Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

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Bullroarer4
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Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

Killers with the cross
Kotoku
Kotoku I
Jazera Starport, Black Forge Dropships

It was about mid-day, and the twin suns were high in the sky as they baked the tarmac of the starport. As the members of the Black Forge went about their business, above their heads a starship was approaching Jazera. A needle ship glided through the atmosphere, wings slid out from shutters in the sides of the ship as it coasted to a landing at the starport, two hundred meters from the dropships of the Black Forge.

It was pure white, save for the crest on its side; a Bull's head erased on a field of blue. The crest of House Castità. Soon, a car emerged from the ship, and began to make its way over to the Black Forge's ships.

Xir was outside with the fully healed Beast assisting in its physical therapy with stretching and strengthening its newly grafted muscles, when they saw ship land near the dropship. opening comms Xir contacts Dav. "It looks like we have a visitor captain. They're heading towards to dropship. They arrived in a really fancy ship."

Aiyana had been in her room resting, after listening to how the match between Dav and Muk went, the elf was just glad no one was seriously hurt. What she wasn't planning on though was hearing the sound of a ship approaching and that made her force herself up and out of bed. Quickly getting dress, Aiyana would wash her face and head out so that she could squint and look up at the ship that was pulling in, "You know what kinda ship it is, I can't clearly make out the crest on it." Aiyana would ask Xir or anyone else that was close by as her arms crossed while walking out- the elf was still in a small mood just from being tired.

Leo had been sleeping outside, mostly to avoid getting ordered to work on anything and to just enjoy the sunlight a bit. When the ship came in for a landing, the noise was enough to wake him up. He pushed the hat up off his eyes and squinted at the gleaming ship that had landed, probably some rich guy that was just dropping by to refuel. Only when the car came out and started heading towards them was when Leo sat up, pushing himself off the crates he was resting on and walked up next to Aiyana and Xir. "What would some pompous prick want from us?"

Xir looks towards two companions bring the tentacles up to its skull to speak. "the ship has a look like it might have come from the Reservoir system, but my dealings there where either with Mobs, or Small business owners. It must be a ship from one of the great houses.".

The car soon made its way towards the ship. It became easier to make out as it grew closer, it was white, like the ship, and had the same crest on it. It made its way towards the dropships, before stopping at the base of the ship where people were gathering. The back door of the car opened, and a man in a dark grey suit stepped out. "Is this the Black Forge?"

Leaving Beast behind Xir joins the crowd and speaks to the man. "this is the black Forge you have business with our captain?"

"Pompous prick? Who are they?" Aiyana would ask before going quiet at the car that drove up. Crossing her arms, she cocked a hip and raised a brow at them, "What’s with the fanciness?" Aiyana asked after Xir as she hopped down the steps to get a better look, not overly recognizing things as she hadn't studied up on others.

"Your captain? Yes, I suppose I do. Where can I find Captain SteinBar?" The man asked, directing the question towards Leo as he ignored the non-humans.

Leo noticed the gesture against the non-humans, it only cemented a further resentment for whoever these people are. While he wasn’t well versed in house symbols, he saw that it was one, probably some group of greedy royalty. He put his hand on his hip. “I don’t trust folk like you that much, mind askin’ us what your here for first? And he’s the one you should ask.” He nodded at Xir. Leo tried his best to hide his resentment for them.

At her being obviously ignored and passed over, it struck a sore chord in Aiyana, the elven woman torn between shrinking away and slapping the man. Sadly, she chose the former as she didn't want to get them all in trouble for her rash choice. With that she would shake her head, "He can chew on a tree before I help him." Aiyana said simply before turning on her heel and walking back inside, not overly trusting herself to not cold clock the man but would instead just stay near the entrance and listen and watch.

Dav responded to Xir's message, "Send one and only one up. The rest can wait. High Nobles of Reservoir tend to lack a certain amount of honor and they will not befoul our decks with their heretical and honorless behavior."

Damion was leaving the ships training room when he came across everyone gathering. wearing a tank top and cargo pants with boot he walks over to Ayanna "so who are the spooks?" he asks gesturing to the guys in suits.

"People I'd gladly shoot out of a cargo hold into the sun." she told him, obviously in a mood as she stared at them, "Some snobs who want to talk to Dav...from the way they act they don't like non-humans so I'm staying away." Aiyana told Damion, her arms still crossed as her eyes would continue to watch them before looking up at him and then back at the suits.

"they’re just hateful because their weak compared to every other sentient species around them and their only equalizer is tech and money" Damion said loud enough for them to hear.

"Don't give them a reason to use that tech on you...its cruel." she told him, her hand moving to a spot on the back of her neck before pulling away, "I need to meditate before I blow up their car for fun." Aiyana told him with a little smile as she gently patted his arm before walking off, not wanting to be around this much more.

"Be safe Ayanna." Damion said before heading to his room to wash up.

Xir taping its comms in acknowledgement, Xir said to the Noble looking man. "the Captain will see you now. I will escort you to the Captain's office.".

The Nobleman followed the Alien looking Xir through the corridors and up a secondary lift.

"Hmmm, how outdated." The courier mused as they made their way through the ship.

-------

Once the lift stopped, the doorway opened onto the captain's private level. Xir escorted the Noble to Dav's office. Behind Dav, Chuan leaned in. Dav handed her a tablet. "See to this please.", Dav commanded. Chuan left the office, tail swishing in agitation. Dav waited a moment before offering the courier the folding chair in front of his desk. Dav greeted the courier with a half-smile before speaking, "What brings you out this way from Reservoir, M'Lord?"

The courier looked around for a moment as if expecting something, and then sighed and sat down. "I've come out here to this... port... if you can call it that, because I've been tasked with returning the Young Master Castità to Luxuria to serve in the house militia. I assume that you're aware of my lord's displeasure with the young master's... departure some time ago. Rest assured, he would be most pleased if you were to cooperate."

Dav kept his smile in place. His response was anything but, "I'm sure he would. Unfortunately, the Young Master has a contract. I am not inclined to release him as of yet. And the terms are of more than money, so you can stop there if you think your dirty coin will sway me here."

The courier seemed incredulous. Never before had those who he had been sent to bring a message to refused to cooperate with his lord. Going against the nobility was simply unthinkable!

"I'm sure that there is something that my lord can provide you with." The man began, as he started to show signs of growing nervous. "A new set of ships? Perhaps up to date battleframes?"

Dav made the appearance of thinking about the offer. In truth, he had no intention of letting Alex go anywhere with these monkeys in suits. If Alex wanted out, he would do the asking himself. So now what to do with these guests.

Dav responded after a half minute of thought and Dav began to rise from behind the desk, "A valuable battleframe pilot I can trust is far more valuable to me than a whole fleet of ships. You may speak to him, but supervised by my third in command, Xir. Speak your piece, but you do not have my leave to take a pilot of the Black Forge. He will continue to serve here until such time as I am finished with him, AND ...NOT...ONE...MINUTE...SOONER!"

By that point Dav was towering above the seated representative of whatever house from whatever system from wherever. Dav was truly enraged that they would dare to take one of his pilots. Dav screamed, "XIR! See this...Man...to Alex for a few minutes of conversation, then see him off Black Forge property. I am done with him."

Xir stepped forward from the corner then opened the door while increasing its glow in its skin, to re-enforce to the man of his need to move. Xir then opens comms to Alex. “Alex, you have a visitor that wants to see you before the Captain wants me to remove him from the Black Forge. Please let me know where you would like to meet him.”

Alex responded over the communications device. "Bring him to the crew quarters on deck 10. I'll talk to him there."

The messenger, meanwhile, was mollified, and followed Xir's implicit instructions, seemingly intimidated by the alien's glow.

Xir taped it's comm's in acknowledgement before Xir directed the messenger to follow to the crew quarters. Xir easily was a foot taller and weight about 800 lbs. more than the little humanoid messenger. Once reaching Alex's designated location, it knocked on the door allowing the messenger to enter after Alex's permission. Xir closed the door staying outside but using its senses to keep a decent appraisal of the inside for safety of Xir's brother in arms. Paying particular attention to their physical placement in the room and for sudden movement rather then what ever they may be taking about.

From what Xir could sense, the conversation was brief. The courier seemed mostly mollified by Dav's earlier actions and was mostly just informing Alex that his farther would be extremely displeased.



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Kotoku system
Kotoku I

Plummeting through the atmosphere from a HALO insertion, the members of the advance scout Team Osiris studied their approach. A few minutes before the 12 members strong team pushed a crate of supplies out the back of an Osiris Transport before leaping out themselves. With a skill born from many similar missions, the team glided through the thin clouds, contrails forming from the minimal resistance. Two, trailing a few hundred feet behind the lead operator, noticed the disturbance and activated her comms, "Tighten it up, eight. They don't have commercial flights on this planet." Almost immediately, the man-made cloud streamers dissipated. A few moments later, the transport begun deceleration in preparation to land at the starport and unload the cover goods. All according to plan.

The mission: a two-week scout and evasion mission followed by assembling a basic camp in nearby gullies to the south of the single settlement, Jazera, followed by collection of intel on the habits and important structures of this frontier town.

The chutes on the supply pallet opened automatically at 600 meters, the operators quickly followed suit, landing in perfect formation around the pallet, one corner crumpled from a slight shift in the load.

One, the leader of the team, squelched a quick message to the transport. "Team down, no casualties. Proceeding with mission."

Ace quickly divided his team to their preassigned tasks. Some began parceling the supply pallet, others gathered the synthetic spider silk chutes and repackaged them. Even the pallet was broken down and reformed into heavy duty frame packs. In minutes, only the slightest scuff marks on the ground indicated something had occurred in the clearing.

Touching helmets together, Ace gave concise orders born from long practice and familiarity. No unnecessary transmissions. As little sound as possible.

Always better to be safe than sorry, he thought.

Soon, the team split up and headed out in pairs to complete their respective assignments. Some for support, some for equipment set-up, and some for ground reconnaissance. One had a different purpose. One apart from the finely-honed team. A pure killer.

Kotoku I
Eastern Plains

The twins moved quickly through the thin brush and scattered stands of trees. Advanced helmets gathered gigabytes of data as they moved. Everything from atmospheric pressure to visual topography. The helmets’ AI were working nonstop to gather the information. Some hours later, they reached the edge of the settlement. With darkness creeping up on the operators, they settled down in a shallow gully, to await darkness and the cloak of protection it would provide.

A few hours later, the twins continue their mission. Climbing out of the fold in the land, even their jaded hearts and minds were taken aback by the beauty and majesty of the largest building in the settlement. Towering above the simple dwellings, the monument to these people's God was illuminated by hundreds of modest lights.

Eight striking vertical granite pillars connected with stone and mortar flying buttresses and faced with local white marble, the stained-glass windows refracting the light passing through the high panels in the walls and ceilings, imparting an aura above and around the structure. A glowing testament to both ancient and modern architecture, the temple imparted a divinely inspired presence. The multicolored aura held the darkness at bay, comforting the local inhabitants as they rested in their beds.

For the first time in memory, the twins felt something move in the depths of their souls. They each looked at each other and held hands, just for a moment, then continued, tracking and cataloging important information.

Ace would begin marking the LZ so that the next group would know what the conditions were in the surrounding area. Viewing his group's helmet cams, he would direct them while he set up camp for the night. Aries would store and compile all the data that she received from the other AIs.

The twins moved quickly through Jazera, two ghosts in the night. After marking the space port, little more than a huge thick pad of Ferro Crete with berthing for a dozen transport ships, several aviation fuel tanks, and a dirt road north towards Jazera and the warehouses, a few miles away.

As the twins ventured northwards into town they passed through warehouses and in between small cottages, taking note of the residents and the unusual supplies in the warehouses. Of note is the large amount of white linen in several warehouses. The residents, those that the twins have seen, peeking through windows and avoiding the errant night jogger, seemed to be predominately male from a variety of species. Angela made a note of this information.

The hydro fusion power plant was inactive currently, sitting unguarded on the south bank of the main river bisecting the city. A quick inspection by Tyko revealed the main power unit had yet to be installed, leading him to believe the city's power needs were still being supplied by the colony ship, grounded across the river. From their vantage point at the power station, a solid Ferrocrete block, devoid of embellishments, three modern, functional bridges. One, a pylon suspension bridge, and two smaller truss bridges made of what looked like ship girders. On the far side of the river, the bridges contained guards and gates, populated by the local constabulary, apparently detaining and returning across the river a few young Human males.

Where are all the women? Angela wondered.

With the bridges guarded, the twins drift swim across the slow-moving river, with little debris noted. Sliding out of the water, the two deadly snakes observed a far different scene. In large, two- and three-story homes made from local stone, wood, and marble. Families gathered around dinner tables, with many including several women and many children, headed by a well-groomed and Patriarchal male. Species seemed irrelevant, as the races seemed to intermingle, regardless of station or wealth.

Near the colony ship, ad hoc government building and power source, the twins observed the dormant ship. A loud, high pitched giggle nearby solved the mystery of where the single colony females resided.

Over a dozen dormitory style buildings, four stories in height and made from ferrocrete and wood, were inundated with all manner of immigrant females. A few Hanefolk easily mingled with Humans, Taienese, and some Elves. All were clean, but poor. The look of those who have fled war and famine, the hunted. Centered inside the square box of Dormitories, the twins got a close-up view of the Temple square. A decorative wall surrounded well-tended gardens. Several small buildings interspersed around, and, in the gardens, their all wood construction helped blend the low buildings into the background. The mighty and solid Temple, eight pillars covered in fine carvings, previously undetected at a far distance formed the structural support for the many embellished flying buttresses. The lights shining upon the Temple, the interior illuminations visible from outside the complex.

Risking a moment of conversation, Tyko pressed his helmet to Angela's.

"Sis you know how I feel about these kinds of places. We both came from a twisted one after all, but this one is inspiring. You think we can convince the boss not to blow it up?"

"That all depends on how he's feeling now doesn't it. Take a picture just in case though."

Making their way back to East, following the river, they noted their final piece of the local scenery: a water treatment plant. Also unguarded, a few quick photos and scans revealed a biochemical method of cleaning, balancing, and polishing of the water before it is pumped to the city, the greater share heading towards the northern banks.

Crossing back across the river, the twins began their forced march through the night back to their team leader and boss, two wraiths passing in the night. They wondered which side was right this time, and if Psychopomp would earn more than they bargained for...

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Walking slow to avoid detection he only had one job infiltrate the old dropship and download the current roster of inhabitants. To ensure the boss got his guy. After exiting the river slightly after the twins, he headed to the ship no problem plenty of holes to slide in. He climbed up the side of the external thruster port quietly and agile as he could. Making no sounds other than low breathing. The metal was cold but rough on his feet from the elements. He didn't understand why they had to kill them all for one guy. He didn't care for their live just so much effort. But the boss said it, so it must be done.

One last jump then he reached the top of the ship’s thrusters. The view was entrancing the small village with its peppered lights. The sound of the river with the night sky. Sad its gonna all burn he thought to himself. Walking around the upper wing he noticed an outer hatch. It was damaged probably from the rough landing but let's roll the dice he thought. Leaning down he pulled with his arm to disengage the locks to his delight the bent out unlocking the door.

He lifted it 12 to 16 inches to slide in. He eased down on the catwalk and listened fir guards or anyone working late there was nothing but silence. The fools had cut all the ships sensors off to give them as much power for as long as they could. He took off in a dead run to the bridge traversing collapsed ceilings and over holes in the deck. Grabbing a bar, he pried open the door to the bridge. Sat down and diverted just enough power to the terminal he was on to get the info. As it downloaded, he got curious why were this ship here exactly mercs use to inhabit this planet. He pulled the captains’ log " Day 30 we are in close pursuit of Mr. SteinBar. 6 systems about 9 planets. You don’t cross tai pan. They are so obsessed with him. The no kill order is ridiculous. But I don't miss. " [data corrupted]. The captain seemed kind of like a douche, Tantus thought chuckling under his breath. Either way this SteinBar guy sounded like an awesome hunt. But he’s probably dead already you don’t run long from tai pan. Tantus knew this well his group was who the sent to find the unfindable. Then shortly after being found they are ended sometimes creatively. (Ping) "Data received" he grabbed the drive and made his exit back up through the ship up the catwalk and out the hatch.

After crossing the river, he met up at the rendezvous point the twins were back already. Oh god you could just see the bleeding hearts of those two. But Tantus remembered they came from a crappy upbringing. At least they had one.


Smoking his own blend of opium and altracco he opened the file on the black forge. The Hodge podge of races and humanoids was surprising. Thank the gods they only had one animal form among them. Most weren’t a problem he'd meet most. The ones he hadn't… well they didn't matter. Finally, he turned the page to SteinBar. The page was mostly empty other than a small paragraph stating "Dav SteinBar is a enemy of the empire upon finding him give no quarter. He is extremely violent with no conscious. His crimes are murder, heresy, espionage, and mass genocide. This is a kill order. Do not capture kill immediately". Tantus read it again in disbelief these books on Dav’s subordinates but a paragraph is all he gets. He dumps his pipe out. Time to go out this is my only day off I'm not wasting it chasing a ghost.

The data Tantus had received gave him a clear directive... Infiltrate and assassinate the primary threat... Dav SteinBar.

OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Ace, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks, mechameme, Kitekat, weeping angel, and Hal9000]
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Bullroarer4
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

Kotoku system
Kotoku I
November 4th, 3019 (Earth Standard)

Duke Glynvalur sat in his office, three guests across from him. They were all affiliated with The Black Forge. One was the CO. Dav SteinBar sat in the singular chair. Beside him stood the imposing Xir, Dav's XO of ground operations and Third in command. Xir viewed the negotiations with great interest. The other was Chuan, Captain of the Icarus now and Dav's first officer and, based upon her behavior in this meeting, probably his lover. Chuan's tail frequently was used to tickle the not quite healed wounds beneath his pressed uniform. Dav winced whenever his wounds were caressed by the soft, yet firm floofy tail. A large grin rested upon her face as she entered numbers into a data pad.

Dav responded to the Duke in between soft yet painful strokes, "Let me be clear, your grace. You are offering me and the Black Forge a contract to raid and pillage Tai Pan?"

Glynvalur looked shocked. "Heaven's no, Mr. Dav. I am offering a letter of marque as well as compensation for captured and destroyed military facilities and shipping. If it bears the flag of Tai Pan, seize or destroy it. I am NOT authorizing the assault or destruction of purely civilian assets. We have reached an agreement with the Throne of Reservoir through a subsidiary to purchase any goods you happen to acquire through these operations. I believe a Mr. Sorano would be the point of contact. He is known to you, yes?"

Dav made a face to curdle milk before nodding, "Yeah... I know him. He is not the most honorable of individuals, but his coin is good, and he deals fairly. How will we travel from system to system?"

The Duke replied, "I have arranged for the transport of your two vessels to the Taienese system of your choice. From there you can make your own way. The contracts and letter of Marque are registered with MECHA on Vice. The details are covered in the contract, but the short version is I need time to organize treaties with other systems looking to break free of their yokes. You are the largest and best equipped mercenary company available. You are a bit famous as well. You are the first to defeat the Tai Pan war machine. They have been shown they can be beaten, and with another victory other entrepreneurs will see profit in taking a piece of the Tai Pan pie or outright succession themselves."

Dav nodded before standing up with a wince when he caught a floofy tail sliding behind his open coat. extending the other hand towards Duke Glynvalur, "Good luck to you, your grace."

The Duke responded by firmly grabbing the hand and shaking it, "Good luck to the both of us. This is a momentous occasion. One where we can bring lasting peace and liberty to this region of space. I expect the response by Tai Pan to be both swift and brutal. Once you leave, we here will likely be blockaded and laid under siege. Your actions will be instrumental in both funding and convincing others of the rightness of bringing this monster of a nation to its knees. Be well, Captain. Leave as soon as possible."

Dav responded before letting go of the Duke's hand, "We will, your grace."

Dav strode out of the office with Xir and Chuan in tow, moving with purpose towards the lower entrance and the waiting car. Chuan transmitted orders to the awaiting company aboard the two spherical star craft. it read simply, "Load up. Lift off in 6 hours."

Dav asked Xir, "Did you learn anything from this exchange, Xir?"

Xir taking a moment to think about the captain's question it responded, "well captain, first and foremost he seems to be relying on us a great deal to sway others to join this government of his. Despite his speech discussing how much support he had already. Second, his mentioning the blockade which means, for us, we have nowhere to retreat to if things go south wherever we go from here. Under absolutely worst-case scenario I may have a place for us to hide. But it would be worse case scenario."
Xir continued, "he's also is effectively using us as his primary military force in his war "

Dav glanced Xir's way, "You are learning, Xir. You are learning well. Indeed, we are. Let’s get off this rock before the Tai Pan regulars show up and show us what real warriors can do."

Xir smiles in its mind at the Captains statement. If the captain only knew what it has learned in more than 300 human years of life, but if the Captain feels better about being a teacher and father figure to its crew, that is fine with Xir.



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Kotoku system
Kotoku I
Jazeera Star Port

Damion began moving his mech into the Icarus taking his time to get used to making the mech walk. "damn these guys make it look much easier than it really is." he spoke to himself as he walked. every other step his optical lenses drifted to look to make sure each weapon was loaded.

With orders to load up, Steven did so in a quick way, having all his belongings, Clad Enforcer and Mute on the ship. With the entire rest period being used to fix, repair and build the mecha and ships, he was ready to see what his work paid off in the long run of things

Aiyana smiled at her mecha, it looked good and had the new name painted on it- Wildfire. It made her a bit prouder to run this big hunk of destructive metal. When the orders were given, Aiyana would walk the Crushah to the ship and load up on the Icarus, settling into her spot as she flicked through things and checked her mechs vitals one last time. Everything was green across the board and that made her smile. Aiyana would pull out her large mug of coffee, lean back and just relax. Another mission and another chance to get a handle on driving her mecha and hopefully no one would get too badly injured this time.

Once Damion had parked and shutdown his mech he grabbed a cutting torch and would cut very shallow lines into the left torso right above the light railgun that spelled out 'Thundergod'. once complete he put away the cutting torch and climbed back into the mech lighting up a quick smoke before sending a short message to Aiyana "looking good over there Aiyana, hope to work with you again soon."

Aiyana kicked her feet up once things were settled, the message coming over her com's making her chuckle a bit, "Thanks, don't get your ass blown up alright? Look forward to it as well there Damion." she messaged back over as she sipped her coffee while flipping through her new systems book.

Damion chuckled. "Yes ma'am, I'll try not to get too badly hurt to where I have to come see you."

Rolled her eyes, "Don't call me ma'am...I'm not that old." she groaned as she flicked the switch.

Damion sighed, slightly smiling as he put out the source of his smoke "May I call you to share a drink?"

Raised a brow, "Depends if you call me ma'am again."

Damion raised a brow before responding. "Why would I when you just told me not to?"

"You seem like the smartass sort is all but sure, we come out of this in one piece we can get a drink." she told him, laughing as Aiyana shook her head at him.

Leo climbed into his mech, turning on the needed systems and moved his mech to the bay. He took his time, walking around in it just *felt* different then the sims. Leo walked it to where he was directed and set the Sagi down gently. The Front opened and Leo climbed out. He overheard Aiyana and Damion talking, never having really introduced himself to them. "I hope I ain't breakin' a mood here, but I think I've never talked to you two before."

Aiyana flicked her com's open again, "No, not at all. " Aiyana told him- while still in her mecha. "I'm Aiyana, your friendly medic who will keep you alive if you need it." Aiyana said with a little chuckle.

Damion flicked his lighter closed again, a new lit smoke resting between his synthetic lips. "Greetings, I'm Damion, your local mech sniper and synth."

"Well nice meetin' you two. I’m Leo, not really much else to it but if you got a broken machine, I'm the one to call. Got picked up as pilot after the last mission, still workin' my way 'round the place." Leo fiddled with his own mech, inspecting the joints and mounts to make sure they were all ok.

"Nice to meet you. Oh! I vaguely recall, I'm sorry I didn't greet you proper I was a bit wrapped up healing our lovely leader." Aiyana said with a laugh and groan, "Please...just keep an eye on things, I'd rather not see you both get blown up." Aiyana told them, a bit of a motherly tone in her voice as Aiyana didn't want her team mates to get hurt but knew it could and probably would happen.

Damion nodded. "Well if she can't heal me, I’ll see if you can fix me if it comes to that. But we should get along just fine so long as you’re not friends with any eight to nine-foot-tall muscle-bound idiot with a large gun."

"I don't plan on it; I’ve already gotten blown up once and that was enough." The chuckle could be heard over the radio.

"What did you do to get blown up? Step on something or get shot at?" Aiyana asked before shaking her head at Damion, "I wonder who that is you speak of." Aiyana teased as she took a drink of her coffee.

"Naw, was my own fault. Back in my old job we used bombs to crack open the asteroids to get the ores from within. I must have bought a faulty one, went off in my ship. Explosion cost me my ship and my arm n' leg"

"Shit, sorry to hear that." Damion said before shifting glances to Aiyana. "Some ass named Astilla who mag dumped an area before fire hit our tree line. A few of us just bailed shortly after.... It was a while ago."

That made her go quiet hearing that name and before they could really hear it Aiyana was swearing and cursing- the mech and turned off com's muffling her until she relaxed and turned it on, " He sounds like a real piece of work." Aiyana said as she downed more coffee, "And ow, hopefully you can buy better equipment now though, an explosion is no fun to heal from." Aiyana said trying to just brush over her little reaction.

"Well, was a 'while back. At least my mech survived, she’s a tough nut to crack." Leo had climbed back into his own mech, letting the seat absorb him and leaned back. "What scares me more is fightin'. I've never really, uh, been in battle before. Piloting mechs is what I'm good at, not shootin' at em' "

"Well as long as you enjoy the line of work that's all that matters," noting the muffled shouting when Aiyana's coms went quiet. "Hey, it's not all bad, I used the whole thing to escape with some help, plus for some reason the fireball jump started my sentiency."

Aiyana was not wanting to respond to that and was really glad to be hiding up in her mech at the moment, "That’s good that your mech survived, might mean she's good luck." she told him before smiling a tiny bit, "You'll be ok. Just focus and don't shoot us and you need back up don't hesitate to ask." Aiyana told him as she avoided what Damion said, "I enjoy healing, its draining but rewarding to do and mech well...I'm still green." Aiyana said, pushing away the other topic.

"Sagi's got it in her, she’s been passed down from my Pops. She is good luck charm for the family." He rubbed the armrest of the seat and chuckled. "Well, I can show you a thing or two about mech piloting if you want. I may not shoot a gun well but give me any bucket of rust and I can make her do a ballet."

Damion began climbing down and out of his mech. "As much as I would like to keep chatting with you two, I've got to pass the new plating blueprint to higher ups and call up my contact on spare replacement parts if needed for myself."

That made her laugh some at his comment, "Thanks, I think I will take you up on that after.' Aiyana told him before giving a nod, "Sure thing Damion, don't miss the take off." Aiyana told him as she poured herself more coffee- probably a bad idea, "But you'll be good, if you want to stick near me, I will not protest." Aiyana offered, a little laugh in her tone.

"Sure thing Damion, and if you need any help with machine parts I may be able to aid you in that." Leo pulled up readings on one of the main screens, everything was generally in the green or at least not going to blow up anytime soon. "So, you’re a healer Aiyana? I've never really talked to one before. Most minin' clans don't have that many elf folk in em'."

Smiled some, "Yes. Dav found me and asked me to join, I was wondering around from station to station." she told him as she sipped her coffee, "Healing is...tricky, it takes time but is also draining but it’s nothing I can't handle." Aiyana told him, "Anything you want to know about healers I guess?"

"Honestly, how does it... work? Like how are you taught to heal? Because that would have been useful to have someone like that on the long-haul trips for Minin' "

"Not really...It’s part of what I can do. Some of us elves are born with abilities- psionics to put it frankly and I exceled well with healing and anything fire related." Aiyana explained, "Healing though...it’s like a warm feeling- as if you drank a hot drink and you get that cozy feeling, that’s what it would feel like for you if I was healing you." Aiyana explained to him hoping that made sense, "I had to figure out most of my abilities on my own- it’s a really long story but still, I'd say I am a pretty good healer because of healing a lot of war wounded men and women."

Leo was able to get the gist of what Aiyana said. "Well, if it works it works. You're doing good work healin' folk. How much can you heal? I’m guessin' that my arm and leg may be a bit too much, given its up to joints and about 20 years too late."

Tapped her chin some, "Quiet a bit, from just the common cold to internal injuries and gashes...I mean if its attached I can heal with time." she told him before shaking her head, "After this, let me take a look and see what I can do. Old damage is still manageable, just might take a little more effort. I know when I'm at my limit and need to take a break." Aiyana told him, if she could help him improve by this, she would gladly help, "You just will have to get me a bag of coffee beans for it." Aiyana told him with a little laugh.

Leo chuckled, "Well, I only drink tea sadly so no coffee 'round my place. But if you can get an arm out of a stump, I'll for sure buy you one." He looked down at his arm, a worn and crude prosthetic. "Maybe I can trade ya that for a few tricks with piloting huh?"

That made her chuckle, "Tea works too." Aiyana told him before her brows furrowed, "Arm...in a stump? Is it still there?" Aiyana asked him a bit confused before smiling and nodding, "Sure, I've only driven a couple times so I'll take all the tips and help I can get."

"Yeah, shrapnel from the bomb turned everything elbow and knee-down to mush. I've got a cheap robot arm and leg, dried up the last of my savings when it happened. Had to live out of the Sagi while I recovered." Talking about it made him prod at his arm. He began boiling a cup for tea in the small provisions area on the Sagi.

That posed a unique problem, "Maybe you should take me to that spot sometime...I don't think I can work wonders but maybe I can do something to help ease the pain of it all." Aiyana offered, still willing to help him out if she could.

"If you can't that’s fine, it’s kinda grown on me at this point. But no hurt in not tryin'. Anythin' you want me to help you with? Along with piloting I could help you with a tune up"

"Well if I can't do much, I can at least ease any pain from where the prosthesis is attached." she told him before shaking her head, "Right now she good but I'd love it if you could show me when we get back. I should really do a final check over things." Aiyana told him as she capped her coffee and got up, "You need any help, let me know, k?"

"Same with you Aiyana, nice to get to know you" Leo pulled the screens away, darkening the cockpit to get some quick shuteye as the tea scent filled the air.

Damion would return, hopping into his mecha without a word, darkening the cockpit of his mech. The only light was from his silver optical eyes and the glow of his mech's console. "Hey Leo, you said you have a robot leg, you looking for a better one? My treat."

Leo had started falling asleep, the sudden sound of the radio cause him to flinch "What? oh, uh, well I kinda like the one I got. Has sentimental value even if it’s a piece of junk. But if I'm lookin' for a new one then I'll talk to you"

Damion nodded, turning off his comm. "As you wish." He would sit there as his optical lenses dimmed so that he can "sleep" briefly.

Leo turned off the radio fully this time, letting the only light and sound being the status lights and deep thrum of the reactor in the Sagi. He eventually drifting off to sleep.

Muk drove Doomcrakka into the Icarus mech bay. He walked the metal monster into its berth and shut it down. There were no remaining signs of the damage from his duel with Dav. The mech actually seemed like it was in better shape than before the fight. Metal plates were welded a bit straighter and the paint was applied more evenly.

He opened the back of the mech and walked out onto the gantry, climbing down to the floor of the mech bay. A little dog rode in a perch strapped to Muk’s shoulder. It looked like a Horgi - a cross between a corgi and a husky with its clear blue eyes, small size and friendly demeanor. The dog started whining and Muk gave him a gentle pat on the head.

“Oy, don’t ya cry, Barbfang. Muk’s gonna feed ya. Dat ol’ Shaman ain’t gonna try ta eat yas again. Muk bit ‘is head off, rememba.” He said softly. He started walking around looking for his new room that Dav mentioned was right off the mech bay.

Aiyana was mostly in her mech or climb on it to get used to the side- it was probably a funny sightseeing the small elf on such a big thing but something whining caught her attention and made her drop to the floor. Raising a brow at Muk, Aiyana was surprised to see him holding what looked like a shrink out husky, "You have a dog?" Aiyana's voice piped up a bit surprised at the sight.

Muk stopped and turned back to Aiyana. “Ya Muk.. Uh, I gots a doggo.” He said, practicing a smile at her. It was a horrifying expression that looked more like he was about to eat her. “Dav kicked ma butt. Dat’s when I found out ‘bout dis humie god. So I gotta act like a humie an’ he’ll favor Mu-me. I watched humie movies and da first thing about bein’ a humie is gettin a dog. Dis talking all humie-like is hard but da doggo is easy.” Muk explained.

The little dog barked at Aiyana and started wagging its tail furiously. “Aw, da lil guy likes ya! Ya wanna pet ‘im?” He asked.

Brushed her hands off on her pants, the smile was rather well freaky and Aiyana may have a little nightmare about it later but the elf wasn't going to say anything about it as she smiled back at him, "You didn't get hurt did you? " Aiyana asked him while walking over and then smiling at the excited dog

"Well, hats off to you for trying a new way. I know little of humans’ gods or is it one god? Either way." Aiyana said as she would try to reach to pet but her short elf self could not. “It was a good fight by the way, but I am glad you are still with us to fight alongside us." Aiyana told him. They may not have talked much at all, but she did respect his skills, "What’s his name?"

Muk watched her struggling to reach and realized she couldn’t. Without even thinking he picked her up gently in one hand and lifted her up easily. Barbfang licked at her face before she was high enough to look down at him. “Nah, I’s fine. Kragonak is my old god but da humie one’s three gods in one or somethin. Bro’seif, dey call ‘im. Don’t know all about ‘im yet but I’s learnin ta read ‘is book.” He said. “Den I can use ‘is power to make da folks dat don’t believe follow me and ‘im.”

He suddenly recalled her question and stopped rambling. “Dis is Barbclaw. Had ta kill my Shaman cause ‘e tried to eat him. Didn’t need da bugga anymore, anyway. I lost followin’ him.” Muk said, shrugging.

Aiyana was NOT expecting to be suddenly lifted in the air, her eyes bugging out of her head for a moment at the sudden new height achievement. The elf was a mix of shocked staring and laughing at how casual that was but then that fluffy dog licked her, and she decided to forgive the big guy. "Hi there lil fella." Aiyana said softly as she petted the dog, rubbing his ears as she listened to him, "Well, good thing I already follow him. I don't really believe in any gods myself." Aiyana told him rather simply.

"Hi there Barbclaw." The elf said smiling before her eyes went wide, "Why would he eat him? He's all fluff." Aiyana said poking and playing with the fluffy small dog. Aiyana was now debating on a pet because of this, "Well, if you ever need help reading, I can give you a hand whenever we have down time. It’s always nice to read a good book or one that is important to us." Aiyana told him with a little nod while petting the dog.

“Rotbag’s a dumbass in humie talk. He ain’t gonna be botherin us again.” Muk said. “I uhh... Neva read a book after Kragonak gave ‘is blessin an’ made Muk big an’ green. Dat was in da Atraxian words. Thanks for ta help. Want Muk to put you down now?”

That made her laugh, "Dumbass goes across places- even us elves." Aiyana said laughing some. The elf continued to pet the dog, rubbing behind his ears and under his chin, " You're welcome, that’s what friends are for and I don't mind as long as I get to pet him- he's so friggen soft and fluffy!" Aiyana told him with a little grin- she loved animals and now really needed a pet.

Damion's eyes pierced through the darkness of his cockpit watching the orc and Aiyana converse. He'd never seen one of them up close, but the survivors back home used to tell their children stories of them. "didn’t think you guys could be civil like you." Damion said from the cockpit coms.

Muk turned to look up at Damion’s cockpit. “Civil? Ya betta not be bustin Muk’s balls, humie. I don’t know dat word.” He said, looking annoyed. The sounds of Barbfang’s stomach growling distracted him. “Oh, need ta feed ‘im.” Muk remembered. He gently put Aiyana down and patted her on the head.

“Grub’s in my room. Gotta find it. Muk... I am goin’ ta feed ‘im. See yas pinkskins lata.” Muk said. He walked around for a minute until he found his new Muk-sized quarters. He slapped a button beside the door and the door slid open. As soon as Muk passed through, it closed behind him.

"Civil is acting how we are right now and just not being an asshole." Aiyana explained, shaking her head some before suddenly shrinking now as Muk set her down, "You do that, you ever need someone to watch him, just send the handsome boy my way." Aiyana told him as she smoothed out her clothes before she went to start climbing back up to her cockpit.

The sounds of clanking feet echoed through the Icarus' mech bay. Lyon's mech, now called the "Scoundrel" purely by habit, or rather how he's been acting, marched into the space, turning around as the hydraulics and pneumatics whistled. Bursts of steam erupted through the mech's joints as it sagged downwards. Lyon climbed out the backside of the mech, carefully crawling up to the top, grabbing the hanging power cable and screwing it onto the Scoundrel.

Damion looked towards the new mech entering the Icarus, his optical lenses shining through the dark cockpit as he stared. "So new blood, what's your name?"

Lyon stared back, with an inquisitive look at first. The foreign figure was unarguably strange, even frightening to a degree with its lifeless eyesight. Lyon's seen stranger in Xir though. "Lyon," he simply replied, returning to a default, resigned look, not bothering to question was he was called the newcomer.

As everybody parked their mecha in the bays, Steven kept watching, scanning, surveying the mecha and the dropships for the upcoming mission, and relaying all the statuses to Xir and Dav.

Damion sighed before speaking again to Lyon. "Damion.... I look out for you on the battlefield."

"I see. Thanks." Lyon politely replied, before going back to work on his battle frame.


It took a lot of work for Xir to separate the mounted biological technology from its Daedalus cargo hanger where beast slept, and Xir did its work. The upside was the new manufacturing hangar on Icarus seemed to be better suited for Xir's needs. The power conduits were in better condition for the heat lamps and there were pre-designed inlays in the walls for Xir's experiments or table space. The growing tanks also easily remounted to the support beams. As much as Xir didn't like it, it knew that Beast would be taking more punishment and this space would be better suited for healing and recovery. Hopefully both Beast and Xir had improved the odds by learning something from the past battles. Unfortunately, with Xir's many years of life, by humanoid standards, it really didn't encounter anywhere near as much combat as it had in the last couple months.



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Kotoku
Kotoku I
Jazeera
Ducal Seat

Duke Glynvalur sat upon the slightly raised dais in the lords receiving room adjacent to his office. His ducal seat was a simple, but padded chair. He sat with one leg propped upon his other knee. Before him was the latest applicant to the League of Autonomous Worlds.

Dressed in a brown suit, representative Tin, sits across Duke Glynvalur. He sits, hands folded and eyes staring at the Duke. If he is well-versed in human-lit then Tin would appear to be like an orc, but shorter but with boarder shoulders. An orc dwarf one might say. "Well? Did our application pass?"

Glynvalur smiled at the representative. "Pending signing the charter and allowing a representative branch upon your worlds, yes. You are accepted. Understand, the free movement of peoples is part of the LAW charter."

"We already signed the paper a week ago and waited for a representative to come to the capital for another week. We've been waiting our asses off."

Duke Glynvalur frowned. "Diplomacy takes time, representative Tin. The LAW representative has been dispatched, but for safety, is traveling incognito aboard civilian transport in a circuitous manner. He should arrive within the week bearing a letter sealed with the ducal signet. We shall call a press conference once the representative is safely within your borders. We can't allow foreign operatives to disrupt these momentous occasions with assassinations or detainment."

"Noted. We'll be waiting."


---------------------------------------------------
Kotoku
Gateway Jump point
November 1, 3019

Dav awoke to a buzzing alarm. Chuan rested beside him, tail half exposed out from the thin blankets. On her hand was a black band encircling her left ring finger. Dav touched the comms unit, "Dav here, what’s up?"

The comms replied, a feminine disembodied voice carrying a note of longing and irritation, "Dav, let Captain Chuan know it is time to guide the Icarus into its berth and to relieve me from my post. We have a date, remember husband?"

Dav blinked a few times before checking his chronometer. Jessica, Chuan's new pilot and Dav's new wife, was correct. Chuan was finicky about major piloting operations and Dav did make a date. "Will do, honey. I will meet you at your quarters."

Dav licked Chuan's nose, a thing she enjoyed and never grew tired of, then whispered, "Awaken, love. It’s time to go to work."

Chuan locked eyes with Dav, wrapping her arms around his neck. She kissed him then said, "I know. I heard her. She can wait a few minutes and in exchange, she can have the next day off. I will cover her next shift. It gives me time to have you put that bun in my oven as well as in her."

Dav smiled, knowing his recent conversion to Broseifism came with a few perks. Much responsibility, but a few perks.

Tantus shifted thru the hallways quietly. No hood no black clothes that was for amateurs. The Icarus wasn’t hard to find or explore. They let anyone join this rag tag group. He heard from bars and taverns the black forge was making history. Fighting Tai Pan they would say thru drunken eyes. Tantus snuck in right before liftoff by carrying a grease box for Muk’s mech. He swore it was cooking grease but the Atraxian wrote on it himself. The files were right dumb and illiterate.

For the past 10 hours he waited to get Dav alone he already secured his escape ship. Just needed that damn fox to leave. Then at 0600 his door slide open and the elegant fox walked out like a queen addressing her followers. The arrogance he thought. She expected the hallway as the door closed Tantus knew it would need to be quick and clean he unsheathed his Damascus blade and entered the poor soul’s room.

Dav was turned away from him lightly sleeping the room reeked of pheromones. It was all his senses could bare. This guys a freaking bull. He’s no human, he thought. He eased toward Dav who began to snore grabbed him so he could look in his eyes because Tantus gave a kill that respect he never stabbed a man in the back. Dav was stunned Tantus looked him in the eyes and his blade dropped to the ground then it all went black.

He woke to voices. A hysterical woman and a man calm, comforting. His head pounded as his senses all started to clear and become less clouded. Chuan sternly said" who is this Gartagen? How is he on my ship.? He has no Id his clothes are stolen from one of the mechanics bunks. Dav why didn't he kill you he paused do you know him?" Dav answered calmly trying to grasp how he'd gotten so comfortable to almost get killed while he was sleeping. "Chuan if I knew him trust me, I would tell you. Honestly, I thought it was Jessica until I turned over and it was him. Regardless who he is, I'm his target. Let's wake him up and find out.".

"Do you want Damion or Vlad to interrogate him." Chuan asked.

Dav smiled and responded, "I'll handle this. Can you go check Jessica for me? She was really rattled." Chuan tried to stare him down before she responded, "You sure I should leave you alone?" Chuan smiled a little snarl before Dav pressed, "Relax babe. He’s chained up and I won't kill him. I need answers first." Chuan glared one more time and left the room to go check on Jessica.

The door shut and Tantus raised his head before chuckling, " You really should talk farther away when you’re gonna interrogate someone. Now I know you won't kill me." Dav smiled and said, "I wanted her gone because she was gonna kill you before I got my answers. How’s the head? Yea those beautiful thighs of her are lethal when she wants to be. So, let's start with your name and rank?"

Tantus looked at him confused. This man wasn’t intimidated at all and I was seconds away from killing him. Dav continued, "Well you might as well answer me because we both know you’re not gonna harm me." Tantus was awestruck and insulted. "You really think that, Dav? You don’t know anything about me." Dav stood up and sighed " I've had a lot of things try to kill me and they all had the same cold eyes .You kid, you had it then you saw my face and it melted away. How do you know me?" Tantus thought back to when he was a baby. Dav saved him from being killed. How could he kill him after looking and searching for him for 20 years?

"Ok I've got about 9 days till we hit port, so stew on it. I'll be back." Dav smiled at him with no anger revealed. Nothing but a curiosity. Who the fuck is this guy, Tantus thought over and over?

Several hours passed. It was cold, but he knew couldn't sit there. He plucked a barbed off his back and started picking his hand cuffs. With a small "click, click" they opened, relieving the pressure on his wrists. Keeping his hands behind his back, he waited. An hour went by, he heard the door open and Dav entered.

"Hungry here, eat." Dav ordered as he slid a plate across the table. ""Before you lie, I know you uncuffed yourself. So, eat." Tantus looked at the food considered it then changed his mind. "Let's start over. I'm Dav SteinBar. I run this company of the Black Forge. You are a Gartagen from the Shia system. I haven't messed with your kind in 20 something years. So why now? I thought I was on good terms with the Gartagen empire." "
"How is that?" Tantus questioned. Dav grinned "Well, I helped repel Tai Pan years ago from several of their planets". " No, you fought with Tai Pan against the Gartagen" Tantus countered, resting his hands on the tabletop.

Dav, puzzled even more, responded, " So you know me other than your pitiful attempt to kill me" Tantus looked up at him through angered eyes " 20 years ago on my home planet of Artus you saved a small child from being burned to death in the middle of fire fight and dropped him off at the medical building. You fought with Tai Pan to keep my own people from killing me." Dav’s mouth dropped he sat down. "What's your name kid. I want that first." "Tantus Jaeger" he responded calmly. "So Tantus I have never nor will I ever work for Tai Pan.”

Dav continued, “They are a disease. they overtake civilizations and destroy their identity. Artus… yea I was there. Saved a kid, but I didn't drop him for Tai Pan and his own people weren't trying to kill him. We fought hard and I lost two mechs that run, so I remember it well. We pushed Tai Pan back. They were losing. I remember Tai Pan ships were dropping incendiary charges everywhere in their retreat. If you’re that kid, you better be thankful when I came through your house. Gartagen troops were sweeping trying to save as many of as they could but I was farther advanced then they were. I dropped you at the medical building and kept advancing. The part you didn't know is we missed a platoon of Tai Pan soldiers in their route. They came in after us that night. They slaughtered the adults and took off with the children." Dav, now in a rage over the injustice and evil of kidnapping, stood up, his mannerism now uncontrolled.

Dav walked out furious. Slamming the door behind him. Chuan was waiting outside " you think he’s telling the truth, don’t you?" Chuan asked " Baby just look at him. He’s a kid. The timeline works with his story. Plus, we beat Tai Pan that day. Gartagen forces got the credit but it was my group leading the charge. I got cocky. 42 injured men and 15 nurses were cut down after I left. No one had any idea of the number of kids."

"Well, your done talking to him. let me try. He’s opening up some." Chuan suggested. Chuan entered the room, careful of the intruder. "I'm glad you and my husband hit it off so well, but I'd like some real answers please. Who do you work for?"

"I must've really shaken you to up. Always focused on what's in front of you. No wonder Dav married you first." Tantus pulled a pipe out his bag and packed it with his own blend of spices and opiates. Striking a match, he began "So you just helped a system wide revolution against my employer. They sent me in to your home to murder him with a knife real nasty like." He inhaled deep and exhaled slow. “Dav knew this was coming. Why didn't you? But your problems not with me. It's with my regiment."

Chuan looked at him intensely, “Who are you with Tantus?" He looked back and smiled " I'm with the 9ine. I'm number 5." He leaned back and inhaled again. Chuan’s face went pale. She quickly exited to Dav standing outside. "You hear that?" Chuan asked.

Dav replied, "Yes, I did. Baby it's ok. I'm gonna be fine. They haven't caught me yet." Dav walked past Chuan into the room, closed and locked the door, then sat down. He looked at Tantus a long time before asking, "Who knows where I am?"

Tantus replied, "Fortunately, it's just me. I was told to keep it all in the dark other than your murder. I was supposed to frame Muk to sow disorder in your group."

Dav smiled, “Since you failed, you can’t go back." Tantus looked back, holding back rage. While removing a short blade from his coat pocket Tantus replied to Dav’s offensive statement, "I didn't fail. I choose not to kill at that point. There is a marked difference."
Dav chuckled, surprised at this creature’s honor while looking at Tantus. "Want to switch sides, fight for the good guys for once?"

Tantus inhaled deeply and looked at him thoughtfully for a long second, “Yes. But no one touches my mech."

Dav responded, "You drive one of ours for now. We can pick yours up later."

OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks, Ray of meep, Kitekat, weeping angel, Ahoy, and Hal9000]
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

Natsumi system
Nadir jump point
Icarus
November 10, 3019

Dav sat at the head of his conference table. Once again, he was giving a briefing to his team. This time the Black Forge had some legal standing and a few contacts that would take goods for service.

Steven came in the conference room and promptly sat himself closer to the head and readying himself for a long speech coming Never in his long line of jobs had any of them been like this.

Leo entered the room a little early compared to others, holding a small cup of tea. He sat himself down and tried his best to look ready and awake despite being neither of those things. This was his first time really seeing Dav face-to-face after all, best not to give him a bad impression.

Damion entered the room, the smell of smoke on his olive drab outfit before sitting down at the table quietly.

Xir once again sat in the corner, hind legs sitting like a cat with the tail wrapped around it on the floor. Xir held it's specially made pad, that was bigger in size and a touch screen adjusted for Xir's touch.

Lily breezed in with soft steps and quietly took a seat, pulling her long skirt to settle it in her seat neatly before turning to face the head of the table with her red cats’ eyes, her hands primly on her lap.

Damion looked to Dav and asked, "So um, sir, have you gotten a chance to look over the blueprints to the add-on armor plating I designed?"

"I have, Damion." Dav replied. "Scott is prepping the shop to print some out for you to use. Consider yourself the guinea pig. We will analyze the post combat data and see if it warrants widespread deployment within the unit."

Aiyana would make her way in, moving around to find a spot and then sitting. She was dressed rather casually as she leaned back in her chair some ready to hear what was going on.

Alex entered the room looking somewhat tired. He looked around for a moment, and then took a free seat.

An image of Muk reduced to human size appeared in an empty chair close to Dav. He leaned forward and looked around. “Dis thing on?” Muk said, seeming to tap at his right temple. He leaned back suddenly and gasped. “I’m in da room! I sees all of ya!” He yelled excitedly. “Dis humie shit’s weird.”

Makre followed, quietly slipping into the room with a couple of acknowledging glances at the others as he took a seat, his mind half absent as he continued seeing bolts and circuits in his head.

Vlad sits in a chair, his head tipped over the back of chair, with a magazine over his face. He appears to be sleeping as he is not moving and a loud snore that is heard every so often. On the cover of the magazine, there is a picture of Tai-Pan Jongwu-dog, in cooking attire, stirring a pot of ravioli. The title is "How to cook Ravioli for Dummies."

Marina strode into the room in her piloting gear, fresh from the sims. She offered the room’s occupants a friendly smile before unclipping her sheathed naval cutlass and taking a seat. After making sure the sword was safely propped up against the side of her chair, she placed her hands together on the conference table in front of her and waited for the briefing to begin.

Lyon quietly sat in a corner of the room watching the conversation between Dav and Damion. He played with his fingers beneath his cloak nervously waiting for the briefing of the next mission.

Tantus walked in with pipe in his mouth. Force of habit he thought. Sir had one corner, so he slide to the other unnoticed. What a group, he thought as he unsheathed his dagger and fiddled with it until Commander Dav began.

After the main pilots settled, a few more Black Forge command staff filed in. Chuan and Scott were there as well as another man unknown to the group. Twin beard tails adorned his face along with a grim visage. He sat in the back. Captain's bars adorned his lapel along with a silver skull. He nodded in Dav's Direction. Dav nodded back before pressing his thumb onto the table. The lights dimmed as the two doors to the conference room closed and locked. The door to Muk’s room locked as well. Dav asked the AI, "sweetie, are we secure?"

A sweet, chirpy voice responded, "We are, Dav."

Dav looked over the assembled group. Looking at the assorted persons, he felt a great pride. Even his old friend Justin had joined, though they would have to work out a few details. Dav assumed Justin had joined more to get away from Sophia Sorano than any interest in "brotherhood" or "justice". Justin was who he was, but Dav would take him, nonetheless.

Dav cleared his throat, "Welcome to another briefing. This time we will be doing this correctly and by the numbers. No screw ups this time." Dav glared at Alex, Lily, Xir, and Steven, the lance who failed to draw fire the last time. Several Forge members died that day, thanks to the bungled diversion of Alpha lance.


Dav continued as a system diagram appeared above the table, "We are striking the Natsumi system under a letter of Marque by the new Government entity, LAW. This is a smash and grab, in two parts. The first is securing our ride out of here. The second is an objective raid and reduction. This system has both an energy collector station and a mecha manufacturing plant. We are going to disable both and make off with two full dropships worth of parts and a Tai pan foldship. Since we are deep into Tai pan space, security is sparse. According to my contacts, the station has little security and the factory not much more. There is little honor or standing to be gained by checking manifests and keeping the trains running on time, so to speak. I expect mostly second- or third-rate military forces, with the factory likely to only have on hand the mecha being produced or awaiting shipment. For the first part I will turn over the briefing to our new captain of the Daedalus.

Dav stepped back and made space for the giant of a man, Justin. Justin stood in the back, a tower of man and muscle. he strode forward, the steps of a cold-blooded killer. Once in front of the group, he inserted a chip into the table, and a new schema appeared. A station with a docked Invictus class foldship.

Justin began, “This is Natsumi Station. We have two objectives for this mission. The first, and most important, is securing the foldship. All pilots and personnel capable will assist in this endeavor. Without the foldship, nothing else moves forward. I expect we have a week once the operation begins before Tai Pan reinforcements show up and we all die. The reason we chose this system is because it is far from the Tai Pan front and their main line units and ships. With no other nation willing to stand against them, inner national security is lax, and their best warriors are off winning honor to improve their standing in the Imperial Court and secure quality genetic material. I understand one of our pilots was injured last mission and another has some sort of cohesion issue. I will assist with the first wave assault as a transport pilot. Chuan will fly the other. The other pilots will fly cover as we move to assault the station and foldship. Once we secure the station and foldship, the Icarus will attach to the new foldship and use a fold maneuver to transport the Icarus into orbit around Asago, the target world and location of the Mecha plant. Once there, the station will beam sufficient energy for another fold maneuver to the foldship then the Daedalus will destroy the station and use a maximum thrust to reach Asago. That burn should only take fifty-six hours. Once the Daedalus lands near the Icarus, the second part of the operation should be completed, and loading can be completed."

Justin flicked a file to the attendees, detailing duties, mission parameters, and transport assignments. Justin gave the Forge a few minutes to look over the file before speaking, "Any questions about this part of the operation?"

Steven raising his hand as if in a classroom setting' and asks " so if the mission is to go undetected to steal part" I think I can access the main frame of the factory so we can take what we need and leave without a fight. I can hack through all the security and shut them down, is this a valid strategy, sir?"

Leo had been half-listening until the file was sent to him. He quickly scanned the document. "Sir, the Sagi can work in zero-g vac conditions. I can help with any assaults on the outside of the station if there is one needed."

Justin responded, "Have your machine prepped to assault the foldship. Focus your attention on removing any weapon emplacements and communications equipment. You will assist the combat flyers in threat assessment and neutralization."

Damion scanned over everything noting the security and 2 objectives before speaking. "So, two questions, first I’d like to be in a position where I can either provide overwatch or flank from long range if that’s ok? Second what’s the plan if we do have screwups and things go pear shaped fast, weather that be from our own forces or shoddy intel or enemy reinforcements?"

Justin responded, "With the close quarters nature of the boarding operations, sniping and overwatch won’t be an option. Our primary target is the capture of the foldship. We must succeed on that objective. All other objectives are secondary to that one. We will play each objective as we go, and cut our losses if necessary, to get our support and dropship assets out of system. If we fail in the capture of the station, Jessica has the authority to order the dropships to destroy the station, regardless of the committed personnel. As such, I will lead the foldship assault. Dav will lead the assault on the station. Vlad and Marina will fly air patrol after neutralizing any offensive or defensive assets.

Xir, with its head slightly lowered in shame at the captain statement just listen to the captain and the pasting of the briefing over to this Justin person. Xir asks "is this Natsumi Station planet side, or in orbit?"

Justin gives Xir a long stare before responding, "Natsumi power station is located at the zenith of the Natsumi star, neither in orbit of the planet or planet side. "

Tantus looked assessing which of them was gonna die by their reactions and body language. He leaned of the wall "If you wanna take that it has 2 turrets guarding the docking bays that will need to be taken offline first. If not, your ship won't get nowhere close to the foldship."

Aiyana listened, this mission was rather different, and she had no clue what to ask, it was rather straight forward and she would look them over as they were flicked out to her. The elf leaned back in her chair, "Who all is going to be handling what because from the sounds, we really need to be a fine-tuned machine on this one and ready to act and react accordingly."

Justin realizing many of these "people" might not be able to read the one hundred forty-nine pages of detailed briefing material before the mission start, he realized he needed to give them the cliff notes version of the first part of the overall operation.

Justin said as he glanced at the hologram of the Atraxian, "As the foldship is the most important asset to claim intact, myself, Xir, Tantus, Steven, Alex, Aiyana as well as a platoon of Black Forge marines will assault the foldship. For the Station, Dav will lead Lily, Damion, Makre, Lyon, Muk and his boys to take the command and engineering sections. "

Muk nodded. “Good, we gets ta smash some skulls. Can we eat em, boss? Da boys is dying for fresh meat.”

That would make the elf nod, "Alright then." Aiyana said with a small smile as she looked over the plans again, focusing more on what she was going to do and how the elf was going to help.

Lyon's botched feathers shot up. "Y-you're putting me into boarding duty? I think I'm better off doing support work outside of the ship. In a mech."


Xir spoke up, "sounds like a good plan to me."

Steven excited to be doing his favorite part' sabotage of technology " sound like a wonderful plan!"

Once the room settled down, Justin moved back to his seat and Dav stepped up.

Dav cleared the schema on the table and tapped the table a few times. A new schema appeared, this time one of the Planet Asago. Dav began, “This is the planet Asago. Due to the nature of the indigenous population, Tai Pan maintains only a small presence on the planet. With only one settlement near the factory, we have little collateral damage to worry about. Security is likely to be less than a company of mecha and associated infantry personnel. No enemy air cover is expected on planet. As the defenses of the plant are not expected to be significant, the Icarus will land a safe distance and unload our active and ready mecha. Once unloaded, the Icarus will return to orbit and await confirmation of a safe landing pad at the factory. At no time are we to risk the Icarus or Daedalus in this operation."

Dav changed the schema of the planet to a topographical view of the plant and continued the briefing, "Once the company lands, we will organize and move at best group speed with the assault mecha in the front. we will split the skirmisher lance into two elements for flank scouting. I don’t want to be caught unawares by a garrison pilot out testing equipment prior to shipment. Once we enter range, we will begin the assault with Bravo lance taking point to draw the first fire of the defense turrets and any active mecha. Charlie, the fire support lance, will back up Bravo lance. Once engaged, the two elements of Alpha lance will move to breach any other points and seek out the command center as well as any other targets of opportunity. Once Bravo and Charlie wins the main breach assault and Alpha takes out the command center, I will signal the Icarus to begin landing on landing pad two. That pad is closest to the parts and equipment bunkers and I’ll give us the most time to load what we can. The Daedalus will land when able on landing pad one, where the fighting is likely to be fiercest. This will let us salvage what we can from downed mecha, both our own and the enemies. Air cover will first provide tactical strikes dictated by Alpha one and Alpha two on high value targets. Once the ground team is fully engaged, they are free to seek their own targets as munitions and damage allow."
Dav looked each one in the eye, "If you think you may not have the juice left to continue, pull back, take cover, or retreat. No heroes needed in this operation. We always have the option of an orbital strike from the Daedalus before retreating.

Dav also transferred files to the attendees, detailing their part of the second phase of the operation. Dav gave the room a few minutes to look them over before asking, "Any questions?"

Damion remained silent as the mission briefing was carefully laid out.

Xir chimes in with a question. "who is going to be in which company?"

Aiyana with nod with Xir, wanting to know who was going where. The elf was ready though, she just needed to know what to prep for.

Dav responded, "If all goes well in the first phase of the operation and no other pilots get seriously injured, the lance assignments will be as follows: In Alpha lance, we will have Alex, Xir, Lily, and Damion. Pair off at your discretion. Bravo lance will be Muk, Aiyana, Lyon, and Leo. Charlie lance will be myself, Tantus, Steven, and Makre. Vlad and Marina will provide close air support.

Muk looked at Aiyana. "Muk's got yer back little elf. We's in Crushahs, so dat means we's slow but we got da big guns. Stay behind Doomcrakka and you's not gettin hurt."

"You lead the way Muk, I'll keep the back end safe as well." Aiyana told him with a smile and a nod. Those two were going to make a painful wall for those in front Aiyana believed.

Xir looked at Damion "be my partner?"

Damion looked to Xir, “sure I’ll be your partner."

Tantus acknowledged Dav "To hell and back sir"


OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks, Ray of meep, Kitekat, weeping angel, Ahoy, Armacalic, mechameme, Gir, and Hal9000]
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Bullroarer4
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

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Natsumi system
Nadir jump point
Icarus
November 11, 3019

Dav was finishing his check on Dark Horse. He realized there would be little time once the operation was underway to adjust or recheck any of his gear, let alone get some sleep. Scott was busy verifying integrity with Steven’s new mecha, Mute, So Dav had to lead the techs himself. He checked, with the assistance of "sweetie" his AI, his loadout, ammo feed systems, cooling jackets, and armor sensors. In between tech checks, he caught a nap with either Chuan or Jessica, both of which were doing their own checks and double checks on the maneuvering and propulsion systems of the Icarus.

Damion sits in his cockpit looking over the diagnostics of the Thunder God as he has set in place the prototype plating on the center torso were his cockpit is, right and left torso in doing so removing the heavy laser weapon and light railgun and swapping it out for the gamma Vulcan originally in the center torso and adding the ionic pulse laser in the other side of the torso after removing the ammo in the leg that stored the light rail ammo. checking over everything he wished he had more time to armor the legs but with the reconfiguration taking priority due to close quarters he did what he could.

Alex ran through the checks on his Puma class battleframe. Hydraulics, power systems, propulsion and cooling were first. Then FCS, weapon feeds and ejection systems. Finally, he spoke over the radio. "This is Alex, I'm ready.":

Leo went over the final checks of the Sagi. He made sure the atmospherics were up to shape, the large decel thrusters where hooked up correctly, and that the pilot seat drug injector was filled up for the high-g deceleration burn. He double checked and triple checked the thrusters, which were latched to the top of the Mech, as he wanted to be absolutely certain it was going to work. Leo was stressed out of his mind; this was the first time he’s ever seen actual combat and he was going to be blasting through the void towards a hostile ship with a couple rockets strapped to him, so he doesn’t become a red smear on the station. Leo climbed in as the hatch sealed, and the atmospherics kicked on. "Sagi for initial assault in the green, sealed up and ready to go"

Steven finished making sure Mute was good to go. This would be her first mission and Steven wanted her to purr like a kitten and roar like lion when the time comes. Steven saw Scott overlooking his mecha. Steven climbing out of the cockpit walking up to Scott, "What do you think of her?”

Scott responded with a snort as he closed a laptop plugged into a diagnostic machine on a rolling cart, “She will run. Just don’t get cocky, youngblood.”

Aiyana was making sure Wildfire was at the ready for when she would need it-she was primed and ready and so was the elf as she stepped out of her. She had the mission in mind and wasn't going to let anything else get into her head over it. The elf would do her small routine to steady her nerves before a fight- braid her hair and then prime her weapons. Her first task was getting to the fold-ship and help keep her teammates alive. Aiyana hoped that this would go smoothly- it probably wouldn't be smooth as creamy peanut butter, but she was still going to hope it was. Aiyana made sure she had her weapons and armor strapped on snug and tight as well as a rag for just encase.

Yep, she was good to go. It was one of those few times that she sent out a small prayer. She had survived the destruction of her home planet and she would survive this come hell or high waters and with that in mind, she adjusted her weapons and took her position back inside her mecha, placing her weapons near her, “This will be fine…we’ll be fine. It's easy.” she said softly as she checked over Wildfires systems again before sitting back while rubbing her face a little. She hated this part, the waiting.

after Xir's checks up on Beast to make sure that it was at max strength it directs Beast to the hangar Bay where Beast will exit the dropship for the second portion of this mission. Xir told Beast to sit and stay, to prepare itself for when Xir returns after the first part of the mission. Xir only hopes that Beast, with the experience that it has developed, would keep the discipline and stay put as commanded until Xir's return.
Xir then meets up with the black Forge Marines to discuss initial incursion in the fold ship. Xir was completely decked out in its bio armor with his repertoire of weapons to speed up the taking of the fold ship.

Muk's Mech engineer Braindaggah double checked Doomcrakka's repairs. The fight with Dav had caused a fair amount of damage to the mech's rear armor. Since they wouldn't get a chance to make any modifications between the first phase of the mission and the second everything needed to be in fighting shape for Muk. Satisfied that everything was working properly, the green Atraxian climbed down from the gantry and headed to the mess.

Tantus climbed up the arm of the mystery machine looking its weapons over as he went. The clank of an oil can held by his tail echoing in the bay. He looked it over and what in the hell is this setup. It made no sense. Completely unorthodox. Its gonna overheat and liquify me. He paused looking around. I've got to figure out to reduce heat output. Opening the hatch, he climbed in the Lion. The smell was atrocious. The smell of humanoid mating pheromones was thick in the cockpit. Contraceptive packaging was everywhere. Tantus scoured the pilot’s area. There was just so much trash, he thought. He grabbed a bag and removed it as quickly as possible. With less than an hour before loading he acted fast rerouting the ac and heat units’ power to cooling the core. Maybe with the very limited maintenance, he could do he would give respect to the commander. If not, may death come. Besides, Gartagens liked it warm anyways, he thought.







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Natsumi system
Zenith jump point
November 13th, 3019

As the pair of dropships began maneuvering after a slow burn below Natsumi's horizon, they had accumulated a fair bit of speed. With the intention of releasing the transport Pou Nan Yie and Eagle Claw fighters as they fired a strafing run, The Icarus and Daedalus would orbit the star with another pass for deceleration. This would give the assault teams and air support five minutes to secure the airspace around both the foldship and the station. Extra disposable thrusters were attached to the Sagi for a one-shot deceleration burn so it could assist with the initial engagement and assault. With a timer counting down, the Black Forge knew just a few minutes of calm remained before the opening song of battle proceeded.

wearing the standard black forge marine armor and equipped with service pistol and black forge laser rifle. Damion moves with the rest of the group.

Alex wasn't exactly the best shot with assault weaponry, and this was going to be the first time he had ever gotten into combat outside of a mech. He was planning to stay in cover as long as he could, and not get noticed as much as possible. Getting noticed was what got people shooting at you. He slipped into a set of body armor, and picked up a rifle, holstered a pistol, and attached his collapsible rapier as well as some flashbang grenades to the armor.

He didn't actually know how to use guns. "Fucking hell." He muttered inside the helmet. "What the hell am I supposed to do, stab them? I don't know how to use these things."

Lyon's HUD lit up with basic biometrics, pressure, and temperature readings. "Testing, one, two, three," He nervously spoke up, making sure his comm was online. His slender figure now hid behind a rather bulky spacesuit, which came equipped with a maneuvering system that activated based on the movement of his legs. This all wasn't new; he went through the same routine repairing mechs and ships in orbit of Habu.

Moving through contested corridors wasn't exactly new either; he had to do so to escape the habitats as hellfire rained from above. The scoundrel took a deep breath. Now he must do the same while trading fire. Lyon maglocked a riot shield to his left arm, placed a couple of flashbangs and smoke grenades around his waist, then put a pistol in the holster on his right thigh. He then slung a med kit around his shoulder, which came with emergency sealing paste.

Hopefully it never came to the point where they have to decompress the ship to space the defenders, but if it came to that... Lyon made sure his maglock boots were working, then clamped a breaching charge to his maneuvering backpack.

Steven getting his gear together put on his special outfit, tailored to his specific job, hacking, he checked his vitals and his equipment on his HUD. It's been a little while since having a medium powered mag suit equipped, having been used to personal combat especially on his syndicate ridden world. Knowing something like personal combat is a must. Steven checked his machine plasma pistol an old friend from a long past and extendable sword. He checked his suit to make sure it sealed, and all the zero gravity mechanisms are ready. Just in case he needed to. He slipped on his sealed backpack and boarded the ship ready to go.

Steven responding to Lyons comms " your all good friend, how are you feeling about the mission?"

"We'll have to make do." He cycled the suit's pressure system several times, causing it to shrink when depressurized, then inflating again. "I wish we were in mechs."

Steven nodding to Lyons response " I can completely agree, combat outside a mech is much different, I can imagine"

Aiyana heard Alex through the comm's and moved over to him, "Alex, it'll be alright. You were picked for this part of the mission, you can do it and just try to keep alert and use what you know, ok?" the elf told him. This was honestly more her speed because she got to use her abilities, but she needed to be careful with them as well so that she didn't muck something up.

He gestured to the equipment that he was bringing with him. "Easier to say than to do. I've never shot any of these things before, all I know how to actually use is this." He said, as he pointed to the collapsed rapier held on the side of his suit. "But if you do have any pointers, I suppose that's better than nothing."

Aiyana looked over his weapons for a moment, "Easy firing lesson, aim down the sight, keep both eyes open and try to not shut them." Aiyana advised, trying to remember what she was taught, "You have grenades, good but don't go bang bang happy and make us blind and deaf- give us a hit the deck warning." the elf told him as she bit her lip thinking, "show me how you hold or shoulder your gun, we have a few minutes still."

Alex checked to make sure the safeties were on, then brought the pistol up, pointed in the direction of a nearby wall. His hands were a little off, sitting a little low on the grip.

Damion watches the conversation between Alex and Aiyana, before lightly chuckling "so if we survive this Aiyana you up for that drink? if not speak up so I know to look for another cute elf."

"Alright, first off, grip kind sucks." she told him as she moved around behind him and put her hands over his to help him adjust, "Confidence will help, don't be scared of it." she told him before her eyes went wide at what Damion said, "Uhm...yea drinks later with everyone at this rate." Aiyana told him as she was not in the right mind set for that at the moment but drinks after would be grand as long as they all survive. Ignoring the Bioroid, she returned to her lesson, "Now Alex, look down the sight, steady your arms and give a little bend in your elbows so you don't cold cock yourself in the face when it fires and kicks back some."

Damion’s jaw plates turned to what could be described as a grin "Cool. I’ll hold you to that then.... fuck it, first rounds on me for anyone who wants to tag along."

"What about rifles?" Alex asked, as he holstered the pistol and unslung the rifle.

"if you need pointers in using that I can offer tips." he said turning to Alex

His expression soured for but a moment. "On second thought, I'll figure it out myself." He looked at the rifle for a moment. "Maybe a pistol will be fine..." he muttered as he practiced shouldering the gun.

"Yep, just as long as we all are alive." she told him before pulling off her own rifle and shopping, "Rifles are more effective for long range, pistol is for when things are getting rather close." Aiyana told him as she would shoulder her rifle for him to see.

The butt was snugly against her shoulder as she spaced out her hands evenly, "Hold it like this, look down the scope and pull the trigger- not now but later." she said with a little smile to ease the tension.

He practiced aiming, pulling the rifle towards his shoulder, placing his cheek onto the stock, as he'd seen in popular media.

That made her flinch a little, "No need to get so close, do what feels comfortable." she told him as she shouldered her gun again, resting her face near the gun but not against it. "Try again."

Lily adjusted her unfamiliar armor to suit her, taking care to iron out all the worst of the rubs and kinks so she had full movement without being too hindered by the armor. Sighing as she tested the last piece, she took up her weapon and checked it over. It was unfamiliar, but not so dissimilar to what she had experienced before in training.

She saw Aiyana and Alex practicing together and smiled a little, her own training had been rather less comfortable, but then, she hadn’t been expected to go into combat five minutes later. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, trying to find inner peace.

Tantus slept, half in half out listening or dreaming he wasn’t sure. With his dagger and rifle he felt fully secure without armor. You only need armor if you intend on getting shot, which he didn’t. Opening his eyes and removing his pipe from his pocket, he lit it and took a drag. "Anyone wanna take bets before it starts?" He grinned "most kills or maybe y’all fancy no kills with no detection. I'll bet on anything".


With the completion of precheck, the dropships began to thrust. A yellow light began to flash throughout the Icarus. Jessica’s disembodied voice said throughout the overhead PA system, “Lock and load, people. Five minutes to hard acceleration.”

Leo moved the Sagi towards one of the large industrial-sized airlocks, planting its feet down inside. With several clangs and whirrs the large inner door closed, and air began cycling out of the airlock. There’s no going back now, Leo thought as he gulped and turned on his radio. "I hope y’all trust whoever made these thrusters." He meant to sound light-hearted, but his fear crept into the statement.

"Callsign Purple One, prep'ing for lift." Vlad says over the comms. He sat in the Yīng Zhǎo cockpit. "Ready for flight. Awaiting the go-ahead" Vlad stares at his weapon system-console. "Heh, that's a lot of energy weapons." Vlad says to himself. Vlad hopes that this Eagle has a good reactor and cooling system.

Marina went through her pre-flight checklist with extra care, making sure that her new Aeroframe's systems were all functioning properly. The Yīng Zhǎo she was currently sitting in was a piece of salvage, after all, so it paid to be cautious. It seemed to her, though, that the Black Forge's engineers had done an excellent job in refitting the Taienese fighter. All four of the interceptor's laser cannons were reporting ready to fire, as were the missiles mounted under her wings and fuselage. They had even found the time to add the decorations she wanted; the name "Wanderfalke" was painted on its side, a passably drawn Imperial Eagle located just above the letters.

Once the last component check came in all-clear, she nodded to herself in satisfaction. The blonde smiled in anticipation, ready to fly freely through the void of space once again. "Steube, ready to launch."

The boarding ramps to both the Hummingbird and Red Sonia were lowered, awaiting the boarding teams and pilots. Justin, dressed as a pilot, complete with armored flight suit and helmet under his arm and Dav, wearing Black Forge body armor and an advanced armored helmet shook hands before parting. Justin boarded the Hummingbird as Dav boarded Red Sonia. Trailing behind Dav, Chuan followed wearing a tight poly flight suit with minimal armoring. a thin sleeve snaked out from behind her suit containing her tail. A large helmet was tucked under her arm. Black Forge warriors began to grab weapons off the mobile armory rack and began to board the Hummingbird.

Chuan pushed herself against Dav, taking a final moment before the business of war needed to be seen to. Dav kissed Chuan before releasing her and locked into his seat behind Chuan's seat. Moments later, Red Sonia was ready, awaiting only the rest of the warriors to load and lock in.

Muk walked up the ramp and boarded the Red Sonia wearing his custom-made heavy armor. He had been slowly improving it by salvaging pieces of equipment from dead enemies. It was a hodgepodge of different colors, cloths, and armor plates. He'd decorated parts of the armor with bones from Taienese dead and his former Shaman. It was a gruesome sight that served to remind everyone that even though he could act civilized, Muk was still a violent Atraxian. The newest addition to Muk's attire was a necklace with the symbol of the Church of the Risen Savior.

He wore a large Taienese laser rifle he'd taken on his back and a massive axe. At his hip hung the machete he'd purchased all the way back on Atraxis. His boys filed in behind him carrying various melee weapons in addition to the newly acquired rifles and pistols. They also wore the armor as, unlike Muk, they were the right size to wear it.

Muk nodded to his entourage. He cleared his throat loudly and began speaking. "Boys, we've been waitin for dis chance. We's gonna help da boss spread da word about da humie god called Bro'seif. To do dat these Tai-ya-knees buggas gotta get knocked down on their smug butts. We's gonna take dis station from em, got it? Then Muk's gonna go to da planet with the otha mech boys an' take da goods from da place where they wuzs made."

"Now! Let's get nasty!" He finished, roaring in anticipation. His loyal followers cheered and got in position, chatting about some new game they'd been playing.

Wearing the standard black forge marine armor and equipped with service pistol and black forge laser rifle. Damion moves with the rest of the group. Strapping in without wearing a space suit he looks around "you know I’m suddenly glad I don’t need to breath if this ends with us getting spaced."

Makre boarded and locked in beside Dav, nodding in his direction. Armor, knife, pistol, and bullpup assault rifle matched, his silence lending an air of somber seriousness.

Lily stepped aboard around the Atraxian hoard and took a seat, securing herself quietly and then closing her eyes. She focused on her breathing and centered herself, silently getting ready of the mission ahead in her unfamiliar armor and with her unfamiliar weapon, her survival hatchet in a pouch at her waist a familiar weight.

Lyon followed the rest of his team. He situated himself in a middle seat, having his riot shield secured next to him.

Justin donned his helmet, firing up the engines and completing the pre-flight sequence. Behind him, the warriors sit and lock in in their seats. Just watches in his HUD as the red of unready blinks like a Christmas tree from red to green as each warrior locks into their seat.

knowing for sure that Xir wasn't going to allow Justin to be the first one in, it positioned itself behind the breaching team that will blow the airlock to the foldship. taping into breaching team’s comms, "when you guys blow the opening to the foldship, toss in a couple flash, and fragment grenades, before moving out of our way for entry.". Opening comms to one of the black Forge Marines, "I see you have a shield too. Come up here with me. we can enter the breach first and uses our shields to cover the way of the rest of our people, so we aren't being picked off coming through the breach.". The Black Forge warrior silently nodded, a veteran of the Kotoku campaign judging by the homemade patch loosely stitched to the ballistic fabric of the armored vest.

Stepping into the ship, Tantus removed his shirt and cut his pants to the knees. He picked up his rifle and dagger then settled into his seat. He wanted all the flexibility he could get. Besides, there's so much armor and shields around, Tai Pan will be focusing on them, he chuckled. He sat down asking one more time, “Any bets gentlemen? How’s this. If everyone makes it, I'll by first round." Laying his head back, he hoped the scared ones didn't have to take any lives today. He began humming low to himself. The march of the dead, battle hymn of Gartaga.

As Steven entered the Ship and sat down in the back, Steven greet Xir with a head nod. As he sat down most noticed the faint blue that emitted from him and his different armor. He looked like a cyborg with the cold gaze, and lifeless eyes. He looked completely different the only indicator of being a black forge was a patch. He was tall neither intimidating. Steven was ready for this to start because it's been a long time since he fought without a mecha.

Alex, without a word spoken, sat down into his assigned seat. Sweat pooled in places cinched a little too tight and ran in places a little too loose.

Aiyana moved to a spot, a retractable staff attached to her hip, but she had her gun primed and ready- even though mostly she would be using psionics through this. The elf felt her heart pounding a bit as it had been a while since she was out of her mecha and fighting on foot but at least she was back in her element. Aiyana moved a bit closer to the group of her black forge comrades, adjusting her armor slightly as she waited for the green light.

----------
Jessica sat at the helm of the Icarus. Her palms were sweating inside her synthleather gloves. Her first battle with her brothers and sisters. She had fought before, first with her ex-husband, the bastard who left her scarred, both from within and without and then during her forced emigration from Tai Pan. A nice jagged scar under her left eye was a memento to his savagery. She got her revenge, and a deportation ticket for her troubles. He wouldn't trouble another woman again. Best day of her life up to that point. An uneventful yet brutal time in the belly of an overcrowded dropship marked her transition to the frontier. Her skills as a commercial starship pilot landed her a job in Kotoku rather than a husband. This was fine with her, as she wasn't interested in the religious nut jobs or the rough prospectors. Both sorts were too much like her Ex, may he rot in hell.

She was comfortable...until Dav and the Black Forge arrived in system. The swift battle and the subsequent declaration of independence by the Duke upended her universe once more. Now her new home was the target of potential Taienese ire. This alone would have been enough to trigger a panic, save for Dav taking some time to befriend her while driving the tug at gateway station. His character and charismatic way of soothing her made the ice around her heart melt... Along with her panties. That her advances initially only earned her a place with his crew and not his bed reinforced her admiration of him. Now she was his wife... Or rather his second wife. Chuan was also a good match for Dav ... and a good friend to her. Together they would keep him safe ... Or as safe as possible with his propensity for rushing into battle to protect his family. The small baby within her womb was his legacy if anything happened, but she would be there for him until that day.

A flashing light on her console brought her back to reality. Following the much heavily armed Daedalus, Jessica maneuvered the Icarus into its wake. Now the Icarus was protected. Once the flight deck registered all ready, she opened the armored doors covering the pair of magnetic launch rails. As the troop transports had significantly less delta-vee, they were up first. First, the Hummingbird launched then the Red Sonia. Several gees of force pushed the warriors of the Forge deep into their seats. Most weathered the force of the launch without issue. A few vomited. Two passed out.

Chuan and Justin slid behind the Icarus as Marina and Vlad launched. After the Aeroframes were away, the Sagi leapt out into the void. Once all the frames were away, Jessica offered a silent prayer as she closed the armored doors.

Marina pushed her throttle, maneuvering into an overwatch position above and behind the Icarus, using its bulk to obscure the sight of her smaller craft as she settled in to escort the dropship.

Vlad followed Marina, still unfamiliar with the new controls.

The Sagi leapt out the airlock, and gravity went away for Leo. The weightlessness and the slight uneven jump left the Mech in a slight spin, Leo reoriented the Sagi before regaining his bearings and firing a few thrusters to straighten himself. With a few more pulses from the thrusters he was on the planned course to intercept in front the ship's bow. He started the program for the thrusters to fire when needed, since he was moving too fast to manually activate the large decel thrusters at the right time. All he could do now was stay aware and wait until he reached the foldship.

With the convoy formed, the Black Forge sped towards the station. The Daedalus streaked towards the Station, not bothering to slow. Its job was to draw away any defensive fire along with the Icarus. As the two dropships crested the horizon of Natsumi Prime, the nose cannon targeted the communications section of the station. The opening notes of the battle had begun.

The Daedalus Gauss cannon fire sheared off the primary target, the communications array atop Natsumi Station. The half dozen medium blister turrets dotting the station returned fire, scoring several hits with large plasma strikes, melting armor plating from the nose and flanks. Some laser fire from the station connected with the Icarus, though no real damage was registered.

With the flash of laser and plasma fire exchanged between the station and the Dropships, Chuan and Justin took a deep dive towards their targets. As the distance closed, first Chuan then Justin began to decelerate and angle towards their respective targets. Justin, a seeming kamikaze dive on his mind, punched in some preprogrammed maneuvers and held the console before him. Over four gees impacted the transport, straining the frame and forcing a few warriors to pass out. Seconds later the craft, under the direction of the craft A.I., locked itself to the foldship outer hull with a mobile airlock attached to the abdomen of the Pou Nan Yie.



One hundred meters away, Chuan's craft completed the same maneuver, attaching to the station near the umbilical from the foldship. A half second later, cutting charges tore through the thin walls of both the station and the foldship. A ten second count commenced for the airlocks to cycle, then they opened as one.

Justin slapped the quick release on his seat straps and grabbed his auto rifle from the magnetic mount at the base of his chair. He gave the go order via radio squelch and shouldered his rifle.

As planned when the airlock opened, the breaching teams tossed into the opening frag and flash grenades. The concussive force could be felt in some small fashion through the opening of the breach. The breaching teams then backed away from the air lock as originally planned. Xir and the other shield man entered the breach after the explosions, shields up.

Xir and the Black Forge Marine with the shield passed through the airlock and Hull breach in full defense behind their shields. Xir turned left and crouched down, while the Marine turned right and did the be same. Behind it's shield Xir was in its jet-black glossy bio-armor with the gravity maul in Xir's right hand, opposite hand of the unfolded 6-foot round shield. Mounted to the right shoulder is the Gravity Bio gun being handled and directed by one of Xir's armored tentacles.

Tantus shouldered his rifle letting the shield guys lead watching their 3 and 9 o'clocks. The overhead alarm was blaring. He screamed, "60 seconds to contact". Just watch out for each other he mumbled. The few crew of the foldship nearby moaned and screamed in confusion. He kept close to the massive blue thing. He only saw a few crewmen, making Tantus feel comfortable. He didn't worry about him getting himself killed. He dropped a poor soul with a clean shot through the back of the head.

Gunfire erupted sporadically. "Keep formation. Don’t separate " Tantus screamed. In the back of his mind over and over I hope this group can do this.

Steven followed behind the group of shields and rifles, with his machine laser pistol, making sure not to expose himself. Steven didn’t know the corridors, so Steven kept himself on his toes.

Alex advanced behind the protective shield wall of his comrades, aiming the rifle as best he could with the limited tutelage he had gotten, and took potshots at enemies who presented good targets.

When the airlocks opened, she threw up her own small personal mental shield as the grenades were tossed, backing up some as the elf flinched a little from the sounds and her ears not liking it. With no clear target yet, Aiyana wouldn't fire just yet as she waited behind a shimmery wall.

One hundred meters away, across a small void and down the soft umbilical connecting the station to the foldship, a similar scene was playing out.



Dav gave the go ahead, releasing the assault team to breach. Dav knew the better organized assault was already underway. His team was… shall we say, a bit more chaotic and aggressive.

Lily’s eyes stayed closed as the dropship launched and shook them all around, staying calm and silent as they flew. She let the others step through the door first before unstrapping herself and standing, holding her weapon over her chest and down. Waiting as the horde of Atraxian storm troops cleared the way, she filed out after them.

As the group prepared to enter the ship Damion rolled his shoulders and neck his eyes giving off a dim silver hue, “let’s see if I can beat my high score." he offhandedly stated. To others that may seem cold or psychotic depending on their views but to Damion it was his way to cut the humanity of his actions against his opposition, it was easier that way for him.

One to many times before he gained his sentiency, he had done missions similar droning out the memories of pained screams and dying moans by referring to every kill as a point to his score. Just as the team began to breach Damion eyes gave a deep silver color as he hopped into the ship laser rifle primed as he watched for the first hostile to rear their head so that he would blow a hole into it knowing his bioroid body would be able to shrug off a decent amount of hits, more so with his armor.

Makre filed out behind the Atraxians, his weapon at the ready.

"Should've started worshipping a god, or maybe a dozen..." Lyon muttered with regret as he picked up with riot shield after the temporary blackout from the impact. The half-avian form raised it as he followed Damion out, watching in the opposite direction of the soldier, holding his pistol with a trembling hand.

Muk nodded at Lyon. “Ya only need one God. Bro’seif is ‘is prophet, mate. Get da book, it tells ya.” He said seriously. A group of five screaming green Atraxians charged past him and out of the airlock, shoving Lyon aside. Three followed Damion to the left. As one, they blasted the first being they saw that wasn’t a member of the Black Forge without hesitation. Their victim: a maintenance droid heading to repair the breach made by the Black Forge assault.

The other two went right, staying ahead of Lyon. Muk followed, squeezing through the breach and into the corridors. He stood behind Lyon. There was barely room for him to stand at his full height. Thankfully Taienese corridors were designed to support a wide range of humanoid sizes. He was able to stand beside Lyon, holding his huge laser rifle at the ready.

“’Ello Tai Pan gits! Da Black Forge is ‘ere! We’s taking control of dis station!” Muk boomed. “Surrender and I will keep my boys from eatin’ ya alive. Rememba, dey won’t have da niceness ta start at ya heads.”

With that, the opening shots were fired and the lines in the sand were formed.

OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks, Ray of meep, Kitekat, weeping angel, Ahoy, Armacalic, mechameme, Gir, and Hal9000]
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

Natsumi
Natsumi Zenith

Tai Pan foldship

Justin began issuing orders to the team on board, flicking nav data towards each member. Justin addressed a squad of marines, a vicious looking group. "Hold this side of the umbilical. Our station side boys may need an exit", Justin said. He then turned to the rest as the four began to set up shop nearby.

Justin said, "Xir, secure the armory. I don’t want a squad of powered armor cleaning up our little heist. I trust you can handle that on your own."

Xir opened comm's to Justin. "yes sir". Noticing the rest of the team had breached behind the shields and were dispersing, Xir left to complete its mission objective. It wasn't long before Xir came across a small security unit of five running the Halls. Xir knew it was still too closed to the outer Hull to fire its Bio-Gun without risking penetration of the outer hull, so it charged the unit hiding behind it's shield. Covered from the initial security plasma fire, Xir commenced melee combat with the uses of the gravity maul and shield bashing. The smashing of the security guards’ bodies under the power of the maul and bashing of the shield could be heard by the hiding horrified crew in their Rooms. After several minutes of valiant fighting on the guard’s part, Xir was left with minor abrasions on its armor and a destroyed shield from the plasma weapon fire, a single guard was intentionally left alive, with broken legs. Xir picked her up with a single large hand, continuing a blue glow from its eyes in contrast to the black armor. Placing the tentacles against the skill bones Xir says " Where is your armory?".

Terror and the stink of mammal fear response assaulted Xir's senses. several furtive glances down the hallway told Xir all he needed to know. Xir remembered the basic schematic handed out in briefing. Only a few spaces in this archaic and tiny metal can could house the pitiful weapons of these creatures. Tossing aside the pitiful crewwoman with enough force to render her unconscious, Xir began to truly stalk its prey.


Justin continued, “Tantus, take a squad of marines, Alex, and Aiyana. Go secure engineering. Make sure they don’t sabotage the FTL drive. We need that space as much as ops.

Justin then turned to Steven, “You get to come with me, meat. Your gonna help me take the command section. Make sure your diaper is cinched tight.

Steven nodding listing to what Justin said began to follow him, thinking to himself " whatever you say my man"



Tantus looked the hardened marines over and smiled let's go gentlemen and lady acknowledging Aiyana. Down the corridor they went one turn then two. Something was wrong. Tantus noted the place was trashed. "Engineering is up ahead " he said for everyone to hear. Tantus held the team at the bottleneck before Engineering entrance.

He peaked around the corner to be met by gunfire. He inhaled deeply no scent other than oil and hot metal. Not human. Must be counter assault bots. "Aiyana you and Alex secure Engineering. me and the marines will push the bots back. Take care of each other. Expect anything."

Tantus grabbed a charge grenade off a marine’s belt pulled the held it 1,2,3,4 sec then threw it around the corner blue light lit up the hallway. With marines in tow he charged the corner aiming at soft spots hydraulic lines and sensors. With 20 sec left of confusion left they dropped bot after bot. 10 sec they pushed past the entrance for Aiyana and Alex to enter Engineering. He nodded at Aiyana she nodded back. "Good luck" Tantus grinned.

"Find cover now" Tantus screamed to his marines as the bots reactivated. The burgundy light of their eyes come to focus they opened fire. Hiding behind crates and wall inserts they returned fire. "They do not get into engineering we all die before that happens." He hollered at his marines. Hydraulic oil, laser fire, and ballistics made the air thick.

He popped out shooting a bot in the neck between plating fluid gushed out. It collapsed with a clunk. Laser fire ripped one of his marines of his marines down across the corridor. Their numbers were dwindling down now "advance watch the sides" the squad tore down the remaining bots. "Xir, if you copy, they have counter assault bots".

Aiyana would give a small nod, "You watch my back, I'll keep us covered, sound good Alex? Stay as close to me as possible and I can keep us shielded ok?" Aiyana told him as the elf would wait for him before looking at the data, "Ready when you are." Aiyana told him as she did keep her gun at the ready but for the moment kept up a small two-person shimmering shield up to at least give them a chance.

"Right." Alex said, as they made their way towards the engineering section. As they entered the room, he played the rifle across the engineers inside, making it clear that he would shoot anyone who tried to stop them. "Should we try to tie them up with something? There might be tape we can do it with." He asked Aiyana.

Aiyana would stick right by his side and once in the room, her eyes looked around and then nodded, "Should be something- even zip ties. Check them all for security keys or something...wrong terms probably but I'm not good with tech." Aiyana told him as the elf would carefully look around the room to try and find something to bind them up with.

Alex kept careful watch, until the elf had gotten ahold of the necessary things to restrain the engineers and kept a gun on them as she worked.

Thankfully for an engineering room, there were stray cords and she used them to hog tie them, "Is the door secure Alex?" Aiyana asked them- the last thing they needed was someone just running up on them as they worked.

He set the lock on the door, then checked it, to make sure that it was locked for the time being, before answering. "Yep." As he played his gun across the prisoners, pointing in advance of the one Aiyana was tying up now, he ended up turning his back completely to one of the already tied up engineers, who made a move. The engineer ran up behind him and slipping his arms, tied together, over Alex's helmet and then around his neck.

"Good." she told him as Aiyana worked on the rest before she heard running. The elf turned her head and swore as she pushed the one guard she was working on away before cracking the butt of her gun against the guy’s head, "Alex! Tuck your chin!" Aiyana yelled at him as the elf would start to go ham on this dude’s skull and back.

He managed to comply with her instructions, pushing the chin of his helmet down and digging it into the hands of the engineer, as Aiyana brutalized his assailant. After a moment, he managed to get a grip of the engineer, and then, after a word of warning to Aiyana, flipped the opponent by crouching down and pulling forwards.

Aiyana was not about to lose a teammate like this and when Alex was able to take the reins so to speak, the elf would let out a small sight of relief, "Either knock him out or kill him Alex." Aiyana told him simply, they couldn't risk his attacker coming for either of them again and it would show the others that they were not going to show any more mercy than they already had.

Alex was in fight or flight, and he fumbled for a moment before pulling out his rapier, and stabbing the engineer in the chest several times, before dropping it, and picking his rifle up off the ground before leaning against a nearby wall and slumping down it.

Tantus entered Engineering in time to see Aiyana save Alex's ass. "Not bad kids" Tantus smiled. Just happy they were alive. Tantus opened a burst channel to Justin, "Commander, Engineering is secure for now".

-------

Natsumi Station
Dav received a notation from Justin detailing the changes. Dav addressed his team, "Muk, go take engineering. we need the power stored there. Try not to trash the place completely. Everybody else, we head to ops to secure the station. Take Lyon with you. You will need a mechanic."

"I'll look if we get out of this alive. For now, I'm just going to pray that your underlings can block plasma for me." Lyon replied, eyes focused on the corridor ahead as he depressurized his suit to get some more flexibility.

Muk nodded. “Go on boys, we needs a guide! Da bird man’s wif us.” He called to the two Atraxians charging forward. They slowed down when they couldn’t see any enemies in the first corridor. Muk caught up to them at a door leading to the engineer’s living area. It opened automatically when his boys stepped towards it.

“Dese gits ain’t even ready for fightin.” He said with a guttural laugh. His boys Gronk and Thrak ran in and he followed, gun at the ready. The corridor was sparsely decorated with bare metal walls, pipes and wiring hanging out here and there. There was a barracks-style sleeping area through one door with a galley connected. Across the hall from it was a set of smaller blast doors with an electronic lock and retinal scanner. The corridor ended with stairs and a worn-down elevator to the side.

As they advanced towards the doorway to the barracks, the other door burst open and two Dog Form guards rushed in. A handful of third class soldiers filed in to back them up. All but one Dog hesitated at the sight of Muk and his boys. That one opened fire with his plasma rifle, scoring a glancing blow to Gronk’s shoulder.

A split second later Muk’s boys also fired, spraying a fully automatic burst at the Taienese. Gronk’s shots went wide, aim thrown off by agonizing pain. Muk fired a laser beam at the lead Dog guard, burning a quarter-sized hole through his poorly maintained armor and his chest. The stunned guard was thrown onto his back before he died. Two of the backup soldiers who weren’t lucky enough to own decent armor went down screaming from the wild shots of Muk’s boys.

The three remaining third class ran out in front, covering the uninjured Dog form soldier as he dragged his fellow soldier back into the locked corridor. The door slammed shut behind them leaving three stunned third-class soldiers. They started to raise their weapons to fire but Muk’s boys mowed them down without a second thought.

Lyon winced at the carnage. Gathering his thoughts together, he got behind Gronk, stowing away his pistol and shield, taking out a syringe and bandages from his utility belt. "One moment, I got you." He hurriedly pierced Gronk's skin with the needle, releasing pain relief into his blood stream. Then Lyon wrapped Gronk's shoulder with the bandage. "It's only a temporary solution, but it'll keep you fighting."

Gronk grunted his thanks at Lyon, still eying him warily.

"Damn it all." He clenched his teeth at the dead soldiers that were covering their friend's escape. "For what?" Lyon looked back at Muk. "What now, Muk? Do you want me to bust open this door?"

As the barracks door slammed closed and the sounds of beds being shoved in front of the door drifted out Muk looked down at Lyon. He wasn’t sure what was behind the heavier door, but it must be worth something if they were defending it heavily. He noticed that the man looked like one of the Taienese and got an idea. “Ey, you’s some kinda Tainese mechanic, right? Was gonna ask dem,” he said, pointing at the dead soldiers. “Where ya think da powa’s at? Behind dat door or down da hall?” Muk asked.

"I think they're trying to protect their engineers." Lyon got down and sifted through the soldier's belongings. He got up as he pulled off a wrist mounted data pad. "Here we go, let's see..." The avian form read through whatever was on screen, tapping as he went. "There." Lyon took out his own data pad and transfered a file over, then sent it to the entire boarding party. "I got us a detailed 3D map of the station. We still need to move down the hall to get to engineering."

Muk patted Lyon on the head. “Ya did good.” He said, turning to his boys. “Dat way, boys. Down da hall and dat elevator. I’m takin the stairs with Lyon, you boys take da elevator.” Muk ordered, pointing at the elevator. The two Atraxians ran to it and pressed the call button. It started slowly rising from E to B according to the indicators above the door.

He walked to the top of the stairwell and peered down. The bottom wasn’t too far. They might even reach it before the boys in the elevator. “Let's go birdman.” He called to Lyon as he started down the stairs.


------

Damion would keep his head on a swivel; however, he didn’t notice movement from a corridor near him and the others. due to not noticing it came as a surprise when the first shot fired was from an enemy who got a bead on Damion hitting him with a pulse of three shots to the chest burning his armor making a hole in it the size of a melon and putting Damion on his back his eyes dimmed as the noticeable damage in his chest began to regenerate, the assailant still at large but Damion incapacitated in the corridor.

The three of Muk's boys that followed Damion - Gobgut, Tughurk, and Nakrun - fired on the enemy who shot Damion. The Taienese assailant screamed and fell to the ground riddled with bullets. He wasn't dead, but Tughurk quickly changed that. He put his gun on his shoulder and ran forward, drawing his scrap metal sword and shoving it into the downed man's throat.

Lily kept an eye out behind them while Muk’s boys tore through the station, her weapon raised and ready for any enterprising souls trying to come up behind them.

Makre followed, out of his element. his hands were clammy, the familiar tonnage of his mecha not surrounding him in a protective shell. He would take a battlefield in an armored vehicle over this insanity of a boarding action.

Dav, through no choice of his own, was kept inside the protective bubble of his team. They knew Chuan would have the head of the person who failed to bring back Dav, her beloved captain and husband, in one piece and very much alive. The best he could manage was to access the map sent to him by Lyon. After a few quick taps to his arm data pad, a route lit up for those in his band with heads up displays or data pads. The route took them through the back corridors to the ops center, hopefully avoiding any major armed resistance.

-----

As the Dropships raced past, their noses stayed oriented towards the station with small bursts of force from the many maneuvering thrusters. A split second later, a pair of aging Eagle fighters in Tai Pan Mustered Soldiery Colors launched from the station launch bays. They quickly oriented their noses towards the incoming dropships, the perceived greatest threat.

Seeing her opportunity, Marina lunged out from her position behind the Icarus, missiles hot. The moment her Aeroframe acquired a lock, she thumbed the fire button, releasing her wing mounted missiles in staggered pairs, before immediately maneuvering to evade back into cover behind the much sturdier Dropship. Responding, but a fraction too late, a pair of missiles stuck the central fuselage, killing the pilot instantly in a fiery ball of expanding gas.

Vlad pushes towards the Tai-fighters - he plans to dogfight. He gets his Eagle fighter onto a vector-attack on the remaining fighter and locks. Given that he has a solid target, he fires both his internal wing weapons, Ultraviolet Pulse Lasers. Like the air warriors from old Earth’s second world war, dozens of pulses of invisible connected the two craft for a split second, flakes of ceramic armor plating streaming behind the Tai Pan fighter.

The decyl thrusters fired, the weightlessness suddenly becoming the force of what felt like a thousand pounds on Leo. With a small prick in his back, the drug system injected the cocktail of chemicals to make sure he didn't stroke out while he headed for the ship. The secondary thrusters fired, pushing him onto a course with the craft. Lastly the grapple shot out from the foot of the machine, latching onto the foldship and pulled him towards the hull.


OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh23, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks2, Ray of Meep, Kitekat, Jimmy, lone_badass, Ahoy, Armacalic, mechameme, Gir, and Hal9000]
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

Natsumi
Natsumi Zenith

as the pair of dropships rocketed away from the station and the surrounding area, all that remained was the triplet of Eagle Claw Aeroframes around the Station and foldship. Leo was quickly approaching the foldship, a few hundred meters to go before his magclamps could attach himself to the ship.

While likely outmatched, the Taianese pilot fired his afterburners to accelerate to a combat speed. The paired heavy laser cannons mounted in the fuselage reached out and caught Vlad, invisible death caressing the flank of his fighter. The hit damaged the armor but failed to breach the armored hide. Clearly the Tai Pan warrior was saving his ordinance for the more important prey, the Dropships, as well as playing with his perceived food.

Marina continued her maneuver, looping back around as the Icarus propelled itself away along with its companion vessel. Now having a clear line of sight to the remaining Taienese Aeroframe, she pushed her throttle to maximum and lined up a pass with her own heavy lasers while the enemy pilot was distracted with engaging Vlad.

Vlad did what he kept keeping himself behind the Tai-fighter, trying to get off a shot at the enemy. A game of maneuver as Vlad kept on dodging and undergoing twists and turns. It was a matter of time before one of them manages to shoot one and another.

Leo took over manual control from the program as he reached the foldship. The larger decel thrusters decoupled and fell away as the smaller more precise thrusters guided him in. The Sagi slowed and positioned itself to clamp against the hull, the larger decel thrusters slamming into the hull and shattering while they spun away from the force of impact. Leo and the Sagi scanned the hull for any targets they could attack as soon as the Sagi has a solid connection. If he were to fire now, the force would send them in a spin end over end, so Leo had to wait until they were secured before anything could be fired.



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

Tai Pan Foldship

After gaining the information, Xir dropped the guard to the ground. It barely noticed the guards screams of pain before she went unconscious, from hitting the ground with her broken legs, as Xir ran down the Hall at full speed towards the armory. In mere moments Xir approached the last large sealed door to the armory. With a half a dozen well placed blows with the gravity maul along the hinges and lock, the door fell inwords into the room. Before Xir stood a fully powered up Power Armor suit staring back at it about 15 feet away with a second power suit behind it with a crewman still trying to get into it and activate it.

As the Power Armor raised its right arm, wielding a plasma Cannon towards Xir, the bio-armors gravity gun discharged hitting the Power Armor in the right shoulder joint with enough force to sever the arm off, hearing the weapon and arm hit the floor. With the Power Armor taking a moment to regain balance, from the weight change and force of impact, Xir took advantage by doing a gravity point assisted leap and drove the gravity hammer down on the armored helmet of the power armor. It caved in the helmet and you could see brain mater squirt out from the broken seems. Riding the now dead armor as it fell over on the ground, Xir then realized a plasma gun pointing right at it from the second Power Armor now active. Before Xir could fully react, a discharge of hot plasma grazes past Xir's shoulder, taking out the bio gun and a splash effect landed across the hind end of Xir. Searing pain went across Xir's back portion of its body, the bio-armor absorbing and deflecting as much of the damage as it could. Reacting more out of instinct then thought, Xir swings its gravity Maul hitting the plasma Cannon, defecting it and damaging it as it discharged another shot against the wall. Doing a reverse swing Xir smashed the Power Armor in the kneecap causing it to collapse. Raising the Maul with two hands over its head, it dropped the Gravity maul down directly on the Power Armor power packed crushing it, shutting the suit down, and trapping the piolet inside a warping armored frame.

After a couple moments of assessing Xir's burn injuries it opened comm's to Justin reporting that the Armory is secure.

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

With Steven in tow, Justin stalked towards the Command section of the Foldship. They encountered no resistance and plenty of locked crew compartments. They were so predictable, these Taienese, Justin thought.

Stay in your rooms.
Lock the doors.
Wait for the overlords to wipe out the invaders.

So little moxie or creativity.

quickly reaching the bridge bulkhead, Justin pulled a door breaker from his hip satchel. He attached the small electronic box to the door panel, currently blinking red. Once attached, Justin pressed the oversized button on the box and readied his weapon. Justin pulled Steven behind him as he said, "Just stay out here for a minute and make sure nobody sneaks up on us from behind."

Justin really didn't think anyone would, but it was better to keep the meat out of the way while he dealt with the first-class captain and executive officer on the bridge.

alphanumerics flashed on the small display, then finally settling on fixed symbols.

1...

2...

3...

When the last symbol locked, the bulkhead began to slide open. Not wasting any time, Justin tossed one then another flash bang grenade through the slowly opening portal to the command center and bridge. Engaging his dampeners, Justin followed after the charges detonated, riding the flash as he entered the bridge.

his advanced scanning helmet identified the two officers, both wielding plasma pistols and swords cut in the ancient Chinese style. As they were advanced forms, the sensory overload caused their ears to bleed and their eyes to water. the rest of the bridge crew cowered under their consoles and stations, second class all. none dared move when their captain was on a warpath. "So predictable.", Justin muttered.

Taking the initiative, Justin opened fire with is automatic bullpup shotgun, emptying the magazine of a dozen rounds in a split second. Thousands of small pellets shredded the executive officer, a blood mass falling in the artificial gravity. The quickly dying officer did get a burst off, though with his dying breath. The plasma struck Justin in the shoulder, flank, and leg, spinning him around.

The Captain, obvious to Justin's trained eye, was a political appointee. The way he held a pistol and blade spoke volumes. Never seen combat. Never been face to face with a real killer. Sure, the Captain had the edge on Justin in raw strength and reflexes. But not experience. Not resolve. Not training. It was over before it even began.

Using his momentum from both the charge and the hit, Justin spun behind readying another flashbang and drawing a vibroblade. Justin let go of his gun, it retracting towards his back on an auto tether. Taking a breath and ignoring the pain, Justin engaged his combat drugs. Dangerous chemicals flooded his blood stream, enhancing his body, mind, reflexes, and healing capabilities. tossing the grenade over the console, Justin drew another blade, this one a longer monofilament blade, nearly invisible.

The pop and following screams let Justin know exactly where the Captain was. He was making his way towards the door, looking for escape. Justin pounced on his back through the smoke, invisible to the Captain, but clear to Justin's electronically enhanced vision. Seeking the heart and brain, Justin's aim struck true, the vibroblade severed the spinal cord as the monofilament blade punched through the Captains thicker chest cavity. The armored breastplate barely slowed down the blade, like a hot knife sliding through butter. His knife snapped once the two hit the floor, the force driving the extra length of blade into the deck plates. Justin Called for Steven, "Meat, get in here and secure these mousey pukes."
Justin called over the comms, "Tantus, send up the marines to the command deck. I've secured the Bridge but was injured. Fresh meat will need some back up while he works to establish control. Justin pinged Dav before he passed out from his injuries and exertion, "Mission successful. Begin the fall back. Justin down."

Before darkness took him, Justin thought a smug thought, these Taienese... so predictable and boring.

Steven listen to the commanding final words of Justin, He secured the bridge and plugged his computer to the terminal, having access to the entire ship. Steven radioed Dav "we lost Justin, but the bridge is secured, sir. Awaiting orders, I have access to all comms and cameras in the station, I will upload the camera feed to the group, Steven out"



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

Natsumi Station

With Dav's guidance from the nav schematic, the boarding party reached the ops center. Before them was a bulkhead, closed tight. Dav dropped the still injured Damion beside a secondary support strut. He ordered the crew with him, "Get us in there."

Makre

Muk’s boys milled around, unsure of what to do. so little fighting had them anxious.

Damion’s Eyes would Brighten again as his injury was 75% healed thanks to his overdrive regeneration ability. His biomass and looking like burn mangled meat were the hole used to be as it still healed itself. Looking to Dave he took a kneeling position as he changed the setting of the laser rifle in his hands to its cutting torch. "if you can keep me covered, I can get us in. I’m at 75% functionality but I can get the door opened until I’m fully regenerated." Damion Stated before turning to begin work on cutting into the door.

Lily followed the rest of the squad using her ears to guide her while her eyes focused down corridors and around corners behind them as they advanced. When they stopped, she took a knee in any small piece of cover she could find.

At the question her head turned slightly, but then turned back with a shrug and refocused on her weapon as an acceptable solution was proposed.

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

Muk took several steps at a time due to his massive size, reaching the bottom in a matter of minutes. He found the doorway to the station’s engineering room and nobody in sight. Muk walked up to the door and it slid open. He ducked to get past the door frame and slipped into the room.

The center of the room was dominated by the station’s primary fusion reactor. Around the spherical structure there were several control consoles. At each station a few engineers milled around, nearly all of them third class. As Muk proceeded towards the consoles the elevator opened into the room.

Muk’s boys walked out of the elevator and Gronk barked out orders. “Oy! ‘Ope ya Tai Pan fucks had on da brown panties, cos we’s da Captains now. Muck about and ya get ate.” To emphasize his point, he shot an engineer who was trying to make a break for it in the back.

Muk grinned and walked into the room, leveling his laser at the engineers next to the nearest console. Then all hell broke loose. On the other side of the room, a trio of brave engineers emerged from behind a crate and charged Gronk and Thrak. One of them smashed Gronk in the back of the head with a massive wrench while another grabbed his gun. The third, a burly woman, fired a rivet gun at Thrak’s head. The first two rivets were stopped by his armor, but the next shot punched through a weak spot in his armor and out the other side of his throat.

Everywhere else engineers started running towards the exits. “Bro’seif guide me!” Muk yelled, knocking an engineer out of the way as he charged towards Gronk. He saw Thrak turn around and tear the burly woman’s throat out with his teeth. The rivet gun dropped from her hands. Thrak went down with the engineer, and he could hear her gurgling death screams.

Gronk went down in a heap from a second blow to the back of the head. Muk growled and fired a laser pulse at the guy with the wrench. A smoking hole appeared in his chest, and he collapsed. His remaining engineer companion hit Muk with a burst of rounds in the stomach. The armor he wore deflected a round or two and lessened the blow, but several rounds punched through his stomach.

The sudden shock of pain drove Muk into a rage. He dropped his laser rifle and charged at the engineer. His opponent managed to get off another burst, this time taking him in the side of the face. His left ear and part of his cheek exploded, but he still charged. Muk’s massive green hand wrapped around the engineer’s throat. He lifted the panicking man off the ground and bit his head off. Muk spat the grisly mess out and threw the body down triumphantly.

“Get in ‘ere, birdman!” Muk bellowed, turning back to the reactor. “Get dis powa so’s we can go!”

"HOLY SHIT! YOU JUST--- HE JUST--- ALRIGHT ALRIGHT!" Lyon rushed over to one of the consoles, trembling terribly. A yellow warning sign flashed on his HUD, informing him of waste disposal coming online to deal with whatever was running down his left thigh. "Okay, let's see..." He stared blankly at the console. "What the fuck do you want me to do with this again?!"

Muk was kneeling on the floor looking for something. He grunted at Lyon. “Da boss said put da powa in da ship we’s stealin.” He said. With a grunt of satisfaction, he stood to his full height and held his severed ear up. He tried to shove it back on. When that didn’t work, he sighed and stuffed it in his pocket.

The birdman pretended to not see that. Where was Xir when anyone needed him? At least he wasn't treating gore like a plaything. "Okay okay..." Lyon muttered a dozen more regrets before coming upon an input window on the console. Good thing he took the time to learn some basic coding skills. "I see now..." Lyon looked at the reaction, then back at Muk, trying to imagine him with his left ear still intact. "We have a problem. This thing wasn't designed to directly feed power into the foldship's jump drive. I can override the safeties to do it, but that would mean pushing the whole thing to its limits. The reactor could... uhm... go ka-blooey."

Over half of what Lyon said went over Muk’s head. He did understand ka-blooey though. “Hmm. Dav said da Tai Pan could show up, and we gotta get gone before, or we’s dead. Ka-blooey means we dead. Same fing.” Muk reasoned. “‘Least if dis works, we live, bird... uhh, Lyon. Let's do it."

"Understood." Lyon tapped a few things into the console. "We have a minute and a half before the reactor gets really, really hot. What do we do now? Hold this position or get back to the pod?"

Muk activated his comms to Dav. “Engineerin’ secured, boss. Powa’s beamin’ to da ship. Lyon said it’s gonna get hot in ‘ere. Want us ‘ere or can we ‘ead back?” He asked.

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

Dav took a moment to take all the new information in. Station Engineering had been secured, so power was being used to hot charge the Foldship’s drives. The Foldship already had a decent charge stored in its own batteries, so we could leave the system whenever we wanted. With Justin down, Dav would have to rely on is very limited space and boarding experience. Maybe it was time to pack it in and pull back. Their good luck so far wasn't guaranteed to continue. Also, the station security hadn't yet showed up. That was a problem he wanted to avoid if possible before he started to lose too many people to combat.

Dav opened a comms channel to the teams, "Lets pack it in, folks. We got what we needed."

Messaging individuals, he passed what seemed like good orders to him. Without Justin, he was just guessing now. Dav said, "Xir, hold the umbilical for our secondary retreat. We may need it. Muk, fall back to the foldship umbilical. Tear some of their stuff up as you go, maybe draw off their security. Station command team, we fall back to the transport. Tantus, make sure to keep our ride running. The dropships will be coming in hot and I want to get gone when they are secure."

Dav picked up Damion as he spoke, "Let's get out of here before this station blows. It seems Birdman has fixed our job for us."

With that Dav tossed Damion over his shoulder and began long strides back directly towards the Pou Nan Yie transport. Muk's boys with Dav followed along, seeming oblivious to the greater threats and tension in the air.

Damion Let Dav throw him over his shoulder as his body was still recovering from the mortal wound. threw Damion’s eyes a small notification read
**external damage 95% repaired internal damage 99% repaired.**
"understood sir, sorry I got downed it won’t happen again,"

Dav replied to the injured brother, "Don’t worry about it, Damion. Any fight you can live through is a good one."

Lily remained aware of threats, and tensions, especially behind them as information that the station was liable to explode reached her.

"Sir, should we put out an evacuation order on the station?" She asked, her pink eyes peering at Dav.

Dav replied, "You can, but I doubt it will be heeded."

Lily nodded, "One minute, sir."

She quickly found a communication relay and pulled out her personal communicator, the uncapping a ferro liquid universal adaptor and slotting it, before taking a with a pad at the end and placing it carefully at the back of her skull.

Her red eyes watched for a few seconds, before she blinked, and unplugged the adaptor. She closed the relay and unplugged her neck. Putting the device back in a pocket quickly and taking up her weapon again, quickly rejoining the rest of the squad.

"It is done, their fate is now up to them." she said simply.

------

Xir tapped its comms in acknowledgement of its orders from Dav. Being very aware of its lack of range ability now, Xir takes a Powered Armor plasma weapon from the appropriate rack, then throwing a power pack with ammunition over Xir's shoulder.
Once set up Xir sprinted to the umbilical bridge connected to the station. As before, no crew were in sight on the way. Positioning itself to defend the bridge from the foldship side, it opened its senses and Bio-armor sensors to detect anyone approaching from either side of the bridge. Xir open's comms to the whole unit. "Xir in place at foldship bridge side. Warn before crossing to avoid friendly fire."

------

Tantus responded “Yes I understand." Looking to Alex and Aiyana "well kids we might get this after all. I'm gonna go check the crew quarters in case anyone sleeping. Stay here." Leaving Engineering he turned to the marines "Guard this place with your lives no one in except black forge." The crew quarters should be one deck up at the rear of the ship he thought. Just in case there were stragglers he'd clean them up.

Down the hall. Up a service ladder with ease. Almost no effort. He thought faster, let's go faster. Sprinting jumping from wall to ceiling then he stopped abruptly. The captain’s quarters he leaned on the door to hear him. No one mentioned dispatching the captain.

Tantus pulled his dagger slide the door open to smell burnt wires and flesh. Upon entering he found the tai pan captain dead with gun in hand still. The pistol looked antique it fired kinetic bullets no energy cell he could see. Tantus picked it up. maybe sir would know something about it he’s the oldest. Tantus left the captain's room headed the crew's quarters.

The crew’s quarters were empty. Guess they all working he thought. "Tantus to commander the crew isn't here. I believe we have taken this bitch".

OOC [JP completed by: Bullroarer4, Dimirhunterjsh23, Arsenicjohn, Nyxborn, Sloanrocks2, Ray of Meep, Kitekat, Jimmy, lone_badass, Ahoy, Armacalic, mechameme, Gir, and Hal9000]
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Bullroarer4
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Re: Chapter Four Prologue: Killers With the Cross

Post by Bullroarer4 »

-----

Natsumi
Zenith Jump Point

Muk and Lyon ran to the Foldship umbilical, bellowing to Xir, "Dont ya shoot at me, I iz yer Bruthuh." With a nod, Xir sighted his newly acquired rifle past the bulk of the big green mercenary. Seconds later, they were across the bridge. Above Xir, escape pods began to fire off from the station, scattering in a in a halo of drive flares. Less than 100 meters away, the remainder of the boarding team filed into the boarding transport and detached from the station.

Dav activated comms, "Xir, Black Forge is off the station. Close up the umbilical." While Dav was issuing other orders to the other Black Forge teams still converging on the captured foldship, Chuan began to maneuver the transport. The cargo was tossed about, evidence of the vicious use of maneuvering thrusters. Chuan began to position herself near where the Icarus would be docking. A minute later, a pair of primary drives approached the newly captured Foldship. With a clumsy grind making Chuan wince, both dropships settled into their berths, the only pair attached to the foldship.

Once settled, Chuan landed the transport with grace and elegance inside the Icarus.

Moments later, Marina and Vlad also landed before the dual armored doors closed. Heavy laser fire grazing some of the wing armor on the Eagle as the remaining Taienese veered off after an unsuccessful strafing run. The pair of dropships returned fire, driving off the Taienese fighter. It accelerated away, a hungry shark circling its prey.

Dav ordered Steven, "Power up the jump drives. Once everyone is either on board or attached, let’s go.

Steven responded, "Will do captain. The Booty Call is under way."

As detonations began to rock the ship from the overloading station generators, the Foldship temporarily called the Booty Call disappeared with a flash of light and radiation.
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