Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Supermaxx
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Supermaxx dumbass

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Aces and Eights Saloon, San Calvo | Arish IV
February 14th, 3061

The Aces and Eights Saloon was quiet as a grave. It was just as empty last year on the same day. Same as the year before, and the year before that, and...

In fact, the whole town of San Calvo was a graveyard. Everyone was holed up in their coffins, waiting with baited breath for the specter of death to pass over them once again. The only living soul about was the cemetery's caretaker. He sat at the bar, nursing a half-finished bottle in his shaky hands. He was young. The spattering of stubble on his chin did little to hide his round face and juvenile features. On any sane world there wouldn't be an iron strapped to his hip. The boy lifted his drink to his lips and sipped at its contents, wincing at the burn it left in his throat. Liquid courage, Miss Seong called it. He tried to pay his hands no mind.

The doors to the saloon slid open with a loud hiss. Three sets of spurs clinked against the floorboards. The boy at the bar turned to face them slowly, holding his hands up where they could see them. "Easy there, fellers." He whispered, his throat hoarse.

Time to meet the specter.

"You must be the esteemed Mr. Haycock," the leading man gave a wide grin, his steel fangs flashing in the sunlight. "Its a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance. I have always said a personal touch is the most important part of maintaining a healthy business relationship."

He approached the bar, looming tall over Haycock as he took the liberty to pour himself a drink. The man was tall, broad-shouldered and bursting with chrome-enhanced muscle. His dress was as distinguished as his practiced twang: A fine purple vest, golden pocket-deck, charcoal long coat and too-small bowler hat. Clothes like that cost more than the cantina they stood in, Bill Haycock reckoned. That thought made the heat stir in his gullet.

"I propose a toast." The specter smiled, lifting his glass. "To San Calvo's new sheriff. May he protect the fine people of this township for many'a year to come."

They clinked their glasses together and downed a shot in unison. "Or at least longer than the office's previous holder," the specter added, chuckling to himself. His bodyguards joined in, barking like jackals.

The heat previously in the sheriff's gullet moved up to his cheeks. He could feel his face twisting with anger, even as he tried to resist.

"Oh oh oh, Mr. Haycock," The man clicked his tongue. "You ought to learn how to control that temper of yours. Hate can make a moron out of any man." His eyes slid down to the pistol on Billy's hip. "And you aren't stupid, are you, son?"

Billy took a deep, slow breath. He was right. The town had been through enough as it was. Nobody else was willing to pin on the badge after Jack McCaw was sent up river. If something happened to Bill then there'd be blood, and this vulture would take his pickings from San Calvo anyway. There wasn't an alternative. Not anymore. "Alright, alright, I'm sorry, Mr. Ducaine. Won't happen again." He assured, eyes on his boots.

"That's either Baron Ducaine or sir, boy. You had best remember your manners." The baron paused, boring a hole into Haycock's skull with his eyes.

He held his gaze for half a minute before finally breaking it off to pour another shot, demeanor shifting back to the smooth-talker that'd stepped into the saloon just moments ago. "Now, onto the matter of this year's taxation..."


The Bridge, Fortuna | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

The bridge of the Fortuna was quiet. Most of the hands were downstairs watching the mech simulations, leaving a small skeleton crew on watch for the time being. Captain Deckard Jones was among them. He sat reclined in his leather throne, staring up at the ceiling with an empty look in his eye. They'd been in transit for a month now and boredom had set in. There was little to do on extended voyages such as this one that he hadn't already gotten sick of in his three decades of service. An old man could only play cards and drink himself into a stupor so many times before it lost its appeal.

He dragged himself up, his captain's chair screeching in protest. Those hydraulics should've been replaced months ago if they had budget for it. Thirty years. Thirty years of trudging across the galaxy and he couldn't afford a decent chair. It might’ve been funny if he didn’t feel the weight of each of those years in his aching joints.

In front of his old, useless chair was a still old but slighter more useful deck. It was a hefty console that stretched in a semi-circle around his seat with half a dozen accompanying monitors brimming with information. From here the captain could see everything going on in his ship: internal security footage, live engine readings, oxygen levels and fuel reserves. Everything was low. They hadn’t found a decent port since they’d set off into the frontier in search of work. A friend of a friend sent Jones a tip about some corpo mining flotilla on the edge of known space looking for protection from lurking pirates; plenty of credits to be made, if one was willing to make such a long trek.

Better be worth the damn fuel.’ He grumbled, swinging over in his chair to the navigational charts. There wasn’t much of worth out here: a handful of tiny settlements, a few research facilities, a Thedian listening post. Only one place that he could see might have a spaceport large enough to service the Fortuna. It was a backwater by core world standards, but its population was sizable by frontier standards. The real treasure was one of their main exports: refined N1-class fuel. Low grade, inefficient, and being pushed out of the market by better alternatives- it was exactly what the Fortuna needed.

“Hey, Tex,” he called across the bridge to his pilot, the old walrus in oversized shades and a bucket-shaped hat. “How many jumps would it take to get us to Arish IV?”

Texas Danger let a long trail of smoke slip between his lips as he set a fat cigar down on his console. His old fingers danced across the keys. It took a couple of minutes for the computer to make the calculations and a couple more for Danger’s scar-strewn brain to catch up. ”Uh..lookin’ like I could make it in one, if we wanna burn down to critical fuel. You in a hurry to get your boots dirty? Place looks like a shithole.”

”Oh yeah.” Deckard chortled, standing up. ”Get me off this tub ‘fore it drives me to swallow a laser. I’m gonna go check on my pilots. Let ‘em hear the good news: we’re gettin’ some goddamn shore leave.”
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by TGM
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TGM A Clichéd Tsundere™

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Location: Weapons Armory, Fortuna | In Transit



“Fuck! Fuck. Fuck! Stupid piece of shit.” Maerve Puckett howled as she looked up at the ceiling in irritation, pressing her elbows on the workbench in the Fortuna’s weapons armory.

The pink-haired girl had a reputation on the Fortuna ever since she joined their band of merry men cruising the galaxy for the next great paycheck. She hadn’t missed Luon Prime much, given the distaste she had for anything that reminded her of her parents. Her mother had passed away from stress when she was nineteen and her father got killed like tin stars tended to get killed when she was a kid. There really wasn’t anything back there and she was happy to commit to the Fortuna long term. The Fortuna perhaps wondered if they should’ve taken her at all as a member of their crew. There was two modes with Maeve as far as people could tell: angry and angry. She swore worse than anyone else on the crew, constantly yelled and annoyingly complained, and threatened inanimate objects as much as she threatened animate ones.

A good pilot. A good gunner. Just difficult.

Currently she was trying to modify a Tiberius King 17-B5, one of her go-to weapons, a rifle that used a particle ionizer to create blasts of thermal heat. Problem was, her Tiberius King 17-B5 was on the fritz and not firing reliably so she did what anybody else would do and took it to the armor and grabbed a toolkit and got to work fixing the problem. While being no gunsmith herself, Maeve still knew how to tend, fix, and modify her standard equipment. It just so happened that the ionizer and some of the other parts of the gun wasn’t agreeing with her and it was making her very upset; what some would call a 6 out of 10 for Maeve’s threshold for being mad. There was a chart on the wall with a spinning wheel in the barracks just for making fun of her anger threshold.

She sighed, running her hands through her shoulder length hair as she looked back down and grabbed another tool and started messing with the gun again. “C’mon, fuckin’ waster junk…”

And then the ionizer crackled and a large spark of electricity spun at her.

“Fuck you!”

The words roared through the armory and into the halls beside them, as she continued to ardently fix her rifle, including not getting hurt by any of the malfunctions with said rifle. It was going to be a minute before she forced it the firearm to listen to her.
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Hidden 5 mos ago 5 mos ago Post by Lemons
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Lemons Resident Of The Bargain Bin

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Pilot's Quarters, Fortuna | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

"Now, take two of these tonight, and another two tomorrow morning, then come back to me again. I'll get you fixed up."

Andrea held a smile as she spoke into the standing mirror propped against one side of her quarters, voice carrying an emotion that could pass for kindness, but slightly too exaggerated, too saccharine. After a moment she dropped her head and sighed, rolling her shoulders. Stepping primly over to her desk, she barely held back a yawn as she began to play her fingers over the projected image of a keyboard that emerged from the small computer terminal, typing up her results. As she did, she muttered under her breath, "Still no success. Still looks and sounds disingenuous. Have yet to figure out how I used to be able to do it. Perhaps a live trial would be more efficient than speaking to a mirror; having a subject might precipitate a better response from the amygdala and limbic system and allow for better recollection of how I used to speak during medical practice."

She slapped the side of the terminal, turning the keyboard off to avoid any stray errors that would result in a typo or skewed data. Then she leaned her head back, pulling her hair out from behind her and letting it fall over the chair. She puffed her cheeks out, huffing a breath and staring out into space. My colleagues used to be able to do this too. What did they do that you're missing, Andy? Perhaps I went too far on the tone of voice, or the language wasn't casual enough?

Shaking her head, she failed at holding back the yawn this time, her perpetual sleeplessness dogging her heels as it always did. She ignored it, pointedly staring away from the bed. She had too much to do. Scooping up half a dozen pill bottles from her desk, she carefully placed them into a bag that she kept hanging by the door. Then, even more carefully, she transplanted four syringes from a rack on her desk to a case that she slid into her pocket. Sliding the bag over her shoulder, she pulled her door open and headed for the medical bay. They'd never cared too much about her working there, as long as she never made too much of a mess and always cleaned it up. But it was nearly impossible to get live test subjects there. If she tried, she would alarm the rest of the medical staff, and she didn't need to get tossed up the Fortuna like she was tossed off of Kallas. As unimpressive as they were compared to her old laboratories, they were still a long way better than most of the places she'd worked after her license was stripped.

But that was neither here nor there. She didn't need a live subject at the moment. Not until much later. For now, she just needed to make sure the drugs she was working with could actually be worked with the way she hoped they could without losing potency. Or gaining too much potency. Muscle relaxants were all well and good when used to keep someone from moving during an operation, or any other situations where she might not want them to. But too much of a good thing, as they always used to say. There were drugs that were meant for killing that she'd used before. This was not supposed to be one of those.

As she walked quickly through the narrow hallways towards the lifts that would take her to the inner decks and, eventually, the medical facilities, she carefully opened up the needle case, scrutinizing each just to make sure that they were exactly what she needed. Good. She smiled to herself, quietly humming as she blinked her tired eyes and closed the case and delicately placed it back into her pocket. She accelerating her pace. The earpiece in her ear hummed quietly along with her. If there was anything she needed to know, she'd hear it. Otherwise, she hoped she'd be left unbothered.

After all, there was so much to do!


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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DruSM157
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DruSM157 Nobody

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Location: Crew Bunk, Fortuna | In Transit




”Remember, an Exoframe isn’t going to win many battles. Pilots win battles. My job isn’t to turn you into good pilots. Good pilots fight for the corpos, the governments and for planetary defense systems. Piloting for the Raiders makes you one of the best.” Herax Singh stood in front of the line of young men and women; mostly backwater folk that he’d gathered upon his travels. They’d come far enough to warrant a bit of his time. He walked the rank and file, eyeing up each one before he stopped to face Marlowe. The boy’d been with the Raiders three months and actually showed promise in piloting. But he was as green as a Rack’s Backside on Tevlac VI.

“Let’s see how quickly you can prep up for combat.” Singh turned and pointed at the large Exoframe behind him. In large black paint, it read BUCKET. “You got thirty seconds to get that ‘frame moving or you’ll scrub the latrines with your toothbrush for the week.”

“Sir!” Marlowe jumped quickly at attention, his heart racing. Failing in front of so many new recruits would be bad, but letting down Mr. Singh would be the worst feeling possible. After all, he owed the man his life.

Herax took out a rusty, metallic object from his person and opened it. It was a pocket watch. An honest-to-god, working pocket watch. “Go!”

Marlowe ran.


BEEP BEEP BEEP

Marlowe shot up straight, as the music of his alarm filled his ears. It was time for his shift. He grumbled, getting ready. He took a pulse shower, brushed his teeth, threw on his gear, and made his way down the hall towards what could be considered “Ops” for the Fortuna.

Maybe he could do some cleaning and repairs for Bucket’s weapon systems-“Fuck you!” annnnd Marlowe decided to carry on towards the mess. He grabbed a tray and held it under the food processor. Cheap, grey food cubes fell onto the tray.

“Right. I forgot we don’t have the credits for the good stuff,” he muttered to himself. He took a bite out of the food cube, and it tasted off. ”Hurkk..” he grunted forcing it down before washing it down with some recycled water. They really needed to make some good cash, sooner than later. Otherwise, he’d die of botulism long before they got blown up or killed in some backwater dust-up.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by datadogie
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datadogie Cloak and Dagger

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Specific Location | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

When one had resided in the height of luxury for most of their life, even years later, one would likely struggle to adapt to radical changes in both lifestyle and quarters. In the case of William Prescott, he had managed to adapt to a great many changes, however one such adjustment of which he failed to attune to was the lack of a large, Sereon-feather mattress beneath him, even if he did disagree with the poaching of the animal on his homeworld. Each sleep had left him relaxed and ready for the next day, and offered comforting relief from the duties of the day. Following his departure from Kallas, William had never quite slept the same - after the first year, he had only just acquired the ability to sleep without tossing and turning, however he still questioned if that was due to the sleeping conditions or fear of waking up on his way back to the royal palace. He knew the ramifications of his departure; People were likely asking where the crown prince was. The fighting on Kallas was likely worse than it was before.

Alas, William woke up from the - relatively speaking - uncomfortable bunk with a jolt. After a moment of sitting upright with his hand under his pillow, he relaxed, moving his hands to his lap and away from his sidearm. With a shake of the head, he moved to his feet and began his awakening duties; He washed, he dressed, and then ventured out from the bunks to occupy himself. For a moment, he contemplated trying to track down Andrea - he still owed so much to her. However, knowing she was likely busy, William settled on getting food. More accurately, he settled on getting nutrition. He hoped that they could get some real food soon, and envisioned his breakfast with disgust as he made his way to the mess.

Upon entering the mess hall, he spotted a fellow Exoframe pilot - Marlowe - consuming exactly what was envisioned by William. Bland, disgusting food cubes. Allowing the dispenser to provide him his 'meal', William plopped himself down on a table near his comrade's, and began the process of forcing the food cubes down his throat. He let out a little cough after a long sip of water, and shook his head at the remains of his meal. "Breakfast, your royal highness," William mutters to himself sarcastically, before continuing.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Mcmolly
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Pilot's Quarters, Fortuna | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

“Another beautiful morning!”

A projector flickered to life, and the far wall of Mox’s room was covered by a sheet of absolute blackness. It was connected to the Fortuna’s exterior surveillance feed; she was seeing space, as if through a window. Like plenty of things, it wasn’t nearly as glamorous up close.

“Well,” she said, searching in vain for even the dimmest twinkling of the smallest star. “S’beautiful somewhere. And morning. Prolly.”

Killing the screen, Mox set about her waking rituals. First things first: music. A small array of cheap, low-quality, but reliable speakers sputtered garbled noise as she cycled through her options, eventually settling on an album by a band she didn’t really know, in a genre she’d never heard of called “Ionic-Post-Post-Punk.” It was…interesting. She wouldn’t say she liked it, and it wasn’t something she’d search out on her own, but a bartender in the last place the Fortuna docked had gone on about it for hours and hours over the course of their stay. Changed his life, fixed his marriage, raised his kids. Good stuff, apparently. She figured it was worth a shot.

Hopefully her immediate neighbors were as open to it, because the quarter’s walls were certainly not thick enough to spare them. It blared through the speakers as she washed and dressed and tried to figure out how exactly someone was supposed to dance to music like this. When all was done, she disconnected her handheld and struck out into the halls.

Meal time.

On her way to the mess, she passed the a few early-bird crewmembers, and the good doctor herself, Andrea. She was a quick woman, and not often one for idle conversation, but Mox waved to her anyway.

“Shiny day, doc~!” she said, sing-song and warm as she could as she all but skipped past. She opted for the stairs this morning, letting Andrea have the lift in case she was heading elsewhere. The woman was a bit of a busy-body.

Mox had gotten pretty good at navigating the old bucket of a ship. It was labyrinthine in some places, cavernous in others, and comfortable pretty much nowhere. But, it didn’t have to be comfortable to be cozy, and despite the fact that the temperature regulation didn’t always do it’s job quite so perfect, Mox always felt a distinct warmth as she traversed its halls.

The mess was burgeoningly busy, it seemed. Crewmembers were trickling in, but Mox spotted a couple of her fellow pilots nearby and beamed. She hurried through the line, and quickly took a seat at a table between them. Thankfully they weren’t spread enough that she had to yell.

“Howdy boys. Grub looks good today, don’t it?” She tore a chunk off one of the gray globs and popped it into her mouth. It was…pretty much exactly what she expected. But she made a loud 'Mmh!' sound anyway. “Y’know, I reckon they’ve added a new flavor, don’t you? I’m gettin’ a bit of paprika in mine I think. Ain’t that somethin’?”

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Supermaxx
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Mech Simulation Deck, Fortuna | In Transit
February 14th, 3061

It was late in the night yet the sky radiated with light. The city of Antaura, the so-called Jewel of Mars, burned. Flames flickered atop golden spires of phototropic glass. So soaring were these towers that whole networks of shuttle tunnels ran between them, snaking and twisting through the air like a floating highway. Tens of thousands of refugees surged through those tunnels. Packed shoulder to shoulder as far as the eye could see in either direction, the crowd was a flood- anyone who slowed or stumbled was sucked underneath the waves.

Outside, the nightmare continued. The tracers of solid projectiles and the beams of stray lasers lit up the atmosphere. The dark shapes of ships hung above the planet, thousands of smaller objects pouring from their bellies on a direct course for Mars. A meager fleet of fighters left the ground to engage them, though they stood no chance; there were a dozen hostile vessels for each one of theirs. Desperate battles waged across the planet from surface to stratosphere. Every Martian strong enough to lift a gun was expected to stand their ground for faith and nation. The Sol Union called this their Blackest Day scenario: when Theden forces pierced the Solar System and invaded the core worlds.

John Marshall had put thousands of flight hours into this exact scenario, to the point where he'd memorized every possible variable. He could rattle off the exact model, armament and I.D number of every exoframe he'd encounter. He knew which direction every hostile pilot favored when reacting to incoming projectiles. Knew the exact number of unpreventable casualties coded into the program. It was forty-eight thousand, three hundred and twelve: a massacre of unimaginable proportions. And that was just when he did everything right.

It was a textbook unwinnable scenario. Its purpose was to force exo-pilots to confront impossible situations and adapt to them as best as possible. They had to learn that not every fight was winnable; sometimes the best you could do was cut your losses and make as safe a retreat as possible.

The steady thrumming of the H-11 Carbine in the Ulysses's hands rocked the cockpit. John shuffled in his seat, finger twitching on the flight stick. He held it in a death grip with his left hand. Beads of sweat slid down his forehead. His heart palpitated in his chest. It always irritated him just how anxious he got in the pilot's seat. He'd put over a hundred days into this sim; how'd it still make him so goddamn nervous?

An H-11 had a variable fire rate of anywhere between six hundred and fifty rounds a minute to as high as eighteen hundred, depending on the specifications of the exact model and its settings. The Ulysses's H-11 was tuned to the highest possible rate for maximum killpower in close quarters. It could spit out more than thirty individual pulses of superheated energy every second- firing fast enough that it could be mistaken for a continuous beam, if not for the horrific skipping screech that accompanied the light show.

At that speed, Marshall could slag an exoframe before its pilot even noticed the blip approaching on their radar.

The Ulysses danced between broken towers with the odd, bouncy movement of a bumblebee. It was frighteningly fast; faster than any twenty tons of steel ought to be. Four, wing-like thrusters propelled it forward through the Martian city, carrying the exoframe along even as it turned to unleash a round of missiles from hidden racks in its limbs. Hornet seekers curved around the side of a building and out of sight, exploding against an exoframe Marshall only knew was lurking there from repetition. Its ambush always slowed him down by three seconds too many.

About half a click ahead lay was an intersection where the fighting was thicker than molasses. Heavy frame Sol Union mechs stood their ground against a veritable swarm of smaller yet far more numerous Theden light frames. The Union mechs had erected a makeshift barrier by piling up chunks of road and discarded vehicles, but it wouldn't buy them much time at all.

John kicked the exoframe into high gear, ignoring the warnings flashing across his deck about the inertial dampeners. If he slowed down at all, even for a quarter of a second, those men would die.

He pressed down on the trigger once he reached his effective range, and the carbine began to kick once more. It sang a horrible tune as it cut through hostile frame after hostile frame, shredding their shields until their exposed, metallic bodies could be delivered their fiery purification via a round of seeker missiles. It was rare to watch a pilot die in their cockpit. Most of the time they were lost in a flurry of lasers or the bright light of explosions. Sometimes, though, John would catch a glimpse: an arm here, a face there, something that may have been coolant fluid or human blood. Or maybe his mind was trying to trick him into feeling guilty.

A sudden, intolerable pressure slammed into his body. It crawled up along his spine, digging its fingers into his nerves and sinking its teeth into his blood. His vision swam. The world drained of its color. A heavy, invisible hand pressed down against his face, but he ignored it. Marshall fought to keep his finger on the trigger and his reticle pointed at the enemy. Ignore the Gs. Complete the mission.

The whole of his cockpit rocked with a sudden, hefty impact, and he felt his exoframe begin to tumble head over heel. A great, metal face dominated his primary viewscreen- there was another frame grappling with his. John blinked a hundred times as he tried to check his systems for damage. It looked like a foreign object had pierced Ulysses's lower right thigh. A knife, maybe, or an improvised weapon.

More warnings flashed, this time across every screen in the cockpit: emergency failures across multiple vital systems. Total loss of flight control. The Gs were pouring on and the Ulysses's inertia dampeners were refusing to compensate. John gasped for air in bursts, wheezing, begging for the pressure to lift from his chest for even a moment- just a moment to catch his breath.

Two tangled exoframes slammed into the side of one of Mars's golden spires, shattering glass and snapping steel beams in twain. They tumbled for a few hundred feet before the floor gave out and they were falling again, surrounded by the broken remains of office furniture. John wasn't quite sure how many floors they fell. It could've been as few as two or as many as a hundred. Try as he might, he couldn't focus. Pain wracked his body, addled his mind, but he refused to lose consciousness.

But Blackest Day was a textbook unwinnable scenario, designed and programed to adapt to the user's every attempt to conquer it. The greatest pilots in the galaxy couldn't stop Antaura from burning.

John blacked out, and the simulation ended.
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by DruSM157
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Location: Mess Hall, Fortuna | In Transit




The fancy pilot, William seemed to have the same reaction Marlowe did to the food. Which was a normal, human reaction to stale, gray cubes filled to the brim with nutrients. He’d consumed similar with Singh’s Raiders, but their cubes had been other colors, like red, brown or yellow with spices or flavors packed in. Azuki bean flavor, coco flavor, or curry flavor. Sure it’d usually been too sweet or spicy to Marlowe’s tastes, but it at least had flavor. Also depending on who was in charge of mess duty that week, you could dip your cubes in a light gravy or cream if they had the supplies for it.

He considered dipping the bland gray cube in water to soften it, but decided that ruining the water with the mush of whatever this was designed from was a bad, bad idea. He just forced down the rest of the cube, and chased it with the rest of his water. “Grrk-”-it was less of a word and more of a retching sound-came from his throat right as one Mox Holiday brought her bubbly personality to the fold.

“Y’know, I reckon they’ve added a new flavor, don’t you? I’m gettin’ a bit of paprika in mine I think. Ain’t that somethin’?”

Marlowe simply stared at her. He gave her the emotionless expression someone who’d stood on the precipice of gastrointestinal horror has stood, right when someone devours a raw sheep’s liver in front of you and declares it to be “scrumptious” (this had only happened once before in Marlowe’s life, and it was the source of multiple nightmares). He was barely able to produce a slow blink as a reaction to Mox before turning to William to give the blonde man a pleading look that screamed HELP.

Still, Mox’s small talk seemed to demand response. ”I think that’s just whatever dried proteins that make up this stuff starting to go rancid,” Marlowe remarked to Mox, before fishing out a hard black clump of something from the back of his mouth. ”I think that was supposed to be pepper,” he said before throwing it on his tray. It looked more like a piece of a tooth from some poor sap who fell into a nutrient vat. Maybe that’s how Jones got a good deal on this shit; perhaps the box exclaimed “NOW WITH 15% LESS HUMAN BYPRODUCT” on the side of the packaging.

Marlowe finally stood up and stretched. ”Welp, no time like the present to burn off whatever this gunk is.” If the armory was going to be a warzone with Puckett throwing profanities and a possibility of plasma damage from her gear, perhaps the marginally safer option would be in the hangar, cleaning off some of the rust from Bucket’s joints with a used toothbrush.

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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by TGM
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Location: Weapons Armory, Fortuna | In Transit



As other members of the crew headed to the mess hall, Maeve continued to work on the repairs to her rifle.

She wasn’t sure how long it took—five minutes? Fifteen? It was all a blur. All she knew was by the time she finished her stomach was clawing at her like a delvacor with its prey in its crosshairs. She cursed again, and then a few more times before slapping the ionizers containment capacitor down with a loud metal ‘clank’. When that was done she swiped the rifle and put it back in her kit before chugging down the last of her caffeinated microcoffee before deciding now would be a good time to get more coffee as well as something to eat.

“Better not break again or I’m gonna lose it.” She muttered as the door to the armor opened and she made her way down the corridors toward the mess.

However, even Maeve couldn’t have predicted the ironic, stupid luck that she would continue to experience. The pink-haired firebrand had a fast stride and was used to people in the corridors giving her the space she needed when she was in a good mood. Unfortunately, by the time she arrived at a three way intersecting corridor someone else was walking towards her. She couldn’t see them, of course, given they were around the corner that happened to go to the mess hall. So Maeve, being Maeve happened to turn the corner right at the same time another person did. The impact would send her to the floor.

“Mmpf!” She shouted in pain as her butt hit the metallic floor paneling below. Her violet irises narrowed, and she looked up at the person responsible.

She scowled and clenched her fists. Who would fucking dare?
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Hidden 5 mos ago Post by Hero
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"Connect the thing to the...zzz...wires...zzz...and then change the energy levels to conserve--zzz..."

The already-jumbled jargon came in and out between snores and grumbling, the young man in question pulling off the impressive feat of falling asleep cross-legged with his face smushed against the wall. The exposed panel to his right was relatively untouched as his intention was a minor band-aid fix that'd hold until they eventually docked somewhere, but the whole "getting a good night's sleep" eluded him and he passed out. In his defense, his night was much more productive when he wasn't wasting it away sleeping. And considering he managed to get an entire percent of energy conserved in his 'bot, it was well worth it.

In his right hand was a wrench that his fingers had barely hung onto. It moved every time he breathed, slowly inching away from his loose grip. Eventually, it slipped out, hitting the floor with a 'clang' that woke the kid up. "I didn't do it!" Bolt blurted out immediately, albeit when he saw he was alone, his shoulders slumped considerably and he had to fight the urge to lay down on the floor and doze off again. His sleepy eyes looked at the panel, and after letting out a yawn, he tightened up some screws before placing the panel back where it was.

He supposed the best thing to do was to report the temporary fix to the bridge, but that was also kinda far away and he didn't feel like going all the way over there just yet. Besides, for once, he wasn't doing anything wrong, so he could get away with a nap, right?


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Hidden 5 mos ago 4 mos ago Post by Lemons
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Lemons Resident Of The Bargain Bin

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Medical Bay, Fortuna | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

Andrea couldn't concentrate for the life of her. She was generally pretty good at working on an empty stomach, but she'd messed up, mixing up two of the syringes and needing to chuck that whole batch. She hadn't powdered the pills she was mixing well enough, so the suspension was chunky and imperfect. She never messed up that badly, and she was unhappy with herself. Quite a bit of her pay from the past couple months had gone into these chemicals; a screw-up like that was a glaring sign for her to stop. Sighing, she packed her drugs back up, calling behind her: "Hey, Jake. I'm going to go eat, I'll come up and finish up Maya's bloodwork later."

Jake didn't respond, other than an ill-tempered grunt. He didn't like her very much. She had a reputation, she supposed. Didn't trust her to do bloodwork without doing something medically questionable. Please. She could do basic bloodwork in her sleep. She had better things to worry about than the ignorant opinions of dullards and quacks. Having not eaten yet, she was beginning to feel the hollow in her stomach, and that was far more important than what other people had to say. Walking quickly—but then, she always walked quickly—she took the lift down to the level of the mess. Navigating the halls with a confident, snapping stride, she emerged into the busy room. There were others in the room, certainly, many staff members and her fellow pilot Mox, but her eyes lasered onto William. She kept one eye on him as she took a few food cubes from the dispenser. She'd eaten so many of the things as basic rations that the blandness and the awful texture skated underneath her notice.

So, tossing one in her mouth and started the arduous process of chewing it, she walked over the table he was sitting on and sat down across from him. A moment passed as she swallowed, and when she spoke her voice was just a little bit too saccharine. "William, sweetie, can I ask you for a favor? I'd like some help in the medical bay later, maybe tomorrow?" She smiled a small, expectant smile. "I'd like to run a few clinical trials. Don't worry, I'll make sure it's perfectly safe beforehand. You don't need to worry about anything when I'm here."

Another cube shoved down her throat, and she realized belatedly that she should probably say something to Mox. After all, the kid had greeted her this morning in the hallway, and she'd completely ignored her. Interaction would be only polite. She inclined her head at younger woman, voice changing gears on a dime to a dry deadpan as she held a third nutrient cube between her finger. She honestly didn't know whether or not she was full yet. She never could tell with the cubes. "Good morning, Ms. Holiday. Enjoying the luxury?"
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datadogie Cloak and Dagger

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Mess Hall | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

Someone crazy had sat down nearby. At least, that's what William thought about Mox's comment. The grub did not, in fact, look good today. He'd describe it as rotten, though he doubted he'd know what a rotten cube looked like, let alone live the few moments required to complain about it. Perhaps the paprika taste was the scrumptious cube finally reaching the end of it's long lifespan. Nothing like a bit of mold to spice things up a little, he thought, prodding a cube with his finger. Not surprisingly, William no longer felt hungry. At least Mox's mood kept spirits high. He took a sip of his water in a futile attempt to wash the taste away - both the actual taste, and the imaginary moldy cubes.

William's eyes met Marlowe's, and he had to bite his tongue gently to keep himself from grinning at his expression and the silent request that followed it. Rolling his shoulders in a fashion akin to a small shrug, he let Marlowe speak. It seemed Marlowe had come to the same conclusion that William had, something that both made him happy he had the same train of thought, and also worrying. If others were coming to the same conclusion, perhaps the food was going bad. "That's if it even gives you something to burn off," William comments, giving Marlowe a wave. Turning to Mox, he finished his thought. "It almost seems like a placebo at this point. Something to make you feel like you've eaten, just to push you a little further."

Just as he was going for another sip of his water, William was pleasantly surprised to see Andrea beginning to sit down across from him - perhaps he had been stuck in his thoughts too much, or maybe it was from talking to his colleagues, but he hadn't seen her walk in. He was a touch embarrassed about that, but he didn't let it show. He hid it through the mental questioning of how exactly Andrea was able to consume the food cubes without complaint - again. It still amazed him.

Her question, asked so sweetly, was not as worrying to William as it might have been to others. He knew the reputation that she had - he had rescued her from the results of that reputation back on Kallas - however, to him, it was different. She had never hurt him, and had protected him more than anything. Even the small amount of concern conjured from her tone was overshadowed by the fact that he knew, even it might not have been as true for others, that he would be safe. She wouldn't hurt him.

"Hello to you too," William chuckles. Andrea's fascination and dedication to her work was admirable, if a bit hair-raising. "I'd be glad to help you. Just let me know later or tomorrow and I'll come to the medical bay." His eyes drifted to the cube that Andrea was holding as she spoke to Mox, and in turn, his eyes then fell to the remaining, uneaten cubes on his tray. Shaking his head a little, he used two fingers on both hands to slide his tray a few inches away from himself. After three full seconds, he cursed himself quietly. No camera picked up on the gesture and signalled for waiters to take his tray and cutlery away. Pulling his tray back to himself, he shook his head a little - he'd put the tray away himself when he wanted to get up. Old habits died hard, even after years of trying to batter them down.
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Location: Hall, Fortuna | In Transit




“Mmpf!”

Marlowe barely had time for his mind to register the small frame that slammed into him, only to fall backward onto her derriere. He looked down and suddenly his face grew pale: oh shit. On the ground, scowling like a rabid animal, was one Maeve Puckett. The reason why he’d avoided the armory.

He was fucked.

Marlowe quickly knelt down and offered his hand, which he should have known better to. She was just as likely to swat it away or just gnaw on it until he bled. Well, maybe. It wasn’t as if he’d spent time getting to know the angry gremlin of a woman. He’d stayed out of her way and tried to keep in his own lane. It was what he did best: fitting into the background and not knocking women with severe anger issues onto the ground!

At least, until today.

“You alright there?” He offered to her in as kind a voice as he could get out, hiding the tinges of fear with an air of false compassion and worry. The only compassion and worry he held was towards himself and his ability to continue to breathe, eat and shit (in roughly that order).

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TGM A Clichéd Tsundere™

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Location: Corridor Pathways, Fortuna | In Transit



The likelihood of receiving a punch from Maeve after making a fool of her was generally high. Nine times out of ten the result would be violence, screaming, or a combination of both. But for some reason this was that rare times that today was the tenth time out of ten. Maeve had seen Marlowe before, certainly, but the two had never exchanged words in any substantial way. There weren't many quirks of his that she knew about and those that she did hadn't irritated her. It was hard to say.

The look on Marlowe’s face was pale and shocked and Maeve did recognize she was in a sore mood, at least somewhere inside her fire ants feeding on a doe’s beating heart-infested brain she saw that he was fearful and quickly shifted to courtesies and offered his hand quickly to get her back to her feet. To his shock she would uncurl her fists before proceeding to grab his wrist sharply before he pulled her up from the floor. When she found herself standing squarely in the corridor she crossed her arms. Her expression shifted from a scowl to a frown, but not much else.

“What's your problem? Don't you look before you walk?” Her brows pursed, “Huh? Can't hear you. Speak up.”
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Location: Hall, Fortuna | In Transit




“What's your problem? Don't you look before you walk?”

“Well I-”

“Huh? Can't hear you. Speak up.”

Shit. She was in control. How could such a lithe woman be so scary?

“S-sorry,” He muttered, overly embarrassed by being flustered by the girl. “I wasn’t paying attention thanks to that awful food and-” he stopped himself, realizing she really didn’t give a shit. “But yeah, it’s my fault. I was just heading towards the hangar.”

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Meal Hall, Fortuna | In Transit
February 21st, 3061

“Whole day’s full of luxuries, doc. ” Mox chimed, popping another cube into her mouth. Chewing and swallowing without pulling a face was an exercise in discipline. “It’s just about jumpin' the lil’ gaps between them.”

Life on the Vox Fortuna could be tumultuous in the best of times, but that was the lot, right? If the worst thing that happened to her today was that her food needed more salt, well, that’d be just peachy.

It would also be a fair sight better than what William’s day was shaping up to be. She listened to the doc pitch her latest medical scheme to him, and he, of course, ate it all up without a second thought, or so much as an inkling as to what it actually was. That did more to test Mox’s composure than a plate full of bland gray cubes. Theirs was not a tight ship, beholden to the rules and regulations of proper civilization. No one was going to slap doc Thompson with a malpractice suit for…going a few extra miles. She was a smart woman, no doubt, and every synonym for cunning, but there was something in the way she handled herself, how she fit into the shoddy little world around them that seemed off.

It reminded Mox of people she didn’t know anymore. In a way, it made her hate Andrea Thompson, deeply.

“Don’t prick’im too hard, doc,” Mox said with a flawless grin. “Heaven knows we need the lil’ chicken-bot out there.”
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