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We'll be keeping this open until this scene ends, then closing the group for the next mission. If you're interested in some imminent Costco related hijinks, consider joining
Abigail couldn't afford to pay attention to anything else on the battlefield except her own MAS and the MAS units hot on her trail. As such, she didn't notice that the Yeoman had been engaged nor that the Sparrowhawk was tussling with a Fenrir. Every fibre of her being was singlemindedly devoted to keeping ahead of - and away from - the trio of Garmrs and their bursts of fire. So when they tried to pen her into a straight line, Abigail was on the Comms going "Now-...now? Backup! BackupbackupbackupBACKUP-" with increasing panic.

In the handful of seconds Abigail had to adapt to her new situation she grabbed her M15 combat blade, suddenly engaged her thrusters against her trajectory and tilted downwards, then twisted the Kolibri around and slammed the knife upward. The sudden deceleration was an agonising lurch even in the suit as a pained yell crackled through the Comms. Lt. Amy and Abigail veered off in a wild spin after the heat knife gouged into the Garmr and their combined momentum sent them flying. There still wasn't any time to relent. Since Abigail had launched the counterattack she was just as quick to disengage, wrenching the knife free and using the spinning Garmr as leverage to push herself out of the spin and away from the engagement to try and right herself.

As Abigail went off in a wide arc, the other two pilots opened fire. This time, one of them hit the mark. With most of the Kolibri's strength in avoiding projectiles before they hit, the explosive rounds tore through the lessened armour plating like paper and blasted through one of the foot-like struts at the bottom of the MAS. Though the damage wasn't too severe Abigail's balance was thrown off as she was sent in another spin, crying out in surprise as she wrestled with the controls to right herself and get out of the way. Her priority was less about evading another hit and more to do with getting control of the machine before they moved in once more, so as the undamaged Garmr closed in and levelled its rifle with the Kolibri's whirling chassis...

A thick cylinder of light enveloped the Garmr in a blindingly bright flash, leaving behind a smattering of melted debris and viscera in the vacuum of space.

On the hull of the Roanoke the monstrous behemoth of the Krakono had finished positioning, stabilising and preparing it's laser cannon. The barrel still glowed with residual heat as it recalibrated to sluggishly follow the Kolibri as Abigail was able to adapt to the damage and sweep upwards, far away from the carnage that Jakunta just left behind.

“Pipsqueak this is Grizzly, stabilise yourself and make way back to the Roanoke- you’re hit bad. One Garmr still on your tail.” came Jakunta’s voice through the encrypted combat comms.

"Right you are," Abigail breezily responded as she hacked her way through various evasive manoeuvres and outpaced the final remaining Garmr and his frenzied spurts of ammunition.

Laserfire streaked across the side of the Kolibri’s hull before it abruptly shut off, smoke and dust from a quartet of mirco missiles obscuring it from view. A gray and orange blur swooped in moments later, disappearing into the cloud. The bungled mass of both the Sparrowhawk and the Garmr it was ramming tumbled out of the smoke before Ingram kicked off of the thing, his Sparrowhawk’s wrists extended. Streaks of burning green and orange flew in a wild spray as Ingram unloaded a pair of scattershot canisters into the lightly armored Garmr. The iridium pellets tore into the Garmr’s chest and torso, leaving deep gouges as the unit powered down, unresponsive.

“You’re welcome,” Ingram said unprompted, as the Sparrowhawk paused for a moment, reorienting itself and examining the battlescape for another opening.

Abigail coughed a few times, groaning slightly. It wasn't that she was not accustomed to it; being subjected to such differing forces and pressures at unpredictable intervals was uncomfortable and laborious even at the best of times. It really wasn't uncommon for Abigail to sound hurt or tired during a fight as she usually handled these manoeuvres with some short reprises between them.

"Hey Grizzly wanna see me land on one leg-"

"Roanoke, this is River Styx. I'm going to need an escort as I pass through the battle space. The ISS is too far out to provide support for Sunray. Requesting the 7th's supp-"

The Kolibri skidded somewhat but arrested it's momentum on the chassis of the Krakono, as it had done so many times before. One metal hand curled around a cannon with the other levelling the rifle. "We've gotta move," Abigail spoke lowly into the Comms - all traces of her silliness had evaporated.

“Did you fuckin’ hear th-”

"This is River Styx! Contact! I am being engaged by four times Coalition irregulars! I've lost power to one engine. Sunray is aboard this ship! I say again! Sunray is aboard! I need immediate assistance!"

“Fucking hell,” Ingram cursed across the squad channel, “Squad, new priority- someone go grab Styx and walk his ass to the Roanoke! Now!”

"Detach from the Roanoke Grizzly, we gotta go." Abigail's thrusters lit up as she got ready to rush towards the coordinates, but her soldier's instinct kept her close to the heavy MAS. Jakunta didn’t respond, only acted. The heavy MAS was in the process of slowly but steadily building up speed to manoeuvre itself gradually in the direction of the River Styx. Abigail circled around the Krakono as it started to take off, but the frenzy of the battle was starting to affect the space around them. "Brace, brace! Ten o' clock!" The Kolibri swung behind the Krakono as a hunk of Horizon Point smashed into its hull - nowhere near enough to cause any damages to the plating but the shrapnel and debris cluttered the surroundings and forced Abigail underneath the MAS, clinging to the flame vents.

"Ferryman this is Pipsqueak! Me and Grizzly are coming as fast as you can, could you give us an update?" Abigail shouted down the Comms and detached from the Krakono, ducking and weaving through some of the detritus of the space battle. There was no response; Abigail wasted some ammunition to cut through what was left of a Sentry MAS and pushed aside the wreckage.

After a few agonisingly long moments and without making any real progress towards the carrier, the River Styx sent out one last message:

"Roanoke, this is Ferryman. Sunray is aboard a lifepod and is ejecting toward Cerol. Send a recovery team immediately."

For a brief moment Abigail and Jakunta floated in silence. They watched through the HUD as the River Styx was shorn up into pieces by Coalition irregulars and the explosions grew from its hull like sickly orange tumours. Then Abigail's UI started flashing and Kolibri wheeled away to avoid a few flashes of a laser. "Orders, Grizzly?" She asked Jakunta, her voice clipped and a little affected.

“They’re clear. We gotta’ rally with everyone. Chase up after the escape-pod and make sure they don’t destroy it or capture it.”

"Right." Abigail lifted her MAS from the Krakono. "We'll need the Full Echo. Commanders, the Krakono is en route to whatever the fuck is left of the River Styx."

Ingram’s comms lit up, but he didn’t speak for a slow, agonizing moment. “Pips, Grizzly.” He managed to get out through gritted teeth after a moment of hesitation, “Leave the Styx, Secure the escape pod. Sunray has prio.”

Abigail had already wheeled the Kolibri around. She used its arm to shove aside the detritus of what must've been an old restaurant bar. "Boss, elaborate. 'Secure the escape pod?'" she asked. The Krakono's thrusters didn't turn the beast immediately but having some anti-spacecraft weaponry pointed at whatever took down the Styx as they withdrew from the area wasn't necessarily a bad thing. "Mid-flight, or…? What about the Roanoke - the rest of the squadron?"

“Drop, now!” Ingram barked through gritted teeth- it was a tough call, but there was no time for hesitation. Especially with the escape pod already entering the atmosphere, even a minute of indecision would result in the VIP touching down much further away.

“We’ll catch up, but we cannot lose that pod. Secure the pod, find cover- we’ll figure out exfil when we make landfall.”

There was another pause.

"Yessir," came Abigail's voice through the Comms. "Preparing for re-entry. Starting up the Full Echo. Swapping to a private channel to co-ordinate with Grizzly. Have fun out there, guys."

There was a click and Abigail's comms went completely silent, the image of her helmet fizzling out of the HUD. Jakunta's portrait followed shortly after.
"...Wow." Abigail leaned back a little, her lips curling into a smile. "A bona fide, honest-ta-jesus heretic. Ex-catholic and a witch. You must be tryin' to set a new record fer 'fastest one way trip to hell', huh?" Again, it wasn't an overtly malicious and antagonistic approach. Despite making her beliefs ridiculously clear she hadn't spun off on some religious tirade because, unfortunately, she had more important questions on her mind. "So how'd you do it? Y'know. With the goat?"

“They don’t do goats. Think they let the goats do them.” Brooks didn't look up from his magazine.

"But there's a uh, a logistics issue. The size difference, fer one. Was it a lady goat?" Abigail looked down at Zephyr, then back at Brooks for further information. "If a fella has to fornicate with a goat is it always gonna be a man-goat on another man or a lady?"

“No. A man-goat is what comes out after they do it.”

"That's some real satanic shit." Abigail mulled over this new, awful information. "...Even out of the guys?" She looked at Zephyr, horrified. "Where'd it come out of?"

“Alright, quit teasin’ him.”

Abigail glanced over at Brooks and scowled. "Laugh all you want. The government did a pretty fine job of hidin' the real practices of paganism from the rest of America so folk like you don't think it's as dangerous as it is. Youth pastor Jonathan told me they had to make a pact with the devil by givin' themselves to goats just to get his true power." She looked down at Zephyr, a mix of disgust and resignation on her face. "Guess you got what you bargained for, and since I'm also a Godless reject... I'm grateful yer pointin' them cursespells at the folk who are tryin' to kill me."

Another attempt to reach out. A horribly misguided, poorly understood but genuine attempt to be nice. Abigail scratched her spotty cheek and wouldn't meet Zephyr's gaze.
"EVA! EVA, start the fucking engine!"

"EVAAAAHSHIT I don't have any fucking privileges!"

Abigail slammed into the corner of a wall and kept running, shouldering past personnel as she gunned it for the hangar bay. A familiar lumbering figure cut out from the other people-sized crew of the Roanoke. "JAK!" Abigail hollered, followed by something brief and desperate in Savonian.

“On it! EVA, start the Kolibri and the Krakono." Jakunta glanced down at Abigail. "I’m staying with the ship!”

"Good. I'd like somewhere to land when we're done cleaning up this mess," Abigail flashed him a brief smile and sped up to get to the hangar bay.

A path split for the pilots to reach their vehicles and Abigail scrambled into the Kolibri as fast as she could. The moment her rear end planted onto the seat her flight suit clipped into place around her and she pulled the helmet on whilst the cockpit closed and sealed shut - already the HUD had been enabled and the thrusters had warned up somewhat from being activated early. Her breathing calmed. Her fingers curled around the control stick and she felt the dull thumps of the cables detaching from the machine. Then the rails jettisoned her into space right after Ingram's Sparrowhawk had been launched into the fray and for the first time, Abigail got a good look at what they were dealing with.

"Pipsqueak here," she called out over Comms when the check came through. She waited for everyone to respond. "I'm looking at several warships, frigates, destroyers and a whole swarm of Coalition MAS units. They vastly outnumber us, definitely outnumber the fleet, but not to worry - I'm sure if we do this diplomatically and teach them about our superior way of li--"

The Comms cut as Abigail swerved leftward to avoid a spray of bullets that exploded against the hull of the Roanoke. "Nevermind, they tried to turn my MAS into a sieve so I doubt they're interested in a peaceful surrender. That cruiser wants a go at us so I'm going to draw out their Garmrs before they get to Eyes and Grizzly. Who knows," Abigail turned on the throttle and started peeling out towards the oncoming forces, "maybe a couple of those Mk.II Fenrirs will join in."

Abigail fired a few warning shots towards the quartet of Garmrs and ducked under their ranks, releasing a couple of flares nearby that popped in flashes of light as she wheeled around and 'retreated' long enough to catch the attention of the pilots. Only two of the four tried to engage, causing the Kolibri to pitch to the right and roll over to face them long enough to fire a few more shots at the stragglers before shifting direction again and zipping upward. "They're not going for me because they have the advantage," Abigail reported. "Give me a minute - I'll need to keep pressing them." Despite the manoeuvres becoming increasingly erratic, Abigail's tone was calm - clipped slightly because she was multitasking but a far cry from her usual exuberance.

A crackle of static, followed by the familiar, intense, knife's-edge focus of Aleks' voice.

"Pipsqueak, this is Deadeye. I have line of sight, designate your highest priority target, over."

There was a roar of engine, silenced completely by the vacuum of space, and a brief streak of blue light and vapour as he manoeuvred. Rifle up, target group designated, and firing solutions preparing - six parts training, two parts experience, one part computer, and the last part pure huntsman's instinct. Coalition troops were well trained and had good discipline, but when you combined the harassment of the Kolibri with the sudden and unannounced arrival of a sharpened tungsten core in your wing lead's fleshy pilot body, anyone would be prone to panic.

Which was precisely what Abigail needed.

Even if it meant Aleks getting closer than he had planned to, in order to make the shot - but then, the enemy were advancing anyway.

Abigail's responses were as erratic in timing as her movements. She needed to pause to readjust the MAS, which spun and twirled in her hands with ease when unfettered by gravity and an atmosphere. "Whichever one out of the two that aren't following," she spoke out suddenly. "Don't let them-" a downwards dive - "know what we're up to. Or it won't work on the others." Another pause. "Tell me when you're about to fire. I'll piss off the other guy."

"At present distance travel time is point three of a second. Firing in one point seven seconds. Round is two seconds out…" rifle up, sights locked, trigger squeeze- "now!"

That was the beauty of it; it wasn't about the shot itself.

The Kolibri made a screamingly sharp turn back towards the oncoming Garmrs as another burst of ammunition swept under its feet and began opening fire on the two still advancing towards the Roanoke before Aleks' shot had a chance to hit. When one of the speedy MAS units was punctured by a massive projectile and went hurtling backwards, the other had to combined shock of losing a comrade and a UEE 'sparrow' MAS flying blisteringly close to its chassis after a few stray rounds tore through some plating. It wasn't meant to look coordinated. The real threat was the Yeoman in the back but the whizzing and rattling of the Kolibri spraying ammunition and getting far too close for comfort was effectively keeping them from progressing…

And thus, the remaining three Garmrs turned as a unit and started hounding Abigail's MAS with fervour.

Abigail did a cocky little barrel roll to taunt them.

"Okay, they're on me proper-" for a moment Abigail sounded winded as she decelerated quite sharply and drifted her MAS at an angle to avoid the next burst of firepower. Each turn was a complete and utter shift in pacing and direction. "-mind the Fenrirs. Give my three time to forget about you and tell - FNG what we're doing in the meanwhile so she-fuck-doesn't try to help me."

"Roger." He switched radio channels, panels in his cockpit coming to life and changing on their own as he controlled the MAS directly through his cybernetics. "Clara, this is Deadeye - Commander Danielsson." He clarified. "Pipsqueak is doing well, acting as a distraction, does not presently require intervention. What is your status?"
Abigail scritched her head. Maybe she just wasn't old enough or simply not worldly enough to get the concept of one man and a lot of women but she flat out missed the connotations. "Don't much see a benefit to being around a bunch'a ladies," she admitted, " 'cept that they don't smell as bad as fellers do when they don't shower. In truth, this is also the largest amount of women I've been trapped in a room with." She nodded solemnly. "We'll get through this together buddy. You 'n I." It was an odd way to show sympathy but at least Abigail was showing sympathy. Somewhere under the sleep deprivation and general wariness around the group, she was trying to extend a feeble attempt at getting along with people instead of just keeping to herself and running laps around the mall like a pissed off hamster in a wheel.

"By th'way did you just say gods?" Abigail honed in on the phrase with a unnerving intensity. "Plural?" She added on. "As in, more than one?" It was hard to tell which way her demeanor was going to shift when she was this tired. She just watched Zephyr, hawklike and unmoving, until he decided to elaborate.
As Abigail entered the bunkhouse, she split from Angeline and wandered to her (second hand, replaced and thankfully not-yet melted) sleeping bag. Her personal effects didn't amount to much; it's apparent that she either didn't have time to pack or didn't have anything of note to bring with her. The clothes were hand-me-downs from the VU alongside a few amenities and a little box of feminine products. She didn't often consider the nuances of fashion when she was picking out her clothes but always had a set of 'pyjamas' that amounted to an oversized pink T shirt with 'Towcester City' printed on the front and some tracksuit bottoms.

True to her word, she stripped and got changed right there in the bunkhouse. This was not an unusual occurrence. However, it was apparent that Abigail had no intention of sleeping just yet. She looked exhausted, though - beyond exhausted, so tired that the tiredness plateaued into a constant state of surreal drunkenness. Her sunken eyes, erratic movements and idle scritching at her bandaged hands made her look more wretched than she had been before. Nevertheless, she stretched her gangly arms high into the air and mumbled some half-excuse of "I think I forgot summin' back in the washroom, so I'm just gonna-"

“Not on your life- are you kidding me?”

Abigail paused mid-stride, her foot still in the air. She looked at Brooks who had set aside his magazine enough to match her steely glare. "Fuck d'you mean 'no'?" She asked in a tone that made it apparent that she hadn't often heard that word before - at least, not used in with this amount of severity.

“‘No’ as in ‘No, you idiot, you’re not going out’. No one is.” Brooks leant back into his chair again and opened up his magazine. It looked like he was waiting for the inevitable. Abigail took a second to process it then flapped her arm at the entrance to the store.

"But the other feller let me out all the time!" She cried, outraged. No response was given.

"You can't keep us in here all night, what if I gotta take a leak?!" She continued. Brooks was unflinching. He didn't even look up or respond to her and the lack of response was far more effective than wasting time trying to argue.

"This is tyrannical, You ain't much better than the FOE!" Still nothing. Abigail was losing steam fast - like trying to punch down a brick wall.

"Screw you," she muttered as her final jab at the unaffected bootlegger. Disheartened and trying her best to remain conscious, Abigail trapised a lap around the perimeter of the bunkhouse looking for something to do and, unfortunately, Zephyr just so happened to be in her immediate line of sight at that point. She tottered over. "Is it weird being the only feller in this bunk now?" She asked. "Do you feel all overwhelmed n' shit?"

Happy to announce we're looking for new members once again! We're shooting for quality over quantity, and our players ought to be looking at the long term since I think it's been well over a year since we started and we're still alive and kicking. As per usual, you can check out the OOC and come jump in the discord - we'd be happy to have you.
A year's gone and past and we're still kicking, much to Bazmund's dismay and delight. Now that we've finished a big mission, I'm happy to announce that recruitment is once again open. We're looking for long term players who are invested in character development. Our group is small and our brains are smooth but together, we cobble together some pretty okay IC posts. Even if most of them are collabs.
@LeiaHair

"-And what with the new influx of fellas coming in from the east coast, workin' their way up to New Hanlon fer bigger plots of land, broader business ventures...why, until this place gets civilised they practically ain't got a choice 'cept to use a horse, and a horse, gentlemen, is a long-term investment."

A group of well dressed men entered McKinley Saloon quite early in the morning, talking loud and proud about their latest business venture. The largest man, more fat than muscle, was dominating the scene; this was Mathias Quinn. The little young woman near the back of the group - that was Annalise Quinn. Out of the two, the latter was the biggest surprise of them all. It had to have been at least six months since she'd last been spotted by any of the locals outside of her husband's property. She was decently dressed but seemed to just radiate discomfort and fear, from the way she clutched her hands at her front to how closely she was kept to Mathias.

When Annalise's husband and his colleagues sat at a table, the man looked up at his wife with a big, toothsome smile. "Come now darling, today's a celebration. Why don't you go and set about making friends? Order yourself something good to eat." He waved a hand across the saloon. "Me and the boys here need to iron out a few things over breakfast anyhow."

This was an even rarer occurrence. She was usually kept at his side on a short leash; bewildered, the young woman sat on a bar stool not too far from Hannah. The barkeep looked at her with a strained, sympathetic smile. "Spot of coffee for you too, Mrs Quinn?" He asked. The waif nodded once.

From her position at the bar, the cuffs of her sleeves rode up just enough to see the greenish bruises underneath.
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