Chapter Two Epilogue: We built This City

Revenge? Justice? Untouchables? The Black Forge is a group of independent vigilantes and mercenaries looking to right wrongs and keep those above the law subject to a law of higher ideals. Come join our group to right your wrongs and help others to do the same. Learn the Black Codex, and transcend your weaknesses.
The Black Forge, a collection of misfits all, attempts to survive in a hostile universe, by trading, fighting, and exploring while running low on spare parts, food, and keeping one step a head of the bank.
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Bullroarer4
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Chapter Two Epilogue: We built This City

Post by Bullroarer4 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 7:35 am

We Built This City
Atraxis
Atraxis IV
Diej Prime

Dav sat down at his hotel desk. Pulling a small steel locket emblazoned with an anvil and scales crossed with a pair of ancient halberds. He carefully opened it, revealing a small computer interface port. He took a moment to offer a prayer to Libra, then plugged his locket into the complimentary computer. Strange noises emanated from the computer as the processing power sextupled. A timer appeared in the upper right corner counting down.

The word "connecting" appeared and Dav awaited, either the countdown to time out or the other end of the line to respond.

While Waiting, Dav reflected on the last few weeks...
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The Ride back to Diej prime was challenging. Gathering the scrap to sort later took most of the two days they waited for the two additional lifters to arrive. As the Carryalls needed all hands to carry the scrap Dropships, Each dropship carried a few of the black forge mecha as well as much scrap as they could pack inside. Rattling for two days inside a holey metal egg lacking in nearly any aerodynamicy was more torture than anything else. small flying scrap pieces in a windstorm danced in the open holding bays. Sand scoured everything, including the armored glass on the cockpits. Even Dav, an experienced mecha pilot, ended up vomiting inside his cockpit. For others, it was worse.

Joshua trying not to think to much about the passing battle he turns on some random music from his cd collection and slept and socialized with the other members of the crew and of his group. He cleaned his equipment on the way back to Diej prime. As Joshua was thinking to himself that he's glad that he didn't loose a group member in that last battle.

Orange did not mind the ride back to Diej prime it just kinda sloshed around the cockpit. The only worries it had was my mech arm is missing how am I going to repair it. On the trip back it decided to practice its mimic ability and just morph different parts of its body into different things as it sloshed around the cockpit.

Alex had already been feeling ill after his first battle. And all of the shaking around during transit wasn't helping. He ended up throwing up at least once, managing to get most of it into the trash bin situated behind his seat. It was almost a blessing when unconsciousness took him.

Once Beast was sure to be stable until healing could be done at the hanger, Xir went out in it's Bio-armor to assist with the scrap pick up as well as a thorough search for any Black Forge evidence that could be left behind. Xir talked and socialized with the other crew during this time as well as the ride back to Diej Prime trying to continue building a camaraderie with other members of Black Forge. Xir felt sympathy for the obvious discomfort of the travel back to city and wished it could do something to help them.

Steven feeling like complete crap the whole ride to Diej Prime, Steven felt like he had the worst stomach bug in the world. This is not a memory he would relish in, being the constant cycle of checking for a fever and trying to not vomit, and sleeping. Steven felt the best on the last day of the trip, being able to finally have a cup of coffee with having any issues.

Aiyana was relatively silent along the way back, mostly blaring music to keep her mind occupied from things. Once in the hanger she was MORE than relieved to be out of the metal monster she has to occupy but when she saw the damage done to it she let out a groan, " People I can fix...metal people...not so much." she grumbled to herself. The fighting hadn't done much to her as she had been around it before. Death didn't bother her as much as it probably should have but that was due to her just bottling it up and saving that emotional roller coaster for later. She would take the time though once they had docked to clean out her mechs insides and all the gross bits that were there as well before she would do anything else.

The trip back was fairly uneventful for Muk. Every few hours he would have to scoop up sand that had blown into his cockpit through cracks and dump it out the back into the interior of the scrap Dropship. He took that opportunity to dump the liquid waste he produced as well. This time he was able to hold back on the rations so he didn’t end up without any. Like Xir, the ride back did nothing to his stomach, but he was oblivious to the suffering of the others at best, and at worst he openly laughed at them.

Lyon was between a mix of vomiting and non-stop trembling. Unlike Alex, he never had the bliss of unconsciousness, his mind torturing him was the events that unfolded during those short few minutes on the desert sands. The desert sands that were now riddled with the corpses of Atraxians and the skeletons of their vehicles. He laid curled up on his seat sideways, that lack of accommodation for the pair of bulges on his back not helping matters at all. Most of the time, he had his hands covering his bloodshot eyes, muttering, "I could've died... I killed a man..."

Scott, a big fan of self medicating while married, stayed loaded up on Dramamine and several fifths of bathtub whiskey. He barely noticed the passage of time, even when he lost control of his bodily functions.

[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, lincolnD, Shinoh01, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
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Re: Chapter Two Epilogue: We built This City

Post by Bullroarer4 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:04 am

Atraxis
Atraxis IV
Diej Prime


Finally, the carryalls landed in Diej Prime. Scott, as the best technician in the forge, began the laborious process of assessing the dropships, now settled in large gantries. Three large Ovoid the size of buildings, each covered with open holes from weapon and reentry damage, sat beside the rented hanger space. The worst damaged one was sold as is for coin to purchase what little this planet had to offer in room and board as well as some money to pay the pilots a small amount of Werners. They earned it and more, Dav thought. Dav didn't take a cut, instead paying for a week in a low scale hotel for all his pilots and crew. Turns out renting a floor for a week with a large Atraxian carrying a money coffer can be remarkably cheap. Some coin went to paying laborers to assist in the refurbishment of the two dropships. As for the mecha, they were another story. most would need several weeks of repairs without a dedicated tech team. Since the coin was currently being spent on getting the dropships ready, the pilots had to manage their own repairs and refits.
Another problem was parts and ammunition. They had not much of either. Unfortunately, the Atraxians they fought used mostly autocannons. Reloads for those weapon types were relatively plentiful, but the higher tech ammunition, such as Gauss and missiles, were more limited. Another shortage was the high-tech armor. They could get more, if and when they returned to Vice, but Dav had no way of knowing when that might be. As far as getting coin, Dav considered doing a short protection contract with a few of the Black Forge pilots. And recruit, always recruiting. He needed mecha techs, ship crew, cooks, porters, mechanics. The list went on and on. He put the word out on the street with the local gangs and criminals. Advertising agencies cost money. Money, he didn't have now. Sure, there was likely to be problems between the recruits. There always was when hiring from the desperate and those lacking social skills.

Maybe he could get enough intelligent beings with a desire to get off this dust ball and willingness to get along to enlist.
After Orange flowed out of the cockpit assessing the damage done to the mystery machine it decided it needed four arms chainsaw arms to be correct. Orange flowed over to Dav " hey Dav could I use a few of the spare chainsaw arms to repair and add another two to the mystery machine? Also, any recommendations for someone to help repair and modify said mech?" Orange said. Dav replied,"Gimmie a few days and talk it over with Scott. We'll let you know." After discussing the matters with Dav, Orange decided to head to the hotel bar.

After arriving Joshua checked the damages and refilled on the ammo he spent during that last engagement after all his diagnosis are done Joshua headed to the bar to quench his thirst.

Xir took what money it was given to have access for enough water on this desert planet to at least properly hydrate Beast and the Bio-armor to encourage healing and recovery. Unfortunately, the Mecha bio-sack was beyond repair on this planet without a lot more time and water to submerged it in and allow it to regrow.
After taking care of Xir’s personal gear, it went and joined Scott to help salvage and work on the dropships. Xir admitted that it doesn't know a lot about their metal technology equipment on this level, but Xir is strong and can follow instructions. Xir dedicated its free time to help in any way Scott needed to get off this desert rock back to a proper hydrated planet.

After receiving coin from Dav, he promptly asked him if any mecha was in repair and he could help with the new drop ships acquired from the recent battle with the Atraxians. Steven was in happy mood to work on the technology. Steven asked "Dav, I would like work on the new toys.... I meant technology" with a humongous smile and energetic energy to him, almost as if Steven cannot stand still.

Dav replied over his stack of papers and data pads, his eyes rolling. "Sure, kid. Knock yourself out. Scott can always use an additional pair of hands."

Steven being ecstatic, he helped repair and manage the mecha of the black forge members,

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After plying his poor skills at marketing for a week, Dav settled into his worn-out beach chair and began to doze. hopefully a few people would enlist...

It would take a little time, but a shadow would pass over Dav’s beach chair and shade his face, perhaps it would be enough to wake the man. Standing in front of him was a tall woman, white skin shining in the dry desert heat under her wide veiled hat. She smiled down at him from under a pair of red cat’s eyes, her body was slim, but lithe almost like a gymnast as she fanned herself with a sheet of old-style paper. A hover cart filled with luggage labored behind her quietly.

"Excuse me. Excuuuuse mee~" She said questioningly, leaning down over him.

Dav raised the brim of his ball cap, squinting upwards. Taking in the well-bred look, with the fancy clothing and fancy luggage, Dav Thought she was a lost tourist. Dav settled the hat back down over his eyes as he waived in the direction of the main star port terminal. Dav said sleepily, "The main terminal is that way, little lady."

The hat tilted as she tipped her head to the side with a smile, closing her eyes to lean down under the brim of his hat. The tight fitting second skin of her undershirt being the first thing to peer into view under Dav’s hat, her hands going to her knees, squeezing her boobs together totally by accident.

"Little lady? I’m probably almost as tall as you. Is height a concern for operating your machines, or do you always sleep when a beautiful woman talks to you?" She asked with a small chuckle.

With a pair of genetically perfect orbs placed front and center, Dav's interest increased enough to sit up and take off his hat. Inches from her face, Dav took a second, more discriminatory look. Thinking this wasn't some space bimbo slumming it on the asscrack of the universe, Dav replied to her query with one of his own. " I'm thinking you aren't here for the culture or the cuisine, are you?"

She smirked down at him with her little pink lips and her red eyes took a good look at him from under the brim over her own, much larger hat that now shaded them both, the secretive veil hanging down her back.

"I assure you, my trip is strictly business. Getting into yours, to be precise." She quibbed, giving up her improvised fan to hand him the wax sealed paper envelope.

"Unless you aren’t looking for highly qualified mech pilots after all." she said with a small pout.

Dav took the offered envelope, His interest piqued. Drawing a long thin blade from his boot, Dav studied the seal, recognizing it immediately. "Your far from home, aren't you, miss...?"
While awaiting a response, Dav used the tip of the blade to slice under the seal, preserving the wax intact. Loosely sheathing the blade, Dav opened the letter, one eye upon the letter and one on the woman before him, to those trained in the martial Artes, he was no longer relaxed. Now he regarded the newcomer like a Puma, dangerous and beautiful.

"Weaver." She replied, smiling as she straightened. "Lily Weaver. Not many know where that seal comes from, Mister SteinBar. I’m glad I don’t have to explain it."

She closed her eyes and tipped her head to the side, waiting expectantly to be let in. The wax seal on the letter was far more than what it seemed. The simple dancing dog holding a sword upon otherwise plain paper belied a hidden message far beyond the simple letter of introduction and recommendation that was contained within the pages of the letter itself.

Dav had heard of Sheffeldan mercenaries from circles in the business. They were very few, but their machines made even one on your team a valuable asset, and their pilots were second or third perhaps only to Taienese in capability. Most of those pilots, however, were noted for using their own machines. Dav did not see a giant war machine standing behind the woman, even behind her enormous hat.

Dav turned sideways, standing slowly. He rose to his full height, gesturing toward an office which looked to have an air conditioning unit struggling in the ever-present heat. "How about we step out of the sun and into someplace a bit more comfortable? I am baked anyway and need a cold drink. Let us discuss Why you are here and how you know of me."

She looked up at him, she was tall for a woman, but he was tall full stop.

"Well, I guess you can call me Little Lady after all. Lead the way, boss." She said, clicking her heels as her hovercart made its way into the shade.

Hearing the heels clicking reassured Dav as he turned his back to the tall woman. Keeping pace to stay just out of arms reach, Dav quickly made his way to the office. Using his manners, he opened the door for the finely dressed lady, one hand resting on his hip, knees loose. "Have a seat, if you would." Dav said as he gestured to a worn metal folding chair in front of an aluminum folding table. The table contained all the usual accoutrements of a busy office manager. Stacks of both data pads and hard copy poly printed panels spoke to a cluttered desk and a busy mind. A small refrigerator sat beside the other chair and a small AC unit took up the only window in the office. Little organization could be seen from the view of the door.

"Thank you kindly." she said primly as she flitted through the door.

She took off her hat with a sigh, and carefully tucked the veil back into it. In the dimer light he could see her skin didn’t shine as much, but was very clearly pale milky white, only emphasized by the strong makeup she wore. She gracefully pulled back the other seat and alighted upon it, crossing one leg over the other. Now he that he wasn’t looked at just her figure-hugging top, he could see she wore a set of very workable fatigues on next to her bespoke but practical boots. Despite it being just a cheap metal chair, she owned it.

Dav walked around the table and sat down in his chair. He opened the small refrigerator and pulled out two cheap fungus beers in aluminum cans, a staple on this planet. He offered her one, setting it on the table in front of her, then opened his own. laying the paper before him, he held his jaw with his left hand, appraising the figure before him. "So, tell me how a Sheffeldan mercenary made it all the way out here, especially with a letter of recommendation from the queen. Why here, why us?" Dav asked. Either fortune or destruction awaited this answer.

She sat primly upon her chair, taking the beer and sipping it while he laid out the paper, humming in thought before putting it on top of the hat on her lap.

"To be specific it was the Queens knightly order, rather than strictly herself, although she might have at least signed it. I’m not sure, the letter is for you not me." She said, smiling to disarm him.

So, she hadn’t been sent here directly from the royalty.

"There are terribly few people in our specific part of the business, and even fewer machines to go around those qualified to use them. I suppose you could call me part of the dispossessed, if I had ever possessed, really. Mister Sorano has not been subtle about his development efforts, and Sheffeld is a market for such things."

She broke her speech with another sip of beer, savoring it in her mouth before pouting her lips again.

"So, I’m terribly afraid there’s nothing nefarious about it. Simply trying to keep a spare pilot busy."

Dav took a moment to think by drinking deeply from his beer, the cold liquid coursing down his throat. "I think we can find a berth for you here, especially with the experience you bring from this line of work. Be warned, though. Most of us here in The Black Forge have rough pasts or for that matter, rough presents. They are not the disciplined soldiery you may be accustomed to. But they can shoot straight and have your back in a fight. They also are held to a standard of conduct within the unit. These rules are strictly enforced." Dav said. He fumbled in his stack of data pads before handing her one. "Please read and sign the documents."

She smiled once more and sat up, taking the data pad graciously, pulling it towards her to read. Her cat eyes slipped through the text at speed, not that such a rag-tag unit had a lot of it, and with a sigh and a nod she signed her name with a delicate, precise finger.

"There now. Shall I call you Sir?" She asked, looking back up at him and placing the data pad gently on his desk.

Dav smiled and stood up, extending his hand in the ancient manner of closing a deal, "Call me Dav, Lily. Were family now."

"Lovely to meet you, Dav. Shall we drink to it later?"




Atraxis
Atraxis IV
Diej Prime

On the first day, Muk opened the door to his room and walked in. He only needed to duck a little to fit, which was a welcome change. His boys were either off drinking or assisting with repairs to Doomcrakka. Muk flipped on the light and shut the door behind himself. He stripped off all his clothes and flopped onto the bed.

After a few hours of rest, he got bored and decided to try the television. He stopped on a movie called Jurassic Pork thinking it was about food. It started out with a scene of a man and a woman talking and quickly devolved into graphic depictions of human sexual activity. “Oy, what da fuck’s dat woman doin? Disgustin’ humies, puttin their mouth parts dere!” He roared in disgust.

Horrified, Muk turned to something called Alien. Within a half hour he was rolling around in laughter. “Muk didn’t know humies was dis funny!” He said to himself. Muk learned what channels to stay away from, not wanting to see something like Jurassic Pork ever again. He spent the rest of the day and most of the night studying human culture through television.

The next day he was getting bored with sitting around, so he explored Diej Prime’s few shops. He got talked into buying a large data pad for twice the usual price. At the clothing store, he bought a Down Under hat with Atraxian teeth sewn into the band. He also bought and then donned leather pants, a multi-pocketed leather vest, collared linen shirt, and a machete with a leather sheath and a thigh strap. A few passersby gave him odd looks and then quickly hurried away before Muk could retaliate. They didn’t have anything to worry about. Muk thought they were giving him looks of admiration.

He headed towards a local bar, ready to get drunk off his rocker. Halfway across the street, a small group of smaller Atraxians with knives approached him.

“Oy papaw! Gimme your money!” The largest one barked, waving his knife threateningly. Muk promptly drew his machete and decapitated his would-be mugger.

“Ya need a proper choppa, ya dumb gits!” Muk said with a laugh. The rest of the gang scattered. Muk knelt and ripped out the Atraxians teeth, stuffing the bloody trophies in one of his vest pockets. He searched the thug’s pockets and found a few pieces of some shiny metal. Muk left the useless trinkets, sheathed his machete and headed for the bar.





Alex had never been particularly drawn to the bottle, but after the battle, he had found himself ending up more and more at the various bars and dives around Diej Prime. He was clearly going through some sort of post-combat stress response, and the way he seemed to be trying to deal with this was to indulge in the drink. Today's spot was small but somewhat well known. People passed in and out of the bar, for the most part ignoring the young man sitting in a booth with several bottles next to him, clearly more than a few deep.

Orange flowed into the bar and looked around to its surprise it noticed Alex already seated, Orange flowed over to Alex " May I join you for a drink?"

Alex looked up at the strange alien, which he had seen squirming around the Black Forge's base occasionally. He didn't really know much about this comrade, aside from the fact that they appeared to be made of orange slime and were currently keeping him from drinking the memories of combat away.

"Sure, why not." He replied and slid one of the bottles towards the pile of goop.

Orange slid into the sit forming what looks like a mouth and a pseudopod picking up the drink and started chuging it. The liquid entering the mouth shape looked like it started dissolving.

Muk walked into the bar through the large humanoid entrance. A few people stopped talking and evacuated the premises, recognizing the danger of a large Atraxian. The rest of the patrons were completely unfazed by his entrance. Some were used to the sight of Atraxians and others seemed to have more worries than one big Atraxian.

As Joshua walks into the bar he sees Orange and Alex at the bar, so he walks up and says, " is this seat taken."

He noticed the slime and two of the little humans from the company had joined up for some drinking. They didn’t seem to be enjoying themselves much for some reason. He ordered a small keg at the bar and pulled a large, reinforced stool up to the edge of the booth his companions occupied.

“Wot is you lads doin? Dis ain’t a proper boozin mood.” Muk pointed out.

Alex spoke in the manner of one who was no longer sober, but not drunk enough to have forgotten their worries. "Just means that I haven't had enough yet," He said as he downed the remainder of the bottle that he was currently working his way through.

Muk took a big gulp from the keg he held in his good hand. He made a face at the flavor. “Humie brew too soft. Brain Bashas brew’d make ya head go boom.” He said, grinning. “We gets good shrooms, Muk’ll brew da betta stuff, got it?”

Joshua said, "Muk I would love to get my hands on that brew it sounds amazing to drink."


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Lily had set up her room to her liking in the hotel, nodding with satisfaction before stepping out to make friends and learn about her new comrades. Preferably before the shooting started. First, she would see the only other member of the crew clearly of the feminine persuasion, that seemed like a good place start, plus she was the healer, and you never wanted to be on bad terms with the healer.

Lily could hear the clamor from downstairs as the boys got into drinking and carefully made her way to what she thought might be the right door. Knocking with two knuckles upon the wooden door.

Aiyana had kept to her room for a bit, wanting to compose herself and calm down from the adrenalin rush of the previous days. She was mostly a healer not a fighter but still, death didn't bother her after what she had seen in her life.

She was fresh from the shower in a clean knee length skirt with leggings followed by a soft purple button-down blouse when she heard the knocking. Rubbing her hair still with the towel, she went to the door and opened it to find a woman standing there.

Giving her a warm smile, " Hello, can I help you miss?" Aiyana asked her curiously as she did not know the name of the new member yet but assumed this was her- yay for another female! was all the elven woman thought to herself.

The woman smiled with strikingly pink lips on her pale face.

"Hello, my names Lily, I’m new and I thought I’d come say hi and get to know people. I’m just glad there’s another woman here, so I came to see you first." She said, laughing a little nervously.

"Would you like to talk up here? I think the boys are already making their own fun downstairs in the bar." She said, looking down the hallway and then back at Aiyana.

Once she learned who the woman was, she gave another smile and nodded her head, " Please, come on in." the elf said to her as she stepped aside to let her enter.

Once in, Lily could see that her room was simple and plain but that she had an oversized duffel bag filled with random odds and ends inside it.

Walking over to said bag, she pulled out a thick toothed comb, " So how are you finding things? I know I'm still finding my feet here as I haven't been here that long myself." Aiyana told her with a small smile as she worked the comb through her thick curly hair.

Lily smiled and tipped her head as she was let in, Aiyana’s room was very much like her own, and so she took a seat upon the bed in the middle and leaned back, one leg over the other.

"The boss is...interesting. Scary when he wants to be. I hope the others in the squad are as nice as you. Hey, want me to do that for you?" She asked, sitting forwards again as Aiyana began her 1000 strokes.

She chuckled, " I didn't find him too scary...honestly he found me while I was just wondering around like normal." she said with a small laugh, " Oh? You wouldn't mind? I hate it when it’s time to wash my hair...it takes forever to brush afterwards, thank you." Aiyana said.

Pulling over the chair, she would hand the girl the old comb and would then sit with the chair back against her front, " So... I’m curious, what is it you specialize in? Seems we all specialize in something here that helps everyone." she said smiling.

Lily took the comb and gently began working through the other woman’s hair, working out the knots and splits, pulling most of the unruly mop over Aiyana’s shoulder and working on the lower layers first.

"Oh, I drive mechs really well, and apparently I have a pretty mouth. Apparently, that’s a rare thing around here, I hope everyone else doesn’t hurt themselves." Lily said casually, carefully completing strokes.

"I haven’t seen many elves, they’re pretty rare where I come from. What about yourself? What’s your job around here?" She asked flicking more hair back to start working it back into relatively straight and orderly curls.

She closed her eyes and listened, a soft sigh leaving her at not having to fight with her crazy hair for once. She laughed at the mention of her mouth, "Oh, maybe you can give me tips then on driving them...this is my first time with them." she said a little nervously, " It was fun though! I oddly found it fun to shoot the big arm cannons." Aiyana said as she held her hands out as if she was shooting for a moment.

"Me, well, I am very good at healing and teaching psionics and using it but I also help with back up if needed." she told her with a small nod, " And I’m not surprised, most elves tend to keep to themselves but me...I just like to travel around." she told her before wincing some, " You have no idea how much I appreciate this Lily. OH, my name is Aiyana, apologies that I forgot my manners for a moment."

"Hello Aiyana." Lily replied, smiling as she concentrated on the unruly hair. Shining threads running over her white fingers and palms. "Sure, I’m happy to teach you some things. What’s elf healing like? We have to settle for mundane means of healing where I come from." She asked, continuing the conversation as she started to work through.

Grinned some, " Well...as long as you haven't had your head chopped off, I can heal pretty much anything...it just depends on what’s happened to the person for how long it will take them to recover." she told her, " And it can feel nice, from what I'm told at least. I have no trouble healing myself or others." she told her, mulling that over some, " And thank you, I swear I was reading that manual and I thought it was written in another language." The elven woman said with a laugh.

"Oh my, that’s pretty impressive. Although I hope I don’t need to see it too soon, though." Lily quibbed, starting to get much of the mop under control. "Sometimes you just need to sit down and do it for real to understand it." She said, working away.

"Hey, does it work even if someone isn’t sick?" Lily asked curiously, peering over Aiyana’s shoulder.

Smiled and nodded, "Yea...I like the shooty things though, those are fun." she said grinning like a kid in a candy store.

The next question made her stop and then chuckling and nodding, " Yes, unless your pregnant then I can't help unless something is actually wrong." she said, playfully teasing the other woman as she looked at her, "But yes, colds, flu's and things like that I can but watching some people suffer is kind of fun...kidding." she said quickly so that Lily wouldn't think of her as being mean.

Lily laughed, getting the joke. Running her fingers through Aiyana’s hair to put the final curls into wayward order.

"Definitely not pregnant, maybe we’ll see another time." Lily replied, wiping her hands together to clean them off.

"Well then, shall we go and join the boys or continue our woman’s business here?" Lily asked with a smile.

At least shed found one friendly face already, hopefully the rest of them were just as friendly.

She let out a happy sigh when her hair was FINALLY tamed for the moment and once it was, she would pull the long length over her shoulder to braid it.

Once she finished, she would leave the braid over her shoulder before she got up to put the chair away, " Sure, let’s go bother those boys and maybe drink THEM under the table." Aiyana said with a grin as she held her hand out to Lily to pull her up from the bed.

She was happy to have made a female friend here- true she liked the guys well enough but having another woman around would help when it came to emotional issues- at least she hoped, " Shall we?"

Lily nodded with a smile and stood to join her new friend.
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"Oh boys." Came a pleasant feminine voice from across the room. "Got room for two more?"

Josh looked a bit surprised and said, "the more the merrier".

The speaker was an unnaturally pale woman with striking makeup and tight clothing standing next to the Aiyana.

Alex got up slightly shakily. "Why not," He said, as he made his way to the bar to get a few more bottles for all the new people at the table. As he made his way back, he placed a bottle in Joshua's hand, Aiyana's hand and the hand as-of-yet unidentified newcomer. "It's not as if there's much else to do around here."

Joshua looks at everyone with a smile and says "cheer, for surviving the harsh battle and the ones yet to come ". He remembers his old unit at times like these.

Lily replied to Joshua, “Alright boys, where can two girls get a drink around this place?”
Aiyana Smiled broadly at the others, too shy to respond.

Alex, quick to help the ladies, looked for the bartender. “Hey barkeep, another round for the ladies!” This was not how he was hoping he would be acting after his first mission, but I guess you can't predict everything, he thought.

Joshua piped in laughing out loud before saying, “Yeah, whose tab is that going on?"

Orange broke in, saying, “Yours Joshua.”

Joshua winced, noting the volume of booze flowing, “Ouch I thought you it was you.”

Muk declared, laughing, “Not Muk's.” He then waggled a thick sausage finger in the ladies direction before finishing, “And being humie female dozn’t help.”

Orange, being a courageous slime, draws itself to its full height, all of four feet and exclaimed, “I'm not scared!” Then he pointed a pseudopod at the barkeep and said, “Bar keep asked for you.”

Joshua stood up and staggered over towards the two aliens. Joshua attempted to negotiate a peaceful solution, “How about we play a game. The last one out pays.”

Aiyana put a finger to her mouth and speculated, “Soooo does that mean we tie Dav down to his chair and then run?”

Joshua nodded vigorously while speaking, “See, she under stands how the game goes.”

Aiyana nods a lot and goes to get the duct tape from one of the supply closets behind the bar.

Joshua scoots a bar stool slowly away with a mischievous grin.

Now getting thoroughly drunk, Muk stands in the corner with a tablecloth over his head and giggles, "Muk's a table, humie."

Aiyana casually walks over and taped the table cloth to Muk, both giggling.

Orange, Muk and Aiyana continue to laugh, all sufficiently drunk at this point. Aiyana blurts out, “I love that lil dude, so enthusiastic!”

Orange Mystery replies, “Looks like it.”





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One the second night of staying in the hotel, Lyon waited for the rest of the Black Forge to go to sleep. After making sure the hallways were silent, he threw on his cloak and stuffed whatever coin he got from Dav. The coin he got risking his life on the nameless desert of this forsaken planet. Maybe it's enough to escape from this Di Yu (hell). No way, not anymore. The scoundrel tries to wipe out the memory of that fight, along with the backlog of past nightmares of similar intensity. Happy thoughts, Lyon. The ocean planet of Pacifica doesn't sound bad. No shortage of food, and the Alliance idiots are sympathetic to a fault. How much will it take to get there? Whatever, he'll steal his way there. With his mind made up, Lyon quietly opened the door of his dorm, looking left and right down the hallway, before finally stepping out to make his getaway.

Scott, working late, noticed a cloaked figure creeping out the back door. Xir, who was helping him load a few crates of foodstuffs also sensed the figure. Scott whispered to Xir, "maybe this would be better if you handle it. He seems a bit skittish around humanity. Also, maybe don't tell Dav. He is a bit uptight when the purse is tight."

Xir nodded at Scott and placed the food crate down in the lounge for everyone to eat in the morning. then Xir followed and went out the door. As it senses identified Lyon in going down the dark alleyway, Xir slightly glowed in the dark bring the tentacles up to its skull to speak. "Lyon my friend. I assure you are safe and among friends here. We are now brother in arms. We have bested enemies. We are strong together.". The glow from Xir slightly illuminated the alleyway getting a slight blue tinge to not only Lyon's face but also trash cans against the walls.

"What?" Partially startled, partially cynical, Lyon snaps his head back at the monstrosity. "Bested enemies? Ta-ma-de, we almost got killed out there." The scoundrel puts up his hand and shakes his head. "You know what, never mind. If I pay you a quarter of what I got will you keep your... uhh.... just stay quiet. Just pretend I was never here."

Calmly Xir took a moment just to look at Lyon before responding. " My friend the Galaxy is a dangerous place. For some they choose to face those dangers alone, for others they have no choice but to fight to the last breath in loneliness. You have found those that are willing to stand next to you against the dangers. Yes, we are actively looking for some dangers, but you will make a living and have a family that chooses you. I don't want your money. Money has little meaning to me. Comradery and duty does. You are a free soul in this Galaxy and it’s up to you to make your choice. What will it be?"

"Family..." Lyon clenches his teeth, puts a hand up to his face and stumbles backwards, the two stubs on his back painfully hitting the wall first. "Gaah!" He reactively stumbles back forward, almost hitting Xir. He looks up at the monster, then looks away to avoid eye contact. Hide it as he may, but a decade of turmoil is written all over his malnourished, avian face.

Xir reached out with its large elongated fingers on its hand and took its friend by the shoulder to balance him. Xir continued to look down on Lyon with its blue glowing eyes. Though Xir has not the facial muscles to show concern, Xir still felt it inside. Xir had said everything it intended to say, now just waited to look at Lyon to run through the decision in his mind, with hopefully a comforting hand on his shoulder.

"I..." The pressure of the hand, gentle as it may be, causes the scoundrel to breathe heavily. Now's your chance. Don't waste it. Please. Somewhere in the back of his conscious, a once suppressed voice becomes louder in the presence of a being talking to him, who isn't trying to beat the living daylights out of him for stealing and whatnot. "I..." Alas, Lyon whimpers with every ounce of sincerity he can muster. "I need help."

Xir responds "Then help you will have. Come back to the lounge with me and we will eat, talk, and maybe consume some slightly unhealthy liquids. Yes?"

"Yeah..." Lyon's stomach starts firing off its pain receptors in agreement, causing him to press his hand on his abdomen in response. "Yeah... food would be nice. Please."

Xir and Lyon re-entered the hotel floor and found the now empty lounge. Once finding the food, and some drinks they lounged around most of the night talking aimlessly about general subjects, briefly talking at times about the tactics of the desert battle. It wasn't long that Lyon began to relax from the local booze that was being consumed, but he noticeably didn't attempt to overdo it or lose control. Xir on the other hand showed no sign that the booze was affecting it at all.

By morning Xir and Lyon seemed to have said everything of truly important, or whatever either was willing to talk about at this junction and began to make breakfast for both those that would be waking hung over, and those stumbling back in after a night of mildly poor choices.

"..." Lyon has remained silent for the entire time preparing breakfast. His eyes are bloodshot due to the sleepless night, way more alcohol than he wanted, and the immediate emotional baggage he had to squeeze out upon Xir. There was still a long road ahead of recovery for the crow-shaped scoundrel, but the time with the monster, oddly enough, was a good start.

"... Alright, I'll stay." Throwing some protein bars into a stainless-steel tray, Lyon shoves one into his mouth, then speaks back to Xir. "I... I want to do something more with my life."

"That sounds good to me Lyon" said Xir while cooking whatever Xir can pull out of the crates that might be breakfast like foods for humanoid like creatures.



Dav stepped off the elevator, coffee mug in hand. Unlike his other team specific paraphernalia, this one was a simple ceramic mug with the Diej corporate logo on the side. After crossing the cooking area and pouring himself a cup of black coffee, he moved to the table nearest Xir and Lyon. " Morning, fellas. You boys are up early."

It had been fun meeting the new female member and just palling around with her. Feeling a bit sleepy she made her way down and found her way to the coffee pot. Finding the largest mug, she could, she would begin to pour the liquid life into it and then would add a little creamer and sugar before brewing another pot for the next person. Blowing on the mug, she would look around at the guys curiously as she looked over at Xir, " Would you like help making breakfast?" she asked him curiously as she took a sip of her coffee.

Xir brought up its tentacles to its skull to speak. "Morning Captain, we really haven't been to bed yet. After the meeting I suspect Lyon will need to crash but I'll get a third wind and be up for helping Scott more after the meeting. Before you say something, no worries Captain I will get a full night's sleep tonight before my body and mind gives way.". Turning to the thin female humanoid Aiyana as she spoke, Xir responded after she was done. " thank you for the offer but I'm mostly done. It's a buffet style and everything is on the bar. First come first serve but you might want to get to the food before Muk comes down." Xir then announced to everyone food was done before sitting its hind legs on the floor like a sitting cat with its torso against the table that the Captain was at while placing a plate of mushrooms and a pitcher of water down. Xir sucked down its food and water using its tentacles like straws. There were noticeable contractions down the tentacles as they went into Xir's back.


After doing much repairs on all the mecha, Steven did not sleep the night before having a bunch of algorithms surrounding the room as he sat on his bed, thinking of ways to properly rebuilt the dropships to their former glory and strengthening them overall and programming them correctly so they can work. After deciding he needed another cup of coffee, this being his 30, or 40th cup. Steven stopped counting after 10, he walked down to see the whole unit, Steven "greeted everyone with a good morning, and how was your morning" not really trying to mention his late-night scour of information of random things about math, robotics, Atraxians, weapons, technology.

Aiyana gave him a smile and a nod as she took another drink before she chuckled, "Alright and you're welcome." she said before she went and filled a plate that looked like it was for a large male and not the small elven woman. Finding a spot to sit, she would eat and drink her coffee, a soft sigh leaving her as she nodded, " Very good, better than those food bars." she told him as she tucked in.

Muk walked into the lounge wearing a white bath robe and fuzzy pink slippers. He grabbed a plate of mushrooms, a massive slab of some mystery meat, a loaf of bread, a wheel of cheese, and the whole pot of coffee and sat down near Xir. “Grub time, Muk’s favorite time. ‘Cept krumpin time,” he said, tilting his head back and dumping the entire contents of his plate in his mouth. “Dat’s da best, ya know. Can’t beat da cries of gits dat wrong ya.” He finished, waving the coffee pot for emphasis.


Xir looked up at Muk, nodded and watched closely the Atraxian behavior. Xir thinking, I wonder if he is a standard Atraxian. I really should get to know him better and see if he truly represents his race. He was very helpful to us during the battle and his race might be very be helpful to my superiors.
Xir brought the tentacles from the food and drink, to its skull to vibrate the words, "Muk, you did very well at the battle. You kept much of the enemy fire from your allies. What do you now have planned for you big mech? There was much damage."

Muk chewed his mouthful of mushrooms and washed it down with half of his coffee pot. He tore off a bite of bread and thought about what Xir asked. “Ain’t got any rokkits left, so Muk’ll add more shootahs. Taking dat big shootah from da Mega Crushah for betta krumpin. Dat’s all fer now, but Muk wants a big Hammer with a rokkit on da back.” Muk answered. He downed the rest of his meal quickly and finished off the pot of coffee, even chewing and eating the filter.


Xir listening intently not only truly interested but also trying to learn Muk's dialect. "That's very interesting Muk. I might have to adjust my tactics some to help you and most likely the Orange think to do your guys bashing "

Lily had completed her morning yoga routine and put her obligatory face on, skipping down the stairs gaily and breezing into the morning room, slipped past Muk and zipped over to the food buffet.

"Thank you, Xir, this looks very nice!" She said, beaming at the blank faced alien as she took a plate and a reasonable portion. "Maybe I should cook for you next time." She offered as she finished loading a plate and went over to sit next to Aiyana.

"I hope you’ve all drunk plenty of water, this heat is so bad I might faint." Lily asked the room; the temperature was still relatively cool from the night before...

Joshua slept in a bit longer than normal and headed down to the mess hall to meet the others. in his group when he walked through the threshold to the room, he was surprised at what Muk was wearing. it looked like an interesting getup for an Atraxian. Josh even though astonished by Muk’s outfit, he grabbed him a cup of coffee and headed to sit with Muk and the others that was with him.

Alex was a mess. He'd only woken up recently and had a nasty hangover. As he made his way down to the lounge where the others had gathered, he had to shield his bloodshot eyes from the lights with one hand as he used the railing to guide himself down the stairs. Upon finally reaching the lounge, the first thing he did was pour himself a cup of water, wincing at the sound of the rushing liquid.

Watching Alex and his obvious discomfort Xir had remembered to make some tomato soup like substance and bread because of those who came in late last night after drinking. Xir had been told, when it worked in a bar, that it was good for hang over. Xir said to Alex "I made certain foods just for the sick people. It's in the oven.".

Xir then turned to Lily saying, " Thank you Lily but I have a very specific diet I can eat.". Then scooping up a raw mushroom with its tentacle.


---------------------------

Orange didn’t meet up with the rest of the crew this morning as it had plans. Orange headed to the hanger where the mechs were being repaired and started working on plans to ask Scott about repairing and adding a few things to the Mystery Machine.

Scott was already at the hanger, having gotten into the habit of rising early to dodge his ex-wife and her incessant whine and nagging. Most of Muk’s boys were still sleeping, a few chewing on a non-descript bone, of animal origin. Scott shuddered, the image of Atraxians eating a reminder of his marriage and ex in laws. Adding another splash if amber liquid to his tall tumbler of coffee with the faded writing "leftist tears", Scott greeted the approaching slime.

"Morning, Orange. What brings you out of your bucket this early?" Scott asked.

"Good Morning, I was looking to make a Mech with designs similar to these," Orange said as it handed Scott a few sheets of paper. "Think we can come up with something?"
Scott replied with, "Let me go ask the Boss."

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Dav was sitting behind his desk when a hard knock sounded on the thin metal door. Dav replied, "Enter." Scott opened the door and said, "Boss, got a guy looking for you. He says it's important." Dav waived Scott away while he said, "Send him in. Also, repurpose one of those Crushahs for Orange's little project. Save you some time in the refitting." Scott nodded and replied, "Sure thing, boss." Scott waived in the newcomer while walking away towards several battleframe chassis humming a tune under his breath.

Walking into the room, Vlad nods to Dav as he sits himself in front of Dav's desk. "I hope you still have room for an extra person. My name is Vlad." He tries to smile but stops after knowing that he looks creepier then friendly. "Right, I work for General Industries and they sent me here to test out their new products - that being an updated model of their U-3 aero-space frames."

"Really?" Dav replied, his suspicion growing.

"General Industries should have sent you a forewarning about my arrival with a small donate to your name as well."

Dav checked his email again, deleting various spam, searching for the indicated email.
Quickly finding it, he opened the email and attached monetary deposit along with the extensive contract pertaining to intellectual property and timely black box combat data transmissions.

Glancing over at the mountain of repair estimates on both the now reinforced company of mecha as well as the two transports, Dav was tempted. Very tempted. This might be the help the black forge needed to recover and begin their crusade to right wrongs, not just pound sand on insignificant dust balls and get drunk.

Still suspicious, Dav asked the most pertinent question, "Mr. Vlad, Why the Black Forge?"

Vlad shoots back a blank face expression, following up with his normal monotone style of voice. "The Black Forge offers a good place to do limited test runs on our models. We're just asking the chance to stress test our frame. That's all."

His suspicions not totally allayed, but the offer iron clad and tempting enough to override his better judgement, Dav stood up and offered a data pad to Mr. Vlad. "Hear are our terms for you Mr. Vlad." Dav Said, offering the usual enlistment package with the included and enclosed Black forge laws and guidelines. "Review these documents and have a seat. If they are in order for you, as a pilot in the Forge, then we would be happy to accommodate you as we would any other pilot here."

"Do you have a paper version that I can read and sign?" Vlad asks, pushing away the data pad.

"Uhh," Dav stammered. Looking around for his printer, he found one under the most recent invoices. He found an imaged copy and printed off the employment contract, two pages long. A second later, Dav pulled a pen from his shirt pocket and slide them both across the desk and around two other stacks of paper. "There you go. Paper" Dav said.

"Thank you for the offering, but I'm good." Vlad reaches into his coat pocket and pulls forth a black ink pen. Vlad leans in his head over the papers, slowly reading over the various prints. Per page, Vlad took approximately two-pictures or longer per page to read for the whole stack of papers. What did the contract say?

"These Articles are our rules to live by. You are willing submit to these conditions as a pilot in the black Forge? Would you like for me to explain the articles in order?" Dav said. This brought back memories of his own induction, although then there was more pomp and circumstance, complete with black candles, incense, auto organ music and the deep chanting of his battle brothers. A single tear welled up in his left eye, the memory of days past.

"No, I'm good." Vlad reads over the last prints. Vlad goes back to the first page and starts to sign his names and inputs into the first, second, third....and then last page of the contract. "Will that be all?"

Dav accepts the sheaf of paper and smiles. "Yes, sir. Welcome to the Black Forge, Mr. Vlad. We will get you settled as soon as possible. Bear in mind we are in temporary housing and will be moving into the new dropships as soon as possible." Dav said. Dav guided Mr. Vlad towards the hotel where the other pilots were resting and relaxing.

Vlad nods, following suit with Dav.

Dav guided him towards a small human golf cart, well-worn and missing part of the canopy. Dav got in and started the small electric engine. Vlad also got in, entering on the passenger side, briefcase in lap.

After Mr. Vlad was stowed, Dav pressed the accelerator pedal with his armored boot. Driving down the central aisle there was piles of supplies and scrap piled at the feet of more than a dozen armored war machines. Like iron giants they filled the large hangar area nearly to the rafters. contained within magnetic gantries and metal scaffolding, most of the armor plating had been removed and stacked beside the mecha. Bare internals exposed the gigantic servos and weapon systems. Bare engines of destruction with the tell-tale signs of recent combat and, in many cases, severe damage.

Near the last of the mecha, the man, Scott, was in a heated discussion with a puddle of orange slime about something to do with "mechanical feasibility" and "that’s so stupid my daddy would return from the grave to slap some sense into me"

Dav elected to keep the cart moving rather than introduce those two at this time. "We will catch up with Scott and Orange a bit later." Dav said.

Along the last wall was the scraps, twisted metal destined for the fires of the smelter and casters. These were small mountains, sharp angles and death awaiting the unwary. moments later they were outside the hangar. Under the dome, but still exposed to the harsh, penetrating star's fiery gaze.

Along the way to the hotel, they passed the two women of the Forge, sunbathing under an umbrella near one of the egg-shaped transports. One was reading some book Dav couldn't make out, the other taking in the rays, covered in tanning oil and little else.

Lily looked up from her book in the shade of the umbrella, peering over her sunglasses to take in the recruit before waving as they drove past, her breezy bodysuit and hat accented with a sarong around her waist. Her porcelain wouldn’t hold up against any direct sunlight, but she enjoyed the breeze under the shade while Aiyana worked on her tan. Technical manuals could be such dry reading alone and relaying the important parts to Aiyana alleviated the boredom.

Continuing along, Dav explained, "This and the next egg-shaped transport are the black forge's new mecha carriers. Or at least new to us."

repairs were continuing as a solid pace, Swarms of Atraxians covering the Eggs in the harsh Atraxian sun. no longer could they see any external damage to the mecha carriers. "We should be relocating to the transports within the week. "Maybe I will get some better work out of the pilot staff once we are away from the liquor." Dav said to Mr. Vlad. A few minutes later they arrived at the hotel, the grateful dead.

“Interesting batch of people you have here.” Vlad noted, not accustomed to these strange new peoples. “Colorful name for a hotel.” Vlad chuckles. “So, I guess I’ll be staying in there for now?”

"For now, Mr. Vlad. Get settled in and avoid angering the Large Atraxian in the fuzzy slippers. While I haven't known him to kill and eat most sentient species, he doesn't seem to mind eating one of his own. Just be careful until they get to know you. They are a special bunch." Dav said as he pulled up in front of the hotel.

"I'll take note of that. I don't plan to die...yet...." Vlad walks himself towards the hotel in a slow pace. Vlad turns his head towards Dav. "Know when my first operational flight will be?"
Dav replied before driving back to his office, “We will be having a meeting in a few days. I plan to address the entirety of The Black Forge at that time. You will find out then.”

[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, lincolnD, Shinoh01, Ahoy, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
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