The Black Forge, a collection of misfits all, attempts to survive in a hostile universe, by trading, fighting, and exploring while running low on spare parts, food, and keeping one step a head of the bank.
A few minutes after the battle...
After the battle, dozens of ambulances arrived and began moving the critically injured of the Black Forge to the hospital. The dead were left outside the Daedalus for later pickup and burial. Those that were lightly wounded were examined and treated, then many immediately returned to the ship to help with repairs. Those that only wanted transport off of Atraxis quietly disappeared into the city. Firetrucks and civil defense vehicles filled with authority figures and volunteers showed up soon after and started to put out fires and help with the task of moving prisoners.
A few hours later, salvage teams from the Black Forge set out from the Daedalus with vehicles provided by the local government. Some volunteers stayed on to assist with salvage operations as manpower was low at the moment. Most of the government and medical personnel had cleared out by then. Kotoku’s stars were beginning to fall towards the horizon.
Lyon had stayed behind on the battlefield. Not that he was going to flee again; he left his mech's beacon active in case he needed a pickup. For what he knew though, the rest of the team was hurt pretty badly, their mechs damaged; they'll be on the planet licking their wounds for at least the next few days. Surprisingly, once again, the scoundrel himself was left unscathed, other than an improvised shield he welded onto his mech at the last second.
Which left Lyon free to scour the newly created graveyard for man and machine alike. Armed again with just a peashooter, he followed the rest of the salvage team to look for anything worth keeping intact before the rest went into the furnaces to be melted down; gauss cannons, power cores, engines, etc. However, the scoundrel seemed unfazed, distracted, even when he did find equipment. No, he was here for something else.
The effort took longer than it should've. Between recovering damaged parts of his friends, hauling large hunks of scrap onto loader frames, Lyon couldn't find the time to march his mech onto working on his own little project. But alas, far from the prying eyes of the others on the salvage team, he found what he was looking for. The scoundrel came upon a downed Taienese Aeroframe and tore the cockpit open, finding a nearly unconscious Taienese pilot strapped inside staring back at his mech.
Lyon unhooked his headset from his computer systems and hooked it to his black-market data pad, turning the volume up to 100 and throwing on music on loop. What specifically didn't matter; he just needed something to deafen himself from the outside world for the time being. Whistling a tune of his own, he stepped out of his mech with a large, steel wrench in hand. Putting up a nonchalant walk, he climbed into the Taienese's cockpit, standing above them and staring them face to face.
The pilot appeared to be a Dog form Taienese male with floppy brown ears. He was staring at Lyon blankly. His right leg was obviously horribly injured, trapped under metal debris from the cockpit. It would require more strength to move than even a genetically enhanced soldier could muster. The pilot broke the silence. “Nǐ hǎo, Shībài. Nǐ zěnme zhème jiǔ? Wǒ de yīshēng zài nǎlǐ?” The Dog form man asked. Hello failure. What took you so long? Where is my Doctor?
The scoundrel lifted his headset for just a moment, only to hear the canine-form to make the snarky remarks.
He made sure he was deaf to whatever that followed. "Sibi hai xiang jiao huan." Dead bitch still wants to bark. Lyon grit his teeth, lifted his wrench, and slammed it into the Taienese pilot's skull half a dozen times until the piece of shit was a mess of blood and tissue, the cracking of bone and the cries of pain masked by a mix of tunes and lyrics he cared not for.
That's what Lyon wanted to do. In reality, the scoundrel couldn't bring himself to do it. Sighing at his own lack of conviction, the scoundrel trudged back to his mech. In a few minutes, the Taienese pilot had the mech's pistol aimed at him as its free arm maglocked onto the debris, lifting it off of the soldier. Lyon came back out a few moments later with a taser, a dagger, and a few metal zip-ties. "Remember: we kicked your ass." He remarked, putting a million volts through the Taienese. Making sure the adversary was incapacitated, Lyon cut open the canine-form's harness, bound his arms, and pulled him out of the cockpit.
"This is Lyon." He opened comms with the rest of the salvage team. "I got a Taienese survivor over here, requesting a medical team." He then eyed the canine-form. Frowning, Lyon squatted next to him and put a hand over his eyes as he waited for the medics.
A few minutes after the battle...
Xir directs Beast back to the Drop ship, Beast dragging its limp leg behind itself. Beast was noticeably exhausted and in pain. Xir found that Beasts hanger was mostly intact apart from half the UV lamps weren't functional. With the introduction of a mild chemical, Beast went into a deep sleep then Xir turned on the few functioning UV lamps and inserted the IV that connects to the Drop ship water supply. That was really the best Xir could do at this time.
With the shame of Dav being sent to the hospital in Xir's mind, it knew that someone needed to step up in his absence since no doubt Chuan will be neck deep in other concerns for quite a while. Xir opens the comms to everyone including the new people that Xir hasn't had the opportunity to meet yet. "Attention Black Forge. This is Xir. I know we are seriously licking our wounds still, but much must be done. I have no doubt that Chuan is very busy so I'm going to try and direct as much as possible in our dear Captain's absence."
Xir continues. " first, by all accounts there seems to be at least one more warmonger patrol out. They likely won't attack but we need to know where they are at, I need volunteers to find them and report back. Do not engage. Second, as far as I know we haven't recovered any feedback on what happened with the Tia Pan frigates. They could be destroyed by our allies or they might be in their return with a full unit of warmongers. I need someone to check on that and report back. Lastly, we have a lot of injured and salvage to start sorting. Many of you have expressed interest in upgrading tech, or changing Mecha altogether, or have medical skills that could be used. Now is a good time to focus to do any or all the above. remember there should be more than enough to go around. I will go talk to the Duke. I'm not sure the exact arrangements that were made but he needs to see a face after such a violent and destructive battle so close to his people. Anyone want to join me you are welcome. Please chime in on the comms to let me know what your plans are, since we are likely spread out all over the battlefield and space port. This is only temporary until our captain is on his feet again or can take his rightful place in command."
After returning from the battle Damion announced "if I’m needed for anything I’ll be in my quarters getting hammered to forget today." he said though due to his mono tone voice and vary little facial expressions its unknown if he’s joking or being serious though to him he was serious.
Damion would send a message to Xir *hey if you need scouts ill volunteer for that* after sending the message he went back to listening to some new age Gartagen rock music on his way back to base
Xir open’s comms to Damion. “Thank for volunteering. I think with have a patrol of 4 warmongers somewhere out there hiding. Maybe one of the prisoners will know the backup rendezvous points and you could go scout the location out to confirm that the warmongers are there. If you decide to take a small team you might be able to take out the piolets, but I’ll let you be the judge on that risk. We just can’t afford another mecha fight right now.”
"if I go, I go alone the more units go with me the bigger chance of being caught and more lives and manpower lost I should be able to get in get out on my own so long as I keep to the roe"
"Then do what you have to do Damion" Xir replies
A distant whine of engines could be heard in the air as Marina set her Aeroframe into a hover above the space port. Keying her radio, she responded to Xir's message with unrepressed cheer in her voice. "Steube here. My craft is still fit to fly, although one of my cannons appears to have jammed. If you would like, I could look at those frigates for you. That said, I would need a bit of help getting out of the atmosphere."
She paused, before adding: "I suppose if there is something down there capable of reaching orbit unassisted, I could land and try to commandeer it. No promises, though. Taienese designs are not something I have much experience with."
Xir open’s comms directly to Marine. “Marina, if your Aeroframe is anything like Joshua’s then you likely can make it out of the atmosphere, into at least low orbit, but I’m not sure you have the sensor range to see Kotoku IV. I’d suggest you find a way to patch or contact Gateway to uses their sensors to see if the frigates are on their return or maybe download any sensor data they got from the fight.”
Lily directed Pink Defender up towards the dropship mech bays, the relatively unscathed mech carefully maneuvered itself into one of the scaffolded areas. Lily turned Pink Defender onto Standby power and took a sigh of relief, before turning her head her weapons readout and the big red mark over her right arm.
"Xir, this is Pink Defender. I’m fully operational, bar a weapons malfunction. Should I refit now, or go scout right now?" She asked over the radio, her firepower wasn’t great and there wouldn’t be enough time for a full refit, but at least she might be able to swap the broken gauss cannon with something functional if not ideal.
Being in one of the lighter mechs, she figured it was proper for her to go on the scout mission.
Xir opens coms to Lily "This likely won't be a Mecha kind of mission but a covert mission by foot. Talk to Damian or Vlad about joining or supporting them unless you feel your skills are better used in other ways. "
Lily popped the hatch on her mech and groaned as she got out of her seat before replying to Xir. "No point sending Pork Cracklings after mechs, I’ll help with the recovery efforts until you need me."
She took off her helmet and stepped stiffly out of her machine onto the gantry helpfully wheeled into place.
Tai Pan Mother Drop Ship
EMT’s and other Kotoku emergency medical personal were dispersed across the Tia Pan mother ship attending the wounded. Though the bodies of the living where being tended to, there were just as many bodies with black toe tags hanging off big toes. Some of the dead were from the bombing during the main battle, others were from gun fire connected to the Black Forge Marine’s entry into the mother drop ship.
Orange started looking around the Tao Pan drop ship for dead enemies and started consuming them being careful not to pick up any from its own party members. One after another Orange consumed the dead of the enemy not caring if man or woman, or that of species.
The EMT’s and city medics looked at the orange like blob consume the fallen enemies with disgust. After maybe the third body being consumed, one of the Black Forge Marine medics came up to what she views as a fellow crew member and said, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!! I know you might be hungry after such a strenuous battle, but you are working on your third body, and where is the respect for the dead?!”
Orange looked at the Black Forge Marine and said you do realize if I had been a different member a rather large green one and you came in between me and my food he would probably eat you right. But this isn't about hunger I am breaking down the bodies and analyzing them so I can use the form later and I shall continue doing this until I am satisfied. If you do not wish me to put you in time out, I suggest you move along and help the wounded. Orange set about its task once again.
Looking at the orange blob like someone just stepped on her puppy, she backed away and went back to helping the wounded.
Everyone continued to stay out of its way while Orange did what so many viewed as despicable behavior.
After about the tenth body Orange decided it had collected enough forms for this species. Orange headed away from the mother ship back to its mech so that it could see about repairs and check on the status of its new mech that was being made.
Upon arrival in the Daedalus' mech bay, Lyon set about working on his mech. Replacing the broken shield was easy enough; he threw a program into the fabricator to construct a new arm, while keeping the main frame of the old shield. With nothing else broken on the mech, the scoundrel went about the harder task: augmenting the mech to improve its presence on the field.
Lyon sat on the mech's toes as the fabricated whirred away constructing the new arms for the shield. Gauss cannons and missiles were out of the question; he didn't have the gall to fire anything lethal. He had his peashooter, sure, but it proved even less than a distraction, as enemy frames cared little for the caliber it spat out. Hmm, distraction...
He drew up a quick design for some boxy and spherical deployables alike, then stood up, looking around for his teammates. Who was the software guy again? Right, Steven. After scurrying through the dropship, he found the man.
"I need a favor." Lyon greeted Steven sheepishly with his cracked data pad opening a hologram of his two designs. One was a spherical projectile, the other a box of sorts meant to be dropped on the ground. "My smoke grenade launcher has done its job blocking visual LoS, but they [the enemy] can still locate us with other EM sensors. I've designed some electronics that can mimic EM signatures of things ranging from missiles to entire mechs, but I don't have the knowledge to build the programs to run them. Can you help with that?"
Steven thinking over what Lyon said for a few minutes in quiet silence as Lyon gives him a grimace. Steven does the calculations of the ECM in his head taking in the various factor of the experimental equipment. After the long hard look of Steven looking into nothingness, Steven finally comes back into the current reality. Steven gives Lyon a slight smile, and responds " ok, radar picks up on missile and weaponry by heat signatures, radiation and radio transmissions bouncing off the projectile, and relaying the information back. To properly 'confuse' the radar transmission. We need to make the weapon expel more radiation into the chamber to make the proper radiation and heat equivalent to the missile. I need to be able to put a capacitor on the specified weapon and I need access to your mecha mainframe. Is this ok with you Lyon?"
"Of course. Though, I think it'd be easier if the ammunition had its own source of radiation," Lyon suggested. "I can rig up a cheap computer and emitter in them. I just need you to make the programs." He paused, then came to a thought.
"How hard would it be to have a small box on the ground mimic an entire mech?"
Steven smiled and without missing a beat "well on paper it almost perfectly flawless, in practice.... well it works...if that, much like old human governments come to think of it"
Steven looked at Lyon, and states "don’t need to hook any computers, I can access and upload the programming to the computer built into the mecha and the emitter is already built into the mecha it just has a "governor" built into so to speak to regulate radiation output. That’s where we are lucky just need to attach the capacitor to. The reason for a capacitor instead of every individual ammo is that it saves making Specialty ammo and as a bonus doesn't blow up your gun trying to shoot it"
"Should've looked through all the through all the schematics--- alright, let's do this. I'll go get the capacitors ins
As Lyon goes and collects the parts for the capacitors Steven goes up under the console as he pulls out what looks like a bundle of cords, takes a connector piece from what seems like a fanny pack, and plugs it into his computer connecting to the mecha console. After Steven starts doing the programming, he leaves the mecha cockpit and begins doing sketches on the capacitor for the mecha gun and start some light wielding to get the capacitor to form fit the gun. While the programming is beginning to finish Steven starts to enter the cockpit to let the programming to finish, as it finishes it give a slight ding letting Steven know the process is complete, and time to start the actual process of making and integrating the capacitors into the mecha.
After a few hours of putting and attaching the capacitor to the mecha gun and finishing the rest of the programming for fluking gun. The job was done, after many hours of constant working on the mecha. Steven walked up to Lyon, " Lyon a got the fluking system built into the gun, I got it working a little, but further testing will show better results later, I do recommend TO BE CAREFUL, you have an on and off switch for the fluking system"
Alex was, for his part, not actually working on his own mech, but rather, studying the structure of it, and beginning to sketch out plans for a new one. The previous battle had required him to move rapidly, and to relocate from one side of the battle to the other. It was clear to him that this new design would need to make provisions for both rapid movements, and to allow the mech to be a stable enough firing platform for him to make accurate shots.
His sketches began to take form. The mech would have wings that could unfold, and powerful thrusters to allow it to use ground effect to hover just above the ground.
Scott peered over Alex’s shoulder at his sketches. He didn’t seem to notice Alex at all, he just stared at the sketches and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. After a few minutes he nodded. “We can build that. There are parts salvaged from the Taienese Aeroframes. It won’t be very durable of course but it’ll be fast.” He said absently.
"Getting hit hasn't been so much of an issue for me so far, but it seems like I'm needed everywhere at once. I did have a couple of ideas for new armor though. I was told we're using tungsten, but that's way heavier than it needs to be and not much more durable than titanium or something like that. The big problem is resisting energy weapons, but there are better ways to do that for less weight." It was clear that Alex had been giving this a lot of thought.
The mech scientist jumped when Alex spoke. “Yes. That is an issue. There are a few ways to counter lasers… An ECM suite could help confuse targeting. I believe a reflective coating would work, but we just don’t have the funds for that. Our ablative armor is just cheaper.” He trailed off thoughtfully.
“Well, the Duke promised us goods and services. Make me a list of what you need, and I’ll get it if I can. Just promise me you won’t start building it without me.” Scott said, grinning. “This is going to be AWESOME. We could make history.” Finished speaking now he ran off, disappearing into the bowels of the ship.
As Scott ran off, he passed by a newcomer to the Mech Bay. Smoothly stepping out of the man's way, Marina shot a bewildered look at his retreating form. With her Aeroframe currently undergoing maintenance, she had been left with a measure of free time, time that she had been spending sating her curiosity regarding the Black Forge's ground-based war machines by touring the Daedalus' bay. Seeing the blueprints and sketches laid out before Alex, and having overheard the tail end of Scott's words, her interest was piqued.
"Making history, hm?" the blonde inquired as she approached to stand beside Alex. Clasping her hands together behind her back, she leaned forward to peer at his work, shooting glances at his dormant mech to compare. "How interesting. Are those wings intended to be functional?"
"Hopefully, for ground effect use. I suppose that they could work for short duration flight as well, but mechs aren't exactly the most aerodynamic" Alex said as he tapped on the data pad, he had begun to transfer his work to, and a small animation played. The back of the mech, which was what looked like a pack and wings, folded forwards and the legs reversed their joints, making it more stable. "I'm thinking of using a secondary mode like this."
"Interesting. You know, back home in the Kaiserreich we know a thing or two about multi-purpose designs," Marina remarked, watching the animation play. "Our capital-class vessels double as oceangoing craft, even."
She paused, glancing back at the entrance to the Mech Bay before turning to smile at Alex. "Ah, but where are my manners. I am Marina Ilse Reinhild von Steube, pleased to meet you."
"I'm Alex." He simply said, before placing the data pad down and looking at Marina again. "So, what's nobility from the Kaiserreich doing out in a place like this? Especially from a family as conservative as the Steubes."
Marina was briefly taken aback by the question, a series of emotions flickering across her face before she settled on an awkward smile. "You...are certainly knowledgeable, aren't you?" she chuckled weakly. "Suffice to say, my dear mother and I had a... strong disagreement over the direction my life was to take. But that is rather beside the point, ja? Tell me more of this project of yours! I guarantee it is far more interesting than my petty family squabbles."
Alex was relieved, he had been worried for a moment that he would need to talk about his own family, but that hadn't been the case. He picked the data pad back up and looked at the elevator up to the Aeroframe cradles. "Well, it’s essentially a light mech designed to allow me to get across the battlefield with more ease. It seems like in the last battle, we needed more people everywhere, and this should help alleviate those problems slightly. I'm going to go look at the Aeroframes. You're a pilot, right? Do you have any input?" He asked as he began to make his way towards the lift.
Following behind, Marina hummed thoughtfully, her previous discomfort already long gone. "I should make it clear, I am no engineer, but I did undergo a target recognition course that went rather in depth on several designs both foreign and domestic. The older model Sturmfalke, for example, possessed a folding mechanism for its wings to make storage easier. If I recall correctly, the wings were shaped somewhat like..." she carried on as the two left for the Aeroframe hangar.
After finishing the project Lyon wanted done, Steven got a new shipment of parts and mecha for the black forge. After reviewing the spoils of war, Dav decided to leave Steven a gift, full intact warmonger. Dav decided a different roll suited Steven. After doing a full review of all the parts, he decided to forward all the info to Dav, Xir, Muk. Ultimately, he decided it was their decision to do with the spoils he just got to document it and fix the toys.
After the full review of the parts Steven overlooked the console and pilot’s cockpit, integral systems of the mecha. Steven looked through all the scrap and materials for the mecha. as Steven looked through the list of different parts, an idea came to his head Steven thought" what about a hacking mech" he looked through the available parts and found out that he could in fact do it. It would take until the next mission but Steven Hope's that is when he gets his time to shine.
throughout the time Steven assemble the various ECCM, and ECM to attach to the newfound mecha, doing the programming for the various jammers and hacking equipment. Steven knew that this was all somewhat experimental equipment, but it being Steven’s field of expertise he knew what he was doing and how the systems worked.
the first system that Steven worked on is what Steven called "magic lenses system", the ECCM allows the user to see through the standard ECM that other mecha use, rendering it disabled while it being in the given area of effect range. Steven Soldered the jammer together and connected it to the mecha, the programming required Steven to be very attentive, just in case anything went wrong he had to be there to make sure he could fix it.
after the programming notified Steven that it was done. Steven worked on the other projects for his mecha named "Mute"
Steven remembered something from the education that he learned that early human civilizations used ionic pulse weapons as a sort of EMP. Steven used a standard missile launcher, and instead of using the usual ammunition for it, he used an ionic pulse in the missile instead. the missiles he built each one, he eventually programed a civilian robot named "Charles" to build each missile and program them, the programing allowed the missile to explode next to the mecha to shut the mecha down for a short period. "Charles" allowed Steven to keep working on the various other projects for "Mute".
After having to build the missile launcher Steven seemed a little tired, but he wanted to make progress on the mecha, being very fond of the AI "Liz" he chose to transfer her over from Clad enforcer to Mute. it being a simple task for Steven, he took a small nap, while he waited for the expected ding. As an hour rolled around a ding woke up Steven and a cherished voice of "Liz" popped up and said, "well hello, Steven what can I do for you?" “Liz upload operation ninja from the flash drive”, Steven said. as the various blueprints are uploaded onto Liz programming, the flash drive contained many ECM and ECCM programming and blueprints from Blackwell industries, the former employer of Steven Heartsul. after the upload Liz responded "upload success, what next?" Steven then commands " Liz use programming to upgrade current ECM suit" after a few minutes Liz responded, "all required components to upgrade are here, approximate wait time is 3 hours, still continue?" Steven raises his hand to wave "continue on". Steven then rolled over in his pilot’s chair to get some well needed sleep.
after the sleep, Steven resumed his project after getting a quick bite to eat, he reviewed the Liz of things he wanted to install on his mecha, after the crossing out of a few, he came down to the integral parts of his mecha, communications, he wanted to specifically jam them, but intercepting can be more a useful tool in battle, to know what your opponents are doing is more dangerous than people think. Steven going over the pro's and con's, finally chooses to do both, Steven builds the communication jammer, installs the jammer into the mecha, and tells Liz to upload the proper programming.
Steven overviews some of the abilities of the ECM suits upgraded form Rather known as "ninja" to him, as he reads the abilities and performances of the upgraded suit. it sweeps the area so more frequently so targeting become less and less.
the next thing he decided to install onto the mecha "mute", is and built in hacker system
as Steven thought about his newfound role, he thought that a tagger would do much better in the role he could fulfil allowing him to mark targets for his comrades to kill easier.
Muk’s boys scurried around Doomcrakka’s mech bay at the direction of Rotbag. With the examination of the Taienese scrap, the wannabe Atraxian engineer had suddenly gotten a new idea for the ammunition feed to Muk’s Third Eye. It was as if the gods had granted him new insights. They had already removed all the Autocannon ammo since Muk discarded the autocannons in favor of light plasma cannons.
Now they removed the external ammo feed from the mech’s legs and instead ran it on the inside from the center torso and right torso sections to the left torso. From the recovered salvage Rotbag also added heat sinks to Doomcrakka’s to allow him to fire the plasma cannons more often without overheating.
Xir went to Beast in it's personal hanger Bay to do more extensive medical care. Beast was still in its medically induced coma. Taking a closer look at the leg injury Xir felt pity for its animal. Checking for any sign of infection, Xir began applying an ointment while removing any foreign material in the inflamed wound. After about an hour of doing this Xir went to the large bioengineering tubes, which were 7-foot-tall glass cylinders, to begin growing muscles and skin grafts that Xir will use to replace the injured tissue.
There was a frown on the mercenary as he continued his input on an interface, taking a step back occasionally to stare at the damage report between groans of annoyance.
"One single lucky strike, huh?" Makre mused as he glared at the piece, one leg completely wrecked, as well as one of The Ocelot's cannons. The leg wouldn't be impossible to replace, but the idea of having to deal with wrecked weapons every time something similar happened was one that did not appeal to him in the slightest. With another press of a prompt on the interface the screen quickly flipped to a new design, radically different from the walkers everyone was using, but it was one design that solved the major qualm the merc had now.
"Will it work?" He wasn't a full-fledged engineer or designer, but the schematic was relatively sound in his eyes, even if possibly less flexible than a regular mech. He did remember vehicles like this in some of the historic records back at his old military outpost. A... tank... was it? They seemed less complex, in comparison, but having never seen one in action before, Makre had to admit he was worried about the vehicle's performance, if it ever lived to the design's expectations to begin with.
"Let's get this started before someone asks." He thought to himself, looking back at the large number of parts scattered through the place. Though he couldn't help but to wonder if he didn't need a more complete set of tools or a whole factory to put the machine together... He grabbed the controls for one of the lifts, placing down a large slab of steel cut to size and specifications. A few modules he could modify from a regular fighting compartment, but this machine had a different shape than anything he'd worked with before. Thankfully, the turning mechanisms didn't need to be much different from what a regular torso did.
The cranes groaned to life again, as an engine, a whole torso-like structure and a cannon were rearranged to position the engine over the machine and slowly fit in on the hull.
A small smile formed on Makre's face, letting the smell of metal overpower his nostrils as he approached the incomplete machine, hopping over the roof of the hull, to look at the new piece inside. "This is going to take all night, isn't it?" He snickered to himself, resigning himself to begin connecting tubes and cables around the engine for the next hour.
Recreation Deck/Temporary Interrogation Room
Damion walks into the interrogation room wearing his BDU pants and some supplies he uses to tend to his cybernetics. (plyers, knife, soldering gun) "so here’s the deal you tell me what I need to know, or I start seeing how much pain I can put you through before you do. and given my knowledge on first aid and cybernetic surgery I can make sure to cause enough pain you’ll be awake and not die from....so where’s the rest of your units heading to?"
Vlad heads into the interrogation block with a thick blindfold, a pair of headphones, and a foldable chair in hand. "That's not the way to torture people. Pain? Come on. That's old. All you need is a bloody sound-proof earplug and a blind-fold." Vlad pushes away Damion. Vlad then unfolds his chair, laying down in front on the pilot. "Let's have some fun." Vlad ties a black thick blindfold onto the trained Tai soldier. After that, Vlad puts on the sound-proof headphones on the prisoner. "Now, we leave him for five hours or more. Maybe a whole day. Don't talk to him...well, you can't. He can't hear shit in those headphones, nor can he see."
caught off-guard by the push Damion stumbled a bit...."we need them alive whoever you are, besides pain disfigurements and bodily harm tends to get a person results especially when you know what you’re doing....but if you wanna make a competition out of it there’s a few people you could interrogate."
"Don't give the feeling of the outside world. We're isolating him. Isolated Confinement. This will break down any social creature. Torture barely works."
Damion shrugs "I’ll be the judge of that since I’m doing this for a solo scouting mission so like I said you want to do your sensory deprivation torture there’s plenty of victims otherwise bugger off I’m on a crunch time."
"Go ahead. I'll go do my thing to the others."
Damion nodded as he began extracting his tools from his toolbelt getting everything set up.
The Taienese watched the two interrogators argue causing a deep panic in the pilot. Just when the blindfold went over the dog faced Taienese eyes he gives into his panic and says. "please don't! please don't! I'll tell you everything I know. I've heard of the horrible things you space pirates do to prisoners. Ask me anything!"
"where are the rest of your men going to link up?" Damion asked removing a blindfold "this only needs to be as hard as you make it, give me the location how many there are what equipment they are using and anything else you think could make this run smoother on yourself"
the pilot takes a moment to think then says, "The only patrol still out when you attacked was a patrol of 4 warmongers... the default emergency base camp was an old abandoned mining facility in the Toopac canyon. There is allot of lead deposits there to block sensors. That's why it was chosen, but that isn't your real problem. We have two Tia Pan ships last heard in orbit of Kotoku IV. One of the Frigates still has a full complement of warmongers and Aeroframes. They are likely on their way back now. When they blow this dropship to kingdom come, I really don't want to be in here. I've told you everything. Please let me go. "
Damion writes down the info he was informed of before continuing "were do you plan to go? you’ve just ratted out your own crews position and so on you’re a traitor to their cause so if you want to die sure you can go, or you can cut ties and join us we could always use marines with skills to teach others.."
The Taienese pilot in Block A-1 responds to Damian. "why would I sign up with a bunch of corpses? I just told you there are two Tai Pan military ships coming to kill you."
Damion didn’t show any emotion to his face when he sighed "well because you could keep yourself from becoming a corpse tai pan would kill you and your buddies in response to us showing up, of course I doubt they’ll be coming to help you, so what’s the weapons and armaments of your buddies?" Damion said as he turned on his soldering gun holding it a foot away from the soldier’s dog ears "and be quick about it."
The Pilot looked at Damian intimidation and just makes the pilot mad. “I already told you that I would tell you everything and now you start to threaten me and intimidate me. Screw You!! You are just space trash like my officers always told me”.
Damion nodded "well see if that’s everything you know." taking out his plyers and knife he walks behind the tai pan dog his plan to use the plyers he grips the ear before taking a knife to it and using the solder gun to stop the bleeding as he begins to work he said "might want to speak up us space trash tend to be hard at hearing..."
Screaming the weak-willed pilot concedes and tells Damian everything he needs to know.
Damion nodded satisfied "There, was that so hard?" tossing the lopped off ear in the pilot’s lap. "here this seems like a good souvenir to remember your time here." taking his notes Damion calls the medic before making his way to Xir with all the info. not really bothering to wipe the blood from his hand.
Medic entered the room with a first aid kit to go to work.
"Don't do anything harsh to him. I need to check the facts with the prisoners. I'll be right back." Vlad leaves Block A-1 and then to the next room, Block A-2. Walking in, Vlad waves to another Tai prisoner. "Hey there, buddy. Name's Vlad. Don't panic. I'm not planning to harm you." Vlad kneels. "Tell me about yourself."
The Taienese pilot in block A-2 had a slight graying on its feline fur, demonstrated by the arms, hands and heads salt and pepper look. He looked the man (Vlad) up and down before beginning to smirk. Without saying a work, he began to hum a song that might have been a close resemblance of the Tia Pan national anthem.
"A hard-ass, huh?" Vlad says. "Sure, do it your way." Vlad walks out the room, coming back with duct-tape and sound canceling headphones. Vlad puts on the sensory deprivation equipment onto the prisoner. First the headphones and then the duct-tape around his head over the eyes. Now, the prisoner could not hear anything but his own thoughts. He could not see anything, only pitch black. Vlad then leaves, off to get a cup of water, leaving the prisoner alone for hours, if not for days.
As Vlad begins to walk down the hallway, away from the A-2 cell where the pilot sits handcuffed to the aluminum chair. Vlad faintly hears singing of a Tia Pan Navel shanty. The pilot in Block A-2 sounds pretty good too. Like he has been singing that tune for many years.
After about 30 minutes a medic comes into Block A-2 room with the Taienese pilot. The pilot is continuing to sing even as the medic inserts a tube up his nose then down his throat causing a gag reflex. The tune continued as the IV went into the pilot’s neck and a then a catheter went up his penis. When finished the medic left the Pilot still in his chair singing, with the medic shaking her head going back down the hall listening to the tune. The tune might have gotten into the medic’s head.
The day after the battle Chuan walked into Dav’s hospital room. She wasn’t prepared for the sight that greeted her. He had tubes going into him in more places than he had holes. She rushed to his side and knelt beside his bed. “Gàn, Dav… You need to be more careful…” Chuan said, fighting back tears. She had promised herself she wouldn’t cry and promised Dav she would handle things if he was injured or killed.
It was extremely difficult for her not to break down, but she managed. She would save her tears for the funeral if he died, and if not, there would be no reason to cry. Chuan leaned down and kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t you die on me now,” she whispered. “We’re just getting started.”
Chuan stood up and squeezed Dav’s hand. “I don’t know if you can hear me, handsome. I’m going to take care of those misfits of yours until you wake up, so don’t worry, just get better.” She said. Releasing Dav’s hand, she walked out of the room and shut the door.
Leo was in the Medical Bay being giving Artificial Blood through an IV as he sat on a Bench. The Blood on his jacket had dried on it, but he didn’t mind too much. As Chuan left Dav's room, Leo saw this as a chance to speak with Her. He got up and walked over, dragging an IV stand with him. Leo was several feet taller than Chuan having to look down when he spoke her. "Cap'n, I'm Leo Atilla, Junior Engineer. I was the One that Patched up the Drives. I wanted to ask you somethin'."
Chuan stopped and turned to look up at Leo. She nodded slowly. “You did a good job, Mr. Atilla. Dav will… Dav would appreciate your hard work. They told me you saved some of the injured down there. Keep it up and you might be the Chief Engineer someday.” Chuan said. “Aright then. What is it?”
Leo let out a small chuckle and ran his hand through the back of his hair. "Well, I was wondering if I could join the mech team. I have a Gunderi 300 series in storage collecting dust. If I could join the team, maybe I could refit her for combat, wouldn't take much and she's a tough nut to crack." Leo thought it was a long shot. He didn't know what she would think about having a Gunderi 300 on a combat team. They were civilian mechs, but they were armored and reliable.
Chuan listened to Leo’s suggestion silently. She hadn’t quite expected that to be what he wanted to ask her. Normally Dav handled all the combat decisions. With him unconscious though she was the next in line. She thought about the last battle and how badly the team had been beaten up. The Gunderi series was known for being sturdy and cheap to maintain. Some of the civilian internals would need to be replaced and the computers might need an upgrade, but it would be doable.
“We would be glad to have you on the team.” She said, trying to channel her inner Dav. “By the way, did you ever formally sign the Codex? We need to take care of that, especially if you’re going to be a pilot. Join me, some of the veterans, and some of the other new guys tomorrow night in the Wardroom. We’ll celebrate our victory and get you guys official.” Chuan said, trying and failing to pat him on the shoulder. Determined, she jumped up just enough to pat his shoulder. She barely managed not to fall on her ass.
Chuan’s cheeks flushed with embarrassment. She cleared her throat and met Leo’s eyes. “That never happened. See you tomorrow night, okay?” She asked cheerfully.
Leo let out a deep laugh, it hurt his chest a bit, but he didn't mind. "Whatever you say Cap. Wardroom tomorrow night, Codex signing, all that stuff. Thanks for giving me the chance." Leo had a smile on his face. Being able to use the Sagi, his mech, after all this time made him ecstatic. He went back to the nurse to get him a new IV bag, giving a quick nod and a loose salute to Chuan as he headed away. He suddenly remembered something and spun around. “OH, have someone check on the drives. They'll probably blow in the next few days. I built them to get us out of there not for the long term".
The next night...
2 hours before the party
Earlier that morning Chuan sent out a message to the pilots that there would be a celebration of their victory in the Wardroom. It was optional but she hoped everyone would show up. After her talk with Leo she had realized they were somewhat low on fresh food. She highly doubted they would enjoy a meal of dried rations as a victory celebration. She had frantically been running around since that conversation trying to get everything right.
The newcomers to the Black Forge she had instructed to meet her there a few hours early. This part was not optional. They needed to go over the Black Codex and officially sign it. Several of the veteran pilots had yet to sign but she wanted Dav to handle that.
She was standing beside a large table waiting for them with a copy of the Black Codex, several sheets of actual paper, and a pen. The table had enough places for every pilot in the Black Forge to sit including a huge seat for Muk. All that she needed now was the new hires to show up.
Makre arrived with more than a couple of oil stains and a few burns on his pants, quietly if only partially covered by a jacket strapped around his hip. The man didn't look too uncomfortable despite the apparent discrepancy with some, if not most, of his peers. But he kept a serious face as he stopped and stood at attention.
Damion showed up smelling of cheap smokes and stood in attention after filling out the document.
Leo was still wearing the beaten-up jacket that she had seen him wear in the Hospital, the blood still leaving a faint red stain on the front and his beaten cap covering most of his head. It was apparent he at least tried to look better, with a new shirt and his hair looked clean. He ducked going through the doorway and made his way into the room. Leo didn't know how to act, so he just followed what everyone else was doing in the room.
Marina was once again dressed in her uniform, her cutlass sheathed at her side and her long hair let down as she entered the room. She took her place, standing primly alongside the others, doing her best to project an air of confidence.
Once everyone had arrived Chuan cleared her throat and started speaking. “Ni hao everyone. Usually Dav does this… I may be prettier than him but I’m not great at this so um… bear with me.” She said, chuckling nervously. “Okay so, the Black Codex. This is the contract and the code of conduct we follow.”
She held up the thick black book for everyone to see and continued. “The book goes more In-depth and I advise you read it, but these are the basics… Respect the chain of command. Follow the Golden Rule: Treat others how you wish to be treated - with respect and dignity. We do not condone our members speaking down to other units. While we may discuss their weaknesses, openly disrespecting others will only make us look arrogant. No sexism, no racism, and no bigotry. We are mature, honorable, respectful adults and we like to maintain a mature environment. We win respect with our Mechs, not our mouths.
Use discretion when resolving disagreements. Attempt to resolve matters peacefully, with respect and dignity. You are expected to follow all mentioned codes, protocols, and restrictions written in our doctrine, or instructed to you by Command word of mouth. You are expected to take all documents you have signed seriously and follow them to the letter.
If you have any questions let me know. If not, here’s the contract.” She finished, holding the contracts out with the pen.
"I don't believe there's a reason for any of us to not sign this, is there?" Makre inquired out loud, obviously with no specific target in mind, but loud enough for everyone to hear, as his hand reached for the pen. He made sure not to mess around, writing his name in full with a firm hand before returning the pen with a bow of his head.
Damion looks over everything on the codex reading along before signing "there you go I look forward to working with you."
Leo shrugged, not much else to ask about anyways. He grabbed a pen and wrote his initials on the contract.
With a flourish, Marina wrote her signature onto the page in flowery, looping cursive. Once she was done, she sat the pen back down with a smile.
Waiting for the party
While waiting in the lounge relaxing about two hours before the party Vlad takes note that one of the security guards approaches Xir, who is also relaxing on the other side of the lounge. The security guard leans close to Xir and whispers something. Xir becomes noticeably agitated, suggested by the glowing of its skin green, tensing its body and looking slightly in Vlad's direction.
"What's up, buddy?" Vlad walks up to Xir.
Xir and the security guard looked at Vlad, but the security guard spoke up first. "The prisoner in Cell block A-2 made an attempt at escape. Apparently, he dislocated his thumb to get loss from the cuffs, then somehow picked the lock to the cell land knocked out the security guard on duty. he was quiet and almost got free in the dropship. the only reason he was caught was because he had no clue what time it was and tried leaving the cell block at shift change."
Xir spoke up at this point, "It took 5 people to subdue him. what I took notice of was that he didn't cause any serious injuries to anyone. Even the guard he knocked out just had a headache and based on his fighting ability he could have done some serious damage to any or all of the security guards."
"I'll make sure to duct-tape him to the chair and then duct tape that chair to the ground. Anyhow, I have a combat file to report back to Freehold Air-Command. Thanks for the heads-up." Vlad nods before quickly leaving down to his room.
Xir calls for Vlad. "Hold on Brother. How about instead you try to bring him in the fold? Anybody who took that much care not to hurt our people may have more interest than you first gave him credit for. Someone his age and his low rank, there might be reasons for him to ditch his uniform."
Vlad yells back, "I'll see what I can do with the boy. No promises."
After Vlad's report to the Freehold Legion, the Russia man walks back to Block-A2 with water, some foodstuffs, duct-tape, taser, and a unfoldable chair. "What's up. One hell of an escape attempt you did." Vlad says, setting up his chair in front of the prisoner. "You know, we keep calling you prisoner formally and informally. We don't have a name for you yet, as you have yet to tell us your name."
"So, what's your name?"
the prisoner was sitting there in a strait jacket seemingly in just his boxers. With its graying feline features he looked Vlad up and down. "My name is Kure Masahiro. For your information young man, I'm no boy, and this isn't my first time as a prisoner. Though, you seem to be a lot nicer than my last stent as a POW."
"Good to know. I'll get to the point. The lads want me to tell you that they want you to join them. I'll give you time to think on it." Vlad stares and wait, sitting on his chair.
Kure stared back at the young man who just yesterday tried to torture, if not in a unique way, him. He responds, "I've been serving in the Tai Pan military for more than 30 years. Spent 3 of it in POW camps. Why should I turn my back on them now when I didn't when captured in the past?"
"You do you. We'll keep you as a POW for a long while, if you don't want to join us. What's your longest record kept as a prisoner anyway?" Vlad sips on some water.
He turned his head sideways looking curious at Vlad. "longest would be a year and a half in the Interstellar Alliance prisons, working as their cook, but the hardest was 4 months in a rebel camp in our own Tai Pan territory. Those bearings sucked.". He laughed a little shaking his head.
"Heh, nice. Luckily for you, I subscribe to the Geneva Convention, or in words, the Interstellar Conduct for War. I don't know how long we'll keep you, but I'll make sure you get what you need to live. Any questions?"
He looked at Vlad intently "Do you have a need for skilled people?"
"Always, we're looking for people of all sorts to get into the team."
Upper Atmosphere/low orbit
Peering up at the sky above through her frame's canopy, Marina considered it. "Well, it will be a rather long and boring climb at the speeds this thing flies at, but I suppose I do not have to worry about fuel like the astronauts of old. Very well then, I will go see what Gateway has to say."
Shifting out of hover, the Hummingbird began its climb into low orbit. Even with Kotoku I's thin atmosphere working in her favor, Marina had to keep the throttle set to max to fight against the forces of gravity trying to weigh her down. Ever so slowly the Aeroframe’s nuclear engines pushed it higher, colors changing around it as the already thin atmosphere lessened, and finally gave way to the black of space.
On a whim, Marina rolled her craft over as it settled into a temporary orbital path, gazing down at the planet below her. It wasn't her home, but a planet seen from above was always beautiful, in her opinion. Even more so when the barrier between her and the view was only a "small” strike craft. Once she'd had her fill of the sight, she righted her craft and sent off a request to the distant Gateway for updated sensor data on the system.
When the request to Gateway goes through, Marina immediately gets a communication from Gateway on what appears to be a secure channel. She hears a woman’s voice over the line though Marina hadn’t opened comms to respond to the voice yet. The voice says with a strong accent, “This is Gateway sensor control. I’m registering a request for senor data from this location. I need confirmation and clarification before that data can be released.”
Though the communication was voice-only, Marina smiled and adopted a relaxed posture, doing everything she could to influence her own tone and attitude towards a kind, trustworthy-seeming one. Casually, she opened the line on her end. "Ah, hello. Nice to hear a friendly voice after the ordeal we've just been through. I am sad to say our vessel suffered a rather catastrophic systems failure shortly before landing and crashed somewhere in the wilds. I have been tasked with contacting someone for assistance. For some strange reason, the nearest spaceport is ignoring my hails, so I thought I would see if there were any ships in the area that could render assistance."
Her smile turned a bit devious. "I recall there were some naval vessels in the system when we arrived. At the very least, miss, could you please inform me as to their whereabouts, and perhaps bounce a message to them for me?"
Responding to Marina's very creative reply the woman's voice in the other end laughed a little. "Mam, what is the name of the shop you hail from? Is it by chance the Icarus or Daedalus?"
"Yes, in fact. The Icarus is the ship in question," Marina confirmed. "Why, did we leave an impression?" she asked, still smirking to herself.
The woman on the other end of the comms responded, "Are you by chance a member of Black Forge?"
Marina hummed, leaning back in her seat. "For now. Though I fear I might not be for long if I prove myself unable to even fetch some sensor data. So, I must implore you, for the sake of my continued employment, may I please have access?"
The woman giggled slightly again over the other end of the comms. she replies "ma'am roughly 30 minutes ago the Duke contacted us giving us permission to release the sensor data to black Forge when requested. Of course, he isn't advertising that ma'am, and you will find it sensor information very interesting. I'm sure did while watching it live."
"Ah, how kind of him!" Marina exclaimed. She settled down, awaiting confirmation that the data had been transferred. "I, and my comrades as well I am certain, appreciate the cooperation."
The data stream took a little over five minutes to receive, due to the distance between the station and Marina. Marina watched in accelerated speed on her secondary monitor as an object coasted towards the pair of Taienese frigates. Two quick energy bursts from the now activating ship disabled the first frigate. The second jumped to FTL moments later. Skipping ahead, a half dozen spherical dropships detached from the unknown ship and burned towards Kotoku IV. The feed noted the dropships landing on Kotoku IV. The now fully active cruiser pinging as the Spire of Vengeance began a one gravity burn towards the planet. There it remains as dropships lift off and land repeatedly for some unknown purpose.
Moments later, a new transmission was beamed from the Spire of Vengeance. It was a two part message, one part heavily encrypted, the other not. The un-coded message read:
“Brothers, we have secured the package. We will leave you with a present. Good work. Glory to the Master and The Forge!”
Marina, puzzled, began her descent towards the Icarus.
Jazera Administration Building
Xir went and put on its bio-armor, without weapons, to make sure there would be a good showing for the Duke. Hitching a ride with some of the Kotoku security that was at the port, Xir made it to the Duke’s administration building. The look of this particular building had a very European Renaissance appearance to it with high vaulted ceilings and stained-glass windows of different art and people. Of course, Xir had no clue of the historical similarities if it's construction, just that it seems very over the top but also much care to maintain it. After a lot of searching and talking to people, Xir finely found someone that took Xir to a private study in wait of the Duke or maybe one of his Representatives.
After waiting in the study for a few minutes a stately man entered the room from a small side door with what appeared to be a personal bodyguard. The stately man was wearing a very modernized renaissance looking jacket and pants with a dark red glint to it. The stately man sat in the chair without greeting. The bodyguard took position next to the small side door. He was in a very traditional black custom-made suit obviously designed to fit with a number of weapons under the jacket. Also, to take note by Xir, was the left ear had what appeared to be a cybernetic interface which suggest he may have several augmentations.
After Xir takes a couple moments for the Duke and itself to size each other Up, the duke finely spoke first. “Where is Dav? He is the only one I’ve talked to in your… Crew that I’ve had the pleasure to talk too. He is also the one I made arrangements with.”
Xir placed the Bio-armor helmet on a small table that was close by then brought its tentacles to its skull bones to speak. “Unfortunately, the fight at the Space Port was more severe than expected and Dav was seriously injured. He was being transported to your hospital shortly before I came here to meet you. I am Xir, the third in command. Our second is busy directing the post battle work needed for the wounded and damaged equipment. I figured it was best we checked in with you as soon as possible. Especially with everyone still being in the dark with what happened on Kotoku IV.”
The duke waved his hand and said “I’ve already given permission for the Gateway station to pass on any sensor information to the Black Forge when you request it. As for your damage, how bad was it? Is it going to extend your stay on the planet longer then I discussed with Dav?”
Xir responded, “I honestly don’t know yet, your Excellency. It is way too early to tell. We still need to bring our second drop ship to the space port, find the remaining patrols that weren’t at the port when we attacked, and if the Frigates are on their return this whole thing might be a short victory. Plus fix our extensive damage. No worries Duke, as far as they and anyone else knows we just attacked and raided a space port and your emergency services are just responding to help wounded for humanitarian reasons. At least that’s what should be believed for now.”
Duke said “Then we should just leave things as is for now. I’ll assume the same timeline for you guys getting off my planet until Dav tells me otherwise. I wish him luck in his recovery. If you or Dav need to contact me, you can likely find me here. Let’s make phone call or vid communications from now on though. No reason for you to show up here and cause questions for anyone that sees you. I promise there is good reasons for this precaution. Many plans are in the works. Delicate plans. Please keep in contact with my aide-de-camp, Rickard.” Without giving Xir time to respond, the Duke stood up. He smiled, “I am glad you were successful in liberating my home and my people. Hopefully you are able to extend that same courtesy to others like us. I must go to avoid any suspicion, but know you have my thanks. Soon, I look forward to publicly acknowledging our partnership.”
Xir watched in surprise one how abrupt it ended, but Xir is still learning the behaviors of these humanoids. The bodyguard walks up to Xir and places a communication number in Xir’s hand, turns, and walks out quickly to catch up with his Duke.
It took Xir roughly two hours to find its way back to the space port. By that point, it seemed the chaos had at least turned to some kind organization. Damaged and destroyed Mecha were being lifted into the hangers, wounded had all been transported away, but dead bodies were still being collected. Most importantly, it seemed the Black Forge has been working together as a team in the post horror of our battle.
Damion sent a message with all the info to Xir about what he got out of the pilot and that he might need stiches reattaching an ear. Xir brought a tentacle to tap the comm with a simple open then close of the channel to acknowledge that Xir received the message.
Damion nodded to himself before getting ready for the recon mission. He put his knife in its holster on his waist as well as adding a few satchel charges to a carry bag.
Jazera Star port
2 Weeks Later…
Chuan sighed. She was slumped against her desk with an empty bottle of scotch and burrito wrappers everywhere. The past few weeks had been hell on her. She was doing Dav’s work as well as her own and trying to coordinate the refit with the shipyards all at the same time. Now the Icarus was done with the refit and she had to make sure everything got transferred to the Icarus so the Daedalus could get repaired and refitted.
“All work and no play makes for a bored fox.” She muttered, staring at the wall. After a few minutes she sighed again and climbed to her feet. She sent out a group text to everyone in the Black Forge.
Chuan here. The Icarus is done with the refit. We have 24 hours to transfer all personnel and equipment to the Icarus. Get your mechs, planes, tanks, and personal belongings moved over. And make sure ALL the Atraxians are off the ship. Those green idiots seem to pop out of the ground like daisies and I don’t want to hear about dead mechanics.
The tired fox girl pulled on her shoes and jacket and headed out the door. She needed to go check on Dav before she did anything else. He seemed to be out of the woods now and he might wake up any day now. If he was going to wake up at all. They didn’t really know for sure at this point.
During the second week after the battle, Muk tested out Doomcrakka’s modifications a little bit. He mostly patrolled the Star port and surrounding area as the contract specified. Sometimes though he would wander farther from the Dropship looking for any enemies they may have missed. He never found anything other than the occasional large animal which he could test his plasma cannons on. A few times they overloaded and shut down prompting him to return to the ship and smack Rotbag in the head. After a bit of tweaking he managed to reduce the chance of overload from 65% to around 15%.
Damion Had Spent the better part of the last two weeks working on a way to upgrade the mech plating in any way. It wasn’t until he figured out he could melt down the scrap metal from the various enemy mechs and equipment that was too expensive to fix and forge that into a form of composite plating. However, he was pretty sure the plating would need to be made from the enemy material for each type of enemy they face but it should give some extra protection.
Leo had spent most of his time getting the Sagi back into working order. After he contacted the storage company to deliver the mech to the Forge, he began right away on refitting it. The Sagi had been stripped down to its hull and frame, so Leo had slept little in the past week getting the mech back into working order. He had gotten most of the Sagi online, the reactor was working along with the movement systems. Leo had spent the last two days trying to get the plasma cannons to work but didn't know how to install it. He had tried it in four different configurations before giving up, dragging his hands down his face saying out loud to no one "damn this stupid gun".
"You need some help with that?" Lyon stood behind him lazily chewing on a protein bar. The botched Avian-form Taienese was in a much less malnourished state now; still scrawny to be sure, but the skin beneath his sporadic, black feathers was more flesh colored, rather than pale. He got himself a grey cloak no longer made of scrap but durable fabric, with two lined holes in the back to let his mounds-for-wings stretch and relax.
Leo looked over to him, he felt slightly embarrassed. "Yeah, guns aint my thing. I’ve tried over and over to get this thing to work but she’s just throwin' me errors." Leo stood several feet taller than Lyon, but was just as skinny, most likely from the build of his body.
"Oh yeah? Tell me about it." Lyon shoved the rest of his protein bar down his throat, letting out a light burp, then wiping off his fingers on his cloak. "Have you talked to Steven? He's pretty good with software."
"I barely know any folks down here, honestly. I don't even know your name" Leo let out a chuckle. "I swear I could take apart and rebuild a drive in an hour but give me a shotgun and I couldn’t tell you how to load a bullet."
"That goes for the both of us. The bit about names, I mean." Lyon hesitates, the brings out his hand from beneath his cloak. "I'm Lyon. Steve's the guy who helped me on setting up my decoy rounds. He can help get it configured, I can get the hard points mounted."
"Leo. And some help would be nice." He reached out his hand to shake his, it was a prosthetic and looked very worn and crude. The Plasma cannon was being held at about chest height by a crane, the panels off showing the inner workings. "It’s being mounted up on the shoulder".
"Sure, I'll help you get it welded on and run some simulations. Depending on its kick and weight, we'll need some structural modifications to keep it stable. Do you have specs for it?"
"Sagi's a Gunderi, so her power can cover it. Structure wise, she’s as solid as stone. It’s this stupid gun. Was a salvage from the last battle, and one of the boards for the plasma field was fried. I thought It was fixed but it’s still throwing errors at me."
"That explains it. Hmm..." Lyon took a moment to think. "I've done my fair share of work with nuclear power generators back on... erm... Habu..." He shook his head. "Never mind that. Here, let me take a look." The scoundrel walked over to the cannon and peered inside, using his data pad as a flashlight. He took a few minutes to examine it, before looking back at Leo. "Yeah, it's busted. And I don't know how to fabricate the new electronics. Here, look." There was a black, blob of metal and silicon the size of a thumb tucked away deep inside, miniscule compared to the rest of the cannon. "I don't even know what that was supposed to be, or how it connected to everything else. Let's see..."
"You be the guide" Leo picked up his toolbox and placed it on the side of the cannon in arms reach, the mag feet latching on. He took his own light and shined it into the space so Lyon could use both hands. "I thought it might be somethin' with the electronics, though I was too afraid to touch anythin' ".
"Yeah, well, I don't want to touch anything either." Lyon fiddled through his cloak's pockets at took out a large, metallic electronic piece and clicked it onto an edge of his data pad. A greenish scanning ray beamed out as he held it above the interior, scanning at different angles. After saving a copy of the plasma cannon's 3D model, he then took some clippers and extracted the lump of metal. "I'm going to go see if we have scavenged cannons with at least this part intact. I just might be able to reverse engineer this."
The scoundrel left for the storage bay where they stored all their bounty. After a half-an-hour of digging around, he came back holding a box of electronics, setting them next to the plasma cannon. "I did the best I could to match the profile to what we had back there, but they weren't pretty." Lyon grabbed a chair and maglocked a pair of metal arms onto the metal frame, and set to work fiddling with the electronics, testing each one in the web of parts.
After a few hours of work, with a canister of coffee half empty and crumbs of rations scattered across the floor, Lyon took his red eyes off the plasma cannon. "There, it isn't screaming non-convergence anymore. Admittedly I also had to switch out some other stuff, so it may or may not blow up."
Leo had fallen asleep in the pilot's seat of his mech at this point. When Lyon talked again, he woke back up and pushed the hat up from his eyes. Leo pulled over one of the screens blinking away the blurriness. "Looks... good from here. Everythin's in the green." He got up from the seat and made his way down to Lyon. He patted him on the back. "Thanks for the help. And don't worry about it blowin', the Sagi already already has a dozen other systems that would make a safety inspector roll over."
"Figured. That makes, well, all of us." Lyon nodded, commanding the crane to get the cannon into a mounting position. The rest of the process was much faster and easier, being solidly in his area of expertise. In less than an hour, he welded the cannon onto the shoulder support structure, with springs and dampers to keep stability. "I'll be off." The scoundrel slid down the mech. With a hand wave and a yawn, he left Leo alone in the bay.
Leo gave him a short wave, and went on with finishing the mech, by the end of the week the Sagi had been completely refitted and was ready for combat even if it lacked a few safety features.
Scott was in the mech bay tinkering with the joints on Dav’s mech, the Dark Horse. While testing the repairs to it he’d noticed that the knee joint on one side was sticking causing the mech’s balance to be slightly off. Since Dav was unconscious taking care of his mech was the least he could do.
Of course, something like this would have to happen. In his hurry to finish his pet project, Makre had forgotten something so essential like actually asking before. The bays were all prepared for mechs, but what he had between his hands was something different by all accounts. As soon as he entered the place, he grabbed an old wrench around the place and knocked on a wall, announcing his presence before walking further in. "Is anybody here?" He asked half-jokingly, as the noises inside the place had already answered that.
The loud banging of the wrench on the wall drew Scott’s attention. He climbed down from the gantry and walked over to Makre, wiping grease off his hands. “Ah, Makre right? What can I do for ya?” Scott asked.
"I was looking for some help in preparing one of the bays here for my new machine. I used a few parts to make... something that's most definitely not a walker or an Aeroframe, you see." Makre explained as he worked his wrist device with his fingers until a small hologram appeared, helping the explanation with an image of what Makre was talking about. "I'm sure any of these bays can handle the general shape and weight. What do you think?"
Leo had moved the Sagi into it's bay, he didn’t trust the other deck crew with moving the mech around. He climbed into the cockpit, booting up the great machine and closing his eyes. The great hum of the reactor and the pumping of coolant through the systems felt like the organs of a living creature, its heart and blood. The computer systems booted up in an outdated OS, the Sagi's computers weren't made to be compatible with the newer versions. Leo opened his eyes and scrolled through the systems, the Railguns on each arm were performing fine, the heatsinks were working at their max, the plasma cannons were still giving him trouble but were well within safety lines. Leo let the readouts wash over him, the white noise of the other mech systems a lullaby to him. It had been five, ten years? since he'd last been in the mech, and she felt like a part of him. Leo dazed off in the pilot's chair, murmuring "I’m home, sweetheart" as he did so.
"Hey, you know what's CBT is?" Vlad walks up to the mech, yelling at Leo.
Leo woke himself up from the seat, he propped himself up and looked over at Vlad. "What?"
Vlad said, "CBT, cock and ball torture. Know what that is?"
Leo looked at him for a second, then laughed. "That’s a way to introduce yourself."
Vlad replied, "Indeed. So, you like to talk about Space Book or um, CBT?"
From the other side of the mech bay, Muk yelled a response. “Oy, you gits betta do dat weird ‘umie shit in ya room, got it?”
Vlad ignored Muk and continued, "I have a database on porn and reports on how humans respond or feel about them. It was a course on human sociology that I took. You know, the human mind is a very wracking thing."
"I've got quite the stash too" Leo knocked on the controls of the mech. "You stay out there on your own for years at a time you gotta keep yourself entertained somehow.
"Kool. You read on the news yet? A child got rich by selling baitcoin. It's worth a few million creds for one baitcoin."
"Huh, never heard of it" Leo looked over at the panels, there was a readout for a faulty junction on the top of the mech, Leo started climbing his way to it as he talked. "I usually don't follow that type of thing. Isn't really my fancy."
"I see.... Good bonding we're doing here."
Leo chuckled "You were the one who started talking about it. Names Leo, you?" Leo had climbed up to the top and opened a hatch. He was reaching his hand inside to find the faulty part.
Aerospace Fighter Cradles
The Hummingbird was at the center of a hive of activity as Marina watched the bulky transport modules be carted off, along with the Aeroframe's empty rocket pods. "That would be mine," she remarked to Alex. "A bit of a stubby, ungainly thing, but once the lasers we salvaged from the Taienese are installed and some missiles are mounted..."
She shrugged, giving a small smirk. "We may just make an eagle out of her yet."
"I suppose it's a far cry from what you're probably used to flying. The Black Forge doesn't always have the most advanced tech, but we're making do so far. I've got some ideas on how to save weight on the armor. I know what we're using right now isn't exactly ideal for aviation." Alex mused.
"Weight saving would certainly help, I suppose," Marina nodded. "Though I imagine your current project would benefit much more from such a thing."
She glanced at the various features of the Aeroframe, a thought occurring to her. "Speaking of, are you planning to modify an existing mecha or do you intend to construct a new one from scratch? Well, as close to scratch as possible with the resources at hand, of course."
"A scratch build is likely beyond us for the moment but using the frame of a Puma class and salvaged components from Taienese Aeroframes should make it easy to reach an intermediary stage in the project. The advantage of a scratch build would be more customizability, and better compatibility with the systems needed for transformation." Alex mused.
He looked at the wings of the Aeroframe for a moment, examining them. "Wings will probably be the first step. Likely thinner, and foldable."
Marina hummed thoughtfully, looking at the frame as well. "Once again, I must stress I am no engineer, so I could not say if this is truly feasible, but...have you considered perhaps tackling the issue in reverse? You mentioned that aerodynamics and stability is an issue, so perhaps instead of trying to make a mech that can fly, you could attempt to make an Aeroframe that can walk?"
She tapped her chin, thinking about how to explain. "Take, for example, the Taienese fighter that was disabled on the runway. Its fuselage is intact and designed for flight. Designing your mecha around a core like that and adding the limbs and other features needed to operate on the ground to it, could result in a design that is more capable in the air."
"Hmmmm..." Alex mused, as he looked over the Aeroframe in the hangar. "That could work. If I took the basics of a battleframe and made it fit within the fuselage of an Aeroframe, it would be more capable. It might even be able to serve as an Aeroframe as well." He began to sketch out a transformation mechanism, where the legs of the battleframe became the intakes and engines of the Aeroframe, and it folded itself flat into a fighter-like shape.
"That would certainly be useful. At present, we only have three aircraft, and the Taienese presumably have..." she frowned. "More than three. Having some additional help in the sky now and then would be welcome."
Outskirts of Jazera
Damion loads up in his puma at around 1800 to use the shroud of night as cover and noting that there's a lot of lead in the area that will mess with the sensors but to him that works both ways. Once he looks at a map of the area, he begins setting up his GPS to the location the pilot gave. Once satisfied, he keyed his comms, "Xir if you don't hear from me by 0700, don't bother waiting for me."
The plan was to pilot his mech towards the south of the enemy patrol's abandoned buildings and hop out of his mech a klick from the location and continue on foot. Once done, he puts his knife in his sheath before loading 4 satchel charges from the marine armory and with climbing gear and binoculars into a duffle and placing that in the leg compartment after removing the ammo for the light railgun.
The abandoned mining “building” was actually an entire hard rock mining complex. A poorly maintained chain link fence surrounded the facility, clearly designed mostly to discourage animals and children from wandering into the mine. Outside of the fence there were small trees and shrubs dotting the landscape providing numerous hiding places for sneaking into the facility. There was no visible sign of the enemy other than the obvious mech footprints embedded in the dirt.
Damion could see two buildings tall enough to hide mechs behind of or inside. Both had mech prints leading towards them, so it was hard to tell where the massive war machines were being kept.
Damion would move threw the brush and noticeable hiding spots as he made his way towards one of the two tall buildings. He began to look for a way into the building. Sneaking as usual, his plan was once inside, he would plant two satchel charges on the bottom most floor of the building support beams before heading in the direction of the second building.
The doors to the left building had been repurposed long ago. As Damion walked through the open doorway a patrolling Taienese female soldier walked in his direction. He heard the soldier approaching and quickly ducked into an open office. The Dog form paused outside the doorway, sniffing the air furiously.
The faint scent of cooking meat overpowered the scent of Damion. She gasped. “Tāmen zhuā zhùle yīxiē dōngxī!” The soldier exclaimed and ran to the other building. As Damion moved deeper into the left building, he could see a single halfway armored Warmonger parked on what had been the factory floor. It had entered through the large loading door, the only entrance big enough to permit a mech to enter.
He managed to place the satchel charges close enough to the right position to bring down most of the building. The signal to his detonator flickered in and out several times before stabilizing. Damion exited the building with no further incidents. He could see lights glowing through a large window in the other building. Getting into this building would be tougher. The front door was locked up tight and the huge hangar doors had the switches on the outside completely vaporized. He could see that some of the upper windows were shattered. There was also the possibility he could climb up to the roof and look for a way in. Either way would be dangerous as there were few handholds.
Damion would put one of the two remailing satchels at the foot of the door before heading back towards the mine opting to head a few feet into it and place the last satchel before leaving the mine and hiding some distance away in one of the many hiding spots. Before tying the climbing rope to his knife to give himself a pseudo range weapon.
"If the pilot’s interrogation was correct, only four will be here as they scurry about." he said to himself as he waited for the detonator to stabilize before pressing the detonation switch. he would wait and watch the fireworks
With a spectator display of light and sound the building in the left collapsed in on itself with chunks of rock also being hurled in the air to land only yards from Damion’s hiding place. A second later the exclusive in front of the other larger building’s door sent fragments inward, seeing windows and even holes in the walls burst outward. To Damion’s surprise the explosives in the cave didn't detonate.
Damion nodded to himself before calling one of the mecha pilots of the black forge "Hey Ayanna I might need your assistance. Head to the location of my mech. I should be there shortly. Expect company..." with the message sent he packs up and begins to move as quickly as he could, disregarding stealth as to hurry.
As Damion ran away, he heard a number of smaller secondary explosions coming from behind him. Though the buildings were made of stone, there was obviously something flammable on the inside. Light from the fires created shadows in front of Damion.
Aiyana was just working on her mech when she got a very surprising call from one of her teammates, " Expect company? What the hell are you doing." Aiyana said a little exasperated as she did a quick look over of her mech and sighed, " You'll do baby, let’s go." she told the machine as she pulled herself in and strapped up and would leave the hanger to run as fast as the mech would allow to help, the machine making heavy stomps in the ground as the elf sighed and called Damion back, " I hope this isn't stealth because this mech is NOT silent and her shoulder squeaks ever since that last fight." she told him- mostly to be a little funny in the suddenly tense situation.
"Not anymore. I went in to bomb out the patrol. Don’t know how many are exactly left but wanted to at least get some backup. there were 4 warmongers. not sure how many now after dropping a building on one" Damion said as he began serpentine movement between rocks and anything that might provide decent cover while on the way back to his mech.
Judging from the black Forge beacon on a frequency specifically for them, Aiyana knew that it would take at least 10 minutes of top speed running for her mecha to get to Damion. But she kept on the move anyways in support of her Comrade.
Damion was able to make it to his Puma with no obvious sign of pursuit. Looking back on the destruction at this vantage point, standing at his tiger’s feet, he could only see the glow of fires and smoke coming from the indention of the canyon in the ground.
A sigh left her as she ran. It was only the second time she had actually ran in this thing and it felt strange but that honestly wasn't that important at the moment, " You able to hold up until I get there, its gonna take a few minutes. This thing only goes so fast." Aiyana called over as she would keep this pace up until she reached her destination, flicking a few switches so that she could look over the area, " I'm here." Aiyana told him as the elf went on to ready her weapons.
Damion hopped into his mecha before pinging her on the comms "yah. I’m ready and able let’s move in on them before they get their bearings. You good for that?" Damion asked over his comms before moving onto the targeting computer to wait and see if an enemy mech had managed to get mobile.
Damion sat there in anticipation for 10 minutes, waiting for some kind of sign of a mecha popping its head up out of the canyon. Damion detected Aiyana approached from behind standing next to him mech beside mech.
When she popped up in her mech, she would give him a wave, " I'll be fine, don't worry." she told him with a small smile. She was getting ready again. Fighting wasn't second nature to her yet, but she was getting the hang of it, "Lead the way, I'll watch your back." Aiyana told him as she walked her mech right up next to his and settled, her gun loaded and ready.
Damion nodded "Alright, no heroics. They may be panicked but that doesn’t mean they’ll be any less trouble. if anything, there is more trouble since panicked" checking the ammo on his 125mm cannon, he primes it and chambers a round before heading out in front with a 500 meter spread so one well-placed explosive won’t take them both out if these patrols have one.
"Aw you foiled my plans to be this big hero- damn." Aiyana said with a little bit of playful sass since she couldn't resist. Aiyana would take one more look over her Crushah's systems and then double check her gauss cannons to be sure they were loaded- yep she was more than ready, " Let’s go...but enlighten me...how did you piss them off?" she asked following after him, her eyes looking all over to make sure they wouldn't get flanked.
As the two Mecha moved towards the canyon with Damion taking the lead there seemed to be no movement seen by eye or sensor. Slowly creeping the edge of the canyon, you look down at the still burning flames coming out from the demolished building, but the other building to the right was completely dark, thought holes from the explosion were still clearly seen from the light emitting from the other building.
Damion fires a shot from his 125 mm cannon at the building not smoldering "come out with your hands in the air you will be given fair treatment but show hostility and we will open fire!" he said out loud after opening the pilot cockpit.
Aiyana would fallow after Damion, her eyes and sensors scanning the area until they saw burning flames coming from the destroyed building. Something inside her told her that this was strange and would flinch some when Damion fired at the dark building, " 现在出来" ((Come out now!))Aiyana could call out through her speaker as she wasn't going to risk opening her cock pit as she took a step to the side and then moved a few feet closer to the building and scanned it to see if there was any sign of life.
Out of the mostly intact building a body came crawling along the ground, Exiting what remained of the last hanger door.
Damion looked to Aiyana, "you wanted to know what I did to piss this patrol off, just look around.....cover me." holstering his knife he climbed out of his mech with the climbing gear before making his way to the person on the ground "are you alone? is there anyone left if so were." Damion said while standing outside of arms reach.
Nodded at what he said but she was also ready to be able to hop out and help the injured person. Aiyana looked around still as the elf was on edge with a mix of anxiety and worry as she lifted and aim her cannon towards the building, "Be careful!" Aiyana Hollard out to Damion.
The dog featured body coughed blood and pointed at both buildings before saying "one of us was in the blazing building, the other two and myself were in this building. Peace's of the show hot is while we're where coming dinner. I think I'm the only one alive."
After a little investigating you discovered two fully functional warmongers behind the buildings, a third warmonger was inside the building full of shrapnel and the last one was cooked in the blaze of the collapsed building.
Dav awoke lying in a hospital bed and several tubes going into his chest, arm, and neither region. A voluptuous fox was sitting in a visitor chair wearing a ship jumpsuit one size too small. In her hand was a new data tablet and a pink sparkle stylus. "Good morning, handsome." She purred.
The room was sparsely appointed, with only the barest of furnishings. Other than the chair and the bed, there was only a digital monitor displaying Dav's vital signs and biochemistry.
Chuan stood and collected a glass of water from a wall sink, taking particular care to exaggerate her figure while doing so. Dav sighed, thinking, no matter what, some people never change. He took the glass and swirled the clear liquid before knocking back the cool drink. God knew his body aches were becoming persistent. But work needed doing and he figured he could rest when he died.
Handing back the glass, Dav chuckled when Chuan "accidentally" dropped the glass and bent over to pick it up. Pain blossomed from beneath his blankets as swelling conflicted with the indwelling catheter. A wry smile from Chuan belayed her intentions. She knew what she did and its effect it would have on Dav. "Naughty girl!" Dav bellowed. Chuan laughed as she left the room, a leggy swagger as her tail brushed back and forth.
Chuan changed her gait after she left the hospital room. Now she was in command. Now the stride of complete confidence was necessary to maintain order. Order for her beloved, even if he didn't realize it. She owed more than her life to Dav. She was one of the many sold into slavery by the Empire of Lemais. If it wasn't for Dav and the Black Forge, she would still be waiting tables in a Diej brothel on that dustbin Atraxis during the day and servicing the sick pleasures of whatever degenerate had coin at night. Dav gave her back her dignity when he bought her and gave her both freedom and a home. That alone was worth her loyalty and admiration. That he has a cute butt was just icing on her cake.
Xir was waiting in the hallway when it saw Chuan leave the Captains room. Taking a moment for the captain to gather himself, since Chuan always seems to have a very humanoid effect on him, Xir enters the room. Taking note of the Captains physical well-being, Xir walks up to the Captains bed side bows and says "I’m sorry captain. I failed you and the mission. Though we were technically victorious I see that the cost was very high. Maybe too high, and I feel I had a part in that high cost.”
Dav waived away the bow, looking through the after-action report left by Chuan. Dav spoke low, "We lost few brothers and won a great victory. The rest is just things. Do not worry about it."
Aiyana had been just absorbing the fight, she had gotten shaken up during it, but she was alive and unharmed but Dav hadn't been so lucky. So, Aiyana had used some of her earnings to pick up a vase and then for a nod towards always working with metal, Aiyana had made some metal flowers. The elf made her way through the hospital to his room, knocking on the door before walking in, " Hey Dav, figured you might want something cliché' when in the hospital." Aiyana said with a little smile as she walked in and put the vase by the window, "Is there anything I can help with? You know I can heal but I'll leave that to you." Aiyana offered, feeling bad that she couldn't do much on the battlefield.
A naked child sized Atraxian ran into the room and saw that Dav was awake. “Oh no! Nonono, da boss not gonna be happy!” It screeched, hands on its head. Seeming to remember that it wasn’t supposed to say that, it lowered its hands and looked from left to right, then up to Dav. “You’s alive! Scak so happy!” It squeaked. “Scak go tell Muk!” With that the creature darted out of the room.
[[OOC: JP completed by Bullroarer4, kiteakat, mechameme, Ray of Meep, lincolnD, Shinoh01, SloanRocks2, ArsenicJohn, Jimmy, Gir, Armacalic, Lone Badass, Hal 9000, Ahoy, and Dimirhunterjsh23.]]
Dav, feeling his strength return, decided he would not let any more time pass. He was sure, after quickly scanning the after-action report, he was needed at the helm of his company. Solid persons all, if a bit quirky, but they needed a strong and dynamic leader. throwing back the covers that seemed full of lead, he lifted his legs and swung them out of the bed to the side of the catheter drain bag. It was half full of amber liquid. he grabbed it off the hook and hung it from the hip hole on the side of the gown covering the front half of his body. Grabbing the IV pole, he attempted to stand. A mountain of weight held him in check, his muscles protesting movement after such a long furlough. With great effort, he pulled himself up on bare feet. "Fuck!" he bellowed. His anger was rising proportional to his perceived weakness. He would not show weakness. His worry would be Muk. His little minions were useful to be sure. Nothing like a pack of Atraxians to lead a boarding party or to assist the mechanics with heavy things. But Muk was another story. He would have to be strong in order to keep Muk from calling him out. It may not work, but he had to try. Atraxians only respected strength. Pulling his IV pole down the hallway, he headed for the lobby, a fierce visage in place.
"good to see your awake sir, the patrol is taken care of and we have two new warmongers and some new armor plating made. how’s your head?" Damion said as he entered the room.
Leo was getting checked by a nurse for his injuries during the battle. This had been the first time he had actually seen Dav. "Hello sir, good to finally lay eyes on ya" He gave a laidback half-salute to him with his prosthetic hand.
"Oh, you're alive. Good." Vlad says.
Xir was waiting in the lobby for a confirmation on medical supplies that will be delivered to the Black Forge. Some of the supplies were meant for the crew, but another separate delivery was for Beast. Over the last couple weeks Beast had been recovering nicely, was even able to wake it up from the medical induced coma, but Beast had some way to go before it could bare full weight on that leg. The shoulder had at least fully healed. Xir wasn’t just hanging around while Beast recovered. Xir continues its job of directing the Black Forge security, especially over the prisoner's, as well as directed any personnel that the second in command needed help with. Xir hasn't been previewed to what happened to the frigates by the Commander, other than they weren't a problem anymore.
While waiting in the lobby Xir saw the Captain exit an elevator wearing his hospital gown and dragging tubs connected to the IV pole. Approaching the Captain, Xir brings up its tentacles to speak. "Captain? What are you doing?".
Dav saluted his crew before approaching Xir.
Dav placed his free hand on Xir's shoulder as he spoke, “Doing my duty, my friend. It is high time I got out of that bed. My people need me. I'm glad you are here, and not Muk. I half expected him to be waiting nearby, full of his usual piss and vinegar. As long as I can sort out this issue with him, everything will be fine." Dav took note of what he took for concern for his health. "Don't worry. I will take it easy. " Dav said, “This is to bolster moral more than anything. Plus, maybe I will get better care in my own bed from a plush fox than the nuns they have working here."
Trusting the Captain's judgment Xir responded by saying " I have a truck and driver. Would you like to return to the Drop ship with me?".
Xir does a quick confirmation and signing for the delivery to take place.
A group of Atraxians followed Muk into the lobby, including a few small ones. They spread out behind Muk, blocking alarmed security personnel from reaching their boss. The big green Atraxian sauntered up to Dav, peering down at him carefully. He looked around the room at the rest of the assembled Black Forge pilots.
Muk pointed a clawed cybernetic finger at Dav. “Dis humie wants ya to follow ‘im. He thinks ya don’t notice ‘is weakness, but Muk sees! Muk krumped four Tai Pan Crushahs by ‘imself! An’ he didn’t ‘ave ta sleep fer two weeks after! Dis humie krumped nothing!” He bellowed, eliciting sounds of admiration from his boys.
Turning his attention back to Dav, he lowered his metal hand and poked him in the chest with his fleshy hand. “Muk is strong! Dav not fit ta lead dis Warband, an’ Muk can prove dis! Muk calls fer a trial!” Muk roared to applause and cheering from his boys.
It didn't take long before the human mercenary walked by the place, his right hand carefully nursed and wrapped in a pair of soaked and dripping cloths from the latest welding incident at hand, wistfully trying to avoid the greener and less human members of the crew in the vicinity. At least until the leader of the bully pack spoke up.
Quite an interesting and backwards bunch of people, Makre thought, especially at that conclusion. Without meaning to, the young mercenary walked in, not particularly mindful of which xeno got his knee on their side as he walked past until he got to what he deemed close enough.
"That seems rather silly." He spoke up. "What's the point of declaring someone unfit to lead and 'challenging' them to a... trial... I'm guessing that's xeno for combat by trial?"
"What are you proving by pointing out someone who is wounded is not at their full strength, and then trying to beat them that way?"
The mercenary shrugged at the notion, but he clearly expected a reply of some sort as he stared at the Atraxian out of the corner of his eye.
Muk looked around for Makre theatrically. Finally, he looked straight down at Makre who barely came up to his waist. “You da Makre humie. Yous right. Muk fightin’ Dav hurt don’t prove nothin.” He admitted, looking back at Dav. “We’s fighting in meks. One week ta get betta, den we fightin’. ‘Igh Noon good wif yous?”
Not exactly the resolution he was expecting, but Makre couldn't help but to think that was possibly the best outcome he could have expected out of the gate. There were still so many problems with the idea that the mercenary was struggling to decide what to start with, but he stopped himself after reminding himself the commander had taken in the Atraxian after all taking all of those problems into consideration... right?
"If you'll excuse me now, I think I almost welded one of my fingers stiff and it hurts just as much as if I'd taken a blowtorch to the hand."
Dav stood up straight, the pain in his body screaming. "I accept your challenge, Muk. Enjoy the human westerns. You will find out how tough I am. You may be spending a bit of time licking your own wounds. Regardless, if you fight with honor and don’t die, you will still have a place in the Black Forge. Makre, Xir. Attend me. I have some orders to give while I prepare to leave the hospital."
Xir noticeably relaxed and the Blue glow of its eyes and tentacles reduced. Xir really didn't want to intervene and undermined its Captain's authority but it wouldn't have allowed Muk to beat down and kill Dav in this injured state. Xir was deeply grateful to Makre for his outside words from the situation. Xir nodded to Makre before saying to the Captain, "I guess you have a week to prepare, but know this, if Muk kills you he will not be our alpha for very long. "
Makre stopped in his tracks, letting some space for the Atraxians to walk past him if needed be before getting closer again to the CO. Of course, the presence of the not quite human xeno kept the young mercenary slightly on edge, but he saluted Dav out of habit anyways. "Sir?"
A small frown appeared on the merc's face as Xir talked, letting out a small groan at the thinly veiled threat. "I understand this situation is being posed by the Atraxian. But I would have to suggest the ships retreat and we rescind the contract with our employers if the alternative is damaging our own infrastructure and vehicles before we finish the terms of our missions. It is not a tactically ideal situation in the face of possible retaliation by the enemy."
Aiyana was glad to see their captain up and moving- though he should be resting more with the knock about he got but what Aiyana didn't expect was Muk coming around and challenging Dev to a trial by combat basically. Her eyes would look between the two, her head shaking as the elven woman believed that Muk was going to follow Dev no matter the battle bumps he took, "Do you want me to help heal you, Sir...you know I can you just need to give me the word." Aiyana told Dev- to hell with the toll it would put on her body, she didn't rightly care.
Dav waited until Muk and his entourage left the hospital before speaking. Dav said through gritted teeth, "Somebody get me a wheelchair." It was a this point the others noticed he was trembling. Not from anger, but from weakness. Dav looked to Ayana, “I would appreciate a course of healing, Doctor. Muk cannot know how weak I really am. It is in his nature to challenge for leadership. If I defeat him, he should accept me as his Warboss. "
Dav looked to Xir, "I need you to be my eyes. Make sure the rest of the company is mobilized and ready. We need this contract. While I battle with Muk, cover our backs. "
Dav finally turned his gaze to Makre, "Makre, Muk cannot walk away from this battle the victor. Prepare yourself. While I have very little doubt I will emerge the winner, if I fall, Xir must be the new leader. I cannot allow chance to decide the fate of our new family. Do what you must to take care of our family."
With that, Dav slumped to his knees.
Hearing that, Aiyana would go and grab a wheel chair from the side of the room, moving it to Dav and helping him up into it after he dropped, "I will do what I can then, it will take a few rounds but we have the time." she told him with a small nod.
Thankfully the elven woman was more confident in her psionic abilities than her mech fighting ones. She would wait until he was finished giving his orders before she would speak up again, "This won't hurt but you need to not stop me, I know when I am at my limit...just let me go grab a couple towels and we will start, you'll be right as rain in a couple days." Aiyana told him with a comforting smile as she went off to the nurse’s station.
Aiyana would then return a few moments later with some towels and wet wipes but also her shirt changed into a scrub top. Quietly, she would set down the items Aiyana would need to keep herself from looking like an utter horror show, "Whenever you’re ready, I will sit behind you and start Sir." the elf told him with a confident smile as she tried to not even think of what might happen should Muk win.
"... I have my reservations. But I shall do as ordered." Makre's eyes narrowed down as he replied, clearly annoyed with his new possible purpose.
"I hope yours is an easy victory, for the sake of unit cohesion, commander." With that he left, still preoccupied with his hand at the moment.
Aiyana gave Makre a little smile as she moved the wheelchair to face the door as she sat on the bed, pulling the chair right up against her knee's, "This won't hurt, it'll probably just feel warm." Aiyana told him simply as the elf grabbed a towel and put it on her lap.
The elf would take a small breath, close her eyes to center herself before she rested her hands against either side of Dav's head and would start. It would be a slow warm tingling sensation as Aiyana started to heal from the head down.
Aiyana would be humming softly to keep her focus, pouring in a large chunk of her powers into helping heal him but at the same time red streams would start to drip from her eyes and nose, her throat clearing a little as Aiyana continued to work. First taking care of any brain damage that may be there and then traveling down to work on repairing the muscles.
In total she would heal him for ten minutes until her hands dropped and her head rested against the back of the wheelchair, "You...took a beating....in that last battle." Aiyana managed to get out, slowly pulling away. Looking down at her lap though, she wished she had changed her pants as well and would start to clean her face.
"Tonight I can do more, just need to take a nap first and then I'll be able to do more...twice a day for the first three days...then three times in shorter sessions for another two should be perfect and that would give you time to work on your own." Aiyana told him as she got up, keeping her back to him as she went into his bathroom and tossed the bloodied clothes into the hamper.
Adjusting her tank top, the elf would walk back into the room and sit in the guest chair, her face still streaked with some red as she closed her eyes, "Wake me...before its late ok?" Aiyana would ask Dav as the elf curled up into the chair easily and just passed out, her knee's drawn up to her chest as she got some rest to recharge.
Methuzala River Basin
The two combatants loaded into separate dropships and shuttled out twenty kilometers apart on either side of the basin. As Dav's transport, The Daedalus, landed he walked out onto the gantry holding the Dark Horse. Chuan met him holding his neurohelmet. a quick kiss and a long embrace occupied a few moments before she whispered in his ear. He nodded before donning his helmet and entered the cockpit.
To still his nerves at battling a brother of the Forge, he mentally went through the startup procedure.
Weapons green and safetied...
Power directed to servos and musculature...
Sensors activated and streaming...
Magnetic Locks released...
As he went through the process his nerves calmed. He was in the zone. He was ready for battle. He was prepared to kill.
Dav throttled up and began walking down the open mecha sized door. It was time to settle this.
In the Icarus, Muk and all eleven of his boys gathered in the mech bay. Nine of them stood in a circle around Muk and his Shaman, Thrak. Muk knelt in front of Thrak naked as the Shaman chanted in a guttural tongue that was nothing more than gibberish. The smell of burning mushrooms drifted up from a bucket beside him. Thrak danced in the smoke, occasionally anointing Muk with oils and drawing symbols on his naked body.
When the mushrooms had turned to ashes, Thrak poured a weird green liquid into the bucket and Muk drank it. Muk rose to his feet and roared, causing the rest of his boys to erupt in cheers. Rotbag and Gronk, Muk’s most trusted boys, helped him into his clothes.
Standing in front of Doomcrakka he addressed his boys. “Oy, lissen up ya maggots! Dis is da day of da best Atraxians, da green boys. Muk is gonna show dem humies an’other pinkskins we’s da best! Da end of dere time is ‘ere!” Muk bellowed. “Kragonak is wif us! An’ if not we’s gonna make ‘im lissen!”
The boys roared in approval. Muk gave each of them a slap on the shoulder and climbed up the ladder into Doomcrakka. Muk’s entourage hurried to the observation deck to watch the battle as he fired up the Crushah. Doomcrakka began to power up, growling like a hungry animal. The mech bay doors rose and Muk walked his mech down the ramp eager to finally take his rightful place as the Warboss of the Black Forge.
Before Muk lay a river basin. mountains hemming in a winding river with multiple secondary streams and rivers. Stands of pine and fir trees dotted the landscape covering several hills big enough to hide a mech. Moving out, Muk began the hunt for his prey.
Several hours had passed with Muk not seeing Dav anywhere.
Muk was beginning to get impatient. He knew Dav was somewhere out here, probably using some humie tactic like sneaking up on him. There were many places for a mech to hide in this terrain. His only option would be to search them all. Annoyed at Dav’s very un-Atraxian behavior he started to methodically search every hill big enough to hide a mech.
Dav watched as Muk moved from hill to hill through the eyes of a small drone. Dav positioned himself deep in a tributary filled with silt and mud to absorb the latent radiation from a mech in low power mode. Unsure how well Muk could use his mechs sensor package, Dav was going to lead with a hard strike to Muk's back in an effort to disable or at least put Muk off balance. Dav knew he had to win, and decisively. All the Atraxians needed to see him as the strongest, or other challengers would appear. That wouldn't be good for the Forge.
Dav maneuvered the Dark Horse up out of the middle of the river. He charged his main weapon, the 125mm gauss cannon, as his torso cleared the water. a few seconds later, he fired, targeting the exit port to Muk's main weapon, the third eye.
The hypersonic slug struck the exit port, fouling up the cartridge exit port. Dav hoped this would keep no more than one shot from the third eye coming his way. The energy transferred by the 125mm nickel ferro slug knocked the Doomcrakka to the ground, faceplanting in the soft loam and earth.
Muk was taken completely by surprise. He had never even considered Dav might be hiding in the water. Before he knew what happened his mech was face down on the ground. Not wanting to give Dav a chance to hit him in the back again, he pushed Doomcrakka’s torso up and got the legs underneath it. Then he just pushed up with the legs, bringing the mech to a standing position.
At Muk’s direction Doomcrakka turned towards Dav, presenting his undamaged front armor. He fired his right arm plasma cannons at the Dark Horse and started moving Doomcrakka towards it. The two plasma rounds impacted the water to the right of the Dark Horse, spraying explosive steam and mist in a small area.
Dav moved forward, now targeting one of Doomcrakka's legs. Dav felt sorry for the big green guy, being so outmatched. But a lesson needed to be taught, one of humility. Dav needed Muk to know he was not only outmatched but would never be Dav’s equal in mecha combat. Dav charged his weapons, keeping his legs in the water to cool his mech from all the additional power used to charge and fire his weapons in quick succession. The Gauss cannon and plasma cannons lined up with the slow-moving legs and belched fire. Dav held his missiles back, as they had the most potential to win quickly. This Dav did not want...yet.
Dav's Gauss Cannon round missed, plunging deep into the soft earth. The plasma, however connected. The hot energy melted armor and fused the knee joint. Once again Muk felt gravity take hold and topple his mech onto its face.
Muk was growing extremely irritated with Dav. He hadn’t seen Dav fight like this before. He was starting to think something else was going on here. Again, Doomcrakka rose to its feet but it didn’t advance. “Kragonak! Guide my shot!” He roared, invoking the name of his god as he lined up a shot on Dark Horse’s torso and fired everything. Multiple plasma bolts shot out from Muk’s many weapon ports. several scattered around, evaporating the slowly moving river water. Two bolts struck true, melting armor on the right and center torso. Then the third eye fired. As Muk pulled the trigger on the Third eye, the ready indicator changed from green to red as the spent casing lodged within the cannon chamber. The shot flew true, however, and struck the Dark Horse dead center. Dav struggled with the heavy hit, keeping the Dark Horse upright as his feet shifted under him.
Dav grinned as the telemetry data scrolled across his machine. Dav 2, Muk zero. Dav's AI "Sweetie" cheerfully stated, "Enemy mecha damaged. Main weapon offline."
Dav activated his loudspeakers as he charged the plasma weapons and Gauss cannon, "Muk! I know you can’t win. I feel sorry for my actions, but this is for your own good, my brother." With that, Dav targeted Doomcrakka’s undamaged and unmoving leg and opened fire. Plasma bolts and gauss round amputated the leg at both knee joints, both the forward and backward. Muk struggled with the controls to no avail. Once again, he crashed to the ground, this time onto his back.
As Doomcrakka hit the ground Muk could feel Kragonak’s presence disappear. He knew he was beaten but he couldn’t stop fighting until he had nothing left to fight with. If he gave up before that he would lose his boys. Muk managed to sit the mech up and get a visual on the Dark Horse. “Muk don’t know what god yous got on ya side. But Muk ain’t done!” Muk yelled over his speaker. He aimed all his remaining weapons at Dark Horse’s torso and fired.
A quintet of plasma pulled forward, Muk’s cockpit suddenly rushed with heat from the reactor as plasma rushed out of the energy ports in the torso and right arm. A pair of bolts hit, ablating some armor. Dav saw the futility and the courage of Muk. These are the qualities that Dav admired, and he didn't want them to go to waste in a display of machismo. He Waited a moment to ensure the Dark Horse stayed cool, then he locked on to the right shoulder joint of the Doomcrakka. No sense in wrecking perfectly good weapon systems over this little spat he thought as he fired once again.
Muk’s flailing about spoiled his aim a bit with only plasma melting armor over the shoulder, fusing the arm in an extended position. Dav began to walk towards Muk at an angle, forcing Muk to work to reposition his mecha, which was quickly becoming disabled after each successive shot.
Muk roared in frustration and fired everything again, ignoring his mech’s heat warnings. Doomcrakka’s plasma bolts narrowly missed as the Dark Horse moved past his firing arc. Hot air poured into his cockpit and his mech overheated, shutting down to prevent damage to the reactor. Muk kicked and slapped his consoles in a rage. After a few minutes of raging he calmed down, waiting for his mech to start back up. If Dav let him live he had to find out who this god was that could so easily defeat Kragonak’s spawn.
When Doomcrakka came online he called out through his speaker. “Muk is done. You’s da boss Dav. Ya can kill Muk, if ya want. Dem’s da rules.”
Dav moved the Dark Horse over the fallen Doomcrakka, weapons powering down. Dav spoke via loudspeakers as well as over comms. Dav said, "Muk, you are my brother. I know your nature as well as the nature of those like you. We need fierce fighters such as yourself. You know the Forge, indeed any tribe, must be led by the strongest for the good of the tribe. I am stronger, but the tribe needs all the strength it can muster. Keep fighting for this tribe. Welcome back into the Forge, brother Muk."
Muk grumbled. “Green wuns don’t ‘ave brothas, but Muk can try ta learn if dat gets us stronger. Ya gotta teach Muk about yer god. He made Kragonak run.” He said. With the battle decided he waited for the recovery vehicles to show up and hitched a ride back to the ship.
[OOC] JP completed by Bullroarer4, ArsenicJohn, Sloanrocks, kiteakat, Armacalic, Hal 9000, and Ahoy
Temple of the Risen Savior
Duke Glynvalur Starhearth stood upon a raised dais along with several of his Deacons and Bishops. Though there were a few media drones broadcasting across the galaxy, his speech was for the congregation before him. Humans sat beside Atraxian, Elves, Hanefolk, and others. Dozens of species were represented in his congregation. Behind him, his three wives sat. Their smiles belied the momentous occasion. It wasn't every day a people declared their independence. It also wasn't everyday a new alliance was formed from the castoffs and rejects of the great nations. Glynvalur was dressed in his fines attire, a tight martial suit with dark green shoulder cape. He cast a somber look out into the ether as well as his audience.
He then spoke, "It gives me pleasure to add to this formal reading of the result of our labors that the character of the discussion which occurred at the sittings of the commission was not only of the most constructive but of the most encouraging sort. It was obvious throughout our discussions that, although there were subjects upon which there were individual differences of judgment with regard to the method by which our objects should be obtained, there was practically at no point any serious differences of opinion or motive as to the objects which we were seeking.
Indeed, while these debates were not made the opportunity for the expression of enthusiasm and sentiments, I think the other members of the commission will agree with me that there was an undertone of high respect and of enthusiasm for the thing we were trying to do which was heartening throughout everything.
Because we felt that in a way this conference did entrust into us the expression of one of its highest and most important purposes, to see to it that the concord of the galaxy in the future with regard to the objects of justice should not be subject to doubt or uncertainty; that the cooperation of a great body of systems should be assured in the maintenance of peace upon terms of honor and of international obligations.
The compulsion of that task was constantly upon us, and at no point was there shown the slightest desire to do anything but suggest the best means to accomplish that great object. There is very great significance, therefore, in the fact that the result was reached unanimously.
So that I think we are justified in saying that the significance of the result, therefore, has the deepest of all meanings, the union of wills in a common purpose, a union of wills which cannot be resisted and which, I dare say, no nation will run the risk of attempting to resist.
Now, as to the character of the document. While it has consumed some time to read this document, I think you will see at once that it is very simple, and in nothing so simple as in the structure which it suggests for a League of Autonomous Worlds, a body of delegates, an executive council, and a permanent secretariat.
When it came to the question of determining the character of the representation in the Body of Delegates, we were all aware of a feeling which is current throughout the Galaxy.
Inasmuch as I am stating it in the presence of the official representatives of the various governments here present, including myself, I may say that there is a universal feeling that the galaxy cannot rest satisfied with merely official guidance. There has reached us through many channels the feeling that if the deliberating body of the League of Autonomous Worlds was merely to be a body of officials representing the various governments, the peoples of the galaxy would not be sure that some of the mistakes which preoccupied officials had admittedly made might not be repeated.
It was impossible to conceive a method or an assembly so large and various as to be representative of the great body of the peoples of the galaxy, because, as I roughly reckon it, we represent as we sit around this table many billions of people.
You cannot have a representative assembly of billions of people, but if you leave it to each government to have, if it pleases, one or two or three representatives, though only with a single vote, it may vary its representation from time to time, not only, but it may (originate) the choice of its several representatives.
Therefore we thought that this was a proper and a very prudent concession to the practically universal opinion of plain men everywhere that they wanted the door left open to a variety of representation, instead of being confined to a single official body with which they could or might not find themselves in sympathy.
And you will notice that this body has unlimited rights of discussion. I mean of discussion of anything that falls within the field of international relations--and that it is especially agreed that war or international misunderstandings or anything that may lead to friction or trouble is everybody's business, because it may affect the peace of the galaxy.
And in order to safeguard the popular power so far as we could of this representative body, it is provided, you will notice, that when a subject is submitted it is not to arbitration but to discussion by the Executive Council; it can, upon the initiative of either of the parties to the dispute, be drawn out of the Executive Council on the larger form of the general Body of Delegates, because through this instrument we are depending primarily and chiefly upon one great force, and this is the moral force of the public opinion of the galaxy--the pleasing and clarifying and compelling influences of publicity--so that intrigues can no longer have their coverts; so that designs that are sinister can at any time be drawn into the open, so that those things that are destroyed by the light may be promptly destroyed by the overwhelming light of the universal expression of the condemnation of the galaxy.
Armed force is in the background in this program; but it is in the background, and, if the moral force of the League will not suffice, the physical force of the League shall. But that is the last resort, because this is intended as a constitution of peace, not as a league of war.
The simplicity of the document seems to me to be one of its chief virtues, because, speaking for myself, I was unable to see the variety of circumstances with which this League would have to deal. I was unable, therefore, to plan all the machinery that might be necessary to meet the differing and unexpected contingencies. Therefore, I should say of this document that it is not a straitjacket but a vehicle of life.
A living thing is born, and we must see to it what clothes we put on it. It is not a vehicle of power, but a vehicle in which power may be varied at the discretion of those who exercise it and in accordance with the changing circumstances of the time. And yet, while it is elastic, while it is general in its terms, it is definite in the one thing that we were called upon to make definite.
It is a definite guaranty of peace. It is a definite guaranty by word against aggression. It is a definite guaranty against the things which have just come near bringing the whole structure of civilization into ruin.
Its purposes do not for a moment lie vague. Its purposes are declared, and its powers are unmistakable. It is not in contemplation that this should be merely a league to secure the peace of the galaxy. it is a league which can be used for cooperation in any international matter.
That is the significance of the provision introduced concerning labor. There are many ameliorations of labor conditions which can be affected by conference and discussion. I anticipate that there will be a very great usefulness in the Bureau of Labor which it is contemplated shall be set up by the League.
Men and women and children who work have been in the background through long ages and sometimes seemed to be forgotten, while governments have had their watchful and suspicious eyes upon the maneuvers of one another, while the thought of statesmen has been about structural action and the larger transactions of commerce and of finance.
Now, if I may believe the picture which I see, there comes into the foreground the great body of the laboring people of the League, the men and women and children upon whom the great burden of sustaining the League must from day to day fall, whether we wish it to do so or not; people who go to bed tired and wake up without the stimulation of lively hope. These people will be drawn into the field of international consultation and help and will be among the wards of the combined governments of the League. This is, I take leave to say, a very great step in advance in the mere conception of that.
Then, as you will notice, there is an imperative article concerning the publicity of all international agreements. Henceforth no member of the League can call any agreement valid which it has not registered with the secretary general, in whose office, of course, it will be subject to the examination of anybody representing a member of the League. And the duty is laid upon the secretary general to earliest possible time.
I suppose most persons who have not been conversant with the business of foreign affairs do not realize how many hundreds of these agreements are made in a single year, and how difficult it might be to publish the more unimportant of them immediately. How uninteresting it would be to most of the world to publish them immediately, but even they must be published just as soon as it is possible for the secretary general to publish them.
There has been no greater advance than this, gentlemen. If you look back upon the history of the galaxy you will see how helpless peoples a prey to powers that have too often been had no conscience in the matter. It has been one of the many distressing revelations of recent years that the great power which has just been, happily, defeated put intolerable burdens and injustices upon the helpless people of some of the colonies which it annexed to itself; that its interest was rather their extermination than their development; that the desire was to possess their land for colonial purposes, and not to enjoy their confidence in order that sapient kind might be lifted in these places to the next higher level.
Now, the League, expressing its conscience in law, says there is an end of that, that our consciences shall be settled to this thing. States will be picked out which have already shown that they can exercise a conscience in this matter, and under their tutelage the helpless peoples of the League will come into a new light and into a new hope."
With the end of his speech, the drones powered down to the thundering applause of the congregation as well as the dignitaries ensconced upon the dais.