When told to sit, the Dog woman sat, her eyes resting firmly on Enid.
"Oh, it's fine. An attack like that isn't going to hurt me," the Taianese soldier replied. "I didn't really consider how you felt when I saw you. I just thought you were really cool with your robot legs," her level voice admitted, stoic as was expected of her people. "I was wondering stuff like, if you hid all these neat gadgets in your legs, like a laser repeater or a plasma packet launcher or something," she went on, completely deadpan. Looking at Enid up and down again, she then added, "I don't know why you'd want to be normal though. Humans are the definition of that, and are pretty vanilla. You're cooler like this, even if your legs don't have some nice guns and you smell like sweet fruit," the Dog-type soldier wagged her tail.
With Heram between herself and the Kaskae, Hoshiko paced. She paced in meatspace with her body, stepping about in thought, and she paced about in her virtual space as well. As Heram stepped between them, his back turned to her as he faced the Adlet Chieftain, her feelings swirled about as the man tried to side with her.
The small woman sighed, slumping her shoulders, the anger and indignation slowly seeping out of her muscles.
"At this moment, part of me believes you tried helping these lesser beings out of the kindness of your heart as your people are want to do, Heram," Hoshiko finally addressed him by his first name. "Another part of me however, believes you cannot be stupid enough to help such crude, foolish, primitive things without some sort of gain on your part," her calm, level voice explained, still pacing about behind the human man. "I find this infuriating. I find it even more infuriating this so called 'Kaskae' believes he is in a position to demand anything. Not that I am interested in pressing for more from him," she admitted, reaching into her leather pouch of a trophy, only to pull out a hard fired clay ball.
"It bothers me that he has the temerity to demand any respect from me, or even you, when either of us can simply have him and his entire village turned to ashes and spread to the four winds in a single blink of an eye," she then crushed the tough projectile in hand, its dust drifting away in the gentle breeze. "I could, if I wanted, literally lift him up into the air with my bare hands and shatter his back over my knee, and then do this to every man, woman and child in his village. All before healing them," her voice trailed off, her back facing Heram's own. "Or, either of us could turn his village into a paradise, where his people will never go hungry, will never feel cold, will always be safe from predators and never be sick or even die of old age. Yet, he almost refused something as simple as medicine." The redhead then rubbed her temples. "This is utter idiocy. And, I'm starting to realize that it's rather innocent, isn't it? He is simply the biggest fish in a river, and now that he has met something so much larger in the ocean, sitting off at a vast distance, that he cannot even comprehend its scale and thinks it his size."
"I think I'm done here Heram. There is nothing of concern to my Empire on this world," she began to step away. "At least, for now. I would hope it stays that way."
"I am trying to be the kind of person I would want to meet."
Heram would watch the Kaskae for a moment, barely believing that Hoshiko was finally backing down from this. It seemed like things were finally going well. The situation was de-escalating. Maybe there were no more surprises to be had. It felt ok to allow just a little bit of hope creep in.
"Thank you for your time, we will be leaving now. May your ancestors continue to favor your hunts."
He could finally turn to Hoshiko, and back towards camp.
"Of course I want to help, but I can't force them to accept my help. Zenigata is coming to understand what our people can do and what dangers are out there. Maybe their opinion will change as they start to understand."
The commander exhales a small breath of relief. However, he quickly tenses up again as he sees the Ecur soldier and his egg. He raises an eyebrow. "Phosphor, is that...? Never mind." The commander puts up his hand. "Make sure you get yourself sanitized. Leave it with Soffy. She'll know how to handle it." Of course she does. Her lab's going to turn into a zoo at this rate. He tries to put up a reassuring smile. "Report to Snow of this incident, otherwise, good work." He then goes to greet Enid. "Rook---"
Geiben frowns upon seeing the canine-form, the blasted Taianese soldier who caused him to butt heads with the Hündin (bitch, Geiben's partially half-German) that is Vice Admiral Hoshiko. He face starts going red, about to personally kick this foreign soldier out of the shuttle, before he glances at Enid, who seems rather calm about the canine-form's presence. Right, Enid did say something about an apology, maybe that's what happened. We ARE allies afterall. Might as well be courteous when they aren't arschlocher. Still though, how did she get in the second time? The commander nods to the Taianese, before remarking to Enid. "Good job on this evacuation mission, Rookie. You might have just saved the Ecur soldier's life. Document your actions. That is all." He then promptly leaves the shuttle. Afterall, he still needs to deal with the CQC speacialist.
The commander comes back into his tent, calling Snow and Ferryman back in. He takes a couple of gulps of coffee out of his thermos, before staring at Ferryman. "Now... where do we begin, soldier? You've been quite disrespectful over the course of this mission, both to our allies and to your fellow men. Why don't you explain yourself?" He settles into a neutral, but stern look. Easier to be calmer and stiffer when you're in an insulated shelter and with a shot of caffeine in your blood to help think properly.
"we will be back for this when its hatched" they said as they set the egg down before doing as they are told heading to report their findings to snow.
in Geibens tent later Sonia looked over to ferryman for a response as well. who just sighed.
"that conversation would have to wait for a full explanation. but for the short and sweet version I'm just narrowing this corps until my contract on watching over my clients daughter is in a safe location i have no intent on sticking around with mortals so I'm just here for the girls safety no one elses." he sighed letting that sink in "ill be out of your hair in 9 months then you can rebury this and never see me again and vice versa. in conclusion i dont care about you only my job i was contracted to do."
The egg shifted around in Ecur one's hands, there was now a sound. Tap, tap, tap. One would hear the contents within shifting about as the shell would crack. The temperoary heat source was nice and what it needed to feel secure enough. A piece of shell fell off as the cracks were bigger. A strange sound could be heard from within, a coo like gurgle even. The heavy weight of the egg might catch Soffy off guard and she would even see something small and black poke out of the hole created. As the creature within was clearly trying hatch.
Even the Tai Pan dog lady would see this light mocha colored egg shaky in the strange hands of the bee lady. Getting even closer to hatching as the cracks were now more wide spread and even deeper.
Pressing...her damned luck. The kaskae stood there, his pelt bristled as green eyes looked at her with a look of further distrust and that anger now being shown to her instead of just Wazu. Course, he listened to the man speak and this woman thing rattle on. His claws lightly drummed the ground.
"Then how are you happy in life? Happiness can't exisit without some negative. The struggles we endure are hard but if you take away the need to hunt, to create our medicine and items by giving a paradise. How can one truly be happy? Life will lose it's meaning, if no one ever dies than what is the point in living when there is no longer a goal?" The kaskae asked, his tone not angry but neither questioning.
He wasn't expecting a answer of course. HE was giving food for thought.
"Even with predators and the cold, some winters and months without food...my people still know happiness. And the bad times, make the happier ones mean even more." The kaskae added. "May the ancestors favor your journey back home."
"That's really weird," The dog-type soldier replied to Enid, tilting her head in poker-faced bafflement. Her eyes then glanced up to the ceiling as she scratched her cheek in thought. "The Alliance is usually very good with medical care. Though, if you are from the outer colonies, that would explain why you haven't received better services," the Taianese woman realized. "I dunno. I'd rather you go to the core worlds where they give stuff out for free and get cooler legs than just have them regrown," she admitted. "You can do that right? I wish I could."
For a good moment, the Tigress considered what both of the men had said.
"They will not advance under poor leadership such as this," Hoshiko flatly replied to Heram over her shoulder. "He isn't even intelligent enough to pretend to be respectful, and instead demands it himself." She sighed, now pulling out a lead sling bullet from her pouch, eying the dull grey metal. "Fortunately, I have already killed plenty of Adlets, am no longer in the mood for killing more of them for the time being," she remarked. Crisply turning around however, Hoshiko stepped closer until she was by Heram's side, her gaze locked on the Kaskae. "Someone once said that it's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid," she quoted. "There are unspeakable horrors beyond your imagination. Horrors which I must protect my people from." Pointing a finger at the Adlet chieftain, the redheaded woman added, "Be grateful that I believe you are not worth destroying." She then made a shooing motion with her hand.
"Now, go back to your hovel, we are quite done with you for now."
snow frowns and asks "OK, so if your wearing a corps and no ones died since being with alliance who are you really and did you kill the original person who's identity you stole?" Ferryman just chuckled, "oh, ya I did as for who I am Green thumb should remember me and the marine on her squad who's arm I mangled but as I said I'm not your enemy so if you want me to fallow orders if it will get you to hush up then I'll fallow orders."
Wazu would place a hand on Hoshiko's shoulder in a gesture he hoped would convey some level of sympathy.
"We should return to the camp."
He would start off, not wanting to linger here any longer.
"I don't think I have your understanding, but maybe I have a bit more of your trust?"
Soffy didn't even have time to unbuckle herself before she was handed the Egg. The lump of weight keeping her down in her seat as the egg itself started to crack.
"UH! HELP!" She shouted twisting her head a bit to see who was around, "The Egg is opening! There is a thing in the EGG! SOMEONE HOLD THE EGG!"
The I'ee was panicking slightly, trying to keep the egg in her lap while also trying to unbuckle herself from the seat. She was already awkwardly strapped in tanks to the I'ee's abnormal physiology and any movement on her part caused her to start falling over which in turn nearly made her drop the egg!
There was no point in doing anything further. The kaskae would let them go, no other words shared and no other gestures made. They would wait of course, till they couldn't see Wazu of Hoshiko. Before going into the woods to search for his two patroling hunters. They didn't need to get caught off guard by....THAT thing.
The bee lady would find herself stuck thanks to the weight of it, although the frantic tone of voice and her actions didn't seem to detour the egg. The crack would extend as the small black object returned to the inside of the egg. Only for a bigger hole to emerge and if one looked closely, they would see a large eye looking through it. It would blink for a moment but when the egg teetered and started to go over the edge just slightly. There was a new sound. Frantic chirping/squeaking as the occupant within suffered through the movement. Of course, the egg was thankfully pulled back by the l'ee to prevent them from falling.
The frantic sounds from within went away after a few moments before rather clear scratching sounds could be heard as the egg shuddered on it's own. Seemingly it's occupant wanted out, and wanted out now due to the recent scare it had just suffered. Sure enough, the egg's shell gave way and poor Soffy was stuck staring down at...what was this creature?
The life born was bigger than a human newborn and they didn't really look like a infant. Sure they just hatched but they looked kind of like a toddler in terms of looking at them and judging a age. Their body was covered in feathers however, a pair of large wings were attached to their arms as feathers extended to around their neck and partially on their sides. Their legs were covered in feathers but they sported a pair of large bird feet; complete with large talons. Their bird feet had small fluffier white feathers on them. Their large yellow eyes blinked as the pupils were rather large, attempting to adjust to the amount of lighting as they looked around.
Their 'hair' if one could call it that was wild and went to halfway down their neck. His feathers and hair sported the same color scheme. Black, white, dark brown, and a rather beautiful golden brown. This golden brown covered most of their feathers but only a small section of their hair. A sound left them as they looked around and Soofy would notice that the youngster's hands each sported a small but sharp black nail. Clearly what this being used to crack their egg from within. The newly hatched being even had tail feathers!
Decisions need to be made. The commander alas speaks up. "I'll need to deliberate your situation, and that of the other mercenaries on this ship, with the Captain. The order still stands: you are to keep quiet, or at least keep the rotten bits to yourself. Dismissed." He goes to sit back in his chair, sending Green Thumb a private message. "I was not aware we had murderous freelancers on board. I'd like to talk to you after we leave this planet."
Heram found a moment of resistance mere millimeters away from Hoshiko's shoulder, but when it passed, the poly-armor under Heram's hand was soft, smooth, and cool enough to match the temperature around them. She didn't swat his hand aside, but she eyed him with a reply that was hopefully lukewarm.
"I will consider it," the Tigress replied, soon making her way as well, snow faintly crunching underfoot.
For a long moment, the Dog-type soldier considered her reply.
"It sounds bad, and I feel bad knowing how any Third or even non-citizen is treated, but at the very least, when The Empire decides to send people away, the bureaucracy is swift and well documented," the raven haired woman replied, her tail's wagging slowly coming to a stop as her enthusiasm faded. "At the least, I would think they would make an exception for those coming from the colonies considering the situation, but I could be wrong," she added. Looking at her gloved hands though, the soldier replied, "The suit has multiple stealth systems working in tandem, but without any sensors, I guess you'd be more interested in the pigment system?" she guessed, one pointed dog ear going horizontal as the other stood tall in thought. "It changes colors to fit the environment, but I have to move slowly. I like to tip-toe to remind myself that I have to move slow," the big woman admitted, her voice deadpan as it always was despite the almost child-like choice of words at times. "Not that it matters when it's peer versus peer combat. The sensors would see right through me if I'm in the open. The snakes always get better systems though."
Her ears seemed to cower and quail at the strange noises as her eyes gazed at the image of the new creature on the monitor. She then turned to look at Enid dead on.
"This planet is weird," the Dog-type stated, her expression and tone completely deadpan.
The emotion on the I'ee's LED display changed to a O.O
"EGGFRIEND!" She shouted, still strapped into the chair on the shuttle, four of her legs moving to hug the birdlet. "You're so fluffy! You have feathers! and fur!"
Soffy's remaining two legs would start pulling some of the egg-bits off of the birdlet, letting them fall to the floor of the shuttle. The I'ee's jacket also still had one of the space-kitten-things from earlier still poking its head out of one of the pockets. The whole shuttle starting to become quite the zoo.
She had been listening in to the conversation through Wazu's datapad, trying to keep an eye on things while remaining far enough back to be out of sight. She'd get to see that message come across from Geiben...
"Sonya? We do have a large number of non-military personnel. Perhaps it is time we review who is on board."
Heram moved his hand away. No need to attempt further contact, but at the same time he couldn't pass up the possibility of converting Hoshiko to an ally.
"We both know what is coming, but outright war is not inevitable. We got through this without trying to kill each other and I am sure we can get through the armistice too."
Over the next few days, the commander would've personally led Ecur squad away teams on scouting missions, surveying the geography, making contact with the locals, getting a surface view of the political situation in the region. Then, as an act of good will, he would bring Quarum Wazu to the adlet villages to provide geographic information, tool crafting methods, medicine crafted from local flora. Whether they accepted the gifts, he didn't care. They were on a humanitarian mission, and this was what they did. Respecting refusal of help was just as important as offering it in the first place. The natives have their ways, and if they do not seek aid from the "star people", as Geiben learned how the Adlets called him and his crew, than so be it.
Of course, the commander never forgot to keep an eye on Ecur squad and the mercenaries, Ferryman and now Sonya. The fact that he had two entire marine contingents at his disposal never quite gave him peace of mind. A great amount of physical power, perhaps, but it was too much, for a surveyor craft in peace time. Then there's the mercenaries. Given how their presence actively spits in the face of protocol itself, they had to be dealt with first. On the last day of their mission duration on the planet, as the medical and engineering bay were lifted from the ground by powerful shuttle craft with fusion torches, Geiben summoned Sonya, Ferryman, and Zenigata into his tent.
"I've summoned you, Ferryman and Sonia, to determine the future on this ship. Zenigata, you've been called for, given your marital relationship with Sonia." He starts flatly. "To put it simply, one, I cannot have mercenaries on the ship, especially during peacetime, and two, I cannot have children on the ship. Thus, I offer two paths before you. Ferryman, you can either go through the background examinations and legal work to become an official Alliance soldier, or I can drop you off on Hawking once we arrive."
"And Sonia, your situation is more complex, given your pregnant situation. You, likewise, have to be sworn in to the Alliance to work on the ship. However, you also carry the additional burden of child rearing, and like I stated, I simply cannot allow children on the Edward Demming. It would be irresponsible to you, to Zenigata, to your own children, and the rest of the crew, for me to allow it. I hope you understand." At this point, the commander's face turns toward exasperation, unease at the topic at hand, more than anything. What was he supposed to say? He glances at Ferryman, dismissing him, then closing the entrance to his tent, before coming to sit back down. "For the well being of your children, I suggest you situate yourself on a settlement. If you have any ideas of your own, speak them, but they need to stay within the bounds of protocol."
That and have that one strange dream. But didn't matter. His tail gave a flick at the Ferryman's words and he did glance at them. Brows narrowed as he studied em.
"So does that mean you aren't going to be a jackass and do things that concern the health and wellfare of my unborn children like your horrible first impression stunt." Dr. Zenigata questioned them.
Doubtful. Once a jackass, always a jackass. At this rate, he wanted this man as far away from Sonia as they could be thrown. And Zenigata figured Frank could chuck this guy pretty darn far. Though he returned to the task at hand.
"If you're expecting me to just back to my village and let all of you deal with my mistakes when it's all on me, you also have another thing coming." Zenigata said. "The ship is the safest place to be for Sonia and my children. Going to some foriegn settlement which neither of us have been to, can cause problems if the locals start to fear us or think I'm a slave race. Taking her back to my own tribe, she has a higher risk of dying just when labor hits due to some medical conditions of her's. Even with the few thigns of medicine we got form Wazu, they won't be enough to prevent her from loosing too much blood. And then there are natural predators that could do damage to her. The ship is by far the safest place to be for her and my children."
Feeling the temperature rise, he looked to Sonia with a kind expression. Oh boy, how was he going to help her through this? It was hard to know what to say or do since...he didn't really know her past. It wasn't something she seemed comfortable with. However as she spoke about Ferryman, he wanted to interject and say wasn't that Hunter. But then...it hit him. The body got up and moved around....it was regenerating....oh..oh no!
"Wait...YOU were.....oh fucking hell." Zenigata muttered in displeasure. "I'd take Frank centuries over Esscast and certainly over you! Considering how you barged into my quarters with Sonia and kept demanding you need her for a procedure and you wouldn't tell the person whose the father of the kids in her, what that procedure was. Turns out it was just giving her a damn bell! You need to be a good long distance away."