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Ki'Tlex and Queen Anne's Revenge

They had expected to have to ask someone, single out the most knowledgeable looking person in the cafeteria and request directions to the captain's bunk. Thankfully fate decided to make Ki'Tlex's life a little easier by bringing the boss to them. The three hands not occupied by Kottle waved back in response before folding themselves back under their robes. "You are correct, Captain Zhang. I am Ki'Tlex or simply Ki if you'd prefer. The infant is Kottle while the machine is-"

"Hi! I'm Queen Anne's Revenge but everyone just calls me Queen Anne."

"-yes, that. Myself and them are indeed here to join your war. I am a skilled mechanic and programmer capable of working with all manner of machinery and code. In combat I and Anne complement each other through neural linkage to serve as assaulters whether on the ground or operating in the void. We are experienced pirates and thus have an innate understanding asymmetrical warfare."

One of their past iterations had served as a mounted skirmisher as well but that was in the past and thus not worth mentioning.

Kottle pulled away from the oh-so-tasty finger to babble incoherently, proving that their vocal cords still worked by making a high pitched whistling screech. No longer interested in dealing with the little brat Ki conveyed all the necessary instructions telepathically, they and Queen Anne moving in perfect unison. Kottle was removed from their guardian's back as the robot's hardened chest plating cracked open to reveal the passenger space inside. With the basket strap placed on a hook Ki had installed for just that purpose Anne closed Kottle inside herself, muffling any more obnoxious noises.

"Our apologies!"

While Ki'Tlex silently filed away the knowledge that Moonstrike struggled against other pirates Anne was busy staring at the other machine. They were another war bot definitely but unarmed and smaller. An earlier model maybe? Or just one designed for combat lighter than full scale void assaults. Nirrti was scanning her which meant that interest had been taken which was nice. Anne simply gave a thumbs up, happy to stand there and get analyzed.

"I imagine I and you all will have to move quickly if we wish to recover these credits. Pirates tend to spend money as quickly as they can so they can get use out of it before their likely violent death. At least that had been how the Razor's Edge treated its group funds. "Although having other vermin flitting about might help cover my and your tracks and killing a whole bunch of them might make their friends mad. How much money did you guys lose?"

The other human female told them to submit to some sort of security procedure once the impromptu war council was finished and there was no reason to question the command. "As you wish. I also request access to the vessel's network as it would make my job easier but that can be done after I have been walked through all the steps required of I and them."
It wouldn't have been all that surprising if the Senior simply never showed up. Like Vos said, the man had spent huge amounts of time, money and effort to track them all down and arrange for them to meet up in this secret Bond-style supervillain lair. Someone who valued privacy and security that much likely didn't appreciate having to actually show up for a meet-n-greet with his chosen peons.

Johnny could respect that.

So there they were, standing around the proverbial water cooler trying to size each other up and figure out who in the hell they were working with. This was neither a crime family nor a military operation, Grace didn't trust any of the women and didn't expect them to trust her. Not yet anyway. Until they had actually worked together it would be impossible for them to be sure that they were all capable.

The screen's flickering on interrupted Johnny's musings on the nature of earning sisterhood, head turning to look at the man of the hour. Look at was perhaps a strong term what with the classic 'head shrouded in inky black shadow to present a human yet unknowable presence' thing. She was more observing the fact that he did indeed exist.

The mentioned kitchen went unexplored for the time being, Grace more interested in getting details than a drink. "Change everything we know for the better, just like you said on the tape." What positive changes could possibly be made by large scale grand larceny Grace didn't know but she was damn interested in finding out.

The Russian questioned the how before the why and Johnny was silently amused by the fact that at least two of the "most capable criminals this country has never seen" were foreign nationals. "Less girl power and more precisely planned operations, if I had to guess."
Ki'Tlex and Queen Anne's Revenge

Part of Ki'Tlex wondered if they should perform the rite of Social Death and simply move on. They had spent a good deal of time in their current identity, centuries of searching for wealth in the deserts of Kel and the holds of blasted open spaceships. They had traveled far and experienced much, outlived plenty of friends and enemies and had now reached a point where they could move on to a new life without feeling as if they were missing out. In recent years they had taken a mild interest in acting, toying with the thought of making their name upon the stage or the screen. Ki could already imagine it, a hardscrabble start as a desperate actor before finding some big break then a series of tabloid worthy scandals. Cliché perhaps but it sounded fun!

"Kiiiiiii! You can't go yet, I'd miss you!"

Queen Anne cut into their thoughts with their own, the message as grating as a klaxon call. Curiously even the AI's telepathic speech sounded as if it was being blared at maximum volume with a tone designed to make the enemy shrivel in fear.

"I'm not leaving you little droid, nor am I leaving Kottle. They were simply idle musings."

Saying goodbye to Queen Anne would be cruel considering the nature of their linked minds. Dumping Kottle off at an orphanage or something would be much simpler but didn't sit well with their pride. The infant's parents had called in the favor they had with their dying breaths so Ki was stuck with the little bastard until they could fend for themselves.


The noise slipped through their shared mindspace but whatever came after Ki couldn't catch, the robot closing off their side so that the barely coherent mess of thought wouldn't leak through. Ki 'knocked', pilot curious as to what their mech would want to hide. "Queen Anne? Did you wish to say something?"

"What? Oh no, I'm fine."

Ki'Tlex wanted to pry more, formulating their own storm of consciousness into concrete language before losing the train of thought as the dusty-skinned goblin on their back screamed directly into their ear.

"Oh no! Something's wrong with Kottle!"

Many somethings were in fact wrong with the little shit but sadly none that could be fixed by anything but the passing of time. Every time this happened Queen Anne got all worked up in concern but Kottle's cries were mostly made because the baby couldn comprehend existing in silence. One of the arms folded behind Ki's back reached into their bag to deftly unscrew the little mason jar they had readied for just such an occasion.

The smell of cooking grease filled the air as Ki brought out the leftover fat from the previous night's meal, slathering it over a pair of fingers and putting them in the baby's reach. Kottle took it from there, a mouth full of sharp teeth closing around the digits to gnaw at the treat. Ki was down to three hands for the moment and would probably have bite marks by the end of the feeding but at least the brat had shut up.

What a strange trio they made strolling onboard! A twelve foot tall robot and a hooded figure with a baby carried in a basket on their back, looking like they belonged in the setup for a joke as opposed to being onboard a ship full of would-be freedom fighters. The two adults were at least armed with a giant shotgun and a rifle (not mention the weapons concealed under their robes) respectively but they were still certainly an odd grouping.

They needed to find the captain or a first mate or some sort of authority but didn't know where to begin. They walked without purpose while Queen Anne followed behind, ending up in the cafeteria only by happenstance.

A good enough place to wait. If Zhang didn't show up then they'd just bother one of the crew in order to report in.

There was another robot there as well, smaller than Queen Anne and with a less humanoid appearance but still with the general shape. Ki'Tlex paid it little mind while Queen Anne waved, no doubt feeling some kinship with the thing she had never met due to their shared state of existence.

She was adorably stupid like that.

There was something strange about dealing with Mehetabel, a weird mix of déjà vu and amusement. Watching the woman explode had been like staring into a funhouse mirror, the reflection distorted yet still holding some recognizable qualities. The chip on her shoulder, the aggression bottled up inside, the disdain for authority and the belief that war should be fought in as brutal a fashion as possible, all traits Victoria possessed but was perhaps a bit better at controlling. For example, Vicky wouldn't be flipping her shit just because someone whistled at her.

"Yep. Figured you could use something after that display."

Her smile was a vicious one, baring teeth and making the scar across her face distort.

"You really went in on the sarge, not that anything you said was wrong. Too many jumped-up NCOs hoping to win a commendation around here."

Alex and Jean were pretty much the same damn person as far as she could tell, the same hand-wringing little bastard unwilling to actually get a little dirty while fighting a war. Just like the corporal had frozen up and gotten Thomas killed so would the sergeant make some sacrifices in his quest for honorable glory or some other rubbish. And that made Mehetabel the same as Victoria, a violent punk who knew the way forward was through a sea of mud and blood.

The Oceanic threw up her hands in mock appeasement, grinding a bit of dirt beneath her boot heel as she glanced back towards the pub. "Nah, I'm not really trying to go back in their until he comes looking. All that moralizing makes me sick." It hardly seemed like the sort of environment fit for a battlefield looter. "You seemed like better company."

'Better' was a strong word. More fitting company certainly but there was very little actually 'better' about either of the pair.

Alex was a Darscen, a Vinland Darscen specifically and damn proud of it too, but his people's practices and philosophies had never really been a source of light for him. He had an interest in all the tales and customs obviously and wore the pattern with pride yet never turned to his heritage when he needed guidance. Yet now he was wishing he had turned out to be more of a spiritual man because having some sort of higher power guiding him would be very useful. The other Alex had somehow survived getting cut down by Imperial machine guns and walked back into his life years later with a lower rank and a new name, seemingly just as surprised to see Schäfer as the other way around.

Valkur sensed his master's discomfort and moved forward to expect the stranger only to find his path blocked. Alex grabbed the dog by the face and pushed backwards, a maneuver that would cost anyone else their hand but with him was simply taken as an order to be followed without question. The hulking brute of a mastiff settled his bulk on the floor with all the weighty lumbering of an ox, leaving the two men alone to figure out what the hell was going on. Still reeling in shock Alex reached out for any sort of mental handrailing, scrambling to keep himself upright. Imperial. He'd switch to Imperial, force his brain to refocus.

"You went down, so did most of the others. I rallied the survivors and we rode away in retreat. The cavalry charge died that day so they reassigned me and here I am."

Easy. Simple, clean-cut and devoid of any mystery. Alex's circumstances could not have been more straightforward. Alexndre's on the other hand, his was a mystery. Now he would have to explain his side of the story.

"Quite the demotion you've been hit with. Care to explain how a son of Roland-Florence ends up as a mere soldier of the line?"

His tone was perhaps overly flippant but it was what Alex needed in the moment. Put up a barricade until everything made sense, keep some distance so that he could grapple with the fact that the boy-lieutenant he had mourned was a living, breathing grown man.

@Nimbus @AdmrlStalfos19
Approval given on Discord; moved to Characters tab

A mysterious voice who served as mission giver and benefactor, a trip out to New York, New York and then catching a ride to a dingy paint shop based on instructions from a tape recorder. The scenario Grace had found herself in was one out of every spy thriller and heist film she had ever seen. Which wasn't a bad thing, tropes were tropes for reason. All the cloak and dagger skullduggery shit was a welcome change of pace from staring at walls in some dirt cheap apartment.

All those millions she had did nothing but make her nervous, a pile of cash too dirty to spend in any sizable amount without attracting the attention of every Fed in LA looking for a big bust. She had tried to play it smart, keep everything on the down low and live off the fat stacks but couldn't take the waiting. The Senior was one of two things: an overelaborate sting operation or a chance to get back in the game and do what she did best. Either way Grace wouldn't be putting up with the silence.

Stepping inside the color splattered premises of Cheng's Paint was like a blast to the past. Her first few years as an armed robber had been spent taking orders just like she was now, meeting in the back of Family owned premises where she would be told to jump and ask how high. Then just as now there were middle managers who got paid very well to simply shut up, people with bills to pay or fingers to keep attached. And just like she did those ones Grace ignored Cheng, heading straight back then down into the basement.

Slip in through the freezer, skirt around boxes of paint and slap a few numbers into a very old school keypad and then press her hand onto a scanner that somehow had her metrics. That last bit was a little unnerving admittedly but it was far too late to back out now. The door was opening on a new reality, one chock full of sci fi computer geek tech stuff and the crew she'd be working with.

"Well we all showed up, means we're all fucked.

Who were these people? Grace didn't know and didn't care. Presumably they all brought something to the table just like she brought explosives expertise and a history of military-grade violence. She didn't need their life stories, their hopes and fears or any other band of brothers bull. All she needed was a name to call them.

"I'm Johnny." Her bags hit the ground with a thud, a cigarette pinched between her lips as she lit up. "Any sign of the man behind the curtain?"

Didn't fill out part of the system app because it would have been redundant with the species app. If needed I can edit and restate the information.

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