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

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Aliza was walking down a hallway of the ship, minding her own business. Writing in her notebook with a hum. She was preparing herself for some bird watching again today, or so that was the plan. Instead, an announcement came on the loudspeaker. "?" An order to prepare for combat was issued to every pilot. That was no surprise, though Aliza thought they'd have another day before they hit the enemy at least. Ah well. But while the order didn't quite surprise her the next line sure did. 

"prepare for immediate combat, and if you see Avery Wright, immediately apprehend her and anyone with her!" 

"...wait what?" She quickly stopped in her tracks. Avery...the mechanic? The nice girl? She hadn't really had too much time with her but they spoke on occasion, she even helped console Aliza over her crush being broken. Apprehend her...why? Was this about the mole talk she heard? Oh dear. "...this can't be happening. Not now..." She bit her lip. Something was up, and she didn't like it. Not one bit. With a sigh she closed the notebook and rushed down the hall to the hanger, no choice but to follow orders after all.

And pray to god she didn't run into Avery of course...

Feeling Alienated

About a day passed after the meeting. Aliza had quite a bit to think about, and one of the things she had on her mind were the two aliens and how tense things got on stage. She wanted to rectify that in anyway she can, so she set out to do just that. Despite not knowing Alriana that well she wanted to start, but she also wanted Vvi to be on a good foot too. "Hm...now where is she..." The Italian set out to find her spider friend. She wasn't sure where her room was quite yet (still getting used to the ship's size and all that), so she decided to just explore around. She figured the mess hall would be a good starting point.

She had explored all she could without getting lost or asking for directions, and therefor Vvi bee lined back to the dining hall in order to see what she could find for sustenance.  So far everything had been foreign for her, and nothing made sense, so instead of accidentally poisoning herself she grabbed some fruit and went on to sit down at a table to eat it.  She took a bite of a pear, loving the taste already, and proceeded to devour the thing in a few bites.  This continued on for the next fruit, and the next, and the next....

Aliza had arrived and noticed Vvi planted before a table, absolutely gorging herself on fruit. Lots and lots of fruit. "...boy you must be hungry." She commented and moseyed on over. "Ever had that kind of fruit where you're from?"

Startled, she almost choked on the piece of fruit that she had been chewing on, before swallowing and wiping her face as she faced Aliza.  "I-I...oh, I must look like such a fool," she managed to say while holding her face, cheeks flushed as she looked away.  "I've never...had this kind of fruit before....but that doesn't excuse my uncouth behavior...."

She simply laughed at the response. But not too hard, didn't want to be rude after all. "Oh no no, not at all." She waved her hand a bit. "If anything I think it's cute. Don't be afraid to be adventurous, you never know what you might find." She finished her short stroll and placed herself on a seat across from her.

Still, the flush on her cheeks didn't disappear as she cleaned up.  If anything it deepened a bit more at being called cute, although she still couldn't look at Aliza directly.  "I...thank you.  To be honest it's been a while since I've had fruit in abundance.  Those felines didn't really care as to what we ate," she said, turning a bit miffed at the end when mentioning her captors.

"Hm...I see..." She spoke and quietly watched Vvi. "...so uh...what was that about in the meeting room with Alriana?" She asked curiously. "It seemed like you two had bad blood between you."

"It's....not that," she finally said after a small silence, holding a peach as she gently rolled it in her hands.  "She's... she's dangerous, you know?  It's better to just stay away than, but... she suffered the same as me..."

"Dangerous, hm..." She looked up a bit in thought, folded arms and all. "...you really think so? Because I don't think the crew would have her allowed walking around the ship if she were. Then again this is kind of an oddball crew to begin with." She joked a bit with a small giggle.

"There's a reason she was a foot soldier in the first place, and we weren't allowed near them," she replied while taking a bite.  Although, Aliza was right about the crew.  "I think the crew is making a terrible decision..." she mutters softly.  "What if she lashes out at someone?"

"Well Elaine lashes out at people all the time and she's still around." She half joked while holding back a laugh. "But seriously, I'm not sure. It's not much to go on but I get the feeling she's not normally aggressive. Miss Cheryl wouldn't have stood up for her otherwise. At least that's how I see it."

At the little joke Vvi gave Aliza a small smile, before letting out a sigh as she looked back at her.  "I guess...I'm actually surprised she hasn't maimed anyone yet...but if you lot say so..."

With one small nod she got up. "So...wanna chat with her? I sure do. I've been curious." She whipped out another charming smile. "And if things get heated I'll ref the round." Another joke, well at least she hoped it would be by the end of the day.

At the other's smile her cheeks flared up a bit, clearly affected by Aliza's warm reception.  Still, while she was weary of her idea, the fact that she was going to be with her already made this easy for her to try.  "Hopefully, it doesn't come to that," she says, standing up as well.  "Shall we go then?"

"Of course." Aliza nodded and lead off. Hoping this meeting well go well. She had some worries in the back of her head, but she can't show that. So she just kept up her winning smile. "And don't worry, we got this."

Even though she had been given the freedom to leave her room whenever she wanted, Alriana had yet to depart her room without being dragged out by Cheryl. She still didn't trust the majority of humans on the Riese, and it wasn't like she'd be able to do much with her communication as limited as it was. Cheryl had said she'd help with that so she was expecting the doctor. A knock. So she was here then? 

However, when she opened the door there was no doctor, only Aliza... and the other alien. She was instantly on guard. "What... want?"

The quick tension was noticed by Aliza, if only a little bit. Still, it was enough for Aliza to start out with her usual smile. "Hi. I don't think we've met, but I saw you in the infirmary. I'm Aliza Silvavolke, and I wanted to meet you so..." She held out her hand, intending to shake. "Nice to meet you!"

At the sudden guarded disposition from the other alien, Vvi quickly hid behind Aliza on reflex.  She would let the other do the talking first, while she assessed the situation and made sure that no funny business happened.

What that all this was? Just introductions? Something else had to be going on, but she couldn't retreat from this situation. She hesitantly reached out her clawed hand to Aliza, not really sure how the correct way to do this was. "I'm, Alriana... Nice meet, you."

She noted the claws. Yeah, sharp. But she kept that thought down and took it lightly. Careful not to squeeze on the sharp bits. After a moment she let go. "Alriana. Pretty name." She smiled. "to be honest, I've always been curious about what's past the stars in space. I wouldn't mind chatting with you from time to time if you don't mind, and if you ever have any questions about the ship you can always ask me. I'll be happy to help anytime."

She listened intently at the introductions being made, waiting for a bit before doing her own.  "T-The name's Vvi," she spoke out, before looking at Aliza then at Alriana.  So far so good, no malicious intent or sudden need to flee.  

Alriana barely participated in the handshake, merely providing a hand for Aliza to shake, and was quick to withdraw her hand when it was over. "Thank... you." She appreciated what she understood of the offer, but she was already relying on Cheryl quite a bit. She didn't intend to add another to that list. Maybe if there was something that was beyond Cheryl though... "I, will th-think. About it."

Then there was the other alien. She was still sore about the comment Vvi had made during the meeting and didn't want to interact with her more than she needed to. "H-hello, Vvi. What, want?"

Aliza sensed the tension between the two, so she decided to help. She kept her smile on and rubbed Vvi's back. "Vvi and I have been talking. She's a pretty fun person, open. I'm sure you two could have a lot in common." She pointed up a bit. "There's a lot to learn about this ship and what we do, and I'm more than happy to help you both. Since we're all gonna be working together for a long time we should get to know each other. Right?"

She nods once, agreeing with Aliza as she continue to hide behind her.  "It would benefit us and..." she hesitated, wiggling a bit as she tried to find her words.  "I...I'm also here...t-to a...apo...apologize..." she finished, not ashamed but more... embarrassed that she had to apologize for her actions.

Alriana knew that Aliza was right in that she and Vvi probably had much in common, but it still didn't mean that she wanted anything to do with the other alien. Until she began to apologize. It honestly caught her by surprise and she lowered her guard a bit. "You... right. We same, almost. We can... talk. If, you want." Although she was speaking to Aliza her attention was on Vvi, waiting for her to continue the apology. She was borderline staring at her, though there wasn't has much hostility in her eyes as before. 

Well truth be told the Italian was entirely prepared to ref the match of the century, but it turns out the situation was resolving itself nicely. That...caught her off guard, though she did her best to hide her dumbfounded mental state with her silly grin. "Oh, yeah! Of course." She rubbed Alriana's shoulder. "I'm all for that anytime you want. I'm a good talker...you like movies?"

Eh?

She blinked, watching as the other accepted her apology before looking at Aliza.  "Mo...vie?  Oh! Is that what you call the lengthy animations?" she asked curiously, feeling excitement in the pit of her stomach.  With the other alien accepting her apology she was in a much lighter mood.  "That would be positively splendid!  Us three watching a moooovie," she said with a bout of giggles.

Movie? Animation? This was flying right over her head. Was this part of Vvi's apology? Was this what humans did to apologize? She wanted Cheryl here to explain this too her. However, she wasn't there. The only one she could askwas Aliza. "I... not, know what moo-Vvi, is. Is moo-Vvi, good... thing?"

Oh, well one of them knew about the movie. The other not so much. Aliza could tell there was a bit of a gap between the two, but with a bit of an amused laugh she answered. "I'll tell you all about it when we set one up..." She could tell there was a lot Alriana could learn, but she was more than eager to help.

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A follow-up so soon? All hands prepare for immediate combat and... apprehend... Avery Wright... on contact. Everything froze in Kim's mind for a moment. Avery? Avery was a mole? How could... she had always... 

Cross another friend off the list. That seemed to be a recurring theme... get close to someone and they'll hurt you. This one was a bit more direct than the past though... how much of what she had said was true, how much was a lie? Gods, she had even trusted Avery with the STEEL armour before the goddamn Captain, on top of all the other data she must have had access to. Jogging towards the secondary hangar where the Artemis had been docked, Kim could feel distress emanating from the area as she approached. What was going on? As she turned the corner-

If her blood hadn't been frozen already, it was now. She would recognize that blonde hair anywhere... that blonde hair, being dragged out of Avery's hangar by a Buck in hysterics... bleeding on the floor as the young mechanic struggled to support her weight. For all the cursing she had done being forcibly drafted into the ANF military over the last few days, the training that immediately popped into her head and got her moving was a lifesaver. Perhaps literally, in this case. Sprinting towards Buck, Caroline, and Christina, Seung-Min's eyes had already begun assessing the wounds as she approached, Gunshot wounds, unconscious.

"Christina! Buck, what happened?!" Kim asked, but her mind already knew. If Avery was apprehend on sight, that meant she was a mole, and had made her move... this move. Clenching her teeth, Kim moved to take the unconscious blonde from Buck as soon as she made it to them. She's have a much easier... and importantly faster, time carrying her than he would.

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Coming Down

Roxanna appreciated that her idea was taken well, but Jessica's continuous modus operandi being ten steps ahead of everyone else in the bridge made for a new, mean sucker punch. "What-- me, piloting? I, alright-- what?!" The engines were beyond failing at the moment, indeed, and what could she do about it? "E-everyone, forget the cannons, prepare for a collision course, we're losing altitude. Slow it down." They couldn't even push the engines further, it was far too compromised. "Captain, how long do you think the V-drives can run for? The moment they go, we'll be sinking." Unfortunately, space battleships were not built with buoyancy in mind, but they both knew that.

Ice Cream Lift

The box of treats and sweets unceremoniously dropped to the floor. Her eyes wide opened, Caroline stared at Buck and Christina in shock. "Oh, my, God?!" She was shaking, it was too strong a scene to presence so suddenly, without warning. Caroline did have a bad feeling over the whole situation when she approached the door, but that was a scene she wasn't prepared for regardless. "W-what happened, oh my god, ohmygod--" She flinched visibly as Kim rushed over, a step back with eyes closed. She wasn't... no, she was too shaken as well to be a foe, but the whole situation was going too fast for Caroline to really parse sensibly. "You-- she needs help, right. Kid, you're calling the doctor, right? Tell them we're sending her up, right." Caroline's blood was running cold, she gulped, a moment to order her tense body to move again. While her legs were clearly shaking, Caroline got on her knees to help pick up Christina as well. "I, uh, don't think it's a good idea to move her too much. I'll lift the legs and you get her shoulders, okay? Let's hurry. They're also calling us to be on standby."

Goodness, the elevator was still a long ways from them. "Can you hurry up and call the elevator down first, uh... I don't, have your name." She hoped Buck was still somewhat present in mind to answer her, despite the gruesome imagery he had to deal with.

A boy in his room

"All hands," Jess addressed the entire ship again, "prepare for immediate combat, and if you see Avery Wright, immediately apprehend her and anyone with her!"

Makoto had been in his room the moment the warning came from the captain. He'd taken the slow day to relax a bit, catching up on his inspiration show Knightron --they'd finally released season 4, it was a decent improvement from 3, and leaps and bounds above 2's plot!--. It took a bit to register the implications of the additional warning, what with mind being currently occupied with cool animated thrusters and mechs flying over the clouds to chase opposing kaijus.

"Wait, Avery?" The boy's interest was piqued, what happened? Nonetheless, it was time for him to rush out. Quickly changing into his pilot suit, he swiped the door to his room and rushed out in a hurry. I gotta get to the hangar, stat! Unfortunately, his room had been a bit too distant to pick up on a certain distressed group in the bottom deck.

 

Edited by Xinnidy

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Ready The Place

"Wh-WHAT!?" Olivia got up, Christina had been shot!? What the fuck? Then the captain's announcement, and... "Ah, fuck, this is really happening right now... Ughhhh... V-Valerie, come on, we have to, uh... You get the SIEG tank ready, I'll, get everything else." Valerie was actually qualified to turn that thing on, after all.

Saved

Buck didn't stop Caroline or Kim from taking the girl off of his hands, starting to sob. "I'm sorry! I'm so, s-sorry, I couldn't... I couldn't do, anything..." What was he supposed to have done? He wasn't armed. Avery was twice his size. He'd have gotten himself killed, just rushing out to try and do anything, but he still hated that feeling of being unable to do anything. He had no solution it just... Drove a pit into his gut, one he was sure wasn't going to go away any time soon.

"It's Buck," he replied to Caroline, rushing past them to hit an elevator. He passed one of the androids as he ran, but he didn't pause to look at her, he was just hiding his eyes against his blood soaked arm.

"[Megumi,]" Rachel began, having turned the corner to spot the situation with Christina. "[I have encountered an injured pilot after picking up screaming, on the bottom floor. If you are near the infirmary, please head there, your attention will be required. Private Caroline and Lieutenant Kim have arrived on scene, and should be sufficient in bringing the girl upstairs. I will escort them in case an attacker reappears.]" That message sent, she approached the two, with a smile, trying to be as calm as possible walking up to them.

"[Hello. I am Rachel, one of the androids assigned to the Riese. If you are able to carry her, then please follow after me. I shall escort you towards the infirmary, as the ship has become a dangerous environment.]" That said, she quickly turned back towards the elevators, eyes scanning the halls to intercept anything she perceived as an attack.

"... ... ... Kim...?" Whether it had been because she'd been jostled about, or having other emotions to pick her up, Christina stirred ever so slightly, eyes creaking open to glance at Kim. "I... s, sorry..." That was all she could manage, it was hard to breathe, everything hurt...

We Shall

"Let's~" Marianne grabbed Astin by the arm, dashing out of the engine room. Luckily, as they walked into the hangar, everyone was scrambling to get machines working, no one was looking over their way. "Suckers." You'd think they'd notice the Riese is already sinking... But I guess that machine is doing her best to keep it up as long as possible. "No time to wait, hun!" Marianne was running this show right now, if Astin lagged behind at all, they'd start getting shot at. With an arm tightly wrapped around their waist, she grabbed onto the elevator wire into the cockpit, riding them both up into the Ceres. It was at that point that she left Astin to their own devices, she had to start the machine up, and institute the changes she'd made.

"Get comfy behind me, your ride's almost here. Now... Let's activate, system X-V."

The Plan

"... I am calm, now. Sorry for the worry. You're staying on the line, until we enter combat, I need to keep you immediately updated on any information, and what that unknown is. I can only assume its the Luna, we're running out of insane lieutenants to fight with." Jess had stabilized herself, the first shocks worn off. "XO, Captain Alkaev, here's my plan, and it's the only one available if we want to stay afloat. I can stabilize the V-Drives enough to keep our descent steady, but once we hit the water, we will sink... Unless, I divert all the power from the E-Fields, to the bottom of the ship. If I can reroute the energy to the failing V-Drives, I can keep us in the water long enough for the engineers to figure out just what Avery did to the engine room. Unfortunately, the loss from this should be obvious, the Riese will be without shields for whatever is about to happen. And... I don't know how long I can keep us floating, being bombarded by incoming fire. If we lose any critical systems..." We'll sink. There's no way around things, we'll sink. So I can't let that happen.

"Firmia, I'm going to focus on shooting and keeping the ship from going under. If you have any specific orders for my pilots, you're free to give them. As much as I can multitask now, rerouting the entire ship's power, firing the main guns, and issuing orders, is going to slow one of those processes down... A pretty poor showing from the new Captain Gefalscht, huh?" Drastic situations, and all...

"... I should be able to maintain full coherency doing everything for two minutes once we start fighting. So... I'll alert you before I begin to lose focus. I'm sorry, in advance, and I'll make it up to you once we make it through this. None of us are going to die here." That much she would make sure of.

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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As the young mechanic began to sob, it took all of Seung-Min's willpower to try and keep composure. Breaking down now wouldn't help anything, she just had to get Christina to the infirmary. With the newer pilot quickly recovering from her shock enough to be coherent, the duo had managed to get Christina into a relatively stable carrying position, and were moving her along towards the elevators.

"That sounds good, time is... of the essence. And it's okay, Buck. You got her to us, we'll... get her to the infirmary. Make sure she'll be alright." Seung-Min called out after the boy as he moved ahead, unsure if he'd heard her. The Lieutenant's voice was cracking a bit as she teared up. The android's arrival was... well it didn't hurt. Giving her little more than affirmative nod as she followed along, Seung-Min paused for the briefest of moments as Christina began to stir... and in a manner that might have been almost comically typical, the first thing the blonde did was apologize for being shot.

"Shhhh, don't apologize, Save your strength, Chrissy. We're going to get you to the infirmary, Doctor Amparo is gonna make sure you're okay, and..." Seung-Min stopped speaking for a moment, livid fury building in her eyes as she grit her teeth.

"...I'm going to kill Avery. If... anything she said to us was actually true, I hope it's the trauma about her leg. Because I'm going to break them both until I can tie them into a pretzel." Kim spat out after a moment's notice. That felt... good. Venting was good. Vengeance would be better.

Edited by Ether

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Before her elevator could arrive Buck ran up, slapping the button on the opposite side of the hall to call an elevator. What was his hurry? And what was that on his sleeve... Her elevator wasn't here yet so a closer look wouldn't hurt. Blood. It was definitely blood on his sleeves. However, it didn't appear to be his; he wasn't clutching the arm in pain. All the same, he didn't seem to be completely there. Past experience told her he wasn't going to be of use to her. Luckily he'd left a trail to follow. While she should head to the hanger --a ding informed her that the elevator had arrived-- she couldn't ignore whatever had happened.

She followed the trail and quickly found just whose blood had been on Buck's jumpsuit. It was Christina's; the blonde had been shot... Twice, judging from where her blood was spilling from. She was being lifted by Kim and some other human Alriana didn't know, the two of them following behind an android. The wounds didn't look to be fatal... yet. She'd received similar, if not worse, wounds and was still alive. But, she was also wasn't a human; Christina may not fare as well as she had. She didn't like that thought. It made her feel... unpleasant. Why? Though she'd seen worse, been the one to inflict worse, she'd never been bothered by it before. Was it because she knew Christina? Because she'd talked to her not that long ago? She didn't know.

She moved to the side to let the convoy pass, speaking up when Kim was next to her. "It is not, fatal. Christina, should be fine... If you hurry."

Prepare for trouble, and make it Xenomorph?

"You know, with how... impatient you were at the end of our date... we never did get to use them, Chrissy." Seung-Min teased, pressing into Christina's back playfully as she allowed her fingers to dance across the blonde's belly beneath her signature sweater, tracing across her soft skin slowly and tenderly as she went. She had certainly been making strides, becoming less timid, more bold... at least in private. She didn't flinch much at affection anymore either, all solid progress. She had even come to the ex-idol's room of her own volition this time, in search of some quality private time and a movie... although the cheesy romance flick playing on Cineweb lay in the background, at this point mostly forgotten.

"I could... go and change, if you wanted~" Kim cooed into Christina's ear, kissing the back of her neck briefly, before moving her sweater gently aside in order to access her shoulder. With that done, the Korean set her lips and teeth upon the nape of the Blonde's neck, nibbling and sucking at the skin playfully. Despite her progress, Christina still embarrassed easily, so the hickey would likely not manifest as more than a tender pink mark before she interrupted it, but that was fine.

"M-Maybe not, but... H-Hey... Nnn..." Always with the immediate affection... Kim was pretty good at teasing her, but it was always max tease, no build up. And her mouth, every time, just... "I... I mean... If you, want... Uhm... I wouldn't m-mind..." Despite Kim's expectations, Christina only shivered and fidgeted some. They were alone, after all. It was far less embarrassing to discuss things without a store around them.

Alriana, dressed in a neon-yellow baggy t-shirt and khaki shorts, had been sent on a mission by Cheryl. She was supposed to do something about her clothing; though, she wasn't sure what that meant. As far as she was concerned, as long as the clothes covered her they were fine. But it was something to do at least, lest she just go sit in her room and be bored.

As soon as she arrived outside Kim's door, she knocked on the door only to be surprised when it simply opened at her touch. But that wasn't nearly as surprising as what was happening inside the room. "What are you, doing?" She asked as she let herself in.

"Huh-- WAH!" Why was the lizard here!? Christina threw herself away from Kim, tripping, and flopping onto the bed. "Wha... A-Alriana? What? Why?" Confused, embarrassed, and all around flustered, Christina managed to sit herself up and stare.

Well maybe she did want. And once she was finished marking her lover, Seung-Min would assuredly affirm as such, like honey coating Christina's ear. Or she would have, were it not for an unexpected series of events. First off, distracted by their musings, neither telekinetic had noticed the approach of their newest crew mate. In addition, not only had Christina failed to lock... or even fully close the door, an odd blunder from the usually cautious blonde, but Alriana had in fact been looking for Seung-Min herself. This had all lead to Christina's embarrassment spiking as one might expect, launching herself out of the embrace in record time. Well, the hickey had ended up being only light and pink as expected, though the process was certainly not what she had envisioned.

"Well... I was having a lovely moment with my girlfriend. What can I do for you, Alriana?" Kim replied, looking over at their alien friend with a sigh. Even if she shooed her off, it was likely Christina would no longer be in a mood... so there was no point in being hostile over it.

Alriana was oblivious to what she had just done and was in fact only more curious about just what was going on when the blonde human had launched herself away from Kim; however, that wasn't her primary objective so she decided to wait on it for now. "Cheryl told me to see you. She said you could fix, my clothes. I'm not sure what, that means."

"Doctor Hart? Fix your clothes... well, I'm not known as a seamstress... if she sent you to me, she must have meant sorting out a fashionable wardrobe." Kim replied, it didn't take much to figure out the psychiatrist's likely angle in all this... that assumption could have been incorrect, but Seung-Min didn't see any other options for the alien to be sent her way with that sort of request. One look at Alriana with that goal in mind also... affirmed that was almost certainly what was on the plate, here.

"Yes, that must be it. Tell me Alriana, what made you choose that outfit?"

"Wait fix..." Kim seemed to pick up what was actually meant, Christina sitting up properly. Alriana definitely was... dressed... But that sort of fashion was even worse than her own clothing. At least Christina looked good in sweaters and leggings. "Well... Kim knows what looks good, so she can probably help..."

These two knew what Cheryl had meant with only Alriana's brief explanation... Either they could read her mind or the issue at hand must've been a human thing. If it was the latter it would certainly explain why she didn't see anything wrong with her clothing. "These clothes fit me... mostly. I can move well, and they cover me. Are they wrong?"

"Well... Uhm..." Wrong wasn't the right word, she was an alien, after all... "They're kind of... To humans, they'd probably look ugly. I suppose if you don't care about something like that, then..." Did she?

"Hmm... wrong isn't the word I would use. They cover you and don't cause any mobility issues, but they aren't... aesthetically pleasing. If I had to guess, Cheryl wants me to help improve your fashion sense... so that you're more approachable." Kim replied, though Christina had been a bit faster... and a bit more blunt, at that.

"How to put this... the colours are all wrong for your skin tone. You're very pale, so bright colours like that yellow, will only wash out your complexion. Something darker and more subdued would... mesh better with your skin, help you to... pop out, more or less."

Ugly? Pleasing? Alriana didn't care about any of that. She valued function much more than she valued form. "I do not care about how, I look. But... " If Cheryl had sent her here this must at least be somewhat important. She was supposed to work with these humans, so driving them away with her outfit was probably a bad thing.

"So, I should wear my armor?" It wasn't a suggestion that she liked. It had been a source of comfort when the Riese was still a new environment; however, it had gone back to being an annoying and heavy piece of equipment as she had come to feel increasingly comfortable onboard the ship.

Armour? Thinking back to what she had been wearing when they had first been introduced to Alriana... that did seem like armour, yes. The colours were certainly a better fit as well, though she didn't seem thrilled with suggesting such a thing. It was understandable, wearing combat armour at all times would certainly be tiring.

"I mean... in the end, it's up to you whether you follow through, with this. I can give you advice, it's up to you what to do with it. As for the armour... no, there's no need to wear that outside of combat. The colours are more fitting, I will admit, but you can find something in the same colour that is more comfortable to wear." Kim noted, shaking her head to clarify.

"Well if you don't care... Why did Cheryl send you to... Is she trying to get you to impress someone?" Maybe that was it? But who? Christina hadn't the faintest who had even spoken with Alriana yet... And the doctor was making eyes at that Sasha from Firmia's crew, unless the alien had suddenly changed that... "Is there someone you like...?" It couldn't hurt, right? Maybe there was someone Cheryl thought she liked...

She was relieved at not being told to wear her armor, at least. "If you give advice, I will listen... and think about it." She wasn't too keen on fully committing to changing her method of selecting clothes. It already sounded like it was going to be a huge pain, but perhaps it'd be a way to occupy herself. 

"What?" Christina's question caught her off guard. Was there someone she liked? There were multiple, but the question felt closer to what Cheryl had told her about. She even agreed with the doctor, sort of, after meeting the person in question for longer than a few moments. "Yes... Tristan."

"Wait, the ensign? Really? But he's... So... So. He's..." He was so normal! Like, frighteningly normal, and it showed with all of these unique people on board the Riese... Why him?

"Ensign Calvin?" Kim echoed, it seemed that Christina might have been on to something. Was Cheryl using a knowledge of Alriana's interest to try and promote cross-species courtship? It wasn't impossible to imagine, doctors and scientist types loved that sort of chance for an experiment. Was she even aware that Alriana seemed to be attracted to the Ensign? Questions for later, if ever. 

"Hmm... it's hard to do more than make suggestions right now... almost anything you wear would need custom tailoring... our clothes aren't really designed with tails in mind... well, you could manage a long skirt if you wore it high, and kept your tail low so you weren't constantly flashing anyone walking behind you... tops should be easy enough though." The khakis weren't... great, but the main offender was certainly the neon yellow t-shirt. Baby steps... moving over to her wardrobe, Kim opened the walk-in closet, the veritable treasure trove of fashion nearly glowing in it's eminence as she did so. Picking out a few of her smaller, tighter tops to fit the alien's build, in complementary colours, Seung-Min came out with a few pieces on her arms. Mostly blacks, browns, greens and navy blues, with nothing bright or flashy to speak of.

"Stuff like this seems like it might be best, of what I have on hand. You'd need to get stuff that's a better fit for your size, maybe we can set up a shopping trip before we deploy again...  we'd need to get your measurements so someone could shop for you, and make adjustments here on the ship..."

"Is there something... wrong with liking, Tristan?" She'd talked with him all of two times, but he seemed pleasant enough to be around. However, these humans had been around him much longer than she had. Maybe he'd done something he shouldn't have? He didn't seem like the type to act up, though.

"I can make clothes fit, my tail." She didn't expand on that further, leaving Kim and Christina to come to their own conclusions as to what she did to clothes that were unfortunate enough to come into her possession. "But, I don't like clothes that get in my way. The big and bulky ones." She watched in near awe as Kim opened her closet; she had never seen so many clothes, and all in so many colors, in one place. "How did you get so many clothes?"

"No... I... I suppose, he's probably one of the best people to like, here. He's... He's just very normal. He hasn't had any outbursts, issues, done anything crazy. I dunno... When you think about it, he's kind of attractive; kind of like the perfect guy? But I guess... That's what makes him unattractive? I dunno... Just something not there, for me..." Which was a good thing, she was getting pretty comfy and happy with Kim, so...

"And Kim used to be an idol... I don't think you'll know what that is, but, she's gotten into a lot of clothing and fashion related things, so she has a big wardrobe of outfits she's worn over the years."

"Tristan is a good guy, there's nothing wrong with liking him... I just figured your tastes would be more... exotic. Though maybe he is exotic, from your point of view." Kim replied, shaking her head as Alriana asked if there was something wrong with being attracted to the Ensign. She couldn't help but grimace at the implication of what Alriana would do to pants to accommodate her tail... those khakis may have been tacky, but no one deserves such a fate. As for the explanation of her wardrobe, Christina seemed to have that covered for the most part.

"Like she said, just things that I was allowed to keep, or bought myself. I've done quite a bit of modelling work, but something tells me you wouldn't be particularly interested... in high fashion."

Alriana couldn't do anything but wonder why her liking Tristan prompted a... critique of the man and her taste(???). She still wasn't entirely sure what her feelings meant when it came to the ensign, but he at least seemed to understand for her. Something had been weighing on her mind, though. "Do humans care a lot, about age? Tristan was worried, about mine." It was the first time she'd seen him on the retreat, a stark contrast to what she had seen on the bridge.

So these clothes were like trophies Kim had collected over the years? Part of that resonated with her, reminding her of her old collection. "What is, fashion? Is it... important?"

"Age? And fashion... I suppose how much people care about both of those things really depends on the person. For age... a lot of human laws specify age in some way. You need to be so old in order to consume alcohol, or to be in a sexually active relationship. Some people view large age gaps, even if both parties are considered adults, to be off-putting as far as relationships go, but that's a personal thing, not any sort of legal thing." Kim began, pondering the best way to put her answer for a moment before replying. First part taken care of, she moved to the second.

"As for fashion, on a large scale it isn't really that important, it's more an individual thing. To describe it, it's basically how you choose to present yourself. What you wear, how you wear it, what colours and styles you choose, that's fashion. Before I was a soldier, I worked as an idol and model, I did a lot of singing and dancing, as well as... well, modelling is basically wearing things, so that other people can see what they look like being worn."

Kim knew fashion way better than she did, so she'd leave that one, but... "Well, how old are you? You look really young..."

Perhaps age was more important than she thought it was if the humans had gone through the trouble of implementing so many rules that involved it in some way or another. She wanted to at least try and understand where the humans were coming from. "Why does age, matter? Is it not just, a number that tracks your, years? For me, I was only told my age, when I arrived here. It does not mean anything, to me." 

Fashion might actually have some importance for her too. Above all else, she needed to present that she was strong. If clothing could help her do that then maybe she should put some effort in. "So modeling, helps others pick what they, want to wear? Do you still model ever?"

"I was told I was seventy by, the Sacarians when we arrived. I do not know how long, it has been since."

"Age... well, the reason why humans put so much emphasis on age is... human brains develop, as we get older. When we're young, we aren't... as good at making rational decisions. Most laws about age are meant to stop older people from taking advantage of younger ones. It varies from person to person, but they're mostly there as a... safety blanket." Kim replied, as Alriana asked what was so important about age. It was a... tricky one to answer, mostly because Seung-Min herself didn't place particular stock in that line of thought. She was living proof that just because someone wasn't an adult by years, they could still well outstrip older folks in competence. As for modelling...

"That's basically it, yes. A model's job is to show off an outfit, and make it look good. People that are into fashion are always keeping an eye on what models are wearing... as for me, well. I haven't done any modelling since the war started. There just isn't time, or security for that matter. Apotheosis and the Sacarians are still way more... maneuverable than we are, so spending time that far removed from the ship just isn't really feasible until we finish them off." Kim replied, nodding her head a bit as Alriana revealed that she was rather old by human standards. She still looked reasonably youthful though.

"That would be quite old for a human, but it seems that your lifespans are... quite a bit longer than ours. It seems like it would be difficult to... properly scale."

"Oh... Oh he probably thought... Oh I see." Christina seemed to have things figured out, but instead of explain them, she just smiled. "Your age is fine, then. Tristan just realized something, and you're going to have to talk to him about that, yourself."

"When I was small, there was not a thing, like that. We always fought with each other, it did not matter... what our age was. But I understand. Now." Alriana found herself feeling... jealous of the humans. No matter how young or old she was, her treatment had been mostly the same from the Sacarians. The same things were expected from her, the same tests were given; her slight improvement in treatment had happened because she was the strongest, not because she had gotten older.

She was following along with Kim's explanation and the gears were turning... somewhere in her head. "I want to look, strong. Would you, model for me?" The question made sense in her head. What better way to find out what looked strong? Kim was even a professional! At Kim's mention of Apotheosis and the Sacarians, she couldn't help but wonder how that would play out. Would she end up fighting her own race now that she was free from the Sacarians rule? The thought didn't concern her, but it wasn't something she had ever considered before.

"I do not know how long, I should live." Christina seemed to have solved what Alriana couldn't, but she didn't seem like she was going to share. It was a bit frustrating, but she couldn't exactly jump the blonde and make her explain what she knew. "I should talk with, Tristan. About my age?" she asked, trying to get a hint out of Christina.

"Well, I wouldn't expect the Sacarians to treat you with much of a nurturing hand... they seemed to view you more as tools than anything else." Kim noted with a frown... how many different alien races were under their thumbs, all being treated like slaves and weapons of war? All the more reason to stop them... if not only to ensure the human race was not befallen with such a fate, than to also liberate those who remained of the conquered. As for Alriana's next request... model something strong? How nebulous... though Seung-Min supposed, given the way Alriana had been brought up, such a thing would be top among her priorities. She could probably come up with something...

"Strong, huh? Not usually my forte when it comes to modelling, but I thiiiink I can come up with something. You two keep at it, I'll be back in a minute." Kim replied, stepping into the walk-in closet and closing the doors behind her as she began to quest for a relic of unimaginable power, or something to that effect.

"Well... Hmm... Did you tell him, that you like him? Or, did he figure it out?" Depending on if Alriana had actually been blunt with the ensign, talking about that, may or may not have been important.

We were worse than tools. The thought jumped out at her, but she kept it to herself. She didn't want to bring that here more than she had already. She gave Kim a "thank you," as the woman slipped into her closet before turning her attention solely on the blonde. "Tristan... helped me, understand that I like him. But, I did not tell him. I think he, knows anyway. Or else he would not have, been able to help me." 

"Then... You don't have to talk about your age." Christina sighed, the ensign was going to be trouble, wasn't he. "He... Probably thought you were some young thing having feeling you don't understand because you're now out of a terrible situation... But you're not young at all. So these feelings are... Well... Considering how normal he's been, this situation is... Heh."

Christina sighed again, but smiled. "You should press him, and see how he reacts, Alriana. And just... Trust your instincts past that, and go from there."

He was being hesitant because he thought she was young? Kim had told her humans cared a lot about age, especially about the younger humans' age. That made sense. But what was with his reaction when she had told him she wasn't a youngling? That made less sense. "He acted strange when, I told him that. That I wasn't young. Do you know why?" It felt like Christina certainly did know why. Would she tell her though? That's why she was asking.

So she should take the initiative? She was no stranger to that and not opposed to it, but trusting herself was... "I can't, do that. If I did that..." She was different from the humans. She reacted differently. She was stronger. But most of all she was... dangerous.

Did she know why, of course she did... Probably. "Eheh... Alriana... When, its someone like the ensign... I haven't spoken to him, but, he seems like a very, very no nonsense sort of guy. For a pretty girl to just, start liking him out of nowhere... He was probably, embarrassed? Confused, maybe. Or, maybe just... Happy? I dunno." Christina shrugged, she couldn't speak for him.

"You can. And, if you want him to explain, you'll have to... Let me take a wild guess, but after he found out you're old enough, he probably tried to leave right away, didn't he?" If he was anything like she was expecting, then...

It had taken a bit of digging, but Seung-Min had managed to cobble together something that felt like it embodied the idea of strong... whilst still falling into colours complementary to Alriana's complexion. It was almost like something out of an old movie, faded denim jeans with a bit of fashionably added wear and tear, a leather jacket reminiscent of a tough biker sort, with some sort of pop-culture reference emblazoned on the back via a patched-on emblem... flames and skulls, the whole shebang. Adding to the ensemble was a pair of shades to cover her eyes, and some frankly over-designed leather gloves and boots... honestly, dull spikes on the knuckles and wrists? It fit the theme but had always seemed a bit silly.

She could at least play it up a little. Stopping just shy of the closet doors, Seung-Min took a moment to push them open brusquely, almost as though she was a renegade cowboy from a cheesy western entering the local saloon. The outfit was more biker than cowboy, but something told her that Alriana wouldn't pair quite as well with a ten-gallon hat and lasso...

"My my, what have we here? I'm not sure if it's exactly to your tastes, but this is what I managed to come up with, on short notice." Kim noted as she came through, swiftly dropping the act before it got anywhere fast.

In a way, Christina's insight into Tristan's feelings was a bit frustrating for her. Christina had apparently never spoken to him but she seemed to have a better understanding of him than Alriana did. She knew why that was, but that only further illustrated their differences. "I will, push him so that he... explains. But I, might..."

Christina seemed to have her figured out a bit too, identifying and aiming at her curiosity. "Yes, he left after that. Quite suddenly. It was the first time, I saw him like that. Was that, because of me?"

Kim's entrance reminded her of her original purpose, to address her wardrobe. Even without understanding much of Earth's culture, the outfit seemed to at least be close to what she was looking for. To her, the jeans implied they were torn in fights and the jacket was a warning of the consequences of crossing her. The gloves and boots would have to go, though; she didn't wear footwear and her claws would just go through the gloves. "It looks strong. I like it. Are there others, like that?"

"No, it wasn't because of you. It was because of him... You'll have to ask him to explain the rest... I guess the ensign's a healthy guy, too, huh." Christina sighed, did he really get that worked up over a woman getting close to him? I mean, yeah, Alriana was an alien, but she could speak English just fine, and... Well, unless something horrifying was happening downstairs, which he certainly should not have already known about, then there'd be nothing for him to be afraid over, no? Maybe he was just bad with women. That had to be it.

And then Kim came back, and... Christina covered her mouth, but the giggles escaped anyway. "Wow... K-Kim, that's a... A look... Heh, hahaha, hahahahaha!" It was too much, Christina doubled over onto the bed, cackling and gripping her stomach. "Ahhh! You l-look like someone out, out of M, Mad, mmmhahaha, Mad Max!" The glasses were just way too much.

Well, Alriana seemed to like it at the very least, although Christina was unable to hold her giggles for long, and was soon curled up on the bed laughing. It wasn't entirely unexpected... the look was a bit over-designed, and Mad Max had, in fact, been the inspiration behind it all.

"Well... that was the idea. Strong isn't exactly the sort of thing I typically modeled for, so selection was limited. If you like it, Alriana... you might be better off getting a more... standard coat. This one was for a shoot, so the additions are a bit... over the top by choice." 

In the end it was all on her, wasn't it? Whether or not Christina knew the answers to her questions, she was pushing for Alriana to get her answers from Tristan. The only way to get her answers was to talk to Tristan again... and make him explain everything. She'd have to hunt him down sometime soon then.

Christina suddenly burst into laughter, citing Kim's outfit as the source. She didn't get was so funny about the outfit, maybe this 'Mad Max' was the funny thing. Whatever the case, she wouldn't be wearing the exact outfit anyway; a blank coat would apparently be better for the look, though that was another thing she didn't quite understand. How could a blank jacket be 'stronger' than one with flames and skulls on it? "If you say so. I will get a normal, coat. But I still like that one."

Seeing Christina hunched over on the bed reminded her she still had more questions for the couple. "What, were you doing when I entered? I have not seen any humans do... that since I've been here."

At least Kim took it in stride. Christina tried to collect herself... Until Alriana asked about what was going on before, well, all this. "Uh... W-Well, uhm... Ahah... I, th-that's, private stuff, you know? ... You don't know." It wasn't like she had it in her to explain all of that... Kim probably did.

"Mmm... how do I put this... a coat like this one, some people would think that it is trying too hard, and think it's less strong because of it. Like it has something to hide." Kim replied, as Alriana seemed skeptical of donning a less eccentric jacket. When the alien asked what they had been doing as she came in, causing Christina to backpedal, Seung-Min felt a wide grin adorn her face.

"That? Oh, just a mating ritual." She answered bluntly, walking over to Christina and hoisting the blonde up by the arm. Out of her curled up position, and certainly out of hiding.

"A mating-- Kim! That's not-- Ah, hey!" Christina pouted as she was hoisted off of the bed, grumbling quietly. "W-We shouldn't, talk about that. Geez... I... Its, not something to discuss with anyone else."

"Am I wrong?" Seung-Min replied with a wide smirk, taking her newly lifted blonde and pressing her back against the wall, shortly followed by an arm at either side of Christina, pinning her to the wall as Kim moved in close, an almost predatory look peeking out as the sunglasses slid down her nose in the commotion. Leaning in closer, the Lieutenant swiftly captured Christina's mouth with her own, giving the blonde's soft lips an assertive nibble.

"Wh... I, I guess... You aren't, but-- H-Hey! Not in front of the alien-- Kim! Mmm!" Was she seriously doing this!? Christina couldn't really fight her off, but, having Alriana watch this, this was just t-too embarrassing...!

So there was more to clothing than just appearance. Something over-the-top like that coat would be seen as weak? She didn't agree, bigger was stronger and flashier was more intimidating, but she was trusting Kim's expertise on the matter. "I, understand. I will try, to remember that."

She had been going to ask what a 'mating ritual' was, but it quickly apparent that they were, or at least Kim was, going to give her an example. It was a curious thing; Kim seemed to be dominating Christina, but there was an unexpected gentleness to it.  She hadn't meant to, but she was staring a bit wide-eyed at their display. It had aroused yet another unknown feeling inside of the alien, unlike all the others. It wasn't as strong as the others, as if it had been suppressed, but it was there all the same. She squirmed a little as she continued to watch.

"Is... that what a mating ritual is? It is... a thing."

Breaking the short-lived kiss and allowing an amused giggle to escape her lips, Seung-Min glanced over at Alriana... seeing the display seemed to awaken something in the alien, but it didn't appear she was at all aware of what it was. Well, it wasn't surprising that the Sacarians hadn't bothered to educate her on anything outside of combat.

"Well, it's more a precursor, really. For humans, anything further than this is considered a highly private affair, so I can't really show you anything else in that regard. I don't know how things... differ between us when it comes to sexual matters, either. The Sacarians clearly didn't care to teach you about your own biology... at best the medical staff could try to work you through human sexual education, and try to find parallels..." Kim noted, pulling off of the wall and allowing Christina an avenue of escape. It wouldn't do to stress the blonde too badly.

Christina sunk against the wall as Kim let her alone, glancing over at Alriana with a horribly flushed face, before covering her eyes with a hand, trying to hide more. "You're horrible..."

That was just the lead-up? It was hard to imagine what could possibly come next. And whatever that was she wouldn't be learning it here; another thing for Tristan to answer? Kim was dropping terms Alriana hadn't heard before, causing her to tilt her head, half in thought half in confusion. They sounded like they'd be part of the next step, but then what had Kim and Christina just done?

Speaking of the blonde, she was little more than a bright wall ornament at the moment. Was what they had just done so powerful? "What was that called? What you just did? I... want to, know." 

Of course she wanted an explanation. Geez... "Why, Kim...?" Christina sighed and grumbled, managing to pry her hand away from her face, but keeping it affixed away from either of the other girls.

"Its c-called kissing... Where you... P... P-Press your lips together, and... A-Anyway, its, just something you have to get a feel for and... Kim h, has..." It was too much, she was covering her face again, hiding against the wall. Why did they have to explain this to Alriana? Wasn't that psychiatrist looking after her or something? Probably didn't think it was important... Ugh!

"Oh it's not that bad, Chrissy." Kim replied with a grin... perhaps she had pushed the blonde a little bit, but she wanted to expand her boundaries after all. What was showing a bit of affection in front of someone else, really?

"Anyway, like she said... it's called kissing. It's mostly a way to show affection."

Christina seemed to be losing the will to speak about this topic, though Kim was completely fine. She couldn't understand why one was so affected by the kiss and the other wasn't. Was it because Kim had initiated it? Thoughts for later, surely. "So it is like, a hug? What makes it, not the same?" 

"Its just, really intimate, okay!? Ahhh! L-Look, just go kiss that stupid ensign if you're so curious!" This was too much! Way too much! And any more could make Kim just push harder...

"Mmm, the best way to put it is that... a kiss is a step up from a hug. In America, kissing is usually only done with people you are very intimate with, where a hug can be more... friendly. In other parts of the world, kisses are less intimate." Seung-Min explained, giggling at Christina's reaction to it all. 

"I see. If I want to be... intimate, with Tristan I should, kiss him." Kim seemed like she could keep going but Christina was clearing losing her... something in regard to the topic at hand. It was probably a good time to bow out; she still had some questions, but that was what her communicator was for. "Thank you for, your help, Christina, Kim. I will let you, get back to... kissing." This visit had turned out to be very beneficial for the little xenomorph; from the fashion talk, to advice on Tristan, to means of displaying affection... It had all been very informative. 

"Just try not to... come on too strong. I don't know if his heart can take it." Kim teased as Alriana moved to depart... she might... actually probably was likely the better word, misconstrue it, but she was sure the Ensign could handle things... if he had a congenital heart defect he wouldn't be in the military... right?

Edited by Ursali
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[All hands]

[prepare for immediate combat, and if you see Avery Wright, immediately apprehend her and anyone with her!]

Hm, so the mole has been found then?  This put Vvi's mind at ease to be honest, finding the traitor (or traitors) sooner rather than later.  It would've been a hindrance if she had gotten attached to them in some way, shape or form.  At least it wasn't Aliza, thank the goddess...

Leaving the confines of her room, Vvi couldn't help the small "tch" as she felt all the scrambling emotions from the frantic crew.  Blocking those away as best she could, Vvi quickly made her way towards the hanger.  

As she made her way to the assigned destination, the alien was able to pick out a familiar face out of the bustling crew.  Speak of the devil... "Ah, Aliza!" she called out, all smiles as she made her way towards the other girl.  "Funny how things turned out, hm?  Although, I do feel sorry for you lot, really I do," she said in earnest.

"I know this must be hard, for most of you, but...we can't let them escape you know?" she says in a more serious tone.  At least not alive... "I'll make sure they think twice before betraying us like this, okay?" she then perks up, giving Aliza a smile and a wink before heading off.

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Tarquin had given the simulators a final spin before the mission. He was unfamiliar with combat in frozen conditions, he needed to give himself some basis to work on. "Einhundert Prozent. Ich hoffe, der erste Schuss, den ich vermisse, wird kein wichtiger sein." Tarquin mused, sitting back in his seat. "Oder wird es ein direkter Treffer sein, den ich bereue?"

The calm before the storm had come to an end prematurely, they were on full alert without the battle having eve started. Avery? Tarquin wouldn't have expected her to have been hostile, especially after their exchange whilst repairing Hannah. Not that he would have expected himself to have noticed, his familiarity with both Avery and social behaviour as a whole was so lacking he couldn't have possibly spotted any signs. That was one mole outed at least, the remaining ones could easily still be in hiding. Considering how little he suspected Avery, almost anyone was a candidate as the last one. Becoming paranoid of everyone around him wouldn't solve anything, they would simply have to react when the time came.

Standing up, Tarquin knew it was time to get moving. With how urgent their orders were, the crew would have to wait to process Avery's betrayal. Tapping his communicator, he sent Nikolai a brief message.

"Es ist Zeit für mich, meinen Freund einzusetzen. Ich werde lebend zurückkommen, das verspreche ich."

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Escaping the Riese

Like was standard for the two of them, Astin found themselves being swept along in Aver- no, Marianne's wake. Pulled along and up into the cockpit, they found themselves without a job as she began to kick everything into gear. "Wait, what? You can pilot? I figured... My ride?" Collapsing into the seat Juria had used for a short time, they couldn't help but stare as Av- no, Marianne began to get the Ceres ready for battle. "System X-V? What's that?" What had she been doing to the robot? "Wait, hang on. If the mole hadn't been me, you were just going to steal my robot?" For some reason this offended Astin more than the fact that she would have abandoned them if they hadn't been the mole. The heartbreak was one thing, but you don't just go around stealing someone's robot!

No Dying on my Shift

"Whu--" Valerie had been distracted, reading and listening to music, but Olivia's call snapped her out of it. "Sh-shot? Uh... Yes, ok, uhm, yes." The medbay had been so quiet... But that didn't matter anymore. Something was happening, and it wasn't good. Avery was a danger, Christina had been shot... Time to focus. "Right. Yes, I've got it." Rushing over the SIEG tank, she took a second to run through the proper procedure in her head before getting to work. It was mostly just as easy as flipping a few switches, but she wanted to make sure everything was right and ready before they brought Christina up. There couldn't be any mistakes here.

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"I'll fucking kill her! That hillbilly backstabbin' cow! How is she the mole, it doesn't even make sense!" Elaine shouted, taking only seconds to react to the announcement. She'd taken a tactical bathroom break during the lull, but the news was enough for her to storm out of the bathroom, shaking her freshly washed hands - even Elaine wasn't too short-tempered to forget basic hygiene! She was practically running to the hangar, both in response to the orders and the desire to deck Avery in the face if she got a chance.

Avery was nowhere to be seen in the hangar, but her bewildered comrades were telling enough. "What the fuck happened? I swear to god, I'll kill that redneck wrench monkey." Elaine barked, clenching her fists. She could see Aliza and Vvi, but she was none the wiser about what had actually happened.
 

Edited by Shin

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Having received Rachel's message just after Jessica's, Megumi was definitely dubious about heading down. There were more than enough elevators, but that was actually the problem. If she headed down and didn't catch the group moving Christina up to the infirmary, she would have wasted the trip and not even arrive back at the infirmary until after they did. It might have been worth the risk if Christina wasn't the only one that had been shot, but that wasn't information she could confirm just yet, so she turned and headed back into the infirmary.

"Rachel, this is Doctor Amparo," Megumi spoke into the comm on her desk once she arrived, "We still need you down there; do a full sweep of the area after they head up. There might be other casualties we don't know about, so please be thorough." An android on each deck meant they might still be able to catch Avery, but Megumi couldn't be sure given how things were playing out so far. If the moles had an escape plan, they were running out of time to head them off ...

"They're bringing Christina to us and I don't want to run around in circles," Megumi informed Olivia and Valerie, "so we'll focus on setting up here." Megumi considered having either Olivia or Valerie get on the comms and try to use the androids to track down and deliver anymore casualties to the infirmary, but decided to spare both the potential frustration that came with playing dispatch.


So Jessica's only idea on such short notice was to sacrifice the shields for buoyancy ... essentially, and even that would only buy the engineers enough time to diagnose the problem. Since it was internal sabotage, Firmia doubted her drones could assist with the repairs. She'd also need hundreds to even begin holding the ship up on the surface and they currently only had six that were fully operational. The Avalon could operate underwater and try to give the Riese enough of a push for Jessica to safely divert more power, but not only would the Avalon's main guns be severely weakened and heavily obscured down there, the Riese would only have real protection from the mobile suits back on the surface, which Firmia doubted would be enough all in all. Ultimately they'd likely lose both ships that way, with the Riese's sudden plunge damaging the Avalon and dragging it down to crush depth before Tonya could free them. So the drones and the Avalon as direct assistance just weren't viable.

Firmia sighed. With no good alternatives coming to mind, they were going with Jessica's plan. "Galatea, you're getting all of this, right? Keep the MS teams and the hangar informed of all of this. Any medium's fine." She went to the ship's open channel just long enough to give the crew the go ahead. "All MS teams, the situation is now critical. Launch immediately, set up a defensive perimeter, and wait for further orders." Returning to her direct line with Jessica, she said, "So, two minutes until everything starts falling apart. I'll figure something out by then ... but ... this isn't something you can make up for. We're in this situation because of the 'old' Captain Gefalscht, so blame her for all of this. The new Captain Gefalscht just needs to worry about fixing this mess and making sure it doesn't happen again. By the way, Jessica ... don't let the moles escape. The most I could do is send our drones after them, but they aren't combat ready." The Alkaev wanted to address the Riese pilots too, given what Jessica had told her, but decided to wait until at least a few of them were in the field.


The Regalia team had barely had time to suit up before they were ordered to launch. It was kind of sad that their peace streak was finally over. It seemed like they were back to being ambushed by Apotheosis. Another thing that might take some getting used to was seeing the Reign outfitted for combat, and knowing that Hannah and Galatea were at the controls. Brant had some ideas when the news reached him, but actually seeing how AIs could handle that machine would be something else completely. He just hoped they didn't lean too heavily on their experience with the Mantle. Likewise, Brant hoped Bonner and Lynx would handle the machine well. It was the slowest of the AMS units, so it was also the most user friendly, but if they got pinned down by enemy fire, that would work against them. Lynx was also stuck without a T-Link for a couple more days and could only do regular ... copilot stuff. A shame, really.

Brant got the Regalia moving from its dock the very second the hatch closed, not wanting to hold up the Reign a moment longer than necessary. Since all the AMS units were docked in their usual places, Hannah and Galatea would be the last ones out more or less every time there was a full sortie. Not ideal but the Reign had been acting as a salvage unit until recently, and there was no reason to change positions with the Mantle simply due to launch order. They would just have to be quick or let the Reign squeeze through to the launch lift ahead of them depending on the situation.

"Merlin to the bridge, we're heading out now. Don't wait too long for that update, okay? Not sure what we're dealing with today ..."

"The Riese is in the middle of an emergency landing due to sabotage," Firmia muttered back to the Regalia and the other Avalon MS, "the Luna is probably coming too, so be ready."

Edited by Phoenix

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Chrissy Convoy

"It's not your fault, Buck..." Caroline couldn't help an apologetic smile as she watched the boy rush ahead. This can't be good for him at all... Even Caroline was trying not to focus on the gunshots for her own sake, focusing on looking at Christina's feet as she returned her attention to the poor victim. It was really odd, in retrospect, that they let a child as young as Buck in the Riese, prone to watch heavy imagery for multiple reasons. It left a sinking feeling in Caroline's gut, but she hadn't the luxury of sorting her feelings about that --she needed to keep up the pace with Kim, for one--.

Hearing the android say they were going to escort them in case of another assailant was a relief Caroline didn't realize she needed until the notice. "Thank you." Caroline acknowledged the android briefly, continuing to take care not to shake Christina, wounded as that one was. It seemed bold, to Caroline, that Christina even mustered the strength to voice any words at all, Kim must be really close to her. She asserted.

Passing another guest --the very bizarre alien--, Caroline was honestly wondering what was going to be their... her? reaction. The words of comfort were definitely appreciated, but... no, Caroline was digressing. "We're trying to get her there quick, yeah..." They were being friendly, and had been  on the team for a while, now. It was fine, right? Yes.

Moving in right after Buck, the elevator couldn't come sooner. Caroline breathed a sigh of relief as the elevator ding signaled the opening of its doors. "I still can't believe... I almost crossed paths with the woman that did this." Enough to bring a shiver to her spine just thinking. Things were really risky on the Riese.

Caught in the Middle

Makoto wasn't expecting to see Buck on a rush like that... neither was he expecting to see his arm tainted that shade of red, the color went out of his face immediately. "What happened?!" Was he shot? Oh, oh god... they were bringing someone else, right on his tail, Makoto had to follow, he couldn't ignore the scene at that point... was that Christina?! "Ah... n-no, no way." This was entirely too much too fast, Makoto could feel himself losing his grounding, at that moment. "No way. No way..." He had to chase them, to know what was going on... but the captain had asked them to be on standby... aaagh! How could any of them be on standby when this just happened. "Christina!! Are you... i-is she going to be okay?"

"If we hurry." Caroline was quick to answer, more focused in carrying Christina right then.

"...Let, let me follow you too." Makoto requested. Caroline seemed ambivalent, turning to Kim for a response.

Edited by Xinnidy

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"Hm?" She took notice of Vvi approaching her, ok not Avery. Good. "Vvi!" She rushed up too. "I'm glad you're alright...I never expected the mole to show up now of all times." Then again it's always when you least expect it, or rather when you never want it. Just the way things are. But then the spider brought up a good point. "Yeah....we can't let them get away. We gotta stop em." She agreed. That is until she brought up regretting that betrayal.

"A.ah, wait what?" She asked, but Vvi was off before she could answer. "...wait up, Vvi!" She followed after her friend. Above all else she needed to make sure no one died, not before Avery gave her side of the story at least. Then there was the issue of her being with someone else. Aliza only hoped it wasn't more than one person, and that this can all be resolved through a talk. If only...

Edited by TheRoon

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Stolen

"Your robot? This is colony technology, and furthermore, your robot is heading here right now, Astin. This is my robot, why do you think I was spending so many nights working on it? So I could activate--

"貴様ぁぁぁぁぁぁ!!!"

A heavy thud rocked the Ceres, Marianne luckily a good enough pilot to react in time and bring the Ceres' sword up. Kazue had boosted her Crescent across the hangar and rammed it sword first into the Ceres, trying to lock the machine down.

"I am an agent of justice! And there's no universe where I let villains LIKE YOU, GO!"

"Ahhh, heck, I didn't think any of them were crazy enough to start a mech fight in the hangar itself. Leave it to the loon..." Marianne did a quick glance through the cameras, the Ceres had activated fully, this thing wasn't going to hold her down... Huh, she'd managed to dodge all the engineers on the floor, was that luck or on purpose? "Gimme a second to start the warp, hun."

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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She didn't hear Aliza's sudden try to stop her, she didn't have time.  If they wanted to stop these traitors she had to act fast.  Although, someone already had that in mind, the alien suddenly stopping and watching out as another mech dived straight forward to the one that supposedly had the moles operating it.  "W-Whoa," she wobbled, steadying herself as the hangar rocked from the sudden impact.  Now was not the time to lose focus.

"Alright darlings, let's see what we got here," she said with a smirk, rubbing her hands before letting them float in front of her.  She concentrated on the now enemy mech, noticing only one presence there.  

Too easy.

She focused on that point, stripping them bare of any confidence they had.  She then made them feel vulnerable, insignificant, fearful of the outcome.  Of what would happen when they didn't escape.  Of what would happen if she were to get her hands on them. It was so satisfying, making someone feel like nothing,  to the point of immobilizing the target.  

Of course side effects include: nausea, dizziness, hyperventilation, and panic attacks ::3 . 

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Thorvald had been steps away from the door to the brig when Jess's message about the unknown, roughly ten minutes out, came through. He'd gotten into the habit of daily check-ins with the prisoner, feeling a sense of responsibility, given the agreement he'd made with Vera, plus Esther wasn't a bad egg, not really. One one of the early visits, during the beginning of the big preparation week, she'd made some noise about wanting a console and some games. Not being terribly plugged into the world of electronic entertainment, it had taken a bit of poking around online to settle on something, but thankfully the order had arrived shortly before they shipped out of central. August 11th wasn't exactly top candidate on the calendar for any sort of present, but he hadn't let that stop him from wrapping and delivering a trio of Seihou vertical shooter titles, and the hardware to play them on. According to the research, they were part of a wildly popular series, which thankfully didn't much care about continuity as far as picking up and playing any game in particular. Whether witches, fairies, vampires, and princesses flying around and firing projectiles at each other until they got tired and decided to become friends was even up Esther's alley was anybody's guess, but at least he'd tried, right? The fan forum claimed there was something for everyone, from the competitive scoring player, to the ones just in it for light fluffy stories and relationshipping, so hopefully... 

Anyway, ten minutes, huh? Could probably bop in for a quick chat, apologize for having to leave early, and still make it to the hangar in time. Yeah, shouldn't be a problem-- Huh, another message from Jess? Apprehend Avery? That was... the details went unsaid, left vague, but there were only so many things it could be. If she was the mole, like it sounded, and was making her move, then there was even more reason to at least show face with their Apotheosis captive, and make sure nobody came to 'liberate' her. Sure, Vera had turned her over voluntarily, but they'd all seen how well the lieutenants saw eye-to-eye with each other, so there was no telling what might happen in this case. Worth a little delay for the peace of mind. Still, he should send word to one of the others to make sure the Odin started getting prepped without him. Maybe the mechanics would be on it anyway, but better safe than sorry and... Honestly, maybe a little extra busywork could help take a friend's mind off what was very possibly a betrayal that unhappily deep. Given how close Astin and Avery had been, tossing out a little light distraction didn't seem like a bad idea at all. 

"Hey, Astin. Announcement didn't come at the best of times," Thorvald typed into his communicator, "I should still make it to the hangar in time for launch, but if you wouldn't mind poking some of the mechanics and make sure all the preflight checks get done on the Odin for me, I'd really appreciate it. I know you've got your own stack of stuff to sort through, but you've always been able to step up to the task before. Anyway, I trust you'll manage to come through. See you in a bit." 

Right, time to make this visit quick then. Thorvald stepped into the brig. "Well, this is gonna be a short one for now," he started off, as soon as he caught sight of the prisoner. Already a good sign, they hadn't been nabbed yet. Tilting his head toward the speakers that the captain's message had come through he shrugged a little, expressing that circumstances were out of his control. "Looks like I'll have to put off listening to your full review till later, but... first impressions at least?"

 


 

Abigail burst into the infirmary, gun drawn, quickly scanning the room for threats before lowering it. "Huh, would have expected this to have been a high priority target in the event of the moles activating. Guess they had other plans..."

The rebel was actually quite relieved to see her friend safe, and her worker bees busily preparing for the worst. Best case scenario would see it all as just wasted effort, but if it turned out needed, well good to be ready in case of an emergency. The importance of having proper medical facilities to deal with any aftermath to treachery was one of the main reasons Abby had been worried it might top the list for sabotage. Clearly something else had been deemed more important, however.

Taking a few moments to collect herself, Abigail was faced with a bit of an internal struggle. Part of her wanted to keep prowling the ship to try to find Avery, or anybody else suspicious. Bundled under that general inclination was a burning desire was to go and make sure the bridge was secure. However, giving that even half a serious thought, she had no choice but to admit, the alien incursion during the last battle had already proven that particular area of the Riese to be quite self-sufficient when it came to dealing with unwanted guests. On the other hand, doing the responsible thing and congregating in the hangar with the other pilots was probably the smarter alternative.

"Fuck, this situation," Abby expressed her displeasure without mincing words. "Well, at least you're all all right."

 


 

Listening to Jess's announcements, Jess found herself feeling... out of place. She was certainly crew, fell under 'all hands', but didn't see any way she was really going to be making herself useful in the current situation. Did she just go to the hangar and gear up, on the off chance one of the pilots who deployed in pairs didn't show up? Could she even fill in properly?

...Maybe, maybe not. But it was better than staying in her room feeling sorry for herself, wasn't it? Was it? Heaving a bit of a leaden sigh, she stood up, and sallied forth. As she slowly made her way to the hangar, Jess was trying to recall which of the pilots Avery was, so she could be prepared if she accidentally crossed paths with her.

A young boy pushed ahead alongside and past her, all geared up in a pilot suit and in a rush to get to the elevator. Jess found herself reminded of the other young pilot she'd made acquaintance with. Without really planning for it, she turned the corner making a loop and poking down the other hallway, where she seemed to remember his quarters were, but stopped when she realized she didn't even know what she'd do if she found him. After a few moments just standing awkwardly at the end of the hall, she shook her head and righted course, but soon found herself sidetracked by another diversion, as she stepped into the cafeteria. Apparently her subconscious was doing everything it could to delay her, and when she realized that, the sergeant got more than a little frustrated with herself. Squeezing her eye shut and grinding her teeth a little, she tried to fight past whatever it was that was causing her to drag her heels. How embarrassing. Was she really this afraid? And she claimed to still want to help out. Pathetic. She should have gotten off back at base, walked away and never looked back if this is how she was going to be going forward. It was so... frustrating. She pulled out a chair and slumped into it, needing a few moments more to compose herself before finishing making her way to the hangar.

Edited by Balcerzak

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Priorities

"Kim... Hahh, no, you..." It was so hard to talk, but... And Makoto too, this was just the worst, all these people she cared about having to worry about her like this. "Artemis... In A-Avery's, shop... Y, You... You, have to..." Her world was going dark again, it was just too painful to keep up speaking.

Buck picked up what she meant, though. "Makoto, get in... Kim, the Artemis is back in Avery's hangar, we can take Christina up to the infirmary... If you want to do anything you say you will to her, you'd best hurry to your machine. I... Th-There was a bomb, under the seat." He shook as he said that, trying to keep talking. "I d-disabled it, so you should, be fine... Just... Ughhhhh..." He was already so taxed, he'd cried plenty, and it still felt like he could let out some more.

"[Affirmative, Doctor Amparo.]" Rachel nodded, turning towards the group. "[Tiffany will meet you on the top floor to escort you across the hall into the infirmary. I shall do a sweep of this floor to ascertain if it is safe or not. Please take care.]" With a small salute, the android turned and began to run, dashing down the hall.

Buck could at least marvel at how strong their help was, around here... He pressed the button to go up, hopefully Makoto could make up his mind quickly. And Kim could do what she needed to... "A-Alriana, you too. You can, get off on the hangar floor."

Better Than The Old One

"... I know. I'll do everything that I can. Heh... Just for that, I'll give you three minutes. Gonna need one hell of a nap later." She'd not pushed herself yet, no better time to try. If she shorted out, well... Everything would be in place, anyway, and Tristan was a good shot. As long as the Riese wasn't shot to pieces, her being there wouldn't entirely matter. So just, don't pass out. Simple as that. Just do this!

"Here, Firmia. Call commands for all the Riese's suits. You should be able to address everyone once they're geared up and launched." Jess pushed that along to the Avalon and began running her interface with the bridge's command terminal. "Time to go fully functional."

"Got all that and already relayed it to the pilots, Firmia," Galatea yawned, the tiny avatar popping up on Firmia's own command center and waving. "You're really running me ragged here. And I have to copilot with Hannah? Tsk tsk. I know I can make copies, but we share the same hub. Don't break me, now."

Hangar Woes

"Alright, just gotta-- HahhhHHH!?" Marianne suddenly screamed, clasping hands to her head. The temptation to vomit sprung out of nowhere, as her will to move, to finish this plan, disappeared in an instant, filled with dread. "What... Is... What the, fuck... A, Astin...!" The Riese had taken on those aliens.. I thought only the cats could do shit like this!? What the fuck!? "No, qu-questions, no, time... Press, keyboard... eighty, four, option B, h-hit, enter... Hhrhhh..." Curling up and clenching her head harder, Marianne tried to hold on. They just had to turn the Ceres on properly... And whatever this was would go away.

Hangar Go

"Affirmative Captain! Launching! " Hannah had wasted no time at jumping into the Reign when the orders were given to get going, she was almost giddy with excitement. Galatea had relayed what was going on with the Riese, but only Jessica could handle that, and she had to trust her sister model to be able to. "Please excuse me, Brant!" She couldn't wait, squeezing the Reign past the Mantle and the Regalia, to the opposite lift. She didn't want to hinder the Regalia's take off, but she couldn't wait for Lynx and Bonner to figure out their situation. Taking the newly outfitted Alkaev work up the lift, she rocketed it forward and took off, immediately taking time to do several rolls and finally stop midair.

"This feels amazing... Galatea, how are you holding up?"

"If I could vomit, I would. Why all the spinning? Gosh... I'm a bit strapped, between running Firmia's errands, and assisting you, but I should manage. Hopefully."

"And hopefully I should be fine, now. This machine moves as well as I do. I'm going to do my best today."

And while Hannah was getting herself off the Avalon, Chris was sitting in the back of the Regalia, feeling rather uneasy. "Hey... Brant?" She didn't want to bother him with this, it was probably nothing, but... "Something... Something feels really off. I don't know what it is, just... It's coming from the Riese, and I can't explain it. Too many emotions really floating about over there to, hone in on the exact source." Her T-Link was helping, but it wasn't enough. "Let's... Let's just be safe out there today, okay?"

Armed and Ready

"Oh, Doc... Alright." That much made sense, so they should be expecting the blonde any minute, then... And that was the wrong blonde. "Whoa there, cowgirl... We're fine, here. And even if we weren't... Well. I've got a feeling Megumi can protect her home pretty well." The doc was too mysterious and near constantly aloof to not be prepped for these sorts of things.

"Shouldn't you be going down a floor, anyway? Take off, or something. Sounded important... We're setting up for someone already, anyway, so you'll prolly need to make space."

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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"Yeah... I know. She'll be okay, Doctor Amparo will make sure of it." Kim noted as Alriana came up next to them, the alien adding her own affirmation that the wounds weren't fatal. They had gotten to her in time, before they could progress. Seung-Min knew that, but her blood was still boiling.

"Alriana, if you find Avery. Restrain her, but don't kill her. I owe her far too much pain to let... anyone else finish her." Kim replied to the alien, Makoto joining in soon after. Christina kept talking, despite her advice to the contrary, but it seemed she couldn't finish what she was saying. Buck did, though... a bomb, huh? It had been taken care of, but that was... yikes. 

"Makoto... help them get Chrissy... to the Doctor. She'll be okay as long as you get there fast... I'm not... going to let them get away with this.날 감히 죽이지 마라. " Seung-Min finally managed, making sure that the young justice fighter had a firm hold on Christina before passing the blonde over to him. Immediately breaking into a sprint back towards Avery's former hangar, the Lieutenant booted up her communicator to the Captain. She clearly knew... something, if she had identified Avery, but there hadn't been any notices of explosives...

"Captain! Avery shot Christina inside of the secondary hangar. The Artemis was rigged with a bomb, but Buck managed to... take care of it. I'm moving to launch, please advise the other pilots to... check for tampering on their machines. I don't know if it was only the Artemis, or if she had time to rig the others too." Seung-Min noted, not even bothering to wait for Jessica to greet her before saying her piece. The Captain would hear it, even if she didn't respond straight away, which was what mattered. 

On her own, without need to carry any injured blondes, it only took Kim a few moments to reach the Artemis. Immediately taking the lift up and leaping into the cockpit without delay, the Lieutenant plugged into the T-link and-

 

 

P̡͓͙̞͇̜̜̖̼͒̄̒͛̄ͪ̅̓̃̆̎́a̜̘̥̦̫̘̝͍͖̝̙̐̌ͥ̍̍̂ͪ̓ͫ̎ͩ̏͘͜͜i̢̜͇̟̟̙͇̬̦̗͔̪̤͚̐̆̌̃̿̆ͥ̔̔̓ͣ̇ͪ̑̚n͓̳̥͓̹̘̭̲̦̞͙͎̫̬̫̩̝̆̑ͬ̈͌̕͞.̶̢̪̺͔̗͖͓̭̻̹͍̗̙͓̯̗̉̊̄̀̓͑̈́̋̊̅͛͊ͤͨ̚͡ ̸̐̃ͦ̅̏̌ͫ̀҉̴̻̙̦̤͙̯̜̥̪̼̜̕P̶̧̙̖̣͈͙̝̦͕̘͔̩̻̓̾̓ͫ̎͝ͅä̵̸̢̳͎͔͇̯̯̼͓̦̟͈̞̣́̾̿ͪ̌̇͘͡ͅiͨ͛̽͐̈̀ͥͪ͌͛ͧ̈́͗͋͢͟͏̨̻̬̹̲̗n̷̷̈́͂ͤ̏ͨͯͬ̾͞͏͚̟̦̜͔͙̗̹͖ ̵̴̷̘͎̝͔̭̼̠̜̪̹͖͊͑̀͗ͩ̆̓̄͌̊͜Pͭ̔ͣ̂̉͒̍̈́ͬͣ͂҉̵̝̳͎̯͚̮́̀͢a͈̤̪̘̰̮͋ͮ̊͂͋̈ͭ̀̀̕iͬ̈̎ͯ͒ͦ̏ͪͪ͋̑͑́҉̷͉͓͉̱͍͔͍̖͖̳̬̞̰͖̣ǹ̷̨̳͚̱͕̯̖̻̞̜͇͉̞̑̓ͮ͊̾ͥͥ̔̇͑ͧͥ̄̅͢͠ ̧̡̩͖̯̻͉̬̮̰̻͙͕͓̣̩̓̌͆̔ͪ͊͒̐͒̀ͅP̵̢̡̪̗̣̻̱̝̞̗̹̮̟̲̲̜ͤ̊͆̐̏̈̇ͫ̊̌̆̄̓̍͌͛a̷͈̠̣̰͍̟̥̳̺͚̦̓̆͂̽͑ͣ̓ͭ̅ͨ̇͞ͅḭ̢̢̺̬̱̰̝̤̠̳̗̰̙̜͖͋̂ͣ̈͂̀̍̕͡͝n̷͔̲͕̥ͦ̔ͭ̋ͫ͊͑̀̚͡ ̷̸̮̦̙͍͓̹͈̺̫̳̼͍͇̼̿͌ͦ͂̿ͯ̓́́͝P̸̛̜̻͔̳͇͍̫̮̰͍̅͋͂̍̈́͐̒͂̃̈́̔̈̅̊͌̓́̕͠͡Aͯ̿͒ͤ̀̚҉̩̩͕͎̙͕͎͎͎̭̣Í̡͙̘̱͉͈̘̠̖͎̑̍ͯͯ̂ͬͧͩ͌̓́͟N̡̥͍̟͕͓̣̪̰͈̥̹̮͉̳͓̟͔ͨͬ̊̄͒̔͗̑͂̓͒̾̈̋̋̀̚͠ ̨̢ͣͮͤͧ̃ͩ̋̇̈́̉̆̓̏̈́̌̀̎̀͏̠̘̘̘͙̞̝̫̰̖̰̭͔̗̙ͅP̢̛̬̬̯̼̙̼̳͉ͪ̏ͫ̂͑͝A̷͎̭͎͖̼̹̣̫͍̯̱̺͖̠̩̦ͦ̾͗̉̓̓͘͝I̢͎͇͉̝͖͉̺̮̪͗͋̇̅ͫ͌ͪ̂͋ͧ͗̈́ͪ̃͜͞N̡͎̞͖͚̥̥̘̟̩͉̟̮͇̖̳̰̊͂̂̓ͫͦ̉̒͆̕ ̨ͤ̄ͦ̎ͤ͊̿ͮ̐ͭ͟͏̯̤̹̟̫͍̝̟͎̹͔͇͈̦ͅP̵̴̧͖̖͎̣̳̖̗̝̆́̏̀ͨ̄ͪ́͠Ä̴̤̳̙͈̖͙̣̙̯͉̬̼̥̱͚̓͂ͯ̈ͥ͂̆̆͋ͯ͟Ĭͤ́ͣ̈́ͤ̈́̆ͧ̌͑̏̉͐͂̾̓͏̴͇̭͍̻̮̱̰̗̳̜̠ͅͅNͯ͒ͩͫͩͣ̌̉͒ͩ̀͆҉̛̩̠̜̭͍̫̫̹͚̙͝ ̡̎̔ͯ̑̚҉̟̥͓̬̬͓̱͎̠͉̦̹͇͡P̓̔̋̍ͭ̒́͞҉͚̭̳̤̥̘̰̘̺͙̺̳̰Ã̞̱̦͕̮͚̇̾̌͛̓͑ͩͮͬ́̍́̆̂̀͘Ī̧̗̼̻̩̠̝͓̱͌ͤ̽ͩ͛̽̓͌͛̈́͗͆̀N̵̝͚̹͎̝͉̝̙̰͚͔͙̂͌̊͡ͅ
ͫ͊̋̄̀̆҉҉̛̛̪̱̙̘͍̩̦̭͕͙͜G̵̷̤̝̩̙̱͖̺̃̄̌͗̈́̀ͦ͌Ó̵͕̻͇͚͕͐̾͐̿͒͑̆ͧ̀ͮ͊ͤ̾̏̓́͠ ̀̍ͤ͌̿ͨ̈́͛̊̿ͨ̇҉̡̨͟҉̙̬̹̪͍͎̻̠̞̩̣̰̗̹̟̪B̏ͥ̃ͣ͂ͦ̅ͪ̓̅̃͏̸̰̱͇̹̮̳̺̮͈͞A͛͒ͤͫ͑̾͝҉̴͕̼͓͉̟̱̗̼͘͢C̶̵̖͙̬̲̭̭͉̪̫̱̭̗̠̥̱̜̯̻ͥͥ͌̌̾̈́͑̅ͨ̈́̀̀K̊̔̌͆͆̓̕͏͏̴̵͚͓̩̤̤͔̰͔͓̤.̆ͣ͆̾̐̿ͥ̓̔̇͗̓ͩ͆͒̈ͯ҉̸͚̱̩̜̗̺̫̠̭̤͓̹͍̭̘̕͝ ̂̇̑͌͒ͣ̌ͩ̽̆̾͋̆̎ͬ͏̸̛̭̫̦̘̠̗̱̯̺̱̫̹͇̞͍̣̭͔̪G̛̦̬̣̠͍̙̝̘̳̙̞̙̪̐̓̓̐̎̕̕͠E̡̺͍̺̗̗̺̬̦̳͇̭̩̝̱̖̰̭̣͖͑̿ͨ͗ͥͥͨ̈́ͩ̓ͫ̑͑͘T̒ͯ͗̑́̇̃ͮ͑͛͟҉̨̰͓̬͕̗͕̗̳̩̮͓̫͍͇̰͔̣̫͢ͅ ̷͓̘̱̫̗̭͈̘̎̒ͩͤ̔̋̔̉ͩ̆̾́ͅO̸̶̶̶̙̝̥̩̪̤̝̠̪͖̼̠̘̬̱͎ͦͪͣ̈́͗ͥ̿̿ͥ͐͛͡ͅU̵̶͈̜̼̖͙̠͖ͭ̿̇̔ͮ̀T̡̑͒ͮͣͪ̽ͩ̊ͧ̋̿͆̽ͭ̏ͨ̄̈͢͢҉҉̻̱̠̬͍͍̰̺̻̖̰̻ͅ.̀̀͛̄̈́͛̚͏̳̻̥̜̟̳̠͍̮͕̣̪̲͖͍͓͘͡ ̷̴̸̦̪̟̖̲̩͇̳͔ͩ͌̃ͥͤ̍͂͌ͦF̵̨̭͇͔͔̻̜̰̣̳̣̌̊͐͋͗̓̋̔͝͡L̮̻̱͈̜͇̞͓̙̝̮̯͕͚̟͖͚̖̉ͪ̃̂ͦͪͣͨ̑̏̏̕͢É̙̦̪̖̣ͩ̚̕͜͡Ęͬ̋ͥ͆͂̈́ͧ̊͊ͩ́̇̾͋̈́̊̒͢҉̸̖͎̤̜͈̼͉̞͈̰̞͓̗̀ͅͅ.̵̧̥͇͚̺̥̞̗̑̿͗ͥ͒̋͌͒͑͒̈ͫ̇̍̄́̚͘ ͉̣̤̥̝̳̖̪̰̳̗͈ͧ͌ͤ͛̈͑̔̊ͮ͆ͧͧ̍̔͐̽͘͡ͅṘ͓̭̣̤̟͙̱̣͂̔͒̎ͪͩͯ̀̓̐̔̂ͨͪͤͮ́͘U̷̸͔̤̰̝̦̱͓͉̟̝̲͉̞̙͊͂̓͊̅̊̃ͯ̀͘ͅͅN͔̩̦͔̩̜̜͇̹̠̻̩ͥ̇̂ͦ͋͌̂̅̒ͦ͐͜͝ͅ.̵͖̖̗̺̳̖͇̳͇ͯͤ̀ͩͦͮͤ͜͠ ̡͔͎̤̫̮̗̫̮͓͇̗͖̜͎̼̞ͯ̌̑͊͌͗͟ͅH̩͚̪̻̱͙̲̱̟ͤ̌̄̌̊ͦ͒̆ͨ͒̌̀͟I̶͉̖͉̱ͤͫ̂ͫͭͨ̎̿̂̊ͣ͂̋ͨ͠Ḏ̶̟̺̬̘̭̤̫̲͍̦͈̩̮̠̣̥ͭ́ͮ͐ͭ̋͑ͬÊ̢̨̢̥̳̲̟̻̌̅̓̎́ͅ.̵̈́̇̃̀̒ͣ͏҉͔͙̺̹̻̳̣̰͞
̧̫͈͎͕̥͕̫̬̲̣̤ͭ̈́̑͆̎͂͂̄̔̔̌̀̚N̑ͤͭͧ̆ͣ͂ͩͨͤ̀̑҉̧̧͕̯̹̗͢O̸̧̱̙̱͓ͨ̽ͬ̃̈̓̽̆͗̾̃̿͊ͧͬ̅ͫͩ͟͡Ţ̴͈̹̯̠͇̫̫̜̬̖̞͓͇̓ͨͩ͆ͩ͊̽̃̏̑̑͑ͩ̚H͋̅̓ͮ̈̀̌̅̽̄̿̊ͬ̈́̒̅͆͛̕͏͇̣͓͔̝̺̮͎̰̱͔̯͚͍̟̲̹̪̥͟I̢ͮ͌̊̐͠͏͙̜̬̘̲͖̜ͅN̹̱̯̰͇̙͙͙ͥͯͤ͌̋ͯ́ͥͭ̐̏͒̍ͥ͘͜G̥͉̙͖̰̻̻̱͚̟̭̬̹̻͍̫͔̙̖ͯͮ̓ͫ͒̐ͪ̿̈̉̍͗ͭ̊ͮ̃͡ ̴̘̠̳͔̗̜̌̽͒ͣ̌̈̈̓́ͧ̐̀̇̆͐͒̀͟͝ͅB̛̫͕̬͓̙̯̻͚̱̼̬ͭ͐́́́͝U̧̢̪͚͎̦̮̹̯̹̯̭̖͙͛ͬͭ͋ͤ̈ͪͭ̂͊̓̽ͯͦ̂̚Tͭ͋ͥ̇ͦ́̇̑̊̿̚͏̶̙͕͙͔̩̥̰͚̖͇̘̹͍ ̆ͤ̓ͫ͌ͩͯ̎͊̂ͨ͡͏͍̟̹̠̪̬̰̭͙̙̻̺̹͍̟̣P̵͈͇͓͔̰̺̹̝̪̟ͦ͊ͨͩͧ͒̎́A̧̨̤͍̻̖͉̙̰̼̖̭͍͈͔͔ͨͣͯ͐̆ͨ̄̎̍͝͠I̒ͧ̓̊̇͒͏̰͙͉̰̰͠͞N̶̴̝̘͖̜̹͙̭̬̤̖̪̦͚̝̞̖͖͉̣̄̃̂͒ͦ̑̔ͤ͆̊ͦ͂̋̈̈́̌́̀.̷̧̒ͣ͛̈́̈́́ͣ͆́̚҉̖̙̫͇̰̩̩͚̙̳̬͍ ̸̡̟̠͖͚͇̥̤̲͕̤͔̉ͨ̾ͭ̎̋͑͝͝Š̴͐̊́̀̎̾̊ͮ̍̒ͥͣ̀̚̚҉̹͕̺̙͚̲͖̝̣̞̰̙͕Ő͉͔͖̼̳̘̳̲̟̗͑͒͐̓ͮ͆͆͗ͮ̃̂́̚̚̚͞ͅͅŔͨ͊̅ͯ̄̅͗̓̀̔̑ͯ҉̵̡͎̦̣̻̙̰̞̜̀R̸̢̧̛̹͔̣͇̬̳̫̩̭̥̲̻̞̼̞̠͙̭̱̽̈́͗̃̽͊ͬ̃̏͂ͪ̋̆̊̚̚͟O̤̻̰̟̜̣̎̍̆̾̊ͭ͌̐ͥͮ͆̄͂̒ͭ͛̍̋͘̕͘͝͠W͚̗̝̳̺̠̫̖̞̼̱̦̮̃̍ͧ̌̄̒ͮͧͥ̀͞͝͡.̷̍̋͒͛͗̏̇̆͌̌͛͛̄͊̐ͬͪ̕͞͏̲̟͈͓͚͈̥̼̠͙̙̫̘͎ ̴̨̥̞̞̱̻̞̟̗̞̬̯̤͎̜̻̿̄́ͬA̢̢̧͚̺̮̗͇̳̼̬̼̪̓̔̄̋̂ͯ̀̂͆̑̑͋̒̾͊̚͜G̨̓͂̑͗̄͑ͯ̊ͫ̉ͧ͐̃̓̅ͫ̂͝͏̦̭̠̜̳̝̫̖̞̗̱̤̼͜͡Ô̴̷̭̥̠͉̤̳̰̱͕͈̄ͣͦ̀̈́̾͐͆͂ͣ̐ͭ͋͐ͫ͟N͈̣͎̹̹̼̪̳̤̹͙̯͉͇͇͇̜̫̅̈́ͦ̓ͫ̅͂̀̚̕͡Y̋̓̑͒̎͒̿ͩͪ͗͛̃͊͗͗͗ͬ̎҉̡́͏͇̠̳̦̱̥͙̭̥̱͖̩.̶̶̵̛̜̩̝̗̱̩̙̠͉̣̠͓̂͐ͮ͊̋̅

 

 

Immediately lurched forwards in her seat. Gods, it hadn't been this bad before, Avery must have pulled out all the stops. Ignoring the blood that had begun dripping from her nose at the sudden, violent assault on her head, Seung-Min began an emergency re-calibration protocol. What a time to have to do this... the infirmary would definitely see that spike on their vitals...

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"GAH!" Astin winced as the sword came flying at them, only to be blocked at the last second. "Ha, ok, guess it's your bot... You were quick there..." A ping. A message? From Thorvald of all people. "Hmmph. Looks like our squad leader is running late. Shame no one will tell the mechanics to do his checks for him. He always was too trusting." A frown. That last bit stung more than they were letting on. Still. The man shouldn't have trusted them. Not when they knew there were multiple moles about. Let the Riese suffer for his mistakes. It was only what they deserved.

Their thoughts were cut short by Marianne's screams. She was clearly in pain, but her orders were still clear. Grabbing the keyboard, Astin punched in the directions. 84... Activate Systems X-V? Alright, she said B. Here we go... Punching in B, they turned back to her. "I'm here for you. What can I do?" Was she getting attacked somehow? Wait, that alien... Their TK-Blocker... "Do you want my blocker??? It might help!"

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Rachel agreed to the doctor's plan and then got to it. That was around the time Abigail barged into the infirmary ready to blow away the Riese's former head mechanic ... or anyone else that made a wrong move. She'd calmed down and rightly assessed the situation by the time Megumi stood up to say anything. The doctor had been about to suggest Abigail stick around momentarily, but Olivia reminded them both that the pilots were supposed to be getting ready to launch. Megumi had forgotten about that in the sudden rush to save Christina. The Artemis probably wasn't going anywhere for the moment ...

"I know the infirmary seems like an easy target, but as long as I get a slight warning, we can hold the fort here," Megumi assured Abigail, "I'm more worried about the hanger and the mobile suits, actually. If you're launching with the others please be careful." The head mechanic on the Riese was one of the traitors after all, which meant ... well, it meant all sorts of bogus was potentially coming down the pike. A mole was one thing, but the woman coordinating all of the mechanics and overseeing a project or two of her own? What a kick in the shins.

Speaking of kicks, a small warning beeped from the doctor's console. All she could see at first when she glanced back at it was that the Artemis was sending pilot data to the infirmary. Was Seung-Min preparing to take off? Without her copilot? Didn't she need Christina for something involving the T-Link? Moreover, if there was one suit Megumi expected to go up in flames the moment someone put the keys in the ignition so to speak, it was the Artemis ... or maybe it was being stolen? Seriously what in the hell was going on right now?


Three minutes was certainly better than two. Firmia almost thought she could actually think of a way out of this Luna and moles mess in that time frame. Unfortunately, she had some hefty jobs of her own, right now. Keep the Avalon from being shot down. Protect the Riese. Keep her own crew under control. Coordinate the Riese pilots. She had no idea how that last one was going to go, but the first three were paramount. As much as Firmia wanted to inquire about the pilots and how to get them to listen to an irritable seventeen year old, she just couldn't bring herself to do so. If Jessica could hunker down and focus on keeping things running on her end, Firmia could do the same on hers.

"Alright. We'll take care of things out here."

Galatea was lodging her usual complaints, but Firmia was fairly used to them by now. "I believe in you, Galatea. If you're feeling overworked though, have Jessica and Stephanie link up in the processor suite and take some of the load off. That's one of the benefits of us not having to hunt down any moles on our own ship." Firmia hoped to keep it that way.

Coincidentally, they did have an Apotheosis lieutenant on board, though he was secure in the brig--and bored as all get out, Firmia imagined. The ANF had never asked her to hand Carlos over, and Firmia wasn't offering, so there he stayed. Just as well, being honest with herself, if the Alkaev was going to learn how to truly forgive people without just killing them off, Carlos wasn't a bad place to start. She pitied the man for the situation he'd wound up in despite him being responsible for many of the names on the memorial wall, and that definitely helped address some of the anger. It was an odd purpose for keeping a prisoner like him around, but it wasn't a bad one. Firmia did not want to turn into a murderous psychopath like some of her ancestors.


Hannah wasted no time in moving over to the launch lift opposite the one the Regalia was taking, and heading out. It looked like the Mantle would be the last one out today. It was a shame they couldn't really chat about Hannah's experience with the Reign; between Chris' concerns and the intel Firmia and Galatea were passing on, the situation seemed pretty bad. The Regalia's T-Link wasn't giving him a clear enough picture from here. He knew he should be cautious, and maybe a tad worried right now, but he really didn't know to what degree. The two ships were so far removed from one another that nothing really felt real until he was physically present there. Chris couldn't tell what was going on either, but the mere fact that she wasn't gung ho like usual made Brant wonder if his future sisters-in-law were in danger.

"The Regalia's our toolkit, not our coffin. We'll be alright. Let's just make sure the Riese and the people on it are, too." By then they were facing the end of the catapult and the door had opened for them. Rather than just hearing about it, they were about to get an eyeful of the Riese's situation from the outside.

Edited by Phoenix

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More Relays

So someone had already been hurt... Kim was still managing to talk, so either the wound wasn't fatal, or the girl was way stronger than Jess had expected. Either way, it was good that she seemed up to pilot... Wait, piloting alone? And near immediately, Kim's vitals went haywire. "Lieutenant, get out of that machine! We have no idea what Avery's done to its T-Link, and you could actually kill yourself trying to make this work! Am I clear!?" Hopefully she was clear enough, Kim was a stubborn one, and considering Jess just learned about Christina's situation, Kim trying to do something like this made absolutely sense... Unfortunately.

"All crew, please inspect every machine before launch, Lieutenant Kim has reported an explosive device in the Artemis. Mechanics, chop chop!" It felt wrong to say something like that, but it was one thing after another right now. Hopefully it had just been Kim's, Avery had access to every machine, but other than that one, so did all the other mechanics. Someone would've reported an explosive.

"You've got this, captain Alkaev. This doesn't end today."

"Interface complete."

A voice sounded out in Jessica's head, and she felt a rush of data enter her. Her eyes lit up red, she was full connected to the Riese now. "Let's get this party started." Without waiting, a warning shot fired off towards the incoming unknown... It would likely miss, but Jess wasn't going to waste a chance. Apotheosis can bring it the fuck on.

Cockpit Problems

Marianne felt the feeling disappear as the systems turned on properly, but the rush of normal feelings re-entering her mind was too much to stomach, bile spilling out onto the floor of the Ceres' cockpit. "Ugh... Wow, fuck me right up~ Gonna have to clean that later... And pay them back twofold. Whew." Her sleeve had seen better days, as she wiped her mouth, and went about getting the controls working again. "Thanks, hun. I'm fine now... The Ceres has similar systems to the Luna, it blocks mental attacks... We installed them as backups in case the cats turned on us. Guess it's good for something else too." This Kazue, though... She wasn't letting up. Oh well~

"Strap in, I'm starting the warp systems." Hopefully Astin was fast. Marianne wasted no more time in slamming keys, finishing the system setup, and--

"Speakers on... See you later, Riese crew." In a blast of green light, the Ceres disappeared from the hangar... And so did the Crescent.

Over Open Water

"You're right... Sorry, I just can't shake this off feeling. I'll try to focus." Chris slapped her cheeks, whatever was going on over there could wait, right? She could ask once people were in the air, anyway. "Feel free to take us off, Merlin." That made her smile, just a bit.

Hannah wasn't smiling. She'd just watched the Ceres teleport into view, the same way an Apotheosis machine would. The Crescent was in tow, and while it wasn't plummeting, it was having trouble staying afloat. It wasn't meant for flight... Neither was the Ceres, so what was going--"

"Avalon machine! Help me! This suit is housing the agents from Apotheosis!"

That was Kazue, and that was all Hannah needed to charge in. "Astin!" How could they!? The Ceres had aimed its fist, blasting it at the Crescent, and sending it careening towards the water. Kazue had blocked the impact, but her machine's engines couldn't stop the force behind the blow. "Hahhhh!"

"Tsk, they sent Tonya after us? Well, this won't be prett--" The Ceres' sensors weren't picking up any life inside the Reign. "Hannah!?" They put the android in the Reign? Wasn't that a downgrade? And of everyone on the Riese and the Avalon, Hannah was the last person Marianne actually wanted to hurt... "Gonna have to try and get out of here without much-- Whoa there!" Maybe not much of a downgrade! The Reign came in swinging, and despite being deflected, it spun around immediately and swung at the Ceres' back in passing.

"No damage... Just what did Astin do to it!? It was never this durable!" It wasn't going to stop the android, who charged in for another swing.

"Fine, we'll do this the hard way!"

Close Shave

Vera had been flying autopilot, not expecting any incoming fire... Until battleship level cannon fire nearly blew her out of the sky. "What!? Ugh... Damn that Jessica. Guess I underestimated her range... Ceres team, come in! What's keeping you?"

"Wha-- Hey! We're kinda, tied up right now! Stupid, android, get off my case!"

"Stupid android, huh... I guess I'd better get there, now." Vera could only imagine Marianne's assailant to be Hannah. She felt a pang of fear, facing the android again, but if it was in robots, it was fine. "Engines to full burst."

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And... re-calibration complete. Seung-Min felt the pressure on her head drop immensely... the shock was lingering, but it would fade quickly enough. The Artemis' T-link had always been overtuned for a single pilot... had that been a part of Avery's plan all along? How had she hid her emotions so well, her concern had... it had never cracked, or felt insincere... just thinking about it renewed the vigour in Kim's chest, and the expected request not to deploy came in short order, after the spike in her vitals.

"Negative, Captain. I'm performed emergency re-calibration of the Artemis' T-link, and it is our only unit that Buck managed to perform a sweep on... besides, we can't afford to lose any more manpower... even if this wasn't personal. Artemis, LAUNCHING!" As soon as the response left her mouth, the Artemis began to fire it's thrusters, careening out of the Heion Riese's secondary hangar at roaring speed. Several machines were out on the field already, but with the Crescent Moon and the Reign both attacking the Ceres, and one familiar, yet suddenly so foreign ball of feelings inside...

"AVERYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!"

If the whir of the engines was loud, the bloodcurdling roar that erupted from the Artemis onto an open channel, the first thing that came to her head to reach the mechanic's treacherous ears, was an absolutely furious cacophony, reaching the Ceres only moments before a volley of incoming magnum rounds, fired as soon as the Artemis had come clear of the hangar. Not far behind was it's plasma gauntlet, aglow and sparking with a feral rage and thirst for rent steel and spilled oil.

"DIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"

 

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"If I find her, I will do what I must. But, I will try to... have that, in mind." Why was it so important to Kim that Avery be captured alive? She was missing something here. Not that it mattered; Alriana had only ever intended to capture the traitor if she came across Avery, even without Kim's plea. After all, the orders had only called for her capture, not her death. She would just treat this like a retrieval mission; however, this time she wouldn't have to worry about any guards or obstacles aside from the target herself.

Christina had been transferred to Makoto and Kim was heading off, presumably to finish preparing to sortie. Alriana had sated her curiosity so she ought to get going as well. Buck was holding the elevator for her and the Christina Carriers. It surprised her to see the Buck in action at all; she'd expected him to be curled in a ball on the floor. He was still clearly not okay, but he was pushing on regardless. She had a newfound respect for the mechanic. "Does that mean, that my Almydis is... operational?"

Edited by Ursali

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A few seconds warning was all Astin got, but thankfully it was enough for them to jam their seatbelt on just as the Ceres disappeared in a flash of light. A few disorienting seconds later and they were in the middle of a two on one battle... Three on one. But Vera was on the way and that was enough to keep Astin relaxed. Besides, this was the sort of fighting they were used to.

Pulling themselves together, they took over copiloting quickly enough. "We've got the Artemis incoming. She's not going to be happy." An understatement. "Looks like the others haven't caught on quite quick enough to interfere yet. But hopefully Vera gets here soon. Hannah and Kim together is going to be tricky. Plus if the Moon gets things figured out... Well, let me know what you need me to do." Time to get out of here was right. This could have gone smoother certainly...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Abigail had burst into the room in a panic, but thankfully seemed unhurt. "I agree. The Doctor can help protect us if needed and you're more use out in your ship. Good luck out there though. Hopefully we won't need to see you back here after." She smiled at the impulsive girl and then turned back to the SIEG tank. Good. It looks just about ready. "Doctor, we should be good here. What else do you need me to do?" Olivia seemed to have grabbed most of the necessary things for dealing with bullet wounds. She couldn't let herself stop and think though. If she did, the fact that crew members were shooting crew members... No. Focus. Come on Val. This is what you trained for. This is your job. Support them all so that they can do what needs to be done. "We probably should prepare a few beds, just in case, right? Especially if there's any chance suits have been tampered with, we need to be prepared. Hopefully everyone comes back ok but..." No, stop that. You can't go talking doom like that. Focus on the chances of everything going well. It almost always has, right? Right. But still good to prepare too...

Edited by scorri

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Trolley Up

"G-gotcha." It wasn't even a question, Makoto took Kim's place and kept Christina steady along with Caroline. "I hope she's going to be okay..." Kim probably wasn't taking this well at all. She trusted Avery a lot, so it was expected that this whole thing hurt. Especially with Christina... Makoto held back a wince. At least Buck had checked that machine, but it was a rough time for her to be sure. Would Kim be alright going out there in this state?

Well, that was no longer something they could worry about with time against them to get ready. The elevator stopped at the middle deck first, for Alriana. "I... think they should have done something about your machines? You should ask the mechanics." Unless she spotted her machine well and looking functional. That'd explain things too.

The upper deck was their final destination, Caroline and Makoto hustling to get Christina out of the elevator and on her way to the med bay without too much trouble. Keeping level with Caroline wasn't so tricky, their relative heights not that far off, but they could only move so fast. Every second was tense, with Christina's blood still running. "Hang in there..."

Since she was carrying the legs, Caroline ended up being the first to reach the Medbay's door, giving a warning sign as she rushed in. "M-multiple gunshots! So, she's going to need quick care. Where do we take her?" She couldn't make a mistake here. Makoto quickly followed in.

Fall-Back Plans

"Captain... if you need it, I'm still here. I can relay anything for the pilots." Roxanna understood Jessica was trying to improve relations with the Alkaev heiress, but if there was any efficiency at all in putting Roxanna to use, it'd be nice to be needed.

Well, there was another way to become useful as well. They'd just lost a head mechanic, and... the other most deserving of that mantle (despite their age) was probably in a state of shock. "Hello, this is the bridge reporting." She spoke to the hangar, in general. "With Avery's situation, you should designate a new head mechanic to oversee all reports and relay them to us. Otherwise, it might get messy."

"I'll do it." An old man's voice came in quick reply. "Ignatius here. If Buck shows up, I'll pass him the mantle, though. The alien mechs should be good to go, right now. Avery wasn't the one tampering with them, I confirm they're safe." It was, at least, a greenlight to two of the pilots. "Moving to the Odin right now. Can confirm the crew is working on the rest."

"G-got it." That was fast. Roxanna could breathe some relief, at least. Their schedule wasn't going to be that tight. "This is XO reporting to pilots. Alriana and Vvi, your machines should be clear. Be ready to launch whenever you can." There was some sort of dread in letting the killer of its own previous ship, the Fury Arachnid, be one of the first to launch right now, but that was hopefully just an ill-timed thought.

Preparations

"Bonner here, orders understood." Despite the silence, the old Major was listening to Firmia's instructions intently. "Apologies on the tardiness. My partner had to adjust co-pilot configurations to make up for the lack of a T-link. We'll be using the same launchpad as the Reign just now." It was certainly a different robot to ones of ANF make, but the Major seemed to be adjusting well enough --given the timeframe--.

"Godspeed." Lynx... was a man of fewer words.

And onto the catapult the Mantle went.

Prison Busters

"...Hmm?" Esther was somewhat surprised to see Thorvald make a visit so soon. "Oh, thanks for the games. It gives me something to do. Fanatic 1cc is a nice challenge for once." She sprang up to greet the man from her side of the wall. "...Hey, they acted, didn't they?" Esther was surprisingly shrewd and to the point, "Even from here, I'm picking up a lot of distress everywhere on the ship. I can't really 'tune it out', like naturals." She shrugged. The more she talked, the more Esther's tone seemed to shift to the cynical. "Vera was the one giving orders to them, though. I don't think they want anything to do with me, since she was the one to hand me over to begin with." The girl could only offer a pitiful smile, horribly contrasted by her downcast eyes. "No point in withholding that information anymore..." Esther perhaps had a glint of hope that they would've come to whisk her away prior to that.

Edited by Xinnidy

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