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"Here we go" Stryker told himself as he checked the datapad one last time to make sure all the ship's surveillance gear was disrupted and engaged a ship-wide P.A. broadcast. With a last breath in, he began to speak.

"I want to begin by saying that, thanks to an exploit the AI platform Ren discovered before it left the ship, I've been able to disable the cameras and microphones the Alliance have planted throughout the ship, so we can talk openly about what happened down there, because if anyone knew the truth, we'd be finished. Our current route is taking us through a corner of the Deadzone infamous for flarestorms from an unstable sun in a dead system, I'm gonna blame the electronics disruption on that in my report."

"Right from the start of the mission, I had a bad feeling about it. There were very little good things the Alliance would be developing at a secret lab hidden in a mountain, on a planet at the ass-end of the galaxy. And my fears were confirmed the moment I was taken into the main lab. The men and women working there were under the impression they were working on some sort of new-energy program, a renewable power source for the galaxy or something like that. They were altruistic about the whole thing, completely indoctrinated by the Alliance's lies, because they weren't developing something to make the galaxy a better place. In fact they were doing exactly the opposite."

"There's no other way to say it, they had created a functional dark matter generator. Of course, the head researcher spat out some garbage about converting it into raw energy and harnessing it, but all of us here know the Alliance's true goal was to turn it into a weapon that creates black holes. I don't care about any of your personal stances on that, but I believe that no one in the universe should have access to a weapon that devastating. I mean, imagine having the power of a million nukes at your fingertips. Now multiply it's destructive power by thousands. Entire systems wiped out in the blink of an eye, just gone entirely without a trace they ever existed. And if we had done the job, and delivered those scientists, they would have made us accomplices to the eventual genocide of billions of innocent lives. I wasn't going to let that happen, so I gave the order to Grayson, Amy and Benny to open fire, and kill them all. After that, we gathered up all of their research, everything they had developed, every backup in sight and Benny and myself rigged it and the place to blow. None of it, not a single shred of data was allowed to go back to the Alliance, hopefully we were successful there. Obviously things were complicated by the Skaldurm showing up, Taleste being captured and all of that. I wish things had gone differently, but that's where we stand."

He glanced at the holographic galaxy map at the center of the room and did a quick calculation.
"We've got roughly an hour before we pass out of the flarestorm, after that I'll have to turn the cameras and mics back on, but until then, I'll wait right here in the war room. Ready and willing to talk about anything on your mind after what I just told you all."


Harriet arrived a moment later, an auto injector in her hands.

"Best that I give everyone another treatment. That gas I used isn't something to take lightly."

Stryker nodded and motioned towards his arm.
"Yeah, good call, a few others should show up in the next couple of minutes, and if not, I can flip the intercom back on and tell them to come by for the dose. I wasn't directly exposed like some of the others, but give me a shot if you think I should have one."


"Wow... that's... wow." For one of the first times in his life, Grayson was lost for words "I mean, what're th' chances really? If she was kin to ya, I mean, the odds of the two of ye crossin' paths like that, millions-to-one at the least. Alright well, stow it away for now, let's get on up to med bay, see what the doc can do fer us."

They made their way up and Harriet made fairly quick work of their injuries, applying salves to the laser burns and setting both Grayson's shoulder and Amy's leg on the road to recovery. After both of them being told to stay in the medbay for observation, Harriet headed off to speak with Stryker, who was nearing the end of his speech by then. Once they were alone, Grayson turned to Amy in the adjacent bed and spoke in a low voice.

"Ya know, I just thought of somethin'. I remember passin' by a few places in my travels, clinics like, promisin' cheap, discrete an' quick DNA testin' maybe once we hit port, we could track a place like that down for ya?"

"Negative, its nothing like that" SAL said "My sensors registered some... distress among the humans at your methods. I'd like to download the combat data for analysis. Please, link your systems to the Framework terminal."


Stryker, fresh from the shower, immediately went to his private terminal. He had thought up a plausible cover story and wanted to type out a draft of it before he forgot any details. Once that was completed, he noticed the twenty minutes he had allocated was up. He picked up his datapad and scrolled into the VI controls. Ren had thankfully left some core components of his interface on the ship when he had abandoned them, including the power to short circuit, or edit footage captured by the Alliance's intensive surveillance package. His hair was still damp when he walked down the hall and into the empty War Room, where he summoned up a holographic map of their position in the Galaxy. Tibulus had chosen a route that would take them into an area of the Deadzone that was susceptible to solar flares, a perfect opportunity to kill the cameras and talk openly. As the ship crossed the invisible line, he ordered the VI to interrupt all cameras and microphones on board.

"Time to face the music" Stryker said to himself as he waited for people to arrive.


"Yeah, wanna get out of my armor too." Grayson said as he started down the hall towards the room. Inside he set Amy down on their bed and jerked his head towards the spare bunk. "Just toss it on the bed, I'll drag em up to the Armory later on and buff out the damage. Now lass, gonna need ya help to haul this off my arms."

They got to work pulling off their respective armor suits, helping each other where necessary to get their injured limbs freed without causing any additional pain or discomfort. Amy stood, holding Grayson's shoulders to keep her balance as he helped her get her injured leg out. A sudden movement caused her to almost fall on him, but he moved quick to keep her on her feet and whispered a few quick apologies if he'd caused her any pain. It was then he noticed a vial of blood had fallen out onto the bunk. Grayson shifted his glance up to Amy and back to the vial.

"What's that?" he asked.

Stryker turned on his heels just before he left the bridge, remembering something he had to say to Tibulus.
"I know you've got some business to take care of, but I need you to stay at the helm for now. Just long enough for me to get out of this armor and address the others. Hell even just long enough to get a shower would be enough. Radio my cabin when you want me to take over."

Just outside he found Benny climbing out of his gunner seat.
"Good job down there." he said, clapping the Scotsman's shoulder "If I make it through the next hour or two without being keelhauled for what happened down there, find me for a drink, we'll toast to a job well done."

With that said, he wandered off towards his cabin, his mind racing as he scrambled to figure out how to explain everything that happened down there to the crew, and more importantly, how was gonna cover it up when he reported back to the Alliance?

Arriving in the Captain's Quarters, he locked the door and finally started to remove his armor. The clothes he wore underneath were stuck to him like cling wrap. Before making his way into his bathroom to fire up the shower, he decided what to say, and grabbed the datapad to access the ship's intercoms.

"I know things didn't go exactly the way we planned down there. This is all on me, so if any of you want to look me in the eye while I explain what happened, come to the War Room in twenty. I'll broadcast it ship-wide for everyone else, so if you're injured, get up to the med bay... that means both of you Grayson and Amy. Stryker out."


Grayson, still helping Amy stay off her injured leg, looked across to Harriet.

"Dr. Matthias right? Well, ya heard 'em, I guess we'll meet ya up in med bay? Just gonna stop by the Armory fer a sec, drop off the gear."

He turned in the direction of the elevator and started to walk towards it.
"I guess we'll take the elevator this time eh lass? Make it a bit easier for ya to keep off that leg."


SAL, after receiving the all-clear and Stryker's follow-up message, made sure Tibulus's prisoner was still unconscious before exiting the shuttle. Still mindful of his old duties, he immediately walked up the small staircase into the engine room to get a diagnostic of the ship's systems. He knew one of the two newcomers on the crew was to be the new chief engineer, but he couldn't recall which one, having not committed that info to long-term memory. Nevertheless, he headed back out into the cargo bay. A few members of the crew were still milling about the cargo bay, including the ones he needed to speak to.

"Engineer" he said, directing the greeting to both Harrison and Koren "Ship's systems are reading some minor damages from the rapid ascent through the planet's atmosphere. Nothing urgent, just wanted to inform you, now that those duties fall to you."

"Tobi" he said quietly, after excusing himself away from the others "Come with me to the Tech Lab, we have to speak immediately."
@1Hawkeyes@King Tai

"That'd be my cue to leave." Reaper stated simply as the sirens grew closer. He took one last look around, making sure he hadn't left anything of his behind except the spent bullet casings.

Heading out through the back door, he took a moment and (after unloading them) stashed both the shotgun and rifle in a nearby dumpster. Garbage collection wouldn't be for another few days, so they'd be safe there until he could swing back around and collect them. he'd have to leave the van behind too until the cops cleared out of the area a few hours from now. He zipped up his jacket to hide the infamous skull emblazoned on his shirt and walked off down the street, just another face in the crowd.
Trip sat silently as his friends shared their stories. They were all quite familiar by now with the story of how his father was murdered, he didn't need to bring it up here. Instead he decided to chime in with a more recent tale.

He took a sip of coffee and set the cup back on the table, waiting for the conversation to die down enough for him to start speaking.
"I was out for a jog along the boardwalk this morning. Saw a guy just blow this woman over and snatched her purse. I tried to catch up to him, but the bastard had too much of a head start. You guys are right, things are really going to hell in a hand basket. The gangs have the run of the whole city. Personally, I think the cops are on the take, but that's just me"

He finished off his coffee and tried to lob the empty cup into a nearby garbage can. It clattered off the rim and landed in the floor.
"This is why I don't play basketball" he said with a grin as he slipped out of his seat to finish disposing the cup.


Name: Trip Daggett

Alias: Brawler

Gender: Male

Age: 21


Occupation: Semi-Professional Boxer. Teaches classes part-time at the gym he trains at.

Personality: Despite tremendous pain in his past, he tries to stay a generally upbeat fellow. He's a kind and loyal friend who wears his heart on his sleeve, and above all else, he's a joker at heart, with a wicked sense of humor.

Backstory: Trip can't remember a time when his parents were together. His father was a struggling boxer, his mother a cashier at a drug store. They just weren't compatible in the end, no big deal. They lived on opposite sides of Long Beach and had split custody all through Trip's childhood. He fell in love with the sweet science of fighting at a young age, even as his mother tried to instill her deeply-held religious beliefs into him and cursed on his father's name for leading young Trip onto "a dark path". At the age of 14, shortly after his father had finally enlisted him in legitimate boxing lessons, the senior Daggett was shot and killed by persons unknown. When he came of age, Trip inherited all of his father's belongings, and made the decision to fight professionally, in memory of his father.

Skills/Weapons: Classically trained boxer. He uses a pair of MMA gloves for their versatility.

@Silver Carrot I'll send you a PM in a little while, go over some ideas of possible return scenarios!
@1Hawkeyes@King Tai

"No, but this will" Reaper growled as he slammed his final magazine into the rifle. He centered his aim straight on Flame's outstretched arm and pulled the trigger, unleashing a stream of bullets in a tight pattern that, even if it didn't take her out, would at least slow her down. As the gun clicked empty, he slid it around to his back and snatched up his fallen shotgun, racked in a load and slowly started to close in.

"Now kid!" he shouted.
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