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

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"Feels like it," Hannah countered in response, focusing on the important things, now. Rex's suit, and the man himself, coming into the hangar. An impressive piece of machinery, though Hannah was surprised by his lack of a SKIN suit. That would make his TK weapons far less effective, what would be the point in constraining one's self like that?

"Feel free to ask whatever you want, bro." No time like the present to shake things up, if Rex was going to focus on it. "Guessing you're here for Vasiliy?"


Chris sighed. She wanted little to do with Rex, and everything to do with relaxation. "So... Just, give him his son? I know we're in a rather crucial moment, but... We can't just keep the man away from his kid, can we? It's not like he's..." Chris had to cut herself off, she'd been about to say Rosa. They were keeping her children away from her, in a sense, but with all the terrible things she'd done, Chris felt little pity... Rex... Had issues with Firmia, but as far as she knew, the man was just as capable as Brant, and Brant would give the world for his daughters. Rex would likely do the same for his son.

"Give us a second to at least get changed and freshen up, and we'll head back to make sure none of you kill each other." Chris let go of Brant's arm and sighed into their room. "Hey girls... Girls?" If they weren't here, then... "Tonya, are they with Vasiliy?"


"Well..." Nina wasn't sure how much she should share, but it wasn't like it wouldn't be mentioned at some point, right? They'd all been talking over open channel. "Astin, was... Vera's sibling. Seeing them die, it... Must have been too much for her. It seemed as though something else happened with the Apotheosis reinforcements, something else that set her off, so... I do not know what else she is dealing with. All I know is that it is incredibly painful..." Was there anything that Tarquin could do? He was so naive to the world, only rivaled by her own lack of knowledge... And so very unrelated to this. Even Nina felt awkward, standing nearby, feeling all these private emotions Vera didn't wish to share with anyone.

"If she needs anything, do your best to help, I suppose. She may be a villain, and deserve to pay for her crimes, but... Not, like this. I don't believe so, anyway... This is... Not fair retribution." The families of the people she'd killed would likely say otherwise, but what did such a cycle serve? Nina couldn't quite understand. If this was karma... Karma was truly, truly terrible.


"I'll... Do my best, Kim." Come on, Christina, get over it... Come on! Look! Look at Nina! She's handling it, and she doesn't even know who she is! Why can't you!? Christina hit herself mentally, straightening up a bit as they took the wire down. "I'll, be fine. Let's... Let's just, get changed." If I don't start tackling this now, now when it needs handled most, when am I ever going to improve? If your twins can do it... So can you. You have to... Focusing on Kim was still helping, at least. "We... We should, get changed, and go over the battle data against the Knights' machines, Kim. Make sure we really, know what we're up against in a few hours."


"As you command, captain!" A salute, and another brilliant smile, the grey cat returned to her machine and closed it up to follow after the Vergloria.

"New plan? More room? Wait, for the alien mech!? What the hell!?" Terry was a bit shocked, even more so as he gasped, seeing the Praxis heading towards the Deliverance.

"Calm down, Terry! She's on our side, Jesus." Calina sighed, staring at Abby. Roxanna's message, huh... "Gonna be blunt. Captain Jess' mind got wiped, trying to save herself from dying." A heavy feeling settled over the woman. Abby had just said she was cancelling her rush, too... "Dunno... Dunno if she's still in there, I don't know how robots work, but... If... If you're not ready to deal with that, that's fine. I..." It felt incredibly odd, and a bit painful, having to console her own girlfriend about another woman. "I'm, just... Here for you, if worse comes to worst."


Kiir'Heln had been taking her time behind Caroline to take in the sights of the Riese's hangar. It was a stark difference to their own mothership's main hangar, so many mechanics running around, pilots idly standing about, chatting, not rushing to prepare for another battle. Even Caroline had been going about things rather slowly. Humans were just so interesting. Incredibly so, she found out, as another approached them... Missing an eye?

She cocked her head somewhat at the odd injury. "Jezebel, yes?" Names were simple information to find. "Why have you not seen to replacing your eye? A scar is a fine mark of battle, but an injury that hampers your abilities simply will not do..." Were humans so steadfast in their pride that the would keep even the most debilitating battle reminders? How interesting!

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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It was unfortunate that they didn't get through the battle without any pilot injuries, but considering what happened to the ship itself, they were extremely lucky to not have lost a single pilot. Megumi wasn't even aware that the injured pilot Monty was sending her way wasn't a Riese pilot proper, just yet. "Thank you. We'll be ready for him," she replied, giving her assistants the signal to get things ready. With Ignatius dealing with Jessica, and the other infirmary occupants having already been treated in the meantime, it was just a matter of waiting for any new patients.


Firmia mentally braced herself after Hannah's reply. The Abrams were a little weird about family matters, so this likely wasn't going to go over too well.

"Bro?" Rex raised an eyebrow to the comment, "And yeah I'd like to see my son, thanks," he added, glancing expectantly at Firmia. "Seriously, why does she look like this? Who are you? ... what are you?" Given that he couldn't sense a thing from her, Rex already had some vague suspicions about Hannah forming in the back of his mind.

"This is Hannah Abrams," Firmia explained, "She's a Brant approved Abrams, so I would appreciate it if you saved your complaints for him."

"I don't even know where to start with that one ... and I'm guessing these Apotheosis suits are here because you captured them? Fine, whatever. Where's Vasiliy?"

"Why are you here right now?" Firmia asked insistently, "What are you planning to do, grab Vasiliy and fly out of here? Where are you going to go? We still have a massive battle ahead of us and the Anarchy isn't any safer than the Avalon. Entirely the opposite, actually. There's no point in taking him right now, so what's your plan, Rex?"

Rex almost yawned mid rant and crossed his arms waiting for Firmia to finish. "Nothing's decided yet. I came here to help out, but you wrapped things up before I got here. Right now I just want to see my son. I'll decide what to do after that."


Tonya shrugged at Chris' question.

"Well where's Vasiliy?" Brant asked.

"I asked him to wait in my room while I figure out what to do about Rex."

Brant immediately figured that Vasiliy knew his father was here in that case. This could be interesting, but either way Brant wanted to deal with this situation in his normal clothes, and with the stress of battle washed away. "Alright, just don't overreact, okay? It's only going to make the situation worse. Just give us ten minutes and we'll come make sure the situation doesn't boil over."

"Ten minutes is a long time, Brant ..." Tonya groaned in resignation.

"No kidding," Brant smirked, thinking back to how the tension of the battle seemed to slow time down to a crawl for him.

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Thorvald waved a bit as Esther arrived, then nodded. "Yeah still up there, seems like." Hadn't gotten a reply back yet, but as the cyber-TK gave her own plea to get the woman to open up and come out of the cockpit, a text did come through on his communicator. Quickly thumbing through it, he had to frown a little. It's not that he couldn't understand where Vera was coming from--having to shatter the idol image someone has of you by looking weak and vulnerable in front of them can be a very real fear for people--but he wasn't sure she was doing herself any favors right now either. Still, she was an adult and could pick her battles. Who was he to really question.

"Hmmm, looks like she just wants to be alone right now. I guess we'll have to settle for just, letting her know she's got people thinking of her. It's like that saying, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. I'm sure when she's ready, after we've let her know the water's there, she'll reach out to one of us and come for it. But until then..." He put a hand on his chin and paused in thought.

There was also Roxanna's message to consider. There wasn't anything he could do to help the Jess situation. Thankfully ever since Megumi found herself some assistants he hadn't been pressed into emergency surgery again, and he honestly doubted even people with actual training wouldn't be finding themselves ill at ease having to work on someone as... special as the captain. But maybe he could help manage morale for everyone else's rest and recuperation?

"Well, in the meantime, I'm making waffles! Who wants in?" He looked slowly around at the gathered pilots. Including himself... Four in the immediate vicinity. That would be a manageable batch. "Tarquin, Nina, Esther, you guys hungry?"

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"Well... if you say so, Captain. I'll go grab the spares, then I'll check up your schematics." Ignatius nodded, casting a half-apologetic glance at Doctor Amparo before he made his way out of the infirmary.

Roxanna's eyes followed the engineer until he left the room, then returned to glance at Jessica's pod, pensive. "...I'm sure being up and about will make our crew less worried, Captain." If nothing else...

---

Unfortunately, Vera was being stubborn and not giving an answer. Esther could feel her emotions way too well, and sighed in response. “It feels like just being around is making her worse.” It was… incredibly frustrating, but Esther was getting used to Vera’s mind working in that frustrating, borderline pathetic way.

I don’t want you to worry about your image, I just want to help…

“...Dumbass.” A silent whisper, one meant for no one’s ears, as Esther’s head lowered. “Haaahhhng…” With a long sigh, Esther ran both hands along her hair, closing eyes in a quiet, very brief introspection. To hear even Tarquin had his condolences for Vera was a surprise… but not something Esther knew what to do about. She’d never talked to the engineered kid before, only managing to look at his general direction and nod. “Noted…” Esther held no ill will at the moment, but she had no idea how to help herself, let alone Tarquin.

Now it was clear Vera was trying to be dumb, with Thorvald’s change of topic to… eating waffles. “Fine.” Esther conceded, doing her best not to frown. She can’t hide those emotions… I’ll keep her on my watch. “I think this isn’t a good place for Nina to stay right now, let’s take the elevators.”

---

"Yes I'm pretty sure the Captain is fine. Said so in the channels--" As soon as Caroline started explaining the matter to their new alien acquaintance, intimidatingly tall as they were.  "Ah, you want to meet Thorvald? Right, he's Specialist Eriksson, kind of our commander. He should, uh..." Caroline glanced around, quickly spotting the leader figure amongst a group of their youngest pilots. “Oh thank goodness, he’s still here.” She spoke under her breath, though one had to wonder if it was a subconscious action at that point. “I-I’ll get you to meet--”

“O-Oh, ah, hi!” Caroline and the alien were quickly intercepted by another of the crew, “Ah, right, Jezebel, yeah?” Caroline nearly flinched as she made the assumption, part of her afraid of having guessed the co-pilot’s name wrong. She was pretty sure she was right, though… “Uh, I’m doing fine, escorting--” Caroline was intercepted by a question from Kiir’Heln. Coincidentally, one that left her quite wide-eyed. “U-uh, I don’t think everybody i-is okay with that kind of replacement yet.” Caroline stuttered, trying to find the words to explain that not everybody was comfortable with their current technological standards. “B-besides, I’m sure Jezebel has her reasons.”

With that half-baked explanation out of the way, Caroline turned to Jezebel once more. “The XO asked me to pick her up, I’m taking her to Thorvald right now.” She would… strongly appreciate more company, however.

---

“Huh-- Oh hey, Elaine!” Makoto turned towards Elaine with a wave, still in decent spirits after such grim events --somebody had to be, after all. “Yeah, I’m hanging in fine… kind of surprised that any of them surrendered, but I guess we did a good job!” The boy stretched his arms some, the Phalanx’s cockpit wasn’t as comfortable as a mobile suit’s. “Hmmm…~ I think, they’ll keep a close eye on that one. I thought they were like, super proud, so I’m surprised too.” Unlike Elaine, Makoto had no qualms taking a glance at the tall alien walking around the hangar.

“Kind of amazed I’m still keeping up, honestly…” Makoto was as quick to change gears, turning his gaze back at Elaine amidst his introspections. “These alien machines are on another level, especially their commanders. Good thing we’ve got suits like the Artemis and yours!”

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It wasn't pleasant to hear Christina's internal beration of herself to be certain, but... the blonde was trying to improve, and was taking this seriously. If it became too much, she would be there to help pick Christina up after a fall.

"That sounds like a good idea." Kim noted, stepping off the lift as they reached the floor of the hangar, and beginning to lead the way towards the change rooms, eyeing Christina to see if her nausea made her fumble.

"We can keep up with them, for the most part... those machines are just so sturdy it's hard to put them down. I'll need to see if Buck can manage a last-minute boost to our power supplies... we can't take those Knights out if we're forced to conserve energy..."

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Tarquin hadn't been aware of the link between Astin and Vera, the boy was visibly stunned by the revelation, his expression frozen for a few seconds before regaining his composure. It made far more sense, even Vera was subject to familial sadness if the occasion rose. It wasn't as if he could judge though, he had been saddened when the Professor had turned rogue, even if logically he was far better off because of it. Tarquin couldn't help but wonder if he would have felt the same if any others in the T-series had come to harm. He barely even knew T-2, although he couldn't say he would be thrilled to see her untimely demise.

"Heroes and villains make more sense in stories, it's more confusing in real life." Tarquin replied, trying to offer at least some comfort to his fellow clone. Even his stunted emotional radar could tell it was a difficult situation for Nina to manage. He put his hand on her shoulder, a strange gesture of support that he could only explain through osmosis from the rest of the crew. "Nobody's entirely good or bad, and no act is automatically just or wrong. I'm sure Vera had her reasons for the things she did."

Waffles? If Thorvald had a knack for anything, it would be somehow uniting people in the worst of situations. Although if he could be completely truthful, he'd never had waffles before - or even seen them. It would be a welcome break from the sombre aftermath of the battle. "Specialist Eriksson? That is a kind offer, I would be happy to join you." Tarquin replied, shifting his focus to Nina. "I've never tried waffles, I'm curious. How about you, Nina?"

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Some time and a brisk walk later, Aliza continued to pull the poor injured Tycho off to the infirmary, which happened to be very close now. "I'm sure you can walk by yourself, but I'm kinda worried the blood loss might make you lose your balance." She looked back with a smile. "Besides, you should be happy. Being escorted around a ship you don't know very well by a cute ragazza like me? Sounds like a lucky day I'd love to have!" She certainly had that winning smile about her as she confidently spoke out. But before he could retort (or even ask what ragazza meant) the Italian girl opened the door to the sick bay and took a look around. "Is anyone here? I have an injured pilot in need of assistance."

Edited by TheRoon

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Terry's reaction would have been comical, if the situation were far removed from the gravity of recent and upcoming days. As it was, Abigail was just thankful Calina was there to provide the assist. Actually a recurring theme lately. Just thankful for Calina, period. Thinking someone'd been killed only to have them still be alive really had that kind of effect on one's feelings.

Then there was... this news about Jess. Was history repeating itself again? Another (as good as) "dead" girlfriend? It didn't really make sense. Why was that the assumption Roxanna had come to? What was wrong with regular-ass amnesia? And in the first place, how would wiping memories even help? And honestly, she'd still been clearly piloting the ship, making (confused) announcements, and everything. If there was enough memory to save some default factory settings, why wouldn't it just dump that instead and keep the important data?

"...If that's actually the case... when we manage to find Gaertner... I've got some serious words for her," Abby grumbled, throwing her helmet to the floor of the cockpit, sending it skittering about their feet. "Everything about that sounds bullshit as hell. And how are we supposed to just suddenly believe that, especially considering nobody, not even her--nobody except that Alphonse creep seemed to even know she was a robot until she found out by accident." The rebel was in full rationalization mode, making suspect leaps of logic and weaving faulty narratives. And who could blame her?

"It'll be fine," she stubbornly insisted. "She just needs some time to heal. It'll be fine. I learned the hard way that giving up hope too soon is the dumbest thing I can do in shit situations like this. I'm not making the same mistakes again. Maybe I'll keep screwing up, but goddamn if I'm not gonna find new and creative ways to get everything completely fucked." Abigail punctuated her rant by slamming a curled up fist against the side of the console.

"Sorry," she managed to weakly apologize, slumping forward in frustration and pain. "You don't mind... taking us in while I, pull myself together. Gotta take care of business. Can't be a mess in front of the crew, and certainly not in front of this new 'Pawn' we've landed ourselves." A stitched sigh, and then a final finishing remark, "And after... When we get some time alone... I'm probably gonna need you to hold me. God. Like. An hour long hug or something, fuck if I know."

 


 

Jess bristled at the alien's intrusions, assumptions, and unwanted remarks. "Why have you not seen to replacing your attitude?" That was all the riposte she was able to manage--a bit of old drill sergeant, training instructor mode coming to the forefront--before returning her attention to Caroline, now more concerned than ever about the woman escorting the enemy alone.

"Jess, please, if you would," the wounded warrior gently corrected, appreciating the attempts made to deflect on her behalf. She did hate how that simple judgement wormed its way back into her thoughts, sowed again the seeds of doubt she'd already planted. So she was all too thankful for the excuse not to have deal with answering them. At least, not out loud, and not to this cat.

Learning their destination, reporting to Eriksson, was another welcome distraction. "I'll walk along with you," Jess stated simply, not exactly asking. "I wouldn't mind speaking to him about some things either."

Not exactly a lie. She'd hadn't quite been avoiding him on purpose, but so far she hadn't really sought him out, which might have left him feeling... ignored or something. Better to clear up any misconceptions in that case, at least now that there was an excuse. Their working relationship was different now, than it had been in the past, but that shouldn't be any cause for problems with everything laid out in the open and everyone on board with it.

 


 

Esther had seemed lost in thought for a while, in the wake of Thorvald's words. Maybe she was picking up on the mood? He hadn't come right out and said exactly what Vera had texted him, but neither had he tried to hide anything either. He'd meant everything he said, and the implications ought to have been pretty clear. Hopefully this didn't cause any familial friction between the 'sisters', but hey, sometimes siblings fight. It comes with the territory.

And it seemed that Esther came around in the end after all, deciding not to continue pushing to open up the cockpit, to force Vera before she was ready. Good. Good. And Tarquin and Nina were on board too, it seemed. The young boy seemed especially interested in new food experiences. Better not disappoint!

"Yes, to the elevators then," Thorvald echoed Esther's call to action, and began to lead the party off that direction.

 

 


 


Monty did a quick go around the hangar, but most people he spotted seemed none the worse for wear. A kind of butch redhead with a faux hawk was following a young asian lad to the elevators, both of them seemed in fine shape. Then there was a cluster of pilots over by one of the Velites. He'd approached within earshot, wondering if they'd gathered because of an injury, but it seemed they'd just gravitated around the proverbial "water cooler", shooting the shit and discussing what to make for lunch? Nothing medically interesting about that. He was about to just head to the upper decks to either help out with the wounded pilot he'd sent to be escorted up there, or to deal with cleaning up the aftermath of the bridge attack he'd been informed of.

However! As he was about to make his way, the good doctor spied another pair of pilots, must have been newly descended from their rig, he didn't remember seeing them before. The one of them was helping the other along, quite obviously pale, unsteady, and potentially in need of assistance. A slightly quickening of his pace until he reached them, then slowed to match.

"Is everything okay here? She's looking rather worse for wear. I'm a doctor, I can help if you need it."

Edited by Balcerzak

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"Ah, Jess. Okay." Caroline was able to regain some of her composure, glancing between Jezebel and the surrendered alien. "Oh, we should go speak to him, then. F-feel free." She appreciated the company, sudden as it was, but it was hard to be more expressful of her gratitude with a need to be hasty --at the corner of her eye, Thorvald seemed ready to leave.

"S-Specialist Eriksson!" Caroline raised her voice, and waved, trying to get the leader figure's attention. With quick steps, Caroline approached the group, a quick turn of the head to make sure Jess and Kiir were following her. "Uh, s-sorry about the suddenness if you're busy. The alien wanted to meet you, since... since you're pretty much the commander out in the field." Through her nervousness, Caroline still attempted a smile.

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"Yeah, bro." Whether or not Rex was okay with her, Hannah didn't really care. Brant had signed off, and that was enough for her. The estranged brother could wait. Though... If he hadn't come to cause problems... "He's in Tonya's room, Rex. Thanks, Galatea."

"No problem," the AI responded from Hannah's communicator.

"If you're just coming to see him for the moment, I don't see the problem. I do agree with Firmia that, until we're done here, he's safer on the Avalon, but... He is your son, no matter what else. To deny you seeing him would just make us monsters. I'll show you how to get there." With that, Hannah was off towards the ladders leading up to the upper deck and crew quarters.

"Better be quick about it before Firmia finds a way to stall you, Rex," came Galatea's voice from Hannah's communicator again.


"If he's there and the girls aren't here, they must be with him. Shower can wait, then..." Chris sighed and adjusted her SKIN suit just enough to not be sticking to her. "Sorry, Brant, I know we probably should shower and stuff, but the last thing I want is leaving Rex alone to fight with Tonya in front of the girls." Shaking her head, Chris started towards Tonya's room. "Hope this isn't too much of a problem..."


Esther's discomfort at Vera's situation was plain to see, if not even more plain to feel. Thorvald had attempted to placate the situation with an offer of waffles, an understandably fatherly suggestion to make in this sort of situation. To him, they were all just kids, weren't they? Nina did smile at the offer though, nodding to Tarquin. "I too have never had waffles, though I do understand what they are. If you wish to make some for us, I would be more than happy to accept. We will need to refuel for further combat, either way. This will be a good way for us to get our stamina back, and relax from the stress of everything." Perhaps a nice chat could occur too, if they had time for it. She made to follow after Thorvald--

"Specialist Eriksson!"

A voice disrupted Nina's thoughts, giving way to glancing back at... One of the Sacarians.


"My attitude? Have I said something to offend...?" Kiir'Heln was confused for a moment, nodding at her request to simply be called 'Jess'. "My apologies. I did not think it would be intrusive. If you are a pilot, I felt it would be best to be at your maximum capabilities." Shoulders slouched some, the cat reprimanding herself mentally for already upsetting one of the humans. She had been pointed towards Thorvald at least, by Caroline, who had run ahead. Kiir'Heln wasted no time in catching up with her, her height providing a long stride.

"Specialist Eriksson! As you were the one to shoot down my lead unit, my services fall to you. I am Kiir'Heln, Pawn of the Sacarian race. If there is anything you see fit for me to do, please, let me know. I... Maybe find things for myself to do from your thoughts, either way. I wish to be useful!" A bright smile followed, clearly she was happy to have been defeated.

"Uh..." Nina was... Taken quiet aback, she'd expected any surviving Sacarian to be cursing their names, insulting them, begrudgingly accepting service at best... She felt happy? "This is... Weird..."


"We'll, have to see. Maybe Buck can do... Something." The Artemis was already incredibly powerful, but Kim was right about reserves, there had to be something he could do. This was the last battle, they were going to go all out. They won or they lost, it wouldn't matter how many bullets were left over. Best to spend them all...

Someone claiming to be a doctor then approached them. She didn't recognize this one, had Megumi gotten another hand? He didn't feel malicious, so Christina just nodded. "S-Sorry. I'm, a telekinetic, the... Weight of everyone in the hangar is, pretty oppressive. We... Took out some people that did a lot to us, today. It's hitting everyone differently." Christina took a moment to straighten herself out, one deep breath, two... "I should be okay. Just need to change and do something else. Thank you... Unless you've got some acetaminophen on hand." Nothing could help her nausea, but that might help her mind handle things more.


"You don't gotta apologize, Abby." She was right, anyway. Not a week ago, Abby had thought that she was dead. Maybe something was just repairing itself in Jessica's system. She was the most advanced android that Calina had ever heard about, after all... "I'll give Gaertner some shit with you. That's the worst kind of fail safe... As for hugs, I'll give you whatever you want, babe. Hugs, kisses, more. Just ask. In fact, just go ahead. If it's just us, I'm fine with anything. Here for you." It'd be nice, to have that moment. Sure, they were about to head off for the fight of their lives, but... Having a moment together to just, be. Even if it was just hugs, Calina had missed it. Missed a lot of it...

 

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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So that was the new--freshly injured--pilot. Megumi motioned at Tambre who quickly rushed over. "Are things alright in the hangar?" She asked from over by Jessica's SIEG tank, "It didn't sound like there were many injured, but I don't have the full picture."

"Over here please," Valerie gestured toward the nearest available bed. She had set up there when word reached the infirmary about Tycho. Just like the doctor promised, they were ready to go.


"Tonya's room?" Firmia squinted.

"Not a bad place to hang out," Rex shrugged. He wasn't a fan of this 'bro' nonsense, but he had more important things to worry about right now. Slightly lower on the list of priorities was Brant. He half expected to run into him down here in the hangar, but there was no such luck. They were inevitably going to meet face to face, again. Brant probably figured as much, too.

Initially, Firmia followed Hannah and Rex as they headed up, thinking back on an idea she'd had countless times since receiving the Avalon. One day, she'd hoped that by some dumb excuse, Rex would wind up aboard the Avalon so she could personally show him the memorial wall she'd designed near the aft of the ship. It wasn't much, but it had been important to her. This just wasn't the right time ... and there never would be a 'right time;' the Alkaev had no intention of ever letting Rex back on the ship once he stepped off of it again. This was far and beyond the courtesy owed to the man who tried to murder her for merely existing.

Firmia stopped and let the two Abrams continue on without her. "I'll catch up later," she said, and turned to head back toward the center of the hangar. Once she was comfortably close, Firmia pulled up her tablet and tried to use it to radio the Praxis Gamma sitting nearby. It was Ayyl'Vern's unit. They had certainly gotten off on the wrong foot, but only someone as uncomfortable with this situation as she was could distract her long enough for Rex to talk to his son uninterrupted. If she was there, the temptation to put him on blast would be too much for her to handle.

Besides, Firmia had a much bigger problem she had to deal with. She hated the Sacarians. They were like a race of space pirates flying around and wrecking whatever they pleased. She wanted to shoot them all, but they weren't quite the irredeemable monsters she thought, even hoped they were. Now she was facing the paradox of one of them being a part of her crew. Obviously, the genocide plan was dead on arrival, but Firmia still needed time to think and adjust. For now, there was at least one Sacarian she had to find some common ground with ... somehow. "Hey, it's Firmia. ... what are you up to in there?"


Talk about a sticky reunion. It wasn't like Brant didn't want to check in with his daughters first anyway, but now they had Rex to deal with. Brant really didn't know how things were going to go down with Tonya being overprotective and Firmia clearly on edge. There was also Vasiliy himself to consider. How was he going to handle this? "Well, at least we won't miss anything," Brant said, following after.

Tonya caught up quickly and got in front of them as they all headed for her room around the corner. "You're not just coming to watch are you? What if he tries to fly out of here with Vasiliy?"

Brant smirked. "I was actually going to see my daughters and nephwew and say hi to my brother ... the one neither of us have seen in half a decade. Just try to relax. He's not crazy enough to put Vasiliy in danger for nothing. Things might actually go smoothly for a change if everyone just keeps calm." Having said that, Brant was starting to feel a little uneasy himself. If there was any meaningful difference between Tonya's instincts warning her about some obscure danger, and her just being paranoid, Brant didn't know what it was.

Tonya stopped in front of her door and sighed, unsure of what to do. "Are you sure?" she glanced back at the TKs.

"Well I was ..." Brant admitted. Good news, he was picking up on all three of the children in the room. "You're so worried we're skipping a shower for this."

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Putting Things to Rest

His eyes cracked open with a gasp, light pouring into the cockpit of his machine. Soor'Kan took heavy breaths, trying to sit up, but a hefty pain in his stomach stopped him. He brought his hand up... Blood? His machine had managed to warp away mid explosion, letting him survive, but for how long? And for what? He had turned tail instead of dying gloriously in battle... "They, were right... I am, just a runt." A wry laugh, a pained chuckle, before a hard groan, forcing his body to move and sit up in the pilot's seat, despite the wound. "I... I need, to flee. Leave... Find, a way back, to... To... Somewhere."

The feeling in her gut had lead her north; how far, she didn't know. Even as the feeling inside her slowly turned more recognizable, first to uncertainty, then to unease, she couldn't help but to have been taken with the view from the Almydis' camera. The lush trees, the grassy fields, the sparkling water... She hadn't had time to admire them during the battle, especially after how it had started. Alriana shivered, forcefully brought out of her fascination with the camera feed at the thought of him. She realized now she hadn't been paying attention to the path she took, but she still had the Riese's signal, meaning that they had hers as well, so she'd be able to find her way back at least; hopefully no one had followed her, this was her battle to finish. No one else's.

Briefly, the alien wondered when she had become so sure that Soor'kan still drew breath. There was no reason aside from some feeling in her gut, but somehow she was convinced he was alive. She growled and shook her head. This was a pointless distraction; 'when' wasn't relevant, it didn't matter. All that mattered was that she knew that damn Sacarian was still alive, and that she would be the one to finally kill him.

As the Almydis stepped out of the treeline the machine suddenly stopped, Alriana beholding the sight before her. There, in the middle of the clearing, was that detestable Sacarian's Praxis Alpha, or, at least what was left of it. Somehow the Stygusian knew that Soor'kan was still inside without a shadow of a doubt. It was almost like she could sense him, a bond that she couldn't wait to see severed. Permanently.

"Mgyogor," she ordered the Almydis, the machine kneeling at her command. "Mgahnnn," she ordered next, the cockpit hatch opening in response. Leaping down her machine, she landed with a thud, the feeling of the grass beneath her completely new to the former space invader. She stopped for a moment to take everything in: the fresh, chilly, air, the grass and soil underfoot, the vivid colors surrounding her, and the smouldering wreck ruining the scenery. She took in a deep breath and sighed. It was a shame that her first time on earth proper had to be shared with the man she hated most. 

Slowly, Alriana took her first steps on earthen soil, towards the last thing binding the alien to her unwanted past.

"... No. Not, you...!" Soor'Kan had managed to crawl out ot the wreck of his ship, hearing the swaying of trees and then a thud ahead of him. His 'pet' had come back to him... Judging by the look in her eyes, it hadn't been to aid him. "Don't... Look down, on me! Kneel! Kneel before me you inferior species!"

Once again, the weight of a Sacarian's subjugation fell onto Alriana, even in his weakened state, such a thing being so hard to ignore or fight against. "I... I worked, so hard! Fought for so, long! I refuse, to be defeated by a pack of monkeys and a runaway pet! You are MY plaything! You WILL bend to my demands!" He struggled to his feet, staring Alriana down. He could put her in her place, and take her machine. That is how he would live.

Seeing her master... Former, master humbled before her, severely wounded on top of it, was undeniably cathartic to the alien. After everything he'd done to her, made her do, their positions had finally been reversed. She was the one holding his life in her hands! Or, so she thought. Alriana staggered back as the sudden mental assault slammed into her, body kneeling before the space cat despite her attempts to resist the order.

Alriana grit her teeth, pure hatred on her face as her head remained bowed, forced to behold the ground in front of her. This was far from the first time Soor'kan had forced his will upon her, she had always been powerless against this ability of his, cowering and submitting before his mental will. Now it only infuriated the alien, her body shaking with rage as she fought against his control. She would not let this happen! Not now! This was her body, why should it listen to him!? Slowly, her head rose from her bow, glaring death up at Soor'kan.

"Mg! Y'...  Ah, NAFL!" She roared, forcing her lips to move against his order. It took all her concentration to do something so simple, but it was more than she had ever managed before. Soor'kan would pay for what he'd done! She would kill him! Even if it killed her!

There. There, that was where the beast belonged. Bent over and awaiting instruction-- "Ahh!" His concentration faltered for only a moment, as fear swam through his mind. She'd moved! It wasn't working! Why!? "Y... You, will LISTEN, TO MY ORDER! YOU! ARE MINE!" He did his best to focus, his wound starting to scream at him, his mind beginning to strain. His moment of fear had sealed his fate...

For a moment, the mind crushing force stopped, Alriana's body completely returned to her will. In the brief second Soor'kan's fear had allotted her, Alriana had leapt at the Sacarian, a beastly snarl on her lips and foot aiming for his wound as his will slammed back into her. "Raahgrr!  Ah'n'gha! Y''ll ymg' ah'n'gha!" But it didn't stop her; momentum, her murderous rage, or perhaps something else entirely kept her in motion as her foot connected with his side, sending the overgrown cat rolling across the ground, his blood staining the grass below him.

She chased after him, easily catching him before he'd stopped rolling, and pounced on him, straddling the thing she hated most. She glared death down at the Sacarian, not caring as his blood stained her armor. She could see it in face, feel it coming off of him. He was absolutely terrified of her, as he should've been years- Decades ago! She was stronger, faster, superior! All that had kept him safe from her were the walls of her cage, and now she was free! 

"Not, yours! Never! Yours!" She roared at him, swiping at him with her claws, staining them with the blood of her former master. She forced herself to speak human; she knew he understood it, and she would be heard! "You weak!" Another swipe. "Coward!" And another. "Only live, because given power!" After every word now; a lifetime of pain, fear, and anger pouring out all at once onto the one responsible. "But now, nothing saves you! Now! You! DIE!" A final stab, piecing his detestable heart. Soor'kan was dead. Finally, it was over.

There was nothing left for the knight but a fear he never thought he would face, and screams at Alriana's assault, swiftly quieted...

...

...

...

A Velite landed nearby, Tristan slowly climbing out of its cockpit, and riding its wire down. He'd spotted the wreck, and the Almydis was nearby. Had Soor'Kan survived, then? "Aly? Alriana!" Hand on his sidearm, cautiously approaching the wreck...

"... Aly?" Sat by herself, a bit away from the burning metal, Alriana... Was covered in blood. Her own? No, it was red. Then... "He... Was still alive?"

It's over... Alriana almost couldn't believe it, even with the evidence so blatantly before her, staining the ground below her. She sat on top of her handiwork in an almost daze, processing what this really meant for her. Now, she was well and truly free to do as she wanted; no one would hunt her anymore, intent to reclaim their 'pet' or 'property'. She took a deep breath, letting the fresh air of the earth fill her lungs and the sounds of the planet drown out everything else. Was this feeling... peace?

Her moment of peace lasted but a short while, worry and concern finding her even here. But, they weren't hers? Instead, they felt external, somehow. How was that possible? As what she could only assume was the source drew closer, their worry turned to caution, then, shortly after came the call of an all to familiar voice: 'Aly? Alriana!'

She turned to the source of the voice and these feelings, Tristan coming into view a moment later. Was, he the source? She stared at him a moment, bewildered, before managing a response. "Yes... He was. But..." She trailed of, eyes traveling to the ground as she remembered the state her task had left her in. Tristan had never seen her kill outside of her battles in the Almydis. How would he react to the mess she'd made of Soor'kan? Not, that he had deserved anything better.

So she'd, finished him off. By herself... On foot, no less. Without any weapons? It didn't look like she was armed, so this... "Aly, are you alright?" Tristan bit back his body's reaction to her being covered in his blood. One glance was enough to see the damage she'd done to what was left of his body. "We, should go back..." Kneeling next to her, he was almost afraid to do so, maybe she was still in fight or flight from dealing with this, but...

A hand slowly met her 'hair', petting her gently. "It'll be okay. I'm so glad you're alright..."

Though outwardly Tristan showed no reaction to her current state and what she'd done, Alriana could still feel what was going on behind his unwavering expression: hesitation and fear, or at least, hesitation and worry. <Why!? Why do I know this? Did he do something...?> She leaned forward some as he kneeled next to her, head bowing, 'hair' cascading down in front of her face and hiding it from view. Tristan... Had every right to be afraid of her after today. Or maybe, he had always--

His hand met her hair, almost making her jump. Slowly, she righted herself and raised her head to face him. He, wasn't lying. She could feel that, too. "I... Me, too. Don't, ever do, that, again..."

"Don't... Touch your hair? Did I do something?" He smiled a bit, standing up. "I'll mark that wreckage for pickup, and clean up. Do you want to ride back with me...? We can get the engineers to grab your machine as well. Just want you to be okay..." He sighed, taking in the situation again. How did she know he was still alive? It was a good thing she'd taken care of him, but... Something to figure out when we get back.

"No, not that!" Despite everything, she managed a brief huff at the confused human, quickly resuming her solemn mood. "Don't... Die, or... Make me, think you did. That is, what I meant." She rose to her feet with him, unable to manage a smile yet with everything that had happened. "No. You ride, with me." Her expression was almost stern, as if scolding him, and her voice firm. There would be no arguing. "Safer in Almydis."

"I ride with you, huh?" Don't die or anything like that... "I'll do the best that I can, Aly. No dying without your permission." If she wanted to be bossy, he'd play along. This was a bit too serious of a situation for heavy jokes, but given how much of a good thing it was that she'd killed off her past, he couldn't help but feel a weird sense of elation. Soor'Kan was a being that deserved neither forgiveness nor pity. Perhaps that was why it was so easy for him to move past the grim display and look forward.

"Let's go back, then."

"Never, have permission." She grumbled back at him, entirely serious. Even if the reign of the horrible space cat was finally over, and she had solace in that she was the one to do it, Soor'kan had nearly managed to take an important part of her new world. She wouldn't be taking any risks when it came to Tristan's safety, anytime soon. Starting towards the Almydis, she took his hand in hers, finally managing a small smile.

"Yes. Let's, go back."

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Ragazza? He assumed she was messing with him about being escorted, which to be fair, she was very pretty. Just when he was about to follow up with her joking, they reached the med bay. He had to look a bit, get himself into focus, a pause at the sight of a... not full body sitting in a SIEG tank. As much as he wanted to ask, and was just in general confused about what he was looking at, he had a bed in sight.

He was ready to sit down, and probably not sleep cause that could end extremely poorly according to the last doctor.

"Copy that, doc. Thank you." Tycho slipped out of Aliza's grip, and walked to the closest bed they had. Almost completely crashing, he kept his composure as he sat himself down, and laid on the bed.

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As the Doctor approached... Kim didn't recognize this one, but he seemed legitimate, Christina didn't take long to explain her plight to the man, leaving Kim to nod along as she spoke.

"I was taking her away from the hangar, try to find someplace more calm, until her head calms down." Seung-Min added, pausing from helping Christina along for a moment... if he had any helpful medication on hand, it was worth stopping for a moment so Christina could take it.

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Aliza watched at Tycho moved himself toward the bed. "Uh, you sure you-" And then came the almost complete crash, which made the Italian gasp and rush toward his bedside. "Geez, Tycho. Take it easy please, for my sake and your's." She rubbed her head for a minute. "Well, at least you made it in one piece, I guess. Still, lemme know if you need any help with anything alright?"

Edited by TheRoon

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"Hi!" The half of Jess that was still functioning waved at Aliza and Tycho from inside her tube, smiling. "I'm guessing you two are pilots for the Riese? Hmm... Lessee, database... Aliza SIlvavolke, aaaaaand... You don't match the Riese's database. That's weird! Who are you?" Jess stared hard at Tycho, wondering exactly what was up with this random pilot coming into their infirmary.


Hannah glanced back at Firmia, definitely shocked she wasn't following along with them right away. Was it trust in her to handle things, or an inability to keep her cool around Rex? Either way, "sure thing, Captain." Hannah waved her off, glancing at Rex. "Guess it's just us for a minute... Wanna mention anything else? Oh, and Brant's kids are here too... Be nice to your nieces." Rex might have been short with Firmia, but surely, he would be nice to kids.


"... Hello. Captain..." Ayyl'Vern was very clearly displeased at being contacted by Firmia so suddenly, as a sigh followed his words. "I am doing routine maintenance on the my Praxis. Have you come to use me as your chew toy for being so annoyed at that Rex fellow? You... Hmmm. What a heavy history you have with him. Are you sure you should be letting a man on board your vessel that has tried to have you killed before?" He didn't dig at her with that comment, his tone cold, and concise. "I do wonder what makes you humans so fickle, though," he continued, finding the right time to dig at her, "considering how much easier life would be if you simply worked together as a race. All this war and politics... How very futile. Hmm."


Chris could only sigh. "Look, Tonya... Unless you're gonna put a ring on Rex, Vasiliy is not your kid. I get how you feel... Kind of, and admittedly, I don't know Rex as well as either of you. But." Chris gave her a serious glance before opening the door. "Vasiliy is his child. So long as he can promise to keep him safe, we don't have the right to say anything... It's not like he's had a chance to be a bad father yet, has he?" Yes, that was how she was going to justify her feelings on this. Rosa had already messed up with Firmia. Clearly she wasn't fit to be a mother... Rex had time to prove he could be as good a dad as Brant. Simple.

"Giiiiiiiiiirrrrrrrllllllllllls," Chris sang out, stepping inside and smiling.

"Ah! Mom!" Lily hopped off the bed with a smile, rushing over and latching onto Chris' leg. "You're back! Daddy too! ... You guys smell funny."

Chris couldn't help her laughter, shaking her head. "Well... We had to skip a shower, so we're sorry for that. Your uncle is here," she started, glancing at Vasiliy. "Wanna come meet him?"

"Uncle?" Aki spoke up this time, with a bit of worry, also looking at Vasiliy.

"Yeah... He wanted to come and meet you, Vasiliy. If you need a minute... Or are afraid, we'll all go see him with you." Chris was trying her best. Rex was either already on his way, or causing problems in the hangar. Hopefully the former...

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Tycho got himself situated, a sigh then a small laugh. "Thank you Aliza, I appreciate it. It hasn't been my first rodeo, I've been dealt my fair share of head trauma and puncture wounds more than once during exercises." A reassuring smile, it was a fine time to put on his trademark laid back attitude. He may have almost gotten himself killed today, but almost still equals not dead. "I wasn't kidding when I told that other girl I needed something to drink though,"

Then suddenly, the figure in the SIEG tank addressed them. Well, whatever was left of the figure. Some sort of robot... lady... But the voice was familiar. And then it clicked. This must be the infamous captain of the Heion Riese. Well, what's left of her anyway.

"Captain Jessica... Gef... Geral--" I'm gonna fuck it up again, "Captain Jessica, I assume? Sergeant Tycho McNair," and he made a joke self-presenting hand motion with his not messed up arm. "Captain Miller sent me. We talked briefly, but... I'm aware, you've got a bit of a memory issue going on. It's all good. It's good to know you're still alive ma'am." 

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"Excuse me," Valerie moved in to run her checks. Tycho's wounds were easy to spot, but she checked for signs of a concussion first, her initial priorities shifted slightly by her patient's sudden drop unto the bed. "Just relax," she said, tending to his combat wounds next. Cleaning and disinfecting the wounds would come first, along with some local anesthetic if Tycho needed it. Then they could pick clean any debris and close things up with a bit of SIEG. That was the plan at any rate.

Since Tycho had much of the infirmary's attention, Megumi decided to radio Monty again. He was still out there, so he could probably update her on anything happening with the pilots and the crew. "It's Dr. Amparo again, any updates, or is Tycho the last one?" She hoped he was, even though that meant the casualties on the Riese's bridge were final and a little depressing, but seeing as they had another extremely dangerous fight on their hands, the fewer injured the better. There was no other way to look at it.


So they really could read minds, in the more literal sense. That was annoying, if potentially useful. As for the wording in all of that, Firmia wasn't keen on addressing it right now. "This is just a one time courtesy. If his son wasn't onboard, I wouldn't have even considered it." While she did want to show Rex the memorial, the names of the people he'd gotten killed via Apotheosis, Firmia wasn't sure if it was really worth having him aboard just for that. Seeing him in person had been a little weird ... probably because she could sense his feelings. There were no imaginary wicked intentions she could force onto the man himself.

Firmia wound up sitting on the Praxis Gamma's right foot. "And what's the point of all humans banding together, anyway? All that can do is create a monolithic group that overpowers and crushes others. Huh ..." The ANF came to mind, even though they didn't make up the majority of mankind or anything close at the moment. Considering she was talking to a Sacarian, maybe an overwhelming, oppressive army was the whole idea. War wasn't an unfortunate necessity for them, it was a lifestyle. Bonus points if they got any slave races out of the deal. "Either way, I'd rather keep certain people at a distance." Preferably, at the maximum range of the Avalon's main cannons or even farther.


"Not really. I don't know what you're expecting," Rex said irritably, "I flew out here to back you people up and see my son. I don't care about Firmia or her hangups, and I don't care what Brant's trying to pull here as long as he doesn't try to get me involved in it." Brant could call Hannah an Abrams and a sibling all he wanted, but Rex wasn't interested, especially since all of this, everything regarding the Avalon seemed to revolve around its devilish little captain.


Tonya didn't reply, but she looked uncomfortable, and somehow more uncomfortable than the two battle-worn TKs she was trying to convince. There was nothing to be done until they were all gathered together anyway, so Brant simply patted Tonya on the shoulder as Chris opened the door to the bedroom. Sure enough, the kids were all there.

"You're back," Vasiliy noted, though whether he was saying that to Tonya or his uncle and eventual aunt was unclear.

The news about Rex left the boy with a mix of wonder and apprehension. He knew there was a possibility that he would be leaving with his father at some point, but now? Weren't there still things that needed to happen, first? The questions were already flooding in and if not for Brant's quick thinking, Vasiliy might have been staring off into space without ever responding.

"It's alright, no one's leaving right now. We've still got a huge fight ahead of us and your father's not going to tuck and run now."

"Hmm ..." Tonya placed a hand on her chin, apparently prompted by something Brant had said.

"Let's go see him, then," Vasiliy decided. He wanted to meet his father regardless of how things turned out, he just worried that things would be similar to their rushed escape from the Alkaev Estate in Russia. They didn't have time to pack much or say goodbye to the staff. A few things were on fire back then, too.

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Monty frowned a bit at the request. "Don't have any of that on me. Doesn't mix well with alcohol, and I know it's stereotyping, but I tend to figure most pilots like to hit the bottle when they have a chance. I do have some naproxen I could offer you, if that would scratch the painkiller itch?" The doctor set his bag on the floor, knelt down beside it, opening it up and beginning to rummage around for the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, assuming the woman would say 'yes, that would be fine' and figuring it best to be prepared. He was glad to hear it just seemed to be a headache, telekinetic related though it might be. If she'd been downplaying her injuries, he'd have expected the Asian woman with her to have spoken up by now instead.

As he was doing so, the Riese's own doctor gave a call back, checking up on the situation on the ground. When his alpha-tool buzzed, warning him of the incoming message, he gave an apologetic grin to the girls, saying. "Sorry, I've got to take this. If you could wait, just one moment?" He pulled out the small bottle of pills he'd been after, and had just located, closed up his bag, and stepped aside briefly, answering the call.

"Everything else seems to be fine down here," he reported back, after listening to her inquiry. "I found someone with a headache, and I'm sure there's probably someone feeling sick to their stomach elsewhere, but the good news is there appears to be nothing major. I'll be up to join you in a bit, just handing out some OTC right now."

 


 

Abigail tried to smile when Calina chimed in about joining the hate crusade against Gaertner if the situation actually ended up going the was people were saying it was. It... almost worked. But her heart started to hurt right again after, as the reason for the offer couldn't stay buried long. But, really, she couldn't ask better. After the pain she'd unwittingly put her through too, for her to turn around and just give out a blank check of emotional support. Not something everyone would do.

Maybe not even something she deserved... A sniffle, and then Abby tried to shut down that line of thought. That wouldn't do anybody any good. "Thanks. Really," the rebel had to make sure her partner knew how much she appreciated this. It was the least she could do. "I dunno what'll end up being, but you being here for me means the world right now."

"Haaa," a bit of a sigh, and then. "Oh god, I hope that cat is far enough away not to be picking up all of this."

 


 

It hadn't been a long walk, keeping Caroline company as they guided the enemy along over toward where Eriksson was standing. It was irritating though, hearing it put in such plain language. The damn cat was probably right. She'd been dragging her heels, refusing to consider making an actual decision. Sure, the injury was recent, and even though medicine was pretty good these days, with the Riese on the move as much as it had been, even if she'd gotten an implant or a transplant or something, she wasn't sure if she'd be back at top form by now anyway.

...But she'd at least have been on the road toward recovery. Instead of this... limbo she was currently in. Helping out on the sidelines. Milling around, trying to find purpose again. Not that the work she was doing with Tarquin wasn't important either! Just... There was going to be a lot on the plate for her next session with Dr. Hart, wasn't there?

Caroline and the captive both spoke their pieces. Rather than overwhelm him, Jess continued to take a bit of a back seat. There was no rush. A quick salute, and a trace of smile, and words could come later.

 


 

Just as they were about to head to the cafeteria and get the party started, "――Specialist Erikkson!"

New arrivals, and new calls for his attention, apparently. Turning toward the unfamiliar voice, Thorvald admittedly let a bit of his surprise show on his face when he caught sight of the speaker. Well, one of them anyway, he knew Caroline, she was a good woman. Took care of her family, very important. This other one though...

Raising a hand to his chin, and narrowing his eyes, he appraised the situation. Turning to Caroline, who'd talked, over Sergeant Barnes, who had not, he first asked, "XO or the Captain know about this?" Depending on how much go-ahead had already been granted would play a major factor in how he'd take things here. He was more than capable of making a decision in the field, if that's what it took, but he wanted to make sure not to countermand anything already in place if he could avoid it.

Turning back to the cat, he finally addressed the elephant in the room. "Sorry to not immediately, jumping for joy and playing icebreaker games to get you worked in, feeling at home with the rest of the crew, but even for the friendly ones..." Thorvald cast a bit of a side glance at Esther here. How would she feel if she'd had to sit in the brig as long as she had, getting smuggled game system to amuse herself while the ANF tried to figure out what to do with her: How would she feel if there wasn't even the hint of any of that now? "Usually there's some waiting period while we get their background checked out, figure out if they're trustworthy. Just... seems a bit odd, you being as excited as you are. You get me?"

Edited by Balcerzak

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"Ah, Captain..." Aliza turned to the tube as the android greeted them. It was amazing that she was still alive, though a little tragic to see her this way. She remembered the first time she met the captain, she gave her a 9. Though even in this state of her's Aliza felt it would be unfair to rate that lower, so she gladly left it. She gave the captain a warm smile and a wave. "That's right. It's been so long since we met, but it's good to speak to you again. I remember taking quite a liking to you..." As those words came out however her eyes widened. "Err I mean...in a respectful sort of way, captain. You carried yourself in such a confident, commanding manner during our first meeting. Yes..." The heart on her sleeve never leaves her.

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"I'll look into that," Jessica gave Tycho, as Aliza turned to address her. She gave the girl an awkward smile, waving with her good hand. "If records are correct, we only met a few days ago. Unfortunately, uh... As Sergeant McNair has stated, I seem to have lost all of my memories. I've been searching around the ship's database for clues, since I still have access. I'm sure I can piece back together who I was! No problem."


"Er, uhm... I was instructed to enter the ship with Caroline. From this, XO you speak of. Roxanna, I believe." Was this not standard procedure? It did not seem like it, Thorvald was giving glances to the girl at his side... She had been held prisoner for a time, then. "If it is necessary that I become incarcerated for the safety of the ship, I will gladly comply. I do not think my excitement is at all odd." With a smile and a salute, Kiir'Heln focused on Thorvald alone. "I shall be completely honest, Specialist Erikkson. I have become quite enamored with your race, and while I could not simply stop fighting for the sake of my pride, this special circumstance is exactly what I had been hoping for. To be able to work alongside humans is a wonderful thing!"


A quick blip of the Vergloria's radio saw the cat tuning in, only to quickly say, "I can captain, and I apologize! I shall not repeat a word to anyone!" The signal cut quickly after.

"Keep your brain in your own head you damn furball!" Calina groaned and sighed, flopping into her seat. "Geez... Can't believe we have to play thinking roulette now, of all things. Wasn't so bad when it was just emotions... You're welcome, hun, just bring us in so we can... Try and deal with some of this." They were going to have to set some serious ground rules with this cat, if they were going to work out on their ship.


"S-Sure... No problem. Uhm..." Well, maybe it was a problem. "A-Are you sure you've got time to wait on me, doctor? It's just a headache, it'll go away... Uh..." Christina didn't want to hold him up if there was more serious business to attend to upstairs.


"You're just as friendly as I expected," Hannah shot back with a smile, heading up the ladder. "Then, so long as you don't cause any problems, this should be fine. They're upstairs, come on."


"Should that not be the goal of all races? To band together and be strong enough to stop any issue that comes to face them? To spread their rule out and create an empire worth striving for? Had you all banded together, I'm sure we would not have managed as much of a foothold as we had." Ayyl'Vern scoffed, still not quite sure how this girl had managed to become Captain. The only thing strong about her seemed to be her resilience in the face of adversity.

"Whatever you say, then, captain... Did you need anything else? I do not think your mechanics will be able to maintain my machine for quite some time, so I should return to making sure that it is fully functional for the combats to come. Unless you had some inspection to make inside the machine. I would hope not..."


"Alright. Girls, do you want to as well?"

"Sure!" Lily spoke up right away, smiling over at Vasiliy. She wanted to be there for him, this was clearly fairly troubling.

"Uhm... I-I... I'd, like to stay here." Aki... Not quite as confident.

"You sure, Aki?" Chris didn't want to push her, but...

"Th-There's a lot, of... Uhm... Angry feelings, coming from the hangar. Mostly, F-Firmia, I, don't really..."

Ah. She was scared by everything going on over there... Chris smiled. "It's alright, then. You can stay here... We'll be back soon, okay?"

"O-Okay. Sorry, dad... V-Vasiliy."

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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So that was it for the casualties, then? Good- ... good enough, Megumi mused, taking a moment to sit down at her desk. "Thank you for your help, Monty. We'll be waiting for you in the infirmary."

Megumi was momentarily free until Ignatius was done getting Jessica's body repaired, so she took a moment to begin logging everything she remembered thus far, the injuries and the fatalities that resulted from the battle. A drink would have been nice, but the only alcohol going around for the time being would be for disinfecting wounds. "Has anyone sent word to the other ANF ships?" Megumi asked the infirmary in general, though she was eyeing Roxanna and Jessica in turn. She did recall the announcement, but that sounded like a ship-wide broadcast and not something the Krakens would have gotten. If they had, then at least they knew what to expect. They did have a rendezvous coming up, so it was important to keep their allies informed, at least now that morale was more easily manageable.


Sure, it sounded like a fine idea on the surface, but even the advanced Sacarians wound up with a leader that sent scores of their finest to their deaths and it was only going to get worse from here. What did the Sacarian king gain--other than a headache--from all of this pointless fighting? Regardless, it wasn't a debate Firmia was fully prepared for. She was more interested in trying to find some common ground with her new pilot. "It's not like your people were strong enough in the end, were they? I know the war's not over yet, but unless your king's going to blow up whole continents next, we're going to win, divided and all. It's all logistics from here."

"I just don't see the appeal ... At least with humanity divided, we've got multiple ways of dealing with problems, different points of view, different methods. Even the potential for survivors in the worst case scenario. If someone doesn't want to pick a side, they can go and do what they want." By that point, Firmia couldn't help but picture her group in the ANF vs EU situation. Siding with the Federation directly was out of the question, but an alliance gave them some breathing room, and kept them out of troublesome hierarchies. For her, it was the best they could hope for.

"And no, I don't really need anything, right now." Firmia briefly imagined what having a pilot around that could read her thoughts on a whim would be like, and what steps she could take to make herself more comfortable with the situation, but things were just too uncertain right now. Despite what she'd said about the war, their own survival past the next battle was no guarantee, even if 'Earth' ultimately triumphed over the Sacarians. "I'll try to find something else to distract me from Rex being here," she said, standing up from the Praxis' foot, "I hope we can get along, Ayyl'Vern."


"Yeah sure," Rex said, following along. He made sure to take in the sights as he did. Of chief interest to him was the crew. So far he'd seen almost nothing but mechanics. He quietly tried to work out their origins, whether they were survivors from Voronin or from the ANF. While Rex personally thought it was asinine to loan out men to crew a ship captained by some random teenager, he had to admit that the ship would be useless if understaffed. Pilots were one thing, but the ship itself had to be at least minimally operable. The real question was what happened once the war was over. Was the ANF taking back its loaned staff or was some other arrangement made?


"It's okay," Vasiliy assured Akilina.

Brant wanted Rex to meet both of his nieces, but he supposed there was still time for that. Leaving Aki here by herself was another matter, but ... at least there was no danger. "We'll be back soon."

Tonya wound up trailing behind the most as they headed toward the hangar in search of Rex, and dodged Brant's glances as she put together an idea of her own. She had to shelf that plan when Hannah and Rex appeared in front of them in the hallway. She was surprised to see him wearing a--mostly--ordinary flight suit rather than a SKIN suit. Sure, the things were a bit much out in public, but the man's funnels wouldn't be nearly as responsive without one. What kind of bonehead would deliberately go into a combat zone with that kind of handicap? Her own student apparently ...

Brant was glad to see his older brother alive and well, but there were definitely some surprises. He was slightly envious of the flight suit his brother was using. Rex wasn't just wearing that, though; he had an almost tangible aura of frustration around him. Brant doubted Firmia was the cause since the sense he was getting was more consistent. Regular emotions rose and fell like tides. This was a mood, something he brought with him to the ship. There wasn't much to do but greet his siblings and try to get introductions going.

"We were just coming to find you," Brant waved.

"Long time no see," Rex replied, noting everyone in front of him. While it had been years since he'd seen Brant and Tonya in person, this was his first time meeting the rest. He noticed Vasiliy right away, being the only one who fit the 'son' bill. He smiled weakly at the kid at first.

"... hello, father," Vasiliy mimicked Brant's wave.

Somehow, Vasiliy's cautious greeting broke through whatever was bothering Rex and made him laugh. 'Another Alkaev stronghold. When I said we'd be together in hell, this isn't what I meant ...'

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"I'll make sure she gets to the infirmary if any other symptoms come up, Doctor. We wouldn't want to keep you longer than necessary... I'm sure that there must be a lot that needs taken care of, right now." Seung-Min added, hopefully the bit of reassurance would help. The middle of all of this chaos wasn't likely to be the best place to triage Christina's particular issue, after all.

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Tycho relaxed himself in the bed just a bit more. The Captain was okay, it seemed. Might be an issue with the robot circuitry thing, but hopefully, things would work out and the captain would be back to as normal as possible. Well, normal wasn't really a good word anymore since this captain was anything but normal, but, semantics.

Then the doctor asked a question, and Tycho shook his head, "Not to my knowledge, no ma'am."

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The cat's sudden interruption, even though it came with the promise of sealed lips, just elicited a groan. Of fucking course. Abigail didn't bother responding, Calina did a good enough job already, and even if she didn't talk, apparently her thoughts were an open book anyway, so there wasn't really a need to add anything more.

It was a scant couple minutes later when the Vergloria was fully settled down in Deliverance's hangar, and it was time to disembark. Abby had wiped most of the snot and tears away with her sleeve, she'd wash the uniform later of course, and was debating whether or not to put the helmet back on, or just head out there with it off. Off won. If anybody had a problem with whatever after effects of a good cry were still left, they could just suck it up or leave, really.

"All right, Reed, try to play nice with everybody," she muttered just loud enough for Calina to also hear, but not over any broadcast or anything. The cat was probably still listening, and it was time to just get used to it and take advantage of it. There weren't a lot of her rebel crew left, sadly, but it was time to see how well they would manage to accept the strange newcomer.

Walking around to Calina's seat first, before disembarking, she stole a hug, a bit longer than maybe she'd intended, but who was judging. "See ya on the ground," she tried smiling as they parted, then cabled down to greet her crew and wait for the Praxis to finish settling down and follow suit.

 


 

Oh. Oh no. The pilots down here thought there might still be bridge crew alive and in need of treatment, huh? Monty's back and forth with the Riese's doctor had disabused him of that notion already, but he didn't think that arguing with the girl about the right way to spend his time was the proper way to break it to her. When his lasted call with Dr. Ampharo had quickly ended, he instead simply played along. "You're right, you're right. Here," dumping out a handful of pills into her hand, he quickly capped the bottle back up and slid it back into his bag. "Take two of these, and call me in the morning," he smiled and enjoyed the cheesey feeling of that overused line. "Gotta head on up to the infirmary, so I'm gonna trust you to finish looking after your friend then," he added to the woman accompanying the one he'd been helping out.

A half dozen or so paces after he'd grabbed his bag and headed toward the lifts, he twisted his upper body and called back. "Make sure she only takes two!" The joke was followed with a bit of a laugh and a wave of the hand before he resumed his journey to the elevator, and eventually the upper deck.

Edited by Balcerzak

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