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

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Kim attacks Hyperion 2 with Funnels, supported by Thorvald's 250mm Cannon, then moves to 11,14 with Hit and Away

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Funnels away!

Quote

Kim attacks!

Target: Hyperion #2

Weapon: Funnels

Final Hit: 100; Final Crit: 24

Roll: 73, 38

Hit! No Crit.

Damage: 108

 

Hyperion #2 counters!

Weapon: Split Missiles

Final Hit: 28; Final Crit: 1

Roll: 85, 64

Miss!

 

Thorvald provides support fire!

Weapon: 250mm Cannon

Final Hit: 85, Final Crit: 17

Roll: 40, 7

Hit! Crit!

Damage: 111

Hyperion #2 is done for!

Kim gains +5 EXP, +4 Will, +10 PP, +3000 credits!

Thorvald gains + 100 EXP, +5 Will, +10 PP!

 

Edited by Xinnidy

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"If that's how you feel, then I suppose this conversation is over. Sorry Vera... I tried." Seung-Min replied, her voice tinged with regret. Nothing to do about it now... loosing her funnels and strafing backwards to make some distance, the Artemis touched back down a little ways away, Kim watching both the Luna, as well as the Sacarian commander's machine like a hawk. This would be a difficult fight, but if she could keep them occupied, the others would have more room to maneuver.

"If you're that eager to throw your life away, then so be it."

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Kim's words provoked Astin, and Thorvald could only hope the latter didn't really mean what they were saying, and were only provoking back. It was already enough of a betrayal what they were doing right now. Them and Marianne both. He just didn't understand how you could live with someone, work with someone that closely, and still hate them so deeply--all the while never even showing it. But there was no time to spend idly trying to wrap his mind around something that refused to be wrapped. Kim took aim at a target, and he followed up. She withdrew back closer to formation, and again, he followed up. The rumbling charge of his tank drew him close to another target of opportunity, and if they played the cards right, he could get some team effort in here as well, maybe make a solid dent.

"Makoto!" He opted for just the boy's name, as he couldn't remember his callsign at the moment, and despite the ever so brief and perverse impulse to tease him as 'police officer' again, realized that the timing was unwise for such a joke. "Coming up on your six and taking aim at 11 o'clock. Think you can follow my lead? Don't worry about return fire, I'll manage that."

Thorvald moves to 11,15; fires Rocket Barrels at Hyperion 1, supported by Makoto's Shoulder Rocket Pods

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Thorvald leads a charge!
Final Stats: 100,17
Roll: 17,9
Hit
Crit!
Final Damage: 74

He eats return fire!
Final Stats: 100,3
Roll: 90,7
Hit!
Final Damage: 48

Makoto comes in for a followup!
Final Hit: 98,26
64,32
Hit
Final Damage: 58
Thorvald gains +30 EXP, +4 will!
Makoto gains +20 EXP, +2 will!

"Back on your feet, Vera? Wonderful! I'd hate for you to miss the fun!" Louise was fully reveling in it, even if these people were her former 'allies', she didn't care as long as she got to take her frustrations out on them. "You'll do nicely!" The Luna burst forth off the ground, speeding through the air towards one of the Phobos models!

Louise to 6,3, Danse Macabre all over the Phobos!
Final Stats: 100,100
Roll: 73,38
Hit
Crit!
Final Damage: 324 sweet mercy

"Hahahahah~!" The Luna wasted no time in crashing into the unsuspecting machine, sword rammed hard into an arm to lock its movements, as it was dragged out of the sky and down to earth... Things didn't stop, one of the Luna's arms pinning the still functioning one to the ground, the other stretching up as Louise laughed on speaker. "You get to be my dance partner!" A heavy fist rammed into the Phobos' head, again, and again, before the Luna grabbed it and tore it off, proceeding to slam into the machine, ripping and tearing at armor plating, wires, cables, the pilot underneath her rapidly trying to escape somehow.

"The fun's only started! Stay still!" Finally, the mechanical hand clawed at the cockpit, tearing sheets away, before ripping the plating hiding the scared Apotheosis tool away. "There you are~" The fist was raised once more... And came crashing back down, Louise cackling over the crunch. "I could do this all day...!"

Louise gains +1 EXP, +13 Will, +12 PP!

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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(Too early in the morning for all the stuff I need to cram in so I'll do that in a later post)

Brant attacks Hyperion #1 with the Regalia's Funnels with a Support From Tarquin and his Seeker Missiles!

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Astin was fired up and ready to take Kim on in a battle to the death. This did worry Aliza, but she knew Kim was just as good at piloting as she is as a diva. Talented girl. Still it wasn't easy to take betrayal and just move on with that, especially if the betrayer was right in front of your face trying to kill you. It's easy to lose your resolve. But...she had to reassure Kim at least. "...Kim." She spoke on the comms. "Make sure you win, I want another autograph." She kept it short and returned to her work, starting with a nearby Cress.

Aliza lands, moves to 11, 18 and Heavy Knifes Cress 5

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A close shave!?

Final Stats: 100,31
Roll: 98,12
Hit
Crit!
Final Damage: 46!
Down he goes!
Aliza gains +150 EXP, +8 PP, +6 Will!

"You're the first!"
Vera takes off, to 3,4! Redux in motion!
Final Stats: 100,78
Roll: 33,32
Hit
Crit!
Final Damage: 323
Almost...!
He goes for a counter--
1
But gets swordlocked!
Sparking but functional, the Deimos stands, gashed side or not!
Vera gains +1 EXP, +3 will!
 

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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What the hell was that? Whatever Tycho was shooting with, it severely damaged the Hyperion. Attempting to counter with a missile attack left the machine wide open for a flanking maneuver. Having this many enemies left to deal with, Brant wasted no time in shooting that Hyperion down with the Regalia's funnels. There were other Hyperions close by, and Thorvald and Seung-Min were teaming up against one of them. Brant thought he and Chris might be able to finish off the other. If not, it would be about as distracted as the last guy and probably get picked off. To Brant's surprise, he was able to punch all the way through to the reactor, destroying the tough mobile suit in volley.

"Like that, Firmia?" Brant called in to the Avalon's bridge.

"... yeah, good work." It sounded like Firmia was still in the fight. "We'll be joining you soon so just keep whittling them down."

"Wilco."

Eyes On the Prize (Chapter I)

...

Ziva tried to hide her nervousness as Paul Antonov, Chief of Statlas' Security Team, began wrapping up an outbound call to none other than the Russian 'BattleCarrier,' Vaska. Gabriel had specifically instructed them to contact the Vaska and notify them that they were to bring the ship to Statlas. All they knew was that the Alkaev company was working closely with the Russian provisional government and the military through Dima, so everyone expected things to go smoothly, in spite of what Gabriel and Haal'Sen had said before. In a way, this was partially tipping their hand by giving the Vaska their location and setting off some alarm bells for present company. When Gabriel's force attacked, the Vaska's crew would know where they came in from if they could put two and two together. Unfortunately, just showing up and making demands wouldn't make sense from the perspective of Statlas' personnel. It would be starting a fight for no reason. This had to look like a legitimate attempt to acquire the ship peacefully and 'as planned,' even if it was destined to fail from the beginning.

Ziva knew at least part of what Gabriel was trying to do here. Vladimir and the others were under the impression that the Vaska senior officers already knew about some pending orders to move the ship to the Statlas Facility, having been informed by Dima the same as Gabriel, and were simply waiting for said orders. They, of course, had no such orders, and would be as suspicious of this call as Statlas about those orders not arriving. The blame for the missing information would have to fall on either Gabriel or Dima. That meant that Gabriel was still building up a case against Dima to turn the Statlas personnel against him. The only problem Ziva could see, was some shenanigans on Dima's part to help cover his own hide ... or them just not buying any of this orders business.

"Check your logs," Paul seethed, feeling frustrated and embarrassed by what he was hearing, "You were supposed to be preparing to come here to Statlas. We're already waiting to receive you."

Vladimir sighed. He was standing behind Paul and watching along with Dragomir, the Head of Research and Development.

"You must have misheard," a sympathetic but irritated comms officer replied over the wall monitor, "Statlas is in our database, sure ... as one of three remaining fallback zones. There's nothing about any pending orders, though. I checked. I doublechecked. I'm sorry but I can't help you, and I can't say anything more than that."

"This is a secure channel and you have our credentials," Paul protested, "We're on the same side, now let me speak to your captain. This is too important for you to simply shrug us off."

"Gabriel was right," Ziva said, smirking quietly, "There's definitely going to be resistance." She didn't think this situation was actually amusing. That wasn't why she reminded the men present. No, she was doing what she could to prop up the narrative that something stunk on the Vaska's end of the situation.

"This doesn't make any sense," Paul's eyes flashed red at her. He wasn't amused, either.

"Look ..." the comms officer struggled to stay composed, "I can't let you speak to the captain just yet. Can you standby for ... no ... okay. I'll pass this information along to the captain. He'll get back to you within the hour. I can guarantee that much. I know this is important, but we're getting bombarded from all sides by comms traffic. It's a nightmare over here."

"You have our sympathies," Vladimir chimed in, "Just look forward to when you finally get here. You won't have nearly as much trouble with the comms traffic then. I'll guarantee that," he added with a small grin.

The Sacarians and their tech, Ziva remembered, prompting a grin from her, as well. Speaking of which, Gabriel and those two were already on their way here. The call would probably wrap up before then, unfortunately. She felt Gabriel would appreciate a firsthand glimpse of the various reactions.

"Thanks," the comms officer smiled. He seemed to appreciate Vladimir's remarks. "Just keep an eye on your comms. This is the Vaska. Over and out."

"Dammit!" Paul clenched his fists, "Who is playing us right now?"

"Gabriel warned us there could be problems," Dragomir noted gravely.

"You think someone kept Dima's order from reaching them?" Paul cocked an eyebrow at his colleague.

"Last I checked," Ziva decided to weigh in as well, "Dima isn't in charge of the military. Isn't he just vying for a position in the new regime? He doesn't have an actual rank or anything, right? The man gave me the impression that he's working through someone higher up in the provisional government, but that's all ..."

"We don't have the details, unfortunately," Vladimir shrugged.

Dragomir crossed his arms and turned toward the discussion. "We were not privy to the same information as the Voronin or Kalten facilities. Statlas is a tertiary asset for the Alkaev company."

Now Ziva understood the lackluster communication. Kind of a miracle, really. "Lowest rung, huh? You have my sympathies."

Paul managed to calm himself down, straighten out his tie, and pocket both his hands. "How are we supposed to work with the provisional government or the new regime if basic communication is so unreliable? A blunder like this can't be an accident. I fear someone is trying to manipulate us into a firefight with the Vaska. Apotheosis might even be involved, somehow. I'm going to ask Gabriel to postpone the rendezvous for now. We need time to sort this out."

"Gabriel made it clear," Dragomir interjected, "that the mission is greenlit as soon as production on the first units is completed. We don't have time to spare."

"That's right," Vladimir frowned, "We can't afford to waste any more time. The Vaska is already obsolete in this war. She's only relevant now because all Russian forces are being coordinated through that network. Being able to hold the enemy at gunpoint from over the horizon isn't enough at this point. She needs what the Sacarians are offering to stay in this fight."

"But this is too dangerous," Paul gritted his teeth, "People on both sides will be killed, and a battle that severe could expose the ship to even more attacks. There have to be other groups with their eyes on her. She's Russia's last bastion of hope in this war, 'obsolete' or not."

"I agree, and it's regrettable, but with the Sacarians helping out, we should be able to take the ship without too much trouble. Remember, when we bring the ship back here, we'll be outfitting her with new mobile suits and equipment. She'll be much better prepared to fight the war after that."

"But an easier target in the meantime ... I hope Gabriel knows what he's doing ..."

Ziva hoped she was helping more than hurting Gabriel in this situation. Sometimes it was difficult to tell exactly what needed saying or doing, but she'd spent enough time with him to at least know what direction to take things in when situations sprang up. Still, some more private briefings couldn't hurt, going forward ...

...

"Dragomir, wait a moment." Paul caught the Head of R&D in the hallway heading away from the comms room in the main building. The man was deceptively fast on his feet, even while walking. "May I have a word?"

"Certainly," Dragomir turned to face him, "In private?"

Paul nodded gravely, "... of course."

The two men stepped into Paul's office after a short walk. Dragomir took a seat in front of Paul's desk, but Paul began pacing somewhat frantically by the door. "The Vaska mission is troubling you this much?"

"Of course it is," Paul winced, "I ... have a suspicion, Dragomir ... and I'd like your honest opinion."

Dragomir, realizing Paul wasn't going to make his way over to his desk, stood up from the chair and turned to face him. "Tell me. I'll tell you what I think."

"A simple miscommunication is not possible, not with a ship this important. I believe we're being led around by the nose. Apotheosis is behind this, trying to undermine the Vaska and take it out of the picture ... and they're using us to do it."

"You suspect ... Gabriel?"

"... maybe," Paul held back, "Apotheosis was nothing major until recently. Suddenly they attack everyone everywhere with technology we've never seen before. It must be Sacarian technology. What if ... what if those two are working with Apotheosis. What if they're using Gabriel and us to bring down the Vaska's defenses, or outright destroy the ship? That's the end of us. We won't have enough concerted firepower left to continue the fight if that happens. Worse, even if we survive the war, the EU will be able to swoop in and annex the country. The provisional government has no leverage whatsoever without a military and a hopeful citizenry."

"An ... interesting theory so far," Dragomir inclined his head, feeling that Paul was at least making sense for now.

"Gabriel may not be relevant. The Sacarians could even be controlling him like a puppet. You've never seen him alone, have you? Well ... that aside, if we're being used to put down the Vaska, or possibly even to capture it for Apotheosis ... then ..." Paul didn't have any words left. He didn't see a way out of this situation if what he was saying turned out to be true.

"It is difficult," Dragomir stroked his chin, "We don't know who to place our full trust in at the moment. The Sacarians do worry me, however, they called Gabriel their king. I also caught wind of their story, about how Gabriel acquired their services. I have no doubt whatsoever that they have ties to Apotheosis, but Gabriel is almost certainly not involved with them. I won't comment on mind control, but their goals seem firmly tied to his will. Gabriel is at the very least relevant, Paul."

"So then ..." Paul sighed, stopping to face Dragomir, "What are your thoughts on the Vaska's missing orders to come here to Statlas? Who's at fault here, in your mind?"

"Either Gabriel is lying about those orders," Dragomir shrugged slightly, "or Dima lied to him. Either Gabriel is manipulating us for some reason, or Dima has different designs from ours. A third party could be involved, but it's doubtful at best."

"I ... suspect the same," Paul nodded in resignation. "So ... who do you want to believe? Who do you believe? This king of Sacarians, or our own benefactor?"

"Let's see, now ... a man that mind-reading aliens call King ... or a man that works in the shadows, assassinating rivals and employees alike ..." Dragomir reframed the two men with a slight smirk.

"An interesting perspective," Paul winced hard. Dragomir certainly had a way with ... well, everything.

...

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"[Inquiring, a message for the Avalon.]" Tiffany had stepped away from the mess with the captain, attempting to inform the other ship of the situation. "[Captain Alkaev, if you do read. Captain Gefalscht is alive, and maintains her personality... A warning, please brace yourself for the rest of this statement. To ensure that 'Jessica' exists as an ego, her stores have deleted all of her memories until this point. She is still Jessica Gefalscht, but it is as if none of us have ever met her. Please take care when speaking with her after the battle, or during for coordination. That is all, message ending.]" Hopefully the fight wasn't causing enough interference for the message to get lost.

Kazue meanwhile...

"You're TOO SLOW!"

To 1,4, slash at Deimos #8!
Final Stats: 100,46
Roll: 93,24
Hit
Crit!
Final Damage: 280
He counters!
Final Stats: 48,24
Roll: 77,38
A miss!
Kazue gains +40 EXP, +4 will!

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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Firmia was once again beside herself at the news. Knowing Jessica survived her ordeal somehow was one thing ... but the Alkaev expected either a fully recovered Jessica, or an empty shell wearing the woman's face. This wasn't 'the happy middle' by any stretch of the imagination ... though Firmia honestly wasn't sure why not. Not at first. Yes, the android had forgotten everything that gave their interactions so much as a sliver of meaning, but didn't that also apply to Abigail? Wasn't there a chance now for them to put the past behind them completely? Firmia doubted it, especially since she still hated Casson and her crew by proxy, and like hell the former wasn't going to do their best to make sure Jessica followed through, both on their relationship and leaving the ANF, both things Firmia found detrimental for her own reasons. Still, the situation was worth looking into after the battle, assuming they could deal with the Sacarians and not lose anyone important along the way. The regular enemies were just soaking up their fire for the Chaldenes. The real fight hadn't even started yet ...

"... thank you for the update, Tiffany," Firmia replied, her melancholic tone not betraying the curiosity that was building.

Eyes On the Prize (Chapter II)

...

Ziva was waiting with Vladimir in the comms room when Gabriel, Haal'Sen, Raay'Xel, Lou, and Castor all arrived as one group. "Ah," Ziva waved along with Vladimir.

"Apologies for being late," Gabriel said, holding the door for everyone else, "Are they ready, or ...?" 'This is the part where I begin laying the groundwork and cutting Dima off from this group entirely. Pay close attention ...'

Vladimir shook his head. "They don't know a thing about orders to come to Statlas. We're waiting for the captain to call back, but it's like you said, someone's probably interfering, trying to make it harder for us to get the Vaska. Maybe another faction in the provisional government."

Gabriel's expression darkened, an angry look that Ziva rarely ever saw. "Dima assured me they would be informed." He quickly tossed away the feigned fury and let his shoulders slump. He looked up to the ceiling as if contemplating something important. "Maybe that's why ..."

"What's why?"

Ziva squinted at Gabriel. She couldn't read his mind, but she could always tell when he was putting on an act.

"We'll ... discuss it later, Vladimir. I apologize." Gabriel straightened up and made his way toward one of the comm station chairs. "For now, let's focus on the matter at hand."

After much hounding from Ziva, something about looking the part for what was to come next, Haal'Sen had relieved herself of the moderately comfortable shorts and t-shirt, donning the combat suit Gabriel had provided previously, minus the automatic weapon, of course. In a facility full of people she was supposed to trust, a knife would provide enough defense for Gabriel, were one of them to attempt something foolish.

'I shall watch carefully, my Liege. Hopefully whatever you are planning shall teach me more about your race.' She gently waved towards Vladimir and Ziva, returning the gesture, though she wasn't exactly sure of its purpose. Then, upon hearing that the Vaska had no idea of its orders, Gabriel's expression... Became rather, upset. Was this a part of his groundwork? "Gabriel, are you alright?" She couldn't help her concern, this was a new face, and he hadn't warned her, so...

It would seem the games were afoot. The Vaska had, predictably, replied that they had no such orders, which was to be expected. Now it was simply to follow Gabriel's plan and steer things into a hostile takeover that did not appear hostile.

"That is... regrettable news, My Liege. How should we proceed now?" Raay'Xel asked, giving Gabriel an opening to lay out his groundwork.

"I'll be alright," Gabriel answered, "I'm just worried our problems with the Vaska's crew may be closer to home than just rival factions. We're going ahead with the original plan ... only now we know there's going to be some fighting involved."

Vladimir grimaced. "You mean someone in the company kept the Vaska out of the loop, don't you?"

"Right. I'll need to think about it some more," Gabriel gently pushed the question aside, "I don't have the credentials to earn their cooperation, which was why I suspected at least some resistance. Once I've spoken with the captain myself, I should have a better idea of what's happening on their end ... and if my suspicions are warranted." 'Best not to implicate Dima too early, I think ... Better if it appears I have more important things on my mind and that he's simply getting in the way ...' "Best not to jump to conclusions before then."

Vladimir sighed. "I suppose not."

"Mrrr..." 'Dima, then? Unless there is another force at work, I suspect him to be the one causing problems for us.' An annoyance, to be sure. Still, not something they couldn't handle. "If it comes to a fight, they will not defeat us. I will not allow your plans to fail over simple miscommunication." Haal'Sen was confident that they could at least accomplish things despite the setback, Gabriel would find a way around things, no doubt.

"Let us speak to this, Captain, then. This will not be a video call, correct? I fear I did not bring this suit's helmet with me..."

"We will do what we must. This is too important to allow a setback like this to stand in our way. I trust that whatever decisions you might need to make shall be the correct ones, My Liege." Raay'Xel added, bowing her head slightly in emphasis.

"If it is indeed video, Haal'Sen and I can step out for the duration, My Liege."

Gabriel wasn't sure at first, but Haal'Sen had definitely bought into at least part of his ruse. Unfortunately, there was no guarantee that there wasn't something nefarious going on behind the scenes. This particular bit of trouble was merely a false flag on Gabriel's part. Now might be a good time to explain ...

'Worry not, Haal'Sen. The Vaska didn't receive orders to come to Statlas because neither Dima or I made the arrangement. Vladimir and the others are meant to think that we did. Frankly, Dima's crimes against his own family won't carry much weight on their own. Everything needs to be framed in the right context. Regardless of his exact goals, Dima must become the villain, the man opposed to all of our goals: The blood ties that bind these people together, the safety of innocent people, the restoration of a strong and noble Russia, everyone must look on that man and see his threat to each of them in order for me to flip them to our side.'

"Eh," Ziva practically handwaved the helmet concern, "You can just stand out of frame like before. No need to miss out, again."

"That should be fine," Gabriel agreed.

"Think I'll hang out 'offscreen' too," Lo put in, "Probably a good idea for Castor to sit off to the side, too. You don't look like a kid when you're all suited up, but right now ... tch, you're gonna give'em a bad impression."

"And I was so looking forward to introducing myself," Castor said wryly.

"The comms officer said the captain would be back with us within the hour," Vladimir noted, glancing at the blank screen, "So you may want to get comfortable. We've got another fifty minutes we could be waiting."

'... Oh... My, apologies. I feel the fool for falling for this... Bah, I cannot understand this subterfuge that you humans use. Why can things not be more straightforward? ... That is rhetorical, I understand that to defeat a creature that lies, you must face it with its own craft.' Haal'Sen sighed, stepping away from the frame of the video for when it turned on.

"Castor, was it? You are quite small... How old are you?" Haal'Sen hadn't met this one yet, was he another of Gabriel's pilots? He couldn't be more than eight years old... Were humans truly this small growing up?

Given Haal'Sen's height--extremely tall for a female--Castor wasn't surprised she saw him as small. He still had plenty of physical growth ahead of him, but the support pilot felt comfortable addressing the tall alien. "I was born approximately sixteen years ago."

"Just say you're sixteen," Lo rolled his eyes.

"Very well then. Where within this room would be out of frame, so that we may relocate? Best not take the risk of being caught unawares." Raay'Xel asked, looking over at Haal'Sen and Castor. The boy did appear small, but if Gabriel felt him ready for battle, so be it.

Haal'Sen's eyes went wide for a moment, trying to calm her surprise. "THIS, is human sixteen? ... It is no wonder you all begin pilot training so late. I was your size when I was seven. Taller a year later, and ready for combat. Why do humans grow so slowly...?" It was mystifying, there was probably no good explanation for it, but... "Maybe your years are just faster than ours... How... Vexing..."

"Over here, Ray," Lo waved, figuring the spot where he was standing was far enough out of the main monitor's viewing area.

"Next," Ziva squinted at the mental image, "you'll tell us Sacarians are born in litters."

"Ready for combat at age seven ..." Vladimir seemed positively fascinated by the idea. The Alkaev training regimen allowed for future pilots to begin basic training as early as age ten, but the rigors of the program left the comfortable gray area and landed squarely in unethical territory prior to that ... at least by current Russian standards.

"Let it be known," Castor raised a finger, "I served as a child soldier before becoming a pilot. I didn't forgo early training the way most people do."

"Most people don't fight," Lo said pointedly.

"Litters? I do not know what this is supposed to mean... We seem to share a typical amount of children to you humans, when it comes to birthing. We just... Apparently, grow much faster. Fascinating." She would have to ask, perhaps one of the humans doctors about this. Was there something to it? And they stopped growing around, or under six feet. How very curious...

"You are too young to pilot, Castor. I will have to speak to Gabriel about this." She knew that much now, at least. Eva was just barely serviceable, after all.

Moving over next to Lo, Raay'Xel watched Haal'Sen continue on with Castor. It was valuable information about human development and training habits, so there wasn't any harm, really. The Sacarian warrior couldn't help but wonder what Gabriel's response to Haal'sen's assertion would be.

"Too young ..." Castor frowned, "Strange, considering your people's standards."

"Little known fact," Lo instinctively reached for a cigarette, "The human brain doesn't finish developing until your early twenties." ... and then he realized where he was and the present company and opted to simply rest against a powered down console, arms crossed. "That's why only heartless bastards send kids into a firefight."

"I must be truly heartless, then," Gabriel smirked.

"Err-on foot ... at least," Lo amended himself. "Besides, you've got a good system going. He fights from the back or stays on guard duty. Having Jack handle up close fire support when we need it is workin' out just fine."

Ziva felt a little awkward about the Castor situation in general, agreeing that he was too young for this sort of thing. They had more pilots than machines, but prior to the Sacarians, Castor was their third best pilot overall. Even his attempts to emulate Gabriel never caused any harm in the field. Eva, on the other hand, had them on the edge of their seats with how much she would risk her own neck in a fight. Tunnel vision was a common problem, but clearly, one Castor's previous handlers had somehow worked out of him.

"Castor is one of those 'fringe' cases," Ziva weighed in, "I'd rather not use him as a pilot, but Gabriel was already fighting at his age, and on top of that, he's reliable. He'll catch up to Gabriel someday with enough training."

"That can be arranged," Vladimir teased.

"Mrrrrr... I don't like it, but if Gabriel thinks it best that we use him, then so be it." Haal'Sen scoffed at the boy's frown, it was not strange at all. She had finished growing at the age of nine, her body prepared for all the combat training it had then went through. Castor still had years to go before he was done. What exactly was strange? She shook her head, it was not her place, anyway, if Gabriel thought it best.

"If I am to need to stand near you to remain out of the camera's view, you will not light that cancerous stick without moving away, Lo." Raay'Xel noted with a scowl, the unpleasant memory of that vile scent causing her nose to scrunch up in displeasure.

"I didn't take'em out, Ray," Lo protested, "relax, would ya? Didn't know I had to worry about pre-crime around Sacarians."

"Now you know," Castor grinned at Lou. To Vladimir, he said, "I'd be interested in whatever training you have to offer. If Gabriel intends to use me in the next engagement, I want to improve by then."

"Save it for later, Castor," Ziva interjected, though she was telling Vladimir the same thing with her eyes.

This boy was definitely too young, and yet... No matter, it was Gabriel's word. "Whenever you are ready, Gabriel." Hopefully, this ruse would play out well. It had already fooled her, after all.

"And I intend it to remain that way, Lo." Raay'Xel replied firmly, watching to see what would happen next. How would Gabriel swing this in practice?

"We're still waiting for them to call back," Vladimir reminded everyone, "I could put on some music in the meantime, but-"

"We're kind of in a hurry," Ziva gently cut in, "so let's just try calling them back. It seems like the worst case scenario is them hanging up on us."

"I don't mind ruffling a few feathers," Gabriel said, stepping toward the main console, "What we have for them is far more important than anything else happening in this part of the world."

Vladimir couldn't help but agree with Gabriel on that point. Desperately needed refits and new equipment, alien technology, more able-bodied pilots, and a more consolidated effort to beat back Apotheosis and save the country. This was way more important than the typical noise of war.

Gabriel placed the call, with one hand on the console, and his eyes fixed to the large monitor. "... answer ..."

"Это Р.С.С. Васька," a female comms officer answered the call, but the monitor didn't switch to a live video feed. Apparently, the channel was only letting audio through ... for the moment, at least. Her mental exhaustion and strained voice were unmistakable with or without video. She opened by identifying the ship she was on, the Russian Spaceship Vaska, or R.S.S. Vaska. "Кто это?"

"Current overseer of the Statlas Facility," Gabriel answered. He understood just fine but wanted to nudge her over into English so that the rest of his party would understand her.

"'Statlas'? Где ...?" She trailed off with the question ... "W-what do you need, Statlas?"

"You seem to have enough on your plate, already," Gabriel smiled pityingly at the audio visualizer on the monitor, "I'd like to have a word with the captain. If everything goes well, your lives will become much easier, soon."

"Very doubtful, Statlas, but I will see what I can do ... please standby ..."

"Of course."

"Poor girl," Lo shook his head. Even a ship the size of the Vaska probably only had a handful of comms officers available at any given time. If the ship really was the main attraction in this part of the world, then they were probably dealing with incoming radio chatter nonstop.

Oh, progress. Some tired Russian woman... Russian was always hard to translate, Haal'Sen opting to ignore it until ahe started speaking English. "Hopefully this does not take long. Honestly, how busy does one captain get?" Her peanut gallery complaining was quiet, surely the call wouldn't pick it up. "They should be prepared for all attention, they understand their popularity. Come now, Vaska crew."

"They can only filter their calls based on location," Ziva noted, "It's hard to tell in advance who's important and who's not when they're probably mostly high priority locations ..." Even Statlas was somewhat important since it was one of the Vaska's own fallback zones. Any fighting going on in the area would pose a problem for the crew.

"Oh yeah," Lo thought back to some of his own bad radio calls, "Holdouts on the ground are pretty much screwed, right now. I bet they're getting swamped with calls like 'help us' and 'Apotheosis is here, send backup' ... Poor girl's probably heard some things that would make Castor here wet himself."

"My first crush died in my arms," Castor countered, his face giving nothing away as he stared off into the past. "Pleas over the radio sound like TV drama by comparison."

Lo sighed. It was hard for him to make fun of Castor when his childhood was such a bloody mess. Instead, he opted for 'annoying big brother' tactics and patted Castor on the head. "You'll be alright. Plenty of fish in the sea."

"What's this ...?" Gabriel noticed the audio feed flickering. Not just the visualizer, but the entire window, as if it had just switched over to another line. They weren't being transferred were they? The comms officers worked right from the bridge, so the captain should have been just about within earshot. Why transfer them, then?

Gabriel's answer came when the visualizer was replaced by video feed, and he quickly made a warning gesture at the rest of the room, making sure they all knew that if they had done any wandering, it was time to get back into position, either in the frame or just out of view. The person that appeared on the large monitor wasn't who Gabriel had been expecting. The Vaska was supposed to be captained by a man named Petya. This was a woman, one Gabriel thought he recognized. Of course she looked familiar. She had a build similar to Rosa's and easily discerned through the military uniform she was wearing. Her hair was blonde, a bit pale, long, and kept loose beneath an officer's hat. She was both a critical part of his original plan to take the Vaska, and a significant risk factor in general. Juliya Alkaev.

"Statlas," Juliya smiled contemptuously at the people she could see, Gabriel, Vladimir, and Ziva, "Do you actually have the nerve to pester us when lives are at stake?"

"We do," Gabriel nodded casually.

"And-" she was about to snap at him, but it was at that moment that she stopped looking at them as a group and taking in their individual characteristics. "Hmm ..."

"And?" Gabriel encouraged her to finish but quickly thought better of it. This was amusing, but they were still on the clock. "Whatever. Listen to me, Juliya Alkaev. My name is Gabriel Ziv Alkaev Katz. I'm your cousin, your late Uncle Yuri's son. I need to have a word with Captain Petya."

"Yuri ..." Juliya thought about the name briefly, "Strange that Katz is your last name and not Alkaev. Uncle Yuri must have really hated my grandparents to do something like that. Anyway, the captain is busy right now, but I'm here. As the acting XO and only Alkaev representative on the Vaska, I can take any news you have for the captain on his behalf ... I also want to know what you're doing here in Russia, Gabriel ..."

Just great ...

Haal'Sen rolled her eyes at Castor, hopefully such death and destruction didn't ruin humans. She'd seen and dealt with plenty of damage up close, it was just a bit of blood and visceral. Taking a life was easy, and if a life you cared about died, you used it to steel yourself further. Nothing should affect your ability to fight in battle.

That was enough pondering the child, now focusing on Gabriel's discussion with Juliya... Alkaev? His cousin, it seemed. Katz was... A painfully amusing and ironic last night, so much so that Haal'Sen actually broke out a smile, much as the implications also bothered her. Amusement aside, was this woman going to help them or hinder them? She seemed quite ready to step on his attempts to speak to the captain currently. Hopefully that would change. Certainly, only Dima was a horrible snake. Certainly...

"Very well, Juliya," Gabriel made himself seem just a tad frustrated, "I'll go over the situation with you. Dima and I had an arrangement regarding Statlas and the Vaska. The man assured me that the ship would be ready for escort back here once I had everything ready on my end. You see my problem ..."

Juliya forced a smile. "I sure do. We don't have any plans to head to that base unless we have to."

"You weren't going to be given a choice," Gabriel glared at her, "This goes above all of us, including Dima. We're in possession of technology that will be integrated into the Vaska in order to turn the tide of the war on the Eastern Front. The Vaska playing 'Resistance' out in the open no longer serves any purpose and I'm putting a stop to it, now."

"Tch ... like threatening us is going to do you any good. What are you going to do? Bore us into submission?"

Gabriel leaned toward the monitor, his eyes narrowing more and more as Juliya became more and more weary ... "I don't know who kept the orders from reaching the Vaska, but we're running out of time. All options are now on the table, and if the Vaska's senior officers won't cooperate, then they'll be replaced. This is no threat, it's a guarantee."

Juliya bit her lip, clearly trying to work out the chain of command and the hierarchy in general in this situation. "If it's that important, then I can get confirmation from Grandfather, can't I?"

"Of course," Gabriel nodded, then he froze for a split second, glancing in another direction and feigning revelation. "... unless he's the one behind this."

"What do you mean?"

"If Dima has me making a fool of myself attempting to bring you here, then we'll be at an even greater disadvantage in the war, soon. I don't know what his ultimate plans are, however, I know what I need to do. There's no turning back now. We have everything we need to chase Apotheosis out of Russia and reassert ourselves. If you and Captain Petya aren't going to cooperate, then I will personally come and drag you all back by force."

"Hah!" Juliya crossed her arms and turned her nose up at Gabriel. "You're not the only one with cool new toys, Gabey. We've survived this long. You think we can't deal with you, too? Go on, then. Attack the Vaska. We could use an easy fight for a change. I dare. I double dare you~"

"Alright then, Juliya." Gabriel had to force himself not to smile, though there was no hiding how pleased he was from Haal'Sen and Raay'Xel. They would be attacking the Vaska no matter what Juliya said, and so Gabriel intentionally botched the negotiations in favor of the 'fleeting time' narrative. It wasn't as graceful as he would have liked, but it would do, and Vladimir was oblivious enough for the ruse to slide right by him. "We'll be seeing each other, soon." Gabriel ended the transmission before she could fire back, then turned to face everyone.

"Wow ..." Ziva said, a bit shocked.

"Did she just dare you to attack the Vaska?" Lo asked, "She's hot, but man is that girl overconfident. I guess that's what happens when you don't know what you're really dealin' with ..."

"What a mess," Vladimir shook his head, pulling out a seat from one of the consoles and plopping himself down on it.

...

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"I-Incoming!!" Caroline had done enough supporting, with one of the deimos looking ready to topple over, she could do it, right?

Caroline casts Focus![-15SP]

Caroline rushes in to (2,5) and opens fire at Deimos #7!

Caroline attacks!
Target: Deimos #7
Weapon: Head Gatlings
Final Hit: 91
Final Crit: 9
Roll: 84, 50
Hit!
Damage: 4

Deimos #7 falls apart?!

Caroline gains + 300 EXP, +12 PP, +6 Will, +5500 credits!
Caroline levels!
Caroline gains +1 shooting, defense, accuracy! +5 SP!

"W-wait, I did it?" She wasn't entirely sure how that worked out.


The vanguard was tense, but Makoto was finally doing it --the Phalanx was handling itself fine in combat, and even managed to take hits. He'd have to thank Buck for the armor reinforcements. "Keep pressing on!" He was concerned about Thorvald, Kim, and Christina being left behind, but he couldn't help it now. Not with all these machines in front of him. "For Justice!"

Makoto remains put and uses a special flash grenade at Cressida #2!

Makoto attacks!
Target: Cressida #2
Weapon: Flash Grenade
Final Hit: 83
Final Crit: 22
Roll: 16, 35
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 58

Cressida #2 crumbles before light and mild explosions!

Makoto gains +150 EXP, +8 PP, +2300 credits!

"I can do it!" The boy was as driven as he could be, at least.

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Elaine gritted her teeth, it stung to think that Astin thought so little of them and even more that it had all been an act from the very beginning. "It ain't too late to change things, Astin! You gonna be happy serving some furry fuckin' space cats for the rest of your life? I don't know what happened, why are you so angry, why are you so willin' to throw our world to those cats?" Elaine protested, locking onto her next target. If she couldn't convince Astin with words, perhaps taking down everything else around them would work. After all, it was how Elaine solved her problems in prison. "I ain't gonna sit down and let shit happen. Even if the big dicks at the ANF want to send me to jail after all this, at least I'll have a cell to be sent to!"

Elaine stays put and attacks Cressida #4 with her Revolver Stake!

 
 

 

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Elaine goes with her gut!

Elaine attacks!
Target: Cressida #4
Weapon: Revolver Stake
Final Hit: 89
Final Crit: 35
Roll: 39, 61
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 104

The Cressida is pierced through!

Elaine gains +100 EXP, +6 Will, +8PP, +2300 credits!

A good choice!


Edited by Xinnidy

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Firmia does that.

Firmia attacks!
Target: Deimos #8
Weapon: Sub-Missiles
Final Hit: 92
Final Crit: 20
Roll: 56, 48
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 72

Deimos #8 crashes on land!

Firmia gains +150 EXP, +6 Will, +12 PP, +5500 credits!

One less to worry about!


"Requesting Puppet for support, wait for us to fire." Bonner voiced through his comm, keeping the Mantle at a steady flight.

"Bit of a dark callsign for that kid, don't you think?" Lynx couldn't help but speak under his breath, Bonner could definitely picture his frown.

"Yes, it wasn't my choice, however. This is hardly the time, either way." Bonner sped up the machine, "We've got other puppets to worry about."

Bonner to (12, 14), shoots Praxis Gamma #6 with its wrist cannons, then let the Aria provide missile backup.

Bonner attacks!
Target: Praxis Gamma #6
Weapon: Wrist Cannons
Final Hit: 72
Final Crit: 18
Roll: 56, 8
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 109

Praxis Gamma #6 counters!
Weapon: Proto ESP Bits
Final Hit: 72
Final Crit: 12
Roll: 90, 14
Miss!

Tarquin provides support fire!
Weapon: Seeker Missiles
Final Hit: 100
Final Crit: 27
Roll: 30, 78
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 77

Bonner gains +30 EXP, +2 Will!
Tarquin gains +15 EXP, +3 Will!

A swift sidestep!

Edited by Xinnidy

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Tarquin had definitely felt the impact from the last attack, it was only the combination of his rapid response bringing up the shield and Jess' coordination that they had avoided a disaster. The Aria had taken the hit well, nothing was flagging up as non-functional - it would just be a matter of maintaining a little more distance between them and the enemy.

"Jess, we need to relocate, this position is no longer advantageous." Tarquin warned, his vision blurring momentarily as his eyes scanned one of the displays. That was probably a warning from his body to decist from putting it in harm's way, despite his genetics he was still physically a teenage boy. "If you are able to manage our movement, there is something I wish to try,"

Bringing up another display on one of the panels, Tarquin flicked through a few menus, several sporting large red warnings. 

"Usually the railgun's firing mechanism is limited by generator output and timed cooldown. By temporarily bypassing said mechanism it would allow for a shorter firing interval... with time required to aim taken into account. Of course that is assuming that current remains within acceptable range and taking Biot-Savart's l-..." Tarquin explained, pausing mid-ramble. He had spent a few nights trying to figure out the practicality of the attack. "My apologies, in short, we would be able to fire in rapid succession for perhaps two or three shots allowing for power reserves."

Tarquin uses Targetted, Firing! He then hits and aways to 12,15!

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Ok let's try this again because I can't edit that old post apparently.

Enemy Phase/Turn 3!

Praxis Gamma #5 stays still and swings at the Regalia!

Praxis Gamma #5 attacks!
Target: Regalia (Brant)
Final Hit: 16
Final Crit: 23
Roll: 86, 57
Miss!

Brant counters!
Weapon: Shield Missile Launcher
Final Hit: 100
Final Crit: 12
Roll: 59, 43
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 122

Brant gains +30 EXP!

Praxis Gamma #6 also stays still and fires at the Mantle!

Praxis Gamma #6 attacks!
Target: Mantle (Bonner)
Weapon: ESP Bits
Final Hit: 67
Final Crit: 12
Bonner chooses to defend!
Roll: 91, 81
Miss!

Bonner gains +1 Will!

Marianne moves in (10,16)!

Tarquin Intercepts!

Tarquin's overwatch activates!
Target: Ceres (Marianne)
Weapon: Full Output Railgun
Final Hit: 70
Final Crit: 20
Roll: 23, 8
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 282

Tarquin gains +10 EXP, +3 Will!

Marianne then swings at Makoto in his poor smol bot! Oh no!

Marianne attacks!
Target: Phalanx CT Frame (Makoto)
Weapon: Hybrid Sword
Final Hit: 68
Final Crit: 36
Makoto chooses to evade! Final Hit halved!
Roll: 59, 43
Miss!

Chaldene #1 stays put and fires at the Regalia!

Chaldene #1 attacks!
Target: Regalia (Brant)
Weapon: Mega Particle Cannon
Final Hit: 0
Final Crit: 8
Roll: 47, 88
Miss!

Brant counters!
Weapon: Shield Missile Launcher
Final Hit: 100
Final Crit: 12
Roll: 15, 94
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 95

Brant gains +20 EXP!

Hyperion #4 also charges (12,13) and swings at the Mantle!

Tarquin Intercepts!

Tarquin's overwatch activates!
Target: Hyperion #4
Weapon: Full Output Railgun
Final Hit: 100
Final Crit: 20
Roll: 40, 12
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 256

Tarquin gains +10 EXP, +3 Will!

Notably damaged, the Hyperion continues his attack!

Hyperion #4 attacks!
Target: Mantle (Bonner)
Weapon: Buster Sword
Final Hit: 60
Final Crit: 25
Roll: 88, 64
Miss!

Bonner counters!
Weapon: Hip Beam Cannons
Final Hit: 100
Final Crit: 20
Roll: 18, 16
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 41

Bonner gains +150 EXP, +5 Will, +10 PP, +3000 credits!
Bonner levels up! + 1 Defense, Accuracy, Avoid! + 2 SP!
Lynx gains +200 EXP, +5 Will, +10 PP!

The Hexis takes on the Artemis as a challenge! (11,13)

But first, Tarquin intercepts!

Tarquin's overwatch activates!
Target: Hexis
Weapon: Full Output Railgun
Final Hit: 22
Final Crit: 24
Roll: 28, 64
Miss!

Tarquin loses 2 Will!

And now for the main course!

Hexis attacks!
Target: Artemis (Kim)
Weapon: Heat Tail
Final Hit: 63
Final Crit: 31
Roll: 94, 71
Miss!

Kim counters!
Weapon: Mode A
Final Hit: 86
Final Crit: 24
Roll: 18, 10
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 110

"Hoh..."

Kim gains +100 EXP, + 4 Will!

The Luna also charges at the Artemis! (10,13)

Luna Mk.III attacks!
Target: Artemis (Kim)
Weapon: Vacuum Blade
Final Hit: 17
Final Crit: 39
Roll: 1, 52
Hit, but Thorvald takes the attack!
No Crit.
Damage: 8 (To Thorvald)

Artemis counters!
Weapon: Mode R
Final Hit: 72
Final Crit: 21
Roll: 41, 27
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 118

Kim gains +5 EXP, +2 Will!
Thorvald gains +2 Will!

The remaining Cressida models move south towards the other group.

The Saturns all move down 4.

Deimos #5 moves in (11,19) and swings at the Sagittae!

Deimos #5 attacks!
Target: Sagittae (Aliza)
Weapon: Buster Sword
Final Hit: 69
Final Crit: 24
Roll: 68, 83
Miss!

Aliza counters!
Weapon: Heavy Knife
Final Hit: 96
Final Crit: 31
Roll: 21, 19
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 36

Aliza gains +40 EXP, + 2 Will!

Deimos #4 moves (9,19) and fires at the Sagittae!

Deimos #4 attacks!
Target: Sagittae (Aliza)
Weapon: Pulse Kunai
Final Hit: 74
Final Crit: 4
Roll: 55, 70
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 28 (20 EN Damage)

Aliza counters!
Weapon: Beam Longbow
Final Hit: 75
Final Crit: 31
Roll: 86, 37
Miss!

Aliza gains + 3 Will!

Deimos #3 moves in (7,19) and attempts the same

Deimos #4 attacks!
Target: Sagittae (Aliza)
Weapon: Pulse Kunai
Final Hit: 58
Final Crit: 4
Roll: 53, 48
Hit!
No Crit.
Damage: 28 (20 EN Damage)

Aliza counters!
Weapon: Code: A.T.A.
Final Hit: 65
Final Crit: 31
Roll: 77, 62
Miss!

Aliza gains + 3 Will!

Deimos 2 and 1 move down 5!
The gamma models and chaldenes move.
The phobos models move west.
Poiesis, comes at full power at the Oberon!(12,18)

Poiesis attacks!
Target: Oberon (Elaine)
Weapon: Beam Whip
Final Hit: 100 (122)
Final Crit: 36
Roll: 69, 93
Miss!

"Hmm..."

Whew! Close one!
 

Player Phase/Turn 4!

xL5IWIG.png

Victory Conditions:
Defeat all enemies!

Loss Conditions:
The Riese is destroyed!

Battle Mastery:
Defeat Marianne and Astin in the same turn!

Doc

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What was going on in the Riese's infirmary? Firmia, try as she did to focus all of her attention on the battle, was commanding rather absentmindedly by that point. It hadn't been very long since she was in contact with them, but now an inescapable lull had fallen over the Avalon's bridge. It felt like they were quietly plucking away at an inexhaustible army of enemies. The only saving grace there was that anyone they vaporized here wouldn't trouble them again during their final assault on the base. That made the battle that much more important, even to her personally, but also that much more tedious. Morale didn't seem to be an issue for Apotheosis now ... and those damn elites eyeing up the Artemis seemed to be part of the reason for that.

"We need to do something about them ... ... Tonya, how long until we can regroup?"

"I dunno ... a couple of minutes?"

"Time enough to think then," Firmia sighed.

Eyes on the Prize (Chapter III)

...

Haal'Sen could only smirk at this conversation. She understood what Gabriel was aiming at, now. They were going to charge and take the Vaska no matter what, but contacting them and playing this game of subterfuge allowed him to find out more about Dima, and plant small seeds against him. He just had with this Juliya, so it seemed. "An impressive display, Gabriel. I think I finally understand, though I may have jumped to conclusions... Still, shall we suit up, then? We have a ship to take, the blustering of some Russian woman shall not deter us."

Time was now of the essence. "Our machines have been looked at and repaired, yes, Vladimir? I likely will not be participating in the upcoming battle directly, but for Raay'Xel, it would be good to know that you can have one of us out there with you." Her confidence was nearly brimming to the peak, the idea of this takeover just the thing she needed to finally get excited.

"It would appear that our course is set. It is a shame your cousin appears quite haughty, it would have been better to avoid conflict, but we do as we must." Raay'Xel noted, pushing herself off of the wall. It was time for the true operation to begin, having taken care of the pre-battle blustering.

"I'd have to check with engineering," Vladimir replied, glancing over at the console behind him. He decided to give them a call and see how far along they were with the mobile suits starring in the upcoming mission.

"You want to head out right now?!" Lo exclaimed, "Vasile's people haven't even cleared the Gambit for combat yet."

"For a direct attack on the Vaska, we only need the mobile suits and the fliers," Gabriel noted, "And ... I just realized something. Best we lift the lockdown, now."

"Uh oh ..." Lo grimaced, "You 'just realizing' somethin' is never a good thing."

"I've got a bad feeling about this, too," Ziva winced, "The Vaska's got a lot of firepower, but they shouldn't be eager to fight anyone right now. Juliya has to know how worn out the crew is ..."

"Exactly as Gabriel has stated, Lo. Let me make this clear, for everyone. Raay'Xel is all that is needed to hold off whatever the Vaska wishes to throw at her. While it may be more challenging to avoid killing the pilots they field, there is no single soldier that can hold their own against her in our standard suits. Given that Vladimir and company have been not only repairing, but improving our machines for combat, I feel that not even Russia's elite could hold a candle to her, or I, now." Haal'Sen's smirk had vanished while explaining, deadly serious, staring down everyone in the room.

"Gabriel managed to bring us to a stand still, with a surprise attack and his expert piloting, combined with a unique prototype. With our Praxis models upgraded, I fear a repeat of the previous scenario would leave him in flames. Trust that we can do this, Lou. Trust that my confidence in our abilities is not grandstanding. You shall not be let down."

"It is as Haal'sen says. With the upgrades specified for my Praxis Gamma, the troops stationed aboard the Vaska should not be a problem. You have yet to truly witness my worth in battle... I assure you that what is to come shall be a spectacle not to be missed." Raay'Xel added, a hearty guffaw escaping her throat. Without the fliers themselves, the AMS units, at least with the specs she had seen, were ill-equipped to handle a properly upgraded Praxis. The ship itself could do some damage, but she would have to commend her gunners if the Vaska actually managed to land any decisive blows.

"Seriously?" Lo gave the Sacarians an incredulous look, "We had a plan, didn't we? Why are we going off half-cocked, now?"

Vladimir turned to face the group from the console. "The Praxis units haven't gotten in any live testing, but otherwise they're combat-capable. The Dominions are still in assembly. Best they can do is four units by tomorrow, and that's if they overclock the assembly line. The old fliers have been replaced and the MKIIs are ready for flight testing. Also, we're coming out of lockdown now. Would you mind telling us what you realized, Gabriel?"

"The Vaska is serving as the nerve center of the Russian armed forces, currently. That makes protecting the ship vital for them, however, it also means most units are being coordinated by the Vaska directly."

"And they know exactly where we are," Ziva added, gravely.

"We'll be fine, Gabriel continued, "but we need to be ready in case they do attack us first. Passive sensors won't do us much good at long range, so I want active sensors up in case anything gets too close. Go ahead and get suited up. Vladimir, find out what the status on the Archangel is."

"One moment ..." Vladimir spun back around to get that information from engineering ...

"Nothing about this is half-cocked, Lo. I expect you on your knees, praising the both of us, when we come back and this is a success." It was time for battle, then. Gabriel had given the order to suit up, an order Haal'Sen was more than happy to oblige. "Yes, my Liege!" With a bright smile and a fist clenched over her heart, she bowed towards Gabriel, before heading towards the door. Her machine had a backup pilot suit, she could get changed in the cockpit, given it hadn't been drastically changed. Then it would be awaiting further orders to join Gabriel in the Archangel.

"I wish you the best in combat, Raay'Xel! Prove to everyone that we are more than words. You shall be spectacular!" She was almost jealous that her turn would have to wait, but vindication would be sweet enough.

"Of course, My Liege. I shall await your orders in the Praxis." Raay'Xel replied, mirroring Haal'Sen's salute. It was time to prove not just her own worth, but the worth of the Sacarians and their technology. None of Gabriel's men had faced them until they had been on the ropes, and even then that was only Ziva and Jack. At their full strength... well, Raay'Xel would need demonstrate just how monstrous that was.

"I thank you for your well wishes, Haal'Sen. I shall make them bare witness to our true prowess. We cannot, will not fail."

"It's rare to see them in this good a mood," Ziva grinned.

"I'm glad," Gabriel said, glancing over at Vladimir, "We'll be relying on them for this next phase."

"About that, Gabe," Lo approached him, "Aren't all the upgrades we're doing specifically for this mission?"

"They're for posterity," Gabriel clarified, "though yes, I would have preferred it if everything was available for this part. No plan makes it unscathed, especially not this one. We need to stay flexible." He also wanted to remind Lo that there probably were elements in the provisional government and the military working against them. If they could take the Vaska a bit ahead of schedule then enemies both known and unknown would have to work even harder to undermine them ... and any aboard the Vaska would be dealt with shortly.

"Sorry, Gabriel," Vladimir turned to face him, again, "The Archangel's upgrades aren't finished yet. They said they could prep it for sortie anyway, but you won't be able to transform out of MS mode. Flight should still be possible, but your mobility will be cut in half."

"Ask them if they made the modifications to the cockpit that I asked, and if so, tell them to-" Gabriel was cut off by an unbearably loud klaxon. "Vladimir?"

"I ..."

["All hands,"] a voice cut in just after the alarm stopped, ["this is not a drill. We've detected long-range missiles closing in at high speed. I repeat, long-range missiles are closing in at high speed."]

"... there it is," Gabriel nodded, grateful for how swiftly they'd gotten the active sensors up and running again. Now they had five minutes to react instead of thirty seconds.

"We JUST got off the line with that crazy girl ..." Lo glared at the large monitor, though there was no one to meet his indignation.

"The Vaska must be in this region if she's close enough to fire on us," Vladimir noted.

"It might just be a well-armed patrol Juliya's sent after us, but you may be right," Gabriel partially agreed.

Alarms going off, an announcement of incoming missiles. "We run, Raay'Xel." Haal'Sen's brisk walk immediately shifted into a jaw dropping sprint, wasting no tine in getting herself to the front of the Statlas' facility's main building, and making an even more mad dash for the hangar. Open, cockpit!

Ahead of her, and to the confusion of several engineers, her newly upgraded machine's cockpit opened up, sseemingly on its own. "And now..." Haal'Sen burst through the hangar, making a small hop onto a nearby lift, and vaulting off of that into the entrance of her cockpit. Scrambling to start the machine, she blared over its loudspeakers, "open the doors!" Luckily, a few got her meaning, as the hangar doors gave way for the new Praxis to rush out and take off. 

Immediately, she was hit with an increased performance in the thrusters, the machine responding even more smoothly to commands and controls. "Hah! Human technology is good for something after all!" Spinning before stopping to flost midair, Haal'Sen checked over her weapons systems. Everything standard was there, especially... 

"Go, funnels!" The swarm appeared in front of her, Haal'Sen pausing and waiting for confirmation of the incoming missiles. Hopefully Raay'Xel could handle half, this would be a wonderful test. "My apologies, Gabriel," she began, tapping into his communicator, "but our trip together in the Archangel will have to wait a few moments... In other news, tell Vladimir his men are amazing! This feels wonderful!"

There was no need for a response in words, both Sacarians knew what needed to be done. Entering the repaired Praxis, Raay'Xel immediately took off from the Statlas hangar, noticing an immediate difference in speed. That made sense, the newly adjusted suit was in it's plane mode, for lack of a better term, by default. Must have been for testing... some of her armaments were unavailable, so it made sense this form was inferior in combat aside from maneuverability. Taking a moment to find the control to do so, the Praxis transformed into MS mode once it had lifted off and leveled out.

"Good... now I may fight in proper form." Raay'Xel noted... the strength of this frame was it's ability to transform, so she would need properly learn the nuances at some point, but... for now, in a sudden sortie and without experience, attempting to fly in the awkward plane mode would only be a liability. Releasing her funnels and pointing her rifle at the incoming missiles, it was time to shoot them down.

"Gammas ... or is it Psi and Zeta now...? This is Vladimir. Do you read me?"

No time to worry about confirmations or designations, Gabriel decided. "Be careful when you engage. There are likely several crowns escorting the larger missiles to make certain they reach their targets." As for how a mobile suit could even keep up with a large missile ... well, that was what the large boosters were for, and each crown carried three of them.

"Right," Vladimir interjected, "They'll start shooting as soon as they're in range. Beam smartguns and anti-air missiles. We'll be alright as long as none of the missiles get through, but be ready for multiple salvos. We'll try to figure out the situation on the ground here. We'll send up reinforcements as soon as we can."

"Be careful? We are not the ones that need a warning! Raay'Xel, take the right, I'm taking the left!" Haal'Sen was grinning from ear to ear, engaging the thrusters of her new machine. The impact of the speed was shocking, impressive, but most all off, satisfying! Truly she could fight like this! "Funnels, away!" Speeding along the skyline, Haal'Sen wasn't going to let these missiles approach any further. "Gabriel, I'm coming up on the targets. Taking them out. I hope the landscape isn't upset."

Her funnels sped out in front of her, engaging the missiles and Crowns before her machine got close. One missile was shot to ribbons immediately, the other taking heavy fire, as two of the Crown models rushed ahead to deal with her. "Fight me, humans! Face me and know your place!" Rifle fire, nothing to be worried about. Haal'Sen retrieved one of her machine's oscillating beam sabers as she danced, ducked and twirled around the beams being fired her way. "Hahahah~! What fun! More, more!"

One of the Crowns disengaged from her charge, but it was too late, a swift dip in her trajectory causing her saber to come crashing hard against the side of the Crown. Shoving it along through the sky with her, another hard tug brought it through the machine entirely, useless halves careening towards the ground below. She didn't stop to celebrate her kill, funnels moving onto another missile as she turned for the other Crown still firing at her. "I've missed this! Show me your worth, Russia!"

Fair enough, Gabriel mused. Their mobile suits weren't any weaker overall than they had been, originally. They were actually stronger in some areas. Old habits weren't going anywhere, though. Gabriel's people survived by picking their fights very carefully and otherwise relying on tried and true methods. Of course, with Statlas under attack, the only method was 'shoot down everything heading our way.' "Alright then. Take them all out. Try to conserve some of your energy; we don't know how committed they are to this attack."

Lo was cringing at the radio chatter. Even with the two off on a sortie, he felt like lighting up a cigarette would put him in danger. "They're usually just standin' around tellin' us how weak we are ..."

"So this is what Eva will become," Caster mused aloud, seeming mostly neutral on the idea.

"Ugh," Ziva fought off the mental image of Eva condescending to other pilots, among other things, "Let's not let her hear any of this."

"That sounds a reasonable enough arrangement to me." Raay'Xel replied with a wide grin, bits fanning out towards the incoming missiles, corralling and pinning them before striking the explosive payload down one by one. They wouldn't get through her mental net, not a chance... that simply left blocking interference from the crowns... Gabriel had said these would be the greatest challenge of any AMS unit that the Vaska could deploy, so...

"Crowns! Gabriel tells me you are the cream of the crop of AMS units... show me your mettle, cretins!" Raay'Xel roared, as she charged full throttle into the two enemy suits, trusty hyper beam sabre drawn and at the ready. Leading with a shot from the hybrid rifle, Raay'Xel was disappointed to learn that these pilots and machines paled in comparison to Gabriel in his Archangel... even discounting the fliers. A direct hit to the crown's thrusters enabled the hybrid rifle's malicious work, hardening up and jamming the Crown's main control systems. She barely even needed swing her sword to run the poor bastard through. In the time it had taken to dispatch the first, the second Crown had barely managed two shots, both harmlessly absorbed by the Praxis Zeta's I-field.

"Hmm... it appears I overestimated your prowess... very well, I shall use this one as a bit of practice on systems..." Raay'Xel mused, making a hard turn as the Zeta morphed into it's plane mode. In a sudden burst of momentum, the Praxis-AMS hybrid charge straight at the crown, far outpacing the newly-outdated model's maximum output with ease. Concentrating her ESP towards the nose of the plane... yes, this would work. Gabriel's fliers had proven immensely effective, and with a machine like this...

"Allow me to show you what I learned from My Liege, Gahahahah~!" The Sacarian warrior gleefully roared, the potent ESP field of the Praxis gathering in a heavy glow, practically solid about the nose of the unit, just as the plane made a maneuver that would have made any normal fighter pilot cringe... ramming the nose directly into the chest of a mobile suit. Unfortunately for the Crown's pilot, the fighter was as unusual as her plane, and after a few scant moments of the Crown being pushed back by the impact, the nose of the Praxis Zeta tore through, leaving only a jet stream and an exploding Crown in it's wake.

"One of yours is still flying, Haal'Sen! Have you lost your touch?" Raay'Xel teased, a hefty guffaw leaving her as she turned back to her portion of the missiles.

"Tch, you were always the better pilot, do not expect me to keep up so readily. You are right though, this machine needs to fall! Funnels!" Halting her momentum, an arm of the Praxis outstretched, as her weapons shot out around her. The enemy Crown tried to shoot her down now that she'd stopped moving, but the i-Field wasn't letting any of that through. It had more important things to contend with, as one funnel charged a moment, a concentrated laser slicing through the Crown's outstretched rifle toting arm.

The rest began piercing limbs, in rapid succession, before the Crown was little more than a cockpit, plummeting towards the ground. Haal'Sen let it fall for a few moments, before firing one last shot through the center, what was remaining of the machine exploding in a brilliant show. "Wonderful... Gabriel, I love this machine. We shall take care of the remaining missiles, and await further orders... Huhuhuhu, Lou, if you're listening, I hope you're ready to kneel~ This is nothing for the two of us..." Machines dealt with, it was simply a matter of sending a funnel each towards the payloads of the missiles, and taking them down, one after another.

"Show us what you have now, Vaska... Gabriel, is the Archangel ready? Will you be approaching with us?"

Vladimir shook his head at Gabriel, having overheard the question as well.

Gabriel let his sigh reach his knights over the radio. "Not yet, I'm afraid. I'm considering some alternatives. As soon we secure Statlas from these missile attacks and locate the Vaska, we'll be gunning straight for it."

"Also I just heard back from Paul's team," Vladimir interjected, "Our access to the Russian satellite network has been completely cut off. Outside of our own sensor range and any public networks we can get into, we're blind. Finding the Vaska might be complicated, even if she's close by."

Suddenly an engineer burst into the comms room, panting from what must have been a long sprint. "Problem! Sirs ... problem ..."

"We already know about the missiles," Lo frowned, hoping the engineer hadn't just wasted a trip for that.

"Of course but that's only half of the problem," the engineer pleaded, "Someone sent the emergency lockdown code over the network. We tried to isolate it, but all of the mobile suits and fliers accepted the lockdown command."

"Hal and Ray seem fine," Lo shrugged, somewhat confused.

"Damn, Juliya got us," Vladimir said. He knew exactly what the engineer was on about.

"Right," Gabriel figured it out just as quickly. "A critical oversight, but we're far from beaten. The Praxes won't be affected because they use a different operating system. Neither will the Archangel or the MKII fliers due to my special request ... the Gambit and our own mobile suits will also be fine ... anything operating purely on an AMS operating system will have been forced to lock itself down, however ..."

"Right," Vladimir nodded, "The Alkaevs have a master key they can use to force any company tech to lock itself down. Each Alkaev has their own override to unlock it, but that's the only way. The whole facility could have gone offline if they didn't isolate it. Luckily we were still coming out of comms blackout, so some systems were already operating in isolation, otherwise, it could have been much worse. ... unfortunately, we're down to just seven mobile suits for the attack on the Vaska ... at most."

"We'll make it work," Gabriel assured him, "Haal'Sen. Raay'Xel. I trust you caught all of that."

So, they were effectively on lockdown, then? Not a problem. Hopefully. "I shall try and find the Vaska with my suit's long range scanner. It should only take a few moments, it is not a small target. Gabriel, I have a request. You are likely going to deny it, as I know you wish to hold this hand until the Vaska is ours, but I feel it may make them tip their's, understanding what they are currently up against." And whatever their hand was, Haal'Sen was confident it wasn't enough to defeat them. 

"Give me the code to contact Juliya. I wish to speak with her face to face, and have her understand the grave situation she has placed the ship in. I believe this will be effective in a myriad of ways... If they attempt to play their whole hand, Raay'Xel and I can face them and deal with it all in one stroke. If they choose to run, as they should, Statlas is safe, and Raay'Xel and I can chase the ship down while you make your way to us in the Archangel, once it is ready. Either way, I believe this will result in a swift victory over the current dilemma... I suppose the only issue is..." It was time to see how much Gabriel thought of them.

"Do you believe that Raay'Xel and I can defeat all the Vaska has to offer, my Liege? Given that she picks up at all, but... Do you trust us, to succeed in this?"

"Are they nuts?" Lo yelped, "I know the situation was different, but all it took was a railgun and some AT rounds to stop them."

"I'm sure they learned their lesson from that little exchange," Castor noted.

Ziva recalled the armament they would be facing when confronting the Vaska. The beam cannons were a serious threat to anything in Gabriel's arsenal, but the real problem, as Lo alluded to, were railguns. The Vaska had at least four massive railguns and the only open question was their overall accuracy. The missiles weren't much of a threat, especially not at close range, but that was assuming the Vaska's crew didn't have a trump card incorporating those ...

"Indeed," Gabriel grinned, thinking back on that fight. It had been far too close for comfort or boasting. "I'll join you if I'm able. For now, let's see what you can do about Juliya and her new toys."

"Hey," Vladimir got the engineer's attention, "Have them check every machine we've got. Make sure they're all locked down. The Archangel situation's not looking good, but Gabriel can manage in a Throne or a Mantle if we can find one that's still functional."

"Y-yes, sir." The engineer quickly ran out of the comms room.

Vladimir sent Haal'Sen the data she wanted since Gabriel seemed fine with it. "Here's the channel we used to contact the Vaska. Good luck to both of you."

"I can hear you, Lo! I'll drill the difference in situation into your smoke addled brain when I return. And Gabriel..." Haal'Sen smiled quite warmly, putting her trust in him was continuing to pay off. "Thank you."

Turning her communicator on and swiftly inputting the code, Haal'Sen made sure her video was on, ready for her staredown with another Alkaev. Hopefully this one was more human than the last she'd seen on a screen.

"What is with those-"

"Hello?" Lo was cut off by Eva's voice, though she hadn't entered the room, "Captain, can I take off?"

"Take off in what, Eva?" Lo glared toward Vladimir's console, "None of our suits can fly and the Alkaev suits are all locked down."

"This one's fine," Eva said, switching to a live feed. Vladimir's monitor showed her in the pilot seat of an AMS unit, and the labeling on the upper and lower borders identified which unit it was.

"The Throne prototype's still working?" Vladimir tilted his head at her.

Gabriel sprinted out of the comms room before anyone could react.

"It's better than standing around, I guess," Ziva shrugged as Gabriel left.

"Err-standby, Eva. I think Gabriel's headed your way."

"Oh!" Eva quickly got up from her seat and moved to the copilot's position. A few seconds later, the video feed switched to that monitor, and she could be seen smiling from ear to ear. "I'll wait for him. But yeah, I was looking for a suit that still works so I could help. The mechanics said I could use it if I got permission."

"Gabe's probably gonna make you stay on the ground," Lo warned, "You're not ready for this. These aren't EU mooks, mercenaries, or Apotheosis lightweights we're dealin' with."

"But they already equipped the funnels!"

"What? When?"

"I don't know ..."

"Why, though?"

"I don-Don't worry about it! I can help! That's all that matters!"

...

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Kazue moves to 7,4 and loads onto the Riese!

"Kazue Fujiwara, incoming for refuel and repairs!"

Jess casts Strike! Moves to 12,5 (just gimme the bottom left coord when moving the battleship) and unloads the Autocannons into Cress #8!
"Cannons hot! Oh, sorry, guess I shouldn't be shouting that in the infirmary, heheheh."

Final Stats: 100!,19
Roll: 58,72
Hit
Damage: 49
Cressida #8 is shredded!
Jess gains +50 EXP, +8 PP, +6 Will!
Jess levels! +Acc, +Avo, +Shoot
 

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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Tycho was left in awe by the blast that emerged, Oh, I am going to love this thing, but he left himself too distracted, the Hyperion managed to survive and fire back. Unable to maneuver quickly enough, Tycho's cockpit rattled and shook as he was hit by the barrage, leaving him momentarily dazed. Bless the Regalia, still on top of things and finishing off his target, and even catching another. While not the first time he's ever encountered a Telekinetic, this has probably been the first time he's actually seen one in combat. 

A moment, Tycho refocused himself and examined his damage, a small sigh of relief. "Nothing a few kisses and some duct tape can't fix." Assessing his situation, he thought to shoot a quick message to the Regalia's pilot, "Hey, I appreciate the cover. Sorry you had to clean up my leftovers for me."

The quip felt a little awkward to say. This wasn't like his old team, he didn't know everyone front and back like he normally did. Maybe time will fix that if he makes it out of this fight in once piece...

Edited by Silver Gallade

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Well, that was the pincer done and dusted, time to catch back up to... Abigail took a few seconds and glanced at the radar readings. Jesus, everything was so far away. Two choices really, north or east, and both the closest enemies were a long ways out. In her second of indecision, Jess led the Riese east, essentially making the decision for her. Better to stick nearby, especially with it limping along in poor repair.

"Cally, let's floor it and head for that Cressida there, you see the one?" The merc was finding herself falling into a familiar rhythm, and it really did a lot to stave off some of the unease that would otherwise have been eating at her. As long as she could focus on what was immediately in front of her, and who was right next to her helping her do so... things would turn out fine. It was just the way things worked.

Abigail to 10,7 beam magnum vs cress 6

Edited by Balcerzak

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Abigail beats it!

Abigail attacks!
Target: Cressida #6
Weapon: Beam Magnum
Final Hit: 87
Final Crit: 30
Roll: 43, 6
Hit!
Crit!
Damage: 283!

Cressida #6 is... well pierced.

Abigails gains +100 EXP, +4 Will, +8 PP, +2300 credits!

Overpowering!

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