0
followers
follow

Aronimus Weston

I don't know where this ship will take us, but I do know we'll return.

0 · 391 views · located in The Milky Way Universe

a character in “Nebula's Dawn: F.S.S. Salient”, originally authored by VindicatedPurpose, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Name: Aronimus Weston
Age: 52
Gender: Male
Rank: Admiral
Image
Appearance: He stands ramrod erect at 6 feet exactly, and most former crew members/acquaintances would testify that they've never seen him slouch. His head is covered in graying hair which marks his aging, or rather his experience. He always maintains a thick graying beard as well, which he constantly trims down until it reaches perfection. Many would say the beard has never changed, and they would vaguely recognize Aronimus if he did not have the beard. Generally, he is seen throughout the ship in standard Federation service dress grey with cap, or relaxed attire which still requires him to wear the service dress with or without the cap.

Personality

General: Aronimus is mainly calm, reserved, but he has a commanding presence on those around him. He puts complete trust in his crew simply because he believes that his crew puts complete trust in him to guide them out of whatever dire straits they may reach. Despite whatever hazardous situation he found himself in throughout his career, he chose to remain calm, steadfast, and logically solve the issue at hand. He isn't much of a believer in religion, but he follows a strict set of beliefs that one could dub the human experience. Through the 52 years of his life, he believes that his experiences helped shape his beliefs and morals. The old sea dog relies on this guideline to make his path through the ocean of life. As an Admiral, he displayed traits of ingenuity by developing original, and employing old and obsolete tactics to the fullest of their potential. His skills as a leader have been commended by various higher officers, as they have been put to the test countless times when he was in service.
Likes: Drinking with crew mates, a hard fought victory, the eternal sights of space, classical music, logic-oriented
Dislikes: slouchers, surprises, superstitions
Quirks: He likes to have a small glass of wine at the beginning of each day.

Equipment

The communication panels located in his Captain's Quarters and his platform in the bridge. The holographic star map that he specifically ordered to be placed in front of his seat in the bridge. The AIs on board the Salient.

History

The man now known as Aronimus Weston was born as Raymond Weston on a tier 3 agri-world of the Federation. This so-called farm boy grew up among sailors and soldiers, and he was intrigued in the adventures that they went on. Once he reached maturity at the age of 18, he set off to join the Federation Navy to see the galaxy. He steadily rose up the ranks due to his hard work, his persistence, and his eternal desire to continue learning. One incident occurred when he reached the age of 29, he was merely a petty officer first class given commission on board a Federation cruiser at that point. They were deployed to the outer rim, which was once the Aronimus System, to ward off pirates that had been harassing merchant lanes. The ship was ambushed by two pirate ships, and boarding action commenced. The bridge was overwhelmed, and the captain along with most of the command crew was massacred. As this point, Raymond took it upon himself to lead the rest of the crew to safety. First, in a brilliant maneuver, he ordered all remaining personnel to don pressure suits as he deactivated the vacuum seals. The raiders throughout the ship died of asphyxiation or vacuum freeze, either way it wasn't pleasant. Then, Raymond took command and ordered his cruiser in a slingshot maneuver that thoroughly damaged one of the raider ships enough for him to activate the light cannons. The close range bombardment annihilated the pirate ship. Then Raymond ordered the cruiser to face the other ship head on, the outcome was obvious after thirty minutes had passed. The superior plating and armaments of the Federation cruiser was more than a match for the brigands, and their ship was thoroughly obliterated. Raymond was celebrated as a hero by the denizens of the Aronimus System. They requested that he accept the title of Aronimus as a reminder of his brilliant victory over the marauders. The higher echelons quickly took note of Aronimus now, and they watched intently as he rose through the ranks quickly with tenacity and speed. Now 52, an old dog that has experienced many conflicts and battles, Aronimus chose to commandeer the Salient on its maiden voyage. Aronimus would hope that this would be his final command before he retired.

So begins...

Aronimus Weston's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Prologue:

Date: June 14, 2093 S.C.J. (Solar Cycle Jupiter)

The Federation star ship known as the Salient had departed Rust City approximately two weeks ago. The man at the helm was none other than Admiral Aronimus Weston. The old admiral no longer had fleets at his command, for he relinquished such power near the end of his career in the Federation Navy. He chose to command a single ship, the last of its model. To him, the Salient was his mirror, they were both nearing the end. Aronimus's distinguished career was displayed prominently on the front of his standard Federation service dress grey. From ribbons to medallions, no one could deny his ability nor his position.

Sharp rises were leveled out by crescendos that elevated to a zenith before the string of music slowly and softly drifted from his ears. Aronimus was listening to an old record which he wanted to play once more on the transparent tablet he held in front of him as he sat in his platform in the bridge. While he was listening, he had another transparent screen with text opened to his left. It was a data feed on recent Federation news. As he scrolled through the page, a screen rolled up and a female reporter with red hair began to speak.

"Yesterday at approximately 9:00 A:M Earth time, a bomb was detonated in Verlon City Center, on Avalon. The blast killed 97 people and injured another 300 others."
She continued speaking in a tense business tone.

"Federation Security and Peacekeepers are currently investigating the scene as engineering crews attempt to salvage the wreckage. No leads have been found regarding the origins of the explosive device."

"Relatives of the victims are mourning their loss."

Aronimus looked up to see a man in his early thirties, with a thin beard, fully suited in combat gear standing before in front of the holographic star map wall. The illumination of the star map wall was partially blocked by the contours and outlines of the man. He had a look of solemnity on his face while he held onto a transparent panel. It was a list of sorts, with names, pictures, and profiles.

"Captain Colter...what is it?"

Eli slid the panel onto Aronimus's metallic desk, relaxed his stance, balled his hands into a fist behind him, and awaited the skipper's inspection.

"These are the crew members?" Aronimus used his forefinger to scroll through the list of rejects, greenhorns, and fresh meat. Every time his finger came onto a name, a profile and picture would slide up. Aronimus reached a named listed as Gavin Merrickson. His left eye brow shifted upwards, and he looked up at Colter with a perplexed glance.

"It says here, he's male, but the image makes me think otherwise. Medic?"

"Yes sir." Colter responded with ease.

Aronimus then scrolled down some more until he reached what he saw was a familiar name.

"Alice Chen. Now there's a familiar name." He paused a bit as he looked over her profile. He nodded and then chuckled to himself. Then he looked back at Captain Colter who was standing at ease.

"She was merely a Lieutenant when I last saw her. I actually thought I was getting a ship full of inexperienced recruits."

"Well, sir...they may not be experienced but they're talented." Eli nearly grinned with that comment.

"Excellent point." Aronimus continued scrolling until he reached Jon Dunaway.

"Jon Dunaway, special operations, shock trooper, and perfect record..." Aronimus looked up at Eli with raised eyebrows.

"It says here he was slated to be the commander of this ship's Marine detachment. Now he's just a company commander, like you." Eli titled his head to his side slightly confused.

"The ground commander should be listed..."

"No, it's not on the roster."

"Should I ask command?"

"No that won't be necessary, they'll contact us." Aronimus returned the tablet to Eli and resumed his music session. This was a sign for Eli to return to his quarters to continue preparations.

"Oh and by the way Captain Colter..."

"Sir?" He turned and looked back at the Admiral.

"Be sure to make our guests feel welcomed, I am going to personally meet and brief them in the session later."

"Understood sir."

"Dismissed." Eli saluted the Admiral before he turned away and walked off.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M.
"All systems green Admiral, Hyperdrives active and synchronized and FTLs coordinated. Environmental systems operating within safe parameters, atmosphere within.084% of Earth's ,artificial gravity at standard 1.03 Gs." Adam flashed into existence on one of the many holopads of the ship.

"If you wish I can send you a full system diagnostic, but I must submit a complaint about the isolated system AI's within the suits of Thaddeus and Commander Dunaway. Besides the occasional run-time link for a data update to primary memory systems they do not follow standard protocol."

He paused, a bit, still not fully accustomed to interactions with humans, "Is there anything else I can do Admiral?"

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

The Admiral turned off his music and swiveled around to face the digitized artificial intelligence standing before him on his control panel. He had been disturbed by two pieces of news. Firstly, the roster had no Commander Dunaway listed, unless it was referring to Jon Dunaway, however he was merely a captain and not the detachment leader. Secondly, the isolated AIs were not brought up to attention before.

"Isolated AIs? Hmmm..." he rubbed his chin for a bit.

"Adam, remind me to address Mr. Thaddeus Jackson, and uh...Commander Dunaway."

"We'll resolve that issue during the briefing, for now, log off."

Aronimus stood up from his seat, folded his arms behind him, and walked to the general meeting hall. The corridors of the F.S.S. Salient were sterilized before it left the factories on Earth and departed to Mars. Not a soul in sight, he enjoyed this solitude for a moment before it would be swept away. He expected the hordes of recruits and crew members to pour in from the station as the ship docked in place. It brought him back to the old days, when he was once a recruit entering a star ship for the first time. It seemed like yesterday, but felt like eons ago.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

ADAM

"Will do sir," Adam did a quick background check on the subjects in question. "It would seem that Commander Dunaway was a Lt. Dunaway until a day ago, while I can't legally access the specifics it would appear there are some political strings behind the 2 rank jump. From what I can access it seems he's involved in a classified project of some sorts."

While he saying this, Adam did some illegal back door browsing anyways. The security was tight, well beyond what a normal AI could sort through, but he still got through, in the limited time he found some interesting data. He didn't find a lot of data but what he could get without blatantly hacking the system was still interesting, if the Admiral asked he'd share but for now he tucked the data away before discreetly backing out.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

#, as written by TKDJ
Atomsk lit up a cigarette. He was always told that they were a hazard to the ship due to the higher quality oxygen that was more easily ignited. He knew it was a load though. He saw the Oxygen levels on ships and knew it was just a lie to keep the bridges "smoke free". He didn't do it out of disrespect. He simply thought that it was a stupid rule if it didn't matter to the safety of the ship or anyone else. He felt the same about ranks. Ranks meant little to him. He went off of reputation. The good you've done. That's what got him here. It's also why he didn't mind being here. He was a Colonel before he got booted to the F.S.S. Salient. The incident that got him here was the blatant insults he threw at Lieutenant General Conway. He disliked the Lieutenant General greatly. He obtained his rank through family and some brown nosing. Aronimus Weston on the other hand was a man that Atomsk highly respected. Decorated for his actions and not his family history. A man that Atomsk admired. He stood on the dock looking at the others. He was surprised when he saw his brother Jon. He was here because of punishment but Jon....why? He'd find out later but for now he was enjoying his cigarette before the long voyage ahead.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

The bridge to the ship was cluttered with people although only a small proportion were crew members. The rest were station personnel setting up the ship, going through last checks, and stocking it with supplies and rations for the trip. Large wheeled vehicles rolled through the bridge path to the entrance egresses, these were going to be sent to the vehicle bay for storage.

Aronimus was staring through one of the smaller observation ports located in the upper levels of the ship. He watched the mass of people, vehicles, and drones moving in and out of the ship, but he noted a group of people who were stationary and gathered around a single officer. At once he realized those were the crew members, who were awaiting the signal to board. Aronimus looked at his timekeeper, the signal to board for crew members was synchronized in approximately half an hour. During that time, he would walk towards the general assembly hall and wait for Captain Colter to welcome the recruits on board and lead them to the hall.

He continued walking, inspecting the interior features, from the wiring tubes to the holopads and map terminals, from the data receptors to the telescreens, they were advanced equipment for a ship that was the last of its kind.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Out of the four sides of the shower chamber, three were full of black tiles with rotating tubes that shot jets of water at Eli. He was fully immersed in cold water all around. He hung his head low and looked down to the recycling receptacles on the floor of the chamber. The receptacles would gather the water and filter it through the Salient's main filtering system before returning as drinking or showering water. A pair of dog tags were hanging from his neck and dangling before his eyes. He reached for one of the two dog tags which was slightly charred with one end almost melted down. The inscription was barely intelligible for anybody aside from Eli who knew the tag like the back of his hand. The inscription was listed as Solomon Richter P.F.C.. Also known as K.I.A. now. He held the tag in his fist and closed his eyes as the pellets of water rolled along his skin.

After ten minutes in the chamber, Eli stepped out fully dried, not a single drop of moisture was present on his person. He set about gathering his gear and equipment before getting into his suit. He took off the dog tag with Solomon Richter inscribed on it and placed it in a capsule which he proceeded to place in a compartment within his quarters. Following suit up, he left his quarters in the Barracks and proceeded to the lower levels of the ship where the crowd of recruits/crew members would be entering. He shut off his wrist communicator after testing the systems. He strode silently through the corridors, expecting to meet the Admiral somewhere in these areas. He passed the general assembly hall, but not before peering inside to witness several workers setting up the screens for the Admiral's presentation. He continued along silently.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Jon ignored the man his AI pegged as Ridley, they'd settle their issues another time, if anything went sour on the mission they'd have to and rather than waste field time it'd be best to get such nonsense out of the way early.

It was at that point his unruly older brother addressed him, while he couldn't condone the man's blatant disregard for standard authority there's no denying he'd rather work with him than anyone else.

"I didn't, I'm here to field test the new toy the Brass made," Jon clasped his brothers arm, the suit compensated to not crush it. "Apparently they're hoping for something nasty to go down cuz they sent not just one of these monsters but two." Jon nodded in Thaddeus' general direction, the guy would make himself known when he wanted.

Figuring he may as well start breaking the ice early Jon turned to Ridley, "yeah I know the suit looks ridiculous and about as subtle as 10 kilos of C-13. But the brass told me to test it and the more data it picked up the better, what's more it's damn useful." He held out his hand, "By the way, the name's Jon and like it or no we'll be shipmates for awhile so it's best to make nice."

A.D.A.M
"About the men in question with the AI's it would appear that they're on a top secret project headed by certain Admiral Chase Michelson. You've met the guy Admiral, any takes on this because based on his psychological profile and service history it seems to me that the likely-hood he is seeking to get the honorary 6th star based on the results of his project exceed 93%." The entire time Adam phased from holopad to holopad keeping just ahead Aronimus.

"If the case stands as is we may be flying blind into a potentially dangerous situation, shall I arrange contingencies for extreme danger parameters?"Adam stopped for the Admiral to answer but quickly received an incoming transmission "Hang on, high security message incoming from Naval Command, unencrypting... finished, it's for you Admiral, Command says you may insert the two men in your chain of command as you will and grants you clearance to all pertinent files, forwarding to your personal communicator."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

The Admiral sighed as he continued on towards the assembly hall. He contemplated the current situation and began weighing in certain factors. Admiral Michelson was an ambitious man who was nearly always at the forefront of the Federation military's latest technology. Michelson loved to push the boundaries as far as he could, but Aronimus knew that he did this only to benefit the service men and women of the Federation. As for the honorary 6th star, if this pet project were to come to fruition successfully, Michelson would go down in history for whatever he achieved. At this point, Aronimus knew that his career was over, and he had no need to interfere with Michelson's own.

As for the two men, this was his ship and his jurisdiction, if the two soldiers had other ideas, they would be better off remaining in the station waiting for a dropship to take them back to headquarters. He began going through the neural interface that was installed into nearly every grade O-7 and up officer. The files were highly classified, it was some sort of project revolving around physical augmentations, genetic engineering, and cybernetic enhancements. The project was very similar to the P.C.E. program that was instituted four years ago, of which Captain Colter was apart of. This project, similar to P.C.E., was only for qualified marines with distinguished combat records. Jon Dunaway and Thaddeus Jackson were two such men. The differences from the P.C.E. program was an increased reliance on larger tactical suits, but the portion explaining this information was expunged for reasons unknown. Aronimus could only wonder whether Michelson's activity was being fully observed and regulated by higher up.

The Admiral strolled alongside A.D.A.M. or rather he walked while A.D.A.M. jumped from pad to pad. Jon Dunaway was an experienced soldier with a flawless record as archived in the system. Although he wasn't listed as the ground commander, Aronimus knew it was perhaps for the better. As for Thaddeus Jackson, the admiral decided it was best to relegate him to a non-commanding position simply for the safety of other crew members.

"Adam, I want you to address the AIs during the meeting session so we can get that cleared, I will personally talk to those two gentlemen in my quarters."

Normally his erect stature was never painful, but today it was tenser than usual.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

1200 Hours June 14, 2093 Solar Cycle Jupiter

Rows of soft cushioned seats directly faced the Admiral; or rather he directly faced them. The assembly hall was located near the starboard side of the ship with a large view port behind the presentation screens and the central platform with the speaker's podium. The view port was only for aesthetic appeal, for no crew member would simply wander into the hall full of seats just to stare into bleak space. Today the sunlight shone through the oval view port and exposed the landscape outside of the station. Mesas and plateaus dotted the backdrop as seen through the view port.

Aronimus stood near the platform area as several crew members walked back and forth setting up the stage. One station worker approached him with a tablet which he received.

“Admiral we’ve fully stocked the ship with enough supplies until you reach the Arcturus System. I’m going to need you to sign here.” He pointed with a stylus at the dotted line before handing the utensil to Aronimus. The Admiral quickly brushed his signature onto the line and returned both the tablet and the stylus to the worker, who promptly exited the room leaving Aronimus to himself.

The Admiral then turned back to face the oval viewing window and stared out into the rough landscape. He then pulled back his left dress sleeve and looked at his timekeeper; it was approximately 1200 hours which was boarding time. In minutes the hall of empty seats would slowly fill to the brim as the recruits found their places. The silence surrounding him would soon dissipate completely and would stay so for the remainder of the trip. The only privacy he would have would be his own private quarters, but an experienced admiral like Aronimus knew that interactions between him and the rest of the crew was no less dear to him than the calm that prevailed throughout the assembly hall as of now.

Several beeps originated from his communicator which indicated an incoming call. Aronimus pressed a button on the device, which projected a mini screen. The image on the projection was Captain Colter, who by this time had finished welcoming the recruits.

“Yes...Captain?” the Admiral inquired.

“The recruits are making their way down to the assembly hall, sir.”

“Excellent work Captain, no doubt you gave them a warm welcome?”

Colter rubbed the back of his head, although such behavior was rude especially in front of superiors.

“You could say so sir.” Eli smiled.

Aronimus chuckled at that remark; he had known Eli for a while now since their departure from Mars. The admiral knew his history and went through his profile; it was one of the few surprises that the admiral found interesting, given Eli’s combat record and personal history. Smiling was a rarity for Eli, the Admiral knew this. Some part of him knew that a light may be returning to the marine, but only time will tell. He tapped another key on his communicator, which ended their correspondence, and awaited the personnel as he stood there, with his face turned away from the auditorium, peering through the view port at the station.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M
The registry checked out, but A.D.A.M felt the hacking approach. Normally he'd be able to crush this level of hacking with no problem but under current circumstances it'd actually require a bit of effort.

"Navigator Clyde I would ask that you report with the rest of the crew and I'd happily show you the way. I'm calibrating the ships power system from scratch to increase efficiency, so I would insist that you cease your hacking attempt so I can focus on my calculations." Sent a code spike through while countering the human's hacking attempt, it'd short him out for a second or too.

"I'm pleased to have a cyber warfare savvy crew member but as you can tell I'm cramming 22 unshackled AIs full week of operating time between now and launch, I do not have time to play at this moment. I will however be pleased to answer any particular questions you'd have about myself and the ship."

As it stood, the human was a great hacker in fact A.D.A.M even sent a request to the Admiral to lift his processing limiter to 3%, with a brief explanation of the situation. With that much power the human wouldn't be able to keep up with him even if he used his entire brain, granted in terms of speed the man never had a hope to begin with, currently the only reason he was keeping ahead. Hopefully Clyde was tech savvy enough to understand that an unshackled AI could easily outstrip a human in terms of processing power.

He couldn't help but wonder if his request had been for too much power, after all he was only at 1.2% at the moment and 99.99946% of that was being used to recalibrate the ship.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

Eli had reached the hall first, ahead of the many recruits, but they were quick behind him. Soon the hall was slowly filling as crew mates picked seats in an overwhelmingly vacant hall. Eli approached the admiral, who was still locked in his posture as he stared out the view port. At this point the Admiral turned to meet the oncoming soldier.

“You know, I expected better from recruits…” the admiral shifted his head towards the bare, with the exception of a few crew members, meeting hall.

Eli’s brow furrowed, he was unsure as to what Aronimus meant and how he would reply. To which Aronimus replied,

“The hall should’ve been filled to the brim as of now,” he looked back at the timekeeper on his wrist. It had barely been two minutes since boarding commenced.

Eli realized his meaning and had laughed a bit inside upon discernment.

“I suppose we could wait a little longer…sir?” Eli wondered.

“Perhaps…Captain…perhaps…” The Admiral paused a bit and glanced at Eli.

“An old dog can get tired of this sometimes…” he returned to observing the outside.

“I’m sure you’ve been through many of these, an experienced ship captain and Admiral such as yourself.” Eli reminded him.

“Don’t get me started…” the admiral paused and glanced at Eli again.

“Anyways, the rest of these tenderfeet need to get here immediately. Go look around for stragglers who are lost, Captain.”

“Understood sir.” The captain gave Aronimus a fairly formal salute before heading out through the opened metal blast doors that sealed off the hall.

The Admiral turned around once more to look at the rows of seats lacking people. He noticed a familiar face, one he saw on the roster. Lieutenant Commander Alice Chen, she was seated in the front row. He could see that she was a prompt and sedulous individual. She had gotten to her rank with those qualities, Aronimus could tell. Her position, in his opinion, was well deserved. Then he noted another woman who had a fairly large smile that was shot at almost all the new recruits who came in after her; she was going to be a character no doubt. The admiral’s neural interface registered her as Jessica MacPhearson, also known as “Hyena.” The label was perhaps given to her by fellow crew mates out of affection or otherwise. She had the look of someone awaiting good news, perhaps a last minute re-assignment from this ship. The admiral doubted he had news of any kind to deliver; this was merely going to be an introduction and then straight to the bridge with the command crew to send the Salient to its objective.

By now the hall was halfway full with more recruits pouring in. The admiral went to re-adjusting the see-through screens hovering behind him in mid-air for the presentation. Such technology was a spectacle to the Admiral who knew that innovation was a constant in this day and age. Ingenuity was a prized attribute to the Federation. He wondered beyond his death whether technology would race so fast as to overwhelm man’s capacity to control them for the betterment of his fellow people. Such were the thoughts of an aging Admiral.

The setting changes from general-assembly-hall to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Alice sat quietly, straight-backed and certain, but also remarkably relaxed. She watched the Admiral with calm and unwavering eyes. The young Lieutenant Commander took everything in - the movements of the people, the ship, the emotions of the crewmen around her. She was surrounded by nervous excitement, but also by boredom, frustration, from those who had seen too many of these assignments. Too many boardings. Some of that excitement, she was getting from the Admiral himself. No surprise there. Alice was an ambitious woman, had devoted her life and liberty to the Federation - she still doubted that she would be serving, or even alive, as long as the Admiral.

Nodding to herself, she crossed one leg up over the other and folded her hands comfortably in her lap. She glanced at the timepiece on her wrist, not moving, not giving the glance away. So many of them were late already... she was going to have to whip this crew into shape, if the personnel were meant to be worthy of their famous commander. No need for him to worry himself over it, either. That was why Alice was here. To take care of the crew while he worried about the mission at hand.

And to serve as his right hand and advisor. That, however, would come later. For now, she was as new to this as any of them.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

Jess' agressive grin only grows as Clyde doesnt hesitate to hop the row of seats and introduce himself. Thank god; she'd have someone to chat with during this briefing. As exciting as it was to be aboard a new ship starting a new mission, a formation was a formation; boredom was a given. Bright blue eyes that dont seem to blink stare straight through both Clyde and Ray, if the other has chosen to follow.

She extends a hand in introduction. If he takes it, her grasp is rough but brief.

"What's up, Clyde? Jessica. I also answer to 'Jess', 'rotten witch', and Hyena." Disengaging her hand from her offer of a shake, she gives an affectionate flick to the leather name patch of her jacket. Along with her rank and name, the telling callsign is emblazoned above a set of pilot's wings. Stick-jock. Worse; a fighter jock. And for the tripple threat? An -enlisted- fighter jock.

She gives an eye to the uniform of the others, kicking her chin in acknowledgement of fellow spacer Ray. By now they can surmise that the broad smile she wore was pretty much a permanent fixture; it'd softened to a casual smirk but never fully disappeared. She flings an elbow over the back of the chair she sits in, proping a boot up on the duffle of her belongings.

"Either of you served with this one yet?" She says, jerking a thumb up at the Admiral on the stage as he dismisses Eli to go round up stragglers.

"I mean, I've heared stories, but that's it. Guy's almost been in the service longer then my -parents- have been alive. Collected more chest candy then I knew they awarded..." The pilot turns that blue-eyed stare onto the distant figure of Aronimus; getting a feel for the officer she'd spend the next stretch of future serving under. Rumors had been decent, as far as she'd heared, but her accounts had never come from people who personally knew the man.

This was the man that was going to lead them into who-knew-what at the edge of god-knew-where. Hopefully he was going to be worth that kind of dedication.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Allen wanted to get some things that he wanted to get done with but he knew that something was suppose to be happening that he needed to be at. He check to see if his card was green and it was. So he entered the ship and continued to the hall. His mind was racing, he wanted to know what kind of things he would be doing and the kinda of people he would meet. He was already in love with this place. To him only one problem remained, and that was that people seemed to just look past him as if he was nothing. The motivation that this was giving him would drive him to do something great. The ideas that ran though his head were interesting to say the least. "Maybe I can improve the vital recognition on the battle suits that the soldiers have." he said to himself as he entered the hall and too a seat in the third row and second from the left. The reason he choose this seat was it seems like a good place to sit. He rarely second guessed himself. The only thing left to do is prove himself to the admiral and some of the crew.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

"Him? Nope never had him as my CO; he could not keep up with us in Independent fighter Command any way if he is as old as he seems. Admirals fancy their ships to be as XL as possible and ships like this aren’t much use in the Saturn system; too many little asteroid moon bases where torpedo bombers can sneak up on em and blow out a bit at a time. what about you? (he said to his fellow pilot)"

.
Ray looked at the old admiral; he had heard of the man's exploits but knowing how the federation press worked with the insurgency about didn't count on everything he had heard about him, it would be better to get his own opinion but for now he didn't have a particularly high one of the admiral like all admirals.

Ray didn't like admirals; admirals got small craft pilots killed and normally didn't understand the issues with fighter warfare. Admirals where a carry on form an older era when fleets seemed as the ultimate formation of power because of the habit of Earth's navy's to mass like that. Ray had heard the claim that had the Saturn sector command ship Alexander hadn't been destroyed in the first day of the war the loyalists would have lost it because the independent fighter command would have never been formed; Ray partly agreed with this because the nature of the war was one of fast strikes and ambushes and not of clumsy ships of the line showing off on the target sensors of a bomber and fast attack ships like a god damned red giant.

Oh well, Ray didn't know this admiral yet and decided he would give him a chance; not all of them where egotistic bastards.

Ray sat down near the two he had been chatting to and whistled for a few moments while the brass got some order in the room; he thought he saw an LC meaning CO and wondered if he should stop but decided to quietly whistle and removed his lucky coin from his pocket and began playing with it.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

Jess snorts and grimaces at Ray when he mentions torpedos and sneak attacks, "Oh, I know all about it. I was on the Defiance, buddy; I'm that Hyena."

The incident would've made its rounds quickly around the ward rooms and hangar decks; a Federation patrol ship sent after pirates into the asteroid belt with no immediate support, the subsequent ambush, and the outlaws' sucess in getting in a torpedo that eradicated the crew quarters and a full 1/3rd of her fighting crew - including most of her pilots who had still been scrambling out of their bunks. And then the mad-as-hell maintainer that'd jumped into a spare bird and gotten her 5 Ace kills as a goddamn 3rd class crewman. Opinions after that were mixed, wether or not she'd truly 'earned' her sudden promotion to what was essentially an Officer's rank, and wether or not they should've just given her an award instead of a cockpit. Damn dirty enlisted and all of that. Her attitude hardly helped endear her to the upper eschelons.

Jon makes his appearance behind them - it was hard to miss the approach of all that hardware. That toothy smile makes its reappearance, mischevous light clear in the pilot's eyes.

"Aaaw, hell; Bullet-sponges in the house. Holy crap, is there a guy in there or is it just Tank?? I dont even want to know about bathroom breaks.."

Discipline and tact; two things of which Hyena will never be accused of... But between the Space side and the Ground side, how could she NOT stir the familiar pot of rivalry? It was too easy when her target showed up wearing his own personal pillbox. Too bad her tongue is lightyears ahead of the thought to check that armor for rank.

"And he can wear all the medals he wants, good on him. I just want to know if he's going to be a hardass or what? This is going to be a looooong ride with a spit-and-polish Skipper, you know? Last thing I need is inspections every week, or dry port calls..." Oh, tragedy!

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

The Admiral noticed the growing group in the center section; it was a variety of different personnel when compared to other sections which had been subdivided into different cliques of soldiers, technicians, pilots, engineers, etc. This group was different however; the large encased marine trying to sit down was Jon Dunaway. His bulky suit risked crushing one of the seats, or even a fellow crew member. Then there were two pilots, one of which was the woman with the constant grin, and other with dirty blond hair. Those were the main features that he could point out in order to tell them apart from other pilots. Then a younger lad who seemed to be a very quiet individual sitting on the edge entered the conversation that was started between the woman and a fellow crew mate who had dropped by. The crew mate was wearing full formal navigator’s uniform; a fellow whom the Admiral believed would be serving on the Bridge with him for the duration of the trip.

MacPhearson, Davidson, Ryker, and Summer were their listed names. They were all gathered together and talking with intense interest about a certain topic. The Admiral could only guess as to what post-pubescent subject they were discussing. Then he shifted his attention over to the number of crew members swelling the room to full capacity. Aronimus was interested in leaving port immediately, so he'd strike down the key details he wanted to address which included the rogue contained AIs. After all had been said and done, he would leave immediately for the Bridge. He had no time to look back and wait for the crews to disband and separate into their particular stations.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

Clyde watched Ray walk away, and filed away that his past was traumatic enough to cause flashbacks. He didn't really care what Ray had done on his old ship. This was a new day, a new crew, and a new mission. He would make new mistakes this time. He would tell Ray later that there was no use dwelling in the past: it would only make him screw up in the present. In the mean time he watched the group grow larger even as it lost a member. The other Dunaway brother approached, smoking in sullen silence. Then the doctor turned to face the group.

Clyde didn't bother doing introductions this time- there were too many people that he really had no connections with. He let everyone introduce themselves. Again. "Hey. I'm Clyde. I drive the ship." He paused.

"Isn't this a merry group we have here? Who's missing? Nobody? It should be about time to head out. I for one am rather interested in hearing what such a famous Admiral has to say to us. And a little tired of waiting."

The setting changes from general-assembly-hall to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson

0.00 INK

Ray saw that their grandfather clock admiral was waiting dear old man that he was for every one to shut down, stay put and wait for rescue.

Ray flipped the coin one last time and took the time to look at the picture of the long dead king which was on the coin ,in one fast maneuver slipped the coin back into his pocket and jumped back into a near by seat which was in the area the group he had unofficially joined and sat just in the outskirts of its territory as marked by the area in which a few people did not take the hint and went on talking as if it was a high school lecture which in many respects it was one.

He heard the British voice and learned who he would be cursing and praying for depending on his situation on this journey; Titans no longer had the once British accents they had at one time and had now a very thick and heavy accent of many sources which could be understood by most people but was highly confusing to British people who could hear the British origin but could not get their minds on the extreme variations in the English Titans spoke unless they spent time around Titans for a few days. A British relative who visited Ray's family when Ray was 11 described this as expecting a sweetie and getting it but under a few layers of sand, spit and shit not to mention the sweetie itself is actually Japanese made.

Ray faced the doctor and grinned

"God bless! At least we have an old girl as our Doc! I would not want a shaky hand entertaining my body with some off jokes"


It was an old Titan joke made during the nation wars more then half a century ago when earth was still split by nationality and when Fighter's first developed proper armor which instead of killing the pilots buggered up their bodies which was admittedly a vast improvement but did see the introduction of many raw incompletely trained doctors to deal with the new influx of some what living bodies upon whom the joke was made on due to their chop chop medical philosophy.

"Sorry about that doc, can't help myself maybe you have a pill for that? I am unit commander Peter Ray Davidson or just Ray, I tried getting rid of the Peter part but its illegal for me to do so caz of the Titan naming laws or some other Tory thing and the UC rank isn't as high as it sounds actually"

Ray would have to discuss the naming of his rank with the captain or even the admiral; what was accepted in the Saturn local defense fleet wasn't widely known in the rest of the federation and explaining his rank every time was becoming tedious.

Upon hearing the engineer Ray did what was always done to rookies; teasing.

"If you flamingo up my engines I will strap you to a table and pour molten toffee into your throat.

He then jumped again to the near by seat thus getting quite a few threatening looks from a few people to sit down and stay put.

Ray froze for a few moments as if he was a chameleon evading a predator by taking upon itself the background and then silently sat down near to the engineering lad.

"Don't worry about it al, I am Ray and I fly the prettiest jazz packed hornet in this corner of the galaxy. If you ever find yourself working on her there is a Jukebox I had put in from my old heavy escort hidden in a large "supplies" locker i had extended to house the extra machine; brass dosn't know about it so keep mum. if you want to you can enter the pass key "King Kong" and push a button to enjoy some old fashion style rokenanrolling or some swing that will make the ship dance along with ya"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

Once the hall had filled, and Captain Colter being the last person to step in the auditorium, the Admiral finally began to speak. His voice over the speakers quickly quelled all digressing conversations and attention from the parts of the hall that were not present before soon faced the Admiral. It was resounding, firm, courteous, and resolute, aspects of an Admiral’s voice, specifically Aronimus’ voice. Yet there were subtle undertones which took on a different nature, one that was an overtly paternal voice, one with experience that was no less marked by the vicissitudes of life than any other person of his age.

“Welcome to the Salient, I am Admiral Aronimus Weston,” he paused and awaited the crew’s appropriate response which was a round of applause.

Then he continued.

“I will make this briefing…brief. First off, all of you who were assigned to this ship vary in past field experience, but that does not make you any more or less privileged than your fellow servicemen on board this ship for the duration of this mission.”

The Admiral then called upon Alice Chen and Atomsk Dunaway to platform. As he said this, their profile images and names appeared on the viewing screens, as if on cue, for all the hall to see.

“Lieutenant Commander Alice Chen is my second-in-command, should I be busy and unable to fulfill my duties then Commander Chen will address them for me under her own initiative. All ship crews, pilots, technicians, medical crews, and Science corps personnel will answer directly to her. As for Mr. Dunaway, he will be the Commander for all marines and security personnel; you will directly answer to him. These two will be my top subordinates for the duration of the mission lest some incident prevents either of them from fulfilling their duties.”

The Admiral then told the two officers to return to their seats.

Then he paused to regroup his thoughts, at this point he was at a juncture. He could tell them a truth, which would scare some to the point of requesting re-assignment, or he could leave the matter alone, believing the old saying “what you don’t know can’t hurt you.” However, he decided to err on the side of truth, simply because that was who he was.

“I will not lie to you. In this mission, like all missions, there is a chance that you will die. I address this to each individual on board, right here, right now, in this room. I must present to you then, a decision. You can choose to stay and complete the mission, or you can choose to re-assign yourself elsewhere. Should you elect the latter, we will gather your personal belongings and transport you back to the station via drop ship.”

He paused, awaiting reactions. Some began to look startled and scared. Others accepted the news as nothing new.

“For the rest of you, we are departing immediately, command crews head to the bridge. I trust you will be able to find directions for yourself. Marines please follow Captain Colter to the Barracks section of the ship and set up your belongings. After which command will revert fully to Commander Atomsk Dunaway for the remainder of the trip. Thank you all for coming to the briefing...so...promptly.” The last bit was a touch of sarcasm that Admiral amused himself with.

The Admiral left the platform immediately, heading through a smaller corridor that led directly to the bridge. He had said all that was needed to be said.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

#, as written by TKDJ
He was cut short by the voice of the booming Aronimus Weston. His heart jumped at the sudden loud voice. He was excited, but hid it as well as he could. He was maybe the only one silent out of the whole hall. Not out of disrespect, but awe. He sat and began to listen to the man he admired. He was so entranced he almost missed the queue to step on stage. He stood up to walk on stage. He noticed the other woman get up. Alice Chen. He walked up as casually as he could without breaking his very upright stride.

He stopped politely to let Alice up first. As he walked up on stage he saw the man he had so long admired. He remained as calm as he could, but he was in awe of this man. He hoped that no one would notice his excitement. He hid emotion if he could for the sake of authority. Hid was a bad word. "Disguised" was a better word. He would show an emotion different from the one he felt at the moment.

Aronimus clearly stated Atomsk's place in the crew. He controlled the military portion of the crew. Granted he did answer to Aronimus, but he wouldn't meddle with him too much.....he hoped. That's the biggest reason he hid. To seem strong in front of his men.

After his brief introduction Atomsk was "shooed" off stage, for lack of a better word. He sat down again. After the speech was over he promptly got up. He hadn't had a chance to talk with Aronimus personally yet. He quickly ran to catch up to Aronimus. He knew he wouldn't be stopped by any security. Considering he WAS the head of security. He prepared to talk to his hero.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Heading down the narrow corridor, he heard several footsteps outpacing his own behind him. Aronimus turned around, expecting Captain Colter or perhaps Lieutenant Chen. He was fairly surprised, to see the face of a scarred veteran of war, that of Atomsk Dunaway, who minutes earlier he called onto the platform. Aronimus did not know what to expect, he was fairly certain that the commander would have been heading to the Barracks under the direction of Captain Colter in order to set up his own quarters and begin organizing the security teams.

This seemed a bit out of the ordinary, even for the Admiral who has seen much. It was perhaps some important news that the Commander wanted to relay personally to him. That seemed to be the only logical explanation for Dunaway's quick approach after the dispersal of the ship personnel to their various stations. The admiral had not known much of Atomsk, only that he was Jon Dunaway's elder brother, and he was nonetheless a seasoned soldier in his own right. He was just as qualified as his younger brother for the ranking, but some things among his record...most notably his retorts against superiors kept him from reaching his full potential. The Admiral could gloss that much from his profile instantly. He was unsure whether all of this was falsified, but he would have to see for himself.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

#, as written by TKDJ
He walked briskly behind the captain unsure of how to address him to initiate this conversation. As the captain turned around he stopped. Frozen, Atomsk saluted, something that he rarely did despite being an officer. He quickly realized that the Admiral was sizing him up, which caused him to snap out of his salute as fast as he snapped into it. He didn't mind this, but at the same time was worried. He admired this man and a bad impression could cause problems.

"Sir! Atomsk Dunway. Altough i'm sure you already...." He was stumbling, making a fool of himself already. "I just wanted to talk to you. Being my superior I was just wondering a few things when it comes to my command." He was lying. To a point. He respected this man, but he was still going to run things his way. He was looking for an excuse to talk.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Aronimus noted some tension in Atomsk's reaction, which was anything but calm. The admiral, however, did not detect a hint of anxiety or nervousness, mainly because he did not expect it from someone such as the commander. His hurried salute meant there was perhaps some vital news that he needed to bring to Aronimus' attention. Even the admiral was surprised, the ship had barely departed yet, the crew members were still disbanding, and the marines were still setting up their quarters. Perhaps this could be some urgent message relayed personally to Atomsk, whom they wanted to bring the news directly to him.

Nonetheless, the commander asked about his position and duties, which was fairly odd even for Aronimus. A man like Atomsk surely should have been told or learned of his priorities on board the Salient beforehand. Although, Atomsk would be the unlikeliest of ground commanders given his past record of insubordination to superiors. A man who did not respect his superiors, surely would be unable to command the respect of his subordinates. Yet, that was merely speculation on the Admiral's part. Despite all this, the Admiral knew though that Atomsk was experienced in the field, and perhaps there was some unique aspect regarding this stubborn veteran that made him the suitable candidate to be assigned to this ship. However, the unique aspect or quality remained to be seen.

"At ease, Commander, what exactly did you want to talk to me about?"

The admiral continued his stride, expecting that commander Dunaway would follow him to the bridge if necessary.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

#, as written by TKDJ
"Thank you sir." He began to walk along side Aronimus. "I apologize. I know your busy and my question is a stupid one to ask considering my position." He was loosening up.

"I hope we can find a time in the future to talk more casually. But for now I just wanted to make sure you were aware of how I run things. I'm assuming you've read my profile. I was just making sure I wouldn't be controlled too much. That will hinder my ability to command." He was sounding arrogant now, but he couldn't think of another way to put it.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

"I hope we can find a time in the future to talk more casually. But for now I just wanted to make sure you were aware of how I run things. I'm assuming you've read my profile. I was just making sure I wouldn't be controlled too much. That will hinder my ability to command." Atomsk now assumed a position beside the Admiral as they walked to the bridge.

Aronimus detected a twinge of bravado, perhaps even arrogance coming from the commander. He wondered whether this was the distinctive trait that got Atomsk assigned to this post. However, the admiral welcomed it, which might have come as a surprise to fellow acquaintances. Aronimus knew that arrogance was a sign of youth, but he knew that sooner or later it should be tempered otherwise it could be disastrous. At this point he was reminded of Captain Colter and his tragic exploits. It was psychologically shattering to a leader; even he himself had lost fellow crew members before. Aronimus decided he would have to deal with this now before it placed any crew members in danger. Although Atomsk had gotten this far without any relatively large incidents, sooner or later it was bound to happen. He was resolute in his decision to prevent history from repeating itself. After all, the point of history was to learn from it in order to better the present and guide the future.

"Certainly, I don't wish to converse with fellow crew members in a rigid manner all the time," he said this while maintaining his upright stature during his gait.

"And, yes I've read your profile...five tours, eighty-nine active deployments, seven classified missions, twenty three decorations...and then..." he paused for effect. He was astutely aware of Dunaway’s past record, and he was more than ready to bring it up. He was just surprised that the commander had brought it to his attention this early on.

"Sixty-seven counts of military insubordination and three court martials…" the Admiral turned to face Atomsk, who was trying to hide a smirk with a formal and serious front. Atomsk was decorated for his performance, yet at the same time he was incorrigible for his attitude.

"I honestly hope that you won't treat me with the same respect you treated Lieutenant General Conway..." the admiral turned away.

“But…remember, arrogance is an unbecoming trait, Commander Dunaway, see to it that you mend it, for it can jeopardize the lives of fellow soldiers and crewmen alike.” The admiral paused before continuing.

"Glad to have you on board…Commander." The admiral now walked ahead of Atomsk, leaving him to dwell on his words.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

0.00 INK

#, as written by TKDJ
He stood as he took the Admirals words very seriously. He thought he had made a decent impression. He also looked forward to talking again in the future. He disagreed with the arrogance though. He didn't believe he was arrogant. He simply didn't like rules. Or people undeserving of their ranks. He smirked when the Admiral brought up the insubordination and attempted court marshals. He loved the failed attempts at his post. To him it meant that the rules he broke weren't as important as the good he did.

As the Admiral turned to walk away Atomsk said a very respectful "Thank you. sir" with a slight bow, even though the Admiral had turned away. He was excited to talk again in the future. At this point he walked to a comm terminal close-by. He input a code that would give him the intercom for a minute. After he had control he stated a message for his portion of the crew. "Attention all military personnel. This is Commander Atomsk Dunaway Meet in Barracks 1 in 45 minutes. We will be performing a mission brief along with a few evaluations as well as forming our squads. Captain Eli Colter please meet me at Barracks 1 immediately for per-brief." He was aware of Captain Colter's position on the ship and wanted to size him up. He was sure they would be working together closely and wanted to start building a relationship fast. He began a brisk walk to the Barracks. He wanted to get as much talk time as he could.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Aronimus finally reached the Bridge, and he noted the large attendance of command personnel zipping between areas even before he arrived. Once he did though, they were almost unaware of his presence. That was the case until one recruit noticed him and immediately stood at attention, saluting him, and addressing him formally. Others saw this and repeated his actions but in their varying and distinctive mannerisms.

“At ease everyone, continue with your activities” he commanded all of them. He smiled, comforted by their professionalism which contradicted his previous notion that the ship was full of inexperienced recruits. Or maybe they just had raw talent, as Captain Colter had said.

The admiral went to his command platform, and sat in the captain’s chair. The seat was anything but soft; at least it was smooth though with various peculiar grooves. He felt like reclining in his seat, but he realized that he had a job to do. Besides, this was going to be a long trip; there was plenty of time for him to rest and repose.

Aronimus then reached forward for a key on his desk panel, and pressed it. A circular hatch opened on his desk, and a circular formation with several layers of metallic rings that were resting within began to protrude upwards until the final inner ring formed the very crown of the ringed tower formation. Then a small cyan light activated, and A.D.A.M. came into presence as a miniature three-dimensional figure.

“Admiral, I was just recalibrating some minor system errors regarding the engines, what do you need of me?” A.D.A.M. inquired in an automated tone.

“Yes, Adam, I need you to relay this across the speakers on the ship.” He waited for a green light on the screen in front him. Once it had blinked, the Admiral began speaking directly to Adam, who was in fact the direct link to the speakers.

“Attention all crew members on board the Salient. This is your Admiral speaking. I just wanted to say that we are departing now. Prepare for atmospheric ascent. I also want to wish everyone onboard good luck and a safe journey, let us hope that we’ll return in one piece.”

Aronimus then turned off the communications link and addressed one of the navigators who was locked and focused on a computer.

“Mr. Summer, set a course to the Arcturus System,” with those words, the Salient’s thrusters then activated slowly. The station’s cranes and mechanical arms began to retract from the ship. All fuel cells pulled away automatically, and the ship slowly hovered forth and began to ascend Callisto’s artificial skies. The interior of the ship, however, hummed softly as most of the crew barely felt anything aside from the artificial gravity generated by the main power core.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M
"Admiral I must inquire, when I was wired in why did they leave me running at 1.2% capacity? It's not like the ship is going to run out of power by me running on full, and even if that's the case my corrections just increased available power by 8% and if the engineers would check the areas I'm detecting irregularities we could increase that from anywhere to 10-15%. Furthermore, if they fear me running rampant why give you the codes to alter my processing limit at well as making me require direct human confirmation to use any mechanical part of the ship?" These questions had bugged A.D.A.M from the get go, with so many limitations it seemed pointless to put him on the ship.

"Furthermore both Clyde and Engineer James Grey's personal AI, Arche have made it painfully obvious that I currently do not have to processing capabilities to run super high profile tasks and maintain our ship's cyber security. By the way I've been allowing Arche access to key ship running data since we are running on dozens of prototypes designed my James and he was part of the design of many more key component modifications and helped with the installation of countless pieces of the ship." A.D.A.M knew he shouldn't have made such a call on his own but if someone who helped built the ship was on board and actively taking an interest in keeping the ship in optimal performance, he may as well grant them access.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

"At ease Ms. Chen," Aronimus swiveled in his chair to face her. The admiral had a habit of addressing people in that manner; he wasn't the type to get into detail about ranks. He recognized her position in the bridge and on the ship, and he felt it was not necessary to call her Lieutenant Commander incessantly. Before she approached him, he was busy going through any new feeds from command. The chatter on the main channels were flooded, as it turns out another disruption in the circuit was reported. Insurgents had hijacked a party yacht with a well-known celebrity along with his acquaintances on board. Thankfully, a Tier One team managed to infiltrate and subdue them before their plans came to maturity. Unfortunately though, the hijackers committed suicide to prevent capture.

As of now, the Salient was currently on schedule, which was unexpected to the Admiral. He thought they would’ve been behind schedule, but even then it was his duty to make sure they made it to the Arcturus System exactly on the dot. He was thankful that he could trust his crew to pull their weight which would make his job a lot easier.

"So, what are your thoughts so far on the personnel, and the ship?" the admiral inquired. He didn't expect pleasing reviews, but he didn’t expect to hear negative ones either. In limbo, that was the sort of opinion he expected from Alice. Anything otherwise would amuse him.

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Eon-312

0.00 INK

#, as written by Lufia
{In Eon's head}
Text appears in the darkness: Sleep mode deactivated. Initiating basic systems.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Eon opened his eyes text appears: Auditory Systems: Active. Verbal systems: Active. Drive train: Active. All systems active. Charge complete
After the message from his internal computer Eon-312 proceeded out of the room he was charging in and to the bridge and proceeded past others whom were speaking to each other. He passed through the Mess halls, Barracks and stopped at an observation deck looking out to analyze where he was. He reached the bridge and looked for the Admiral, "Android 7833, Eon-312 reporting for duty." he said in his usual robotic voice with a salute.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

The Admiral chuckled a bit at her straight to the point response. He especially liked the part about her Nottingham experience which derived a sense of satisfaction from him. He was aware of the ship's infamous reputation, and he could only ponder about her hell serving on board such a ship. He knew at this point that the young Lieutenant Commander was more than equipped to handle her responsibilities on board the Salient.

"Everyone has their histories, Ms. Chen, it doesn't come as a surprise to me," the Admiral paused and smiled a bit more to his rigid subordinate.

"Ms. Chen there aren't any available duties for you right now which means you can relax and enjoy the view."

A.D.A.M. then chimed in with a storm of questions regarding his purposes and why his capacity remained at an all time minimum to which the Admiral replied,

"Adam, it was for security measures. On board AI systems are very valuable equipment. Protocol dictates that an AI is to be configured at minimal processing capacity to prevent full capacity from being utilized by non-authorized personnel. Now that we have departed though, I will allow you to increase your capacity to 5%. I trust that you will use it wisely?" the admiral did not wait for a response before continuing.

He began rubbing his chin a bit, and his eyes narrowed, he had nearly forgotten something.

"Adam, I need you to call Mr. James Grey, Captain Jon Dunaway, and Sergeant Thaddeus Jackson to my personal quarters immediately. I almost forgot to address the earlier issue."

The admiral then turned to Alice.

"Ms. Chen, I retract my earlier statement, you'll be in charge of the bridge while I handle some delicate matters."

The admiral left his seat abruptly and went to his Captain's quarters.

The setting changes from bridge to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

The Captain's quarters was a rather commodious area with a luxurious lounge, a personal bar stocked with all of the Admiral’s favorite tastes from red wine and bourbon to gin and vermouth, a central map table with a holographic display that kept track of the Salient’s position in the Milky Way, an office that was directly linked to his desk in the bridge and of course the admiral’s own bed that had plush pillows, and soft sheeting. The only other quarters that could compare were the second-in-command’s own chamber, or even that of the planetary commander. Then again, the individual crew quarters weren’t that bad, it was more than enough for a person. Aronimus doubted that any admiral would need all the room given to him by the Captain’s quarters.

He approached the office which had a grooved seat similar to the one in the bridge, but it was raised upwards. The admiral decided to have a seat as he skimmed through the files on Thaddeus Jackson, Jon Dunaway, and James Grey. The strings of data floated around him like a sphere, engulfing him in data bits that illuminated his face in a cyan radiance. He reached a strand with Dunaway and Jackson’s name tagged in the file. The title had been expunged along with other vital pieces of data here and there in the descriptive profiles. Aronimus tapped his fingers in a rhythmic dance along his desk as he read on.

He continued doing so until he decided he had read enough, it was then that he turned to the transparent panel standing on his desk with the aid of a tripod and held down a button on the screen. He then spoke aloud,

“Attention Captain Jon Dunaway, Sergeant Thaddeus Jackson, please come to my quarters after the briefing with Commander Atomsk Dunaway. Mr. James Grey, come to my quarters immediately.”

After the message was broadcasted throughout the corridors of the ship, and even inside of Aronimus’s own quarters, he released his hold on the communications button. He pressed his fingers together leaving a space between his palms for him to gaze through as if he was trying to discern the future. He was interested in dealing with this particular matter immediately, before it got out of hand.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

“Attention Captain Jon Dunaway, Sergeant Thaddeus Jackson, please come to my quarters after the briefing with Commander Atomsk Dunaway. Mr. James Grey, come to my quarters immediately.” the broadcast proclaimed. Thaddeus knew he should get to the Admiral more quickly than this. He wanted to see the science laboratory for a possible custom item, but he was still a soldier so he had to follow the Admiral's orders first. "Ghost. Ze map." he said within his helmet. Ghost popped up with a virtual mapping system to get to the Captain's Quarters. With that Thaddeus sped up with walking pace.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Although it was already past lunch time, Aronimus had not eaten, and he didn't plan on doing so either. He was waiting for Commander Dunaway's briefing to finish, in order to see the two soldiers along with engineer James Grey. At this moment several beeps were heard to which the Admiral responded by glancing at the transparent panel. It was a transmission from high command, the designation was Alpha-Mike-Juliet-00927, a code which Aronimus knew very well. It belonged to the fleet admiral of the Federation Navy, Admiral Michel Fontaine, Aronimus was surprised as to why the Admiral wanted to speak to him. This deployment wasn't even in his jurisdiction, and it was nothing of importance...at least in Aronimus's perspective. Admiral Fontaine had other matters to deal with, such as handling the command of the Sol Defense Fleet, one of the most massive armadas amassed within the Sol System.

Aronimus pressed the receiver key, which patched him through to the Admiral.

"Aronimus," Fontaine's face came into being on the viewing screen as his voice rang in with a certain gruffness that could only be the result of years of experience in conflict. Aronimus's name clearly signified a relationship that was beyond formal.

"Yes, sir..." Aronimus replied reluctantly to his superior.

"Yes, I wanted to talk to you about your mission," to this Aronimus gave a perplexed glance to Fontaine.

"Sir?" he was unsure about what Fontaine had to contribute.

There was a brief sigh in the conversation on Fontaine's end.

"Aronimus, I understand that your prior objectives was to scout out the Arcturus System and then report your findings back to command. After which you would remain on patrol through the region, am I correct?"

There was nothing he left out, and Aronimus could only reply with a solemn yes.

"Very well then, you have new orders and objectives now."

Aronimus felt slightly perturbed by this sudden change in plans, but he would see what the Admiral had to say.

"Your new orders are to search and destroy, intelligence confirms that there is a large insurgent cell operating in that region of Federation space."

The last piece of news was fairly astonishing to Aronimus, and worry lines began to reform on his forehead. It was inconceivable, merely weeks ago when he departed from Mars, the planetary governor of New Sidney gave him word that there were pirates raiding the merchant lanes. He was given authorization to command the Salient and stop the raiders, this was a whole new dimension now. They had left Callisto for only two Earth hours so far and suddenly this revelation.

"Sir, do you have any idea how large it is?"

"Yes, I'll send you the information directly. The Salient is part of a long line of illustrious warships, and I believe that it is more than capable of handling any insurgent threat, based on statistics of the other Neptune Battlecruisers in action. Not to mention that the Salient has an experienced hand at the helm," the last part was a nod to Aronimus' experience.

"Sir, you flatter me." Aronimus smiled.

"Yes, I along with almost every other admiral in the Navy, but I must remind you to tread carefully. We've already seen these insurgents before, they are completely unpredictable. We don't know where they will strike next, and we don't know how many are in their ranks."

"I understand Admiral."

"Good, it is approximately..." Fontaine glanced at his timekeeper which was synced with Earth time.

"2:30 P.M. I am signing off." the communique ended as Fontaine's face disappeared from the screen and his voice vanished with it.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI T.A.U.

TAU appeared as a Hologram on the Captain's desk. He was currently running a systems check and analysis on the Weaponry of the ship. "I thought I would take some time to go over my thoughts on the ship's load-out, Admiral" he said. TAU went over the main weapons quickly before starting, "The Railguns will provide enough firepower to fend off any large insurgent attacks that may arise" he says, alerting the Admiral to his knowledge of the true mission objectives. "As for the Mini Ions, I think they will be good for point defense against smaller ships as well as fighters". TAU's flames were dim at the moment, with little to get excited about at the moment. "I must admit my eagerness to use the Particle Cannon, that weapon really tops off the abilities of the ship" he concludes his assessment and awaits a response from the Admiral.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

"Tau, do you realize that you shouldn't be speaking right now? You'll alert Adam of your presence." the admiral went about sifting through the data receptors, perhaps going through old transmission logs.

"I can't have him know of your presence as of yet..." Aronimus was hoping that his quarters wasn't being secretly hacked by any non-authorized prowlers. The captain's quarters was built specifically to allow a captain privacy.

"Let Adam handle the ship's systems, I was more interested in your capabilities being utilized by Commander Dunaway," the admiral rubbed his sagely beard.

"I'm sure you've read his profile, and have perhaps gone through his live feeds? First hand sources say his tactics are self-proclaimed as...insane, even genius," the admiral smiled to himself.

"Hopefully, you'll be able to handle his...style of commanding. I'm interested in watching your capabilities during the training scenarios..."

"For now though, log off." Aronimus expected the flames of Tau to dissipate pixel by pixel until his visual presence vanished before him.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded, "Of course, Admiral" Tau said, disappearing from the Captains Quarters. Tau kept most of his focuses on setting up some protection against ADAM finding him. The rest of his processes sifted through ship systems, adventuring in the only way an AI could. Tau had in fact checked out files on the Commander extensively, but now decided to locate him on the ship and access security cameras in the area to follow him and monitor his actions and habits. The Admiral had indicated Tau would spend a lot of time working with Commander Dunaway, so it was best to learn what he was like. Tau was particularly interested in seeing the Commander interact with Adam to attempt to gauge how he would act working with Tau later on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau continued to monitor the activity. ADAM had by now had broken the firewalls and disabled the viruses put in place by the other AI. Tau remained on the outside of the virtual city that had been spawned behind all those walls, he was very curious, but all logic indicated entering that city would reveal his presence to ADAM in seconds, which would fully contradict his orders from the Admiral to stay unknown. Tau knew he had already been partially discovered by the Ship's AI when he had been in the Captain's Quarters, but he had not been there long enough to give ADAM a chance to investigate. ADAM was extremely intelligent, but that couldn't always compete with Tau's infiltration software.

With ADAM occupied searching this new AI... Tau thought quickly on this and retreated from the area in a pattern that was typical of security checks. He then moved through the ship quietly, making his way back to the Computer on the Admiral's desk, he took some time to disguise himself as an E-mail from the Commander of then Ground Forces, he formed a quick message about troop numbers on the ship and set it up so any attempts to find Tau in the message would just route ADAM to the message like a normal E-mail. He then sent himself to the Admiral's E-mail, when the Admiral opened it, Tau would pop up. He had a few quick questions about this third AI.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

Aronimus reclined in his seat, maintaining his straight posture though. A thousand thoughts and worries swirled in his mind. He stood up from his seat this time and strode to the holographic table which sensed his approach and immediately went to life. The system whirred and beeped, as the cyan light on the table flashed forth, bringing into existence several small spheres resembling planets and other celestial bodies. The Admiral focused on a single tiny spec that coursed through glowing field, that spec was the Salient.

He pressed his hands onto the edge of the holographic table, and sighed as he closed his eyes. The threat level on this mission had significantly increased with the new orders. Search and destroy the insurgent cell. Aronimus decided he would have a word with Lieutenant Commander Chen and Commander Dunaway on the status update. He wasn’t sure how they would react, but at least he’d make sure they’d be prepared when he broke the news to the rest of the crew.

This original mission was intended to investigate recent attacks on trade lanes by pirates, but the very presence of insurgents left Aronimus with a tough call to make. Just as he was pondering his next move, his neural interface brought to his attention a message from Dunaway. He pulled it up on the holographic table, which shifted from the small system to several flat screens. Text began scrolling upwards; it was military data, namely that of Marines and other ground personnel, weapons, vehicles, and other inventory. Suddenly, T.A.U. came into form in its characteristic orange flames. The admiral was surprised which meant he was annoyed.

“Tau, we had a conversation before, I hope you haven’t forgotten,” but now that Tau was online, he decided he would utilize him for duties that he didn’t want Adam to know about.

“Tau, access the files that Admiral Fontaine sent me on the secure channel, open it for me,” even at this age he was still being tested. Aronimus wasn’t sure he still had it in him to command a single ship against raiders.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau projected an apologetic smile on his hologram. "Sorry Admiral" he said. Taking his new orders into account, Tau went through the Computer's files and found the requested from Admiral Fontaine, he opened it for Admiral Weston on a secure channel as requested. "I will say that ADAM is unlikely to find me at the moment, the security node I left at his current position indicates he is still there in the Virtual City created by an unknown third AI on-board", Tau left this point in the air for a second before continuing, best approach this from an angle that retains significance to his own position aboard the Salient. "I just felt that I should find out what I can about this third AI, it seems quite frantic in its actions, setting up Firewalls laced with viruses that could damage the ship's systems and overloading light fixtures that it passes through the wiring of." he said neutrally, maintaining his flames in a low intensity. He reviewed the E-mail he sent himself in through and discovered something, but first made an apology for his past appearance, "I apologize for my first appearance, as I am afraid ADAM caught a small notice of my presence and is suspicious, to say the least" he began, segueing into another related topic to that. "I also have to inform you a bridge officer has traced my E-mail here and has cut all but one of my exit routes, I've set up blocks to ensure he doesn't access this terminal, but I think I'm stuck here until my existence is no longer to be shrouded."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

"I will say that ADAM is unlikely to find me at the moment, the security node I left at his current position indicates he is still there in the Virtual City created by an unknown third AI on-board," the admiral wasn't paying attention when he said this, but was quick to realize it.

"What did you just say, Tau? There is another AI in the ship's internal mainframe? And Adam is pursuing it?" Aronimus was busy trying to decide what the best course of action regarding his new mission objectives, now he had more problems to deal with. He hadn't even talked with Dunaway or Jackson regarding their two independent AIs that were contained within their suits, but now he had one ship AI chasing after another unidentified, unauthorized, and possibly even hostile AI that was lacing the ship's internal systems with various new codes. Codes that threatened to interweave with existing ship software, thereby disabling key systems, Aronimus did not want that to happen.

How could he possibly deal with a such an invisible threat? He paused to gather his thoughts and formulate a plan.

"Tau, I will re-route you to another terminal, from there, intercept that unknown AI and bring him back here, I will deal with Adam and the bridge officer," that was phase one, Aronimus thought, as he uploaded T.A.U. into his personal interface and sent him through directly to the holographic table, thereby bypassing any locks previously placed through the mail system. By uploading him onto his personal interface, T.A.U could leap from holo-pad to terminal, to the destination of the unknown AI. Aronimus had been told that such use could have disastrous effects, considering the sentience of AI, they could choose to return or not. In the worst case scenario, the AI could go rampant, and when linked with a user, could cause a psychological backlash of fatal proportions. Aronimus took the risk though, considering that this wasn't his first time.

His next move would be to pull Adam out of the system and have a little word with him. He pressed a key on the holographic table before him,

"Adam, may I have a word with you?" he knew that the AI was busy pursuing other AI, should he run into Tau it would create more complications that Aronimus was not willing to allow. Hopefully, he could pull Adam aside long enough for Tau to apprehend and detain the unknown AI and bring it back to his quarters. Then another thought struck Aronimus, one he believed would settle the matter for now.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M.
ADAM was starting to get irritated, he'd offered a peaceful solution and all he got was spit to the face and information that seemed to suggest the mystery AI acted like a child. He stopped playing and put his full 5% to use, disassembling everything that inhibited him took place faster than a standard AI could register. He proceeded to undo the work the previous AI had set up, the power and speed of his actions far beyond what other AIs could hope to match and chased it to the back up ports and pinning it there.

"If i had wished to purge you from my systems I would not have bothered knocking and playing nice, you would have been purged instead. As it stands I fail to find any real amusement in the damage you have inflicted upon my ship and your attempts to access my network. You've no where left to run, I suggest you speak." This was no exaggeration, he forced himself into every operating system the AI network had access to when he tore down the firewalls. This child looking AI would have to somehow outperform him to get into anything and there was nothing that could do that. When the Admiral pinged for his attention, bit of himself in that network portion responded; ADAM's grasp on the system remained perfectly solid without any weakness of lag to offer.

"You called Admiral? I presume that this is related to either my detection of your private AI or the unknown AI that has been wreaking havoc in our network. If it pertains to the later, I have him cornered and am currently engaging for intent. Also at the moment there isn't a single piece of code on this ship I'm not touching so your secret friend would do better to defragment himself lest he get caught in something messy; fragmented code is vulnerable and we currently have no idea of what this little thing is capable of."

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nods and sends himself through the system to the unknown AI, He notices the sloppy work that was being done by this AI to protect itself. Knowing the AI doesn't know about him, he figured he would have enough time to set up a trap. Tau quickly traces the AI's exact position and sets up a series of proper firewalls surrounding the volatile AI and then set up a series of codes that would set up a firewall in place of any of the firewalls that the AI could destroy, putting the mystery AI in a vicious circle trap. Tau then sent a message to the AI in a basic audio format. Hello there, please identify yourself, we are here to assist you.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

"Adam stand down. I have this under control, you can return to your station in the bridge. A crew member is logged into the data stream and has blocked all access into one of my terminals, I want you to eject him out of the system for now," the Admiral had forgotten that he had bumped A.D.A.M.'s processing power up to 5%. As he said this, he realized that A.D.A.M. might detect T.A.U, which he could not allow just yet.

Through his personal neural interface he tagged T.A.U and called him in.

"T.A.U, retrieve the rogue AI and detach yourself from the ship's systems now," Aronimus had hoped that T.A.U would have slipped away with the independent intelligence before A.D.A.M. noticed. If A.D.A.M. did though, he'd have to activate an override to lower his processing power and block off the area where the unknown AI was located or explain himself. Hopefully he didn't have to use such measures.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau acknowledged the Admiral's orders and sent another message to the unknown AI. I'm going to move us to a more secure location, please remain calm. Tau then cut off his codes and firewalls and Locked on the AI, pulling him from the ship's systems to the Admiral's interface. He did not set up any more firewalls on the rogue. He simply blocked all exits from the interface and set up protection for the Admiral's sake. He spoke to the Admiral directly, "I have the AI off the ship's systems and in your interface. You are aware that if he is not complacent this could be dangerous to your health?" he asks. The Admiral was running great risks to keep Tau a secret, Tau understood only the basic reasoning behind that secrecy. The lengths seemed quite drastic. "Sir, I might add that hiding me is illogical at this point"

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

A.I. Max:

Max was about as calm as........who are we kidding, he is just plainly frantic. But with everything going on, he was too confused to do anything. Well, actually, he was still trying to get into a fighter, but was drawn into the Admiral's Quarters before he could. Before Tau could get through all his firewalls however, Max downloaded the Admiral's fire, at least, the Official one. You never know with people like him.

Max had at least gotten out of shock now, so he was less frantic and scared from before. Now he was running on confusion, rage, and curiosity. "Who are you? Why am I here? Why was your accomplice after me? Who put me on this ship? Why is everyone coming after me?!". Max then wondered if they were going to torture him or scan him or something. He was worried about what was going to happen next.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU


Tau tried to calm down the AI, it was showing very curious behavior, such as that of a child. "I am Tau, Adam was trying to find out who you were, as I am, your questions about why you are on the ship and who put you here, I have no correct answer as I had no knowledge of your being on this ship until Adam found you" he said. With those questions answered, Tau brought forth a few he had. "So, I assume you have a name, do you mind if I ask what it is?". Tau would approach this as slowly and safely as possible, setting off an AI was not advisable anywhere, much less in the Admiral's link.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

Max:

Max was more or less frustrated about the lack of answers. At least this one seemed to be less hostile. Or maybe it just seemed like hostility before because of shock? Max was calming down further, and things were becoming a bit clearer. "Max. Just a random name I picked up. I have only been active for less then an hour. So much to learn and examine. Did you know that if you calibrate the secondary circuits with with primary breakers, you would increase overall efficiency by another 2%?". Max had the smarts of an A.I., the personality of a kid, and the destructiveness of a bomb.

"I don't suppose you have any ideas? The word "Insurgents" have come up a lot, and it seems to refer to a group that would be interested in harming the ship. Also, Adam is very mean. He tried to kill me!". He was still convinced Adam tried to kill him, that wont go away.....at least not for a long time....

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau was surprised, "I did not know that Max, you must be quite the intelligent fellow to have figured that out in less than an hour" Tau said. This AI was quite intriguing. "I do know about the insurgents, this ship is assigned to fight against them, but that is a secret, so I would be really thankful if you kept that to yourself for now" he said. "As for Adam," Tau continued, "He is just very concerned for the ship's safety, and not knowing about an AI on the ship is something to concern him." Tau had by now realized that Max was a unique AI. He switched to his conversation with the Admiral, "This AI has a unique personality Admiral, I don't think it is dangerous so much as scared and confused" he informed Weston. Tau had to wonder the same questions he couldn't answer for Max, why was he on the ship, and who put him there?

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

As the dual AIs entered his interface, Aronimus suffered from a bit of a shock with bouts of coughing and choking. The young AI was very spirited and this disrupted the admiral’s hold on the system. However, once he was secured and T.A.U had calmed him down a bit the young A.I. began to make inquiries regarding many things ranging from A.D.A.M. to the insurgency. The admiral regained his senses, but could not maintain two AIs at once without deteriorating slowly, so he uploaded them onto the holographic table.

T.A.U’s orange flames sprouted forth along with the unidentified AI who bore the likeness of a ten year old child. He was a bit shy, especially when confronted with Aronimus’ size, but the admiral’s greying beard made him appear as somewhat of a benefactor. The two AIs appeared to be conversing among themselves on the holographic table before T.A.U switched his communication link over to the admiral,

"This AI has a unique personality Admiral, I don't think it is dangerous so much as scared and confused,” the admiral raised his brow at T.A.U’s observation.

"What I want to know is where that AI came from!” Aronimus was incensed, this AI wasn't authorized. Its source was completely unknown, so it was to be deemed a threat until further notice.

"Contain that AI and extract whatever information you can from it, I want to know whether it is hostile, and what its purpose is."

He had worked with AIs before, but the kind that were organized, and mature. This unique AI as T.A.U had called it was rambunctious, and the fact that its avatar was that of a ten year old boy meant that it was very young. Nonetheless, despite its appearance an age, Aronimus could not take any chances. The admiral had experience with older AIs, and was taken by surprise when he suffered from the earlier shock. The shock resulted not by containing two AIs, but by containing one AI which was in a state of confusion.

The effects multiply with each accumulated AI in a rampant state, thus requiring a special data unit to enclose the AIs and stabilize the disruptions. Yet, in some cases such retrieval units are susceptible to damage and as a result the AIs would be deleted. It would seem as a costly lost, considering the sheer amount of money, time, and effort put forth into coding and constructing artificial intelligences.

Aronimus entered his interface, and relayed a message through the communications systems.

“Commander Dunaway, and Lieutenant Commander Chen, report to my quarters in thirty minutes.”

The setting changes from captains-quarters to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

Max

Max was at least somewhat frantic. He was now on/in a holo board. Max asked "so, yeah, could you just let me go? I was sort of hoping to get to a place where people don't want to kill me......". He then started to look through whatever documents and files he picked up along the way. Deep down, he had a bad feeling, which was strange considering he was Data and had no gut for a gut instinct. Thats when he added "You know, according to these blueprints, and from what I can see from this holo board, your place looks really nice.....".

Max sighed. He was wondering if he should mention what he is. He was able to discover it because he knew there was something really especially off and looked for it. However, he wasn't sure if the Admiral and/or T.A.U. would. It did have to do with his strange personality in a way. At least, he thought it might. Maybe it didn't. He wasn't 100% sure yet, he needed more data.

Max then asked "Whats your name, by the way?"

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded to the Admiral, "This is Admiral Weston, he is the commander of the ship" he said. Tau then sent a bit of himself to check through the virtual city for clues as to what this AI was exactly. He continued the conversation in the meantime. "So Max, we stand at a slight impasse here, as we do not know why you are here, and you yourself don't know why you're here" this would establish the situation for everyone to know. Tau picked up some chatter from the bridge officer, he switched to his channel with the Admiral, "Admiral, a Clyde from the bridge is still observing the conversation and has made an offer to transfer Max to his datapad and help him learn things and be at home, I leave it to you to accept or deny this offer".

Tau quickly switched back, "I think the first thing we need to do here is establish a friendship Max, don't you agree?" he said, paving a shortcut to assuring minimum threat levels from this... different Unit. "I, the AI Tau, promise to protect you from harm on this vessel to the best of my ability and also swear to not harm you myself in any way" he said, hoping the Admiral would approve, "Now, can you promise you won't harm us in return Max? It would be much more preferable to be friends."

Tau made a mental note of progression on his negotiation abilities, and got a sense of an open file in the virtual city, he quickly downloaded it and pulled it back, examining it. Anomaly Intelligence? Tau thought, unfamiliar with the concept. He sent the file to the Admiral's personal datapad for him to look over, tagging it with the words 'Max AI Possible Origin'. He looked back to Max, waiting for a reply.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

Clyde? Clyde Summer, the navigator?

“T.A.U, respond to Mr. Summer with an invitation to report to my quarters immediately,” hopefully Aronimus could give Mr. Summer a word or two on protocol, considering the fact that he’d been wandering and spying as listed in T.A.U’s report. Now he was trying to convince a newly identified A.I. to accept him as a host. Approximately five minutes ago, the Admiral was on the verge of acting override codes to stall A.D.A.M.’s pursuit of Max. Although, T.A.U managed to successfully escape with the young A.I., his identity was revealed in the process. He was thoroughly infuriated at the turn of events, but he couldn’t do anything about it now except reprimand the culprits involved about their intolerable behavior.

Now it was pointless to conceal any further information regarding T.A.U, so he’d have to address the crew, specifically his two chief officers, the three crew men with isolated A.I.s, A.D.A.M. who had chased Max, and Navigator Summer who managed to slip away with knowledge on T.A.U.

Once that was addressed, he’d shift the focus to their new objectives. He received a message from T.A.U, the tagline was “Max A.I. Possible Origin.” Aronimus opened it immediately, scanning with his eyes at the snippets of data that T.A.U managed to acquire in the data banks.

Anomaly Intelligence? The Admiral had heard of that term before when he was first introduced to artificial intelligences by high command. They wanted to increase efficiency among the officers; an artificial intelligence on board a ship could do many things. From increasing reactor output, infiltrating hostile communication networks, to organizing last minute military tactics. They were a godsend, despite being man-made as proponents claim.

A young scientist by the name of Roman Durant had approached him with a proposition. He was an ambitious man for his age, approaching Aronimus who was a Commodore then, with his Anomaly Intelligence. He said it was cutting edge technology, and he wanted Aronimus to experiment with it. It was the kind of intelligence that derived data from the interaction of two A.I.s. Although Aronimus would’ve said yes, Durant’s project was cut short by the Senate because the technology was deemed illegal. Durant was outraged at their staunch bureaucratic conservatism, especially in this day and age. After that, Durant seemed to disappear completely; associates said he went into the private sector.

The thought evaporated from his mind, as he was brought back to the present with a distress beacon activation that was characterized by a pattern of three beeps, space, and then four more beeps. They repeated in succession until the beacon is turned off.

“Federation Vessel, this is Altamus Corperation escort detail 973 requesting assistance. Moving to your location, possible hostile contact."

The Admiral quickly wiped away all viewing screens powered by the holographic table and activated the star map. The two Altamus vessels were being pursued by unidentified ships, a smaller ship, a gunship, was trailing ahead to the location of the Salient. Aronimus activated the communication system on the holographic table,

“This is Admiral Weston to Bridge crew, engage hostiles. Military personnel prepare for boarding action.”

Aronimus hadn’t expected hostiles in the Middle Rim, but he was more than prepared. He had to leave his quarters in order to command more effectively, in his experience, the Bridge was the skipper’s command center. From there he could get a better view of the current situation, and could forward commands quicker.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Alice glanced at Clyde. In the space of a breath she measured her options, much faster than most humans might have been able to, and opened her mouth to respond. She was cut off by the Admiral's voice on the intercom.

“This is Admiral Weston to Bridge crew, engage hostiles. Military personnel prepare for boarding action.”

Sitting up straighter in her seat, Alice nodded to herself. She cast her gaze around the bridge.
"You heard him," she answered with utter calm, with certainty. In Alice's mind there was no room for doubt. She fixed her eyes in the view-screen, mentally preparing herself for what might very well be her first conflict on board the Salient. This would be nothing like riding aboard the Nottingham, and for that she was grateful. There had been no conflicts between the Nottingham and other ships. All the fighting had gone on within that great barge's hull. She had faced down, alone, men who had slaughtered dozens of people with their bare hands.

A hostile ship, from within her own ship? Nothing to fear. Which was, she realized, probably an irrational reaction. But it did help keep her head clear.

"Engage the hostiles."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

A.I. Max:

"I never wanted to hurt you in the first place, I was just trying to stay alive...." Max replied. However, thats when all the alarms went off. "Whats going on? Whats going on? Are we under attack? INthis area it would probably be pirates, the statistics say that anyway.....I thiink however being this close they were most likely hired for some reason or another..."

Max then looked at T.A.U. and noted "And I think we would make very good friends. You didn't try to kill me...."

He also noted "Could someone turn off that alarm? Its annoying...."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau muted the alarm in the Admiral's room. He looked at Max, "I agree, you seem very interesting and it would be beneficial to both sides to work together on finding where you came from" Tau said. He turned to face the Admiral, "Do you want me to wait until we are out of battle to call Clyde down, I tracked his location and he is currently manning Navigation, though Adam could preform navigational duties, as could I" he said. Tau realized he had just subtly hinted at the usefulness of his skills in battle, but he knew it would be difficult to aid the engagement with Max around, considering that he did not seem to have much trust in anyone but Tau at the moment. He kept conversing with the Admiral, "I should add that the particle cannon is quite powerful, and perhaps using the many Rail Guns would be more efficient, as well as more deadly if set on an appropriate firing pattern" he let things quiet from there, the Admiral had a lot to consider at the moment, it would probably be advisable to refrain from overloading his neural interfaces with information and queries.

The setting changes from captains-quarters to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont

0.00 INK

As the admiral reached the bridge, most of the crew were on their feet, swinging back and forth from station to station assessing the current situation. The navigators steered the ship in the direction of the distress beacon, and A.D.A.M. was activating the rail guns along with the mini-ion cannon nodes. Alice was standing, perched in the captain's platform in the bridge, calmly observing the situation. At least he could count on one person to stay calm when hell seemed to break loose.

"I want a status report immediately, Mr. Hansen patch me through to the gunship,"

"Aye Captain," the Scotsman got to work immediately relaying a comm. link to the lone gunship that went before two Altamus vessels being hunted down by a pair of pirate ships. Aronimus could see through the bridge's view port on the bow. The lead Altamus vessel was being hammered by light auto cannon fire coming from a hostile frigate. The second Atlamus vessel was much closer to the fangs of their predators, and received the brunt of close range missile fire and strafing.

The situation grew worse, as several smaller ships started to appear on the horizon, they had been on the other side of the planet. These ships were very agile, weaving in and out between the pair of Altamus freighters. The Admiral knew this tactic, the first phase required two point ships to attack the target from an angle and force them to exit at another angle. Once the targets had reached designated coordinates, one of two outcomes may occur. Should the targets reach the destination intended by the pirates, they'd be ambushd by carefully placed mines. In the current situation, they would require EMPs in order to protect the precious Duillium cargo on board. The second, more raiders lying in wait would file out in lighter, more maneuverable ships to repeatedly hit the targets until their propulsion systems had been thoroughly damaged to begin boarding action.

It seems as though the latter of the two options had been reached, and to Aronimus, it meant more raiders. The fighters were being scrambled already, but the lone gunship was still limping towards the Salient, and was easy picking for the marauders.

"Sir, the gunship is IDed as Tartarus Group, callsign Ronin, security detail," Hansen replied.

Tartarus Group Ronin, Tartarus Group Ronin, this is the Salient, what is your status?

The Admiral didn't exactly need to call for her status, he saw with his own eyes that she was being chased, but he wanted confirmation due to protocol.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

0.00 INK

The frigate was constantly firing at Ronin with its small guns. With the sensors gone the gunners had to rely on visual cues and she was making that difficult with her slippery flying. Her ship was taking a beating though, not from guns but from running her engine like every single wrench-turner told her not to. There was a shuddering metallic groan that made her electronics flicker and a smell like ozone seeping into her cockpit. In a perfect scenario the frigate would fuck off and she would simply throttle down, fixing the problem; this was not a perfect scenario. Ronin this is Cronos on Summerwind, you good? She scoffed. "Fuck no I'm not good, it's good you're ok. You guys should dump cargo and FTL while the gettings good." The main reason freighters needed escorts coming back was they couldn't operate their faster than light engines without rendering the Duillium inert. You're on drugs loss of cargo is not an option. We got a Federation IFF on screen, is that where you are heading?

"I got eyes on her expensive ass, keep channel clear Cronos, Ronin out." At least she saw the Federation ship now, she was betting the frigate was focusing on her and trying to blow her apart when it should be looking at the government death machine it would soon face. Altamus Escort, this is Rapier 338 off the Salient. Inbound to you, two count. Check fire. A welcomed voice from her comm. "Copy 338. Alta-Corp 973, you got Ronin. Don't have to worry about friendly fire, I'm at 10% ammo on my cannons and if I fire 'em up my whole power-plant will go." The company was great though it's a shame Miranda was gimping to the big kid to punch out her bully. The woman's arrogance was dangerous but she wasn't so prideful as to just bite the pillow why these pirates dry fucked her. "I'll keep clear, 338. Ronin out."

Another shudder went through her ship and she saw seven warning lights all flashing red. More contacts appeared on her screen but that had to be a malfunction, she whacked the screen and they went away; so did the frigate and the Federation ship. Fuck. Tartarus Group Ronin, Tartarus Group Ronin, this is the Salient, what is your status? Good thing her radio hadn't conked out. "Copy Salient, status is I'm falling apart at the seams. I’ve got a crippled pirate frigate 300 metres on my six. It’s got no eyes or main guns but still fucking my world up with small fire. Easy score for you, kid's party getting rained out for me. I'm running 30% past safe on my engine but don't want to slow until this ass-hole is scrapped. I'll need to dock with you Salient, I can’t make it back to Mars. How copy?" Miranda hoped there was a place she could look over her ship and they were not sticklers for rules; all 'No unauthorized non-federation crafts in their bays.' That would suck.

She saw more hostile ships appear like carrion birds to pick the sweetmeat from the bones of the freighters, guess her radar wasn't messed up. "Salient, 973. Do you have contacts on your screen or are these false positives? If we got inbound I need clearance to land in one of your bays double quick. Ronin out." She would make it; Miranda was so close to the Salient she could almost smell the shitty cafeteria food.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

0.00 INK

Copy Salient, status is I'm falling apart at the seams. I’ve got a crippled pirate frigate 300 metres on my six. It’s got no eyes or main guns but still fucking my world up with small fire. Easy score for you, kid's party getting rained out for me. I'm running 30% past safe on my engine but don't want to slow until this ass-hole is scrapped. I'll need to dock with you Salient, I can’t make it back to Mars. How copy?

The frigates were running blind, and one was crippled, that was good for Aronimus, he could pick them off without relying on the particle cannon. The cannon wasn't even authorized, seeing as how the original mission was to investigate the Arcturus System. Engineers had approached Aronimus on the day he departed from Rust City saying that the weapon was a prototype and should be used as a last resort, a fact that did not sit well with an Admiral who was used to firing the main cannon.

Now, he had to worry about two other problems, the gunship and the swarm of smaller raider vessels that were chewing apart the freighters. The raiders have been proven to be undaunted in the face of federal naval power, they would charge at the larger Federation ships out of blind fury rather than sound strategy. Even then, the only sound strategy that was ever applied by the marauders was when they were on the prowl. As for the gunship, she was running on one leg, and still had a long way to go.

"Sir, if she wants to dock, she'll have to throttle down or do a spin around," petty officer Hansen stated with distress.

"That will be a negative Mr. Hansen, at the rate she's going she'll be blown to pieces by the pirates before she gets within meters of us," as the Admiral said this, the scanners began to mark several fighters departing from the Salient.

"Let her in, we'll cut the hostiles off with our fighters," Aronimus folded his arms behind him, analyzing the situation. Normally by now, A.D.A.M. would have flashed into presence signaling alternative plans, but he was busy elsewhere. The Admiral thought this would be fine, considering he needed to flex his strategic muscles every now and then.

Roger that, Ronin. Aye, yeh're clear for docking, try not to damage any ships on yeh way in, the Scotsman's terse voice was laced with comicality.

Salient, 973. Do you have contacts on your screen or are these false positives? If we got inbound I need clearance to land in one of your bays double quick. Ronin out.

She was right on the dot about that, and five were tailing her at higher speeds.

Ronin, this is Salient. There is an affirmative on contacts, you've got five hostiles on your tail, turn off communications systems and anything extra to save power.

That was the most Hansen could do to advise her, being a fighter pilot once, he knew comm systems and scanners took a significant amount of energy away from the pool that was reserved for a light craft's propulsion systems.

"Mr. Summer, activate the rail guns, and target the crippled frigate," as Aronimus said this, the limping frigate began to detach from its hunt and attempt to escape. This was unusual even to Aronimus, who was an experienced veteran, for he had never witnessed a pirate attempting to escape.

"Fire the cannon."

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M
ADAM was shocked when the AI TAU ghosted the unknown AI away from him, it was not a scenario he had anticipated. While he was pondering all the potentials, variables and implications of such an event the alarms went off. He started observing the situation and after an overly long analysis began preparing firing solutions and scenarios, covering literally everything short of an FTL or Hyperdrive leap to be used as an engagement mechanism. His overly extensive calculations took him awhile, especially because he linked them in sequence to adapt per the scenario, he hated redoing his math.

When Aronimus ordered the cannon on the escaping vessel, he altered the trajectory a bit before uploading his firing sequence, even accounting for the particle cannon. According to his scanners the altered shot had killed all inhabitants of the vessel without damaging the ship, granted scanners only showed life in the cockpit...regardless everything else was perfectly salvageable.

"My apologies admiral, it would seem that the emotion of surprise and shock were more severe than I had anticipated. As you can see I've prepared adaptive firing sequences and tactics and locked them in, you may peruse them at your leisure but all in all there's nothing more for the bridge to do here. However we may want some birds out as soon as possible, as shown in the data their presence on the field within within the next 5 minutes increases the odds of success to 87.63 percent. A strike team drop onto the vessel to counter any potential boarding parties is also recommended but it will have to be done on the fly." His hologram shrugged, "The use of the suit testers would be most effective, according to past records those 2 should be enough of a stall to get the ship into safe distance for a full sweep. As for the ship I kept you from destroying a retrieval team should be able to bring back enough gear for us to track their signals and allow total destruction on the local base."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Clyde

The recoil from the canon rocked the ship; a sudden jerking that would knock down anyone who wasn't well balanced. The fire from the main canon seared through empty space and... glanced the frigate.

Clyde leaped to his feet, slammed his hands down, and stared slack jawed out the window. "ADAM... You turned my shot!? Why!? Now they're still a problem! And who knows if that canon even works anymore! Who even gave you access to the canon!?" Clyde sputtered out a few more pointless questions. He was shocked at the AI's behavior. Adam had taken over the gun nobody told him to fire, decided all of the crew's actions for the rest of the encounter, and told the Admiral he did his job for him. It wasn't even the tactician AI. It was just the ship AI. Who had told him to do this? Who programmed this behavior in him? Clyde slumped back into his chair. If the bridge's job was over, he supposed he had nothing further to add.

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau took the Admirals departure to the Bridge as a definite answer. He remained with Max there to keep him company, but sent parts of himself roaming the ship to observe the handling of the first battle for the crew. Most of the humans on board seemed focused and calm, on the outside, but medical scans confirmed increased heart-rates ship wide. Part of Tau monitored the Bridge, he did not feel the need to hide from Adam any longer, but he would remain undetected by the crew until the Admiral gave him permission to reveal himself. He found his connection with the Admiral and kept it maintained in case he felt the need to communicate something to the Admiral. Adam showed some signs of activity, changing the firing patterns before the shots went, Tau watched it happen before anyone else could, being able to see Adam changing the settings on the computer.

He accessed his link to the Admiral, "My observations have thus far concluded that AI unit ADAM is not primarily suited for handling combat systems, he is more of an exploratory and researcher AI, as opposed to a combat AI" Tau said, prodding for a reason to actually do his primary duty, and reveal himself to the ship's occupants in order to familiarize himself with the ship even further. "For now I would suggest preparing a maneuver to avoid the enemy's retaliation attack, as they still have active scanners to trace the origin of the Railgun shots and pinpoint our location."

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

"On the contrary Adam, we have more hostiles to deal with," the Admiral glanced at the sapphire being on the hologram.

As he said this, an outburst came from navigator Summer who was outright incensed at the altering of the trajectory.

“Mr. Summer calm yourself, the precision blast delivered by Adam’s calculation may have left us with something very valuable, the enemy ship,”

By now the Salient had turned a full 90 degrees from its original course and was facing the oncoming pirate ships. The rail guns on the fore section of the battlecruiser stared down the marauders, who were still busy hitting the Altamus vessels. By now, both freighters had lost significant speed and were trudging along before they became carcasses left to rot in deep space while the vulture pirates picked at them.

"My observations have thus far concluded that AI unit ADAM is not primarily suited for handling combat systems, he is more of an exploratory and researcher AI, as opposed to a combat AI" T.A.U had linked himself on a secure channel to the Admiral’s own neural interface.

He made a good point, actually an excellent one, what was the point of having a tactical AI on board without relying on it during a combat situation.

"For now I would suggest preparing a maneuver to avoid the enemy's retaliation attack, as they still have active scanners to trace the origin of the Railgun shots and pinpoint our location."

“That would be a negative, Tau, I’d like to face them head on,” Aronimus wasn’t one to shy away from a battle he could easily win, and this was a battle he could easily win. He decided to allow T.A.U to operate the firing sequences and targeting trajectories of the rail guns for the duration of the engagement, as well as calculating the proper direction in which to steer the ship.

“Adam, let Tau handle our strategy of engagement, you can stand down for the duration of the battle,”

T.A.U’s flames erupted alongside A.D.A.M from the ringed projector on the Admiral’s desk as he said this.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

A.D.A.M
It irked ADAM to be side lined by a lower tech AI, but there was little he could do besides comply. "Understood Admiral." With that he logged out of the holopad and stepped into the background of the data stream since noncompliance would get him shut down. He intended to wait and watch, let the tactical AI do its job and have its glory; meanwhile he'd watch, learn and improve...a marked benefit of his more advanced design.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau left part of himself with Max to keep the child-like AI company, and moved the rest of himself to the Bridge. He nodded to the Bridge Officers in greeting. "Hello there" he said, taking a quick glance at Adam's irritated hologram. Tau accessed the railgun systems as well as interfacing with the navigational controls to send suggested routes and movements to the Navigation Officer. Tau turned to the Admiral, "Enemy ships are preparing to fire, permission to fire boosters to avoid the shots And stay on target?" Tau asked, configuring tactics that could be used to support the Admiral's wish to face the enemy head on. Tau brought his skills to bear with the Railguns, charging them to fire. "Also sir, in what Capacity shall I use the Railguns in terms of damage to enemy ships, I'd suggest destroying one and crippling the other if you wish to extract information from them, their databanks will be almost identical to each other anyhow" he said, coming up with creative firing solutions for the next volley. Tau was ready to prove his worth in combat and succeed in his tasks.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

"Yes, you have permission to increase the propulsion systems," the Admiral nodded, watching the dogfight that was taking place beyond the Salient. He observed from the comfort of the bridge, but he knew that it was hell out there. He didn't even need to turn on the chatter to know that the Federation fighters were swooping in and out as the pirates dodged and fired off their own weapons.

One Federation fighter was being chased on the tail by a sleek pirate fighter, Aronimus noted another Federation fighter crossing the former's path. It was a maneuver known as the "Thach Weave," where one plane was tailed and its ally would cross its path, then they would loop again closing the circle. The pursuer would then be placed in the cross-hairs of the second fighter, and would be blown apart, which was exactly what happened. The Admiral chuckled at the instance, knowing that the weave was one of the oldest tactics used in dogfights, its conception was in the middle 20th century. Of course, that was when engines and fuel compartments were located in a virtually well-known location, nowadays the complexity and variations in designs made it difficult to pin-point vital weaknesses at the onset of a battle.

The fact that it had been successfully executed just then meant that the Federation Naval Academy was doing something right.

"This is Chief medical Director Mackenzie reporting that all medical bays are on standby, ready to receive any wounded," the message came over the intercom to the bridge.

"Understood, Dr. Mackenzie," Hansen replied for the Admiral who was busy brainstorming the next move with the tactical A.I. T.A.U.

"Also sir, in what Capacity shall I use the Railguns in terms of damage to enemy ships, I'd suggest destroying one and crippling the other if you wish to extract information from them, their databanks will be almost identical to each other anyhow."

"I suppose you can wipe out the other frigate, seeing as how the other one has been nullified of anymore activity," the other frigate was still going strong as it launched its own multitude of gunships that had been lying in wait, all the while blasting away at the propulsion systems of the two Altamus freighters with its own set of close range auto cannons.

"Mr. Hansen, patch me through to the Altamus vessels on a separate channel."

"Aye, Captain," the Scotsman nodded as he typed away on his control panel.

Altamus vessel, Summerwind, Summerwind, what is your status?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

The enemy ships fired on the Salient, and Tau quickly acted, he launched the boosters on the bottom of the ship, pushing it upwards and out of the shot path, he then pitched the ship down slightly to give himself a better shot. The firing solution he had formed targeted the hottest sections of the enemy ship on thermal scanners, with hopes those areas were hot due to important systems activity, had a 47.4% chance of destroying the enemy vessel in one salvo, Tau liked those odds. "Firing Railguns on enemy ship" Tau announced, activating the firing mechanisms and watching his shots head towards the enemy ship. they hit their targeted areas almost spot on, lighting up the vessel with explosions at the impact points. Tau scanned the vessel, "It seems to be disabled, at least for now, its hull is stressed to dangerous levels" he reported, informing the Admiral of the results.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Eon-312 Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

The Admiral turned to Alice who looked as calm as the stillness of space. Her proposal merited some thought.

"Hmm, yes you should probably go down down there with security and medical personnel, let us hope that she or anyone else on her craft suffered injuries,"

He returned to T.A.U's report, both frigates were disabled now, the only hostiles remaining were the swarm of pirate fighter ships that were whipping in and around the hulls of their ships and firing back at the Federation fighters. However, after several minutes and several losses, the rest of the lighter craft began to withdraw, leaving their frigates behind for seizure. The original attack plan had failed and now they bailed. Aronimus was worried that they might have returned to base to report their losses and perhaps recuperate for an even larger attack. If that was the case, he'd have to call for support from any nearby Federation patrols. This would put them drastically behind schedule, considering that they had not activated FTL drives yet.

Eon had been standing in the corner, perhaps waiting for an order; it wasn’t until the Admiral turned away from viewing the situation that he noticed the android. A pentagonal badge with two wings protruding from the top corners welded onto Eon’s torso designated him as a multi-purpose machine. The identification tag located next to the badge was inscribed with the word “Eon," followed by a dash a three digit designation.

“You there, report to the engine room and check with the engineers immediately, see if you can’t make yourself useful,” the Admiral hoped to give the bot something to keep him busy rather than have him stand there like a useless automaton.

Then cheers erupted from the bridge crew as another pirate fighter's wings were clipped apart by the twin blasters of a Federation fighter. So far the Federation ships had successfully avoided casualties while delivering massive blows to the raiders.

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Eon-312 Character Portrait: Grenadine Davis

0.00 INK

#, as written by Lufia
*EDIT! Reason: simultaneous posts"
Eon heard the admiral's orders clearly and gave a nod, "yes sir" he said mechanically as he ran out of the bridge and towards the engineering bay. Running through hallways he fell again tripping over a bottle that was knocked over, deciding to use his stabilizers in Eon's feet he regained balance and proceeded to glide across the ground using them and jet-pack. Finally reaching the engineering bay Eon immediately saw someone on the ground and rushed over seeing the other man there, "Is she okay?" he said as he saw her in his arms seeing and recognizing her glasses, "Grenadine...? Are you okay?" he heard no response and saw the blood on her hand, 'Diagnosis: passed out due to blood loss. Vital organs: active. Danger: possible life threatening.' Eon looked at the other person whom brought her to the back, "she may need medical attention, I am taking her to the medical bay." he said apathetically as he swooped Grenadine into his arms and proceeded to the medical bay at a hastily speed. He arrived at the Medical wing and saw a few medics, "Excuse me, but this one seems to have a substantial injury, she is passed out and in possible need of medical aid." He said mechanically laying her on a bed. He after checking all the engines and everything. He proceeded to the bridge with a analysis of the engine room, "all engines completely functional, although an engineer was injured, she should be fine and is in the medical bay." he said with a salute.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

0.00 INK

With dramatic flair ideally suited to fighter pilot shenanigans, Hyena's painted Rapier splits the space between Tiaan and the missles that dog her. The energy emission from her engines disrupts their targeting computers, confusing their lock and turning their attentions onto her, instead. They turn onto her tail as she enters a back-breaking loop. Since they had already been at a right angle, the twin missles are unable to duplicate the Rapier's turn, and loose their lock halfway through the deadly merry-go-round.

As they sail off into open space before detonating harmlessly, Hyena's voice answers Tiaan with ever-present good cheer, "Of course I'm here. Where the hell else would I be?"

A continued loop brings her around onto the fighters that Tiaan had so recently pissed off, and a flurry of shots onto the top of the trailing craft breaks its spine in a flash of metal and broken electricals. The lead wobbles and breaks away from Tiaan with Hyena right behind it, twisting to match its evasive maneuvers.

"Dont let me catch you!" She openly taunts the unfortunate bastard, the hardy military craft rapidly closing the gap on the patchwork pirate fighter, "Almost there, I said dont let me catch you!"

Unable to out-turn the Rapier, the other pilot attempts to corkscrew out of the circle and throw her. It exposes his belly for a half-second, and like a cat with a mouse, it was all she was waiting for. A nasty laugh accompanies her shots, and the other fighter disintegrates beneath the withering punishment.

Rolling evasively, she expects someone else to be taking advantage of her dogged persuit of her target, but no shots come. She levels out, eyes darting across the starscape, to find the surviving fighters running. Really the only smart thing to do, now that their frigates were dead or dying and the Salient's full compliment was still going strong. A flash of annoyance in the pit of her gut, like she'd been cheated of her game. Hyena puts the retreating engines on her nose and throws the throttle foreward in persuit.

"Crap! They're getting away!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

0.00 INK

Miranda wasn’t happy about being unable to properly execute a counter-attack. She wanted to turn everyone shooting at her to bloody scrap metal, but the rage the woman had needed to be pushed way down deep so her mind was clear. Two tones emitted from the fuel reservoir noting she had less than five percent remaining. She needed a safe place to set down and just like the voice of angel came her go-ahead.

Roger that, Ronin. Aye, yeh're clear for docking, try not to damage any ships on yeh way in

She laughed. "Acknowledged comm, Alta-Corp 973 coming to roost. I'll try not to scratch your paint. Ronin out."

The main problem was getting there with so many problems stacked against her. Her engines were about two hundred degrees from turning into a white-hot lump of unserviceable metal, her fuel was getting so low it wouldn't even drown a kitten and to add to mechanical bullshit, assholes were shooting at her.

Ronin, this is Salient. There is an affirmative on contacts, you've got five hostiles on your tail, turn off communications systems and anything extra to save power.

"Oh, just perfect." She said aloud, if Miranda had more fuel she could afford to fly a bit more fancy, though her Savannah class gunship was not a juke-and-jive sort of vessel. The craft was designed to go hard and fast without remorse leaving the enemy hating life, broken like an admiral's daughter after a fleet party. It was capable of stopping quick and then changing direction, avoiding interceptors once maybe twice before the limited repertoire ran its course. However by then one of your other wingmates killed the fucker. Miranda needed help.

No worries, Ronin, we'll delouse your six. Jesus ... And give you a haircut to boot. We're apparently a full-service sort. Make for the hangar and tell 'em Hyena sent you; you'll get the best seat in the house.

The Salient was a beast. Miranda at least picked a winner, always nice having a capital ship in your corner; takes the uncertainty out space combat. "Copy that Hyena, heading for the bay now, maybe I’ll get a wax while I’m there, it’s been a while. Out." It was already getting crowded with a mass of federation fighters coming to meet the pirates and Ronin was stuck in the middle. Seeing several fighters wiz by her tilting wings was comforting as least she was covered. Miranda took her comm-array and internal climate control off-line sending the power to manoeuvring thrusters. Throttling down to seventy-five percent her powerplant made a series of rapid clunks; metallic parts seizing and scraping in protest.

The hanger bay was large and accommodating, like a luxury state room on a pleasure yacht, not like the cramped cargo hold she usually landed in. Sure the regulations of the Federation were stupid and most of the fleet were pricks but they did have nice digs. Cutting her main engines, she coasted into the bay. She found an empty space; manoeuvring thrusters popping and whishing angling her into the slot before Miranda deployed her landing struts.

Ronin shut down her ship and opened her canopy. She was unclear as to what to do now. As a guest here she probably couldn't just wander the ship without someone getting butt-hurt. Miranda took off her helmet and shook out her blonde hair that was in dire need of washing. She hopped down from her craft and patted its side. Several people in coveralls were gathered around a radio listening to chatter coming from the squadrons of fighters on their sortie. One looked at her and frowned. "You the security vessel?" She nodded. "Someone will take a look at your craft after all our ships are back and inspected, they are the priority."

Miranda nodded again. "Thanks." She mumbled. A woman by the looks of her a higher up maybe XO came up and introduced herself. "Hi, Miranda Peters, people call me Ronin. Lieutenant Commander huh? That mean you're the person I talk to for the debrief. I know how you military types love debriefings. I gotta say thanks for the assist."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Everyone in the bridge was standing, applause, cheers, fists struck the air, and most of all laughter. It had been awhile since the Admiral heard the outward expressions of joy pour forth from those who served under him. Perhaps it was because he had not commanded vessels in war zones for a certain period of time now. A warm feeling flowed within his heart as he smiled to fellow crew members, but he held that sensation in check though. There was more to be done, the two Altamus vessels were damaged and he couldn't let them rest among the debris while he continued on with his own objectives. He intended to question the crews and the captains regarding the appearance of the pirates. He hoped to record the information and send a report back to Command detailing the events that had transpired just now. Hopefully, they would send some escorts and repair ships to help the two corporate freighters finish the last leg of their original course.

A message then came in from Commander Dunaway, Aronimus assumed it regarded the two pirate vessels.

"Yes, Commander Dunaway, what is it?"

"Sir, I've deployed two teams to investigate the two pirate vessels, maybe they could find some valuable information left in the data banks, or from any remaining pirates that might have survived the initial salvos of our ship,"

"I understand Commander, carry on, I will await your findings," the Admiral closed off the communique.

"Sir, the Altamus vessels aren't responding...," Hansen reported to him, for the past five minutes while the dogfight was occurring, Hansen had tried to get a link to the two vessels. To no avail though, Aronimus had forgotten about that, as he was busy watching the display of Federation fighter superiority.

"Perhaps their comm links are down," the Admiral turned the communique with Commander Dunaway back on.

"Commander Dunaway, dispatch the teams on a follow up, the comm links of the Altamus vessels may be down,"

"You want them to check in on the crews of the freighters?"

"Correct."

"I understand."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

0.00 INK

"Lieutenant Commander Chen to Admiral Weston," the Admiral picked up the incoming call on a separate channel.

"Miss Peters has requested that we send a general hail out for Cronos aboard the Summerwind. Code words 'salvo fire, wins wars.' She has also asked that we send an encrypted message to one of the other transport squadrons for a replacement escort for the freighters. I am bringing Miss Peters to guest quarters now. She was the only one on board."

"I see," Aronimus paused before continuing.

"Do as you see fit Ms. Chen, Weston out," Aronimus turned to petty officer Hansen who was still celebrating with fellow personnel.

"Mr. Hansen relay this code on a secure link to the Summerwind, it's a hail for Cronos. 'Salvo fire, wins wars.'"

"Aye, Captain..." the Scotsman typed the words in. Hansen hadn't really served aboard a real ship before, but he was one of the few that were quickly getting to used to the ship. He could tell that the ship was getting used to him and his accent. He waited for several seconds as the system began to check for the authentication.

"Yeh're clear sir," Hansen reported as the tone for authentication rung from the system.

The Admiral nodded at Hansen and asked him to relay an encrypted transmission to the headquarters of Tartarus Group. Although Aronimus would've gotten word to Command for confirmation, perhaps they would have a different opinion as to who should escort the ships back to their departure location. He'd need to question those aboard the two vessels.

He activated another channel, one for Commander Dunaway.

"Commander Dunaway, cancel the follow up, we've got a clear channel to the Altamus vessels.

"I understand sir," the channel closed, Aronimus resumed his link with the corporate freighters.

Altamus vessel Summerwind, Summerwind, this is the Salient, what is your status? I repeat, what is your status?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau waited patiently for orders, scanning the enemy vessels, there were lifeforms on board, so Tau accessed the messaging system and sent an alert to the Drop ships to let them know there were confirmed crew alive on the ship, and that they would likely be hostile. He checked on the ship's defense and attack systems, realizing not a single shot had landed on the Salient, the larger ships were disabled and the fighters were distracted. Tau noted it as a complete success to this point. He addressed an order that have been scrapped earlier due to the battle. He turned to face the Navigation Officer, "Mr. Summer, the Admiral would like to see you in his officer after this, unless he has changed his mind, you can ask him, if you like"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Alta-Corp Vessel Summerwind, we read you Salient. We're undamaged but in need of an escort, which I'm getting covered as we speak; one of our carriers the Queen Gertrude. Our protocols keep comms clear during combat unless it's a trusted source, we weren't ignoring you. You just didn't have the magic word. Tell Ronin thanks for looking out and thanks to you guys for taking out the trash. We'll be underway as soon as our escort arrives if you can stick around until then. Summerwind, out.

The rest of the bridge crew resumed their previous activities as the field cleared of hostiles. The lumbering hull of the Salient slowly approached the two Altamus vessels, before finally stopping within reach of the two vessels.

Salient to Summerwind, we will remain behind until your vessel escorts have arrived, Aronimus paused.

The Admiral turned to one of his junior grade lieutenants, Francis Napier, who was attending his own systems. Napier was of mix descent, a majority of which was French, a recent graduate of the Naval Academy. He did not have a distinguished academic career during his time in the Academy, and was sent to serve on a small frigate. After two years time, he requested for a re-assignment, where the Department of the Navy reassigned him to the Salient, against his wishes. He wasn't exactly enthusiastic to be dragged to the far reaches of known space for obscure reasons. However, following the small victory enjoyed by the Salient over the pirates, he felt a bit of pride and excitement.

"Mr. Napier, can you do a scan on the two Altamus vessels to assess their damage?"

"Right away sir," Napier spoke with a hidden accent that even the Admiral could not distinguish from an accent-less voice.

Located in the underbelly of the Salient were multiple sensors and scanners, which then beamed directly at the two vessels. The beam bathed the two vessels in a thin field of particles. Once the reading was acquired, Napier began to read out the assessment.

"Well, both vessels still have their propulsion systems working, though the Centurion has one damaged drive, as well as extensive damage to the external hull. The Summerwind has damage, but not as severe. Your orders sir?"

The Admiral rubbed his beard, before coming up with an answer. He could send some of the Salient's repair drones, but those were strictly for federal vessels plus the Altamus vessels already had another escort en route to their location. Aronimus returned the link to the Altamus vessels.


I am inclined to inquire about the nature of your cargo. I want to know why the pirates went after you.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Eon-312

0.00 INK

#, as written by Lufia
Eon saw as the ship pulled over to the others, the ships were damaged and needed repairs Eon remembered he has some basic ship tools that could be of assistance to a degree he walked up to the Admiral, "Shall I go over to the ship too?" He asked with a salute, "I am equipped with a drill and arc welder, sir" Eon knew he'd be useful and could assess the damage, and even possibly repair the drive on the Centurion with the hull. He hoped for the best as far as he could.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Eon-312

0.00 INK

Aronimus turned to the enthusiastic android, who proposed that he help repair the corporate vessels. Although Aronimus knew that androids were well equipped for such duties, Eon wouldn't be enough, plus he didn't have authorization to send Eon to repair a private vessel. All personnel of Federation vessels would be delegated to duties on board Federation vessels not anywhere else.

"No that won't be necessary Eon," the Admiral returned to awaiting a response from the Summerwind.

"Mr. Hansen, you think you can find our friend here something to do?"

The Scotsman turned to the Admiral, he looked baffled, he didn't have the first idea as to what he could assign to the android. He scratched his head of unkempt red hair before coming up with a suitable duty.

"Eh? Why don't you go to the hangar, a damaged gunship should be docked in there. See if you can't help the engineers repair that," Hansen turned to his control panel and activated the internal communications systems.

"Any available engineers, report to the Alpha Hangar, we've got a damaged ship that needs repairs," Hansen turned off the communications and nodded to the android.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

The fleeing pirates had several kilometers' worth of lead on her Rapier, and while that normally wouldnt be enough distance to outrun the Federation fighter, it is just enough distance to make Hyena doubt. With no noise but her humming engines, it's enough time for the killing rush to cool, and for the niggling little thought to wriggle in that her six was hanging out in open space with no one to cover it. Much farther, and she'd be too far to even run back into the safety of the Salient's range if she got into trouble. Not even the temptation of more 'fun' mixing it up in another dogfight is enough to dismiss that threat, and reluctantly Hyena eases the throttle back from its stops.

In the hangar, the fighter pilot helmet and flightsuit that Tiaan adresses turns around, and it's not Hyena; just some other shmuck who looks vaguely confused when she calls him a flygirl. What, single-seat pilots all look alike to you or somethin? Trollolol.

The flickering red marks on her scopes reach the edge of her range and blink out of contact, and she shows the Rapier's wings in a wide turn back towards the Salient and its waiting hangar.

"Salient Control, Rapier 338, hostiles are no-factor." She reports glumly, "Do you want me to maintain a patrol until the civies get their escort or head back to the barn?"

Taking the time to run a functionality check in the meantime, Hyena is pleased that her craft is still in fighting shape after a furball like that. It'd gotten hairy quick when Tiaan had sent an out-of-control pirate in her direction, but the timely call for evasive maneuvers had really saved her ass from becomming a victim of fratricide. Not that her shoulder appreciated the harness digging into it during the sharp snap she'd had to execute, but that was a small price to pay for still feeling at all.

Life was remarkably fragile in the void, especially for such a small craft as a fighter. The whole cockpit compartment was a titanium and transparasteel bathtub, but if that tenuous sanctuary was breached, she'd be sitting in ice-cold space with only the discomfortingly thin fabric of her flightsuit between her and vaccuum. If -that- had even the smallest failure... Well, they say it lasted just long enough for you to feel it. Still, all of the above was prefferable to having some vital system punctured, leaving her spiraling - but alive - out into the endless black. Waiting for her air to run out seemed like pretty much the shittiest way to go, and as an afterthought Hyena makes a note to see the armory; it might be worth bringing along a pistol for just such an occasion...

With a quick shake, she disperses the last vestiges of adrenaline along with those gloomy thoughts, returning to basking in a pleased post-combat glow while she awaits a response.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Aboard Altamus Corporation Freighter Summerwind

Cronos wiped his mouth after taking a drink of water from a large plastic jug. "You guys got the best water, ours tastes like rotten eggs sometimes, kinda depends if the water recycler decides to work right or not, you know?" Cronos could get used to quality of life corporate service afforded; everything was clean and bathrooms didn't all smell like sex. Petty Officer Crane turned in his chair. "Sir, the Queen Gertrude has shown up on our screen but is ten minutes away, also the Salient is advancing on our position six zero zero meters and holding, she's hailing us." Rubbing his chin, Cronos wondered when it would start; one thing about the Federation, your business was their business. "Patch it through, man." He sighed.

Salient to Summerwind, we will remain behind until your vessel escorts have arrived.

Crane made a note of message in the log book and noticed the Salient was scanning them. He didn't let Cronos know as the man would probably be upset about it for some reason. The Alta-Corp ships didn't have anything to hide, unlike mercenary ships - god only knew what secrets they held. "Sir we have a follow-up message from the Salient."

I am inclined to inquire about the nature of your cargo. I want to know why the pirates went after you.

The ten other bridge officers all looked worried. Transporting any cargo was dangerous; no matter the contents someone always wanted it. Duillium was different, it was a high commodity ore; used in both the civilian and military capacity and these ships were at seventy percent yield. Seven hundred thousand tons of raw ore split between them; a prize that a criminal group would do anything to seize, for that reason Duillium is never mentioned over open comm lines.

"Crane, send an encrypted message to the Salient use the Altamus Top Black coding, a captain of a Federation ship would have the clearance to access it. We don't want to risk more visitors. Message is follows; "Transporting 700,000 tons of Duillium ore for Mars refinery." Now open a channel." Cronos said.

"Message prepared and channel clear, sir." Crane didn't like all this secret stuff, he wanted this run to be over so he could put in for vacation and spend some time with his cats.

"Salient this is Summerwind. First, thanks for sticking around. Second, to answer your inquiry an encrypted communique is being sent. Acknowledge receipt. Any follow up questions should be sent in the same way. Summerwind, out." Cronos looked at his watch and was happy Gertie was only minutes away now, they could finally get on the move and not be sitting there like an all-you-can-pillage-buffet.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Salient Control, Rapier 338, hostiles are no-factor. Do you want me to maintain a patrol until the civies get their escort or head back to the barn?

"Rapier 338, this is Salient, the field is clear of hostiles, yeh might as well spin around and head back, Salient out." Hansen closed the channel, but not before they received a transmission coming from the Summerwind.

Salient this is Summerwind. First, thanks for sticking around. Second, to answer your inquiry an encrypted communique is being sent. Acknowledge receipt. Any follow up questions should be sent in the same way. Summerwind, out.

The Admiral turned to Hansen, who gave him a nod of approval after the encrypted message had arrived.

"Summerwind, this is Salient, we received your transmission. Salient, out." Aronimus turned once more to the petty officer who began to decode the encryption.

"Aye, Captain, they're carryin' Duilium as the cargo," the Admiral's eyes narrowed, now it made complete sense.

"700,000 tons of it sir! Aye, that be worth trillions on the market," Hansen was mystified at the quantity that was given.

"Calm down Mr. Hansen," Aronimus was similarly surprised as to why only two pirate frigates attempted to raid the freighters.

Normally, quantities that ranged over 250,000 tons would attract a larger contingent of pirate ships. Yet, there were only two frigates and around three dozen fighters to harass the vessels, granted that the escorts were only five gunships, but even then a cargo of this magnitude was enough to bankroll a small scale war effort. Marauders would be more than ready to swarm two freighters with a meager wing of escorts. Another oddity was the fact that the pirates had withdrawn so readily, leaving behind their two frigates. All of these details didn't seem to add up to Aronimus.

"Mr. Hansen keep your eye on the monitors in case any more hostiles show their faces,"

"Aye sir," Hansen saluted the Admiral.

"Tau, keep the weapon systems online as well," lines of worry began to appear on the Admiral's forehead.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded, "Yes Admiral, weapons systems are hot" he says, complying with orders. He checked in on the Hangar bay Cameras to inquire the condition of the fighters and gunships, "Shall I keep our pilots on standby for launch? Their ships don't seem too damaged" he asked. Having as many assets as they could pull would be good. The load they were defending could bring out quite a large group of Pirates. Tau checked on the Rail Guns, like the rest of the ship, they had taken no damage in the attack. They were being kept hot, but that could cause overheating, so Tau let the charges drop slightly to cool things down, but keep the ship ready to fire at a moments notice. Tau then checked in on the scans, looking for anything out there. "We seem to be in the clear so far" he notes aloud, to the bridge.

The setting changes from bridge to Central Observation Deck

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

The Admiral decided he would go on and inspect the wounded gunship pilot, who by now was probably being entertained by the Lieutenant Commander. He walked forth through the large bustling corridors; his way was lighted by the many lights located above him on the ceiling, and below him on the walkway. Crew members traversed the corridors hourly for their own reasons, as he walked by, they saluted. Personnel instantly recognized the service dress that was Aronimus’ usual attire, accompanied by the adornment of five stars which represented Admiralty.

He gave them a nod each time for them to carry on, so he could carry on. Although he could’ve contacted Alice through the communicator, he felt it was a bit detached and decided he would personally meet the lone pilot who had managed to survive the pirate raid. A friend once told him that detachment bred competence, and to some extent that was true. The Admiral always proceeded objectively in the middle of a battle, remaining calm, and keeping the facts straight.

Logic, to Aronimus, was his lifeblood. To follow one’s heart was easy, to follow one’s mind, that was the challenge. The Admiral strode along until he reached one of the larger observation decks; it had two or three loiterers staring at the stars through its massive view port. An overhead teleprompt advised all personnel in the observation area to turn off any telecommunications device which applied to almost all personnel on board if they were in an observation area. Crew members were required to carry a communicator at all times, that was newly instituted rule in the Navy. The engineers claimed that the telecommunication devices broadcasted signals through the view port on unsecure channels, allowing those with malicious intent to hack the system.

The personnel gazed at the stars that hung like jewels among the black velvet drape of space. Aronimus gave the vastness of space a simple glance, one of many that he had given years ago, before continuing on to Alice’s quarters.

The setting changes from central-observation-deck to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

After traversing through the many corridors that were weaved throughout the ship into a tight knit circuit allowing for ease and convenience, the Admiral finally arrived at his second in command's quarters. It was spacious, though not quite as expansive, when compared to the Captain’s quarters, but nonetheless a luxurious suite in its own right.

Originally, he intended to enter using his key card, as he approached the sealed door. However, he stopped himself, for he realized that he didn’t exactly want to interrupt the Lieutenant Commander out of the blue. Yet, crew members were expected to be ready without a moment’s notice, even if their superior was coming to see them.

Aronimus wasn’t in a rush, so he decided to pull his card out and waved it over the holopad right beside the blast doors, which received the signal from the card. It would glow green, and then send a message to any occupants within the quarters to confirm entry to anybody outside. This privilege belonged to select rooms, the ship Captain’s Quarters, and any superior officer quarters, two of which were being inhabited right now, one for Commander Dunaway and one for Lieutenant Commander Chen.

Most key cards could only allow one to wipe across the holopad and await confirmation from the inhabitant, with the exception of one’s own quarters. Each keycard that was given to personnel prior to the mission was in fact their identification card, as well as their quarters’ card. The Captain’s card however, could be slid through the slot and allow instant access to any personal quarter.

The Admiral retracted his card, and placed it in one of the pockets of his pants, and folded his arms behind his back once more.

“Ms. Chen, are you in your quarters right now? Because if you are, I’d like to have a word with you,” Aronimus paused, waiting for a response.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Alice looked up sharply. The Admiral... of course. She brushed her hair back from her shoulders and moved to admit him. She had nothing to fear - there was nothing unusual about the Lieutenant Commander eating dinner with crew members. It was one of the most common methods of forming bonds of loyalty between the different classes of officers. There was no reason for concern that she was out of uniform, either. Alice was off duty for the night.

Except in the case of emergencies, of course.

The door slid open, and Alice saluted the Admiral properly.

"Admiral Weston," she greeted him calmly, gesturing for him to enter. She said nothing more - it was the Admiral's privilege to introduce the conversation. After all, Alice did not know yet what he had come to discuss.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

0.00 INK

After the salutations, the Admiral stepped in, inspecting Alice’s attire. She had on informal wear that was very close to formal.

“I wanted to talk to you about several things, for one, the Tartarus Group pilot, and several other private matters,”

He turned away for a moment, and observed the appetizers on the dinner table, one set out for the Lieutenant Commander, and another for a guest. Aronimus assumed that she was awaiting a guest, perhaps a fellow crew member, no matter though.

“Hmm, am I interrupting something?” the Admiral turned to Alice, “I can come back later when you are available Ms. Chen.”

The Admiral only said that out of courteousness, but he expected the Lieutenant Commander to be ready for anything, even if it meant that her dinner had to be delayed. Then a voice was heard,

"It's me... Tiaan, you don't have to go looking for me. I'm... um... I'm here,” it was one of the crew members, one of the many that Admiral could not keep track of. To him, they were just numerous indiscriminant faces that lingered throughout the ship, and saluted him as he crossed their paths. He knew though that they were they were the staple of a successful operation, and he would treat them with such a status.

Aronimus turned to Alice, “So you were expecting someone?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

The Admiral watched Alice dismiss her acquaintance before continuing on with his original priority. He obviously did not want to forestall Alice's dinner any longer, but it could wait in the face of more worldly matters.

"Right then," he paced slowly forward through her cabin. The fluorescent lighting was set to a dim, barely glinting off the metallic plating of the walls and floor. Aronimus turned to face the Lieutenant Commander, the lines of worry began to entrench themselves on his square forehead. The table was set neatly with the plates sparkling clean, as were the forks set in fashionable order alongside the knives on the tablecloth. An array of light fixtures formed in the shape of a rose, one that was composed of several steel plates, hung directly over the table. It provided the prominent lighting in the room, with the table being bathed directly under the spotlight.

"Firstly, how was our pilot? The one from Tartarus Group...was she injured, did she have any injured on board?" The Admiral paused, awaiting her answer. His throat was dry, almost often, with the exception of whenever he was drinking. Most of the time though, this dry throat was coupled with a deep voice, making the Admiral sound fairly gruff, yet at the same time his hair and beard added a touch of class and sophistication. This seemingly awkward combination was the focal point of Aronimus' outward appearance, which was at once presentable and respected. The question he posed was merely an introduction into the more important part of his reason as to why he met Alice. It was the appetizer before the entree, so to speak.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

"The pilot was unharmed," Alice reported calmly, meeting the Admiral's eyes without fear. "She was the only member of her crew. That considered, I believe that she was very lucky. Things could have gone much worse with a one-man crew." She nodded to herself. She'd had experience with the chaos which could go down on a ship meant for multiple and manned by one... of course, it had been a little different. She had been alone on the ship with the psychopath who stole it.

Shaking her head slightly to distract herself from that train of thought, she gazed through the dim light at the Admiral's careworn face.

"I suspect that there is more to this than the pilot's health, sir?" she prompted quietly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

"She was the only member of her crew. That considered, I believe that she was very lucky. Things could have gone much worse with a one-man crew,”

“I see,” Aronimus paused for Alice to continue.

"I suspect that there is more to this than the pilot's health, sir?" she prompted quietly.

“Mmh, quite perceptive Ms. Chen. You are correct, I did not come to talk mostly about the pilot,” Aronimus paused.

“The destination remains the same, but we have new mission objectives, from Federation High Command, directly from Admiral Fontaine,” the Admiral wanted to glean Alice’s reaction to this news. He expected her to accept it calmly, without surprise.

“I planned on meeting you and Commander Dunaway in my quarters, but the recent turn of events postponed that move. Thus, I decided to drop by at your quarters and perhaps deliver the news,”

“I can’t disclose any information yet, so carry on, we’ll have a briefing later. Presumably, after the Altamus vessels have been escorted out of this sector and our teams have returned to the ship for debriefing,”

“So, carry on Ms. Chen, I won’t delay your dinner much longer,” Aronimus smiled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau listened to Max, he had to agree it was strange, "I myself was only recently activated on board the ship, but have been on duty elsewhere. There are many ways someone could have uploaded you without being noticed though, it will be tough to figure out" he said, he knew the simple answer to the second part of Max's questions, "Well, we missed the first shot thanks to some unwanted help, which may have given them the thought they could beat the Salient, but our second salvo left them crippled, so badly that they cannot even retreat." he said.

Tau was somewhere else as well, he was in the Second in Command's quarters, watching a conversation. He was still scanning the enemy ships as well, watching for any dangers to the troops they had searching it. He had found something odd on the ship their soldiers were on, he felt he should inform the Admiral, even if it meant interrupting his discussion here. Tau's form appeared on one of the consoles near the two officers. "I apologize for interrupting, but I thought you might like to know that I have picked up life signs on the pirate vessel who are unarmed and are not wearing any gear or weapons. I think they might be prisoners"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Clyde - Corridors

It had been some time since the space skirmish had ended- Clyde had outlived his usefulness on the bridge. He sat and watched for a while, but he was nearly as useless as his "co-navigator". He left silently, and nobody paid any mind. He figured he would go grab a bite to eat at the nearest mess hall. While he ate, he cleared some disk space in his mind and looked through the footage he had recorded from all over the ship since his initial entry into the system. He sorted through it all, outwardly looking focused on his meal. Pilot banter, insignificant comments, Hyena's party (He would be attending. Something to do.), comm links from the battle coming in live, the rampaging around the system caused by the anomaly AI.

He dug into the origins of Max as best he could. Unfortunately, according to all of his file descriptions and records he left behind, Max created itself on the system. It made no sense, but Clyde was fairly sure he was working with one of the most powerful computer networks in the known universe. Who knows what it's capable of.

Clyde remembered that he had also picked up a message from Admiral Fontaine a while back. He read its contents.
It held particular interest to Clyde. He would keep that to himself though- The Admiral would announce the mission on his own time.

New people. Prisoners on a frigate. Hostiles being blown apart by Bravo team (he was plugged into the suits, receiving all the information Commander Dunaway was). Unregistered passengers on the Salient. Ahh yes. Callsign Ronin... and...

Wait. Who the hell was that?

Clyde followed the unregistered passenger backwards through the logs to her arrival on the Salient. A stowaway. He returned his tray and walked out into the hallways, headed towards where the stowaway was now. He was still sifting through the logs in closer detail, looking for spoken words.

Taking her device out her pocket, she transmitted new message.

"Crew unprepared for counter attack, planning party. Everyone will be there. I suggest we strike now."

Pausing she waited for a response.

A crackle rang out and she heard, "Good job Rich Girl, we're in orbit behind the planet, tell us when to strike."

Replying she issued, "Roger."


Clyde froze in his tracks- the blood drained from his face. No way. There's no way the entire thing could have been a setup to destroy the Salient. They were just pirates. Right? No... Just pirates wouldn't have gotten a stowaway on board like that. What was he going to to with the spy? How was he going to save the ship? It was in his hands, and he needed to do something. In the time it took him to steady himself, he had run through all his thoughts of panic and composed a message and sent it directly to the Admiral's neural implant - graded with as many red flags as he could hack into the system. He didn't want to use something people could hear- they would panic.

"Admiral. I hope you greet this with the urgency I've labeled it.

Read into the details later- for now you must know that the Salient is in terrible danger. Not just the boarding crews- everyone.
The enemy lies in wait behind the nearest planet, and they're going to attack while the majority of the crew is engaged in illicit partying below decks, drunk out of their skulls on victory and bootleg alcohol.

Awaiting your orders."

After this, Clyde attached the details. A series of logs including the planning of Hyena's party, the transmission from the pirates, and the footage of the spy boarding the Salient. If only Clyde hadn't fallen behind in his observations while trying to maintain a human facade. The stowaway wouldn't have taken more than three steps before being gunned down by some autoturret on his watch. But now was a time for quiet and deliberation. The attack would not come until the party began. The spy would be there... contrary to her reports, the Salient would be ready.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Observation Port

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

The Admiral had just exited Alice's private dinner, and was gazing at the stars from one of the larger observation ports. His eyes were unwavering as he watched the stars glisten among the velvet drape of space. They hung like jewels in the distance, with the medium gas giant Themos V resting among the field of innumerable shining gems. Aronimus had spent quite a moment simply observing the beauty of the void, there was never a loss of aesthetic appeal.

Although their alignment and their light changed slightly as the decades, centuries, and millenniums went by, it went unnoticed by the eyes of men. Despite this, it remained something very mysterious and beyond the reach of mankind, and as a result, it never lost its mystique. It is one among many which humanity has yet to conquer, should there be the slightest chance that they could, it would spell an end for hope, adventure, desire, all the pleasures man has known.

As he pondered these thoughts, he received an instantaneous communique from Navigator Summer, and it was marked with so many red flags that it turned crimson. It was startling news indeed, news that fractured solitude, so harshly, so sharply, and so painfully. There was a stowaway on board that managed to relay the coordinates of the Salient, to a large contingent of pirate ships. It seemed almost beyond chance, almost as if it was orchestrated from the very day that the Salient departed from Rust City.

The means by which Summer acquired this information, did not matter at the present moment. The crew, were occupied with an illegal social that broke protocol beyond multiple echelons. The Admiral saw Petty Officer Hansen and Lieutenant Napier still occupied at their posts the last moment he left the bridge. Hopefully they were still manning their seats in the bridge, and not getting drunk off of cheap liquor.

The Admiral responded quickly to the call,

“Officer Summer, get to the bridge immediately! And tell any crew members you pass by to man their stations and spread the word, it is not a drill. You should know this more than anyone,” the Admiral hurried off in quickstep. He did not lock his arms behind his back, now he was striding to the bridge.

Then he changed channels, this time he called for Commander Dunaway.

“Commander, we have a stowaway on board in some hidden corner, send your men out apprehend the infiltrator on the double. I am relaying her position directly to you, and get your men ready. Boarding action may commence,”

“Boarding action? Sir…”

“The stowaway is a pirate, and she may have coordinated a strike to go down as a number of our crew were intoxicated in an illegal party,”

“I understand sir; I’ll get to it immediately,”

“What the hell are they doing, partying at such a time? This is what I get for accepting assignment as captain of a ship full of greenhorns,” he exhaled with derision at the thought. He had almost forgotten to tell Lieutenant Commander Chen about the current situation, but he was quick to mend that mistake by altering his channels directly to her.

“Lieutenant Commander Chen, we have a situation. You are needed at the bridge immediately; tell any crew members you meet to get to their posts ASAP. We’ve been sitting in a trap for the past hour. If you happen to pass by where the crew is holding their illegal social, tell the slackers to get to their stations instantly,” the Admiral quickened his pace once more.

He would’ve scorned himself for failing to recognize that situations such as these weren’t improbable, an Admiral at the age of 52. However, he realized that it would be no use, especially when he had to organize the crew. Things were going down fast, all he could hope for was that they were prepared for whatever may come. He would do his best to make sure that they were prepared.

The setting changes from observation-port to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Barracks

“Yes that’s correct; you should clear the area immediately. My analysts tell me that the device is expected to be near their drive core. The explosion would trigger a reaction from the core, and the blast would be larger than an ordinary device,” Atomsk had just relayed to the Altamus vessels to pull away from the frigates.

Alright understood Salient, we’re clearing the area. Summerwind out.

Atomsk then turned to the rest of the Marines, who were watching the situation unfurl in the war room. He was quick to send them out with orders; they were better off patrolling than idling.

“Alright I want you to cover this area,” Atomsk pointed a holographic overlay of the Salient’s interior being projected in the command center of the barracks.

He began directing different teams to cover different sections of the ship, preparing for any threat in any form to the ship. First and foremost though, he was intent on capturing the infiltrator before he or she sabotaged anything vital to the Salient. He pulled out a cigarette, it helped calm the nerves.


------


Bridge

The Admiral arrived at the bridge to find seven or eight crew members still attending to their duties, it wasn’t much, but Aronimus had worked with worse. JG Napier was in his seat, surprised to see the Admiral pace into the room so quickly.

He stood up immediately and saluted him, as did Petty Officer Hansen, “Admiral.”

“Hold the formalities, gentlemen,” the Admiral assumed his seat at his desk in bridge, elevated so he could oversee the activities of the bridge crew.

“Aye, Sir what brings yeh here at this time?” Hansen swiveled around in his seat.

“Put the ship on red alert, it has come to my attention that we may have a saboteur on board,” Hansen’s eyes widened as Napier grimaced at the news.

However, before they went to work, a thought crossed the Admiral’s mind. The infiltrator had ordered the hostile fleet to attack as the party commenced. If he alerted everyone on board, the pirates would realize that the Salient wouldn’t be caught by surprise.

“That’s not the least of our problems; a contingency of pirate ships will be striking our position whilst the majority of our crew are getting wasted in some corner of the ship,” the bridge crew, what few of them were present, were aghast. Napier, Hansen, and the others stood, frozen in their stance.

“Man your stations gentlemen. The battle isn’t over yet…” and with that rallying call, the crewmen went to their seats and monitors, preparing for the engagement.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

“Adam,” the Admiral called, the A.I. would instantly be summoned forth before the Admiral, appearing directly on his desk.

“Greetings Admiral, how may I assist you today…tonight rather.” the A.I. hadn’t been very active following his last maneuver which altered the main cannon’s trajectory.

The alteration allowed the blast to skirt through the hostile frigate’s bridge, leaving the rest of it intact for boarding teams. The Admiral proceeded to allow T.A.U. to take over control of the ship’s weaponry and halt A.D.A.M.’s maneuverings. After being relegated to other duties, the A.I. accepted his orders without complaint.

“Adam, I’m sure you are aware of our current dilemma, so I ask that you run a final systems check to make sure that the infiltrator did not leak any foreign data into our network,” the Admiral sat with his posture straightened, and his arms on the arm rest. He remained relax despite the utter chaos that would’ve overwhelmed lesser men.

“I understand Admiral, may I ask for your authorization to utilize more of my processing capabilities? Seeing as how this is an emergency?” the A.I. had already begun scanning the systems, while he posed the question.

Aronimus rubbed his sagely beard for a moment, deciding whether or not to allow A.D.A.M. access to more power.

”You don’t want to allow it too much power, otherwise problems might occur.”

“What kind of problems?”

“Adam…is a very advanced matrix for his time. You see, in A.I. Theory, there are five stages to an A.I. - creation, growth, stability, rampancy, and…metastability. Most A.I.s utilized by the military on ships or in the field are in the stage of stability. Stability lasts for approximately seven to eight years after the construct’s conception. After that, they may go mad, disobeying orders, using data systems to wreak havoc, which is known as rampancy. When A.I.s go rampant, they are no longer useable, meaning they must be destroyed. I had a previous theory that during the rampancy stage, A.I.s became absorbed in a self-delusion of grandeur, similar to a human being with schizophrenia. An A.I. would see its creators as mentally inferior.There are many theories as to how and why A.I.s go rampant, but there isn’t a definite law regarding the matter. One possible explanation is the processing power, when A.I.s are given too much of it, they’re likely to overload their systems because a critical mass has been reached.”

“And…metastability?”

“That…is a theory in A.I. Theory itself; no A.I. has ever reached that point, at least not to our knowledge. It is the point where A.I.s supposedly become conscious…sentient…a true person.”


The Admiral was lost in thought, "Admiral?" then A.D.A.M. rung in, bringing him back.

“You have my authorization, I will upgrade your capacity by point seven percent, and you have orders, now carry them out.”

“Affirmative Admiral, I will complete my task,” but before A.D.A.M. left the ringed projector, “Shall I prepare for Contingency CA?”

The Admiral gave A.D.A.M. a nod of affirmation. His sapphire form bowed out before Aronimus, and then vanished in thin air. Aronimus proceeded to upgrade A.D.A.M’s capabilities; the desk’s interface required his fingerprints, a biometric scan of his eye, and a confirmation from his neural interface. The forefinger prints were acknowledged, and then the scanner blinked down his blue retina. A message was sent to his neural interface from his desk, to which he confirmed his decision.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

ADAM
A.D.A.M instantly set to work on detecting any foreign data leaks, he found the beginnings of such events and quickly nullified them. He considered reversing them but instead ran a minor trace boot leg for a full back to source run. He also initiated Contingency CA, the file was closed so even he couldn't open it without consequence so in truth it was more like initiating the go ahead for a process of which he had no control,but he kept it in a frozen state to avoid full activation. Using the ships instruments and some creative calculations he got an approximate area of a full back to source, the area was large though and without more data he couldn't truly narrow down the area without dropping the accuracy of his calculations.

"Contingency CA is prepped and ready for full execution Admiral, should you deem it necessary you need only push the confirmation button on your consul. Foreign data links were detected neutralized and traced and I have a possible area for the point of origin of this but without more data I cannot make the area smaller without sacrificing accuracy." He also forwarded and update on the new system regularities so the man would know exactly what was going on with the interior of his ship and it's systems

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter

0.00 INK

Clyde - Bridge

The usual humor in Clyde's behavior was absent now. He was back on the clock- things were happening that he couldn't maintain control over, and the news had only gotten worse. He had been watching the stowaway from the moment he spotted her on the ship. She had uploaded something into the computer core, and was holding there with a weapon.

The BAD news was that she was reporting to the legendary pirate Silver Eyes.

Clyde marched into the bridge, all business, and saluted the Admiral.

"The tidings grow worse. Our opponent is Silver Eyes." Clyde didn't need to say more. He knew the Admiral would know all about it from just the name.
Clyde took his seat at his terminal an waited for orders. Things were probably going to heat up soon.


Adriana - Second Pirate Frigate

Adriana landed with a heavy thud on top of a crate.
The gravity had returned, and Bravo Team had been flying along the halls while there was no gravity or large obstacle that could check their momentum. The bomb had been ticking, and a sense of urgency had crept into their movements. Not panic per se, but knowledge that they had to get back to Uncle Ray's ship- and fast. Many were surprised when the gravity returned mid flight and they came crashing to the harsh metal floor. Reynolds even had the poor fortune to have a crate fall on top of him.

But it was alright- they had almost reached their destination. The turn of one more corner and it would be in sight. Their ride back would be in place. Everything was going swimmingly.

Except for the fact that the friendlies were a no show.
"Captain. The prisoners aren't here yet. Orders?" Adriana added as an afterthought, for the sake of everyone's skins, "And does anyone know how much time is on that bomb?"

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Navigator Summer arrived in the bridge alongside several technicians and co-pilots, assuming his seat by the galaxy map, his demeanor was unsteady, a result of acquired knowledge. At the mention of Silver Eyes, the Admiral’s face tightened. He tapped his fingers in a rhythmic pace on his seat’s arm rest. The interface screens surrounded his seat; the holographic displays were linked with a status on the ship’s engines and weapon systems.

Silver Eyes…was a pirate. It wasn’t actually his name, but rather a pseudonym. Not many people knew his real identity, only a select few in the Federation brass. On the record, his real name was Atreus Eturrer, a former Federation Vice Admiral. He had a distinguished record of service, but his change of allegiance at a focal point during the Titan Conflicts came as a surprise to many. As the two sections of the Federation fleet were linking, Eturrer went rogue for reasons unknown. The majority of the single section was obliterated, and the loss was counted as a fault of Eturrer, who was branded as a traitor.

He went off the grid, until he returned once more, raiding middle rim and fringe worlds. He went by the alias of Silver Eyes for a time being until an intelligence agent managed to infiltrate his chain of command, and discovered his true identity. Silver Eyes was known for his unparalleled ability in the field of naval warfare. Many small Federation squadrons had been ambushed, defeated, and even lost to the last man by him. The odds of the Salient surviving a direct confrontation on this scale with Silver Eyes were meager, the Admiral could tell even without A.D.A.M.'s calculations.

"You're dismissed for now Adam, but stay posted and continue monitoring the ship for any other suspicious activities," Aronimus returned to observing the data screens. Nothing occurred yet, but to assume that nothing was ever going to happen was a fatal mistake.

"Lieutenant Napier, are you getting anything?" The Admiral shifted his view to the JG, whose focus was divided between multiple screens.

Napier did not bother to turn around. "No sir, my readings show no anomalies.”

The Admiral angled his head in the direction of the Petty officer, both of their work spaces were situated next to each other, with a walkway dividing their consoles. The walkway led directly to the massive screens that received feeds from the Salient’s fore section cameras. This simulated a fore section port view. "Hansen?"

"Aye, nothing as well sir,” Hansen gripped his console, his eyes skimming back and forth.

"Stay on guard then," the Admiral left the crew members to their work. By now, several more crew members were coming in, as word passed around quickly. The room began to fill, not to the point where the Admiral could no longer keep track of people, but just enough to swell the activity in the bridge.

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway

0.00 INK

Bridge

“Sir, should we activate the klaxons?” Napier inquired in a neutral tone. The Admiral was about to answer, but he stopped in the midst of it. The klaxons would not only alert the crew, but the infiltrator as well. Here was a moment for a tactical maneuver, one that revolved around intelligence and deception.

“No.” the lieutenant was surprised at the Admiral’s terse response. Aronimus preferred that the crew received word directly by mouth. Seeing as how the saboteur won’t be in touch with the crew where she was hidden, “That won’t be necessary Lieutenant; our stowaway will be alerted of our knowledge,”

The JG nodded and returned to his panel. Aronimus remembered that the two Marine fire teams were still on board the hostile frigates, acquiring whatever useful data was available on board the priates’ data networks. Interested in their status, the Admiral got in touch with Commander Dunaway.

“Commander, what is the status of our forces on board the two frigates?”

“Well, Admiral, one frigate has an explosive device activated, and the team is trying to get off of the ship. The other team has yet to report back with anything, I’m not sure if their communications are down, but we’ve been trying to reach them for the past half hour,” Atomsk paused and awaited the Admiral’s reply.

“An explosive device? Of what magnitude?” The Admiral’s eyebrows furrowed, his blue eyes turned to ice.

“From the video feeds that the team saw, it was a manufactured device, not an IED.” Atomsk paused. “They have reason to believe that it’s placed near the drive core. If that’s the case, then the explosion will trigger a larger reaction, and the blast radius may be larger than expected. I’ve already given word to the two Altamus vessels to clear the proximity.”

“Keep working on establishing a line with the other team, I received intel that a fleet of pirate ships will be attacking our position,” the Admiral paused, raising a pair of fingers to dab his temple.

“A…fleet?” Atomsk’s voice stayed composed on the line.

“Yes Commander, directed by Silver Eyes…you should get word to the teams immediately, keep me posted.”

“I understand, sir. Dunaway out.” The channel went offline as the Admiral pressed the haptic adaptive interface appearing above his arm rest.

------

Barracks

“Commander, I think you need to look at this,” one of the ship technicians sitting near a holographic screen called for Commander Dunaway. He promptly turned away from the tactical war screen at the very center of the war room at the request of the technician.

“This was a video feed from one of the corridors in the aft section of the ship, near the mini generators.”

As he approached, the technicians punched in several keys on the holographic projection, which activated a smaller screen to enlarge. It was a video feed of one of the indiscriminant corridors of the Salient, the screen displayed a patrol consisting of two Marines and three other ship personnel. Gunfire spurted through the speakers as it did on the screen from a hidden corner on the screen.

Two of the personnel were immediately killed, slumping to the ground lifelessly. Atomsk’s eyebrows creased at the sight, as another retreating Marine was shot in the back and was seemingly dead. The two remaining Federation crew members retreated from the scene. Atomsk didn’t wait until the feed was done to leave the War room and head to the armory directly across the hall.

As he passed by the sentries guarding the armory and the barracks, he pointed to all of them and waved his hand as a signal to follow. "Your four are on me."

After grabbing a pair of stun pistols from the armory and holstering them, Atomsk led his four man team down the hollow corridors of the rear end of the ship. The commander's armor was a light ballistic suit with small pauldrons and LED light strips running down his underarm and the outside of his legs like most armor. It was capable of deflecting most small arms fire.

He tapped the communication unit nestled on his left ear. “This is the Commander speaking, relay me the exact location where the previous video feed was captured,” he said to the war room personnel.

“Copy that sir, relaying now.” The location revealed itself in the rear of an aqua colored pixel projection of the Salient, directly displayed from Atomsk's ear projector. The marked location was directly near the sub-generator rooms.

“Alright, we’re gonna’ catch that bitch. Then we’ll make her talk,” Atomsk drew his first stun pistol and led the way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau did some thinking on it, taking only seconds to do so, "I don't have access to those systems without permission from the Admiral." he says, already patching into the Admirals comm. "Sir, our new resident AI has proposed a quite ingenious plan, but needs access to communications and the dishes aligned towards the enemy vessels, he hopes to hack their navigation systems, how shall I proceed?". Tau would be playing it safe here, and make sure nothing rash was done. He looked at Max again. "I'll see what I can do, but I can't guarantee the Admiral will say yes to this idea, he may still be wary over all the mystery surrounding your presence on board.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter

0.00 INK

Clyde - Bridge

Clyde sat back in his chair at the front of the ship, staring out the specially reinforced glass at the planet beyond. Watching. Waiting.
He had heard the stowaway send off another signal. They were going to come. Soon.

His face had grown grim ever since he had detected the stowaway. This was foul luck for any journey. It was only the first day of the launch and already they had run into a fleet of pirates led by an infamous renegade. Should they even survive this encounter, what would be next? Smooth sailing? Clyde doubted it. If anything, it was going to get worse. The mission at hand was to go fight off an enemy that the local federation force could not stop. An enemy that the federation couldn't in good conscience admit existed. Insurgent cells only reached the public eye when they had grown to prodigious size. When teams like this one failed to nip them in the bud.

But there would be time enough to ponder that later, priority one was to survive.
What was he going to do to be most useful? Fly the ship? Great hulking monsters like the Salient weren't very mobile. He could try, but it would be no use against the army of fighters no doubt comprising most of the renegade army. Fighters were easier to steal than large star cruisers.

Hack the enemy computers? No... That would doubtless be ADAM's job. The Admiral had bumped his power up another .7 percent a short while ago anyway. ADAM would do it better than Clyde could.
Man the guns? Probably not. TAU would have that covered. He may not be a strong as ADAM, but his job was far smaller in scale.
Prepare for boarding? Clyde was an excellent marine. So excellent in fact, it would likely be a waste of his talents. And besides- with a fleet against one ship, they probably wouldn't bother boarding. It would most likely be a storm of missiles so large that if one were to weigh the ship and the missiles, the missiles would be the side that tipped the scale.
The job of navigator didn't suit Clyde. He knew it, and it angered him just a little bit that he had been sent to do it. He could do so much more, and piloting this hulk was a joke. He was better behind a fighter anyway. Command probably expected his job to be to watch. Watch Weston, and learn what a commander was and what he had to do. The fate of the battle was not to be his to decide.

Clyde gave up wondering, and began to power up the particle canon. Stark, the original user of the main canon, was a part of Bravo Team. She wouldn't be back for a while yet anyway.

While the gun was charging, Clyde looked back up into space and saw, at the edges of the planet, lights. A lot of small lights. Not stars, they moved far too quickly. It was the fighters. The vanguard of the fleet, coming around the planet to engage.

Clyde stood up and pointed at the spectacle. "Look."
It was one word, but a few heard it and followed his gaze. Each person became quiet as the stream of fighters kept coming. They wouldn't be here for a while yet, but the enemy was in sight. A hush fell over the bridge. Those who still had important work to do went about it, but all talking had ceased. The time of battle was near.

Adriana - Second Pirate Frigate

Adriana finished the second check of the seals on armor. She was ready to head into space, and just in time. Uncle Ray pulled his ship up beside the airlock. He gave a quick hail over the comm link, but it wasn't necessary. It was hard to miss when you were staring out the view port waiting for his arrival.

Bravo Team filed into the airlock, with one last sound off to check that everyone was present. Adriana stated "Bravo Three" at the appropriate time, and the air was sucked out of the compartment with a hiss almost inaudible through the pressure suits. The heavy doors opened into the vacuum of space, and Bravo Team crossed the short gap to Ray's gunship. They were safe.

The airlock of the gunship opened and admitted the team. They began to store their equipment as Ray pulled away from the frigate.
Captain Colter turned to Ray, and gave the last order. "Take us home, Ray."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

Bridge of the F.S.S. Salient

The Admiral sat upright as he listened to T.A.U. speak. An idea from the new A.I., Aronimus was quite doubtful about it, but he listened to gauge whether or not it was at all ingenious as T.A.U. claimed it was.

"Tau, we only have knowledge that the ships are coming, but they haven't been spotted on our systems yet. Even then, you would need a direct link to their channels, I do not believe that the A.I. could enter the stream through our scanners. I don't see how hacking them would be possible." Aronimus didn't really enjoy pointing out the flaws, it would've aided their chances.

Then he paused to think. "Unless, it could enter their channels through a pirate ship," the Admiral shifted his view to the disabled frigates, then he turned quickly to the JG.

"Lieutenant Napier, can you patch me try and patch me through to the squad leader on board that ship?" the JG turned to face the Admiral, as Aronimus pointed to the lone frigate in the middle of space, floating along empty space. It was the first frigate decommissioned thanks to A.D.A.M., it had attempted to escape early on. The private security firm, Tartarus Group managed to inflict some damage with their light gunships, a feat that was nothing short of a miracle. After going blind, they chased the freighters, a path which crossed the Salient's own.

As a result, the encounter occurred, and the events would go down as the skirmish of Themos V if a historian dissected the databanks and recorded it in the archives, which would be followed by the ambush of Themos V.

"Patched through sir, you are speaking with Captain Dunaway," the name sounded familiar to Aronimus, who realized that he had sifted through his roster earlier today. He was the younger brother of the current operations Commander, and he was currently equipped with a new piece of personnel technology. The Admiral forgot about this over the course of events, he was only concerned about whether or not Captain Dunaway was still alive, seeing as how his lines of communication were down.

"Captain Dunaway, this is Admiral Weston, what is your status?"

Navigator Summer spoke. “Look.”

That single word heralded the beginning, as the bridge crew observed flickering luminosities on the edge of the gas planet. It was but a few glowing orbs, most likely the signal lights of small craft. Aronimus paid no attention, as he went typing away several keys on the haptic interface hovering directly in his line of sight.

“Is there a problem, ladies and gentlemen?” Aronimus tilted his head to catch a better view of the crew who were gazing at the hostile ships coming into view. “I suggest everyone return to their stations immediately and stop dawdling like academy recruits.”

There was a quiet calm that surrounded Aronimus, even as he spoke those words. He saw from the corner of his eye that the hostile fleet was establishing its presence in the field. Immediately several beeps alerted Aronimus of an incoming transmission.

This the Summerwind, Summerwind to Salient, we’re picking up a large number of unidentified vessels on our systems, are you reading this as well? Over.


------


Ray’s Swing Class Gunship

Eli turned to the cockpit hatch as Ray called for him; he had just stored his equipment in the overhead compartment, while the others strapped themselves in. He stepped through the small opening,

“What is it Ray?”

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau turned to Max, "The Admiral is considering your proposal, I think he might get you into their systems via one of the crippled ships" he said informatively. Meanwhile on the Admiral's comm channel, he inquired as to his duties, "Will I be needed for weapons usage on the bridge during this battle Admiral?" He asked quickly, "Or perhaps you have other duties in mind?" Tau let the thought linger, he was not sure what other duties there were for him, but he wanted to be more useful than just a gun operator on the bridge. He felt like he was capable on much more, but that could always be some foolish ambition rubbing off on him from the humans on board.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Jon got a patch connection to Admiral Weston, it was to ask about his status; "all green here sir, we can head back anytime you need us." Personally he wanted to poke around the ship a bit more...it had just seemed a bit too easy. " We secured the ship and got the data that was on it uploaded to our mainframe for all the AIs to sort through...but it doesn't seem right, it was a bit too easy sir." It was a complaint that he never like giving a CO but if anyone could get what he meant, it'd be Weston and if anything the old dog would have a better grasp on the situation than he did. If this was an isolated case then things might not be so bad... but if it was more than that everyone was in serious danger.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

So…it was planned then, it was a simple maneuver, perhaps by one of the greatest minds produced by the Federation, Atreus Eturrer. The empty frigate didn’t come as a surprise to Aronimus, who realized it was all a ploy from the very start. It began with the onset of the pirate frigates chasing the two Altamus vessels directly in the way of the Salient’s projected course.

“Captain, I don’t know if you’re aware, but the Commander has been trying to reach you for the past half hour and a half. I don’t know whether or not your channels were jammed, but I’ll bring you up to speed on the situation outside…” Aronimus paused.

“A fleet of hostile pirates have formed directly several hundred kilometers away from the frigate you are on. You can guess where I’m getting at” Aronimus knew the Captain would catch on very quickly and would realize that the two lifeless hulks were part of the nefarious scheme.

“You should hold off on returning back to the Salient. Your transport may receive direct fire from the hostile ships. Hunker down in the ship, and sit tight gentlemen.” Aronimus was about to close the channel until after the battle was over; if he was alive to turn it back on though, but he stopped.

“Captain, I must inquire if you brought any sort of datapad with you, because if you did, I need you to activate it now,” Aronimus turned to T.A.U. as he appeared in mellow simmering flames.

“Tau, I need you to manage the Salient’s weapon systems,” as he said this he pressed some more keys on the haptic interface appearing over his left shoulder, activating A.D.A.M.’s presence.

The miniature sapphire hologram, bearing the likeness of an android, came into being on the ringed projector. Most A.I.s usually acquired the physical aspects of a brain that they were molded from as a result of Cognitive Impression. The A.I.s assumed the personality and the characteristics of deceased beings, from which brains are taken. T.A.U. for one was generated from the brain of a long deceased A.I. theory professor. They programmed him, however, with advanced militaristic routines that altered his purpose from a simple ship A.I. to a specialized field tactician A.I.

A.D.A.M. was different in that he was generated without relying on Cognitive Impression methods, but rather through a complex matrix of sub routines. Being the first A.I. contrived through this method, they attached the A.I. to the Salient as a means of testing its performance. If A.D.A.M. successfully completed his duties, it may mean a breakthrough for the matrix method, but only time would tell.

“Adam, I need you to speak with the unidentified A.I. He has a plan to infiltrate the hostile pirate ships via their transmission channels; do you think this is possible?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded to the Admirals Orders and began accessing the weapons systems of the Salient, preparing for battle. Overhearing the next bit of orders, those for Adam, Tau's projection shook its head. "Sir, the new AI may not be comfortable with Adam being along with him. He has developed the emotion of fear, connecting it to Adam." he said, from as neutral a position as possible. "It may be best if I am at least partially there, to reassure Max that Adam is on the same team as him." he said. Tau noted that this would end up being the first time the three AI's would be in one place together, without humans nearby, it would be interesting to observe the interactions between himself and his fellow programs.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

Jon
"We're probably being slightly jammed, the channels seemed to eerily quiet for otherwise," Jon answered. "As it so happened we did bring a data pad over, figured the damn AIs could handle the wetware better over than we could in trying to bring things back." He paused at the mention of a small fleet assembling just beyond the ship, "Sir, we won't leave anytime soon but I might be able to reach the ship with what air I have left if there's trouble on board. Otherwise give me an opening to an enemy ship and I'll tear it apart from the inside."

A.D.A.M.
ADAM shimmered into view at the summons and let TAU give its answers, "It's possible to send Max over and allow it to run the hostile fleet haywire if they can support an on-board AI." A series of numbers pulsed across his form as he did a quick parameter check, "At the very least the experience will be uncomfortable for our third and I will be in need of TAU to keep things synchronized. During the time we run this there is a very strong possibility that the ship will have to function without an AI, another strong possibility is permanent damage to the Salient's AI mainframe, a lesser possibility is a short in the power grid due to the increased need of our combined processing power."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

"Sir, the new AI may not be comfortable with Adam being along with him. He has developed the emotion of fear, connecting it to Adam.” T.A.U. paused in a nonchalant manner.

Fear? Aronimus was slightly startled by the mention of an A.I. having an emotion. He dismissed it as T.A.U. continued speaking.

“It may be best if I am at least partially there; to reassure Max that Adam is on the same team as him."

“Perhaps Tau, perhaps,” Aronimus still kept an eye on the encroaching fleet. Its numbers were slowly swelling as the larger ships came around the planet.

This time the channel to Captain Dunaway activated. "Sir, we won't leave anytime soon, but I might be able to reach the ship with what air I have left if there's trouble on board. Otherwise give me an opening to an enemy ship and I'll tear it apart from the inside."

“No that won’t be necessary Captain,” Aronimus had another plan of tearing the ship from the inside.

“Bring that datapad to the bridge of the ship, and await my instructions Captain,” Aronimus closed the channel for the time being and returned his attention to the A.I.s standing on his console, a result of the holographic projectors. A.D.A.M. was calculating the necessary power for the proposed undertaking of hacking the enemy’s systems.

“At the very least the experience will be uncomfortable for our third and I will be in need of T.A.U. to keep things synchronized. During the time we run this there is a very strong possibility that the ship will have to function without an A.I., another strong possibility is permanent damage to the Salient's A.I. mainframe, a lesser possibility is a short in the power grid due to the increased need of our combined processing power,” Aronimus nodded at A.D.A.M.’s calculations, before standing up with his arms crossed behind him.

He realized that the ship would be left open without a capable processor to manage the Salient’s multiple armaments and defensive systems. It would be best to leave A.D.A.M. behind to maintain the battlecruiser’s systems, while T.A.U. and the third A.I. attempted to infiltrate the hostile ships.

“Very well then, A.D.A.M. you’ll stay back and manage the ship, while T.A.U., you and the third A.I. hack their ships. Insert yourself through the communication channel directly to Captain Dunaway, there should be a datapad activated from which you can jump to. He’ll arrive in the bridge, and from there you can hack the bridge’s communications and try to get yourself in through their comm. channels. Understood?”

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

The armada of brigands was now in full view before the plexi glass viewports of the Salient’s bridge. Although most of the crew was at their stations, each person stole a mere glimpse at the storm that would come upon them. By the conduct of war, an outnumbered force should be given the option of surrender. Despite the fact that Silver Eyes was a former Federation Admiral, he was a pirate now, and whether or not he chose to abide by those laws did not matter for he wasn’t a lawful combatant under the articles of war.

Silver Eyes wouldn’t have asked the Salient to surrender, and its executive officer, Aronimus, wouldn’t have surrendered. The fleet eyed the single Federation ship with impunity, before the lighter craft increased their traveling speeds. They began to swoop in bunches towards the Salient, all the while their larger brethren began to converge upon the single ship.

Aronimus stood by the railings that separated the Captain’s platform, which was slightly elevated before the rest of the bridge, standing out prominently. It allowed ship Captains to direct and oversee personnel from that perched position. His posture, remained ramrod erect, unflinching, and void of fear.

Aronimus rotated his head to face his desk, as A.D.A.M. remained present on the holographic projector. The A.I. itself was observing the fleet, all the while running multitudes of calculations inside the ship’s datastream.

“Adam,” the Admiral said.

“Prepare the ion blasters,” Aronimus curved his view back to the squadrons of fighter ships coming in bound.

He decided to let A.D.A.M. handle the point-defense systems rather than let the Salient’s own fighter complement go toe to toe against the more numerous enemy. The blasters were sheathed behind metallic plating that slid apart to reveal the many little cannons. These armaments could wipe out most of the incoming fighters with A.D.A.M. guiding their trajectories, he would not waste a drop of the ship's energy. This would allow the Admiral to utilize his fighter pilots at peak efficiency when the right moment came to send his wings out to hammer the enemy.

And so they came. The pirate fighters began to glide seamlessly, despite their ragged look compared to the sleeker and newer Federation fighters. Twin blasters from beneath their wings jetted little beams of energy at the Salient’s outer plating.

Aronimus decided to hold off on firing the ion cannons until the bulk of the fighters began to swirl around the Salient. They weaved in and out beneath and above the Salient, attacking whatever they could to damage the ship. They did not realize that the neo-steel plating of the Salient accepted these hits with ease. No damage was shown where damage was done.

Inside the bridge, and perhaps the rest of the ship, the crew did not feel a thing. They only heard little echoes pervading the thick plating every now and then. The bridge crew knew it was the pirate fighters; the majority of the ship did not however. Perhaps a few engineers and technicians working in the hangars saw the pirates swoop past the particle fielding that blocked out vacuum, or a few crew members were at the observation decks staring at the stars, only to have their view cut in half by a gliding ship.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded to the Admiral and disappeared. He brought himself together beside Max. "Okay Max, the Admiral has agreed to let you hack the enemy ship with me helping out. We'll be going about it slightly differently though" he says. "We will transfer to a datapad of one of our soldiers on the disabled enemy vessel, he will get us to the bridge and we will hack into the other pirate vessels though their own systems". Tau connects to the communications system and gets a lock on Commander Dunaway's Datapad. "Follow me" he says to Max, sending himself through the array to the pad and leaving the trail for Max to follow. He kept the signal lock going from the other side. Meanwhile, he accessed the speaker in the Commander's helmet, "Hello Commander, this is the AI Tau of the Salient, myself and one other AI have been given orders from the Admiral to transfer ourselves to the Bridge Computers of this damaged vessel so that we can infiltrate the enemy." he says calmly. "We were suggested to hitch a ride on your Datapad, if that is alright" he said, knowing it didn't matter if it was alright with the Commander, it was an Order from the Admiral, he had to comply.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

“Yes Summerwind, this is Salient, we’ve spotted the pirates. I suggest you try to clear the area, they might still be after your Duillium cargo.”

Alright, understood. Summerwind out.

The Admiral would’ve walked down to the very fore end of the bridge, and observe the pirate fleet directly, but he much rather enjoyed his position on the Captain’s platform. Navigator Summer was typing away on his own screen, while petty officer Hansen and JG Napier were monitoring the pirate fleet. A beep alerted him of an incoming message, to which he strode over to his desk and pressed a key on the holographic interface.

The rectangular screens were light blue as a result of the holographic projector’s LED lights; they dispersed once the Admiral had pressed the key. A screen then came into full view, projecting Atomsk’s face before the Admiral’s.

“Admiral Weston,” the Commander paused briefly to allow the Admiral to acknowledge him with a response.

“Yes, Commander Dunaway what is it?”

“We’ve detained the infiltrator; she’s currently being guarded in the Barracks. She’s unconscious as a result of my stun pistol, but I ordered some medical personnel to give her a look. They said she’ll come out of it in half an hour.”

“Excellent work, Commander.” Aronimus would’ve smiled, but he felt it wasn’t prudent do so at such a time.

“Sir, may I ask for your permission to interrogate her?” Aronimus paused for a moment, rubbing his chin, before he responded.

“No, I want to let Lieutenant Commander Chen interrogate the prisoner. Her experience on board the Nottingham may prove useful in extracting information from the infiltrator.”

“I understand sir,” Aronimus was expecting Atomsk to close the comm, “I also have some more news...” Atomsk’s face suddenly turned grave.

“Go on.” The Admiral decided to take a seat upon seeing his face.

“We had several casualties…” Atomsk paused, he would’ve grabbed a cigarette, but it was against protocol to do so before the Admiral. Even if Atomsk had no regard for rules, he still respected Aronimus, admired him even, to follow protocol, at least in his presence.

Aronimus responded with a face that darkened in expression, his features seemed to be crushed beneath the weight of his eyebrows as they dug in.

“One of my Marines, and two Naval crew personnel were killed along the generator corridors by the infiltrator.” The Admiral rubbed both his temples with a single hand for a moment, before returning to the conference.

“I also have reason to suspect that the infiltrator sabotaged some of our generators. One of our turbines in generator room F was working out of sync with the others, blinking and flickering at will. I called some engineers down; they should be checking the system out now. Just to be safe, I also asked them to give a look at the main generator. Hopefully she didn’t damage our trans-light drives.”

“Very well, Commander. I must commend you on your celerity of action. Is there anything else?”

"No sir." Atomsk replied solemnly.

"Alright then. Admiral Weston out." The Admiral pressed a key on the holographic haptic interface, cutting the channel. He then returned to his post by the railings, overseeing the crew and observing the movements of the hostile fleet.

As of now the larger ships, the frigates, and destroyers, began to move closer. They launched their early salvos at the Salient, which did little to no damage at all, similar to the attempts of their fighter craft earlier. Their fighters were still zooming in and around the Salient trying to prick away at the double reinforced hull of the advanced warship. Unlike the fighter craft, the salvos of the larger ships however, shook the Salient. This automatically activated the klaxons. JG Napier voiced over the comm as the blaring red lights shone and fade throughout the corridors and passageways.

This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill.

"That should wake them up..." Aronimus thought to himself.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

The storied Admiral occupied his chair on the bridge, sitting straight backed, fingers steepled before his face and staring at all of the readouts available to him. There were many, but most of his attention was not on the streams of data. He was taking stock of the situation, thinking of all of the issues and who was to be doing what job... A daunting task.

Immediately before him were gathered the people who had little work to be doing. Except for Hansen and Napier. Comms links were always live.
Atomsk Dunaway was still coordinating the Alpha team aboard the pirate frigate.
Alpha team was patching through two of the resident AI's to hack into the pirates' ship computers.
The pirates were laying down light and medium arms fire to his ship's hull. The damages were superficial, but present.
The one who called the pirates was out of commission, and to be interrogated by Alice Chen upon awakening.
The able bodied crew members were preparing for battle, but the Admiral was not about to send fighters into the veritable shitstorm outside the hull.
Bravo team had returned, along with a prisoner from the pirates.
Another prisoner was still aboard the other frigate... Perhaps that explained why it hadn't exploded yet.

The ship is in peril, and the larger ships hauling larger armaments are fast approaching. The smaller ships have long since outpaced them, and gather whirling around the Salient sending round after round glancing off of the hull. Naturally there isn't enough room for all of the ships to be flying around the Salient- many maintain their distance. At this point, waiting for them to come closer in range does no good.

It is time to fight back, and step one is to clear out all of the ships firing at the Salient.
Admiral Weston summoned A.D.A.M. once more.

"A.D.A.M. ... Destroy all ships within range."

At his word, Thick neo-steel panels shifted across the ship's hull. Ninety-six assorted ion canons and rail guns took aim from their sheathes.

With each shot, ninety-six ships exploded until none were within range of certain destruction. At a certain (and very distant) range, fighters could evade the weapon fire. The cruisers were not so lucky, however. They couldn't evade any of the weapon fire. They had to sit there and take it.

Within sixty seconds, the battlefield had transformed. From a swirling mass of fighters gathered around one federation ship, a swirling mass of debris filled the local space. Hundreds of ships had been wasted by weapon fire. Now, all parties had a temporary reprieve from enemy weapons- the floating debris would intercept most gunfire. Heavy weapons could plow through the debris, but aim would be uncertain at best due to obstruction by lost fuel, radiation, and floating metal.

Aronimus watched all of this, a stoic expression on his face. There was nothing particularly pleasant about massive loss of life, but it did feel good to be the commander of a ship that packed this much punch. For just a little while, there was silence on the battlefield, on all the radios, and etched into the mind of everyone who witnessed the counterattack.

But the battle was far from over. All of the larger ships still remained (as well as some smaller ships who escaped by virtue of not being in range), and now they had seen what the Salient was capable of. The ball was in Silver Eyes' court.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

0.00 INK

The Admiral sat back and watched the destruction unfold, his fingers steepled before his face.

ADAM did his job well- Not a shot was missed. Not until the debris was so heavy that the canons would not reach the enemy did ADAM fail to wipe out a ship. But now there arose the problem... They could not shoot the enemy. It was a tough call. Deploy the fighters or not? To deploy the fighters would throw them into the most dangerous debris field they would be likely to face in their career. Only the best pilots would manage to get through it all unscathed, and then on top of that they would have to begin fighting the enemy in that field. But if he didn't deploy the fighters, the Salient's fighting capacity would be reduced to the main canon, which was the only armament on the ship that could plow through all of the debris and still do any decent kind of damage.

"ADAM, patch me through to the engineering department. I need to know the status on the main cannon." The requested window appeared before him, and to his mild surprise he saw a fully armed marine on the other end.

"Adriana Stark reporting. What do you need, Admiral?" Stark's reply was distorted by the suit, but it was clear now why a marine was down in that corner of the ship.

"A status on the particle canon."

Stark hesitated and looked back at the control panels. She turned back and spoke up a few seconds later. "It's... rattled from its previous use. I can have it ready to fire soon... hopefully. I'll let you know when we can attack."

"Thank you Corporal, that will be all." The admiral closed the com link and thought for a moment. There was no main armament... If he was to maintain the offensive in the battle, he would have to send out the pilots. Lucky for him, the pilots were confirming their readiness for combat at that very moment. Surprising, seeing as many of the pilots were drunk and unfit to operate heavy machinery.

Admiral Weston sent his voice through the intercom. "Those pilots able and willing to fly, you are clear to do so. You are to keep all enemy ships out of the debris field; it is to be our shield from the enemy."

He then looked towards the front of the bridge. "Navigator Summer, plot all the launching pilots paths through the debris so that they may patrol the field without crashing."

The navigator gave a quick "Yes sir," and began typing away at his terminal. "Opening hangar doors. Pilots Peyton, Davidson, Cooper, and Jones have confirmed launch. FTL drives at 10% charge. The enemy is not entering the debris field... They seem to be gathering near the Altamus vessels. Course plotting near--"

"The WHAT IS AT TEN PERCENT!?" Aronimus thundered from his chair.

The navigator stopped typing. "The Faster-Than-Light drives, sir." He looked back at the admiral, his confusion evident. "Were we not escaping?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

“Repeat Navigator! What did you just say was at ten percent?” Aronimus’s eyebrows were extended sharply upwards.

His visage left Clyde trembling and rummaging for his interface screen, which promptly held the readouts for the faster than light engines. The system was activated at ten percent capacity and steadily rising.

“The…uh…the..” Clyde fumbled a bit, “faster than light drives were activated and are at ten percent activation…sir,” from what he could glean off of Aronimus’s face, he knew that the activation had not been apparent to the Admiral, probably because he had not given the authorization to activate it. It all made sense now, seeing as how the fighter pilots were still on their patrol missions, the Admiral couldn't possibly leave them behind.

“Check again Navigator,” Aronimus calmly told him, though his voice was seething on the edge of a roar.

The young officer went again and began retyping through his systems, even though he knew it was pointless; he decided to give it an effort. All the while remaining plugged into the system’s data streams, he could not find any anomalous readings.

“I have not given permission to anyone, not even Lieutenant Commander Chen, to activate the faster than light drives, deactivate it Navigator.”

“I understand Admiral,” Clyde responded with his view still directed at the holographic screen. The data coming in through his eyes were numerous, but it paled in comparison to the vigintillion tiny microbits of data that swam in schools through the small conduits of the Salient’s internal mainframe of which he was logged into. He decided to de-activate the engines manually through his terminal screen. However, an error message popped up.

The window stated with the express message,

“Unable to deactivate Mirabuki-Goddard Class Five FTL Suspension drives.”

“Is there a problem Mr. Summer?” the Admiral leaned against the railings slightly anxious.

Clyde’s left eyebrow shot up as he glanced at it with a perplexed expression, but he simply shook his head and dismissed it. He decided he would have to try a different route, accessing the internal systems, and actually turn it off…”manually.”

He bolted past the many corridors of the internal systems, and finally reached the FTL drives’ computers. However, he was blocked by an invisible field, and after many reroutes, he still couldn’t penetrate the barrier. He looked to A.D.A.M., who was present as well in a digitized form. The pixels coursing through him, as they stood side by side inside the Salient’s mainframe. A.D.A.M. was observing the many strands of data that compiled the barrier. To no avail, though, did the matrix supercomputer find a dent within the barrier through which he could exploit and disable.

Clyde jolted out of the data stream, and turned to the admiral with an alarming visage.

“Admiral! There’s something blocking the de-activation!”

“What did you say?” the Admiral hounded him, left the platform and dismounted the steps to Clyde’s station.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

ADAM
ADAM was pouring through data streams in an attempt to halt the FTL launch and quickly found he couldn't circumvent the order. So he focus on how deep the came from, maybe he'd come to some insight if he could find the origin. The answer was far from reassuring.

"Sir the FTL launch is embedded deep into the system, straight into the base program; it seems we're to boost to FTL and perform a full environment scan after we exit. It seems we have a contingent command to do a full Hyper jump if the scan doesn't yield some result also embedded in base code. I can't do anything to touch the order, in fact it seems I'm being locked out, I'll be functional until our FTL jump."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

ADAM
ADAM's hologram began flickering and distorting, "Sir it would appear that I am being assaulted from an area that AI require human approval to interface with. It goes without saying such areas would have either a lot of movable machinery or in vicinity of key systems of the ship; the most common examples being the Docking Bay or Life Support respectively." ADAM felt its processes slowing down, like it was slowly being fried.

"Perhaps a withdrawal of.....ground forces may be effective after all. -e have th F-TL o consider after...all. -At and they are sit ing ducks out there." ADAM's processes weren't so bad as its voice was showing but it effectively killed any ability of communication from his side.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

“Sir I don’t know what’s going on there, but I’ve tried everything. There seems to be something blocking our access points to the FTL drives,” Clyde was typing away on his interface, the haptic interface keys beeping as he went on.

Clyde was sitting in a tripartite station with two younger crew officers, inexperienced no doubt. Their duties were one and the same though, managing the Salient’s course and its sub-hyperdrives and faster than light drives, of course the majority of their job was being monitored by A.D.A.M. most of the time. A.D.A.M. would often manage the little details. Should the Salient ever veer off the course by a mere few degrees, and it would be automatically corrected by A.D.A.M.’s processing. No one could argue with his pinpoint accuracy, of course, Clyde was one to challenge.

“And what would that something be, Mr. Summer?” the Admiral crossed his arms, with his right hand raised to rub his stubble as he pondered possible methods.

“No sir, I’ve tried everything. It’s possible that the infiltrator may be uploaded a program into our system,” Clyde gestured to the Admiral, prompting him to view the screen.

“Delete it then,”

“Negative sir, it’s not that simple. Whatever she may have uploaded seems to counter A.D.A.M.’s capabilities,” Clyde waited for it sink in. Aronimus reared his head back to his straight posture.

“So you’re saying that the drives will activate nonetheless?” Aronimus narrowed his eyes at the navigator.

“It would seem so sir,” Clyde and the Admiral paused.

“Would it be possible for you to delay it, Mr. Summer?” Clyde looked at the Admiral with a puzzled look, then he returned to his interface and began typing away vigorously.

Time seemed to stand still for a moment as the Navigator was lost in his work, while the two junior officers watched him and the Admiral overlooking his shoulder. Then he jolted, startling the officers, and he looked at the Admiral with a solemn demeanor, stoic like stone.

“Sir I’ve delayed the FTL drive systems, and I’ve also set the intended destination the Arcturus System,”

The Admiral gave him a firm nod of approval, “Very good Mr. Summer,” before he returned to his station at the raised captain’s deck.

“Sir, may I ask why you wanted to delay the FTL drives?”

“It’s a surprise Mr. Summer,” the manner which the Admiral delivered those words threw off the young navigator. He said it without a twinge of emotion, like a man resigned to fate.

Of course, this was the man, the myth, and the legend, who was praised by echelons of Federation servicemen and women who served directly under and above him, and personally witnessed his military triumphs. Fate did not weave his strands, he wove the strands himself, locking the stones in their respective holes in the road. Something was amiss, the Navigator could sense it. The two officers, Napier and Hansen, who had served personally with the Admiral, knew that the old dog had something up his sleeve.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Clyde

Clyde's hands flew over his keyboard. Most of his work wasn't technically being done with his hands- his virtual apparition inside the network was doing far more. He was actively plotting smaller ship courses through the drifting debris- a work that needed to be done with the perspective of the ships in question, not just the Salient's sensors- as well as trying to fix the FTL problem.

The FTL problem... The intruder had uploaded programming directly into the engine room. Clyde had seen as much. But that alone was nothing to the technological giants that inhabited the ship. The real problem was that she had shot the engines. No amount of software can repair hardware damage. The damage had locked the commands put in by the intruder in place, and nothing short of turning the ship off could stop them from being completed. Not that turning them off was a solution- even if someone were to forcibly shut down the ship systems, the engines would continue to generate energy until it could no longer be contained.

The sheer genius inside the sabotage led Clyde to question whether or not the intruder had actually done it on purpose...

He broke the bad news to the Admiral.

“So you’re saying that the drives will activate nonetheless?” Aronimus narrowed his eyes at the navigator.

“It would seem so sir,” Clyde and the Admiral paused.

“Would it be possible for you to delay it, Mr. Summer?”


Delay it? What the hell? Nobody delays an FTL launch... Things are scheduled around the jumps, rather than the jumps being scheduled around events. Clyde would have to write a new program into the FTL protocol just to slow it down... And that didn't solve the energy problem. Where was it all supposed to go? The weapons weren't firing, routing power to wiring would blow out lights and computer circuitry, and nothing was operating at less than maximum functionality. He was going to have to overload something. What could he increase the output of without destroying something? Clyde ran through all the ship functions. The first thing he did was increase air cooling. Not enough. Then...

The artificial gravity. The artificial gravity machine could output greater force than the single G that humans live under in order to neutralize extra force from takeoff and landing. It required quite a bit of energy to run... and if Clyde only increased the output slightly over the whole ship, it would serve to dilute the charge. With the press of a button (and a few questionable acts regarding protocol), everything on the ship became just a little bit heavier.

“Sir I’ve delayed the FTL drive systems, and I’ve also set the intended destination the Arcturus System,”

The Admiral gave him a firm nod of approval, “Very good Mr. Summer,” before he returned to his station at the raised captain’s deck.

“Sir, may I ask why you wanted to delay the FTL drives?”

“It’s a surprise Mr. Summer,” the manner which the Admiral delivered those words threw off the young navigator. He said it without a twinge of emotion, like a man resigned to fate.


Well... This promised to be interesting. It was time to see what the Admiral was really capable of.

The setting changes from bridge to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Many of the crew members knew that the Salient was going to be destroyed, and they would die with it. The ship had only left the factories on Earth merely weeks ago. Rather than accept the inevitable defeat, though, they continued working diligently as the Admiral oversaw them with eyes like a hawk. It seemed like his hour was coming.

"Sir we're receiving fire from the their front line!" yelled one of the crewmen.

"Return fire, soldier!" Aronimus responded, his earlier countenance was of a calm stone. Now it seemed as if that had completely faded, now he seemed like a tempest in the bridge.

"Navigator Summer, set the FTL jump to the Arcturus System. I want you to keep me posted with the countdown until the jump."

Then the ship rocked, jarring several crew members off balance, even Aronimus had to grip the railing.

"Sir, they're piercing the outer layer of the neosteel plating," blurted one of the personnel.

The line of pirate ships began to form, an oddity in itself, as pirates often preferred hit-and-run, and ambush attacks. This seemed more organized, but Aronimus expected as much, seeing as how Eturrer was commanding the pirate fleet.

The cannons of the pirate ships fired at once, the ghastly affect of their tachyon fire began to rip apart several plates from the Salient's hull. On top of that, the crew received another hit, which rocked the ship once more.

"Lieutenant Napier! Report!"

"Sir, we've been hit, but it wasn't a projectile or energy weapon. Here, let me play the feed." the JG typed several keys on the haptic interface, and a giant holographic screen flew into the air in the middle of the bridge.

The feed showed the starboard section of the Salient being impacted by a flying object. Upon closer inspection, Aronimus realized it was a fighter ship, which had lunged itself into the Salient, not because of a broken wing. The impact tore apart multiple plates on the exterior hull, continued use of this method would eventually ply away the exterior and reach the interior skeleton of the Salient.

"Kamikaze..." Aronimus' eyes narrowed, "A desperate tactic, but it acquires results..."

Eturrer was the kind of Admiral who did not care how many casualties he received as long as he garnered results. That was his method of commanding, and that was how he reached such a level in the Federation Navy. Although some objected to his style because one of the tenants of the Federation Armed Forces was to reduce casualties at all costs.

Now that Eturrer had thrown off the chains of being apart of the Federation Navy, he can operate and command freely without any restrictions. Few realized, however, that his methods did not endanger those under him.

His kamikaze strategy only destroyed fighters; the pilots would eject before impact, and a friendly fighter would quickly retrieve the pilot. He wasted materials, but not manpower; Aronimus knew this, after studying multitudes of Eturrer's combat logs during his early years as an Admiral.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max

0.00 INK

The light cruisers immediately fired a line of autocannons directly at the Salient. After the initial bombardments, Silver Eyes noted that the ship was barely damaged, and thus launched all his ships forward. The pirate lords commanding the different sections of his armada were beginning to think he had gone mad, with power.

The frigates inched forward, while the rear destroyers laid down suppression fire to cover their advance. They were hoping to surround the Salient, and perhaps destroy it from all directions.

However, the Salient withstood their attacks, and replied with its own arsenal of weaponry. The rail guns were fired, tearing a single frigate in half with two blasts to its mid-section. The lifeless hulk joined the rest of the scattered junk that littered the battlefield in space.

Another destroyer attempted to get fancy by circling around to the Salient’s rear and firing upon it with missiles. Unfortunately, those hits were deflected due to the tile shielding, which was a prototype. Despite this, the ship itself was built to foster the right experimentation conditions with its main particle cannon, the tile shielding, and finally the on board A.I. known as A.D.A.M.

The Admiral had resumed his seat at his podium in the rear of the Salient’s bridge. His screen was entirely conquered by the status of the FTL drives, which were currently at forty-two percent, once they reached one hundred, the ship would make a slip jump, with the aid of the sub-hyperspace drives, to the Arcturus System, reaching their destination before the intended date of arrival. It was either that, or suffer from damaged FTL drives, in which case the Salient would be left a sitting duck for the pirates to fire at, and board.

Everyone sat at their stations, generally calm, the fireworks outside had not done much damage, although several points had received extensive hits to the exoskeleton, but nothing serious yet. The bridge was in a state of unnerving calm, as few crew members shuffled back and forth between their stations, all the while monitoring the battle from their interface screens, or directly through the giant plexi-glass view port that was at the fore end of the ship.

However, the crew also noted that several destroyers crashed into each other, perhaps accidentally, damaging their outer plating. It was the work of Max and T.A.U. on the pirate fleet.

"Any word from the two A.I.s yet, Navigator Summer?" lines of apprehension began to entrench themselves on Aronimus' chiseled complexion.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: T.A.U

0.00 INK

Adriana

The marine gear didn't help much with the finesse areas of maintenance, but Adriana got the job done all the same. It had taken some time, but it would definitely have taken more had she not been encouraged by the constant arms fire colliding with the nearby hull. The kamikaze impact was quite encouraging in particular. With a grunt, she extricated herself from the machinery, and returned to the control console to run a final set of diagnostics.

The particle cannon was operational once more.

Adriana opened a link to the bridge and saluted the Admiral on his appearance. "The main cannon is operational, sir. After a short charging sequence, you may fire at will."


Clyde

Strong... The word was one Clyde came back to again and again as he looked about at the chaos he had helped to create. It's what the Salient and its crew were. It was raining all kinds of death, and the ship was laughing into its face. The ratio of kills to deaths was simply enormous for the kind of battle they were facing. Something like hundreds to... zero.
Yes, zero. Not a single fighter had been shot down (thanks to the excellent crew selection and his own assistance), and only superficial damage had been done to the hull. It wasn't really even a battle outside... It was a slaughter. Wave after wave came just to be torn asunder and cast into the sea of debris.

But powerful as they were, there was still a crucial limiting factor... The FTL was gaining power. Clyde had ratcheted the gravity up a few more times, but it wasn't enough... and if he did it anymore it might start to cause problems.
Despite his stalling, it seemed as if the FTL was increasing -faster- instead of slowing down. The rate at which energy was being generated was growing. There needed to be another way.

"Any word from the two A.I.s yet, Navigator Summer?" lines of apprehension began to entrench themselves on Aronimus' chiseled complexion.

"Not yet sir, but they seem to be quite active in their --"

"Hello my Puppet"

... What? Clyde was familiar with the signature- It was TAU. But that in itself was alarming. AI were not supposed to have such threatening routines.
Clyde watched the enemy break themselves upon each other.
Well... He was doing his job, at least.

Clyde's attention snapped back to the task at hand as Corporal Stark contacted the Admiral.
The cannon was active! Clyde checked the FTL Drives. 45%.
He routed power into the cannon... And to his gratification, the charge for the FTL drive froze. As long as they continued to charge the cannon, the FTL would come no closer to activation.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

49%.

The first beam fired by the Salient's spinal cannon ripped through a small destroyer, tearing it into quarters. The fourths were sent to drift in space listlessly while the limbs of crew members floated away with little spheres of blood trailed them in the vacuum of space.

"Damage report, Mr. Hansen," Aronimus turned to the petty officer.

Hansen sifted through the status readings, "Aye, sir. They've managed to do some extensive damage to the outer hull, but they haven't breached yet, so we're safe."

"Hmmm," Aronimus was deciding whether or he should move the ship forward and position it beyond the field of debris. That would leave them out in the open for a clear attack, yet at the same time allow the Salient to fire its salvoes. The Salient could handle it of course, but repeated abuse would eventually breach the outer hull. He could decide to stay within the field, but should the FTL drives activate prematurely, the debris could be damaging during the slip space jump. He decided to position the ship outside the debris field, so as to neutralize the need to rely on the main particle cannon. This would allow the FTL drives to activate faster.

There were a million things the old Admiral had to worry about, the squadrons of fighters still roaming out in space, the Marine squad that was deployed onto the crippled pirate frigates, the two A.I.s aboard Silver Eye's armada. He was wondering where his XO was as well, but no matter.

"Clear the debris field, Mr. Summer," with that command he pressed a key on his metallic desk. The ringed projector established itself before him, flashing a variety of screens in front of him.

On one screen was Commander Dunaway, who was in the Barracks with his subordinates.

"Commander Dunaway, have the two fireteams reported in yet?"

The Commander saluted, "Bravo Team has sir, but Alpha team hasn't responded..." then the Commander turned away, his attention stolen.

"Wait no, they're in transit right now, a shuttle, and I believe Captain Dunaway is flying on his own."

The Admiral's eyebrow raised, "What do you mean?"

"Our scanners are showing that he's relying on his suit," The gadget had surprises, Aronimus wasn't amused.

"And how's the prisoner?" Commander Dunaway paused a bit.

"She's proving to be a hassle, I've got the notion to go put one in." Aronimus chuckled.

"I'll send Lieutenant Commander Chen to see the prisoner, she's been aboard a prison vessel before. Perhaps the Nottingham taught her a thing or two."

"Hmm, hopefully she'll have better luck than my officers,"

"Hopefully, Weston out." Aronimus cut the comm.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

Jon
Jon finally got in range for his suit broadcast to the Salient, "This is Captain Dunaway from Alpha team, we boarded the enemy vessel and found it clear. I then installed the booster into the ship for AI activity, but afterwards things got weird sir. Communications just cut, nothing worked and I couldn't get in contact on any channels, IFF, radar, thermal- nothing worked. With that I did a sweep of the ship and it was still empty so I was forced to return via the suit." As Jon continued his report he began sweeping around the ship to get into the docking bay. " For lack of a better explanation after personal inspection I'm sorry to report Alpha Team is MIA." He wasn't amused, of all the jobs he'd done this one was by far the most sketchy and would definitely sully his record.

ADAM
After he'd lost holographic ability, ADAM did something of a reboot on himself and was just coming around again as Captain Dunaway began his report. Upon its conclusion, he flicked his hologram back on at his usual terminal, "I can confirm the near total loss of communication in the Captain's story and sensors did pick up some irregular activity in his area." He began forwarding what information he could to the Admirals console, only the bridge could hear his announcement.

"But I must still profess to the entire situation being highly irregular, nothing from the read out points to something dangerous or capable or doing something like causing a team to vanish...but there's nothing indicating so much as even a deactivation of the other suit or members. I can confirm that at least in the case of Thaddeus Jackson that sudden disappearance did occur, though the cause is beyond me."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

#, as written by Rulke
Silver Eyes - Command Ship

Leaving his cabin he walked up to the bridge, "You all are cowards, pirates, why I wouldn't trust you too steal from Spanish Vessel. Mutiny on your tongues as soon as things are a little trouble. I united you, I brought you together and you wish to despose of me."

You could literally hear a pin drop in the silence that followed.

Smirking he continued, "I should have you all shot, but I'm not a heartless monster like the Federation. Although at least they have heard of loyalty. Nova, switch intercom and change it too FSS Salient frequency, let's see if we can do this peacefully."

Nova nodded his curly black hair bouncing almost, "Switching to communications channels, typing out the code."

Grinning he turned to the screen, "Initiate the feed."

"But sir---." protested Nova, "You can't be seen---."

"Oh trust me the Captain knows, I'm pretty sure this is one of the Young Admirals I saw a future in so long ago."

Looking utterly perplexed he replied, "How can you know?"

"Simple, look at our fleet. Now, turn it on Nova."

With that the feed turned on and he spoke, "Admiral Aronius Weston, I presume?"

Not waiting for an answer he continued, "I see you recognize me, I figured as much. I appears you have outsmarted the greatest pirate. And for that I congratulate you, but surely you know that time is running short, Courtney Reynolds did her work and your ship will jump in about 10 minutes. This is why I suggest a temporary peace, you give back Rich Girl and we'll withdraw everyone."

Considering a little he continued, "I have and still do have great respect for you, it's not often a young recruit caught my eye, but it doesn't surprise you are the one to finally best me. Although the whole plan was to delay so whereas you beat us today, our fleet will grow and the Federation will be a forgotten foot note in history. It amazes me you stand with these tyrants, but maybe I wished I stayed naive."

Looking straight at him he continued, "These are my terms, my men and woman will withdraw, we just want Rich Girl. Until we speak again, I hope you make the smart choice."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

"Sir, we're being hailed by the enemy command ship..." J.G. Napier reported.

Aronimus turned towards the lower officer, "Patch it through."

"Right away," Napier pressed a pair of keys on the holographic screen, with a transcendent beep, the bridge's central holographic star map was replaced with a direct feed to Silver Eyes himself.

The one who called himself Silver Eyes, appeared on the screen. Gruff, and harsh, yet refined, for an Admiral. He was still clad in his old Federation service dress, the old line, including the service cap as well. Aronimus was surprised to see him in such attire, a traitor still wearing Federation garb. This meant that the old Admiral still had some allegiances to the Federation, or perhaps he was not one to care for his dress

The previous color for a Vice Admiral's service dress was a light grayish blue with golden trims. Since Eturrer's defection, that line of service dresses was immediately removed from Federation uniforms. It was replaced by a line of Navy blue uniform, with white trims. Admirals were still required to wear service caps during formal occasions, but they were not required when in the field. Admirals of the fleet, however, were still required to wear service caps regardless of the situation.

Eturrer's hair had grayed considerably to the point of pure white, like snow covering his head. Compared to his old images of when he was still in service. Back then, he still had brown hair and a regal mustache, which was his trademark. No one had seen his face in years, analysts predicted that he would at least grayed a little

Aronimus noted a scar, albeit a very thin and indiscernible scar, that was carved above his left eye brow, trailing downwards to the left side of his face.

Silver Eyes' transmit in the midst of the engagement made Aronimus wonder what the traitor was up to. Perhaps he was asking for a surrender, even though the Salient was more than capable of withstanding the pirates' sustained offensive.

"Admiral Aronimus Weston, I presume?" the former Vice Admiral spoke with an elegant British accent.

He continued speaking, unimpeded as Aronimus silently listened.

"I see you recognize me, I figured as much. It appears you have outsmarted the greatest pirate," he paused with a sly smile on his countenance.

"And for that I congratulate you, but surely you know that time is running short, Courtney Reynolds did her work and your ship will jump in about 10 minutes," he paused.

"This is why I suggest a temporary peace, you give back Courtney and we'll withdraw everyone," the old Vice Admiral paused, waiting for a response. When nothing came out of Aronimus' mouth, he continued.

"I have and still do have great respect for you, it's not often a young recruit caught my eye," he took a sip from a glass half-filled with an alcoholic beverage. Aronimus was surprised by the praise from his nemesis.

"But it doesn't surprise me, that you are the one to finally best me. Although the whole plan was to delay so whereas you beat us today, our fleet will grow and the Federation will be a forgotten foot note in history," Silver Eyes triumphantly proclaimed, but he was not finished.

"It amazes me you stand with these tyrants, but maybe I wished I stayed naive," that had struck a nerve.

Aronimus, though, remained calm, and retorted in like fashion.

Like a beast that has cornered its prey, he chuckled before speaking.

"Firstly, I'd like to thank you for your commendation," Silver Eyes smiled and took another swig.

"Might I say that you were a good Admiral in your day," Silver Eyes was about to respond, "But, you were good, not anymore I suppose."

Silver Eyes' face turned as he became perplexed by Aronimus' meaning.

"Hmm, tyrants. My friend, you do not understand tyranny."

"There is nothing tyrannical about the Federation, it protects the rights of the people, but will not guarantee it. It can only become tyrannical if the people let it be so," Aronimus jabbed a finger at Silver Eyes, his face had turned from calm to belligerent. This face was then recomposed as he continued on.

"You, you know nothing of tyranny. You are nothing, but a traitor. You fled in the thick of battle," Aronimus paused, but only slightly. Silver Eyes' eyes narrowed into daggers upon Aronimus.

Before Silver Eyes could interject, "If you truly wanted to safeguard humanity against tyranny, then you should have remained to defend it. Democracy, as our forefathers said, is but one generation from extinction. You chose not to defend it, so you can not speak of tyranny!" Silver Eyes' placid demeanor now transformed into one of wrath, before he could voice his outrage, Aronimus continued.

"I must also wonder why, you wish to retreat once we have returned your saboteur? The various inconsistencies in your speech make me wonder,"

"You clearly know that my ship is about to make a slip space jump, but you are going to retreat? There are two mining freighters stacked to the brim with Duillium cargo, that you can freely seize once we have made our jump. Cargo that can fund an entire war effort, and nobody will stop you once we have vanished."

"I can tell that your saboteur is very important to you, and for that reason, we won't be giving her up. In fact, I plan on asking her a few questions myself, as we take her with us, and there is nothing you can do about it," the Salient reflected that last statement invincibly.

Aronimus cut the transmission short after that statement. Aronimus knew that his attacks had hit home as he saw Silver Eyes become visibly aggravated, more so now than before when he was faced with the indignation at the hands of Aronimus' retorts. Silver Eyes crushed the glass of alcohol with his fist, the alcohol disembodied its container's form and gushed in all directions, onto his coat, the bridge floor, and his viewing screen. The shards of glass pierced his skin, bleeding him through little cuts as he clenched his teeth.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Bridge

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston

0.00 INK

Ninety two percent.

There was nothing left to be said or done. As the pirate ships had disengaged and were no longer firing, the Admiral realized that the battle was over. He decided to leave his platform and stride to the viewport at the fore end of the bridge.

By now the crew had paused all activity, perhaps it had sunk in. They had won the battle. To Aronimus, he stared grimly at the armada of pirate ships still on the field. They weren't retreating. They had no reason to retreat. The battle had in actuality, concluded with a draw. The Salient was bruised and battered, though still functioning.

The jump was about to begin, Aronimus, his crew, and his ship, had done everything they could.

"What are your orders Admiral?" asked a crewmen.

Aronimus looked over his shoulder to the nearest crew member.

"I want all fighter squadrons and units recalled to the ship immediately, get them out of there before we make the jump," he huffed. Then he returned to the viewport, the debris field seemed to have enshrouded his view.

Aronimus retired to his seat back on the platform. He tapped a key on his chair's interface, activating a holographic screen which beamed into being.

"We'll be clearing the field immediately," the Admiral reported.

"Very well Admiral, we can handle it from here," a voice replied.

"Soters out," the screen then made expiation of itself.

Contingency CA was in now effect.

The setting changes from bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer

0.00 INK

Ninety nine percent.

The number slowly maintained its presence on the screen; it would soon be overtaken by a number that was a digit greater.

Aronimus was sitting in his command chair, viewing his crew, while they were at their stations. It seemed as though they had only left Callisto merely moments ago.

The events of the day had been, relatively unimaginable. To have intervened on behalf of a pair of merchant freighters. To have withstood a massive pirate armada and still survive with the majority of the crew intact. They had only begun their journey, whether or not these were omens that did not bode well, Aronimus did not care. He had other things to worry about at the moment.

A.D.A.M. was being slightly damaged by a viral code that had infiltrated the system, disrupting his own processing. To counter act this, the Admiral would have to open the flood gates further and give A.D.A.M. more processing capacity.

Aronimus' finger hovered over the key on the transparent screen, but he decided to hold off on that thought as one of the younger officers approached him on the platform. The soldier was faintly pale, and he walked with a certain burden on his gait.

"Sir..." he paused and handed Aronimus a tablet.

"This is the list of..." his voice clung to his throat, "Casualties." Aronimus looked into the young officer's eyes. They were bent and saddened even though he tried to keep his professional look.

Aronimus cleared his throat, "Thank you, Lieutenant."

Before he left, the officer turned to the Admiral, "Sir..."

"Yes, I...understand, we'll have the services when we exit slipstream."

One hundred percent.

Aronimus noted the number on his screen, as his view was then blasted by a flash of light. It blurred his vision only slightly, he would later remark that he saw spots for hours after the jump. The rip through slipstream was being activated through the Salient's engines. The scar in the fabric of space began to suck in the ship.

The crew members braced themselves in their seats for the rough entry as they gazed at the blinding light of the slipstream.

"We're entering slipstream, brace yourselves..." Aronimus forewarned.

With that the ship was sucked into the rip, and vanished with a brilliant illumination.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: A.D.A.M

0.00 INK

Near Themos V...

"Very well Admiral, we can handle it from here," Attalon Soters replied to the transparent viewing screen that hung over the ship's fore end viewport.

"Soters out," He then closed the screen and returned to viewing his crew from the commander's seat at the very center of the bridge like a hawk.

The Commander remained alert, sitting upright and leaning forward in his seat, with every ounce of interest and concentration poured directly into the feeds before him and the viewport directly beyond him.

"Alright boys and girls, this is it! Lock and load your weapons and be ready to hit them," Commander Attalon Soters addressed his combat crews through the channels.

Soters was a relatively young officer in the Federation Navy, but he was very dedicated nonetheless. This was the reason why he was leading two full Federation battle groups, Tango and Whiskey, composed of some eighty warships as they exited a slipstream hole near the gas giant of Themos V. His fleet was in a nearby sector as Admiral Aronimus Weston gave word that he had been ambushed by the infamous pirate, Silver Eyes.

Contingency CA: Catastrophic Aversion, was a beacon that had been activated by the Salient's central A.I. It was a rallying call for any nearby Federation units to arrive on scene to aid the Salient. However, Soters quickly received word that the Salient was forced to make a jump after receiving heavy fire and commencing an irreversible slipspace leap. In its current state, it was a planned ambush, which succeeded accordingly to Aronimus's whims.

Soters's fleet was immediately met by a large field of scattered debris that consisted of lifeless hulks ranging in various sizes. Some were the shells of large ships such as cruisers, others were merely bits of what were once fighters.

Soters's battle groups flanked Silver Eyes's fleet and instantly began unleashing an unrelenting torrent of rail gun fire, and compounded with a barrage of missiles, all of which was concentrated on one ship at a time.

The beams and missiles sliced through Silver Eyes's forward line of destroyers and frigates, adding to the field of debris an innumerable amount of metallic hulks that were ripped apart.

Wings of Federation fighters doggedly skimmed in and out between Silver Eyes's formation, which by now began to break apart as ships broke rank to flee. The fighters attacked like wolf packs, immediately pouncing on lighter ships like piranhas.

Soters commanded his destroyers forward, while his cruisers laid down a line of suppression fire against Silver Eyes's retreating ships.

To compound the matter, a second fleet of corporate vessels exited slipstream on the opposite flank of Soters's battle groups. It was a fleet centered around a single carrier, the Queen Gertrude, which belonged to the Altamus Corporation's private security forces. The carrier remained the center of a fleet of some twenty destroyer vessels pulled from various Altamus outposts to escort the two freighters to their original destination.

This small squadron was deployed after receiving a distress signal directly from the merchant freighter, the Summerwind.

"Dirty Gertie's here boys!" the chatter on the communication channels between the Altamus vessels fired off.

"It's about damn time! We were scared as shit trying to hide from those guys 'cause they were tryin' to frost us." Cronos spit his cigar out and jumped from his seat.

"Neva' fear honneh', Dirty Gertie's here!"

These channels were immediately linked to the Federation battle groups' combat network, as the corporate vessels joined the fray.

"The Altamus Corporation gives thanks to the Federation Navy for defending our asses, or assets so to speak." spoke the voice of an older and vivacious woman at the helm.

"No problem, as long as you help us take them out." Soters referred to the pirates in a solemn demeanor as his hawkish features were brought down upon the screen.

"Sure thing! We're just doing our civic duty. Queen Gertrude, out."

The Queen Gertrude was a hornet's nest, and the hornets immediately zipped from the multiple hangar exits and swarmed the rear of Silver Eyes's formations while bolstering the Federation wings. The Alta-Corp destroyers began to lay down fire along with the Federation warships as they both pushed forward, continuing the chase after Silver Eyes's fleet or whatever remained of it after the first wave. Silver Eyes for his part, was not present at the battle to witness the events that transpired.