Hidden 27 days ago 27 days ago
Zeroth Post


The blare of the speakers across the mineral processing plant signaled a glorified stampede through the looming, sprawling interior of the massive industrial plant. Tools were dropped, work was discarded, and every man, woman, and child wearing an orange jumpsuit sprinted forward as if they had just joined a marathon.

Warm bodies poured into the small, poorly lit cafeteria like water through the break in a pressure seal. Within seconds everyone was shoulder to shoulder with one another as they surged towards a wide metal machine that stretched most of the length of the wall. Laden with sensors, spouts, and tubes, worker after worker thrust their IDs forward along with dented metal bowls.

An electronic ‘beep’ began to chime up and down the length of the machine as mounds of yellow, semi-gelatinous rice shot down the tubes and fired into their bowls.

Like clockwork each worker would approach the machine and a ‘beep’ and ‘slorp!’ would sound out.

However when a yellow eyed girl approached the machine, another sound rang out.


Laika bent her arm back before smashing her below into the side of the tube. The blow wasn’t hard enough to visibly damage the sturdy plasteel tube, but the vibrations were enough to delay its deposit of rice. With a shaking, hissing noise Laika stared down with anticipation as an extra large clump of fried rice was deposited in her bowl.

“What the hell!?” One worker cried out in surprise, turning heads across the crowded room as Laika sprinted for the nearest table.

Crashing down into her seat Laika stuck her spoon into the rice, which had already begun to conform to the shape of her bowl, and began to shovel spoonful after spoonful into her mouth.

“You know if management found out about what you did, they’d dock your pay.” A young man with greasy, sharp black hair said as he sat down beside Laika.

“How will they find out? Everyone is going to try what I did after they saw how much rice I got. No one is going to want to say anything, Sipnik.”

Laika spoke with a mouth full of rice and Sipnik simply shook his head in exasperation.

“They’ll find someone to blame if the food machine gets beaten into scrap metal by people trying to get a few more grains of rice.”

The older boy tried to deepen his tone to get across the severity of things, but stopped himself as he sat the content look on Laika’s face as she continued to dig through her rice bowl.

“Its chicken fried rice though, that makes it way better than regular rice, so it's worth it!”

Laika once again spoke with her mouth filled with food, her cheeks bulging with half-chewed rice as she continued to shovel more into her mouth.

Sipnik began to open his mouth to speak when a soft ‘crack’ from across the table interrupted him.

The yellow eyed girl and greasy haired boy sat and stared as a shorter boy with acne scars across his face deposited a thick yellow goop into his rice bowl.

Laika swallowed hard.

“What’s that, Venel?” Laika asked and the smaller boy just grinned.

“Its an egg.”

The two sat and watched in amazement as the smaller boy mixed the goop into his rice, turning it into a wet, soupy consistency devoid of the typical dryness.

“But, I thought eggs were a powder?” Laika asked.

“Not when they’re fresh.” Venel said as Sipnik stared intently at the boy’s bowl.

“Where did you get a fresh egg?”

Sipnik spoke in a hushed tone, glancing around as Venel simply grinned.

“That’s a secret. And I didn’t even have to pay for it.”

Laika’s eyes went wide, but she realized that Venel didn’t seem like a particularly capable thief.

“Wait. Do you own a chicken?”

“There aren’t any chickens on Venus.” Sipnik said dismissively. “Besides, are chicken eggs blue?”

“Uh, maybe? Whatever I has makes eggs, and that’s all that matters.” Venel finally began to dig into his rice, his face brightening as the eggy rice reached his tongue.

“There has to be chickens on Venus. I mean we’re eating ‘chicken’ fried rice. That means it has to have chicken meat and veggies in it, doesn’t it?”

“Laika, I don’t think we’ve ever eaten real meat. And for all we know this is just regular rice dyed yellow.”

The yellow eyed girl stopped mid-bite, spoon raised to her mouth.

“Then what’s in it?”

“Don’t ask questions you don’t want answers too, Laika.”

Sharp feedback from the speakers overhead made everyone in the cafeteria wince, some covering their ears.


All three groaned as everyone else in the room breathed a sigh of relief.

“For fucksake, it hasn’t even been five minutes much less ten!” Sipnik said, pushing away his barely touched bowl of rice as Laika raced to shovel the rest of her bowl down her throat.

Chowing down as much as she could, Laika left with the two boys and the three of them were soon in the hanger.

The hanger was a large, dark room that reeked of oil and the familiar smell of iron. Rows of Scutsons sat against the wall as people who made far more money then they three of them moved along catwalks overhead.

“Alright, listen up!” A voice boomed overhead and Laika looked up to see one of the shade wearing managers looming above them.

“We’ve had a pressure drop in the primary collection tube for the factory. If it remains like it is we’ll be working at half efficiency all day, and the boss isn’t having any of that. Fix the tube in five minutes and you’ll be given a bonus. Now move it!”

The manager walked off and Laika wasted no time in moving for the nearest Scutson.

Opening the back cockpit she climbed inside, dropped into the seat and buckled in. Her fingers moved across the console dashboard reflexively thumbing switches to close the cockpit and begin starting up the reactor. On the outside of the suit the mono-eye of the Scutson flashed to life, swerving long its track as the dark curved screen in front of Laika lit up shoving her the hanger.

“Five minutes?” Sipnik said as comms were established.

“They probably want us to fix the primary gas and mineral intake for the factory before everyone gets done with lunch and back to work.” Laika stated simply as she checked the status of the Hazard Gear fitted to her Scutson.

“For fucksake, that’s crazy! That’s a half an hour job at the least.”

“Did you hear though, it's a bonus! Come on, follow me, I know exactly what’s wrong with it!” Venel’s excited voice chimed over the comm channel as his Scutson lumbered forward and all but ran towards the hanger door.

Laika fell in behind him, maneuvering her Scutson towards the airlock as Sipnik followed suit.

The three only had to wait a few moments as the airlock ran through its cycle. With a sharp hiss the doors to the outside shot open and the three were able to walk their Scutsons forward.

The habitats of Venus were massive angular domes fitted atop equally massive hexagonal nanocarbon plates. Layed with plasteel each habitat floated in the upper atmosphere well above the more dangerous concentrations of corrosive substances below. Oxygen was a lifting gas on the planet, which is what allowed their homes to exist in the first place.

Hex 34 was just one of many habitats on Venu. Each was connected to one another via flexible lines that contained both rails and communications, bringing people, goods, and messages to each habitat. Laika had been told that the habitats formed a vague hex pattern across the upper atmosphere of the planet, but she had only seen minor proof of that years prior.

Walking across the dark outer hull of “Hex 34”, Laika stopped and looked straight up towards the sky. She had to bend her Scutson backwards to achieve the angle due to its immobile frontal head.

Directly above Laika could see the black void of space, tintly only slightly orange with the color of Venus’a deadly atmosphere. From the surface all you could see was the tangerine smog and from the habitats all you could see was darkness, occasionally dotted with twinkling distant stars.

Laika had forgotten how late it was, though had remembered that the sky was usually a poor mirror of the time of day. She had been told once the habitats had a similar rotation to that of Earth, giving them 24 hour days without needing to do anything to the planet itself. However, it was often difficult to tell the time just by looking, both above and below.

Approaching the very edge of the Hex 34’s plate, Laika looked down to see the orange planet, marked by swirls of vivid yellow and white. Even at ‘night’ the planet always seemed to have a neon glow to it...

“Come on Laika, jump already, lets hustle!” Venel said, his Scutson moving up beside her.

“Uh, right, sorry!”

Gripping the controls Laika angled the small ‘arms’ fitted to the back of the Scutson backwards. The grappling hooks at the end of the arms fanned open and fired, grabbing onto empty metal loops near the edge. Venel and Sipnik fired their who grappling hooks and, in near uniform motion, the three had their Scustons step off the side of the habitat.

As they dropped the grappling units began to reel out wire, repelling them downwards until they could see underneath the habitat’s plate.

Once the three could see the underside, they each detached one of their grapplings, reeled it in, and fired it at one of the various metal loops present on the underside of the habitat.

The three Scutsons began to swing, going from loop to loop.

Venel and Sipnik had to use their thrusters to help with their forward movement and controlling their speed, but Laika was able to swing simply through good use and conservation of her momentum.

Soon the three mobile workers came to one of the many thick flexible tubes that hung from the underbelly of the habitat, stretching for countless meters all the way into the thick corrosive soup of the Venusian atmosphere below.

“Alright Venel, why do you think you can fix this?” Sipnik eventually asked as they began to lower themselves down the length of the tube.

“Don’t sound so accusatory. I heard the last people who fixed this had been out drinking, so they probably just screwed up setting up the pressure control modules near the base of this. We don’t have to go down miles or anything like that. Besides, if they didn’t know the problem was so close then why would they offer a bonus?”

“To incentivise us to kill ourselves so they don’t lose a few pounds?” Sipnik spat back, but Laika was already focused on the task.

“There are two modules pretty close together this high up. Me and Venel will change those. Sipnik, why don’t you check the seals near the top of the tube?”

“Fine by me.” Sipnik said, his Scutson suddenly stopping its descent before darting upwards.

Laika continued to repel towards, Venel speeding ahead of her as they both arrived at large, burgeoning squares protruding from the tube.

Grabbing the tube for support, Laika maneuvered here way over to the box, prying it open and revealing its computerized insides. Reaching out with the Scuton’s hand, the tip of it’s finger snapped open, smaller more precise arms folded outwards. Silence full over the three as they became lost in their work.

Just as Laika finished re-installing the pressure module, Sipnik’s voice rang over the comm line.

“We’re running out of time Venel, do you have it fixed or not?” He demanded.

Laika looked to see Venel’s Scutson still fidgeting with the pressure control module.

“I’m almost done. Besides, it's not like they’re gonna turn the pressure back on while we work on this.”

As Venel laughed Laika suddenly froze in her cockpit.

A sudden sense of overwhelming fear filled her mind as a sharp, electric tingling sensation raced down her spin. In her mind a murky grey image appeared for a brief instant...

Without thinking Laika threw out the Scuston’s legs, kicking the tube as hard as she could while firing the Scutson’s thrusters and reeling in her grappling hooks.

Her Scutson swung around the tube, away from Venel as she raced upwards.

“Laika, what the hell are you--!”

Venel’s words were drowned out as a brilliant flash filled Laika’s screen followed by the sound of micro debris striking the hull of her Scuston.

The explosive shockwave hit Laika’s suit and she was thrown backwards as her vision was clouded.

“VENEL!” Laika heard Sipnik cry and as the debris cleared, she could see why.

Venel was falling.

His Scutson rapidly grew smaller and smaller, spinning wildly out of control as he dropped downwards towards the clouds of corrosive miles and miles below.

“Eject, Venel, eject!” Laika shouted, her heart began to pound in her chest.

“No! No! I can save this, I can save this!”

Gritting her teeth Laika took one look up at Venel, the mono-eye of her Scutson swerving to see the boy and his own Scuston looking down from above.


Without a second thought Laika slammed on the controls.

In an instant she was falling, grappling cables flailing behind her as they disconnected and began reeling themselves in.

Digging her fleet into the floor pedals Laika fired all of the Scuston’s thrusters at once, shooting downwards after Venel.

Laika was pressed back into her seat, her entire mobile worker shaking from the violent forces that assaulted its body.

The habitat above her began to grow distant as Venel’s mobile worker grew closer.

However the distance between them was still significant and the menacing clouds of Venus grew only larger and brighter as they fell.

Swinging one of her grappling arms over her Scutson’s shoulders, Laika took aim and fired.

The grappling spike shot downwards, remaining closed as it slammed through the side of Venel’s Scutson.

Reeling in the line, feeling her speed picking up, Laika was finally within arms reach of the other Scutson.

“Forced ejectionForced ejectionForced ejectionForced ejectionForced ejection…”

Laika’s mind raced as her eyes darted across the hull of Venel’s Scuston, eventually stopping at the spot directly atop the mobile workers protruding head.

Pulling her Scuston’s arm back Laika heaved the first forward with all the strength she could force out of the servomotors. The spot above the head crumbled inwards, electrical arcs jumping from beneath the plasteel paneling as explosive bolts in the back of the Scutson fired.

A slim, rounded off cockpit shot out, bags inflating around it and quickly carrying it upwards.

Seeing Venel float away Laika kicked off the other Scuston and fired all of her thrusters at max power.

Once again she was crushed downwards into her seat as she fought against gravity and her own downwards momentum. In the rear sensor projection she could see Venel’s abandoned Scutson spiral away, turning into a dot that was lost in the avarice orange atmosphere of the planet below.

Warning alarms began to blare, screaming out notifications on heat build up, potential engine damage, and possible burn out.

Yet Laika continued to push her thrusters as far as they could go, the Habitat growing closer and closer…

Then she heard it.

The Scutson’s thrusters began to sputter and die, the reaping hands of gravity pulling on Laika, eager to have her…

“Come on, be close enough!”

Gritting her teeth Laika fired her grappling cables, watching them arc upwards towards one of the empty rungs high, high above.

Her heart began to sink as she began to fall, dread and brief panic washing over her…

Until she was jerked forward, her Scuston bouncing as one of its grappling lines pulled taut.

Holding the sides of her cockpit, Laika was left staring downwards at Venus, her mobile worker swinging by a wire thin ‘thread’.

Slowly her heart rate fell and Laika collapsed backwards into her seat, letting out a heavy sigh of relief.

“Everything...everything is going to be alright now.” She told herself.

“You’re fired.”

The spectacled, velvet suited man behind the desk barely looked up from his papers as Laika looked back at him in shock.

“What?” She demanded and the man flicked his eyes up to her.

“Don’t sound so surprised. Do you really think you would keep your job after that little stunt?”

Laika glared at the owner of the factory and rose out of her seat as he sneered at her.

“I was trying to save someone’s life!”

“Your job isn’t to save people’s lives” The factory owned waved his hand in dismissal “Its to do the work that I tell you to do. Besides worker Venel didn’t need saving.”

“Yes he did! There was no way he could have pulled his Scutson out of that spin and I knew you had all of the Scutson’s ejection systems disabled. That’s the only reason I was even able to force ejection to begin with.”

The factory owner sat up straight in his chair, his face turning red with anger.

“I disabled the ejection feature because I don’t want my profit margins cut to ribbons because of black-lunged little idiots with cold feet. This is dangerous work and you all accepted the terms and conditions of my employment. Now because of you I have to buy a replacement mobile worker AND deal with the damage to the factory’s collection line.”

Slamming his hands down on the table Laika watched as the fat, well dressed man jabbed a finger towards her face.

“Just be thankful I have a headache and don’t have the patience to involve the constabulary, or I would have done more than just fire you. Now get out of my office!”

Laika’s eyes went wide and her hands curled into fists, her fingernails cutting into her palms as she raised her arms. For a second the factory owner’s anger cooled into fear as he leaned back away from the almost snarling, yellow eyed girl.

However Laika held herself back, stepping away from his desk and stomping out of his office.

Walking through the filthy metal floored factory towards the entrance, Laika stopped as she spotted Venel sitting on a crate near a nanocarbon plate conveyor.

The entire left side of the boy’s face was a single dark bruise that had already swollen into a painful, grotesque bulge. His orange jumpsuit was stained thoroughly with his vomit that he had no doubt spat up in the dizzying drop towards Venus.

Grimacing Laika walked over and put a hand on the boy’s shoulder.

“Hey, Venel. Are you O--"

“Don’t talk to me, Dog-Girl.”

Venel brushed Laika’s hand off his shoulder, turning and glaring up at her with one eye nearly swollen shut.

“Thanks to you I have to pay the company for a new Scuston. Do you have any idea how long that will take? I have a sister to feed and for all I know she’s going to starve to death thanks to you!”

“I was just trying to help!”

“Well you didn’t help, Laika. You never help! All you ever do is make things worse for everyone else. Besides, you dodged out of the way before that explosion even happened. If you knew it was going to explode then why didn't you say something?”

“I just--”

"You're a freak, that's what you are! You want to really help everyone? Then take a flying leap off the habitat!

Venel jerked his head back and spat blood directly into Laika’s face.

She could only stare as the boy she had been friends with mere minutes prior turned her back to her and tried to get back to work.

Wiping the blood from her face Laika continued to walk towards the entrance when she spotted Sipnik cleaning the floors beneath a conveyor.

“Sip, I-’

Sipnik looked up, only to immediately look down again and quicken the pace of his cleaning.

“Don’t talk to me Laika. I don't want to lose my job…”

Once again all Laika could do was stare, a numbness replacing the intense anger she had felt before. Turning away she walked through the entrance and out into the streets.

The habitat was dark, its wide double lane streets remained throughly crowded as Laika stumbled down the sidewalk in a haze. Black nanocarbon apartment buildings and tenement housing loomed overhead, casting dark shadows broken only by yellow lights from windows and dying orange street lamps.

By the time Laika got to the capsule hotel she lived in, she felt like she was going to throw up.

She wanted to scream, to tear everything in her sight apart, but more than anything else she wanted to cry.

Yet the tears wouldn’t come, the feeling simply wouldn’t come to her face. So they sat in her belly, stewing inside of her until her body simply didn’t want to move.

“Today is going to be a bad day…” Laika muttered as she threw herself into her capsule, burying her face in her ratty pillow...

It had been almost two months since the Venue and the ships traveling with it left Mars. For sixty days Lycoris had continued to make excuses for herself and invent delays to avoid having to go and see her. However, mere hours from arriving at their destination, Lycoris could no longer invent anything else to procrastinate herself with.

“Today is going to be a good day, today is going to be a good day…”

Lycoris repeated the mantra to herself as she drifted through the halls of The Venue. Occasionally crimson uniformed soldiers would float by in the hall, stopping and staring intently at the short black horns pushing through skin of her forehead. Only the bright purple badge around her neck prevented them from stopping her.

Entering the gravity block of the ship and feeling the familiar pull of gravity tug her to the floor, Lycoris proceeded forward until she came to a door barred by two heavily armed guards.

Approaching the two heavy machine gun wielding soldiers, Lycoris held up her badge.

“Um, uh, I have permission to speak with the Princess. I’m here guest.”

Both soldiers looked at one another and then back to Lycoris. There was an awkward moment of silence before the two eventually stepped aside, the door in front of her sliding open with a pneumatic hiss.

As soon as the designer was through the threshold the door snapped closed behind her, so suddenly that it startled her.

Exhaling sharply and breathing through her nose, the bespectacled purple haired girl continued forward.

The bedroom she had entered was big enough to be most people’s apartments. A massive bed sat at one end of the room, with a canopy laden with silky veils that drape over the edges of the bed like nets. White marble covers almost every surface in the room, even the surface appeared stark white as chandeliers hung and illuminated the entire room.

Near the entrance to the room was a sitting area with plump regal couches centered around a marble coffee table and a fireplace of all things. Lycoris gave pause to whether or not the fireplace could be real, when she finally heard the music.

Will it always be the same?
Give it all a reason!
Burn me down
You watch me drown
How can I exceed!!?!
Holding out I can't explain
Though I never could that's the problem
Fighting back the pain again
Climbing up to free myself!
I don't need thissssssss
Innovation commmmmmmes
I just fall into shaaaaaaaaaaadee

The dark, hard metal rock that poured out of the speakers in the ceiling seemed almost laughably out of place amongst the regal bedroom.

Lycoris looked around in concern until she saw a pink haired figure splayed out on the couch.

“Um, Princess?”

Instantly the head of pink hair shot up and spun around, green eyes wide and distressed as they stared across the room.

“Lycoris? Lycoris is that you?”

Fumbling around Princess Asallia nearly fell off the couch in her effort to turn off the music, finally killing the volume before the next verse could play and rising to her feet.

“I’m so sorry if I surprised you Princess, I sent you a letter saying I was coming…”

“Oh no, no. I knew you were coming I just forgot it would be this soon. I was just...relaxing with some music I enjoy.”

“You always did have a unique taste in music, Princess.”

Lycoris smiled warmly and the tension from Asallia’s face melted away as she laughed.

“Oh it's good to see you again Lycoris, how have you been faring?”

“Uh, that’s what I’m here about actually. Where is um…”

Lycoris looked around, a brief chill washed over her as she scanned the room with her eyes for signs of anyone else’s presence.


“Where is Sir, W-wyvern?”

“Oh.” Asallia said casually in realization.

“I find it best to assume that he’s always close by and listening, at least to some degree. My ‘knight’ only likes to appear when it pleases him. Tact and manners are by no means virtues of his.”

“I-I see…” Lycoris said nervously, but Asallia walked over and placed a dark gloved hand on her shoulder.

“You’re fine, Lycoris. He would never hurt you, I can promise you that.”

“P-Princess, I--” Lycoris felt blood rush to her face and her throat tighten. For several moments she could only stare, losing herself in Asallia’s eyes.

Shaking her head, pulled her gaze from the Princess long enough to reach down into her bag. Pulling out a letter, emblazoned with a distinct wax seal, Lycoris held it out to the Princess.

“I came here to ask you for help. I was given a letter by Lord Lazland, er-- late Lord Lazland requesting the governor to allow me to participate in the expo. However I’m worried he might not accept my letter for um…”

Lycoris felt a tight pain in her chest as she struggled to form the words. Asallia looked on, frowning as her pupil stammered and struggled before her.

“The governor may have power over certain specifics of the expo, but I have been tasked with running it. I’m sure we can work out some kind of agreement even if he doesn’t approve. What did you wish to show at the expo?”

“The Oliver.”

The words left Lycoris’s mouth faster than she had anticipated and immediately she could see the gloomy look that overtook the Princess.

“...I see."

Asallia turned and began to walk over to the nearby desk when the pain in Lycoris’s chest began too much to bear.

“Princess! I’m sorry!” Lycoris blurted out, practically shouting as her eyes became wet.

Asallia turned in surprise as Lycoris's composure melted away.

“I’m so sorry! I feel like such a hypocrite for coming to you like this. You wanted the expo to be something wonderful, to inspire people and make them happy. But it got turned into a showcase for the military. And now here I am, worming my way into things just for my own benefit-!”

Lycoris’s voice cracked and her eyes began to run with tears, her cheeks bright red as she fought back sobs.

Suddenly Lycoris felt something warm on her back and before she realized it Asallia had pulled her into a hug.

Neither the Princess nor the designer moved for a solid minute, before eventually the Princess pulled back.

“Lycoris, look at me.”

Swallowing hard and wiping her tears away with her sleeve, Lycoris forced herself to look up at the Princess.

“Peace cannot be achieved by assuming everyone will blindly defer to your own beliefs. Everyone has their own drive, their own philosophy for what makes life worth continuing. Almost everyone has some partial merit to their beliefs and for me to blindly sit, thinking mine are wholly superior, would be an utter failure on my part.”

The Princess's gaze grew hard as she spoke, fierce almost, but her tone remained gentle as she spoke at an even pace.

“Only through acceptance and clear understanding of each other without misconceptions can true peace be achieved. I understand exactly why you’ve taken the path you have Lycoris. You find worth, find meaning in your life by creating things. It just so happens that your skills lie in creating weapons of war…”

Lycoris watched as the Princess's face softened and reached up, running a hand through her hair.

“While I do not approve of our encourage the path you have taken...I don’t hold anything against you. This is your chance to wipe away the disgrace forced on you by misfortune and the impatience of others. And as your teacher, as your friend, I am overjoyed for you.”

“Princess, I-”

“Just please remember, Lycoris. We are responsible for what we bring into this world.” Princess Asallia added, her tone becoming briefly grave.

“Of course. That is why I haven’t given up on the Oliver. I’m not going to let my creation be forgotten or waste away.”

“Good. Now why don’t you look for something to do on-board and try to relax? We’ll be at Annona soon and we can deal with that unpleasant business then. Alright?”

“Yes, Princess Asallia. Thank you.”

“No, thank you my pupil. For reminding me why this is so important."

Hugging the Princess one last time, thankful for the privacy of her personal quarters, Lycoris turned and left.

As she drifted down the halls she couldn’t stop herself from smiling widely, her anxeities having melted away.

Yet at the back of her mind something began to bother her.

Why had she said ‘almost’ everyone?”

“I already told you, we have all our papers triple checked and we got clearance from your superiors to dock at Habitat 34! There’s no need for you to search us!”

The Kelly-Class Cargo ship “Pinata” had been stopped by Rosencrantz-Class ship “Bruiser”. Two Tommy MS armed with machine guns leisurely occupied the space in front of the cargo ship, within arms reach of the bridge, barring any forward movement.

“And I’m telling you that as members of the Zern Military we have been ordered to and are authorized to perform random searches on any ships we find suspicious.”

The Avocati leading the Bruiser’s MS team stated bluntly, sounding almost bored as he argued with the captain of the cargo ship.

“T-this is outrageous! I need to get these eighteen cargo containers of secured goods to Habitat 34 now. If I’m even a second late I won’t get paid!”

“Is any of your cargo pressurized?”

“N-no. What does-”

“Then open up your cargo containers and let us check them. If you’re really in that much of a rush then we’ll do you a favor and make things quick with our Tommys. Otherwise we’ll hold you here until a proper manned search team arrives.”

“...” The pilot of the cargo ship said nothing and the Avocati began to wait patiently for a response when a voice came over his comm channel.

“Uh, sir?”

Quickly the Avocati switched over to the other channel and grinned.

“Just be patient rookie. I know you’re new to this, but he’ll open up for us. Then we help ourselves to ‘samples’ of whatever he has and let him go on his way. Don’t worry about him launching a complaint. Weasley little merchants like this have--”

“N-Not that, sir. It's about the containers. There are nineteen cargo containers. Not eighteen.”

The Avocati paused and he felt his heart skip a beat. Adjusting the elevation of his Tommy he gazed out over the top of the cargo ship. His eyes darted between the containers before stopping and staring coldly into the extra container nestled on the far rear of the ship. In an instant the pilot pulled on his controls, his Tommy darting down and raising its 90mm Bullpup.

Inside the bridge of the cargo ship the captain recoiled backwards as a massive gunbarrel was pressed up directly against the bridge.

“Open Cargo Container 19 NOW.”

“W-what is this abo--Wait. No, you can’t be serious. I just misspoke, that’s all! There are 19 containers on the manifest I swear--”

“Rookie! Open up that Cargo Containers. Peel the damn thing open with your bayonet if you have to!”

“Y-yes sir!”

The other Tommy’s thrusters flared behind it as it swept through the blackness of space, flying along the length of the cargo ship until it had reached the far rear.

Raising its 90mm Bullpup, the rookie pilot deployed his folding bayonet and stabbed it into the container. Carving an L-shape into the metal he pulled his bayonet back and reached out with the free hand of his Tommy, grabbing and peeling back the metal. Leaving his mobile suit forward he attempted to gaze inside only to see a pitch black, unlit interior.

"What do you see Rookie?"

"Nothing yet sir, it's really da-"

The side of the carog container exploded outwards as a show of brilliant blue projectiles scattered outwards. Dozens of holes were punched clean through the investigating Tommy, throwing it backwards away from the cargo ship. Moments later the damaged mobile suit erupted into a fireball, exploding in a brilliant orb of heat and light that illuminated the darkness of space.

"ROOKIE!" The Avocati yelled as the top of the cargo container burst outwards, a humanoid silhouette shooting up and outwards into the space above the cargo ship.


Raising his 90mm Bullpup the Zern soldier fired several quick bursts at the distant mobile suit, tracers lighting up space as he watched the enemy speed towards him maneuvering around his gunfire. Slamming his feet into the pedals on the floor the Avocati fired the thrusters of his Tommy in full, shooting upwards as another spray of magnetically propelled shrapnel shot cut through the space where he had been before.

Now the enemy mobile suit was close enough to see, a strange black and red mobile suit with a cape blowing behind it as it flew. It kept its distance from the Avocati and his Tommy, snapping open its strange double barreled weapon in order to reload.

"Reloading in front of me was a mistake, you missed your chance to kill me and now you're dead!" The Avocati barked over the comms, boosting forward as his Tommy shouldered its rifle and quickly switched to automated firing mode.

Lining up his targeting ridicule the Avocati dug his figure into the firing trigger.

But as he did so he realized too late that the enemy had put itself between him and the ship.

Just as the first few rounds left the barrel of his gun, the caped enemy shot downwards leaving only the light cruiser behind it.

Jerking his gun up, the Avocati narrowly avoided shooting his own allied ship just as the The Bruiser's guns fired. The three-barreled cannon that had been previous been lined up to shoot the enemy was instead lined up to fire him. Pulling down hard on his controls the Avocati only narrowly manuevered to the side in time as a trio of cruiser cannon rounds sped past him into the void.

"D-damn it!"

As the Avocati regained control of his mobile suit, the caped mobile suit finished reloading its shotgun as it flew beneath the Bruiser. Pointing its weapon upwards it quickly emptied both barrels, firing another two sprays of penetrative buckshot up into the two Tommy's still held within the clamps beneath the ship. The mobile suits were riddled with holes and exploded just as their pilots tried to enter them, erupting outwards and taking out a chunk of the ship's underbelly.

Darting back upwards the mobile suit flew into line of sight of the Avocati, intentionally snapping open the break-action mechanism of its shotgun as if to taunt him.

Heart racing, head pounding, the Avocati saw red and sped forward, throwing aside his bullpup as he drew his Tommy's baton.

"I'll enjoy hearing you scream!" The Avocati shouted as the enemy mobile suit remained stationary.

As the Avocati closed distance two guns suddenly slipped underneath the caped mobile suits arm and fired, spraying out rounds in a revertible cloud. Pulling his melee arm back he lifted his Tommy's free arm to protect his sensors and fighting arm. Yet the rounds that struck his mobile suit barely seemed to do any damage, crumbling against the liten armor.

"Haha. Useless weapons like that will get you killed! I have you now-"

Just as the Avocati spoke, several rounds from the SMGs curved and smashed into the mills bombs fixed to his Tommy's hips. Each grenade exploded in series, ripping the mobile suit in half, sending a wave of heat and shrapnel up through the cockpit, before obliterating the mobile suit. The caped mobile suit flew backwards as the Avocati detonated, becoming a brief brilliant star just like the rookie had moments before.

Below them the The Bruiser fired its thrusters and attempted to flee, charting a course towards the Annona Colony as the captain scrambled on the bridge to send a message through the particle interference.

"Command! Annona Colony command do you read me? This is the Buriser, we are under attack by an known enemy mobile suit! Repeat an unknown enemy mobile suit was aboard the Cargo ship Pinata! Repeat-"

The captain looked up from the comms console, staring out from the bridge window and out into space as the massive face of a mobile suit appeared. Its long slit like compound optic flashed briefly before the suit reared its arm back and buried its Cutlass into the bridge, leaving it in two. Anyone who wasn't crushed was sucked out into space to die in the freezing vacuum.

Pulling away from the bridge the caped mobile suit raised its shotgun one final time and fired two slug rounds into the ship, one straight down through the top of the ship and the other towards the back near the engines. Explosions erupted outwards from where the shotgun slugs had struck as fires spread and caused missiles and cannon rounds to cook off.

Turning its back to the ship the caped mobile suit flew off, not so much as glancing backwards as the Bruiser was ripped in half as its munitions detonated inside of its hull.

The Pinata had immediately made set in a landing course for Venus as soon as the gunfire had started flying. The Captain of the ship sat aboard the bridge, clutching the armrests of his seat and praying that they could land before the mobile suit returned. However a loud noise rang out though the ship and the entire bridge shook as something landed atop the vessel.

"Going somewhere?" A sultry female voice asked, coming over the speakers inside the ship as a direct-contact line was made.

"T-this wasn't part of our agreement!"

"Oh, wasn't it? I intended this from the very start. Its your own fault if you failed to realize that."

The captain swallowed hard, his face pallid as the rest of the bridge crew held their breath.

"Damn it...today is a disaster!"

"We're the ones who decide if our days are good or bad, little cargo-hauler. Perspective is everything. From my perspective today is going to be a wondrous day!"

The captain grimaced, already able to envision the wide wicked smile of the women in the Turncoat's cockpit.

"Now get the ship ready to land if you already haven't. We'll be landing before any more Zern show up. And I'm coming aboard. We have...finer details about our agreement to go over."
Hidden 13 days ago Post by GreenGoat
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GreenGoat Harmless Flower Person

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Samantha Brisinggart

She jerked awake, the bottles around her clanking softly from the sudden movements. Again, she had passed out in the night, working on the system for the Swansong. God knows it wasn't perfect, and to blow up before she did anything wasn't what she wanted. Another one morning waiting for the perfect time to bring it out.

Sam rooted around in the workshop's cooler, pulling out another bottle of alcohol.

For someone who had already resigned herself to death, she seemed remarkably cheerful as she worked on the plane. There was no doubt in her mind that her father had long since died, considering what she had heard of what happened to criminals, and especially criminals thought to be in league with pirates. Now that her workshop had been associated with pirates as well, there was likely to be much much less people going to her, fearing that they too be accused of piracy or fraternizing with pirates. Her life, as it was, was essentially over. And when someone has nothing to lose...

Sighing, she polished off the bottle, before looking for another one. Unfortunately, only the cans of soda remain. It used to be those were the only things her father and her would drink at work. He had this horrid obsession with the orange soda, which in her opinion tastes horribly of fake.

Hours later, and with several cans of soda gone, she finally decided to get a bite to eat, taking a light shower to wash off most of the smell clinging to her.

The Venue was coming, and with it, her chance to humiliate those uppity Martians. She would never forgive herself if she passed out from hunger and miss her chance.
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Hidden 12 days ago Post by glwgameplayer
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Member Seen 20 hrs ago

"The only animals that can threaten an adult hippo are other large mammals like elephants, Rhinos and other Hippos. Part of the reason for this is their very thick skin and large size. Most predators in the region rely on causing bloody wounds with their claws and teeth. But a Hippo's skin is too thick to easily puncture by the predators of the region. Furthermore, a hippo can weigh as much as two tons, more than enough to outweigh every predator on the savann- The sound cut out as Lucas pressed a button on the side of his personal computer and the screen went dark

"Thick skin huh? That doesn't really help me any. I can't just make armor thicker and thicker. Sower is already big and heavy. If he was much bigger it would be a huuuge loss on mobility and it would take a lot of resources… It’s interesting to learn about though"

Lucas placed his personal laptop on his nightstand and stood up from his bed, yawning as he stretched. He had spent the last hour lying down on the bed in his private quarters, watching various reports, records, and documentaries on old earth animals, as was his custom. After an hour of lazing around watching documentaries, it was time for his daily walk

He exited his room, locked the door, and started walking around aimlessly. He found that some of his best thoughts came while his body was moving and his blood was pumping.

Most of the large mammals had been a complete bust. Apparently the things that made elephants and bears so strong couldn’t be replicated with metal, only with flesh and bone. For the most part, the only animals that had given him something to work with were insects, arachnids, and other fairly small creatures. That’s because those animals couldn’t just outweigh their opponents and assert dominance like that. It looked like he had to focus on animals with neat tricks and body structures instead of raw weight and muscle

“Maybe I could take a look at birds next? They use wings instead of jets, but I could probably learn something from their bodies. Like their bone structures or their talons. That ought to be useful.”

Lucas absentmindedly turned a corner and ran directly into Lycoris and fell flat on his butt.

”Ow. Sorry about that I wasn’t paying attention.”

Lucas looked up and saw a familiar purple-haired girl. He immediately stood back up and started jabbering

”Oh hi Lycoris! How are you? Are you working on anything interesting? Want to hear about what I learned today?”

Despite its fanciful name, The Grand was a somewhat dingy medium-sized bar tucked in the corner of the habitat. The only people there were disgruntled miners there to dull the pain, or on rare occasions, soldiers with shore leave or Merchants coming to stock up on booze before the journey home.

Sitting in a dark corner of the Grand was Denzel Zenith, pouring over several documents and notes. He took a small sip of alcohol as examined a rough sketch of patrol routes in the area surrounding a Martian owned warehouse.

Truth be told Denzel was getting impatient. It had been quite a long time since his last proper act of rebellion. The warehouse was full of machine parts big and small for Mobile Workers and suits. The Mekon movement wouldn’t get any full suits or workers, but they would obtain a lot of replacement parts.

The influx of replacement parts would allow the movement to repair more downed suits, enemy and friendly. As long as the movement still had friendly repair shops to help out it would more than double their combat potential, and give them something of a safety net…

With that potential we could attack the Venue- Denzel shook his head and rejected the thought. Of course, he would like to stick such a huge blow against the empire but there are many, many reasons why it wouldn’t work. It was too heavily guarded, it was too big, it would get everyone killed. You don’t really want to hurt the princess, considering her thoughts on Venus… yeah that too.

But for now, he had the outline of a good enough plan to take the warehouse, he just needed to get the boys together first. Denzel took out a notecard and wrote a short message.

"Meet at the hideout, as many people as you can get, within a few hours. Thanks, cinnamon bun." -The Crusher

“I would like another drink please.” Denzel quietly slipped the waiter the note as they brought over another mug of beer

A few minutes later, one of the Venusians at the counter left with the note after “paying his tab” and went to deliver the message. Denzel wasn’t in a big hurry though. It would take a bit for the message to her to Johanna, and then a few hours to get the gang together. He had time for a few more drinks.
Hidden 11 days ago Post by Phoenix347
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Phoenix347 Complete Rando

Member Seen 12 hrs ago

Habitat 34; The Forge of Mars

Hovering just outside of the floating space can in contrast to the bleak grey steele, was a unusual ship for most in the system to see. Like a saucer, the Forge of Mars floated in a pontoon-like design with a large gap in the middle of the ship, and mobile workers moving around like bees. Elemental printers and processing machines worked around the clock to provide parts and material for the workers as they performed construction on a new Sharp facility just on the outside of the colony. All of this Arthur watched from the bridge of his beloved vessel.

"Continue without delay people. Time is money." The man said this after turning around, waving a hand haphazardly as he walked out of the rather small bridge for the large vessel. His captain nodded before he left, and Arthur made his way to his own personal room without delay.

Once the doors closed, he breathed a sigh of relief and fell into his chair before having the automated systems turn the music on. Soft rock, and with soundproofing no one would complain. He waited a minute before sitting up, perfect timing as the screens in front of him and those that came down from the ceiling lighted up.

Charts, graphs, progress reports and news summaries all popped up for him to view the progress of his company and the others, from what was available on Venus. Wilberforce engines made it more difficult to maintain his presence to the members back on Mars but he was more than glad to take on the challenge. More news reports about the Princess' arrival to the new Venue took the man's interest, and he pulled up a report on the company's latest fruit of labor. The schematics were very pleasing to look at for Arthur, a new machine for the company to tote about.

The other screen he paid attention to was one of the most recent pirate incidents. A small freighter being stopped just outside of the Zern force's range to be robbed without issue. The company was Venusian anyways, nothing would have had the Zern mobile suits rush in to help. To this Arthur gave a sigh.

"Of course you didn't want to waste your time on someone you view as lesser. This is why Mekon is so loved." He closed the story before it would bring him more irritation. He was just glad he had Cathrida as the only pirate to 'worry' about. Looking back to the Venue news, he raised up the bridge.

"Once the necessary materials have completed their transfer, more the Forge to the Annona Colony." His declaration was met with a proper "Aye sir." It would only take a few more minutes for the workers to finish moving the supplies and returning the unique suits before the Forge would begin to move, but Arthur wasn't worried. The Venue was going to be an event no one important wouldn't miss. That included himself.
Hidden 11 days ago Post by Yukitamas
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It was bullshit, complete bullshit! Why was it like this? Why did he have to go through something like this? This wasn’t what they were meant to be doing, not what he was told and promised of his time here.

Training, in gravity space? On a planet? What sort of fight was that really? Who’d even care about something like that. They ruled Mars, they ruled Venus and the Moon. Anywhere worth being was a place that would be lucky to have their boots touching upon. Anywhere in Zern was a place that wasn’t going to have pirates. If anything they were lucky that they could be in space to begin with. But in space no Turncoat was going to stand up to the empire.

His feelings on the princess were mixed. She was a pretty enough face, although that was to be expected of any royal member really. But her attitude grated on him a bit.

William Allen did not particularly dislike his time in the Order of the Olympian Snow Beetles… until now.

The magnetically charged shot from a refurbished whiskey ripped through his arm, tearing through the joint and leaving his system to blare in warnings as though an outlet for the machine’s pain.

“From that distance?!”

“Will’s been hit, fire back, fire back!”

“You’re wasting your shots. Get up closer!”

There were four of them. No, three now. Before the engagement happened they were simply waiting for any enemies and doing what they were assigned to do. A terrible drag, and a waste of time really.

The opening salvo that came from a forest was a combination of a Whiskey shot and and a wire-missile cut before the oversized MAG-shot ripped through his arm so it wouldn’t cause any deviation to the set course of the missile.


He could have sworn he felt the heat from the explosion wash over him.

Their LEWIN’s fired until dry. The blinking indicator of his own gun being out of ammo was ignored. He couldn’t see it, he couldn’t see anything. All he saw was the turncoat closing in, another shot heated up. His friends ran from another missile following while their vulcans showered it in a storm of bullets that eventually caused its premature explosion.

Another shot blasted out and slammed into one of his allies. It was just two now.

An H-viper round shot towards the direction of the Turncoat, but it missed, the faster machine seeming to understand the path that the round would take. Combined with the panicked shot it was a wild threat, dangerous but easy enough to deal with if one had the right head and calmness.

Eventually his haze cleared and he realized his mistake with the gun. The LEWIN fell to the ground as his one handed mech grabbed at its Nanocarbon Saber. He wouldn’t let another shot happen. He charged forth, chasing after the closing in Turncoat. “Don’t hit me, Lloyd!”

He didn’t know if it was due to looking down at him from being damaged, but the Turncoat didn’t bother to run away and instead moved to meet him. He felt the haze boil over again, this time with rage erupting in his heart. “Why you little!”

The Turncoat was faster, his weapon was better, he was better armored. But… their clash of blows was slow. This was one thing he remembered just fine from his training. But he felt his frustration and rage boil over more and more as the Turncoat stood after each blow. He was clumsy, he had no skill at arms like this. If it was a fencing match there was no contest. This machine was too slow… this arm didn’t spring to life with the blade like his ability deserved. He watched the blows of the enemy, saw where he could strike and only found himself gripping his controls tighter and tighter as he couldn’t actualize his vision.

Damn the damage, damn this piece of shit!

Faster, faster. He compensated for the damage, he adjusted his approach to try and deal with the flaws. He was cornering this damn pirate. His breath flowed, his eyes zipped from his controls and systems to the visual feed without stop.

But then he made an error. A different way to use the controls that he hoped would bring the saber reversed in his grip and brought back in a scything cut to rip through the Turncoat instead brought a confused locking of his Tommy’s hand.


As the bayonet filled his eyes he heard the crash of metal as it pierced into his tommy.

All went dark.

Then he “woke up”

The simulation was over. But they won. Apparently Lloyd managed to nail the Turncoat with a round after noticing that he lost the duel.

The calls for cheers that they stuck it to that “Loner-Fucker” that echoed in his comms were surprisingly quiet to his ears. The appearance of a simulation mission turning out to be what was considered an unfair and rigged match up against a single enemy machine was something that ended up a bemoaned and hated thing amongst the order whenever it did happen. So in cases like this where they took it down the squad would be “heroes” for a day and be treated for drinks. Really an excuse for another party, honestly.

“Sloppy.. It was so sloppy.”

That was what rankled him. If his machine wasn’t damaged before they fought with blades. If his machine didn’t hold him back..

But he felt it. He felt something. Even as a sudden wave of exhaustion struck him as though compensation for “dying” in the simulation, he felt a bit of something. What was that?

He felt like going for it again.

Maybe tonight he’d actually go to the simulations on his own time and work on some stuff.

Gaia Dryte
The Venue

He shuddered. Death, like what came for those who he shot at. Like the pirates that he blasted down. That was what he felt thanks to the machine. His hands shivered, his nerves steeped in ice. That nasty feeling that struck his body from time to time. Maybe in the future they could fix that, they could fix him. But should they? He always saw it as a warning, that something bad would happen. It was ridiculous some people said, but he chose to believe it was something like that.

His breathing took twenty seconds to get back to normal. Just before he would overwhelm the abilities of his mask’s flow of air. He was rattled, he had to admit. The first time it happened he had to tear it off, had to spent a few minutes collecting himself.

Weak constitution, Sheena commented sometimes. That went beyond just the physical, maybe.

It was an idea put forth by Sheena to try and get some better training and experience. Although she didn’t say if it was for the Beetles or for him. He was sneaking in as another “Player” pilot in the simulations as a “Pirate”. As much as he felt a certain level of disgust having to pretend to be one. There was complaining at first, a lot of aggression and irritation as a suddenly lone, overtuned pirate took out squads and humiliated them. But the data was shown to be fair, that it was all a rather standard Turncoat, barely different from a run of the mill Redcoat’s specs.

It was all just due to experience honestly. He’d fought, he’d killed. They haven’t. But it kept getting harder. At first he could just have a fight and take them down. But what became a more and more even fight as they got used to it, even as they complained. Was something he couldn’t match. They could be good, they could definitely take him down, and they have. Even if they didn’t notice it they were getting used to this quicker than him. So he had to switch it up, fight “unfairly.” Was it just their training? Or was it the difference between a Earth-born human and a Martian Noble? Their blood, no, genes were different. Not just in treatment but in breeding. Or so he read and learned.

There were a lot of things to get used to and figure out still. The divide that went beyond those who were enemies, those who were from the sky and those who were friends. The life up here was... indirect, complicated in ways that he knew he simply didn't understand, and in ways that he didn't even realize existed. But at least what he does didn't change too much. Work on things, try to make something nice and try to shoot pirates. Simple was okay sometimes too.

Soon at this rate they’d be moving to one on one duels just to keep it fair, or have him fight among simulated data units. What it came down to was that they were getting better, getting used to it. He’d been in some fights, he’d killed. But that only took him so far above them.

He left the chamber, smokey haze oozing out of his mask, leaving a wispy trail of dark soot in his wake. Not bothering to take it off as he lurched through the hall with numb legs and a aching chest.

Sloppy. He was a good shot, he could handle a few tricks, but when it came to close combat he was sloppy. So maybe he’d try learning that sometime. Even if the Fossil wasn’t built for that. But that was a time for later.

The Expo was coming soon. Something that was on the buzz, something that Sheena told him about. Thanks to her some of his stuff was going to be there. He considered a while what he’d bring, especially considering what he heard of the goals for it.

His magnetized fragment collector, the animal and intruder scaring siren. He tried a few other things but his attempts to introduce them into smaller markets, or present them as products never panned out well.

This was his chance then.

But for now…. He left for his room while sending a quick message to his Patron.

“Hey, Sheena. They’re done. Three down, taken down after a melee engagement by a H-Viper. Anyway you there? We should talk about the expo some more.”

If it was his luck she’d get back to him only hours later however.

So it was ok if he’d take some time off being at ready right? Dropping onto a couch, luxurious enough to be called a bed one could kill for on Venus or Mars, he could only shrug as his tablet opened up to a feed of one of the Princess Asallia’s past concerts. Made sense. Everything was about her coming to Venus recently after all.

But he never really listened to her before. He was introduced to some music, but he never was taken to a concert or anything. Maybe he should ask Sheena sometime.


Bathed in the lights from his screen as the princess’s show played, he drifted away. It’s pretty tiring to die, isn’t it?
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Hidden 11 days ago Post by KaiserElectric
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KaiserElectric Spaghetti Enthusiast

Member Seen 22 hrs ago

“Just be thankful I have a headache and don’t have the patience to involve the constabulary, or I would have done more than just fire you. Now get out of my office!”

A moment later, the door burst open as the poor girl in the orange jumpsuit stormed out of the manager's office, just barely holding back tears. As her angry stomps traveled down the corridor and out of sight, silence hung in the corridor like a dense fog.

"I'm not gonna say I'm surprised."

A synthetic chirp echoed from underneath the metal flooring.

"Oh of course we're going to do something, he deserves it, the lugnut..."

Electric whistles passed through to the other wall and up the side.

"Wow, do you kiss your motherboard with that mouth?"

Echoing clunks vibrated the walls, extending upwards towards the roofing just as one of the shades-wearing managers strode up to the office. A hollow-sounding bang made him jump on his heels a bit as he glanced towards the wall angrily.

"Stupid ventilation systems. That girl had better hurry before the inspector gets here," he muttered angrily.

"Hey this is precise work, if you think it's so easy-"

The manager jumped again, his shades nearly falling off his hooked noise. "Who said that?"

"It's the light fixture, I've become self-aware and I'm plotting to kill you all. Woooooo..." The clunking metal noises traveled further up the wall and straight overhead, accompanied by a strange electronic whirring sound.

"...are you inside the walls?"


A metal hatch opened up on the ceiling as a green-haired girl wearing thick goggles hung upside down from above, right in front of the manager. Lifting up the goggles, she replaced them with a set of glasses with her free, cybernetic hand.

"When it's on top like that they called it a ceiling," Johanna Hölzel said, pointing up towards said ceiling.

"Get the fuck down from there!"

Johanna shrugged her shoulders and swung back up, unhooking her legs from the hatch and dropping down feet first, swinging her bag over her shoulder and plopping her cap back on her head where it belonged.

"You did want it done subtly," Johanna pointed out.

"Did you get it finished?" the manager said sharply.

"It'll pass your inspection if that's what you mean. You know your filters make the Earth look pretty, right?"

The manager started digging through his pockets. "If I wanted your opinions on the filters I'll pay you for it. Regulators don't give a shit if the air in the workspace is clean, they just want it cycling." Johanna couldn't stop her eye from twitching slightly as a credit chit was pressed into her hand. She weighed it on her palm for a moment before frowning.

"This isn't what we agreed to," Johanna pointed out.

"It's what you're getting," the manager replied glibly.

"H-hey we made a deal, you're getting out of paying fines for-"

"What deal?" Pressing his shades up closer to his eyes, the manager towered over the smaller mechanic. "As far as I'm concerned, our ventilation system was brought up to standard weeks ago, as per regulation. But I'm sure the constables will take the word of a deranged lunite over the word over that of a law-abiding productive citizen, right?"

Johanna grimaced as she shriveled up under his gaze.

"Yeah, that's what I thought," the manager said glibly as he turned on his heel and strode into the office, leaving Johanna to stare numbly at her boots.

"Well...I hope you stick around and get what your boss is getting, then..." Johanna looked up towards the ceiling again. "You finished up there?" There was a sound of something rolling around as something round dropped from the hatch into Johanna's bag. Instantly, two long ears popped out the top, followed by a pleased looking android rabbit, barely a foot tall. The rabbit let out a barrage of electric chirps as it held up a small electronic chip.

"Nice going LAGO," Johanna smiled, taking the chip and plugging it into her wrist mounted overlay. "Let's leave these guys a parting gift to remember, shall we?"

Tossing LAGO and the backpack across her shoulder, Johanna went to work on the overlay as she strode towards the exit, slipping out of the facility with a gaggle of workers that were dismissed and leaving for the day. Because of her height, even her strange and differing appearance was barely noted as she worked on her dastardly plan.

"Aha, let's turn that aaaaalll the way up," she said, spinning a holographic dial to full. "I hope they brought earmuffs. LAGO, light it up!" She held her arm up behind her head, letting an ear poke out for a split second to strike at the on switch.

"Now I want you to ride that Venel kid hard until he's made up the SCUTSON cost, you hear me?"

"Gladly, sir," the manager replied smugly to the factory owner. "I've taken care of the ventilators, by the way. Inspectors won't know a thing about the cycling issue we've been having."

"Good I-"

The factor owner paused as something started to vibrate the room.

"The fuck is that?"

"I don't know sir, is it some sort of quake?" A low repetitive sound started to echo from the sound system.

"No it...is that a guitar?"

The familiar rhythm of drums started to cut in.

"Why the fuck is this so loud?"

"Find out what's going on, if this is going on when the inspectors arrive I-"


Screaming electric guitars blasted from the speakers like bomb blasts. The owner and the manager covered their ears in agony as they stumbled out of the office, dodging objects flying off shelves and furniture tumbling over from the super intensive sound waves. Glass surfaces cracked as the frighteningly loud song screamed and resonated through the hallway.


"Do you hear something odd?" one of the workers thought aloud as they exited the front gate.

"Dunno man, sounds like a song. Freakin' loud too."

"Oh, I hope so," Johanna grinned, prompting odd looks from the two workers before the whole group dispersed. Humming along to the imagined lyrics in her head, Johanna turned the corner and meandered up to the large truck with her 'equipment' stored inside. "And suckers be thinkin' that they can fake-" she said to herself before spotting something tucked underneath the handle on the door. "This?" Picking it out delicately, she scanned it over with a slight frown.

"Meet at the hideout, as many people as you can get, within a few hours. Thanks..." Johanna scowled. "Cinnamon bun?"

LAGO let out a synthesized electric giggle.

"If he starts calling me pancake I'm going to shoot him," she grumbled, crumpling up the paper and jamming it into her pocket. "Right, time for a quick broadcast."

Punching in a few combinations, Johanna jumped into the driver's seat of the vehicle, plopping LAGO and her bag on the passenger seat before defusing the booby trap built into the glove box and digging out an old notebook. Flipping through the codes, she activated her broadcast signal, sending out a ping to anyone who regularly listened. Inside the van, the darkness was illuminated by the glowing of antennae shaped like rabbit ears.

"Heyo, special message to my regular viewers from your pal HopPer," Johanna announced, slipping into her role with ease as she flipped through code words. "In a few weeks, we'll be having a special guest to talk about the ongoing crisis in the Venusian plasteel industry, tune in and you'll get the latest update on how the Martian elite have you bent over a chair for their pleasure. Ta ta!"

"Well, that's the signal," Johanna mused as she broke character and powered down the signal. "LAGO, key me!"

LAGO chirped and launched a set of keys from the back, which she caught with ease and started up the old engine.

"Right, time to go see what Zenith is up to this time!"
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Hidden 10 days ago 10 days ago Post by vietmyke
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Member Seen 21 hrs ago

The HMS Nyx
Over Annona Colony

The forward observation deck of the Caliban-class assault carrier sat just above the actual bridge of the ship, its wide viewing windows nestled beneath the ship's sensor arrays and various antenna. The already sparse interior of the observation deck had been stripped, and converted into a sort of Officer's Lounge- allowing Victor or other officers to get some nice and quiet time without having to intrude on the generally rowdiness of typical rank and file crewmen. Lighting was kept minimal, instead relying on the light from the sun, nearby planets and stars, while a low table and a few sections of couches kept the sightlines long and relatively undisturbed. In place of a bar, the corner had a single cabinet for liquor, as well as an antique globe that could be opened up to store liquor- a gift from the Royal family to Victor himself for his services.

While there was no written rule that said no one could enter, usually when Victor entered the observation deck, it meant he wanted to be alone and left undisturbed- though there were always exceptions. Not that he ever asked anyone to leave, and he entered infrequently enough that for the most part the other officers on board were more than happy to clear out for their commanding officer. As such, Victor stood alone in the observation deck, in the red and white of the Zern Imperial Navy Uniform, impeccably tailored to his form, golden Signifer ranks emblazoned on his shoulders. At a waist chest high counter that ringed the outer wall of the observatory sat a cigar, leaning against an ashtray, its tip smoldering a deep orange, as small wisps of smoke wafted upwards towards the vents above.

Ice clinked against glass as Victor lifted a glass of whiskey to his lips and took a sip, the golden amber liquid pressing heat into his stomach as he stared at a crumpled and damaged photo unfolded and held open with his other hand. His eyes flitted from the picture, to Annona Colony, with Venus and the rest of its habitats in the background. He let out a soft sigh.

"I'm home." he murmured quietly, half to himself, half to the picture in his hand. He let out a soft snort at that. 'Home'. As much as he loved Venus, it wasn't exactly his home anymore- or at the very least it didn't feel like that anymore. The sentiment was a lot stronger now than it used to be- Venusian Zerns weren't Venusians anymore. It was a sad thought- the reason he joined the military in the first place now hating him.

"Venus is different now. Or maybe I'm different. I'm not even sure if you'd look at me anymore." he said softly, his thumb slowly tracing the outline of the face on the picture. He flipped the photo over and read the handwritten note- circled with a heart on the back for what must have been the thousandth time.

To my dear soldier, come home soon! - Amanda

Pushing thoughts from his mind, Victor lifted his tumbler. He regarded the amber liquid for another moment before taking another sip of the drink. The warmth, slightly sweet and nutty taste of the liquor was an acquired taste. He had never had the luxury of actual liquor back on Venus- nevermind actually being able to afford it. It wasn't until he got promoted to Signifer could he afford to regularly buy luxury whiskey in any real quantity. He scoffed at himself, he could vividly imagine the faces of the people in his old neighborhood if they saw him drinking and tasting actual whiskey like some bourgeoisie pissant instead of holding his nose and downing the bootleg booze they used to brew in their basements.

"Alice, Victor called aloud, "What's our status with Annona Station?"

A moment later, a feminine- if slightly hollow voice rang through the intercom speakers of the observation deck. We have just received a report from Annona Station: Docking request has been approved, and accommodations will be provided.

Additionally, a note from Annona Station: "Welcome home, Lion of Gibraltar!"

Victor snorted audibly.

"Tell the Captain to bring us in- And tell the crew to be on their best behavior. We're going to be rubbing shoulders with Nobility soon."

Yes, Signifer.

Victor sighed and rested his arms on the short bar. This would be their first time docking in months- the 5th fleet had been out putting the Caliban through its paces. Getting used to the ship and its functions, testing mobile suit catapults and combat readiness drills and the like. All in all, it had been an incredibly dreary and boring few months, the Caliban had lost its new ship wonder and luster within the month. However now, with the Venue arriving in Venus soon, Victor and his crew would be expected to be on hand. Whether it was as a safeguard, a new toy to show off at the Expo, or just at Royalty's whim, Victor wasn't entirely sure, but chances were they would need something of him.

"Welcome home." Victor repeated to himself mockingly.

Welcome home indeed.
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Hidden 8 days ago Post by Caduceus


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Gilbert König

Annona Colony

The primary receiving dock of Annona Colony had been completely redecorated in honor of the Venue's arrival. Normally a hub of activity that saw cruisers and supply ships coming and going multiple times every hour, for the past several days all this traffic had been rerouted to allow the decorators to lay down their fluffiest red carpets and hang their most bombastic flags and drapes, and for the band to conduct their dress rehearsals. Nothing but the best for the Royal family, after all — anything less than adoring perfection would be regarded as a grave insult. And this was only the first stop; the true reception would be within the colony proper, with all the pomp and ceremony of a full parade and speeches from multiple dignitaries.

For Gilbert, this whole affair was quickly becoming the source of all his headaches. His entire reason for being posted to Venus was that those blasted Mekon insurgents were making a stink that could no longer be handled by the local forces, with one particularly-irksome thorn in the Empire's foot also being sighted in the vicinity. Hosting this Exposition here rather than in the Martian sphere was a move that he saw as unnecessarily risky and compromising a military objective for the sake of a political objective — foolish and potentially fatal, if he could choose stronger words. But Princess Asallia had pushed, and it was the prerogative of royals to get their way, and so he'd taken it upon himself to personally oversee the security around Annona in the weeks leading up to the Venue’s arrival.

The knowledge of his involvement had disseminated through the echelons of the nobility — not that he’d been trying to keep it hidden — and so of course it was expected of him to be personally present rather than outside in his Tommy, as he would have preferred. Thus, he now stood on a raised platform facing the innermost airlock gate, slightly uncomfortable in his neatly-pressed gules-en-argent dress uniform and shoulder-to-shoulder with a number of other high-ranking officers and nobles who had paid heavily for the privilege of being among the first to see the Princesses, and have (in theory) the greatest chance of making an impression. Governor Engan was present as well, standing at the very front of their little formation. As the recently-appointed head of state for the Venusian sphere, it would be the older man’s honor to be the first seen by the descending royals, and the first to welcome them aboard.

"Vanguard is commencing final approach." His earpiece burst to life with the sound of a woman’s voice. In the fold of proper infrastructure, the signal quality was much higher than he’d been accustomed to in wilder space. "Venue and close escorts are prepared to dock.”

"Thank you, Victoria." His whispered voice was lost in the greater murmuring of the crowd, the buzzing excitement of a nation enamored with their royals. "They’ll be most vulnerable at this time. Maintain vigilance."

"Always, commander."

There was no such thing as being too paranoid where the safety of the Royal family was concerned, not after the near-successful assassination of the Emperor. Gilbert had pulled a few vessels and MS teams from Gaspra to supplement Annona’s garrison, and his own 8th Rapid Response Group was watching over the Venue as well. The Kokytos and two of his Seytons had participated in the welcoming maneuvers earlier, and were now embedded among the augmented escort fleet; the others were part of the defensive "net" that had been scattered around potential approaches to the Venue and Annona. This was all in addition to the Venue’s own formidable guns and escort, Mars sending some of their best to keep the pride of the Imperial Navy intact. The new Caliban-class would be making its debut here, if he remembered correctly, commanded by a veteran whom he’d had the pleasure of working with in the past, and whose HR dossier was buried somewhere in his office. He hoped the new assault carrier performed as well as Sharp had claimed — otherwise, the one currently being torn open and refitted in a private berth elsewhere in the colony would be wasted.

Annaliese would also be hovering around Princess Sheena. He wasn’t sure whether that made him feel more or less worried, but he was certain that there would be numerous unhappy letters from his father waiting in his mailbox.

As for the dock . . . it was an enclosed environment where only members of the military, nobles, and carefully-vetted technicians could be, and the walls and surrounding shafts had been thoroughly combed for structural defects and planted devices, but beyond those bulkheads the two Princesses would be exposed to the entire population of the colony — Martians one and all, but he knew well that was no guarantee of loyalty. Agents had been seeded throughout the parade grounds and snipers were on the rooftops, keeping a careful lookout on vantage points along the route. The parade floats were armored, but that wouldn’t help as much if the Princesses stood out in the open, and of course they would for the publicity and to reward the loving adoration of the masses.

He took another look around the dock — exchanged minute nods with a few of his security officers — and brushed the pistol at his hip. All he could do now was wait and look too preoccupied for anyone to dare strike up a conversation.
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Hidden 8 days ago 8 days ago Post by veenknight343
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Around the HMS Nyx

Outside the assault carrier was one mobile suit flying around ship, Ayame Izumi the HMS Nyx's black haired Venusian lead pilot was helping with the ships targeting system one last time to make sure the ship was ready for combat before landing in Annona Colony watching as the guns follow her around as she moved around the ship in her Tommy with the occasional chirping meaning she was locked on by the ship.

"Alright, everything is looking good here come on back in Izumi"

"Roger Bridge,I'll go in for one more fly by then head back."

"Don't take too long we got word from the captain, we are heading into the colony and we are going to be dealing with higher ups and nobles"

"Understood Bridge, making my final run now"

Ayame made her final run, but this time she had her focus on her home, the planet Venus her home planet. "Hello home, I hope to visit you soon." She did miss her home planet, even if the quality of life standards are dirt poor compared to being on Mars. Now she enjoyed her time on Mars as it was amazing, the fresh crisp air and so much green, a color she didn't know existed in abundance and trees as well, it was such a foreign thing for her. But she does miss the close urban environment of Gibraltar and was hoping to get some time off and visit her family for a few days having being years since she's been home, but first getting this Annona colony business out of the way and put her best foot and face forward.

"Alright enough sight seeing time to head back. This is Izumi, coming back aboard"

After finishing her sight seeing she made her way back towards the HMS Nyx but made a slight detour passing by the top observation deck zooming in seeing "her" Signifer Victor Ingram Galahad there, she wanted to do something to show she was there and say high but that would be a bit much and flying by might be good enough for Victor to watch as she made her way into the hanger finding her spot next to Victor's Knight Errant.

As soon as it was set into place she flew out of her Tommy's cockpit hurrying her way to her room nearly colliding into a pair of mechanics "Gah! Sorry, I'm in a hurry!" she yelled back at them as she exited the hanger and zoned towards her room so she shower and change into her dress uniform, she enjoys the look of it but sometime she wishes she could keep her hair down more often and finds it annoying to constantly putting into a bun or a ponytail but regulations are regulations and got it into a single bun in the back of her head "Alright, this is it, put your best you forwards Ayame. Its a simple job, look nice and don't mess up." she was getting herself into order, getting all the jitters out now so she can get herself calm and collected by the time they arrive into the colony.

Hidden 8 days ago Post by Sakaki Chizuru
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Sakaki Chizuru

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Sebastian Salas

Habitat 34, Seemingly Random Lot

The only road worth taking is one of hardship.

It was a rather generic quote, but one Sebastian lived by. A comfy life truly wasn't worth living. People can only grow once they've experienced hardship, and those who have experienced the most and made it out were the strongest of them all. In reality, the hardships he had suffered were nothing compared to what many had experienced. He was never a miner, or a soldier, or someone whose life was destroyed by pirates, or someone who had every dream torn away from him at every corner. Sebastian was just an orphan that lost a friend. All things considered, he was incredibly lucky.

Of course, Sebastian applied this very same quote to the people of Venus. Though the Venusians have suffered hardships, they had continued to fight and survive. Another great hardship is surely on the horizon, especially with what Mekon is currently planning. It will be hard, brutal even, but once it is over with, the people of Venus will reach heights they never believed possible. This was his mission. This is why he was doing what he had to do help them.

Despite being in a fairly random alley, it was an isolated enough for him to "meditate." Of course, to him, meditation was dribbling a ball around. It was the only time he was able to reflect. It was sort of bad a thing really, as it meant he couldn't really properly process his thoughts without it. It was a horrible co-dependency issue, but at least it meant he had periods where he could get incredibly productive with his thinking. New ideas for the game, for the team, for Mekon, and so forth could be hatched up just by doing a simple drill in a random alley.

It's great how simple people really were.

The Mekon Movement was odd. It was shattered, lacked any real cohesion, and ran around hoping for the best outcome. It was nothing like a football team. Sport always emphasized unity, fraternity, guidance, and giving it your all in everything. These were the greatest ideals, far greater than what even the most pompous philosopher could spout. It was these ideals that Sebastian hoped to bring to the Movement. After all, soccer was the lifeblood of the people.

At least, that was how he perceived it.

The members of the group were also...very strange. The fact that they were even working as some kind of organization was very impressive. They were uppity, rebellious, had issues with authority, and were a rag tag group strapped together by duct tape. Coincidentally, those traits made for some of the best soccer player when channeled correctly.

More importantly, those character traits were crucial for those trying to get some kind of rebellion going.

Sebastian continued to dribble the ball, his thoughts filled with potential ideas going forward, though a lot of them he would later mentally cross out. There was a lot of social and cultural navigation he needed to consider, so it came as no surprise to him that many of his ideas would be poor. This pattern more or less continued until he was alerted by the secret code words on Johanna's broadcast.

"...Finally, my head was starting to hurt."
Hidden 5 days ago Post by DostHou
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The Venue

To gaze upon the world through the eyes of a million dark eyes was to Bernard, an almost exhilarating experience. The operative word being almost. As an observer, Brache had at his disposal near omniscience within the Venue itself, but could not always act upon the sheer amount of information being processed before his very eyes.

It was an easy assignment with a disproportionate reward should he succeed in it. Run security over a royal procession towards the expo, and then receive accolades for keeping the royal family safe. A safe, simple assignment.

But yet, Bernard could not but feel uneasy. Perhaps it was the passive role he had taken. Rather then being the one to direct and dictate the terms of the metaphorical battle, he was essentially blind. Forced on the backfoot, to react to whatever dastardly scheme may be thrown his way.

Bernard frowned. It was unpleasant, to be the one carefully toeing their way around an invisible web. He was the one to plant layered schemes upon schemes, not run around like a lab rat in a maze.

Thankfully, his watch was almost over. Just half an hour and he would be free from the uncomfortable confines of paranoia, eyes carefully dissecting the screens arrayed on the wall. Within his peripherals, Brache's attention was caught by a peculiarity within the corridors of the Venue.

"Munifex Allen, bring up camera feed 142 on the main screen."

Wordlessly, Allen brought up a live feed of a rather strange sight of a near skeleton. A short, fleshy skeleton.

Bernard's frown deepened. He had gone over the roster of approved personnel, and while his memory was not infallible, he could not recall such a malnourished figure. And without any clear badge, a wide variety of scenarios played out in Bernard's mind. With his shift near finished, he decided that this called for further investigation. The incident providing as good an excuse as any to go out and stretch his legs while also completing his duty.

"Avocati Baker, you have command while I go investigate. Send two guards to intercept the unknown, I will personally go and interrogate them."

Once more repeating his orders into the comms, informing High Command of his intentions and of Avocati Baker's temporary assignment, Bernard Brache set out into the vastness of the Venue, intent on discovering who his mystery guest was and to relieve his own aching boredom.

Hidden 4 days ago 4 days ago Post by Phoenix347
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Phoenix347 Complete Rando

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Near Annona Colony

Arthur spent his time reading over the last of the reports and summaries sent to him before the arrival of the Venue at the colony. More technical data, company progress reports, stock reports and more near useless information for most others, but for him it was necessary to know on a daily basis. He pulled aside reports relevant to the Venue’s arrival, mostly his competitors’ public reports about the upcoming expo, into his computer for future reference.

A Tommy floated above and slightly starboard to the Forge of Mars, the red and white accents of its paint rendering it starkly visible against the black void of space to those in the bridge. It carried a long, slender rifle in its hands, carefully pointed away from both the manufacturing ship and the colony. Two extra fuel pods attached to the Tommy's backpack attested to the expectation that it would be deployed for several hours. The pilot had approached the Forge of Mars ten or so minutes ago, claiming to be there to perform a preliminary check of the vessel's silhouette and markings due to the heightened security around Annona.

Evidently there was nothing to complain about, as the pilot hadn't ordered them to halt but had instead matched the Forge of Mars's velocity and settled in like an escort.

He stood up as the captain hailed his room, announcing they were reaching communications range to request docking clearance. Arthur closed his terminal and stood, walking briskly towards the bridge after the channel had been opened to the Annona Colony traffic control tower. “Annona tower this is the Forge of Mars, registration S1594, requesting permission to approach docking strut. Purpose is to transfer supplies and personnel.” The captain looked over as the communications officer spoke to the tower. “The Nyx has returned in time for the Expo sir. Was it not enough to show off?”

“Just releasing one ship wouldn’t have been enough to have bragging rights over Raj. For all we know they’ve finally fixed their big tin can for today, then what would we have to show off for the princess. I want more than a single nice ship to fly by today.” That is if no radicalist gets jumpy before the presentation begins. He thought to himself.

There was a brief delay between the comms officer sending the request and the colony sending back its reply. A handful of seconds, presumably to allow the operators to check the Forge of Mars's information. "Verified, Forge of Mars, you are clear to approach. Berth C16, sending navigational solution."

The Tommy gave a salute to the bridge and backed away, returning to its original post. An information packet also arrived, containing the path that the traffic controllers wanted the vessel to take — a fairly straightforward route, but such redundancies were needed to prevent disastrous collisions. "Will you be needing a passenger or cargo dock?" came another question. The tubes in the external docking struts could transfer people and smaller containers, but larger cargo would need other accommodations and many nobles and businessmen preferred to transfer to the colony in the comfort of a shuttle.

"Confirmed, navigation solution received, course plotted. Negative on shuttle, requesting permission to utilize complimentary mobile workers to ferry supplies." The comm officer worked with the navigation as on the screen a projection of the flight path appeared and the pilots changed the large ship's course appropriately. Arthur watched as the machine man flew off, letting out a sigh. "Every time I see them the scutson gets more and more pitiable. R&D better be making headway by the time the next report comes. Take us in nice and easy captain, we're in no rush now that we're here."

The delay in the reply is shorter this time. Now that their identify had been verified, everything else was a simpler affair. Especially for matters pertaining to Sharp Workshop after their ascendance in the Zern industrial sphere. "Permission is granted. Have the pilot licenses and mobile worker registrations ready to file when you dock in. You may load and unload your cargo in Bays C10 to C14."

The man patted the headrest of the captain's chair before he walked off of the bridge. The halls were empty as always on his way to the mobile worker hangar. He looked over the list of attendees on his small computer, making notes on who to meet and who to check in on.

While Annona Colony's piers, docks, and bays were all owned and regulated by the imperial government, merchants, corporations, and private individuals were all permitted to lease protected time and space at a relatively reasonable cost. Thanks in large part to their wealth and the fame of their brand, Sharp Workshop had been able to obtain a near-total-exclusivity lease to a decent number of berths and bays, facilitating their traffic in and out of the colony and giving them limited permissions to install specialized equipment. While it sounded like the control tower was assigning space to the Forge of Mars, in reality the Workshop's managers and representatives on Annona had already submitted an itinerary and made preparations for their CEO's arrival.
Collaborated with @Caduceus
Hidden 4 days ago Post by Yukitamas
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Gaia Dryte
The Venue

He was awaken, technically anyway. The way he zoned out, watching the video on his screen only in name. He was in practiced dozed off in the ways that mattered. The approach of the other man in turn took a few moments for him to realize. “Ah.” he whispered to himself. Really if he was back home…. There was always the need to be ready to move and snap to action when the stars descended or one of the roaming weapons came by. Maybe he was getting too comfortable, too easily forgiving the new kinds of fatigue that he was weighed down by.

Pushing himself up with a yawn he looked around with a bobbing head and narrowed eyes. "Yeah... what is it?" His finger tapped his tablet to put a pause to the video of the concert, pausing it on a frame of the princess. “Who are you anyway? I doubt you were sent by Sheena, and I don’t remember anything else being lined up for my day. Is it something about the expo or something?”

Hidden 1 day ago Post by Golden Spiral
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Golden Spiral Moonstruck

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Sheena Zern

There was a simple reality to be acknowledged the second one left the safety of planets. It didn't matter if you were hauling wares or tracking pirates, royalty or commoner.

Space was really, really vast- traveling through it took a long time. There were even possible psychological issues associated with long journeys, at least within sub optimal conditions. Some just weren't cut out for it.

Furthermore, it was really boring. Especially if one was traveling as far out as Venus of all places. Part of the reason the Venue even existed was to solve that issue for the Royal Family and its retinue.

Sheena herself had plenty of bad history with this ship in particular, though. In the first place she had always been on military vessels which themselves had far fewer amenities. Being on something so spacious and extravagant was somewhat awkward for her. In comparison the Venue held countless ways to entertain yourself, and yet she couldn't find herself getting comfortable at all. Normally she would train or study to stave off the all encompassing boredom of void travel. Logically speaking taking advantage of the Venue's hospitality would be the right thing. But instead she had spent the last couple months doing her average routine.

The last few days had been different, though.

As the dress uniform she was wearing made apparent, she was fully prepared to leave the Venue on time. She had been properly resting the last couple of days so she'd be at one hundred percent when they arrived. Over training your body or mind led to a deflation period where both repaired themselves and she needed to be at her peak on arrival. That had resulted in her staying in her room for the last several days. For the most part she had just been reading.

Normally she'd fraternize a bit with the crew, but the Snow Beetles had soured that with their presence. It had made this entire trip far more dreary as a result.

Her movement through the halls were rapid, yet still held a certain amount of dignity. Upon nearing her objective, she passed by a positively beaming young woman. Sheena didn't give her a direct look, but that girl had beautiful eyes. She took a mental note to ask about who she might be whenever there was time. If she could hazard a guess, it was likely someone within that girls retinue.

Regardless of mood she was here on business, and she wanted a word with the most important person on the ship. In truth, it had been a conversation she wanted to delay until after their arrival.

But doing what was right and what you wanted were often two different things.

At such a brisk pace she finally arrived at her destination, the quarters of her sister. Sheena didn't say a word to the guards posted at the door- she didn't need too. After her sister had time to prepare, the doors opened and she continued forward. For the safety of their privacy and lives, the doors were just as quickly sealed behind them.

Upon seeing her sister, she would without a doubt give a sigh of relief.

"The point, then. What's your aim on Venus? Also, if you plan to do a concert I want a ticket." There was nothing wasted in those words. She didn't even bother to give a greeting this time. Normally protocol was something to follow, but in this space there was no need for flowery pleasantries. Moreover, they were due to arrive any minute. This was really last second and ridiculous.

. . .And moreover, she really spoke plainly sometimes.
Hidden 22 hrs ago 22 hrs ago Post by Crosswire
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@Golden Spiral

"I'm happy to see you as well, fairest sister." Asallia said from her seat on one of the three marble leather couches in the room. A smile came to her face as she spoke, bright, warm, and visibly exhausted.

Lycoris hadn't noticed it in the Princess. Caught up in her own emotions and believing she had caught her in the middle of a nap, anyone as close as family would be able to tell she hadn't been sleeping or at least not well.

A cold cup of tea, likely forgotten and left untouched on her bedside for sometime, was clutched in Asallia's graceful gloved hands the way a man man thrown into space would clutch a life-line. She drank deeply from the cup in a sophisticated manner that had all but been bred into her at birth before pulling the drink from her lips.

"I've come to Venus to stop blood from being shed." Asallia's smile was still as bright as it had been moments before, but her tone was poisoned with a new gravity to them.

The cup clinked against the saucer sitting on the marble coffee table in front of her as the Princess took a moment to softly inhale.

"So as much as I would dearly love to hold a concert, part of me is fearful it would be highly inappropriate to do so soon after arriving. However, when I inevitably do you will be the first one I invite."

Asallia looked up, still smiling, but her weariness cut into the warmth of her expression as she straightened her back.

"You should know what's coming Sheena, otherwise you wouldn't be here. The additional troops wouldn't be here. This ship wouldn't be here. Venus has been the most neglected and abused out of all the Empire's holdings and now we're reaping the 'rewards' of our actions. If things are allowed to remain on their current course countless people will die. And with father-"

The princess stopped abruptly and swallowed hard.

"And with father the way he is now the reaction to the coming violence will not be one of intelligence and understanding."

Casting her eyes down to the marbled floor Asallia took a moment to collect herself before reaching beside her and holding up a small writing tablet.

"I have a speech prepared for the arrival ceremony. Its not the one I informed the planners I would be making of course. Its one of my usual 'mood killers' as father used to call them."

Asallia's eyes welled with a distant nostalgia and she let out a soft giggle as she looked back up to Sheena.

"When I was younger, father would have me come to his chambers when he was feeling lethargic and complacent. He'd tell me just to 'speak my mind'. Yet, whatever I said always seemed to anger him so much that he'd end up shouting for a servant to come to take down his words for later reference. I would just stand there, smiling as a confused scribe sat in hunched over terror as father launched into a tirade about diversifying wheat seed strains or some such nonsense."


Lycoris picked herself off the carpeted flooring, briefly thankful she was still in the gravity block of the ship and hadn't been launched half-way down the hallway from the impact. As she pushed herself to her feet she readied and obligatory apology to whatever gruff military man or abrasive noble that he barreled into her. However when she looked up and opened her mouth to speak, Lycoris's face froze as she stared into an all too familiar face.


The girl's eyes narrowed and almost glassed over behind her thick framed glasses, only barely keeping her groan internalized inside her own head.

"Hi, Lucas." Lycoris eventually said, containing her reserved dread as she dusted herself off.

In the two month journey to Venus, Lycoris had been avoiding many people. She had more or less held up in the quarters given to her, only popping out for food or to use the various amenities on the ship when she assumed everyone else was asleep or busy with other duties. A part of this was her reluctance to speak with Asallia until mere moments ago. The other was avoid certain people she knew were on-board the ship.

One of whom was Lucas.

"Uh, sure Lucas. I really enjoyed hearing about how that one insect rolled fecal matter into large balls. It was very...stimulating to learn."

Lycoris did her best to smile and feign interest, already hoping a hull breach would suck her out into the vacuum of space and into the sweet embrace of death.

With the expo being set up on Venus various industrialists, researchers, and such had been given passage to the orange planet on the Venue. Most were complete strangers, but some Lycoris had met at MIT and others later during the start of the project. Plenty were grating, arrogant, and confrontational intellectuals who didn't like to be told they were wrong about anything. Most knew Lycoris by reputation alone and she had spent 60 days doing her best to avoid getting into spats so she could work in peace.

But Lucas was different.

Lycoris still remembered the boy from MIT, though only barely. He largely blended into the background compared to her other classmates. While they struggled or excelled, Lucas always treaded the middle ground in both his grades and design work. Even after Lycoris had learned he had been pulled into the the project and gotten to peak at what he was working on, it became apparent that Lucas hadn't changed at all.

Lucas wasn't bad or incompetent in Lycoris's mind he was just...banal.

Everything he made bothered Lycoris and filled her with an irate criticism. It all felt too safe, too overly practical. What should have been ground breaking, awe inspiring work was instead underwhelming in design and presentation.

Yet as uninspired as she saw his designs they were functional, which was more then Lycoris was able to claim.

She had stove to reach great heights only to be driven into the ground by her failure. Lucas meanwhile had gained more acclaim and respect by being mediocre then she had with her best efforts.

Just seeing Lucas left Lycoris with a deep bitter taste in her mouth and a heavy stone of regret sitting inside her stomach.

And what made it all worse was that Lucas was actually nice.

Difficult to talk too and with a weird obsession with animals that reminded her of stories of 'animal enthusiasts' Asallia had imparted onto her, but he wasn't offensive. As much as she wanted to hate Lucas and sought an excuse to resent him, Lycoris could find nothing. So she stood and smiled, left with an awkward mix of emotions she felt she wasn't justified to have...

Wiping her face with her ratty pillow, Laika left the crowded capsule apartment complex and was back on the streets again. She was happy that no one could hear her crying amidst the bustle of their own lives, not that anyone likely cared.

"I need to make some fast cash to pay rent tommorrow, or I'll be sleeping on the streets. Maybe I could steal some, but I need to stay out of trouble...

Laika's mind wandered as she walked aimlessly through the dark Venusian streets, only orange street lamps and bright neon signs lighting her way. Turning off the increasingly crowded street she ducked into an alleyway. Part of her was looking for a fight, figuring it wasn't 'trouble' if someone happened to make trouble with you and happened to lose whatever money they had after doing so.

She strode into the middle of the T-shaped alleyway, which was lit in the center by a single dying overhead lamp attached to the side of a building. Trash and refuse lined the sides of the alleyway and it appeared almost entirely empty save for the strange, unseen vermin likely skittering about.

Letting out a sigh Laika turned around to head back when she saw a man standing at the entrance to the alleyway she had come from.

She stared at the distant dark silhouette, the orange glare of the far off street lamps shrouding it in shadow. Slowly she turned, ready to walk the other way.

As looked however there was yet another silhouette in the distance, standing on the sidewalk.

Heart beginning to pick up speed as realization walked over to her, Laika look down the central alley of the T-shaped alleyway. There, tucked away in the shadows, was a man leaning up against the wall.

"Employee 51313?" The man asked, as a lit cigarette briefly illuminated his worn and semi-wrinkled face.

Laika stared back intently, noticing the other two men at the other ends of the alley beginning to move towards her.

"I'm not employed anymore." Laika said as the man blew cigarette smoke towards her and stepped into the light.

The man was in his late 30's and was dressed in heavy boots, brown slacks, a black vest, and a heavy coat. A wide brim hat sat atop his head, hiding fraying red hair that poked out from beneath. Laika's eyes were drawn to a bronze colored plate pinned to the side of the man's vest.


Laika's muscled tensed up and the man seemed to smirk at a little seeing her reaction.

"But you were. And the man you were employed by is very unhappy about what you did to his office, and his ear drums."

Laika stepped back, doing her best not to eye the space the lead enforcer had left in the alleyway he stood in. She kept note of how close the other men were getting and shook her head.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I was fired and left. That's it."

"Really? Are you sure you're not an avid music fan? Though, I guess it doesn't really matter if you are or not. Your former boss seems pretty certain you had something to do with what happened. And he's paid us to ensure there are immediate consequences for what happened."

The man spoke slowly and deliberately, enjoying his cigarette and the growing look of apprehension on Laika's face.

Just as the man took a deep toke of his cigarette Laika shot forward, attempting to push past the man and make make a break for it.

As she did so however the man swept into her way and jerked out his knee, slamming his leg into her groin. Laika winced and stumbled backwards, but the lack of pain on her face seemed to surprise the man.

"You're a girl? Huh, you Vensians really are de-evolving." The man flicked his cigarette into Laika's face just as the other two men closed in.

Laika lunged forward but the man threw out a punch. She managed to jerk her head side-ways to avoid the blow only to move right into the path of another punch. A meaty fist made contact with her temple which threw her into another punch, and another. Eventually she was throw up against the wall, directly under the light.

"We can make this a bit easier. Don't really need to be rough with you as long as you get the idea of what your boss intends to do, and you're willing to grease the wheels a little."

The man rubbed his fingers together.

"I don't have any mon-"

Laika barely got the words out when the lead enforcer punched her clean in the face, a sharp pain radiating from her nose as the back of her head smashed into the wall behind her. The other two enforcers began to punch, slamming closed hands into her chest to knock the wind out of her as they threw her to the ground. They were just beginning to kick Laika when a voice called out.

"My, my is this how gentlemen treat young ladies nowadays? You'll never win her heart with such uncouth behavior...only her wrath."

The three suited enforcers standing over Laika briefly froze as a female voice reached them. Slowly they looked over their shoulders to see a hunched over, hooded figure standing at the throat of the alleyway. Seeing the well covered but seemingly wizened figure allowed the men to relax, expressions of concern flashing into sneers.

"Keep your mouth shut, hag. We're on official corporate business. You haven't gotten to be as old as you are by being stupid, so be on your way." The lead enforcer warned, but a sharp peal of laughter briefly erupted out from underneath the stranger's hood as they hobbled forward.

"Old? Who said I was old? Its so very rude to assume a women's age you know. Keep acting like that and I might have to punish you..."

Laika remained on her knees and supported by one hand, clutching her face to stem the bleeding from her nose. The girl's eyes widened as recognized the voice.

Wordlessly the lead man glanced to the man to his left and nodded towards the figure as they continued to hobble towards them.

Striding forward, the man pulled a telescopic baton from his belt and deployed it with one swift motion of his arm. Running forward the enforcer raised his hand high above his hand and brought the baton down on the head of the cloaked figgure.


A sharp, heavy impact rang out up and down the alley as the lead man expected to hear.

Yet the sound was off. It wasn't metal striking flesh.

It was metal striking metal.

Looking up from the ground and down the alleyway, Laika saw an arm of sleek black nanocarbon had caught the weighted tip of the telescopic baton mid swing. The cloaked figure's hand closed tightly around the tip just as the Enforcer tried to pull his arm back, the black arm no so much as budging. Muscles straining, blood rushing to his face, the enforcer struggled to free his weapon as the black arm moved. Effortlessly it bent the the telescopic plasteel baton into a U-shape, the hooded figure's posture growing straighter and standing taller as they did so.

Releasing his weapon the enforcer tried to shove the figure away, but only succeeded in jostling them and knocking back their hood.

As soon as the enforcers saw the women's face their own went pallid.

Laika smiled, tears welling up in her eyes.

Standing there before the enforcer was a women with short, lustrous black hair. An orange eye stared out from beneath the shadow cast by her hair and beside it an orange compound optic eye-patch glowed. Her skin was smooth and fair, barely carrying the subtle signs of countless surgeries and recovered wounds.

"Captain...Captain Cathrida." Laika thought, her heart nearly skipping a beat.

"My my what's with that expression? A man like you should be thrilled to see such a beautiful women. Here, let me fix that look for you!!"

Dropping the bent baton the orange eyed women lunged her right arm forward.

Sharp fingers pierced the enforcer's face before he could so much as lean backwards.

With a mechanical strength the fingers broke the skin, drawing blood and pushing away the muscle beneath as they curled inwards.

Jerking her arm backwards there was a wet, disgusting tearing noise as the enforcer was released from the women's grip and dropped to the ground.

The lead enforcer and his comrade could only stare as their friend fell before the women bleeding from the mass of exposed muscle where his face had once been as physical shock muted any screams he might have made.

"Its awfully hypocritical to judge the appearance of others when you yourself are so...unimpressive looking."

Cathrida held up the bleeding, torn away face of the enforcer before casually tossing it to the side where it wetly slapped against the side of a nearby trashcan.

As the women turned her almost glowing gaze to them both enforcer's sprung into action.

The lead enforcer dove a hand into his jacket, going for his shoulder holster as the other ripped a taser from his belt. Cathrida surged forward, her legs carrying her down the alley with frightening speed. She closed in on the taser wielding enforcer as the lead enforcer raised his pistol and took aim for her head.

Finger tightening around the trigger the man was ready to fire when Laika rose up, and thrust a close fist up between the man's legs.

"AIGH!" The lead enforcer squealed in pain, nearly doubling over as the other enforcer thrust his taser at Cathrida as she ran up to him.

Swinging her arm up Cathrida struck the man's arm from below, deflecting his thrust over her shoulder and leaving his torso exposed.


Cathrida's black fists slammed into both sides of the man's ripcage, which broken beneath her blows like Popsicle sticks. Winded and disoriented by pain the man stumbled backwards as Cathrida raised her hands over he head and brought them down onto his.

There was an audible slam and another, far louder crack as the man was sent flying backwards into the nearby wall where he dropped to the ground and went limp.

Having briefly stunned the lead enforcer Laika pushed herself to her feet and kicked the man in the back, knocking him to the cold concrete and sending his pistol sailing from his grip. It clattered across the ground, briefly spinning until it stopped below the black shiny heeled boots of Cathrida.

Bending over the red cloaked women gingerly picked up the semi-automatic, straightening upwards only to frown as she looked at her hands.

Both arms of sleek black nano-carbon and a hard, red fibrous material were coated in blood which dripped onto the ground and threatened to run down her arms and stain her clothes.

"Hmph. Barely here fifteen minutes and I'm already disgusting. Venus really isn't conducive to clean leaving." Cathrida mused before she was all but tackled by Laika.

"Captain! Captain! I knew you'd come back, I always knew!"

Laika kept her arms wrapped around Cathrida's waist, pressing her face into the women's grey and red top as she failed to hold back her tears.

Amidst the filthy alley where to corpses lay Cathrida stood immobilized, her blood stained hands held up and away from the young girl clinging to her so tightly. For a moment the women stared down in unfamiliar surprise, her human eye wide. Slowly however she relaxed and a small, quiet smile came to her face.

"My, how my little cabin girl has grown..."

Cathrida was tempted to wrap her own arms around Laika, ignoring the blood, but as she looked over the girl's shoulder she saw the lead enforcer trying to crawl away.

Gently pushing Laika to the side Cathrida walked over, grabbing the back of the man's neck and lifting him off the ground. Effortlessly she threw him backwards, sending him crashing down at Laika's feet.

"This isn't the place for heart-warming reunions I'm afraid." Cathrida said, pulling the slide back on the semi-automatic pistol.

"We can't leave any witnesses right now, so show me that you haven't lost your touch."

Smiling Cathrida tossed the loaded gun at Laika. Reaching out she caught the pistol which felt all too natural in her hand. Checking the safety she aimed the gun down at the lead enforcer, who pushed himself up into a sitting position and clasped his hands.

"Please! Please just let me live! I won't tell anyone I swear!"

Laika stared down at the man, pistol aimed at his head. Her finger tightened around the trigger, her heart beginning to pick up in speed as she stared into his eyes.

But she didn't pull it. Relaxing her finger she stepped back, lowering the pistol to her side.

"Thank you! Tha-"

No sooner did the words leave the man's mouth did Laika's right foot swing up and smash into the man's throat. Pulling away, blood rushed from the man's jugular as Laika planted her foot back on the ground the blade in her boot retracting inwards. The man's hands went to his throat as he choked and gurgled, doubling over.

"Good girl, you remembered not to make undue noise." Cathrida said, practically beaming as Laika glared down at the lead enforcer as he drowned in his own blood.

"I am done letting people hurt me." Laika said coldly, her eyes locked onto the man who slowly died at her feet.

Cathrida's smile withered.

"Where's your 'uncle'?" Cathrida asked.

"Dead." Laika said, her voice growing quieter. "He died two years ago."

Silence fell over the alley as the three men lay still and strewn about the trash.

Wiping her hands off on one of the dead men's pants Cathrida walked up to Laika, who didn't lift her eyes from the body in front of her. Pulling her close she rested her head against Laika's and whispered.

"I didn't mean to leave you here for so long."

Still clutching the un-fired gun Laika hugged the women back, closing her eyes tightly.

"I'm just glad you're back."

Laika's voice cracked as she spoke and Cathrida swallowed hard. She allotted herself a few moments to stand with the girl before pulling back from her.

"We need to go." Cathrida stated firmly, glancing up and down the T-shaped back alley.

"We can catch up on the way. Do you know a place where we can lay low for a bit? Things are about to get hot around here, and not because of these three."

"There's a bar called the Grand. Zern avoid the place, only drunks and nice people go there--er our kind of 'nice'." Laika wiped at her face with her wrist, tucking her newly acquired pistol away into her jumpsuit as Cathrida nodded.

"Lead the way then, I think its time I made some fast friends..."

"Yes, captain!"

Nodding her head Cathrida pulled her hood over her head as the two slunk their way out of the alleyway and disappeared into the streets...
Hidden 20 hrs ago Post by Frater Jeremiah
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Frater Jeremiah

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Governor Marcus Engan
Annona Colony

So at last the whole affair would come to a close, months of planning and preparation for the arrival of the Venue and its royal cargo coming to a head. Military Governor Marcus Engan could not have prayed harder for it to be so, after so much time and many headaches thrown in among the rest that was Venus. The colonies were still gripped in the shock of so sudden a transition of administration, and the newly appointed Governor had spent many sleepless nights contemplating the mess which his predecessor had so graciously left. But in the end, it seemed such a show of grandeur, strength, and pageantry would do the people well in so grim a time. Even Engan had to admire the way in which his adjutants and staff had prepared the parade and celebration, aside from the floral arrangements they had chosen which were playing hell with his allergies. Pennants flying the heraldry of the Empire, the Emperor's house, of Venus and Luna, all arranged in ever so subtle patterns to show an interconnection and unity between all. Screens displaying the arrival of the Venue and the reception were scattered across all the colonies of Venus, with non-stop coverage of the momentous occasion and the proceedings that would soon follow. Columns of soldiery marched in perfect time, well drilled and well dressed in their matching uniforms of martian make. They paraded through the streets, followed by deftly piloted Mobile Suits as they passed the gathering mass of citizens who had come to witness the arrival. Law enforcement kept order among the crowds, officers setting barricades and keeping watch alongside soldiery so that the swelling crowd did not spill into the street, and to dissuade any of the more violent element.

Of all this, thee jewel of the whole affair (aside from the arriving royalty) was to Engan's eyes the deployment and display of his newly organized Mobile Infantry. Inspired by the innovation of Mobile Suits, the Governor long believed that despite their utility, there were many operations in which such tools were unwieldy or ineffective. Raids and the close environments of urban combat, effective riot control, and the time-honored role of marines to board and secure enemy vessels from within. A Mobile Suit might have some use in the crippling of ships in void combat, but to actually go in and clear deck after deck of an enemy vessel was something best left to marines. As such, Engan had some time ago commissioned the development of powered armor for use in such harsh endeavors, inspired by the hardiness of Mobile Suits to create shock troopers able to withstand the fury of small arms and even light explosive weaponry. Now here they marched, after years of trial and error, clad in thick armored plates which whirred and hissed softly with every movement of soldier and mechanism. Heavy weapons were toted as though they were toys in the hands of children, and the Iconography of Mars and Venus were emblazoned proudly upon their armored chests for all citizens of the colonies to see. Beneath the hermetically sealed suits and grim-looking void-helms, there lied some of the finest men and women ever to take up arms in defense of their country, their kinsmen. Governor Engan felt no small surge of pride that many of his students could be counted among their number. These would be the soldiers upon the front line against those who thought they could undermine the very principles of their great Empire, to poison his beloved home against their fellow men.

Marcus put such thoughts to the back of his mind for now, however, and instead turned his gaze upwards towards the ship slowly making its way into proper position. The local defense fleet had begun its escort around the Venue, and he could see his own vessel Mons drift above the colony, placed a respectful distance from the guests of honor. Once more he made quick inspection of his person, and was sufficiently pleased with the immaculate state of his uniform and his well shaven face. He took one sidelong glance over his shoulder back towards his gathered retinue of officers, officials, dignitaries, and other such functionaries. Likewise satisfactory, a well organized and efficient group with which he saw fit to surround himself and share in the honor and duties which his office required. Now they would wait a few more agonizing minutes, and all the while Governor Engan cursed whoever had chosen those damn flowers.
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Hidden 17 hrs ago Post by DostHou
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The Venue

Two guards flanked the lanky individual caught between them. Some degree of uncomfortableness could be felt emanating from them as they awkwardly accosted Gaia in silence.

Bernard approved of their approach to duty in private but made a note to talk to them later. Why they allowed a potential unknown threat still maintain access to any devices was beyond him. A security exercise was due anyway, hopefully the rest of the crew will remember proper procedures in detaining suspects.

Communications has yet to report to him the identity of their mystery intruder, a most inauspicious sign. But the name of the fourth princess spilling from his lips prevented him from taking any more harsh action onto the boy in front of him. It was not inconceivable that the youth was addled and was unfamiliar with the proper procedures on the Venue. But still, the security of the royal family laid with him for the time being, and Bernard would be damned before he failed in his duty.

"Apologies for interrupting your day young man. But it is a requirement for all crew members and passengers to carry their identification cards upon their persons in visible locations due to security concerns.

"During our routine camera sweep, we noticed that you have not complied, and have thusly been considered a potential security threat. If you have the proper documents required on your persons, we will take but a moment of your time to confirm it's validity before continuing on our way. If you do not please follow us to the brig and give us the identity of your immediate superior so that we may contact them and inform them of the situation, from which we may proceed onwards from."

What was left unsaid was just what would happen in the case he really was a stowaway and was not authorized to be on the Venue. But such dark things were better left to the interrogators and other special units.

Besides, if his suspicions were correct, he would soon be busy talking to royalty soon. For his sake, he hoped dearly that the individual in front of him carried his identification.

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