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    Pass the possum!

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    Genealogy of the Holy War

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    Arvis (Cipher)


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  1. "Puppet entering operational range." Tarquin replied, giving Jess an uncharacteristically child-like thumbs up. The Sacarian King had made a self righteous speech about defending his own, which was rather hypocritical considering the nature of their invasion. History had a habit of deciding who was in the right and wrong, Trel'Vaar seemed intent on writing his own early edition of events. "Jess, ones wonder how an alien invader claims to maintain the last line of defense. Perhaps his invasion had unintentionally become a self inflicted genocide of his own people." Whether or not the Sacarians were a victim in this all was a matter of perspective, however, he couldn't offer much sympathy to the invaders. If they were willing to claim the Earth as their own, they should have expected some resistance. Tarquin moves to 14,25! - Elaine grit her teeth, fuming as she listened to the patriotic ramblings of the mad king. She couldn't believe his nerve, making them sound like the bad guys. "You! You crappy overgrown fleabag!" she roared, broadcasting to anyone who would listen. She was shaking with anger, they'd done so much to try and save humanity from the Sacarians, they could at least accept they were wrong. "You can't try and take a shit on our planet and then say we're the ones attackin' you! You're full of it! If you all were so grand and proud, you wouldn't have sent all your furry little slaves to death! You ain't no king, you're a fuckin' tyrant!" Elaine moves to 17,29!
  2. The only two options they had were approach the enemy... or wait for them to make the first move. Tarquin generally found the latter worked better for him, it was much more his style. "Jess, we'll be offering our usual fire support. Once our allies engage we'll make our move." Tarquin remarked, confident in the likes of Kim and Brant to get the fight started. Tarquin moves to 12, 21! - Elaine was torn between her admiration for the enemy suits, she couldn't help but be jealous of the advanced technology, and the sheer terror that she was going to be facing them. "Come on, Oberon... you're not obsolete just yet. We'll show'em what we can do." she muttered. Elaine moves to 17,22!
  3. The consociation between Jess and himself was comforting, having Jess aboard gave Tarquin the extra drive to return in one piece. He wasn't just fighting for the sake of the planet and his own life, but he was directly responsible for someone else. The memory of being prepared to self-detonate his unit seemed distant. She did make him smile though, her comments about him as Thorvald's culinary student had amused him. He gave a rare chuckle, casting a jovial gaze over at his co-pilot as she squeezed his shoulder. "It depends if one of my DNA contributors was a chef or not. One of the issues with having twelve parents, it's hard to keep track of all of them." Tarquin joked, his complicated heritage being a mystery even to him. "If I ever do go to school, I'll make sure you get a first row seat at my violin recital... as long as you're comfortable sitting next to Nikolai." As much as his friend enjoyed classical music, it wouldn't be a far cry to picture him causing mischief. Whether it were cursing in foreign tongues, insulting someone's mother or vomiting in someone's face... the chances of him being escorted out by security were not insignificant. The Captain had given them orders to quash their feline dilemma, which lead him back to the battle. The readings he was getting from the Sacarian crafts were monstrous, and the estimates the Aria's computer were likely an underestimate. His smile quickly subsided, his concentration returning to his displays and his eyes focused on the values presented to him. Dealing meaningful damage would be a challenge, and that was if they could even connect their shots. He'd already sullied his perfect accuracy record, although at a key time like this, it was something that had fallen far down on his list of concerns. "Our attacks will have to be coordinated, we may struggle with targeting if they're as fast as predicted. That is assuming that their pilots are on par with other Sacarians, which may be an underestimate." Tarquin commented, refreshing the Aria's predictions. Their role as fire support could prove crucial, landing as much damage as possible was of utmost importance.
  4. Tarquin couldn't say that the Sacarian crafts were not imposing. The Heion Riese and allies had the numbers advantage but, from what Tarquin knew of the Sacarian elites, each could take down an army by themselves. They'd faced danger up until now, but a wrong move at any stage could result in not only a fatality but a complete mission failure. It was a frightening thought but a very real possibility. All of his allies were slowly taking their place on the battlefield, making the decision to stand against an imposing foe. The Aria soon landed, Tarquin quickly scouting out the terrain around him. The frozen wasteland offered neither side a particular advantage, although the foliage could offer some basic cover at the very least. "This is Puppet. Deployment confirmed and awaiting command. Long range support is on standby." Tarquin broadcasted to his allies. Even if he wasn't the closest to his foe, he could imagine himself becoming irritating to his enemies rather quickly. - Elaine couldn't deny that she was nervous, although nervous could be grossly underplaying how she felt. No amount of buddying with Makoto could have prepared her for this. She felt awfully small on the battlefield, her Oberon was outclassed by the Artemis and Regalia already, let alone the monsters that the Sacarians were flying. Thorvald had tried to keep up morale, but Elaine could feel herself trembling, her heart racing. These were the enemies that she could have become a puppet for, if Louise had convinced her. Terrorists and the Europeans were one thing, but alien galactic conquerers were something else. The stakes had gradually climbed higher, but they'd succeeded each time. Whether it had been a fluke or not didn't matter, Elaine hadn't died just yet and she didn't have any plans to. "Shit... I swear this is some sorta dream." Elaine muttered, not quite having the courage to speak to any of her allies. "If they're all fightin' in this, I'm here too. Might be scared shitless but I ain't lettin' everyone down!" Tarquin deploys to 12,15! Elaine deploys to 18,17!
  5. The battle was feeling rather real, especially in the last few moments leading up to it. Tarquin had thanked Jess, he was glad that he had support aboard the Aria. Moreover, Thorvald's speech was something he imagined the entire crew needed. The Sacarians were unlikely to go down without a fight, but they indeed had numbers on their side. The question was whether everyone would return from the battle. It was a thought that Tarquin didn't really want to entertain for too long, but he'd see his foes' ferocity first-hand. Each of them had their role on the battlefield, and Tarquin intended to provide his long range support. "He certainly has a way with words." Tarquin remarked, with only Jess in earshot to hear it. "I've never seen anyone as a father figure, but Specialist Eriksson comes rather close. I'll have to thank him after our battle is over. I want him to teach me how to make waffles." There were several conversations he'd hope to have with people afterwards. Tarquin wasn't entirely sure how he'd fit all of them into his schedule. He'd planned to return to his studies... but that could wait a little while. His last action before the battle was a little more personal. Tapping away at his communicator, he had a message for Nina. "Good luck, Nina. Stay safe."
  6. Between waffles and talking to giant feline, Tarquin could have forgotten that he was in the midst of fending off alien invaders. He'd enjoyed the downtime with the others, part of him had wished it could have continued for longer. Chatting to Kiir and Nina, Thorvald keeping an eye on them like the father he never had... it was pleasant. Tarquin may have had twelve sources of genetic material and three clones before him, but this had been the first time that he felt like part of a family. There were people he missed, Bruno and Matteus... possibly not Melissa but she was an exception. He had come aboard the Heion Riese alone, but he wouldn't leave it like that. Nikolai and Makoto had become his closest friends, he also had Nina and Jess. The ANF and politics didn't really matter to him, the war wasn't for them, it was for a future that he and the people he cared about could cherish. "Jess, I am sincerely glad I was able to meet you. I hope that we can remain friends even after this war ends. I never thought I would want to work with someone in my craft. I generally prefer my own company and used to find others draining. However, you and some of the others... I don't feel that way. I feel that I actually prefer having company. I spent most of my life growing up in a laboratory in isolation. It's a life that I couldn't even fathom living lie that now." Tarquin remarked, reminiscing about how far his life had come. Aside from perhaps Hedrick, he felt comfortable with most of the crew. He began flicking some of the switches on the Aria's control panel. Their craft had taken a beating but the Riese's engineering team had worked a miracle on it. "Thank you." "This is Puppet, the Aria is ready to launch. All systems are optimal and fully functional." Tarquin announced, readying himself for the battle to commence. It would be far more difficult than any simulation or previous battles. Nikolai had risked everything, losing his legs for the future, Tarquin had decided that his sacrifice would not be for nothing. He almost felt guilty that he had wanted to fire him out of the airlock when they'd first met. - "Makoto..." Talia mumbled, sitting down on her bed. He was going to be out there, and it was going to be fierce. Despite their practice sessions, Talia knew that she was nowhere near ready for a battle of this magnitude, she would only get in the way. It'd be like a Scorpio trying to take down the Longswan. She couldn't even blank it out, it wasn't like she could hide away and pretend that nothing was going. Even if she were off the the Heion Riese herself, the idea of the others coming into danger was terrifying. Where did they find all that courage? Talia sincerely hoped that she'd find hers. She wanted to become stronger, she wanted to stand with the others. Talia stood herself up, leaving her room. Hiding in her room wasn't going to do her any favours, she wanted to help. Even if it was making coffee for the bridge crew, Talia was going to find her way to take part.
  7. Tarquin couldn't help but take an academic interest in Sacarian physiology, it was astounding how similar to earth felines but their society was more akin to something from ancient Greece or Rome. Kiir gave great insight into the lives of her race, it appeared there was far more than simply pilotting robots and conquering other planets. Tarquin took his first bite of the waffle, it wasn't quite as he expected, it was soft and warm... he was certain that Thorvald had prepared it correctly but he was struggling to comprehend the texture. He gave it a tentative chew, the flavour slowly spreading across his tongue. It was definitely enjoyable, far more flavourful than food he would usually try. He gave Aliza an affable wave, the preferable Italian more than welcome to join the group in Tarquin's book. "If you are capable of processing it, I would thoroughly recommend trying some." Tarquin replied, his own scepticism replaced with a serene satisfaction. For someone who had every meal planned for him up until a few months ago, having the freedom to accept something new was an experience for him. Caroline's addition of ice cream seemed a contradictory decision, could something both be hot and cold at the same time in a meal? Tarquin was certainly learning a lot about the culinary world.
  8. Elaine was pleased that Makoto shared some of her scepticism, too many people had already been taken into their crew... But none of them had been a member of the alien race trying to conquer them - something about that just sat badly with her. It wasn't even a misplaced xenophobia, she just had a bad gut feeling in recruiting the enemy. Perhaps it was paranoia, but it was justified. "Glad ya' keepin' good. That battle was intense. Probably should get you sorted in a proper robot too, you're doin' loads in your tin can but I know you can go bigger." Elaine commended, impressed and perhaps a bit jealous of Makoto's prowess. "I dunno, sometimes I feel like I'm just there for backup. People like Kim, Brant and the plant kid seem to be making all the big shots, I just mop things up after. It needs doin', just not quite as glamourous... Anyway, you headin' anywhere? Mind a little company? Need to chill and get out of here for a bit."
  9. Kiir was likely confused by the waffles, although for different reasons to Tarquin. If they were a strange concept to him, they would be completely alien to their feline guest. Tarquin sat himself down next to Kiir, edging the plate a little closer for their inspection. "I can appreciate that this is unlikely an item common in Sacarian cuisine." Tarquin suggested, idly playing with his own fork as he calculated an approach. Did people eat these on a regular basis? Were they a staple part of the culinary experience? Kiir appeared to have their own internal dialogue, their mutterings suggestive of even greater confusion than his own. "I assume that humans normally eat these. I'm somewhat of an unusual case, I have very little experience of life outside of an institution." Tarquin added, finally breaking a chunk of the waffle off with his fork. This was his next step in learning about life. It had started with toast, and now he'd progressed to waffles. That had to count for something, right?
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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?"
  14. "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."
  15. 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.
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