Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

One moment Abigail was asleep.

The next moment she was on her feet, hauling ass up the ladder out of the Krakono, helmet in hand and wondering why she was doing that.

The moment after that she heard the radio transmission and put her helmet on in one fluid yet complex motion that involved folding her hair back in on itself so the pressure seal would activate. Her EVA suit on its own didn't have air conditioning and she already felt uncomfortable, but at least the ground felt like ground again. Scampering up the chassis of the Kolibri, Abigail felt the ground underfoot vibrate as the Krakono booted up again. Neither had said a word just yet because they were both thinking hard.

Once Abigail started up the Kolibri, both MASes pinged back onto the Seventh's HUDs. Whilst the Krakono had sustained minimal disruption in the landing - his laser cannon was marked as 'faulty' instead of 'damaged' - the Kolibri still wasn't looking great. She was still pinging with a warning sign about being too hot and reported damage to the landing strut. She was also starting to run low on fuel for her boosters.

Not that either of them had the time nor the materials to address these concerns. Abigail took off in a dead sprint first. «You're never going to get a clear shot here. Flank them - I'll try and get the Fenrirs to run in your direction,» Abigail spoke in Savonian through the encrypted comms. She didn't need to but her mind was running a mile a minute as she circled around the trio of Fenrirs from behind, using her boosters to catch up with them. Raising her rifle, she took aim - lowered it slightly, her smart AI calculating to adjust her specific target - waited for the Fenrir to pass the gnarled base of a tree then opened fire on one of the leg joints. The rounds tore through the exposed gap in the armour plating and caused the MAS to lurch sideways and crash into the undergrowth.

Five years of vocal training went into a couple of sentences as Abigail spoke with measured confidence, articulated clearly to accommodate for the short range on the radio and just enough warmth to sound friendly without losing the underlying tone of absolutely having her shit together like a real professional. "Sunray this is Pipsqueak, keep doing what you're doing. Follow my instructions and I'll get you out of this mess." What she didn't sound like was the Child of Savonia, who had a thick accent and a childlike cadence. She never sounded like that over comms.

Of course by announcing herself on the radio and immobilising one of their teammates Abigail also drew attention to herself. Realising they were getting flanked by a Sparrow one of the Fenrirs wheeled around and opened fire. Abigail was forced to take cover behind a tree but didn't waste a second; she started tapping commands into the console…

The HUDs of the Seventh burst into life as a new feed from the Full Echo suite blipped into existence. Though the dense tree coverage provided a significant amount of interference, they got a glimpse of one blip marked as a Fenrir, two more defined shapes also marked as Fenrir and a blip called 'AAT-9 Helmheimr' running away from her. Abigail had just enough time to designate this unknown MAS as 'SUN' before the Full Echo suite cut off, leaving a still image and coordinates of their last known location.

Jakunta only barely caught up and positioned himself in a more suitable location, the thick canopy of the jungle working directly against his MAS- it was slow to move and break through the thick vines that stood in its way. Abigail picked up on the Krakono's bulk in the distance, clenched her jaw and broke from her cover to start firing at the other Fenrirs to force them back - towards Jakunta - in an attempt to hide behind the trees and distract them from the heavy MAS. Ammunition crashed into the Kolibri's chassis and exploded, compressing and deforming the armour as she dived for new cover.

The Full Echo suite clicked on again. The Seventh got a new set of coordinates just a few dozen kilometres from the last, a new read on the situation. The Krakono had joined the fray, the downed Fenrir indistinct and trying to stand. Abigail had pushed forward and forced the remaining two Fenrirs to break from the chase and move towards the tree cover.

Once in position, Jakunta hurriedly lowered his armaments to fire at the next target he’d spot through the trees, anyone of the enemy MAS’s that Abigail lured her way. He waited patiently, and when one of the Fenrirs broke into his line of sight trying to get behind a tree he fired. The damaged laser canon whirred painfully as it blasted a hole through whatever foliage stood in its way to the target. The laser collided and burnt a massive hole through the upper half of the chassis and the cockpit as the second Fenrir crumpled into the undergrowth.

"Sunray it's Pipsqueak. That laser blast came from my squadmate Grizzly, adjust your course to regroup with his MAS - it's a little hard to miss." Abigail started pushing once more, jaw clenched as she fired on the remaining Fenrir relentlessly and closing the gap between them. More bullets crashed into her chassis.

The Full Echo switched off after an impact. The Seventh's HUDs once again displayed the last input feed of Abigail rushing a Fenrir and getting shot at.

Meanwhile Abigail's rough advance had forced the Fenrir back. Jakunta was forced to reposition once more. Through bared teeth he attempted to re-navigate the Krakono to hammer the last Fenrir, basing his own movements off the last known location of the hostile passed onto him by Abigail. He swapped from laser to cannon, intent to lock in and lay a devastating attack on the last Fenrir. The artillery thumped into place as the Krakono stabilised itself and fired. What little the vines and leaves did to slow the trajectory of the cannon had no effect on the outcome - there was a Fenrir there once. Now it was scrap metal and viscera scattered a couple hundred metres northward of its position.

Abigail slowed the Kolibri, restarted the Full Echo suite to show the dead Fenrirs and unknown MAS within range, and finally decided to breathe again. "That was... disappointingly easy. Sunray, you still with us? Circle back to-"

“It’s firing!” Jakunta belted, a futile attempt to warn Abigail in the last minute.

"FUCKING ASS-" The Full Echo lit up with warnings of an oncoming sledgehammer missile from the immobilised Fenrir at the back. Abigail revved up the boosters as she tried to move backwards and out of the way; the projectile collided with the spot where she once stood and exploded in a ball of flame and debris, sending the Kolibri spinning. The Full Echo cut off with the blast as the light MAS collided with the ground and skidded a little then - most concerningly - the portrait of the MAS switched to 'offline' on the HUDs.

For a few agonising seconds the Kolibri didn't move then it flicked back online with Abigail mid-rant in vehement Savonian on the encrypted comms, her voice thick and congested. «-ORCHED FUCKING EARTH DO YOU HEAR ME JAKUNTA. JAKUNTA IF YOU DON'T KILL THAT FUCKER I WILL PERSONALLY TEAR HIS ASS FROM THE COCKPIT AND THROW HIM INTO ORBIT.»

“I’m on it! I’m on it!” he hurriedly lumbered his MAS towards the Fenrir, conserving ammunition and exerting his physical weight onto the enemy. The 'foot' of the behemoth MAS came down on the cockpit several times, smashing the occupant within and halting the ineffective spray of bullets that dented the Krakono's chassis. All the while Abigail continued her ranting until the final pilot was dead, then the sound of heavy breaths came through the Comms. She collected herself. She groaned a little. She took a deep breath and flicked a switch, returning to the unencrypted channel.

"Sunray. This is, unfortunately. Still Pipsqueak. I'm a little banged up now and cannot use my radars to locate you, please return to the…blast site, and we'll regroup."
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by DrRtron
Avatar of DrRtron

DrRtron Formerly Rtron

Member Seen 3 mos ago

Gansu didn't need to be told twice once he heard they were going after their teammates. He pushed the Titan as fast as it could go into the Roanoke. They had been able to fend off attack right now, but he had no doubt that they Coalition backing off had more to do with the fact that they also knew Sunray was down on the planet than it had to do with any show of strength the the UEE was able to muster in the face of the surprise attack. He was already rattling off specific instructions to the crew as he exited the Titan. "I need more SAMs, I need my MG ammo refilled, I need more shells for my cannons, and the armor needs to be inspected for any weaknesses. There shouldn't be any but I took more rounds to the face than I would have liked to." The technicians ignored him. They already knew what to do and were already well aware of Gansu’s tendency to be an overbearing mother-hen when it came to his MAS.

Reluctantly, after staring at them to make sure they were doing a good job, Gansu allowed himself to be handed a bottle of water and shooed away from his mech. All he was going to do was get in the way and despite his misgivings there was really nothing for him to do but sit and listen to Ingram give them the barebones of the mission. It was fairly straightforward. Go get the Sunray who, for some fucking reason, wasn’t safely behind UEE lines and was stuck somewhere on a planet that was currently being invaded by the Coalition. All of the Coalition's soldiers knew Sunray was on the planet and they were desperately searching for Sunray to give the Coalition an advantage in the war. There wouldn’t be any time for subtlety or theatrics. They had to be as efficient as possible when it came to killing.

---Planet Side---

Gansu hopped from the Roanoke with the others, glancing around at the jungle with distaste. He hated environments like this in general. He really hated ones that were filled with enemy combatants and mega fauna. He followed Aleks’ commands without a word. They didn’t have time for clever lines, and they were going to be limited by his movement speed. No energy needed to be wasted as they moved towards where their comrades were.

Still, he really fucking hated this planet.

The trek towards the Pips and Grizzly felt like it had taken hours. It seemed that they never made any progress no matter how many steps he counted the Titan taking. It was always the same massive trees with the same massive plants that hid the same massive creatures from them. Gansu was sure he was beginning to go mad from the monotony. There were only so many times that you could stare at the unchanging trees, looking for hostiles, before you started seeing things. He couldn't even say anything to break the monotony, lest he distract the rest of the team. It was pratically torture.

Which was why the burst of static that was someone attempting to contact them over the unencrypted short range comms got him excited.

He couldn’t make anything other than the word ‘Ray’ from that garbled mess, but it at least meant something was happening and that it was happening nearby. He flipped on the local comms, excitedly speaking to the squad at large.

“Which direction did that come from? I heard Ray, and the only ray I know of is Sunray.”

Before anyone could answer his HUD lit up with an image from Abigail's full echo suit. It was confusing burst of images, but Gansu was able to quickly make out SUN and three fenrir's approaching. Then the suit shut down. Before he could move the Titan to properly face the coordinates given, his HUD flashed again. New coordinates, and both Abi and Jakunta were enganged in combat with the Fenrirs. Gansu readied the Titan to head into the new directions, hitting comms again.

“Ah. That's where it's coming from."

Before any reply could be made, a final burst of imagery hit his HUD as Abigail's MAS approached the downed Fenrirs. "I knew the two of them could han-" Gansu's comment was suddenly cut off as an array of warnings hit the feed and Abigail's mech was driven into the ground by the explosion. Both the feed from the Full Echo Suit shut off and Abigail's MAS suddenly shut down, filling Gansu's stomach with a pit of dread.

He wanted to sprint over there right now and see if she was still okay, if anyone was still okay, but he couldn't leave formation. Do that and it'd put the rest of the team at risk. Not to mention, Aleks would flense him alive being so stupid and he'd never hear the end of it from Pips if she was still alive. He hoped she was still alive.

He spoke into the cockpit of his MAS, his comms off. "Hey guys, remember who gets you as many gifts as possible. And remember his friends."

"Please remember my friends."
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Whoami
Avatar of Whoami

Whoami All things atmospheric...

Member Seen 11 hrs ago

--Crash +24 minutes--

Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress beacon activated...


Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress beacon activated...

Aurelia shifted and rolled, groaning again as her sore body finally began to animate. The repetitious beeping and words the pod was blaring out was stirring her from unconsciousness.

Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress beacon activated...

Aurelia groaned a third time, "Haaa... Distress... Bea-" she tapered off, then gasped and immediately shot awake at the realization, "Distress Beacon!"

Completely unaware of her sore body, Aurelia practically threw herself to the crew interface of the life pod. It was international law that distress beacons were broadcasted on all channels, and that all citizens, regardless of loyalty, were mandated to respond. That meant everyone could hear the signal... Even the Coalition. Aurelia's hands hovered over the interface as her eyes darted over it, taking in the details and trying to work out how it was used.

Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress beacon activated...

"No! No! No! Turn off, dammit! Turn off!" she said. But one simply couldn't just turn off a life pod's distress beacon. She knew it too, but her sudden distress clouded her sensibilities. She pounded at the display, which yielded no results.

Aurelia looked around the pod, seeing that the air cushions had all deflated, their purposed served. Knick-knacks that Dearil had stored in the life pod were scattered about. There was a simple backpack with Dearil's name on it that was partly torn open in the crash. A first aid kit remained stowed on the pod's door, as well as a locked away pistol two magazines.

Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress beacon activated...

She had to get away from the pod. Now. Aurelia grabbed Dearil's backpack and opened it up, seeing what sort of things he had stowed away in it. There was a change of civilian clothes wrapped in a watertight pouch, too big for her, but at least it was something. She pulled out two bottles of Hyperwater, which made her smile softly despite the fresh loss. He loved that stuff... Also in the bag was a set camping supplies, a roll of para-cord, a multi-tool, a compass, and some firestarters. Dearil obviously never intended to use any of it, but she was glad that he had prepared a survival bag just in case. Even gone, he was still somehow looking out for her.

Searching deeper, Aurelia came upon a small journal and writing utensil. She opened it and immediately saw written letters from his wife and daughter. How old fashioned, but yet so endearing. The letters immediately reminded her of the picture Dearil had given her before they departed the Hammerhand. She reached underneath her chest plate and pulled out the picture, looking over both Jenna and their adorable daughter. She hadn't noticed the lip stick smudge on the corner of the photo. Aurelia felt tears welling up in her eyes. He was so close to seeing them again... Until she had barged her way into his ship... Made him a target... "Oh God, Dearil... I'm so sorry!" she breathed, holding the picture to her chest and letting the tears streak her cheeks.

Then she heard it... Beep... Beep... Beep... Distress signal received. Rescue is en route.

Aurelia looked back at the interface, seeing the display. All responders to a distress beacon always broadcasted an identifying code to the beacon in order to inform the survivor who was coming to get them. Imperial government identifiers always started with UER, followed by the unit's serial number. The ID wasn't Imperial... The Coalition was using the beacon to home in on her position. Aurelia took one last look at Dearil's photo, then carefully placed it back underneath her chest plate. "I'll get this to your family, Dearil... They need to hear it from me..."

She stuffed all of the supplies back into the bag, then she took the first aid kit and put it into the bag as well. Aurelia then took the pistol, loaded a magazine, pulled back the slide, and put it on safe. She placed the pistol on the magnetic carrier on her left thigh plate, then slung the bag over her shoulders. Aurelia then climbed out of the pod, her eyes squinting as the rays of sunlight beamed through the forest canopy above. All around her, she could hear alien creatures singing and communicating. Cerol was quite a vibrant world. Perhaps one day it could be a paradise for all humanity to visit. She didn't let herself get distracted though. She heard a deeper noise, a sort of thrumming that reverbed off of the trees and surrounded her. It was mechanical... Engines... And MAS units...

Aurelia picked a random direction, and began to move...

--Crash +2 hours--

Just her luck...

Of all of the directions she could have gone... She ended up heading straight for the enemy. Now she was stuck laying on the forest floor underneath a dense bush, hoping the Coalition would move on so she didn't need to hide anymore. What surprised Aurelia the most was the camp that the Coalition was bivouaced in. It looked well developed, like they had been there for quite some time undetected by the UEE. There was equipment and crates strewn about with optical camouflage tents and mesh hung up in the canopy. Four MAS units stood side by side, all unoccupied. A tight beam communications tent was set up to allow for discreet communications off world... But to where? It seemed that the pilots in this camp were so confident and comfortable that they weren't going to be discovered that they had even laxed their security. How many hidden camps were on Cerol right under the UEE's nose? How long were they there for?

Aurelia watched one man sit at the comms tent, monitoring the net. She overheard the chatter... Other patrols were talking, using words that suggested that there were other camps in the area set on locating her. She heard 'princess', 'the daughter', and even her very name being used on the net. She was very clearly their objective, and she had practically just handed herself over to them by stumbling upon their camp. Aurelia remained silent, at least they didn't know she was there. Perhaps she could turn this into an advantage...

Her eyes fixated on the comms tent. She saw a map of the local area on a table, as well as markers pinned on it which she deduced was likely the other camp locations. That tent was a gold mine of valuable intel... But what would she do if she got there? Shoot the guard and alert the whole forest? Go up against three other covert operatives on her own? As valuable as the tent was, it would practically be a suicide mission... Not worth the risk... Then her eyes turned back to the MAS units, their chest cavities opened and awaiting their pilots, should the need arise, and the power already on in all of them for a hasty call to action. Three of the MAS units looked like slightly upgraded Fenrir models, fitted for covert operations. But the fourth looked entirely different. It looked more threatening. It stood taller than the Fenrirs, its legs in a reverse jointed configuration. The armor plating was painted red, which was covered in more optical camo netting to break the color up while it wasn't in use. She recognized the frame from the holos when she was in the academy. A Helheimr, a rare and devastating unit used as a vanguard in initial engagements. They were notorious in the UEE for the punishment they could both take and dish out.

Slung over one shoulder was a fresh pelt of a large predator. She recognized the head of the beast, it was a Cerol Riverdrake. An animal that reached its size and ferocity by living in large rivers of Cerol's famous 'hyperwater' channels and springs. Whoever the pilot of the Helheimr was, he seemed to enjoy big game hunting. A deep, threatening hiss diverted her attention from the intimidating MAS. She followed the sound to look beyond the MAS, spotting a cage hidden under a particularly thick part of the forest canopy. There was another Riverdrake, live and imprisoned... It was most likely waiting to be skinned and carved much like the one on the Helheimr. Maybe it was sort of unit tradition for these operators? To adorn their mechs with a planet's biggest and fiercest inhabitants? Or perhaps it was meant to further adorn the Helheimr. She didn't know, and frankly she didn't care. Aurelia quickly formulated a plan and watched as a pilot stepped out to admire the drake in the cage. The drake stared back at him with intelligent eyes and growled threateningly, not that the pilot was threatened with the bars in between them.

She quietly unslung her backpack and pulled the first aid kit from it. Opening it, Aurelia produced the auto-injector. It was shaped similarly to a pistol. The top would fit phials of different drugs to rapidly administer them to a patient. She looked at what the kit had available and slotted a morphine phial into the auto-injector. She turned a dial on the back of the injector to set the dose to maximum. It would be a single use dose, but it wouldn't make any noise unlike her pistol. And she wouldn't need to take a life...

Aurelia closed the backpack and brought it back over her shoulders. The ripped piece of fabric on the pack snagged a branch and pulled the bush, causing the leaves to rustle. Aurelia froze from the noise and watched the pilot take his eyes away from the drake to bush. He didn't see her, but given the battle in the skies above and the fact they were on an enemy world, he showed caution. "Please think it's just an animal..." she thought to herself, her hand white-knuckling the auto-injector.

The pilot looked back at the drake, then grinned as he slowly drew a long hunting knife. He slowly began stepping toward the bush. Toward her. He let out a little whistle like he was calling a dog. Aurelia's eyes went to the pelt, then to the captive drake. "He does think I'm an animal... And not in a good way..." It was the hunter.

"Come on out, little chickie~ Ol' Jones is hungry."

Aurelia clenched her jaw. She couldn't move anywhere without him seeing her. All she could do was remain in place and let the bush conceal her. She brought the auto-injector slowly at the ready. She would have one shot to get him down quietly. She rattled the bush a bit more, trying to convince him that an animal was indeed occupying it. Meanwhile, she brought a leg up and dig her heel into the soil. She had to be ready to pounce out at him. Looking beyond him, she saw the Riverdrake was growling quietly and watching both the hunter and Aurelia. She heard it take deep sniffs of air, and she could tell that it knew there was a human in the bush. Still, the drake seemed to wait patiently and watch.

A footstep cracking branches turned her attention back on the hunter. He was close now. Just a few more steps and she would be in striking distance. Aurelia braced her other hand in the dirt. The hunter reached a hand out to start slowly shifting branches and leaves. "Come to rescue mommy and daddy drake have you?"

The moment the large leaf in front of Aurelia was being pushed aside, she struck. Aurelia pushed herself toward him, bursting from the bush quickly and driving the auto-injector into his leg, using her free hand to cover his mouth and one of her legs to pin his knife hand to the ground as he fell back with her on top. Auto-injectors are designed to work fast, very fast. And with the morphine dose set to maximum, the hunter was left a slobbering mess on the forest floor in seconds. When Aurelia struck, the Riverdrake made more deep growls and hisses, masking the noise of their tumbling. Aurelia looked up at the drake and saw it staring right back at her. There was much more about the beast than simple ferocity. She could see it in its eyes. There was a burning intelligence in them as it figured her out.

Aurelia stood up over the pilot and cautiously approached the caged drake. It watched her as she made her way to the cage gate. The drake growled again, but not in the same way it had regarded the hunter. It looked away from her and at the spring lock fitted underneath a cover that only a human hand could fit in. Aurelia looked over her shoulder, seeing that the camp hadn't been alerted to the sound of Arelia's takedown. She looked back at the drake. It watched her, and this time it was dead silent. She saw its hind legs tighten up beside it as it aligned its body to the gate of the cage, no doubt getting ready to launch out if she opened the cage for it. Aurelia reached for the lock and took a deep breath. "Please don't eat me... Pleaaase don't eat me!" she whispered quickly and quietly to herself.

Then she pulled the bar up and back against the spring, allowing the large deadbolt to slide back and out of place. The gate slackened and Aurelia dove to the side as the Riverdrake wasted no time to burst out of the cage. It let out an immense roar which drew the three other pilots out of their tents. "Ah shit! Jones' pet got out! Get th-" he was cut off by the drake leaping headlong into him.

The pilot let out a bloodcurdling cry as the drake's jaw clamped around him, sinking the long, venomous fangs into his body. The drake swung its head around, using the force of the swinging to rip and tear into the pilot and break his bones. His mouth was frothing a yellow, acidic foam as the Riverdrake's venom took action. His body began to sizzle and cook from the venom now inside his mangled body. The drake dropped the body and looked at the next pilot who drew his pistol. He screamed and fired at it, but the small caliber rounds plinked harmlessly off of its rock hard scales.

Aurelia didn't stop to watch the carnage. She ran for the Helheimr and climbed up the MAS unit's entry ladder. She jumped into the cockpit and quickly hit the switch to close the cavity around her. The UEE was always behind the Coalition in MAS technology. In fact, if it wasn't for a half dozen captured Fenrir I's, the UEE would have never have even developed a comparable MAS at all. Since so many UEE model MAS units were based off of Coalition designs, the cockpits were naturally similar. There were some differences in the operating systems and layouts of certain buttons and switches, but for the most part, things were very recognizable.

"Welcome aboard, pilot." a virtual intelligence inside the MAS greeted her as the sensors displays in the walls of the cockpit activated. Soon, her steel coffin opened up into a seemingly transparent enclosure, allowing her to see around herself at all angles. She heard a scream, amplified by the Helheimr's audio sensors. Her eyes were once again diverted to the Riverdrake as it was repeatedly raking its massive claws over the pilot that had shot at it.

"The Ragnarok is all systems green. You have the controls." the VI said.

Aurelia took the helmet, which was wired into the MAS and hung up on the side of the seat, and placed it over her head. A bunch of readouts and technical data was highlighted on the helmet's HUD. She quickly took the controls and began with a simple walk. The Ragnarok ripped through its optic camo netting and blankets. Once she was clear of the makeshift MAS harbor, she brought the Ragnarok into a sprint, crashing through trees and brush.

The last coalition pilot in the camp ran into the comms tent and grabbed a hold of the radio. With a quick, ragged breath, she spoke into the radio. "All camps, all camps! This is Gamma Patrol! The princess has been sighted! She is in the Ragnarok! I say again, the princess is in the Rag-" he stopped when he heard a hiss behind him.

The pilot looked over his shoulder as saw the long snout of the Riverdrake pushing slowly through the opening in the tent. It's nostrils flared as it opened its jaw just two feet in front of him. The pilot was frozen with fear, but the drake didn't care. It snapped at him, and dove into the tent. The massive body of the Riverdrake ripped the opti-cam blanket apart and destroyed the tent as it threw itself around with the pilot screaming inside.

--Crash +2 hours, 29 minutes--

Aurelia had set the Ragnarok's VI to take care of simple ground navigation while she did what she could to familiarize herself with the AAT-9. She reviewed the weapon systems the MAS was outfitted with, as well as the armor specs. Knowing the reputation the Helheimr has throughout the UEE, and seeing the classified armor characteristics for herself, she now completely understood why these MAS units were so notorious. For a medium MAS, these things were practically unstoppable once they were moving! That was great for Aurelia.

Aurelia heard a ping in her ear, followed by the VI's voice. "Be advised, friendly units approaching at your seven o'clock. Check fire."

Aurelia looked back over her shoulder, spotting three Fenrir units barreling through the forest after her. "Pilot override: reconfigure IFF." Aurelia said.

"Override confirmed. Set new IFF parameters now." the VI said.

Aurelia designated Coalition signatures as hostiles. If she got out of this mess, she'd have to spend some time to fully reconfigure the IFFs to include UEE units, but for now this would have to do. The holographic radar projected in front of her changed the blue pips denoting the Fenrirs to red. She powered up the Ragnarok's shields, the energy fields sparking to life around the MAS and sizzling smaller plants and branches around the unit. A hail came through in her ear, "Ragnarok, this is Captain Greer. Stand down and surrender or we will open fire on you. This doesn't need to get bloody, princess."

Aurelia acquired a lock on the lead Fenrir in the pack fired her thrusters to keep her forward momentum as she spun the Rangarok to face her pursuers. She levelled the MAS unit's laser cannon on the Fenrir and opened up with a volley of low power shots. The beams ripped through the brush, causing fires in the proximity of the lasers from the heat alone. The Fenrir's shields took the hits, but it did server to stop all three units in their tracks. Aurelia was met with a volley of ballistic rounds being spat back at her. The high performance shields took the hits and dispersed the kinetic energy.

"You're making a mistake, captain!" Aurelia responded to him, "My forces are already looking for me! How far do you think you'll make it away with me? If you value your life, let me go!"

"It ain't that simple, girl. Now judging by that shot, you aren't the most experienced combat pilot out there. Well my men are. You're outnumbered. Our next shots wont be so merciful. Give up." Captain Greer said flatly. He was right.

Aurelia gritted her teeth and turned away from them again, using her primary boosters to launch ahead faster. The weight and momentum of the MAS allowed it to blow through the smaller trees in her path. More shots ripped through the woods behind the Ragnarok, all of them finding purchase with the Ragnarok's shields. With the shields on the Ragnarok designed to harden in the forward arcs, the rear shields left a little more to be desired. The first three rounds were stopped by the shield, but the fourth and fifth pierced through and hit one of the main boosters. There was a small explosion as the plasma thruster misfired and tipped the Ragnarok off balance. Aurelia gasped as the MAS tumbled forward and fell face first into the soil. She was quick to recover, bringing the MAS to its feet and returning it to a run. Without the assistance of the boosters to skate, Aurelia would be considerably slower.

The Fenrirs were gaining on her now. The red pips now crossing over into the next distance ring at fifty meters. Then, more red pips appeared on her radar in front of her. Aurelia let out a frustrated, defeated sigh. She was being cut off! Then the VI spoke in her ear, "Warning, enemy signatures detected at your twelve o'clock. Scans suggest UEE EM signatures."

Aurelia's eyes lit up. The UEE! They're here for her! Aurelia heard the sound of a lock-on warning, then the flat tone of an incoming missile. A yellow flashing pip showed up on her radar that was approaching her fast. She quickly engaged her side boosters, jinking to the right and blowing through a large tree. The missile hissed past the Ragnarok and slammed into woods ahead, causing a concussive blast that blew down some smaller trees and rocked the Rangarok. Aurelia needed to get into contact with the UEE fast, but she didn't have any way of getting onto their encrypted network. She opted for an open broadcast. It wasn't like her presence in the Ragnarok wasn't known by any of her enemies as it was.

“This is Sunray, requesting assistance!” she said, “I repeat! This is Sunray, I am being pursued by Coalition forces!”

The Ragnarok burst forward through another tree. She was relieved to find herself breaking out into open ground. At least she'd have more freedom of movement, even if it did mean she lost her cover. Aurelia spotted some of the UEE MAS units which made her breathe with relief. Behind her, the Fenrirs burst out into the clearing not far from her. Using her forward boosters, Aurelia turned and fired them to once again keep her momentum while facing the Fenrir units. She brought the arm fitted with the repulsor shield up to add for her forward shield strength while letting loose a few more volleys of laser fire. The extra hardened shield did well to stop the accurate fire the Fenrirs were putting on her.

Aurelia kept on firing as she spoke over the open comms channel, “This is Sunray, I’ve got three Coalition Fenrirs on my tail!”

The VI spoke again, "EM spike detected."She was taken by surprise when a laser shot lanced past her and punched into the nearest Fenrir pursuing her, sending it crashing into the crash in a spray of dirt and fire.

The shot was quickly followed up with a transmission, "Sunray it's Pipsqueak. That laser blast came from my squadmate Grizzly, adjust your course to regroup with his MAS - it's a little hard to miss."

Aurelia understood but didn't transmit back. She didn't want the Coalition to get a semblance of their plans by her speaking on an open channel. She followed the radar signature from the EM spike and began running toward Grizzly. The other two Fenrirs quickly broke for cover to engage the new, more pressing threats. While she moved, Aurelia watched as the Coalition units were quickly being taken care by the UEE units. It almost looked easy... Who were these guys?

"That was... disappointingly easy." DISAPPOINTING?! EASY?! "Sunray, you still with us? Circle back to-" Aurelia saw the immobilized Coalition MAS fire off another one of its missiles at the Kolibri and blast it off its feet.

Aurelia quickly changed the Ragnarok's course to run to the Kolibri and make sure the pilot was unharmed. Thankfully, Aurelia's worries for the pilot were quickly doused when she heard Pipsqueak over the net, "Sunray. This is, unfortunately. Still Pipsqueak. I'm a little banged up now and cannot use my radars to locate you, please return to the…blast site, and we'll regroup."

Already on it. In a matter of seconds, the Ragnarok was co-located with the Kolibri. Aurelia popped the chest cavity of the Helheimr open and jumped out of the cockpit with Dearil's backpack over one shoulder. She climbed up onto the sprawled out MAS and used the emergency access handle to force open the cockpit. Looking inside, Aurelia saw the pilot. "Don't move! Are you hurt?! I have first aid supplies!" she was already fishing out the first aid kit from the bag.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
Avatar of vietmyke


Member Seen 4 hrs ago

Ingram’s eyes shot to his monitors as the ping from Pip’s full echo suite filled them. Good news: Pips and Grizz were still alive, and they had found Sunray. Why and how Sunray made her way into a mech was a question that could be answered later. Bad news: Sunray and the Recovery team had been engaged by Coalition forces, and if the edges of Pip’s echo were to be believed, more were on the way. The rest of the Coalition forces in the area would likely be notified shortly, and they’d start closing in. They needed to move fast.

Ingram was about to open his comms to comment such, when his radar pinged. Or more correctly, information from Deadeye’s MAS pinged- they had contact. From his position at the back of the pack, he couldn’t see anything, but just a few hundred meters ahead of the 7th was a patrol of a few Fenrir IIs, backs turned- making their way towards the recovery team. Distance growing as the enemy mechs began sprinting towards the recovery team.

"Contact. Three Foxtrot twos, three hundred metres." Aleks pinged each target in succession as he came to a stop, raising his rifle. "The one on the left is mine. Lucky, Apples, new girl, take the centre target. Eyes, Boss, focus right hand target. Boss, once all three are KIA, take new girl and fly below the canopy straight to Pips and Grizz."

Aleks flicked on the ignition for his own flight engines and prepared to leap straight up a tree, his targeting computer predicting the sight lines from that vantage point and preparing firing solutions for the Longbow already.

"Make ready to fire on my mark."

His engines spooled up.

"Three, two-" there was a roar as the Yeoman-2 shot into the air, and Aleks latched on to a fork in the megatree's trunk, levelling his weapon against his first firing solution and charging the rail system.

"- one, mark!"

One of the Fenrirs might have noticed something was up, as one turned its head over the shoulder at the last second. Of course it was a second too late, as a savonite spear pierced through its upper back and through to its chest, pinning it to the jungle floor. Electronic signals from the Fenrir shut off immediately and the mech went limp as the spike punched clean through the cockpit and through its generator. The other two didn’t have time to get so much of a peep out in surprise before a flurry of autocannon, laser, and missilefire engulfed them in much more explosive balls of fire.

“On the move, Rookie lets go!” Ingram called curtly into his mic as the boosters on the Sparrowhawk flared to life. The Sparrowhawk leaped into the air, assisted by its powerful boosters, and shot forward, deeper into the treeline, his smart-AI tracing a trail through the trees for him to follow in real time. Trees whizzed by as the large machines shot through the dense foliage, smaller trees bent as the Sparrowhawk’s alloy frame plowed through the brush.

“Roger that!” Clara replied as the Peregrine formed up at a staggered distance from Ingram.

On the ground, the 7th was limited to the speed of their slowest walkers, but up in the air, the Peregrine and Sparrowhawk could close the distance in a fraction of the time. Ingram’s eyes whizzed back and forth between his monitor and the viewscreens as they rapidly closed in on the recovery team’s position.

“Keep an eye out for more- Shit!” Ingram cursed, breaking off at the last moment, as the trees in front of them exploded, Ingram catching the glimpse of a massive riverdrake’s tail as it snapped past them. The Sparrowhawk stalled in the air for a moment as Ingram rapidly scanned his monitors for signals. He barely managed to get his breath before he heard the crashing of trees again, the Sparrowhawk juking to the left as again the massive riverdrake bounded past, clenching jaws snapping at where the Sparrowhawk just was.

It seemed the sound of combat and movement must have disturbed the nest of a nearby pack of riverdrakes. Lizard-like creatures not too dissimilar to monitor lizards- but much larger and more aggressive, these creatures sported lifespans into the centuries, and never stopped growing in size. To make matters worse, they were more or less invisible to heat scans, forcing Ingram to rely on his already spotty radar system.

“Deadeye this is Boss, complications: There’s a large pack of oversized riverdrakes getting involved, I think Pips and Grizz are starting to look like lunch. Better move fast.”

The Sparrowhawk quickly waved the Peregrine forward, and they continued further onward to assist their stranded squadmates.

Even as Abigail and Jakunta cleared out the immediate threat, it was clear that more were on the way. From the far edges of Pip’s full echo suite, before it cut out, Abi could spot at least 2 more patrols of Fenrirs closing in on their position. In the distance, they could already hear the crunch of metal limbs forcing their way through the heavy brush. More immediately however, the princess and the recovery team could also hear a foreboding hiss, as something unseen in the underbrush stalked the three pilots and their mechs.

Beady yellow eyes were the first to be seen, followed by the slinking, lumbering bodies lizards the size of minibuses pushed out of the brush. Flaps on the sides of their heads flared out as the riverdrakes continued hissing, three of them circling around the stranded mechs as they slowly began closer. In the distance, there was more gunfire, as a Coalition patrol must have ran into another pack of their own.

One of the lizards, finally deciding to make the first move lunged forward towards the fallen Kolibri, only for a flurry of explosions to ripple across its back, causing it to hiss and retreat back to the others. Overhead, the Sparrowhawk and Peregrine zoomed by.

“This is Boss, coming around for another pass.” Ingram called into the comms, as the Sparrowhawk spun around, “Start making your way north and link up with the rest of the 7th, we’ll cover you.”
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

«What the fuck is she-?»

«Doesn't matter, cover us, I'll have her ass in the MAS in five minutes-»

The moment Aurelia cracked open the cockpit Abigail lurched forward and tried to yank her in, her free hand slamming on the lever to shut the cockpit. Aurelia yelped in surprise as she was tugged into the machine. Once the cockpit closed as the internal lightning came back on, Aurelia blinked, ”Ah… Well I guess that means you’re fine then.” she breathed easy for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, ”Thank you, pilot. For helping me back there…”

"Hey, don't worry about it. The fleet wasn't gonna let you drop planetside without sending someone out to look for you." Abigail's voice was warm, even through the crackle of the speaker on her helmet. "How are you physically - no sudden tiredness, dizziness, double vision or anything like that? No injuries?"

Aurelia sighed and slumped back against the wall of the MAS cockpit. She looked hazily off into nothing as she ran a hand through her hair. Eventually, she shook her head, ”Just sore all over and exhausted…” she said quietly. ”No amount of training at the academy prepares you for the real thing…”

"It never does," Abigail agreed. Her helmet moved a fraction as something started beeping on her dashboard; her Full Echo suite was down after the beating it took but that didn't stop her Smart Targeting from picking up hostiles in their periphery. "We're out of time-Princess, I know you're beyond tired, but I need you to hold out a bit longer okay? Remember that fear that got you through the jungle? You're going to have to tap into that." Abigail sent the data to Jakunta as the Krakono lurched to life, stomping into position. "Reinforcements are en route. I've been acting like a big UEE tracking beacon ever since I found you and my squadron is on the way. However, I don't want you to relax."

Abigail stopped typing on her keyboard for a moment and looked at Aurelia through the tint of her helmet. "Until you board the Roanoke, our carrier, I want you to assume that one slip-up will kill you. No matter how many of us are trying to protect you, you pilot that MAS like your life depends on it because this time, it actually does. We'll do whatever it takes to keep you safe. Don't open your cockpit for anyone or anything until you get back in the Roanoke. Don't run off from the group for any reason. And don't do anything risky to help anyone here."

There was a hiss as the cockpit of the Kolibri opened up. "We're your elite pilots, Princess. No matter what happens, you're getting back to the Roanoke in one piece but don't assume that you can't get shot just because we're guarding you. Now go on, get back in the MAS. There's hostiles closing in on our position."

Aurelia felt a swell of pride that there were other troops beyond the ISS that were so willing to help her. Aurelia was always worried that those outside of her immediate command were either dispassionate or weren’t about to stick their necks out for some rich girl born into power. Yet this pilot was an example to the contrary. She nodded to the pilot’s instruction to get back into the commandeered MAS. If any ISS were with her, they’d be scolding the pilot for ordering a royal princess around. But Aurelia never cared for that. In this moment, the pilot was the subject matter expert who knew better than she did. She had no reason to contest that.

Aurelia climbed out of the Kolibri and scaled back up the deployable ladder to the Ragnarok’s cockpit. As she closed the cockpit, Aurelia caught sight of familiar beady eyes in the tall grass. Riverdrakes! Now is not the time for them! ”Kolibri! Drakes behind you- look out!”

Abigail snapped the cockpit shut and braced for another impact that never happened. "Grizz?" She asked hopefully as she heard dull explosions, noticed the massive target on her six slowly changing course. From an outsider's perspective, the Kolibri standing stock still as the explosions backlit the Riverdrake must've looked pretty impressive.

“This is Boss, coming around for another pass."

In the cockpit, Abigail was trying to get her Full Echo back online to no avail. The impacts and the temperature of her MAS had shut the systems down before Abigail could brute force it beyond the point of repair. Instead she switched off all creature comforts - air conditioning, cockpit lighting - and didn't allow her cockpit to automatically pressurise again since they were in a stable, breathable atmosphere. She wrenched her helmet off and used the HUD as her eyes and ears. "Boss, lead us back to the Roanoke - these lizards are just going to keep us here 'till reinforcements arrive." She activated her boosters and the Kolibri sputtered into the air. Jakunta, unable to provide short range support due to the devastating nature of his weaponry, reacted to the Kolibri's flight by squatting slightly and adjusting the enormous chassis as the smaller MAS landed on top of it.

Their HUD pinged as Ingram forwarded more precise directional information to the Krakano and the Kolibri. The Sparrowhawk itself landed with a thud on the ground and unloaded its autocannons on the circling riverdrakes. The creatures were hardy, their hides almost as tough as armor plating, and the noise and impact of the cannons didn't scare them. Still, at the very least it hurt them, and gave the pilots a bit more space to work with.

"We're on the move", Ingram called into the squadwide comms, "Follow my heading!"

"Sunray, keep as close to the Krakono as possible - we're moving," Abigail repeated into the unencrypted channel as her MAS clung to the Krakono's cannon.

The Sparrowhawk's armored head turned towards the Krakano with its huge guns, "My radar pinged a Coalition patrol approaching south-southwest, bearing 220, 7 klicks."

An armored hand pointed in the respective direction, sweeping a short 30 degree angle. "Grizz, level it."

The Kolibri ducked under the armaments of the Krakono as the ballistic and laser cannons shuddered into position. The slow throb of the generators building up for the blast filled the air as a dull thunk accompanied the artillery shell clunking into the barrel. Abigail stuck her fingers in her ears after bracing the Kolibri for the recoil. "Ready, Pips?" Asked the Zalavi over comms.


"Firing now."

There was a buzz and a bang.

A white hot shape burnt through existence.

Everything in its path - trees, stones, animals, birds - all reduced into a smouldering, smoking mess as the gargantuan treetops fell into the glimmering ashes. A clear cut border of flame marked the path of the laser cannon and the smashed debris that littered its interior denoted the ballistic missile that thundered after it. A long, black streak of nothing in an otherwise dense jungle; a mass grave of wildlife and a handful of molten MAS scraps seared to fleshy lumps of charcoal were all that remained after the Krakono had finished its brief and terrible onslaught.

And just as soon as the behemoth finished carving its mark on the planet, the pilot slowly turned his machine back en route to the rest of the Seventh Squadron and kept lumbering through the undergrowth with the Kolibri still clinging to its chassis.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Bazmund
Avatar of Bazmund

Bazmund Not a Doctor

Member Seen 2 hrs ago

Abigail slouched in her chair, fingers pressing against the side of her face as she held herself upright. It wasn't that she was exhausted, just really uncomfortable; the lurch of the Krakono did nothing for her remnants of nausea and even less for the thumping headache that accompanied it. Her HUD told her it was a delightful thirty two degrees Celsius in the cockpit and she was sweating like a hog in her EVA suit. She'd been tossed around like a leaf in a storm drain and the effects were making themselves increasingly apparent.

But they weren't far now. They couldn't be far now. Even without the Full Echo, each cacophonous bounce of the Krakono crossed more distance than any foot patrol could ever hope to in twice as much time due to sheer size alone. The issue remained that Jakunta's singular attack had the unintentional side effect of alerting everything remotely nearby of their presence, and given the terse silence on the Comms, Abigail couldn't shake the feeling Jakunta was very much aware of this as he forced his metal demon to tear through the jungle at a breakneck pace.

Her gaze slipped through the smart AI sensors again as she watched the designated Helmheimr follow them, lost in thought - then her eyes narrowed and she immediately slammed onto the Comms:


Whatever it was, it tore through the trees like toothpicks. A gargantuan leathery belly slammed into the Krakono. The Kolibri's boosters flashed into life so fast that the MAS skidded clean off the Krakono's chassis and into the dirt as Abigail scrabbled underneath the Krakono, away from the line of fire but very much in range of what appeared to be a grotesquely large male Riverdrake that clearly took the cannon blast as a threat to its territory. This creature was just as, if not larger than the Krakono; in the chaos, the munitions fire and the thumping of the heavy MAS its approach was masked until it was too late.

"Can you shake it off?!" Abigail cried out in horror, grabbing her heat knife and trying to take a slash at the monster's hind leg - in vain.

"No," grunted Jakunta through gritted teeth. The Krakono whined in protest as the hydraulics shuddered under the weight of the Riverdrake, stuck in an even struggle to remain upright. If the drake knocked over the Krakono here of all places, Jakunta wouldn't have the time to right himself before the Coalition descended upon them and picked them all off.

Almost instantly, Jakhunta's radio crackled with a split second burst of static.

"Grizz, this is Deadeye, right turn now!" Aleksanderin's voice cut through the static as the remainder of the 7th drew within range, and the engagement began in earnest. The Yeoman was in the midst of a mad charge straight at the entangled Krakono and riverdrake, bayonet affixed and raised, rails on the longbow charging. All Jak had to do was pivot so that the drake was the first thing the Savolax would run into. The Krakono creaked as its great body heaved to the side, one gargantuan leg thumping into the ground to steady itself.

At the apex of the Krakono’s turn, just as it came to a great creaking halt, Aleks activated his flight engines and completed the charge.

The drake gave a screeching reptilian roar as its side was punctured by a shard of forged savonite-titanium the size of a sports car, and it turned with shocking speed and deliberacy to face the new threat, raking its claws across the front of the Yeoman as Aleks danced backwards out of its reach, with timing so tight it was up for debate whether he’d done it just right or half a second too late. Flakes and ribbons of armour fell to the forest floor as the bayonet flicked a streak of xenobiological matter across the field - he was outsized, and at this range outgunned, but their first collision had left the lizard worse for wear, and that was an advantage Aleks knew to push.

Aleks grinned in the cockpit, regarding his prey as it drew back and up, protecting its new injury and sizing him up in return.

The jungle buzzed with Savolax as his speakers came on.

”You don’t look delicious.” He taunted it. ”Not delicious at all.”

"Deadeye, please confirm: did you just chat shit to the wildlife?" Abigail asked in the encrypted channel. The Kolibri scrambled to make distance from the melee and circled the Helmheimr, autocannon raised and smart targeting engaged for any coalition surprises.

Crack. Louder than thunder. The longbow discharged from the hip, a spear of Savonite disappearing deep into the creature’s thorax. It squealed and screeched, lunging for Aleks as he leapt backwards, drawing it away from the Krakono for a moment.

“Affirm that Pipsqueak.” He confirmed, shouldering his rifle and placing another round in the creature, this time puncturing its thick skull. “It would probably taste like chicken, but not in a good way.”

"No talking!" Barked Jakunta. The Krakono lurched forward when the Riverdrake let go of the chassis, stumbled, crashed into a tree that covered it in detritus and continued a slow thunderous charge through the jungle.

Aleks frowned. Jakunta didn't give him orders, but Jakunta was right. That bothered him.

He took it out on the riverdrake, which was grabbing frantically at its new head injury, writhing about on the floor.

Two more bayonet jabs and a stomp to the head and Aleks was satisfied that the drake was dead - and then he started looking for coalition targets.

"7th this is Deadeye, ignore wildlife where possible, leave them to the Coalition."

"Understood. Deadeye, are you going to help me cover Sunray on the ground or find a new position to fire from?" Abigail asked.

"Pips, Deadeye here, I'll stay on your six for now, engage targets as I-" he broke off for a moment as another big lizard tried to bite a chunk out of him and got a mouthful of bayonet and railgun, "- follow you."

Abigail had the Kolibri keep pace with Aurelia to cover the princess' left flank as the Krakono picked up momentum. Suddenly aware that the princess hadn't received an update in a while, she swapped channels. "Sunray, follow Grizzly - I'm right here to back you up. Don't worry about the lizards, just keep moving where you can," Abigail reassured the princess as the Kolibri jogged beside the Helmheimr in the wake of whatever the Krakono smashed to pieces during its race back to the Roanoke. She swapped to the encrypted channel. "Boss, you're in the air - can you detect any Coalition units nearby? They're bound to be closing in by now."

There was a crackling boom of sound as the Sparrowhawk whizzed by, strafing a pair of drakes that got a bit too close to Sunray and the Pips, disappearing back into the thicket of trees as he continued on his path. His voice crackled in moments later, a bit distorted from all of the disruptions.

“They’re closing in on us alright, I’m picking up patrols all over us, closest at 3 and 8 o’clock, 10 klicks out. Make a break for the clearing, the Roanoke’s guns can cover us once we get in range.”

"Well, somebody's gotta tell her - and since I've been playing mouthpiece this entire time it's going to be me." Abigail clicked back into the public Comms just as Aleks kicked a smaller, runty Riverdrake away from the Kolibri's broken landing strut. "Sunray? It's Pips. There's Coalition patrols closing in on our location as we speak - a lot of them. You've got Deadeye right behind you, I'm on your left, and Boss in the sky. We're almost at our ship." Abigail turned the volume down in her cockpit so the little pinging alarm about the structural damage she was inflicting on the landing strut didn't distract the princess. "It'll have more than enough firepower to deal with them but I don't want you getting caught in the crossfire. The moment the hangar doors open, you run in first. Trust me on this - we'll be right behind you." She hesitated a little, eyeing her MAS's condition on the HUD. "None of us want to stick around for longer than we need to."
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by DrRtron
Avatar of DrRtron

DrRtron Formerly Rtron

Member Seen 3 mos ago

The river churned as another overgrown lizard charged towards the titan. The river behind it was already littered with the corpses of the pack of drakes that had decided to charge down towards them, evicerated by the heavy cannons of the titan. With the suriving drake closing the distance too quickly for the cannons to be of accurate use (not to mention the need to save them for actual MAS) the minigun rose over the Titan's shoulder and unleashed a torrent of bullets, tearing into the monster's hide until it couldn't keep itself standing any longer. The corpse came to a sudden halt, gliding through the water before sinking down in a red bloom.

"Sure, lets go to the jungle planet! She couldn't have crashlanded anywhere else, nooo, had to crash land in the jungle. Cause that's where all the fun is! And filled with stupid wildlife that doesn't know not to try to bite the things with bigger guns than they have claws!" Gansu complained to himself as he turned around and began lumbering back towards the clearing. At least they had been able to salvage something of a victory from this shit show and grabbed Sunray before the Coalition could. Having to go rescue the target from the clutches of Coalition forces would have been a massive pain in the ass, without even factoring in having to assualt a Coalition base with little to no intel and next to no support.

Gansu's eyes lit up as Boss's voice crackled across the comms, giving the indication of the closest enemies to Sunray and Pips. He excitedly hit the squad's encrypted channel and spoke rapidly. "Three o'clock you say? 10 klicks? I can hit that from here! Give us a little breathing room and show ole Grizz that he's not the only one who can devastate the local enviroment with his big gun!" Not waiting for a reply, Gansu aimed the Titan towards the direction Ingram had indicated and activated his plasma cannon. Four spikes shot into the ground from the Titan's feet, anchoring it, as the cannon itself rose directly above the MAS's head. Blue energy crackled up the barrel and Gansu settled backwards into his seat, bracing. The entire Titan tilted backwards, creaking against its stabilizers, as the X34 fired.

The beam of violent blue energy tore through everything in its path, leaving nothing but melted and burned earth behind. With the X34 fired and returned to its normal positon, the stabilizing spikes retracted. Gansu cackled over comms, surveying his handy work with a smug grin as he lumbered into position in the clearing. "Targets at three o'clock elminated. A fine bit of handy work if I do say so myself. Not as precise as Grizzly's, but you know the X34 doesn't need precision when you destroy as many things in your path as it does."

He waited, scanning the jungle around him. "Pips, give a call out when you and Sunray are here. I don't want to see a Coalition MAS and accidentally shoot our prio. That'd kinda look bad on the record."

Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Whoami
Avatar of Whoami

Whoami All things atmospheric...

Member Seen 11 hrs ago


(Mood Music)

"Sunray, keep as close to the Krakono as possible - we're moving," Aurelia heard the Kolibri's pilot say over the unencrypted channel. She knew the risk of using that channel, but there simply wasn't enough time to get the UEE's crypto loaded into the AAT-9 for secure comms. It was all they had if they wanted the princess to stay in the loop and accidentally blunder into something they were planning.

"Roger that... Kolibri, your MAS is damaged. At least let me take up the flank." Aurelia was cut short when the AAT-9's radar picked up another red signature in the sky. She flinched a bit, then breathed easy when she remembered by default the UEE signatures appeared as red in the Coalition MAS. Given the variety in the 7th's MAS lineup, it was difficult to simply change all of their transponders with one push of the button. She quickly flagged the signature above as a blue, then turned her sensors to observe it. Another Sparrowhawk.

She heard heavy metal shifting outside of her field of view, and looked over to the Krakono that Pips had told her to stay near. It was preparing to fire. Fire at what? Her radar illuminated with more blue signatures, which she immediately knew was more Coalition MAS units. It took conscious effort to tell them apart from her own friendlies, and that frustrated Aurelia. Perhaps if this AAT-9 could be secured, the techs could work some magic on this machine to rectify the issues. The Krakono fired, and the sensor screens in the cockpit automatically dimmed so as to not blind Aurelia in the dark cockpit. She watched the impressive cannon fire off into a tree line, annihilating the threat before they even knew what happened. She was glad the Krakono was on their side... With the way cleared, the trio of MAS units began to move, using the Sparrowhawk above as a navigating device to find their way to safety.

Aurelia was surprised when a massive Riverdrake leaped out of the woods and jumped on the Krakono. She watched as the massive MAS tumbled to the ground. All of the chaos had stirred the local predators up, and they weren't about to let something bigger than them claim their hunting grounds. Aurelia brought her laser cannon to bear on the Riverdrake, but she was then slammed aside as another, smaller drake chomped at her arm. Aurelia wrestled with the drake for a few seconds before using her shield arm to draw the Automag pistol from its clamps on the right leg. Aurelia pressed the Automag's barrel into the drake's head and fired off three shots. The 40mm HE rounds loaded in the pistol easily buried themselves in the skull of drake and detonated its head. The drake slumped off of the Helmeimr's arm, freeing the laser cannon to once again be fired. When she looked back to the Krakono, she saw the massive drake being speared by a large bayonet. Aurelia breathed deep. This was all too intense...

"Sunray, follow Grizzly - I'm right here to back you up. Don't worry about the lizards, just keep moving where you can," Pips said as they moved.

The princess acknowledged Pips' instructions and moved ahead, only to see a pair of riverdrakes emerging from the tree line and running to intercept her and the Kolibri. These things were everywhere! Her sensors pinged when they detected the Sparrowhawk above was closing in fast. It was covering them! Aurelia fired the side boosters on her AAT-9, strafing quickly to create distance between herself and the drakes. There was a vibrating sound as the Sparrowhawk's gun opened up on the drakes, mowing them down and stopping their advance. Then she heard Pips speak again, this time things sounded a lot more grim.

"Sunray? It's Pips. There's Coalition patrols closing in on our location as we speak - a lot of them. You've got Deadeye right behind you, I'm on your left, and Boss in the sky. We're almost at our ship. It'll have more than enough firepower to deal with them but I don't want you getting caught in the crossfire. The moment the hangar doors open, you run in first. Trust me on this - we'll be right behind you."

Aurelia shook her head as she studied the damage on the Kolibri, "Negative, Kolibri! This MAS is still healthy and able to fight! You're in less of a position to cover the retreat. You will make the first bound to the ship, I will use the AAT-9's shields to cover your advance. Please don't argue this..."

Aurelia didn't know where that boldness came from. She was always rather delicate... But after everything these pilots did to get her to safety, it didn't sit right with Aurelia that one of them would get to end only for their MAS to fail on them and be left behind. The princess recognized she was their priority, but as a leader and ruler, their lives were her own priority. "Er- Boss?" she regarded the flying Sparrowhawk without knowing its official callsign or name of the pilot inside, "Can you try and divert these Riverdrakes to get in between us and the Coalition MAS units? I don't know if that's even possible, but... If there's anything you can do to buy us time without shedding more blood, I'd be grateful."

Aurelia really didn't want more people to die over her, regardless of the flag they fought for.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Rapid Reader
Avatar of Rapid Reader

Rapid Reader

Member Seen 6 mos ago

Clara / Zoom

Clara suppressed a groan, first a Coalition ambush, then a lost princess, then giant lizards, and now the lost princess wanted to play rear guard.

Depressing her communications key, Clara broadcast privately to Ingram, "Boss, is it kidnapping if we shove a princess, our princess, onto the Roanoke first, so we can bug out before we all end up permanent guests of the Coalition's finest?"

She didn't have time to wait for a reply before another river drake threatened the gravity bound MAS. Diving low, Clara opened up with the cannon of the Peregrine, sending HE rounds across the nearest river drake, and deftly dodging the snapping jaws of the lumbering lizard. Performing a steep loop, Clara dove back down and sent a cone of deadly cannon fire across the river drakes that popped across her sights.

"I'll be the rabbit for now," Clara broadcast over the comms, "I've got the speed, moving to engage the remaining Coalition patrol."

The 7th needed more time. The princess was still in danger. They didn't have the numbers, even if they had the guns. And the Peregrine was the fastest MAS on the field. Playing the distraction was hardly ideal, but it had to be her. It had to be her and the Peregrine if they wanted to buy time without sacrificing a pilot and MAS.

Firewalling her throttle, Clara grimaced beneath her helmet as the Peregrine rocketed towards the approaching Coalition patrol. She wasn't sure if the river drakes had followed her. She didn't care. There wasn't time to check. She had to keep moving. She had to stay fast.

Speed was life.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
Avatar of vietmyke


Member Seen 4 hrs ago

Ingram cursed, as he brought the Sparrowhawk closer to the ground, ducking out of the way of a volley of autocannon shells. The Coalition mechs weren't within visual range, but just as it didn't stop the 7th from shooting at them, the foliage didn't stop the enemy from shooting back. Coalition cannon shells flew through the treeline, sending spear-sized chunks of wood and splinters flying as they slammed into and exploded against the massive trees surrounding them. Shards of wood and shrapnel buffeted the Sparrowhawk as it juked and weaved through the treeline. The recovery team as well were showered by wood shards as they pushed their way through the treeline, though most of the pieces were ineffectual and bothersome at worst.

All the while the squadron was harried endlessly by stray riverdrakes. Most of the pack at this point had thinned out, and were contending with both Coalition forces as well as the 7th, but the occasional drake still jumped out of the forest to take a nip at the smaller mechs in the pack. Ingram dropped the Sparrowhawk out of the sky, allowing the weight of his machine to land fully on a riverdrake that strayed too close to the Princess’ commandeered MAS. The rest of the 7th was already forming around the princess’ MAS as the two elements linked up. Pips had been the point of contact for the princess and the 7th thus far, and had been instructing her to stay safe within their unit and to get on the Roanoke as soon as it came within sight. The princess however must have had other ideas.

"Negative, Kolibri! This MAS is still healthy and able to fight! You're in less of a position to cover the retreat. You will make the first bound to the ship, I will use the AAT-9's shields to cover your advance. Please don't argue this..."

Ingram scowled, not entirely surprising- the Royals were all given an extensive military education as a part of their upbringing, and being so young, Ingram might’ve understood how gung ho the princess was- but not when their lives were the ones at risk. This wasn’t a fantasy and they weren’t heroes, this was real and they were currently running for their lives. Still, Ingram managed to keep his voice composed and even as he keyed the comm.

”Sorry Sunray, it doesn’t work like that.” Ingram’s voice crackled through, a small wash of static carrying through his clipped voice. ”The rest of the 7th is covering us- the faster we get you on the ship, the faster we all get out of this jungle. ”

The princess might well have been a capable fighter- if they were in a more desperate position, Ingram probably would’ve welcomed the fighting spirit. But as it were, they weren’t here to fight. The 7th didn’t know the princess, they didn’t know how to fight with her, it didn’t do anyone any good to have the princess out on the fighting line. As if to punctuate his point, the Sparrowhawk stomped down on the writhing riverdrake underneath it, its arm cannon spinning up to fire a burst of shells into its head as its armored helmet turned to look at the Helheimr.

”Sunray goes in first, followed by Pips and Grizz. No arguing.” Ingram directed, an armored hand pointing them in the direction of the ship.

The last few miles to the ship was a rush, the 7th pulled back as rapidly as their heavier units would allow. Ingram flew above, directing fire as they fell back- Coalition patrols were outside of visual range, but still deigned to return fire as autocannon shells and missiles crashed around them. A steel plated beacon in the storm, the Roanoke itself was already firing its weapons by the time the squadron got into visual range of the vessel, mass drivers and plasma cannons flashing as they fired into the woods around them, scorching stone, wood and metal alike. The Roanoke’s hangar doors were already open and waiting as the 7th and their charges splashed through the sapphire lake.

Drakes and Coalition patrols be damned, the 7th broke for the open hangar doors as the Roanoke delivered withering volleys of fire around them. The water around the ship was already rippling and forming into waves as the engines of the Roanoke began spooling up, ready to take the ship into the sky and back into orbit. Technical crews were already waiting for them as they quickly waved and directed mechs into bays.

The Sparrowhawk, being flight-capable, was one of the last ones into the hangar. In the event that the ship needed to take off before everyone was loaded in, the Sparrowhawk could still fly into the hangar as the Roanoke flew. Stomping the last few steps into the remaining hangar bay, Ingram spooled the mech down and pushed open his cockpit as he keyed his comm.

”Medical to the hangar,” Ingram said, his voice echoing across the ship as he grabbed the edge of his cockpit, steadying himself as the Roanoke took off into the sky- harried by enemy fire all the while. Rumbling from a combination of stray enemy fire and turbulence, the Roanoke propelled itself from the surface of the planet into low orbit. Ingram swapped his comms to the command channel. He spoke for a moment before abruptly switching back to the crew channels.

”Medical team belay that, all hands brace!”

Ingram threw himself back into the seat of his cockpit and grabbed the seat’s roll bars. The Roanoke had barely reached low orbit when it activated its Kearnsky-Fuchida Warp drive and propelled itself and its unwitting crew into FTL space. Time seemed to slow to a crawl, a second felt like a minute, and Ingram felt his stomach dropping- not unlike the sensation of being inside an elevator- the entire time. Moments later, everything snapped back to real time and Ingram jerked forward, almost falling out of his cockpit. He shook his head and shuddered, they were now in FTL space- the familiar rocking and rattling of space ‘turbulence’ against the hull filling his ears.

”Okay, now medical to the hangar.” Ingram sighed through the crew comms as he pulled himself out of the cockpit. They were in the clear- for now.
1x Like Like
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

The Kolibri's chassis was gradually dented and scraped by the onslaught of debris, stray rounds and angry Riverdrakes that assaulted it. It wasn't an act of shoddy engineering; simply put, the MAS wasn't built to take sustained firepower. It was designed with the skill of the pilot in mind. Abigail was meant to be evading these blows with her sophisticated radars and electronics that she'd overheated half to hell. Unfortunately the circumstances no longer allowed that - she couldn't dodge anything that might end up striking the princess - and the Kolibri made it well known to it's pilot that each impact was taking a toll on the machine.

For Abigail, the rush back to the Roanoke was starting to look more like an endless trek of increasingly painful ordeals. Each time the Kolibri was hit, she was roughly shoved in her cockpit. Even with the seatbelt on her body was thrown this way and that. She didn't have the time to take her hands off the controls and put her helmet back on; not to mention that trapping her hair under the visor would ruin her visibility. Whacking her head against some sturdy metal or plastic piece in the cockpit was becoming more commonplace than it ought to be. Her mood had soured, her muscles were tensed at all times to try and brace for impacts she didn't know were coming and the sweltering heat sent drips of sweat from her brow into her eyes.

No wonder, then, that when the Princess gave her one of those compulsory requests, Abigail was too fed up and tired to argue. She kept her Comms switched off and kept the pace consistent. She didn't even have the drive left in her to crack a smile when Ingram swiftly put Aurelia in her place and took control of the issue.

It was only as the Seventh made their way across the clearing and into the lake to board the Roanoke that Abigail started to take stock of her combined injuries and gradually start to realise that she might be a little more roughed up than she thought. Her breath was coming out in ragged, angry huffs. She couldn't tell if it was all the humidity and sweat or her vision blurring. The pain started to kick in - full body, aching throbs. She let loose one low, strained moan in the final stretch.

It wasn't normal for Abigail to have her Comms switched off for this long.

Abigail was second in the hangar bay of the Roanoke, following closely behind Aurelia and the Helmheimr. The Kolibri's pace finally started to flag as she skidded across the bay, a horrible crunching screech emanating from the broken landing strut as its massive metal arms stabilised itself to slow down it's movement. Various engineers and hangar staff were quickly scurrying out of the way as the MAS clumsily clambered to its feet and trudged back to its dock. The huge cables plugged into its charging ports one by one as Abigail powered down the Kolibri at last; a steaming, dented, dishevelled mess of its former condition. The damage was superficial but it was present all over. It would take time to repair.

The Krakono was one of the last. The behemoth stomped into the hangar, soaking up the blasts from coalition weaponry and acting as a shield against the oncoming firepower as the Sparrowhawk zipped in and the doors began to close. Jakunta was much more patient and methodical, entering his bay without issue and powering down the MAS gradually. He stared at his HUD with a frown, tapping a finger on the static-filled square that ought to be Abigail's portrait. His frown deepened when the Kolibri shut down and he tried to call her on her holopad.

”Medical to the hangar,” Ingram echoed across the hangar bay. Abigail squinted up a little in the pitch darkness of her cockpit as she tried to discern who might have been wounded. In gradual increments, she began to unbuckle herself from her seat - completely unaware of the faint regular buzzing noise coming from one of the glued-on storage pouches in her cockpit...

”Medical team belay that, all hands brace!”

"Fuck oooOOFFF-" Abigail groaned as she slammed one foot up against the console, one arm up on the ceiling, shut her eyes and took a deep breath. It wasn't a massive explosion like she thought it would be, but the familiar dropping, lurching feeling of the warp kicking in. As uncomfortable as it was she knew the feeling was short-lived and that it signified their prompt and hasty retreat from the battle. The relief alone was enough to make Abigail sink back into the chair, utterly exhausted. It was at that point she noticed the buzzing noise and blearily fumbled for the holopad, but it stopped ringing before she had a chance to answer. Instead she messaged Ingram.

A_HARLOW: goin to medical
A_HARLOW: lookin like shit
A_HARLOW: sunray might not want to see that

Meanwhile, Jakunta shouldered the hatch open to the Krakono and slid down the ladder, plodding across the hangar towards the Kolibri. He waved off some of the medics ("Not here, not here. We'll go to Medical.") and climbed up to the Kolibri's cockpit where Abigail was gingerly rubbing her temple and trying to compose herself.

KTHOOM KTHOOM KTHOOM. Jakunta slammed his fist against the cockpit.

“Come. Medical awaits.”

Abigail glowered at the metal shell.

After a few more seconds the Kolibri cockpit hissed open. Abigail was in her full EVA suit still, the tinted glass of her helmet showing a distorted reflection of Jakunta's impassive stare. She shot Jakunta a pair of finger guns and followed him down the ladders, similarly brushing past the medical staff as they both wandered back to the elevators for a proper check-up.
Hidden 1 yr ago 1 yr ago Post by DrRtron
Avatar of DrRtron

DrRtron Formerly Rtron

Member Seen 3 mos ago

Gansu had to laugh, with the comms off of course, at Sunray's attempt at giving orders. Trust only a royal to attempt to bark out commands on their own rescue mission. It was a sense of arrogance that only having blue blood could give you. Ingram put Sunray in her place in short order, and they continued on their way back to the ship. The Coalition was not very pleased that their high value target was rescued and escaping and their response showed it. Gansu positioned the Titan with the Krakono at the back of the group, shielding the lighter MAS, and most importantly Sunray, from the hail of pot shots that the coalition was firing at them. Gansu had never been more grateful for the Roanoke's presence than he was as they were backing up for extraction. The Titan had big guns, but the Roanoke had bigger ones and they were far better suited to shooting at the enemy than he was right now.

The Titan waddled into the hangar before the Krakano, absorbing the remaining fire as the doors began to close. Gansu let out a breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding, popping open the shell of the Titan when the doors were firmly closed. As the adrenaline began to leave his system, he became aware of just how disgusting he was. Combat was stressful. Rescue missions were stressful. Make the combat sudden, the rescue mission a royal, and then put them all together and you have the sweaty mess that Gansu was just beginning to realize he was. He put his hands on the outside of the Titan to pull himself out then pulled them back with a small noise of disgust. The front of the titan was covered in what he could only hope was lizard blood. "Fucking gross. Damn things didn't even have the dignity to die cleanly in a river." Gansu complained, to no one in particular.

He heard a Ingram's orders and felt the ship moving, and threw himself back in his cockpit in an attempt to brace himself. "Hate this, hate this, hate this." He muttered through gritted teeth, blood slicked hands gripping the roll bars. His stomach roiled as they made the transition to hyper space, and he could feel his lunch (dinner? He'd lost track of time in the chaos of the last few hours) crawling up his throat. As the ship came to a sudden stop in FTL space, his body jerked forward and his hands slipped off of the bars. He landed on the ground with a thud. As he attempted to pick himself up with a groan, his lunch refused to stay down any longer. Gansu vomitted on the ground, groaning again as his stomach rolled. "I fucking hate that transition!" He slowly picked himself up, looking for a towel to clean up his own mess. It didn't take long. Fortunately he hadn't had anything too solid before the Coalition had attacked, so all it took was a few moments with the towel. With that done he headed towards the changing room, not wanting to be present for the 'you can't tell us what to do' conversation with the royal.

"I'm disgusting, and perfectly healthy, so I'm gonna go clean myself up before I make more of a mess of myself in front of Sunnie. Talk to you later Boss." He called out to Ingram before he left. He was already in the process of disrobing when he hit the door of the changing room. To his delight the showers were already going, and Gansu grinned at Jakunta and Abigail as he spotted the two of them sitting in the changing room bench. "Oh thank everything that's holy on this ship you two were here already. The showers aren't cold, you guys aren't hurt, and I can ask you guys the burning questions I've been dying to know about our Sunray!" As he was talking, Gansu was stripping. Gloves, boots, his shirt and underclothes were all tossed haphazardly aside as he moved towards the showers. "Also, Griz! Great job with the laser cannon! Excellent level of destruction and you hit the Coalies too! Nice work!" He walked by, stark naked, offering a hand up for a high five.

Regardless of whether or not the high five was returned he continued into the showers, yelling as he turned on the water and steam back on. "So! Pips! Tell me how our Royal is! Did we get the one who actually knows what they're doing? The really idealistic one who just wants 'peace' with the coalies? The one who the troops actually like? The one the troops hate, but thinks he knows everything there is to know everything? I overheard Sunnie's attempt at giving orders, and I can only imagine how Boss and D-eye are going to react to that! Do you think we're going to get our leave after we get Sunnie outta our hair we get to get to our leave or are we stuck on guard duty? I noticed there weren't any ISS dogs running around going 'OH, LOOK AT ME, I'M A SECRET COP WHOSE AFRAID OF REAL COMBAT SO I GO AROUND BULLYING PEOPLE AND GETTING ALL THE BEST MAS UNNECESSARILY'. You'd think we'd get like fifty of them yelling on our comms about how they're about to come here and take control of the situation by now!"

Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Bazmund
Avatar of Bazmund

Bazmund Not a Doctor

Member Seen 2 hrs ago

Ingram climbed down from the cockpit of his MAS, tossing his helmet over to a tech as they came running over to service the squadron’s machines. Spotting the medical team running towards the Coalition MAS docked in one of the Roanoke’s hangar bays, Ingram sighed. As Ingram was making his way across the hangar, a hoarse voice raised itself above the din of the Roanoke’s ‘RTB Response’ protocol teams.

“Boss!” Aleks gave a shout, beckoning him over. “We got to talk!”

Aleks didn’t look particularly happy, but it was the curt, measured, precise tension with which he moved that really made it obvious - Aleks was annoyed. Not quite enough to be angry, but more than just irritated or frustrated, and as he glanced over towards the princess as she was tended to by medical staff, it was also obvious why.

Ingram paused, looking over at his second for a moment. Ingram’s eyes narrowed, following Alek’s vision and finding the target of his frustrations, then turning back to the man. He sighed and walked over- beckoning with a shift of his head towards a more secluded corner of the hangar. Not that the hangar was in any way secluded, but out of the way of running technicians and engineers, more or less outside the din of machinery and people.

”Concerns regarding our new guest?” Ingram half asked, half stated as fact. He knew Alek’s well enough at this point to read the frustrations on his face- hence part of the reason why he dragged them off to a more private corner of the hangar. ”Speak openly- I know you’re going to anyway.”

Aleks nodded.

"We need to decide what we're doing about her, as an authority. I don't want her giving orders and circumventing chain of command, especially if she doesn't know how to do so effectively."

”Yeah, I know. Ingram sighed, shooting a look over at the medical team standing underneath the Coalition Helheimer. ”Royals can be a finicky bunch- they’re used to getting their way. I’ll talk to her, maybe she’ll listen.”

“Unfortunately for us, she is within our Chain of Command,”
Ingram added, pulling out his holopad and flicking over to a classified document. Technically not for Aleks’ eyes, but it wasn’t the first time Ingram had fudged some rules when it came to talking to Aleks. Legal jargon aside, the document more or less stated that command and control of part of the 5th fleet was being transferred- the Roanoke in particular, was being handed over to Princess Aurelia, forming their own battlegroup within the fleet. Their purpose and operations- hitherto undisclosed.

”Technically, she’s the boss now. But I understand what you mean- interrupting and giving conflicting orders during an operation is no good for anyone. It's a good way of getting us killed.”

Aleks blinked thrice in rapid, dumbfounded succession.

"Some of the others will not like this. Her highness will have serious trouble earning respect after…" Aleks searched for the word, his face twisting in frustration as he found that he lacked it, "... all of this. This is saying nothing of how her presence will affect Abigail and her situation."

Yeah, I know. The Roanoke isn’t a big ship either. As far as that situation goes, we’ll have to play by ear. I was anticipating receiving commands from a Royal, not necessarily having her on board while the orders were given.” Ingram replied, slipping his holopad back into his pocket.

Aleks rubbed his chin through his beard, shaking his head, tense as steel wire.

"Thank you for showing me the orders. I would like to come with you to speak with her, and I would like us to have a longer and serious conversation about this later on."

”Only if you play nice.” Ingram responded, his head turning to shoot a glance at the subject of their discussion- still in the middle of her impromptu medical examination. The last thing any of us need is conflict on the ship as well as off it.”

The Savolax sniper inhaled sharply, then exhaled slowly, gradually relaxing, resting his hands on his hips. It was one of the more unusual things about Deadeye - how quickly he went from genuine slaughter and extreme violence to chill calm - but it was better than seeing him angry.

"How do you feel about this?" He asked Ingram after a moment.

Ingram was silent for a moment, his mind in quiet contemplation despite the din of the maintenance crews running by them. He pulled a flash out of his pocket and took a swig out of it, his face scrunching for a moment before offering it to Aleks. It was a Gansu-Special, some concoction that Gansu had invented some time ago. Capable of putting an adult man on the ground in moments, it was a favorite of the 7th.

”I think she means well- for a Royal anyway.” Ingram admitted, ”Even if it wasn’t ideal, necessary or even warranted, the point was that she was trying to shield and cover a damaged squadmate. That’s more than can be said about most nobility.”

”She has a lot to learn, but at least she’s not arrogant about it. She’s malleable. When to interfere and when to do as you’re told can be taught. The instinct cannot. Rookie mistake with the tactical situation as it was, but mistakes can be fixed, and we can keep tactical control away from her easily enough. There are worse Royals to be working under by far.” Ingram pointed out.

”Do I like that we’re in this situation? No, absolutely not. It's hard enough keeping everyone alive without having to worry about the whims of a Royal to boot.”

”But we’ll figure a way through it- we always do.” Ingram concluded with a short sigh, ”And if worse comes to worst? Well, at least I can’t hear you tell me ‘I told you so’ when I’m 6 feet under.”

Aleks nodded solemnly.

“You are mistaken; if we share a grave, that’s all you will hear. Alright, let’s go speak to her highness, I will probably be quiet and let you do the talking - if I have anything to say, I will make sure to be diplomatic.”
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

"I can shower. I know how to bathe myself damnit, you lot just keep insisting-fine, fine, just don't make me raise my arms or anything."

Abigail pulled a face at the squinted looks from the medical team as she passed by. It wasn't just the fact she was nude save for a little biodegradable plastic surgery gown; she reeked. Stank like a whipped hound after a long hunt. She was grimy, unpleasant, battered and bruised but otherwise acting normally, much to the chagrin and relief of the professionals keeping an eye on her vitals - because it also meant she wouldn't shut up, either.

"Jakunta, they're damaging my self esteem. The doctors. They're judging my nubile body with their cold, hard stares," Abigail nudged the silent figure plodding beside her. He was also wearing a plastic gown. Abigail looked at him fully. "I'm a little worried my joke didn't get past the language barrier. It happens. You've been bred for war, and skull thickness was probably an evolutionary boon to your ancestors. See, 'nubile' means-"

“You’re talking a lot.” Jakunta sighed.

"And you're not listening," huffed Abigail.

Thankfully, Abigail had to stay quiet during the head scans. She was given an antibacterial wipe to clean her face up (which she then promptly used on her armpits and creases), plopped herself down in a machine, sat very still for a while as some flashes and whirring noises happened then got up again. Jakunta followed suit. Abigail had enough sense not to do or say anything that might interfere with the scans so she waited around as a nurse gave her a quick once-over to ensure none of the superficial injuries were hiding anything serious.

"Did they get your good side?" Abigail asked as she slid off the bench and waited for the scan results whilst Jakunta also received a quick check-up.

“There is no good side.” Jakunta snorted. “Are we done?” he asked up at one of the techs.

"Oooh. That's deep. S'got dual meanings and shit. You think the landing knocked some wrinkles into that brain?"

"Are we done?" Jakunta asked a little louder.

"Yes sir, there don't seem to be any serious problems. Any difficulty remembering things, feeling slow or confused - report back to us as soon as possible," reassured the technician.

"See? We're indestructible. I need a shower. I want a bath." Abigail strode off confidently down the corridors, her surgery gown flapping in the breeze.

“Mhm.” he nodded at the technician. He stood himself up and lumbered after Abigail. “Home will wait.” he remarked at her. Trailing ever so slowly behind.

There was a brief pause as Abigail processed what Jakunta said to her. "I mean, our home's here - when you really think about it. Home is not where the bath is," she turned and took a different route to the changing rooms - one that took them through lesser frequented sections of the ship rather than the main corridors that departed into most areas aboard the Roanoke. «When you're in Savonia you get to sit in some cabin and whittle out a small standing army of wooden ducks. When I'm in Savonia I get to go to a photoshoot while still suffering from a bout of the shits from the night before.» the transition to Savonian was seamless. In the zero gravity, Abigail twisted around to look at him as they floated along. «Home can wait for as long as it needs to.»

«Maybe I’ll get to do a photoshoot one day too.» he guffawed, his harsh and ugly laughter rattling off the panelling alongside Abigail's loud cackles. The conversation didn't pick up afterwards and they floated in a comfortable silence. They made it to the changing rooms in a roundabout way and planted their feet on solid ground. Abigail was quick to turn all the showers onto the hottest setting, save a few - and stood in one of the end stalls for the longest time. Her surgery gown lay discarded in a heap on the floor and the water ran muddied by blood and sweat and vomit.

Minutes passed, one by one - then in dozens at a time. The changing rooms filled with steam.

«Don’t fall asleep in there, we’re not on leave. You’re taking too long.»

«We were going to be on leave until Princess showed up,» Abigail pointed out ruefully. She reluctantly pried herself from the shower, sloshing her way to the lockers for a towel. «Not everyone is a genetically engineered supersoldier like you. The crew's tired already. At least we're zooming our way back into UEE space.»

«It’s expected of us. We don’t get to have lives. Not until we’re too old or broken to move.»

«No, not until you've stopped being useful. The only geriatric out here with a gun in hand and a MAS to his name is you - because you exceed expectations.» Abigail towel dried herself. «There's nothing stopping us from amicably retiring from the military except the overwhelming implication that post-military life is going to blueball us and our own fucked up addiction to killing people legally.» Abigail shot him a couple of finger guns. «Oh and my contract, I got another five years on it at least.»

«Is that the way you talk on camera too?» he scoffed.

«No, which is pre-cisely why I get to do it here.» Her smile turned into a frown for a moment. «You know what having the Princess on board - having rescued her ourselves - means for me, right?»

«You won’t have to jerk off anymore?»

And just like that - the frown was gone, a sputtering cackle skirting across the hiss of the showers on the tiles. «What a speedy way to end up court-martialled but by the gods - a legacy to be proud of.» She wiped a single invisible tear from her eye. «No, no. You know what? I'm overreacting. I need to get into the Zalavi headspace.»

«That won’t be hard. Not many went to school.»

«Yeah. Just gotta…» Abigail slouched down on one of the benches beside Jakunta, tilting her head back. «Theeere we go. Head empty. I don't have the hairiness to match but it's all about being immersed in the role.» She lazily scratched her nonexistent chest hair. She rolled her neck just enough to tilt her face at him. «I know we're not on leave but can we just chill here for a bit?»

«I’d rather get to whatever comes next. But sure, for a little.»

"Oh thank everything that's holy on this ship you two were here already. The showers aren't cold, you guys aren't hurt, and I can ask you guys the burning questions I've been dying to know about our Sunray!"

Abigail and Jakunta made the exact same disparaging look at the exact same time, but Abi couldn't stay mad at Gansu forever. As the pilot stripped she gestured at the showers lazily. "I've turned most of them on full blast. It's no Sauna - but it's getting there."

"Also, Griz! Great job with the laser cannon! Excellent level of destruction and you hit the Coalies too! Nice work!" He walked by, stark naked, offering a hand up for a high five. Jakunta didn't leave him hanging.

Gansu continued into the showers, yelling as he turned on the water and steam. "So! Pips! Tell me how our Royal is! Did we get the one who actually knows what they're doing? The really idealistic one who just wants 'peace' with the coalies? The one who the troops actually like? The one the troops hate, but thinks he knows everything there is to know everything? I overheard Sunnie's attempt at giving orders, and I can only imagine how Boss and D-eye are going to react to that! Do you think we're going to get our leave after we get Sunnie outta our hair or are we stuck on guard duty? I noticed there weren't any ISS dogs running around going 'OH, LOOK AT ME, I'M A SECRET COP WHOSE AFRAID OF REAL COMBAT SO I GO AROUND BULLYING PEOPLE AND GETTING ALL THE BEST MAS UNNECESSARILY'. You'd think we'd get like fifty of them yelling on our comms about how they're about to come here and take control of the situation by now!"

"Inside voices Gansu, this is a place of serenity," Abigail shut her eyes as she processed the torrent of questions and picked them apart piece by piece. "You can't just compartmentalise people - not even princesses. And it's unwise to make assumptions based on a brief and very out-of-the-ordinary initial visit. I know of her, what she thinks, how she likes to be treated... but I wouldn't comment on it just yet," she warned him. "People change in emergencies. You know that."

"I think the brass would be very ballsy indeed to thrust their finest pilots into a rescue mission by accident, watch them flawlessly bring back a royal, then continue to deny them leave when they were meant to be off duty the day it all started. And the reason the ISS haven't shown up yet is because they're all dead. Ferryman's a smear in the cosmos. Sunny's not going to like that, so try not to mention it all that much until she's had time to wrap her head around it." Abigail continued to slouch into the bench, practically melting into it until she was lying down next to Jakunta.

"No napping," he reminded her.

"I know," she sighed.
Hidden 1 yr ago Post by vietmyke
Avatar of vietmyke


Member Seen 4 hrs ago

”Well its a good thing I’m arranging for my ashes to be spread across the lakes of Mars, and not Savonia.” Ingram grumbled as he led Aleks back over to the part of the hangar where the princess was. Timing was good, the medical crew called to the hangar had just finished going through a quick checkup for the princess to ensure she was in good health. Initial results seemed promising: No broken bones, fractures, or internal bleeding, just a minor concussion, some bruising, and mild dehydration. Ingram quickly sent the report to his holopad and put it away, grabbing a water bottle off the little gurney the medical team had brought out with them.

”Princess Aurelia, I had been informed you’d be joining us, and taking over command of a task force within the 5th.” Ingram greeted her simply with a casual half nod, half bow, offering her the bottle as he did. ”Obviously, this wasn’t the way we intended to bring you aboard, but nevertheless, welcome aboard the INS Roanoke. My apologies for the rather… abrupt welcome, but things are a bit of a mess right now, if you couldn’t tell.”

Aurelia nodded and shook her head repeatedly as the medics were asking her a series of questions. Despite being in relative safety now, Aurelia didn’t appear to look relieved or happy to be out of the fire. How could she be? It was obvious that the Coalition attack was an attempt at her life… Or at least an attempt to capture her. Despite the failed attempt, how many people died for it? How many UEE lives on that space station, let alone the fleet?! Even the Coalition… The bloodshed for her was immense, and it made her stomach twist when she thought about it. It took her a moment to realize she was being spoken to, but her mind quickly played back the information she didn’t quite catch and pieced things together. ”Thank you, Commander, for the welcome… Though I wish it was under better circumstances… I understand this battlegroup was on the verge of rotating off of the front before I arrived. I’m sorry this had to happen.”

”My name is Commander Ingram Shaw,” Ingram introduced himself, with a short clearing of his throat, ”I command the 7th Direwolves, the Roanoke’s attached MAS Squadron, and was the one flying the Sparrowhawk,” he gestured to the machine in its hangar bay.

”This is Commander Aleks Danielsson, our resident ace, and my second.” Ingram gestured to Aleks standing beside him, and the lanky Savolax bowed about as formally as Ingram imagined was even possible for him. ”the Roanoke isn’t a big ship, so I have no doubt you’ll get familiar with the rest of the crew soon, but for now you can feel free to reach out to us if you have any particular questions moving forward.”

The princess looked between Ingram and Aleks. She was surprised by the informality, but she didn’t find that to be a bad thing either. Like she had told Dearil, she wasn’t big on the formalities anyways. Ingram’s introduction and lack of wordiness set her at ease a little bit. ”I owe you both- no… I owe the 7th my gratitude. Being alone and hunted on that planet was…” she trailed off for a moment, ”Anyways… I give the 7th and the crew of the Roanoke my word that you will all be home and resting with your loved ones as quickly as possible.”

”Ah, one last topic of discussion before we get you settled in, your highness.”

Aurelia blinked, but nodded quietly. She had an idea what he was about to get at.

Ingram’s brow furrowed slightly, obviously a bit hesitant to continue, but he finally broached the subject- it’d come up sooner or later anyway, so he might as well pull the bandage now. He sucked at his teeth, and waved the remaining medical crew away, beckoning for Aleks and the princess to follow him to a small side office in the hangar- it was the engineering crew chief’s office, but they’d be able to use it for their purposes. It felt weird enough that he was more or less gearing up to give a member of royalty a dressing down- just the thought of it was a career ending prospect for many- but it’d probably be better off on all of them if it didn’t happen in the open for everyone else to see.

”Princess,” Ingram began, after ensuring the door was shut and no one else was around them, ”This isn’t a debriefing, but I’d like to talk to you regarding what happened during the extraction.”

“I certainly appreciate the sentiment- protecting a damaged wingman, and if you were anyone else, I probably would’ve rewarded the initiative.”
Ingram sighed, a hand running against the side of his head somewhat awkwardly. It was true, if any other recruit had done something like that, Ingram would’ve rewarded them: the willingness to risk life and limb for another was a rare find, and soldiers like that typically possessed other qualities that Ingram was also looking for.

”Unfortunately,” Ingram continued, now speaking his thoughts aloud, ”You’re not just any other recruit- you’re a leader, and royalty to boot. I don’t doubt your ability to fight, I know you’ve been trained in the academies just like we have, and I saw the way you handled piloting a Coalition MAS. But we have the field experience, and whether you like it or not, some lives are just more expendable than others. Ours are, yours isn’t.”

”Injured or not, my squadron is the best of the best. They’re capable, and more importantly, aware of their limitations. In the future, I’d prefer if you followed our lead when it comes to tactical decisions: You can tell us what you want done, but don’t tell us how-”

As he continued his half speech-half lecture, Ingram seemingly remembered that he was in fact speaking to royalty and not just another officer. He cleared his throat and quickly lowered his head a bit, in a short respectful manner.

”- that is… all, Princess.”

Aurelia looked down at the floor and listened intently as Ingram spoke. She wasn’t averting her gaze out of shame- well… Not entirely… Rather, Aurelia was mulling over the details of what he was saying. The commander spoke a lot of truths that Aurelia hadn’t considered. These pilots were all experienced, talented veterans. And despite the elite training she had received in the Royal Academy, she was about as green as they came. Still, the candid words were hitting Aurelia like a train. There were few times in her life where she was, in essence, scolded for her actions. She grew up being pandered to, so this was all quite the gut punch to her. And if it were any of her older siblings, the commander would have likely been punished for speaking up against them.

But Aurelia understood the intent behind it. It wasn’t malicious or insulting. It was a lesson that she had best learn quick if she wanted the 7th to trust her. It was a two way street after all. Aurelia looked back to the door, and she was glad that it had been closed behind them. It wouldn’t have looked good for neither her nor Ingram and Aleks if somebody had seen or overheard this exchange. She took a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh as she brought her eyes back up to meet the commander’s, ”Commander… Would it… Be right for me to apologize to you and your squadron? You are right… And I don’t want your pilots thinking I am anything like my rather… Overbearing siblings.”

Aurelia was having trouble trying to find the right words for anything. She was exhausted and still in shock over the events. ”Ahh I don’t know what I’m getting at…”

Aurelia knew that it was unseemly for any officer to apologize to their troops. It showed weakness and uncertainty in their position. And she knew that her command echelon, wherever they were now, had already seen her that way given her distaste for conflict. She felt a spike of anxiety, worrying that the 7th would think she would be incompetent if she stood before them to say sorry. The only person she had ever apologized to was her father when she couldn’t shoot a wild boar or discipline her palace staff for not seeing to her comforts. She was entirely in unknown waters now… And the setting she was in was very much one where her decisions could lead to every single one of them dead in the vacuum of space. ”Err… Can we restart?” she said, her voice timid, ”Where and how can I help? It isn’t fair of me to demand more from you when you have all sacrificed so much in this awful war because my family wills it…”

"Your highness," Aleks began, inclining his head as he spoke, "we are volunteers. We choose to live the unfair life a soldier does, meeting the demands of our commanding officers, fighting the war for the Empire, for your family. In this way, if not in all ways, we knew what we signed up for."

Aleks licked the front of his teeth behind closed lips. He'd not anticipated speaking at all, much less before being spoken to - and certainly he hadn't expected to be reassuring the princess.

He chose his words carefully, but he used them nonetheless.

"It is your job to make those demands, fair and unfair. The commander and I will support your decision making with our experience and knowledge, we will be present to offer advice when it is needed, and we will be available for delegation of duties where it is necessary."

He nodded, and relaxed, exhaling softly and glancing away for a moment.

"Yes, we can restart."

Aurelia took in a deep breath and let it out in a long sigh. She closed her eyes and mulled things over for a moment. ”Okay… Ah… Perhaps I should speak to the captain and get some awareness of the situation…” Aurelia nodded to her decision and huffed again. She seemed to have spruced herself up now that she had a goal in mind.

”Oh, and please… I’m not very big on the formalities. If we’re just talking, you don’t need to call me princess or your highness or anything. Just Aurelia is fine. It’s not like there are any ISS around to enforce it... “ the thought of not having any bodyguards around made her feel somewhat vulnerable, even if she was sharing a ship with some of the most veteran pilots in the Empire. Perhaps it was a vulnerability spawned by witnessing Dearil’s death.

”As you wish your highness- er I mean… Princess..." Ingram coughed- whether or not she allowed it, it was hard calling a member of nobility by anything other than their title. He winced and sighed awkwardly, not sure what else to say.

Aurelia cleared her throat awkwardly, ”Anyways… Off to the bridge then.” she turned to leave, but she stopped herself when she reached for the door. Aurelia frowned a bit and looked back over her shoulder, ”Erm… Where is the bridge?”

Ingram nodded, and he touched a button on his holopad. ”Ah right, I’m sending Sgt. Hark from our security detachment over to the hangar, he’ll escort you to wherever you need around the ship. He’ll meet you at the Helheimer-” Ingram added, as he approached the door and held it open, gesturing for the princess to leave first.

”We should get back to the rest of the squad,” Ingram said aloud, half to Aleks, half to himself to get them out of their current situation, effectively dismissing themselves. ”After you, Dannielsson.”
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

Abigail and Jakunta - Officer Lounge

The sound of the officer lounge blender being abused was prominent in the surrounding corridors, followed by various clatters and thumps. Abigail had put some clothes on (thankfully) but still bore the minor injuries of negative G forces; in particular the bloodshot eyes, speckled and threaded redness around her forehead and some puffiness of the face. It wasn't often that she ended up this way after a battle and it was indicative of a rushed, hasty descent into atmosphere. Jakunta wasn't looking too great either, with similar effects but to different degrees of severity. He was sprawled out on one of the couches with an ice water. He lazily watched his companion as the poor, poor blender received another fistful of ice in the machine.

"Nutrition," Abigail broke the silence that had comfortably rested between the two for a while now. "Nigh essential for anything with a pulse. But especially for soldiers getting gunned down by pretty much any Coalitionist with enough know-how to pick up a gun."


"And lo, since the order came down from on high that there is to be 'no napping' - I will have to handcraft a liquid that will replace a full meal and a couple coffees." Abigail wandered over to the cabinets, pressing on the door slightly so it slid aside. She pulled out Jakunta's protein powder and dumped several hefty spoonfuls into the mix. "Do you think the coffee is cold yet?" She asked him. Jakunta merely grunted in the affirmative.

"It'll have all the basic food groups. Protein, caffeine," Abigail sloshed half a mug of coffee into the blender and followed it up with a bunch of vitamin supplements which she crushed in her fingers before tossing into the slurry. "Vitamins, sugar...I mean, what else do you need, really?" In went a froot skwurt.


"I'm a bit anxious to have a proper meal in case we come out of hyperspace and there's another battalion just waiting there for us. I think the next twenty four, seventy two hours are going to be a little nervy but after that it should be smooth sailing. I mean, they can't get too far into UEE territory unnoticed and, by the Gods, they sure did let themselves get noticed out there, huh?" Abigail looked at Jakunta. Jakunta was watching her - lazily, impassively, nonchalantly - but his gaze was steady and unblinking.

There they stood for a long moment, just staring at each other.

Jakunta slowly blinked once and looked away from her to have another sip of his ice water. "Stop worrying," he rumbled. "We move on. Adapt, don't worry."

"You know what I'm worrying about," Abigail muttered ruefully as she slammed the on button on the blender.


"She's human."

"It's not her. It's everyone else involved."

"You are a soldier. Is their job to make you look good. Your job, right now, is to bring her home."

"It's not that simple-"

"You are the one making it not simple."


Abigail regarded her masterpiece with scrutiny and fished out a bag of chocolate nibbles that has been sitting in the freezer. Abigail liked frozen snacks, or very cold food, in moderation. She started pouring the little cubes into the blender. "But she's lonely," she pointed out and her tone was softer now. "She's lost and she's alone in a different way than you can understand."

"Not your job," Jakunta reminded her.

"Maybe so, but I didn't get here by doing the bare minimum." Abigail straightened her back and stared at Jakunta again. "Do you like it when I'm alone out there?"

It took Jakunta a moment longer to respond as he mulled it over. "Do not forget your objective in all of this," he warned her.

"Precisely. The sooner she's home, the better."



"Ah fuck."
Hidden 12 mos ago 12 mos ago Post by DrRtron
Avatar of DrRtron

DrRtron Formerly Rtron

Member Seen 3 mos ago

"Just because I shouldn't compartmentalise people doesn't mean I can't Pips! First impressions and all that!" Gansu replied, still yelling as he took his shower. "And please, I know better than to bring up Ferry's death around her. She's probably blaming herself for it, like she could have predicted any better than the rest of us that the Coalies were going to do a massive attack on our fucking leave. When you're comfortable with her or whatever you need, give me the down low on her. I wanna know if I have to start hiding all of the stupid shit we do. Like, what if she hates magnetic letters? Boss's drawer can only hold so many of them! Or what if she insists on no alcohol because 'we're professionals'? That'd be the death of the Gansu-special as we know it, and Zoom hasn't even tried it yet. Which reminds me! Before any of those terrible hypotheticals happen we need to celebrate a successful mission with Zoom! My goodluck charm worked, she did her job admirably, and she didn't die. That's more than enough reason for us to introduce her to the Gansu special!" He finally paused, waiting for Abi's reply as he finished up his shower.

No reply came, and Gansu spoke again as he turned off the showers and headed into the changing room. "Did you catch any of that or were the showers too-Oh you motherfuckers!" The room was empty. They'd just left, presumably while he was in the middle of talking to them. "Fuckin Sarvonians don't even have the common decency to continue a conversation, and I'm the uncouth one." He grumbled, putting on a set of fresh clothes. He knew where they'd be though. Abi was always hungry after a mission, and she was doubtlessly creating one of her abominations in the Officer lounge, one of the few places where they could make things themselves.

He spoke aloud before he left the changing room. "Don't worry guys, I haven't forgotten your role in keeping most of us alive. Before I head to bed tonight I'll make sure to get you some of the good stuff. Not that I ever skimp out on you, of course!" With the spirits reassured, he headed towards the officer lounge.

He came into the sight of Abi, Aleks, and Jakunta in the officer lounge with the very full and very abused looking blender behind Abi. "Pips! Did you break the blender again by cramming as much as you could into it? You're gonna get your blender privileges taken away like your Eva-" Whatever else he was going to say was cut off as the VI appeared. "Yes LIEUTENANT MATHEN? How ma-" Gansu jerked back, waving his hands through the hologram. "Damn it! Go away! Go away!" As Eva disappeared, he returned his attention to Abi. "I need your assistance Pips! You too Griz, D-eye, if you're up for it. We just had a successfull mission saving Royalty from the evil clutches of the Coalition, and the rookie didn't get killed! That's a cause for celebration! Especially since we might not get our leave for a while with a Sunnie on board! And since Zoom has never celebrated with the 7th or had a Gansu-Special, I figured the best way to celebrate would be to find her and introduce her to the horrible concoction I made! Plus I'm going to get drunk before we go back into the field again before the politicians change their minds! You in? It'd help shake off that post combat nerves!"
1x Like Like
Hidden 12 mos ago Post by Stitches
Avatar of Stitches


Member Seen 5 mos ago

The small girl and the giant Zalavi both looked on in amazement at the broken blender as it continued with its brief parade of clicking and electrically groaned protestations.

After a moment;

“What the fuck?” Aleks asked, rhetorically, in as deadpan a tone as any. “Did you break our blender?”

"Stress tested it." Abigail stopped tormenting the little machine and grabbed a pint glass. She took the lid off and tipped the blender jug upside down. It took...a while, a worryingly long few seconds, for the viscous slush to peel off and slop into the glass.

“You broke our only blender to make soup. Why are you making soup.”

"That's not soup."

"Could be soup," Jakunta pointed out.

"It's not-...soup is supposed to be warm, this is, this is, uh. It's a smoothie. A combat smoothie." Abigail held the glass to her brow, grimacing. The contents looked like muddy snow with grit in it.

“Soup can be cold. Gazpacho is a vegetable soup, and it is only ever served cold, because it is meant to be refreshing in summer. Additionally and in relation to this fact, I find the Spanish to be a very strange culture.” Aleks came closer and inspected the blender personally. “I hope one of the engineers can fix this, or we will be in some trouble with whoever needs it.”

Whatever godawful concoction Abigail created smelt chemically sweet, like wiper fluid or antifreeze, with a bitterness that Aleks couldn't - or didn't want to - identify. There were no broken pieces of metal in her hellish drink. She'd only busted the motor and loosened the blade with her recklessness.

"If you want a glass for yourself, go right on ahead." Abigail gestured with her drink to the cabinets.

Aleks nodded, retrieved a pint glass for himself, and filled it from the jug. Whilst still looking rather serious, he then proceeded to give it a quick sniff, and then immediately empty it into the sink.

“I would like another.” He looked back at Abi, expression blank, gaze like a dead fish.

"Cowardice doesn't suit you, lieutenant commander." Abigail took a swig of her glass and coughed profusely. "GAWH. OH MAN. HOOOOH." She recovered, ruminated over it, and took another swig. She regretted that one a little less.

“Jakhunta, help me restrain her, she needs a psychological evaluation urgently.”

Jakunta quirked a brow and didn't move - not yet, anyway.

Abigail was still drinking the damned thing. "I am efficiently making sure my body contains all the vital nutrients it needs. You can't throw me into psych for that. You'll have to get Gansu for his death cocktails - this hasn't got a lick of alcohol in it." She sniffed the glass again. "Not unless some sort of…chemical reaction took place in there."

“I think that drinking this much sugar is suicide. But ok.” He went for a coffee cup and started preparing himself some hot roasted caffeine bean water. “How are you two feeling?”

"Crack open one of these bad boys alongside my combat smoothie and I'll be able to fight the gods," Abigail patted a small cylinder on her belt. "I'm tired, cranky. Jakunta won't let me nap. A bit beat up."

"Also tired," Jakunta rumbled.

"Mhm. I agree. I have spoken with the Princess." Aleks added bluntly to the end of his sympathy, with all the decorum and warning of a pebble dropped into a bowl of soup.

Or a bowl of whatever Abi had made - though it occurred to Aleks that whatever Abi had made was indeed liable to contain pebbles already.

He waited for them to ask.

"Is she hot?" Asked Abigail - despite knowing full well what the princess looked like.

"Single?" Jakunta ventured.

"The only way she'd marry you is if you had Zalava in your inheritance, old man," Abigail grinned.

Aleks smirked.

"I don't know if she is hot. I didn't ask if she is single. I have enough for myself in engineering, for now. If you are interested I can only suggest that you ask her on a date - but I say, titles don't suit you, Abigail. Princess-Consort is too fancy for you, you still-" he sniffed.

He frowned.

"I was going to say you still smell of Jaatikar. You do still smell of the battlefield. Perhaps we should have the medics shower you in isopropyl alcohol before you meet your crush."

"I have…literally just hopped out of the shower," Abigail protested. "That's just Abigail smell. That's my musk you're getting at." She took another swig. She stopped smiling. "Get on with it, then."

“The Princess seems to understand that her decision to inappropriately issue conflicting orders was the result of a poor reaction to intense emotion and combat stress. Ingram has explained that we would prefer her to work through the existing chain of command and leave tactical command to her more experienced juniors. I explained that it is her job to make tough decisions and to give unfair orders, so that she might better appreciate why some must go before her into the line of fire. I believe she listened.”

Aleks nodded, relaxing a little and gazing around the empty room for a second. In the chairs and sofas, gathered at the kitchen counter, reaching for beer in the fridge - he could see the 7th Direwolves. These were memories, he was sure, of a night he didn’t remember.

But here and there, between folk crossing paths and in the flicker of the fading light of the ancient lava lamp and disco ball that had been there for longer than him, just out of the heart of his sight… he could see the princess.

He could see the princess fitting in.

The quiet frost of the hunter’s heart thawed, softened, warmed; the living thought in the back of his mind, half formed and young, at last awakened and burst into its fullness - no longer a thought, but a certainty.

“She listened. She has potential as an officer. If she can overcome her ideals and if she can take instruction, then I think she will even start to fit in.”

"Don't get your hopes up loverboy," Abigail grinned. "Us fodder-folk aren't the sort that she hangs out with. We'll get her back to the inner systems in a few days - if that. Then you lot can go on leave."

“Us lot. I approved your leave request a week ago, I was shitting you at the debrief. Don’t worry though, I have an instinct feeling that we won’t get any leave for quite a long time anyway.”

"Where'd you get that from?"

“Princess is here to stay. In fact she comes with orders, orders that include her assuming direct command of our battlegroup. She is not coming with us, we are going with her.

Perhaps a testament to Abigail's alchemical prowess, the sludge she'd been drinking retained its shape long after the glass dropped to the floor, bounced a few times and rolled to the side. She stared at the spot where it impacted with a dull stare as everything seemed to shift gear in her head, then back up at Aleks with a smile.

"Cool!" She chirped. "Happy to have her aboard."

Abruptly, Aleks put his glass down and reached out for the smaller pilot.

“What the fuck.” He echoed, much more seriously than before.

Jakunta sighed, finishing his glass of ice water as he rolled back into a seated position. His elbows rested on his knees as he absentmindedly ran his fingertips across his knuckles.

"Pips! Did you break the blender again by cramming as much as you could into it? You're gonna get your blender privileges taken away like your Eva-"


"Damn it! Go away! Go away!"

"Gansu!" Abigail beamed, spreading her arms out wide, shouldering past Aleks as his gaze tracked her across the room. "I never even heard you coming. Made me drop my drink, you lil' bastard."

"I need your assistance Pips! You too Griz, D-eye, if you're up for it. We just had a successful mission saving Royalty from the evil clutches of the Coalition, and the rookie didn't get killed! That's a cause for celebration! Especially since we might not get our leave for a while with a Sunnie on board! And since Zoom has never celebrated with the 7th or had a Gansu-Special, I figured the best way to celebrate would be to find her and introduce her to the horrible concoction I made! Plus I'm going to get drunk before we go back into the field again before the politicians change their minds! You in? It'd help shake off that post combat nerves!"

"We're not out of the woods yet," Abi pointed out. "Not until Sunray's back home safe. And you know how I feel about drinking on duty. These two degenerates, though," she gestured to the two Savonians behind her - stoic, tense, silent, alert and very much not at ease - "would be up to it if they weren't convinced yet again that I've gotten a brain injury."

"She needs rest," Jakunta grumbled distractedly. "Somewhere quiet. Out of the way."

"Besides, there's a fifty-fifty chance Sunny's gonna find me and know who I am. I gotta be sober and on call for that. But where is that FNG anyway?" She looked around, her gaze briefly lingering on the security camera in the corner of the room. "Is she alright? Didn't even get a chance to say hi before the Coalition decided to ruin my day. Tell you what." Abigail stopped to pick up the glass, inspecting whatever was left that hadn't slid out onto the linoleum. "You're enough of a handful as is for a sane, shy-looking thing like her. Try and drag her back to the Lounge if she's not too preoccupied spit-shining her MAS. If she doesn't kick off and start pulling evasive manoeuvres, and I don't end up getting whisked away to do some damage control, then I'll have a drink and we can...I dunno, play Mancala or something. How's that sound?"

Abigail's smile was broader and toothier but lacked the glint that came with it. Behind her, Jakunta and Aleks loomed like two dark shadows - watching him and boring holes in the back of her head with their attentive glares.

Hidden 11 mos ago 11 mos ago Post by Rapid Reader
Avatar of Rapid Reader

Rapid Reader

Member Seen 6 mos ago

Clara / Zoom

Meanwhile in the hanger bay...

With her MAS running on external power, Clara began feeding data into her PDA. She was alive. She was unhurt. And that was something. That was enough. The scramble had been something of a disaster she knew. The UEE fleet was in shambles. She wasn't sure she even wanted to know how many casualties there were.

The Peregrine had performed well. When it was running that is. Someone had a made a mistake. Someone had made a giant fucking mistake. And that someone had almost gotten her killed in her second combat sortie. She was lucky she hadn't been shot to pieces when her MAS lost all power in the middle of the battle. Fortunately for her, there had been enough active targets for the Coalition MAS to attack than her lifeless MAS drifting silently through space.

Numbers, flight parameters danced across her ocular implants, the lenses beaming bright with graphs and figures generated by the Peregrine's onboard AI. The profile for the DA-597 flight boosters could be tweaked. Efficiency at the very edge of maximum thrust could be improved. The AI proposed slight modifications to the Peregrine's generator setting. A modest 1.15% increase in acceleration was nothing to scoff at, Clara thought, looking over the simulations the AI had generated.

Satisfied, Clara opened the cockpit, relishing the fresh air that raced into to meet her. She took off her helmet and wiped the layer of sweat plastered across her brow as she climbed out of the Peregrine, slowly making her way down the ladder, and onto the gangway of the Roanoke.

"Chief," she said, waving in the direction of head mechanic, one of the mythical Master Chief Petty Officers that inevitably commanded respect from any member of the UEE military. "What did your boys do my MAS?"

"Problem, lieutenant?" the Chief said, sauntering over with a hobbled gait.

"You could say that," Clara said holding out her data pad to the senior NCO. "Someone didn't follow directions, the breakers weren't installed correctly. Popped a couple mid sortie. Spent the better part of five minutes floating until I could replace them."

Low whistle, "You managed to swap them out mid combat?"

"Well, it was that or wait for the Coalition MAS to realize I was just drifting without power and finish the job your mechanic started," Clara continued.

The Chief frowned, shouting a string of curses and a barely audible name that brought a sheepish looking mechanic out from the shadows.

"Private First Class Johansson, care to explain to the lieutenant why you tried to kill her?"

"I'm sorry, what, sir?"

The chief jabbed the data pad that Clara had handed him into the chest of the unfortunate PFC as Clara shot daggers at younger, too young looking, mechanic with her eyes.

"Oh no," the PFC muttered as the correct systems configuration appeared on the screen.

"Oh yes, you did an excellent job of making sure that the breakers would pop under any significant power load...it was that or let the power conduits fry themselves," Clara added with a irritated smile.

"I'm so sorry!" The fresh-faced mechanic stammered as his face turned an alarm klaxon red. "I thought it was just like a standard MAS. I didn't have time to double check with the Chief. I didn't think you'd sortie so soon after arriving and I barely had time to get your MAS setup before the Coalition hit us."

Clara clinched her first listening to the private. Mistakes happened. Mistakes happened when you were sloppy. Mistakes happened when you weren't paying attention. Mistakes happened when you lacked the skill needed for the job. Mistakes killed pilots. Mistakes killed test pilots even faster and left even less of them around for a casket. She didn't have time for her own mistakes and she certainly didn't have time for other people's mistakes.

She was already operating on the razor's edge, balancing on the atomically thin margins that the souped up engines and generator of her MAS left her.

"How would you suggest Johansson here install the breakers and setup the power conduits in the future? I'm not going to pretend that the systems you people installed made any sense to most of my unit," The Chief interjected rubbing his chin thoughtfully. Gracefully saving Clara from launching into what she expected would probably have been a very loud and very angry rant.

"Let me show you," Clara said, grabbing a screwdriver from out of the shirt pocket of the PFC.


An hour later, Clara stepped away from her MAS and the two mechanics with a fresh layer of sweat covering her. That was the trouble with prototype MAS using state-of-the-art technology modified until it made little sense to all but the most experienced mechanics. She had made it though. She was alive. Her MAS was undamaged, barring some minor scratches. Under the circumstances, particularly considering the Coalition ambush, her first combat sortie in the Peregrine had gone exceedingly well.

Speed was life, Clara thought, as she walked out of the hanger.
Hidden 11 mos ago Post by DrRtron
Avatar of DrRtron

DrRtron Formerly Rtron

Member Seen 3 mos ago

Gansu's eyes flicked from Abi, to Jakunta, to Aleks and then back through them again and he frowned. "Alright, what's wrong? You're smiling at me like you're putting on a show as her alter ego, Griz is making a grim face even grimmier than normal, and D-eye is staring you like he stares at Coalition targets. So what's wrong? What happened?" He looked back and forth between the three of them, hands tapping along his thighs. "Cause I'd normally chalk this all up to post battle stress, but its been a bit too long for that to not have left your system by now." He strode past the three Sarvonians and scooped up the fallen glass, examining it. "But, this is the kind of thing you make after you've already recovered from that stress, plus the odds of you being suprised by me suddenly yelling is slim to none given that my sudden yelling is a staple of our crew, so that's clearly not the reason." He put the glass with the disgusting mixture back on the counter.

"From where I'm standing everything is hunky dory. We're about to go back on leave, we've pushed the Coalies back, and we successfully saved the princess! That's a medal for any other group of soldiers, but just another day on the job for us! A fairly successful day, nonethless, but a normal day on the job for the 7th." Gansu crossed his arms, making his way back over to the front of the three Sarvonians. "So, why are you three acting like we're three miles behind enemy lines, out of our MAS, with a squad of Fenrir's hunting us? Everything whould be golden and shiny for us, and you're all acting like we just found out that we've just been ordered to charge the Coalitions capital adn die in a useless suicide charge for propaganda because we pissed off the wrong royal."

↑ Top
© 2007-2017
BBCode Cheatsheet