Sense leaving the party Zim hadn't slept. He just kept going over the reports and the sat feeds, while attempting to reach out to family and friends who were still planetside at the time of the attack. No luck, of course, and no glimmer of hope, either. Zim knew from the training that the Cruxi wouldn't outright kill everyone, but they would kill enough of them to prove a point. Zim also knew that it would be better for the ones that died. Images played out in his unsleeping eyes of his Mother being pushed into a stasis tube, experiments ran on her. It got so bad that Zim could do little more then to stare into the corner of his room and sob as he tortured himself over thoughts of what could be.
He was finally shook from his madness when the call came for Squad Sigma to assemble. Zim was amongst the first to arrive. He was still dressed in his formal dress uniform. It was disheveled and unkempt, so unlike the night before when he had been so clean and precise. Zim's eyes showed no light and no glimmer, they were dark grey pits, and puffy red circles highlighted them against the pilots pale complexion. To be blunt, Zim looked like shit. He didn't care, he felt like shit. If Ritsu or someone else of rank mentioned his uniform he might make an absentminded attempt at pushing the uniform around as if attempting to fix it. It wouldn't get any better. His only responses when directly talked to would be half mumbled responses and automated reflexes. Zim was, to be sure, despondent.
When the briefing began Zim willed himself to focus on the briefing. It didn't take long before it had his full attention. His eyes cleared as he actually focused his whole mind on the holo-globe projection of his home planet. Assault Packs. Great. Elise was back on the squad, good. The new members too, of course. Also good. Inara too? Zim wasn't sure he liked that, but they would need every bit of firepower they could get, and it was no secret that she was able to do things with her Werk that nobody else in the fleet could come anywhere close to. 'A separate deployment?' Zim thought, 'Stupid. She is just being childish because of our previous interactions. Then again, maybe not such a bad idea? The main group could act as a decoy while she attacks high-value targets.' Zim thought back to the training mission, trying to remember if Inara's Werk was equipped with stealth capabilities. 'No, I don't think it was,' Zim's internal dialog continued, 'Katya, tell her to deploy with the rest of the group. Ritsu agrees, she's just testing you,' he urged her in his mind.
When the discussion about Ritsu's deployment ended Zim raised his hand to speak. "Ma'am," He started once called on, "I have been going over what reports have been made available at this time. I know that most of the weapons platforms were already destroyed. Do we have any information on the ground to space defensive cannons? Have the Cruxi taken control of them, any data on how many are still available? Additionally, what other support can we expect in this mission?"
Zim was already starting to work out strategy and thinking about how the assault packs could be used. Zim's eyes now burned with vengeance.
Indeed. That being said, I suspect that Red and Drago have nothing to add during this downtime considering their general silence for the better part of 6 weeks here, so I think we are ready to continue on? At least, it seems that way to me.
Even as Zim turned and walked back towards where he left Katya, the older pilot had a tightness of unease in his chest. Which, to be honest, was totally insane. Here he had survived near death in the destruction of the planet that he had been working to terraform, had gone toe-to-toe with the Cruxi forces, not once but twice. Yet he was afraid of the answer he might recieve from asking for a little bit of company. He was anxious about whether or not the younger pilot felt the same way or not, adding to the anxiety was the fact that he had a competitor striving for her attentions. Yet even as he attempted to broach the subject she was distracted, her eyes darting away when he spoke.
Classic signs of discomfort. Classic signs of 'sorry, we're just squadmates.'
Besides, who could blame her? Zim hadn't actually made a point of spending much time with her, and look at him. He was disfigured, scarred, and gravity stunted. Zim was best described physically as weird, and homely. Meanwhile Ariin was tall and lean and handsom, even if he was missing an eye... Zim could not blame her if she chose Ariin over Zim.
Despite these self-depreciating thoughts, Zim pushed on. Even as she was joined by Ariin in the place that Zim had just left her, Zim pushed himself forward. He wanted to hear her response. At least then he wouldn't later regret not acting when he had the chance.
Zim got within earshot of the source of his envy as Katya thanked Ariin for the invitation and asked to be reminded about getting her hands on the AI bot. Her voice, her body language, they all eluded to her being nervous. Was she nervous because of Zim, or was it because of the informal manner of meeting that they were experiencing in the form of the party?
Zim decided to inject himself into the conversation, taking up Katya's other side. She was now placed between Zim and Ariin, quite literally between two men. Zim questioned his choice, even as he took the position. It might be too petty, it might be too agressive or posessive. Zim had absolutely no claim to her attention or affections. But the choice was made, he would observe and react, just like on the battlefield. Where typically it was a battle of combat machines, this time Zim prepared himself for a battle of Wit.
"Yes, excellent party, Ariin. Thank you again for the invitation- I just wish you would have included what level of dress you wanted people to come in. I feel very over-dressed..." Zim glanced at Katya quickly to gage her reaction to his arrival.
Ariin sighed. "Yeah, I'm alright." Told Katya responding to her earlier quesiton. He leaned back and gave her a soft smile. "You care your werk and want to make sure it's in top shape. I'm the same way with Paladin, I know the engineers take care of the big lug... But I like to be there too." He smiled and then finally sighed. "As for Paladin, I'll let you know when I- What. Uh... Is that Ana with Paladin in a drone?" The pilot gave a long groaned and dropped his face into his hands.
First the damn AI pulls a stunt like that in front of Katya and Zim then runs off and now has a drone body. "I'm going to trash that bot when I get ahold of him," Ariin grumbled looking at the newly arrived Paladin. Then Zim walked up and Ariin looked at him, he really didn't want to cause this kind of trouble. "Sorry, I didn't really think about dress code... Never really had dress clothes to worry about before." He mumbled looking down at himself rubbing his arm slightly, his childhood wasn't exactly a normal one. To him the food and music was what made a party, well that and family.
Zim saw how Ariin seemed to be hurt by the comment. "Ah, well, don't worry about it, I could always have gone and changed my clothes if I really felt like I needed to. I don't mean for it to bring you down." Zim backpedaled and apologized.
"It's no problem, Zim. Just got me thinking about home," He chuckled and shrugged.
Hearing Ariin say he was okay earned a nod out of Katya, pleased to hear that was the case. The girl giving a soft sigh as he spoke of her werk. “Yeah, I do. Plus I feel it help me connect with it. That and it helps me learn.” she spoke, looking around the room. As Ariin started to speak of Paladin seeing the girl who had run off return with a small drone on her shoulder. Katya glancing back at Ariin then at Paladin pretty sure she had seen the drone before. “Where did he find that piece of junk?” Katya spoke recognising the drone as a failed Eden prototype. Something she was not happy to see again having unpleasant memories of having to use those drones before she was given her EDENs. Having lost interest in the girl and Paladin for the moment, she turned to Zim who had come back over and positioned himself on the other side of her.
As Zim said he felt overdressed Katya took a moment to actually have proper look. As Zim backpedalled and apologised to Ariin. “You shouldn’t let it bother you anyway Zim your not the only one still wearing Military uniform … although your only one in dress uniform.” Katya spoke point at Valeria for a moment, spotting the fact she was still in normal fatigues. “Still … it does standout almost like trying to call attention to yourself.” she was looking at Zim but not quite making eye contact with him. “So …” she spoke trailing off finding for the moment she had nothing to say, making her mutter several swears in her homeworlds native tongue. Just how was she supposed to act in a situation like this. “Fucking Paladin I swear I’m going to murder that AI.” she thought bitterly.
A pregnant pause between the three people. An awkward chuckle broke the silence. "Hah, well, yeah, unless it worked it wasn't intentional, right?" Zim joked. He was stalling.
Zim's words earned a small chuckle out of Katya, although her facial expression exposed that his line had failed to amuse her and she was merely being polite. Although it was more she was merely trying to keep her mind off the situation. Paladin was so going to get a telling off for this.
Get it over with. Rip off the bandaid. Ariin already knew where Zim stood, the only person in the group of three who hadn't heard it from him was Katya, and that was the point of this conversation, wasn't it?
"So, anyway. Before that interuption happened, I was saying," Zim glanced at Ariin quickly, but it wouldnt read as a 'go away' or anything like that, more of a 'I'm going for it' look. "I have grown attached to the idea of spending time with you. I have grown fond of this hair tie becuase it is a part of you with me at all times. Its fine if you don't feel the same way. I guess I am just asking if you would be willing to spend more time with me, to see if anything were to grow between us?"
Zim had the hair tie in his hand again, offering it to her on his open palm.
"Okay," Zim said taking the hair tie back, "I felt that the favor had been returned when your Eden drones got Black Star and I back off of that Cruxi ship, but if you feel that way then I'll continue to hold onto it."
Hearing Zim felt the favour had been repaid when her drones had saved Zim on the Cruxi. “Nope, as I merely doing my job. Would have done it for anyone else in the squad. The favour is something you need to ask of me. Not something I’d just do for you, because my duty demands it. I should have explained that.” she spoke feeling like that should cleared the matter up.
Katya looked at Zim making eye contact with him this time as he mentioned what he talking about before he had got interrupted by Irina being herself. Her expression becoming one of mild interest which faded the instant Zim mentioned he had grow attached to spending time with her. Instead it was replaced by a blank expression that masked her thoughts as her mind started to race. Katya was feeling like she was now caught between a rock and a hard place as she was very much aware that Ariin was standing next to her.
When Zim had finished speaking Katya was quite for a moment. The cogs in her mind ticking over, trying to work out what to do. She did like Zim, and would admit that the idea had entered her mind once when it came in conversation with one of Caretaker’s engineers who Katya had befriended. But then again, in that same conversation she had admitted the exact same thing when it came to Arrin. So she felt conflicted, which caused her to swear loudly in her native tongue which was followed by a sigh.
Still, before she adressed Zim's words she needed to address the hair tie having noticed he was offering to return it to her, causing another sigh to escape her. “Right, I’m good.” she muttered, taking the hand the hair tie was in and pushing to Zim's chest. “I can’t take it. It would go against custom. Even if I really do want it back. You just need to get of your ass and tell what favour you want … it could be anything you like. I won't reject anything reasonable,” she spoke with a somewhat stern tone giving him a slight momentary frown. “Now as for what you said … I ... I … I… would … notbeopposedtoit.” she said blurting out the end giving a sigh. Again muttering a swear in her native tongue. This was not a pleasant situation to be in.
A bright red blush came over Zim's otherwise pale face. She was so cute, even now, when she was so flustered. "Great, I look forward to our time spent together."
Zim turned to Ariin now, he resisted the urge to move closer to Katya, being aware of how posessive that would look and knowing full well Ariin's self-denying feelings. "Sorry to have done that in front of you, Ariin. I had hoped it would be a bit more private of an opportunity, but-" Zim gestured to the dancefloor where Inara and Ana had been.
---Meanwhile--- Princess Elizabeth had kept a close watch on the war efforts, being a member of Royalty of a planetary system that made large financial and physical contributions to the war effort had a few benifits. One of them was having first round information on things that werent classified, she knew what everyone else would know a few hours before the public media outlets knew. So in her freetime she went over reports about troop movements and supply changes. It was all extremely boring, but she figured it would be good training for the possibility of her running her kingdom someday. It was almost always routine stuff. However, she noticed a sudden change in direction from a fleet, it was super recent. She followed the document trail back and found a distress call from a planet about a Cruxi Attack had caused the small fleet to be diverted from its patrol route. She continued digging and found which planet it was that had called out for help.
Pretty much everyone with any real knowledge of the military and fortifications knew that the Planet called Fortress was amongst the strongest footholds humanity had. It was fairly centrally located, though too close to a star for most peoples comforts. For it to be under Cruxi attack was a big deal, it could mean yet another turning point in the war effort as the front moved further towards the heart of human civilization. If it fell. then it would certainly mean the worst as that was probably one of the only planets capable of thwarting an assault. She hunkered in to watch the data-flow while the sat link established with the nearest observation satilite. Elizabeth sat there on her bed watching as Fortress's defenses were slowly defeated, wave by wave.
The Planet known as Fortress was considered to be one of the most defendable planets inhabited by humans. Its proximity to the systems sun made it difficult to siege, due to irratice and fairly unpredictable solar flare radiation storms. The planet has a destroyed moon that has left an extremely obstructed upper atmosphere. The particle density actually helping to reflect much of the sun’s heat away from the surface making the planet hospitable despite being outside of the ‘goldilocks’ hospitable zone. The broken moon left large rocky satellites surrounding the planet making approach nearly impossible. These rocky platforms, over time, were mined for resources and rigged up to be usable as gatekeepers and weapons platforms. Life on the planet was hard, the climate was still very hot, and water and resources on the surface were extremely scarce, with much of it being produced synthetically, imported, or being taken from subterranean farms. Over time the people of Fortress adapted to the environment and became comfortable in their planetary castle.
The day did come, however, when the Cruxi came.
The battle was fought in three phases. The assault, the siege, and the fall.
Scientists on the surface saw a spike in radiation energy and thought that it was the building up of another solar storm, but when they realized what it was, it was too late. The dimensional gate of FTL travel opened and from it streamed hundreds of Cruxi warships. Fortress closed their gates, placing the platforms into defensive modes. All mining stopped and all energy was diverted to the turrets and shield generators. An emergency signal was sent out asking for help from the local space defense forces. The people on the surface were sent to their defensive positions and into their underground bunkers, waiting to ride out the attack like it was any other storm. They were confident and they were calm, they felt that they would be able to withstand the onslaught.
The cruxi ships surrounded the planet and started firing from what they thought was a safe distance, but the turrets had a longer reach and the first volly resulted in several cruxi ships being destroyed. One weapons platform was destroyed and more Cruxi ships were deployed there to strike at the weakened area in the defenses but the weapons platforms adjusted their spacing and continued to take more ships than the attackers were taking platforms. The assault continued on like this for a few hours before the assault finally subsided. The people on the surface thought that perhaps they had won the battle and that the Cruxi had given up on their fool hearted attack.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
The attack began in earnest again this time with Cruxi War Machines being deployed. Their maneuverability allowed them to evade much of the automated turret fire. They grouped in their pods of three and four and started their spinning descents and when the turrets fired they broke apart and regathered with other pods constantly dancing as they fell towards the weapons platforms. The patterns of breaking and rejoining confusing the sensors with confirmed hits and sudden new enemies appearing. This tactic worked, allowing for the destruction of several more weapons platforms. Once again pressure was placed in the places that the defences were weakening. It was at this point that two more defensive forces came into play. At this point phases two and three were put into play.
Phase two of the defensive plan were surface to space turrets and missiles, these were operated by trained personnel and did not depend on the automated defenses that the weapons platforms did. So where the cracks in the planets armor grew the ground forces started firing. The weapons platforms rearranged to make openings in the armor for the Cruxi forces to attempt to take advantage of, these were of course traps as the ground forces would then send heavy bombardments through those openings.
Phase three of the defensive plan involved the “Star Screamers,” the armed defensive starships that were designed for hit and run tactics, swooping out to strike and then falling back behind the weapons platforms. These strike forces were made up of a few piloted vessels and nine drones that were designed to follow the orders of the control unit, or the piloted vessels. The screamers launched and started striking at the CWM pods in the areas that the surface turrets weren’t yet able to strike because of the weapons platforms still working. The ships weaved in and out of the defensive line striking where they could and returning before they could be targeted. Their gorilla tactics were highly effective against the CWM that seemed to be following pre-programmed routes and patterns.
After a full day of fighting the Cruxi ships finally withdrew behind the turret attack ranges. But that is where they stayed, and more ships deployed from the massive carrier ship that had arrived sometime during the previous day’s fighting. The Star Screamers returned to the surface to repair, replace, and refuel. The people operating the weapons on the surface took rotating shifts of rest and on-duty waiting. The civilians cheered those in uniform for their unprecedented success of holding back a Cruxi assault, reaffirming their belief that they were safe within their defenses.
However, the Cruxi persisted in their waiting. For days they stayed in outer orbit, their massive carrier casting a dark shadow of despair across the planets defenses. They did not move, they did not change shifts, they never drew closer, they never drew further away. Then help finally came, but it was for naught. A small strike force came and was quickly wiped out by the massive siege force. The small force was sent to verify the destruction of Fortress, as no other planet had survived this long into a planetary battle with the Cruxi. They never expected the Cruxi to still be there, and they never expected to see the planet still had defenses. The small strike force put up a valiant effort, but the people on the planet could only watch on as their would-be saviors were utterly destroyed, down to the last ship. Only one messenger pod managed to escape the destruction and it sped off through space to who knows where in order to deliver whatever valuable information it was able to gather before departing.
A few more days passed before the Cruxi moved on to the final stage of the battle. A new kind of ship emerged in the hundreds from the carrier. They were slow and cumbersome, and looked like they had been a quickly hashed out design intended for one purpose, and one purpose only- Ramming the weapons platforms. They stayed just out of range of the turrets and missiles until they were all in place and then they started their slow approach. The gunnery turrets fired into the hammerhead like ships but they could neither destroy or deflect the ships from their planet-fall approach.
The commanders scrambled and the strategists started pouring over the data trying to figure out if this was something they could defend against. Soon a last ditch defensive plan was made. It would cost them everything, and it would leave them entirely defenseless against future attacks. All that they could hope for was that the messenger probe and continued calls for help would bring a force large enough to rout the Cruxi attackers. As the weapons platforms started being pushed from orbit and into the upper atmosphere the commanders gave the order. The engineers on the ground started a sequence of overload commands that would cause the generators on the weapons platforms to blow up, which should give enough destructive force to take out the new ships. It worked! For a few of them, but by then the Cruxi had overwritten the safety protocols and shut out the command codes coming from the engineers.
The Star-Screamer Pilots readied for their last launches, kissing loved ones goodbye. They knew that there was nearly no chance of returning from this strike. They scrambled just as soon as they could, taking off to target engines and other weak points in hopes that they could prevent the death of their planet and the enslavement of their people. However, by now the weapons platforms were occupied and unable to defend against the sweeping attack waves of CWM. The attacking war machines maneuvered around their own ships and started taking out the Star-Screamers. Once the ships and their swarming drones were destroyed, the War Machines started taking out the altitude thrusters of the weapons platforms, reducing the resistance on their decent. Some CWM climbed onto the falling ships and rode them through the atmospheric reentry. Others stayed in the closer reaches of space and continued the process of sweeping through the remaining weapons platforms.
As a last ditch effort the, the surface turrets and missiles began firing on their own defenses in an effort to try and destroy them before they made planetfall. However, it was too little, too late, the platforms turned into fireballs as they were forced straight through the atmosphere until their kinetic death against the planet surface. The few people still on the surface were killed in the impact, the following explosions, or in the sweeping attacks of the onboard CWM and unloading foot soldiers.
They were the lucky ones. Those who had taken shelter in their subterranean barracks and bunkers were slowly taken, one by one. The people inside only able to wait their turns.
In the end, Fortress fell, just like every other planet the Cruxi has attacked with the sole exception of Leviticus IX.
When Katya saw Zim was blushing she frowned and when he spoke her eyes darted away. “Just hush, or you’ll get nothing.” she muttered under her breath barely loud enough to be heard. But Zim’s next words made Katya look back at Zim then at Ariin. “Huh? Zim are you saying what I think your saying?” Katya spoke looking over at Ariin for a moment before muttering yet another swear in her native tongue. “Ummm … so you know you can too right Ariin … if that’s how you feel … it only fair, right?” she said unsure of what she was supposed to do or say in this situation. Back home the matter would have been pretty simple given most people didn’t hide their feelings. There was always too much work to be done to beat around the bush with matters of the heart.
"What I feel doesn't matter Katya. I'm a penal soldier, I will die out here or when it's done I'll be tossed in a cell... You don't want me for someone to be close to. I'm an assest not a person," The young man shrugged, "Paladin and I argue over it a lot... Truth is that if I wanted a relationship I couldn't have one... I'm a convicted of murdering military personal in a time of war, that probably means a treason charge on Mars, too."
He chuckled slightly wearing a sad smile.
"Short answer is... I'd never really have a chance," He smiled, "Why do you think I steal openly on the base? They can't do anything more to me than kill me, my job here is to die to keep you all safe."
Ariin looked over the party, "I count you all as friends, but lets face it... Most of you will have something to do when this is over, I'm going to prison or execution. My life has been over since I was fourteen, so I just make what fun I can."
He shrugged and waved his hands as if this was normal behavior. Ariin, who was usually the eternal optimist. He admited to feelings for Katya and then started to back out of it, Ariin was no coward... He believed that he had no future and he couldn't stand to see the people he cared about hurt when he was taken. He was trying to spare them pain.
"He told me the same thing the other day," Zim said sadly, "Though I had hoped that being face to face with you might have caused a change of heart, as it were. However, knowing what you know now, Katya, I would understand if you would rather spend your time elsewhere." His tone wasn't defeated, but it was resigned? He would fight for her affections if it were required, but he also wasn't going to put her in any more of an awkward situation than he already had.
Ariin’s words earned a frown out of Katya and actually really annoyed her. She could get if he was a convict pressed into service as her own world did something similar, although convicts where made to mine ore in the most dangerous of places, and to hear it merely said that Ariin was not willing to even try. Back home being a convict did not stop people doing what they wanted, it merely meant they had greater chance of dying.
“Fine, be a coward, see if I care. In the end it's your damn loss. As for you Zim, shut up, I already said I wouldn’t mind. Or would prefer I change my mind?” she spoke her tone going somewhat hostile.
Katya wanting to say more but with Zim here and with what he had just said she was unsure if it was okay, which made Katya feel very frustrated. This entire situation was not something she was used too and if she had not been stood in between them she’d of stormed off. All that Katya knew right then was that she wanted to scream at both of the boys for lumping her in this situation and tell them to screw each other. However, for the moment, she restrained herself... as difficult as it was.
Paladin meanwhile hopped up onto Ana's shoulder, Pally then made an arrow pointing at Ariin. Then translated what Ariin was saying into text, more importantly trying to get Ana's attention to assist in making Ariin not escape this, to actually attempt a relationship.
The girl had made her way over to where the desserts had been laid out in the time since returning, then set to unleashing a fury like none other on the sweets. She was quite happy with things at the moment, despite Irina being a stupid butt! Instead her new best buddy Paladin had decided to comfort her, and now the two were hanging out while she ate an unessecary amount of sweets! Best part being that her father wasn't around to tell her she was having too much, victory for Anastasia!
Then she felt something hop on her shoulder and turned to see Paladin, halfway through demolishing a chocolate cupcake. Quickly finishing it off, and frowning at the unloved desserts calling her name, Ana nodded solemnly towards Paladin. Accepting the mission the two of them had undertaken. She pulled the drone off her shoulder to hold securely in her arms as she made her way towards the trio assembled and awkwardly talking.
She had no plan for getting Ariin to pursue the relationship, Ana realized halfway there. She quickly whispered to her friend in a slightly panicky voice, "I don't have a plan Pally! I'll interrupt and get you close. Then you go smack some sense into Ariin! Okay? Break!" She said before humming to herself and making her way into the group. Ana purposefully shoulderbumped Ariin, releasing Paladin to make the jump to its partner's shoulders.
"Hia! I don't think we've met, pilots Romanova and Hero! I'm Anastasia, I'm new to the squad but Ariin and Pally know me!" She said in a rather upbeat and outgoing manner. As she spoke the girl twisted slightly from side to side, allowing the beautiful dress she wore to swish through the air. At the same time she kind of bumped into Ariin again, hoping that maybe Katya would get a little jealous of a pretty girl being so near to Ariin and make the move herself. Afterall, that's what Pally wanted and Ana was happy to help a friend. Though a few moments after she spoke Ana giggled and put a hand to her lips. "Sorry, I just realized It might be weird that I know your names! I read what I was allowed to of everybody's files before joining, so I knew a bit about my new squad." She said with a giggle, happy they couldn't see into her mind to notice their files being stored away. Maybe she'd hack it and see what their redacted info had to say. Nah. That'd be rude of her.
The moment Ana came over and an introduced herself and mentioned she was new to the squad. Katya was quite surprised to say the least having thought she had looked over all the new pilot's files already. [color=Fuchsia][i]“I must of overlooked hears…”[/color] she thought as she gave the girl a small smile and wave. Sort of glad she was here to end the uncomfortable situation. Or at the very least provide a distraction.
“Pleased to meet you, Anastasia.” Katya said, her tone going more friendly.
"Ah, nice to meet you, Anastasia. We've gotten quite a few new members since-" Zim started, but was inturupted by what happened next.
Ariin would have tried to say something but as the others watched the tiny drone climb onto his shoulder, it pressed what would have been it's 'mouth' against Ariin's neck. Then Ariin gasped, as Paladin delivered a mild shock to Ariin as the young man grabbed the table, grunting as he began to recover trying to steady himself. Paladin crawled on to Ariin's chest writing out, 'Yes my idiot would like to spend more time with you.' While Ariin was to dazed to react. Great, the little drone was armed if they wanted to try and get back at Paladin.
"What in the?" Zim exclaimed as the Drone sent a shock through Ariin, he put an arm in front of Katya and carefully pushed her back away from the table so that he could shield her. It was something he would have done in any normal situation anyway, but now it seemed even more important? Neither here nor there, the point being that what everyone had been having fun making jokes about had just attacked one of the humans.
Ana gasped as Paladin tased Ariin. Immdiately the girl leaned over and hissed to the drone. "I thought we were gonna convince him, not taze him!" She said as the glared at the drone, wondering why her friend would do that. If her books were anything to judge by, romance meant flowers, dresses, and dates! Not shocking somebody for being an idiot.
To Zim, it was no longer a joke or anything cute. The fact that this AI had somehow been allowed to make it out of the prosthetic implant and into other devices showed traits of sentience, to that Zim no longer had any doubts, but it also showed signs of aggression. "Ariin, get that thing under control before I smash it!"
"Paladin is NOT a thing," Anastasia said firmly, fixing Zim with a defiant glare. "Paladin may have done something incredibly stupid, irresponsible, and all the other things. But Paladin is not a thing and destroying its body is like murder."
When Paladin tased Ariin, Katya could not help but feel like he had deserved it a little. Although she was still annoyed at the AI and then at Zim, who but his arm in front of her. Katya mentally sighing as she quickly grabbed his arm and move it away. Katya didn’t want or need protection from the AI. Plus, now able to see the drone Paladin had acquired, Katya knew it be another few minutes before he could tase anyone again. “PALADIN! Bad AI! I told you to be nice to Ariin!” Katya shouted, her tone becoming one like a mother scolding a naughty child. Katya looking at Zim as he said he'd smash the drone. “ZIM! Smash Paladin and I’ll swear you’ll be on punishment detail quicker then you can say 'Paladin'.” she threatened and moved closer Ariin. Stretching out a hand for the drone to hop on to. “Come on Pally. Get off of Ariin, if he wants to be a coward then let him. He can make his own choices.”
Ariin groaned. "Ugh... Don't smash my buddy..." He spoke slightly out of it as Paladin hopped onto Katya's arm. 'I am to adorable to be smashed' the drone displayed as it crawled up, letting them all have a view of the screen. Paladin then added, 'Ariin, I'm staying with Katya and Ana until you are not an idiot.' The drone then made a image of a face with a tonuge stuck out at him. The two people they were supposed to be celebrating the friendship of were not talking anymore it seemed.
"Ugh... Fine Pally, you stay with them awhile," Ariin groaned and straightened himself. "I am many things... But a coward I am not, fine," Ariin straightened himself while shaking out his hand for a moment. His whole body stung like hell from the drone's poorly planned motivation, "I accept... Paladin's just going to give me more hell and I'm not going to tolerate being called a coward."
Ariin crossed his arms adopting his usual half smile. "Besides, it'd be weird to take you out for that picnic after this if I didn't make the effort," He looked at Zim, "And try to tone it down man, she's one of the best in the whole unit and she's on better terms with my Werk's AI than I am half time." Ariin added a short laugh, the shock might have added more damage to his brain... Then again he'd had a knife through it, tumors, and brain swap before, really Paladin might have fixed something.
Ariin’s words earned a small grin out of Katya, pleased that he was not going to take being called a coward. The girl giving the drone an affectionate pat. Feeling pretty satisfied that he’d given in, even if she felt a tiny bit bad for doing what she felt like was forcing. But in the end Katya was sure Ariin would get over it that and she saw it would benefit him in the end anyway.
Ariin looked at the group and then around at the rest of the party. "Paladin, be a good girl and don't cause anymore trouble." He added, which would probably be news to them that Paladin even had a gender. "Now... How about we actually get to the fun part of the party? I might have have borrowed some whiskey... And Vodka... And bourbon. I was going to wait until the room was a little more empty but... Might as well drink now, since I can't feel my face already."
Zim was conflicted. He didn't really know what to do. However, it seemed like everyone else thought that it was fine that a machine just attacked a human? Zim didn't agree with that, but for now he had no choice but to go with it. He stood there, unable to relax as the drone crawled over to Katya and Ana. Zim moved away, no longer trusting the AI. He really didn't say anything, he was so conflicted over what to do. Ultimately, he decided to follow military protocol, his superior officer told him to stand down, so he did.
Ariin slipped towards the DJ booth and produced the bottles stacking them on refreshment table. "Booze is out!" He called to the party as grabbed himself a cup and poured whiskey. He was plenty old enough on his home planet to be drinking, he figured he might as treat himself he hadn't a real drink forever.
"PALLY'S A GIRL!?" Ana blurted out, focusing Immdiately on the important details as ever in the tense situation. She didn't even pay mind that in the long run her and Pally's mission had succeeded in that Ariin had agreed to Katya's offer.
When Ariin mentioned the fun part of the party and mentioned alcohol, Anastasia knit her brow in confusion. She was pretty sure they were not legally old enough to drink, and that would be against the rules! Yet the boy brought out the alcohol anyways and she knew some would try it. Also... She was curious what it tasted like. Sneaking her way over, Anastasia tenatively poured herself a little bit of the vodka before knocking it back.
Within seconds she started coughing and got rid of the cup in the trash. Shaking her head she looked towards the others and said softly "That tastes so gross." Then making her way back towards the others without any alcohol. She'd stick to her sweets, at least Papa wouldn't get too upset about that.
What Ariin said next came as a bit of a surprise to Katya as Ariin said girl when speaking to the drone. Katya looking down at it with a raised eyebrow. “A girl huh? I didn’t think AI’s could have genders,” she spoke wondering just what type of AI Paladin was. Having never seen an AI like Paladin before, it made Katya wonder, did all their werk come with something like this and Ariin little brain swap had brought out part of the werk they simply did not know about? It was food for thought but it would have to come later as Arinn continued to speak mention getting to the fun part of the party mentioning a trio of different drinks. One of them sounding very familiar to Katya. Vodka it being a fairly common drink although she was sure whatever Ariin had acquired would be very different from what she knew but it would not stop her from giving it ago.
So she watched Ariin slip away and call out that the booze was out. Katya snuck off at the same time as Ana, watching as she tried a little bit of the Vodka and snickered to herself before moving in to investigate the bottle. To see sure enough it was some off-world variant she had never seen before but that was a minor detail. As Katya was quick to grab a cup and poured just enough to get a good taste of the Vodka before downing it quickly.
“Not bad, who’d of thought people on other worlds could make something that tastes close to home?” she muttered thinking she’d have to ask Arinn to acquire more of it later. Given Katya actually did enjoy having the odd drink as she found he helped her unwind although normally it was only one or two as anything more than that and she tended to unwind too much.
It was in that moment that the red haired princess returned to the room in a tissy. "Everyone," Elizabeth called out to the room, "Fortress has fallen! It's just coming down the data streams now!"
Zim's attention was stolen now. "Did you say Fortress?" Zim responded, he didn't wait for an answer. He retrieved his datapad and pulled up the data stream on Fortress. It only took a few seconds for him to recognize the footage. "I uh... I gotta... Uhm... Go." Zim said, his head swimming, he furrowed his brow as he gave a half hearted wave at the group and rushed back to his room to try and reach out to his parents.
Elizabeth and Val would have no idea why such an announcement would affect Zim that way, but the rest of the squad would know from talking to him, and Ana would know from the personell files she had downloaded, that Fortress was Zim's homeworld.
Not long after she'd returned, Ana was once more distracted as she spun to look at who was entering the room.
Fortress had fallen? Ana remembered that was one of their biggest strongholds and... Zim's home. Immediately the android turned her attention towards the pilot as he excused himself with sadness in her eyes. "He's like..." She said before trailing off. Anastasia almost said herself, but knew those memories weren't her own. Just a side effect of her genetic donor. She frowned, wondering what to say next.
The news Fortress had fallen had come as a surprise to Katya, having heard it was a military stronghold and thought it would be one of the few places that would be able to repel a Cruxi attack. So to know it had fallen to the enemy was an unpleasant shock. If Fortress could fall, was any world safe? It made Katya worry about her own world. While Kromm was fairly well protected, it still was not Fortress. Then there was Zim, who Katya knew all too well Fortress was his home after all they had an entire conversation about it.
Katya first reaction was to look to Zim who she could see was looking at his tablet before taking off. Katya thinking she’d need to check on him sometime tomorrow. Pretty sure right now right now he’d want to be on his own or check on any family. Her second reaction was to take the of Vodka bottle and down a third of its contents. The news of Fortress combined with the situation with Zim and Ariin all become a bit too much for her to deal with right this moment. It only dawning on her after she had down the bottles content on what she had done. “Crap … going to be fun once that get into my system. No pointing in holding back now,” she muttered looking at the drone on her shoulders. “Pally I might start acting different soon so don’t be alarmed okay? Just stay out of my reach.” she told the drone before going back to Ariin and Ana.
“So … you all heard what was said? Scary stuff, but I think it be best to either end the party now or keep going. After all, nothing we can do about it unless we get deployed. Plus I got to say Ariin this Vodka is good stuff it reminds me of home. I also may of just downed a third of it. So it’s mine now.” she spoke taking another swig of it. Aware it was already too late for her so she didn’t really care if she drank more of. Plus it would help her forget everything at least for a little while.
"Drink as much as you like." Ariin offered pouring himself more whiskey, frowning when he heard the news Fortress had fallen. He knew of the planet by reputation but he'd never been, seeing how Zim had reacted it must have been his home. Ariin knew he could do nothing right now so he sighed and poured four fingers of whiskey knocking it back. "Might as well enjoy then," He paused looking at the others, "No point in all this going to waste, drink to the fallen," he answered with a shrug.
Back home they had done Wakes for the dead, parties to celebrate life and more booze than most would care to admit. They ate, drank, sang, and partied like they were all dying in the morning. It was an interesting tradition, one Ariin hoped would be what happened after he died.
All Pally could think to do was jump and climb up on to Ana's head, nesting to watch over the others as Ariin looked at Katya. "Well, give me a few minutes and I'll probably be just as far down the bottle as you are," He chuckled, he enjoyed the warm burning from the aged drink.
Anastasia watched the two and how they handled the news with interest. Did all humans resort to alcohol to handle bad news? This of course caused the android to frown as she wondered how any humans survived with what alcohol did to a body. Hopefully nobody drank too much, it would be sad to have to send them to the hospital. After a few moments of relative silence, the girl decided to step back to the group and try to lighten the mood a little.
Stepping over to Katya, Ana giggled and leaned on her shoulder a little bit a playful gesture that some might see a little flirtatous. "Well, if we're gonna keep going, betcha Katya will be the first one to finish her bottle. Or are ya gonna prove that you won't lose to a girl?" She said to Ariin, flashing them both a dazzling smile she knew was something that grabbed the attention of boys and some girls if the scientists to ran the tests were anything to judge by when she wanted to get something out of them.
Then she felt a presence on her head and reached up to feel the cool metal of a drone up there. Ana gave a less dazzling, yet seemingly more genuine smile as she realized it was her friend sitting up there. "Hey Pally, comfy up there?" She asked in a rather happy, yet content tone.
Ariins words earned a nod from Katya and she quickly took another swig from the vodka bottle. Pleased he was not about to try and take the bottle from her. Given like she had said, Katya had already drank a good amount of it. Although, if he really insisted she’d give it up pretty sure Ariin would be able to take it off her, one way or another.
Katya took another drink when Ariin spoke mentioned drinking to the fallen. “For the fallen! May they find peace with their ancestors!” she spoke holding the bottle up and downed another swig of Vodka for the moment Katya trying to pace herself a little bit so she didn’t get too drunk, well, hopefully. Although she didn’t really care too much given she knew she’d pay having drunk as much as she had already. Pretty sure she’d be made to suffer tomorrow while on duty. However, it would not be the first time she had to deal with a hangover. Still Ariin's words did make her think of how they dealt with the dead back home. Knowing they’d hold a short memorial where the body was burned and the ashes committed to the sands, blessing where spoken. After that, life continued and family was allowed to mourn in private. Katya wondering if the people back in her home outpost would honour her in the same fashion if she died.
The thoughts lost when Ana spoke leaned on Katya’s shoulder. Katya giving the girl a raised eyebrow. Which became an amused smirk when she spoke. “That sounds almost like a bet or a dare … I can’t quite work out which.” Katya spoke taking another swig, looking at Ana for a moment. “Although I will say that’s a really sweet smile Ana, could make a girl forget her boy troubles or her interest in the other gender …” she spoke trailing off almost like she realised what she was saying. But merely left it there looking away from Ana, Katya cheeks going a touch red.
When Pally hoped of Katya’s head the young woman didn’t even notice. Until Ana spoke giving the drone a glance. Katya was quite pleased to have it off her, pretty sure once everything got into her system the drone might be at risk of being tinkered with.
Paladin could only stare trying to understand what was going on, while trying to understand why the humans insisting on poisoning themselves. Although Ariin's medical records indicated his family history would give him a stronger tolerance of booze combined with the fact he'd been eating, meant he'd probably be the last one to get drunk... If he didn't start chugging the bottle.
Ariin merely chuckled. "Good whiskey is like good company, you have keep it around long enough to enjoy..." He grinned smiling a little. "But I doubt either of you could really keep yourselves up right if we got to proper drinking. My home planet distilled the finest whiskey known." He sighed and poured four fingers more knocking it back. "Besides... Someone has to stay sober enough to keep things going and Ana your in charge of protecting Paladin... Since I'm pretty sure Katya and I would both like to give her a piece of our minds about her stunts."
Paladin heard that and scrambled down, peaking over Ana's shoulder looking at the other two, cowering slightly.
Ana looked towards Katya as she heard the compliment and her cheeks flustered a little bit before the girl responded. Though the algorithms in her mind told her she wanted to return the compliment. "Watch what you say Katya, yours might remind a girl of her interest in the same gender," She said, favoring Katya with a slight smirk and biting her lip slightly. It was just flirting, normal people did that right!? The girl obviously didn't think anything special would come from that.
As Pally hid herself, Ana smiled and giggled cutely. She reached a hand back over her shoulder in a way to pat the drone. "Don't worry Pally, I'll protect you!" She declared confidently, as if she were preparing to protect Pally from a Cruxi horde instead of two drunk allies.
Ariin's words earned a nod out of Katya and another when he mentioned his doubts about them keeping up with him a in proper round of drinking. “More than likely but I'd still give it a go. Although, I’m not the best at holding my drink. This bottle alone will most likely get me drunk. Maybe not quite passing out drunk but enough where I won't give a crap about my duty, the Cruxi or my homeworld. For a little while, anyway.” Katya spoke glancing at the drone, “You Pally, listen to Ariin or you’ll end up in some appliance like a toaster or something. Of that, I promise you if you act up.” The pilot took a long swig of Vodka.
Ana’s words earned a slightly perverted grin out of Katya as she leaned in closer so she could speak to Ana without Ariin hearing her. “And who says I wouldn’t like that?” she whispered giving Ana a slight peck on the cheek as if to hightlight her point and to see how Ana would handle it.
Ana's entire face flushed a bit as Katya responded, seeing it as a challenge almost. Katya's surely just trying to unnerve her, and she wouldn't win! Even if it did kind of catch Ana completely off guard. Looking towards Katya and mimicking that perverted grin, though keeping it as a rather cute twist on it, "I don't think you could handle that. Besides, you missed honey." Ana turned towards Katya, almost as if daring the girl, she was confident she had won their little game of flirting. Hoping so, at least, she certainly wasn't sure she'd last much before fleeing in pure embarassment. After having spoke, she awkwardly reached back to pat at Pally, finding comfort in her best buddy so far.
As Ana spoke, Katya’s grin grew.
“Sweetheart, you not seen me behind closed doors. I think I’d eat you alive… little girl. Back home playing around is not considered a bad thing and we young folk get bored very quickly,” Katya said her voice getting almost sultry undertone to it. Katya’s arm slinking around Ana’s waist and sitting just above her rump slowly sneaking down.
Ana giggled at the comment as Katya continued, although she soon froze up and straightened as Katya's hand snaked lower. Her entire face turned a very deep red. It slowly dawned on the girl that Katya wasn't playing. She immdiately shoved away and stammered out vague words before running behind Katya and shoving her into Ariin. "I thought we were joking! You're supposed to kiss him, okaybye!" she shouted out before turning and fleeing to the table of sweets, hiding nearby while stuffing her face with cupcakes until her face stopped burning.
Ariin burst out laughing as he watch Ana rush off, he caught Katya as Ana shoved her at him, helping her steady herself. "Well, I'm not sure what you said but she's blushing like a school girl that just got asked out." He relaxed grabbing his cup looking at Katya. "Glad you're having a good time, I think we all needed this... to unwind and just have a normal day... Doesn't hurt that the military bankrolled this thanks to my five finger discount." He smiled knowing Katya wouldn't care about how he'd gotten all this now.
To say Katya was surprised when Ana pushed her would have been a massive understatement and would have fallen flat on her face if Ariin had not caught her. The young woman giving Ariin a small smile as she steadied herself taking another drink of Vodka. Looking at Ariin and giving him a slightly perverted grin when he mentioned Ana was blushing like a schoolgirl. It fading slightly as he kept speaking. Sure enough, Katya didn't care that Ariin had stolen the supplies for this party. She had already figured that part out.
“Agreed, but I’m only just starting to have some fun. I’m not sure if the Vodka is getting to me or not, but Ana might have started something … remind me to punish her at some point.” the woman spoke, downing more Vodka.
"Eh, I think she's nervous. She's new and all... Currently the person she gets along with best used to live in my head... I wonder if Paladin or I need therapy with that..." He shrugged and took up the bottle knocking it back hard looking at her. "So... What should we do for a little more fun? I'd dunno know about you, but I might as well enjoy this while we've got the time... After all any of us could be dead soon." He added looking at her a moment taking another drink.
"But yeah... If I remember I'll remind you to punish Ana if were both not too hungover." He smiled again much more relaxed and calmed down from before.
“Oh she was nervous alright. I don’t think she expected me to be serious. But I can’t help it. I get like this when I drink or when I don’t have to worry about squad stuff, my studies, Caretaker and everything else,” she spoke taking another drink as Ariin asked what they should do for a little more fun. “I could think of an idea or two. Butttttt it depends if you’re a good boy or not,” Katya spoke stumbling a little but she was able to keep herself upright. “But I wish you'd stop mentioning that we might die. We all know we could end up dead. We don’t need to be reminded. Plus you’ll be fiiinnneeee you got best field repair girl money can by. One who right now … is really starting to think she overdid it with the drink. You don’t think we’ll be deployed anytime soon right? I don’t think Caretaker would let me pilot drunk? Fussy werk, so demanding.”
"Heh Katya I've never been good. I do bad things for good reasons, makes just another bad guy," Ariin shrugged, placing a hand around her waist to help her keep her balance. "I think Caretaker would be worried you'd knock both of you over, but right now? I doubt we're getting assigned anywhere." He added looking at her. "Fine I'll shut up about dying... You wanna talk about fussy Werks? Your's does not live inside your head and question every move you make... Gods that drove me mad!"
"She fussed about everything, it was like having a nagging sister telling you how bad you are at everything," he sighed, "Granted... I like the company, helps sort out my thoughts. It was like being back with my siblings, never alone and always someone to talk with. Never tell her that or she will never let it go," Ariin added, slightly more serious. "Still... I'm glad Paladin can get out of my head and enjoy meeting you all properly."
Ariins words made Katya give a small grin, “And that’s why I like you!” she spoke blurting the words out without thinking.
“That came out wrong,” she muttered. Glancing down she could see Ariin's hand on her waist. But ignored it doubting he would be brave enough to try anything and was pretty sure it wad just to help her keep upright.
As Ariin kept speaking Katya listened giving a small laugh as he compared Paladin to a little sister. “I was the nagging little sister. She's just worried about you, it is our role as the younger sibling,” Katya stated, sounding almost proud of herself for being in that role as she swayed a little bit.
“Still it good to meet Pally. Although now I just want to stick her in various appliances. You think she’d like being a toaster?” she spoke leaning into Ariin more.
"Heh thanks, I like you too, never met anyone who believed Werks were alive like I did until you, so it was... Nice to meet likeminded people, especially someone whose as good with her hands you are... I mean, fixings werk not..." Ariin blushed slightly, "You know what I mean."
"As for toaster... I'd not trust her with anything that could make fire, she'd try to weaponize herself. She kept trying to figure out if she could access my motor functions, Paladin misses having a gun I think, part of the reason she doesn't need anything she could make a weapon... Especially flaming bread."
Ariin chuckled at the thought of an angry toaster firing bread them. Ariin reached for the bottle keeping her close as to take another drink.
"I think this is the first time we've had a chance to talk since I helped cart you in from the last mission..." Ariin smiled, "and to think a few days ago everyone thought I was insane... Now Paladin's roaming around in a drone tasing people." He mock wiped a tear away. "Crazy combat AI's grow up up so fast," he joked.
The moment Ariin said good with her hands Katya gave the man a poke. “Do I? Still, at the moment if play your cards right and if you luckily I might show you just how good I am with my hands,” she spoke her tone not giving any hint if she was teasing him or serious. Katya, at this point, was unsure of it herself.
His words about not putting the werk in a toaster made her frown. But she gave a small laugh as she thought of Paldan taking to the life of toaster more than a building-sized machine of death. “So putting Paladin into an Artermis is a no-no?” she asked in jest. No there was no way she’d be allowed to upload an AI into one of the attack drones.
As Ariin mentioned this was the first time that they had time to talk Katya gave a single nod which followed by a small laugh as spoke of Paladin growing up. “Yep, well I’m a busy girl and you people rarely bother me. Still, you got an excuse now so I expect to be bothered. If you don’t, you might lose to Zim. Still it is hard to think not long ago no of us knew Paladin was even an AI. Just try not to go too crazy.” she spoke taking another drink. “Soooo, good with my hands, eh? It almost sounded like you want to see,” she said trying to torment the young man a little.
Ariin blushed a deeper red at the idea, "I still owe a picnic with the werks... And probably Pally too, if I can tolerate her sitting on my shoulder. I cannot believe she tazed me... I should probably teach her the laws of robotics," he added before looking at Katya, "Besides, no matter how you skin it, you can barely stand so no matter how this ends I'm caring you home."
He looked at the girl, his cybernetic eye focus on her, "If you aren't joking, well... Guess things get interesting, if not I'm just happy to spend time with you. Like I said, I like you because your intelligent, funny, kind, beauiful, and- I should probably shut up now before you start teasing me again, right?" He said with a slight knowing smirk as he took one last hit from the bottle and moved to stand up right.
"We should get moving... Probably take us half an hours to stumble you back to your room... And then I have to find mine," Ariin chuckled moving one of her arms to wrap around him so they could support each other, putting him even closer to Katya.
“That you do! I expecting great things, so you better not disappoint or else I’ll make drills for you a living hell,” Katya spoke, her tone teasing. Although, there was a slight serious undertone about it. Given she was in a position of some power she knew she could make Ariin suffer a little and get away with it.
His next words earned a large girn out of Katya and a larger blush. “Shut up, you flatterer … still, I think you’ve earned a treat.” she spoke shifting so she could put a kiss on the boy's cheek. “Keep being a gentleman and you won't have to worry about finding your way home.” she whispered before moving away form Ariin, unsteady on her feet. “I’d hurry, if I fall you’ll lose your reward.”
Paladin gave a chirp of happiness from on Ana's head as he watched Katya kiss Ariin's cheek.
Ana looked up at the sound of Pally chirping, barely in time to catch the kiss on Ariin's cheek. She quickly swallowed the remains of the cupcake in her mouth and squealed happily, bouncing and clapping before declaring rather loudly with no thought to the two drunks at the moment. "We did it, Pally!" before turning back towards the last of the cupcakes, having managed to polish off an absolutely obscene amount of the sweets.
Ariin laughed and moving after her staying close as she made her way back, he was only buzzed, not drunk yet. His movement wasn't graceful but he had muscle and years of running away from peole who he had pissed off to rely on. Staying close he grabbed her hand as they left the room. "Your going to out run a trained thief while drunk?" Ariin smiled at her.
"You are by far the bravest woman I know." He said letting go of her hand once she was steady so they could keep moving knowing she'd prefer to walk on her own, he'd just be there to help keep moving if she stumbled... Katya wasn't the type to be carried, he'd learned that by now.
“You’d be amazed how quick I move when I am drunk, outpost life demands we can move quickly in case of raiders, or more commonly, sandstorms. Nothing worse than getting caught outside in a storm, you get sand in all sorts of places! Plus I’m not too bad yet. Most of the Vodka is not in my system but I’m sure that’ll change!” She shouted as she kept moving forward her ability to walk in a straight line compromised, so she would need a guide to stop from tripping or walking into a wall when they needed to go around a corner. “Remember, if I fall over you lose! Means poor boy would have to walk home alone. Personally, I’d cheat and carry me. But hey you're being a good boy, or are we too afriad?” she spoke using her teasing tone.
Pally chirped meanwhile realizing she'd need to make the long walk to Ariin's room alone, her legs were exactly long and the danger of getting stomped on would be present. She booped softly in binary to think out her conundrum.
"Come on were nearly there... Besides, carrying you would mean I didn't believe you could walk on your own," Ariin answered as he caught her once more just as they turned the corner to her bunk. "Come on, you should lay down. I told you before Katya... I've never been good and never plan on being good, being bad is to much fun... And doing bad things for good reasons? Easy way to take care of my family and let me do what I'm good at," Ariin answered while Katya unlocked her room, helping her in before starting to turn towards the door, thinking she'd just been teasing him. He figured she didn't really want to have him spending the night.
Ariins words earned smirk out of Katya. “I knew it you're afraid,” she teased nearly walking into a wall. Pretty sure it hadn’t been then a moment before.
At her room Katya unlocked the door she entered and went straight for her bed before looking back at Ariin seeing he was already turning for the door. “You’re a total idiot!” she shouted at him and grabbed him by the arm, “I meant what I said now what are you going to do about it or are you too much of a coward to even try?”
Ariin let the door shut leaving them alone.
As the drunken couple made their way out of the party venue, Ana snuck after them to peer around the corner and watch them go down the hall. Her usually happy and carefree features changed as her attention turned downwards and a slight frown appeared. "I want that..." she softly muttered, admittedly a little jealous of the companionship. It must be nice to not be so totally alone. With a long sigh she then noticed the beeping in binary and remembered Pally was still on top of her head. Quickly forcing herself to once more look pleasant, she tried to look upwards and understand. She caught little bits of it, but hadn't heard the entire message. So she decided to play dumb. "Something wrong, Pally?" She asked the Drone, hoping for clarification.
Pally typed out a message for Ana. 'Can I stay with you? It's a long dangerous walk to Ariin's room.' She cuddled up on her shoulders curious.
"Like a sleepover!? Lets go ask my Papa!" Ana said happily as she took Pally off her shoulders and held the drone to her chest, then started skipping away towards Lorenzo's lab where she was sure Papa was at the moment.
Zim asked Katya out, kind of. Ariin is forced to express his feelings for Katya. Anastasia is introduced. PallyDrone goes rogue and attacks her human 'masters.' Zim receives news that his homeworld is captured by Cruxi and exits stage left. Katya and Ariin get tipsy while Android and Rogue AI plot takeover of the universe. Ariin and Katya have a sleep over, Pally and Ana have a sleep over.
I watched the movie "Ready Player One" recently, and in it the Summon the original Gundam... And it was epic. However, I spent the next hour and a half talking to my wife and friend who joined us about which Gundam I would have summoned if I could have summoned any Gundam. My wife, nor the friend that were with us, care about Gundam at all. So, there was that. But when I was done, I still didn't have an answer, but I was down to like... five or so.
Reposting my character here first, just to get an official approval stamp before posting it to the character sheet. Also, gets people to see it without hunting for character relations and what his power does. shrugs.
Name: Hirikawa Reiji
Personality: Ostensibly Serious. All. The. Time. Rarely cracks a joke and is quick to anger. Doesn't get along well with most other people, but still somehow manages to earn their trust and respect. Holds loyalty more important than anything else, and betrayal as the worst thing you can do, outside of this he doesn't really have much of a Moral Compass. Doesn't drink or smoke, but not for any reason other than he doesn't like the flavor.
Appearance: Reiji has shoulder length black hair that is kept unkempt at most times. He is lean and trim giving anyone who sees him the idea that he is weak but probably very fast, which is true. He is tall for a Japanese man, standing near 6 feet tall, so he has quite the reach with the Katana he keeps on him, whenever possible. His skin is fair and smooth, further eluding to his skill with the sword - If he wasn't good, he'd be dead or covered with scars - or giving the appearance of being untested, which is untrue. His eyes are the type of bright amber brown not commonly found, perhaps closer to honey when seen in the raw daylight. Almost always wears black, but if he deviates it is to wear whites, blue, or grey.
Fear: Oneirophobia - the Fear of Dreams. Reiji has developed the ability to manifest dreams from his target, good or bad, and manipulate them to his will, utilizing visions of grandeur to bolster the confidence of a team mate or tricking a foe into false bravado, drawing on calming dreams to reduce panic or alarm, or simply twisting a good dream into a bad dream. The love of your life leaving you for your childhood best friend, your favorite pet being killed over and over again, being forced to kill your own parents during a special memory.
History: Reiji was born in one of the few remaining rural the countrysides in Japan by his grandparents. His grandparents were traditionalists and keepers of the old ways, teaching him of the Ayanokoji and Yokai. However, this taught belief manifested in terrible dreams. Sometimes they were just nightmares, sometimes they were waking dreams, sometimes they were pleasant. The dreams could last for only a few moments, or he could be locked in a coma-like state for days. He developed his fear of dreams, or Oneirophobia, due the terrifying and uncontrollable nature of his dreams. As a teen his Grandparents passed away and he was forced to move into the mega-metropolis that was the rest of the country of Japan. He quickly adapted to his new environment, but did not bond well with the other students in his school- he was often despondent and lethargic due to a lack of sleeping - being afraid to dream will do that to you. Once he graduated from High School he decided to dedicate himself to his swordplay and went on a journey around Japan to the dojos and learn wherever he could, challenging anyone who would accept. This developed a name for himself and a bit of a reputation. Eventually, he heard of a specialist in America who might be able to help Reiji overcome his fear of Dreams and he moved to New York to meet with the doctor, this is when he was recruited for P.H.O.B.I.A.
Extra: To this day, Reiji believes in the supernatural and superstition. Don't ask to see his sword.
And for anyone curious, that is a customized Gundam Barbatos from Iron Blooded Orphans, which is in my opinion one of the best non-cannon Gundam Series. You can tell its Barbatos because of the high-heels. I'm not joking.
So, I'm bored, so I am making yet another Werk. This one is just for funsies, I guess, so I am going to go ahead and stack it all the way, full 100/100 + unlock, because, its for funsies. Lemme know what you think. Boss, if you like it, feel free to use it somewhere, somehow.
Framewerk Code Name: Ryoto (Two Swords) Appearance: Number of Framewerk Systems: 2/2 Signature Weapon System (Twin Thermal Katana): 1 - Sword Skill 1: A set of specialized sword skills that allow for greater battlefield maneuverability. a - Dive Strike: Using additional thrust behind the sword strike it will carry the Werk one space in the direction of the strike, completely leaves the werk without the ability to defend itself. Strike cannot be blocked, but can be deflected, further pushing the space traveled in the deflected direction as well. Can be used to strike from one space away as well. b - Spinning Jump Slash: A flashy jump in the air the turns into a spinning, whirling dervish. Can be used against groups of opponents, a single opponent that is known to be able to block the first strike, or as a defensive maneuver. A highly defensible move. c - The Leaping Uppercut: A nearly unblockable attack where Ryoto squats low and leaps into the air striking from low to high, sending the werk traveling up into the air, where the thrusters are then fired sending it in a direction one space, there is the opportunity for a second (standard) downward slash if there is an opponent where he lands. 2 - Sword Skill 2: An additional set of specialized sword skills that allow for greater battlefield maneuverability. d - Rolling Strike: The werk either strikes and dives into a somersault, or somersaults and comes out of it with a strike. Slower than the dive strike, but can be stopped to defend if needed. Still moves the werk one combat space. e - Perfect Defense: A stance that allows the Werk to perfectly cancel out a single attack against it, but cannot be used with any movement that turn. f - Flip Strike: The werk will flip through the air, usually around an opponent or other obstacle to strike at a foe with the blades out and ready to strike even in the spinning rotation. If the first blade is blocked, the second blade will have a greater chance of evading defenses. Strike moves the werk one combat space in the direction of the strike. Secondary Weapon System: 1 - Deflect: Using the swords to catch and deflect attacks intended for Ryoto. With enough time to prepare the attacks and can reflected back at the attacker. 2 - Dragon's Roar: The face on the chest of the werk opens up and a shot-gun blast of laser beams shoots out for a short range attack. Weight Class: Ultra-Light with strategic armor placement to protect vital points and joints. Special Ability: - Seven Heavenly Swords: Seven energy swords are drawn from the face on the chest and are controlled as if with magic. They do not need to be handled by the hands of the Werk but rather float around as needed to attack and defend within a short distance.
Also: Funfact: This Werk is controled using a body mimic system, where the pilot has to actually go through the movements physically in order to make the werk make the movement. This requires a special kind of plug suit, plus vocal controls.