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Phoenix

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  1. "I should head back first," Jack said, "May as well order as a group if we're ordering, right?" That bit of information about airships was interesting, though. Jack wondered how much they cost and how the party would go about acquiring one. As a formal air force hopeful, Verner had a fondness for aerial vehicles, even more so than for the wings he now sported on his back. Compared to a machine that could fly, his wings were more akin to his legs in this world. Heading back over to his party, Jack said, "We're good to go, guys. We should grind up as fast as we can, too. We're stuck on this island until the main dungeon's clear ... by the way, anyone wanted something to eat here? Might not want to fight on an empty stomach."
  2. Enemy Battle Phase Trooper 25 feels around in the thick smokescreen! Trooper 35 Engages Fire Miko! Attacks Fire Miko with the Battle Rifle ... and misses! He tries again ... and misses again! Rinse and repeat ... and a miss! One more for good measure! ... missed for good measure ... Fire Miko counters with a Spread Missile! Trooper 36 gets caught in the blast for 90 damage but Trooper 35 uses their Defense Plate to block the counter! Trooper 35 attacks one last time because something must hit! ... apparently not. Trooper 35 hangs his head and ends the Engagement! Gunner 3 Engages Reinstall! Gunner 3 attacks with the Heavy MAC and hits for 100 damage! Gunner 3 ends the Engagement! End of Turn 3
  3. Jack realized just how effective Edwin's stunt with Paul and the VRX had been. Even with menus popping up in front of him constantly, his immersion remained untouched. That was just the way 'reality' worked now, he supposed. Stiff NPCs, little elf girls named Charles, and floating menus. This is why both Verner and Jack didn't drink ... "Got it in one, Miss," Jack nodded playfully. He pretended to write down the names of the party's members with one hand while dragging them over in the menu with the other, not sure if the Guild woman would notice or care. Considering how oblivious they seemed, she'd probably be more interested in him ostensibly being a lefty ... "There we go," Jack smiled once he was finished, "Anything else we need to take care of before we get going?"
  4. "Not sure how long this thought experiment is going to last," Jack glanced around at the NPCs Clarissa mentioned, "but it wouldn't surprise me if these folks became self-aware. This is already pretty realistic. ... anyway ..." No one missing save for Paul then? Alright. Jack took mental notes of the group, checked and accepted some, though not all of the friend requests there ... some were from people he hadn't seen before, but had probably seen him in action over in the square ... and with that, he was ready to get them registered. Since they were already grouped up, he hoped the process would be rather simple. Unfortunately, Jack hadn't spent his beta testing days exploring the group content. He'd been too busy walking and having an absolute blast doing so. Jack approached the NPC running the guild and waved hello. "You handle registrations?"
  5. "That's fine," Firmia said, trying to tune out the drama, "I'll wait." It was a bit late but inevitable. Even the trend of the drama becoming steadily worse over time hadn't been broken here. The Alkaev was pretty sure this was the first time someone had actually been sucker punched. Probably the first time blood had hit the meeting room floor, too. You had to be kidding ... Brant felt something coming, but not a physical attack, not until it was too late to stop it. And why Tarquin? Yes, he and Elaine weren't friends, but Louise started this episode, not him. If there was that much bad blood between them, why even let them be that close to each other? Brant held himself back as Jessica and Seung-Min raced to subdue Elaine, the former winning by a wide margin, and the latter settling on checking on Tarquin. "... dammit ..." Brant let his head fall onto his arms and sighed. He wanted to help Elaine, but it was hard enough when she was just mouthing off at people ... "If the debriefing's over," Megumi took a few steps toward the altercation, "bring Tarquin to the infirmary." ... what a mess. Elaine was clearly panicking under the stress, but that didn't justify attacking anyone, not even Louise.
  6. "Seems simple enough," Jack shrugged, not having any other thoughts on the quest itself. Mystia's friend Alf suggested the former stay in the back essentially, which Jack thought was a good approach in any version of this game. They were all getting the same exp, and the consequences of individual KOs was potentially severe, so they should take every advantage they could get. "And yeah, anyone who's vulnerable should stick behind our tanks for now. No one's gonna blame you for taking the game seriously after that announcement ... anyway, I'll go get us registered, I guess. We're not missing anyone else are we?"
  7. The situation reeked of indecision now, though Jack blamed himself for that as much as anyone else. They had only just met after all, and different combinations of individuals could have coalesced into a party in any number of ways. "I guess we're going the Co-Consul route til things make a bit more sense? Well, questing's definitely a good idea. We're not beating this game as level 2s, but if there's anything important we can get done while we're here, let's take care of that first."
  8. Before either Louise or Vera could answer Brant's--and Firmia's question, things got a little tense over Hilling's death and Nikolai's injury. Firmia reaffirmed her disgust for Abigail in light of her outburst at Thorvald. Really, getting bent out of shape over the facts was nonsensical. Abigail's people barged into this battle completely unprepared and paid a fair price for doing so. If she wanted to fight about it, that was fine, but this wasn't the time or place for her rebel thuggery. Comparing her to Brant always, always, always made the Alkaev's blood boil ... Granted, the woman came very close putting the spotlight on one of the ANF's greatest weaknesses in the middle of her backlash. They actually were pretty bad at preparation. In general, they were probably a bit worse than Abigail's crew and obviously had less at stake. It was a big organization. Bigger organizations had bigger organizational problems. Those were also facts, though no one was disputing them. Tarquin came to Nikolai's defense in an equally pointless--though far tamer--outburst. His bond with Nikolai was almost alarming to Firmia. From what she knew of the double amputee, he was captured right along with Christina, so he hadn't been here very long. Of course, the war hadn't been going on for very long, either ... and the war itself was probably the catalyst. Firmia resisted the temptation to blame some of her closer connections on the life or death struggle, even though it was an easy and somewhat believable excuse. By the time Elaine began to chime in with her concerns, Jessica had reached the end of her fuse and bashed the meeting room back into order ... that poor table ... Jessica and Louise got into a brief back and forth about these so-called unreported talks the latter had with Elaine, and Brant felt sick to his stomach over it. Elaine had told him, of course. They were friends. He was trying to help her, even while his own world began spiraling out of control. Whether to bring that up during the meeting or not was difficult to judge, however. Something in Jessica's wording told Brant that he should probably wait until the meeting was over and then address it. She specifically mentioned Elaine not reporting to anyone in charge, and there was no reason to say it that way unless she believed Elaine had at least told someone, namely Brant. Better to just say she didn't report it in that case; that was how Louise had said it, and that was the truth as far as the majority of people in the room knew. Jessica probably knew about Brant's attempts to help her, then ... maybe. Either way, he opted to wait until the topic wasn't jumping around like crazy to bring it up, instead, trying to reassure Elaine from a short distance. It wasn't easy with Louise in the room. Then some very big and somewhat annoying news came, and from Vera of all people. Astin was a blood relative of hers, a clone. Naturally, Vera wanted to save them if possible. Brant was altogether neutral considering what happened to Christina, and Firmia was indifferent on principle, but carefully mulling the situation over in her head. If Vera had opted in with Louise earlier, saving Astin alive would have been one of the Avalon's top priorities. At present, it was just a side mission the Alkaev had very little stake in: the 'client' was a dead woman walking, and the reward was uncertain. Firmia wasn't going to risk her people's lives for someone who would just as quickly lay down their life on the ANF's whim to pay for her crimes, instead of serving the right cause next time around. Vera was just a straight up gamble in every sense of the word. Jessica then revealed that she indeed had been eavesdropping on more than just the discussion in the brig. Annoying but expected. That wasn't the lead in Firmia wanted, but at least she had one now. "Finally ..." she muttered, standing up again, "We acquired another ship, the Athena. They're a crew defecting from the EU." That should tell people just how poorly the war was going on that side of the world ... "The captain's name is Troy Lanzer and he'll be reinforcing us in the next mission. After that, I'll be bringing the ship and as much as the crew that's willing into my own company, Artorias. They have two units in particular, a mobile armor and a special anti-ship mobile suit, that we should work into our battle strategy. That's the gist of it. If you want more details, you can ask me before I head back to the Avalon." So that was the new name she was going with. Brant wondered why she hadn't given any of the crew's names. One of them was his older brother, and another was her own father. Then again, after what Rex pulled, there probably wasn't a good reason to bring him up publically. Same with Stan, though just in general. None of this was news to Brant, so he just spent a moment trying to imagine what the ship itself and the mobile suits might look like. An anti-ship MS had to be a little different looking from a more conventional machine, didn't it? Little did he know it was mostly just green ... "While we're on the subject of resources," Firmia continued, "My field test of the drones today went off without a hitch. Once the defender types are built I'll be sending them over to the Riese. That should put an end to any shenanigans in the hangar, as well as protect the ship's bridge from direct attacks ... and one more thing. My people are going to be sending in our androids to secure all of the scientists Vera kidnapped. We'll just be waiting for an opening. If you can spare some of yours for the mission too, I would appreciate it. The details ... I would definitely prefer to go over in private, though."
  9. Allied Battle Phase Keizerin Engages Soldaat Leader 4! Opens with HEAT Stake for 360 damage! Activates Flurry and attacks with the HEAT Stake two more times for the KO! Keizerin attacks again with the Beam Axe, destroying Leader 4 completely! Keizerin ends the Engagement! [Keizerin + 450 XP] Mewlanie Engages Trooper 24! Attacks with the Heavy MAC for 360 damage! Trooper 24 counters with Battle Rifle twice! 25 damage both times! Mewlanie: Aw non, I 'ave taken damage, whatever shall I do~ Mewlanie blows him away with the Karasawa MKI! Mewlanie ends the Engagement! Mewlanie: Anozzer one bites ze dust, nyah~ [Mewlanie + 300 XP] Fire Miko Engages Trooper 16! Fire Miko: GO Mewlanie: Nerd. Fire Miko attacks Trooper 16 with the Spread Missile for 90 damage! Trooper 17 is caught in the explosion and disappears! Fire Miko: Shush I did great. >.> Trooper 16 counters with the Battle Rifle for 100 damage ... and the barrier eats it. Fire Miko attacks again with the Karasawa MKI and crits for 540 damage and the KO! Fire Miko: I'm the best B) Fire Miko finishes Trooper 16 off with Dual Vulcans! Mewlanie: I suppose zat was impressive. Fire Miko: You bet it was >.> Fire Miko ends the Engagement! [Fire Miko + 300 XP] Aska Engages Trooper 15! Trooper 15: >_>; Aska attacks with the Moonlight and crits for 364 damage! (Full rolls is 2,2,6) Trooper 15 falls over. Aska: You made a better spectacle for an opening act than I thought! Aska finishes Trooper 15 off with the Halberd, moves left 1, and ends the Engagement! [Aska + 66 XP] Dr. Flambre moves up 4! (Vernier B in effect) May13 moves down 3, right 5 and Engages Trooper 20! Attacks with Large Missile and crits for 338 damage! (Full roll is 3,3,4!) Soldaat Leader 2 and Trooper 21 are caught in the blast! Trooper 21 is scrapped! May follows up with another Large missile and almost misses the crit! Almost! 338 damage! Trooper 20 is defeated! (Full roll is 1,1,2!) May let's a Plasma Missile fly at Leader 2 and hits for 169 damage! Another Plasma Missile and Leader 2 is down! May13Slaughter: *cackles* Ends the Engagement! [May 13 + 548 XP] SleepyBot Engages Trooper 13! Trooper 13 counters with Beam Axe for 88 damage! He counters with another Beam Axe for another 88 damage! SleepyBot punches 13 with a HEAT Stake for 270 damage! Trooper 13 counters with the Beam Axe again but misses! SleepyBot hits him with the HF Katana for 135 damage! Trooper 13 counters with the Beam Axe for 88 damage! SleepyBot ends the Engagement! Serval Sage Engages Trooper 13! Attacks Trooper 13 with the Beam Launcher for 180 damage! Serval attacks him again with the Beam Launcher for 180 (only 15 HP left) damage and the KO! Serval Sage ends the Engagement! Reinstall Engages Trooper 35! Attacks with a Large Missile, but Trooper 35 uses their Defense Plate to take the critical hit! The shield is destroyed! (Full roll is 5,5,6!) Reinstall ends the Engagement!
  10. The trip to the guild building wasn't a long one, and inside things seemed tame compared to Ground Zero. Jack approached the empty table Clarissa had chosen but opted not to sit down. He did quite enough of that in the real world and did not want any more reminders. Now that they had a spot picked out for discussion, it was time to pick a topic. Clarissa offered a few, though Jack only liked two of them. Figuring out what they should do next was a high priority. Likewise, having a party leader would keep them from scattering like roaches when things got tough or big decisions needed to be made. For some reason, Clarissa disqualified herself right out of the gate, preferring someone else take that responsibility. That was kind of funny since she was the one making all of these suggestions. Perhaps she preferred more of a secondary role, or just being able to weigh in without much risk. Jack knew plenty of people like that back in the US. As for who the leader should be, if anyone, he wasn't sure. Jack had only met these people, and if he was being perfectly honest--in the privacy of his own mind he nearly always was, he didn't plan on sticking around too long if they picked someone he couldn't respect and follow. Loyalty and discipline were important, but poor leadership undermined all of that. And again, Jack didn't know any of these people so he couldn't guess who might make a good leader. He could only quietly assess who the poorer choices might be. Since he was sure the others were looking inward to see if any of them would be the right choice, Jack took a moment to do the same. He was around during the beta, so it was one small point in his favor. He spent a good chunk of his time planning out his schedule. Another point in his favor. Jack didn't put too much weight on his three quick kills during the ambush in the square since he'd been a lone wolf during that fight, and wasn't even thinking passed taking down the enemies. If anything, his tendency to plan and act solo were points against him, but the one major reason Jack hadn't offered to be the party leader was that he came into the game hoping to get good first, then worry about parties and guilds. Things were moving way too fast for his liking, and this was no longer just a fun little video game ... "It's a bit early for me ... with real names." Rip, Charles ... "I'll tell you at level ... 5," he smirked at her, "Anyway ... that party leader thing is really important. It's kind of awkward with our lives on the line, but I'll throw my hat in to start. I got in on the beta, though they could have changed a few things. I've got a virtual bookkeeping gig so planning our moves and keeping track of everything would be a piece of cake for me. Also, don't wanna get rusty while we're trapped in here." It was hard not to bring up his tactical success so far, but Jack managed. If kills really mattered here, someone besides him could chime in about it.
  11. If they were forming a party here and now, it was a bit too early to be splitting up. Considering Edwin could drop a small horde on them at a moment's notice, they should really stick together outside of safe areas. Whether this game had any safe areas besides the arena was kind of up for debate now ... "We really need to stick together until things settle down. Why not help her find her friend and then find someplace nice and quiet to rest and go over everything?" ... not that Verner himself needed a rest. The level up had him feeling more or less fully energized.
  12. Verner hauled himself back onto his feet as the other nearby players weighed in on the catgirl cleric's suggestion of sticking together. Whether the mild irritation on his face was due to the fall or the bird guy comment was anyone's guess. As for sticking together, Verner didn't really mind; he fully expected an outcome like this. Moreover, if things weren't working out for whatever reason, he could just break off and find another group ... assuming the player mortality rate tapered off extremely quickly. If it didn't, he'd have fewer alternatives everyday ... "Yeah, sure. Fine by me. And it's Jack, by the way."
  13. Verner found his group, though they were struggling a bit. He didn't see that as an altogether bad thing, though. So long as no one was killed, and he made a timely intervension, it would be a good first impression. As for how much merit this group actually had? Well ... that didn't really matter. Verner was dubious about whether these clusters of trapped players would form permanent parties or not. If they did, great. If not, many wouldn't be worse for wear. Verner literally leaped into action, slamming down his wings hard to get airborne. He managed to cover the short distance to the troublesome kobold in just two seconds. Having fresh doubts about stabbing in his mind, Verner landed hard on the kobold's shoulders from behind, looping his whip around its neck and then pulling with all of his strength with it. He thought he'd be garroting the creature for a good ten seconds before it went down, or until someone else saw fit to run the beast through, but instead he nearly lost his grip and almost landed on his head as its neck cracked under the pressure and they both went down. "Gah!" Landing on his shoulder was better than landing on his head, but just the same ... "Augh ..." That was enough experimentation for one day.
  14. Looking around had probably saved Verner from being caught and taken down by a different kobold. Thankfully, the crowd was breaking up. He could scamper around just fine. Quickly lashing out with his whip again, Verner blinded the murderous lizard in one of its eyes and then rushed in on foot for the knife kill. What should have been an easy throat stab quickly turned into a stalemate, with the kobold catching Verner's arm and preparing to floor him. He countered by jamming the hilt of his whip into the kobold's damaged eye, destroying it completely and forcing the creature to the ground. One more jab into its skull for good measure and Verner was back on his feet again, panting and filled with adrenaline. "Players are starting to cluster up," Verner noticed, "Better find a group and stick close, I guess ..."
  15. Free EXP? That was one way to put it, Verner scowled. Half the players weren't ready for combat, and about half of those that were had clearly been thrown off their game by this ambush. There was nowhere to go, no room to friggin' maneuver! Well, Verner had some room, but not a whole lot. More importantly, he couldn't just hide up here in this tree any longer. Loosing his brand new whip and equipping it in his dominant hand, Verner quickly slapped together an attack plan in his head. Going after one of these enemies with just the dagger wasn't going to get him great results with his inexperience, but disorienting them with the whip first would provide a great opening. The nearest threat was a kobold, and the nearby players were straight up unprepared. One of them was even swinging their arms at it, trying to get the lizard monster to back off. It wasn't looking in his direction anymore, so Verner hopped down and lashed out with his whip. To his surprise, his stats seemed to kick in right then and there, and he noticed a slight twitch in his wrist that offset his attack just slightly. The results of which were profound. The whip slapped the kobold, wrapping around its neck as Verner closed in from above. He had the most dumbfounded look on his face, but he knew what to do next. As soon as he was close enough, Verner finished off the scaly cretin with his dagger. "Back me up or get clear," he barked at the nearest players as he worked his whip off from the dead kobold. If there was loot, he'd see to it later. For now, he had to deal with enemies and rightly panicked gamers both at once. Even if no one helped him, Verner could at least maneuver more easily with the square less crowded, and thankfully, he wasn't the only one intent on 'scoring some free EXP.' "Focus ..."
  16. Verner made it into the tree without his spears catching on anything and ruining him, but the big announcement quickly took a turn for the worse. His sense of reality started to change, and he felt himself becoming more and more 'immersed' in the game with the sudden threat of death looming over them. Things felt more real, and he didn't feel quite as safe as he once did high up in a tree. Being raised a military brat, Verner didn't think twice about Edwin's warning of them not being able to log out, now. He wouldn't have checked for himself if not for all the people below and around him desperately searching their own holographic menus for an easy way out of this late afternoon nightmare. By the time Verner bothered to check and see if he was the exception, the logout button had already disappeared. "Alright then ..." Verner tried to think the situation through as the spirit of panic settled into the trapped gathering, but aside from hoping the police would catch on to what was happening and find a way to safely shut this whole thing down ... they were screwed, stuck in this Sky Blue game. Edwin didn't leave the crowd in a panic for too long, informing them that there was a way out of this mess. They had a task they could complete to escape back to reality. Banding together sounded like the natural course of action ... for intelligent people, at least. The real world was much more ridiculous than that ... and this was quickly becoming the real world. The old world was irrelevant for now, and all Verner's plans lay in ruins ... Verner didn't get down from the tree. The place was still too crowded, and he didn't want to be on the ground floor if a riot broke out. His stats weren't ideal for a brawl, no, not even against a bunch of other level 1s. Instead, he kept his eyes on Edwin, trying not to miss any crucial tells or information. Whatever was waiting for them in Trauk Cracy, Edwin was the ultimate problem: A maniac, a murderer, and obviously whimsical. If there was a real final boss after the final boss, it was likely him. "Trick the villain into killing himself cliche ... don't fail us now." Suddenly another UI appeared in front of him, and Verner groaned at it. "What now ...? Huh? My appearance?" Why give them that option? "... right, whimsical. Let's see ..." Keep his current appearance, which was just a somewhat edgier, jackdaw inspired take on his actual appearance ... or his actual appearance? Verner couldn't help but wonder if his stats would get reworked to account for his scrawny legs, which hadn't moved under their own power in two whole years. Regardless, he did not like the idea of being lean upstairs and a starved husk downstairs, much less appearing to everyone else that way. He wore baggy pants religiously. With little more thought going into his choice than that, Verner opted for his in-game appearance. Jackdawn had just been born.
  17. Verner had his day planned out like usual, and now that his chores were done and his client satisfied, he could give Sky Blue another try. The timing couldn't have been better. It was the name that drew him to the beta, but the VRX was what had him waiting around for the final release. He was hoping for something new and innovative at first, like a modern military fantasy game. Think fighter jets versus dragons. Sky Blue wasn't that, but the chance to be able to walk again, to run again, was just too much for the air force hopeful turned paraplegic to pass up. Better yet, though he hadn't tried them in the beta, the avians were, as their name implied, natural fliers. It wasn't a flight simulator, but Sky Blue was close enough and new enough for Verner to make the most of it. Verner definitely wanted to be an avian this time around, so he started over from the character creation section. He modeled his avian thief after himself as much as he comfortably could, though the anthropomorphic jackdaw was more handsome than he was, at least by Verner's own standards. Slightly clearer skin, more evenly spaced features, jet black hair as opposed to his average blond hair. Their blue eyes just about matched, though Jackdawn, or Jack for short, had slightly more vivid irises by comparison. Verner's hair was a bit long, so he made Jack's hair long as well, even longer in the back, which necessitated a hair tie. He didn't pay much attention to the clothing, figuring that he could address that somewhere down the road. Once he was finished, Verner headed on into the game. He was back, in this land of floating islands, airships, dragons, and monsters that spawned like rabbits. Looking down at his working, lean legs, Verner couldn't help but smile. He couldn't help but pace around while the welcome message and announcement played for him. Before long, Verner was jogging Voxrest Square had slipped his mind for the moment ... When Verner finally got his wits about him, he realized that if he wanted to get a good start in this game, he should probably use the gold pieces he had to buy some more equipment. The dagger and padded armor were okay, and that free potion was downright necessary for a fledgling MMO player like him, but this loadout was for killing starter monsters and theft practice. Thief was a relatively safe starting pick, but Verner had no intention of being a wandering opportunist in the long term. Like every other aspect of his life, he had a plan. The beginning of that plan was to do a bit of shopping to round out his inventory, then refamiliarize himself with Pastral and any changes it might have undergone between the last time he was here and now ... and then he'd head over to Voxrest and wait for whatever this announcement was. The end of that one hour came up quick, but Verner didn't arrive at Voxrest emptyhanded. He'd done some digging and learned from some other players that the starting padded armor wouldn't do him any favors in the stealth department. Once he confirmed he wasn't dealing with a griefer or some other nuisance, he sold the padded armor for leather armor. It didn't feel any better to wear, but he'd thank himself for optimal sneaking ability later, he wagered. He also picked up some gloves to make his intended treetop shenanigans a bit easier on his hands. Verner even found some other interesting things, like a whip. He just had to try it. He found some spears and purchased them too, hoping he wouldn't be too disadvantaged at range. Verner picked up a shield that ought to do him some good in tougher spots. There were a few other adventuring items he'd picked up simply for the sake of having them, a lantern, a flask of oil, a couple of nets for fishing or whatever ... oh and thirty lockpicks. As a thief, he'd feel naked and stupid without them. There were plenty of others gathering in Voxrest Square for this big announcement, probably a more personal and heartfelt welcome from the developers. Verner had never been a fan of crowds, real or virtual, and was almost desperately searching for a big tree to flap up into to watch from. "Come on, there's gotta be a big one with a nice view ... hey there we go!" Spotting a suitable tree, Verner smirked and reached back to steady his spears. He didn't want them getting caught on any branches when he flew over. That would be embarrassing ...
  18. "It's called Majestic," SleepyBot retorted, "Try staying in range of support or you're just gonna get lit up again." Dr. Flambre had taken out one of the Soldaats before the other one opened fire on him. Hitomi hadn't seen that much concentrated hate spewing from a lone Soldaat in a good while, and it was a wonder Flambre's Excel held up as long as it did. Thankfully, after he went down, the Soldaat took a breather. One more attack would have destroyed him, which meant no self-recoveries. "We didn't spread ourselves out the right way ..." she mused aloud. Their strongest tank and only repairman were up in the north, and save for GramSlam, they were having an easy time of it. Going in all lone wolf had definitely backfired on him, though the actual struggle looked cool. Turn 3 Movement Phase "This is Berk. Odyssey, we've broken through their main defensive line. We can now begin providing direct support for the mission. We'll be marking locations on your HUD in a few moments. We'll be sending ammunition and repair teams to those locations as quickly as we can." "Yay, care packages~" Hitomi beamed. There were a lot of Soldaats, so they could use the extra ammo in particular. Mewlanie moves right 4 Trooper 21 moves left 1, down 1, left 1 Sable moves down 2, right 2 Leader 2 moves 3 left GramSlam moves left 1, up 1 Trooper 20 moves 3 left May13 activates boosters (+3 mov) and moves right 5, 2 up Leader 4 moves left 3 Dr. Flambre successfully performs a Self-Recovery Trooper 24 moves left 4 Fire Miko moves left 3, down 5 Trooper 25 moves left 4 Sicarius moves up 1, right 2 Trooper 15 moves down 2, left 1 Keizerin moves down 2 Trooper 16 moves left 3 Reinstall moves left 1, down 2, right 1 Gunner moves left 1, up 3 SleepyBot moves right 4, down 1 Trooper 35 moves up 4 BB moves right 1, down 1 Trooper 36 moves left 1, up 3 Motherloader moves right 3 All remaining Soldaats decline to move BK declines to move Flake oves right 2, up 2 Aliens moves right 4, down 1 SS moves down 1, right 3 Aska moves down 3
  19. It took a lot of willpower for Firmia to let the 'bestie' comment slide in public, but the Alkaev had plenty of it left in stock. Luckily, Louise didn't waste any more time than that getting into Apotheosis' current logistics ... and goodness were their prospects grim all over again. Usually, they would only have to face down the enemy piecemeal. Their winning streak was actually feasible when Apotheosis kept making the same kinds of tactical errors. The next mission was a whole other beast, unfortunately. Between a much larger number of grunts to contend with, five other Soor'Kan level elites ... and one seriously dangerous Sacarian King, they could be in for a ridiculously hard fight. What good would cutting the head off Apotheosis do if the Sacarians could reanimate and control the body, so to speak? Their battle plan could use some revision in light of the new intel ... perhaps some way to inflict massive damage or similar on the garrison just ahead of the final attack. Firmia was in for a shock when Jessica brought up her intentions for Vera and Louise. The former was going to be given whatever the Riese could spare in terms of mobile suits. Louise was offered up without complaint, supposedly in light of the exchange in the brig. Firmia didn't know what to say to that ... "Thank you." She was indeed thankful that there weren't going to be any annoying negotiations or trades in exchange for Louise. It very well could have gone that way, and being able to skip that part was a relief. In hindsight, instead of just ending that on a thank you, Firmia realized she could have used that as a lead-in to inform the meeting room about the Athena and her crew. She was too caught off guard to notice until after the topic had changed. Alas. That new topic was definitely a downturn from Vera and Louise joining them. Seung-Min noted Astin's absence. Firmia figured they were the third mole, but the lieutenant had her doubts for whatever reason. Then and there, Firmia thought it extremely important to point out the implications of those doubts. "If Astin was kidnapped," Firmia stood up from her seat, "then there's still one mole left." She had glanced around the room but ultimately set her sights squarely on Jessica. It was her responsibility to deal with it before they had another sabotage and shooting incident if that was the case, and Firmia managed to convey as much with just a simple stare. "I personally think Astin is with Apotheosis, but I can't prove that, so I won't press it ..." she paused, glancing at Vera and Louise ... "Actually ..." It was kind of interesting to think that back at the beach, Louise had offered to give them the name of one of the moles in exchange for AMS data. Firmia had naturally refused, but that same offer now was seemingly harmless. What a laugh ... Firmia made sure not to actually laugh and barely even gave away her own amusement. "Oh right," Brant leaned forward, realizing that Louise in particular might be able to confirm this for them one way or another, "The beach." He remembered that tense encounter, too. "Do either of you know? You seemed pretty well informed back then ..." Brant quickly remembered that Vera wouldn't be any help here at all, having just said she wouldn't rat out her allies. That included Avery and potentially Astin.
  20. Somewhat interested. Need an excuse to learn some DnD too.
  21. Enemy Battle Phase Leader 2 Engages GramSlam! Attacks with the Battle Rifle for 43 damage! Switches to Explosive Rounds and attacks again for 80 damage! GramSlam counters with Oculus Beam for 108 damage! Leader 2 attacks yet again with Explosive Rounds for 80 damage! GramSlam counters with Oculus Beam for 108 damage! Leader 2 attacks with Explosive Rounds for another 80 damage! Leader 2 attacks one last time with Explosive Rounds for 80 damage! Leader 2 ends the Engagement! Soldaat Sniper 1 Engages Fire Miko! Fire Miko Evades! +2 To-Hit! Activates BVRE and attacks with their Sniper Rifle and misses! Sniper 1 ends the Engagement! [Fire Miko + 3 XP] Soldaat Sniper 4 Engages Fire Miko! Fire Miko Evades and uses Full Defense! +2 To-Hit and -25% damage! Activates BVRE and attacks with their Sniper Rifle and misses! Sniper 4 ends the Engagement! [Fire Miko +3 XP] Soldaat Sniper 5 Engages SleepyBot! SleepyBot uses Evade! +2 To-Hit! Sniper 5 activates BVRE and attacks with their Sniper Rifle and misses! Sniper 5 ends the Engagement! Soldaat Sniper 6 Engages SleepyBot! SleepyBot uses Evade! +2 To-Hit! Sniper 6 activates BVRE and attacks with their Sniper Rifle and misses! Sniper 6 ends the Engagement! Soldaat Trooper 15 Engages Aska! Aska Evades! +2 To-Hit! Trooper 15 attacks with Beam Axe and misses! Swings again and just narrowly hits! Aska's Diliant Barrier soaks up all of the damage! Trooper 15: >_>; Trooper 15 ends the Engagement! [Aska + 6 XP] Soldaat Trooper 21 Engages GramSlam! Trooper 21 switches to Explosive Rounds and attacks with Battle Rifle! Does 80 damage! GramSlam counters with Oculus Beam for 108 damage! Trooper 21 fires again for 80 damage! GramSlam fires off his last Oculus Beam and misses! Trooper 21: Heheheheh. Trooper 21 attacks again and crits for 120 damage! (Full roll is 3,3,5!) Trooper 21 attacks with his last Explosive Rounds for 80 damage! Trooper 21 ends the Engagement! Trooper 12 Engages Dr. Flambre! Attacks with Beam Axe for a crit and 116 damage! (Full roll is 1,1,5!) Makes one last attack with the Beam Axe for 77 damage! Dr. Flambre counters with the Gun Lance and defeats Trooper 12! [Dr. Flambre + 58 XP] Mewlanie: I guess 'e ees good for somesing ... Dr. Flambre: Si, muchos grassy ass Mewls, hope you have much stream, drink was muy bein? Mewlanie: You can drop ze act >_> Dr. Flambre: No hablas Español. Mewlanie: 'itomiiiiiiiiiii ... Hitomi: ... Makala: ... pérdon? Trooper 13 Engages Dr. Flambre! Trooper 13 attacks with the Battle Rifle for a crit and 113 damage! (Full roll is 6,6,5) Trooper 13 keeps shooting for another 75 damage! More dakka, 75 more damage! Melanie: Oi, franchement? Dodge! Maintenant! Trooper 13 shoots again for 75 damage and a KO! Trooper 13: *blows smoke off battle rifle with exhaust vent* Trooper 13 ends the Engagement! End of Turn 2
  22. FullMetal Terrorist (Other link just in case: https://pastebin.com/58RfKzbe) Here they were again in the meeting room. Every debriefing seemed to break new ground, but this one was the creme de la creme. Two of Apotheosis' most iconic murder princesses were in attendance, along with some of Abigail's team. The doctor wasn't sure whether to introduce herself later or simply carry on like she always did, but it was good to know that Abigail's situation hadn't been nearly as bad as it seemed, and seeing firsthand why. She didn't have any more questions for Louise that the others couldn't tackle. Frankly, she found the woman turned android too grating for conversation in general. So that was Calina, Brant mused. The was the other side of that awkward affair, the one Jessica was going to ... well, going to do something about. Brant wasn't sure what she had planned exactly, only that Calina was going to either have to accept Abigail's new lover or leave. With the way Jessica was acting recently, no other outcomes were even remotely possible. That didn't leave him much to think about. The fact that Jessica was willing to put her relationship with Abigail above Calina's was just too much. Stealing a glance at Louise Brant was reminded of just how varied and potentially destructive personalities could be, both the evil ones as well as the well-meaning ones. That was when Brant realized at least partly why he was so wary of Jessica, in light of Calina's survival ... it was his paternal instincts, again. They had completely taken over. The mere association was getting to him now, swiftly putting down what was left of that already shaky friendship. How else would his daughters understand that he could not and would not condone that kind of thinking? And how could he not worry about it in the first place? They were Rosa's biological daughters, with at least some of her traits and some of his. Anything was possible, but he wanted them to learn from and emulate Chris, and not mistake anyone else as good role models unless they actually were. Things were looking to be a bit more dubious now with his minor faux pas in the brig, earlier. As for Calina's attempt to vindicate herself, Abigail, and the rest of their crew from the attack on Colony One, Brant really didn't care at this point. The real butcher from Colony One was Vera, and she was right here, being restrained in front of everyone. Despite how strange the situation was, and the likelihood of annoying Firmia, Brant made a microscopic wave at Calina, saying, "Welcome to the team." It was his customary greeting to new allies, but there was absolutely no enthusiasm to go with it this time. There was nothing in that realm to be enthusiastic about anymore, and Firmia indeed managed a quick scowl at him for it. Firmia had simply rolled her eyes at Calina's explanation. It would have meant something to her if they hadn't taken over an ANF facility by force before coming to strong arm them in the middle of their last and most important mission in a bunch of stolen new models. Those could have been used in the war, but instead, they were getting tuned up for today's nonsense. All Apotheosis' deception proved to the Alkaev were that Abigail's people were morons, as if attacking the ANF wasn't proof enough. Of course she scowled at Brant for welcoming them. These people weren't his allies, they were Jessica's. Maybe the ANFs if they were feeling generous. The Avalon and her crew, though? Not a chance in hell. Firmia would rather associate with conniving bloodthirsty slashers like Troy Lanzer ... and of course, Louise, than with a bunch of well-intentioned spontaneity driven idiots. If the ANF was going to pardon them, then they weren't Firmia's problem anymore ... not exactly, anyway. Her concerns wouldn't change anyone's mind or even affect the situation, so she offered nothing on it. With Louise ready to take questions, though, Firmia found herself more than a little irritated. Were they really doing this again? She wanted to approach the table and slide her tablet over to the android, instructing her to just write down every last detail she could think of about Apotheosis. That was a better use of the time they had here, and it would give Firmia the opportunity to add in her own news about the EU defectors and what they were bringing to the mission. Rather than make a scene, she opened her notes and asked, "We need logistics on that base. Tell us how many ships and suits they have, what makes and models, what other defenses we can expect ... whatever you can remember." Hopefully, her grudge against Alphonse was all they had gotten rid of or changed. If Louise only had fake intel, then her answers might do more harm than good.
  23. Turn 2 Movement Phase BB moves up 1, right 2,up 1 Trooper 19 moves 4 left Motherloader moves up 3 Trooper 18 moves 4 left Crimson M moves 2 right Leader 2 moves 3 down Fire Miko transforms and moves down 6, right 3 Trooper 20 moves down 3 Melanie moves up 2, right 2 Trooper 21 moves down 2 Sable moves up 3, right 3 Trooper 13 moves left 4 SleepyBot moves right 2, 1 up (ascends) Trooper 12 moves left 4 Linus moves up 2, right 2 All remaining Soldaats PASS SS moves right 3, up 1 Reinstall moves right 1, down 2, right 2, down 1 Flake moves right 4, down 1 GramSlam moves right 4, down 1, right 3 Keizerin moves down 6, right 1, down 2 Aska moves down 4, right 3 Dr Flambre moves right 1, down 2, right 3 Allied Battle Phase Keizerin Engages Sniper 3! Flurry and double moonlight! Sniper 3 shields but the Defense Plate breaks and the second hit deals 304 damage! Kei attacks again for 304 damage and takes Sniper 3 out! Keizerin cloaks! Engagement Over! [Kei + 300 XP] Motherloader Engages Trooper 19! Attacks with Heavy MAC! Trooper 19 uses Defense Plate and it breaks! Motherloader ends the Engagement! Fire Miko Engages Trooper 17! Flurries with Karasawa Mk.1! Trooper 17 shields but the Defense Plate melts and the second attack hits for 360 damage! Fire Miko attacks with a Spread Missile and has a critical miss! Full roll is (1,1,2) which results in a hit! Trooper 4 is caught up in the blast! Fire Miko ends the Engagement! [Fire Miko + 315 XP] Aska Engages Trooper 15! Flurry and double Halberd! Trooper 15 uses Defense Plate and blocks both! Aska Flurries with Moonlight! Trooper 15 uses Defense Plate but it breaks on the first hit and he takes 243 damage! Aska attacks with Vulcans for another 54 damage! Aska ends the Engagement! [Aska + 152 XP] Mewlanie Engages Gunner 2! Activates BVRE and attacks with Heavy MAC for 360 damage! Gunner 2 wanted to counter and BB was waiting for it but he doesn't have enough ATK! Mewlanie uses BVRE again and attacks with the Karasawa for 360 damage and a KO! Mewlanie ends the Engagement! [Mewlanie + 300 XP] "Très bien~! When does zis get 'ard, eh?" The Black Knight Engages Trooper 21! Attacks with Howitzer for 216 damage! BK ends the Engagement! [BK + 108 XP] May13 Engages Trooper 19! Attacks with LRM! Trooper 19 blocks with Defense Plate ... and it breaks. May13 attacks with 4 more LRMs! The first three deal 135 damage each, but the fourth is a crit for 203! (full roll is 6,6,1) Trooper 19 lays down and stops moving. May13 ends the Engagement! [May13 + 300 XP] Dr. Flambre Moves up 1 and Engages Trooper 12! Trooper 13 is rightly dubious ... Dr. Flambre attacks Trooper 12 with the Gun Lance! Trooper 12 raises Defense Plate, which breaks from the attack! Dr. Flambre attacks with a HEAT stake for 270 damage! Trooper 12 counters with Beam Axe and crits for 116 damage! (Full roll is 2,2,6) Dr. Flambre uses the Target Designator on Trooper 13! Dr. Flambre ends the Engagement! [Dr. Flambre + 135XP] Sable Engages Trooper 18! Sable attacks with the Karasawa MK.I and crits for 540 damage! (Full roll is 2,2,5) Trooper 18 counters with the Battle Rifle for 75 damage! Sable ends the Engagement! [Sable + 270 XP] Sicarious Engages Trooper 18! Attacks with Howitzer and easily takes out Trooper 18! Sicarius ends the Engagement! [Sicarious + 8 XP] SleepyBot Engages Trooper 12! Trooper 12 counters with the Battle Rifle and crits for 74 damage! (Full roll is 4,4,2!) Sleepy attacks with Plasma Burst and crits for 216 damage! (Full roll is 2,2,3!) Trooper 12 counters with the Battle Rifle again and deals 49 damage! Sleepy ends the Engagement! Reinstall Engages Trooper 17! Reinstall attacks with Large Missile and crits! The full roll causes an autohit and KO's Trooper 17! (Full roll is 1,1,1!) Reinstall ends the Engagement! Flake Engages Soldaat Leader 2! Flake attacks with Heavy M.A.C! Soldaat Leader 2 blocks with the Defense Plate ... and it breaks ... Flake ends the Engagement! GramSlam Engages Soldaat Leader 2! GS attacks with Oculus Beam for 108 damage! Leader 2 counters with Battle Rifle for 43 damage! GS attacks with another Oculus Beam for 108 damage! GramSlam ends the Engagement!
  24. Megumi still didn't want Kim leaving the infirmary until she had a passive monitoring method in place, but that was her only issue with the lieutenant heading to the brig with her. "Alright, Kim, but if you're going to be moving around, I want to see if I can't set up a recorder, first. You'll have to wear it most of the time until I have a clearer picture of what's going on with you." A helmet with a T-Link interface would have done, but the lieutenant deserved to at least be able to wander the ship not looking like a disabled girl in a crash helmet. Jessica was gone in an instant, leaving Esther to Seung-Min and by extension, Christina. Brant supposed the point of it was having a TK look after the situation. It was still strange to see her like this. Maybe she was more motivated. Between the situation with Abigail--however that was going--and the moles finally making their move, he could see there being more than enough pressure to keep her focused. Not to mention the Heion Riese was still bobbing around in the ocean like an astronomically overpriced comm buoy. As much as Brant wanted to ask to talk to her when she had the time, he couldn't see anything good coming of it. He only had two things to say to her: Something akin to 'Hi, how're you doing?' and ... something along the lines of 'What are you and Abigail going to do, now?' He already knew the answer to both questions, making the first meaningless fluff, and the second a good way to piss himself off. If even now, the entirety of their relationship being based on bad intel and impatience, still wasn't going to end, not even for the other person's sake ... if all it took for Jessica to go this far was essentially permission from Abigail ... then was there really anything to talk about? By that point, there was no hiding the shift in his mood, even from those without any TK senses. It feels like there's nothing left. Just ... there's still time to figure this out. For now, focus on Rosa. Jessica won't listen no matter what I say, but Rosa's trying ... and she actually needs your help, so focus on that. It wasn't something he could articulate to Chris at the moment, but Brant feared they had finally hit an impasse. The next time he spoke to Jessica would probably be the last, so he was obviously torn about doing so. It wasn't entirely Brant's fault, since his principles were informed by his experiences, and it wasn't entirely Jessica's fault since she couldn't be held to anyone's standards but her own. Brant had to draw the line somewhere though, and this was it. This was the kind of thinking he despised the most, the kind that ruined his life multiple times. His ties to Jessica were essentially gone, and the same would hold true for Rosa if she couldn't stay humble and learn from her mistakes. She was a unique person in a unique circumstance, which was why Brant felt so compelled to try; he never had the chance with Jessica, and never wound. Brant met eyes with Chris briefly, still unable to hide the fact that his mood was in freefall. "Yeah. Let's see ..." He still managed to keep the melancholy out of his voice, at least. Brant couldn't risk the fallout of call Firmia from the Riese and letting her hear any gloominess in his voice. That was just a recipe for unbridled Alkaev rage ... "Hey, Firmia? Hope it's not a bad time ..." "Not really." She sounded normal. That was fast. "Good. Christina's alright, but Kim's having some issues and the doctor's trying to figure out what's going on. Since the Alkaev company has its own research on TKs, I was wondering if we could check there for any insight. Basically Kim's senses are a lot stronger than normal. She can even read Chris and Christina's thoughts. Think the last time that happened, we were trying out the Artemis' T-Link." "There's nothing in the journal about that," Firmia came back almost instantly, "but I'm heading over anyway, so we can talk more about that in person." "You're coming here?" Probably to berate Jessica about the moles, granted, but ... "Yes. By the way, there's a change of clothes for both of you in the Regalia under Chris' seat. I figured something like this would happen again, and I don't want you running around in SKINsuits all day ... so take a break from whatever you're doing and go change." "Pff ... heh ..." "I do have an investor to check in on," Firmia said pointedly, referring to Roxanna, "and I also want to ask the Riese's doctor about a few things while I have the chance. Since Tonya isn't going to be straightforward about it, I am. I don't know when the meeting's starting either, so I-" And there was a call ... from Brant, no less. "Hm?" "Hey, Firmia? Hope it's not a bad time ..." A bad time? Oh right, she'd given them orders while still reeling from the news about Commander Vance. She was only feeling a little better now, and only because the positives in her personal situation outweighed the negatives. "Not really." "Good. Christina's alright, but Kim's having some issues and the doctor's trying to figure out what's going on. Since the Alkaev company has its own research on TKs, I was wondering if we could check there for any insight. Basically Kim's senses are a lot stronger than normal. She can even read Chris and Christina's thoughts. Think the last time that happened, we were trying out the Artemis' T-Link." Mindreading? Firmia had been over a lot of the TK data, hoping to increase her knowledge and get some insight into how to further develop the technology that supported TKs in combat. Nothing about mindreading ever showed up. "There's nothing in the journal about that, but I'm heading over anyway, so we can talk more about that in person." Admittedly she hadn't finished her studies, but she was fairly confident there wasn't anything helpful to Kim's situation there. All of the research the company had going back more than twenty years was limited to herself, Brant, Rex, and a couple of KIAs. The chances of that being relevant were slim to none. "You're coming here?" "Yes." Why were people so surprised about that? Hate the captain, not the ship. That was simple ... though one thing the Alkaev wasn't keen on was going over to the Riese with nothing but a buttoned-up long coat separating her and her SKINsuit from any onlookers on the Riese. "By the way, there's a change of clothes for both of you in the Regalia under Chris' seat. I figured something like this would happen again, and I don't want you running around in SKINsuits all day ... so take a break from whatever you're doing and go change." "... I need to change, too. I'll be back in a minute." Sasha was about to make a comment, but stopped himself, figuring maintenance was going to be a bit of a mess anyway. The drones were constantly flying in anything they could find and the mechanics were just finishing up with returning the funnels to their racks. They also had to make room for the Luna and any other wreckage that made it back. They really should invest in a few shuttles or something. These mobile suits weren't meant for ferrying people back and forth. "Fix it?" Did she mean the power management issue that made the Gae Bolg so volatile when firing? That would definitely cheer up the mechanics, then ... "May! We're out of time, here! Whoever's doing this is inside! We've got to purge, now!" Oh right ... still panicking. "Please don't do that; she already has the data," May sighed, "I think the Captain's letting them-" Using the broadest possible definition of the term 'letting,' "look around. Wish someone had ask us first, but what can you do ... besides purging, I mean." "Wait, the ANF is doing this?" "Those sons'a-" Another voice picked up on the comm briefly. "I know it's kind of one-sided, but look on the bright side ... they might help us fix Merrygate's BFG problem." "Oh yeah, sure ... board's going to love our project data leaking to the wrong bloody faction since, 'hey, we fixed the system ... oh and the ANF has the completed version!'" May winced. "... would it be all the same if you got paid anyway? Troy practically kidnapped us so it's not like the EU can blame GA ..." "They better pay us more than the EU 'cause I need to disappear after this mess." "We're so done ..." another voice picked up, again.
  25. Enemy Battle Phase Soldaat Gunner 2 Engages BK (Alondite)! Attacks with the Heavy MAC! BK tries to evade and does~ [BK +3 EXP] Soldaat Trooper 14 continues his beef with Reinstall (Wildchild)! Attacks with the Battle Rifle for a crit! (full roll is 4,4,3) Reinstall counters with his Battle Rifle twice and puts Trooper 14 down! Soldaat Sniper 3 Engages Reinstall! The Sniper snipes and damages Reinstall ... nothing more to say about that. End of Turn 1
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