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Renzam Aubrey

"Survive to fight. Fight to live!"

0 · 910 views · located in Aftermath Era

a character in “Black Fang”, as played by ZoddtheItinerant

Description

Image

Name: Renzam Aubrey

Role: Black Fang Pilot

Callsign: Caestus

Gender: Male

Physical Appearance: A young man with spiky silver hair, coal black eyes, and average height yet toned build. Many a hair product was sacrificed in the name of Renzam's jagged locks. Is almost always seen wearing a standard issue Black Fang uniform in purple.

Personality Traits: Not the sharpest tool in the shed, Renzam is a careless, fearless brawler, both in and outside of his Silhouette. He can be abrasive and overly honest, with an addiction to sweet treats.

Personal History: Brother of ace pilot Adzam Aubrey, Renzam had served with Black Fang ever since he was fourteen years old. While his skills are moderate at best, he somehow always survives his fights, despite the high mortality rate of Silhouette pilots.

Equipment:
- Purple Black Fang uniform
- AK-47 assault rifle
- Combat knife

So begins...

Renzam Aubrey's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: BFSV-16 Polaris Character Portrait: Genna Strawberry Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf Character Portrait: BFSH-035 Diesever
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  1. Edited to include reference to Lufia's Silhouette.

    by ZoddtheItinerant
  2. Edit retracted.

    by ZoddtheItinerant

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PROLOGUE: HAVEN

Year xx57, Aftermath Era.

The sun shined high above the vast, nigh endless stretch of the Gobi desert. The millennia-old, deep tan sand seemed fluid and soft, like an unmoving, all-encompassing ocean. Scraps of metal littered the dune surfaces, some small as a babe, others large as a battleship. But all were wrinkled, grey, and rusted.

Hundreds of baby blue tents stood in the middle of the desert, a temporary settlement, housing those who had come long and far to find a semblance of hope in a hopeless world. Men, women, and child alike waited anxiously under the scorching heat. Thousands formed lines, queuing in front of a red tent, where the Black Fang organization promised to provide food and supplies.

After hours of shuffling and feeling every corner of his body nearly combusting, a tall youth in a featureless black shirt and dusty tan pants stepped forward, his weary black eyes glancing to the large woman in front of him, clad in a pink apron and face mask and standing besides a large iron tin filled with gallons of pale yellow soup. To a normal man, the sight and scent would be nothing special. To the starving refugees, it was like a blessing from God.

The youth held up a small white bowl, which the woman quickly filled. He grimaced at the contents of the bowl for a few seconds. After so many dull hours, the soup felt like a pittance. Still, the young man nodded his thanks, then turned to leave.

"Nice hairdo," the woman remarked in a deadpan tone.

"Thanks," the youth replied just as flatly. He wondered if she was sincere. Probably not. The colossal mass of steel-grey spikes he called his hair could hardly be called 'fashionable'. But he liked it that way.

Out of the red tent, and back into the desert. The young man slowly looked up and squinted.

Before him, stood a gigantic landship. A mobile fortress of iron and steel, ten times the size of the temporary settlement, its rust red body shielding everyone from much of the unforgiving sun. Massive treads supported the vehicle, its rubbers new and almost free of dust and sand. Fifty cannons, each the size of five adult men, were mounted on both port and starboard sides of the mobile fortress.

Even after a week since he first arrived at this settlement, the spiky-haired youth could not stop marveling at the fortress.

An awe inspiring beacon of hope.

A refuge for the survivors of the unrelenting MASS onslaught.

"Haven".
===============================================================================




Hissing steam.

Rhythmic beating of metal.

All too familiar to those who took part in the construction of Mobile Fortress Haven. Nearly a year had passed since Black Fang's Arch Commander sent out his order. The workers, clad in their dirty blue overalls and oversized yellow helmets tolled through day and night to make sure the Mobile Fortress would be a stalwart place of refuge for the surviving humans of Eurasia.

"I need an english key, quick!"

"You got it!"

Orders shouted, tools exchanged. The workers moved swiftly as they delivered the finishing touches, sprinting upside down across the ceiling through magnetic boots, rolling through the interior with the aid of wheeled ladders...

Surveying the construction were two figures in Black Fang uniforms. The first, a tall, dark haired middle aged man with a gold-trimmed olive coat hanging loosely from his shoulder like a cloak. The second, a shorter young woman with bright orange hair and glassy green eyes, a neat and proper vermilion uniform on her person.

The two walked side by side, with the man, with one hand in his pocket, and another carrying a stainless steel flask, a casual smile gracing his face. The woman, in contrast, held a clipboard and pen in each hand, using the latter to tick away at several checkboxes.

"Commander Neuf, Section A and B are complete. The rooftops at Section C still need reinforcing, but it should be done by tonight," the young woman reported, maintaining a clear and formal tone.

The man, Base Commander Dix Neuf, gave a lax smile in response. "Good job, Tsubaki, send an alert to the Black Fang pilots. I want them to meet up with me at my office-"

"-Already done, sir," the young woman, Operator Tsubaki Horizon, quickly replied, the edge of her lips curving slightly into a proud smile.

Dix Neuf raised one brow in surprise, then smirked. "Working hard as always, eh, Tsubaki?"

Tsubaki raised a fist to her chin, and chuckled slightly. "Someone has to, Commander."

===============================================================================



Haven's hangar. A gunmetal grey chamber, accented by yellow lights to break up the monotony. The whirring and clicking of machinery echoed throughout this interior, located upon Haven's bow. The hangar was the third largest chamber in the mobile fortress, and the first to be completed.

Seven intricate catapult mechanisms were built on the hangar's ground, each connected to six giant clamps carved on the walls. Upon several of the clamps, surrounded by dozens of vertical, diagonal, and horizontal ladders alike, were five of Haven's Silhouettes. Or rather, four silhouettes, one hover tank, and one mundane fighter jet, the latter two of which were secured on the catapult deck itself, and not the clamp.

Haven's mechanics stood on the many ladders surrounding the Silhouettes, performing regular maintenances and check ups.

One of said mechanics was a short and petite girl, with large brown eyes and pink hair fashioned into two giant drill-like ringlets. The girl pouted, with furrowed brows, as she inspected each Silhouette one by one. Two humanoids, two walkers. She looked between the machines and a clipboard in her hand, matching each one with their model numbers.

"Huuuuuuuuu...," the girl's eyes narrowed as she whined to herself.

"Most of these models are downright ancient!," she mumbled, eyeing the fighter jet 'Corvidae', and the hover tank 'DK-13' in particular. "Are we a Silhouette defense force, or a walking war museum?"

Even their newest model, the absolutely gigantic 'Paladin', seemed rather simple and primitive. Though she had to admit, whoever had the bright idea to include a chainsaw sword among its armaments was an absolute genius.

"These babies better have top tier pilots," she thought aloud and nodded.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Noisily throwing up into the trashcan next to the red tent was a girl that absolutely could not be considered a top tier pilot in a million years. Her teary face hung limply into the bin as a bit of drool spilled from her lower lip, supporting herself by keeping both hands held on opposite sides of the rim. There were a few chunks of yellow slime sliding down the length of her hair, which she had neglected to pull back before promptly expelling her first meal of the day.

Ugh. . . I feel awful. She used the end of her sleeve to wipe away her red eyes, spitting out the rest of the saliva that had been accumulating inside of her mouth. Was it soy? Fish? Eggs? It was hard to tell, she had a lot of allergies to a lot of common ingredients. Her stomach growled angrily and her gag reflex twitched at the slightest provocation. I knew something felt off, I shouldn't have eaten the entire bowl. Well, none of it got on my uniform. At least, not that I can see.

Something in Avery's pocket beeped very loudly.

Nearly jumping in her skin, she took a second to calm herself down and reached in to produce her PDA, which she immediately lost grip on once it was out. Frantically, the girl fumbled after it like a slippery bar of soap, barely grabbing a hold of it before it landed in the trashcan. Holding it at the edges by her thumb and forefinger, she slowly lifted it up with a sigh of relief and held it like a normal human being.

"It's a notice from Tsubaki?" Avery quietly said to herself as she looked over the message she'd just been sent. "Ugh, do we have to do this right now?" Lifting up several strands of her sticky hair in disdain, she sighed and pocketed the PDA. "I really would've liked a shower first. . ."

As that thought ended, she spotted a familiar face stepping out of the tent.

"Hey, man," she called out weakly with a friendly wave. Despite relieving the contents of her stomach, she still felt like she could heave at any moment, something that must've been clear by the ill expression on her face. She looked like she could barely stand. "Did you get the memo? Wolken wants us in his office."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Sitting down in a green armchair, something you would see when one went out in the woods to chill and relax in. Of course they were missing the trees...the grass...and everything that resembles the woods...the figure was a not so young but not close to old man playing solitaire by himself. Deftly flipping over cards and moving them around.

The cards had a purple border, each with a petal like design around the edges. The image of a man playing cards was not the most stunning image of a pilot, perhaps a dashing pilot running around and doing exercise was the stunning image of a top tier pilot people saw.

"And check...three minutes." The man spoke to himself as he flipped the last card over and placed it where it belonged. He scratched his chin deep in thought. "A few seconds faster then my last time. Perhaps breakfast would be a worthy victory meal." However as fate would have it, the inside of his shirt buzzed.

Rhys reached into his shirts pocket and pulled out his PDA without any trouble. Opening it up he found that someone has sent a notification. "Notice from Tsubaki...Meet in the commanders office...Well there goes my breakfast for today, I suppose I can make that up with some lunch." He laughed to himself as he gathered his cards before placing them neatly in their case and pocketing them.

Removing his casual clothing and putting on his more formal attire, Rhys stepped out of the tent and noticed two figures. Avery and that kid who was the brother of that ace pilot. What was him name again? Rensham? Renbam...Renzam! That's who that was. However, his attention focused more on Avery. She looked like a wasted mess, was she out drinking? That sounds logical given how ill she looked. They say that coffee helps with hangovers, of course he had nothing on him that resembled coffee.

Rhys waved at Avery first then Renzam. "Yo, seems like you both got the memo. Also Avery...you doing alright? You look pretty bad. Well you are pretty looking, but you look rather sick at this moment. And Renzam! Ready to go crush some bugs today?" He smiled, giving a not very subtle complement to Avery. An attempt to cheer her up perhaps.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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The Gobi desert...certainly not a place one would expect tons of debris littered about. Judging from the stories she heard and the picture books she read growing up, Camille had always envisioned the desert as a wide and clear place where one can see the sky in all its full glory. Now a shadow of its former self, its charm had long faded and Camille soon felt that the place was more trouble than its worth.

"Well, at least the sky's still there." She sighed as she went back to tending to her trusted machine, the "Corvidae". As she tightened various bolts and screws, she wondered how the machine got its name. She recalled it being some kind of bird of sorts but with over half the biodiversity gone, it was rather difficult to recall which one.

She can overhear some of the other mechanics mumbling down below. One girl in particular seemed rather displeased with the hardware they've brought aboard Haven. Even went as far as to call it a "walking war museum". In a way though, she was right.

"At least we've still got manuals...Wouldn't know what to do otherwise." Camille mutters to herself as she finishes with the adjustments on her end and shoving her machine's reference manual back in the cockpit. And as if on cue, she heard a slight beep come from her personal terminal, notifying her that their Captain wanted to see them. Having received the message, she locks the cockpit and jumped down from the plane, taking her terminal with her. As much as she wanted to grab a quick lunch after the maintenance check, orders are orders and she wouldn't want to leave any bad impressions on the get-go.

Along the way, she could already see three of the pilots walking ahead. Seeing this, she quickened her pace in order to catch up until she was almost level with them.

"Yo! Big man called you guys too?" Camille greeted, giving them her usual friendly wave. They were quite an unusual cast and it made Camille wonder who piloted which machine.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait:
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What began as a small exchange between two people suddenly grew in size in a matter of seconds as another pair of Black Fang pilots joined the fray. To answer one of Avery's questions, it looked like everyone's already been informed of their meeting in the commander's office.

The first to answer was not Renzam, but an older man that had just left the shade of his tent. Rhys, was it? He was a rugged, not so bad looking fellow himself, though perhaps she would've preferred a shoulder to lean on rather than a compliment. "Thanks, I can feel my stomachache going away already," Avery jokingly assured him as Camille joined in from the other side. Man, I'm glad everybody's been pretty friendly so far. Well, almost everybody. Anna doesn't really look like she's interested in making friends just yet, which is kind of a bummer - where is she, anyway? I don't think I've seen her around.

In any case, she returned Camille's wave with something resembling a smile. "Yeah, we were. . . we were just heading over." Avery stumbled a little bit as she walked, holding a hand close to her mouth in case she felt something come up again. Needless to say, she wasn't looking forward to spending another round dry heaving over the trash can, much less vomiting on her future teammates. Not a great first impression, but you've at least got to minimize your losses.

"Next time, I think I'm gonna ask what's in the soup. . ." she groaned, sniffling loudly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait:
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The young man, Renzam Aubrey, stared, frozen in place with bugged out eyes, as Avery vomited into the trash can. Rather... loudly, at that. He quietly looked between the bowl in his hand. Then to the messy blonde. And back to the bowl. And now I've lost my appetite. Wonderful.

Renzam grabbed a plastic lid from his pants pocket, and used it to seal his bowl of questionable yellow soup. Soup looked like ass anyways.Then, he slowly walked towards her, replying to her greeting with a nod. Before he could answer, though, another came to greet them. An older fellow than either of them, with a goatee styled almost like two cartoon cat heads. Rhys Hudson.

"Yo. Old Man," Renzam greeted him back, teasing him slightly with that nickname. Old Man. He wasn't THAT much older, of course. If he shaved his facial hair, the three might be able to pass off as cohorts. "Ready and eager," he added, his voice deadpan, but not insincere.

As they walked a few paces forward, Renzam spotted a petite figure with long waving at them. Camille Arca. With her long, bright blue hair, they'd be able to pick her out from miles away. Sunny as always. "Yeah, guess it's time for the big speech," Renzam replied.

When Avery stumbled again, an alarmed Renzam moved closer and instinctively grabbed her by the shoulders, then pulled her close, leaning her against him.

"O-oy! Careful...!"

Renzam's brows furrowed in concern. He then asked her, "You want some water?", before reaching into his pocket to pull out a mini canteen, which he held out.

A bead of sweat trickled down his temple. "J-Just don't vomit all over my new shirt. Please," he asked sheepishly.

Renzam glanced away, spotting the tall, dark, and aloof figure of Anna Mirnova strutting away. She did not look much better than Avery. Though far less approachable.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Avery appreciated Renzam's concern, but pried herself away from him regardless. She felt kind of bad about it, but his last comment assured her that this was not really a good idea. "D-Don't worry about it, I can still walk. I really could use the water, though." She gently took the canteen from his hand and popped open the top, hovering it just above her mouth. When she was satisfied with practically half of its remaining contents, she handed it back to him, using her sleeve to wipe her mouth of some slight runoff.

"Thanks. Anyway, uh, not to make this weird or anything." She hoped he didn't take it the wrong way when she refused his earlier support, continuing on to say, "I didn't want to risk throwing up on your new shirt; that would be even more awkward and embarrassing, which is actually kind of impressive at this point." Holding up both of her hands, she said with deliberation, "I swear I'm usually a lot cooler than this."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Rhys chuckled at his new nickname, Old Man? Hopefully that was not going to be his new call sign. "Good to hear Spike-O. Always good to have that energy in the morning." He replied before turning to another voice.

The voice belonged to a young woman, and a good looking one at that. He had no idea who she was since he was more aquantued with his fellow squad mates. Perhaps he should interact with more people instead of hitting the bar... "Well, good morning good looking! Names Rhys, pleasure to meet you." Rhys smiled and gave a two finger salute in her direction. However it appeared that she was indeed another pilot, Probaly also heading to the meeting.

"Let's take the show on the road, don't want the commander to get on our case in case we are late. I mean if we are...Lunch is on me. Don't use that as an excuse to late though. The commander will probaly scold us. The others not here must be on their way so we will bump into them. So, anyone with me?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Character Portrait: Character Portrait:
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Renzam stood and blinked as Avery pushed herself away from him. Was he too touchy? Or were his words too harsh? Sometimes these things confused him. Still, he decided not to let it bother him. One corner of his lips raised a tiny bit in a sort of half-smile as Avery downed the canteen he offered.

The spiky haired young man held the canteen, and shook it slightly, slowly blinking when he realized how much the blonde drank. "Yeah. Really impressive...," he replied while staring at the nearly empty container in his hand.

"This was supposed to last me two more days, by the way," he bluntly admitted, giving her his half-smile again. For whatever reasons his unremarkable mind wouldn't care to explore, Renzam didn't mind. He'd just have to try beating Rhys at the cards again. Keyword being try.

He did, however, squinted at Avery skeptically at her claim. Letting his mouth run before his brain again, Renzam blurted out, "Really?"

A pause.

"Huh."

With a shrug, Renzam turned to Rhys, pocketed his mini canteen, and nodded. Renzam had yet to actually meet Base Commander Dix Neuf during his time here. He wondered if he would be as much of a task master as his Branch Commander back at Kowloon.

"Lead the way, Old Man."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Commander Neuf remained smiling, without a tense nerve in his face, at the sight of Anna's cold, hard glare. He grabbed the chair he previously tucked away by the wall, dragged it in front of the bathtub, and proceeded to slouch atop it, his long, olive coat cape draped over like a heavy curtain.

"If it bugs you so much," the Commander spoke, staying utterly calm. "I could send you off back to the Russian branch with a formal letter. You can stop whining about the desert, and we'd all save money on vodka and bath water."

Eventually, the rest of the team filed in, from the tallest to shortest. Rhys Hudson, Renzam Aubrey, Camille Arca, and Avery Hall.

The Commander looked at each briefly, then sat himself up properly. "And we're all here. Ahem."

"As Base Commander of this fine and fortuitous fortress, I, Dix Neuf, formally welcome all seven of you as members of Haven's Silhouette Defense Force." His words were official, fitting of an authoritative figure, but his tone was calm. Lax. Almost flippant, in a way.

Renzam glanced left and right, scanning the rest of his teammates. The white haired woman, in particular, caught his attention. Minerva Petra. She was there when his brother was killed in action. She was there when a lot of people were killed in action. Time, and time again. Renzam's hands balled into fists, but he quickly looked away once he realized he was staring, and focused back on Dix Neuf's speech.

With one eye closed, the Commander continued his speech, "Some of you have tasted true battles in the past. Others have engaged in mere simulations. It matters not."

"We're all part of a team now, and with our strengths, we will cover each other's weaknesses."

Dix Neuf sighed and stirred in his seat.

"After so many months, the construction of Haven will reach its end at around 1900 hours tonight. We will then open our gates, and proceed with the boarding of over 23,000 men, women, and children alike."

Renzam's entire body froze. His mouth quickly blurted out what was in his mind, "All seven of us are responsible for THAT many people?"

The Commander kept his everpresent smile. "Oh, you won't be alone. The ground vehicle and air support divisions will help you. Your Silhouettes' firepower will be our trump cards, but our less advanced jeeps, tanks, and fighter jets in the secondary hangar will perform secondary and tertiary tasks."

Dix Neuf paused, letting the information sink in, before continuing his speech, "We'll try and make sure the boarding process is as quick, painless, and organized as we could. This is a crucial operation, so I will need ALL of you to sortie in your Silhouettes, and watch our bow, stern, port, and starboard alike."

The Commander leaned back in his chair and snapped his fingers.

"Now. Tsubaki? You here?"

A monitor on Dix Neuf office table flickered to life, displaying the red haired Operator's calmly smiling face.

"Yes, Commander, I'm-"

A pause. The Operator glanced down from her position to see Dix Neuf's rose-scented bathtub. She quickly directed her eyes back to the Silhouette Defense team, and cleared her throat.

"I-I'm here."

They could see the girl wordlessly sigh at the Commander's impractical use of his water rations. Dix Neuf, of course, remained nonchalant. He looked up to the group, and asked, "Before we proceed with our review of MASS knowledge, I have a question."

The Commander paused again, taking his time to make eye contact with each of them, his expression far more serious than before.

"This team is going to need a field leader. Any volunteers?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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As Rhys entered the commanders office, the most eye catching sight of the room was the commander himself. Slouching over a chair while still inside a bathtub. Being a commander sure had its perks, a nice bathtub. Where can he sign up to be a commander? He chuckled at his thoughts but stood at attention, a little bit casually.

His eyes soon scanned the room looking at everyone that was currently in the room and boy was he surprised. Out of the seven of them here, a stunning five ladies were here, they were all pretty good looking as well. He expected perhaps a bunch of men as well but if this was the defence force, the people who would engage the nastiest threats. Then he would be glad to work along every one of them. He could only imagine if he was not her, Renzam would be the only guy here. Probaly the start of a book he once read...something about comedy and romance. The name evaded him.

Shaking away his thoughts, he listened to the commanders speech or introduction...however out of the entire speech when he mentions 23,000 people he whistled. It was up to them and everyone who had volunteered to be in the armed forces to defend every last person here. This was some big responsibility, he signed up for this occasion and make a bit of a difference. At least he would be fighting with some pretty ladies.

However before the captain could talk about the MASS he had a question for them all...who wanted to volunteer for fire team leader. Well then, he could cross himself right off that list. He was pretty casual and a thinker sure, but strategy and tactics was not his deal, or maybe it was? Maybe Renzam? If he would be like his brother one day then he would Probaly make a good leader. Or perhaps Minerva, she was a veteran and Probaly had the most battlefield knowledge.

He decided to see who actually would volunteer, fire team leader was an important role after all. If he volunteered he would have to be a team leader, he could think under some heavy pressure but in the field...An order could be fatal...yeah, not going to have that on his conscious.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Minerva didn't even bat an eyelid towards Anna's outburst. She internally disputed the group's fortune that this woman was awake, but knew better than to voice such opinions aloud. Commander Neuf merely smiled as he towelled off and thankfully put his jacket on. The rest of the pilots filed in shortly after as he prepared to deliver his speech.

While listening intently to the briefing, Minerva caught someone looking at her out of the corner of her eye. She looked away when she recognised that face. Adzam's brother. Of course. She knew that she would be expected to work with him, being assigned to the same squad, but... her stomach still turned at the memory of hearing the news. That the Diesever would be refitted with a close combat loadout as per the specifications of its new pilot. To her, it was a disservice to the memory of its former occupant.

The quiet girl looked up when she heard Dix Neuf ask for volunteers to lead the squad. Minerva looked to the others assembled in the room. Many of them looked like fresh faces. Then again, such a proportion of rookies was hardly unusual among Silhouette squads. Whoever was elected to lead them, the protectors of so many human lives, would need to be competent enough to handle the task.

Minerva stepped forward, saluting smartly. "Sir. Based on my previous combat experience, I would like to nominate myself as a potential candidate for this position."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Anna had stayed quiet listening. She smirked at the commander's suggestion of her going back home sure he would love it until he saw the whole Death Knight tank force go with her. But as she listened on it sunk in the gravity of it all how many lives where on the line...

The call for a field commander took her by surprise she had thought it be Dix giving the orders. She had led tanks before but this was out of her area of expertise. So she stayed quiet...

But then Minerva stepped forward... Sure she had talent and even with her earlier comments Anna would normally follow such a vet but she had heard the tales of Minerva getting her whole squad killed.

" Know you have experience Minerva but I also know how many times those under you command die...I personally wish to survive this mission and am sure everyone else in this room would as well not to mention the 23,000 Innocents we are called to protect." Anna said

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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As the other five pilots entered, Raiza politely waved to her new comrades, each one seemed interesting to her, and she wanted to know them better. Though the conference began soon after, as Dix Neuf began speaking, welcoming the new team into Haven, while she was familiar with most of Haven, being that she'd been here a while she understood the implications and especially how much pressure was on her. Especially when the civilian count was read, over twenty-three thousand civilians, along with the crew of mechanics, information specialists, Support units, pilots, and every ounce of this soon to be living base. The pressure of that all felt immense, though not new whatsoever, Raiza's felt pressure before, and knew her strengths.

Though it was time for the briefing of the boarding process, which was to be quick and painless, with everyone covering a flank like they mean it. Though without even so much as a notion, Raiza smiled as Tsubaki came up on the screen, knowing that she was likely still aggravated by Rai's personal air show, as the mechanics were definitely just as crossed, as Raiza was being a bit of a showoff with her skills. It was only normal, and was only for showmanship that the Silhouette pilots were good at their job, giving a secure feeling to everyone, and even hope that the long war could be won. Which as far as things stand, was a pipe dream, but, a girl can dream can't she? Though her eyes glanced carefully at each pilot, as a Field Leader was asked for, and volunteers would be welcomed,

Renzam Aubrey, from a mere look at him he seemed like one of those rough-and-tumble types. Though the number shocked him, Raiza felt that he could be a good pilot from his looks, though not great leadership material.... Next was Minerva Petra, a cold, and possibly calculative person. She'd experience in combat, though led a team to their demise before, as was mentioned by others, Rai liked that she's willing to try again at the least.... After was Rhys Hudson, a calm and casual, even in danger, while he wsa the type that was simple and clean both in mech and tactics, Rai liked how he wouldn't get himself in knots... After was Anna Minrova, a cold, cunning and temperamental pilot, Raiza wasn't exactly someone she would open up to, but there's something underneath everyone, and she wanted to know... Then Camille Arca, a bright and happy person, while she had a lot to learn, there was something about her that made Rai think very fondly and positive to the girl, maybe the fact she knows her weaknesses, and is willing to learn to triumph over them.... And finally was Avery Hall, a spunky and care-free girl, she had quite the experience with the MASS, and volunteered to be the leader, even going so far as explaining her story with everyone, while most would ridicule the poor girl, Raiza smiled, and gave her a gentle rub on her back, a way to comfort someone, something a mother would do, as she looked at Dix, the Tsubaki, and striking out with her words,

"I shall volunteer as well. I feel a synergy with this team, and am willing to put my skills to aid them, and push this squad farther than they realize the can go. However, I will pay my respects to Minerva, and Avery, as I am not questioning your skills or reasons, we all have our reasons to be here. And I will kindly accept any result of this matter. But, I want to ensure everyone's survival, we could use all the help we can get."

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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The veteran pilot watched Avery, of all people, speak her piece in the application for squad leader. Though initially raising a quizzical eyebrow at this development, Minerva could understand where the rookie was coming from. The powerful Silhouettes, even dated models, commanded an awesome presence on the battlefield. And despite the obvious risks involved, such acts of bravery and heroism provided a source of inspiration and boosted morale among troops and civilians alike. The sacrifice of a single life in the right scenario could very well save hundreds or even thousands of lives.

Shortly after, Anna spoke up. Though it wasn't to throw her hat into the ring alongside the other two...

Minerva turned her head towards the tank pilot, her one eye casting an icy blue glare. The tactless Russian seemed to have struck a nerve. "I'll have you know that I although I am a veteran, I have not once assumed the position of field leader. I have merely served as a subordinate," she corrected Anna. "Or perhaps you have been too busy pickling yourself in alcohol to notice?"

She almost failed to notice Raiza step forward with her own proposition for command. The pilot of the Polaris spoke with more wisdom than Avery, and more warmth than Minerva herself. It was, of course, ultimately up to Dix Neuf as to who would be placed in command.

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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"T-Twenty three thousand?!" Camille was almost taken aback upon hearing the number straight from their commander's mouth. "Let's see...That's practically around three times the number of people back at the H.O.M.E! I'm getting a little nervous."

In all honesty though, she didn't really expect to find their commander rather...flippant? Well, she wasn't really bothered by the fact that he opted to meet them in his birthday suit as most military personnel back at the H.O.M.E were desensitized to such things. Rather it was the use of that much water just to bathe. Considering that if they'll be taking in that much people well...rationing may be a little difficult.

Yet something about his demeanor put her at ease. At the very least, he didn't seem like a very strict man--well, until he threatened to send one of the pilots, Anna, back to Russia. "Gulp!"

The next order of action was to choose a team leader for their squadron with which both Minerva and Avery were more than happy to volunteer. Anna expressed doubts over Minerva's capability though, mentioning something about people often dying under her command. Minerva immediately spoke up in rebuttal though, making Camille worry that it might erupt into a full-flown catfight. Fortunately, Raiza also spoke up to volunteer and the way she presented herself seemed a lot more professional than the previous two.

"Hmm..." For a while, Camille wondered if she should volunteer for the position. "The people here may not take kindly if a mere fighter pilot assumes command of a Silhouette squadron. Not to mention that I'm already tied down with mechanic duty as well. Aside from that, it's quite difficult enough to escort twenty-three people to safety--what more if it was like, a hundred times more than that number! Urghh..." Camille sighed. This position just isn't for her.

"If I may...isn't it difficult to choose a leader among us right now? We barely even know each other much less our areas of expertise, personal experience and qualifications." Camille directs the question to the commander himself. "Wouldn't it be more appropriate to finish all briefings first, engage in drills later on and then choose the man or woman to take charge? That way, we can all get a grasp of how each one thinks and acts in face of the situation around them."

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Renzam looked between the nominees for field leadership. The professional and unemotional Minerva, seemingly the type to stay cool under heavy pressure. And on the other side of the spectrum, Avery, whose impassioned speech caused Renzam to raise both brows in surprise. "Okay. I admit, that was pretty cool," he thought aloud next to her.

But then he continued to run his mouth, "...Cooler than puking your guts out, at least."

Then, Anna and Minerva exchanged sharp, ice cold words. Renzam glanced at the two and furrowed his brows. Seemed like these two would have quite the colorful interaction.

Commander Dix Neuf, with his eyes closed and head down, held up a hand to stop them from breaking out into an all-out cat fight. Not that he wouldn't enjoy it. "Now, now, girls. Play nice," he calmly requested, his smile never leaving his face.

Renzam then took notice to Raiza as she joined in and promoted herself. Her words were passionate, yet her voice was calm and certain. A healthy mix between Minerva's experience and Avery's compassion.

The Commander listened to each of their suggestions, offering no immediate response, verbal or physical. He finally looked up and opened one eye as Camille offered her perspective. She seemed young and relatively inexperienced, yet thoughtful.

"You're right of course, Camilla," Dix Neuf suddenly spoke out.

He then looked to the others, from Minerva, to Anna, then Raiza and Avery. "I was merely checking how many of you actually want the position. I am pleasantly surprised at what I hear, for the most part."

The Commander turned his eyes to Renzam and Rhys. His smile curled into a mischievous, cat-like one. With a chuckle, he jokingly reprimanded them, "Shame on you two, men are supposed to take charge. Make the ladies swoon with your confidence, you know?"

Renzam remained straight faced as he replied, "I'm a fighter. I follow orders, I don't hand them out."

"Heh. Can't blame you, Renz... nothing is more attractive than a woman that is not only beautiful, but ALSO charismatic... Wouldn't you agree?" The Commander inquired, eyeing both Renzam and Rhys.

Renzam slowly blinked. "...I never gave much thought to women, Sir."

Dix Neuf turned his attention back at the group in general. "In any case, I have taken all of your words into consideration. But before I decide, I would need what you've got."

The Commander spun in his chair, and turned towards the monitor with Tsubaki's face on it. "And before that...."

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Tsubaki smiled and nodded, keeping her opinions of the field leader candidates to herself. "Good afternoon, everyone. All of you have read my messages, but this might be the first time you've seen me in person."

Renzam glanced to his teammates, then whispered, "Does a live video feed count as 'in person'?"

"Allow me to properly introduce myself. I am your operator, Tsubaki Horizon," she continued, her voice steady and serious, but accompanied by a certain warmth. With a bow of the head, she proceeded, "I look forward to working with you."

The screen switched away from a view of Tsubaki, to a small map of the desert around them, with Haven in the center, and two bright red dots, located northwest and southeast at the corners of the map. The dots pulsed with a slow-moving, radial wave from within.

"Now, allow me to refresh your memories. These dots represent the "Anomalous Rifts", distortions in the air from which the MASS invades into our world. These rifts become stronger as days passed, and after several nights, they would burst and bring forth our enemies, literally out of thin air."

The screen then shifted once more, this time into a light gray page which displayed the front, side, and back views of an alien creature. Black from head to toe, with a sleek body and long, spindly limbs and a hunched posture. Narrow and thin Rectangular patterns, not unlike a circuit board, were carved into their flesh. The creature lacked any kind of discernible eyes or ears. Instead, its head was shaped like a faceless cuttlefish, with five long, flexible tentacles tapering at the end.

"Our researchers link the pattern of these particular rifts to those of the MASS Nightcrawlers, the most common type of MASS. 13 meters tall when hunched, with sharp and flexible tentacles for limbs. Fast, fragile, and relatively easy to take down, they often attack in groups of five."

With a click, Tsubaki turned to another page. This one displayed more sketches, showing the true face, or 'core' of a MASS Nightcrawler. Their jet black tentacles pulled back and opened like a blooming flower, showing off a bright orange orb covered in patterns of technical circuitry and organic tendons.

Renzam winced at the sight, his eyes lost in the sea of techno-organic surface. "That's gross."

"You could take a MASS down by sheer brute force, but the most efficient way to take down a MASS, and the only way to truly destroy it, is to claim its core," Tsubaki continued to explain. "Destroying a MASS' exposed core ensures that the rest of its body will wither, and for the core itself to ignite and explode."

"The explosion from a single Nightcrawler would do little more than scratch your Silhouettes, but the larger MASS variants will be much less forgiving."

Tsubaki closed her presentation, replacing her face on the screen. "Oh, One last thing. Extracting a MASS core intact instead of destroying it will earn you large bonuses on your paycheck, and is considered by many Silhouette pilots to be a mark of true skill. The energy from inside the core are also invaluable in providing extra fuel for Haven."

The Operator's smile faded, and her glass eyes focused. "But, please, PLEASE, whatever you do, focus on destroying the MASS and coming back safe! No bonus in the world is worth your life..." Tsubaki's voice softened near the end, and she glanced aside, silently remembering many careless pilots who forsook safe survival for a chance at glorious victory.

Dix Neuf slowly spun in his chair and turned his eyes back at the team. "So, any questions? If not, you have five hours of free time. Use it as you see fit. Training, mingling, eating..."

The Commander winked, then gave a thumbs up. "Even fraternizing is fine too!... Juuuuust... don't let the High Command know."

"Commander!" Tsubaki protested with an exasperated frown.

Renzam nodded to himself. It was always good to have a refresher, especially since it had been over two weeks since he last saw actual combat. His eyes darted between the rest of his teammates, curious as to what they would do with the time they have.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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"Apologies commander, I will be sure to give a nice gift to all the lovely ladies for my poor manners at taking charge. A little sorry for them all. I will be sure to jump at the next opportunity...also I share the same sentiments about beauty and charisma." Rhys smiled and shrugged casually. Yeah, now that he thought about it...it was ungentamanly of the guys to sit on the sidelines instead of rise to the occasion.

Before the commander could go on yet another tangent, the operator Tsubaki interrupted...or at the very least stopped the commander before he could rant yet again. She began to talk about their enemy, the MASS. How they appeared, how to spot them, their weak points and the common MASS unit they would encounter.

Soon his eyes soon began to have a sort of glint of them, a nice pay check to get a core intact. Not only was it valuable energy but it would be nice to have the extra cash. Of course like hell he would risk his life, maybe if there was one enemy left, taking the cores could be rather simple especially since if they attack in fives, that would mean easy energy and money right? Nah...he should not underestimate the enemy, he was a gambler, he knew about risk and reward well. If things look fine, it usually is or could be a trap. "Thanks for the information, and extra thanks for the kind words. Of course no bonus is worth our life, how else would we spend it if we died? All jokes aside I will be certainly taking care so don't worry about me...a smile suits you much better." He grinned as he pointed right at her.

"As for you commander...I will be sure to mingle around and train...and buy some gifts...but you should be careful commander. If word got out you use water rations for baths like that along with standing in the buff in front of your subordinates...high command will also not like that I am sure." Rhys grinned before turning around and waving. "Gonna see if they have some sort of shopping stall set up. Get you girls some gifts. Don't expect anything too fancy, but I will try and get something you all might like." And with that he laughed heartily as he walked away.

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Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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Avery was feeling quite confident after her verbal presentation to the group, if a little nervous, but the intensity of both feelings seemed to switch places in an instant at Raiza's gentle touch. It was kind of embarrassing to have the older girl rub her back, but it wasn't unwelcome. With flushed red cheeks and a smaller posture, she listened to her request the role of team leader as well. Raiza was professional in her words like Minerva, but without the same of sense of distance. It was then that Avery started to wonder if she'd been too passionate, nervously glancing between the faces around her.

Still. . . I don't think I'd mind if someone like her was our leader, she thought with some consideration, shaking off her anxiety and nodding to herself in approval. Heck, she also happens to be the only pilot with a Variable, if I'm remembering this correctly. The rest of us are stuck with walkers, humanoids. . . Avery's gaze briefly strayed toward Camilla, but didn't linger.
. . . fighter jets.

Her train of thought derailed when Minerva shot back at Anna - she was hoping that this would not be a lasting development in their team composition, though there was little to be done about the fact that it was beginning to look like the first development. Renzam wasn't helping any with his little jab at her, although he did say that girls weren't really on his mind.

"Man, that hurts almost as much as my stomach," Avery said with a joking glare.

She raised a brow at one of the commander's comments and smiled to herself, clapping her hands together. "Oh, so you know a thing or two about 'the ladies,' do you, commander?" Confidence isn't a concern to her, but a kind heart and a sense of humor are a definite prerequisite. Well, maybe she did have kind of a preference for taller guys too, but it wasn't a deciding factor.

"Uh. . . if you need me, I'm gonna grab something to eat that isn't soup and then take a quick shower," Avery said sheepishly, recalling the unfortunate incident earlier today. "I'm not feeling so good so I'll probably lay down in bed for a while, though I wouldn't mind if any of you came over to hang out. Well, see ya!"

With that, she followed Rhys and Anna out the door, though they were already quite far ahead of her by the time she parted ways with the rest of the group.