Chapter Three Prologue: Cosmic Castaways

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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 Three Prologue: Cosmic Castaways

Post by Bullroarer4 » Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:44 am

Cosmic Castaways
Atraxis
Atraxis IV
Diej Prime

After a week of intense recruiting, the main hangar was filled with recruits. Or at least that is what Dav told himself. Most would have called them the dregs of society. Druggies, criminals, half-starved aliens, immigrant families, you name it. If it didn't have two Werners to rub together and missed at least one meal, chances where they were in this hangar. some had even endured violence to reach this hangar. The faces of several humans were bruised as well as a few mortally wounded aliens. Even the remnants of an Atraxian clan had come.

Outside the Diej police force and the local gang warlords were gathered in equal measure. The collection of this many questionable persons had the powers that be nervous.

This was turning from a regimented crusade into a migratory circus. If I can't resolve this predicament and get the whole of the new Black Forge loaded up, there was likely going to be trouble, Dav Thought. Dav tapped the speaker to test it, then squared his shoulders. With a flick of a switch, the projector blinked to life, the symbol of The Black Forge, halberds crossed over an anvil, appeared on a field of black.

Dad said. “Good people of Diej Prime and Atraxis, I welcome you. You have traveled far and wide. You have come searching for safety and prosperity."

Then he paused. The crowd hushed, with a few laughing in the back. Dav Resumed," This is not what you have found. I do not offer safety and prosperity. I offer hardship. I offer danger. But I also offer family. A place of belonging. A place to grow. To become more. To learn and teach. I may be the head of this family, but you will be my body. I will feed you. Nourish you. I will tend to you. I will not ask anything of you that I will not do. Your children will become my children. My arm will be your arm.

Dav took a breath before continuing, "It is time to gather. Gather your belongings. Gather your courage. Take with you the things most precious. Help me and we will see justice brought to those above the law. We will serve retribution to the tyrants and despots. We leave in one week. Stay and help work or Leave and consider. You have one week to decide."

Dav flicked off the speakers and stepped off the podium. The collection of people milled about in a bit of confusion. Dav ordered, "Keep things civil, Xir. Anybody fights and you knock them out. We have a readiness meeting aboard the Daedalus in fifteen minutes and I don't want to see this escalate, at least not yet. Use Muk's boys if necessary."

Xir said " yes Captain". Xir then went in search for the Atraxian boys that were nearby. "Boys I need you". Xir told the boys we need to keep an eye on these people. For them to follow the Simple rules.

Xir then passed out comms to the boys with a channel that goes back to Xir. "Remember you are the bouncers, I'm the Cooler. I'm going to the meeting with Captain, Muk, and the rest. If you need me, comm to me directly.

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Fifteen minutes later Dav stood on what once was the command deck. Now it was mostly bundled wires with a basic AI computer hooked up to the ships systems. A plain plank of vehicle armor was welded over the computer casing with a basic panel screen laid on top of the makeshift table.

Once the command team was on the command deck, Dav spoke to the active AI system. Dav said, "Charlotte, close us up here and display spreadsheet ready one."

"Acknowledged, Captain." A disembodied voice reported

Glancing at the data, Scott saw the confirmation in Dav eyes. We were in a precarious situation.

Dav addressed the heart of the Black Forge, it's combat pilots. Dav said, "Well, here we are. We are in a rough state."

Dav started to expand the overview of each of the machines as well as some limited biological info on Beast.

Dav resumed, "We took a lot of damage this last fight, though you fought well, if a bit undisciplined." Dav gave a hard stare at Muk indicating there was going to be words exchanged later behind closed doors.

Dav continued the briefing, "Doomcrakka is the worst off, needing a complete overhaul. Once we get into space for our journey, get it fixed as best you can. Mystery Machine is next. It lost an arm that can be reattached. Catspaw lost part of a leg that will need to be rebuilt. Dark horse suffered a damaged ammo feed to the main cannon. I’m told that can be fixed with some time. Beast is still healing from its flank wound and regrowing its ammo sac. Alex's mech has a maneuvering jet offline. And most took some armor damage. The two frames in ready condition are Lyon’s lion and Clad enforcer. The four of the five Crushahs will be stripped down for armor to repair our current frames, spare parts to repair the damage, and weapons to replace the damaged and destroyed ones. The last one Orange will be refurbishing with Scott when he gets time. Also, we are short on missile reloads, for now."

Dav paused then continued, "What we picked up for our trouble was five crushah battle frames, a variety of destroyed vehicles, several dozen autocannons in a variety of sizes, some ammo for them, and a pair of barely functional dropships." Dav continued again, "Charlotte, display spreadsheet ready two."

This time a pair of images flickered to life. Two egg shaped figures sat side by side, blurred by an overlay. Dav tapped a few places on the monitor and one expanded. "Based on the feedback from the black forge we will call our new dropships Daedalus and Icarus. This is Daedalus. She is a Baron class assault transport. Or will be. Before being dropped onto this planet, everything of value was stripped. No weapons. No scaffolding or gantries. No chairs. No fuel. She has some structure damage and extensive armor damage. But they did leave the fusion engines. We get a little fuel, set up the life support, and cover all the holes and she will fly...at least to our next destination. More on that in a minute. The other is Icarus, a Charger class transport."

Dav said as he switched the nearly mostly green with large red spotted wire frame of the Daedalus with the mostly red wire frame with a few thin lines of green. "Icarus is in a worse shape. Her engines work...and that’s about it. The central lift is inoperable, no weapons, mecha gantries, orbital drop system. I can go on, but you get the point. It is basically an egg with engines. But we need her as well. We survive on taking the equipment of our defeated foes. We need space to store it and people to sort it. We will take contracts as we can, but we aren't about money, were about justice."

Dav asked a third time, "Charlotte, bring up invoice two eight seven five five." Several groans escaped the attendees when the hotel logo popped into view. Dav said, "this is the bar tab you graciously left me after your night of merriment. I won't mention it again save that this is a debt that will be taken out of the next coin we earn. Do try to moderate your expenses a little."

Dav finally smiled, "we have an emergency contract from the Wangdaio colonies. The Duke of Kotoku needs help liberating his planet from a Taienese admiral looking to repress a budding religious colony. Included is some coin, but also the use of his space trade port where we can refit and refurbish our dropships. We will get more intelligence when we arrive in system. The Fortunate son will arrive in system in three weeks to pick us up. Let’s get ready."

Dav said, starting to wrap up this lengthy meeting, "We also have two new pilots, if a bit green. Ms. Lily and Mr. Vlad. Try to make them welcome."

Dav asked the team, "Any questions?"

"Will the ships hold up through void travel over this kind of distance?" Alex asked, "It's a pretty long trip and if I remember correctly these names don't exactly bode well." He seemed a bit more lucid now, having recovered from the long bout of drinking.

Dav responded to Alex, "since we will be tied into the power and life support systems of our transport, we should be fine. Just don’t open the doors."

Lyon stammered in place, his pupils dilating. A cold sweat washed down his spine at the mention of the Wangdaio Colonies and the Taienese. He sheepishly raised his hand. "Yeah... can we... uhm... not go?"

Sensing this was a sore spot, Dav chose his words carefully, "I understand you have some history with the region of space we are going to. The Duke is a person of integrity by reputation. He has secured our help with his personal funds through M.E.C.H.A. I am confident we will not have any double dealings. If you ride out with us and return to the Daedalus, that will be all the contact required of you with these people."

"What? No." Lyon stands up and brings his feathered hands up, being unusually restless. "I'm sure the Duke or whatever is fine. No, it's the Taienese I'm worried about. After we..." He pauses. "After they tore themselves apart, the Empire could've easily reannexed the Colonies when they were at their lowest. But what did they do? They just watched. The evilest, power hungry nation in sentient history, as far as we know, didn't do a damn thing when they were ripe for the taking. And now they're going across a hundred light years of nothing to do what again? Some small colony deal?"

The scoundrel chews on his fingernails. "No no no. They're planning something bigger. We can deal with thugs in the desert all day long. Granted, that battle we had will probably give me nightmares for the rest of my cursed lifespan, but the Taienese?" He shudders. "I wouldn't sick them onto my worst enemies, unless it's the Taienese themselves."

Xir sat quietly in the corner drinking some much-needed water while watching both the meeting but also listening to the questions closely to help give further insight to the crew.

Muk had heard of these Taienese guys before. For a time, he’d worked for a foxy Taienese fox girl even. So far, he wasn’t very concerned about them. He just wanted some money and something to fight, and if these Kotoku people could give him both, he was content. Soon enough he would be ready to challenge Dav for control of the Black Forge.

"Well, any info on if there's going to be any air-borne flyers?" Vlad simply asks.

"We will find out when we get there, Mr. Vlad" Dav responds.

"Right. So, where are we heading? I never got detail on the planet we're on or anything else besides what G.I provided me in their briefing - which was not much."

Lily sat with her legs crossed as the meeting went on, she was too new to add much, but as Lyon acted out, her own red eyes drifted off into memories. Unlike Lyon she kept her recollections to herself, merely sitting stock still as things proceeded around her. After a minute she shook her head and rejoined the flow of events.

"Of course, there's going to be damn fliers." Was it a croak? Or was it a bark? Lyon's failed genetic modifications made his scared voice uncanny. "The Taienese have everything in the book. And if they don't show it, it just means they're going to kill you later with it."

"Right. I'll keep that in mind. If you are in need for a support-mission, then radio me as 'Potato'." Vlad says.

"Support would be nice." Lyon tried to compose himself by putting a hand to his chest to regulate his breathing. "I need to go prepare. If the Taienese are going back to their trash dump, then they're up to something big."

"If there's nothing else then I'll get on my jet. I'll see you on the ground, or air, in my case."

Joshua asks "how long is this mission contract supposed to last, Sir? How tough are these people since they’re asking for our help?

Dav responded, "The Tai Pan Imperial Military is good. But they also don't throw much away. I'm hoping we will be fighting one of their scout or auxiliary units as they don’t have top shelf weapon systems or Elite pilots. As for how long?" Dav Shrugged, "We will be there as long as it takes or until we run, if necessary."

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After the meeting, the crowd began to disperse. Some were drafted into the bouncer teams, directing persons toward the Daedalus' barracks levels. Others began to carry belongings towards the waiting dropship. A sort of line formed for intake, where people listed their skills and signed The Black Codex. The Atraxians integrated with Muk’s boys after a few fist fights out on the tarmac. To Dav’s surprise, nobody attempted to leave past the watching authorities, both legal and paralegal.

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After everyone dispersed Xir took the time to put a little boot to butt on the boys to start their security rounds on the dispersing refugees. Going to the new bouncer teams, Xir gives them comms and gives them the same speech about the rules as the boys. That as of right now Xir is the only Cooler. If they need Xir that it will always keep the coms open.

Xir then went to the hanger to do its medical examination of Beast and check its recovery. Everything seemed in good order with the healing and stable vital signs. Xir still noticed everyone's but maybe the Orange Jell-O or Muk being skittish around Beast. It just might take more time for everyone to accept Beast.

Xir then left Beast to find Scott. Xir has been trying to be as helpful as possible to get off this planet sooner than later. With its strength and endurance, it has made things go fast but at this rate even Xir might give out from exhaustion.

Xir then took note of the other crew dispersed in the hanger working on a variety of personal projects. Xir thinks it will likely be directed to the dropships again by Scott, mostly to hold things to bolt in place or keep Muk's little grunts in line, when Muk isn’t around of course. Xir only had to glow, look intimidating, and break one of their arms for them to take Xir serious. However, no matter what, Xir always backed up when Muk was there to make sure the grunts knew he was their boss.

After working on the dropship for days Xir took it a upon itself to disappear for a couple days with Beast. Xir told the Captain that Beast had been cooped up to long and needed open space and exercise after its recovery. At this point Xir found two other people amongst the bouncers that could be used to Coolers. That they had the temperament for it and could trust them they hold the fort down while Xir was gone for a couple days. So Xir and Beast went outside the Dome into the dessert on foot. At the end of the first day Captain had to have worried a little about Xir, do to reportedly one of the worst sand storms that struck up out of nowhere against the Dome in years. The storm lasted abnormally short period of time but did minor damage to the Dome frame that ended up leading to a week of repairs by Diej Industries. Alas the morning of the 3-day Xir did return with little noticeable effect on Beast or Xir. When inquired, Xir said that they just dug in the sand and waited the storm out, and Beast truly enjoyed the freedom and running.

Between Xir having to manage the bouncers cooling situations and fabricating the dropship so they can be space Worthy per the direction of Scott and maybe Steven, Xir stayed very busy. Much to Xir's surprise it only had to throw out a handful of people that were causing serious trouble in the hanger like escalation of fights. Xir did take mental note that there were always people watching the hangers when tossing people out, but they looked like official Diej security or others who obviously worked for the mobs and gangs. Xir made sure the Captain was always informed. Xir also was gradually able to take a little less on itself with other proper Coolers and start getting decent night sleeps.

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Orange decided to head to the hanger after the meeting the Captain had called to inform everyone about the plans. Flowing in the hanger Orange saw Beast forming what resembled a hand, Orange began waving wishing it well on its healing process. Beast rose its head to the gesture of the Orange substance turned its head and followed it with Beasts eyes. on its way to look at the Crushah that was being modified to be Oranges' newish mecha. Orange thought to itself I’m going to have to find some orange paint for this mech later.

After a few days of doing its best not to annoy Scott and the other crew working in the hanger on the many projects it had decided it was time to visit some of the more popular areas in town. For it wanted to see what this desert planet had to offer for the Slimes main goal coitus. Going to the Captain Orange let him know their intentions and would mostly be gone a few days.

Two days later Orange reappeared in the hanger checking the progress on everything, as well as looking for Beast to see how its healing process was going. But Orange could not locate the being.

On the third day, when Beast returned, while heading to its spot in the hanger Beast slightly adjusted it path to come by Orange and it brushed Beasts tail against the blob softly and purred in a low deep tone. Then continued its rout.

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In his own little corner in the hanger, Vlad was in the process of fitting multi-purpose guided missiles into his jet-fighter’s weapon-hardpoints. Eight 5,000 general-purpose bombs would be already fitted under the Weapons Bay Hard-Points No. 1 :& No. 2 of the AU-3. Usually, a team of five or six would be working together to outfit and maintain any kind of large aero-space frame. Vlad, meanwhile, was doing just fine by himself. Vlad made quick-work on fastening the multi-purpose guided missiles to the hard-points in which there were four total. Two-hardpoints for the two wingspan-sections. The aircraft in question that Vlad was maintaining is relatively unknown to most unless you lived in the Freehold. The AU-3 Multi-Role Jet-Fighter is a big bulky piece of equipment. While the AU-3 had smooth surfaces as to improve air dynamics - elegance was not its aim. A small-cannon nose sticks out.

A delivery from General Industries came in today, five hours before. The shipment was a large ammunition dump for the AU-3, seventy guided missiles, thirty-empty rocket pods, five thousand-air-to-ground 57 mm rockets, one hundred 500-pound-General Purpose-Bombs, forty 2,000-pound-General Purpose-Bombs, spare parts, a shit-ton of 30mm rounds, one hundred general-purpose missiles, and with five-hundred pounds of fast-food to boot too. Anything that could not fit on-board was then moved onto GI's cargo ship and then sent off.

Having done his routine maintenance on the AU-3, Vlad looks about the hanger. Nothing special catches the eye of Vlad - all he could see was mechs, crowds of people, scrap metals, ammo, and whatnot in the hanger. Yet, a certain person brings attention to Vlad, a female Sheffeldan. Vlad never seen a Sheffeldan outside of New Hull although their reputation is somewhat well-known by certain parts of the outside world. Dusting himself off, Vlad gets up and casually walks to the female Sheffeldan.

Lilly was elbow deep in the guts of a giant mechanical arm, dark streaks of grease and oils covering her otherwise white skin as she fussed with the internals of the machine. Open on the floor near Vlad was a technical manual for this class, the Puma. It wasn’t a Sheffeldan model, so Vlad couldn’t tell a whole lot about it.

As Vlad approached, she turned from what she was doing to look down at him from over the dark spots on her cheeks, red cats’ eyes staring at him for a second before she stood up on the scaffolding she was hunched upon and walked to the edge to lean on the railing and talk.

"A fan of Sheffeldan exports, are you?" She asked, smiling as she nodded towards the attack aircraft that had made its way into the hangar space.

Vlad grins, "Not a bad jet-fighter - if I do say myself. While not void-bore, G.I. does know how to make a good jet.... So, how do you feel away from New Hull?"

"It’s hot and dry here, hopefully we move somewhere new soon." She said, remembering New Hulls humid and often wet weather. This sunny weather didn’t agree with her skin. She turned back down towards him.

"Have you visited New Hull? Not many people know about it." She asked curiously.

Vlad points to his G.I logo on his right shoulder. The logo is a cloth patch that shows three gear pieces, one smaller than the other, connected to each other. "I'm surprised that you don't recognize me. I do tests for G.I stuffs - mostly testing out their bombs in their empty bomb-ranges. You can see me, and my lads torch fake targets almost every day." Vlad notes, turning his head towards the manual on the ground and then back to the Sheffeldan. Vlad was wearing a blue and gray suit with a pair of heavy rubber boots to accompany his look. Vlad looks to be an older-skinny-male - his skin having wrinkles and rough texture.

Lily tilted her head to the side to see his shoulder patch better, it wasn’t the Wolf and Sword of Sheffeld, but she did recognize it now. She smiled to stall for a bit of time as she thought about this. He was clearly an Import, he didn’t have the cat’s eyes and clearly not the muscle mass to be a nativized inhabitant.

"I’ve never been on active duty, so I haven’t seen anything of the Zone." She replied, trying to be positive. "Being a reserve is kind of quiet, no matter how many times they run you through the simulators. Where did you come from originally?" She asked. Her hips swing as she stood on one leg, leaning her weight on the handrail.

Her red eyes were looking at him in interest now, the relationship between natives and Imports was complicated, and while cooperative, many Sheffeldan had suffered in the years of Silence with the outside and did not so easily trust the new blood.

"I forgot that most people don't go outside the walls of New Hull. I don't blame them, it's hell out there. But you got some good-ass soldiers out there. Good lads, never been so lucky to work with them." Vlad smiles. Being a pilot, Vlad often does not go to the Hull himself. He spends all his time on the various landing ports on the outskirts of the fortress. On occasion, Vlad does go New Hull for different reasons like R&D, or for whatever else.

Vlad quickly follows up to answer the Sheffeldan's other question. "Hhm, I come from Eden. I was brought to New Hull by the Foreign Worker's Coalition."

She peered down at him, silent for a second, judging him. Humans from the Alliance were considered soft by Sheffeldans, stereotypically obese and expectant to have things handled for them. At least this one was skinny and seemed handy with tools, and he flattered his Sheffeldan patrons. She decided he was probably decent, maybe one day he too would undergo Conditioning.

"Ah, I see. You seem to have done well for yourself, although our GI friends seem to have gone typically overboard in their manufacturing again." She said, remembering how most of the supplied parts had had to be tucked back into the dropship whence they came.

"G.I. makes everything in bulk. You can never have enough bombs and ammo, although we are currently focused on boring the planet's crust right now for ores and rare earths - not so much on weapon's production, that's a side-project." Vlad says, staring at her. "So....what's your name?"

"Ah, I’m Lily, Lily Weaver." She replied, giggling as she realized she hadn’t introduced herself. "Some people call me Spider, but that’s mostly a joke. What’s your name?" She asked, smiling at the pun of her own callsign.

"Afonin Polikarp Vladislavovich, or Vlad for short, because no-one is fluent in Russian." Vlad chuckles. It was odd for Vlad to be here socially, no-one in the hanger spoke Russian or was Russian. While Vlad spoke fluent English and could make talk; he felt a bit-home-sickness, but it never really bothered Vlad too much. "I like your name, Lily...Or well, Spider. I'll likely use those names interchangeably."

"Thanks, Vlad. I like your name too, even if I can’t pronounce it." She said, trying to smile and apology as most of his name flew right over her head in its Cyrillic format.

"Will I see you in the bar with the rest of the crew tonight?" She asked, looking down at him again.

"Of course. I'll be there. I can say the same for you?"

"Of course. I look forward to it." She said, waving one of her gloved hands, blackened from grease to him. "Don’t forget to say hello to the rest of the crew too, they’re all wonderful!" She instructed, before tipping her hips from one side to the other in thought.

Maybe being on this planet got a little brighter, after all.

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The black-feathered scoundrel held up his data pad to the mech provided to him. On the data pad's edge was mounted a small rectangular piece with a laser firing, painting a dot on the Mech's forearm. The data pad itself has a nice fractal pattern across its screen, and several lines of dead pixels. Even so, it cost Lyon half of his earnings.

A series of numbers popped up on the screen after Lyon carefully moved the laser point across the metal hull. Saving the data values, he went back to a metal crate he's been improvising as a desk. Scraps of paper laid about, along with a half-drunken cup of coffee and crumbs of protein bar. On the scraps were drawn side and front views of the mech standing behind him, with numbers scribbled all over. To his right at the wall, a fabricator hummed along, building a contraption of sorts.

Lyon laid his data pad flat on the crate, opening a piece of software that activated a static hologram, portraying the same contraption on the fabricator. He blinked twice, then ran his index finger along the outer edges of it, forming a prismatic outer compartment. Typing in the same numbers that he got with the laser pointer, the housing morphed and bent into a more refined shape. He shrank this new assembly, opening another model, this one of the entire mech, and dragged it onto the forearm.

How did the center of mass look? A small sphere appeared near the lower torso of the mech. Pretty good; if anything, at least the Battleframe was easy to glue stuff onto. But what if it was moving? Tapping along the data pad, Lyon ran a running simulation, watching with knit eyebrows as the small sphere swayed wildly with the arm's movements.

"Niang-de." Lyon cursed at his own lack of foresight and sighed. Oh well, it could be worse; he could be getting shot at right now. He immediately shook that thought out of his head. No, this whole endeavor is meant to minimize that. How about not getting shot at? That'd be nice.

With a grunt from below, a metal ladder pinged and wobbled as its upper edge landed on the Lion's right shoulder. With even more grunting, the scoundrel forced his way up and used his laser pointer to grab more dimensions, then climbed back down to work on his hologram again.

After a few more hours, the smoke grenade pods, now complete in their metal casings, hanged above the shoulders of Lyon's mech, ready to be welded on. Two large metal plates in the shape of shields rested next to the fabricator as it hummed along, crafting appendage like shapes.

Lyon stood a few meters away, wearing a welding helmet, from two pieces of scraps, hanging side by side and pressed together. Next to him was a large canister of oxygen, attacked to a tube and large nozzle with a diameter of Lyon's fist, which had an electrical cable running to a switch held in his hands. With the flick of it, the nozzle came to life, firing a jet of blue flame at the scraps, causing a great sizzling and sparks to fly. With Lyon adjusting the direction of the nozzle by hand, a line of molten metal formed between the two pieces, creating a crude weld that held them together. Once the task was done, Lyon shut the whole apparatus off and lifted his helmet. His eyes were bloodshot again, now doubt the result having skipped more sleep and way too much caffeine. However, came with it was a small, satisfied smile.

Another few hours passed. Lyon sat in the mech, now with a large hole cut out in his seat to accommodate the pair of bulges in his back. He was snoring softly, until a beeping sound came from the monitor, alerting him to the complete integration of software he wrote. The whole machine whirled to life as the scoundrel began the usual pre-deployment diagnostics. All the electrical signals came back green, pressure in the hydraulics were good, including those of the newly installed components. He first gave the smoke grenade launchers a dry-run, which were now fully welded onto the shoulders. The sounds of sparks above his head indicated the firing mechanisms were working properly, or at least they were registering. Lyon then moved his right arm up, which had the welder mounted to it by two rings of steel. With the press of a button, he watched the pressure monitor of the oxygen tank show decreasing values, while visually confirming the outflow with the distortions in the air. Finally, he put power into the new attached appendages to the back of the mech, which carried the two, large metal shields. In a fixed command sequence, they stretched out from their folded configuration and out in front of the mech and to the sides. Hmm... they do block quite a bit of vision though.

Lyon yawned at the newly discovered conundrum, slumping down in his seat. There was still a lot of work ahead of him. He'd have to install cameras on the shields and link them to the rest of the sensory acquisition system. The welding torch and the grenade launchers must be tested in earnest; he'll have to go out into the desert for that. He'll have to find the right kind of smoke to deal with Taienese lasers. Got to talk to Dav about potentially purchasing some. How useful will it be anyways? They no doubt have thermal vision. Hmm... Maybe talk one of his teammates into being a testing dummy. That's going to suck the most--- Before he could finish the rest of his thoughts, Lyon's hand fell to the side as he returned to a small snore, the mech continuing to gently whirl in the background, still yet to be shutdown.

A few moments later, there was a knock-on Lyon's cockpit. Alex's head peeked into the open cavity in the mech's body, followed by a "Hey man, you awake-..." which was cut off slightly as he saw that the man inside was not, in fact, awake.

"Huh-Waah?!" Lyon shuddered and practically jumped out of his seat at the intrusion of new sound. "Oh," He blinked twice. "It's... err... what was your name again?"

"It's Alex," Alex said as he paused for a moment to consider his words. "Listen, I hate to bother you, it's pretty clear that you've got just as many problems as I do right now, but I kind of need your help with something."

"Spit it out." Lyon shakes his head. "Keeping you alive means keeping myself alive."

"One of my jump jets is out of action, and you seem like you know a lot about mechanical stuff. I can't fix it on my own, and without it I won't be able to keep on the move." Alex said. As the words came out, it occurred to him that it could be considered humorous that what he ended up doing in combat was what he'd been doing for the past year or so.

"Sure. I'll take a look at it." He rubbed his eyes and pulled himself out of the seat. "Can you get me a cup of coffee and any datasheets you have for your mech?" Lyon remarks, stumbling down the Lion class.

Alex stepped down from the ladder that he had used to reach the cockpit, and walked over to his mech, and picked up the printed-out datasheets that some of the normal mechanics had printed out. He didn't know what to make of them, and said mechanics were now all busy making the dropships space worthy.

Next, he made his way over to a small rolling table with refreshments set out on it. He poured a cup of coffee, and then carried both the papers and the cup over to Lyon.

"Thanks." Lyon sips away at the coffee while skimming through the datasheets, occasionally looking up at the Puma itself. He walked around the mech to take a closer look at the damaged thruster, then read through the specific datasheet. "You're in luck. These mechs were built to be repairable." Lyon points at the nozzle, now taking the shape of a skewed flower with metal for petals, along with the broken tubes. "I just need to replace the nozzle with something out of the fabricator and reconnect some of the tubing." He tilts his head. "I'm surprised it's not leaking away your gas reserves. Must have some in-built safety mechanism."

Alex tapped at the broken nozzle for a moment, causing the 'petals' to vibrate and let out a metallic thrum. "Do you think there's anything we can do with this part? Salvage the metal for use in something else?"

"Recycle it, melt it down. It'll be difficult, since it's literally designed to be heat resistant, but I'm pretty sure you can use it to plate a reentry shield." Lyon shrugged. "We might need something like that if fighting the Taienese is as extreme as I think it's going to get." He shudders. "We are not prepared for this war..."

"Do you really think it's likely to be drawn out?" Alex asked in a worried tone, "I don't know if I'll be able to handle something long and drawn out."

"Not in the conventional sense." Lyon pulled up a hologram on their data pad and began work modeling a new nozzle according to the datasheet specs. "The Taienese hold grudges that last lifetimes. If we get out of this alive, the war is the rest of our lifespans. They knew what they were doing when they stayed quiet as the Colonies burnt to cinder. Silence was the best revenge against a once rebellious people that were begging for reannexation. Yes, the Taienese do know how to hurt you hard, even if it takes years, maybe even decades."

"So, we'll be living on the run," Alex mused, "Not a huge change, I suppose. I doubt we'll be making many friends on this little crusade of ours."

Lyon paused, then continued with the model, throwing it into a virtual file bin. "I suppose not." He rubbed his tired eyes. "Anyways, you should have a new thruster in a few hours. Just make sure to calibrate it before we head out."

"Right, thanks for your help." Alex said.

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

After the briefing Muk sat on a big crate outside of the hangar with several of his boys. They were gathered around a makeshift table playing dice games and exchanging teeth and occasionally a few Werners. Muk was smoking a large cigar filled with a potent Atraxian strain of hallucinogenic mushrooms.

The Atraxian Muk called Rotbag had fashioned himself a staff from bones and sticks, and recently he had taken to proclaiming himself the conduit of some Atraxian god. His back had grown hunched over and his eyes were wild. He occasionally whispered things into Muk’s ear, sometimes offering insight that helped Muk win. Most of the time Muk ignored him and fared much better. The other boys put more stock in Rotbag’s ramblings than Muk, but the mad Atraxian was a useful tool. Not to mention he made excellent shroom brews.

Inside the hangar, a handful of small Atraxians scurried around Doomcrakka, stripping off the old weapons systems, repairing damaged components and replacing damaged armor plates.

After the meeting, Steven went back to rebuilding the dropship and trying to get the Base AI unit to start working again, Steven said to himself " this beauty has seen better days but at least we can get her working soon enough" after spending a majority of his time trying to do the calculated math to get off this hell hole, Steven might be able to his theoretic math in to a workable form that can get this ship up and going.

After finally getting the base AI system up and working again on both dropships after the last few days, Steven needed to update the captain on the current progress of the ships and how long it would take to get up and running.

After realizing this he decided to look for Dav, when he finally met up with Dav, Steven asked him "um Captain do you want the good or the bad news first?"

"Go ahead and tell me, son. How bad is it?" Dav replied.

Steven looked at Dav and responded "I did a full survey on all the mecha and both dropships, the black forge won’t be completely functional, given maybe we work at 50%, in about the week. But to shine some light on your day I can get the AI system for the Icarus running in three days it will take a little while, but I can get her going." As he finished Steven got a bright eyed looked as if he remembered something "Oh I ran diagnosis test across the board on the mecha we 75% overall functionality and the other 25% is repairable definitely with the parts we have"

Muk walked up to Steven after he had finished with Dav. “Oy, how ya doin wit da hand boy? Ya need ta finish ‘fore Kotoku.” He asked.

As Muk came up to Steven he responded with " I finished it before the meeting, it's in my room Muk. But one problem I need help carrying the thing."

The Atraxian was genuinely surprised at the speed of Steven’s work. He didn’t even have to beat him up a couple times to speed up the process. “Muk’s not sure Muk can fit in humie rooms. If ya can get it out da door, Muk can lug da thing back ‘ere to put it on.”

Steven responded "Thanks Muk," as he excitedly started running to his room in the hotel, as Muk and Steven walk to his room Steven goes in to the semantics off the bionic arm that was crafted for the large Atraxian

As Steven and Muk get to the room Steven runs in his room and starts pushing the bionic arm out the door. The bionic arm looked very finely tuned but clearly looked like the parts were from some sort of Atraxian mechanism, as gears and hydraulics combined to make the Atraxian like arm. The hand having an Atraxian palm and claw like fingers. As Steven pushed out the arm it clearly looked about the size of Steven and more than Steven’s weight. As Steven finally pushed out the arm Steven looked at Muk and smiled "I started working on it when you gave me the idea, been working on it for the past couple nights and mornings in between some maintain, consider it a present to a brother, she is all yours"

Muk picked up the claw and examined it. It had two configurations: one simply had a large claw like the one he already had, the other involved the claw splitting into four clawed fingers and a thumb, and the claws could be retracted into the fingers. It wasn’t something Muk could easily change on the fly, however; it would require someone with technical skills to change configurations. He looked at Steven and squinted, then back at the claw. “Not Atraxian but dis is good fer a humie.” He said.

The big Atraxian gave Steven a pat on the head. He had seen an anime or two recently and discovered humans enjoyed being rewarded with head pats. “Gonna go get it put on. Ya can watch if ya like.” Muk said as he carried the new hand off towards the hangar.



Wiping some sweat from her brow as she came from her mech, checking it over and making sure it got prepared, she would still have the briefing running around in her head. Out of habit, Aiyana would chew on her thumb nail as she went and paced a bit as her mind wondered if it was going to be like there last mission, but they had done well so it wasn't so terrible. She had yet to introduce herself to the new member though and that she knew she needed to fix, so with that in mind, she would pat her Puma and head off to find Vlad and introduce herself. It would take her a few minutes to locate the new fellow and when she did, she would wait for a moment before introducing herself, " Hello, welcome, how are you finding everything so far?" she would ask him curiously.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. I feel dead inside. There's no vodka onboard, but besides that - I'm fine. You?" Vlad yells from his lungs.

Aiyana nearly jumped out of her skin at what he said, " Uhm...do you need vodka for something?" Aiyana asked him curiously before giving a small smile, " I'm well, just checking over things and double checking that I have everything." Aiyana said while rubbing her pointed ears some, " My name is Aiyana by the way, Aiyana Aster." she said as she held her hand out to him.

Vlad reaches out a right hand and commits the act of shaking one's hand with another person. "Oh, I just drink a lot. That's why I got an artificial liver because I would have died from alcoholic poisoning, or worse." Vlad stares at the um, what's your race?

Aiyana took and shook his hand with a small smile before folding her arms behind her back casually before her eyes went wide, " Oh... well, least you won't have a problem, I hope it works for many years then so you can." Aiyana said with a small laugh before her hand reached up to her ears out of reflex before Aiyana tucked her arm back behind her back, " I'm an elf, have you never met one before?" Aiyana asked curiously.

"Well, I have, but elves do look the same as humans do." Vlad shrugs, making a 'I don't know' face. "So, um......What's popping?" Vlad stands here very awkwardly with no real purpose but to just be here and trying to commit to a social talk, but that may go south.

Aiyana could tell this was heading to awkwards-ville real fast and that was making her fidget with her hands behind her back some, " Popping, nothing really, just waiting. I probably will get to meditating soon, since I'll be stuck up in the metal thingy again. Those really are fun once you get the hang of them." Aiyana said with a small chuckle as she motioned to the mechs, " So, curiously before we part ways, what do you do?" the elven woman aske curiously.

"Well, I work for G.I as a jet-pilot. Before getting here, I mostly just do bombing runs on a bomb-range testing facility. How about you?" Vlad asks.

"Oh wow...I don't think I could do that, I like my feet on the ground...well as much as they can be right now." Aiyana said with a small grin, " Medical mostly but I run back up with my puma...makes me think I’m talking of a big feline and not a machine." Aiyana said with a laugh, " But mostly its medical and psionics or magic as its commonly called and when I get the chance, I get to fire those fun explosives." the elf told him.

After Joshua does his adjustments needed for the upcoming contract, he notices Vlad’s jet and equipment. Joshua thinking about what to ask about first the equipment or have a neat jet like that one as he started walking over to Vlad. When Josh made it over to Vlad, he started asking how he managed to get all that equipment by the security checks and how to get a jet like that.

"Well, I don't myself, but if you want one of these big boys then I'll send you a digital request form. Give me your contact info and I'll send the form to you. It'll take a few days for G.I to do background checks on you and all." Vlad notes, lifting his cockpit hatch and getting into his seat. "I'll see you in the skies."

Joshua sends Vlad his contact info and welcomes him to the humble team. Joshua says smiling "Catch you in the skies." As Vlad takes off Joshua head backs to gunship and setting up everything need for the upcoming mission.

[[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, lincolnD, Shinoh01, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, Jimmy, Ahoy, and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
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Re: Chapter Three Prologue: Cosmic Castaways

Post by Bullroarer4 » Fri Aug 02, 2019 6:52 am

Atraxis
Atraxis IV
Diej Prime

As the last of the gear and people were loaded aboard the Icarus and Daedalus, Dav received a notification from the Star Port Controller. Their ride was here.
Dav opened a comms channel to the Fortunate Son.

"Heyo, you boys ready for a pickup?!" The freighter's captain seemed quite eager, as if that was his default setting. Even while sitting in his captain's chair, he still had on his black cowboy hat embellished with the gold crossed cavalry saber emblem and nearly mirrored Aviator sunglasses.

Dav responded, "We are, Captain. We have two dropships on tarmac one five eight that need transport to the Kotoku system, per the M.E.C.H.A. contract."

"Right-o. We'll set her down nearby and make it all easy-like for ya. Just sit tight." The freighter captain replied, bringing the large ship down for a tail-landing not too far from the dropships, the freighter's rockets turning off at the last second so the ship's anti-gravity systems could cushion the landing just so the while tarmac wasn't vaporized with rocket-exhaust.

The Freighter itself was a big tube, with some engines at the end and a crane at the top. The loading process was straight-forward as well, with the crane extending out to pick up the drop ships, bringing them inside the cargo 'tube' section that opened up like a flower to leave just some scaffolding on the interior visible. The dropships stacked on top of each other on shelves inside of the freighter. Smaller drones would then float out of the lower sections, putting padding and small bracing sections in place between the dropships and the scaffolding before the whole tube started to close.

"ALRIGHT BOYS, NEXT STOP KOTOKU!"

The whole affair, from landing to loaded, was two hours. Dav had to put a few personal objects back on his makeshift desk as the whole of the ship vibrated during the loading process. His small table was dwarfed by the relatively expansive office.

Sitting in his jet-cockpit, Vlad decides to put on some funky tones while he waits for the go-ahead. Browsing through his library of songs, Vlad puts on a very special song to his heart. How it’s made. More specifically, how a chicken nugget is formed. In his headset, Vlad listens to a narrator guiding the listener on the process of the grinding of chicken and how the worker add preservatives to ensure that the chicken paste will not rot. Next, the paste goes to an extruder that forms the shape of the nugget. The nuggets are then left in a freezer for one hour to harden. Workers then base the nuggets in flour and bread-crumbs to form the outer-layer. The nuggets are deep-fried in a Industrial-scale deep fryer. On the assembly line, the nuggets are picked up by robotic arms to be evenly distributed into boxes. The boxes are then wrapped in plastic, with the cover label. The nuggets are ready to be shipped.

Once everyone, all 487 souls, on both dropships signaled ready, Dav signaled the Fortunate Son ready.

The freighter would use its anti-gravity systems to get some distance away from the surface of the planet before kicking on its fusion drives, allowing it to sustain a high-G burn away from the surface of the planet, and then sustain a solid 1G worth of acceleration away from the planet's gravity well once it was in orbit. The freighter didn't have any windows, and the captain didn't see the need to share any of his external sensors, so when the time came for the FTL jump everyone would just get the audio warning of, "HOLD ONTO YOUR BUTTS!" before the whole ship started to shake.

Next stop: Kotoku!

With no other delays or mechanical issues, the sails were stowed within the hour. Powering the Fold drive from the Lithium Ion batteries, in a moment time and space warped. Reality folded in on itself, over and over, moving without moving. Mild disorientation and dizziness washed over the crew and their captain, a normal reaction to Foldship transportation for him. Instantly, the Fortunate Son leaped across light-years, arriving at Epsilon Prime. This method continued over the next six weeks. Jump, charge, and Jump again. Keeping the cover of merchant transporting farming equipment to the Wangdaio colonies, the trade officials in Tai Pan barely looked at an unarmed freighter heading towards a frontier colony.





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