IAS Edward Deming,
The IAS Edward Deming had just arrived in the Shara star system, the homeworld of the Gartagens and the next diplomatic target for the crew of the ship.
It had been nearly a month since their last operation, with a brief stop-over on the planet Hawking to resupply, and the rest of the time spent in travel. Numerous FTL jumps had been made to get this far, and their resupply ship had already turned around after topping off the Deming's fuel reserves, leaving them with only their two small escort drones for accompaniment.
Heram Wazu had already 'called ahead' so that the garts would know to expect them. After all, against the Gartagen Union's forces, the single planetary-survey ship and its escorts likely wouldn't last long.
"Crew of the Deming, We've arrived in the Shara star system and are about to start our next diplomatic operation. I expect everyone, including our civilian attaches, to be on their best behavior.
You are all representing the Interstellar Alliance here. Those that do not live up to my standards will be confined to quarters, and personally seen to by myself when this operation is over.
Our goal here is to support Heram Wazu on this. He will be meeting with the Gartagen Empress, and attempting to negotiate a favorable relationship. The Gartagens have some unique hangups about such arrangements. We can expect there to be those that object to this from inside of the Gartagen Union and there may be some direct action taken to disrupt this meeting. Similarly... if things go well we can expect some physical confrontation. I trust that Heram has already made arrangements to deal with this, so I expect you all to try and de-escalate any situation you find yourself in."
Somnya would turn off the ship's intercom, that was all the crew needed to know for the time being. It was now time to focus on the crew in her new CIC. Heram and Mark had finally finished on the new space. The entire room was heavily armored, with an air-tight door on either side, radiation shielding integrated into the entire setup. There were projectors around the entire room providing a 360 degree view of the ship's surroundings, while a central round table in the center of the room provided a number of work-spaces for crew members to sit at and use.
"Enid, get us ready to enter a high-orbit around Shara. Wait until we get approval from the Gartagens, then begin our deceleration burn to enter orbit. Have our two drones follow behind us."
She then turned her attention to the latest recruit. Sonia had been trained on the communications systems, but was still fairly green.
"Sonia, please reach out to Gartagen traffic control. We will need a flight path and permission to dock."
Then it was time to address Geiben. He was now the XO in training, and Somnya was quite interested in seeing how he progressed.
"Geiben. I trust you will be able to manage the crew here for the time being. Please make sure we arrive at our destination without incident."
There were quite a few other things that required Somnya's attention, the elf holding up her prosthetic hand and using the display inbuilt into the palm to view the status of the other crew members...
Planetary Survey Room
Heram Wazu was currently with Mark in a different part of the ship, making use of the make-shift CIC that had been built into the planetary observation room on the 'underside' of the ship. The current display was showing the fuel, heat, and energy output levels of the ship's banks of reactors.
His work, and perhaps the work of the ship's engineers, was never done.
"We have the CIC rebuilt, and the medbay, and we've updated the quarantine area of the ship in the nose... its now a virology lab for Soffy... and we have some isolation cells stored in the containerized component areas on the sides of the ship. Somnya is going to want to improve combat performance, she'll ask for suggestions for weapons and defenses but I think we should look at improving acceleration and overall Delta-V instead. That means better engines. Of course you might have some ideas of your own regarding changes to the ship?" He asked Mark. Heram always seemed to be doing something, even as he was discussing changes to the ship and monitoring reactor output, his free hand was keeping tabs on a datapad that was displaying some additional data. Perhaps it had a little something to do with the part of the ship isolated for carrying additional 'super-soldiers' for dealing with the inevitable Gartagen hand-to-hand challenges that would arise.
Green-Thumb would set out the G-8 Launcher along with the various color-coded ammunition magazines.
"We haven't had the time to do enough proper training... but you are also the first new member we've brought on board since Green-Squadron became Green-Squad. We don't exactly have a fully planned out training course. We've got time to go over the basics again before our first operation so we are going to start there."
She picked up the G-8 Launcher,
"First thing's first. The G-8. You're clear to just use the stun rounds for now." She picked up a stun-magazine and fitted it into the bottom of the weapon, "Very simple, pull the trigger and the launcher will fire out one drone. The drone will look for the highest priority target, latch on, and try to incapacitate it. You can adjust the parameters for targeting yourself with your data-pad, or you can have someone on board the ship handle adjusting the parameters for you.
Green-Screen.... the former Green-Horn.... will be handling our shipboard operations. She'll be in your ear for the entire operation. If you have any questions about the system or need any changes made you'll be asking her.
Also, your call-sign for this operation is going to be Green-Horn. You're stuck with that until we get a new member on the squad."
"Zenigata! WAKE UP!" Quarum said, eagerly knocking on the door. She was wearing a pith helmet, a lightweight tan button down top, and similarly lightweight shorts. "We're almost to Shara! Did you want to come with me and check it out? We haven't gotten to do a whole lot of investigation of their culture up close... I'd help with your... you know... diplomacy stuff...
Somnya said I can't go down there alone..."
"Currently, we are here..." The commander points to an empty region of space, far from any of the marked bodies of the star system. "... 18 AU out for the Shara system's center." He then starts drawing a curve towards a small, blue and orange sphere relatively close to the large, glowing sphere at the center, zooming in as he goes. "This is Gartaga. It's not as dry as Eden, but with all things considered, it gets pretty close. According to Dr. Wazu (Quarum), the Gartagens grew to become quite brutish out of this less-than-ideal world. Let's be clear: the Gartegens are as smart as we are, if not more so, in some aspects. However, like the captain said, they do like to get physical. We're going to treat the Gartegens like we do our neighbors: carefully and respectfully."
"That's Gartaga itself." Geiben then zooms out three times, stopping when he encompasses a ring of dots on the map. "This is Shara's asteroid belt, 2.4 AU out from the sun. There's no way to get into the inner system without passing through this first. If any of you worked or lived in asteroid belts before you'll know how much pirates like to hide between the rocks to ambush unsuspecting ships." The commander zooms out on last time, showing a planet much larger than Gartaga, with a size more comparable to a dwarf star, about 100 degrees with respect to the Edward Demming. "Galva, a gas giant with 8 large moons, 30 lesser moons, and countless asteroids orbiting it. You might as well consider it its own system. We're going nowhere near it, but our knowledge of the Gartagan's control over their population is limited. We have no idea if our presence here has angered, or peaked the interest of, factions outside of the GU's control, and if those factions have the ability to act. Thus..."
The commander marks Galva and certain points on the asteroid belt. "... I want our sensors focused on these locations. We need to get an activity map of ships along our route; I don't want to depend on the GU to give us the information. Have our escort probes start scanning in an 8 light-second radius around our ship. Have our weapons and shields available at a moment's notice. Assume that there are people here who don't like us, at all." Geiben breathes out, then goes back to look at his data pad, scrounging up any information he can find about the GU.
The adlet had gotten some sleep, finally. Honestly he wasn't sure why it was getting so hard to do that. A yawn left him as he heard the knowing on the door. Slowly, he got out of the bed and drapped his lab coat over his shoulders before walking to the door. Allowing it to open for Quarum as she spoke.
"Morning," Zenigata started before a yawn left him. "I don't think Wazu is gonna need my help with his diplomacy."
Rubbing his eyes, he reached for the dresser to grab a shirt. His tail giving a twitch as he stood there. Wazu knew how to handle the people on this planet, he was on good terms with the Empress right? He could only hope honestly. But then again, having him involved would...ruin chances.
"Sonia's probably confined to bed rest and honestly, this ship is driving me up the walls." Zenigata added after he slipped the shirt on. "So, sure. I guess since I don't really have any other use."
Sonia didn't need him hovering around her as she laid there. He already did that for a couple of days.
"Fly, fly, fly!" a young voice chirped with glee, a few bird hoots leaving them.
The bird creature was taller now, looking even more like a kid than anything of a infant. Resembling a child that was around ten years old. Their speech was improving but they only managed to say a couple of words; one could thank the strange being Wheatly for helping with the speech thing. At that current moment, they would jump up into the air and flap their wing; flailing their arms that they were attached to. Trying to fly or at least hover in the air. All they managed to do was loose feathers and land on his feet, talons scraping against the ground. A look of anger on this face as their feather stood on end.
"AQUWK!!" Hazel screeched, attempting to merely yell out a word but butchering the pronunciation.
The feathers around his neck were ruffled the most, a puffy collar around his throat. Slowly, all his feathers smoothed out. Merely taking to running circles in the room. Where was Frank?! Frank wasn't here!!
"HOOOORANK!!!! HOOORANK!!!!" Hazel squeaked as they did their circles.
Despite being able to say fly, the word Frank seemed to mess with them. Resulting in Frank either being called Hoorank or even Rank at times. The child was trying of course, the closest he ever got was Fruzrank though. SOme words just tripped them up.
Meanwhile Frank simply nodded quickly and surprisingly understanding the drone launcher and how to use it due to green thumbs instructions while wearing his custom armor Ecur's logistics group had provided him after his surgery. "Understood ma'am i wont let you down." While they waited he would unsheith his sword from his back and sharpen it. as he heading back to put the blade up in his room he opened the door to Hazel "yes child I'm here have you been practicing your flying?" frank asked in a tone similar to a parent asking their child if they have done their chores "If your good while im at work today and soffy confirms you behaved ill take you to see uncle Zen and auntie Sonia. " frank said petting the head of Hazle while pulling out the stuft animal he'd given Hazel when he first started taking care of him "we need to trim your nails later as well Hazle its getting to be that time again"
The radio response from the Gartagens would crackle to life for Sonia.
"Yeah, I heard you. Wait ur turn." The voice of the traffic controller sounded rough, like they had been smoking two packs a day since they were 12 while having to babysit a room full of kindergartners. The surprisingly un-professional response got just a hint of an upturned lip from Somnya, who was unable to completely hide her distaste. The traffic controller leaving them alone for a few painfully long minutes before finally responding.
"Alright, I got ur flight plan here. Go to orbital station 35 for a customs check. Don't deviate from the provided course. You can expect the usual customs check when you arrive."
Though they had a decently long trip ahead of them at full-burn of their engines, it was fairly clear of anything suspicious. No asteroids. No strange ships. However close to the main planet itself orbital space was very full. There were large numbers of small ships moving from surface to orbit, as well as a large number of the massive Gartagen Battleships nearby. It was far more firepower than the Edward Deming had available to it.
"You'll make captain yet," Somnya said out loud, "Notify me as soon as we have finished docking, and have Green-Thumb's marine unit ready 15 minutes before we arrive. No heavy armor for this one."
"Ha! Heram needs more help than we can provide. We're talking R-O-Y-A-L W-E-D-D-I-N-G. I'm super excited to see it, just so long as I don't have to plan it.
That means we've got a few days at least just to explore this place! I want to try actual Gartagen food, check out some local flavor, get some doo-dads. Aren't you curious?"
Quarum was excited, which was rare enough. Despite having not wanted to go on ANOTHER expedition, the thought of being able to explore the Gartagen home-world had lured her out of hiding in her room with ice cream and TV. She was practically giddy.
Soffy was an I'ee. I'ee seemed to be fairly needy emotionally. Soffy in particular tended to be very excited when she saw people, waving at them, and wanting to give them a hello Hug.
Soffy was also a biologist, with a specialty in virology and infectious diseases. She tempered her strong desire to say hello and give hugs with her equally strong talent in her craft. The I'ee would wave her feets at Kala, getting up on two legs, and quickly toddling over to the nearby wash station. She would clean her legs, sticking them under the blue glowing field generator that sterilized the outer layer of her body. The entire process seemed agonizing to her, jumping from one back leg to another, eager to finish up the cleaning process so she could actually get to the hugging.
A ding indicated that she was finished, and the I'ee would rush over to Kala!
While Soffy was rushing over, Green-Thumb would enter the medbay with Datapad in hand. The amazonian woman was dressed in the typical gray marine uniform, and seemed unaware of the charging I'ee.
"Have you had time to settle in? I would like to discuss what you're planning to take with you on the trip to the surface."
"Wedding huh? I...I know nothing of how to do diplomacy at one of those things. Other than being quiet." Zenigata replied with a shrug. "I am trying to be positive but due to some...ailments of mine, it's difficult."
Yes magical voices in your head that would tear your mind apart. That was for sure considered a 'ailment'. Coming out of the room, he was at least ready to head down. His tail twitched as he motioned for Quarum to walk with him. They might as well walk while talking.
"So long as it's not dealing with Taipan, I am willing to try it." Zenigata answered.
"Flying not vorking." Hazel answered.
He had been trying but nothing worked. He tried jumping on the bed and then jumping off after gaining momentum, just jumping off straight away, and even running and then jumping. Truthfully, he needed to see something else fly that was of his species for him to understand how exactly to move his wings. Course, he ignored his failures as the plushie was given to him. A happy sound leaving him that was short lived.
"Snip snips are scary though..." Hazel replied nervously.
Snip snips...well that was one word for the big nail clippers they had to use on his talons. Granted, his talons were the most dangerous things he had on him. Sure his fingers each had a claw at the end of them, and while sharp they were half the sharpness of the massive talons on his feet.
"you can't stay...?" Hazel asked.
"Roger that, ma'am." Geiben's voice heightened at the complement, he turns off the system map, instead switching to a 3-D map of the Gartaga system itself, showing all known ships and objects in orbit. He then waves his hand, bringing up the Edward Demming's local position, its orientation and distance from the spaceport on the corner. The commander then types up a quick message to Green-Thumb, delivering Somnya's orders and the light-armaments available to the marine commander. He then looks back at the captain. "Are we expected to have our own shuttle from orbit to surface, or are the Gartegens picking up the diplomat team? And one more thing ---" The commander brings a hand to his chin, then brings it back to his back. "No, never mind." It's too risky. They're probably not ready.
"Bullshit. Of course we're rea--- GAAAAH!" Boomer found himself on the floor, looking upward at the woman smiling at him. The soldier seemed to be European descent, sporting spiked, blond hair as a general, rebllious protest. Both of them were in their minimal biosuits, the material's pores open for maximum heat dissipation. The Ecur squad were collectively in the small training room granted to them; a small bonus that came with the refit in the Hawking system. Who knows how many strings the commander had to pull to get them this extra space. It wasn't much, but it was enough: a square large enough to do hand-to-hand combat training, high tension springs mounted to the walls and ceiling for upper-body training, two exercise bikes, and a small table for whatever. Nowhere near enough for firearm exercises, but that's the VR pods were for.
"Doubtful, given that you can't pay attention to what's right in front of you." Snow wipes off the sweat from her face, then leans down to offer her hand to Boomer. The woman, while short in stature comapred to the other soldiers, was nonetheless quite fit. Her most striking feature is her abnormally pale skin and her snow white hair, hence her namesake. Probably the descendant of some lineage of asteroid dwellers who haven't seen the light of day since memory. "Whatever you say, Corporal." Dreamy-eyed, Boomer takes her arm, pulling himself up, snagging a peck on her cheek in the process. Snow simply smiles at the affection.
"Eww, go get a room, you two, preferably not ours. Maybe... the commander's?" Echo snorts in a muffled voice from under his breathing mask, as his legs work one of the exercise bikes. Skinny, the man sported freckles on his face with a good mane of ginger hair. The external wounds from the incident on the Adlet planet have healed by now, leaving a small scar barely peaking out from under the collar of his biosuit. However, under high-intensity physical work, he still requires aid to help breathe. Echo's wounds still have a long way to heal completely... his respect for Geiben longer still. Boomer ignores Echo, and looks at his leader. "Seriousley though, Nine--- I mean Nix, we've been training ever since we went back to the Hawking system, and they're still holding us back?"
Nix himself stood at the table, a disassembled pistol resting before him on a clean cloth. Leader of the squadron, he looked the part: a man of Terran Indian descent, large and bulky. One wouldn't know he had no formal military training before assigned this command. He takes the barrel and starts oiling it. It's been more than a month since he's been rechristened, but that's no time compared to the amount he was technically alive for; still takes some getting used to himself. The seargant looks up at Echo, then looks back down. "Yeah, I don't know. Green squad's taking the lead on this one, escorting our diplomats."
Snow hands Boomer her towel, going over to the table to grab her bottle of water. "I'm sure command has its reasons. We're probably reserve here."
"Except we're always reserve." He takes the towel, then throws it onto the table, next to Nix's maintenance project. "You'd think that we'd be more than patrol fodder---" Echo glares at Boomer. "---Whoops. Sorry."
"Look..." Nix wipes the barrel off and puts it back down. "Both you and I know how important this mission is. We read the briefings. The Gartagens are more than happy to bring up a fight, and if we get caught in the middle of that, and someone gets hurt, everything could break down, from the bottom to the top. Green squad has more experienced, and more ---"
"Whose side are you on, Searg?!" Boomer gulps down his bottle of water, then crushes the plastic. At the sudden burst of anger, Snow raises an eyebrow at the soldier. Echo stops kicking and takes off his breather. Continuing, Boomer throws up his hands. "Yeah, I get it, Green Squad is all official and what not. But let's not forget, that we were stuck in a cramped space habitat ever since we were born! But look at how Green Thumb and the rest of command treats us! Like we're lucky to be on this ship!"
"What can I do, Boomer? Go to the commander and ask for an assignment? It's pretty clear that we are to stand by until they need us." Nix knits his eyebrows and comes back from behind the table to stand right in front of him.
"Yeah, you should, Nix." Suddenly, Boomer shoves the Sergeant out of the way, making his way to the airlock. "Stand down, private, where are you going?" Snow orders. "We're off duty, remember? I'm going for a damn run around the ship." He snarls back, before leaving the room entirely. Nix can only stand there, dumbfounded. There's an awkward silence for a few seconds before Echo speaks up.
"Jeez, Snow, get some control over your boyfriend." "Shove it up your arse, Echo." She then looks at the sergeant. "Don't take it personally. Boomer has always been the least happy with getting shoved back into a spaceship. He's probably mad that he won't get the opportunity to visit some Gartagen whorehouse."
Nix rubs his bald head. Keeping his men couped up like this isn't okay either. They did train for the entire duration of this trip. "Hmm... I guess I should talk to the commander..."
Frank nodded he knew hazle was trying to learn to fly so he pulled over his personal data pad and found videos on birds on their first flight "unfortunatly yes hazle i have a important job to do but i promise when i get home ill spend time with ok?" frank said ruffling the top feathers on his head as he walked out the door bumping into ecur squad member boomer frank was
"why such the long face kid...anything i can do to help?" frank said generally caring.
"Jesus Christ." Kala huffed with absolute exasperation. Always with the the hugs and attention, she didn't even give her own family the time of day for that sort of physical contact let alone the alien bug that she shared a living space with- or rather, wouldn't if she didn't feel so damn guilty about turning Soffy down for a hug. It could be worse- at least the I'ee seemed competent enough so far unlike a majority of the crew members she had had the displeasure of interacting with to that point.
She watched the I'ee biologist clean herself one leg at a time- finding some amusement in the frantic, impatient dance until Soffy was done and skittered over full force just in time for a woman- a marine by the looks of the uniform- to waltz in and decide to start speaking without so much as announce herself. Kala greeted with with a single finger- the 'shushing' kind- while Soffy's 'patience' was rewarded with a bent over, slightly-more-than-half-hearted hug while the Doctor did her best not to grimace.
Only after Soffy recieved her hug did Kala actually fully acknowledge the intruding woman, "Time to settle in? Sure, absolutely. I might actually be able to do more than basic medical aid now that this place isn't a total mess. What is it you need to discuss? Anything specific that you think you need to ask for? Band-aids maybe?"
"It's a wedding, they'll tell you when to speak. Otherwise its all dancing and food and drink!" Quarum tried to be as uplifting as possible, her voice practically bubbling with energy. "... What ailments are you struggling with? Have you seen Soffy yet? We should get you solid before heading down to the planet. We might be away from the medbay for a while...
... OH, and no one from Taipan should be down there. Its hard enough to get an invite to the Gartagen Homeworld."
"We will be sending our own shuttles down." Somnya stated. "Yourself, Heram, and Green-Squad will head down first followed by the rest of the ground teams. I would like to keep our presence as close to their government compound as possible."
There was a bit of a delay between those words and her next, Somnya taking a moment to consider what would happen, what might happen, and what some of the crew would like to happen.
"Don't let our hangers-on head into public areas. We don't need additional complications."
Green-thumb would brace herself slightly, knowing that once Soffy was done she would be changing targets.
"I do not know what we'll be facing down there. I think what is most likely is physical trauma. Heram says the Gartagens prefer physical combat for dispute resolution... so I think we can expect someone is going to get punched or stabbed before this is all over. Also I.."
Green Thumb stopped once Soffy had finished hugging Kara, the I'ee turning towards Green-Thumb and rushing over to her, giving her an genuine hug. The marine would pat the I'ee on the head, letting the biologist finish up before letting her toddle over to the lab area where her isolation suit was located.
"Also, have you had an opportunity to talk to the person in charge of the Echoni on-board? Heram said not to worry about it, but we should consider their medical needs ahead of time."
"Understood." He announces on the speakers. "Mr. Wazu, Green Thumb, prepare for planetfall in 60 minutes." The commander starts making his way out of the CIC, looking at the rookie in the room. "Enid, I'm assigning you as our pilot for the duration of the mission. Green Screen can monitor of ship functions from here. Go and prepare the shuttle." As he speaks, Geiben's data pad gently buzzes. Reading the message delivered to him, he shows a hint of a frown. The commander looks back up at the captain. "Ecur squad requests to take part on this mission. I did train them since we returned to Hawking. Should I give them an assignment?"
Taking a few steps back, the soldier looks up at the O.G.R.E, then notices his Green Squad outfit, and frowns. "Nothing," he growls, before he continues his run. It doesn't take half a dozen steps, however, for him to hear Geiben's announcement, "--- Green Thumb, prepare for planetfall in 60 minutes." Boomer stops dead in his tracks.
"Arrrrgh!" The soldier snaps his head back to lock eyes with the O.G.R.E. "You want to know what's wrong? Fine. It's that fracking, stuck-up, arrogant Lieutenant of yours. Green Thumb. Always talking us down, how we're newbies, as if implying she's better prepared for missions than Ecur squad is. She's not. You're not." Boomer points at Frank in the chest, despite the significant body mass difference. "Green squad wasn't fracking stuck in deep space on a tube of scrap metal for a hundred years. My people were. Green squad didn't have to deal with experiments and monsters on a daily basis. We did. Green squad wasn't forced to keep fighting as their family and friends rotted away not 10 feet away from them! I DID! Now who's not fracking prepared for some damn mission on a beach town of a planet!" Heaving heavily at this point, red with rage, Boomer continues to glare up at Frank. "Go fracking prepare for this bloody mission. I don't care anymore."
frank checked his gear before heading to mission brief "if it makes you feel any better ill try to talk with squad leader to see if we cant get you in on here ill stick my neck out but dont make me regret it." frank began to walk away but stoped "and before you start assuming take the time to ask yourself if the big super soldier guy with surgical scaring hasnt fough stuff the same or worse in his or lifespan. "no i havnt been in your exact situation but ive been in a situation similar and it has fucked up results on mine and others who escaped from the same place so just keep that in mind next time."
Hazel was going to speak, to tell them that they didn't want them to leave. But sadly Frank's attention was taken by some strange man. And of course they were soon gone. Glancing to the data pad, they merely turned it off and tossed it onto the bed with a sigh. With plushie in hand, he left the room and he made his way to the medical area. After all, Frank was going to have Soffy watch him.
"Stoffy?" Hazel called as he stood in the doorway; accidentally adding a t to her name.
"It's not fixable." Zenigata told Quarum. "But if you are concerned of it spreading, it won't."
Unless I die by being murdered. Fucking Esscast... Zenigata's thoughts remarked in his head.
Hearing the ding of the message, he picked up the data pad and saw it. WEll that explained where she was at. Easily he typed up a message and sent it. Sonai would find it saying:
'Alright. Quarum wants company to explore the planet and I might be down there as I need off the ship. Love you.'
"I'm not thrilled with the idea of a Gartagen strip-search... nor am I familiar with how their customs checks work." Somnya said, tapping her fingers on the armrest of her chair for a moment as she gave it a bit of thought, "No doubt it is something that Heram has a plan for that he neglected to tell us. Obviously we can't let them just go wherever they want on the ship, so I suppose we'll need to declare what we're taking down to the surface once we arrive then let them examine that.
... Or it could just be we have to defeat their custom's checkpoint in ritual combat." Somnya smiled, "The Gartagens do love getting rough."
Even before she had finished speaking, Green-Screen had taken over flight controls for the ship, and had laid in a course for the Gartagen space station. Somnya's attention would now turn to Geiben, focusing on him directly,
"I am expecting some kind of fight. Have Ecur squad ready to go, we will keep them back from the main group and deploy them as needed. Have them ready for a real fight, armor, weapons, etc."
"HAZEL!" Soffy shouted,
The I'ee was already halfway dressed in her bubbly isolation suit, but she immediately stopped and started taking it off, putting it back up on the hanger before scurrying over to Hazel, picking up the bird-like-creature and giving it a hug. The LED display on her head would show a ^_^ as she played with the creature.
"Who's this?!" Soffy asked, her antenna touching the plushie that Hazel was carrying.
Green-thumb would feel like she was being pulled in several different directions at once as the announcement came over the PA system. "No rest for the..." She paused, "Kala, do you know how to use a gun?"
For that matter, the rest of the squad still needed to be equipped.
"Geiben, Enid, can you meet me down in the armory in 5 minutes?"
The ship's armory was a fairly small room, hexagonal, with weapon racks on four of the sides, and a high-end matter-synthesizer for creating full-sized armor or weapons. The center of the room had a hexagonal table that provided some working space. Electronic locks would keep the room 'safe' from unapproved crew members from getting in or accessing the weapons, and there was easily enough equipment there to outfit several squads.
"What do you mean by that?" Quarum asked, her attention now diverted to the Adlet before her, "Is it something innate to the Adlet?"
Her eyes went wide, and then she leaned in to whisper,
"...Is it some embarrassing sex-thing?"
The soldier grits his teeth, clenching his fists, taking a few steps forward towards the O.G.R.E. "Why you, who are you to lec---" The datapad mounted to his wrist starts vibrating, forcing him to stop and read the incoming messages. New orders from Nix to get combat ready, following by a few private messages from Snow. "So much for standing by. Now get to the armory, you fracking three-year-old."
In fact, the commander did notice Enid's noisy prosthetic as he typed up his orders to Ecur squad. "Run diagnostics on those before we leave," Geiben simply remarked as he saluted to Somnya, then made his way to the armory. There, he greeted Green Thumb, before putting a hologram up at the center table as Ecur squad walked in.
Once Ecur squad gathered around the table, Geiben taps his data pad, causing the hologram to coalesce into a readable shape, that of a humanoid figure. While bi-pedaled, his lower body matches the physiology of a horse, or any dedicated runner. He sports a tail, along with tentacle-like dreads for hair, clearly attached to his head. His hands are armed with claws.
"A Gartagen, as you see, a species, unfortunately, who will most likely be bringing the fight to us." The commander remarks, taking a stun-gun out of one of the cabinets, and placing it onto the table. "However, this is still a diplomatic mission, mind you, and I'd rather not have us be the reason for war. I'm restricting us to non-lethal weaponry. Armor, restraints, and the likes of flash-bangs are fair game. If close-quarters combat does occur, use the tactics that I've asked you to practice this past month. Gartagens are strong and steady, but they're slow, and need time to focus. Don't give them that chance to punch your brains out."
"That's the tactical briefing. Strategically, Green Squad will be escorting Mr. Wazu at all times. Ecur squad will be in reserve until the situation arises."
"So... bench warmers. Oww!" Boomer scoffs quietly, before Snow elbows him on the side.
Geiben raises an eyebrow, looking at Nix. "Sergeant, is there going to be a problem? This is a highly sensitive mission. No reserves is going to be better than one with an attitude."
The soldier has a rather embarrassed look on his face, then forces it back into professionalism. "Nothing I can't discipline out, Sir."
The commander scans the rest of Ecur squad. They all look uneasy. Will it be okay to deploy them? Dammit, they do need the manpower... He nods, hesitantly. "Alright, I'll take your word for it." Geiben then glances at Green Thumb. "Do you have any additional comments, Lieutenant?"
"Just friend." Hazel answered.
He did have the plushie for a little while but, since he was growing at a different rate it was hard for him to really think up a name for it. Yes, he still liked the plushie but naming things escaped him. It was strange and odd.
'Vrank told me to stay here....he's working.." Hazel added, not really happy about it.
"No, it has nothing to do with spe..." Zenigata started, however he cut himself off at what Quarum whispered.
A look of disbelief was given to her before it turned to a look of annoyance. Oh it was so hard!! SO hard to bite his tongue!!! His tail fluffed up as it twitched as he looked away, trying to calm.
"What is WITH all of you people and SEX?" Zenigata questioned as he looked to her, his tone showing he was trying to restrain his voice as it shook with the same emotions his face was showing.
Of course, he just wanted peace in his own head for a day. Was that possible? No. The voices were laughing and cackling away at the situation, the adlet placed a hand against his head as he tried to ignore the annoying things that were making his head spin. Was this how things were jsut going to go? He didn't want the entire ship to know he was crazy because of the idiot Esscast. A frustrated growl like sigh left him.
"It has nothing, NOTHING to do with that and it's not a adlet thing. If anything, it's a thing that this fucking universe decided I should have because I got tricked and used as I am the sentimental fool!" Zenigata retorted, going into that downward spiral the curse thing liked to thrust him into.
"I'm very familiar with Gartagen culture and customs- just as well as I know of their biology. I'm suitably prepared to treat any boo-boos any of the crew might sustain while we're attempting to be 'diplomatic'." Kala snorted while waving her hands about dismissively. She began to eyeball Soffy to make sure that the I'ee was still busy hugging to a new victim, before returning her attention back to Green-Thumb, "Yes, I know how to use a gun. Was that a real question? I'm a Navy doctor on board a at least somewhat 'Naval' vessel." The doctor supposed it really wasnt that dumb of a question to ask, but she wasn't about to admit that out loud.
She patted her bag of supplies and closed one eye as she felt over it- and then nodded her head. The bag was slung over her shoulder and Green-Thumb was given a nod, "Let's go beat up some Gartagens."
Green-Thumb would lead Kara down to the Armory along with everyone else. Her additional requirement was simple.
"I want anyone rated to carry a L.P. 2966 to do so. Keep the power output at the lowest setting though, we don't want laser-splashback to blind everyone in the area. That also means EVERYONE takes eye-protection.
Once everyone has the gear they need, we can get started on going through customs. Everyone heading down to the planet now can go first. We'll let the S.E.E.R. scientists and their echoni come down later when they are needed."
The S.E.E.R. Scientists and their Echoni,
It had been nearly two weeks since this trip to the Gartagen Union had started, and that entire time, the Echoni that Heram Wazu had asked for were mostly stuck waiting out the trip in the Quarantine Bay in the front of the ship. Though they had no weapons to speak of, they did have plenty of training tools to help them practice their hand to hand abilities. The Doctor watching over them certainly had made sure that they didn't slack off on their training.
"Why can't I wear my blanket?" 444 asked. Green hair, deep purple eyes, and a fairly human-looking body save for the knife-like ears made up this particular Echoni. Her body was clad in a tight fitting suit made up of advanced metals and plastics that clung to her form... or at least it did when she wasn't pulling at it like it was just some giant uncomfortable body-sock.
"DO NOT REMOVE THAT." The voice that responded was rather harsh sounding, but it quickly lowered in volume and became far more feminine once the initial warning had passed. "Your combat-suit has been designed for optimal performance and data-gathering during this engagement. You are to wear it at all times..."
The Doctor that was speaking could hardly be recognized as human. There were so many cybernetic parts attached that very little of the original body remained. Their main form was mostly just a box, a trio of legs on the underside held it suspended above the ground, and a number of mechanical arms extended outward and down from the sides. Its 'head' was a cylindrical thing suspended above the boxy body by a mechanical neck, with eyes and a mouth digitally projected on the front face.
Its nametag just read 'Caixa'
"Hi Friend!" Soffy said, giving the plushie figure a small hug before turning her attention back to Hazel. "Frank has important work to do. He will be back though! We can have some fun while he is away..."
Soffy's LED mask started showing a bunch of ?????? as she thought about what to do next.
"Do you like cartoons! There are plenty back in my room! Torrace also has other plushie-friends if you want to see them!"
Quarum looked at Zenigata quietly for a few moments, taking in what the Adlet had to say.
"...Ok, if you don't want to talk about it then you don't want to talk about it... but we're here to help if you want to.
Once the Edward Deming was docked at the space station, everyone would have a chance to pass through the Gartagen Customs checkpoint. This would be a rather large, open, bay with a number of scanning tools available, and a handful of Gartagen soldiers patrolling. For this rare visit from other-worlders, the entire area had been cleared specifically for their use.
Green-Eggs had already passed through the custom's checkpoint. He was already suit'd up... black jacket, Dark-Green tie, sunglasses, ear-piece, he certainly looked the part of 'conspiculous protection detail'.
Being waved through security next was Heram Wazu. Blue suit-jacket, Grey pants, Cardigan, he was aiming for that tech-industry smart-casual look... though from the expense required to get his shoes alone it was pretty clear that this meeting was anything but casual.
The Gartagen running the customs checkpoint, however, seemed much more work-oriented. He was wearing the traditional Gartagen [url=nation:gartagens:ballistic_armor]Edjia armor[/url], though his face mask had been removed to show a greenish and slightly pudgy face underneath,
"ALRIGHT, WHO'S NEXT?!" He shouted towards the docking port that connected the space-station to the IAS Edward Deming.
Sonia not missing a beat while still on the deeming checked over all friendly radio signals and com channels. "This is radio operator Sibo all ground teams check in to confirm you can hear me." Sonia stated calmly and professionally as she wanted to make sure everyone keeps in radio contact before turning to her captain. "Ma'am should i let ecur squad know to keep a pack of green squads drone launchers just in case green squad needs anything for emergency's?"
"We must wear it at all times until the mission is over, or at all times for the rest of our lives?" The second Echoni sounded. It sounded like sarcasm, but Unit 515 had no exposure to the outside world, and thus no way of knowing what that was. Their entire short life was just a long string of training sessions and highly specific orders. "If you are inferring that it is indestructible, have you let 444 rip it yet?"
They were a red-skinned thing, with horns and slightly more pronounced musculature. Extremely sharp facial features and tight black braids in their hair. Basically the exact opposite of their compatriot, constantly looking like a sternly furious oni, yet sounding distinctly logical.
"What is our objective? Are we to smash a particular target?" The brooding tone rose and then fell again, as if trying to sound musical. Green eyes stared the box into the ground at the same time. It made them feel a bit anxious, but 444 was here, so she was pretty sure they could both take it out... "If not, what level of force is authorised? Will we be armed?"
All the important questions for a pair of befangled lady bio-weapons, really.
Clomping footsteps of heavy rubber boots. Doris Müller had made the minimal amount of effort necessary to appear presentable, putting their long blonde hair into a bun, and wearing a rather fetching dark green suit with a white cravat. The cagey scientist looked downright socially acceptable. But their loose glasses and tired eyes spoke of different story. Yet another night in lack of sleep, and a mental state which saw her ignoring the security situation almost entirely.
Though, that was also because she had just finished something interesting on her data pad, and cool robot ideas were clearly more important than whatever the heck this airport tomfoolery was. Just had to get to Mister Wazu before he stepped through the-
Eye contact with the grey-faced security officer, and all of a sudden, reality came springing back.
The sweats started up, and Doris reflexively let out a crooked, slightly ill-formed smile.
Perfect time to remember that both your arms and legs were metal and the detection system was not gonna like that...
Walked right through the ring, and set off a loud blaring beep, just like they suspected.
Couldn't really do anything but continue smiling nervously, and calmly turn their data pad off.
"It's fake." Doris knocked on her left arm, then right thigh. The sigh from her mouth was long and wistful, gradually repressing the unconvincing grin in the process. "It all is..."
"So... Which room do ya want me in?"
Ecur squad, Nix, Snow, Boomer, and Echo, like Green-Squad, were in their security detail uniforms, with subtle changes to differentiate the two teams: Ecur squad's suits were more greyish, and their ties were of a dark purplish color. They too, wore sunglasses, except these were installed of a HUD and a brightness toggle. At each of their belts were a non-lethal smoke grenade and a flashbang, beneath their suits the laser pistol Green Thumb recommended. Despite over a month of training, they looked visibly uncomfortable in the suits that were more for show than for any consideration of movement. The curses of diplomacy.
Geiben himself wasn't thrilled either, and its not just because of the damn uniform.
Three weeks before the IAS Edward Demming's arrival to Gartaga, Heram Wazu's office
The commander strolls along in the room, looking at his datapad. On it is some bits and pieces of video feed of the Echoni held up in the quarantine room. His face spells it all. Knitting his eyebrows, he looks at Mr. Wazu, lightly tapping his data pad out of frustration. "I've already assigned training to Ecur squad, and Green Thumb no doubt has a good handle on her marine team. Are you sure you want to be playing a moral grey card for this marraige? You do understand the consequences, right?"
The adlet gave a sigh, just feeling more tired at this point as he listened to the mutterings in his head.
"I'm sorry for snapping at you, it's just...why is that the first thing you all seem to think about? That is such a private affair, yet everyone out here has no issues with just shoving their noise into the business of others with sex involved. I don't get it." Zenigata explained. "And in all honesty, this thing is mental. It's a curse I got thanks to me being myself and falling for a rather cruel trick by Esscast. Granted that guy's gone now, abandoned ship and all that."
The fact that they just ran away like that...it irked him. Irked him further to no end other than rage and anger that would topple it over. And then...this insanity would smash it all to bits and thrust his mind further into that spiral that it already was doing.
"There's no way to fix it....so for sanity's sake, let's just drop this. Please..." Zenigata requested, a tired look being given to her. "i'll go down to the planet with you, I just don't want this conversation the whole time we're down there. I want to relax...and I can't do that on this ship."
Hazel would've said yes to cartoons but then he noticed something. Soffy had wings....granted a different style of wings but...she had them. A few blinks left his large yellow eyes before he looked back to her mask.
"Fly. Vrank wanted me to learn...how to fly. Videos are no good for that." Hazel answered. "I've tried wunning start, jump off bed, run on bed and jump...nothing works. He wants me to learn but..I can't fly.."
When her turn came around to pass through the scanners she removed the normal array of items everyone else brought but in her wisdom sat down to remove her legs and chose to slid through the scanners. This was something she wasn't too embarrassed about since the other officer had already made the mistake of forgeting. She waited patiently theough the rest of the search.
Quarum thought to herself for a bit, her hand resting on her chin. What was it that her brother always said about this kind of thing?...
"Meddling when you don't need to is the essence of being a hero!"
She felt the sudden need to strike a pose, ending up making a very determined face while holding her fist up in front of it.
"... and I don't know who told you it can't be fixed. I'm sure we can fix it. Once you're ready just let us know. We can't have our ship's resident Adlet brought down by some curse!
But first, lets go get some of that Gartagen Food!"
When Green-Thumb arrived at the security checkpoint she was shocked. That floral pattern... the massive shoulders, the pastel colors clashing with the glossy-black Aviators. It looked far more intimidating than her more subdued black suit's tailor'd cut. She'd need to find where he got the suit... and determine how to outfit Green-Squad with something similar.
Green Thumb also overheard Sonia's call in, and would respond in kind, "Roger Sonia, I can hear you 5 by 5.
Dorris would be waved aside to a side area where another guard was ready with a small handheld scanner. The Gartagen waving for the scientist to stand in the middle of an open area marked out by yellow tape so he could begin waving the scanny-dodad over her metal-bits.
"Is there anything you want to declare?" He asked, managing his best English as he finished up his scans, "I hear you Alliance-Types can just hand out gold-bars. Could do that and speed up this whole thing?"
"This way," The security guard told Geiben, waving him off to a side room separate from the others, an out of the way area with a table and mirror'd window. After all he looked like someone who would be in charge...
Waiting there was another Green skinned Gartagen. This woman was dressed in blue and gold robes that hung off her body, much of the tendrils on her head and the fingers on her hand, were also adorned with scales made from precious metals. Clearly someone of importance... and also someone who could get Geiben into a rather heavily shielded, soundproof'd room that caused some static on his communications to the ship.
Officer in the Alliance Navy..."
She seemed to be looking at a Datapad, quickly skimming over their 'file' on him.
"Care to enlighten me on just what you are bringing down to my planet? As well as the nature of your visit?"
When the Gartagen manning the security checkpoint got to Enid, he'd let out a soft 'Snort'. It was quite amusing to see a human bring brought so low by their lack of legs.
"... I shouldn't laugh..." He said outloud, in a tone that indicated, he wasn't sorry for laughing but being of mean spirit was not the intent. He'd wave his scanner-dodad over Enid's legs and add, "You can put those back on... Uh, you're their pilot right? Boss said you had a shuttle that needed to be checked out too? Wanna show me where it is?"
Frank was waved over to another Gartagen security guard. This one clearly recognized Frank as the leader of the group, due to how his suit stood out from the others. Clearly large and in charge... with these other associates acting as his backup muscle. Probably some big-shot from Vice who managed to get some Alliance Cronies to do his bidding!
"Just stand here while I run a scan," The guard said, checking Frank over. The Gartagens didn't seem too concerned about the small arms, stun weapons, etc. Even the larger ordinance that Ecur squad had available didn't concern them too much. Customs wasn't here to check for that specifically. "You uh, wanna pay us a little something before you head down to the planet?" The guard asked.
Zenigata and Quarum
Zenigata and Quarum were some of the last to arrive at the security checkpoint, and it looked like most everyone had already ended up in line somewhere. The guard either scanning people himself or waving them over to some other custom's checkpoint so that a different guard could go through the process.
Quarum herself was waved right through after a quick scan, but Zenigata caused one of the Gartagen guards some confusion. He held up his datapad, checking through the avalible options on it before finally turning his attention to the Adlet.
"So... what species are you? This your kind's first time in the Union?"
IAS Edward Deming, CIC
Somnya was still back on-board the bridge of the ship. She had less interest in the Gartagen Union than the others, and had opted to stay on-board away from the sand of the planet below.
"That would be a good idea," She told Sonia, "Have Ecur squad bring additional gear for Green-Squad in case things get dicey... but remind them that we need to avoid killing anyone. Have Green-Screen check the targeting parameters for the drones... make sure we're aiming to disable and not 'permanently disable'."
Caixa would respond to the red-skinned 515 with its masculine, stern, voice. "NO SMASHING UNLESS TOLD TO DO SO!"
The more feminine voice would then return, "You are not to use any force, or do any smashing until told to do so. I will let you know what level of force you can use when I allow you to use force.
444 was tugging on the suit more and more. When 515 finally said it that gave her the idea to try and rip the material. She would grab the collar of the suit and start yanking hard, a soft 'pop' following the material starting to get stretched out all before Caixa spoke up.
"DO NOT RIP THE SUIT" The scientist clearly not happy with 444's actions. "DO NOT DAMAGE THE SUIT. DO NOT REMOVE THE SUIT. YOU WILL WEAR THE SUIT UNTIL I TELL YOU TO REMOVE THE SUIT." It's voice would then return to the more calming, feminine, sounds from before, "Neither the suit, nor yourself, is indestructible. You will make every effort to avoid damage and stay alive during this."
444 stopped messing with the suit, and joined 515 in looking sternly furious at Caixa. She briefly looked over at 515 to make sure she was ALSO sternly looking at Caixa, before returning her own stern gaze at the heavily cybernetic individual.
"Fly?" Soffy asked, tilting her head slightly, her antenna feeling around on Hazel a bit more, poking her wings and feathers just a bit before pulling away. "Lets fly!"
The I'ee would put her work on hold for the time being as she opened the door of the medbay, scurrying out into the hallway on four legs while holding Hazel up with her front two. The ship's biologist making her way over to the exercise area of the ship where they had a long, straight, track... it was a track that curved upward and went around the ship so if they kept running forward they would end up right where they started... which made it perfect for what Soffy was planning.
The I'ee would get up on her two back legs, and lift Hazel high up into the air (which, for the I'ee, was only about 5 feet up.)
"Open your wings!" Soffy said excitedly, the I'ee still bubbling with energy.
"You seem like a fellow with connections, wish I had those kinds of connections my boss wants me to get that guy *points to Wazu* to his destination and back with little to no problems do you think you could help with that *passes a few weeks pay directly to said officer* mabie if my bosses like how you went about it we might have work for you later that pays far better what do you say officer?"
frank said hamming up the guards expectations. while keeping up the tough guy vicer look. Frank didn't look at what he was saying as lying just embellishing. his bosses did want Wazu to stay safe but this guard doesn't need to know his bosses are Wazu and the captain.
Meanwhile Sonia relays the captains instructions to both green squad and Ecur Squad before pinging everyone who hasn't checked in yet on the planet.
Zenigata and Quarum
Well it made sense for them to not know how to handle his species for one of these things. It still didn't help his mood much.
"Yes, this is my first time and as well as my species, my kind isn't...fond of space traveling." Zenigata started. "I'm an Adlet. No it's not in your thing considering how I'm the first adlet to ever leave my planet and therefore they aren't in any database save for what my crewmates have started making."
Honestly....this might be for security's sake but...ugh. Part of him just wanted to head back in the ship and sit there all day. Which..was something he really REALLY didn't want to do.
Exercise room (Soffy and Hazel)
The wings were attached to his arms and the youngster wasn't quite sure on what she was doing, still the youngster allowed Soffy to touch the feathers. The sudden change in location had him uneasy, seeing things form a higher point and moving was one thing. He was used to doing that when Frank carried him or he sat on Frank's shoulder.
"Uh...okay..?" Hazel responded as they opened their arms, spreading them as wide as he could and still holding a plushie in one hand.
The child didn't have a place to stick their soft friend at the moment.
There were various containment areas in this bay, some of them connected with doors and glass like walls that were stronger than glass. Wheatly had been cleared for anything contagious a while back but due to how strange he was and quote on quote 'unstable' with their shapeshifting to what they could understand, well. They merely allowed him to wander around the Quarantine Bay until further notice. He didn't have access to every room in this bay of course. Just the ones that were deemed safe. Now this was a bit...boring in his mind. The only company he really got was doctors and scientists showing up, trying to understand him. Though the sound of voices reached him and that put a giddy smile on his face as he rushed to the source.
Finding the door, he really didn't bother reading anything on it that would tell him what was in here or what might be going on. Pale blonde hair bounced with his movements and his mixmatched gaze landed on the group as he entered the room. Easily he closed the door and waved.
"HI!" Wheatly greeted.
IT was odd to see a tall man in a brown suit, one eye grey and the other red; including the whites of it. Probably the worst thing was the lack of a hazmat suit.
Kala had made sure to look presentable. The Doctor had put on her full duty uniform- jacket and all. It seemed too much to wear her dress uniform- she needed to be able to do her job with relative comfort should things go south.
She knew she was along for the ride specifically to patch people up if they managed to get themselves into any scraps with the locals- and given that the locals were Gartagens it wouldn't surprise her if there were at least a handful of fights while they were touched down and off-ship- however, she had a certain appreciation and respect for Gartagens. She didn't often have much respect for anyone, or at least didnt care enough to show it, but dressing nice was for everyone- even assholes, especially assholes. At least that was Kala's thoughts on the matter.
"I hope you have on your good pair of listening ears." She preemptively warned the poor guard, as she was about to list off exactly what the hell she was bringing, "And at least some time spent in medical school."
Without much time for a response to be given she began to list off the supplies she had on her person in alphabetical order.
They were both going to be there a while.
The commander nods, taking out his non-lethal pistol and setting it onto the table, along with his data pad. He then gestures to his two items with one hand. "Just my personnel electronics and something for security. You are free to disassemble it and inspect first before you let us go down to the surface. Rest assured, my security detail are equipping the same pistol."
"As for why I'm here, well, Heram Wazu, a civilian on board my ship, wishes to marry into the Empress' family. I, along with other Alliance naval officers here, are simply to oversee that the marriage is conducted successfully, and to make sure Alliance civilians are treated fairly here."
The commander maintains eye contact with the Gartagen. They're odd looking, to be sure, but not too distinct from humans to feel entirely foreign. At the minimum, they seem to have a similar screening process as the Alliance. Perhaps it is natural that space faring civilizations at least share similar protocols. Then again, he hasn't even got through the gates yet, so what judgement is he to make right now? What's more intriguing is that they're too similar. Nothing screams physical aggression right now. He was half expecting to be met with a fistful of... fists, given the Gartagens' reputation.
Wonder if Ecur squad will barge in here in time before he gets turned to mashed potatoes, if it really does come to that.
"Sarge, how many of the octopus heads do you think we can take on?" A text message appears on the top right of Nix's periphery, before two pop up behind it, almost at the same time. "Shut up, Boomer."
"Seriously though, what do you think they'll do to the commander in there?"
The Ecur squad leader sighs as he stands there with the rest of his soldiers, at the walls, a dozen feet away from the room. They have their hands behind their backs, shades completely on to hide their eye movements as they type messages to each other using their pupils, occasionally glancing at the Gartegens.
They're nothing. At least compared to the things on that blasted station they were forced to call home.
"Hopefully nothing. Look, I won't need to tell you if you need to get in there and kick some xeno ass."
"Sergeant!" Nix could almost smell the admonishment of Snow.
"That was what I was hoping to hear, Sarge. ;D" He then proceeded to roll his eyes at the shitty emoji Boomer decided to tack on, accidentally typing a line of random text onto the HUD in the process.
Zenigata and Quarum
"So... are you an ambassador for your species? I thought this was an Alliance thing..." The guard said, picking up his nearby datapad off a table and looking back over his notes.
"That's Heram's whole thing. We're just here to see stuff and eat food. We're not bringing anything down there but Datapads and such. We're basically harmless."
The guard would look at Quarum for a moment. She did appear to be just another human. Kinda thick. Her clothing looked like something well suited for the heat but not exactly well suited for causing trouble.
Then it was time to size up Zenigata. The guard felt like he could yell 'Boo!' and get the Adlet to jump two meters up. Something certainly seemed fishy.
"Zenigata right?... you are here of your own free will? If this is some weird sex-cult thing we can take you into protective custody."
"Really?!" Quarum said out loud, a bit of frustration creeping into her voice, "Your people's food had better be worth this..."
The woman he was talking too didn't seem interested in the weapons, though she did pick up his datapad... attaching a small device to it, and applying a nearly-transparent sticker to the back. She would leave it connected for a few moments before disconnecting her own device.
"Quite the ambitious monkey. Do you think Vishta will accept his proposal?
I must also assume he has brought a champion with him for handling the inevitable challenge? Or will he be entering combat on his own? If you're going to be bringing some creature down to the planet we need to know."
"mgmg...." The guard seemed unimpressed with what Frank had sent over.
~Fucking Interstellar Alliance Fun-Bucks...~ He thought to himself. The Credits that Frank had transferred over were exclusively used on Hawking of all places... not like he'd ever travel there. It wasn't even accepted within other parts of the Interstellar Alliance! That made the currency basically worthless here...
But, the amount did seem to come with a currency-conversion app. The soldier would put in a conversion request for money that he could use locally, and when the final number came back to his own account he stood up straight and waved Frank on through,
"Yes sir, we'll get you right where you need to be!" The guard would wave to another group a bit further back, then point to Frank... then Wazu. "Where all did you say you were headed?"
The guard with Enid got a waving-at from the guard near Frank. Enid's security screening was cut rather short.
"You know what? You're good to go. Just uh, don't wreck anything while you're down there...
... and don't any sass, that shit costs extra."
The shuttles for the Edward Deming had already been moved to a loading bay just beyond the custom's checkpoint. It looked like the first of those shuttles had already been cleared by the officials with only a short check. A side door had been opened and one of the guards had done a quick walk-through of the shuttle itself.
The Guard's eyes seemed to glaze over as he listened to Kala list all of the supplies she was bringing. It wasn't long before the guard held up his hand,
He would pick up the medical supply case that she had, and take it with him behind a make-shift wall for the security area. A few more guards would start looking through 'the stuff' as it were... with Kala not being given an opportunity to voice any concerns.
By the time they were finished, a half opened, and very messy, container of stuff was returned to her minus the medical-grade-amphetamines.
"Yeah, everything else in there is fine. You can get going..." He said dismissively.
Soffy and Hazel
"Good! HOLD THEM OUT!" Soffy shouted, continuing to run in a track, circling them around the ship like a hamper wheel, letting Hazel get a feel for how the air was blowing past her. "Try and glide!"
Soffy even started user her own wings. They weren't big enough or powerful enough to let her fly but they did provide a noticeable boost in speed. It helped the I'ee scurry even faster along the ground, giving Hazel a face-full of wind!
Wheatly and Echoni Group
444 would continue staring at Caixa as Wheatly tried to greet them through the door. The surface turning semi-transparent so they could see the creature behind it.
Caixa's digitally projected eyes would turn to look at Wheatly and observe him for a moment before returning to 444 and 515. The scientist apparently disinterested in dealing with the newcomer.
"Wait, we can talk right?!" 444 realized, quickly turning her attention to the door and running over to it before anyone could stop her. "HEY! GOT ANY JUICE BOXES?!"
"I was hired by Mr. Wazu to help him with a diplomatic mission elsewhere. I'm just here to try and experience a different culture. That and I needed a break from being on a ship." Zenigata answered.
This was starting to get on his nerves. Like REALLY get on his nerves. The voices near endless chatter raised in it's volume, making the world around him feel like a blurr. He grimaced slightly and started to rub his eyes with his fingertips, just wanting to have a normal day again. Those days back in the tribes where he could actually have silence in his own head. Free from other's thoughts on himself, only his own thoughts ringing in his ears that he could drown out by focusing on gathering herbs and making medicine. Now out here...being in his head was the worst thing possible for him. His normal method of copping....gone as it would only make him worse.
"Yes....Zenigata's my name." Zenigata replied, looking to the man as their voice thankfully broke some of the incoherent squabbling in his mind.
And yet...that quickly went away with their last comment. Oh how he was starting to hate the mindsets of others. The fur on his tail started to bristle as the straight appendage lashed slightly behind him. Anger bubbled through him as the voices laughed and made their retorts.
Oh how helpless he must be! How pathetically weak if everyone assumes you have something wrong with you in that way. Unable to do anything at all, ruining everything...made sense for someone used for only that would bring ruin everything else.
"Let me...explain something to you." Zenigata started through gritted teeth as he tried to keep the look of rage and annoyance off his face. "I am sick and tired...of everyone and everything, throwing sex into the issue when I walk into a room."
His enraged filled green eyes were directed at the guard, the adlet's tail raised with all it's fur bristled and raised. Making it look twice it's size as he stared at them. Voices mocking and ranting in his head, taking so much out of him as he stood there. His claws dug slightly into the material beneath him.
"I am here to try and relax, to unwind form all the bullshit I've had to deal with and stress brought on by a she-cat bitch and her onterage of a sex obsessed snake who just kept bringing it up to MENTALLY fuck with my patience! I have this much left and trust me Sir, it's fading fast!!" Zenigata growled out as he nearly pinched two of his fingers together. "Now if there is ANYTHING else needed to be done to meet the requirements of you checkpoint for us to go through, may we please be on our way?"
Mentally he was snapping, his poor mind being crushed and cracking silently.
Exercise room: Soffy and Hazel
"How....how do I glide?" Hazel asked slightly nervously as they held their arms out.
The wind was certainly....different feeling with Soffy running around like crazy to help him out. IT was slightly scary since the wind now felt stronger than it normally did on the ship. Still there was some excitement in him, though mostly fear.
"S....soffy what do I do?" Hazel asked.
"Oh quite a interesting trick." Wheatly remarked in regards to the door's change to transparency.
Of course, his attention was pulled up to when someone spoke to him. He gave a kind smile of course as he stood there.
"Afraid not, but I do have stories!" Wheatly replied.
"His success is not mine to speculate, but I hope the Empress does indeed accept, in the interest of both of our nations." Alas, Geiben opens his mouth.
"As for a champion, yes, Mr. Wazu has indeed chosen who'll fight for him." He goes for his data pad to access what logs he had, his hands going over the touch screen, but then jerking back slightly. Instead, the same hand turns over to an explaining motion. "They're called Echoni, genetically engineered humans created by the company that Mr. Wazu operates." Geiben maintains a straight face. "They've been spliced with foreign traits." He considers saying more, but stops right there. What did she install on his data pad?
Wheatly and Echoni Group
"Stories?" The second gynoid questioned to the creature behind the glass. 515 was red-skinned and bore a pair of small horns on their forehead, yet deceptively seemed to be taking up the green-haired one's lead, standing directly behind them as backup. "You don't have a suit... Are you a caretaker?..."
Several paces flowed with 515 just glaring down the newcomer with their angular green eyes, taking in every facet of their unique features in order to output a reasonable diagnosis. It was a lot like a housecat weighing up a new person in the house, only this one was apparently dangerous enough to require a starship's quarantine chamber.
"...It's... Different looking, but I don't think he is an Echnoni like one of us... They let him outside..." They finally came to somewhat of a conclusion, whispering down 444's ear a little loudly. The next words were meant for their cyborg overseer, but they went back to staring down the odd creature whilst they said it. "Permission to smash unknown entity? It's not SEER property, so it doesn't matter if it gets broken, right!?... We'll have a better idea of what it is, if we fight it!"
"How much is a smile worth?" Doris was stuck t-posing in order to oblige with the spaceport security guy, but was quickly recollecting her cool in the face of danger... Or, at least what she suspected was danger. Actually giving into a officer asking for valuables was just asking to get blackmailed for even more.
Thus; Appealing to the alien's inner male was her practised plan-B. The more stout, swept-back element of their vulpine features was something they assigned a 72% chance of being attractive to a Gartagen. Ropey extra cables sticking out the back of her head were a ~5% variance wildcard.
A new, more practised showing of her teeth, and a slight arcing of the head. "This is my first time to this planet you know! I'm really excited!~"
on the ship Sonia would be typing away at her stations console as it picked up a program being added to alliance property while she worked on bricking the program so it cant do anything major she would ping Geiben on his coms "Geiben please refrain from using or putting foreign applications not yet approved by alliance staff on the property you are issued, the indecent will be documented and reviewed when you return to the deeming." she said firmly so as to not leave room for argument while typing up the various issues she had with what Frank had reported on how he got green squad threw the checkpoint with Wasu and get a escort to boot. her wings twitched weather that be from annoyance from franks unprofessional with how he handled the situation or just how stressful the situation was and she was there to hear in but was't down there to help stressed her out.
"Zenigata are you OK?" she asked not only since he hadn't checked in on comms call when they landed (which is one of the reasons shes doing it is to check up on him)
before texting zenigata
* Hey floofball be safe down there, and be sure to control your anger/outbursts ask that one voice in your head for help ignoring the other voices and let me know your OK every now and them love you <3 ps dose this dress make me look fat? i bought it for later and wanted to try it on for your opinion. WeddinDress.jpeg *
finally Sonia paged ecur squad quarters on the ship "Paging corporal Angelas, please be ready and on standby with two ecur squad survival packs one with pulse carbines and one with Green squads drone launchers Thank you." Sonia leaded back looking one last time at the message before sending it to Zenigata
With the comm setup unkeyed, she murmured under her breath, "four years of bullshit and getting denied and I finally get accepted into a Power Armor unit. Only to get stabbed daily and stuck in a suit that has a damn heartbeat."
Zenigata and Quarum
"There's no further reason to keep you here. Though if you're planning to pick any fights you should consider paying a little bit up front..." The guard said, not very subtlety asking for a bribe, before turning his attention to Quarum,
"And YOU", He said, pointing a finger at the woman, "... Don't insult our food. It's better than anything created by soulless machines."
The guard would let that sink in for a moment, but otherwise Zenigata and Quarum were clear to head on tot he shuttle.
The guard seemed a bit confused with what he was looking at. There was quite a bit of machine here. The face looked mostly human though. Was it a robot with some human parts? A human with some robot parts? They had an entire book of rules and regulations regarding how to inspect and classify cyborgs from other species... and an entire OTHER book with addendums about Taipan.
Then she started showing her teeth. Was she threatening to bite him?
He wouldn't be intimidated!
"First time here then?" He asked, clearly he wasn't about to get any of those gold-bars. Maybe the rumors about the Alliance weren't true... and this one didn't seem too threatening. He really didn't feel like scanning all of her parts individually either... "Go on ahead."
Frank and Enid
Most of Green-Squad would follow along with Frank, though a few would hang back with Heram Wazu as he waited for Dorris to finish her 'scans'.
Green-Thumb would make her way over to Frank as they moved towards the shuttle. She'd quietly ask him, "Where did you get that suit..."
They had also gotten quite close to the shuttle. Green-Thumb would let Enid know who would be in their first group.
"Green-Thumb, Green-Eggs, and Green-Horn (Frank) will be in the first group along with Heram Wazu and..."
She'd turn her attention towards the group,
"Who else is coming down?!"
Geiben wouldn't get a chance to see what kind of app was installed on the datapad, as it had been blocked before it had been able to upload. Luckily his pad still appeared to be clean
"Bringing bio-weapons planet-side is a risky proposition. I am sure an arrangement can be made to bring them through but we would need to know what their capabilities are."
Soffy and Hazel
Soffy came to a stop to catch her breath, the I'ee breathing heavily, puffing up a bit each time.
"Just... hold open your wings... like this!" Soffy would turn Hazel slightly so she could see Soffy's own wings. The semi-transparent wings extending outward and fluttering slightly, but not flapping. "You gotta hold them open to suck up the air! It'll push you up! Once you know how to hold your wings we can practice gliding then you can learn to fly! READY?!"
Soffy didn't wait for a response. She just immediately began running again, turning Hazel towards the front so he could catch wind as they once again began their lap around the running area!
Wheatly and Echoni Group
"Hmm..." 444 had to give serious consideration to what use this 'Wheatly' was. It did not have juice boxes. It also looked kinda like one of those bag people... but it wasn't wearing a bag. 444 could only nod along with 515's assessment of the situation until she said, 'we fight it!'"
There was probably some context there that 444 missed, but it was pretty clear to her what had happened. 515 had determined that this thing needed to be smashed, 444 could trust 515, thus Wheatly would be smashed. She immediately jumped at the door, trying to get her hands through the small isolation slot, getting a grip anywhere she could so that the door could be torn open.
"NO SMASHING!" Caixa called out, triggering a small electrical jolt that sent 444 back away from the door. While 444 was on her back, Caixa would re-iterate the rules, "No smashing of anything until after I approve it. 515, you will be experiencing many new creatures during this operation. You can not damage any of them unless I allow it. Do you understand?"
Caixa's oddly mechanical body would move closer to the door, her eyes turning towards Wheatly, "Why are you here?"
The entirety of Ecur squad remains standing next to the interrogation room, waiting for the commander to step out. They eye Green squad as it makes its way to the shuttle, and continue to do so as Green Thumb raises her voice. Nix and Snow exchange looks and nod, while Boomer and Echo continue a silent banter across their glasses' HUD. Snow walks up to Green Thumb. "Lieutenant, the commander is still being questioned by the local security. I'm afraid we'll have to wait until they're done."
Thank you, Sonia. The commander glances at his datapad, then back up at the Gartagen. She's putting up a poker face, as if nothing happened, as if she didn't just try to intrude open Alliance property. Saves having to throw out the datapad then. The datapad itself didn't have any sensitive files on it besides applications for convenience, any information stored on the datapad itself were for utility, maps and biographies and data obtained of the Gartagen population. Sensitive information about the Echoni had to be requested from the Edward Demming's data bank, then approved for release. If the Gartagen was trying to get information like that by requesting approval, she certainly failed with Sonia's intervention.
"I can give you ballpark values for their capabilities, but everything else is classified information under both SEER and Alliance intelligence jurisdiction. I'm sure you'll understand... given your own 'super-Gartagen' program, as Mr. Wazu called it." Geiben maintains a straight face to match that of the Gartagen's, as he types on his data pad, sending a request to Sonia for the data package.
The vulpine woman just stood there for a minute, took her rather round glasses out of her pocket and pushed them up to her nose... Then walked off from the officer in a huff. Almost as if disappointed they weren't going to get in trouble for it.
A lot of strange faces here. Really damn noisy, and it all combined into one garbled mess because of the mix of alien languages. Walked right past the group of familiar marines gathering near one of the communal area the exit ramps, being stuck in huff-land and all. Too busy still thinking about that drone idea, too.
Then it finally occurred to her that her radio antenna 'antlers' needed turning on again.
Swept back her hair, turned the black plastic catches at the summit of their cylindrical protrusions above her ears, then ritualistically thought about the five mental images that allowed her augmented senses to spring back into life.
Painful. Overstimulation. Always was on a reboot, when all the incoming channels turned on at once, before she could mentally prune them back into prioritised mental sub-headings.
<"-one wacky fact about yourself to share with the class!">
There. That one. Familiar?... Robot legs. Yes, wanted to talk to that pilot girl... What was her name?...
Signal ID said it was coming from an Alliance-pattern shuttle that was currently powered up in the departures section. Number seven.
Well, it was an objective to check out, so why not?
Working they way through the crowds, Doris followed the signal until they eventually found Wazu's regular distracted looking face, and then made their way to the front of the small group gathered there.
"Green-Thumb, isn't it?" The scientist put their bulky black-rubber hands on their hips, then shot a narrow and angular smile up to the impressively large soldier. Normally the pose gave them the 'mad science' vibe, but the green suit made her look more like a lawyer today. "I am scientist Doris Müller! PHD! Roboticist! Cyber-medic! Published researcher of technologies and dimensions unknown! I am here to augment your luck, and that of this fine crew, in ways beyond mere human understanding!"
Wheatly and Echoni Group
"Yes, this is why I asked permission." The red one, 515, looked at 444 on the ground, and then back up at the large robotic form of Caxia again. They didn't seem too concerned about their comrade's condition on the surface, but were ready to pounce if the scientist took the shocking any further. "The ability to read thoughts is not part of our construction. You have access to files listing our specific abilities. Caretaker and Doctor Murphy do, so it is logical you must also."
Blank, predatory eyes. It was really hard to tell which parts of that were sarcasm, if any.
"...Are you an E-4? An Echoni? A part of SEER?" The red one decided to just get the information manually instead, looking back through the glass at the brown-suited thing. "What are your 'stories'? Are those like 'lessons'?-"
Without pausing to give him time to answer, the oni began waving their hand back at him, in a really awkward and naturally aggressive imitation of what they did towards her. "-What does... this mean?"
"Humor me. You certainly see why I would be hesitant to have foreigners bring strange creatures to our planet." She replied, seemingly unconcerned about the strange creatures that were Adlets... or whatever Doris was now exactly. She kept her arms crossed now, remaining standing, clearly willing to wait as long as she needed to get the information she required out of Geiben.
Green-Thumb looked startled for an instant. Doris was back. The after-action report from the first time they worked together made Green-Thumb sick to her stomach just thinking about... waking marines up from CryoSleep from the ship's CIC, followed by the same marines insistent that parts of the ship ABSOLUTELY needed to be destroyed. Doris showing up and being insistent that lizard-men were behind things. If that had been a normal mission, it would have been so disastrous that her career in the Legion would be over.
Everything did turn out alright in the end though.
That left Green-Thumb to consider if the luck that Doris brought was good or bad? Dorris certainly augmented it one way or the other. Though now that Green-Thumb was thinking about it this was the first time the two of them had met face to face. She also had a snazzy green suit that reminded Green-Thumb how bland her own coal-colored suit was. Once this was over she was going to find a good tailor!
"Nice to have you with us in person again. I'm hoping things run smoother this time... do you have any... special considerations? Uh... do robots get allergic to stuff?"
Wheatly and Echoni Group
444 locked eyes with 515 for a moment, then look to Caxia, then back to 515. She stood up slowly, as to not provoke anything. Now was not the time for certain actions.
444 would then observe as 515 did the hand-waving motion. It was something she recognized her caretaker doing... which caused 444 to move beside 515 and say quietly, "It means they know the kung-fu. Fang uses it. Fang cheats." For 444 it was so obvious, Fang had managed to best her in combat, thus she HAD to be cheating. Worse yet she wouldn't teach 444 how to cheat! It just meant they would need to be careful when fighting this 'Wheatly'.
Caxia would slowly move towards Wheatly, the sensors on their 'head' zooming in on Wheatly to get a better understanding of their body. The question of sharing stories with the Echoni soon fell by the wayside. "You are augmented. Also not human. I would like to know the extent of your alterations and stories before allowing you further interaction with the Echoni."
"Well, to be fair, she is ugly." Boomer looks on at the ensuing conversation, not bothering to hide his smile at all.
"Uglier than the folks back home?"
"No, not literally anyways." Boomer folds his arms. "She does look like one of those scientists though."
"Hmm. Fair point." Echo grits his teeth as he replies.
Nix ignores the insults proposed by his squad mates as Snow comes back. He looks back at the room the commander remains in, hiding knit eyebrows.
"Well, I'm not exactly a comedian." Geiben pulls up the data he acquired from the Edward Demming, pushing his data pad back at the Gartagen. On the screen is a 3D scan of an Echoni fighter, a description of their average height and weight, a list of their theoretical capabilities, but little else. "If you're looking for a genetic sequence or some special formula, again, it's classified information." The commander follows suit and crosses his arms. "What you should be expecting, in reality, is a weapon of war: volatile if no caution is taken. I don't to deploy them as much as you, but to accommodate your people's tradition while seeing the mission through, this was Mr. Wazu's solution."