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    Genealogy of the Holy War

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  1. Thorvald had validated Tarquin's thoughts about Jess, their fatherly leader always seemed to have a way to read the situation. Kiir at least wanted to provide an amicable atmosphere, going against the expected hostile Sacarian behaviour. Tarquin hoped that it could be resolved, Jess' discomfort was unsettling for him and he was keen to assist any way he could. Maybe some time to herself, as Thorvald had suggested, would be beneficial for her. He could recall times where he had required some self reflection, although he now knew there needed to an end to it for a resolution. - Tarquin had been in the kitchen before, and he had his own small repertoire of recipes that he could produce. However, Thorvald had thrown him right into the deep end. The ingredients seemed so foreign, he had no clue how Thorvald was even producing these waffles. He wasn't even sure if a boysenberry was actually a berry or some surreal ingredient. Geophysics and Classical Literature he could comprehend, but cooking was still something that he was a novice in. He looked down at his waffle curiously, the buttered batter sitting on his plate. He looked between his waffle and Thorvald, unsure how to actually approach the meal. "Thank you, Specialist Eriksson. It is far larger than I had expected, and the consistency... most curious." he remarked, priming his fork to tackle the waffle. It gave off a sweet, warm aroma. Perhaps he would need to cut into smaller pieces to defeat it.
  2. Kiir'Heln definitely did not meet the Sacarian stereotype. As much as Tarquin could have suspected that the feline warrior could be trying to create some sort of ruse, it was hard to imagine that such a proud race would try and demean themselves through such a facade. Perhaps it was naivety or optimism, but Tarquin felt a sense of trust from the display. It was strange, a few months prior he would have been more than happy to eject any captive through the airlock but now he could see the captain's policy taking effect on him too. The compliments towards the human race were somewhat tactless but the sentiment and genuinity were definitely present. "I see. I do not imagine there will be any major issues with cooperating with you. I, personally, do not take offense to your presence within our ranks. However, I can appreciate that full integration may take a period of time." Tarquin replied, unable to prevent a smile slyly appearing on his face. Conversation had never been his forte, but he was learning it step by step. Jess came and went quickly, which was somewhat puzzling. She didn't appear entirely comfortable, or at least Tarquin assumed not, unless he'd misread the situation. Thorvald's awkward salvaging comment led him to believe he wasn't too far off the mark, he'd need to find her later.
  3. There was some comfort in knowing that he wasn't the only one with an absence of waffles in his life. Tarquin couldn't help but wonder what else that he or Nina had not been exposed to. Perhaps waffles were the next step onwards from toast in his journey of life. However, his breakfast time ruminations would have to wait - one of the Sacarians was eager to introduce themselves to Thorvald. The exchange was initially somewhat surreal, a giant cat-like telekinetic extraterrestial speaking of honour and dedication as if Thorvald had bested him in a gentlemen's duel in the eighteenth century. From what he'd understood of the Sacarians, they were a genocidal, all-conquering mind-reading army of towering felines. There were many parallels to empires in Earth's past, so perhaps it wasn't a stretch that one could present as honourbound. Tarquin watched carefully as Thorvald conversed, keeping an eye on the feline's expression as if he expected it to turn suddenly. He couldn't fault Thorvald for his affable yet cautious approach. The other Sacarians seemed to think little of humans, yet this one harboured an almost disturbing admiration. Althought it was definitely preferable to their darwinistic allies. "If I may, Specialist Eriksson." Tarquin interjected, looking up at the towering feline. He had felt small compared to the rest of the crew to begin with, this situation only emphasised his hopes for an imminent growth spurt. "You appear to have an interest in human beings, would that not be frowned upon by other Sacarians or is it a sentiment that others share? It is not that I am critical of your beliefs, it just appears very different to other Sacarians we have interacted with." It was slightly jarring, but they had given their other recruited-foes-turned-allies chances to prove themselves. If there were members of the human race he felt he could not trust, then surely there would be a Sacarian who perhaps they could.
  4. Tarquin hadn't been aware of the link between Astin and Vera, the boy was visibly stunned by the revelation, his expression frozen for a few seconds before regaining his composure. It made far more sense, even Vera was subject to familial sadness if the occasion rose. It wasn't as if he could judge though, he had been saddened when the Professor had turned rogue, even if logically he was far better off because of it. Tarquin couldn't help but wonder if he would have felt the same if any others in the T-series had come to harm. He barely even knew T-2, although he couldn't say he would be thrilled to see her untimely demise. "Heroes and villains make more sense in stories, it's more confusing in real life." Tarquin replied, trying to offer at least some comfort to his fellow clone. Even his stunted emotional radar could tell it was a difficult situation for Nina to manage. He put his hand on her shoulder, a strange gesture of support that he could only explain through osmosis from the rest of the crew. "Nobody's entirely good or bad, and no act is automatically just or wrong. I'm sure Vera had her reasons for the things she did." Waffles? If Thorvald had a knack for anything, it would be somehow uniting people in the worst of situations. Although if he could be completely truthful, he'd never had waffles before - or even seen them. It would be a welcome break from the sombre aftermath of the battle. "Specialist Eriksson? That is a kind offer, I would be happy to join you." Tarquin replied, shifting his focus to Nina. "I've never tried waffles, I'm curious. How about you, Nina?"
  5. "Fuckin' cats." Elaine muttered under breath, climbing out of the Oberon. Recent events, including her time in the brig, the battle and being blatantly blanked by Kim, had put her in a foul mood. She'd definitely need to cool her head before the final mission, that was certainly one order she was going to follow. Elaine wiped her brow, stepping down to the hangar floor. If she could just keep it together until then... The sight of the Sacarian they'd captured didn't do Elaine's blood pressure any favours, the towering feline foe making her sweat. Elaine held her tongue, she couldn't let a fearful or angry outburst put anything at risk for the crew... or herself. Her eyes scrambled for someone she knew, any reason to avoid the giant cat. Spotting Makoto heading towards the elevators, Elaine made a hurried approach, avoiding eye contact with Kiir'Heln as best she could. "Yo, Makoto... you hanging in OK?" Elaine asked, keen to escape the hangar. "You were lookin' pretty good out there, did they rough you up at all? Still can't believe we've got one on the ship with us now."
  6. Tarquin had never taken Vera as someone who would have been burdened by pressure. There was no doubt that she would have been under it, but their former enemy had seemed incredibly resilient - almost alarmingly so. There was no real way for him to understand what would happen next. He would be hard pressed to say he particularly knew Vera and had no telekinetic insight into her state of mind. He stood beside Nina, looking up at Vera's unit. It was strange, the same weapon she'd used to fight alongside them was now the one thing keeping her apart from them all. "I see, I'm sorry to hear that." Tarquin replied, at a loss of how he could help. Thinking logically, there wasn't much that he could actually do, offering support to those who knew Vera better would have to suffice. Things were going to be hectic until after their final battle, quite possibly even after that. Aboard the Heion Riese, there was no downtime or normality. "I hope she'll be able to gather her thoughts and make sense of her situation. I don't know much about her, but I can imagine it must be serious for her to isolate herself like this. If there is any way I can help, please let me know." It was a stark contrast from the battle hungry duelist they'd fought on the colony, Tarquin couldn't picture their foe from then to hide away. A few weeks prior, he would have been more than happy to watch Vera get fired out of an airlock, a sentiment he couldn't quite hold in the current moment.
  7. It wasn't long before the Aria was completely docked, ready for its pilots to venture back out onto the hangar floor. "Thank you, Jess. We should see how the other are, hopefully everyone is unharmed." Tarquin replied, pausing for a moment to consider what he had just said. Even he was surprised by his own concern for their crew's wellbeing, perhaps he had been spending too much with the likes of Thorvald or the captain. He smirked, swiftly arriving on the hangar floor. It may have still been within the confines of the Heion Riese, but it was a relief to have his feet on ground more solid than the inside of the Aria. The news about the captain's amnesia was somewhat unsettling, they would have to plan meticulously to compensate for their commander's injuries. The tactical disadvantage felt rather small compared to the emotional effect, there was something almost saddening that the captain would not remember any of the time they'd spent together. There was a small gathering in front of one of the Velites, although he was unsure who the pilot had been - his eidatic memory deciding to take one of its few breaks. He approached Thorvald, who had been joned by a troubled-looking Nina and Esther. By association, Tarquin could probably guess it involved Vera - if only by the people present. It would seem natural to have little regard for someone who up until recently appeared as a nigh unkillable one woman army, but Tarquin couldn't help but sympathise with Apotheosis' previous prize fighter. He'd only caught the end of it, but Thorvald appeared to be talking to her. "Nina, is there something wrong?" Tarquin asked, approaching his fellow clone. "Is it something regarding Miss Maxwell?"
  8. "That would be appreciated, Jess. If that's OK with you." Tarquin replied, sitting back in his seat as the Aria hovered towards the Heion Riese. It gave him a few moments to think, although his mind wasn't exactly sure what to focus on. Was it Nikolai or Nina, the next battle or his future? His concentration was broken by a response from Nina, and then Esther? Both appeared to be managing, but there was an air of fatigue in thrir voices. "That's good, hopefully you will have a chance to recover aboard the Riese. We can talk once we're both docked." he replied, Nina's message was quickly followed by Esther's. "Thank you, Miss Taylor. Your contributions are appreciated." It wasn't long until the Aria had docked aboard the Heion Riese and the maintance procedures had began. He would have to find time to catch up with Nina when he could - there was something that wasn't quite right over comms.
  9. Jess' condolences resonated with Tarquin, it was pleasant to know that there was someone who could understand the difficulty faced in working with Carlos. It was hopefully not an arrangement that would continue for too long. Sadly, it was something he would have to accept for the better of not only the crew, but for the human race as a whole. "Yes, Carlos Santana. The Aria was originally part of a pair, the Aria and the Umbra. Carlos shot down Nikolai in the Umbra... he was salvaged from the wreckage." Tarquin replied solemnly, the memory of him trying to sift through the flaming crash site for Nikolai was still very vivid in his head. "It is OK. Nothing can change the event, accepting it is the most I can do. The rest is ensuring that we try to ensure the safety of everyone else. Your safety is a matter of great importance, especially aboard the Aria." Perhaps it was petty to continue holding his grudge against Carlos, he'd forgiven the rest of the crew they'd managed to recruit... but it felt far more personal. Part of him felt he needed to be mature about it, but then again, was he not entitled to feeling as such? After all, his best friend's legs had been blown off and he had been fated to recover inside a chemical vat. Ruminating was unlikely to be helpful, Tarquin still needed to function in the rest of his life. He had the hope that soon a war against an alien race wouldn't be his only priority. That being said, it was best to the rest to the Heion Riese - the Aria certainly needed some work. "We should head back, I'm sure there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done. We should also rest whilst we can." Tarquin added, guiding the Aria in the direction of the Riese. "Just one moment, I feel I should contact Nina, just to see how she is doing." He didn't necessarily need to send a message, but he didn't particularly feel the need to justify in doing so. "Nina, this is Tarquin. can see the Metis has taken damage, are you harmed? Is Miss Taylor well?" Tarquin asked his fellow clone. He would probably see them both aboard the Riese, but part of him wanted that little bit of reassurance. - Talia had taken a few moments to scream silently, trying to drown her embarrassment. She heard the ping from her communicator, suddenly sitting upright and frantically rereading the message over and over to ensure she hadn't made a mistake. "Hang... out..." she whimpered, completely stunned by the response. Makoto actively wanted to spend time with her... was it a date? Was he going to make a move, no that was impossible, he was far too polite. Had he told T-4? No, maybe he talked to his mother? Was she going to chaperone... why was she overthinking it so much? What was she going to wear, did she need to brush her teeth and brush her hair? "Calm down, Talia... don't get ahead of yourself... but what if it's like Steve and Emily when she joins the Reliables? Calm down, just play it cool. You've got this." "That sounds great! I can't wait to see you! Talia xx" And sent. She paused for a moment. "Crap." she muttered, falling backwards onto her bed. That was about as smooth as a cheese grater made from sandpaper.
  10. Elaine let out a sigh of relief, her hands still shaking as she relaxed her grip on her controls. The Oberon had taken a beating, the smell of burnt electronics was a sign that the LTP hadn't been wired completely correctly, but then again she wasn't entirely sure how you were meant to wire a system that went beyond the machine's intended capabilities. They'd completely torn through the Sacarian forces... but they'd lost two people they'd considered allies. Astin... Avery, two people who actually seemed to tolerate Elaine's antics and temper. They had all united to face the alien army, but Elaine still felt incredibly alone. The remaining crew weren't exactly fond of her and she had a feeling she'd be facing a decent prison sentence on her return home. Her uncle had always warned her about keeping out of trouble and controlling her temper - something that she had finally learned the hard way. "Hey, Kim." Elaine broadcast, sinking back into her seat. "I know that they were traitors the whole time, but like... did they get you too? I mean, they both had me fooled like a fuckin' moron but I don't get how they could hide it from you psychic guys for so long. Shit, it just sucks. I figured we'd have all been in it together from the start. Only ones left are me, you, Brant, Thorvald and the plant kid." Elaine noticed one of their units heading off. Was it Alriana? Elaine was half tempted to chase after her but someone else was already in hot pursuit - the last thing she needed to do was get herself into another situation. They'd gained another prisoner, one of their enemies had surrendered. So far the Captain had recruited basically everyone they'd captured, but she wasn't too sure about this one. - To be truthful, Talia had spent most of the battle hiding away in her room. The constant shakes and impacts the Heion Riese had been terrifying, she couldn't help but recall what had happened at Corona Ten - she was powerless again to stop the carnage. It was another situation where she hadn't been able to help out or fight... she'd relied on everyone else again. I can't keep hiding away whilst other people put themselves at risk, I know I would have gotten in the way... Talia shook her head, it just seemed so easy to slip back into negative thought patterns. She'd practiced with Makoto in the simulator, it was the first few steps. She looked over at one of her manga volumes on the table. She'd read hundreds, possibly even thousands, of stories over the years. There was always some sort of threat or crisis in the tales, the characters must have been always under constant pressure. There was no way she'd have wanted to be a protagonist in a stressful story like those. Perhaps part of her did, just to have that glimmer of appreciation, the knowledge that she was worth something. "If this were some sort of story this would be the time I'd gain the courage to change." Talia laughed drly. "It's not like Gorilla Rider... he just used to snap back when a challenge came up." It had been eerily quiet for the last few minutes, there hadn't been any sudden movements, or shakes or explosions, had the battle ended. She didn't want to bother anyone, but she just needed to know Makoto was OK. He wasn't a soldier like the others but still found a way to fight with everyone else, part of her wished she could have that sort of courage. Tapping into her communicator, she sent a message, worriedly waiting for a reply. "Hey Makoto, has the battle finished? Are you OK? Please message me back! Love Talia." Talia took a few moments, realising how she'd phrased her message. Letting out a silent scream, she buried her face in her pillow, trying to hide from an unseen audience. She could feel the warmth in her cheeks, the embarrassment spreading across her face. Kill me now.
  11. Tarquin's co-pilot appeared slightly shaken by the battle's end but was quickly able to regain her composure. It was an admirable trait, although it would not be a suitable excuse to neglect her wellbeing entirely. She did raise an interesting point, the sheer number of unlikely events and chance happenings was almost comical. It were as if fate had designed a farfetched elaborate take for them all to partake in. Meeting Nikolai, Nina, even Jess herself, he would have never expected any of it to happen but there was no chance he'd change it. "A whole collection of jokes, one after the other." Tarquin replied, pausing as he began reminiscing some of the less fortunate events. "I've gained a friend in Nikolai then watched as he was shot from the sky. Not long after, I work alongside the man who performed the deed. I cannot say it was a particularly thrilling prospect for me. To be fair, there are not many people that I enjoy the company of. I'm grateful that you are one of them, Jess." There was always going to be part of him that wanted to enact his revenge against Carlos, the part of him that was a child rather than a soldier. Tarquin looked forward to the day that child could act on his own whims - even if it were just to vandalise Carlos' quarters. Nikolai would have been thrilled by the concept, Tarquin could already imagine his friend's vulgar commentary.
  12. It took Tarquin a few moments to process the fact the battle was over. The defeat of the Hexis seemed almost fictional, the gravity of it not sinking in. His eyes scanned his screens, reading the displays multiple times over to confirm for himself. There wasn't going to be much time to rest, but the crew could take satisfaction knowing that they had fended off some of the fiercest foes the planet had ever seen. He was just a single child in the middle of it all, yet somehow had contributed to something much bigger. "Jess, can you compile a damage report for subsystems please." Tarquin asked, uncertain of how much time they would have until the final assault. "I find it surreal sometimes. So many of our current allies were previously our foes... we wouldn't have gotten this far without all of them. Even Hedrick."
  13. The rest of Tarquin's allies were all piling in to take down the Hexis. It was a surreal combination of attacks, sniping alongside Carlos wasn't exactly his idea of pleasing. "There is no shame in an adult asking for aid from a child. The Sacareans don't discriminate by age." Tarquin remarked, lining up his next shot. "Just ensure your aim remains acceptable, otherwise I will lose the only reason to tolerate you." The pair may have been fighting a common foe, but that wasn't quite enough for Tarquin to overlook how Carlos had crippled Nikolai. Perhaps it was just being bitter, but disliking Carlos wasn't exactly boring. Tarquin attacks the Hexis with his Full Output Rail gun! Elaine casts strike and attacks the Hexis with her VSR!
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