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Lauren Grove

A woman who has lived far too many lives.

0 · 73 views · located in Wing City

a character in “The Multiverse”, originally authored by Prose, as played by RolePlayGateway

So begins...

Lauren Grove's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
"Found you," a woman said very quietly. A small smile lifted the corner of her delicate mouth but only for a second. The brief smile was smothered by a metallic glass filled with a glowing radioactive waste green drink called Astro. It was a piss poor drink for someone like her but it was alcohol and that made it acceptable. At least it made it acceptable for the moment.

Tracking Hadden through space had not been an easy job, not even for a capsuleer. Even with her vast amount of resources and ability to 'acquire' encrypted messages, Grove had a difficult time pinpointing even a ballpark guess as to where he would show up. She should have had a tracking device implanted into the man after she bought him. He had cost her quite a penny as Terrans would say.

Grove set down the metal cup on the bar top. She hated Terrans. After getting that pitiful excuse of a capsuleer to commit suicide so she would no longer be sharing one body with another conscience she had expected Marcus to be there for her. He hadn't. The man had disappeared, again. So had died far too many times for one man. Terrans were ungrateful sonsofbitches that deserved to burn in the Hell that they had created.

Tension needed to be let loose. Grove wanted to stop protecting shit against futility and just have some fun. Hadden was good for fun. They weren't even supposed to be friends. She was Azrik and he was Oriyak. If she wanted some trouble that's where she could find it and not be lonely at the same time. Hell, Grove wouldn't even mind him killing her. She'd just come back in yet again another body and laugh it off with him over a drink.

Right, because that wasn't fucking insanity. Then again just wanting to shoot and kill someone wasn't the exact definition of sanity either which is really what Grove wanted to do deep down. She wanted someone else beside herself to suffer. Maybe that was why she tracked down Hadden instead. She wanted someone else to suffer, but how to make him suffer? While they were loosely friends is wasn't as if Grove knew which buttons to press on the Oriyak.

She could start out with murdering his comrades. That may trigger some inspiration.

"How about a round for that group of men over there," Grove told the bartender as she thumbed backward to Hadden's table and the group gathered there.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik hissed through his teeth as he set the glasses all together and allowed the bartender to take them. Clapping dust from his gloves he tapped his fingers in a pattern on the table as one of the Leaguesmen produced a small container, it was only a matter time before someone busted the drugs out in this crowd anyway. Hadden almost chuckled at the other Tsovs -- being a Soviet, he was wholeheartedly committed to the idea of the ‘the New Soviet Man’.

“You’ll burn a hole in your nose with that stuff, bolvan.” Hadden remarked callously, and as he locked eyes with the other Tsov they shared an intent staring match before the man put the container down.

“Ah, you one of Regievko’s angels huh? I thought we got rid of those.” He replied harmlessly and then lifted his hands up from the table, pantomiming he wasn’t interested in the cocaine. “ … No, I’m fucking with you. It’s mine.” He ended with a patronizing chuckle to Kovodnik, and took the container back in his hands.

“Just wait until some floozy Terrans find out you’re carry -- “ As one bartender brought a stack of drinks over all the Leaguesmen exchanged looks with one another curiously until Kovodnik silently scanned the bar around him.

“Who the fuck knows we’re here?” The Tsov said under his breath, and was only kept from standing up by Kovodnik as he raised a hand from the table.

“It’s nothing, I will handle it.” Hadden said as he stood up, his eyes narrowing at one woman in particular until his jaw locked into a position of perpetual frustration. “ … You stupid devushka.”

As Kovodnik left the table he made an indication to the bar, and convinced the Oriyak had it under control they set about their free drinks. Hadden’s stalwart figure maneuvered through the sea of tables and patrons, disappearing from sight of the rest of the Leaguesmen sooner or later as he reached the bar. Part of him hoped this was a case of mistaken identity: he knew capsuleers though, instinct was always right when it came to capsuleers.

“What … the fuck are you trying to do girl, get us fucking disappeared? Why the hell are you even here!”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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It wasn't every day one could claim that they were thrown INTO a bar. Yet that was the situation here. Though the bloodied, bruised figure didn't so much get thrown in as he was thrown into the wall and stumbled through the door while still trying to get his bearings. His tormentors were satisfied with their handiwork, one of them commenting that whoever's inside would "finish him off."

Larry was a bit of a runt compared to the others, standing at not even six feet, with a decidedly non-muscular build. No wonder they were picking on him outside...probably some Outer Rim punks. He spat out an order for an Astro Surfer through broken teeth. Or at least that's what it sounded like even as he struggled to stay upright. Looked like he got kneecapped.

"Oh, and could someone stop the room? Y'all are moving around a whole lot," he added to the group in the corner with the Oriyak accent. Man, why drink until the room was spinning when you could just get yourself punched in the face, right?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Grove stared down at the collection of empty glasses in front of her. She had told the bartender to not remove them. Seeing how many drinks she could ingest without throwing up her bowels was always a fun game. Astro wasn't as strong as it boasted to be. There must have been more than a dozen metal glasses shimmering on the bar from the fluorescent light overhead. Her limbs felt sluggish and slightly numb so that was a good sign. Perhaps another dozen and she'd finally be able to blackout.

Damn it all for having a high tolerance to intoxicants. What had they done to this body? Grove disliked it but it was a rush order. Better this body than sharing one with that other pissant of a girl.

Grove's thoughts were interrupted as a familiar voice boomed in her ear. She leaned over in her chair with a grimace on her face. Grove didn't even bother looking at Hadden. She didn't him to see the surprise on her face from him recognizing her. It ruined some of the fun but she was adaptable.

"I own you, or don't you remember that, Hadden," Grove snapped. She finally looked over at him. He looked the same but older. They always looked older.

"You're getting better at picking out capsuleers. What made you think that I was who I am? I could have been any capsuleer. It's not like we're that rare outside of Coalition space. Anyway, who are you friends? Where have you been and where are you going? You are my property and I am entitled to that information. Also, how have you been old friend?" The last question made Grove laugh in a dark way. She wasn't asking him that because she cared. The woman was just being an asshole.

The laughter died away and she patted the seat next to her.

"If you don't sit down I'm going to shoot all of your friends in the next ten seconds."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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“Alright girl listen -- “ Kovodnik leaned in towards her should and then pointed over toward the table, sure to obscure the two of them behind other patrons as his eyes narrowed. The game had changed now. “I know you’re a Stray now but that, over there, is the SRL. The Resistance League. You do know Regievko jumped ship and left the Coalition spinning? Da? Well that’s his fucking hit squad over there.” He remarked coarsely, waving away all her other inquiries.

“You know they’re reclaiming capsuleers too, da? And … you are a capsuleer.” He said, trying to be as painfully obvious as possible. “I know you like to play games but this is fucking dangerous Grove.” He ended through grit teeth as he turned back around to see two of the men standing from the table, adjusting their jackets and fixing their eyes tightly on him.

“You’re practically wrapping yourself in a fucking bow, Grove.” He said as he turned back and placed a pair of the empty glasses directly in front of his hand. “God fucking dammit, you stupid Azrics. You can’t stay out of business -- do you even have any fucking idea what they’ve been doing to your kind?” Kovodnik said as he leaned himself back away from her, pretending that he was ordering a drink. Turning back over his shoulder he could see the two other Leaguesmen making their way to the bar.

“Fuck Grove, they’re coming this way. Thanks for making my job easier.” He remarked as he slid himself into a seat, one hand checking the knife on his shoulder while the other confirmed the hidden pistol rigged to his leg. "You always were a bull in a china shop ... if you end up posing as a school nurse to bomb some Terran elementary, it's not my fault." He said spitefully. "I hope you have a gun handy."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Hadden being so near to Grove was disorienting and uncomfortable. Ever since Marcus she didn't allow anyone to get near her, physically or emotionally. He was in her bubble and Grove did not like it. There may have been one point in her other lives that she would have liked it but having a giant Oriyak looming over her new body wasn't a comforting feeling. It wasn't even broken in properly.

"You look nervous, Hadden. You're not falling for me are you? Is that why you're so nervous and scared right now? Are you afraid they may kill me? What a travesty. What would your mother think, falling in love with an Azrican. She'd be horrified," Grove said in a mocking tone. It was nothing but a big game to her. Why would a capsuleer be afraid of death. She had already died eight times before. What was one more death to someone like her?

Grove leaned over in her seat and picked up a black bag off the floor. She pushed aside most of her empty glasses and set it on the counter.

"You're not afraid of the dark, are you, Hadden?" Grove asked. She quirked a brow and hummed a little melody quietly. "Honestly, they shouldn't have gone with a wireless network. There could be capsuleers running around this galaxy. Who knows what would happen if one cracked into the system," she said before the fluorescent lights began to flicker overhead.

She unzipped the bag. Inside of it was a trophy of a weapon and one that was highly collectible. It was a beautiful AK-47 in working condition.

"Of course if you don't like working in the dark, I can just think of something else. You can always use me as a meat shield. It only hurts for a little while. I promise," Grove said as her fingers stroked the weapon.

"You just let me know when to shoot, sweetheart."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik snorted hotly at her words. “Hah, I’ve had enough of my fair share of misplaced emotions -- do not flatter yourself lady, I’m a Tsov. We don’t have very high standards anyway.” He said as he rolled his shoulders, shaking off the ‘Mishoy!’ shouted from one of the men as they came near. “I just don’t want the Directorate finding your corpse somewhere and getting suspicious.” Kovodnik said as he drew the knife from his shoulder rig and idly slid it under his sleeve.

“Just don’t get yourself shot, I’ll need a stable starship pilot to clean up this mess you’ve made.” Hadden remarked dryly as he finally turned back around, pretending he was talking to the bar tender.

“Mishoy, what’re you doing over here? Don’t mingle with the na -- “ The man’s eyes narrowed as he recognized a Scatterran, though many strays floated throughout the universe the SRL prided itself on knowing most of them. “Wait a second Mish, aaaah trying to keep his find to himself. “

Both of the men grinned as Kovodnik looked back at them with an incredulous eye. “You certainly know how to treat a lady, huh? She’s just a Stray.” Kovodnik said idly, refusing eye contact and keeping a cool demeanor.

“Oh stop Mishoy, you were always such a chivalrous pussy.” The Tsov laughed, standing beside the woman with his elbow on the bar and the other man between him and Grove. “I don’t need some silly powder for entertainment when you have a pretty Homeland girl.” He joked.

Hadden rolled his eyes as he spotted the other man trying to reach a hand around Grove. Planting one hand on the counter his other sprang into action: taking his hand as it made contact the other Oriyak screamed in agony as Kovodnik crushed his wrist, the blade flashing in an instant from under his sleeve and plunging underneath his chin as Hadden stabbed directly into the subspace cortex, ensuring this capsuleer would stay dead.

“Go!” He shouted out as he jumped from his stool and pulled the corpse in front of him, drawing the sidearm and spinning around to face the table as the four other Oriyaks began rising from the table with their weapons. Notching the AP-50 onto automatic Hadden depressed the trigger and sprayed a hail of rounds downrange at the Leaguesmen.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
It all unfolded in front of Grove's eyes in mere seconds. She blinked as the other capsuleer was murdered right next to her. The sound of blood rushed in the woman's ears and she felt as if her heart was going to explode. Grove wasn't ready for fighting. She was not ready for this just yet. The alcohol in her stomach turned sour. It threatened to purge itself from her stomach.

Hadden's order jerked Grove back into reality. She nodded at him and grabbed up her bag. The woman made herself the smallest target possible. There was plenty of time to get shot later. It'd be a waste of her time to die after taking so long to track Hadden down. At least that is what Grove told herself to justify her cowardice.

But she couldn't leave Hadden all alone. That wasn't her style. That was never Grove's style. The door was just a few feet away from her though and it'd be all too easy to get away in one piece. A muscle worked in Grove's jaw as she held the greatest of debates in her mind.

"Fuckin' hell," Grove muttered. She dropped the bag on the floor and took out her AK-47. She overturned a table and sent several pitchers of water splashing against the floor. It gave her an idea. Why pick them off one by one when you could fry them all in one basket?

"Login system. Access fire control systems. Override," Grove said as she slipped into the Galactic Bar's wireless network. She was a ghost in the machine. It was what a capsuleer had been bred to do, after all.

Inside the bar the sprinklers went off in half of the room. Water drenched anyone who was not in the near vicinity of herself or of Hadden. It obscured sight slightly and if certain technological gadgets weren't protected against water damage they were going to start going haywire and short circuiting. Grove's ears started to ring from gunfire in such a small box. She was going to have a hard time hearing after her and Hadden got out of there.

Hidden behind her table, as she believed, Grove reached for her AK-47 and fired at the wall of all places. All she needed was a small hole, that and a power source. Her arm disappeared into the wall up to the elbow. Her position was compromised but in a few seconds that hopefully wouldn't matter.

Grove ripped out one of the power lines that ran through the walls. It was live. The capsuleer with more balls than most men lurched out from behind her table and landed flat on her belly.

"Out of the water Hadden!" Grove yelled. She hoped he heard or he was going down with the rest of them. The woman threw the live wire onto the wet floor and scrambled away back away from the edge of the water as it electrified immediately with enough intensity to fry a brain inside its skull. Grove was going to get bonus points too for anything metallic they wore.

Grove's trick only lasted a few seconds before power to the entire sector of the station was lost. They were all thrust into darkness. It could be a good thing or it could be a very bad thing. She patted herself down to see if she was still alive.

Yes. Damn.

"Hadden," she whispered in the darkness. Where had that man gone?

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Lawrence Anderson was in the vicinity. When the lights went out, no problem, he had thermal vision. Gunfire, sprinklers, all in a day's barfight. But when Grove pulled the wire, it all came together for him. With cat-like reflexes fueled entirely by adrenaline, the half-broken man jumped the bar counter in an effort to avoid the high voltage.

Fortunately, he lived. Unfortunately, the area behind the bar still got a jolt. At least the barkeep shielded him from the worst of it. Regular Joe, everyday hero. He just laid there, paralyzed. "Ow. What a woman..." he moaned before unconsciousness took over.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik sprang into action, the other Leaguesmen firing off wild rounds as the sprinklers came on; water puddling just a few meters away from his feet while he pushed the meat shield away. Sprinting to the side he dropped the AP-50 as well, metal clanking on the ground as he jumped at the edge of one of the bar tables and catapulted himself at a booth near the bar and wrapped his hands around the assault rifle on his chest.

“Ne shumite!” Hadden finally replied, lifting himself up from the booth slightly while aiming the assault rifle on the top of the table. Crawling his way onto the furniture he activated a flashlight on the foreguard of the weapon. “ … Alright now, you will find way to unfuck this.” He remarked shortly in the darkness until he threw a flare at the bartop.

“You have starship da?” Kovodnik said while scanning with the flashlight and traversing the bar from table to table. Reaching a bullet shattered table he jumped down and aimed the flashlight back to where the door to the dive was.

“We were on our way to Terra to find a doctor man -- Arrokan, silly man from special school in the Garden. Then going to weapons facility near the galactic halo.” Kovodnik began explaining, the flashlight dangling as the weapon jostled: Hadden pulled a backpack and several tablet devices from the corpses on the ground. “There’s activity across the rest of the Local Region, Regievko is going to use it as a flashpoint. Strays like you have missed a lot.”

Standing up from one of the corpses he turned the flashlight back to the door and began towards it at a crouch. “We have another one, with our package for delivery to Terra. After you done twisting wires I need a path out of this area of the station.” Kovodnik said as he reached the door and steadied the flashlight as he drew the door open just slightly and aimed the foreguard-mounted camera on the weapon.

“We find the one without taking the rest with us, you find map and get us quickest way to freight depot onboard.” Hadden said as he moved to open the door all the way, rifle aimed down the corridor. Reaching a hand up at his neck Kovodnik activated a digital interface and checked at a communication feed. "The others will jump off from the station the moment this reaches Resistance operators. They think the Special Group is quick on them -- keep it this way da? This is not necessarily a sanctioned operation."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Grove paled at Hadden's inquiry as to whether or not she had a starship. She hadn't gotten around to 'acquiring' a new one. Grove had gotten to the station via public transporation. The mere thought of it made her shiver in disgust. That little secret wasn't going to be told either. Capsuleers were better than public transportation.

"Yeah, yeah I will get us out of here," Grove said as she patted the ground for her bag in the dark. Once it was located, she picked it up and slung it over her back. The woman considered looking for her AK-47. It was supposed to be used for trade on a remote planet. But it seemed like her business plans were being put on hold.

"You know, Hadden, I have no idea what you are talking about but if you want to get to Terra than I'm your girl. All this other extracurricular activity after we get to Terra may or may not stay on my agenda. Now, shut up so I can process," Grove said to Kovodnik.

The fearless capsuleer shoved the larger Oriyak away from the door. She jerked it wide open and without caution walked outside of the bar. Repairmen and technicians were going to show up soon. It was best to leave in a hurry and not so stealthily. That would slow them down way too much.

"And I have a map," Grove said tapping her temple. "I always have a map." She reached into the black back and pulled out a tablet with a wire connected to it. Grove used the wire to jack up her brain to the tablet. In seconds the blue prints to the entire station glowed above the screen.

"They really need a better firewall. This way," Grove said before she took off down a hallway.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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A groan came from behind the bar as the broken man struggled to his feet. "I got your shiny rifle in my sights. Now let's get out of here." He pulled himself to his feet, tripped over the dead barkeep and limped out the door before pressing a button on his helmet. He tossed the silver plated AK-47 to the chick despite the total darkness before following behind Grove and the huskier male. "Thermal vision. Only reason I shouldn't lead is because I've been tossed around, but at least I can spot right?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik left the door and scanned the corridor with the flashlight as he produced another flare. Putting the satchel back to his side he began down the hallway, ears acute with the lack of light. Following Grove the Captain kept a close watch behind them, moving through the dark corridors Kovodnik made sure to keep the weapon silent. Activating the flare he threw it away at a pair of benches on the stations large walkways.

“The League has been collecting capsuleers since the end of the Galactic War, Grove.” He replied, finally turning around as they passed a turn in the corridor. Bringing his weapon forward he danced the flashlight from point to point to cover every quadrant of the empty hall. “While you’ve been off -- Bog -- fucking in the bushes the Garden, our fucking homeland Grove, has been tearing itself apart. All for these fucking blizhnegochov!” Kovodnik replied as he exchanged the magazine in his rifle and activated the bolt once more.

“If I knew you were a capsuleer but not who you are I would have killed you back there, do you understand, da? This is not a playful game." He said, following at her side but passing the area over every once or twice with the and holding the weapon steady. He kept walking as he heard shouting and the familiar discussion of a team searching the corridors. They were far off and practically on another floor of the deck but Hadden was able to identify their relative location. "If you want to make it off of this station you will hide this fact, pozhaluysta."

Coming to a small bulkhead Hadden quickly pried it the rest of the way open: bullet holes in the wall nearby indicated previous travel, primarily civilians avoiding a gun battle. Hadden knew the station security wouldn't hesitate to cancel departures with a gunbattle onboard, and every once in a while there was the telltale din of automatic fire as the Captain picked through the bulkhead and looked up to a holographic display. "The others will likely get bogged down with security before they can get off the station ... time is on our side then."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Grove stopped and looked up at Hadden. The light from the flares and the holographic display above her tablet washed out all her features. Grove looked like a ghost.

"Shut up. I understand that you are in a hurry to get off this station. I understand that you have an important mission which includes me getting you to Terra. It must be hard for you to accept the fact that you need me for once in your life, that you need someone that's against everything you've ever been taught your entire life," Grove spat at Hadden in a quiet voice.

"I don't give a shit about UCON. I'm a capsuleer, Hadden. I don't have a fucking home. I may have been born an Azrican, but I'm a damn body hopping abomination that won't die until I choose to die. What the fuck do I need a home for and I don't give a damn if I get taken up by these League assholes. A person like me can just kill herself and wake up in a new body like it never happened. You don't know shit, so shut the fuck up, Hadden.

"I'm only doing this favor for you because I have no one else. We are barely friends but you're the only person I have that even knows my name. So, if you want to get off this piece of shit station, stop talking and let me get us a fucking starship.

"Do you understand me, Kovodnik?" Grove asked him.

"And that goes for you too," the capsuleer snapped at the man following Hadden and herself. She had ignored him until then because she was hoping for him to leave them the hell alone. It didn't look like he was going anywhere anytime soon, however.

"Not a damn word," Grove said to the man, almost shoving a finger into his face.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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"No problem, lady. How do you think I got to this pile of rocks in the first place?" He pressed a button on his helmet, and the whine of a starship engine could be heard in the rear docking bay. "We have 2 minutes before startup finishes. I've got some seats in the cargo area you can strap into. Just tell me where you wanna go before the pain overtakes my willpower."

The things he was willing to do for love. Or at least seeing her get out of the shower.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik looked at the computer screen mounted in the gauntlet on his arm. An access map on display, showing a maintenance ladder along the pedestrian walks into the bowels of the freighting depot. With a station for a container tram just up the way Kovodnik stopped in front of a terminal mounted in the wall: using one of the handheld devices to access the interface Hadden quickly parsed through a series of manifest logs until reaching the registry of the vessel he had arrived on.

“Use the freight tram to reach the ship’s bridge, I’ll find the others.” Kovodnik replied shortly as he set the handheld down, propping it on top of the terminal as a list of contacts and information poured onto the small screen on his gauntlet. “Once onboard you’ll need to seal all cargo immediately, even if there are people still in it -- I will handle untying the ropes, just get ready to drive.”

Hadden nestled the rifle close to him as he kicked open a panel to the access tunnel, scooting it away with one foot and crawling down into the structure. The confines were stuffy and cramped, though he was able to descend nearly twenty meters until a series of vibrations from a moving tram made the lights flicker around Hadden.

“Hadden are you in the freighting center right now?!” The communicator in his ear came to life as the Captain looked down the ladder to see the exit onto a catwalk. Just five or ten meters away a patrol ship hovered above the pathways and docking yards: figures could be seen scrambling in each direction before sparks of light and the audible crack of weaponry was heard.

“Yes, I’m on my way to the ship now Three -- meet me at the cargo ontake.” Hadden replied as he left the ladder and descended the stairs to the long sloping ramps that served to hasten the processing of cargo from the docked ship. The older Scatterran cruiser was a sleek and nimble military craft, paint faded and battlescarred but still imposing.

“Get moving Grove.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Grove watched as Hadden accessed the station's manifest logs. It was cute and horrifying at the same time. For Grove it was like watching a surgeon operate on a brain tumor with hedge sheers. She didn't say a word about it. Unlike some capsuleers, Grove could accept that people weren't like her and that was perfectly acceptable.

Grove watched as Hadden disappeared. She followed his orders and took the tram. During her brief breathing period she flashed back to how Hadden had killed that other capsuleer. An injury like that and without warning should have killed that capsuleer without the ability to be rebirthed. He knew how to kill capsuleers. A pang of fear shot through Grove.

Maybe pushing Hadden around wasn't such a good idea anymore. Then again, if he hated her in any way he would have already killed her. There was only one conclusion to draw from what she knew of his beliefs concerning capsuleers and why he was keeping her alive. Either Hadden considered her a friend in a genuine way or he was playing a game with her.

Grove's dark eyes narrowed.

The tram stopped. There was gunfire erupting nearby. Either it was security or whoever else Hadden had pissed off. Grove pulled out a sidearm from inside her jacket. There was limited cover along the walkway that gave her access to the ship's main hatch. It was just a few stacks of cargo left over from another ship. It would be easy for Grove to disable the power to that part of the grid but there were other capsuleers here.

Grove didn't like to leave a trail behind and she certainly didn't like other capsuleers. First Gens never understood the later models and she was most definitely a first gen. She had had more than enough time spent sharing space with another capsuleer. Even feeling one inside the system made her stomach turn sour. No, going inside the station's system wasn't an option.

Time to go manual.

Grove checked the magazine. She was full up on rounds which gave her more hope. Whatever Hadden was doing, he needed to do it fast. Once that ship was primed Grove was going to take off with or without him. At least that's what she told herself. Using more caution than she had shown the entire time while on the Galatic Bar station, the capsuleer painstakingly made her way toward the ship.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Oh goodie. A good old fashioned firefight. Larry pulled out his C-10 Canister Rifle and called to mind his field marksmanship training. A prone position meant that he was in charge of covering Hadden and Grove as they made their way along the catwalk. "I don't know what the hell you guys are up to, but something tells me I'm better off sticking with you than turning myself in at this point!" He popped off a shot. Bingo, right in the brain case. Maybe this guy could be useful after all.

"Hey, lady, looks like they're moving to cover the ship you're heading towards! I might be able to use my ship as a distraction, but you're gonna have to cover me while I get down there!" Time for the signature trick of his training. Accessing the power of his suit and letting it blend with his own psychic energies, Lawrence and his gear disappeared from normal sight and began the long, dangerous trek towards his own beat-up ship, the interstellar equivalent of a station wagon. If anyone was getting ready to pin down the two on the upper level, they were getting a cranium full of high velocity bullet from an invisible source. And if those two left him behind, that was okay too. They had barely acknowledged his existence, after all.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik rose up to see the other capsuleer from his cover. The Leaguesman cradled an assault rifle against his shoulder, while eyes scanned from behind a pair of goggles. The rifle snapped to attention and Hadden doubted his actions for a split second until he heard the man's voice.

"Hadden?"

“Da, it’s me.” He finally exhaled, leaning against the crate silently as the other capsuleer muttered a prayer under his breath and then reach a hand to the freight cart terminal right next to him.

“You’ve been made, Mishoy. Faust thinks you’re trying to cut with the package and get to Terra by yourself.” As Hadden slid out from his hiding place the Oriyak shook with a loud chuckle, rising to his feet as he drew the bolt of the assault rifle open.

“That stupid bastard still thinks I’m just here for money, though.” Kovodnik said triumphantly as the first cart in the freight conveyor was puttering its way across the drydock to the waiting Scatterran cruiser.

“Not quite -- we were perusing the other payloads while you were done here, Mishoy did you take open of the pods?” Konstan was another Oriyak agent, planted long before Hadden had been assigned this mission: they had served in silent distinction together and had successfully frustrated already hundreds of League operations while still maintaining cover. They both knew and quietly agreed to the requirements of a mission such as this.

“The capsuleers? No -- dyemo.” Hadden cursed briefly and then vaulted over a pair of freighting boxes to reach the control terminal. “I have a driver for us but she’s not in any system.” Kovodnik pecked hastily at the terminal input as he continued to explain. “If we can get to Terra we can use the onboard Arachny system, but we have to be careful to keep her eyes from dark places do you understand?”

“Hadden this sounds absolutely stupid,” Konstan said plainly, standing on the embark point to the freight cart. Designed to carry twelve ton boxes the two Oriyaks could ride easily into the cargo hold of the cruiser, searchlights and warning systems flashing across its hull. “You’ve only killed Makarno also, those idiots you call your drinking friends still saw every -- “

“Yes, I know I only killed one of them.” Hadden said desperately, stepping back from the terminal as he finished one last input. Sighing he didn’t bother to explain himself any more as he joined Konstan on the freight lift and exchanged his weapon for a bullpup distance rifle. “Just grab a gun.”



“We have movement at the tram access -- it isn’t station security.”

“Oh God dammit. Get Exeter to the tram station.” A disgruntled voice followed the man as he turned away from the holographic display, leaving the tiny cushion on the floor and quickly exiting the small room through what was mistakable for a closet door. “Just. Dammit.”

A television mounted in the wall spun on, and a pretty woman spoke her way down a teleprompter while trying to act genuine. Behind her a news scrawler shuffled through images of burning buildings, roadblocks guarded by masked gunmen and rioters on the roof of a police department. The figure went on, shoulders rolled forward as hands reached out through the slight darkness: instead of looking for guidance another holographic screen opened to life and a camera winked on, covering a stretch of the umbilical to the starship.

“Oh who the fuck is this dumb bitch trying to get on my starship?”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
"Shit!" Grove hissed between her teeth. She had been compromised. Things were definitely not going as smoothly as they could. Grove was mentally kicking herself in the ass for not tapping into the security feeds. The risk would have been worth not being discovered.

Grove clicked the safety off of her sidearm, groaned, and then hauled ass out from behind a stack of cargo boxes towards the ship's hatch. There was a shout in the distance and the sound of rounds firing off ricocheted in Grove's ears. Her dark eyes locked onto the ship. If she just kept running and moving her chances of being shot were made more slim.

A bullet whistled in her ear. That one had been a close call. Her sprint did not falter. There was no fear of dying from the capsuleer. She just kept running through a barrage of gunfire until she got to the hatch. Grove was now in some deep shit. The ship needed to be opened and for that to happen she needed to stand still for a few seconds.

The capsuleer hooked herself up through a hardline connected at her wrist. She cracked the security lock in no time flat. Just as she was disengaging herself from the ship something bit Grove hard in the thigh. She yelped and screamed out obscenities until the hatch slide open.

Grove threw herself inside and closed the door. Whether the man that was following them was inside or not, Grove locked the door. She allowed herself two seconds to scream in pain and then it was back to business. The capsuleer rushed to the deck and began preparations to get the beautiful ship ready to soar through the stars.

The cargohold was put on lockdown just as Hadden had instructed her. Grove was not aware of anyone on the ship. She was focused only on getting it out of the station and then bandaging up her wound before her new body bled out. It would be a pain in the ass to have to replace it after just getting into it.

"You better get on this fucking ship or so help me," said Grove, mostly to herself. If she had to attend Hadden's funeral she was going to be one pissed woman. The capsuleer began to hardwire herself into the starship's system, connecting wires to the various ports embedded into her skin. The ship flared to life and the engines purred at Grove's loving internal touch.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Two sentries stood in front of a wire gate, a checkpoint following the umbilical to the starship that closed shut with a hiss of air. Taking his hand away from the terminal the Scatterran placed a keycard back onto his vest and joined the other sentry a few meters ahead of the gate, scanning the empty walkway ahead.

“Faust wants this shit taken care of.” The lead sentry replied, his face obscured in the battle armor while aiming the rifle downrange. Activating a targeting laser the two Scatterrans covered one another as they began moving up.

“Fucking Mishoy, who was the bitch he took from the payload?” The Scatterran waited in cover as the lead sentry moved up towards another terminal in the wall, a cable input line running to an automated security drone packed into a corner behind stacks of perishables and water.

“He didn’t touch the payload, some stray that helped him off Makarno and Ishi.” He heard, aiming down the barrel of his rifle as the sentry quickly tapped at the input: a split second later the drone activated with a slight noise and jostled its way out of the crates that surrounded it.

“He’s fucked it now then, poor bastard thinks he’ll get more money cutting the rest of us out and splitting it with some stray?” The Scatterran inquired rhetorically before joining the other sentry and following the drone a few paces behind it.

“This is Exeter Eight -- I got a hit, but she made it onboard!”

“Fuck, don’t just leave her in there for Faust to find!”

“Shit, it’s Castor!”

The drone exploded in a bright flurry of explosives, droplets of a napalm strain flying in every direction and dousing the first sentry across his chest and torso: the smell of polymerplastics and carbon burning made the atmosphere alarm sound off in the umbilical, and the two figures down the walkway sprang into action.

“We’re on to the ship Captain, you’ve got a hornets nest looking for you though.” Obscured from the stench and smoke by the facemask the other agent provocateurs blasted their way down the umbilical a few stories above where Grove had just made her way through. The three men moved quickly in formation, dispatching one last sentry and reaching the checkpoint gate.

“Very good, we’re on the ship now -- just get on board and head to the bridge, we need a medic!”

In the cargo hold Hadden and Konstan jumped down from the freight lift and quickly scrambled up a web of hand railings, the hull shuddering as engines spun to life and auxiliary power turned over to full: lights flickered along the few viewports and translucent panels and Hadden was finally glad to be returning to the ship as he turned around and pulled the bulkhead closed behind him. Just a few moments later the engines ignited the air around the cruiser in a contained fireball that threw prying flames across the hull of the craft.

“You’re out of the cradle now.” Hadden reported to the bridge as he and Konstant came bursting into an empty gangway in the hull of the ship. Rushing through the residential decks and control compartments the two were quickly on their way to the bridge as they began receiving radio calls from the rest of the other agents, a skeleton crew of the ship itself reporting in.

“Get guns, zone defense and sensors online -- after that we’re gunning for Terra as quickly as possible. Konstan I’ll meet you down in the aft fire control.” Hadden said into his microphone shortly, then departed from Konstan with a nod as they both took opposite directions at a bulkhead. The lift to the bridge was waiting for and Hadden met Castor and another agent at its terminus.

“Captain Kovodnik, thought you’d gotten yourself offed back there.” Castor remarked, and for once the Soviet didn’t hate the Resistance League more than the gruesome beast that had spawned it. The two Scatterrans walked side by side as they entered through the empty bridge atrium and towards the capsuleering pod. In the center of the room the ground swelled up around the pod: as Kovodnik left Castor and the other Coalite at the interface Hadden quickly scaled the first few steps up to the pod.

“We’re all onboard Grove, get us the fuck out of here!”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lawrence Anderson Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Damn it. They were leaving without him. Ah well. He didn't really want to get too involved in their shit anyway...not without a specific order to do so, anyway. Larry made his way to his personal craft, running and gunning down the hallways, and followed the other ship out. They would have a clear shot to Terra, and it would be him that they would chase down and interrogate should a pursuit be ordered.

Well, there was his good deed for the day. "I don't know who the fuck you two are or where you're going, but god-fucking-speed to you lot," he mumbled under his breath.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
The body that housed Grove's soul sat completely still inside the capsuleer pod. The vessel built from cloned skin and bone stared straight ahead without blinking. It was an unnatural and eerie sight. There was always subtle movements of the human body, minuscule adjustments to make their positioning more comfortable. It was especially true when the body was injured.

The only motion that came from Grove's vessel was the rising and falling of the woman's chest. The capsuleer had completely surrendered her consciousness to the ship. Her body had become the ship.

"Roger, Captain Kovodnik," came the default voice uploaded into the ship's internal intercom system.

The capsuleer brought the spacial navigation systems online and made a target destination for the Sol System. Grove watched the bodies on board through the ships eyes.

Outside bodies were scrambling towards the ship. The weapons systems blinked to life and Grove targeted the enemy. Shots were fired and bodies hit the cold metal floor of the bay. Not a single round had been wasted. Each had bit into vital flesh and killed the enemy. There was no match for a human against a capsuleer with a full ship's arsenal at her disposal. Grove mowed every body down until there was no more movement picked up in her scans.

And then like a knife cutting through butter, Grove pulled out of the station. The warp engines began to stir as Grove prepared the ship for a jump out of the Galatic Bar and into the Orion Spur where the Sol System was located.

"Gentlemen, please place all trays in their upright and secured position. Fasten all seat belts, and enjoy the ride," the intercom chimed throughout all the cabins inside the ship's interior.

"Next stop: Sol."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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Kovodnik stood on the hard deck plating a story below the capsuleers pod, the bridge empty save for a handful of fatigue-cloaked men as holographic images rotated and swirled around a central display in a wide table. He looked at his boots instinctively, saw red stained droplets from his foot smearing on the deck and frowned only for a moment until he looked to see the little marble of Terra.

“The Forces will be expecting a situation but they do not know we have Arachny system yet -- as soon as we leave the area they’ll be going forward with the operation.” Kovodnik said with a partial tone as he poured over the information in front of him and the others. “They are still behind schedule on Terra though, meaning the quicker we get to Doctor Reichkopf the faster we can stop Quantum from igniting the Local Region.”

“And what about the rest of the Garden?” Castor stood nearby a firing solutions table, scrawling through an armory checklist while digesting information piecemeal. Looking across the table at the spinning planet the Scatterran’s eyes narrowed briefly at the feigned importance of a single rock orbiting a star.

“Castor the Executive is showing for the Local Region op first. We know their steps for the plan.” Kovodnik said hastily, a camera on a trade station above Terra springing to life and showing the same vessel in altered painting docking and leaving in a time exposure. “Faust will cut his losses and make for Terra as quickly as possible to make sure he has his hands on the button when the big man arrives.”

“We talked before I got on station -- you cut a girl out of the pods?” Castor inquired shortly, deactivating a tablet device in his hand and eyeing the agent curiously at the end of his question.

“Nyet, it’s just a stray with a long past.” Hadden said briefly as the other agents went about their business, some turning to terminals and other interfaces. Kovodnik and Castor departed the bridge for the medical bay. The elevator ride was punctuated with hasty conversation.

The setting changes from the-galactic-bar to The Milky Way

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Cpt. Kovodnik Character Portrait: Lauren Grove

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#, as written by Prose
Grove trickled back into her body particle by particle. She didn't want to come out of the machinery of the ship. There was a great difference from being a ship and being a human. Both had their ups and downs. As soon as Grove reattached her consciousness to her body she instantly disliked being human.

The capsuleer blinked her eyes several times to remoisturize them. Her brain was sending signals that her thigh was in sheer agony. Grove didn't scream. She looked down at the bleeding wound and grimaced.

"I can never keep them in one piece," she said to herself. Grove sighed and leaned her head back. Her hand clutched her thigh and the other dug into her flesh wound for the bullet.

An explosion of stars filled Grove's vision as pain overrode all her body's senses. She almost bit through her tongue from clenching her jaw too tight.

Grove finally cried out when her fingers retracted from the wound with the bullet. She took a moment to steady her breathing. Sweat had beaded on her forehead and dripped down her temples. Her eyes rolled around in her skull.

The capsuleer sat there for an unknown amount of minutes before she stood up. Cables drug across the floor. Grove paid them no mind. She needed to get bandaged up before an infection set into her new body.

Grove began to descend from the capsuleer pod after setting the star ship on autopilot. It would be fine on its own for a few minutes while she got patched up. They were in the middle of FTL travel. Grove wasn't worried one bit.

The woman cried out again as the cables jerked. She yanked them from her body and threw them onto the deck. Grove gave one a kick for good measure before she made her way toward medical. Any eyes that landed on her, Grove mean mugged the hell out of them.

No one ever understood a capsuleer. Especially Grove.