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Super Robot Wars ∀: Deep Space IC Thread - Part 3: Crisis Point

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Punching Flags

Tristan was already running on a treadmill when Kim ran in, a bit shocked by her sudden barrage. Someone else was as well, meekly stepping over to the lieutenant and trying to talk. "Uhm... You, er... Before you... Ahh..." Sergeant Kazue was having difficulties talking to Kim, she was just, exuding this aura of anger, it was difficult to approach. "You... Sh-Should stretch, before... Er, you could... Hurt yourself, going so hard, without... I, I might... It's not really my place, but..." That was about all the could manage, sweeping her hair in front of her face again, hiding behind most of it and peeking at Kim with one eye.

... Is that the same person? Tristan was a bit shocked to see the sergeant so... Demure. With the lines she'd been spouting out over comms, this was... Well, he hadn't expected it. Was it all an act? Maybe a way to pump herself up during battle? I hope Kim's alright... I didn't catch all of what Kazue said, but, she is definitely going rather hard on that bag. Did something happen?

Cafetalkria

"Uh... Well, you don't have a change of clothes, I imagine, but we're the same size, so Iiii'm gonna go raid Christina's room, and get you something to wear, alright? Tarquin, you can handle taking her to the cafeteria, I'll meet you two there." Chris waved the both of them off, heading for the elevators. Nina waved rather emptily, staring out at nothing after.

"What do you do here, Tarquin?" A question out of the blue, slowly turning that empty gaze towards him, with a bit of a tilt of the head.

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If it weren't for the bundle of emotions that came along with it, Seung-Min likely wouldn't have noticed the timid voice at all, but turning to face the source, Kim put her hand out towards the bag as it recoiled from her latest blow, stopping it firmly mid-swing with her catch. 

"I suppose you're right-... erm..." Kim looked at the person who had interrupted her for a few moments. This was no crew member she had been aware of. One of the new pilots from Central? That seemed the most likely explanation... the only one she could really think up at the moment, anyway. As she turned, Kim came to the realization that she had also entirely missed Ensign Calvin as well, and both seemed to be fixed on her for the time being.

"I... don't think we've been introduced? My apologies if we have, but I can't say I recognize you, miss...?"

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SRW Impact

"Er... S-Sergeant, Kazue Fujiwara." She tried to hold a hand out, but ended up pulling her handshake back, too difficult. "I, was out on the field, today... I can i-imagine compared to, the rest of you, I didn't really... Leave much of an impact."

"You did, actually," Tristan chimed in, now paying attention to catch the quiet woman. "Though, I don't suppose you're about to give us the same examples as out there."

"A-Ah, ahah... Uhm, n-no... It's... A lot more embarrassing, in person." Had the Ensign heard all of that? He must have, the bridge monitored comms... Oh, what a mess...!

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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The robots had ushered the prisoner in--accompanied by the captain, already engaged in some interrogation--and towards one of the beds that Monty had waved them at. "Alright, alright, this'll sting some, but don't struggle and let me get some work done. Right now your life hangs on me, not those Bismarck chaps," the doctor played things up a bit for the captive, though depending on how badly the glass had done him, maybe not too much up. It was time to take a look see. A light antiseptic spray first, then an anesthetic one. Turning to the closer android--mm, that one was Jessica, right--Monty had a slight request. "I'll be removing the foreign objects from his arm now, which will require some degree of precision. Pain shouldn't be an issue, but sometimes when a patient watches, they get antsy even if they can't feel it. Or maybe because they can't. Either way, if he's unable to remain still, please restrain him." Obviously, he'd prefer the prisoner remain compliant of his own accord, but it was best to be prepared.

It was about that time that Firmia had to take a call, stepping out into the hallway for what privacy that offered her. Huh, well, let's not look a gift horse in the mouth then. Without there being any worry now of someone trying to be a backseat medic, there was considerably less pressure, and Monty could relax and work this at his own pace. As he worked, he slipped into humming a little bit, just some snatches of a little thing he'd been working on, nothing anyone would recognize.

"Ah, I'm sure you'll be doing plenty of sleeping afterwards, even if you can't be now," the doctor absently addressed the patient. "Body does some of its best work while there's nobody at the helm, so don't fight it." A sidelong glance to the hallway, and he added. "I'll try to impress on her the importance, so she doesn't keep you up all night, wringing you for answers. Best I can do."

Well, that wasn't entirely true, there were some pills that would knock him out like a light, regardless of Firmia's desire for interrogation. But Monty was optimistic enough to believe that wouldn't be necessary.

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Kazue Fujiwara? Kim was sure she recognized that name from somewhere, but she just couldn't place where that was. A combat report or broadcast from the military... no, that didn't seem right. It should have been the most logical place to have heard a fellow soldier's name, but it just felt... wrong. How strange... oh well, more important things to be doing than pondering something like that.

"Lieutenant Seung-Min Kim. Well met, Sergeant." Kim replied, about to accept the handshake before it was withdrawn. She really was timid, this one, and whatever stand out feature of her fighting that Tristan had taken notice of was apparently rather embarrassing. 

"I can't say I noticed much... but I hope you don't take that as a slight. Between all of the chaos of the battlefield and... putting a new system in my machine to proper use for the first time, my attention was rather... focused. If Ensign Calvin says you were impactful... I'm sure it's true."

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An alien? The way Cheryl emphasized the statement, it was clear this was alien with a capital A, the outer space kind, not just some jerk overstaying their visa. Or at least, that's the doctor believed she had seen. Jess couldn't help but narrow her eye, wincing a little as the muscles in the ruined one attempted to do the same thing on their end, to which the only result was soreness and ache. Cursed symmetry. Eventually, she'd been assured--provided she continued to turn down a prosthetic--such occurrences would no longer be an issue, either because the healing process had finished, or she'd have developed the habits necessary to avoid it. Probably a combination of both.

"You're not exactly making a convincing case, Cheryl..." Jess's tone conveyed her doubt. But part of her was curious, and couldn't believe that in the middle of a battle, the psychologist was busy getting sloshed. Stepping over to the counter to help her out, she opened a drawer and pulled out a knife, beginning to pare some of the fat around the edges of the steak, then began to lightly season it and put it on the stove. A proper grill would have been best, but this should still do just fine. "If aliens are real, why is this the first we've heard of them?"

 

(Couch time, Jess sesh)

 

Her lunch with Tarquin now behind her, Jess found herself standing in front of Dr. Hart's office once again. Hesitating briefly, but gritting her teeth and realizing that today's roadbumps were even more reason to follow up on Megumi's advice and get the professional help she deserved, she reached up with her good hand and knocked.

"It's me. Ready or not... haha," it was forced laughter. Trying to keep up a good face, maintain the farce. She didn't even know why she was bothering, when the reason she was here was to get all of that stripped away to begin with. But, it seemed the thing to do. "I hope you have a comfortable couch," Jess continued, slowly opening the door and stepping in. "I might be here awhile."

 

"It's real leather," Cheryl joked back, giving Jess a momentary smile. "Feel free to sit down however you like. As long as your clothes stay on, I won't be bothered." She already had a notebook in front of her, and a few files open on her computer. Jezebel Barnes, Sergeant, last remaining member of her squad, all killed in action by unidentified weapons thought to belong to the unknowns the Riese encountered recently... That gets a big yikes from me, Bob. Cheryl would've grimaced were she alone. The weight this woman was likely feeling was immense... Hopefully Cheryl could give her some comfort, or a direction to keep trying to head in. Talking about these things was never difficult.

"Once you're comfy, why don't you tell me a bit about yourself? Or, whatever's on your mind. Either's fine." Need to get her a bit open to talking before she begins to delve.

 

Cheryl's response earned a wan smile, as Jess sank down onto it. Laying back, she rested a hand on her forehead as she stared up at the ceiling. Where to start?

"Megumi thought it would help me to speak with you, you two don't have some referral scheme in place do you?" If she could still tell jokes, that meant she was alright, didn't it? No? Maybe not. "I'm not sure what made me actually decide to follow through on it, though. Probably was just following the suggestion of someone with authority. I've been pretty okay at following, pretty shitty at leading. But of course that's where they'd placed me. I bet I'm getting discharged later, now that I'm not only subpar, but useless. That's probably what the captain was messaging me about at lunch. So, I guess I should milk you for all you're worth, while I've got you." Random thoughts, grievances, worries, all swirled together, like her brain was just going down the line of the soda pop dispenser and filling up its glass with some of each flavor of neurosis.

 

Handle with extreme care... Cheryl took the joke with a smile. If only they had a referral scheme, maybe more of these troubled pilots would actually come to see her. "If it helps to calm your worries, you're still Sergeant Barnes in the system. If the captain was going to discharge you, your listing would've been changed already. I think Jessica is just worried about how you're doing... Like I am. Can you tell me why you think you were Sub par?" Might be a decent place to start, depending on how far the spiral went. Jezebel was more than likely blaming herself for her squad's death, and that was understandable, but no one could've stopped that situation.

 

"Mmm, maybe," Jess equivocated. Hearing that she probably wasn't fired, and unlikely to get the boot, wasn't as cheery as it should have been for some reason. Guess the ANF just wasn't ready to cut off the wart quite yet.

"Why?" She was merely echoing, now, but it was useful to springboard off of. "You don't even need to look back at the years of unremarkable service, with subordinates getting promoted, transferred to more interesting units, or both. Just this final, most recent disaster should show it clear as day. Should have been any one of the others to make it back, not me. I know I'm no 'captain', but couldn't I have had the decency to 'go down with the ship', and put one of them on the 'life raft' instead?"

 

"I've looked into your records, they don't seem offensive.' Though, compared to other people being promoted, that might make it seem that way. But this... "You shouldn't wish yourself dead like that. I know you've had dealings with someone else on the ship. Thorvald Eriksson? I'm sure he'd more than happy to see you alive. You used to work together, right? Did you get along well?" A small question to try and take away from the pain. Hopefully she'd take it.

 

"I... It's not that I want to die," Jess complained, frustrated the doctor didn't seem to understand. When she'd put it like that, so plainly, it made it sound like what she was feeling was crazy. And she wasn't. She wasn't crazy. She was simply... struggling.

That brief protest lodged, Jess fell quiet again, listening to the rest of what Dr. Hart was saying. She'd never expected what she heard. "Eriksson, really? So this is where they shipped that old dog off to, huh? Guess there's not even arguing it now, the student has surpassed the master. We didn't always see eye to eye on everything, some different opinions on tactics and the like, but he was certainly better than some I had to deal with. Don't suppose he shook that bad habit of showing off his latest and greatest family photos? ...Would hate to be the one to have to break it to them if anything bad happened."

Cheryl's distraction ploy had worked... up to a point.

 

"Anya and Holly, right? He hasn't shown me yet, but I've spotted him opening the wallet to get them out for others time and again." This at least meant Jezebel wasn't alone, here. If her squad had been wiped out and she'd been dropped onto a boat with a myriad of strangers, this would be near impossible to help with. "Do you mind telling me about him? You worked with him for a little bit over a year, I'm sure he had more to do and say than talk about his lovely family." Cheryl had a pretty good question after this, but getting her away from the spiral of what had happened to her was more important. Hopefully talking about Thorvald wouldn't bring up anything unsavory, for the moment.

 

Pushing herself back up a little, Jess's lips twisted into a bit of a small grin as the shrink described the man up to his old antics. Nodding and meeting her gaze, she followed instructions. "Well~ for the most part, it pretty much is family, or at least family adjacent," she joked a little. "But I suppose you're right. There were some stories about his old mining business... or was it a fishing one, I forget? Maybe both, mining on the main with fishing on the side? Had a couple of tall tales about fighting pirates too, he was good at finding the right thing to say to put a smile on people's faces."

Thinking a bit longer, Jess frowned slightly. "Actually, he didn't get along that well with the Major on base, though, not a lot of people did. I suppose to a degree you can include me in that number too. The man always felt... oily, and self-concerned, not a whole lot of respect for the rank and file. Seem to remember over drinks one night, one of the guys was saying they overheard him on a suspicious phone call, but never got the chance to look into that before the whole Apotheosis thing blew up in our faces. Probably was nothing," she shrugged, "I saw something similar once when I summoned to receive some orders. Man just liked to put on airs to make himself feel important, I think."

"Back to Eriksson," Jess managed to return herself from the tangent. "Kind soul, very caring. Worried over the other soldiers, tried to think of new ways to teach them, get them engaged. Be hard pressed to find a better leader, as far as heart is concerned. Some of his techniques could use work, especially in zero g. Sometimes I thought he should be running the squad, and I guess HQ thought similar, taking him and putting him on the Riese here instead. I don't know why you're asking me this, though, I'm sure you've seen enough of him to have formed your own opinions by now, surely. Even if it's only been a week or two."

 

Why she was asking her this? "Well, I'm asking you because I want to ask something important... You asked if you were going to be discharged, but you haven't mentioned leaving, quitting, or asking for it. Jess, I asked you about Thorvald, because he's stationed here. And currently, so are you... I have to ask you, what is it that you want, going forward?" Might be a bit hard to answer, but...

"Most soldiers, let alone people, would receive an injury like that and want nothing to do with military life anymore... So it's important that, you know where you want to go with this. And before you answer, really, really think. There is no wrong answer, there is no coward's answer, there is no prideful answer. You are your own person. No one will think less of you, no matter what you choose." Thorvald wouldn't, anyway. And as he was the one she knew the most... That would probably weigh the heaviest.

 

Jess blinked in surprised disbelief. What did she want? The question was coming unexpected, she'd been so busy assuming she was being let go she hadn't even contemplated other alternatives.

"What do I want... huh?" Gripping the leather of the couch in her hand a little tightly, she screwed her face into a thoughtful expression. "I mean... I don't know what I'd do, either here or there. I feel, like... I can't just sit back and watch, you know, but on the other hand, I'm pretty much useless now, more so than before." Was this what the captain was going to talk to her about then, if she wasn't getting let go? Jess was somewhat unsure what to do with the information, if Gefalscht's hand had indeed been tipped for her.

She sighed and fell back onto the couch. Why was therapy hard? Why couldn't it be a quick fix, a once and done. She was exhausted and they'd only just begun. "I thought you were supposed to help me sort out my issues, not add new ones to the heap," Jess groaned.

 

Cheryl chuckled just a tiny bit, smiling. "What I'm trying to do is help you find a direction to go in. Too often I see people spiraling around what's happening to them... And while I don't want you to forget the people you've cared about, it would help for you to be able to look back, without going that way too." Can't just sit back and watch, was it?

"Considering the state of your eye, I take it you didn't want a robotic replacement? That's understandable if so, some people are against the add-ons, and you can still get phantom pains even with something new in there. Would you say that your other eye is still working just fine, Jess?"

 

Direction... Something to steer her out of the spiral, the cycle of despair, huh. A nice idea in theory, but pretty damn tricky in practice. Even with the doctor's help, it didn't seem like she was making any progress, just, talking in circles. But nothing in life was ever easy, was it? Can't just give up a couple paces from the starting line.

Cheryl's comment about her eye startled Jess out of her introspection, causing her to raise a hand to cover it, forgetting for the moment the eyepatch was already doing that job just fine without assistance. It placed her on edge. What did it matter? Whether reconstruction were attempted, a donation received, prosthesis implanted, or--on an even more basic level--whether it had even been her choice or not, along with whatever reasons she may have had behind it? Electing not to elaborate any more than necessary, Jess just stuck to the direct question, nothing more.

"Haven't noticed any deterioration in vision... other than the obvious: lack of coverage and depth perception. Seems like the holdout is putting in as much work as it always has, at least."

 

Alright, don't ask about the eye. Clearly still plenty of related trauma, no need to poke the hornet's nest. If the other one is fine, then... "Since it seems like you aren't looking to get kicked out of the ANF, have you considered offering to assist some of the pilots in their machines?" A daunting task, but if the woman was looking to leave, it would've been priority number one.

"A lot of the machines here are unique and require a lot of manpower to work properly. Even some of the smaller models have copilots to help excess systems work at full capacity... Both Thorvald and Sergeant Silvavolke were given a new machine the ANF is deciding to class as a super robot. I haven't looked inside, but I can't imagine they'd be easy to pilot single handedly. What do you think?"

 

"Co-pilot, huh," Jess frowned as she mused. "While I'm sure Eriksson would extend an offer, if he knew I were looking to pitch in, just the kind of guy he is--it's hard not to feel like I'd be slowing him down, especially in some state of the art 'super' model. Then again, not many other paths forward. Certainly won't be flying solo, or hopping on a gun turret here on the battleship. I suppose I could take over the kitchen, but... demoted to lunchlady. What a sad sight that would be."

Silvavolke? Who might that be? Quickly racking her brain, she was coming up empty. The rank was wrong for Tarquin, as was the name... unless he were hiding a couple extra in there somewhere. Must be someone she didn't know... but that wouldn't make sense for Cheryl to be bringing it up then. Maybe? Oh, that had to be it.

"Silvavolke, Elaine Silvavolke? The girl who stopped by to see you earlier? Was she mentioning looking for an extra hand specifically, then?" Despite her protestations to the contrary, it seemed obvious enough that something inside of Jess was curious to see what these new machines the Riese was sporting might have going on under the hood, or if there wasn't some way she could do something of use in one of them.

 

"An extra pair of hands in a machine never slows anything down, trust me. If anything, having someone he can trust flying with him would probably make him more comfortable doing his job." And maybe make him take less risks, if he's protecting more than himself. He hasn't been hurt for it, but some reports do worry me...

Cheryl had to gird her laughter on that one. She ended up smiling wide, but it was close. "Elaine's last name is Heddrick. No, Silvavolke is an Aliza, we picked her up recently. I'm not sure why she was assigned the Sagittae, but I suppose the commander didn't want pilots without unique machines going forward. A part of the Riese's success in this campaign is the unknown firepower it brings from each individual." It was odd that it was working so well, but if you thought about it, the Riese was housing was could technically be called a heavily trained team of commandos, each an incredibly powerful soldier with an incredibly powerful weapon. Put that together and it wasn't a huge surprise they were taking on legions of enemy machines. The fresh blood just couldn't stand up to them.

"She seems like a nice girl, but, I would also understand wanting the comfort of someone you know. But, that's for you and the captain to decide, if it becomes something you want to do. I'm just suggesting it as something to think about."

 

Jess didn't know how much she trusted that assessment, coming from Cheryl. As far as she knew, Doctor Hart had never seen the inside of one of the ANF's machines, and certainly not in a combat situation. But on the other hand, there always was an awful lot going on, and so long as the rapport was good and tasks were agreed upon and divided beforehand... Well, maybe there was some truth in there.

It was a little disappointing though, to hear she'd gotten it wrong, the business with the names. Jess had felt like she'd solved a puzzle, a small one to be sure, but some mental legwork nonetheless. Fitting pieces together and making sense of things always gave that little rush of elation, and to find that the conclusion had been erroneous was a bit of wind out of her sails. Still, whether it was Elaine or Aliza, or Alice or Bob, it didn't make much difference in the long run. That would change, surely, when faces and names were put together, and especially when learning their personality. But for now, the difference didn't warrant much more than a shrug.

"Hmm, for me and the captain to decide," she mused on the couch. "That does remind me, I mentioned she wanted to meet with me, probably shouldn't keep her waiting forever." Pushing herself up and preparing to leave, the wounded pilot added for the doctor's sake. "Thanks for listening, talking, ...whatever. Feel like I maybe got a small bump up, but I'll probably be back to see you again when it wears off."

 

Progress was progress, however small... "You're free to come back any time. And if you need a friend outside of the office, don't be afraid to ask. I'm always up to chat."

 

(Your mission, should you choose to accept it)

'Okay, I'm ready now, where should I meet you.' Beep. Text message sent, Jess leaned up against the wall next to the elevator. It was likely she'd need to take it, wherever she was going, so she'd made her way there while composing the message. The sergeant had barely time to sigh, before the buzz of the communicator informed her of the reply. 'Alright, meeting room, top floor,' it read. She hadn't been to the meeting room yet, but it was likely to be fairly obvious.

Sure enough, not hard to find. Swinging open the door, Jess stepped in to see both the captain and the XO waiting for her, seated by the table. Even after her talk with Cheryl, it was hard not to let a rising sense of nervousness and defeatism take the reins. Moving over to a free chair that would let her face them comfortably while seated, she pulled it out with her good hand and settled in. Managing a weak smile, she saluted. "Reporting for duty."

Not technically accurate, as she currently had no duties, but it felt like the thing to say.

 

"Hey," Jess started, saluting her back and smiling. "You're Sergeant Barnes, right? 'Jess'? Heh, guess we're both Jess. Er, anyway... We just wanted to talk to see how you were doing." That was pretty much it. "We're not opposed to housing pilots that have been injured, we have some of the best medical tech in the military and a lot of space... I, guess I'm curious what you want to do, since you didn't choose to leave when given the chance." They were at Central, after all, and she was up and about. Jezebel could've taken leave at any point.

 

And surely enough their other Jess had arrived. Roxanna acknowledged her, though Jess...ica had already made the due introductions. "Currently, the ANF is hustling for pilots to fill positions on the front line.. but I can't say your situation fits." On her state, it was hard to tell if the ANF would even accept putting her on the front, only if things were too desperate. "You would probably need to be run through the basics again. Rehabilitation and all that, and probably rushed" It was unfortunate, "That is, only if you really want to."

 

Jess nodded as the captain went over names, a subdued half chuckle of her own as the other came to the realization of their shared moniker of choice. It did help to set the tone, and ease any tensions that hadn't already been dispelled by Cheryl and her suppositions.

The assumption that she would have just, left though, struck her as curious, mostly because it had never crossed her mind to do so. She hadn't been ordered back to debrief and give a report, and would have struggled greatly to work up the nerve to initiate such an effort to lay bare her failings on her own. It had just... been natural to wait on the Riese, until someone or something pushed her along one way or the other. Of course, this made the other Jess's question a tricky one to answer.

"I suppose I hadn't given much thought to the future," she quietly commented, staring down at her hands, clasped in front of her. "It's been hard to feel like I have any agency." An utter defeat of that magnitude, with little chance to even react, much less fight back, tended to do that to a person.

Lifting her gaze she turned to face the XO, who'd offered her own set of insights on the situation, which truthfully seemed like a bit of subtle nudging in a particular direction, despite the proviso added at the end.

"Back to basics, huh? Well, I suppose that beats outright disqualification," the sergeant slipped in a slight jab at her situation before weighing in on the heart of the matter. "Can't say I blame that, I'm not sure I'd even trust me to go it alone out there any more. Probably better to try for a support position of some kind."

 

Oh no, what happened? Jess furrowed her brows a bit, looking concerned. "Erm... I, I didn't mean anything by that. I just... I can't imagine what you've been going through. It was probably rude of me, but I assumed you would want nothing to do with the ANF anymore. If that's not the case, then... Well, Jezebel, you're free to do whatever it is you want. There's nothing stopping you from aiding one of our pilots, or offering to take up a suit yourself. I'm sure the depth perception will be a bit of a challenge, but there's aiming corrections for things like that. No one here is useless. That goes for you, too." The woman hadn't called herself anything of the sort, but Jess wanted to make sure it was cemented.

"To that end, if you weren't planning on leaving, did you have any ideas? I know we've been saddled with some new machines, and well be re-purposing whatever we can salvage from enemy encounters. So... Right now we wouldn't have an extra machine for you, but you'd be able to co-pilot for anyone else. What do you think?"

 

Oh... the captain had expected she'd just, stroll off the base and never look back? Jess blinked a bit, puzzled both by that, and by the fact that it had never even crossed her mind as an option. Was she more broken than she thought? Her lips started to slip into a frown, but she caught herself. Didn't want to worry these folks any more than she already was.

"I hadn't had much time consider, since my conversation with Dr. Hart started a ball rolling in that direction. She seemed to think it might be best if I stuck with someone familiar from my past, like Specialist Eriksson. Part of me feels like that would be a mistake though, or awkward at best, given the role reversal. There was this other girl she mentioned, um, Salvia Volke or something? I really don't know that I could weigh in on that without talking to her, but that might be a place to start looking I suppose. Other than that, I don't think I've really met anyone here outside of the medical staff, and uh, Specialist Herrington. He seemed like a nice boy, though, very young. It might be best to take a few days before settling on anything in particular..."

A rather non-answer, but what could you do?

 

"Yeah, I saw in your files that you knew him. And that'd be Aliza Silvavolke... Cheryl probably suggested her because of the super robots we just got? They have a lot of space in their interiors, from what their schematics suggest. That would make for an easy copilot spot... I can see what she was getting at." Jess smiled, it was a good idea, really. "Take the time you need. It wouldn't do to toss you right back into combat with what you've been through, so... Just, know that if you're staying on board, the option is available. You can talk to anyone while you're here, and we should have a proper room setup for you. Or, did you already get one? My apologies, I've... Been looking into a lot."

 

Nodding, as the other pilot's name was corrected for her, Jess made mental note to try to remember it better. Part of her felt unworthy of a space in the fancy new super robots, but... maybe. Then there was the matter of lodging accommodations. "No, no room yet," the sergeant replied. "Today's really the first time I've been out of the infirmary, so I didn't really need one before. And thanks," she smiled a little. "I will look into things, as the opportunities present themselves."

 

"Perfect! Then, XO, did you have anything to add? I think I'll leave getting her a room to you, and Jess... Heh. Whenever you're ready to make any decision, let me know, alright?" Jess stood up, and extended a hand across the table, smiling lightly. "It's been a pleasure finally talking to you."

Edited by Balcerzak

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Procedures

"[Affirmative, doctor. Restraining the patient.]" Jessicabot wasted no time in grabbing hold of Carlos' arm, avoiding his injuries, and gripping tightly, while holding it out for the doctor to address. Even if he was in pain, with her grip set, he would be unable to move it. "[Proceed as you wish.]"

"[Shall I do anything, doctor?]" Stephanie asked, standing at attention.

Alien Are Real

"Jess, I'm a psychiatrist, not a biologist, or an astrologist, I have no idea why, but there is an honest to goodness alien, right out of a sci-fi, sitting in the infirmary right now... And since you're helping, I guess you can come and meet her~ Figured I should get her something to eat for being so compliant. As in, not biting my hand off. Her teeth are massive. Like a shark on land. It's crazy." It looked like the woman knew how to cook, definitely a useful trait on a ship without a proper chef. "And I promise I'm not drunk. I can't hold my liquor in the slightest, if I was at all drunk, I'd be slurring all these words. I'm just excited, intelligent life from somewhere else in the universe, isn't it amazing?" There was a sparkle in her eyes, taking a moment to fetch a spatula for the burger. "It's... It's crazy. I get you not believing me at face value, just hold your shock when we get in there. She's... Impressive."

Justice!

"She was the one going on about fighting for justice, stopping evil, and all the other lines about heritage and power of her blood, or something." Admittedly, he hadn't committed the exact lines she'd used to memory. "I'm surprised that's a facade. You're really not that brave?"

"Er, y-you, don't have to say it all, ahh..." Too late. "And... N... No, I'm... Piloting is different. People are... Difficult." She sighed, poking her face out from behind her hair just a bit more, tucking that hefty lock behind her ear. "You did very well today, lieutenant. I'm surprised... Th-That the ANF has such, powerful machines on its side. I'm... I'm g-glad to be a part of the Riese's crew, even if... I'm not, packing as much of a punch."

"Considering what you were riding in, you did plenty." Those Cressida frames weren't exactly remarkable, but she'd made them look like the latest robots, with the way she was swinging that sword around.

"If... I-If you say so. A, Anyway, just... Make sure you stretch, before you go back to your... Erhm... Practice. You could pull something, and that won't be, a-any fun."

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Aliza took a nod at the alien's words as she cleared that she didn't know the other one personally, but she did know her species. Something Aliza should have thought on, but either way it was good to know. But before Aliza could ask anything else, someone approached the bed with a greeting and question. She turned to them briefly to answer. "Well Vvi had a headache on her way here, I dunno if an asprin or anything like that would help but..." She took a glance back at her. Seeing her in a more relaxed and subdued state, the closed eyes made Aliza assume she was about ready to take a nap so... "But I guess it looks like she needs sleep?"

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"Is that so... I'll have to make a point to pay more attention to general comms, in the future." Kim replied, flashing the demure sergeant a gentle smile. So it all just clicked on the battlefield, huh? Well, those types tended to make for the worst enemies, and thusly, the best allies. At the appraisal of her own performance and motives, Seung-Min shook her head slightly.

"The Artemis... is an incredible machine. I feel like... I'm still far away from being able to bring out it's... true potential. Though... to be honest, I didn't really come here to practice. I just... needed to clear my head, and this seemed the simplest way."

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With both Christina and Chris having tailed off, Tarquin had been left alone with Nina. Even without the other two present, it was very clear that she wasn't an ordinary person. The way she seemed so out of place, as if she'd never stepped outside and seen other people. That was probably the case, Tarquin hadn't left his lab until he was at least ten, which was probably about the same time he'd met another child his age. There was no telling how old Nina was chronologically, for all he knew she'd been grown minutes before their battle.

"I'm one of the pilots, I was genetically engineered to perform. Long distance shooting is my speciality, but I was designed to be adept at all ranges. I haven't missed a single shot since my deployment." Tarquin replied, unsure if Nina would click that he'd actually opened fire at her during the battle. "I don't do much else outside of battle, I don't really hold any authority."

Edited by Shin

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My Mind is Clear and Serene

"Ahh... I see. M-Maybe, you might want to, spar some? I... Well, I, er... I've been wonder if there's anyone, more my size, willing to go a few rounds. I haven't been able to for a while... M-Most of the other women on the base are too afraid to try." Kazue didn't paint a very imposing picture in her shorts and tank top, barely breaking past five foot seven inches. Still, anyone could tell at a glance that she knew what she was doing when it came to her body, what was visible of her arms and legs hardened and toned to near perfection. "If I'm, interrupting... That's fine."

Genetically Engineered

"I see... So you're like me," she said, with a soft smile. There were people like her here, that was somehow, comforting. "I was made for... Telekinetic weaponry. And longer range fighting... But I've missed plenty of shots. Your machine shot at mine today, right?" Her smile didn't fade, she was almost relieved. "I'm glad you didn't blow me up, Tarquin." A whole new world was starting to unravel, and it was both frightening and confusing.

"Where is the cafeteria? I don't know what the inside of the Riese looks like."

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"A sparring match?" Kim repeated, looking Kazue over. At a glance she didn't seem overly threatening, her demeanour attributing to that rather heftily, but it was clear that she was in excellent shape, if nothing else. There didn't seem to be any falsities in her claim that the other women on base seemed afraid to spar with her, either. At the very least, she believed that to be the truth.

"Sure. To be honest, I haven't gotten much chance to practice recently either. Though I'm not sure if that was people being unwilling, or just... not finding the right time. Either way, I'll take you on, Kazue."

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Though my Palm is as a Raging Fire

"Uh... Lieutenant, I'm not sure that's such a great idea..." Tristan had an idea of who this Kazue was, and TK or not, Kim was about to meet the floor.

"Really? That would be wonderful. Whenever you're ready." Kazue seemed to open up considerably, taking steps over towards the large, mat covered floor in the center of the work out area. It was more than large enough to house the two going at it. Kazue took a deep breath, closing her eyes for a moment, and took up stance... Feet properly apart, foot turned, hands out in tight fists. A rather surprising determination had sprung into her eyes, fixed on Kim. Whatever shyness and hesitation she'd housed had entirely disappeared. It was almost like she was rehearsing something she'd done thousands of times.

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"Oh, it'll be fine, Ensign. A good match is always a nice way to... let off steam." Kim replied, giving Tristan a light wave, before turning towards the mats in the centre of the room. One look at Kazue as she took her stance made it obvious she was well practiced, and the sudden serenity in her mind affirmed that further. It was like she was an entirely different person... good. She wouldn't have it any other way. Placing herself across from Kazue, Seung-Min lowered into her own stance... more boxy and angular than the Sergeant's, her right arm held vertically to cover her torso and head, whilst her left held perpendicular to it, feet spread apart in a line.

"Going to assume from your stance... you prefer MMA to boxing."

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This Hand of Mine is Burning Red

"I have trained in karate, and mixed in whatever else I have learned from fighting. The ANF's style of CQC is basic, but effective... It was a good match to my own fighting style. Since I was the one to ask you for this session, it would only be fair to permit you the first strike... Come at me with the best you have to offer, I wish to see where your skill rests, Lieutenant." Kazue took careful steps towards Kim, starting to circle just a bit. Her eyes were focused on the girl, intent on watching whatever she was going to try to strike with.

"Oh, boy..." Tristan hit hold on his treadmill, resting over the head of it, watching this. Idly he pulled up Kazue's name on his communicator... Open her file, look through some things... Oh, dear. "Good luck, Lieutenant!"

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Kazue Fujiwara, Kazue Fujiwara... that name was so damned familiar, why was it so familiar? It didn't really matter at this point... the worst mistake in a match was to allow your opponent's prestige to psych you out, after all. As Kazue began to circle inwards, offering Seung-Min the first move, the Lieutenant took in a deep breath, holding it in for a moment before beginning to move. Hammering her foot into the mat for leverage, Kim closed the gap in a single step, fist flying straight at Kazue's torso in an explosive charge. It was straightforward, but a good gauge of her reactions, and easy to follow up on. As soon as the Sergeant made a response, it would be simple to continue with whichever option offered the best potential result.

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It's Loud Roar Tells me to Grasp Victory

Simple, but effective, Kazue recited in her mind, taking a smooth motion to her left, and sliding Kim's fist behind her, while at the same time giving her back a hefty shove with an open palm, turning to face the lieutenant. "Good form. Again." It looked like Kim was more for frontal assaults and the like, rather than attempts to break guards, or whittle them down. An effective move, piloting a machine, but it would simply tire her out, here. Would she see that?

Tristan smiled a bit, it would be nice to see how long Kim lasted against someone like Sergeant Fujiwara.

 

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Hmm... so she had preferred to evade, rather than block or parry. The return shove had been hefty, but had simply been intended as a reset. Kazue's approach felt more like that of an instructor than a sparring opponent though... was that where she had heard the name? Had Fujiwara been a martial arts instructor? Could be... either way, returning to her stance, Seung-Min looked Kazue over again. If her approach was meant to test her, then rather than attempt to force her hands away and gain access to her midsection... 

Taking another charging step, rather than throw a punch this time, Kim's left leg shot out, aiming to sweep Kazue out from below. With barely any delay, taking a second step for momentum, her right knee shot towards Kazue's thigh to check her, left elbow coming down at her from above to crush her body in a pincer. If she tried a cheeky move like the last one again, she still had her right arm positioned to riposte.

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This Hand of Mine Glows With an Awesome Power

The sudden sweep was a good change, very nice, unexpected. What followed was, but it was good to see that Kim was able to change her approach on the fly. Kazue's foot was caught, but an open palm caught her knee, her arm blocking the incoming elbow. Kazue smiled. Swiftly, her right foot shifted behind her further, shoving against the mat, to give Kim a quick shoulder check. Taking that foot of space she'd gained, a fist came the girl's way-- a feint, Kazue pivoting on her left foot and swinging her leg around in a sudden roundhouse. The lieutenant was a TK, it wasn't a fast move, surely she would dodge, but that was fine.

Tristan withheld a whistle, for the both of them. The lieutenant truly was impressive, the sergeant far from a slouch.

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Well, her attack had been partially successful. Sweeping Kazue's foot didn't imbalance her properly, but it did force a defensive block, both knee and elbow being stopped cold, and countered with a shoulder check to make space. And with that, it seemed Fujiwara would go on the offensive for the first time, throwing a punch in her direction... the feint was obvious though, and the roundhouse that followed wasn't a fast enough execution to catch her unawares... judging from Kazue's feelings, she hadn't particularly expected it to, likely planning to follow up on an easy evasion. If so, her best play would be...

Moving her arm to intercept, Seung-Min allowed the kick to land on her tensed tricep, immediately snapping her arm shut around Kazue's ankle to lock it in place. Using the residual momentum of the roundhouse, Kim pulled the locked leg backward, stepping forward to pull Kazue further into her effective range, and bringing her free elbow down to strike at the Sergeant's stomach.

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It's Burning Grip Tells me to Defeat you!

"遅い!" Likely unexpected by the Lieutenant, Kazue had been hoping she'd catch her leg. With a quickness Kim may not have been able to follow, Kazue swung her other leg up against Kim's head, using the momentum of her upper body falling to drag the girl off of her balance, while quickly catching herself on her arms and throwing Kim over onto her back. With a shove of her hands, pulling off a rather crazy flip to end up on top of Kim's recently chucked body, Kazue held a fist out at her, taking a hefty breath. "You are, very good."

"What, just... Did you... How, strong are her legs!?" Those were some serious muscles... Kim wasn't large by any definition of the word, but to move her whole frame like that... Whatever was hiding under Kazue's toned form had been seriously chiselled over the years she'd been training. Either way, Tristan was taken aback.

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In a sequence of events that had gone down faster than Kim could process, even with her enhanced senses, she found herself thrown, despite what should have been a position that had been overwhelmingly in her advantage, and on the ground within moments. Kazue had even landed on top of her and delivered a 'finishing' blow before she could manage to get out a word. Who in the hell was this woman?!

"Apparently not as good as I thought... what even... how did you do that? Who... are you? I knew I recognized the name Kazue Fujiwara from somewhere, but... where?"

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While it did look like the alien was about to fall into slumber, Vvi was simply meditating and still working on "fixing" the emotions that were contributing to her headache.  A little pull here, a small nudge there, she made sure to make it as subtle as possible since she was only working with the people inside the med bay.  If she went further out she'd need to concentrate more and that was something she wanted to avoid at the moment.  Overall, what Vvi was trying to do was placate the erratic emotions so she could have a better time, and once she'd done so a small nod of approval was given as her headache started to ebb away.

NOW she could get proper rest.

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World's Strongest

"She's a world martial arts champion... Multiple, world martial arts champion." Tristan had hopped off and walked over, shaking his head some. "How you ended up here is beyond me, but, welcome aboard, Sergeant." It wasn't much of a surprise that Kim had lost, but... It was, pretty ridiculous.

Kazue wasted no time picking herself up, taking hold of Kim's hand to help her back up. "Er... I, didn't realize I was that, famous. But, I, I suppose so. And... I'm heavier than you, so I just, used my weight against you. Had I tried that against the ensign, I would've fallen onto my back. It would have been... Rather embarrassing. Thank you for the match, Lieutenant. It was a very good warm up." She hadn't started her workout properly, when Kim had come in, swinging at the punching bag. "And, you were very strong. I realize that may seem condescending, I... Er, hadn't expected Tristan to bring up my achievements, but, truly, you were very impressive. I held nothing back, your sweep caught me off guard quite effectively." Kazue bowed again, shrinking back to shy rather quickly. It seemed she was only confident when she was fighting...

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As Tristan made his way over, and Kazue helped her back onto her feet, everything came flooding back with the Ensign's answer. It had been a martial arts publication, that was where she had seen that name before. Well, there was no shame in losing to a multi-time world champion, that much was true, though it did leave a bitter taste in her mouth. Where might she have been at this point, had the bulk of her training not been in pursuit of mech combat? It was difficult to say, probably a question mostly driven by a competitive edge.

"Well, if it's coming from you, I suppose it can't be that far off, can it? Still... it was quite an eye-opening experience. It seems I have been... allowing my physical hand-to-hand to slip, in favour of combat simulations and mech training. To be so thoroughly outmatched is... a foreign experience, for me." Kim replied, mirroring Kazue's bow. The girl certainly was odd, and seemed a tad eccentric when it came to martial arts, but she seemed well intended enough.

"I hope I might be able to learn a thing or two from you."

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