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

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There was some comfort in knowing that he wasn't the only one with an absence of waffles in his life. Tarquin couldn't help but wonder what else that he or Nina had not been exposed to. Perhaps waffles were the next step onwards from toast in his journey of life. However, his breakfast time ruminations would have to wait - one of the Sacarians was eager to introduce themselves to Thorvald. The exchange was initially somewhat surreal, a giant cat-like telekinetic extraterrestial speaking of honour and dedication as if Thorvald had bested him in a gentlemen's duel in the eighteenth century. From what he'd understood of the Sacarians, they were a genocidal, all-conquering mind-reading army of towering felines. There were many parallels to empires in Earth's past, so perhaps it wasn't a stretch that one could present as honourbound. Tarquin watched carefully as Thorvald conversed, keeping an eye on the feline's expression as if he expected it to turn suddenly.

He couldn't fault Thorvald for his affable yet cautious approach. The other Sacarians seemed to think little of humans, yet this one harboured an almost disturbing admiration. Althought it was definitely preferable to their darwinistic allies.

"If I may, Specialist Eriksson." Tarquin interjected, looking up at the towering feline. He had felt small compared to the rest of the crew to begin with, this situation only emphasised his hopes for an imminent growth spurt. "You appear to have an interest in human beings, would that not be frowned upon by other Sacarians or is it a sentiment that others share? It is not that I am critical of your beliefs, it just appears very different to other Sacarians we have interacted with."

It was slightly jarring, but they had given their other recruited-foes-turned-allies chances to prove themselves. If there were members of the human race he felt he could not trust, then surely there would be a Sacarian who perhaps they could.

 

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"Will do." Kim replied as the Doctor made his way towards the elevator, giving the man a small wave at the same time. Better not to clue the man into the fact that she had heard his thoughts, but the revelation certainly had stung enough to be noticeable to Christina. So there was no one alive to treat, was there...? That meant that aside from the known quantities, the entire bridge crew-?

A frustrated sigh forced it's way through her lips. Not that it was... unexpected, given the damage, but there had been no survivors aside from the Captain, XO, and Ensign Calvin? And even the Captain was only a survivor on a technicality... if only they had managed to get rid of Soor'Kan sooner...

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The infirmary was suddenly becoming less of an apt spot for a makeshift command center with the need for space for the injured... though, granted, injuries seemed to have stopped with the one pilot. Morale was probably more of a pressing concern. "N-No, I have to contact them yet. Still need to confirm the rendezvous coordinates." Roxanna was sobered up by Megumi's question, raising her head. "If anything, we might need the cover sooner." It was a good start to put her mind off of Jessica's current state... and do something to help.


When Thorvald turned his head towards her, Esther could already piece his implications --the awkward mood she was picking up helped. "Better take that one to the superiors and let them be the judge of that." Esther shrugged. Introspectively, it's not like her opinion of ANF could get much worse if they decided to throw a 17 year old in a brig but not a terrorist alien. Dire circumstances or not. Still... that was an odd one, considering what her race often spouted. Not really Esther's business, at the moment --she was far more concerned about a certain samurai cyborg.

Esther was learning that standing in the proximity of an alien caused some discomfortable noise in her hearing, though, so that was distracting.

"R-right, uh, the XO was the one that told me to pick her up. Now, I'm --I guess taking her to meet the Captain and XO would be a good idea now..." Somewhat left behind once Kiir'Heln started speaking enthusiastically, Caroline started speaking up, a reserved step to posture herself somewhat beside the alien. "Though, you are pretty much the Commander while we're operating, so, it felt appropriate." With a tone that about hinted self doubt, Caroline shook her head. "Are you busy? If so, I can, just take her there myself."

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"I'm glad I asked," Megumi frowned, realizing they were a little behind on procedure. Her minions still had things well in hand, so the doctor went back to making some posterity notes, trying to keep the events in chronological order as best she could.

Still, she wondered if the Riese could enter the next fight in such lousy condition. The pilots were fine, but there was no way they could complete even a quarter of the repair work needed to get the ship back up to its full potential. She supposed it didn't matter; there was an increasing sense that it was too late to turn back anyway. They just had to hope that nearly wiping out the Sacarian vanguard here would lead to a much easier final battle.

Edited by Phoenix

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Firmia wasn't wrong about their strength and ability to win the war. Most of their forces in this North American continent had been wiped out. Even if Europe was faring much better, Ayyl'Vern knew that they would receive no help from the other branch. The King and Queen were at odds, and Trel'Vaar asking her for assistance would've been tantamount to giving up. He'd never do as such. He either had a trump card in hiding, or he was going to go down with the last ship they had. It was a bit sobering to think of, that these humans had managed to stop them, despite being so interwoven with their own enemies, despite being so powerful... There had to be some reason behind it all, Ayyl'Vern would be doing his best to figure out how their disparity in strength had been bridged.

"Yes, a distraction... Captain," Ayyl'Vern began, clearing his throat. "The King's-- Trel'Vaar... His machine is an amplifier for his abilities. Not only is he a terrifying pilot, any mind that fights against him will be struggling with his overbearing abilities. I am... Warning you, as your new subordinate. Do not take any moment against him or the remaining knights lightly. If the human race is going to prove itself superior, then this is their moment. Squander it at your own peril..." Ayyl'Vern had no idea how the internals of Trel'Vaar's machine worked, how it amplified his mind. If the humans could damage it, perhaps systems could be disrupted, perhaps he could become weaker. Too many ifs, nothing concrete. If they succeeded, it would be on their own merits. "I... Do not wish to get along with you, yet, Firmia. I will overcome this shortcoming with time... But even if I remain obedient to you as a soldier..." Ayyl'Vern bit his lip, hissing quietly.

"You and your own spent the last fight killing my friends. Perhaps not 'friends', in your traditional sense, but Sacarians I had come to know personally, fought with, bonded with. It is not a grudge I will be able to bury soon... I do hope that you can understand. Captain..." If she could not, then he would have to double his efforts to overcoming this weakness. Soldiers died in battle. Every Sacarian knew that. It wasn't something that he should've been struggling with... Yet...


It didn't take them any time at all to meet the offending Rex... Chris had to do a double take between him and Brant. Aside from looking older, and some slightly gruffer features, it was definitely close to seeing double. "Huh. So you're the one everyone's making a fuss over." Chris put herself in front of the rest, offering him a cocked eyebrow, a half-smile, and a handshake. "I'm Chris. Soon to be your sister-in-law, if things shape up right, and we all survive what's coming next..."

"So that's Uncle Rex...?" Lily poked her head out from behind Brant, choosing to hide behind him instead of Chris, since she'd moved to approach him. "Hi." A small wave was what he was getting for now, too worried by the atmosphere around the adults to do much more.

"Hey Brant, hey Chris, Tonya... Brought the big deal over, and I'm gonna stick around to make sure things... Go well." Hannah didn't want to allude further with the kids there... That might've been more than enough of an allusion though, considering what they'd gone through already.


Christina was fairly shocked by the sudden pile of pills in her hand, but if he was in a rush, he was in a rush. "A-Alright... I don't think I'll have to call, though." Was that some cheesy doctor thing...? "Well... He seems, nice? Uh, right... Changing. Okay... Thanks for all the help, again, Kim." She knew the girl wasn't going to leave her alone either way, but she was still thankful.

Downing two of the pills and holding onto the rest for the moment, Christina hobbled her way into the changing rooms attached to the hangar, immediately getting to the women's section and engaging the release on her SKIN suit. "Hahhhh..." The tight uniform instantly puffed out, looking like a hazmat, hanging off of her now. "That feels so much better..."


Reed didn't give Abigail a further confirmation of things, her Praxis moving into the Deliverance behind the Vergloria with controlled ease. Most of the Deliverance's crew was gathered in the hangar, staring at the new suit, not sure what was going on. Terry, especially, had left the cockpit with autopilot on because he sincerely had no idea what his bosses were planning, agreeing to this situation.

The Sacarian in question had shut her machine down, cockpit opening, and chord coming down. She disembarked to the shock of several of the crew, backing away from the Sacarian, who stood motionless and simply waited for Calina and Abigail to leave their machine...


"Whoa, hey..." Calina didn't exactly mind the hug, but her selfish side was wishing they could do more than that. Maybe tonight... Abby was going to be needing a lot of comfort, at the very least. Maybe one thing could lead to another. Not the most altruistic plan, but she wouldn't push her if she was too upset to go that way. She let Abigail head down first, before following her, staring over at their new Sacarian. "This is actually happening, huh...?"

"Captains!" Reed greeted, saluting them both with another toothy grin. "Shall I wait here while you deal with your crew's confusion? Or shall I return to my machine, now that they have been introduced to my being here?"

"You're way too chipper... Call's yours, Abby." Calina would much rather the cat be locked in her machine until they ever needed her. Hopefully never, but, mercenaries couldn't be choosers.


"Hmmm." Kiir'Heln paused and let the humans speak, not very eager to interrupt any of it. Caroline was correct, so she would allow Thorvald the pleasure of deciding instead of speaking for him. This small boy's question, though... Tarquin was his name. It wasn't a difficult question, but it did embarrass her, slightly.

"It is certainly frowned upon by other Sacarians. As such, I have been avoiding thinking about it as much as I could have. I did not wish to be questioned by my superiors or subordinates, but now I no longer have to worry about that." A fact she wore with a smile, still rather excited about the turn of events. "I am very much so in the minority, I do apologize. I would say... If I had to put a number to it, less than one percent of us are truly interested in your race beyond destruction. I, however, cannot fathom why we must reach such a conclusion!"

A brighter smile now, Kiir'Heln looked off as it staring into space. "For centuries! For centuries we have fought, conquered, destroyed, and ruined civilizations, but, why? Wouldn't allying with those of similar strength be the best way forward? You humans have proven time and again to be our equals, if not our betters, so why should we struggle, in vain and in death, to fight you until the bitter end? No, that is such a waste! Even if you are technologically and mentally inferior in several aspects, your strength as people is unmatched! I would not be able to believe it had I not experienced it first hand." Her eyes finally settled on Thorvald, nodding.

"Even if we are stronger, smarter, with better equipment... You all band together in a way that we, so focused on our pride, will never be able to achieve. The Sacarian race is a conglomerate of strong individuals... While the human race is a powerful machine, coming together in the face of peril. How truly fascinating, and impressive! That I have survived to this day could rightly bring tears to my eyes." With a hefty sigh, she nodded again, turning back to Tarquin. "Perhaps... I am getting ahead of myself, but I do truly wish for those left in my race to see the error of this war. Were we to combine our findings with your race's own, I am sure we could fly ahead into the future of technology and betterment."

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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A suit that amplified Trel'Vaar's abilities. That sounded like more trouble than even the four knights together had given them. Worse still, their fighting potential was down from before. No, that wasn't right. If Ayyl'Vern and the other Sacarian captives were really willing to fight with them, then even without the reinforcements from the ANF, as well as the Athena, they would be significantly stronger in the upcoming battle. Funnily enough, Ayyl'Vern had picked Firmia of all people to warn about taking an enemy lightly. As far as the Alkaev was concerned, any tactical maneuver that didn't involve suicide or some other nonsense was always on the table. Always.

"I'll keep that in mind ..." Firmia trailed off, having suddenly been reminded of her troubles with Rex. She hadn't really 'known' the people he had indirectly killed. They had simply died for the petty crime of being aboard the same transport as her. It was infuriating just thinking about it. Firmia didn't even want to reconcile the situation per se. There was nothing on the line with Rex, no friendship to restore or understanding that needed to be reached. He was simply her enemy. That made Ayyl'Vern's situation seem a lot more serious by comparison.

"I'll try to keep that in mind, too," Firmia said, starting off again. "Take your time. I'm not trying to force anything. I'm just trying to keep my people alive."

A short time after leaving Ayyl'Vern to his machine, Firmia approached Rex's mobile suit, the Anarchy. It looked just like the data she'd sifted through, only a little more interesting up close. Given Ayyl'Vern's warning about the Sacarian King, Trel'Vaar, she could easily justify taking a closer look at Rex's machine. Maybe there was some easily fixable problem that could significantly improve his chances of surviving the upcoming fight. Sure, Firmia wasn't his biggest fan, but no one on her crew would be happy to see Vasiliy's father murdered. The SKIN suit issue was bad enough. Firmia rode the Anarchy's lift up to the open hatch on the chest. What she found inside set her back a step.

"Intruder alert! Intruder alert!" A high pitched shriek caught the Alkaev off guard and nearly made her stumble back out onto the lift. It was a beady eyed blue ball, a robot with a lifeless gaze and flickering red lights for eyes. "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"

Firmia blinked. "... wait, this is the sub-computer? It looks like a toy."

"Not a toy! Not a toy! Haro is Haro!"

Haro? That's not what it was called in the file.

"No response from Rex! No response from Rex! Anarchy compromised! Anarchy compromised!"

Firmia hadn't learned of any potential weapons or other nasty surprises the cockpit's systems might have in store for so called 'intruders,' so she quickly composed herself and eased into the pilot's seat, electing to ignore the protesting blue ball for now. For the moment, she didn't know what she was looking for. It wasn't necessarily a good idea to distract herself from Rex's presence on her ship by poking around in his mobile suit, but maybe ... something. Maybe she would learn more about the shady idiot this way.

"Initiating self-destruct! Initiating self-destruct!"

Firmia gawked at the suicidal robot. The ball tended to say everything twice, so she'd definitely heard it right. A mobile suit detonating inside the hangar would kill almost everyone and leave the Avalon in tatters. Firmia's shock gave way to determination as she swiftly grabbed the suicidal Haro and ripped it out of its bowl terminal.

"Ow! Ow! Bluffing! Bluffing!"

"You and your bluffs can go straight through a stone crusher!" Firmia chucked the Haro over her head and sighed in relief. After a minute of taking in the situation, Firmia focused in on the Anarchy's main interface. She still didn't know what she was looking for specifically, but there ought to be something in the system that could tell her what was going on with Rex. If not, then at least she could pass along some instructions to the ANF's loaned mechanics and address a couple of the obvious issues.


"Yep, that's your uncle," Brant grinned. He was in a relatively good mood, though he couldn't ignore the fact that Rex was teetering back and forth with his own. Brant didn't know much about his brother's life in the EU armed forces, but the fact that he only had a few squadmates left on the Athena was telling. He considered broaching the topic once there was a good opportunity.

Rex accepted Chris' hand almost passively while wondering how all of this had unfolded. His own people tended to die, but Brant was bringing new members into the family from all directions. An adopted sister here, a sister-in-law there, some nieces, and even his own son, whom Rex assumed had died a humble zygote. "Good seeing you all," he said, sparing Lily a nod as well. It was at that moment Rex realized that no matter what he said or did, he could never convince his younger brother to leave with him and Vasiliy after the war. Spouses and children had a way of forcing people to root themselves ... and that was something this Alkaev cage, the Avalon, was perfect for. Firmia had already asked the big question, where would he go? Brant and Chris would have similar questions and Rex couldn't answer them. The issue was settled long before he even arrived.

"By the way, Hannah," Tonya quietly chimed in on the side, "Where's Firmia? Is she just letting you handle this?" If that was the case she was probably taking the long route to the cafeteria to get herself a tall drink or something like that.

Deciding to worry about Firmia later, Brant nudged Vasiliy forward. "Go on. You're the one he's here to see."

"R-right," Vasiliy nodded his understanding. That cued Rex too and, with a bit of hesitation, came over to him. "I'm happy to finally meet you, father," Vasiliy tried his best at a proper greeting.

"... same here," Rex smiled down at his son, "I'm glad something finally went right. Just for once." Seeing how nothing else would, Rex couldn't help but kneel down and embrace his miracle child. "I don't know how it happened and I don't care, but thank you ... for surviving."

Edited by Phoenix

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The captured alien Caroline had brought gave a brief accounting of the situation, backed up by the expression and a few words from the chaperone as well. The girl seemed incredibly insecure about the whole thing, but not everyone was so intimidated, Tarquin had some questions of his own, which Thorvald willingly allowed. Budding curiosity was to be encouraged, especially for one that had often given off the impression of being shut-off socially, compared to the rest of the pilots. Her response was one of infectious optimism, despite her position as holding a minority view amongst her race, and the honesty and eagerness found him smiling despite himself as he listened.

"Mmm, no, don't worry about having to shuttle her up there right now, Miss Schmidt, you've done plenty fine, and hearing this much has been enough. As long as I know the higher ups aren't in the dark about this, and they've trusted me with managing matters, that will do. I'll take her up to have a longer chat with the XO after, but for now, there shouldn't be any issue as long as she's in my sight. Heck, I bet a taste of human cooking would be right up her alley, going by the sounds of things. No need to put off the waffles," Thorvald concluded with a belly laugh.

There would surely needs be discussions on boundaries and procedures, but postponing potentially painful decisions and restriction was more his style than rushing into them without cause. Who knows, when shown proper good-will, maybe this one could be turned into an ambassador of sorts. They already seemed halfway there, better to nurture that sprout of hope than prune it so far back it might die.

The sharp, clacking sound of boot heel clicking up against boot heel, and the swish of fabric as an arm was brought up into a salute broke Thorvald out of his inner thoughts though. Sergeant Barnes's cold voice, not hiding her disapproval came shortly after, "If everything has been taken care of then, I should be on my way." She wanted to turn to Tarquin and add a warmer, 'Enjoy your meal,' but she couldn't find it in her to do it. So much for having come to speak with Eriksson, what a laugh, she couldn't even do a simple thing like that. Jess didn't have a plan or idea of where to go, but anywhere that was 'not here' was a good start.

Watching her walk off to the elevators, Thorvald tried to salvage the mood. "Well, I guess she must not be hungry. But that's fine too. Anyone that still wants in, follow me." There were plenty of elevators, they could take one of the others and give her some privacy.

Edited by Balcerzak

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She had to admit it was a bit painful seeing Captain Jessica this way. She wished they had time to interact before this. But seeing her optimism did help Aliza a little bit. So she returned her enthusiastic reply with a smile of her own. "Well one step at a time then. I'm willing to help with whatever you need." And then she turned her attention to Tycho, a little distracted from her talk with the captain. "I hope I wasn't too rough bringing you here, Tycho. How are you feeling now?"

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Tycho kept himself awake and sobered just from listening to the doctor and the captain and XO all talk. All the 'above his paygrade' mumbo jumbo was just enough non-understandable for him that it kept his brain rolling. An unfortunate rolling, due to his condition.

Aliza turned back to him after addressing the captain, asking if he was fine.

"I'm... functioning. Alright, I suppose?" He gave a shrug. "Honestly though, I know I've been complaining a lot about needing something and I apologize for that, but like, I'm actually super thirsty." A small chuckle. "Would you be willing to do me a solid so I don't agitate my currently pained friend?" Motioning to his arm.

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Kiir'Heln definitely did not meet the Sacarian stereotype. As much as Tarquin could have suspected that the feline warrior could be trying to create some sort of ruse, it was hard to imagine that such a proud race would try and demean themselves through such a facade. Perhaps it was naivety or optimism, but Tarquin felt a sense of trust from the display. It was strange, a few months prior he would have been more than happy to eject any captive through the airlock but now he could see the captain's policy taking effect on him too. The compliments towards the human race were somewhat tactless but the sentiment and genuinity were definitely present.

"I see. I do not imagine there will be any major issues with cooperating with you. I, personally, do not take offense to your presence within our ranks. However, I can appreciate that full integration may take a period of time." Tarquin replied, unable to prevent a smile slyly appearing on his face. Conversation had never been his forte, but he was learning it step by step.

Jess came and went quickly, which was somewhat puzzling. She didn't appear entirely comfortable, or at least Tarquin assumed not, unless he'd misread the situation. Thorvald's awkward salvaging comment led him to believe he wasn't too far off the mark, he'd need to find her later.

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As soon as she hit the deck, Abigail strode over to the tall alien with the curly fur, looking up into the other's eyes again a moment, confirming her earlier judgement of the cat. Nothing had changed since their talk out on the palms. The only thing new was her crew's surprise, and that was not unexpected. Nodding to the Sacarian, she answered, "No need for you to go, better everyone see you and work on getting accustomed as I explain." Then she pivoted to face everyone else, Reed'Nahl rising behind her, almost like a muscled bodyguard standing guard over a VIP.

"All right, everyone, long story, very very short. This is Reed'Nahl. I killed her boss, so in their culture that means she works for me now. Sounds weird, I know," Abby shrugged, not sure exactly how to better explain. It was still kind of settling in for her too. "Also, and this is very important too, there's no blood feud with this one," she jerked a thumb behind her to accentuate the point. "No connection to the group of cats we were tangling with earlier. Her knight was Sen'Tchur'Leo or something," she paused, turning to look over her shoulder at tall grey cat, a weak smile flashing across her lips as a small crease formed on her brow. She surely had butchered that pronunciation, but she'd only heard it once, and there was so much on her mind. Sorry, I'll get it right next time if it's important, she thought a wordless apology. How could she expect the cat to honor her desire not to be called Rockefeller if she didn't show proper name courtesies back? She was at least a little more confident on Reed's name at least, but the other one... No, back to the topic at hand. Returning her gaze to the gathered crew, Abby continued, "Our grudge was with Soor'Kan, we can consider it dead with him. If someone has a problem with that, I need it out in the open. No festering, and there won't be any retaliation if you speak up. Let me know your honest concerns."

Abigail closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, then opened them and looked back first to Calina who'd come up beside her, then to where they'd parked the Vergloria. "But try to keep things snappy. I know Terry said it was just minor damage here, but I want to get my eyes on the diagnostics myself, and I'll need to head to the Riese sooner than later to touch base there. Hopefully we can get things wrapped up here in half an hour? ...Maybe that's pushing it too much... but, I should be back here again soon after that for everything else."

 


 

Monty remembered to stop humming before he knocked on the door to the infirmary. Then, when the door slid open, he leaned his head in. He was probably going to be directed off to deal with the bodies anyway, sounded like there wasn't much active work to be done, so no point getting settled in or comfortable. The sight of Jess in the tank brought out a low whistle from him though. He waved to the pilots he recognized, and by process of elimination figured out which of the remaining individuals was his counterpart over here.

"Dr. Ampharo? Wish I'd be making your acquaintance on better terms, but it is what it is, yeah? Right, sorry, this is Monty, we spoke a couple of times now over comms," he kept his tone and demeanor light, well as light as could be expected given the heavy atmosphere. "You call the shots on this one, so just... point me where you need me."

Edited by Balcerzak

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Hannah stepped away from Rex's moment with Vasiliy, settling next to Tonya before giving the sight a smile. "She stayed in the hangar for a moment, went to talk to the cat. I think I'm doing a good job of handling it, so there shouldn't be any problems." Galatea was likely watching, ready to report to Firmia if anything went wrong, anyway.

Chris had also stepped back, sniffling a little bit. "Ahhh... Don't think it'll ever get easier to see." She slowly walked over to Brant and latched onto his arm, pleased by the sight of another dad reunited with the child he thought had been lost forever. "We did a good thing, didn't we? Well... Hannah and Firmia, I mean... Bringing them all back."

Lily didn't quite know what to say or think at the moment, she was simply happy to cling onto Brant at this point. A part of her was happy, though, that Vasiliy had met his own father... There was, however, a worry eating at her. "D-Dad... Does this, mean Vasiliy is gonna leave?"


It was quite pleasing to hear that Tarquin was more than alright with her presence. This dissenting feeling was definitely coming from someone, though, and when Jess spoke up, the Sacarian felt an odd sensation. The woman had walked off before anything could be said, leaving her with confused thoughts and an inability to know what to press forward with. "She is... Upset at me... No, not 'me', rather, my race. She has... Lost people, because of my own. Her injuries are because of my own. Even if I had no part in what happened, it will take time before such a wound can close. That is what you humans say, yes? Time heals wounds? Sacarians do not suffer such mental wounds due to dissatisfaction from another... Though I believe I am feeling it right now. I cannot explain what this sensation is, so I can only hope that continued exposure to this crew will help me come to terms with what is going on."

Kiir smiled apologetically at Thorvald. "I believe I should find time to speak with her and offer an apology, yes? Even if I did not directly cause the pain, I am reminding her of it... I made a comment about her injuries that was likely not appropriate, as well. Hmm. This may be tougher than I had expected... If you wish to make time for your old friend, Thorvald, I do not mind staying here in my machine. I am already overjoyed enough to have been accepted into the home of such a vibrant group of humans. I do not wish to then, immediately step in between the relationships that already existed in this place. If my exclusion from this outing will make Jess feel more comfortable with going with you to eat, please, do not mind me."


San'Xuur, captain. He was Leo, like your zodiac signs, I believe? Something amusing about human constellations. Reed didn't speak up once Abigail had finished speaking, looking over the humans present with a big smile, foregoing her teeth in a moment's worry for scaring them with her teeth. Abigail's speech was met with silence... Almost deafening silence, were it not for the hums and whirs of the ship's own engine and mechanical moving parts.

Terry was too shocked by the current situation to really grasp what was happening, taking a moment to wipe his eyes with his hands and drag them across his face, idly scratching at his stubble. "Jesus Christ," was all he could manage, shaking his head and turning back to head towards the bridge. "I'll... Be piloting. That's yer crazy cat, long as she ain't gonna kill us, no problem." He couldn't quite grasp that Sacarians would just, surrender like that, but here this one was, claiming to be on their side, not a hostile move on her part. "Crazy..."

The rest of the crew started to disperse quickly, Abigail was right about their minor damage; one of the side gun turrets had been struck hard and needed repaired, along with the machine that had been manning it. No one had been hurt, but it had been rather shocking for the hangar crew to suddenly see a Velite Mk.III get launched back like that.

Calina joined her captain, throwing an arm around her shoulder, giving her a bit of a hug. "Alright. No one here gave you shit for this... Sena?" A cocked eyebrow and a real look met Abby's face, causing confusion on Reed's.

"I have not yet pried into who this Sena is as you said I should respect boundaries, in more profane terms, but... Is this someone I should go about avoiding? I can stay in my machine, if it will provide more ease for--"

"Ah, Jesus, stop that. Yer a part of the crew, you heard the Captain, right? Stop. We'll... Deal with anyone that has problems ourselves. That's what it means to be in charge." Sena was going to have several, though... And no one had been closer to her than Hilling... "Be a real serious problem, though..."

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With Monty having just arrived, they were all set as far as the medical staff went. Megumi felt a little guilty about Monty's first 'assignment' but since she was busy logging events--as best she could--and Bennet and Tambre were busy tending to the living, that just left the casualty log. Maybe there was a more effective way to finish up here, though ...

"I'm writing up a report so the ANF has a better idea of what happened here. While they handle the minor injuries, would you check the ship roster. Bridge staff, specifically. Just give me the names. If they aren't here in the infirmary then we'll list them as KIA." The only difference between tagging bodies and this was that they had no effective way of actually reaching the dead right now. That was a grim task in and of itself, one reserved for the androids.

"After that ..." Megumi glanced over at Jessica, still curious about one or two things, "I'd like to see what's really going on with the Captain." Megumi wasn't confident she would learn anything, but that was no reason not to try. Ignatius would be a while getting her body fixed anyhow.


Firmia continued sifting through the Anarchy's files, looking for anything that could tell her anything. Rex didn't seem to keep anything locked, not that it would do him much good while his suit was inside the Avalon anyway. Of course, it made sense that Rex wasn't hiding anything, since there were almost no personal files in the system anyway. In fact, the only thing of interest the Alkaev had found so far were the location of his and Brant's parents over in Europe, along with their contact information. Firmia suspected that was his next stop after the war.

"Intruder is snooping! Intruder is snooping!"

Firmia glanced over her shoulder to see the Haro clinging to the back of the pilot seat with its long wiry arms and cartoonishly round hands. "Would you be quiet? I don't know how Rex puts up with such an obnoxious toy. Note to self, no talking worker bots."

"That's oppression! That's oppression!"

Firmia sighed and leaned back in the seat, unwilling to keep searching with the Haro still on her case. "Why don't you do something useful and tell me more about Rex?" It was the 'sub-computer' after all. Maybe it had files and information the main system didn't. "What's he been doing all of this time?"

"Rex is sad! Rex is sad," was the Haro's surprisingly quick reply.

"So far so good," Firmia almost smirked, "What's he sad about?" Before the Haro could answer, Firmia reached up and grabbed it. She'd rather have it chirping up from her lap than directly into her ear with that awfully high pitched, repetitive voice it had.

Suddenly, the Haro's red eyes flickered. The main monitor's interface changed, preparing a video call playback Firmia hadn't seen yet. The wireless interfacing potential it seemed to have was worrisome, but as long as that self destruct nonsense was indeed just nonsense ...

"Hmm?" The resolving image suddenly took all of the Alkaev's attention.

"Hey ..." A blonde woman appeared on the screen looking distressed. Firmia immediately recognized her. It was May Greenfield. The Alkaev also noticed the timestamp on the video. This call had taken place only a couple of hours ago. Curiosity piqued, Firmia watched. She also instinctively put her hand over the Haro's 'mouth' as May spoke.


"Definitely," Brant smiled at Chris. The situation wasn't ideal, but given their circumstances, it was the best they could hope for, right now. And this way, at least Rex had something he could be happy about. Life wasn't all Alkaev abuse and compulsory military service.

That was when 'the question' came. What was going to happen with Vasiliy? Tonya flinched at Lily's question, struggling with her desire to keep Vasiliy around and not ruining the wholesome scene unfolding right in front of them. There was no escaping Brant's notice with that near audible reaction. Rex also noticed, but ignored it for a moment.

"It's all up to Rex," Brant answered Lily with a faint shrug. He hoped said answer wouldn't put Tonya into Tonya mode--that woman tended to go off the deep end when she was dealing with things she actually cared about. Brant was still a tad sore from some of those love triangle beat downs.

Rex gently broke off his hug and stood back up. "... we can talk about it ... if it's really bothering you."

"It's really bothering me," Tonya said, stiff as a board, "Isn't there some way to convince you to let Vasiliy stay here? Hell, you could stay here. Just talk to Firmia and-"

Rex held up a hand hoping Tonya would stop right there. "I really need you people to stop making that pitch," he forced a smile.


"Why did you blast out of here like that?" May asked, worry and guilt plain on her face, "We were already about to rendezvous with Firmia and the ANF."

"The Anarchy's fast," Rex began, though Firmia could only see the conversation from his perspective, "I might be able to get there and reinforce them."

"You're coming back, right? This isn't about us? Right?"

"My son is on that sad excuse for a warship, not to mention my brother and nieces," Rex noted, "I'm not sitting this out. ... and yeah, I'll probably be back. I'd rather deal with the crap on the Athena than whatever's waiting for me on the Avalon."

Firmia scowled.

"Okay then ..."

"Alright, why are you so down? It was your decision, wasn't it?"

May curled up slightly, clearly uncomfortable with the reminder. "That doesn't mean I'm happy about it. B-besides, you keep saying you're leaving after this, but where are you going to go?"

Firmia nodded at the question, the same one she'd asked.

"What's wrong with staying here on the Athena? Just because we work for her doesn't mean you have to see Firmia all the time. You don't have to nope out of everything just because of that."

"I will never work for an Alkaev ever again," Rex insisted, "I will never be a soldier ever again. I haven't decided where I'm going yet, but there's time to figure it out. You don't have to worry about that."

"I really wish you would at least consider the first one," May sighed, "I mean ... I can't go back to Europe, and I've got a lot of guys I have to look after now, too. We can't afford not to take Firmia's offer. Things would be so much better with you around, too."

Debatable, Firmia mused.

"I just ... urgh, can't you two just kiss and make up, already?! This isn't fair to anyone!"

"I'd rather die." Firmia recoiled at the sound of her voice and Rex's lining up perfectly. That was a little disturbing and it sent a shiver up her spine.

"J-just ... bury the hatchet! Please! That's all I mean. That way everyone wins. You have your son, a steady paycheck ... m-me ... without the green hair. Just like you asked ...?" May began messing with one of her blonde locks as she reminded Rex of her prior and current looks. "There's no reason things have to end like this."

Firmia could hear Rex sigh into the silence. "Maybe next time, May. This isn't something I can compromise on. You need to stay, for your and your people's sake. I need to go, for the sake of my sanity and my soul. I can't keep allowing myself to wind up in these situations. Not for anything."

"I know you don't want to hear this, Rex, especially from me, but," May paused for a long moment, seemingly weighing her words carefully, "You know that as much as you hate the Alkaevs, they're part of your family too, right? Your son and your nieces? They're Alkaevs. There's no point in running away from that name or the people who have it. Doesn't what you get out of this outweigh one stupid name? Even a little? I know I'm being selfish but you're being way more unreasonable about this."

"Well, I know it should," Rex eventually admitted, "I've bent or broken a lot of my principles since I went to the EU, but this is one I just can't. I absolutely can't. I'm sorry I got your hopes up, May. I was being way too overconfident. I honestly thought I could just shoot down some enemies, grab you and my son, and leave for good. I'm still trying to think of a way to convince Brant and his girls to come along too, but so far I'm coming up short. I've got to start thinking farther ahead."

"Do you ... regret it? What we did?" May looked like only one answer wouldn't devastate her, which had Firmia tensing up, wondering what Rex had to say about the implied relationship.

"No," Rex answered simply, "I never regret a good thing, no matter how it happens or how it ends up. I'm just sorry about ... well, everything. Let's just leave it at that, alright, May? We can talk more when I get back to the Athena."

"... alright, Rex." May reached over to the monitor, preparing to turn it off. "Say hi to Vasiliy for me, and don't die."

Firmia exhaled as the video call ended. So it turned out Rex's brief relationship with May was coming to an end because of the Alkaev name of all things. Firmia had mixed feelings about it. She did feel it was a stupid thing to be so adamant about, but not only did Firmia not want Rex around if it was possible to avoid, she also knew she had similar feelings for other people and could somewhat relate. She didn't care about names in particular, but keeping a comfortable distance from Abigail was a hill Firmia was prepared to die on, even now. Considering Jessica was some sort of deceased, her position on the Riese's captain--or what was left of her--was becoming a tad malleable.

"So that's why Rex is sad, huh?" Firmia considered the situation for a moment. "He did it to himself. I almost respect that fact that he's sticking to his 'principles' on this. It's kind of refreshing, but at the end of the day, it's all on him."

"Alkaev is evil! Alkaev is evil! Ruins love! Ruins life!"

Firmia resisted the urge to chuck the Haro out through the open hatch this time. "They made their choices. It's not my fault. Besides, I don't want him here. He might try to kill me again. He's obviously not sorry about that. He's lucky he still has Vasiliy. If that's not enough for him then too bad."

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"Sure, apologize to her if you like, but at this point, I don't think she'd join back up even if you didn't come. Sometimes people just need some time to themselves," Thorvald commented, as the curiously friendly cat tried to back out from what had seemed obvious there was an interest in. "If you wanna head back to your machine though, I'm not gonna stop you. I'll just have to swing back and pick you up when I'm ready to go speak with Roxanna. Either way is fine, up to you."

~~~

A few minutes later, a piping hot waffle adorned the center of a plate, a pat of butter beginning to melt upon its top. The first of several to come, laid gently on the table in front of those that had followed Thorvald to the cafeteria. "It's a shame we don't have a full variety of syrups to get an even broader experience, filling up different sections with different flavors... a little boysenberry here, a little maple there, a little apricot over in the far corner. But the one we do have should still suffice! Take it away Tarquin. I'll get right back to working on the next one, who wants dibs on the second plate?"

 


 

Ohhhh, right, right. San'Xuur, San'Xuur. Knight of Leo. Okay, got it, Abigail gave a mental nod, committing the fact to memory, even though it probably wouldn't be all too relevant after they went ahead and toppled the rest of the enemy hierarchy in short order. And that was the only thing the cat had to correct her on, and not even publicly, so honestly a good success on that front. And as for the other half of the equation... Stunned silence mostly, into subdued acceptance. She'd take it. After Terry broke the silence, she followed his comments with a thumbs up, and the rest of the crew began to disperse with little more than a few murmurs here and there. No challenges, no concerns. No problems. At least, for now. A good start, and if they could keep it up, a good everything.

When Calina wrapped an arm around her, Abby found herself unconsciously relaxing, tension she'd been trying not to pay attention too leaving her body. It was only for a moment though, as a troublesome topic was quick on her lips. "You said you were going to talk to her..." She faked an evasion, pouting then winking to make it clear she didn't mean it. While true, that had been before this whole nonsense with Reed had even happened. Holding Calina to that wouldn't be fair. But she was certainly going to joke about it.

The alien seemed to be trying to fit in way better than expected, dialing back much further on the mind-reading than Abigail remembered making an issue of, and asking questions like a normal human being. It was oddly comforting, even if having to talk about things was sometimes more troublesome than having someone just read your mind. But you can't get that convenience without other inconvenience, so this was fine too. "Ah. No, don't put too much of this on yourself. Sena has always... Well, she's struggled a lot, and her best anchor..." Abby sighed trying not to just run into it straight up. But then again, that really was the best way, wasn't it? Time to just tear off the bandage.

"She was very close to Hilling, who'd been helping her get over her past traumas, but then Soor'kan killed him. She's pretty much confined herself to her room since, moping mostly, and how she'll react to you is a giant wild card, to be honest. Not sure what to expect, but probably nothing good. Maybe a source of anger... the ability to feel something again, instead of just a withdrawn nothing, maybe it will actually help though?" It couldn't hurt to be hopeful, could it?

Edited by Balcerzak

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Thorvald had validated Tarquin's thoughts about Jess, their fatherly leader always seemed to have a way to read the situation. Kiir at least wanted to provide an amicable atmosphere, going against the expected hostile Sacarian behaviour. Tarquin hoped that it could be resolved, Jess' discomfort was unsettling for him and he was keen to assist any way he could. Maybe some time to herself, as Thorvald had suggested, would be beneficial for her. He could recall times where he had required some self reflection, although he now knew there needed to an end to it for a resolution.

-

Tarquin had been in the kitchen before, and he had his own small repertoire of recipes that he could produce. However, Thorvald had thrown him right into the deep end. The ingredients seemed so foreign, he had no clue how Thorvald was even producing these waffles. He wasn't even sure if a boysenberry was actually a berry or some surreal ingredient. Geophysics and Classical Literature he could comprehend, but cooking was still something that he was a novice in. He looked down at his waffle curiously, the buttered batter sitting on his plate. He looked between his waffle and Thorvald, unsure how to actually approach the meal.

"Thank you, Specialist Eriksson. It is far larger than I had expected, and the consistency... most curious." he remarked, priming his fork to tackle the waffle. It gave off a sweet, warm aroma. Perhaps he would need to cut into smaller pieces to defeat it.

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There was some serious friction going on here between Tonya and Rex, Chris could see that much. They weren't going to come to a sincere conclusion on what should be done, not any time soon. "Alright, alright." Chris stepped forward a bit, again, putting herself between the frustrated blonde and the new dad. "Tonya, he's not staying here, and you need to stop trying to make it happen. I know you want your new student, but unless you're gonna make it work with Rex, you have no say. Stop." She then turned to Rex, pointy finger out.

"And you. Unless you've got a safe place to put Vasiliy, and I mean an actually safe one, not your average-grade mobile suit that any space cat could shoot down, I'm gonna ask you real nice to leave him here only until we've dealt with the Sacarians and Apotheosis... Alright?" Hopefully that was alright... "I don't want to even pretend, for one minute, that you don't deserve to be with your own son. If Brant's anything go base off of, Abrams make for great dads... But things are not at all safe right now. Not for the kids... I won't make a fuss when you come to pick him up after, no matter your plans. Just... Please, don't take him into life combat. I know the ship's aren't exactly avoiding it... But they'll be hanging back. It's safer." Would her plea reach? There was no real way for her to tell, Rex was a mystery.

"Not right away, by the way," she clarified further, taking a step back. "I'm sure you want to talk to Vasiliy plenty, without us, so... Go be a dad for a bit, and the fine details can be talked about after."

Hannah didn't interrupt, it seemed like a fairly good suggestion. She did definitely agree with Chris on Tonya, at least. The woman was desperate to keep Vasiliy around as her new student, she really wanted that hole filled, for whatever reason... But Vasiliy wasn't her son, and she didn't seem very interested in buddying up to Rex. It wasn't her call.


Kiir wasn't quite sure if she had a place eating with these humans, but considering the invitation remained open, and none of them were running off to check after Jess, wouldn't it have been rude of her to turn them down? With a moment's apprehension, the Sacarian followed after them with the prospect of pancakes settled happily in her mind.

The fluffy objects themselves hadn't seemed that appealing at first glance, but everyone around had seemed rather excited for them. She couldn't help a bit of anxious excitement with things cooking up in the kitchen, propped up a bit awkwardly on one of the provided stools for the counter. While she was not considerably wider than the average human, her height made their conventional sitting tools somewhat difficult to completely apply herself to.

Seated as best as she could be, she gave Tarquin's plate of fried gluten a curious stare, slowly raising her hand. "If... It would not be, too much trouble, I do suppose I am interested in this... Dish." It had seemingly no real nutritional value, sugar, perhaps a few vitamins depending on the toppings, and a mountain of carbs... How did humans remain in proper shape? Was this the norm? "Perhaps their bodies are simply... Tuned, to such high carb intake..." A mumble left her as she tried to puzzle it out. The Sacarian diet was heavy in meat, mostly lean, or what they could get their hands on.


"If inspiring anger in your crewmate will provide assistance to her current situation, Captain, I will strive to do so. Without hurting her, of course." Reed had cheated in her mind reading for a moment just to ascertain who exactly this Sena and Hilling were, not wanting to run into them on accident and cause problems inadvertently.

"She didn't mean actively, furball. Passively. Being here, as what you are... Might stir Sena into action. Just, don't go goading her, or anything dumb like that." Calina slowly let go of Abby, sighing hard. "I did say I was gonna talk to her, so, just... Go deal with Jess and I'll see if Sena's gonna open the door or, anything."

"Avoiding provocations! Understood, understood. I shall meet all aggression with a hearty laugh!" Reed let one of her ideal laughs out after saying that, making Calina sigh.

"That won't work as well as you think it will, cat..."

 

 

Edited by SnakeMomMelissa

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Tycho was a friendly sort, always good in Aliza's book. She returned the smile with one of her own. "Thirsty, huh? Well I'll just go ahead and assume that means water might do you, unless you want something specific." She stood up. "Want a burger and fries with that too? Or a shake? Ready to take your order~" She half joked, but her tone could easily pass for a sassy teen working at a fast food joint as a summer job.

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Aside from the video recording, Firmia hadn't found anything particularly noteworthy in the Anarchy's systems. With that, she made a few calls to the Avalon's mechanics. There were some improvements to be made, but very little of it she could manage alone. For now it was time to disembark and wait for the crew to bring what she asked. "Well, I'm done here for now, so it's time to find something else to do," she muttered, glancing down at the blue Haro, now safely back in its bowl terminal, "and less annoying company."

"Alkaev is bad company! Alkaev is bad company!"

"... please die in the next battle somehow," Firmia scowled, climbing out of the cockpit and grabbing onto the lift.


"Hey, he said we can talk about it," Tonya noted bitterly. As far as she could tell, there were only two options, Rex and Vasiliy both staying or both leaving ...

"I'll think about it," Rex gave Chris a noncommittal answer. "I've got a lot of other things on my mind right now." While he planned to head back to the Athena at least once before finally blasting off over the horizon, he didn't have the order of events or the timing all worked out yet. In theory, he ought to be just fine loitering on the Avalon for a while, deploying from the same for the final bout, and then settling matters on the Athena before leaving. That would be the fewest number of trips ... but possibly the most stressful route to fatherhood and freedom.

"And yeah, we can sort that out first since things are tense enough already," Rex continued, "I've got a question for you specifically, Tonya. I don't really mind you having Vasiliy as a student if he doesn't, so why don't you come with us? I know Firmia has Brant anchored on the spot, but there's not much keeping you here. You get your student and no one has to worry about whether Vasiliy's safe."

Brant winced, not because of what Rex had said about him, but rather his recent conversation with Tonya. While it was vaguely true that she had no strong ties to the Avalon itself, the situation was more complicated than his brother knew.

"I-" Tonya froze, suddenly realizing precisely why she had such a bad feeling when Rex arrived. The realization left her dumbstruck and embarrassed, staring at nothing.

Rex waited a few seconds, not quite sure what had stopped her from answering, though he figured it was some attachment to the group rather than a serious obligation.

What was really going on was that Tonya's instincts were warning her about Rex the same as they had with Brant. She'd been fighting herself in order to put Brant and Chris' relationship to the test; going with Rex put her own relationship with Ilya at even greater risk than before because she wasn't being pushed away by another woman or held back by anything other than a feeling. It was the same instinct that kept her from getting too familiar with Monty or Carlos and the same one that screamed at her constantly to stay faithful to her fiance--her fiance whom most reasonably believed was dead. How to explain this?

Rex came to his own conclusion after the few seconds he'd given Tonya to come back with an answer and decided to take a shot at it. "New boyfriend?"

"Old," Brant murmured, trying not to actually join the exchange but wanting to at least chime in.

That one word caused everything to fall into place for Rex. "What? Ilya's dead," the older Abrams noted with a hint of frustration. Tonya was about to argue, but he was having none of it. "And before you say something like 'I know he's alive! I can feel it,' remember I compiled as much information about the Alkaevs as I could before this war started. I was thorough researching the murders because of how important they were. Dima had Ilya killed."

"Uh huh, just like he had Vasiliy, Lily and Aki all killed," Tonya fired back, pointing to one of the miracle children standing beside Rex.

While that was a devastating riposte, Rex probably had enough hard evidence on hand if she wanted to keep making excuses. He'd already lost May over this Alkaev situation. Being shot down by Tonya over a decade old charred corpse, even with her precious student on offer, would be heaps of salt in the wound.


Firmia wasn't waiting long before some of the mechanics had shown up. One of them had a briefcase. "Captain," the tech at the head of the pack greeted her, "you wanted us to update the T-Link to our version and assess the funnels, right? Can we actually get system access?" Word traveled fast onboard the Avalon and more or less everyone knew now that Firmia and Rex weren't on good enough terms for something like this.

"I did," Firmia shrugged, "I just can't update it by myself. I honestly thought they would have taken care of that on the Athena, but everything related to the T-link was ignored for some reason." She accepted the briefcase from the man carrying it and nodded to him. "I'll hand this off myself, though. Thanks. If that 'sub-computer' in there gives you any trouble, ask Galatea to help you with the system. You can also smash the little bastard to pieces. That works, too."

"Err-right ... Captain."

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Jess was standing in the bathroom, gripping the edge of the sink, faucet running. The sound of the water hitting the bottom of the basin was somehow comforting and reassuring. There was no other reason for running the tap. She wasn't planning to wash her face. She wasn't planning anything. She was just standing and thinking. She raised her head, looking up at the mirror now instead of down at the sink.

Jess had taken her eyepatch off already. Her eyelids were still fine, even the ones over her ruined right eye. With them closed like this, without the patch, nobody would ever be able to tell.

Why have you not seen to replacing your eye?

Grimacing, recalling the words, the tone, the facial expression, the curious confusion, Jess slowly worked muscles she hadn't used in days. It was painful. And it was disheartening. The sight in the mirror greeting her good eye was every bit as ugly as she had feared. She felt her stomach churn a little just looking at it. The room swayed slightly. Her head sunk again, gaze turned back to the bottom of the basin, watching the stream of water spilling over the rim of the stopper before swirling down the drain.

It hurt.

The alien was right and that stung. She felt like crying. Sinking to her knees, her fingers gripped the edge of the sink tightly, and she brought her forehead to rest upon the smooth coldness of the outer surface. Why hadn't she replaced it? It was the only sensible call, and yet...

And yet... wouldn't it be like just pretending that day had never happened? That wasn't an acceptable choice, there had to be a solution she could stomach. A few cold tears trickled down her cheek as Jess resolved to discuss the matter with Megumi.

 


 

"On it, Doc," Monty flashed an OK symbol with his hand and pulled up a seat at the desk in the opposite corner of the room from Megumi. Using on of the readily available consoles seemed a speedier option than hooking into the network with his alpha tool and going about it that way. The ship manifest was easy enough to find, and conveniently had photos alongside the relevant personal information for all the crew and pilots, so it was relatively easy to identify who was present in the infirmary. There was a brief moment of confusion, when two of the people helping out in the infirmary didn't appear to be registered anywhere in the roster... but since his task involved only the bridge staff.

...No, better to be sure. Maybe there'd been some cosmetic surgery since one of the photos. It would be terrible if he marked someone dead who actually wasn't. The fact that they were reasonably attractive ladies didn't factor in at all. "Um, excuse me," he hailed Bennet as she was walking past on other business and stole a moment of her time. "Could I trouble you for your name, and that of your compatriot? It's for the report." He was half tempted to ask for their numbers too, but now wasn't really the proper time.

All the men, though, he'd already gone ahead and moved to the deceased column. The only males in here aside from himself were one of the pilots, and one of the engineers, no bridge staff accounted for here. Whether or not these two in addition to the XO were amongst the females to be spared was the only question left.

Edited by Balcerzak

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Tycho replied to Aliza's comments with a chuckle. She was pretty nice, it was good he could so quickly befriend someone still. Guess some habits die hard,

"Hmm..." He thought for a bit, "Um... honestly, I don't know what you have on the Riese. Honestly, whatever you can grab, it'd be perfect," and he dropped an okay sign. "I'm not super picky, especially right now." I could use a book, but... I can grab my tablet from the cockpit later. "Thank you Aliza, I appreciate it."

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"You got it, Ty!" A nickname she coined just this moment, as she returned his chuckle with a wide smile. "I'll grab you a nice salami sandwich then, those always make me feel great. Be back in a jiff." With a quick yet playful salute she walked out of the infirmary and went straight toward the elevator. 'Actually food wouldn't be too bad an idea for me either, guess I'll have what he's having.' 

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Following Christina into the change rooms, but giving the blonde a bit of her own space, Kim disengaged her own suit as well, letting the SKIN fall around her ankles as she stretched with a sigh. She was far more used to the tight suit than Christina was, but it was still nice to let her body breathe in actual air when it released. Although something that Christina had thought to herself had tugged at the Lieutenant, somewhat. Had she been smothering Christina? She had thought the blonde appreciated her doting, but perhaps it had been a bit much...

"Chrissy... do you want me to bring you to your room, or would you rather go on your own?" She asked, as she pulled a few pieces of casual clothing from her locker, slipping into a light top and some shorts for the time being... they'd be back fighting soon enough, may as well be comfortable in the interim. 

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"... So... How's about we discuss this over some food, huh? I can cook. Make some mean waffles." The obvious tension between the Abrams family reunion and Tonya's newfound struggle could've been cut with a rock, it was barely liquid holding together, let alone warm butter. "Maybe things will feel better on a full stomach? I'm sure the kids would like that, too..."

Hannah, meanwhile, had placed herself right next to Tonya, a little afraid the woman might do something dumb after being both challenged by Rex and pushed by him over this call. It didn't sound like a bad idea, at least. She'd get her student and even be able to keep an eye on Rex so he didn't do anything stupid... Was she that attached to Firmia and the rest of the crew? She'd been in over her head for Brant's situation, but that was resolved, so now...


"Huh?" Christina tilted her head towards Kim, slowly getting herself out of her own SKIN suit. "I don't have a problem with you coming with me... Is something wrong?" Christina fished another sweater out of the locker provided, burying herself in it. "I didn't say something, did I?" In the heat of her panic and the fight ending, it had slipped Christina's mind that Kim had a rather new ability. "If you want me to go alone I can... Sorry if I'm being a burden, or anything." Tights met legs and Christina was as dressed as she cared to be, right now, blowing some idle hair out of her face. "Hoof... Tired... I think a nap is in order, either way..."

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Megumi almost chuckled when Monty spoke to Bennet. She supposed she couldn't expect him to know exactly who did and didn't originally belong to the bridge staff. Speaking of which, not everyone who survived was still in the infirmary to be counted among the living. Tristan left to do something and some were doing more harm than good being so panicked and had been quietly ushered out a bit earlier. Not naming any names. The doctor made a mental note to double check the list once Monty got that to her, to fill in any people he'd inevitably miss.


Next for Firmia should have been handing off the briefcase she was carrying to Rex, but beside it feeling too soon to talk to him again, it was more of a going away gesture. Hopefully he would be going away as soon as she gave it to him. Deciding to keep the briefcase with her for now, the Alkaev pondered going to the cafeteria for a much needed drink. A small part of her wanted to make a brief trip over to the Heion Riese instead, to see the situation for herself, but with Rex loitering over here that was next to impossible for Firmia to seriously consider.

It was off to the cafeteria then.


"Thanks, but I knew it was going to be a long day and filled up on rations on the way here," Rex explained. "Besides, some of you aren't exactly dressed for lunch," he noted, eyeing Brant and Chris in particular.

A fair point, Brant bitterly mused. They should probably shower first and then try to encourage Rex to hang out during what little downtime was left. "Yeah, we'll deal with that but you can at least talk with us for a bit," Brant said, not expecting a whole lot of good to come of it, but feeling it was at least something normal he and his brother could do for once in their lives. The 'Alkaev' situation seemed to put a minimum distance between Rex and 'Firmia's people.' Even him.

Rex sighed. "Alright, fine. I'm gonna have a chat with Vasiliy first, though. We'll meet you there later."

"Don't forget!" Tonya grabbed Rex's attention by raising her voice. He found a finger pointing straight at him when he glanced back at her. "Ilya's alive. Believe it."

"For once I'll trust my own eyes over your gut feelings," Rex shook his head, some unsettling memories coming to mind. It'd be different if they hadn't recovered the man's body, but ... they recovered the man's body. Even if he'd been secretly revived with some far flung space wizardry, he wouldn't be in any condition to settle down with Tonya, much less breathe unassisted.

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Kiir was likely confused by the waffles, although for different reasons to Tarquin. If they were a strange concept to him, they would be completely alien to their feline guest. Tarquin sat himself down next to Kiir, edging the plate a little closer for their inspection. "I can appreciate that this is unlikely an item common in Sacarian cuisine." Tarquin suggested, idly playing with his own fork as he calculated an approach. Did people eat these on a regular basis? Were they a staple part of the culinary experience? Kiir appeared to have their own internal dialogue, their mutterings suggestive of even greater confusion than his own.

"I assume that humans normally eat these. I'm somewhat of an unusual case, I have very little experience of life outside of an institution." Tarquin added, finally breaking a chunk of the waffle off with his fork. This was his next step in learning about life. It had started with toast, and now he'd progressed to waffles. That had to count for something, right?

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