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@Jaredthefox92 Feel free to consult others you may be interested in confronting to get things rolling along.
@Balthazar007 Think ya posted in the wrong place once, and I'm just giving the others a chance to post on their end.

The gobbos didn't last very long, at least as far as Nero's reckoning was concerned, but then he'd dropped in - Literally - at the tail-end of their exictence, so he just didn't know what the story was on them or why they even fell dead and dissipated after a while, anyway. Point is, they died out, and Nero got into the Finnbar Express portal to anywhere to get the hell out of here and back to...the Xuanzang! He'd heard Ash shout for a headcount on who was here, and Nero just sort of raised his hand, going "Uhh, me!". No, Nero did NOT know how to roll-call properly. He didn't even know what his serial number was, or even care if he had any official rank while he was in the military. There seemed to be come kinda' problem with that guy, Klein. Nero wasn't sure if he was just independent or if he was supposedly as bad as Crowley's Cronies. Flame seemed to think so, and he wanted 'im to go through a mind probe by Avelyn. Seemed fair. The bigger, better chuckle here was that Navi had gone and blurted out 'Boyfriend', and then got an Oh Crap face.

"Well, it was only a matter of time."

He said so, grinning for a moment. This was the part where Natasha walked in, wanting to know what the hell was going on. Apparently, someone wanted to graffiti the ship, and Phi had actually jumped ship, though we don't know why. Nero gave an emphatic shrug.

"Hey, your guess is as good as mines. I got a call about someone going outta' control, white flames everywhere, and I tell you guys en route to the thing that some people were lookin' to round up anyone that'd been at the Circle of Hell, and Mr. White Flames was onee they mentioned in particular. So, I took over a gunship and went all distract-y nonsense, but then something in my fucking shadow tried to eat me and I crashed into a ton of goblins on the ground. I tell you, this is the goddamn weirdest birthday I ever had, which reminds me."

He turned to everyone else.

"Cake's in storage if anyone wants at it. I just figured I should have one."

Yup, just a fun-loving time on his birthday: Go shopping, beat people up, distract the cops, fight off a shadow monster, and escape to tell the tale. Nero ended up talking about the same time as anyone else volunteering an explanation. However, escape, in fact, was a good point being brought up by Laurey. Even more than Avelyn mentioning that she wanted to check to see if everyone's heads were alright, this lit the proverbial under Nero's ass. They might know that it was this ship that their magic asses came from. So, he turned back to Natasha, now.

"Fuck marbles! She's got a point! We gotta get the hell outta here, like now! Unless you want me to drive, that is."

Oh, that was a viable threat. Nero started off towards the cockpit section like he was about to start them off. He wasn't really going to try to start off the Xuanzang without having any idea how a starship's navigation worked, but the thought of him driving after what they saw in the park - or even in general - should get some crew action going.
@Double I think our techniques are just stronger, at this point. We couldn't risk ki training stuff that'd risk damaging the ship. At least, Niko couldn't.
Super Verbosity!!

He really hadn't expected it to be like this. Any of it.

As they left the ship and he locked up, Niko was still shocked by the attack that had just occurred mere minutes ago. Wu-Han was alot more chill, but Niko had been the one working at the controls, so all the other man could do anyway was ride it out. They were here now on Mars, and the actions taken against them already told Niko that this wasn't going to be as easy as he initially thought. He'd allowed himself to grow cocky, because he was one of the strongest people in the world, as of now, and that he'd just spent a good while covering his bets by training further. But then, he hadn't reckoned on missles. Had to be reminded here: Guns and artillery were still plenty powerful, and he didn't even have a pistol to his name.

Really oughta' rectify that, if I can.

In time, perhaps. Speaking of which, it was time they got out of here. The MMC may or may not have the ability to track them down. No more missles, for now, but if some patrols were sent out to find them, that wouldn't surprise him. Realizing that bringing out a Capsule bike or something right now would actually give their position away by prevaling dust cloud - Mars could still kick up dirt like going off-road on the deserts of Earth - it seemed wiser to take things by foot. It wasn't hot and it wasn't gonna BE hot. This was Mars, which meant that - even after all the progress in terraforming - it would still be kinda' cold. Can't beat Earth's proximity to the sun, sometimes. Anyway, they started moving and... Okay, so you know how you might be driving in Kansas and, despite the speed you're going, you feel like you aren't moving? Well, this was that in reverse!

"Holy- What the...?"

Imagine surging forwards, but you get where you're going quicker than you expected, and you're not even trying! Niko started moving, and then flinched while looking back, feeling that he was already exceeding his fastest movement on Earth. Was this just the weak gravity? No no no... This is what all that training gets you! Oh...he made the right decision. The MMC may've taken potshots at them, and they may have all the guns, but right now, Niko was pretty sure he could whip all of his peers from basic training. It put a smile on his face. He wasn't going to uunderestimate the fact that their enemy had a strong hold of this planet, but perhaps the odds were a bit more even? Speaking of which, their enemy had an actual stronghold on this planet, as in a monolith of heavy materials surrounded by an electric fence, a security wall, and likely numerous guards inside. They were quickly approaching this now - as they didn't apparently even NEED a car, right now, when it'd been in view soon after leaving their landing site - while having used all the cover to get here about as undetected as was conceivable. They hadn't sent a squad of James Bond villain henchmen after them, so the tactic seemed to work. Now, they had their first real obstacle, Han looking to him for suggestions. Niko had been thinking on the way here, looking at the structure and reasoning out the likely security procedures for this fortress city.

"Well, it's an octogonal perimeter wall and fence with eight entrances and probably a decent security check at the gates. The turret guns will fire at anything that moves within their general field of view, and while it doesn't look like they're too close to an entrance, naturally all the guards are armed so as not to generally matter. This would be difficult on a standard infiltration team, which I've been a part of, but right now I don't have any kit."

Apart from no guns on his person, he had no camouflage gear, no body armor, no sensor baffles, no hacking gear, no nothing. He was dressed in his civvies and had that kind of loadout: Wallet, keys, cellphone, and a few Capsules. With this in mind, however, Niko smirked.

"That said...we've worked up a physical advantage that gives us options. For instance, we could wait for a truck of some kind bound for the city, maybe get on its back without the driver noticing, and then get underneath it as it has to slow down for the gates. We remain out of anyone's field of view while on back and getting underneath, we're good at least until the guys with the mirror-sticks start checking the underside of the vehicle. From there, depending on how fast we are, we could bolt through the gate or fight long enough to put the guards on their asses and THEN book it. If I can get a handle on a gun, I could even disarm them with relative ease and we don't even have to dodge bullets, going in. At least, until someone else starts shooting."

He had always felt before that he didn't care too much what happened to MMC personnel throughout all this, that they deserved to be shot especially if he was being shot at FIRST, but ironically the assassin's judgement of his character - the very thing that stayed Han's hand in attempting to kill him - made Niko re-think this in the time they were traveling in space.

"The other idea I have in mind is immediately risky, but we don't have to fight any people unless they're right on the other side of the wall. Turrets will open fire on us as soon as we're in some unspecified range, most likely if we try jumping the fence or even a little before. This company can afford to repair a fence. So, they open fire, but maybe we're a bit quicker, and we get to the base of the wall and jump UP, tackling one of these turrets in the process. It can't fire because it's no longer able to hit us, the other nearest turrets likely won't fire because of their programming. They can afford to replace 'em too, but would you want your turrets destroying each other by accident? In any case, the second plan is simply believing that we can out-think a predictable killing machine, and ultimately at the end of this, we get into the city and they raise some kind of alarm on us."

He gave the assassin a serious look now.

"There's no way into that place that doesn't make security aware of us somehow, not unless we actually sneak out from under a truck too quickly for people to notice and slip away, which isn't likely. We have to think that they're going to discover us, and only be surprised at our luck if we are that lucky. Well...that is, unless you have another idea that could."

After all, an assassin like him could easily be a part of an infiltration team, as well. He might have a brilliant idea that Niko hadn't even thought of. Though...the way he'd been clenching his fists kind of indicated that he wanted to punch something really hard.
@Double Either could work because he's a top man and either is possible for top men.
@Double Sounds like a 'power isn't everything' kind of deal where his skill and experience wins out, but we're not dead because he exhausts himself doing it and the circumstances don't allow him to pull together enough to finish anyone.

All good things must come to an end.

Things were doing alright. They had the game, they had a healthy bit of conversation, and they even had another taker in the form of a new Private. They hadn't been formally introduced, but one look said it all: She was a Darcsen who had the look of someone who didn't have time for your crap about why you hate Darcsens...or women, judging by the her question by way of introduction when she wanted to be dealt in. The thing is, yes, she had been there for a while, but it was in fact her quiet up until now that had let her be overlooked. Isaac looked over the offered matches and nodded at her.

"Fine by me. Anyone that smokes needs matches, so yeah, no problem."

...but it turns out he spoke too soon, because a Sergeant Talas soon came to their position and asked for Private Mehetabel and Sergeant Schafer, as per orders from Captain Middleton, that they had a mission to perform, so they had to prepare. This, in turn, had Isaac gathering up the cards as those two started off back into the trenches proper. Naturally, there were some protests, but the Lance-Corporal held up his hands to silence their woes for a second.

"Yes, I know, but if that was Middleton, then I know what comes next."

"Lance-Corporal Black?"

"And there it is. Present and accounted for."

In short order, another man had indeed appeared in the wake of the Sergeant to deliver him the message from Middleton to prepare for a misison. Curiously, it was different from what Talas had just told the other two. He also didn't like the fact that he was pretty sure he understood what it was the Grumpus wanted, even without additional explanation.

"Well, there you have it. We'll pick up another time."

Britta Hagen

She had only just put away Private Blanc's extremely valuable and highly-sentimental weapon away in the footlocker when someone came for him. A sergeant had come in and asked for him by name, looking somewhat irritated by the fact that the man had been hard to find. Of course, Marius had been sort of lost and without orders or direction, at this time, so one could hardly blame him. Smiling slightly, Britta nodded at the man and said "Well, I guess now you have your orders. I'm sure they'll be able to straighten out everything. Just the same, you take care of yourself, Private Blanc." before he left. Britta then turned to tidy up the Isaac Store locker for a moment, so everything was in order and the gun was on the bottom, when...

"Private Hagen?"

"Right here. How can I help you?"

"Orders from Captain Middleton, ma'am. You're to meet him and others at the Supply Trench for laying duty. More instructions to follow there."

She looked up after locking the container up. Laying duty? There was something familiar in it, but she couldn't place it at the moment.

"Is this in any relation to the Sergeant who just asked another man in my midst to head for the Assault Trenches for a mission?"

"I wouldn't know."

"Alright, thank you. I'll be on my way."


The two Gunners arrived at the Supply area not too long after Diana had arrived. Isaac nodded at her greeting.

"Doing alright. Five minutes ago, I was better, though."

"Winning hand?"

"Not-Losing hand. The take is so-so. I deposited it in the box and headed over here. You?"

"I was there when I got the order, but I had to get the rest of my gear ready, since I wasn't on patrol, like you."

Diana had mentioned she was distracted by her own thoughts, so she hadn't been paying attention.

"No problem. This, as feared."

He gestured to the wound wire mesh that was sitting nearby.

"Oh, you know what we're doing?"

"I have a strong impression. You see, you set up things among your crops to deter birds and animals from eating them, you do the same for livestock, but a bit differently. You gotta keep chickens safe from foxes, and you...gotta keep the wolves we got away from them too, just in case they keep any ideas. Barbed wire helps, makes for decent fences, so I know a thing or two about setting it up."

The Lance was pretty sure about this. 'Laying Duty' - with setup and cover - implied that the stuff they used to foil people sneaking through No Man's Land needed to be deployed out there. In the time of their being at this trench, this very job had probably been undertaken several times, because of course what both they and the enemy did was crawl through No Man's Land, looking for a point of infiltration, cutting through those sharp wires in order to reach the other side. Thus, they would have to be replaced, and that meant going out there to work on the stuff, with someone making sure that all their asses didn't get shot. It was dangerous, it was tedious, and it was kind of necessary...which made it a definite Middleton kind of assignment.

That's assuming, of course, that Isaac was in the right. Part of him actually hoped that he was, because if it wasn' could be worse!

Things were going well, so far. Nero had gone all chaotic with the controls for reasons of never having flown before and wanting very much to have the attention of air security here at the Galactic Bazaar. That much had worked, and he felt that he was sort of getting the hang of how to steer this puppy. Even better! The Bazaar authorities had shouted over the gunship's comm system at him, at first trying to ascertain what was wrong because they had no idea that the thing had suddenly been hijacked, followed by shouts of threats when they realized that the thing might've been hijacked. Of course, there was always the possibility that the men who were out-cold in here beside him were just disloyal, but who was going to believe that when there was a dark shadow in the pilot's seat? Nero hadn't actually switched on the guns - although he was sorely tempted to - because...well...everyone else would complain about it. They weren't Ascendancy, the local authorities, so why do it, right? Besides the fact, Tarak actually contacted him, telling 'im not to do anything terrible to security.

"Relax, I've just been keeping them occupied so they can't bear down on you guys. Take care of things and I'll be back on the ship soon enough after you're done."

He was really starting to think that what he should do with some of his money was to get something kickass like this to fool around with. Aaand he would've continued like this if someone hadn't decided to ummm...interfere. See, there'd been this noise, and it made him tense because he thought that made the gunship had a third guy tucked back behind the pilot section, but when he turned-


It was a good thing that he'd been leaning forward while wrangling the controls, because otherwise his back would've been directly against it as it emerged from his shadow. The light from outside had cast it thus, and when this apparition suddenly appeared and called him by name, Nero's actions were swift and direct, even while panicked. He jumped away from the seat - as in towwards the cockpit window after pulling one of the security guards' sidearms. Immediately, the shadowy creature's form would take a full clip of coilgun shots. Nero didn't use guns famously, but he knew HOW to use 'em, and even an unskilled nobody can expect to hit a target that's point-blank. He probably destroyed the back of that pilot's chair, as well. However, Nero would have no time to appreciate the damage done to Maybe-Ophelia-We're-Not-Sure, because what he'd done was back himself into the controls of the craft, as in he pushed the stick sharply forwards.

"Oh shit!"

Imagine for a moment that you are on the ground. After the pillar of flame was over and some special ground manipulation 'escorted' security from the premises, someone declared it to be 'Goblin-Thirty', and now a bunch of Underdark denizens were capering about the place with bone axes. And then, a gunship suddenly takes a nosedive onto the scene! Well, to be fair, Nero DID pull back at like the last second, so instead of outright crashing the thing, it became an effective 'ditch'. As in, that thing you do when you can't land properly, so you get down on the ground safely by ANY means necessary, sacrificing the vehicle. It's also a point that the gunship would likely cleave a ditch into the place, anyway. So, Nero struggled with the controls last-minute, the gunship slid across the ground, and he saw several...forms. What the hell? Goblins?! Who ordered these assholes? And how many did he just plow through? A few of 'em went flying, at least.

Anyway, the impact had hit him, though not as badly as it would likely injure the two guys to his right - They'd live. - and not as badly as it could've been. He'd been battered without armor, which was mostly just painful. Stepping out of the gunship now, Nero saw that he was actually in sight of a definite Finn portal. Great! Time to get the fuck out before another shadow-thing attacked and...wait. That's not how Ophelia's powers work, right? She was an Netherworld deterrant. Granted, he'd never really figured out how her powers DID work, exactly, but like everyone else, he'd met Squad 0 at one point, so he was of course familiar with her work. Mostly the chains.

Was there another shadow user out there?

He'd deal with that later as he started introducing plasma blade to goblin flesh as he headed for the portal out of here.
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