Author Topic: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread  (Read 59321 times)

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #615 on: January 30, 2016, 10:21:15 pm »
All right, finally got around to move with the story post.

This will cover a few aspects, particularly the events that transpired during the 4 days time skip.

Some of this has been discussed in skype with Whalecow & modified as well as organize it to fit better.

Onward with the story.

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Episode 5

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Part 1: Nyx
Expand
Location: Near Triton's Moon, FSS Legion, Hangar Bay 2
Time: 2 hours after the ADF relieve team returned to their ships

Play this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvdINisnmhM

Nemesis & Cosette were currently at the hangars, the latter taking a look over her favorite ryder, Havoc, & doing upgrades & maintenance on it. Nemesis was still in her casual wear, sitting on a crate next to a multitude of toolbox & throwing the tools at Cosette who was 18 m high when she asked, while Cosette occasionally looking over the data the Havoc's AI provided her with on which parts she can customize or improve. Some of the crew looked at the strange sight, mostly the newer ones, those 2 have been drawing some attention after Cosette's return. Most of all in regards to Cosette herself, not only was she completely free of any scratch or even hint of scars on her, she looks... no, she was definitely taller now. The difference was obvious as she gain a 20 cm in height as compared to her old short stature of 145 cm. Her hair was longer & reached her shoulders, & the glint in her eyes were even sharper than before, yet at the same time looks as if they hold more knowledge than before, also a bit more grim. Some people did also thought about things like, "so that's what she looks like as a young adult" & how she's "a real looker", though a sharp glare from her would make them cease staring. Then there was the woman who came with her. Nemesis was a peculiar one, being described as a Cyberlon, they thought she would be more... mechanic, but it seems they were wrong. Right now wearing casual wear, with her cybernetic wings dematerialized & thus not there, she looks no different than a young maiden, if they weren't told before hand & met her for the first time, they would thought she was just an ordinary person. Though they seriously doubt she's "delicate", if that 20 m tall black war mech that's actually her 2nd battleframe was anything to indicate that. Though after a while of staring, the crew in the hangars just went back to their work, just another "bizarre" normal day for them they suppose. Not long after, Ava & Velora made their entrance to the hangars & calls over to Cosette about the thing she told them earlier.

Velora: Oooiii! Cosette!
Cosette: (looks over from the shoulder of Havoc where she's kneeling, holding a tool in one of her hands) What? Can't you see I'm busy?
Ava: It's about the thing you reported in earlier. I hear another "companion" of yours is going to pay us a visit.
Cosette: Oh yeah, her! Eh, just give her clearance, I can at least guarantee she's not hostile so long as you're not being an ass & shoot yer guns at her.
Ava: (crosses her arm & frowns)
Cosette: Relaaax, I got this!
Ava: (rolls her eyes) Well that's reassuring. (shakes her head) This is our flagship, & now we're having alien tourists roaming in our ship. Unbelievable...
Velora: Now now, Nemesis hasn't really done anything, so I think we can take Cosette's word for it.
Cosette: Nemesis! I need an Amplifier Tweaker!
Nemesis: (while looking over 3 codex monitors, she silently grabbed the tool & threw it at Cosette's outstretched hand, it lands in Cosette's hand perfectly as she grasps it)
Velora: (looks at Nemesis) Er, she said you knew who's going to come over. Can I ask who?
Nemesis: (faces her) Nyx, she's my older sister.
Velora: (raises both eyebrows in slight surprise) Huh, you have an older sister...
Ava: (still frowning) Great, it's now a family reunion, why don't we open up a restaurant while we're at it?
Cosette: (still fiddling with Havoc) Aaah, quit yer bitching, Ava! If anything happens I'll handle it, b'sides, we could use more firepower!
Ava: (looks up towards Cosette's position) I'm guessing you know this "Nyx"?
Cosette: We've talked a few times, but she was gone for weeks on a mission or stationed somewhere back then. But 'nuff about that. (looks over towards Nemesis from above) Oi, Nemesis! When is she gonna arrive anyways?
Nemesis: (blinks, then looks at her internal HUD) She should be arriving in... now.

Just as she said that, a Retribution Pattern War Mech appeared just 5 km away from Legion's position. It wasn't in stealth, so the radars could pick up an unknown flying... thing not long after it appears. It held position however, & opened up a channel, to which Ava picked up using her holo that was connected to Legion's command. The signal says "unknown", she rolled her eyes, she's a bit tired with all the "unknown" crap she's had recently. But she picks it up anyway, already mostly knowing who it was.

Ava: This is Commander Crescentia of the FSS Legion, ADF aligned. State your identity & business.
? ? ? ? ?: (no face appeared, only a female voice) Nyx, TYPE-RN8-A Retribution Pattern Eliminator, current affiliation: Traveler, requesting permission to board, over.
Ava: (looks towards Nemesis with a slightly raised eyebrow) I'm guessing that's her?
Nemesis: (nods) Do we need the Captain's permission?
Velora: He already gave the okay, so...
Ava: (goes back to the holo) Permission granted. Please dock in hangar bay 2, it appears someone here is already waiting for you. Over.
Nyx: Affirmative. Proceeding to board. Over & out. (cuts the communication)
Ava: *sigh*... First we're dealing with impossible tasks... now this...
Velora: (shrugs) Just another normal day in the ADF I suppose...
Cosette: (close the hatch & seals the thick armor on Havoc's shoulder after finishing) Looks like she's here. (swiftly makes her way down with deft & fluid movements, then lands neatly on the ground close to Nemesis after a final somersault)
Ava & Velora (looks at her surprised)
Cosette: (toss the tool back in the multitude toolbox, then looks at them with a raised eyebrow) What?
Velora: ...Where'd you learned to move like that?
Cosette: (recalls the training, her expression flinches very slightly for a split second) Just learned along the way. Long story, don't wanna talk about it. (waves it off)
Ava: (was about to say something, but dismissed it, merely giving a sigh)
Velora: (raises an eyebrow at that)

Their attention was drawn as a black war mech entered the hangars, similar to Nemesis' war mech battleframe but with rather different armaments. For one, this one had 10 arachnid-like cleavers on her back, with a hidden boosters on her back & legs, while her hands are like rending claws that can shred armor like paper. The war mech walks & docks herself in an empty ryder dock next to where Nemesis' own war mech battleframe is docked. A few seconds afterwards a young woman appeared, who jumped off from where she came out from the back of the war mech's torso, on to the ground nonchalantly. She had cybernetic cleavers attached to her back, & was wearing the same black military combat uniform as Nemesis when she first arrived, only with bluish circuit linings instead of violet. She made her way to where Nemesis & the others are, where Nemesis greeted her.

Nemesis: (greets her) Nee-san, it's good to see you.
Nyx: (slightly annoyed) [deadpan] You left without telling me. All I got was a message on my table.
Nemesis: (looks down slightly)
Nyx: *sigh*... It doesn't matter. The Lead Admiral already granted me leave as soon as I walked into her office. It seems she already knows I was going to follow suit. Her last message was to take care of you, which is what I'm intending to do. Nemesis, leaving alone, what were you thinking? (taps Nemesis' forehead with a finger)
Nemesis: I felt like I might miss the chance, so I took it.
Nyx: Well, I'll tag along from here on out.
Nemesis: (nods) It's good to have you on board.
Nyx: (focus her attention to the other 3 present) Cosette. (nods at her, then approached the 2 women wearing officer uniforms)
Ava: So you're the "older sister" Nemesis meant.
Nyx: (bows a bit, then straightens) That would be me.
Velora: (looks at her) Huh... I thought you'd be taller.
Nyx: (raises an eyebrow slightly at her, but just dismiss it)
Ava: Anyways... The Captain would like to have a private talk with you & your sister later this night. (looks at Nemesis) He'll be calling you to his office when he finishes with the rest of his paperwork. (looks back at Nyx) In the meantime you're free to wait here or the lounge.
Velora: (remembers something) Ah right, the library's also open, not many visitors so it's a good place if you prefer some peace & quiet.
Nyx: (her interest piques slightly at the word "library") I appreciate it. I'll do just that then to avoid bothering the working crew. Thank you.
Ava: (nods) Now that that's out of the way, I'll take my leave if you don't mind. Still have work to do & to sort out schedules & duties that needs to be done for tomorrow night's assembly. (walks out of the hangars to head back to her room)
Velora: Well, I'll leave you with your sister & Cosette then, have something to do.
Cosette: What am I, a babysitter?
Velora: Well, you know them better so... anyways, bye. Oh! (looks at Nyx) If you're looking for the library, it's down the hallway, just follow the marker to the lounge, & keep going straight, it's a big place so you can't miss it. (walks off)
Nyx: I'll take note of that. Thank you.
Cosette: (shouts to Velora) You better not be leaving just so you can play warhammer 40k!
Velora: (flinched, shouts back) For the record I already finished my paper work! (quickly flees)
Cosette: (rolls her eyes) Game junkie... anyways, I'm done here, so I'll be at the bar if ya'll need anything. (looks at Nyx) You can ask Nemesis where the library is. See ya, I gots a date with Legion's booze supply! (gives a 2 finger salute, then went on her way)
Nyx: (looks around the area) The group of people here are quite... lively. And also with their own quirks.
Nemesis: I have been meaning to ask, how goes your last mission?
Nyx: (glanced at her, then towards the exit of the hangars) I'll tell you in a more comfortable place. Can you guide me to the library?
Nemesis: (nods) Let's head there then.

With that, they proceed to move to the library to wait for whatever the Captain needs to discuss them with later. In the meantime, the 2 sisters would catch up during the many weeks they haven't seen each other.
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Location: FSS Legion, Captain's Office
Time: 4 hours later

Play this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miyQZ7KkcgE

The captain was relaxing with a cup of his usual tea, having just finished sorting out everything for the day not long ago. He called Nemesis for a private talk just a few minutes prior. At that, thoughts drift back to the recent events that has transpired, among stopping massive conflicts & relieving a planet from its recent anarchic state, the ADF has been getting busier lately. As he was looking into the distance outside his window, the bell rang indicating that he has a visitor.

Whalecow: Come in.
Nemesis: (walks inside as the door opens, then closes behind her, she was still wearing her casual wear) You called for me, Captain?
Whalecow: (nods) Ah, yes. Have a seat.
Nemesis: (takes a seat on one of the armchairs in front of his desk) Was there something you wanted to discuss captain?
Whalecow: Yes. (folds his arms on the table) First of all... (looks straight at her) Do you have any hobbies?
Nemesis: (stares blankly) Pardon?
Whalecow: Hobbies. Things that you like to do in your spare time.
Nemesis: (keeps staring at him, taking a while before she answers) ...I suppose I do enjoy gardening.
Whalecow: Heh, then you'll do well to join our planting & bio-engineering team.
Nemesis: What do they wish to accomplish?
Whalecow: Modifying plants so they can survive in harsh environments, to make a place more habitable.
Nemesis: I see. However, that would require extensive modifications, which is not my area of specialty. However, there is a breed of plants on a nearby location that would meet those requirements. (starts to explain in detail)
Whalecow: (looks at her with slightly raised eyebrows) You have a lot of knowledge about these things...
Nemesis: (cuts herself short) Ah... Yes, I suppose I have accumulated quite the database regarding this matter...
Whalecow: (smiles a bit) Heh, welcome to Legion.
Nemesis: (blinks) I don't understand. Didn't you call me here because you wish to know something?
Whalecow: Indeed. I do wonder why someone formerly affiliated with the Void would want to travel & bother meeting new people. Your kind doesn't seem very keen on making new friends.
Nemesis: I have my reasons. Also... you will have to excuse our kind. There are circumstances & reasons. Most of the military are veterans of countless war, so the military is indeed cold. Though, our kind isn't the sociable type to begin with. Our nation & its people are isolationists since long ago. But just like there are many varieties of groups of people within a single race when it comes to relations, so does it apply to multiple race in regards to their relations with other races.
Whalecow: (nods) Understandable. I suppose different races would behave differently.
Nemesis: But that's not what I'm called here for correct? Are there any particular questions that you have? I would answer within the best of my capabilities.
Whalecow: Here in Legion we believe in the truth of individuals. What do you wish for me to know? Is there anything of importance that should be kept noted?
Nemesis: (takes a short moment to let it sink in) I see. (looks at him) I suppose there is not much to tell you about myself, but a few things to keep in mind, about me & my sister.
Whalecow: Is she the one I heard from one that's been spending the last few hours in the library? One of the crews told me.
Nemesis: (nods) For one, so long as no harm or attempt of harm is done to us out of malice or purpose, we will also remain passive. We don't engage in needless violence. Another note is that we will pull our own weight, & we would be willing to take missions, so long as it is withing the boundaries of our capabilities.
Whalecow: I suppose I can understand that. Anything else I should keep in mind?
Nemesis: We still retain our citizenship, so even though we are not aligned with any forces, we still need to abide by our place of origins. Other than that, we are able to take care of ourselves, that includes our war mech battleframes, so it would be much appreciated if they are not tampered with. Also because of personal reasons.
Whalecow: Reasons?
Nemesis: (stares at him) They may be 2nd platforms, but they are still a part of us.
Whalecow: Ah, I see. Very well then. Anything else?
Nemesis: Not really, there's nothing much else of great importance. Is there anything you would like to know in more detail?
Whalecow: Not really. Thank you for your time then. About your sister...
Nemesis: She's waiting to be called in. Shall I call her?
Whalecow: That would be much appreciated.

Nemesis called for Nyx via her comms, & it wasn't long before the bell resounds, indicating that she has arrived. The Captain beckoned her in, & bid farewell to Nemesis.

Whalecow: (gives a firm forearm handshake to Nemesis, while putting his other hand on her shoulder) It was a pleasure, Nemesis.
Nemesis: (nods at him, then proceeds to walk out the door, giving a nod at Nyx as she passed by)

Nyx faced the Captain afterwards, she was wearing casual wear as opposed to her earlier military attire, while her cybernetic cleavers were nowhere to be seen, just like Nemesis. She was wearing a casual white shirt with black striplings & design, while wearing a black jacket over it & a black pleated skirt that reached her knees, along with casual shoes. The Captain gestured her to take a seat, which she complies with a simple nod, then sits down & crosses her legs.

Whalecow: (stares at Nyx) ..........
Nyx: ..... (just looks with a neutral face, but after a while it turns into slight annoyance) ...Did you actually call me for something important or are you just going to keep staring at my face?
Whalecow: (grins a bit) Sorry, you kind of reminded me of an old friend.
Nyx: (merely raises an eyebrow with a deadpan face)
Whalecow: Okay... that sounds a bit awkward doesn't it? *ahem* I hope you didn't wait too long.
Nyx: It's fine.
Whalecow: I heard you waited in the library until you were called. Do you like books?
Nyx: Reading is one of my favorite pass times. I often spend my free time reading. Other times doing other things, sometimes spending it in the bar.
Whalecow: How did you find our library?
Nyx: It has many vast collections.
Whalecow: (smiles a bit) That library belonged to Solomon Arcadius. Though he himself doesn't read as much.
Nyx: But he has such a vast collection in that library.
Whalecow: Yes, & he spent years collecting that many. The purpose was more for others than himself. Though he is a collector, his students were the ones who read more than he does. Fontana was among the few, he used to spend hours there to increase his wealth of knowledge.
Nyx: He's an impressive man, passing down vast wealth of knowledge to the younger generation.
Whalecow: Indeed he is, in more ways than one. Also, you said you spend some of your free time in the bar. You like to drink?
Nyx: On occasions, as well as making new mixes of cocktails. It's just a side-hobby.
Whalecow: Heh, you'll get along with some of the people here quite well then.
Nyx: I'm not sure about that... But this isn't exactly the thing you wish to talk about, is it?
Whalecow: (takes on a more serious face) Yes, as to your earlier question, I did call you here to have a talk with you in person.
Nyx: (looks back at him seriously) Like with my sister just now? All right. Do you have any questions that wished to be answered?
Whalecow: Is there anything important I need to know?
Nyx: (crossing her arms, while putting her chin on her right fist that's raised, pondering a bit) Hmm... I suppose Nemesis already filled you in with most of it, so there isn't much else. But there are a few things.
Whalecow: Such as?
Nyx: (looks at him with a serious face, showing 1 finger with her right hand to make a point) Firstly, I'll be joining like Nemesis if you agree, but I'll be keeping an eye on her more, along with that reckless friend of hers.
Whalecow: Noted. I guess I can understand that.
Nyx: (raise the 2nd finger) Secondly, she probably already told you this, we'll be pulling our own weight, & we will take missions as needed if you requested it. However, please refrain from requesting anything outrageous, you'll have to excuse us if we refuse any outrageous requests or orders.
Whalecow: Define "outrageous".
Nyx: Things such as missions that are clearly suicide, or actions that can be considered pointlessly stupid which results in endangering us severely.
Whalecow: We don't do those kinds of things here on Legion.
Nyx: (lowers her hand & crosses her arms back in a relaxed position) The last thing would be that we still retain our citizenship, & we don't plan on changing. Nemesis probably already told you that, but just to make a point. Also, we won't be staying on board forever as we also have things we need to do ourselves.
Whalecow: I understand. (smiles) We have people from many nationalities here in the ADF, so it's not uncommon for someone to have foreign citizenship. Then again, we're not tied to any nation, so that's not really a problem.
Nyx: Glad to know. Anything else you wish to know?
Whalecow: Hmm... not really I suppose.
Nyx: Well, if there's nothing else, I wish to ask a question.
Whalecow: Shoot.
Nyx: Are there any specific regulations that we have to follow? A specific rule or SOP?
Whalecow: (leans back on his chair a bit, arms crossed) Hmm... SOP huh? Well, the most important thing in our standard operating procedures during missions is discretion.
Nyx: What kind? Stealth? If it's that we'll both be fine.
Whalecow: (looks at her) Not exactly. Stealth is a given, but that wasn't exactly what I wanted to point out.
Nyx: Then what?
Whalecow: For example, refrain from killing non-target hostiles.
Nyx: (stares at him, then blinks, then shakes her head a bit, then looks back at him) Pardon?
Whalecow: Non-target hostiles.
Nyx: ..........
Whalecow: Did I say something wrong?
Nyx: There are multiple things wrong with that single statement. Not to mention it makes no sense. Hostiles are to be eliminated, thus hostiles are marked as targets.
Whalecow: We do things differently here. Not all hostiles are to be eliminated.
Nyx: You mean a capture target? Ones that needs to be captured alive.
Whalecow: No, it just means that they're hostiles, but you shouldn't kill them.
Nyx: (stares at him blankly, trying to make sense of his bizarre logic that defies each one of her own) You're going to have to be more specific on that. We have plenty of sensors, one of them are IFF, anything marked as hostiles are that, hostiles. They are a danger, thus must either be avoided or eliminated, depending on the objective of the mission. We also have markers for allies, friendly units not of our faction, neutral units, potential dangers, capture & VIP targets, & so on.
Whalecow: Hmm... Those are not exactly what I explained though.
Nyx: (frowns a bit) Then what? Be more specific, your statement & logic makes no sense. I've never heard the term "non-target hostiles" because it defies the statement itself.
Whalecow: For example, you infiltrate a vault to retrieve something. You succeed, but the security caught you. Now, the guards shooting at you are hostile, that much is a given. But they're just doing what they were assigned to do, it's their job. Thus you refrain from eliminating them even though they're hostile.
Nyx: (frowns deeper) And if I have no way out? I would have to cut through them regardless.
Whalecow: If there's no other way... You resort to non-lethal stun weapons.
Nyx: (stares at him blankly) .......... (recalls all her arsenals, again reminded that all of them are very lethal, she looks at him with a deadpan face) Captain... have anyone ever told you that you're an idiot?
Whalecow: (chuckles) Oh, you have no idea...
Nyx: *sigh*... Listen, you...
Whalecow: (grins) Don't you get it, it'll be fine because you won't be alone.
Nyx: (looks at him with a raised eyebrow)
Whalecow: The point is... (folds his hands on the table) Discretion is very important. Try your best to exert it, even if it is difficult.
Nyx: (shakes her head slightly) All right... We'll try, but we can't guarantee anything. All of our armaments are lethal. The other alternative I see is for us to be assigned to military missions only, that's where we would excel best. Too many restrictions will only make operations more difficult.
Whalecow: (nods in understanding) Very well. But please think about what I just said.
Nyx: I will. Both Nemesis & I, we'll try our best. But as we said, we can't guarantee anything. If things get too out of hand, we will be forced to use lethal force when needed. Would that be all then, captain?
Whalecow: (nods) Thank you, & sorry for taking your time.
Nyx: It's fine, you are the captain of this ship. (stands from her seat) Good night then, Captain.
Whalecow: (stands up & gave her a firm forearm shake just like with Nemesis) It was a pleasure, Nyx. You should go meet Cosette after this, there might be a mission soon, she'll brief you.
Nyx: I recall she said she would be at the bar.
Whalecow: Want me to point out the direction for you?
Nyx: It's fine, I'll just follow Nemesis' marker & I'll reach there. She did say she'll go find Cosette after this.
Whalecow: All right then, have a good night, Nyx.

Nyx gave a nod, then disappeared through the door after a final farewell. The Captain just went back to leaning back on his seat to take the time to relax. His work was over for the night, & he gazed out the window outside after getting a new pot of tea to enjoy the rest of the night. Meanwhile, Cosette would be enjoying herself at the bar, especially after discovering Nyx's side hobby.

Note: Stop music here.

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Part 2: Making Decisions
Expand
Location: FSS Legion, Captain's Office
Time: 2 days after Nyx joined

Play this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6v_XRKXry4E

Whalecow & Ava are currently at his office, with Whalecow remaining calm & Ava having her usual frown. The reason was quite simple.

Ava: So let me get this straight... We discovered some ancient weaponry, the opposition doesn't know it so we're practically most likely home free, & you're just going to give it away?
Whalecow: I don't really see the point in keeping them Ava. Jakobs already took a further look into them as he's only had a short chance to do so before, but even with the help of the vast database we recovered, he didn't make it any further than what was already listed.
Ava: (frowns more) Are you sure he didn't miss anything?
Whalecow: You got the reports as well right? (takes a holo-pad) This was the last one just earlier today. (gives it to Ava) A day after the meeting he wanted to take another look, but it seems he's done & no longer continuing. He's not the type to bang his head on a wall.

The Captain was correct, Ava also read the progress & was following it closely, so it didn't take long for her to finish the last update, which wasn't much. She read through it, nothing much of note besides some speculations, even with the aid of the database, he has concluded that these things are simply beyond his comprehension. So he just did the logical thing, he stopped trying to bang his head on a wall & instead move on to study the other databases, there are vast amounts of data that needed to be researched & he was interested to learn of them. She did had a little bit of hope that there would be something new at least, but it seems not. So she merely sighs, she doesn't like not knowing things, but she of all people know when something is simply beyond reach. So she did the same as Jakobs & stop trying to bang her head on a wall. She also considered the Captain's words, & came to a similar conclusion. A single case of weapons isn't going to do much, & the only advantage she sees is that they have it & no one else does. Even if they figure out how to use them, it won't make much difference if they can't even imitate it, let alone repair it if something goes wrong.

Whalecow: Well, it seems you came to a conclusion.
Ava: *sighs*... It's just frustrating. I don't like not knowing things.
Whalecow: Well, I guess I can sort of understand. It is you after all.
Ava: And what's that supposed to mean?
Whalecow: (chuckles) Oh nothing, just me talking to myself. Anyways, we should call them in.
Ava: It seems you're certain about this.
Whalecow: It's the best course of action.
Ava: If you say so, Captain.
Whalecow: You seem to dislike the idea.
Ava: (frowns) I just don't trust them. They're a pretty shady bunch.
Whalecow: We have shady people in our ranks as well.
Ava: If you say so, Captain. I'm just trying to be cautious here. (stands up & walks through the door) I'll go fetch them then. If you'll excuse me, Captain.

Whalecow merely nods & Ava left. After the door closes he leans back on his seat & sighs. It took him a while to think of the right course of action, even when Jakobs was looking it over he was focused more on deciding a course of action. But he's already come up with a decision, he just needs to prepare himself mentally. It won't be long before those 2 arrived.

--10 minutes later--

The bell resounds & Whalecow beckons them in. Ava walks through the door followed by 2 of their guests who just follows quietly.

Whalecow: (looks at the 2 Reapers) Thank you for coming. (glanced at Ava) Thanks for bringing them.
Ava: I'll give you some privacy then. I'll be at the bridge if you need me. (leaves after giving him a salute)
Whalecow: (shows a wry smile, then turns to the 2 guests) Good evening.
Astral & Zephyr: Good evening.
Zephyr: Is there something we can help you with, captain?
Whalecow: How has your stay here been so far? Getting enough accommodations?
Astral: Yes, more than enough. We appreciate the hospitality. Though it wasn't truly necessary.
Whalecow: Well, can't really just leave you with a busted Gunship in the middle of nowhere. But it's good to know that our accommodations are enough.
Astral: Well... I guess you could say we've been in far worse situations before. But it's a great help that you're willing to let us use your hangars.
Zephyr: We'll be able to leave soon. The ship is already operational.
Whalecow: Hey, no rush. You're welcome to stay until you sort out everything.
Astral: Again, thank you. We won't take long.
Zephyr: (glances at the large picture hanging on the wall)
Whalecow: (gets up from his seat & looks towards the large painting of Arcadius) Say... what do you think of this picture?
Zephyr: It's large & detailed. Is that man the previous Captain of this vessel?
Whalecow: Veniczar Solomon Arcadius. The founder & leader of PACT. Though he himself doesn't normally have pictures of himself this big.
Astral: I see... It is a detailed painting of his portrait, & also large...
Zephyr: ...Large enough to hide something behind it.
Whalecow: (still looking at the large painting, expression unreadable) ...Indeed. I called you here today for something important. But it's best if I just show you.

The Captain approaches the large painting, & after fiddling with the side, the painting moves to the side, revealing a wall safe behind it with a high security lock. Astral & Zephyr took the time to glanced around the room a bit, & Whalecow sighs in relieve that he didn't need to tell them to look away for a bit, then begins to input the necessary combinations to open the lock. As the 2 looked around the room, it shows that the place is minimalistic, but also homey in a way. There's not much personal belongings in the office, it seems the Captain is the type that only carries what he deems necessary & important. Zephyr's eyes lands on the table, where there are several stands of pictures. She looks at it for a bit, but turns away as soon as she realized what it was.

Play this song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0M4EURCcul0

Meanwhile, the Captain have opened the safe, & he retrieved the briefcase that has been hiding inside ever since their last expedition. Just before the safe closes back & locks, there was a slight glimpse of a badge in the corner, in which Astral & Zephyr saw from the corner of their eyes. Whalecow walks back to the table & set the briefcase on it, the bio-metric lock already opened since over 2 days ago. Astral & Zephyr walks closer to take a look, both glancing at each other before focusing on the briefcase. From the looks of how he carried it just now, it looks heavy. They pondered what could be inside, but at the same time they have a slightly ominous feeling. Their feeling was proven right when Whalecow open the briefcase wide open for both of them to see. For the first time since Whalecow met them, they showed an expression he never saw before. Zephyr's eyes widen in obvious surprise while her mouth was slowly opened, staring blankly at the contents, while Astral showed a moment of shock on his face before it turns emotionless & grim, as if a dark cloud was hanging over him. All the while both of them stared at the contents of the briefcase, taking into detail of every piece that was inside it. They recognize it, there was no doubt about it. These are Void weaponry, ones that was in use over 2.5 millennia ago. Whalecow took in the sudden change in the air around them. Before, they held a very calm & also faint air about them, with a distant gaze that seems to look beyond the horizon, the kind you see in people whose presence is faded, just like elder veterans. Right now, none of that was present, only a heavy atmosphere that carries a lot of sheer weight, & the sharp gazes of the 2 Reapers, that made all of the faded presence seem like illusions. After what seems like an eternity, Whalecow broke the silence.

Whalecow: (solemn expression) This is what I called you for today.
Zephyr: ..........
Astral: .....I see...
Whalecow: Do you recognize them to be of your race's origin?
Zephyr: (eyes narrows slightly) ...There's no doubt about it. There's no way we can mistake it, this is original, it's not something you can just imitate either. Even if it was an imitation, people from our kind would recognize it immediately...
Astral: ...How did you acquire these...
Whalecow: One of our members found them during our last mission... before we found the chaos on the fringe I mean...
Astral: (not taking his eyes off of the briefcase) Where, exactly?
Whalecow: In an asteroid belt. But to be more precise, inside a convoy we intercepted. That convoy was sending supplies secretly to the prototypes.
Astral & Zephyr: Is that so... (looks at him for the first time after the briefcase was opened) What exactly do you plan to do with these?
Whalecow: (looks at them solemnly) I called you here... for the reason of returning this.
Astral & Zephyr: (surprised enough that it showed on their face) ..........
Whalecow: (stares back, waiting for a response, feels a bit tense due to the heavy atmosphere)
Astral: ...We're travelers that are unaffiliated.
Zephyr: ...So why did you?

Their gaze is locked directly at him. It held no malice nor threat. Their gaze however, seems to peek into his very soul. At least, that's what he felt, which was most likely the case. He's seen that kind of gaze before, the type that Arcadius would make, only this one seems more distant, perhaps the age difference played a role. This type of gaze could shake even the most expert of liars & dirty opportunists. However, Whalecow met the gazes head on, not shaken in the least, for he already knew the answer he was looking for, & thus he answers with a firm conviction.

Whalecow: I spent nights contemplating it, but in the end I did it simply because it's the right thing to do. Besides, keeping them would do far more harm than good. I would return it to the military but... We have no way of contacting them, & to be honest, I felt like it wouldn't go very well. So in the end I decided to hand them over to you two. This is quite the favor I'm asking, but would you be able to pass them on for me?
Zephyr: I see... We'll try to relay it to them if we ever get into contact with them.
Astral: I believe it would be fine. You can leave the rest to us from here on out.
Whalecow: (smiles) Thank you. Much appreciate it.
Zephyr: (shakes her head) No, you don't need to thank us.
Astral: On the contrary, we should be thanking you on behalf of the Void. We know it's not much but...
Astral & Zephyr: (bows in thanks) You have our gratitude.
Whalecow: You're very welcome.
Zephyr: You did a great favor this day.
Astral: We'll be sure to return it.
Whalecow: I appreciate the gesture, but you don't need to. I didn't do this to expect any favors.
Astral & Zephyr: Is there anything else you need, Captain?
Whalecow: Not really. I do have a question though.
Astral: What is it?
Whalecow: Will you be staying long here?
Zephyr: We can head out now if it's necessary. As we said, our vessel is operational.
Whalecow: (smiles) Like I said, there's no need to rush.
Zephyr: (looks a bit conflicted) I don't know if we should overstay our welcome.
Whalecow: Hahaha... It's fine, you can stay as long as you want. It's no trouble at all. (looks outside the window) We'll be traveling to New Eden soon for maintenance & supplies. I do hope you'll be joining us.
Astral: I don't think that would be wise, Captain.
Whalecow: You don't have to worry. Veniczar Fontana is a friend of mine, & he likes meeting new people & accepts visitors. New Eden is a wonderful place, you'll love it there.
Zephyr: ...I suppose we could stay for a bit longer...
Astral: ...We would have to continue our journeys afterwards though...
Whalecow: I see... We won't hold you then. I understand that you have other things to do.
Astral: Again, thank you. (closes the briefcase) If there's nothing else, we should take our leave, we don't want to disturb you too much.
Whalecow: (nods) Thank you for taking your time to come here.
Zephyr: (shakes her head) It's no trouble at all. We should be the one thanking you, we know you've had contemplations about this. All we can offer you for now is our gratitude.
Astral: But we'll be sure to return it in good faith, even if what we can do isn't much.
Whalecow: I appreciate it, but like I said, just the thought counts.
Astral & Zephyr: ...If there's nothing else, we'll take our leave then. Good night, Captain.
Whalecow: (nods, then turns towards the window)

They gave a bow towards him, then Astral took the briefcase & they move towards the door. But just before they open the door, the Captain's voice suddenly stopped them.

Whalecow: ...Actually, I did mean to ask one last thing... Did you saw something that slightly caught your attention? You seem to be a bit... off... after looking around the office, not that I mind... & I'm guessing it's not just about the briefcase I just gave you.
Astral & Zephyr: (stopped in their tracks, their backs facing his) ..........
Whalecow: (still looking out the window) I'll take that silence as a yes... Was it the pictures? Or... was it the badge?
Zephyr: ...We don't know anyone in the pictures.
Whalecow: I guess it was the old badge... I'm saying this now, but neither I nor Legion, or the ADF for that matter, have any allegiance with them.
Astral: ...I see...
Whalecow: (glanced over his shoulder) It was a job, I suppose, back in the old days. I guess in the end I decided to keep a skeleton in the closet for them. But that's long & over with now. (looks back outside) At this point, I find it very difficult to trust any of them.
Astral: (remains in his position, back facing the Captain) ...You should keep it that way...
Zephyr: (remains in the same position besides Astral) ...Those people can't be trusted...
Whalecow: (nods, back still facing them) I can understand that. The reason why I decided to help them back then was because their director is a... family... of mine, you could say. I owed her. I still have trust over her, but the rest of the organization, along with recent events, have made me more wary than ever. I don't like what they're becoming...
Zephyr: ... Is that so... We're sorry if we're rude, but you'll have to excuse us if we actively avoid any of their members when they decide to visit your vessel.
Astral: We'll also speak on behalf of the 2 young ones that recently joined your vessel.
Whalecow: ...I understand. Do you have any more questions before you leave for the night?
Zephyr: ...No.
Whalecow: (glanced over his shoulder) Good night then. And sorry if Ava doesn't seem friendly earlier. Though I guess it's a bit late to say that now. Heh. (shows a wry smile)
Zephyr: (glanced back at him) It's fine. We're sure she has her reasons.
Astral: (glanced back at him) She should smile a bit more. It's a shame ruining your youth by frowning like that.
Whalecow: (chuckles) I guess she's just stressed lately, but she's been better. She was a lot more stiff back in high-school.
Zephyr: (looks back forward) ...Must be quite bad back then... It's good to know she's better now at least...
Astral: (as he opens & walks out the door with Zephyr) ...Such is the part of being young...

The door closes behind them as he finished that sentence. Whalecow stares at the door for a moment, before looking out the window of his office again. What he was currently thinking about, only he himself currently knows.

Note: Stop music here.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And that's it for now.

I was planning to put the 3rd & 4th part in as well, but thought I'll put that later. So for now, it'll just be the recent events.

My next post will contain more events, maybe 3 parts, since it will show what's happening waay out there. That's all for now, hope you enjoy.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2017, 07:20:08 pm by Void »
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.

Offline Lightfollower

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #616 on: March 02, 2016, 04:09:53 am »
I can't say how long I have been away but it warms my heart to see this thread still around.
The fella who has been handling the characters on Sunrider's and the Sunrider Academy's VNDB page.

Sunrider's VNDB page: http://vndb.org/v14112/chars
Sunrider Academy's VNDB page: https://vndb.org/v16221/chars#chars
My profile: http://vndb.org/u70739

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #617 on: March 01, 2016, 10:44:25 pm »
I can't say how long I have been away but it warms my heart to see this thread still around.

You've been gone since... forever! Well more like since before chapter one but still.

You're still alive, we thought you disappeared for good. :P
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.

Offline Lightfollower

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #618 on: March 02, 2016, 07:12:39 am »
I can't say how long I have been away but it warms my heart to see this thread still around.

You've been gone since... forever! Well more like since before chapter one but still.

You're still alive, we thought you disappeared for good. :P
One word: College.
Four words: College is a nightmare. :P

I had pretty much dropped all my online obligations due to the sheer amount of stress going on in life and just got around to getting back on old forums I was on. Though I admit I always chuckled when I remembered this forum and some of the discussions. But it feels refreshing to be back.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2016, 07:15:19 am by Lightfollower »
The fella who has been handling the characters on Sunrider's and the Sunrider Academy's VNDB page.

Sunrider's VNDB page: http://vndb.org/v14112/chars
Sunrider Academy's VNDB page: https://vndb.org/v16221/chars#chars
My profile: http://vndb.org/u70739

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #619 on: March 01, 2016, 11:07:50 pm »
I can't say how long I have been away but it warms my heart to see this thread still around.

You've been gone since... forever! Well more like since before chapter one but still.

You're still alive, we thought you disappeared for good. :P
One word: College.
Four words: College is a nightmare. :P

I had pretty much dropped all my online obligations due to the sheer amount of stress going on in life and just got around to getting back on old forums I was on. Though I admit I always chuckled when I remembered this forum and some of the discussions. But it feels refreshing to be back.

You missed tons & tons of story content, might want to read from chapter one to know where we are right now.

We have reached episode 5. :P

Also, good to know you're still alive.
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.

Offline Lightfollower

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #620 on: March 02, 2016, 07:24:05 am »
I can't say how long I have been away but it warms my heart to see this thread still around.

You've been gone since... forever! Well more like since before chapter one but still.

You're still alive, we thought you disappeared for good. :P
One word: College.
Four words: College is a nightmare. :P

I had pretty much dropped all my online obligations due to the sheer amount of stress going on in life and just got around to getting back on old forums I was on. Though I admit I always chuckled when I remembered this forum and some of the discussions. But it feels refreshing to be back.

You missed tons & tons of story content, might want to read from chapter one to know where we are right now.

We have reached episode 5. :P

Also, good to know you're still alive.
Thanks for the welcome and good to be back. I will begin reading when I get the chance since I am curious about what has happened since I left.
The fella who has been handling the characters on Sunrider's and the Sunrider Academy's VNDB page.

Sunrider's VNDB page: http://vndb.org/v14112/chars
Sunrider Academy's VNDB page: https://vndb.org/v16221/chars#chars
My profile: http://vndb.org/u70739

Offline Whalecow

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #621 on: March 13, 2016, 06:33:21 am »
IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to get this long-delayed post out as soon as possible, I will not be going into any real detail about missions that no one on the thread selected. There will, however, be an extended debriefing on them when the time comes. The visit with the Phoenix Corps will take place during the mission phase. The adventures of Claude and Kryska, meanwhile, will take place in the middle of this post as previously planned. So the elements of this post will be opening negotiations with GammaTech on Weinan, what’s going on with the Serenity, and Chigara and Arcadius aboard the Sharr’Lac. Those last two could be fairly… heavy, if you know what I mean.

----------
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, Western AEGIS.
GammaTech Landing platform. 1100 hours.

The shuttle ride had been fairly quiet. Ava had stayed up in the cockpit next to the pilot, while Veronika had stayed as far from her as possible, though this got little more than an eye-roll from Ava. She had gotten used to it over the years, though her recent experiences with the ADF had been a refreshing change. The first time when she actually has to do anything comes when the shuttle descends into Weinan airspace. The pilot double-takes at the incoming transmission, and confusedly tells Ava that the governor himself wants to speak to them. She tells him to put the communication through, and finds herself face-to-face with a middle-aged man of moderate build. He bears a certain air of authority, though the commander bears in mind that this often means nothing.

Governor: Hello, there. My name is Governor Tarrus, and I am the administrator for this lovely little planet. You are with the ADF, correct?
Ava: That’s right, sir. First Officer Crescentia. F.S.S. Legion.
Tarrus: Ah! I thought I recognized you from somewhere. It’s a real pleasure… though I admit I expected more of you to come, and much quicker.
Ava: We have things to take care of. No time for shore leave right now, and the accommodations on our vessels are enough to last us as long as necessary. Maybe some other time.
Tarrus: (nods) I understand, Ms. Crescentia. You’ve already been cleared to enter our space, of course. May I ask where you’re setting down?
Ava: We’re headed for GammaTech HQ. I have an appointment with the chairwoman.
Tarrus: (grimaces) What could you want with those xenophobes?
Ava: Xenophobes? The captain said he knew this “Yi” personally.
Tarrus: (rolls eyes) The only people he doesn’t know are the aliens from beyond the fringe.
Ava: (smiles ever so slightly) Perhaps. Rest assured, Mr. Tarrus, I can handle “xenophobes” well enough… whatever you mean by that.
Tarrus: I just mean that they’re the only major business on an AEGIS-aligned planet that has not signed on. That and a lot of them seem to think AEGIS is doing it wrong. Right now we have soldiers staring them down from just outside the gates of that huge compound they’ve got down here. And they are staring back.
Ava: (raises an eyebrow) That doesn’t seem like such a great idea…
Tarrus: It’s the only way we can respond quickly enough if they try something.
Pilot: We’ll be in GammaTech airspace in 30 seconds.
Ava: Why would they… (shakes head) If there’s nothing else, sir, we’re going to have to cut this conversation short.
Tarrus: Very well, Ms. Crescentia. I hope you have a pleasant stay on Weinan. Just… try to be careful with GammaTech.

The transmission cuts. Ava sighs and stares out the viewport, awaiting their destination. 30 seconds pass by, and then a minute, and still the shuttle continues to descend.

Ava: Ah, pilot?
Pilot: Yes, commander?
Ava: You said we would be there in 30 second about 90 seconds ago.
Pilot: (grins) That’s right.
Ava: Are we still on course?
Pilot: Yup.
Ava: Then why the time issue?
Pilot: Well… just seemed like you really wanted to get off the phone.
Ava: (thinks for a moment, and then nods) Thank you, Mr…
Pilot: Declan. Declan Mazik.
Ava: A pleasure, Mr. Mazik.
Declan: Yeah… not really. (laughs) I’m just a pilot.
Ava: We all have our place.
Declan: Won’t ever catch me complaining about mine.

All is silent for a moment.

Ava: So… what was your job in your… previous life?
Declan: (grins without taking his eyes off his instruments) I appreciate the interest, but we really are about to arrive now. (chuckles) I promise. Maybe on the way back. We’re getting a hail… (presses the accept hail button)

The screen comes alive with the image of a young woman. She does not hesitate before speaking in a subtle PACT accent.

Officer: You are now entering GammaTech airspace. Tours are not beginning for another 2.5 hours, so I will assume you have business.
Ava: That’s right. Commander Crescentia. F.S.S. Legion.
Officer: (face lights up) Ah, my apologies! I, um… only skimmed the arrival schedule for today. The chairwoman has been very eager to speak with whoever the ADF sent.
Ava: The captain is elsewhere. I will be handling the negotiations, along with a… colleague.
Officer: Okay, sounds good. I’ll inform the chairwoman. In any case, you’re clear for landing. Navigate to landing area 3-C and choose a free berth. Oh, and welcome to GammaTech.

The officer gives a salute and closes the channel. Momentarily, the landing area comes into view. It is one of 9 such landing zones, and they find their way to a clear space in area C, one of 9 as well. As soon as the shuttle touches down and powers off, Ava gets up and walks through the door to the passenger compartment, not even stopping as she waves to Veronika who gets up, mumbling in a foreign language what is most likely something unpleasant. The two exit the shuttle and find themselves confronted by another of GammaTech’s personnel… Or rather, the same one that spoken to them moments earlier, Ava notes.

Officer: (smiles) Hello again, Ms. Crescentia. My name is Katelyn. The chairwoman sent me to bring her to you myself.
Ava: (nods) Thank you. Let us begin, then, shall we?
Katelyn: Of course. Right this way, please~!

Katelyn leads the two, whistling a small tune all the way, out of the landing area and down an underground hallway to a lift. It takes them to the top of a large wall, from which an observer can see a large amount of manufacturing facility between them and the outer wall. On the inside of the wall is a rather well-appointed tram-system, which the trio step into and ride for a few short minutes.

Veronika: What you whistling, lady Katelyn?
Katelyn: (thrown off a bit by the accent) Just a tune my father taught me. “Never saw the sun… shining so bright. Never saw things… going so right. Noticing the days… all of them gone. Nothing but blue skies… from now on…”
Veronika: We have song like that in Far Away Space. But we sing deeper and to tune of bass guitar.
Ava: Well, you seem to enjoy your job at the very least. How long until we get there?
Katelyn: Shouldn’t be long now… Ah, here we are!

The tram stops near a large gate that leads into the manufacturing area. It would seem this place is built with manufacturing in the outer walled area and administration and utility functions in the inner area. An elevator takes them down to ground level, the windows on the side making the enormous central tower look even more impressive than it was. The gate, however, is open, and mere feet from several nervous guards are soldiers in government uniforms. Katelyn notices them looking.

Katelyn: The outer area is open to the public except in emergency, and that includes the military. The inner gate could technically be closed, but the chairwoman’s policy is to keep it open. Insurance, she says, in case the workers ever come running for protection at any point. We are not undefended either. There are vehicle bays and hangars under this place, and massive guns can deploy from several points along the walls.
Ava: An impressive system, but I always preferred the mobility of a good starship under my feet.
Veronika: That we agree on, at least.
Katelyn: Well, space isn’t for everyone… (steps through the enormous doors to the central tower) …We here on the ground make do.

All around them are well-tended gardens maintained by artificial sunlight. Scattered about the room are fountains and statues of past chair-people. Katelyn stops at a large statue of a man and a woman.

Katelyn: This is Yamota and Ifina Wang. They were the last chair-people before their daughter, Yi. A lot of us still mourn in our own ways… (sighs and looks at them) But you’re not here to mourn. We’re nearly there.

They cross the room and walk past a lobby area before boarding a final elevator. Inside is a soft piece by a classical composer, and all about are chairs and small couches. Katelyn sits down and takes a stretch, Veronika shortly following suit, Ava, however, unused to this odd luxury, stands there awkwardly until the doors open on the top floor. There is a small hallway with doors on either side that lead to a large door with black windows, probably one-way. A man in combat armor leans up against the wall next to a thumb-scanner, rifle held with both hands behind his head. He winks at Katelyn and opens the doors as they pass, Katelyn rolling her eyes and blushing a bit in response.

Veronika: (grins) Well, well. Comrade Katelyn have crush.
Katelyn: (laughs) We’re past that stage. That’s David. We’re dating.
Ava: (raises an eyebrow) Congratulations, I guess…
Katelyn: Thank you. (looks forward as they enter) Madame Yi, our guests have arrived!

This room is large, a giant window overlooking everything on the back wall. Dwarfed by its size sit’s a very young woman, no more than 20 or 21. Her hair is an odd combination of silver and a very light brown, and she has it cut fairly short. Her eyes are a chill blue and by most standards she would be fairly beautiful. Her outfit is modest, little more than a silver-gray jumpsuit with a vest overtop. On its right side on the upper chest-area is the symbol of GammaTech: An equilateral triangle with sides of bronze, silver, and gold. She drops her data pad on the conference table and gets up, smiling softly at her guests.

Yi: Thank you for volunteering, Katelyn. A small bonus has been placed in your account. (laughs) Treat David this time.
Katelyn: (smiles back) Thank you very much, Madame.

Yi nods at Katelyn and she turns and makes her exit, Ava swearing she could hear her say “Nailed it!” under her breath. Rather than make a big deal out of Katelyn saying she’d been assigned the job, she focuses all her attention on Yi, who smiles at her and uses both hands to motion to the whole room, the couches and chairs on the sidelines included.
Yi: Have a seat anywhere you like, ladies. I don’t deny people courtesy, least of all to the friends of one of our many heroes. (grins) And then let us begin. Business awaits.

----------
SAHC Serenity, in orbit above Xeneva II, Western Neutral Rim.
Main Hangar. 1450 hours.

Claude arrives in the hangar just as the sound of locking handcuffs fills the air. She searches for the source to find the guilty pair on Kryska, wrists bound behind her. Several seasoned Alliance soldiers stand around her, a mix of annoyance and aloofness on their features. A second shuttle lands next to the one that had brought them, and two more soldiers exit, followed shortly by Admiral Grey himself. So surprised by the display is Claude that she stops short, half the hangar away from them. The captain was mad at Kryska, of course, from the fight they’d had just a half hour earlier, but curiosity had gotten the better of her, as was her custom. When Gerard had informed her that the admiral was here to see Kryska with a prison barge in tow, she’d been in her quarters, sobbing; the weight of what she’d been doing and all her responsibilities had finally come crashing down, it would seem. But all the same, she had to investigate.

Grey: (walks up to Kryska before speaking, looking down from his superior height) I am disappointed, Ms. Stares.
Kryska: (looks down at her feet) …
Grey: Do you know why I am disappointed?
Kryska: Treason, sedition, conspiracy…
Grey: (cuts her off) To name a few, yes. Do you know how serious these charges are? These charges which can all be proven swiftly and summarily?
Kryska: (looks up at his chest, not daring to make eye-contact) Well, sir. Penalty of death would be a moderate sentence, I suppose.
Grey: (sighs) Don’t call me “sir”. I am ashamed of you, girl… but your appraisal of the law is sound. At best, you will be in a prison or work camp for… at least until I’m dead. That way I won’t have to see hide or hair of you, traitor. And we Greys tend to live a long time.
Kryska: (thinks for a moment before looking Grey in the face) What are my exact charges?
Grey: Bah. Just a few include espionage in league with that socialist fool, Harrison.
Kryska: (grins slightly) I suppose he’s not such a lame duck now.
Grey: I’ll deal with him in the same manner I’m dealing with you now… and soon, you can rest assured.
Kryska: I see… espionage, huh?
Grey: (sighs) Yes, yes, what about it? Are you going to insist you’re innocent or some such foolishness?
Kryska: (looks him in the eye, at last, an unreadable expression on her face.) If the penalty for espionage in a war zone is death, what would betraying my people to the Prototypes get me?

Grey is silent for a moment, his glare getting steadily more intense as he keeps it steadily on Kryska. When he finally speaks, it is in such a voice that it may have caused ringing in Kryska’s ears.

Grey: HOW DARE YOU IMPLY THAT I HAVE SOLD OUT THE ALLIANCE! (recovers after a moment, his voice getting very quiet and adopting a low growl) You will be placed on that prison barge prior to our departure. You will be fully interrogated. When they reach the penal colony at Serpente I, you will be charged and sentenced… perhaps I will add false-witnessing to it as well. (stops for a moment and sighs) …But maybe not. Your service to us was good… while it lasted.
Kryska: I betrayed a lot of good people for you, Grey. Friends. I’m just lucky it didn’t catch up to me until now. (shakes her head) I’m just getting what I deserve, and it was a long time in coming.
Grey: (turns away) Good. I expect a quick passage through the prosecution system then. (to the soldiers) Take her back to the Safeguard and then get underway. Captain Chapman has his orders regarding this new prisoner already.

The soldiers salute, and Grey just stands there looking away from them.
Grey: (turns) What’s the holdup?
Soldier: (still saluting) Uh, sir…
Grey: (hurriedly salutes back, annoyed) Well, get on with it!
Soldier: Yes sir!

The soldiers, many of them slightly scared now, rush to get Kryska on the shuttle they’d came in, Grey’s personal guard getting on his own shuttle. Grey, finally aware that Claude is watching, turns to her.

Grey: Girl! What are you doing just standing around!? You’re the captain. Get to work!
Claude: (rapidly turns to leave) Uh, yes sir!
Grey: Oh, one more thing.
Claude: Wh-what is it?
Grey: In the absence of Rear Admiral Stares, you are being field-promoted to rear admiral position in her place. Be down on Xeneva II within the next half hour to finalize things. That’s an order, REAR ADMIRAL Trilleo.
Claude: Y-yes sir, o-of course sir!

Claude keeps walking, distantly aware that Grey has boarded his shuttle which is rapidly departing. Her focus is no longer on him, however.

Claude: Jeez. Rear Admiral… just like that. Rear Admiral Claude Trilleo. Rolls off the tongue. If only mom could see me now. She’d take back everything she’s ever said about me never amounting to anything. Ah, but… why’s Kryska under arrest? Eh, doesn’t matter. It’ll sort itself out. Wonder how many men find rear admirals sexy? Probably a lot. Forbidden fruit. Heeheehee. Although… what was Kryska saying about the prototypes? Should I believe what she says? Should… should I care?


For the first time in recent memory, she puts a hand to her forehead, thinking hard. Her thoughts are interrupted by Marissa Peters from the third watch, who seems to have been listening from behind the hangar door’s threshold. Claude had never paid her too much attention. A nondescript face and a near-flawless track-record, though Claude had rarely ever paid much attention to the latter.

Marissa: Congratulations, Rear Admiral Trilleo. Heh. Name rolls off the tongue.
Claude: (giggles) That’s what I said.
Marissa: So… how’s it feel?
Claude: I guess it feels… fine? I’m still a bit dazed, but that’s nothing new! Heeheehee.
Marissa: (grins) Want to play a game with me?
Claude: Um… okay. I’m always up for a little fun.
Marissa: I will say a word or phrase, and you will give me the first pronoun that pops into your head.
Claude: (furrows her brow) What’s a pronoun?
Marissa: Well… (thinks) It’s a word that adds quality to a different word, such as “calm”, “clean”, or something like that.
Claude: (uncertain) Well… okay. As rear admiral I guess I need to “broaden my horizons” as Kayto was always saying.
Marissa: Okay. Let’s get started. First word: Solar Alliance.
Claude: Hunky!
Marissa: (raises an eyebrow) Second word. Serenity.
Claude: Um…Giant?
Marissa: (sighs) One more. Rear Admiral.

Claude is about to say something akin to “sexy”, but something makes her stop with her mouth open. She closes it for a moment, and then opens it and speaks a word that may even surprise her.

Claude: …Dirty.
Marissa: (smiles sadly) That’s a good answer, Ms. Trilleo. (stops leaning on the wall and starts walking) Walk with me, Admiral Trilleo.
Claude: (starts to follow her) Where are we going?
Marissa: To take care of some unfinished business.
Claude: (laughs nervously) That’s not ominous at all.

----------
SAHC Serenity, in orbit above Xeneva II, Western Neutral Rim.
Admiral‘s Quarters. 1460 hours.

The two enter Kryska’s quarters. It occurs distantly to Claude that they are her quarters now, and she should technically be moving in soon and promoting Commander Furamora to captain in her place. Marissa goes to the drawers in the nearby desk beneath the computer monitor.

Marissa: (looks at her for a moment) Don’t just stand there. Help me search the room.
Claude: (surprised) Oh! Uh, okay.

Claude looks around the room. The two things that stand out most are the firearm and holster sitting on the bed and a perfume bottle on the nightstand.

Claude: Heh. She kept the perfume I bought her. Doesn’t look like it’s been used… still, surprised it wasn’t promptly thrown in the garbage. I really was reaching with that one, wasn’t I?

She opens the drawer on the nightstand to find nothing but medications to aid in sleep.

Marissa: Anything yet?
Claude: No. Would help to know what I was looking for though. Did she have a porn collection you wanted to loot or something?
Marissa: (looks at Claude) Are you sure you saved the galaxy?
Claude: Um… Well I think I got a medal for that at some point that men find attractive.
Marissa: (sighs) Just keep looking.

Claude shrugs, the usual goofy smile on her face as she crosses to the dresser and starts opening the drawers, only to find two data cards in the uppermost one.

Claude: I found something. Do you think it’s-
Marissa: Don’t say “porn”.
Claude: But I wasn’t!
Marissa: Yes you were.
Claude: …Maybe…
Marissa: (sighs again) Just plug one of them into the computer.

The computer is simple enough to operate. Claude puts the first card into the slot and the computer powers on, asking whether to play it or not. Without hesitation, she presses the enter key. The screen turns to a feed from a science drone. Claude recognizes the Quadrivium colony almost right away. All is silent for a few moments, save for the ADF and PACT forces completing a freighter escort, and Claude yawns a bit… and then is snapped back to attention as the space around the probe begins to swarm with ryders and pilots she remembers all too well. Prototypes. She watches it up until one of them notices the probe and promptly sticks a blade through it. It takes a while to click, but eventually Claude understands and her look of shocked confusion is replaced with a look of shocked contemplation.

Marissa: Kryska was telling the truth about the prototypes, Claude.

Claude doesn’t register Marissa throwing out the system of rank altogether, but instead quietly replaces the first data card with the second in the slot. Waste not, want not. The black screen is replaced with an image of Kryska, her eyes revealing the same level of sleep deprivation they’d had for the past week. The recording begins to speak almost immediately.

Kryska: Hello. This message is for Claude Trilleo. If you are not her, please do not listen further. (waits for a few seconds) If you are her… I don’t know whether you’ll get this message or not, Claude, or if I will have the courage to give it to you given how I’ve been treating you lately. And I am sorry for that. I also don’t know… if you’ll even care. Maybe you shouldn’t. I’ve done a lot of things in the past for “democracy” that most would find repugnant, to say the least. But I am recording this knowing that if you are seeing this, I have most likely been discovered and arrested for treason against the Solar Alliance. Don’t come after me. Not only do I not deserve it, but I don’t want you to get in trouble. I know you’ll be able to manage the office of rear admiral in my place. (smiles) And I know what you’re thinking. “Didn’t Asaga pull this sh-t once?” I don’t want you coming for me. I don’t want you defying Grey solely for my sake… (chuckles sadly) And I don’t want to be wedding-carried out of there. It may not mean much, coming from me… but Claude, I have come to know you in ways I never would have expected. Most people see you as I once did. Loud, rash… awkward. But Claude… I have seen what most of them didn’t. Courage. Loyalty. And everything else that lies below the surface. I’ve made this recording so you would know: Admiral Grey has recreated the Prototype project, and it is slowly and quietly tearing this galaxy apart. I know not what you will do with this information, but know this: The Alliance I once served is gone. The greatest hope for democracy now lies in the hands of the Republic of New Solaris. Do what you will, but do not endanger yourself by coming after me. And rest assured, no matter what you do, I will always be proud of you… whether we’re friends or not. Goodbye.

The screen goes dark, and Claude keeps staring at it anyway. A tear drops from her eye and lands on the desk. Marissa puts a hand on her shoulder.

Marissa: I am with the Solar Republic. We’ll try to get her out when the time is right. Only… I don’t know when that’ll be.
Claude: (stays silent for a long time before speaking) What’s the escort on barges like?
Marissa: (confused) Um… In a war zone like this, it’ll be maybe a command cruiser, a carrier if they have the resources, and a couple destroyers.
Claude: And what do we have? We have Serenity… some of those little ships that like to make ryders into confetti…
Marissa: Right, and the light cruiser Strider… you’re not planning on intercepting the prison barge, are you?
Claude: How long until we would catch up with them?
Marissa: Even our slowest ship is much faster than a prison barge. If we’re lucky, maybe an hour.
Claude: (grins) Then that’s when your “time is right”, Marissa.
Marissa: But the people in Serenity’s fleet are Alliance officers. They won’t just attack their brothers in arms because you say so. No offense, but I’m not sure your words carry even a fraction of the necessary weight.
Claude: (goofy smile) We’ll just go with the Claude specialty then!
Marissa: (sighs yet again) And what would that be?
Claude: (grabs the first data card and heads for the door) We improvise!

----------
Sharr‘Lac, Mnemosyne Abyss.
Command level. 1475 hours.

45 minutes. Arcadius had been sitting here, replacing wiring in an access hatch in the corner of a command trench, with his daughter on the other side of the room. He hadn’t uttered a word since he’d taken the wrench with a thank-you and set to work. 45 minutes of silence. Arcadius holds back bitter laughter. He could open his mouth and inspire millions upon millions to rise up in armed rebellion… but he couldn’t bridge the gap with his own daughter. At times, he was privately jealous of Whalecow and his daughter. But then he always remembered: Nozomi’s trust had never been broken like Chigara’s. And unlike Chigara, Nozomi had known that someone out there cared for her. In the end, Whalecow had come back for her… something Arcadius had failed to do for Chigara time and time again. In the end, however, he and Whalecow shared something in regards to their children. He’d be there for her now, no matter what. 45 minutes… 45... minutes. As he continues to work on the wiring, memories come, rushing unbidden, back to him.

Solomon looks at his watch again. 45 minutes spent waiting here for her. He knew she’d come though. She always did. Thunder rolls overhead, as he sits on the hilltop overlooking the slave complex. He belonged here… but it didn’t. New Eden was better without it, he imagined… and it would be again. Ah, there she is. A young woman with short brown hair and the beautiful face he always remembers walks up the path towards him. What he always remembers in his dreams though is the smile… the very same one that she, having just noticed him sitting there, radiates now. He doesn’t stop smiling back until she is on the hill, safely in his arms.

Solomon: L-lynn…
Lynn: Solomon. I was afraid you would have left by now. I had trouble getting away from the guards this time. One of them wanted me to fix their antique watch… (sighs) Why couldn’t we have been enslaved by smarter people?
Solomon: C-careful… y-you’ll jinx it… (laughs)
Lynn: (smiles wearily) Solomon, you really should get rid of that nervous stuttering. Not only do people not listen when told by a stuttering person to revolt, but our kids will end up with it too.
Solomon: Y-yeah… o-our kids. I-I need to t-talk to you about that…
Lynn: Oh. Not this again.
Solomon: Lynn… I-I’m an old man… you’ve got your whole life ahead of you. Y-you shouldn’t waste it on m-me.
Lynn: (rolls her eyes) You’re only 53, and I’m already 29... If you take into account how we live twice as long now when compared to millennia ago, it’s like you’re only 26 and a half.
Solomon: B-but that makes you 14 and a half…
Lynn: (sighs) I was hoping you’d miss that… but no. I fell in love with a smart man.
Solomon: (smiles nervously) Y-you keep saying that, b-but I have yet to meet him…
Lynn: (chuckles) Look in a mirror. Seriously though, it won’t matter much longer how old we are.
Solomon: Wh-what do you mean, Lynn?
Lynn: (closes her eyes for a moment, then opens them) Solomon… I’m pregnant with your first.
Solomon: (raises an eyebrow) M-my first… what?
Lynn: (rolls her eyes again) Your daughter, genius.
Solomon: Oh. Oh… O-oh sh-sh-t.


Solomon stares straight ahead for a long while, digesting the news. The gears in his head are spinning. Not only for what this means for him… but what it means for what must be done.

Solomon: H-how could this have h-happened!?
Lynn: Two words. Vod. Ka.
Solomon: O-oh my g-god…
Lynn: Nope. Was all you. (punches him in the arm) Looks like you’re a bigger man than they take you for.
Solomon: …
Lynn: But… you know what has to happen now…
Solomon: The timetable… w-will have to be moved up.
Lynn: Yeah. Fontana will be ready.
Solomon: Fontana’s always ready. H-how long until you s-start to show?
Lynn: Two months, if we’re lucky.
Solomon: Y-you see th-that compound? (points to the slave complex)
Lynn: What about it?
Solomon: J-just you wait… 45 days f-from now… (breathes in, breathes out) It’s going to be a b-big damn c-crater…


Despite himself, a smile forms on Arcadius’s face. The crater still existed to that day… and so did his daughter, despite all the odds. He’d been heartbroken when he’d heard Diode had been destroyed. No survivors, the reports had said. But he knew that Lynn would have wanted him to go on. He’d just known. Arcadius sighs and returns to work, his thoughts drifting to the young adult tinkering with an identical wiring system just on the other side of the raised command area.

----------
Sharr‘Lac, Mnemosyne Abyss.
Command level. 1480 hours.

Examine… Cut… Replace… Solder… Chigara’s hands work their magic at a near breakneck pace. She always felt better when she was fixing things. Machines were simple… and it kept her from focusing on her own messed up life, one that had gotten even more complicated since HE had come back into it. Examine. Cut. Replace. Solder. She didn’t know for sure why she was mad at him. Perhaps for abandoning her all those years. But then, she was sure he had a good reason. Her anger was more of the frustrated sort. You know it’s not entirely logical, but you’re angry anyway. And sometimes, for whatever reason, despite yourself, you do everything you can to stay that way. Examine Cut Replace Solder. She had come out here to continue her work… but also to get away from the people. Some people were fine… but others… others would hurt her… and it wouldn’t be on purpose and it might not even be their fault, but it would happen. Examinecutreplacesolder… Examinecutreplacesolder…

Examine… Cut… Replace… Solder… Chigara’s tiny hands work as best they can at as good a pace as she can manage. The defense cannon capacitor had been acting up for days now. And without it operating, Diode would fall that much more easily if this “New Empire” The grown-ups talked about ever turn their attention Diode’s way. Chigara had never felt worried, though. The masked man protected them, after all. He’d visited many times, he and his purple-haired attaché. Each time he’d promised that his people would defeat the New Empire, and each time news of even greater victories had followed. Occassionally another boy just a few years older than her would come with them. He would always speak in a strange accent, and always seemed a bit awkward around her. She’d asked the masked man why he was like that, and he had told her that the other boy was not bad, just dealing with his own problems. She shakes her head. Best keep at her work. She is midway through the next cycle when the red lights begin. Usually, that meant trouble in the labs, but it was always contained quickly. A few technicians and a soldier rush by.

Chigara: Wh-what’s wrong!?
Technician: Don’t worry. Just an energy imbalance with a black hole experiment. It’s happened before.
Soldier: Keep working on that gun. If Arcadius and his Compact ever fall, we’ll be next on their list, and I want to see the look on the Empire’s faces when a station this size opens fire with the force of  an exploding star. That’ll wipe the smiles off REEEEEAAAAAALLLL quick. Hahahahahahah.

Chigara just shrugs. She’d never known much about that kind of thing, and she’d never cared to. She is about to get back to work when an overcoming dread grips her. Suddenly extremely nervous, she looks around. Nothing but warning lights… warning lights that should have stopped by now. Almost reflexively, she looks toward the nearby escape pods… then shakes her head. Last time she’d freaked out and taken an escape pod, they had scolded her severely. But… mother always said to listen to her gut, no matter what, and her gut said to get into an escape pod and push the big red button. Chigara sighs, already anticipating the timeout that would surely follow, as she opens the door to the escape pod and dives in, pushing the button as soon as it’s enabled. If there really was a problem, the others aboard the station would soon follow her anyway. The pod flies free and breaks from the station, leaving a trail of blue engine glow in its wake. Behind her, Diode Starbase sits, completely fine.


Chigara: (shakes her head) I am in so much trouble…

Her wrist holocommunicator chimes. She presses the button, and, as expected, a miniature version of Lynn Ashada, her mother, appears before her, an annoyed expression on her face.

Lynn: Chigara… I figured that was you. What are you doing out there in that pod? The station commander says we’ll be fine.
Chigara: S-sorry, mother… b-but you said if I ever g-got a horrible feeling…
Lynn: (sighs) …You should listen to your gut. I remember. I’ll… talk to the station commander. Just sit tight. We’ll send one of the utility ryders out to get you.
Chigara: O-okay, mom. I-I love you.
Lynn: (smiles softly) I love you too, sweethea-


Suddenly, the transmission ceases… and in the distance, Diode Station… and the planet itself… ceases to exist. First the station explodes, and in its place grows a void of sheer blackness, which rapidly grows and swallows up the planet itself. In a shocked panic, Chigara feels the tugging at the pod… a moment before the pod manages to break free. It continues flying out into empty space, even as the girl stares for a long moment at what had once been all she’d known… and in the next moment she breaks down. The tears flow for what feels like hours, and out there nothing but the space dust and the solar winds bear witness to her agonized sobbing. If she notices anything change, she doesn’t care enough now to acknowledge it. All the same, the sound of a utility loader grabbing onto and moving the pod is difficult to miss. The pod had gone dark a while ago, so when the hatch is opened, Chigara is temporarily blinded. The greater shock comes when a pair of big, meaty hands grab her by the shoulders and heave her out of the pod, summarily dropping her onto the cold metal deck. She becomes distantly aware of her “rescuer”, a thin man of average height, and a young girl, all standing over her.

Girl: Dammit… is this what you stopped us for?
Thin man: I saw a signal for an escape pod. When you see those signals, you investigate! It’s what you’re supposed to do!
Girl: It could have been a trap, you idiot!
Bulky man: Can’t say it matters now, Miss. Here she is.
Thin man: Whoever she is.
Chigara: (finds her voice) H-help me…
Girl: The little b-tch knows how to speak. Excellent. Now who the hell are you?
Chigara: Ch-Chigara Lynn A-Ashada…
Girl: Goooooood. Now where are you from?
Chigara: D-Diode…
Girl: (stops for a moment) …F-ck.
Thin man: We saw Diode go on our long range sensors while we were out here doing… business-y things. And I directed the scanners this way and boosted power, only to find you, Ms. Ashada.
Bulky man: Well… at least she’s safe… and not New Imperial.
Thin Man: Why does it matter where the hell she’s from, Switchblade? The pod has 90% of her salt and water contents in it! We need to get her re-hydrated. NOW.
Girl: (sighs) Do what you have to if it’ll keep her out of my hair. Cutter. (points at the thin man) You found her, so she’s your responsibility.
Cutter: Right, boss.
Girl: And Switchblade. You too.
Switchblade: Aw… fine.
Girl: There! That wasn’t so hard, you lazy ass. (She leans down to within inches of Chigara’s face.) My name is Cosette, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll do what you’re told. Do that, and stay out of my way, and we’ll get along just fine. Get in my way or get sloppy, and…
Chigara: (sniffs) …
Cosette: (stares at Chigara) …Fine. You’re in enough pieces already. (walks away, gesturing at the surroundings with both hands) Welcome to the flying hellhole I like to call “Chateau De La Cosmos”. Enjoy your stay.
Switchblade: (as soon as Cosette is out of earshot) When did she start calling it that?
Cutter: Wanna call her a liar?
Switchblade: Hell no.
Cutter. That’s what I thought. (reaches a hand out to Chigara) Let’s go. We need to get some water in you before you become the most adorable prune the galaxy has ever seen.
Chigara: O-okay…


Their footsteps echo on the metal floor as Chigara is led away from everything she’d known into… whatever comes next.

The footsteps continue, and Chigara looks up startled to find Arcadius staring down at her.

Arcadius: Um… I said I’m done with my side.
Chigara: (belatedly looks at her work) Oh… m-me too.
Arcadius: Great. So what now, do we pull a lever or something to make this thing work?
Chigara: (sighs) A lever, really?
Arcadius: My chosen field was engineering, not computers.
Chigara: It’s a large red button.
Arcadius: …
Chigara: What?
Arcadius: Nothing. Shall we?

Arcadius holds out a hand and Chigara grabs it, quickly hauled afterwards up to the command area.

Chigara: (absentmindedly) Those two conduits needed repaired before the main power to the command deck could come online. All that’s left is a restart on the main engineering panel.
Arcadius: The power core is still good after all this time? Jeez.
Chigara: (walks toward the center of the room) Well… “good” is relative when it comes to things made 1 to 2 millennia ago. The ancient Ryuvians sure did build things to last, though.
Arcadius: (chuckles) I know a few people that would beg to differ.
Chigara: (shrugs) I just deal with technology. Easier than politics.
Arcadius: (follows her over) I can’t argue with you there.

The two arrive at the engineering console, a sign labeled “Restart enabled” flashing with dull blue light, the red button below the sign blinking as well. Without either pomp or circumstance, Chigara brings her hand down on it. Suddenly, her face is lit by a scanner, which rapidly turns from blue to red after a moment.

Speaker: [Warning: Security breach detected! Alert level: Red. Maximum response is in progress.]
Arcadius: What’s it saying?
Chigara: It is saying, to put it lightly… “Here comes trouble”.
Arcadius: Well, it’s official.
Chigara: What?
Arcadius: (smiles wryly) I miss the New Empire.

----------
Sharr‘Lac, Mnemosyne Abyss.
Deep Storage level. 1490 hours.

The voice of the Sharr’Lac’s A.I., conveniently translated for the reader’s benefit, echoes in the darkness.

A.I.: [Warning. Access attempt by …2... unauthorized personnel. Running situational awareness scan… results. All crew dead and/or missing. Enact removal process Red-One for preservation of the Emperor’s technology.]

There is a stirring. A red light comes on as a massive bulk arises from its millennial slumber.

A.I.: [Removal process Red-One in effect. Ravager Unit RGR-01 fully operational. Commence removal.]

----------
That will be it for the briefing. That talk with Smith will be up soon. The only two ADF members writing this time will likely be I and KTKM. Posts should be done within the next two weeks in order to set a good pace. Thanks!
Inwhaleably yours,
Whalecow

Offline KTKM-Sama

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #622 on: March 29, 2016, 07:15:28 am »
Spoiler
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, Western AEGIS.
Legion Departing Platform.

Veronika: Przepraszam(Excuse me), Is this the ship departing to Weinan?

Suddenly, a young little girl appeared in left of his transparent cockpit. This is a clearly surprised to everyone in the ship, especially military-style organized ship like Legion to have an underage girl in Commercial Naval Unifrom asking for direction

Pilot: It is, young lady. Is there anything I can help?

Veronika: Tak(Yes), of course. I am of boarding this ship. Can you of helping me loading my equipments?

Pilot: (raise eyebrowns) You must be mistaken, little girl. We suppose to have Ms. Crescentia and a TDG representative aboard here.

Veronika: Well, I am a TDG representative.

The Pilot man is quiet a bit shock.

Pilot: (tries to hold his chuckle) I'm-I'm not trying to be rude, Ms. But how old is the age restriction in your company?

Veronika give a grin to the pilot. Well, you see Ivan. This is the problem when your body is a loli. Now remember not to touch a nuclear reactor or Kuchekov's experiment work if you don't want to end up like this.

Veronika: (hand the pilot her doccument) It is 18, and I is of past my 30's already, Mr. pilotowa?. Here's the document, And I of not knowing, but you shouldn't asking woman her age, little girl or not.

Unfortunately, The document is in Western Soyuz language. So our poor pilot cannot read it. But seeing the cyrillic alphabets and red star with torpedoes at the top of

the paper, he can tell that this is not fake, or a very well forged fake doccument.

And you are wondering why the hell the age restriction of TDG is 18 despite the fact that our people here can live up to 200? Well, because it's your people. Not far-away-space. You see Ivans, Far-away-space people love Uranium and radiation. They love so much that everything is powered by nuclear reactor, and that means they are expose to radiation more than our people. This means more DNA mutation and shorter lifespan, and did I mention they have poor healthcare? Well, you guys good luck to have ObamaCare...I mean, WhaleCoware.

Pilot: Oh, (Take a look at the document) alright. You are serious. I appologize, Ma'am. I'll call our loader right away.

Veronika: (Sighs) Finally, Dziękuję Ci(Thank you), Mr. pilotowa.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After a silence of awkwardness, The woman in little girl body starting to think about her mission.

'Oh for kurwa's sake.' She talks to her mind. 'If only that Helmsman has not of getting sick I should have been drinking wódka and admiring space view on Marokshod bridge right now.'

Yep, that's right. She's on this mission, with only 15 minutes instruction from Helmsman. Appereantly she can't get KTKM to speak here either thanks to poor communication system and internet lag of TDG company, damn the low budget.

Okay, so what is her mission again? She holds her paper, written in a cyrillic with typewriter from Kapitan KTKM. Let's see...Hm... 'The objective here is to convince Chairwoman Yi to sell, lease, or donate the use of the “Phalanx” Advanced Power Armor to the ADF for use with recent technological finds''Power armour' She thinks 'Big chunky metal coffin putting in soldier body? Why would ADF wants that!?' In her docterine and all Far-away-space docterine, Porwer armour is sign as useless. Because, You see Ivans, why give a sausage an armour when you can make the armour fight? In other words, flyring robot with power-armour is better than human in power armour. Even if somehow human is power armour is better, Tanks are going to beat them anyway. Don't tell me your power armour can stand a chance against glorious people's socialist 120mm canon.

But anyway...She is employee of TDG, she technicly got paid for this. With that big 35kgs equipments she carry with, It's going to do a good job.

She begins to write down her little speech on the paper, the vintage way for speak preparation.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, Western AEGIS.
GammaTech Landing platform. 1100 hours.


Officer: (smiles) Hello again, Ms. Crescentia And...

Veronika: Veronika. We change Representative in the last minute.

Officer: And Ms. Veronika! My name is Katelyn. The chairwoman sent me to bring her to you myself.

Oh, thanks comrade Lenin for not bringing more 'are you really an adult' question! I think we got enough of that for today. +10 affection point.

Ava: (nods) Thank you. Let us begin, then, shall we?

Katelyn: Of course. Right this way, please~!

Katelyn leads the two, whistling a small tune all the way, out of the landing area and down an underground hallway to a lift. It takes them to the top of a large wall,

from which an observer can see a large amount of manufacturing facility between them and the outer wall. On the inside of the wall is a rather well-appointed tram-system, which the trio step into and ride for a few short minutes.

Veronika: What you whistling, lady Katelyn?

Katelyn: (thrown off a bit by the accent) Just a tune my father taught me. “Never saw the sun… shining so bright. Never saw things… going so right. Noticing the days… all of them gone. Nothing but blue skies… from now on…”

Veronika: We have song like that in Far Away Space. But we sing deeper and to tune of bass guitar.

You mean sing deeper in choir with orchresta, right? Comrade Veronika?. And it will be something like 'Ponad stepem nieprzejrzana mgła...Wiatr w burzanach cichuteńko łka.'

Ava: Well, you seem to enjoy your job at the very least. How long until we get there?

Katelyn: Shouldn’t be long now… Ah, here we are!

Since then Veronika cannot keep her mind at things around her anymore. She is currently focusing on more important note, like speeches and how to represent properly to chairwoman. Thanks, Veronika! This mean we can finally skip to the part where we met the chairwoman Yi! Oh, I know you've been boring about this isn't it? Reading a long prolouge and didn't found the main point after reading for like, 15 minutes? Well, time to cut your long awaits you lazy reader. Here it is!

They finally entered chairwoman's room. This room is large, a giant window overlooking everything on the back wall. Dwarfed by its size sit’s a very young woman, no more than 20 or 21. Her hair is an odd combination of silver and a very light brown, and she has it cut fairly short. Her eyes are a chill blue and by most standards she would be fairly beautiful. Her outfit is modest, little more than a silver-gray jumpsuit with a vest overtop. On its right side on the upper chest-area is the symbol of GammaTech: An equilateral triangle with sides of bronze, silver, and gold. She drops her data pad on the conference table and gets up, smiling softly at her guests.

Yi: Thank you for volunteering, Katelyn. A small bonus has been placed in your account. (laughs) Treat David this time.

Katelyn: (smiles back) Thank you very much, Madame.

Wow, this chairwoman must be really kind to give a bonus to her employee for voluntary work. She even knows about her employee's relation and encourage her. If only that greedy Kapitan KTKM know how to do this...

Yi nods at Katelyn and she turns and makes her exit, Ava swearing she could hear her say “Nailed it!” under her breath. Rather than make a big deal out of Katelyn saying she’d been assigned the job, she focuses all her attention on Yi, who smiles at her and uses both hands to motion to the whole room, the couches and chairs on the sidelines included.

Yi: Have a seat anywhere you like, ladies. I don’t deny people courtesy, least of all to the friends of one of our many heroes. (grins) And then let us begin. Business awaits.

Veronika: Very well, time is of valuable, and both of us are business woman, we don't of wanting to waste it, yes? I am Kapitan Veronika, manager of the Escort carrier Marokshod, Torpedo dealer group company. You must have heard of us before, yes?

When you are an arms dealer, you have to make sure your arms are in good shape. The TDG on the other hands...Well, let's say that all arms dealer companies are producing Tanks instead of ships. We will see TDG producing.....Cheap Toyota truck with machine gun. (Reaper's ship in this case will still Reaper's ship) We know Toyota truck with machine gun is not effective against tank. But guess what? It's (almost) effective against everything that is not tank! Trucks, Troops, unarmed men, you name it. Hell, if we put missile launcher or AA gun onto it, it can even shot down plane. Or even fighting tank if it get first shot. See? This is why It's popular with Terrorist, like ISIS.

And when your company is an arms dealer producing weapons for terrorist...well, you're not going to have a good reputation.

Did I mention the real goal of TDG is actually for producing armament for Soyuz Resistance to fight against PACT? Well, I already told you. But we will get into detail in another day.

Veronika: Today I is of coming in the name Of Alliance for defense of Freedom. Please of not asking us why we decied to work with them...It's a matter of business. As a representative of Torpedo Dealer group company, but in the name of ADF. I know this of sounding wierd. But I of getting paid for this. I am her to ask you, the glorious chairowman of the GammaTech industry, to share the Advance “Phalanx” Power Armor to us.

She drag the 35kgs 'equipments' on wheel, and open it. No we can see that it is a big monochrome screen. With a lot of vacuum-tube under it. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I presented you, the Far-away-space computer!

But It's not just a normal computer, it is installed with program NotMicrosoftPowerpoint 503 to help you present your work in the office much easier! Wow, such a great inventattion Far-away-space.

Actually, she could use a hologram projector which is much easier to carry...but, damn to foreign tech. She couldn't resist her patriotism.

Veronika: We of knowing that, recently your company has problem with AEGIS-supporting Military and the GammaTech Security Forces arguing about law and registration. (She then proceed to press a button on her 'computer') But fear not, for I have the solution to clear every problem out of the company....Introducing...

The orchresta soundtrack from '2001: A space odessy' can be heard to gain more epicness...

Veronika: THE PROPAGANDA!

As she end her words, the room become quiet and awkward for a second. But the loli captain don't want to make this moment get any longer.

Veronika: Now you of sitting on your seat! Let me of showing how this works. Okay, you see? We are Far-away-space people. The master of Propaganda. Our people were of fighting against each other with ideology for centuries.

The screen is showing Soyuz military parade, with all it glorious red star bearing all over its vehicle. Then cuts to Soyuz factory making firearms. Clearly this was taken from a propaganda film. Don't worry, commies don't care about copyright so you can post this on Youtube just fine.

Veronika: In those days, you'll of having to convice people to work together. You'll of having to convince them to put aside their differences and fight for motherland. But...how of we do that? Well, fear no more...As I is of being here to answer you!

Now the screen is showing a little girl on a villiage stage. She has to stand on a chair so she can remain in the height. Looks like she is doing some speeches...But wait, that girl look kinda...familiar?

Veronika: You can of seeing on the screen. That is of being me. You see, I was a Civilian propagandist. My former job is of telling people to believe in motherland, work for motherland, and fight for motherland. But I know you are of asking in your breath right now, how can this work in such a capitalist pig do-...I mean- A big company! Like us! And you! Well, let me explain...

The monochrome monitor then playing a whacky Soyuz animation. Showing a desperated man with his sibling aside.

Veronika: This is Ivan, and his sister Ivana. They don't like each other and often fight each other.

The animation then switch to a blonde-haired lady on pink apron looking at her son and daughter with a sorrow.

Veronika: And this is Mother Rossiya. Her husband died serval years ago and she has to take care of her children alone since. 

Now the scene is switched to where Ivan and Ivana is arguing to each other, a Soyuz toy car is in the middle of them.

Veronika: Now both of them are fighting over the toy car. Ivan suggest that this toy car should be donate to Aegisky, a priest living in neighborhood. While Ivana said they should keep this car for themselves. Now Mother Rossiya is wondering, Oh dear Komrade Lenin, what should I do in this such hard situation?' Suddenly, she got the idea.

And then Veronika began to add the vocal by herself

Veronika: 'Ivan, Ivana' She said 'You must be stronk and stop fighting.'
     'But Мама Россия!' Said Little Ivan 'Ivana is a Сука! She doesn't support glorious communist donation!'
     'No! Mama Rossiya!' said Little girl Ivana 'We must of keeping the toy! It is of us!'
     'You little greedy kapitalist pigdog!' Ivan insulted her sister
     'Watch your mouth, Ivan!' Said Ivana 'Talk is cheap, Come face me!'

Andddd...they're fighting each other again, oh poor little Ivan and Ivana. But this time, Mother Rossiya has a bright idea to stop them.

Veronika: 'Ivan, Ivana! Stop!' said Mother Rossiya. 'Big devil is going get us!'
     It works! The sibling stop fighting for a second, and look upon their mother
    'What do you mean, mother Rossiya?' 'Yes? What is Big devil' Both of them kindly ask for their curiosity
    'It is Unified State of Murika, My child.' Answered The Mother. 'If we are not stronk and unite together, Murikansky will come get us!'
    'That's scary, Mama!'
    'Da, and it even worse. Murikansky look for chance when we fight each other to kill us! If we not united, we're weak, and we can't fight!'
    'Oh no, we must unite!' Said Little boy Ivan.
    'Yes, for glorious Soyuz, Tovarich!' Little girl Ivana Agreed.
    And then they live happily afterward, the end.

Serval clapping sounds can be heard from somewhere. We do not sure from who, probably not from Ava.

Veronika: Now I hope you know what I was trying to be of saying. Advice#226 of Soyuz Propagandist. Big devil make people unite! If you can't solve the problem, just bring a big bad devil in and problem will solve itself! Now I see your 'employees' are arguing over each other. But with help of former Propagandist team, such as me and my crews. We can bring little attention to the big devil and make people not fighting themselves anymore!

She waits for a whole second to make this looks more Epic

Veronika:We just need one thing, the DEVIL itself. It can be anything. And just look at these days. We're full of Reaper, Prototype, Alliance's territorial Expansion, Terrorist, Pirates, Separatists, Rebels, EVERYTHING is going to kill us! We're drinking dangerous 3 times a day without even noticed it. But with our little help, in the name of ADF, we can make them noticed again! And that is just one of our 700 techniques of propaganda! All we ask for is a little....(cough cough) Donation.

Veronika sincerely hope this will work. She does everything she can. Like what she did in the old times in Soyuz and now, TDG. Hopefully Kapital Welkrow will be pleased by this.

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« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 01:29:34 pm by KTKM-Sama »

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #623 on: April 16, 2016, 08:15:56 pm »
All right, on with the plot. This one covers several perspectives, including the time after the Captain called in the guests. The gears are turning.

===================================================================================
Part 1: Response
Expand
Location: FSS Legion, Hangar Bay 2, Gunship
Time: 2 days after Nyx showed up, Midnight, After meeting with the Captain

2 winged figures walks the near desolate hangars that only have a few staff still there doing their shift for the night. One of them holds a briefcase, the one he received from the Captain not long ago. Both walked towards a black Gunship that was now as good as new, the damage it suffered due to a quantum explosion hitting it was fully repaired & has regenerated. The circuit lines shows on the side, & the armor slides apart to reveal a sealed door, which opens after the armor opens. They walked up the stairs that was the armor that opened & entered. Once they entered, the Gunship immediately closed the door & seals back the armor, leaving no trace that an opening was ever there.

Astral: (walks to the back part of the gunship where a work bench was present & puts the briefcase, he turns to his wife)
Zephyr: (walks to the work bench) I'll handle this, you can relax... (gives him a small smile)
Astral: You sure?
Zephyr: (nods) I'll ask for help if I need any. This is my specialty.
Astral: (chuckles) Not that I'll be of much help, you're better at this than me. But still, I'm available if you need any assistance. (goes to a cabinet & goes back with a bottle of sake & 2 cups, he takes a seat near Zephyr)
Zephyr: (takes a seat in front of the bench, then looks at her husband) Not going to wait in the living room?
Astral: (gives a small teasing smile) Am I being chased out?
Zephyr: Eh... that's not what I meant...
Astral: Might as well keep you company. Besides... I like watching you work. (grins) Or would you prefer to be alone?
Zephyr: (smiles at him) No... I'd like the company... Stay close to me then. (opens the briefcase & sets out the weapons on the huge bench)
Astral: (chuckles) I might hinder you if I stay too close. (puts the cups on the bench that's meant to hold food & drinks then pours the sake)
Zephyr: You won't, & I prefer to have you close.
Astral: (takes a cup) ...But still... (his face turns serious & sharp) To think there was still leftovers...
Zephyr: (looks over the sniper rifle) This is pretty old... the design is from 3 generations ago. It's obsolete.
Astral: But it also means we have little to worry about...
Zephyr: These things aren't even used anymore since 2 millennias ago. It seems the ancient Ryuvians managed to keep a handful of them... (starts dismantling the weapon with natural & mastered skill) The materials are still valuable. Max-Enforced Circuit Adamantium... I can recycle them for parts.
Astral: You'll need them much more than I do. (takes a gulp of sake) You use a lot more guns compared to me, or any other person for that matter. (grins at her)
Zephyr: (smiles back teasingly) Says the man who's a fanatic with anything that has a blade... (takes her cup & downs it before going back to work)
Astral: (grins) Touche... (empties his cup then pours more on both cups) ...It seems there might still be 1 or 2 more out there...
Zephyr: (dismantles the rifle) ...You're suggesting we find them...?
Astral: As a side job... if we actually have the time for it. Focusing on finding 1 or 2 obsolete weapon will be like finding a black rock in an asteroid field with no radar. A lot of effort & nearly no gain.
Zephyr: (nods) True... (dismantles the smaller parts to recycle)
Astral: Quick hands as always I see. You haven't lost your touch.
Zephyr: (shows a small smile) Not in the least... (continues to work) But that captain... he sure is a strange young fellow...
Astral: (looks down at the work bench) I get that too... Maybe we're just getting old? Could be how young people are these days...
Zephyr: ...He's quite the idealistic individual...
Astral: (takes his cup) Though he's no fool... a sharp man, he is...
Zephyr: (finished dismantling the rifle) As the saying goes... (grabs her cup)
Astral & Zephyr: Beware the ones that's obfuscating. (clinks their cups together & drinks the sake)

With that, Zephyr went back to work as Astral stayed by his side. They were silent for the remainder of the duration, as they don't need to exchange words any further. Zephyr finished quickly & they retire to their rooms on the Gunship. They didn't leave for the rest of the night.
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Location: Legion, Hangar Bay 2
Time: Same Time

Nemesis saw the 2 Reapers walk towards their Gunship while she just finished her jack-in training using her 2nd battleframe alongside Nyx. They were focused on something else & immediately went inside their Gunship while Astral was carrying a briefcase. Nyx saw it too & a brief scan shows obsolete weapons from over 2.5 millennias ago, one from their origins no less. The first question that was on their minds: How?

Nyx: [Void Language] That briefcase... it has Void weapons.
Nemesis: [Void Language] But where did it come from & how did they get it?
Nyx: [Void Language] They might have gotten them before we arrived. We didn't notice either, but I suppose that's a given due to the circumstance. The scan shows the ones in the briefcase are most likely obsolete.
Nemesis: [Void Language] But seeing as it was given to those 2, perhaps it was the captains intention from the start?
Nyx: [Void Language] That's the only logical explanation. Though the question remains on where they found them & how.
Nemesis: [Void Language] Should we ask? The captain might tell us.
Nyx: [Void Language] ...We could... but since the matter seems to have been resolved, I suggest we leave it be.
Nemesis: [Void Language] I suppose that's for the best...
Nyx: [Void Language] Still... (looks towards the stars beyond the hangar doors) We need to focus on our own goals. We can do investigations while we're doing them. We might find something.
Nemesis: [Void Language] (nods) That'll be quite effective since we'll also save time.
Nyx: [Void Language] Let's leave those 2 alone then. It seems they won't be coming back out any time soon. Besides... (walks towards the exit) I need to get the counter in Bar 8 set up.
Nemesis: [Void Language] (walks besides Nyx) Your permit is finished?
Nyx: [Void Language] Much faster than I calculated. There's not even any registrations besides the single one the Commander gave me. The Captain just gave me permission on the spot.
Nemesis: [Void Language] So you'll also be managing a bar. Is that how you're planning to lend your service here?
Nyx: [Void Language] Might as well, that bar isn't very active & there's still more than a slot for a bartender. Besides, didn't you get assigned to the greenhouse?
Nemesis: [Void Language] Same reason you decided to manage a bar. They offered, & I decided to take the job.
Nyx: [Void Language] Point taken. They let us borrow their hangars, so we should pull our own weight where ever it's needed, at least until we leave.

They continue to discuss a bit as they exit the hangars as they make their way to each of their destination, pushing the thought about the briefcase into the sub-sections of their memories. They can look it up later, & since the problem seems to have been resolved, there would be no merit in pursuing it further for now. They left the desolate hangars that only have a few personnel still there doing night shift, & proceed to do their own tasks.

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Part 2: What Goes Beyond the Borders of Space
Expand
Location: Uncharted Space, Unknown Sector, Void Citadel X
Time: Present Time

The door to the meeting room opens, & Faeron, who was the last to arrive but still a bit earlier than the appointed time, took his seat. All around the table were the other leaders who are already present. The dark room felt grim besides the otherwise few light sources that only illuminate the room a bit. As they were all present, Glaive took a scan across the room before nodding to BladeWolf when they made eye contact, then looks at Luna, who proceeds to start with the debriefing of their recent missions.

Luna: Now with everyone present, we can start.
DreadWolf: Allow me to start then. (brings up multiple projection) We have found some unfavorable discoveries during our mission. First, the mission I took. (enlarges one of the floating projection) Due to the disturbance we detected, we decided to investigate. This planet, Cerulean V, is close to the borders & has been abandoned for 3,000 years. This is what we found on the surface.
Faeron: (looks at it) That's nothing really new, but I'm guessing there's something else that's more important.
DreadWolf: Yes. Take a closer look. (begins manipulating the projection to change its angle & show multiple personnel) These individuals did not originate from the Neutral Zone. They are outsiders from beyond the borders.
Skylla: That world is beyond their charted borders, what were they even doing there?
DreadWolf: Perhaps searching for remnants of long lost civilizations. That world used to belong to the Ryuvian Empire before it was abandoned. Or perhaps exploration. I calculate that there is a 605.4‰ chance that their objective is to possibly search for valuables on that world instead of charting maps, but we are not fully certain yet.
Skylla: (face turns grim) Outsiders this far out... That's not good...
Faeron: They really need to turn around & go home.
Luna: Did you trace where they came from?
DreadWolf: We managed to trace them back to their previous employers as well as the ones who enlisted said employers. It seems it is going to lead to a troublesome opposition. Another point of nore, my team has recovered what we were looking for. I met up with BladeWolf after he was done with his mission, which reveals another outsider. He will be able to better explain it. That is all.

The attention shifts to BladeWolf & he nods, before showing multiple projections of his own. He begins to explain what he himself found, & it wasn't good either.

BladeWolf: As DreadWolf had elaborated, we have outsiders encroaching into the Neutral Zone. It will not be long before they would reach the borders of the Independent Worlds. During my mission in which we followed another source of disturbance, we discovered some peculiar vessels just outside our sensors. However, we have some recognition of their vessels. We merely need to confirm through the network.
Glaive: Do they belong to the same forces as the other outsiders?
BladeWolf: (shakes his head) Negative. Although both are still being traced & decoded for confirmation, we have confirmed that they are from 2 different forces. This one seems to lead to a different faction. The one that DreadWolf discovered seems to lead to a large faction most likely located deep on the other side of the border. However, this one seems to lead to a considerably smaller one, but could be more threatening.
Luna: And why do you say that?
BladeWolf: The reason is quite simple. They ventured considerably deeper than the ones DreadWolf discovered. Cerulean V is only 10 light years away from the very edge of the border, & it seems they have no intention of going further. The one my team discovered, goes far deeper, located in this sector. (shows a red dot at the star map)
Skylla: But that's over 200 light years away from the edge of the border. They moved that far in?
BladeWolf: Affirmative. We have a 922.4‰ certainty that their objective is charting a map, as well as possibly discovering any & all that they possibly can about the area, be it abandoned worlds, habitable worlds, or remnants of long lost civilizations.
Glaive: .....Are they within the firing range of the Void Citadels?
BladeWolf: Negative. It is unfortunate. The other alternative is not as favorable as it is not as foolproof as using the astronomical annihilation system. It seems we will merely be observing for now.
Faeron: Whoa whoa whoa... hold it you two. Are you seriously considering to just vaporize them?
BladeWolf: [blunt] Affirmative. That would be most efficient should they prove to be a threat.
Skylla: But still...
Glaive: This is just a precaution. If they prove to be a threat whether directly or indirectly, that's the course of action I would prefer. They won't know what hit them or where it came from as they'll be annihilated in one hit.
BladeWolf: We have maintained a stable status quo for 2,506 years. These outsiders are trying to destroy that status quo that is best left alone. If they prove to indeed be a threat, annihilating them early would prevent further problems from arising & greatly discourages any further attempts to break the status quo that provides every race with the stability they have now.
Luna: I say we wait & see. We should wait until the tracing is complete before deciding anything.
Glaive: (closes his eyes) I would like to avoid any hassle or problems if possible... We've already got enough on our plates as it is.
Faeron: *sigh*... Seriously... just one problem after another. (looks at BladeWolf) Anything else you'd like to share with us?
BladeWolf: Affirmative. The tracing & confirmation will be done within 1h 44m 82s in counting. Other than that, negative.
Faeron: All right then. On to the next one.
BladeWolf: StarWolf will give her report on her mission. It seems it has some connections to the ones you faced, Skylla.
StarWolf: You have read the summary I sent you earlier, right?
Skylla: That's right. Though I would like to know it more in detail.

StarWolf nods & shows multiple projections as well from the table. It shows several data, along with footage of the battle that was recorded from a 3rd person angle, giving a good look at the enemy that attacked.

StarWolf: I am sure all of you knew about that emergency we received during the meeting we had before our mission. The world that was attacked was the one of the colonies that belonged to our ally, as well as an outpost. They sent in a heavy attack force, however we managed to intercept them & prevent too much damage on the outpost as well as preventing any from escaping. However, I suspect that there is another ploy at play.
Skylla: I suppose I get what you mean... Their attack patterns were... unusual to say the least. The first fleet we faced during our mission was meant as more of a distraction it seems. But I'll get more into that later.
StarWolf: Indeed. That could be the case. They are cornered, & it seems they are growing desperate. There is also the possibility they have obtained a new high ranking officer in charge after the previous one was eliminated. What intrigued me however, is that why would they target an outpost that would be heavily guarded. But there was another thing we discovered. (shows the star map & the darkened red dots on a few location)
Skylla: (frowns a bit) That's an unusual pattern... It may seem random but it's all a tactical maneuver. It seems they're trying to find something. Or perhaps...
StarWolf: Perhaps they are trying to blind the outposts. This cannot be all they have.
Luna: So you're saying they have more reserves than we first calculated.
Skylla: It's a high possibility... Otherwise they wouldn't be making such high risk moves.
DreadWolf: I think it's about time we end them...
BladeWolf: Agreed. That would be one less major problem off our list.
Faeron: First we need to make sure to come up with a foolproof plan & get accurate information on them. Wouldn't do if they ended up as splinter groups instead, might cause more problems down the road.
Luna: We'll worry about that later after we finish the debriefing.
StarWolf: That would be best. As for the report there is nothing else worth mentioning besides a few casualty reports on our ally's side. Skylla would be able to tell more from her side since her missions are connected to this one. The 2 originates from the same source.

The others nods, then turns towards Skylla. She proceeds to bring up the projections from the table containing her reports & results of each battle, along with a 3rd person angle footage. She faced a total of 3 battles against different enemy groups located in different sectors.

Skylla: As you're all aware, enemy attacks were reported on these sectors. We've managed to deal with each of them quickly. (shows the star map) But as StarWolf mentioned before, the pattern of their attacks was rather odd. Trying to cause a blind spot by eliminating the outposts is a possibility, but there could be another reason. Regardless, I don't think there will be any more attacks any time soon.
Luna: Did you manage to read their patterns?
Skylla: Somewhat, but not completely. I managed to counter their maneuvers to minimize damage, but as for what goes on beyond that, we won't know until we get more info & perhaps another direct contact.
Glaive: Did you manage to locate where they came from?
Skylla: (shows a location not far from the attack sites on the star map) Around here. I had my forces hunt them down, but all we found were either an abandoned world or an old space station that's been drifting.
Glaive: So basically these were just decoys & stepping stones.
Skylla: (nods) That's about right. We obliterated the station to prevent further use. Scans indicate there were nothing wroth noting on board. As for the planet on the other sector... well it's abandoned for good reason, it can't really support life anymore. With a bit of time though, we'll be able to trace them back to their HQ. Eliminate that...
Luna: And the attacks will stop. Estimate on tracing?
StarWolf: Estimated time before we found a tactical way point: 10h 71m 33s.
Luna: (nods) All right. Looks like we'll be able to finish this problem soon. It's been dragging on & they kept moving here & there. This time we won't let them run.
Glaive: Anything else we should take note?
Skylla: None. That's all I have for now, the rest are just minor reports & a few minor problems that's been dealt with.
Glaive: (nods, then turns to look at Faeron)
Faeron: Welp, guess it's my turn... Gotta say though, what I found after I dealt with the problem isn't good...

Faeron straightens his sitting posture a bit before showing projections of his own from the table. This one shows multiple feeds on what he was fighting, along with the one on orbit.

Luna: Those things again...
Skylla: No matter how many we kill they always seem to have more.
Faeron: Nothing new. But this is what drew my attention... (zooms at a few of cloaked vessels of unknown origins)
Skylla: Those vessels...
Faeron: Right. They're not behemoths, juggernauts, nor dreadnoughts. I have a suspicion they were the ones who lured those freaks of nature out there. Outbreaks don't happen out of nowhere.
Skylla: Any speculations on where they came from?
Faeron: Still working on it, they ran as soon as we showed up. It doesn't help that the Nexus Union & Eldraizar Kingdom's forces stationed there didn't realize those vessels hiding in stealth. Understandable since they were too busy to stay alive, & those vessels have some serious stealth. Though it's either the same ones that attacked those sectors, or from another world. Either way we'll be able to find out very soon. These vessels seems to be new but we have databases collected from the Cyberlon Network on every notable happenings in the galaxy. The origins could still be compared & matched, so that's where we'll find who we're looking for. They can't fool us, nor can they hide for long... And as for those freaks... (shows the feed of the aftermath of the battle) They've been taken care of. But we'll need to continue forward soon if we're going to put them out for good. There's still more on the infested parts of the galaxy.
Glaive: (nods) All right. Anything else you need to share with us?
Faeron: I talked to the director of the research facility down there after the team was evacuated.
Luna: And how did it went?
Faeron: Nothing much worth of note if you're asking for information. But he did share with us useful data of the study his team conducted on the freaks, that should prove quite useful.
BladeWolf: We will add it to our database afterwards. I request a copy of the data, if you do not mind.
Faeron: (slides a codex across the table to him) It's all in there.
BladeWolf: Gratitude. (transfers all the data to his database for incorporation into the network)
Faeron: (finishes with his report) Besides that there's nothing more worth noting. Just usual reports & whatnot. (leans back on his seat)
Luna: All right. (turns to Glaive) I suppose we're last.
Glaive: (nods) We'll make this brief then...

Glaive & Luna proceeds to show multiple projections, showing the reports & results of their mission. They went to a secluded sector in which only the Void knows, & showed the status.

Luna: We went to check the anomaly, but after we land we didn't exactly find anything strange... or at least it was like that on first glance. One of the Deathwatch Kill Teams managed to stumble across something which prompts us to investigate the area.
Glaive: What we found was that ancient place. At first we thought it was a fluke, but there has been signs of slight changes...
Skylla: What? But we're the only ones who knows of that place.
Luna: Perhaps... But that's not the case here.
Skylla: What are you saying...?
Faeron: Are you telling us that someone else knows?
BladeWolf: Outsiders are unlikely to know, that area is too secluded & well hidden due to the technology on that compound. But it seems that is not the problem.
Luna: Correct. The anomaly was caused by something else... After some of the Eclipse Maiden checked the resonance in the area, we discovered something.
Glaive: (shows a symbol on a circuit lined glyph) This.
Skylla: (leans forward) What!?
Faeron: (massages his temple) Please tell me you're joking...
StarWolf: (puts a paw on the table) But how!?
DreadWolf: (low growl) This is a serious matter indeed...
BladeWolf: I somewhat predicted it would be a bad case, but this surpassed my expectations.
Glaive: The keys are still safe. They are well guarded by ancient defenses that render the area impenetrable.
Skylla: But if that symbol shows a change in glow, that means...
Luna: (nods) We'll need to be careful. It seems they're reacting to the unnatural changes that's starting to happen. I have a speculation it has something to do with those outsiders BladeWolf's group found moving that deep.
BladeWolf: That is a possibility. Another possibility is that there are other various anomalies in conjugation with the recent major events, causing a chain reaction.
Glaive: Whatever the case, we need to stay sharp. That place is off limits & for good reason.
DreadWolf: Agreed. We will be sure to maintain & increase the awareness of the defense network.
Luna: That's pretty much all we can do right now. Now, on to the next thing we investigated. (shows another report) There has been conflict near the borders recently, as I'm sure you've all heard.
Everyone Else: (nods & give confirmation)
Luna: *sigh*... Well, I think it could possibly relate to one of our problems... (shows the feed she got from investigating closer) We managed to acquire better information & this is what we found.
DreadWolf: (looks at it) If this keeps up, the border will not hold & the status quo will break... We managed to trace back that signature after the information you gathered was picked up by the network, but it seems the one responsible are no longer affiliated.
Faeron: *sigh*... Sometimes I wish all these stupid problems will just solve itself... Guess that's not really an option since all of them will have an affect with us.
Skylla: *sigh*... Not much choice in the matter sadly. Guess we'll just have to deal with them as they come, like we always do.
Luna: Right now we have multiple problems that can be considered long term threats. But we have time as these threats are not immediate. We'll use this time to come up with a plan of action as well as back ups along with the expectations of outside factors & unexpected circumstances to come up with the best course of action.
Glaive: We'll deal with it in accordance to each problem. It's best if we deal with them as quickly as possible, starting from the most threatening in the long run, but without neglecting the other ones. We'll have to multi-task as usual on this one, but it will be considerably heavier seeing the problems we're facing. Each leaders are to be assigned to the task that fits their roles best.
Faeron: Roger that. I'll take care of any immediate threat that needs to be dealt with in the unorthodox way. Or basically ones that needs firepower to deal with. In this case I'll be going on the offensive with the rest of my army in dealing with the problems involving those freaks.
Skylla: I'll be taking indirect command for the Armada to maximize efficiency. In the case of an emergency, I would need to take full command of the entire Armada. Though if we do things right it won't come down to that. Anyone who requires fleet reinforcements can contact me & I'll manage them as soon as possible.
Luna: (nods) I'll be sure to relay any updates on courses of actions best suited for the situations. Keep me posted on anything worth of note, I'll also be keeping tabs on the network for any new important updates.
Glaive: ...I'll relay any important objectives that needs to be completed. These will be few but vital, so be sure to listen & follow carefully. I'll be working with Luna & dealing with unexpected problems while the rest of you focus on your tasks.
BladeWolf: We will deal with the outsider problem, as well as giving you updates on any important information we gather. I will be co-managing with Glaive in giving important objective updates. Otherwise, each leader is to tackle the threats by their best calculation & judgement to resolve them in the best way possible.
StarWolf: While his group deals with the ones that moved deep beyond the borders, my group will be keeping an eye on the borders as well as gathering more information on the site.
DreadWolf: I will be keeping an eye on our foe & deal with them as they make their moves. My forces would be able to handle them should they try to make aggression.

They continue to discuss their plan of action & making confirmations as well as preparation for each of their tasks. When they were finally done, the took a moment to lean back on their seats to sink back into their thoughts, a habit each of them has acquired through the constant meeting & plannings. Checking again multiple times in their heads to make sure all is in order & nothing important was missed, as well as bring up other important things that needs to be addressed should there be any. The short moment of silence felt like a long time for each of them as each went through the thoughts in their minds, until one of them decides to address one final thing that needs confirmation for the next course of action.

Faeron: ...Glaive.
Glaive: (turns towards him, waiting for him to speak his thoughts)
Faeron: (looks at him seriously) ...There's one more thing I still need to confirm... it's about "that".
Skylla: (her eyebrows raise a bit) You don't mean...
Faeron: (nods) Yeah...
Luna: (turns towards him as well) What about it...?
Faeron: I wanna make sure if we're all on the same page on this. So I'll also direct this to the rest of you as well.
BladeWolf: I have already made my decision. It remains unchanged.
DreadWolf: My decision has been made as well, I see no reason to change my choice.
StarWolf: I have contemplated the answer for a while & came to a decision. I will stand by it.
Glaive: (expression remains unchanging) I'll stick to the course. It's the best course of action.
Luna: (closes her eyes & leans back on her seat) I'll stand by my decision... I've thought long & hard on it.
Skylla: (closes her eyes as well) Mmm... (opens her eyes, they held conviction in them) I made my choice... Even after I thought about it again just now, it seems I won't be changing my decision. (looks at Faeron's eyes) What about you?
Faeron: (smirks) Hmph... I just told you. It was confirmation, I want to make sure we're on the same page.
Skylla: Heh... well, looks like you got your answer. (smiles at him)
Faeron: (nods & leans back on his seat, eyes closed while still holding that small smile) I suppose I did...
Luna: Would there be anything else that needs to be addressed?
Everyone Else: ..........
Glaive: Then this meeting is adjourned.
BladeWolf: Each of us now have new objectives. We will start the operation simultaneously in 2 days time. Dismissed.

With that, they all bid each other good work & got up at their own pace. Some left immediately while some others remained behind a bit to compile some of the data before leaving as well. BladeWolf who was behind with StarWolf gave a low growl when the tracing was finished & they found which alignment those outsider vessels belonged to, StarWolf's reaction was no better, she shook her head in disapproval before heading out with BladeWolf. Within a minute, the dark meeting room was empty, just as it was before as if no one was ever there.

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Part 3: Operation Start
Expand
Location: Legion Hangars
Time: Before the mission starts

2 female figures wearing casual clothes entered the hangars, both carrying duffel bags. They were none other than Nyx & Nemesis, Nemesis wearing a pair of dark jeans, a shirt & a leather jacket along with boots, while Nyx opts for a pleated skirt instead but wears knee high boots & with her own black & gray shirt along with black leather jacket. They approached the hangar doors that was currently linked to the hangar dock of the frigate where they will use for the infiltration mission. Cosette got there a minute later with her own casual wear that looks like her pirate wear along with a duffel bag of her own. Her attire looks new, perhaps being recently bought since her old one no longer fits.

Cosette: Well then, looks like all's here. (looks at their bags) What's in the bag?
Nemesis: (as if stating the obvious) Weapons, what else?
Nyx: We might need them, just in case. I'm guessing your bag holds the same.
Cosette: (grins) I never leave home without guns & a knife. (twirls her knife & returns it to the hidden sheath on her lower back, covered by the jacket that has a hoodie she was wearing) Still, didn't think you'd actually need more guns. Where'd you get them anyways?
Nyx: We'd rather keep a low profile, as we already told you. Plus, these are actually guns we made from spare parts that's not used. It functions like any other gun. (opens the bag a bit to show her, it looks like a customized assault rifle & a pair of handguns)
Cosette: I know the joy of toying with my guns. But enough chit-chat. We got work to do, so better get our asses on the damn ship so we can get this shit over with. (walks towards the hangar doors)
Nemesis: (walks alongside her) So I heard this group we're visiting used to be the one you led back in the day.
Cosette: Eh, they're a bunch of your run of the mill grunts, but they have their uses. Plus, some of them actually have brains, those I put in charge of more stuff so I don't have to overlook every single shit every single time. They help manage the rest of the idiots.
Nemesis: You seem to care for them quite a lot.
Cosette: Bah. They're just a bunch of assholes led by a few decent operators. They'll actually be able to do shit if they can get their fucking act together already. And they'd better do it soon, because I've had enough babysitting to last ten lifetimes! Seriously, I left them for 3 months, 3 fucking months & this happens! Morons can't do anything right...
Nyx: (looks at Nemesis with a raised eyebrow)
Nemesis: (shrugs) I rest my case.
Cosette: (enters the frigate through the docking door that was linked to Legion's hangar) Looks like we're all set. Time to head out, I need to put those morons back in line.

They entered the frigate which they will use for the mission, & after all of the required personnel boarded, the frigate detached from Legion. It moved a distance away before warping out, disappearing from sight & onto their destination which Cosette knows. From there on out, they'll need to get in quietly & follow Cosette's instructions. The Havoc organization was about to get an unexpected surprise.
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Location: Neutral Space, Sector 38A
Time: Present time

The ADF Frigate warps out & arrived at the agreed meeting location before they go to the meeting. There, 2 huge Dreadnoughts await, seemingly unique in design & even more advanced than what Antares owns as their flagship. They were told that there will be 2 vessels escorting them to the meeting place, however they didn't expect 2 dreadnoughts to be waiting there. It seems the ones who will be escorting them are a bit different than normal. Whalecow confirmed this when they were hailed by the 2 huge vessels & 2 familiar looking power armored men appears on screen, their faces concealed behind the thick metal helmet.

CIC: Incoming hail from the 2 dreadnoughts.
Captain: Patch them through.
Leon: [holo] You're here. Right on cue.
Ray: [holo] We'll be the ones escorting you to the meeting place.
Whalecow: Well, fancy meeting you here gentlemen. Didn't expect you 2 to be the one picking us up.
Leon: [holo] We're merely doing our jobs.
Ray: [holo] ..........
Whalecow: It seems we got off on the wrong foot during that first meeting... Allow me to apologize. That wasn't exactly the best first impression.
Ray: [holo] I don't care about that right now. We'll be moving to a world in sector 32C, Selentia III. You'll be docking onto the space station there & we'll go to the surface through a space shuttle. Still... didn't think you'd come here with a frigate. We were expecting that big ass ship you call Legion to show up.
Whalecow: Legion is currently busy attending to other matters. She's in good hands however.
Ray: [holo] Eh, not like it's our problem. We're assigned to escort you so we'll just do our jobs.
Leon: [holo] I suggest we cut the chatter short & you to align your vessel with ours. We'll be escorting you to the location.
Whalecow: Understood. We'll be in your care then.
Ray: [holo] Eh... (feed cuts off)
Leon: [holo] We'll warp out as soon as you align your vessel with ours. If you have any questions you can save it for when we get to the space station. (feed cuts off)
Whalecow: *sigh*... You heard the man, align the vessel with theirs.
Captain: Aligning. But damn... those vessels are big...
Whalecow: Looks like they don't cut corners with security & products.
Velora: Those 2 doesn't seem too happy with us.
Whalecow: (shakes his head) First impressions can be a bitch.
Captain: Heh, you can say that again...

The conversation cut short & the frigate was aligned with the dreadnoughts. The sheer difference in size was enough to make the crew on edge & admittedly rather nervous. But Whalecow & Velora stood firm, having gotten used to such things & having greater resilience. Not long after they aligned their vessels, the entire group warped out, headed to the world of Selentia III where the meeting would take place. Whalecow & Velora took great risk of coming out here with nothing but a frigate & no escorts, they only hope they can get back in one piece.

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Well, that's basically all I got for now. This took a long time because there are anchors for multiple points I needed to think through hard. Hope you enjoy it.
« Last Edit: May 18, 2016, 11:53:18 am by Void »
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.

Offline Whalecow

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #624 on: May 26, 2016, 06:52:15 am »
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It has been forever but I have finally managed to bring together the next bit of the plot and such. So, we'll do this as an Ava-response and Yi-background thing and then hopefully by next week I'll have the results and interludes typed up and ready to go. Enjoy!

It began with a celebration...
4 years ago.
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, West Central Neutral Rim.
GammaTech HQ. 2000 hours.

Yi sits at the table, puzzling. She looks out the window, back at the room, then to her parents. At last, she draws her unequivocal, most educated conclusion on the situation at hand. She is bored.

Yamota: (speaks to some random and apparently important man she’d never heard of) I’m sorry, Mr. Underhill, but the auction will not begin until tomorrow… if it does at all.
Underhill: (annoyed) Bah. You invite us out here to get your power armor and you don’t even know if you want to sell! How the hell did you stay in business this long?
Ifina: (interrupts with a calm voice) By selecting our clients carefully, Mr. Underhill. They must be ethical, well-connected… and be trustworthy, i.e. not using such an obviously fake name like “Underhill”.

The “Mr. Underhill” opens his mouth, finally gets the jab, and the closes it. He gets as red as a beet before turning and walking quickly away. As soon as he turns, Ifina looks at Yi and gives her a goofy smile and a conspiratorial wink. 16-year-old Yi giggles. At least mother was not as boring as most of the people here. In the center of the room sits several smaller tables, with the remains of the steak dinner on the plates of those that could not finish them. The delegates sitting all around had come for a shot at purchasing certain GammaTech prototype technology. Blades, projectile weapons… father had not yet decided on what to do with the Phalanx armor, but he would before the night was up. In fact, father would probably withhold every other item except on individual purchase transactions. The deals themselves, Yi knew, would range from sale of designs to simple right to buy when GammaTech made the products themselves. She sighs. Bored again. She attempts to mitigate her boredom by standing up and scanning the room for what feels like at least the 10th time. As her eyes move across the room, her ears pick up fragments of conversation.

Noble: (ticked, speaking in Ryuvian accent) …And that’s why you’re a disgrace to Ryuvia… to your birthright!
Alliance Captain: (rolls his eyes and yawns) There’s nothing you have that I could want, “father”.
Noble: (points to the purple-haired man nearby) And those socialist pigs do?
PACT Rep: (rolls his own eyes) …
Alliance Captain: The pigs are the ones rolling around in their own filth. (shrugs) Make of that what you will.
Noble: And all you do is shrug. Are you forgetting that you killed your bloody brother? Your own family!
Alliance Captain: (looks him in the eyes) It was to protect my crew. They are my family now.
Noble: F-ck your crew! You f-cked the future of your whole damn nation!
Alliance Captain: (getting annoyed) I think you and your “nation” should go and-
PACT Rep: (interrupts in a calm, collected voice) Comrade Whalecow. Would you mind getting us more vodka from the table?
Alliance Captain: (hesitates for a moment) Yeah… okay.
Noble: (calls after him) That’s right. Run away like you’ve been doing for the past 11 years!

The Alliance captain stops for a moment, clenching his fists, before unclenching them and wandering off. Yi quickly averts her gaze as he walks past her. Whatever was going on, she was frightened at the prospect of a man murdering his brother and showing no regret. As soon as he is out of her immediate sight, she continues her scan around the room. Leaning against one of the pillars is Yamota’s personal bodyguard, David. Next to him is Katelyn, the new girl from one of their offices further to the galactic north. The two talk, a complicated game of Katelyn receiving nonchalant and uninterested replies until she finally hits on David’s latest hobby. At last Katelyn mentions radio-controlled starships and that sets David off talking. They are both laughing their asses off in minutes. Yi smiles. David had always been polite enough to her, though in a decent sort of way. And Katelyn had practically been her best friend since she’d arrived a few months ago. Any time when she was not on duty and Yi was not practicing or studying, the two were practically joined at the hip.

Katelyn: I saw a nice Peregrine-Class fighter in the company store.
David: (grins) Have it.
Katelyn: And the Delta-Class bomber?
David: That too.
Katelyn: Jeez. What kind of raise did you get and how can I get one? (chuckles)
Yi: (smiles and speaks to herself) Just say please.

Katelyn apparently senses Yi’s gaze because she looks up and smiles. Yi returns it with a wave of the hand. Yi catches, out of the corner of her eye as Katelyn returns her attention to her crush, the Mr. Underhill from earlier speaking to a few armed men near the corner of the room. She frowns a bit, and one of the armed men looks up and whispers to Underhill. He turns to make eye contact with a glare so surprising that Yi gasps a bit before he leaves the room with his men in tow. She stares after them for a moment, until she is startled by a slight tapping on her shoulder. She jumps and quickly turns to find herself face to face with Uncle Song, a smile etched on his features.

Song: (laughs) Somebody’s jumpy today.
Yi: J-just nervous, I guess. (looks around the room) There are a lot of, uh…
Song: (interrupts) …Dangerous-looking fine ladies and gentlemen here?
Yi: Yeah, kinda.
Song: (grins) Don’t worry about them, kiddo. Your old uncle Song is here to keep you safe.
Yi: (hugs him) Thank you, Uncle.
Song: My pleasure, sweetheart. (releases her from the hug) Although you had still better be careful. A few of these people are dangerous.
Yi: Like Mr. Underhill.
Song: Where did you get that idea? These people are here because they are credible or work for credible individuals. I meant people like that Alliance captain. Got access to his complete records. Red all over them, and not the kind that can be attributed to fruit punch. Wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, and take my word for it. If anything happens, he is not to be trusted with keeping you safe. I will see to that responsibility myself, as vice chairman of the company… and as your (favorite) uncle!

Yi laughs as Song ruffles her short hair with a large hand. Her uncle nods to her, smiling, before walking down the steps and beginning to make the rounds with the crowd. She then hears the sound of a spoon being rung against a glass, turning to find her father giving the signal for everyone to “sit down and listen up”, as he liked to say. Yi returns to her seat and plops down in it, putting her elbows on the table, her fingers intertwined, and her head resting on the latter, staring up at her father. Of all the people she’d ever met, he was the only one that could make her listen to an entire speech and care about it no matter the topic. She enjoyed listening to her father speak.

Yamota: (clears his throat as the room settles) Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to thank you once again to GammaTech Headquarters, and thank you all in advance for the interest in our company. I will skip to the point. You are all here because my vice chairman Wang Song and I have decided to potentially sell our most advanced power armor frame design, the Phalanx. This will be the first time this product has sold, and it will most likely be the last. We do not sell to governments freely, however, but very rarely, and I will be deciding tonight who I may consider… if any of you… to take part in the auction. In fact, I only do this at the request of my brother. I apologize for the trouble, but… People say we are not inheriting this galaxy from our parents, but borrowing it from our children, and if that’s true, you do what you do with all borrowed things: Return it better than when it was received.

Yi mouths the last sentence to herself. By now, father was surely renowned for that statement. A screen comes down and  father starts to list off the existant and potential features of the power armor frame in question. Despite herself, her mind begins to wander as the technical whys and wherefores pass Yamota’s lips. By the time she was old enough to handle this company, that armor stuff would probably be long-gone.
Loss
Yi awakes with a start to find mother staring down at her and smiling playfully. She looks around to find the chamber empty, and Mr. Han the custodian sweeping the floor.

Ifina: (sighs) You fell asleep on us midway through the presentation. You didn’t have any of the wine again, did you?
Yi: (rolls her eyes) I keep telling you, mother. It wasn’t the wine last time!
Ifina: (grins) Whatever you say, dear.
Yi: Ugh. Anyway, where’d everybody go?
Ifina: To their quarters to wait for your father’s decision. I’ll be joining him as soon as I put you to bed, honey.
Yi: (sighs begrudgingly) Fine.

Yi drags herself off the table groggily and she and her mother head out the main doors and into the elevator. As it descends one floor, Yi at least says what needs to be said.

Yi: I was up late last night stargazing with Katelyn.
Ifina: Oh? What did you see?
Yi: (yawns) Constellations. Just the usual ones. The scarab, the arrow… (pauses for a moment) Katelyn said she saw something else, though.
Ifina: And what might that be.
Yi: (giggles) A whole crapload of star systems that wanna buy our sh-t.
Ifina: (rolls her eyes as the elevator opens and they walk down the hall) Well, she’s not wrong. Maybe it’s her way of encouraging you to… “reach for the stars”.
Yi: Mother. That’s horrible.
Ifina: Your father liked it.
Yi: He has to like it or you won’t cook his favorite pork chops anymore.
Ifina: Maybe.

The two hang a right at the end of the hallway and enter Yi’s bedroom, a good-sized space with a bed and small walk-in closet, among other things. Mounted on the wall near the bed are her 18-year birthday presents: a pair of foot-long metal sticks with a point on either end, a loop on the sides for the fingers so that they would fit on the inside of her hands. Something to earn, her father had said. Yi takes off her pants and top, crawling into bed as her mother approaches the nearby bookshelf.

Yi: Aren’t I a little old to be read to before bedtime?
Ifina: Maybe it’s just to make me feel better. Now what kind of story do you want?
Yi: Mmm… One about destiny.
Ifina: (smiles) And selling sh-t to the stars?
Yi: Maybe.
Ifina: (sits on the bed with the book as Yi finally settles herself) Okay, how about this one… “Jianjue Gongzhu”.
Yi: Don’t remember that one.
Ifina: I actually just had it delivered from off-world. A poor man on Ryuvia Prime had to liquidate his whole stock when his library closed. He should be fine for a while, though. I paid him enough for it. Heh. Ahem. On to the story.

As mother begins reading, Yi closes her eyes and imagines the story happening before her.

Ifina: In a land long ago, there lived a wise king and his wife, the queen. They loved each other, and they loved their kingdom. It was small, but prosperous, and the people were very kind. What they treasured most of all, however, was their daughter, the princess. She was the jewel of their life, and the light of all who lived in the palace. All except for her uncle, the king’s brother. He was jealous of the king, and his daughter, who would eventually gain the throne. So he hatched a plan to take the kingdom for himself. One night, when the kingdom was sleeping, the brother of the king sent assassins, who killed the king and his wife in their sleep. Next, the assassins came for the princess. However, she, unlike the rest of the palace, was wide awake. She had also been trained by her father in the way of the sword. She fought desperately against the assassins, and barely managed to escape with her life, running off into the nearby forest, bleeding badly from a stab wound. Eventually, she collapsed, able to go on no longer. Fortunately, she got lucky. Along came a small band of hunters and brigands, those cast out by society. They saw the princess’s clothes and realized the same had happened to her. They took pity on the orphan child and nursed her back to health in the forest. At first, she was frightened of these men that had killed both man and beast in the past, but they showed her an unexpected kindness. They had done those things by mistake, or by necessity… but they were shunned anyway. The princess had nothing left but her life… so she decided to gamble with it on this band of ruffians. She swore to them that if they helped her regain her throne, she could repay their kindness by restoring them to society. They agreed, as she knew they would. They entered the castle via a secret passage known only to the princess and her parents. It led to the throne room. As she stood there in the shadows, blade at the ready, her uncle approached with his personal guard, the likes of which she had never seen. Uncertain, she looked at her new friends, the forest ruffians. Their leader looked at her with a confident grin and a wink, betraying a confidence he perhaps lacked in his heart. But it was enough for the princess. She leapt from the shadows. Her uncle scoffed at her, proclaiming that she had saved him the trouble of hunting her down to secure the throne. Battle was joined. The new king’s men were strong, but the princess’s new friends were even stronger. Eventually they were slain, and her uncle pressed his back against the wall, begging for mercy. The princess knew in her heart that she couldn’t kill him, even if he had tried to hurt her. Seizing the opportunity, the uncle raised his blade to strike… and his head fell from his shoulders and rolled across the floor. One of the brigands had come to her aid. He knew the uncle had betrayed her and torn her apart, dishonoring her with no regrets. In the end, he had decided that his friendship with the princess… was worth doing even what she would hate him for to keep her safe. Ultimately, the princess understood this and was very grateful. The next day, the princess was declared queen, and she took the bandit that had saved her as her husband, not caring what he’d done in the past. All that mattered to her was what he had done for her. All that mattered for him was that she had given him the chance to do it.
Yi: (tearing up) And they all lived happily ever after?
Ifina: (closes the book and puts it back on the shelf) And they lived on together. And that’s good enough.

Yi sits there thinking for a long time. Eventually, mother sighs, gives her a kiss on the forehead and wishes her a good night, walking out of the room shortly thereafter.

----------
The evil king hauls off once again and Yi barely parries the blow. Her arm feels like it’s going to come out of her socket as he makes another wild slash. Her blade goes flying from her grasp.

King: (laughs evilly) You’re finished, princess!

Yi awakes from her nightmare as the dream-king buries his blade in her chest. She sits up straight in bed with a start, cold sweat all over her face. That had been awful. She shakes her head and sighs.

Yi: Lights.

The lights in the room turn on and Yi gets out of bed, walking toward the window and looking out in contemplation as she often does. In the distance, the factories are mostly dark, everyone but the managers having gone home for the night. Dark clouds collect overhead and a slight drizzle falls to the ground. She sighs again. She knows she’s got to grow up some time, but no one was rushing her, that was for sure. The future chairwoman’s eyes then focus on the weapons on the wall. As she had in the past on nights like this, she goes to the wall and unfastens them, quickly putting the loops over her fingers, effectively attaching one to either hand. She lets the cool adamantium pressing against her hands and arms comfort her for a moment before giving them a swing, little more than a short, quick stab in front of her. It was a difficult weapon to grasp, but she’d been training with replica, dulled emei piercers since she was a child. Perhaps she is still a child, she muses to herself as she settles into a fighting pose and begins a routine of her own design. The strikes, however, are those of a trained professional… not a child. Eventually, she is sweating and yawning so hard that she can barely stay awake. The scream she hears in that next moment, however, send the adrenaline rushing.

Yi: M-mother!?

She hurries to the door and is about to open it when a voice comes from the other side, hurried and gruff.

Man: We got the first two targets. You! Take care of the girl.

The sweat flowing down Yi’s body turns cold, and in a rush she turns off the light and flattens herself against the wall just before the door opens, light from the hallway spilling in. In walks a large, burly man with a helmet. Yi stares at him for a moment. Or rather, stares at her terrified reflection in the side of his shiny helmet. She finds herself able to act once more when the man turns to her, knife swinging toward her. And act she does. Yi launches herself at the thug’s throat, a piercer quickly breaking through his jugular. His scream of pain is muffled by the gurgling of blood as he throws her off. She hits the deck hard as her would-be assailant falls. Her vision swims and she struggles to get up as another man enters the room. She can only grunt as she is kicked hard and slides across the room, tears forming due to the pain. Her foe walks slowly toward her, and Yi looks down only to discover her piercers had been lost during her “flight”. Her murderer- she now thought of him as her murderer- reaches down, grabbing her by the throat. Up he hoists her, her vision continuing to swim. She barely feels when the big man slams the back of her head against the nearby window.

Man: (malevolently) Going to be unfortunate that Yi jumped out this here window to commit suicide after her parents’ deaths…
Yi: (choking) K-kack… M-my parents…!

She can say nothing more as the man commences with slamming the back of her head against the window, repeatedly and with extreme prejudice. Even while traveling in and out of consciousness, she is able to sense when the window gives way and shatters behind her.

Man: Heh. A pity really. Hundreds of years you’ve been in business, all to end in one… split… seco-

The man is cut off… when his head explodes. The unfortunate thug’s brains fly everywhere, including into Yi’s face. The dead man’s grip goes loose and she finds herself tipping backwards through the broken window. Suddenly, a hand grabs hers, and she is quickly hoisted back up, barely retaining consciousness. She is dimly aware of a man putting her arm over his shoulder and one of his arms around her waste to keep her upright. She also becomes conscious of the fact that one of the voices she now hears is familiar.

Alliance captain: (as he holds Yi) Nice shot, Smith.
Alliance soldier: (lowering the shotgun, chuckling) Good catch, sir.

Both groggy and terrified, Yi pushes the captain away and dives for her piercers, quickly putting them on and rising shakily to a fighting pose as the other two stare at her quizzically.

Yi: St-stay back!
Alliance captain: (raises his hands) Um… what?
Yi: Don’t play idiot!
Alliance captain: (smiles sadly) There’s never any playing involved.
Yi: Just shut up! You’re here to kill me and my parents… just like you did your brother!
Alliance captain: (sighs and shakes his head) I only did what needed to be done to preserve the lives of my crew.
Alliance soldier: Look, kid. It was him or us. And the captain’s brother was a murderous douche-bag. (shrugs) He chose us.
Yi: (shakes her head to stay conscious) Th-then why are you here!?
Alliance soldier: To save your life, genius.
Alliance captain: Had my first officer watch this floor. Was afraid something would happen. Just wish… we could have been faster.
Yi: (shakes her head for no reason this time and collapses onto the bed) You saved me… so I guess I won’t stab you. Wait… what did you mean “wish we could have been faster”?

The two look at each other for a moment. Eventually, the captain speaks.

Alliance captain: Yi… I’m so damn sorry. We got here too late. Your parents… your p-parents are dead.

Those words hit Yi like a freight train. It is several seconds before she catches up enough to cry, anguished tears of sadness and rage. When the captain tries to put his arms around her for comfort, she slaps him across the face, her rage winning out.

Yi: (shouts) You should have been here faster, you son of a B-TCH!
Alliance soldier: Hey, hey! Watch it!
Alliance captain: It’s okay. We SHOULD have been faster.
Alliance soldier: (bends down to inspect a corpse) What are we supposed to do now?
Alliance captain: Only thing we can do. Make sure the f-cking murderer pays.
Yi: I… I would like that. I w-want to kill them myself!
Alliance soldier: Kid like you shouldn’t have to do that. We’ll take it from here. Alliance law is clear on what should happen now.
Alliance captain: This isn’t Alliance space. We have no authority h-
Yi: Then as the next chairperson of GammaTech, I hereby place a bounty of… 100,000 credits on the heads of whoever the hell did this!
Alliance soldier: I still don’t know…
Alliance captain: Come on, Smith. We’ve played vigilante before.
Alliance soldier: (thinks for a moment) Okay, I’m sold.
Yi: Thank you… thank you so much… C-can I have your names?
Alliance soldier: (as he reads a small piece of paper) Chief Smith.
Alliance captain: Whalecow, SAC Hephaestus.
Yi: I’m Yi. Wish I could say it was a pleasure.
Smith: It’s about to be even less of one, darlin’… (hands Yi the paper)
Yi: (mumbles as she reads) Take care of Wangs, be quick. S-Song will pay well!?
Whalecow: (turns away and makes both hands fists) A traitor.
Smith: You still want his head?
Yi: (resolutely, coldly) He took my parents away from me. Even if he is my uncle, he needs to pay.
Whalecow: We’ll get on it then.
Alliance commander: (pauses at the door)  Captain! There’s been a break-in at docking bay A-3! One ship’s been launched, but a second is being assaulted now. Wish we had more ground support.
Whalecow: Velora! Who’s on that ship?
Velora: Probably a member of the CEO family. Accessible only to them. Should we give chase?
Whalecow: Yes. Have Lieutenant Commander Dereddi lay in a pursuit course. (thinks for a moment) Did Cosmos follow us here?
Velora: (grins) They’ve been shadowing us since Delaney III.
Whalecow: (smiles mischievously) Tell her if she returns with the VIP on that ship alive, there’s 100,000 credits for the taking. And if they get a little rough, I’ll throw in an extra thousand.
Velora: With pleasure. We better get to the docking bay, though. Seems a certain delegation is attempting to make a run for it.
Yi: Underhill.
Velora: Right. And we’re going to need all the help we can get.
Whalecow: (draws his blade) Say no more. On the way, call up Fontana and tell him to get his big red ass to the party. There’s prey to hunt.
Confidence. Solidarity.
GammaTech Detention Facility. 0200 hours.

The high-security doors close behind Yi as she proceeds into the facility’s atrium, past the nearby benches and potted plants to the reception desk, where a middle-aged woman who looked like she’d been awoken from a deep sleep less than ten minutes ago is sitting, rubbing her eyes frequently. The new GammaTech chairwoman looks to her right and left. Yes, the Alliance and two PACT soldiers are still there, as well as her own man, David. They’d been with her all night.

Yi: (walks up to the desk) Good evening, ma‘am.
Receptionist: (looks up for a moment as her sleepy eyes widen) Ms. Yi… are you okay?

Yi knows evidence to the contrary includes not just her bodyguards but also her  bloodshot eyes and near-immutable frown. After a moment, she finally manages to lie.

Yi: I’m doing fine. I heard you have a… a new prisoner that requires my attention.
Receptionist: Wang Song, madam. My child… I am so sorry.
Yi: (smiles sadly) Going to have to have apology boxes distributed all over the galaxy at this rate.
Receptionist: (shakes her head) I hope he gets what’s coming to him. Anything you do, you have my full support.
Yi: (nods) You are very kind, ma’am. I am glad you are here.
Receptionist: The guard here woke me up when everything went crazy. I am the only one currently working here with the ability to do all the logistical task-making for so many prisoners. Of course, the vast majority are going to the government for investigation, but we have special permission from the governor to question Underhill, his surviving lackeys, and Song.
Yi: Just Song will do. We know what Underhill was doing and his men are more or less just pawns. (thinks for a moment) Is there anyone else here for the interrogation?
Receptionist: (sighs) A young girl and a bunch of thugs came in earlier and handed Song directly to us, as well as a lot of his followers. They demanded to be there when you arrived to ensure they got their cash. They mentioned you by name. It was against procedure to let them in, but then an Alliance captain arrived and vouched for the riff-raff, so against my better judgment I let them all in. I hope that won’t be a problem…
Yi: Probably not. (shakes her head) I’m ready to see Song now. (turns to her guards) You four stay here.
David: Alright. But if you need anything, just shout.
Yi: (wryly) The walls are sound-proof, David.
David: I… have good ears.
PACT soldier: Be cautious, chairwoman. Don’t hesitate to do what you need to for answers.
Alliance soldier: Never thought I’d agree with a Red.
Yi: I appreciate your concern… but I will be fine.

Yi proceeds to the elevator, pushing the button for the lower level. The doors open and she steps out of the lift. As she walks down the corridor to the door at the end, she realizes what she’d become within the span of about three hours. She’d always had a bit of difficulty with decision-making, but now suddenly decisions came to her like a snap of the fingers. Something else bothered her as well. All her life, he’d been Uncle Song. Now, her mind sees her only as “Song”, a foe to be dealt with, a risk to be expunged. Or is that just what she’s telling herself? The fresh moisture collecting in her eyes serve as evidence to the latter as she finally reaches the end of the hallway and pushes open the door, the voices from those within suddenly audible.

Whalecow: …Because it would be unfortunate if you killed a ship-full of innocent pawns.
Girl: Anyone that died up there should have read into their jobs and saw that this Song f-cker was a piece of sh-t.
Man: (grins) Some employers aren’t as open or pleasant to work for as you, boss.
Girl: (sighs) Knock off the smile before I have to give you a second one, Cutter.
Whalecow: (laughs) Horrible time for a reunion, but- Ah, Ms. Yi.

The Alliance captain nods to her as she steps into the room. The “riff-raff” turn out to be a man of average height with a bit of stubble on his chin who nods as well, and a large, burly man that fixes her with a blank expression. The girl, however, puts a hand on her hip and raises her right eyebrow, unimpressed, as Yi approaches the one-way window.

Girl: So you’re the newly wealthy heiress. Hell of a way to claim your fortune.
Yi: Um… yes, I suppose…?
Girl: (shakes her head) Whatever… look, I know this night’s probably been sh-t for you, so I’m just gonna take my cold hard creds and get out of your hair.
Yi: We’ll… go up to the HQ and get your money right after this.
Girl: Okay, what’s the issue? Are you really so out of it?
Yi: Please forgive me… but I’m not exactly used to this. I know I’m going to be dealing with a lot of different people from now on, and I’m sure you’re experienced and good at your job… but you look like a child.
Bulky man: (grins slightly) Wrong move, girlie.
Girl: (unexpectedly ticked) And who the f-ck are you to judge!? You’re like a little toddler that just got ahold of mommy and daddy’s toys!

The odd and ironic feeling that Yi may be out of league with this kid is drowned out by a both sad and angered fury that she struggles to keep down.

Yi: F-ck. You.
Girl: I’m gonna-
Whalecow: No, you’re not, Cosette.
Cosette: (turns to him, hands already at her sidearm’s holster) And who the hell put you in charge?
Whalecow: The girl’s under my protection now. She won’t be touched.
Cosette: I should slit both your throats and be done with it… (sighs) After this is over then… Chairwoman Yi. (grins like a shark) Make the show good and maybe I won’t demand extra.
Whalecow: Just… be careful in there, Yi. I know his type. He’ll make it seem like his actions were justified… like he did it for your own good and that you mean the world to him. He’ll say you will fail as a leader. Don’t believe any of it. Not even for a second.
Yi: Okay…
Cosette: (bitterly) And if that doesn’t work, imagine the looks on your parents’ faces when he stabbed them in the throat.
Yi: I… y-yes, thank you.

Yi turns away from them then, toward the door. She keys her admin code above the knob and a light flashes green as her hands close on the knob and a retinal scan confirms her identity. She waits a full twenty seconds, taking ten deep breaths in and out as she imagines the others staring at her back. At last, she turns the knob and swings open the door. It swings shut behind her when she enters the room. There are several ceiling lights above her, and the walls are a bare silver-gray metal made of the same material as the small table and the chairs on either side. A small retina-encrypted compartment on the wall, she knows, reveals several tools for… more messy forms of interrogation when they are- if rarely- needed. She recognizes the man in the chair facing her as Song, though the bruises and cuts on his head and right arm inform her that Whalecow’s extra thousand was very well invested. The broken left arm that the cast now covers fills her with a sort of guilty pleasure, and she passively notes the restraints holding his good arm and both his legs to the chair.

Song: (grins pleasantly despite his wounds) Won’t you… have a seat, my dear?
Yi: (as she takes a seat) …
Song: (stretches a bit, wincing) The sibling-killer’s pirate friends did a real number on me. Also got three broken ribs in addition to all this.
Yi: …You deserve it.
Song: H-hey! That’s not the way to treat your favorite uncle!
Yi: That sibling-killer is a better uncle than you, and I met him 6 hours ago. (shakes her head) No family of mine would send assassins after me.
Song: (stops short) I… I didn’t want them to hurt you. I swear! I was only trying to do what’s necessary for the company. When I died, you were going to inherit the company anyway. Please… you have to believe me.
Yi: (pulls down her top enough to reveal the strangulation marks) …
Song: (with wide eyes) …
Yi: I also had to clean off my face to get the chunks of brain off of it. That Chief Smith sure knows his shotguns. (shakes her head) You’ll be lucky if you hang for this. And the company is mine now anyway.
Song: (recovers) And you think you’re ready? (chuckles for a moment) Not without what I needed to teach you. It’s going to fall apart the way your parents were doing it.
Yi: Because having a chairman that murders people in their sleep is the right way.
Song: Listen closely, child. Your mother and father were too soft. Yearly raises for everyone, extra money on quadruple-redundant safety protocols… Do you know how much cred we’re dropping double-armoring and triple-bolting our ships with only a slight price increase?
Yi: The company is prospering, Song. As it has for a thousand years before us. We… we helped humanity out of the damn dark ages!
Song: Maybe it’s prospering now… but nothing lasts. That softness only grows over time. I’ve seen it more times than I can count. In as little as a hundred years, GammaTech will be too deep in the red to ever come out again. And why? Because you believed in your parents and wouldn’t listen to your dear uncle who did what was necessary to keep you safe and secure. But I can help you avoid it, dear girl. Please… if you’ll just let me out…

Yi suddenly feels as if she’s having the worst migraine in her life. Then, she remembers what the pirate girl had told her. Almost unbidden, her parents appear before her, knives stuck in their throats. They utter no sound but look upon her as they had in life. There is no anger, no disappointment. Mother smiles at her with confidence, and father’s right hand, balled into a fist, rests on his heart. Solidarity. The images fade and she returns to the “real world” to find her right hand, emei piercer in place, resting beneath Song’s throat. At last, she finds her own voice.

Yi. NO.
Song: But think about the futures of everyone you’re throwing awa-
Yi: I SAID NO. I should kill you right now…

The sheer anger written all over her face fades, and is replaced by something else. Confidence. Solidarity. For the first time since her mother had kissed her goodnight just hours ago, a faint smile finds its way to her lips.

Yi: (quietly)…But then you wouldn’t live to see how wrong you are.
Song: Oh no… you can’t…
Yi: (louder) Captain Whalecow, please see to it that Mr. Wang Song is taken to a secure prison cell with a screen. He’s gonna watch the next hundred years or so and see just how right my parents were.
Cutter: (before Whalecow can respond) No. I’ll take him. Richter, let’s go.
Bulky man: Fine. (totes a shotgun) Untie the S.O.B. and let’s get cookin’.

Cutter nods and enters the room which Yi opens. He moves to Song and quickly undoes the restraints. As soon as the last one is undone, Song reacts violently, attempting to punch Cutter full in the face. The bulky man known as Richter raises an eyebrow as he catches the fist before it can touch Cutter.

Cutter: (smiles) Ah, good. You gave me an excuse.
Song: W-wait-

Yi decides she likes Cutter as he grabs hold of both Song’s shoulders and delivers a headbutt to the bridge of her uncle’s nose, spinning the now-dazed man and marching him out of the room.

Richter: (to Song) Cutter don’t like child-killers.
Cutter: You’ll be lucky if you don’t have an accident on the way to your new home, asswipe.
Whalecow: (to Cosette after the two have gone) You must be proud.
Cosette: Don’t tell them I said this or I’ll kill you, but I do genuinely enjoy watching them work sometimes.
Whalecow: (chuckles) Everyone has hobbies. A guy on third watch on my ship has a habit of making statuettes out of the teeth of slaver bosses. Got a gold one of the ship itself. Not a bad piece of work.
Yi: (forces a smile) Not also your dentist, I hope.
Whalecow: Hahahahahah. Nope. The anesthesiologist.
Yi: Oh… wow.
Cosette: Ugh. Hearing you two make small-talk is worse than getting teeth pulled WITHOUT the anesthesia.
Yi: Right. Your money.
Cosette: Kid catches on quick. Maybe you’ll do better than horrible after all. Maybe we’ll take some of your sh-t someday.
Yi: (shrugs) No offense, but could you afford any of our weapons?
Cosette: (grins) Who said anything about buying? (flatly) But don’t underestimate us. We could buy this planet out from under you if you gave me a week to get the cash together. But I won’t.
Yi: (wryly) How charitable of you.
Whalecow:  While you two ladies take care of business, I’m gonna go make sure Song is okay.
Cosette: Cutter and Richter are professionals.
Whalecow: (grins as he leaves) I’m more worried about your domestic staff.
Yi: Now… your cash. Follow me, please. Sorry about the “kid” thing.
Cosette: (waves a hand carelessly) Just give me the credits and I’ll let it go just this once. (after a moment) So out of curiosity… what’s next on the agenda for the big G-Tech? And don’t think I won’t be watching.
Yi: (responds after a bit, a small grin appearing on her face) We’re gonna sell sh-t to the stars.
The Legacy Of The Phalanx
1 Week Later.
Shrine. 1400 hours.

In the end, the mourners were many, Yi decided. Around her are gathered close friends and family, in which she included both the Alliance and PACT leaders. They’d both stayed with her this past week, giving gentle encouragement. She ponders what relationship the two actually had. For ideological “enemies”, they certainly worked together well. She shakes her head. None of her business, she thinks as she looks around. The good-sized group stands in a small, recently erected area of the Wang Burial Shrine in the middle of the forest, a buffet and tables set up a few yards away for after the ceremony. She focuses her attention on the young woman that approaches the podium, before which lay two opened coffins, within which lie the bodies of her parents. She’d gotten choked up the first few times, but now she can stare at their cold, lifeless eyes and feel nothing. Was there something wrong with her? The woman reaches the podium and turns the microphone on. It was Katelyn. Who else should it be? She’d stuck by Yi through all of this, no matter how forlorn and depressed Yi had gotten. Last night, they’d snuck out here and become sworn siblings in the old, traditional fashion, and Yi suspected she would never regret that decision.

Katelyn: Hello, dearly beloved. We are gathered here today to celebrate the lives of two of the best people this galaxy has ever seen. Their names are Wang Yamota and Wang Ifina. Together, the two of them brought prosperity to their people as the Wang family has done for more than a thousand years. And should the next generation of GammaTech be even half that which these two were… and I have no doubt this will be the case… I can easily see the company going on to prosper for another thousand years. They never wished for long goodbyes… (chuckles sadly) In fact, the both of them insisted against them many times over. So… from the bottom of my heart… I just want to say that all the people of GammaTech loved them dearly as our own mothers and fathers. I know I did. And they saw us as their children and treated us such. I also know that for their sakes, we will continue to love their daughter as we did them. And finally… may they find peace, and may their souls be caught up in and bring joy to the lives of a million planets, circling a thousand stars, and may they dance upon the solar winds.

Despite herself, Yi starts to cry again, as well as many of the assembled. She doesn’t stop as Katelyn thanks everyone for attending and leaves the podium, Whalecow shortly thereafter grabbing her hand and leading her to one of the tables. She finally sits down and manages to regain her composure with a recently acquired iron will. She sits there for a while, accepting sympathies, hugs, and pats on the back that were most likely sincere but all seemed hollow to her. Eventually, the crowd thins and even Fontana leaves, leaving she and Whalecow as the only two left at the table. Suddenly, his comm device beeps, and a look of surprise briefly crosses his face as he presses the button and a stern-looking, gray-haired Alliance admiral appears just above the device. Yi listens in while pretending to look elsewhere.

Whalecow: Ah. Admiral Grey. A pleasant surprise. You haven’t called in a while. How are the kids?
Grey: (rolls eyes) Your location. What is it?
Whalecow: Uh, sir? Weinan.
Grey: Still there? Didn’t hear anything about negotiations. How are those going?
Whalecow: Negoti- Oh! For the power armor, right?
Grey: What else would they be for? Tell me you’re concluding them with the new chairwoman right now.
Whalecow: W-well… we’ve sort of been working on keeping the company together and making arrangements for the fune-
Grey: Wasting your time! It’s fine to be helpful, but Alliance captains don’t have time to waste. War with PACT is inevitable, boy. We don’t have time for babysitting.
Whalecow: And suddenly you care about how we spend our time? Know what, forget I said that.
Grey: (annoyed) Get that armor by any means necessary, or you’re going to be out among the scum of the galaxy until the day you die.
Whalecow: Permission to speak freely, sir.
Grey: Yes, yes, granted.
Whalecow: (calmly) I’m not going to rob a child blind after she’s had her parents killed and she’s been strangled and nearly tossed out a window. And if you have a problem with that, you can kiss my ass.
 
Before the admiral can respond, the captain cuts the channel. He looks sheepishly at Yi.

Whalecow: Heh. Sorry about that, Ms. Yi. Not real popular with Alliance leadership these days. Well, I’d better be going. Got a lot of fringe that needs justice, equality, and blah blah blah.
Yi: (impulsively) You can have the armor!
Whalecow: (double-takes) Wait, what?
Yi: The Phalanx armor. Take it. I don’t want it. It killed my parents.
Whalecow: People killed your parents, Yi. People that have been dealt with. When the Alliance roars to life, it is a force to be reckoned with. In the end, they wouldn’t be able to properly develop the Phalanx because the necessity is just not what that would require. Save it for someone who needs it… someone who’s neutral and benevolent… someone like you.
Yi: (nods solemnly) Thank you again, for everything. If you ever need anything, just ask. GammaTech’s doors are always open to you.
Whalecow: (chuckles) Wish I heard things like that more often.

----------
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, Western AEGIS.
GammaTech HQ. Present Day.

In the end, Yi had spared Song’s life. Underhill was sent back where he’d come from, and he’d been reported dead due to an “accident” the following week. She’d never found out why Cosmos had been there, though her and Whalecow’s presence had been more than helpful. The Phalanx armor went back into storage, and remains there to this day. Most of Song’s surviving crew were cleared of suspicion and returned to work, and as weeks turned to months and months to years, it quickly became evident that Yi was every bit as capable as her mother and father had been, and stock prices showed it. She arouses herself from her memories to find Veronika’s glorious propaganda speech freshly concluded. She is about embarrassed at the realization that she’d pretty much daydreamed through the last 40% of it. Instead of blushing, she sighs as Legion’s first officer begins to scold the small woman.

Ava: I mean, what are we doing? We’re trying to do charity and we can’t just spout propaganda.
Veronika: Ach, is of no taste, Ms. B-tchy Ceran Lady. This film, is of classic.
Ava: (sighs and turns to Yi) I’m so sorry, chairwoman Wang. Veronika is… not from around here.
Yi: That’s alright. (grins) I find her mannerisms amusing, even if the presentation was a bit… dated.
Veronika: Not dated, is made with best of Far Far Away Modern Tecknowledgey.
Yi: I could find you a deal on equipment that would perhaps perform a bit better. We have a good selection.
Veronika: Is of thanking you, but that is something head boss KTKM must approve.
Yi: I see. Now then. (turns to Ava) You are here for the Phalanx, correct?
Ava: That is our mission, yes.
Yi: You must be aware of the reasons behind its being locked away? It could be dangerous in the wrong hands, and as you may know, people would and have killed to get their hands on it. I trust your captain well enough and I believe in the mission of this “Alliance for the Defense of Freedom”. I would like to give this armor base to you… but what can you offer me to assure me of the soundness of this decision?
Ava: Well. There are many reasons, but I’ll focus on the main ones to streamline things. As a small paramilitary force, the ADF will use them, and use them well. In addition, these would be the very first power armor the ADF is investing in, so it will likely by the basis for further development going forward. As you are aware, things are growing even more dangerous out there lately, and we desperately need additional technology and resources to keep up.
Yi: I hear you keep up well, Ms. Crescentia. Many planets have accepted your protection.
Ava: Correct, and we need this armor to help ensure their safety and the safety of the rest of the known galaxy. Even our veteran soldiers may not be up to all situations. (hesitantly) And… while the ADF does spend a significant amount of domestic and martial budget on GammaTech-made products, I think this would go a long way toward establishing a stronger relationship between us.
Yi: (nods) I would be more than happy to help fuel your mission. Will… that be all?
Ava: Originally I had charts… diagrams… a PowerPoint presentation… but the captain made me promise to keep it short.

Yi nods again and retreats back into deep thought, her eyes wandering idly out the window and toward the detention facility.

Yi: (turns back to the ADF reps) I greatly appreciate it, and have made my decision.
Inwhaleably yours,
Whalecow

Offline Whalecow

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #625 on: June 02, 2016, 08:45:56 pm »
And now I have a migraine...
PAC Providence, classified patrol route, Western Neutral Rim.
Bridge. 1500 hours.

Icari: …The f-ck!?
Claude: That’s what I said! …Well, close enough.

Icari glares at Claude’s face on the monitor with an expression of both shock and doubt. This is another Alliance trick, no doubt.

Icari: What idiot would bring back the Prototypes?
Claude: (grins) Here’s hoping his game makes up for his brains, whoever it is.
Icari: And Kryska… Kryska f-cking Stares… has just been convicted of high treason? (rolls her eyes) You came up with this piece of sh-t trap on your own, didn’t you?
Claude: Um… trap? I don’t follow, and usually I am pretty good with traps.

A handful of crewmen snicker on the bridge of the PACT carrier.

Icari: (sighs) Assuming I believe all this sh-t you want me to swallow… what the hell do you expect us to do?
Claude: I need you to come with me and help spring Kryska from that prison barge. It’s heavily defended, but maybe together we can knock it over?
Icari: Bullsh-t.
Claude: No, seriously. I called you because you’re the only other person I know who would help Kryska, (grins) since you and her have that thing.
Icari: (gets red for a second) Wh-what the hell, Claude!?
Claude: Oh, nothing~. I couldn’t call anyone else I know because they are all busy or incommunicado or bound by political constraints.  Please, you need to hurry. I already showed the readings I sent to you to Serenity’s fleet. Those that aren’t coming are ditching us and going down to the planet’s surface. Someone’s gonna tell someone else, and we’re gonna be under heavy time pressure to get this done. I took the time to call you up because I knew you’d help. Or… or I thought you would.
Icari: Constraints…? (shakes her head at the unexpected grasp of vocabulary) These images and readings could be faked. We could be destroyed upon arrival.
Claude: But… but… that’s not what’s gonna happen! I just want to get Kryska back! When she left, I got promoted to admiral. But I don’t want that. I just… I just want her back. Please… she’s… she’s the only one who will know what to do now… and I miss her.

Claude had always been emotional. But as Icari saw her there, head bowed and tears falling from her face, she knew it was serious. She looks around at her crew. 7 ships and thousands of crewmen, their lives all in her hands. When had she been saddled with all this responsibility, anyway? She closes her eyes. If this is a trap, those thousands could die in minutes. If this is legit… the action of a PACT fleet against an Alliance battle group. could spark an even greater ferocity in the war all across the Western Rim. She opens her eyes again, and realizes everyone is watching her. Hell. Are galaxy-altering decisions really made this short-notice? From a war of endurance against the Alliance to a shadow war against the new Prototype threat in 5 minutes or less. Icari nods as she realizes her own thought process had made the decision for her.

Icari: Fine. We’re in.
Claude: (lights up) Seriously!? YES! Thank you, thank you!
Icari: You can thank us after the job’s done. Just give us the coordinates.
Claude: Right! Sensors, get them those coordinates!
Alliance sensors: Ms. Trilleo? That’s communications’ job?
Claude: Ooooooooh. Then whose job is it to keep the internet working?
Alliance sensors: That would be technical department.
Claude: Huh. Well how about that?

Icari rolls her eyes in an old yet familiar long-suffering fashion as the intercept coordinates appear on-screen and Providence’s navigation officer notes them down. This was going to be one long mission…
Yi's decision
GammaTech Industries, Weinan, Western AEGIS.
GammaTech HQ. 1505 hours.

Ava: You have? Well, that was much quicker than expected.
Yi: How so?
Ava: I am told the Phalanx is impressive, that’s all.
Yi: It is, indeed. People have and may continue to kill for it. But business requires both intuition and decisiveness, something your captain knows all too well.
Veronika: And boss of Torpedo Dealer Group, too.
Ava: (rolls her eyes) Whalecow and KTKM are hardly similar.
Veronika: Like two sides of same capitalist pocket-change piece, like Smith said.
Yi: (raises her eyebrows in surprise) Smith? The security chief or the… other guy?
Ava: (hesitates for a moment) The captain said you could be trusted implicitly. Mr. Smith is the leader of the Phoenix Corps. We came at odds during our last operation and cost him nearly 65% of a Private Military Group.
Yi: (breathes out the name quietly) The Phoenix Corps…
Veronika: Is there becoming of problem, chairperson lady?
Yi: We have… a past. (looks at Ava carefully) Whalecow has talked at length about you when we’ve spoken. You are to be trusted as well. The Phoenix Corps… are the reason I am an orphan.
Ava: …!?
Veronika: Chert…
Yi: What… what is your relationship with those people?
Ava: He came to us with an offer. The captain and the other first officer are going to see what he wants. I didn’t want him to go, but-
Yi: (puts a hand to her temple) I just hope Mr. Underhill was an exception, and not the rule.
Veronika: This does not affect our chances of getting the shiny metal cans, yes?
Yi: (shakes her head after a moment, slowly) …No. I doubt your captain will come to a significant arrangement with them at any rate. He knows what they’ve done to me, even indirectly. He’ll make the right choice. Besides… (looks them both in the eye in turn) Faith and trust is not something to be discarded at the first sign of questionable circumstances or stress on the relationship. I have decided to provide the Alliance for the Defense of Freedom with the Phalanx armor design. They must, however, be purchased wholesale. Lend-leases are confusing business, and I am certain they will used more properly as fully ADF-owned material.
Veronika: What is price then, comrade Wang?
Yi: Mmm… We will sell them to you at cost. With adamantium armor, that’s still one hell of a sale. 2.93 million credits.
Ava: Damn, that’s-
Veronika: Sold. Pleasure doing business with you.
Ava: Wait, I was supposed to be in charge!
Veronika: Protecting from price markup, first officer lady.
Yi: (grins slightly) You two would make an excellent team.
Ava: I sincerely doubt that, madam chairwoman.
Yi: (shrugs) We’ll send a transport up with the armor bases. Once that’s done and the merch is paid for, they’re all yours. Give my regards to the captain, Velora, and Chief Smith. And I look forward to broadening the ADF’s use of GammaTech goods and services.
Ava: I am certain the captain would approve. Well… (gives a bow) It has been a pleasure. We’ll be going now, if you please.
Yi: (bows back) The pleasure was all mine.

Ava nods again and Veronika gives an old commie salute as the two turn to walk away.

Yi: (calls back) Oh, and Ms. Crescentia?
Ava: (stops for a moment) Yes, chairwoman?
Yi: I wanted to get even with Phoenix for months after the… incident. The reason I have been so successful since is that for the sake of my people and the people everywhere, I found a way to let it go.
Ava: I… see. Is this going somewhere?
Yi: (takes a deep breath and lets it out) I just wanted to share some advice. A little something of my father’s. “A peaceful future can be grasped only by those willing to forgive and move beyond the past.”

Neither Ava nor Veronika have any response to this, and instead they nod in unison and head out the door. It would be a long and quiet journey back to Legion for both of them.
Hunted
Sharr‘Lac, Mnemosyne Abyss.
Command level. 1510 hours.

Arcadius had been watching Chigara tap away at a panel labeled in ancient Ryuvian for the past 10 minutes as several metallic creaks sound from below them, about 15 seconds apart and each one coming closer.

Arcadius: (sighs) I’ll bite. What’s trying to kill me during THIS 15-minute interval?
Chigara: (keeps working) Ravager.
Arcadius: I’m guessing that’s not some sort of energy drink.
Chigara: (rolls her eyes) Leftover relic from ancient Ryuvia. One of the most dangerous things they had. Highly adaptable, heavily armed and armored with adamantium.
Arcadius: Guess there’s a reason it hasn’t found us yet.
Chigara: I’ve been encrypting the Sharr’Lac’s sensor data so it can’t use that to find us. It has to do its own scans by floor. Won’t hold it for much longer though.
Arcadius: And it between us and the hangar, huh?
Chigara: That is… (sighs) …correct.
Arcadius: Well… I’ve faced worse odds.
Chigara: When?
Arcadius: I’ll… let you know when I think of it.
Chigara: (rolls her eyes again) Wonderful. To get past it, we’re going to have to move fast. It’s already adapting to overcome the sensor encryption. I’ll rig up a program to keep doing what I’m doing, and if we time it so that the thing is as far away from the lift as possible when we go down it. If we’re lucky, we’ll reach the hangar before it breaks the encryption and learns our location.
Arcadius: (nods) I have a transport waiting. We’ll want to get off this thing as quick as possible.
Chigara: (hesitates for a moment) Alright. Get ready.

A few seconds pass, and as something below them creaks once again, Chigara presses a button on the control panel and rushes toward the lift, Arcadius on her heels. The lift car moves down at a seemingly very slow speed, and somewhere around halfway down, the two catch a brief glimpse of… something… facing away from them down a corridor.

Arcadius: What the hell was THAT?
Chigara: The Ravager that this station’s sent to dispose of us.
Arcadius: How many of those things are aboard?
Chigara: 7 more in storage, but I was able to remotely disable their activation function. Should be just that one and us.
Arcadius: That’ll be more than enough for us. We need to go, NOW.
Chigara: …

At last the doors open even as a muffled, agitated roar echoes down from somewhere above them.

Arcadius: Woah. Big daddy ain’t happy, is he, Chigara? …Chigara?

As the creaking noises resume coming down toward the hangar deck, Arcadius turns to find Chigara running at top speed across the debris-cluttered space toward a windowed hangar control room with a flight of steps leading up to it.

Arcadius: (runs after her as the noises of a furious Ryuvian war machine overhead grow steadily louder.) I am getting WAY too old for this…

He hurries through the door to find Chigara tapping at yet another keyboard on the room’s main terminal. Her brow is furrowed as she stares intently at the screen.

Arcadius: Chigara… what the f-ck!? We need to get out of here!
Chigara: No.
Arcadius: What do you mean, “no”? We’re going to get stabbed or shot to death or something if we stay for two more minutes!
Chigara: Then go.
Arcadius: What?
Chigara: (stops for a moment and exhales deeply before turning to look at him) I’m not leaving. If I go, someone will just come along and take all this lost technology. And then the galaxy will burn and it will be MY FAULT for allowing it to happen! I’ve locked the elevator down. You still have time.
Arcadius: We can come back with the ADF or something after we get out of here, we can-
Chigara: NO. I’ve been having communications. Ghost blips on sensors. I… have had visits in my dreams.
Arcadius: …Visits…?
Chigara: It’s the Prototypes! They’ve been haunting me since I came back, and the instant I and my defenses leave, they move in. Do you know what they can do with a Sharr’Lac!?

The room goes silent for an uncomfortably long time, save for the constant sound of crumbling metal from above.

Chigara: Exactly. And I don’t care if you don’t believe me, or if you leave me here or not, I’m not going!
Arcadius: How the hell are you gonna stop this thing then?
Chigara: I can hack the defense turrets in the hangar. There are a disturbing number of them. Hopefully enough will work to get rid of that giant metal beast. If not… (shakes her head) So go. Leave me. It won’t be the first time, and if I live through the next 10 minutes it won’t be the last. I-I’m done running!

Chigara turns from him and keeps working. After a moment though, she pounds on the terminal with both hands in frustration.

Chigara: It… w-won’t work! I-I’ve failed again…
Arcadius: (puts a hand on her shoulder) …
Chigara: (turns on him suddenly, in tears) WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE!?
Arcadius: I didn’t come to get some stupid technology or even another scientist for the ADF.
Chigara: …
Arcadius: I came to get you, Chigara.
Chigara: Why do you care? You left me before!
Arcadius: I f-cked up then, Chigara. I was careless, and the Prototypes got to me. But never again. I swear.
Chigara: …Fine. How do we do this?
Arcadius: (stares at the screen for a moment) Half the plasma coils are fried, and the other half are too heavily encrypted.
Chigara: So we’re going to die. Is that it? Like I said, I can’t leave.
Arcadius: We can replace the encrypted coils with the fried ones. Odds are the security measures have been burned out, but this type of coil is highly prolific and can still operate for a brief time even fried with a good jumpstart.
Chigara: Then what do we do with the fried ones?
Arcadius: We can take those from somewhere else. Odds are they won’t have encrypted all of the power sources in the room. But… (looks up at the ceiling) …all this is going to take time we don’t have.
Chigara: Well… I’ll just have to suit up and stall it in Liberty. (finishes with the terminal) I’ve managed to invert the defenses’ targeting settings. As soon as everything’s ready, just press the big red button to arm them. They’ll do the rest.
Arcadius: But… that thing could tear you apart!
Chigara: (grins slightly) Then I guess you’d better hurry.

Without another word, the two set about the task at hand. Chigara rushes out the door and practically flies down the steps while Arcadius pries open a floor panel to reveal a tangled web of cords, adapters, and fried and healthy plasma coils. His hands start to move, and he occasionally looks out the window to check on Chigara’s status.

Solomon crawls through the narrow ventilation duct, glad for once of his small size. He goes even faster as he thinks of the riot-ready slaves awaiting his end of the job with Fontana just outside the central compound’s gates.

Arcadius’s daughter unceremoniously drops her lab coat from her shoulders and pops the cockpit on her ryder.

His heart beats a mile a minute, freezing suddenly as his fingers grasp at an air vent just in front of him as he realizes he’s there. He draws his weapon, a small multi-tool, before unscrewing the air vent cover from beneath. It falls free and clatters to the floor, alerting the solitary New Imperial guard seated below him. In a flash, Solomon realizes he’d forgotten his weapon back at the slave barracks. F-ckf-ckf-ck he thinks as the guard turns his head upwards and his eyes widen in shock.

The maze of mechanical components is nearly impossible, and Arcadius finds himself taking up way too much time as Liberty roars to life.

Solomon: L-look out below!

The guard cries in pain when Solomon lands on him. In a desperate attempt to take care of this guy, Solomon hefts his multi-tool and drives the fine-point screwdriver into the guard’s neck. Blood spills everywhere as eh at last approaches the terminal. His goal, however, is the wiring and circuitry below.


Liberty’s laser cannon goes live, and a steady hum fills the air when Chigara kicks the rest of her “warhorse” into action.

The engineer rips open the access panel and stares in disbelief at the maze of wires and circuits. All he has to do is short out the right choice components and the gates outside would swing wide open. The multi-tool’s welding attachment ignites as Solomon contemplates which set it could be in the huge mess before him. Suddenly, an alarm fills the still air.

Comm: Prisoners rioting at the gate. Prepare the pepper-gas!

In a panic, Solomon touches the flame to a random component. He feels the worst pain of his life strike the right side of his face as red and orange engulf him.

A wall of the hangar tears open as the Ravager comes into view, a nearly 8-foot-tall monstrosity armed to the teeth and emanating an evil red glow from two “eyes” on its front.

Cries sound over the alarm when the first pepper-gas canisters strike the slaves just outside the gates. Solomon, right eye unable to open, tries to stand up, but collapses. He’d never felt so helpless in his life.

Arcadius can only look on when the Ravager cries in rage and charges toward Liberty, cannons firing from two of its arms. Liberty flies up into the air, only to be stricken by a blade of pure energy that forces it to the ground again. Chigara barely manages to get her ryder out of the way as a second blade slices into the deck where her head had just been.

The slave is weak as he crawls with both hands toward the still-sparking panel. Everything was barely recognizable after the explosion in the heat dispensation system. Solomon hears, faintly amongst the other cries of frightened and enraged slaves, a cry of help from Lynn. His face takes on an icy calm as he picks up the discarded multi-tool and the torch springs to live once more. And in that moment, everything else falls away.


The Ravager at last catches Liberty and slams it against a wall with a strength belying its relative size. It laughs in malicious triumph as it cleaves the broadcast dish from the top of the ryder.

Chigara: F-father! Help me!

His face takes on an icy calm as he retrieves the multi-tool from his pocket. And in that moment, everything else falls away.
Inwhaleably yours,
Whalecow

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #626 on: June 20, 2016, 08:44:55 pm »
Okay, been a while since I write, been busy & all that...

I've been given charge to write the visit, so I'll do just that, this will cover the visit to Phoenix Corps., on with the story.

===================================================================================
Visiting the Phoenix

Location: Selentia III, Near the Space Station
Time: Present Time

The 3 ships jumped out of warp, near the massive space station that was stationed above the world of Selentia III. The planet itself was grayish in color, but has its own unique charm. Half of the planet was water, but those were transparent & whitish with a touch of gray in hue, though considering that some other planets have different hue in color in terms of oceans other than blue, it's not all that strange. The ADF frigate was given clearance to dock at docking bay 42F, which was one of the docks for accommodating the smaller vessels, while the 2 Dreadnoughts that escorted it need to dock at a different docking bay due to its size to prevent blocking other vessels. After 10 minutes, the docking procedure was finished & the ADF reps stepped out into the space station. As they look around a bit, 2 figures which was their escorts approached them, & their attention was directed to them.

Ray: Well then, now that the ship's are docked, we can finally get something to eat.
Leon: If you'll follow us then. (gestures towards the large hallways)
Ray: One of my Majors will show your crew the way to the food court. There's already a lot of refreshments prepared for them as well. Tonight's menu is a special buffet, says the chef. (gestures at his subordinate that was also fully armored, & he heads to the ADF crew to show them where they can get their refreshments)
Whalecow: I hope the food is as magnificent as the space station.
Velora: You'll have to excuse the captain. Sometimes he has a one-track mind.
Whalecow: Says the lady who stayed up until 0400 hours breaking the record for most Eldar killed in one session.
Velora: And I did it too.

They were escorted deeper into the station after that brief remark. They walked into the main corridor, then gets on a moving thread. The hallways inside were have simple but elegant designs, & the lighting gives a calming ambiance. They saw several other guests moving about, looking at the stores & going about their own business. There were also a few soldiers here & there, who gave a brief salute when Ray & Leon passed, to which they just gave a wave to them to be at ease. They soon reached their destination, an automatic double door that leads to the restaurant & bar. It was a huge place, with many people eating at the many tables, waiters & waitresses moving about, serving the guests & taking orders. The area was huge, with many tables along with waiters & waitresses moving about, taking orders & delivering food & beverages on both the first & second floors. Whalecow & Velora was escorted to a nice table on a balcony on the second floor overlooking the huge first floor, with a window on the side with a magnificent view. Meanwhile the rest of the ADF crew took their own seats elsewhere on the first floor & are already looking over what they'll eat, most likely having their hunger made worse from all the delicious food & beverages lined up for them, even including beers, cocktails & wine.

Leon: A waitress will be with you shortly. You can take your time, the chairman told me the meeting won't start for another 2.5 hours. Enjoy your dinner.
Ray: We'll take a shuttle down to the surface after you're done here, which is only a 10 minute trip. (motions to Leon) Come on, let's get something to eat, I'm starving... (leaves with Leon)
Whalecow: (sighs) Well, pack it up, Velora.
Velora: Why?
Whalecow: They know my weakness: Good food and a formal setting.
Velora: (laughs) I will help you stay strong, sir.

The waitress was with them not long after, bringing 2 holo pads that contains the menu.

Waitress: (approaches them with a small smile) Good evening, ma'am, sir. May I take your order?
Velora: (nods at her then takes a look at the menu) Mmm... There's quite a lot of choices...
Whalecow: (looks over the menu) I'll say... Quite the impressive selection you got here.
Velora: (looks at the waitress) Anything you'd like to recommend?
Waitress: For tonight's special we have Bourbon Glazed Far Port Salmon with a side of asparagus with our special sauce & mashed potatoes along with mushroom cream soup, other than that there's the Special BBQ Porkchops with a side of pasta & panini bread along with special seasoned salad, & last but not least we have the Red Wine Fillet Mignon with a side of garlic bread & mixed seasoned vegetables along with seasoned potato wedges. Which would you like?
Velora: (thinks for a bit) Hmm... that's quite the choice... I think I'll have the salmon.
Waitress: 1 Bourbon Glazed Far Port Salmon. And for you, sir?
Whalecow: Would you happen to have cheeseburgers, miss?
Velora: (grins at him) Cheeseburger?
Whalecow: A good cheeseburger is an excellent meal.
Waitress: (smiles at him) As a matter of fact, yes. How would you like to have it done, sir? We can customize the dish to your liking.
Whalecow: "The dish". Fancy. Alright. Single patty. Pickles, lettuce, ketchup... medium-rare, please. Steak fries on the side. Oh, and cheese.
Velora: It's a cheeseburger, sir. It comes with cheese.
Whalecow: Oh. Heh... sorry.
Waitress: (puts down the order in her holo pad) 1 Cheeseburger, medium rare, & complete filling. For this dish we have sides of steak fires, & the set includes fresh seasoned salad as well as beef nachos if you wish.
Whalecow: Make it so.
Velora: (grins and rolls her eyes)
Waitress: Would you like to order an appetizer as well?
Velora: No thanks, that was already quite a lot.
Waitress: Very well, what would you have for your drinks? May I recommend some fine wine? We have a large selection.
Velora: (grins a bit) Do you have Arcturian selection?
Waitress: We do, in fact we just restocked them last week.
Whalecow: Anything from Arcture 91-94 will do.
Waitress: (inputs the order) Would there be anything else?
Whalecow: Nah, that should be enough. How about you, Velora?
Velora: (puts down the menu) I'm good.
Waitress: Very well, your order will be here in 20 minutes tops. If you would like to order anything else, feel free to press the call button in the side of the table. If you'll excuse me... (leaves to place the order & get the order of wine)
Velora: (after she has gone) medium-rare? It will still be moo-ing.
Whalecow: (chuckles) The thrill of the hunt.
Velora: Us, joking over wine. What do you suppose Ava would say about this?
Whalecow: "Idiot. Of course the cheese burger comes with cheese. Must I order for you?"

Velora merely laughs at the surprisingly spot-on impression.

Whalecow: I've had wine with her a couple times. I don't see a problem.
Velora: If you say so, sir.

The waitress soon returned with the Arcture 92 wine in an ice bucket on a moving cart tray. She put 2 glass on the table, open the cork of the bottle, then pour it into the glass & puts the bottle in back in the ice bucket afterwards. She then put a candle on the side of the table, the second floor was more dim, so it created a nice ambience. Lastly she put a small bowl of cashew nuts on the side for snacks.

Waitress: (bows slightly) Enjoy your evening. (leaves to go back to work)
Velora: Awfully friendly here, aren't they? In a professional way.
Whalecow: I don't know. I always preferred behavior that was a bit more loose.
Velora: You mean like that time on Tydaria Prime when that waiter spat in your wine?
Whalecow: (grins fondly) I'm sure it was just a garnish.
Velora: I wonder if they expect us to be so formal here.
Whalecow: I don't intend to spit at any point, if that's what you mean.
Velora: Eh... not exactly. But lets forget about that. (raise her glass) Cheers.
Whalecow: (does the same) Cheers to you as well, milady.

They clinked their glasses before taking a sip. They spend some time idly chatting as they wait for their order to arrive. It wasn't that long after they chat idly that their food arrived. For one thing, the portion was generous, & both looks & smell are apetizing. The faint steam was still wafting due to the food just being brought out of the kitchen.

Waitress: Here are your orders. (puts Velora's order in front of her) Bourbon Glazed Far Port Salmon with a side of asparagus with special sauce & mashed potatoes along with mushroom cream soup. (puts Whalecow's order in front of him) & A cheeseburger, single patty, medium-rare, with steak fries on the side & fresh seasoned salad as well as beef nachos. Please call me if there's anything else.
Whalecow: Thanks. What's your name, by the way?
Waitress: (blinks at him in a bit of a confusion) Pardon?
Whalecow: Your name, though that's if you don't mind...
Waitress: (blinks in surprise) Huh... it's Cecilia... Why do you ask, sir...?
Whalecow: Well, I was on my way to meet with Mr. Smith, and I wanted to recommend you, that's all. Oh, I'm Whalecow. A pleasure to meet you.
Velora: I'm Velora. Hi.
Cecilia: (a bit flustered) That's not really necessary...
Velora: It's fine, you're doing a pretty good job. It's only normal.
Cecilia: (a bit perplexed) Oh, uh... Thank you. The pleasure's all mine. I'll be nearby if you need me then.

She bows slightly, then left towards the bar stool not far from there to take an order of drinks for the other guests it seems, where Ray & Leon are sitting, Ray playing with his peanuts by throwing it in the air & catching it with his mouth, & Leon just reading some news feed while drinking his cocktail. They had their helmets off which seems to be folded to the back & side of their neck. Leon had short dark blue hair & amber eyes that has a calm yet cold gaze to them, while Ray had short, slightly messy & slightly spiky brown hair, with sharp blue eyes that was gazing lazily out to nowhere in particular, his eyes however held a sharp glint in them, akin to a predator.

Whalecow: (takes note of Ray and Leon and grins a bit) Feels like looking in a mirror. Of another time.
Velora: You mean when you and Spy used to "go out on the town" before the war.
Whalecow: Right. When he WASN'T trying to kill us.
Velora: We made it fine.
Whalecow: Heh. Best to keep it up.

As he says that, his gaze idly drifts to the nearby window, where a beautiful view of the planet below greets him. Velora nods and looks there as well.

Velora: You don't need to tell me twice.

They continue to enjoy the remainder of the evening along with the view & the great food that was served for them. The food was indeed excellent, & seeing as half the guests on the first floor are wearing armor, most likely the private military in charge of this area, it seems this is the standard of the station around here, which doubles as a resort. Cecilia came occasionally to refill their empty glass, & not long after they finished with their dinner, she came by again to pick up the empty dishes & once again refill their glass.

Cecilia: I hope you enjoyed your dinner. Can I offer you some dessert for the closing?
Whalecow: Nah. I think I'm good.
Velora: None for me either, thank you.
Cecilia: All right then, I'll clean up the table for you then. (cleans up the empty plates) Have a good evening you two. (leaves with the tray)
Whalecow: (after she has gone) Is this a place where you leave tips?
Velora: Um... hard to say. I think they must just be given a set wage and then give free service. They probably already have high wages along with accommodation, so I don't know.
Whalecow: Well, I'll just give it here then... (swipes his card containing credits on the device on the side of the table, 20 credits was transferred to Cecilia as a tip)

They spend the time after their meal after that in relative silence & relaxation, enjoying the view from outside while waiting for their escorts. A short moment later, Ray & Leon approached them.

Leon: (nods at them) I see you're done with your meal.
Ray: (mumbling to himself) Phew... that hit the spot.
Leon: There's still 40 minutes before we have to leave, so if you need to do something else, now's the time.
Whalecow: We can leave early then. Wouldn't want to keep our host waiting. I'll have to thank him for the accommodation, it was excellent.
Velora: Yeah, I'm pretty much finished here as well.

Leon just nodded & he & Ray proceed to escort them to the hangars where they'll take a gunship down to the surface. They moved to the other side of the station using a hover platform, passing by several stores, & Whalecow made a mental note to get some souvenirs before he heads back, as some of the items sold where quite unique. Once they got off & moved closer to the hangars, they can see several PMC soldiers in what looks to be power armor. They were probably the personal PMC soldiers led by Ray & Leon. They soon reached the gunship & proceeded to enter, before it took off shortly after & headed to the surface. The trip was uneventful to say the least, & in 20 minutes they reached the surface, where a car was waiting. They got off the gunship & was escorted to the car, which was an armored limo guarded on the front & rear by highly advanced tanks. It seems these guys don't play around when it comes to security. Not long after they reach a sky scraper, & the limo stops in front of the lobby where a staff opens the door for them.

Leon: (walks out of the limo) We're here.
Ray: (walks past Leon) Don't start unnecessary trouble around here. (contacts his comms) Claire, they're here. We'll be up there soon.
Whalecow: Thanks for the escort. Was even better than that visit to Ongess during the war.
Velora: I feel I should qualify that statement. We were treated like royalty there.
Whalecow: Well, that's relative to pirates, though.
Leon: We're just fulfilling our duties.
Ray: Come on, let's go. (motions with his head, then enters the double doors leading into the building)

They entered through the large automatic double doors on the front & followed Ray & Leon to the elevator. There were a few other power armored soldiers patrolling & they gave a salute when Ray & Leon passed before going back to their patrols, some of them gave a glance to Whalecow & Velora, but their expressions can't be seen due to their helmets covering their entire head. They reached an elevator, & once they entered Ray inputted a code & scanned his armored hand before the elevator moves quickly upwards towards the 50th floor, where their destination lies. They exit the elevator once they reached the designated floor, & continued to follow the 2 escorts until they reached a double door guarded by 5 power armored PMC soldiers. The guards give a salute to Ray & Leon once they got close. It seems this was it.

Leon: At ease. (turns around to Whalecow & Velora) The chairman is already waiting inside alongside the Chief of Staff.
Ray: (turns around to them as well) All right. This is it. I'm gonna tell you this now, he's a busy man & not many are actually invited to meet him in person, so you better be on your best behavior.
Whalecow: Yes, I can imagine. It is an honor.
Velora: We're not going to suck up, are we?
Whalecow: It's just that he's in control of a large portion of the galaxy and probably has other things to spend his time with.
Velora: (sighs and looks at Leon) He still addresses Admiral Grey as "sir".
Leon: (stares at them, then at Ray)
Ray: (stares back at him, then looks at them) You mean that Alliance Admiral? (shrugs) Well, none of my concern.
Leon: We should head in (turns towards the door with Ray) If you 2 have questions you can ask them inside. The Chairman can answer them better.

The 2 of them nods, & with that the guards move aside to let them pass. Ray & Leon gave the bell a press & was told to enter immediately after. The doors open & they entered into a private office. It was large, but not overly huge. It was about the size of a large living room, or more like a large apartment flat. On the right side was a bar table along with several bottles, a kitchen & a fridge. On the left side was a long couch along with 2 arm chairs surrounding a large table, on the opposite side of the couch was a fireplace. The office itself was not extravagant or luxurious. Instead the design was simple, but elegant & professional, a perfect place to give a relaxing atmosphere & for discussion. It was a comfortable work place, & seems like it could double as a very nice apartment, & looking at the furnishing that doesn't seem too far off. On the center at the end of the room was a large work table, which seems to have advanced computer technology integrated in it. There was 2 armchair in front of the table, & behind it was a man sitting on his own armchair, he had neat dark brown hair brushed to the back, with a well maintained mustache & goatee beard, he had garnet colored eyes & wore an elegant business suit, & on his face there was a diagonal scar that runs from above his left eyebrow to below his right eye, crossing the bridge of his nose, he looks to be around 30 physically, though that could mean he's somewhere around 60 in chronological age. Next to him sat a beautiful young woman who's in her early 20's, with wavy golden brown hair that reached her lower back & deep violet eyes, she was looking at the data pad that she just finished showing to the man.

Leon: Sir, we've brought them.
Ray: (mumbles) Still think is a bad idea...
Chairman Smith: (smiles as he sees them, then stands up with his arms open) Ah, welcome! I've been expecting you. Hope these two were treating you well.
Whalecow: They are both excellent at their jobs. (chuckles) Unfortunate that they work for you and not the ADF.
Chairman Smith: Well, I'm glad they treated you well. They are my best, after all. Perhaps you'll have a chance to be able to work with them still.
Ray: (takes a seat on the armchair next to the fireplace)
Leon: (merely nods to the chairman & takes a seat at one of the bar stools)
Chairman Smith: (gestures at the 2 seats in front of him) Please, take a seat.
Whalecow: Pardon to the intrusion then. (takes a seat at one of the 2 chairs)
Velora: Excuse me. (takes a seat next to him)
Chairman Smith: (sits back down) Can I get you anything? Tea? Cofee? Or perhaps some cocktail if you'd prefer a little alcohol?
Velora: Thank you, but we're fine.
Chairman Smith: (nods) I hope the accommodations was enough for you & you companions. How was your evening?
Whalecow: It was excellent. In fact, I would like to recommend Cecilia, a waitress for... I don't know, a raise, a promotion... whatever is coming to her.
Claire: I'll be sure to keep that in mind...
Chairman Smith: I'm glad to hear that. I suppose a proper introduction is in order. You've already known me, but this here is my trusted Chief of Staff. (gestures at her)
Claire: [curt] My name's Claire, pleased to meet you.
Chairman Smith: She's in charge of the staff from bottom to the higher ups, & she also takes care of important tasks that ensures the continuation of the corporation as well as a good working environment. You have Claire to thank for the evening, she's the one who set the accommodations. Efficient as always.
Whalecow: Pleased to meet you, lady Claire, I'm captain Whalecow of the FSS Legion. This here is my first officer.
Velora: (nods at them in greeting) Names Velora, first officer. Pleased to meet you.
Chairman Smith: Now then, I know you've answered by call from back then, but I'm sure you have questions of your own before we proceed?
Whalecow: Well, we do have a few questions... But it's best to let you fill us in on what we need to know.
Velora: On that note, what is it that your corporation do anyways?
Chairman Smith: That's a broad question... but I'll summarize all the important parts to keep it short. Claire, if you would?

She nods & inputs data on the holo pad she's holding. On the large table several holo images appear, each providing important images & some list of their top products as well as achievements. Successful colonization, improvements in home security, high quality products for reasonable prices, job offers with high salary & good working conditions, preservation of natural resources, reduction in wastes & pollution, & several more.

Chairman Smith: What is it that we do... to put it briefly, what we made is generally to better the lives of our customers, & to make things easier for them. We open job offers for people who seeks them, we recruit talents to help expand our corporation further & of course gives appropriate compensation as well as facilities, & in several cases may even help people achieve their dreams.

The image rotates & shows another one, one of Phoenix's prized services, their elite PMCs.

Chairman Smith: Among our most prized services is our many PMC branches. We offer contracts at appropriate prices for their excellent service. Our PMCs have been well received as very reliable escorts as well as elite military powers, & some branches have gain reputation as fierce pirate hunters & counter-terrorist. Other than that, we also offer the latest in technology to improve protection & security, which is what many needs right now seeing the current state of the galaxy.

The images rotates again, this time looking at multitudes of offers for jobs with very good deals. Whalecow & Velora can see why these offers aren't easy to resist, very few others are willing to offer something like this, & even then the slots are limited.

Claire: Our employees are taken from across the galaxy, we seek for the finest to continue bettering our corporation as a whole as well as creating a better society to live in. The areas owned & managed by our corporation seeks to create a thriving civilization, one in which those living among them can experience a generally better lives.
Chairman Smith: And of course, last but not least... (rotates to the final image, which then pops several other images which contains several logos) Our prized charity organization. You see, captain... Our corporation exists to recruit talents, & we use that talent, to build something. Something big, innovational, revolutionary, but most importantly, unbound. When I started building this corporation, I had to do so from the bottom, struggling & building it stone by stone, piece by piece... And through the help of the talents I've gathered, we succeeded.
Whalecow: (looks at all this & ponders) And you want us to be a part of this. Why?
Claire: There has been rises in corruption that's causing trouble, something which any corporation suffers from at some point, not to mention the lack of balls from our personnel lately. He's looking for someone with talent, someone who have what it takes to go through even very difficult decisions. This corporation exists to make a system that can help where ever it reach prosper.
Chairman Smith: And you & your men seems to fit the bill. (points at them) It's rare to see someone with such nerves of steel. You have recently shown that by diving straight in the middle of a massive fire storm. Not many I know can make an on the spot decision like that, many considers that suicide. Of course, if you decide to join, like I have offered you before, you will receive abundant facilities & resources, along with more than adequate salary & compensation for your services. Heck, I might even put you up as the new division head for the charity sect, since that seems to be your field, it's been deteriorating lately, & none of the personnel the Human Resources scrounged up can fix it. But you, you could be the person we're looking for...
Whalecow: (grins) I'm glad you recognize what our people can do. There are few that would do so.
Velora: (quickly after Whalecow stops talking) ...What did Grey have to say on this topic?
Chairman Smith: (raises an eyebrow at Velora's question) ...Pardon?
Claire: (stares at her a bit strangely as well)
Velora: When I mentioned Grey on the way here, Ray and Leon had an... interesting reaction. And I sincerely doubt someone such as you would pass up the chance to deal with such an important individual. And he rarely passes up a chance to complain about our work whenever he can, to be honest.
Whalecow: (looks at Velora for a moment, then at Smith.) ...What did he say? (commences Grey impression with sufficient skill) "Watch out for that communist, democracy-hating silver-tongued snake!" (he grins a bit after his impression and rolls his eyes, most likely at how predictable Grey had become lately)
Ray: (perks up at that) Huh... interesting lady friend you got there... What, former specops or something along those lines? What is this now, some mind games?
Claire: (eyes narrows slightly at that mention, her mouth remains a flat line)
Chairman Smith: Ray, please. They're guests. (looks at Velora) We have many branches, spanning all the way to the Neutral Rim, some of PACT territory, & even the Alliance & Solar Republic to a degree. So yes, I've had a dealing once or twice with the Admiral you mentioned. But he was just another client out of many, an important person still, but a client nonetheless. Still, I don't really get what this has to do with our current business.
Whalecow: She's just protecting the ADF, sir. The good admiral does not carry a fondness for us, and has an issue with Velora in particular.
Velora: He's got a few more skeletons in the closet than the next military officer of equivalent rank. And yes. (turns to Ray) SpecOps.
Ray: Meh. (leans back on his seat, losing interest)
Leon: You'll have to excuse him. He's just like that in regards to security.
Chairman Smith: (looks back to Whalecow & Velora) Hmm... Yes, so I've noticed... the Admiral indeed has... a few interesting skeletons, as you call it. But you won't have to worry about him to make your decision. I doubt he'll be bothering us any time soon.
Claire: That, & I sincerely doubt he wants to start a huge scandal. Attacking independent worlds & organizations, especially when said organization is the life-line of many worlds economy, is not a good way to maintain his reputation.
Whalecow: Heh. We both know it all too well. (He pauses for a moment.) Before we go any further, I feel I must apologize for that... incident... last week.
Ray: Oh, like turning our own men against us? Yeah, that went reaaal well... (slumps in his seat & crosses his arms)
Leon: .....
Chairman Smith: (raises an eyebrow at that)
Claire: (remains impassive)
Whalecow: Understand that, we were operating with incomplete information. I said earlier that I usually ask people to fill in their own blanks before asking any questions. But in that case I was getting nothing.
Velora: We warped into the sector to find a science expedition under assault by a group of mercenaries. Those ships would not have lasted long.

The astute observer would notice an odd and sudden change in Whalecow. He sits up straight, and his "diplomacy hat" is donned.

Whalecow: As for "turning your own men against you"... were they really yours? The heart ruled by fear is easily turned. While perhaps I may have jumped to a conclusion about the situation... I firmly believe that respect and kindness is what moves mountains. I will not apologize for the actions that I and the ADF flotilla took... but I do apologize that we found ourselves significantly at odds with one another. First impressions can be bitches, you know.
Chairman Smith: "Rule by fear". Is it really? I gave them everything they requested & this happens... It was... a very grave disappointment, what they did.
Claire: They're already fired, & they themselves know why. End of story. If they didn't tell you why, that's not exactly our concern anymore, we've already cut ties with them.
Leon: They signed up for it, they went, they failed. But the reason they were out, is breaking their own contract, the core regulations that they know by heart. Simple as that.
Ray: The other problem lies in that they decide to point their fucking guns at their own reinforcements. (throws up his arms in frustration) I swear, people these days... Guess they're not as "professional" as they claim to be. Tch, shame... they had a lot of potential too...
Claire: The reports I received weren't good either. The rest of the Antares branch that returned instead of deserting were... very unhappy to say the least, & for good reason. I have a feeling there will be a lot of friction with their former comrades who deserted them.
Whalecow: Then it would seem I was incorrect. Again, I apologize.
Chairman Smith: (waves it off) But still, we didn't exactly get the other side of the story. What truly transpired back then after that fiasco? All I got is the reports from what Ray & Leon could gather.
Velora: Story time. I guess we knew this was coming.
Whalecow: Too bad. I was hoping they would ask about that time when Nozomi masqueraded as a princess.
Velora: The greatest con in the recent history of cons, that was.
Whalecow: (looks at Smith) Ahem. Right. Where should I begin?
Claire: Maybe the part after Ray & Leon left.
Whalecow: Right, after that... It was as chaotic as a post-battle scenario could get. We had to get the Antares PMC out of the alien battle lines. The Kamisho fleet was simply in a panic. The Gilldar were waving their cannons at anything that moved, including Legion, which had suffered heavy damage... Eventually the Kamishos managed to warp out and the Gilldar followed them, leaving us sitting there and hoping we could get a decent night's rest.
The four of them remained silent, some with raised eyebrows.
Claire: Ka... what...
Leon: Perhaps the aliens they faced.
Claire: Right...
Chairman Smith: So nothing of interest really happened then... Well, I don't want to dwell into this further, so let's just leave it behind. But still, about my offer for you to join in our ranks, what say you? My offer still stands. It might be a bit... stiff at first due to past circumstance, but I'm sure we can manage. You can even choose which departments you wish to be assigned in.
Claire: And in case you're wondering, not everything involves doing "dirty jobs" unless you actually sign up for it. Of course, there will be some regulations you would need to follow.
Velora: (whispers to Whalecow) Maybe that "contract" was for someone else. After all, what could an organization such as this be doing harrassing innocent science expeditions?
Whalecow: (whispers back) That's what I was thinking, yes. Hmm... (out loud) Let's get one thing out of the way, first. Rest assured, we are not your enemy. Moving on. I have seen what you do for this galaxy, Chairman. I believe that at least the majority of your ends are noble, even if I have doubts about your means. I feel I must warn you, sir. Being associated with the ADF is not the safest of positions, for many reasons.
Chairman Smith: (waves it off) I have over 100 assassins & over 22 mercenary groups after my head, & that's after Leon & Ray disposed most of them. I'm already used to it. Being in my position is not safe, it's very dangerous, & it's not going to be safer the further I progress. But in business, & practically anywhere in life, no risk, no gain.
Whalecow: Assassins and mercenaries are often the least of our worries. But know that if we were to come to an agreement, we would fight to the death to defend you, as we would expect you to do for us.
Velora: In fact, we've been defending everyone this entire time.
Whalecow: It... comes with the territory.
Chairman Smith: That, I can guarantee in our contract. We are currently cleaning the internals of our corporation of "useless garbage" if you catch my drift. We are currently pulling them out of their roots, but for now, I will assign several departments to aid you in your duties. Claire here will take care of that, she's the Chief of Staff after all, & a very dependable one, too.
Claire: (whispers to the chairman) Sir, is this really wise?
Chairman Smith: (raise a finger) No risk, no gain.
Claire: (sighs) Understood, sir... I'll follow through with your decision.
Chairman Smith: Any other conditions you wish to present us? My offer still stands.
Whalecow: We appreciate the offer, it's generous, really... But the ADF cannot become a subsidiary of the Phoenix Corps. I am offering an alternative option.
Velora: Is this really a good idea, sir?
Whalecow: (smirks) No risk, no gain.
Chairman Smith: Oh? What do you have in mind then?
Whalecow: I would propose an "alliance" of sorts. We will remain autonomous of one another. We will not make use of your resources, nor you ours, unless the situation becomes such that it would be fatal to do otherwise. However, the offer of common defense will remain in effect. Who knows, perhaps we can get more done together by sharing one anothers' contact pools as well. I do not carry great influence, but I am friends with many people. You may choose to throw a contract or two our way, but on a case-by-case basis.
Velora: (sighs after looking at the map for a long while.) We could use another ally, and so could you. It would violate neither of our modus operandis, as we are both independent.
Whalecow: It would be a very minor variation on what we do with individual planets, only in this case with a corporation. If you wish, I will ask for volunteers to function as a patrol fleet within your space.

Claire looks at them with her eyebrows slightly raised. Ray & Leon just looked at each other, they don't really see how this will work. The chairman remains silent for a while, thinking it through, weighing the pros & cons in his mind silently. It was a silent minute before the Chairman's answer came.

Chairman Smith: ...An alliance of sorts you say? (smirks, then lets out a laugh) Well well, this is indeed out of my expectations, you even gave me a counter offer. But I suppose I do understand where you're coming from. Independent to their own, but remains subtly in contact... Very well then, how about this? We can send you occasional contracts via "recommendations" & in return you will receive your compensation by "donations" for the services. Your group does accept donations correct? Also, these contracts will be up your field of work, so no worries there. Ah, we also offer special merchandise, if that's what you need, also via "donations", unless you only accept credits?
Whalecow: That would depend on the merchandise. We do not operate with hydrogen or nuclear warheads. I feel as if this arrangement is sufficient, though I pray we can keep it from looking shady in front of any prying eyes. I have faith that your network is up to the task. As an additional condition for this arrangement, I would greatly appreciate if your forces were discouraged from engaging forces from beyond the Fringe. Trust me, this will only keep you secure.
Chairman Smith: I see... Ray & Leon have also filed reports from several branches about bad things out there... With what the latest contract & all. And don't worry, you can file in which merchandise is acceptable & which is not before you leave, it'll make it easier for the shipment team to check & deliver.
Claire: We'll be sure to rearrange the new contract filters for our PMCs to take. And worry not, our network spans far & wide, if there are prying eyes... (looks at Ray & Leon)
Leon: We'll be sure to take care of things & put them out of the equation.
Whalecow: When I said "prying eyes" I meant like, newscasters and whatnot. I want to keep things on the up and up. Oh, I also have some important information to share with our new allies. You are aware that pirate attacks on private shipping has increased dramatically in the past few months?
Claire: Yes, we have received an increase in escort contracts as well, including hunting contracts to flush out pirate bases.
Ray: What about it?
Velora: We would recommend you begin to invest heavily in private shipping. Expect pirate attacks to fall off very quickly within the next few weeks.
Whalecow: We ourselves have invested as well. Ava saw to that.
Chairman Smith: Hm.... (grins) Your group is full of surprises aren't you. You even have someone with a strong business sense among you. Unfortunately we're currently pouring our resources to "clean house" right now, so our private shipping investments has turned into a flat line without further increase until the situation is resolved. As you can see, we have our own internal problems... But it will be solved soon enough, so you can rest assured, Ray & Leon are our finest, & they lead the finest. So, do we have a deal?
Whalecow: What are the exact terms?
Chairman Smith: Nothing overly complicated, I like my contracts simple, concrete, precise, & to the point. First terms would be the one you describe just now, which both of us will benefit from, both remain independent but still remain with connections, we don't pry too deep in your affairs, & you don't pry too deep in our affairs, clean & simple. As for how you wish to receive your compensations, there are many of our branches on independent worlds, so it would be easy to get them & even easier to conceal. (ponders a bit) Perhaps you'd like to add anything else?
Whalecow: It's already very generous... Would you be wanting that patrol group? The former Alliance battleship Shield Maiden and her task force are available.
Chairman Smith: We have that covered, so you don't have to worry about that. If you are willing to hire though, we can offer you special services, you can even choose to which branch you want to give the contract to. I can assure you they are highly capable, our selection process is strict to ensure quality & competence.
Whalecow: (wryly) I noticed. But no. The Antares group is excellent at their jobs. For now, at least, we have the resources to move forward.
Ray: So that's where they went afterwards... Can't say I'm overly surprised.
Claire: I suppose they were among the more resourceful types.
Chairman Smith: I see... well then, if there is nothing else you wish to add, can we call this an agreement then?

Whalecow looks around the room at the others, a thoughtful look on his face.

Whalecow: What do all of you think?
Claire: (merely closes her eyes) I'll trust in the chairman's judgement.
Leon: I've already decided to follow his decision on this matter. I'm merely fulfilling my duties.
Ray: I'll follow his decision... Besides, he's better at this than me. (casually) All I do is point & shoot.
Whalecow: (nods and turns to Velora) ...
Velora: It... looks good on paper, sir. I have nothing to add.
Whalecow: (turns back to Smith) I will have to discuss it with my people. This is a big step. I am unsure what their response will be, to be honest.
Chairman Smith: Very well then. Feel free to contact us once you've come to a decision. You already have our contact, correct?
Whalecow: Yeah. (relaxes again) Thanks for the offer, sir.
Chairman Smith: Please, I am open for opportunities & new connections. Do you have any more questions?
Whalecow: (thinks for a moment before shaking his head) I think I'm good. Got any for us?
Chairman Smith: Just one question actually. (locks his fingers in front of him while his elbows rests on the table & looks at them) In 10, 20, or maybe 30 years from now, where do you see yourselves?

Velora seems to think long and hard on this. Whalecow's reaction, however, puts hers to shame. He lowers his head, eyes closed, deep in thought. Velora is the first to speak.

Velora: (grins) Feeding the poor, fighting the pirates, and just generally kicking ass.
Chairman Smith: (nods slowly, expression unchanging) Interesting... (turns to Whalecow) And you...?

Whalecow remains quiet for a bit, & the others in turn look at him, seemingly waiting for his answer. After a few silent moments, he opens his eyes & gives his answer.

Whalecow: (opens his eyes) I have been asked that question by many people over the years. And every time, they shake their head and say "No, here's how it should be...". And you know what? Both of us were always wrong, every time. Where I'll be depends on the state of things, and I could never guess where I would be 3 years in the future, let alone 30. Are you perhaps asking what the state of things will be in 30 years?

Claire looks at him, slightly surprised, perhaps she wasn't expecting that answer. The chairman merely stares for a while, before a grin forms on his face.

Chairman Smith: (a small smile appears on his face, he seems pleased at Whalecow's answer) Well well... this is quite unexpected indeed... I've asked that question many times to many people, but very few can actually have answers with actual meaning & purpose. You really are an interesting person. But just out of curiosity, this is a "what if" situation, what do you think the state of things will be in 30 years from your point of view?
Whalecow: Have you heard of the United Galaxy initiative?
Chairman Smith: I've just heard about it recently, actually.
Claire: You mean the one AEGIS is planning?
Leon: I heard it's an attempt of some sort of unity. Or at least a start of it.
Ray: Probably some boring political meeting or something along those lines. What about 'em?
Whalecow: (smiles at Ray for a moment) It seems we're more similar than expected. (looks back at Smith, the smile quickly fading) It is an initiative begun by AEGIS to unite the galaxy... but I suppose that much is obvious. But AEGIS remains its sole adopter, and "military force" seems to be their watch-words. A force strong enough to prevent the necessity of said force. It looks good on paper, to a point. What are the odds it will succeed?
Chairman Smith: (crosses his arms & leans back a bit on his seat) Do you want a blunt answer?
Whalecow: Sycophants have no place in my council, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Smith: (makes a point with his finger) I'm a businessman, so I'm not as well versed in politics as your average politician, but even I know that the odds that it will succeed is near 0 at best. A very abyssmal number for obvious reasons that you probably already know.
Claire: I've read reports about this AEGIS. Though they may be a growing military power, they seem to neglect the essentials, such as internal affairs with the citizens.
Ray: Not to mention, those intelligence department of theirs has recently been snooping around where they shouldn't. Slippery bastards.
Leon: I have serious doubts about that faction.
Chairman Smith: (sits back straight with his arms on the table) AEGIS has been dry land for business since it's forming for several reasons. When the economy in a nation is dry, it doesn't take a genius to know where that is heading. But still, as Ray says, what about it?
Whalecow: (shrugs) Peace is going to be attained only when the people start giving a shit about one another. The military complex giving a shit only causes shitstorms if you catch my drift.
Chairman Smith: So what you're trying to say is, 30 years from now, a shitstorm is going to happen everywhere?
Whalecow: We don't know, but it is probable. Ever hear about the "4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse"?
Claire: That's a pretty grim mention.
Chairman Smith: Yes, I believe a lot of people at least knows about the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse.
Ray: I don't really see how that has any connections with this.
Whalecow: (lists them on his fingers) Conquest. War. Famine. Death. If all hell breaks loose, expect periodic visits from all four. There are many ways the next 30 years could go. Starvation, depression, war... The "alien menace" as many see them are not on the list, for now... However, there are far worse things out there. And then there is another way... when people wake up and look at their neighbors and say "it's time to give a shit."
Ray: So what, you're saying the apocalypse is upon us?
Leon: What do you mean by periodic visits from all 4?
Claire: Mmm... If I recall, aren't they supposed to come one at a time in order & only came once?
Chairman Smith: Quite the bleak view. Though I can't exactly say that it won't happen either, with all the recent things that have been happening.
Whalecow: (shakes his head) There are a lot of planets out there, Miss Claire. What the ADF is doing is driving hard for the latter path. 3 years ago, did you see Tydaria Prime ever giving a damn about Ongess?
Claire: No. Though very few if any actually give a damn.
Leon: That planet has been harvested endlessly since the era of the New Empire.
Whalecow: Today, New Ongess and Tydaria Prime are close trading partners. Many come and go back and forth. Progress, ladies and gentleman. But the definitive question is will it be enough? The next 30 years will bring war, or famine... most probably both... or it will bring the peace that can only come when people start to get along. (pauses for a moment) We have not inherited this galaxy from our parents. We are borrowing it from our children. I want the best for my daughter. (He looks around the room with a small smile) You feel the same for your children.

They remain silent for a while, each to their own thoughts, before the chairman broke it.

Chairman Smith: I see... Well, that's about the only question I have. (looks at Ray & Leon) Do you wish to add anything?
Leon: None, sir. We already decided to follow through with your decision.
Ray: Hey, you're the boss. Plus, if you really think this is for the best, then I'm willing to give it a shot. We're here to back you up remember?
Claire: (looks at her watch, then whispers to the chairman)
Chairman Smith: It seems my time has been cut short. If there's nothing else, then I'll have you escorted back to the station.
Claire: I'll send forms from earlier for the list of merchandise you are willing to accept to your holo pad. Please be sure to fill it as soon as possible so we can input it.
Chairman Smith: It's been a pleasure. I hope to hear from you again for your decision soon. (stands up & offers his hand to shake)

Whalecow gets up as well and grasps Smith's forearm in his usual grip, shaking it strongly.

Whalecow: As for your original question... In 30 years, I'll be where the galaxy needs me. Whatever path we go down. (smiles) And the pleasure was all mine.

The chairman shakes Velora's hand as well, then tells Ray & Leon to escort them back. The 2 obliged, & prepares to leave for the station with the same car they went with. Before the two leave the room, Velora says playfully over her shoulder:

Velora: Take what he says with a grain of salt, Mr. Chairman. He is a Communist-democracy-hating silver-tongued snake, after all.

Whalecow merely smiles ironically and gives a two-fingered salute as they leave. Whalecow recieved the forms from Claire in his holopad not long after he exit the shuttle on the station. The trip was without incident, though silent as Ray & Leon still kept to themselves, & he remembered to buy a few souvenirs for Nozomi & Ava, while the opportunity presents itself as well as 2 bottles of Arcturian wine since it was on a 50% sale. He would have to think of his decision carefully, but for now, at the very least, he & Velora got to return in one piece without much incident.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Aaand done...

That was quite long if I do say so myself. But here it is. I had to write this by memory since the one I saved was lost when my laptop crashed...

Anyways, with this the thread can continue.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2016, 12:29:27 pm by Void »
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.

Offline Void

Re: ADF (Alliance for the Defense of Freedom) official thread
« Reply #627 on: August 31, 2017, 03:01:33 am »
Right, should have posted this last year but uh... Things got hectic & I ended up forgetting completely...

So...this thread has been on indefinite hiatus, as you're probably already aware after the first 3 months of no new post...

Dunno when or if it'll ever be up again. There's been a lot of off screen progress as well as improvements (imho anyways), but do't know if those will even be posted here. There's only 2 of us left as the others either quit, went awol, or just real busy irl to the point of being unable to write any further. I myself has gotten real busy in life, especially as of late & has other focus during my limited free time.

So with this the thread is officialy on indefinite hiatus. It may not even continue for all I know. Thank you for your attention.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 03:03:09 am by Void »
The only way to truly hurt a man, is to take everything that he valued and degrade it and remind him of it everyday of his life. But by doing this, you also create a monster, and you will regret ever harming that man, because he will be your greatest horror.