnormal, given the circumstances..." the nurse muttered, a report beginning to display on a nearby console as the scanners finished their work.

First to print to the screen was the X-Ray scans, which were surprisingly rather bare bone. The only significant bone structure lay from the Seikron's skull, trailed along their back in the form of the spine, then extended out into the hind leg. Around the base of the neck was a small cavity flanked by a pair of shoulder blades, and below that was a rather sparse rib cage. Below the rib cage pushed out the fore legs. Also to note was several bright spots where the X-Rays had bounced off of cybernetic implants.

The sub-dermal scanner clarified on what the X-Ray missed. Whilst the brain was obviously in the skull, it was much smaller than one would believe for a creature of this intelligence. However, in that curious spinal cavity there was a second clumping of nerve tissue, resembling the brain. Also displayed on the sub-dermal scanner was why there were no arm bones - rather, they were supported by cartilage, surrounded by muscle.

As the sub-dermal scanner got to the chest cavity, things grew more interesting. The Seikron heart was rather large, out of proportion even for the large alien. Flanking the heart was a pair of dense lungs, ringed with thick muscle. As one looked closer at the lungs, they could notice a small pool of pinkish, almost translucent fluid beginning to pool at the base of the organs. Whilst Irina studied the report, the nurse took the time to gather a blood sample - drawing forth that same fluid that pooled in the Seikron's lungs.

As the blood sample underwent study, a small DNA helix popped up on screen, accompanied by description of the base compounds. An immediate difference was the lack of thymine, being replaced by uracil, as well as the difference in base pairing. However, a trained eye could also note that rather than being bonded via hydrogen bonds, the base pairs were instead connected by silver and zinc atoms.

Finally, the nurse handed a blood sample report to Irina, detailing the exact nature and structure of Seikronyr blood. Whilst many of the compounds contained within were simply listed as 'Unknown Body', one stood out - the blood cells, which used cobalt as a base rather than iron.

Irina had most of the information added to the medical database, and retrieved an injection device. Placing the nozzle against the Seikron's side. She injected it into the alien, the Tz6 entering the bloodstream and then the lungs in order to bring an end to the bleeding and clean out the blood.

However, as the Tz6 made its way into the Seikron's lungs and began to do its work, the patient began groaning in pain once more, hastily clutching their chest. The scanners updated the readout, zooming in to show that even as the Tz6 repaired the lung damage, the cell walls began to break down as soon as a band of molecules came into contact with it.

"What the hell...?" the nurse muttered, absolutely confused. "What did we put in that pool that caused... this?"

"The patient was in a pool when they encountered trouble? Do you remember which one?" Irina asked.

"Ah, I remember picking them up from the... uh, what was it- got it! They were at the traditional pool, not either of the fancy ones!" the nurse exclaimed. "Wait... don't we clean that with chlorine?" he appended, eyes widening.

"Then that could be the problem," Irina explained. "We'd need to clean out the toxin with a neutralizer."

"Right-o, I'll go get that right now!" the nurse said, making a dash for the medicinal cabinet.

As the nurse did that, the Seikron finally managed to work up the strength to speak. "You... you have a solution?" they muttered hoarsely, gently raising their head to look at Irina.

Irina nodded. "There's a poisonous substance in your bloodstream that we're going to purify. Were you ingesting water?"

"Yes," the Seikron affirmed, "ingestion necessary for breathing. But... why did you poison your immersion pools?"

Irina rubbed the back of her neck as the nurse began his work. "The chlorine is used to clean out the water. We haven't had amphibious extraterrestrials aboard our ships before."

The Seikron hissed slightly as the injection was performed, the neutralizing agent getting to work. "Of... of course," they replied, "of course those who do not breathe water would not care what they place into it. Should have inquired as to what that sign read."

"I do believe we have a freshwater and saltwater pool, if either of those would be more agreeable to you," Irina noted.

"As long as they are free of poisons, then agreement is had," the Seikron replied. Flicking their whiskers, they added, "Neglected to introduce myself, for obvious reasons. Osahar cin Ankhor, of the Badka caste. You have my gratitude for your work."

Irina nodded. "Thank you, though I am merely doing my duty." She frowned. "I will be disseminating the data we gathered to properly treat you. It was irresponsible of whoever recruited you to not add your species' specifications to our medical records."

"'Recruited'?" Osahar asked, arching her brows intensely. "I believe you are mistaken, I am not officially part of the XSDF. I am the garrison commander for the Sovereign Seikronyr State's consulate on Forseti and bodyguard to the head consul, on unofficial loan to the XSDF for the duration of this conflict."

"My mistake then, though if you're fighting with our troops then you might as well be a temporary member," Irina responded smoothly. "And if you don't have any Seikronyr doctors here, then the XSDF ones ought to have been illuminated on the details of your physiology."

Slowly, gently, Osahar slid off of the table, standing with a wince. "There are trained Dhulka medical experts in the consulate, and for any minor ailments you could consult Nitetis-dhul," the Seikron answered. "I am surprised you did not call for him, given that both of your work falls under the same caste and that you lack experience dealing with our kind."
 

BMPixy

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BMPixy and DarkGemini24601: "Heinous Halogens, Part 2"

"I imagine the consulate is on the surface, and that's a little too long a transit time for an emergency," Irina began, "and I neither know this Nitetis nor fall under a caste."

"Never implied you were part of the caste system, just claimed that your work falls under the same caste as Nitetis-dhul's," Osahar clarified. "As for his identity, he is currently on loan to your science division, much similar to my own loan." Relaxing slightly, the Seikron continued, "And as for your first point, should I be critically wounded on a mission and returned to this vessel, I am likely to be in a stable condition. Were that not the case, I would die on the return trip. As such, it would be prudent to wait for a specialist to arrive, lest an error be made in surgery. As Tak-sharu-hiba would put it, 'such an event would not be good for relations'."

"And giving us the ability to save the lives of your people isn't either?" Irina asked incredulously.

"I am no Hibaya, so I am not aware of the subtleties of this argument," Osahar dismissed. "All I know is that policy is to err on the side of caution when disparaging information. Should you wish to discuss this matter in full detail, I advise that you find and speak with Tak-sharu-hiba."

"Perhaps I will," Irina replied. "Humanity's biology is well documented by other races, so I see no reason why the exchange of critical knowledge should be limited from another species."

"Our race has already avoided extinction by a whisker's breadth," Osahar said with a non-committal wave of her right arms. "Perhaps it is merely to prevent the creation of bioweapons by those who still believe that we should be exterminated. Again, Tak-sharu-hiba would have to be consulted on the exact reasoning."

Irina confirmed that the toxins were evicted from the Badka's bloodstream, and then nodded slightly. "Where is he, exactly?"

"At this hour? Likely aboard the Sifari Malasa, in Hangar... E, I believe it is. If he is not there, he will likely be in either the meal hall or recreation center," Osahar said. "Look for the Seikron in the blue moisture suit, larger than myself."

"Alright then." Irina went over the diagnosis one last time to make sure Osahar would be alright. Satisfied, she concluded, "Remain here for thirty to sixty minutes to make sure you don't have any subsequent problems, and then you can leave." Irina turned around and started walking for the main hangar of the Einherjar.

Osahar tilted in her head in affirmation as she did the mental calculations to convert that into Seikronyr time. "Understood. May you find the information you seek," she said.

***

About 15 minutes later, Irina arrived in the main hanger of the Einherjar. Walking by the scout ships sitting idly within the hold, she came to the unconventionally-designed ship she guessed was the Seikronyr vessel. She approached its hold and tapped the equivalent of a doorbell - a light blue button.

A moment after the button was pressed, a small camera deployed from above the main door, scanning around before locking onto Irina. "Name and reason for arrival?" a voice asked, tinged with curiousity.

"Dr. Irina Beaumont. I wish to speak with you about acquiring physiological information from you so the XSDF medical staff can properly treat injured Seikronyr," was the Frenchwoman's reply.

"Very well, if you'd please step into the airlock," the voice said as the door hissed open. "Mind the gravity and atmosphere differentials - pressure and gravity are slightly higher than Earth normal, and oxygen content is roughly eight percent greater. I shall meet you at the door, once decontamination is complete."

Irina nodded. "I understand," she spoke, though was a bit apprehensive about being in heavy pressure and gravity. Nevertheless, she waited patiently. After the doctor stepped into the airlock, the door behind her sealed with nary a sound. Already the higher gravity was apparent, as a light mist sprayed into the air. Over the course of a few minutes, the air pressure slowly began to climb, and the air became richer, somewhat more refreshing. Lastly, the humidity also jumped up, followed by a slight rise in temperature.

The procedure now finished, the inner airlock doors slid open, revealing a Seikron in a navy blue moisture suit. "Dr. Irina-nyin, I presume?" Tak-sharu asked, offering a hand.

Irina shook his. "Correct."

"Come, follow me," Tak-sharu intoned. "We shall speak in my office. I shall not try to take up too much of your time, considering that our vessel is most certainly uncomfortable for you." The Seikron turned and motioned for Irina to follow. "So, might I ask what prompted your reason for visiting?"

"Your bodyguard ingested chlorinated water, and we had to spend crucial time doing scans to understand how to assist," Irina replied. "Such a critical frame of time could be best utilized if the data was already available."

"I assume that Osahar is alright?" Tak-sharu asked, before shaking his head. "Never mind, if she wasn't, your tone would not be so relaxed. Regardless, I thought that you would have already had our biology entered into your databases, given that you have two Seikronyr in your vessel's air corps. Had I known otherwise, I would have initiated proceedings much sooner." Tak-sharu tapped on a small button, and the door before him opened, revealing a small office - relatively bare save for the low desk, a few mats on the floor around the desk, and a shelf off to the side which displayed some small art pieces. "Please, take a seat."

Irina sat down, shaking her head. "The way she put it I imagined you were going to tell me your biology was a state secret," the doctor explained.

"Only certain aspects," Tak-sharu explained, laying down on the other side of the desk and booting up his computer. "For instance, I cannot allow analysis of our genes beyond the base structure, nor can I allow the culturing of any diseases native to our species. Additionally, in any circumstance where a Seikron is undergoing surgery, either a Dhulka representative or a certified observer must be on hand to prevent any mistreatment. Do you understand all this?" Tak-sharu asked, as a wall of glyphs popped up on his holo-monitor.

"I can understand all but the last stipulation," Irina responded. "If your bodyguard or any other Seikronyr soldier is critically injured in battle, and a Dhulka cannot make it before they would expire, then we cannot simply let them die."

"Hence why I am offering you the opportunity to become a certified observer," Tak-sharu said, turning the display towards Irina and handing her a stylus. "If you'd sign on the dotted line, I can have all relevant data transferred over to you in good faith. However, should you violate any of the terms I have laid out, you will be punished to the full extent of Sovereign Seikronyr State law."

"I have no intention of violating them." Irina took the stylus, but did not sign just yet. "Though I would assert that I am a member of the XSDF. If charges were pressed against me, it would not be your government's decision alone on what would be done with me. The XSDF asserts the right to a fair trial for its members, and should a conflict arise with another entity, then the two are ideally supposed to hold the trial as one."

"Right, trials," Tak-sharu nodded, "I forgot that the XSDF uses those. The SSS does things differently. Should we have reasonable suspicion to believe you are violating these terms, we will launch an investigation into whether you are responsible and/or liable, with the assistance of your government. You will have a brief window in which to submit any counter-evidence the investigation missed, after which a tribunal will meet to determine what punishment, if any, to levy. Naturally, a representative from your government may attend the tribunal."

"Attend... but not participate," Irina responded hesitantly. "You understand with that system that the tribunal could judge one who is not truly guilty, and have no dissenting voices to say otherwise. I'm not... saying you would, but there are loopholes visible there."

"Should the conclusion be intolerable, you are free to submit an appeal. If there is reasonable grounds for reconsidering the decision, a new tribunal will be held," Tak-sharu explained. "Every system has its flaws, this is merely the one we have deemed most effective at discouraging criminal activity."

They wouldn't risk an incident with some false accusation, would they? Irina closed her eyes for a moment, took a deep breath, and then signed the document.

"Thank you for your service, Irina-nyin," Tak-sharu said, turning the display back to himself. "I'll have an English copy delivered to you, alongside a data drive detailing anything you might need regarding our biology. Should you have any questions, get in contact with Nitetis-dhul, and he can forward your questions to the appropriate specialists." Irina nodded and left, a bit apprehensive but satisfied. Tak-sharu gave his best attempt at a warm smile as Irina left, tapping out a command on his console to prepare to cycle the airlock. "May you have a blessed day, Irina-nyin," he said. However, internally he was quite worried. Why would High Command not give them medical specifications? I understand in the case of the Tabanje, but for Ramep-waha... I shall have to look into this.
 

MarineAvenger

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MarineAvenger and DarkGemini24601: “Discussions of the Artificial Kind, Part 1”

Somewhere in Cyberspace (May 23rd, 2044)
The Einherjar (2341 Hours, A.S.T.)
Living Room Construct

Ezra slowly came to be within the cyberspace of the comms room, looking around as a digital manifestation of the room came to be with a green hue, different ones and zeros being where the furniture would be.

It took some convincing, but he finally got permission to make a certain call in the form he was in, Ezra merely having to close his eyes and think for the signal to be sent out.

After a minute or two another figure formed there. The woman had long dark red hair and orange irises, and wore an elegant loose shirt and a pair of gray gloves. The former's material emulated white cotton, but it's scattered golden trim made it shimmer under the light of the room's lamp. Contrasting with this was a pair of black dress pants and the same color of shoes. Worn over the white shirt was a thin woolen jacket blending the upper and lower article's colors. It was a moderate gray with red wristcuffs, and a golden collar.

"I assume there's a reason you chose to meet me in a digital setting aside from the aesthetics?" Avanix inquired, raising an eyebrow as she came fully into focus.

Ezra crossed his arms and glared at his mother. "Hey Mom, yeah, I'm good, thanks for asking, oh, you look good too, how have you been in the four years we haven't spoken?" He started, deep sarcasm marking his tone.

"I ask because I have a feeling your frame encountered some sort of duress," Avanix replied calmly. "And I don't believe it was I who cut off communication between us."

"Yes, but a simple hello before immediately coming out into business mode would have been appreciated." Ezra sighed and merely sat down in a digital chair. "And yes, during my last mission my body was damaged beyond reasonable repair, so I am stuck to droning it or being like this for a while until a new body is built."

How did that happen?" Ava asked.

"Going up against a psion, one of my teammates was mind controlled and it was either leave 'em to the enemy or get them out. I chose to get them out of harm's way, and in return another psion skewered me with three icicles. Middle of back, chest, and face all got put on ice. Only reason I'm still here is because of the backup I had put in me. And the designers thought it was a stupid idea putting in near my ass." Ezra chuckled at the thought, seeming amused. "Your little boy is a hero... Not expecting that, now were you?"

"Actually, I expected nothing less. You are nearly immortal and can take risks organics can't. But you can be killed. Remember that," Avanix warned.

Not even a good job... Charming as ever mother. "Anyways, there are several reasons I have contacted you, and one of them should be fairly obvious." Ezra got up and strode over to Avanix to wrap his arms around her. "Not gonna lie... did miss you here and there."

Avanix smiled slightly, returning the embrace. "Naturally. I imagine you couldn't get by without my magnanimous presence for too much longer."

"You seem to place yourself pretty high on my list, don't you?" He asked, letting go of his mother and smirking. "Alright, I concede, you are pretty high up there but someone replaced your dominant spot, and she is really the reason I even considered doing this."

"Oh? Finally landed yourself a fish?" Avanix queried. "What's the catch like?"

"Strong, smoking, fiery though deep down she is a bit of a girl when around me. Name's Elicia Ensslin. Met her when she visited me in the stony lonesome."

"Why... were you in the brig exactly?" Avanix questioned.

"Pranked the wrong people, kissed a girl, and the Commander at the time had a bad outlook on,androids. Elicia came to me out of curiosity." He explained.

"Ah... former Commander Streczyk. I hear she was reassigned to be the captain of the regular battleship guarding New Alcatraz's sector," Avanix returned.

"Feel sorry for them... Really do..." Ezra said, putting a fist to his chest and bowing his head.

Avanix rolled her eyes. "Regardless... what were the other reasons for calling me?"

"Let's see... Got the motherly love out of the way, got the girlfriend out of the way, the body... Oh, how is Dad and the rest of the fam?" Ezra asked.

"Your father is like you as always, and nothing major has changed with the family with the exception of EE working on a drone variant for those Domineers of yours," Avanix replied.

"Yeah, they are really cool and useful in the field. Saved one of our friends on the last mission from falling to his death. Hard to believe that a shrimp made them." Ezra said with a shrug.

"Well, a shrimp made an android that is still advanced 25 years later..." Avanix countered. "The ability to shut off her emotions for example. To be fair, though, that is partilly a unique evolution of her programming. But Randolph made that possible."

"Not trying to tell me something are you?" Ezra said with an incredulous look. "Besides, if you hated the snark so much you would have never fell in love with Dad."

"I can tolerate it," Avanix replied. "There is a difference."

"Oh come on, you can't claim you don't find amusement from it." Ezra smirked. "After all, if you didn't have me and Dad you might be all business all the time."

"I certainly am glad I won't have to deal with both of you in the same room," Avanix muttered. "That's always a nightmare of some sort."

"You hurt me. You really hate your own son that much?" He asked, crossing his arms and feigning seriousness when he was really just teasing.

Avanix said nothing, just raising an eyebrow in disbelief.

He raised his own eyebrow. "What's with the look?"

"I'm imagining there is a final reason for calling me other than socializing, and you're very much beating around the bush," Avanix replied.

"Look Mom... I want you to know I love you. I just wanted to say I was sorry... For just leaving yiu for 4 years and not explaining why. I just... Wanted to try and be normal, have fun with life... Try and find myself. So... I want your forgiveness. I didn't want you to think I hated you or something."

Avanix raised an eyebrow. "I never thought that. I'm well aware you wanted to get away from family business and strike out on your own. I just worry... especially after hearing that you nearly died." She sighed. "Do tell Mark to do his best on Tier 3 cybernetics. Perhaps your new body can be made more durable than the last."

"I may even better than you Ma." Ezra stated, going to his mother and embracing her again. "After all... I have all your best qualities as well as Dad's."

"If you do then why aren't you a scientist?" Avanix asked playfully.

"Because I'm not as badass as my mother is when it comes to that stuff." Ezra laughed lightly.

Avanix grinned. "Your penance for failing me in that capacity is to allow me to meet this girlfriend of yours, by the by."

"Maybe sometime in the future. Don't want to not leave you any reasons to call." Ezra grinned mischievously.

Avanix rolled her eyes. “Before I go, is there anything else I should be made aware of?”

“Well, Mark and his first girlfriend broke up. Heard it ended well, but he seems to be taking it a bit hard.” Ezra shrugged it off. “Thought you may want to let his mother or father know if they ever want to call up themselves.”

“Indeed,” Avanix said grimly. “I shall commit that to memory, not that such a thing is difficult.”

“I am probably sure he and Vinny will work it out. Heard they had a little thing going on between them but they resolved that so… you know, when am I going to get siblings?” The android asked with a raised eyebrow.

“It’s not as easy as organic childbirth, you know,” Avanix reminded him. “How many coding failures did Sora and I encounter when trying to mesh our programs again? Oh, right. 27 times until a success.”

“What, you mean you have completely abandoned the normal way despite nothing coming of it?” It took everything Ezra had not to snicker.

Avanix shook her head. “I suppose with that, I will take my leave.”

“Oh, by the way, got something I got to show ya mudder.” Ezra rolled his hand in the air, trying to remember where it was. When he did, he swiped his hand down, bringing up and interface and after a bit of scrolling around, he picked up a file and dropped it into mid air, poking it with his finger so it came out into a full screen video. Ezra swiping it over to his mother to see. “Me and some of my friends got to talking.”

Avanix approached curiously. “Did you, now?”