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Rhys Hudson

"Lets go stomp out some aliens."

0 · 793 views · located in Aftermath Era

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

Description

Image
(Credit to...zerochan? For the art)
Name:

Role: Black Fang Pilot

Callsign: Paladin-06

Gender: Male

Physical Appearance: A young man, not too young but not close to old yet. Rhys has short brown hair and amber colored eyes. He also stands at 5'10 and weights just under 170 lbs.

Personality Traits: Casual and level headed both outside and in combat. Rhys prefers to be calm and think during danger, to try and find options or even ways to help assist his team. However outside the battlefield, Rhys is a party guy. Nice and carefree, cheering up the others, drinking and gambling his savings...Flirting time to time...

Rhys's skills with a mech are average, that being said his mech is not the most elegant or even advanced to try anything cool. However sometimes the more simple machine gets the job done.

Personal History: Considered an older member of the Black Fang Troops, however joined in much later in his life. Grew up in a rather poor colony, often working in more shady(And illegal) Gambling and the occasional MASS attack. Eventually growing tried of his shadowy upbringing(And attacks) he decided to actually make a difference in the world and decided to join the Black Fang Troops.

Equipment:
-Twin Revolvers- Two handcannons with six rounds each.
-Red and Green Black Fang Uniform- Standard issued uniform for any good pilot.
-Deck Of Cards- Never leave home bored.

So begins...

Rhys Hudson's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall
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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
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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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: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Camille Arca
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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
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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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.

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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Raiza looked back, hearing Camilla speak, making actual sense of the situation, with an aspect that Raiza hadn't thought of until now, the team wasn't too familiar with eachother. It was definitely a noteworthy revelation, before Neuf spoke again, the team was to be decided after the sortie that evening, fair enough. Though then came the real fun, Tsubaki explaining the MASS, how they appear, which is through a type of temporal rift that quite literally spawns the blasted things out of thin air, it was old news to Raiza, as she'd been through this before, through both researching about the things, and through briefings like this. Moving on was the fun with the anatomy of Nightcrawlers, the most basic MASS "organism" if you could call it that. Thin and spindly, it begged the question as to why this creature is implemented in the army of sorts, outside of being probably inexpensive and good at taking care of humans outside of Silhouettes, though they were scary big, being almost as tall as Polaris in Battleoid form, they were not something exactly easily climbed. But outside of that, there was little to really fret on with them as Raiza could tell, as a Nightcrawler alone wasn't hard, however they came in packs, that's what made them dangerous. Then there was the take down ways, Raiza understood the core was it's weakest part, but wanted to try other methods, and even so much as research them a little more... The MASS intrigued her, and especially made her think what could be done should Black Fang get their hands on researching them....

Though the thought was snapped as the briefing ended, with Tsubaki finishing her report, and then Neuf mentioning the free time, five hours. While Anna merely walked off without so much as a word, Rhys mentioning mingling around and training, along with getting gifts for the female members of the team, with a gentle smile, she responded with a "Oh, you don't have to... I don't mind if you don't get anything for me." Next to walk out was Avery, whom as Rai has heard, was vomiting this morning, 'I'll be sure to make some tea for her, I believe Green Tea should help with that....' soon enough, Raiza spun on her heels, and lightly waved,

"If you don't mind me, I plan to get something to eat, maybe have some tea, and whatnot." as she began to walk away, mumbling bit and pieces of her plan to herself, and somehow ended in the Hangar once more, looking at Polaris, as engineers crawled around it. It was a nice craft she had, and Raiza made sure she tended to it the best she could, often with regular cleanings and regular checks herself. While Engineers knew what they were doing, Raiza preferred to check herself. Though that was not what she was there for, as she looked for bright pink, Genna. It didn't take long to find her, and soon words were exchanged,

"If you have the chance, Genna, could you equip Polaris' Heavy Weapons module? And if you could also switch the Phoenix missiles for the Wasp missiles that'd be nice too. But if you can't do it that's fine, I know you're busy."

It wasn't like Raiza needed it, it was more-so that she needed more firepower to protect the people entering Haven. Raiza would not allow a single casualty without both her and Polaris to go down. Though after being confirmed to her request, Raiza stopped by her next stop, without even realizing she was still in her pilot uniform, (Though it'd make no sense to change, she'd be back in it a few hours later) which was the observation deck, the pilot often visited the area as it gave her both a good view of the surroundings, and also giving her a chance to talk to Tsubaki, whom was likely still cross with her for the mini-air show. 'I really could have joined a flying circus....' she thought laughing at the prospect of that, though she did make a note to that, when there was a safe chance, to have a show for the people of Haven, though she pushed the thought aside as she entered the Observation deck, as the door opened, Rai laughed a little,

"Still dimly lit as ever I see, do you just enjoy the room to be lit by only monitors, Tsubaki?" she asked, shaking her head with a laugh, "I remember being told watching a monitor in the dark is bad for your vision." It was apparent to Raiza that she felt like everyone's mother, but that was brushed aside, as the pilot took up a second chair, rolling towards a monitor, as it flickered up, giving a view from the top of the fortress, while only one tent was noticeable, the red one, that is, Raiza moved the camera around, slowly picking up on the terrain they were in, to place Polaris in the right position...

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Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Genna Strawberry Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Camille Arca Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: BFSH-035 Diesever Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf Character Portrait: BFSH-013 Sarissa
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Minerva was surprised to hear that the commander had only called them here to see just how many wanted the position of leadership, before jokingly calling out the team's two male pilots on taking no action while the women did so. Yes, perhaps their capability for leadership would be best seen on the battlefield itself. It didn't sound like standard procedure to her, but then Dix Neuf was hardly one for convention. The bathtub still sitting in the office was proof enough of that.

The briefing proceeded to a formal introduction to their operator, Tsubaki Horizon, who gave them a quick refresher as to the nature and capabilities of the MASS. Having sat through so many similar briefings, Minerva practically knew it all by heart. Take down a MASS by destroying its core, but try to extract it if possible to help fuel Haven. It was all a matter of weighing the risks against the rewards.

When the meeting was adjourned, Minerva watched some of the pilots file out of the room before departing herself. So they would have a few hours of free time before they were needed. The veteran pilot decided to check up on how her Silhouette was doing in its hangar bay. During her years of service she was no stranger to being transferred to a new base, but those had all been stationary installations. She was quite curious as to what facilities a mobile base such as this had to offer.

Haven's hangar was already loaded with the team's Silhouettes and their support vehicles, with adequate staffing to repair and maintain them. Minerva briefly caught the sight of Raiza speaking with Genna, the latter's bright pink hair making her stand out like a beacon despite her lack of height. Deciding not to intrude upon their discussion, Minerva pressed on towards the familiar blue shape of her own Silhouette, the Sarissa...

...and right next to it happened to be the Diesever. With a sigh, she averted her gaze from the retooled and repainted machine in favour of taking a closer look at her own to see if the mechanics were giving it proper treatment.

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Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon Character Portrait: Dix Neuf
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Tsubaki gave a slow blink when Rhys flashed her his charming grin. A faint pink shade took over her cheeks, and the operator averted her cyan eyes, then stammered, "Why...uh...t-thank you." She was unused to such behavior from a Black Fang pilot. Not even Commander Neuf, and found herself unsure on how to react. And yet... it was not an unpleasant feeling.

Dix Neuf chuckled at Avery's comment. With an unmoving smile, he replied, "I wouldn't call myself an expert, but... possibly a journeyman. Definitely above apprentice. At the very least, I know that women are like the sun. If they don't shine bright, us men would just..."

The Commander leaned back slightly, paused for emphasis, and gave a wink.

"...wilt."

As Renzam exited and walked down the corridor, he mumbled to himself, a perpetual frown on his face. "And if they shine too bright, we'd burn. Like eggs in a desert." He had nothing against women, obviously. He simply could not afford any distractions. Even if they were very tempting. And cute.

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

Rhys was in luck. Haven's largest area, the indoor plaza, had been opened for public use. The construction workers and ladders had been rid of, the lights affixed to provide adequate illumination upon the walls and floors of old, recycled iron. Everything seemed either brown or gray, with splashes of red-orange and yellow here and there. Even though the construction in this specific area had been finished, much of the wall panels and wiring were left exposed, no doubt to expedite the process and save on resources.

The plaza seemed almost like a small city. Buildings up to four storeys tall were neatly laid around them, each serving to either house Black Fang's Eurasian refugees and/or provide certain services. Much of the buildings will remain uninhabited until Commander Neuf officially signaled the time of boarding, yet Rhys were able to guess their purposes by their prominent signs. 'Belkan's Gourmet', 'Niko's Tailoring', 'Red Light Massage'...

The cat-bearded pilot found himself on a circular area on the southern side of the plaza, where several small stalls had been set up. In the center was a bronze sculpture, depicting a tall, broad shouldered man wearing a long, flowing coat. His jaw had been chiseled to perfection, and even without pupils, one could see a certain fire burning inside his sharp and sharply sculpted eyes. The nameplate read 'Magna Regnum'. Black Fang's long-dead founder.

"Excuse me! Sir!"

A high pitched voice called.

Left, right, back. Rhys saw nobody.

"Down here!"

A tiny boy, barely reaching the older pilot's knees, held up a tray, lined with twelve cinnamon rolls. Their freshly baked, yellow-brown surface seemed to glisten with the soft, white glaze which dripped from their peak to their sides.

"Would you like a sample?" The boy asked, with a smile so giddy that seemed to form a sideways "C" on his face.

Avery, who was seeking higher quality refreshments, found herself, and Rhys nearby, around this area as well. Unfortunately for her, it seemed that her options were very limited until at least the following day. A great many restaurants were built around the plaza, offering noodles, beef bowls, even pasta. For now, however, these offers remained hollow.

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Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson
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"Let's see here...If I were a gift shop owner where would I be?..." Rhys scratched the edge of his chin as he wondered where to go from here. Despite all that had happened in the world, the plaza was like walking back in time. Everything seemed so...bustling and active. Perhaps this was his reason for being a pilot, to keep things like this safe from the MASS...no use in thinking like that, he had one plan right now! And that was to find some gifts.

He had heard Raiza call out to him telling him he did not have to get her anything, now what sort of man would he be if he gave everyone else a gift and left her out. With a sigh he passed by many different signs. A tailor...Well they all had uniforms and he had no clue what their measurements were so that was obviously out of the picture. A restraunt, well...that would be a nice place for some lunch after a day of combat but not really a gift place. Red Light Massage?...obviously it could have been a massage parlour or something close to it...but Red Light? He heard of Red Light Districts back home...not the best place to be but it was certainly a hive of underground activity. He could mark that later from some gambling if his hunch was correct...

As Rhys continued forward, he would soon see more smaller stalls. He was on the trail, from his experience smaller stalls usually sold more trinkets than shops. Perhaps if he looked around hard enough he would find a good enough shop...question was what would each girl enjoy? He had to be sure they would actually enjoy their received gifts...

Taking a moment to think clearly, Rhys looked at the statue of 'Magna Regnum'. The founder of Black Fang, one of the first to fight the MASS threat. He had always wondered how great of a fighter and leader he was. A legend never died easy. While he thought he soon heard a voice, at first he thought it was just the conversation of nearby people. However the voice persisted and this time he could hear the voice aimed at him. He looked around for a bit, nothing. Then finally when he heard the 'down here' he looked down to see a boy holding a tray of some delicious looking cinnamon rolls.

Well...Those looked really good...Rhys smiled. "Sure kid." He replied as he took a sample and took a slow bite from it. He could taste the delicious sweetness from the roll. Warm and heavenly. Well, in the worst case this would make a perfect gift for most of the members. "How much for a bag?" He chuckled. Well, at least he had one thing to bring back in the worst case he could not find anything

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Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Genna Strawberry Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon
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Avery wasn't sure if it was the lighting or something funky in the air, but she suddenly started to feel tired and sleepy as soon as she took her first step inside. The large indoor plaza felt even roomier than it already was, given that most of Haven's expected passengers haven't boarded yet. As such, it wasn't difficult to spot Rhys along the way. I wonder what he's going to get me? she wondered, finding herself smiling a little at the thought. I sure hope it's food, because I think I'm all out of luck in that department.

She propped one foot onto a circular stone bench, a thin oak tree rising from the well of dirt in its center. Giving her surroundings a cursory look, the status of the shops seemed to reconfirm her fears. Yep. Absolutely nothing's open. I don't know what I expected. Squinting, her focus began shifting away from the stores and instead to the background.

Gray wall, gray floor, gray ceiling, some brown, a little bit of red of there, gray, gray, even more gray. . .
Yeah, this wasn't acceptable. Granted, it would take a million years and a half to paint, but she'd be damned if she'd let a place she was going to be living in look like such a dreary, by-the-book husk of an interior designer's nightmare. On a whim, Avery flipped out her PDA and sent a text request to Tsubaki about this very pressing concern.

Avery Hall: somehody give me a paint roler so i can giv this dump a makover or so help me ggod

w/ uh permissuon of course

thnx


After hitting send maybe a little too soon, she scratched her head with the pad wondering if there was anything else she could've added to the message, but decided what's done is done. Ugh, I'll worry about food later, I don't even have an appetite right now. I've got to hit the showers or else this smell is going to haunt me forever. . . Or at least, that was the plan if she wasn't absolutely horrible with directions and hadn't missed the public directory a million times.

About three hundred years later, Avery managed to stumble into something that was probably a restroom; she was about to turn around and search elsewhere until she heard the telltale sound of pattering water. The sound of somebody using a shower. Oh, duh. The shower room's connected. Makes sense, last time I saw one of those was at the pool, I think. Or was it the beach?
There, she spotted someone with rather unusual hair - daresay, even more unusual than Renzam's silver spikeball. She stood there for a moment in silence, wondering if she'd seen her before as she studied the girl before her. She shook her head.

Nah, there's no way I'd forget meeting someone with such violently pink drill hair. She looked dressed for work, so she must be a crew member here. Well, she didn't like to assume, but it seemed likely at any rate.

"Hey, I love your hair!" she called with a cheery grin on her face, peeling her Black Fang jacket off and folding it up in her arms as she stepped inside the restroom. "How did you get your curls like that? Looks like hard work!" She set her jacket on the counter and removed the ribbons from her hair, letting it spill down well below her shoulders like a golden waterfall. She took a quick look at herself in the mirror, an expression that was a mixture of annoyance and disgust creeping up on her face. It didn't last, of course, but she wasn't any happier. Ugh, I look so gross right now. I hope she doesn't mind.

"Oh, and are you part of the Haven crew by any chance? If so, nice to meet you!" Avery suddenly realized that maybe that wasn't the greatest choice of words, so she quickly and awkwardly corrected herself by adding, "If not, uh, nice to meet you anyway! I'm Avery."

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Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Genna Strawberry Character Portrait: Avery Hall Character Portrait: Anna Mirnova
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The boy's grin widened considerably as he saw the figurative glow on Rhys' face. Few things in life could bring that kind of simple, yet honest joy to people.

"Well, a bag of 12 should cost you ten Fang Dollars. Buuuuut, you're officially, totally my first customer, so...uhm..."

The boy paused, glancing to the faraway ceiling to quickly think up a justified price.

Once done, he turned his attention back to Rhys, and with a wide, toothy grin he replied, "How about... five dollars! AND an advertisement for Hibaki Horizon's bakery! Tell your friends about us! Heehee!"

A cursory glance around the area registered several small shops and stalls, each selling various handmade or imported trinkets, from dolls to jewelry. Yet none of them were open yet.

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

"Fly me to the moon, let me sing among those staaaars~"

Genna's singing voice echoed throughout the bathroom as she washed her hands in the sink, her high pitched, squirrel-like voice accompanied by the clear sound of running water. Slowly, the pink haired engineer cupped a handful of cold water, and doused it over her face, washing away black, greasy oil and refreshing herself.

"Aahhhh....," she blissfully sighed. Her joy was cut short, however, when she saw her own reflection.

"Ugh...," Genna grunted, her eyes squinted and cheeks puffed. "Maaaaaan! I need to find a way to get rid of all this baby fat...," Genna moaned, her hands pinching and pulling at her round cheeks. She was suddenly reminded of Anna, the DK-13's pilot, and how peaceful she looked in her sleep. Her mature, narrow face. Her jet black hair. And how she managed to look so beautiful, even in her messy state.

"Some girls are just born so pretty... like that Hover Tank driver with the huge rack," she absentmindedly blurted out, totally unaware that the owner of said "huge rack" was taking a shower right behind her....

Suddenly, the restroom door was flung open, and in came a blonde girl with long pigtails which swished about like golden wheat. Genna turned to look at her as she approached, face frozen in a dumb stare. It took Genna a second to remember her face from one of the pilot dossiers. Unfortunately, she was always terrible with names...

Genna's face lightened up, and her already wide eyes expanded with glee when the blonde complimented her hair. "Heeheehee! That's right, praise the hair, praise the hair~!" she replied, her voice getting higher and squeakier the happier she became.

The engineer then stood straight, puffed out her mediocre chest, put on a calm, closed-eye smirk, and bounced one of her drills with her hand. Proudly, she answered Avery's question, "With persistence and for..for-uh fortui-tuitud...di...nous...!"

A pause.

"And an uncracked mirror. Also, lots and LOTS of industrial grade hair gel," she excitedly added. Genna then turned her attention to the mirror (which was, coincidentally, uncracked), and saw the blonde's cheery grin degrade into a sour grimace at the sight of her unkempt self.

"Hmmmm.....," Genna pondered, eyes squinted to seriously inspect her condition. It seemed like the blonde had a particularly unfortuitous morning. Perhaps the engineer could help cheer her up... She moved slighty closer behind her and grabbed two handfuls of her golden hair, lifting them up.

"Maybe you could try my curls! You've got the length and thickness for it~!" With a cheeky, teeth-fiashing grin, Genna added, "All the boys will take notice! Especially with blonde locks THESE radiant!... Are they natural, by the way?"

Avery! That was her name. It always seemed like a rather boyish name to Genna, but what would she know? Genna nodded, giggling a bit at the blonde's clumsy words. She seemed approachable, at least, unlike some of the other, older girls. "And I'm Genna! Genna Strawberry! And yes, that really is my last name."

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Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson
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"Five Fang Dollars? That's a bargain if I ever heard of one. You got yourself nine sales." Rhys replied with a smile. Five dollars for a bag of 12....and nine times twelve equals 108 nice sweet cinnamon rolls. Only for 45 Black Fang Dollars...Of course that was only if the discount was only for one bag. He could easily afford that with his saved up money and still afford a bunch of gifts. Although, this may leave a bit of a dent in his wallet. And lugging around 108 rolls would label him a sweet freak. But hey, it could drum up buisness like 'It's so good that you gotta buy as much as you can carry!'

"Your a nice kid you know that, it's not everyday someone gives a discount for a first customer. But thanks, I plan to share these with the other pilots. As a wise person would say, fighting on an empty stomach would only lead to disaster. But I will be sure to tell people of this, I mean...These are pretty good." He spoke as he dug out his wallet and began to count the bills needed for all the bags he was buying. His only regret now was not getting a big shopping bag first.

While he was busy grabbing his money, he surveyed the other stalls. Closed right now but it looked like they sold trinkets. He had five hours to kill, he could come back at a later time to see what they offered. But he was still thinking what each girl would like...A pretty difficult decision for him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Raiza Amsel Character Portrait: Rhys Hudson Character Portrait: Renzam Aubrey Character Portrait: Minerva Petra Character Portrait: Tsubaki Horizon
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Renzam blinked, taken aback by Minerva's words. After her harshness with Anna, and her straightforward frankness with Dix Neuf, her comments about Adzam radiated with passion, understated as it might have been. It was nothing he haven't heard before, of course. Yet somehow, coming from her, it sounded more... believable.

"Oh..," Renzam instinctively grunted as Minerva asked her question. The silver haired pilot turned away as well, focusing his attention on the refitted Diesever.

"We barely knew each other. We've both been pilots for years, but never in the same unit."

A pause. Renzam found himself unable to look away from his Silhouette. His brother's legacy...

"Every time we do meet, he always had something to critique about my performance. He always seemed more a parent than a brother to me," the Diesever's pilot added.

With a dispassionate sigh, he mumbled, "Too bad he died, I guess. He was a good pilot." Simple. Blaise. Emotionless. For many, it would sound insincere.

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Tsubaki slowly glanced over and observed Raiza as she worked, showing off her calm and tactical mind. She wondered why Dix Neuf would not just nominate Raiza as field leader earlier. She was clearly the best fit for the job, Tsubaki thought. The operator couldn't help but stare as Raiza then voiced out her sadness, her brows furrowed and her smile deflating into a frown.

Still, if there was one thing she learnt, a little bit of levity goes a long way.

"I hope you're right. I wouldn't mind having a wolf puppy....," Tsubaki wondered aloud. "Those big googly eyes..... that soft fur... And don't forget the long ears, and, and the fluffy tail!"

The red haired operator's thoughts went places as she pondered about it longer, her face beaming with newfound excitement.

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Hibaki Horizon's jaw slowly slid down and hung open as Rhys offered to practically buy his entire cinnamon rolls stock. Before he even officially opened the shop!

"Mister....," the boy whispered.

With a grin that took half his face, he then proclaimed out loud,"YOU'RE THE BEST!", before running off to grab the cat-bearded pilot's orders.

It took him a while, but Hibaki brought Rhys two heavy shopping bags worth of heavenly sweetness, both of which, together, seemed larger than the boy himself, causing him to waddle over as he brought them to the Paladin's pilot.

"Pleasure doing business with you! Come again!!"