Valéria kept her mouth shut through the meeting. Merely watching and listening to everyone. Absorbing all information she deemed to be important to her role in this mission. Knowing she had knowledge of value to add and all her question were answered either by the captain or asked by her fellow squadmates.
When the meeting was ended, Valéria was quick to leave. Knowing she needed to ready herself for the mission to come. As even if it didn’t show on her face, she was nervous. However, she dismissed the feeling as pre-mission jitters and was positive after some meditation and sparing she would be fine.
Until it was time to deploy Valéria meditated and spared with anyone willing, until about an hour before they expected to arrive. Stopping to change into her plug suit early given her peoples customs did not allow for others to see her naked. Taking it back to her quarters. To change and apply the needed markings to her face. Which when done took the form of several intricate patterns on her face. With her markings done she pulled a black hood over which matched her the colour of plug suit. Adjusting so it covered her eyes yet did not limit her vision. Not that her hood had ever had gotten in her way. Once dressed Valéria looked over herself. Noting her plug suit still had markings of her old unit on it. She would have to change that in due time.
When it was time, Valéria was quick to make her way to the hanger climbing into her werks cramped cockpit. Placing her organic hand on a blackened control panel in front of her and slowly the cockpit filled the darkened control panels came to life. Filling the cockpit with light and a gentle hum as the werks main reactor powered up. Systems quickly coming online as Valéria pawed at the controls running systems check. The werk showing Valéria everything was up and running. She made the werks take a step forward. “This is Pilot Jarmila, in Redeemer. All systems check. Standing by for deployment.”
she spoke into the comm now awaiting orders.
When the pilots were dismissed to make final preperations, Zim immediately turned to Katya. "I think you already know what I am going to ask," Zim said, looking her in the eye, watching for any sign of her intention, "Please give me one of the Assault Packs."
There was no time for anything else, and all that mattered at that moment was making the final arrangements before launching for the mission. Zim needed as much focus as he could muster just to keep himself in check. All of the feelings of helplessness that he had experienced in the last few hours since he had learned of the attack had been transformed into a determination as strong as steel itself. Now, smouldering deep below the barely checked flames of rage was a small ember of hope. Zim had to keep focused on that or else he knew he would be lost in his own dispair.
However, to most other people, it would look like he had already lost his way.
The meeting had barely ended and Katya hadn’t even been given a moment to think before Zim had turned to her and asked for an assault pack. Katya eyeing the man for a moment she had hoped she’d would been given a moment to think about it. “Let's discuss it in private, Zim. Also, anyone else wants an assault pack is come speak with me. If no one else does, I will assign them to who I think needs them most or will make the most use out of them.”
Katya spoke and gestured for Zim to wait a moment and waited for everyone else to leave the room.
Once it was just two of them, Katya gave a sigh.“Right, before I even hear you reason’s as to why you want one of the assault packs. I need to ask how are you doing Zim?”
Katya spoke wanting to try and gauge Zim's current state of mind.
"I'm fine," Zim said, unwavering. Inside he knew he wasn't, he also knew that Katya wouldn't buy it either, "As good as you could expect, given that my home planet has been invaded by the Cruxi and there is a good chance that every member of my family and friends is dead, anyway. Plus, the added fun of knowing we are about to go in and attempt to retake the capital, essentially by ourselves. But, a small as it is, I still have hope that my parents are okay and that we can recover the planet and it's... my... people. The vast majority of the population would have evacuated into subterranean vaults, I lived here, I know the protocols and I know what the vaults were intended for. There is hope, despite the odds, that there are still a lot of people alive down there."
"As to the reason I want one? I'm the best choice for one of the packs. I've already used one once, as you know, so their won't be a learning curve. You know how effective I was in the last battle to recover Elora and capture the Elite Cruxi."
As the words “I’m fine” left Zim’s mouth Katya gave him a funny look not believing those words for even half a second. The looking fading slowly as he explained how he really felt. Katya feeling she could at least partly understand how he felt, having lost family to the Cruxi. Even if Katya felt she partly understood his feelings, she knew unless Kromm fell to the Cruxi she would not be able to fully understand and Katya prayed to the ancestors that she never would.
Once Zim had finished speaking Katya went quiet for a moment. Giving Zim request some serious thought. “I can partly understand how you feel Zim, I’ve also lost family to the Cruxi, but you need to know I’m concerned about you. Especially since we have no idea what we’ll find once we land. For all we know, we’ll land in the middle of a massacre. The Cruxi are not exactly known to avoid non-combatants. So I need to know if the worst as come to past you’ll be able to keep your cool. In this mission I won't have time to wrangle rogue units. As much as it pains me to say it. If you lose it and go on a rage-fueled rampage, you’ll be on your own, no backup.”
Katya spoke her tone becoming more serious as she spoke.
'All the more reason to equip me with an assault pack,' Zim thought to himself, 'More weapons and shields at my disposal for getting out of a situation like that.' Zim didn't say this out loud, he knew that it would only illicit more concern and a more probable rejection of his request.
"I appreciate the concern," Zim said with a long slow sigh, "I'll do my best to keep it together. I know that what we are about to land in is utter hell, more so for me than anyone else. I understand the situation."
Zim words did little to make Katya feel more confident he’d be able to handle what they’d find. The young woman giving a long and heavy sigh. She didn’t really have time be wasting. “If you swear to me on the name of your ancestors. I suppose I’ll grant the request only because I know you well and know when you say that you mean it. I have other reason why I’m going to place my trust you with an assault pack. That being said before I grant the request officially. I want you to promise me if I tell you to fall back you’ll do it. No arguments, no questions. Otherwise, you can forget about it.”
Katya spoke her expression and tone becoming very serious.
"I promise," Zim said solemnly, holding up his right hand, pinky finger extended, "You say get back, and I'll get back as soon as I am able, no arguments."
The moment Zim made the promise Katya sighed pleased to hear it although gave him a funny look seeing him hold out an extended pinky finger.“Ummmm, is this some custom on your world?”
Katya spoke touching the tip Zim’s pinky with her own. Having no idea what to do.
"Yes, it is," Zim said as he moved his pinky to wrap around Katya's, "More or less, if I break the promise, the punishment is physical pain- Generally the breaking of the pinky finger, but the severity varies on the violation and the promise." Zim raised and lowered his hand as if shaking Katya's hand, keeping her pinky hugged with his own. "With that, the promise is made."“How weird. Back home we just drink on it and swear on our family names.”
Katya stated watching how Zim shock hands with just there pinky’s intertwined. “If you break this promise Zim, I can assure the punishment will not be pleasant.”
she spoke giving him a stern look. “Well if that everything Zim I have much to do before we deploy. Try to get some rest before the battle I want you clear minded as possible before we deploy.”
she stated before leaving the room.
With meeting with Zim over Katya found herself a nice spot out of the way and set to work planning out different battle plans and going over the squad to see who she thought would best be suited for the last assault packs and once all three were assigned. Ether by requests or Katya assignment it as she felt it would be the most useful, Katya sent the captain a message so the arrangements could be made to have the assault packs fitted to Zim’s, Ariin’s and Maria’s werks.
Having not to worry about the assault packs any longer. Katya planned out the squad's deployment order along with doing as much research as she could on Fortress and the city the would be deployed into. Doing her best to commit the layout to memory. Even if the city was reduced to rubble, she still felt a basic knowledge of the layout be of use.
Once it was time to board the werks, Katya was one of the frists in the hanger. Katya quickly climbing into her werk. Bringing Caretaker systems online and interlinked the squad comms with the Hyperwave array. Listening as some the squad checked themselves on over the comes, Katya quickly sending the rest a status request.
Once she knew the squad was ready she open a comm channel once the captain was done speaking“Okay listen up I’ll keep this quick. We land, we hit the Cruxi hard and fast. Take as many of them out as it possible before they can move to engage us. Do what it takes to quickly eliminate the Cruxi. Information on the Cruxi units is unknown so keep your eyes peeled and be ready for everything. For deployment, We go by weight class with our heaviest at the front and our lightest werks at the rear. First goal once we land is to secure our landing site. From there I will transmit further orders once I know enemy positions and layout. That's all for now good luck all safe landing."
She spoke cutting the comms and making final checks. All she could do was now wait for the signal to go.