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Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

You scratched up his paint job. Again.

0 · 262 views · located in Flight Deck

a character in “Echo Legacy: Burdens of Honor”, as played by NotAFlyingToy

Description

Full Name: Jason “Digger” Mieczyslawa
Rank (if applicable): Chief Petty Officer, Flight Deck.
Age: 32
Height: 6’3”
Current Duty Assignment: “Pit boss” of the flight deck.

Physical Description (Pictures allowed): Image
Ever since he was a younger man, there were two places that Jason looked; upwards, towards the stars, and across the field, to the end zone. While most people in his classes would be looking at each other and talking excitedly about pilot training, fighting for the EDF, and playing Aliens and Marines in the playground, Jason was sitting inside, drawing little designs and wondering if Aaron Mackelroy would break the scoring record this year. His designs and doodles turned into machines, little inventions he’d assemble and disassemble while in his quarters. He turned the wondering about his hero into a football career, something he trained five days a week for, even though his school only supported six games a season. These two paths suddenly became one with a late hit in the fourth quarter that took out a knee, ruined a perfectly good pair of pants, and crushed a dream in half.

The long wait in the hospital only to learn that there was nothing science could do, in all its advancements, for a limb that was so severely broken amputation was the only viable response. He was assured that prosthetics were the best they’d been since they were invented (a stupid claim, because really, when wasn’t medicine the best it could be at any given time?), and his parents were assured that they wouldn’t have to pay for a dime; that such a smart young man would be given full access to his basic necessities of life, should his parents sign him up for a mandatory test with the EDF Military service, to check for qualities that would be considered outstanding in an enlisted man. Jason didn’t remember much of the procedure, or any of the six pages of forms in 8 point font he was forced to look through. He only remembers the doctor’s words, a cold, insincere hand on his shoulder.

“Son, you’ll never play football again.”

When football no longer became a viable option for him and he faced even more adversity in the schoolyard for keeping his gaze skywards, he threw himself into his inventions. His problems became his wide receivers, his tool belt? His ball. The snap count was however long he wanted it to be, the plays were what he chose. In his head, whenever he polished the repairs on that old vaccum or upgraded his PC, the stadiums erupted with cheering and the cheerleaders mobbed him, gimpy or not. Within six months of being shown away from the hospital’s doors, he had found three critical design flaws in his leg and had requested extras be sent so he could experiment. Within a year he had an all-terrain lineup of legs; ones for activity, ones for walking the dog, ones for just lounging around. He changed legs more than he changed pants, his father would say, and he was often inclined to agree.

On the day of the examination for the EDF, he was shown to a room where the recruits were all lined up in desks, with nothing but a ball point pen and a stack of paper upon them. The room was sweltering hot, irritating his prosthetic to no end, but Jason fought through it. His one chance - one – to get heavenward.

“Sorry about the cooling system, kids. It’s been on the fritz lately. You have two and a half hours. Begin.” The door closed behind the executives; it wouldn’t open until the examnations were finished.

When the executives emerged, Jason was crawling out of a vent, his ballpoint pen in three pieces, and the room was blessedly cool.

From there, he was Atlas bound.

After years of slaving and toiling away for the EDF, they recognized his raw talent and ability when it came to making the best out of very little. With relative ease, he had made several models of fighter sleeker, faster, better. He filed them down into little nubs with crude efficiency. If something needed repairing, he'd find a way to do it, often with unsanctioned materials. How could he explain that using a plastic tricycle wheel bolt was far more effective on interior cockpits because of the high malleability of the interior? Why should he stoop to outlining how it benefited the engine of the all-terrain vehicles if they were a little moist, to clear out the ventilation systems when the moisture evaporated? Why should anyone care why certain flavours of chewing gum worked better for short-term patches in mufflers than the strongest steel? After some time, the boys surrounding him caught him enough times head-first in the scrap heaps, taking out oddly twisted lumps of metal and cracked pieces of glass, to begin calling him "Jason Digsalot", shortened after some time to "Digger", and finally settling on the moniker.

He didn't know the how or the why; he only knew what worked. This drove the brass nuts, but his CO's certainly didn't complain when his expertise extended to various little fixes around the ship. Once, he had repaired the luxury airship of a retired general, as the fishtank wasn't filtering properly. Another time, he had rigged the CO lounge's coffee machine into a single-use keg stand, and reverted it back after a long celebration.

These little deeds had him rising through the ranks, bit by bit, while his hard-nosed attitude and little tolerance for explanations did him no favors. Still, he was considered good enough to become the CPO of Atlas' flight deck, on a mission that had his blood rearing in his ears. He thought of every kill being a shared experience, between his guys and the men that pulled the trigger. While the flight-deck Chief (or "Pit Boss", as his guys called him) in official capacity, there wasn't much equipment the EDF used that he didn't know how to fix, since his experience ranged from on-site, combat situations to setting up air assaults. The "Digger" did it all.

So begins...

Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa's Story

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Meanwhile, down within the nest of steel and chrome that made up the inner walls of the Atlas, Jason "Diggers" Mieczyslwa was sipping a cup of black sludge and pretending it was coffee, his safety reflector looped haphazardly around his neck as he watched the two pilots' approach on the small screen, tucked away between a burn mark on the hull and a long gash in the metal tubing that hung beneath it.

He sipped at the sludge some more, his eyebrows arched.

"Boss, two on approach." One of his guys gave him a passing tap on the shoulder, a gesture that Diggers merely nodded to, putting the cup on the terminal, his hand lingering on the cup to make sure it didn't fall as soon as he turned away.

"Alright, boys!" He called, hoarse bark rising above the low din of the crew as they took up positions. "Two flyboys on their way home. Let's make sure that the blankets are warm for 'em."

He nodded to two technicians as he grabbed heavy gloves from his belt, slipping them on. "Count it off, Darren. Open the barn doors."

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The crew moved admirably, like a well oiled machine. The snaking cables clasped the fighter, moving it along its track with smoothness and ease. Because of high maintenance on little pleasures, like motorized step ladders, the crew wheeled orange giants, reminiscent of fire escapes of old into position so the pilots could clamber out of their cockpits with ease.

Digger was in front of Roamer's bird as the pneumatic hiss of the electromagnet signalled the craft's touchdown, a single bleated horn telling all hands that the bird was now safe to handle.

Digger lifted a weighted hand, his finger movements sluggish in the thick gloves. His prosthetic leg dug into his kneecap slightly, reminding him yet again that repairs were going to have to be made in order to achieve comfort again.

But, onto more pressing matters.

"Roamer," Diggers called, once enough time had passed for the pilot to have begun his dismount of his Angel. "my favourite flyboy. What did you manage to break on my beautiful Stephanie this time?"

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Diggers guffawed, the sound decidedly ugly, cracking like a whip in the harsh lighting of the nest. In truth, he often missed Morrow's flippant remarks and heated debates regarding what the hunk of metal they both felt so much affection towards when the Wing Commander was out on scouting missions. The silent worry that the commander - and the bird that kept him from the vaccum of space - wouldn't return almost made him think about easing up on the guy when he landed.

Almost.

"I see," he drawled, letting the vowels stretch to fill the space between them. "So you putting those meaty paws all over her controls gives you more of a right to her than the poor fool who has to patch her back up after you go and break her." His eyes were all a-twinkle, icily regarding the other man from the deck, his head elevated to meet the other man's stare.

"And I noticed that you didn't answer the question, Commander. Guess I'll be surprised, then? You know that I hate-"

At the sudden interruption of a tradition that seemed set in stone, a routine that was almost as vital to the crew's entertainment as the meager vids shipped from back home (in some cases moreso), Digger was forced to wheel around and acknowledge the new recruit, striding towards them like she had bigger boots to fill.

Silence stretched between him and the newcomer, before he crossed his arms over his chest and glanced at her, from head to toe. "Ain't no maximum distance going to be large enough to fit my displeasure, ma'am, if I find out you broke Marissa, too."

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"That's Mister Mother Hen to you, Morrow,"

Digger's mouth twitched, and he thumbed his nose towards the new transfer. One of his gloves absently scratched at the top of his thigh, right where the prosthetic began and the flesh ended. Out of the corner of his eye, he followed the telltale signs of energy damage along Stephanie's hull, under her carriage. His professional guess was that the instruments were fried; either minimally or catastrophically; it would remain to be seen.

Still, it wasn't a hard fix. He had the parts lying around the deck, and he could harvest one of the last Serving bots down at the Mess hall for the copper and wiring he'd need. Stephanie would fly again, fully operational, as was his job description. With this thought firm in his mind, he raised his eyebrows at the newcomer.

"Dearie," he drawled, hoarseness of his voice catching on the 'e' of the word. "So long as your ghost stories don't involve enemy gunfire and Marissa's hull, we're gon' get along just fine.

"And I'm sorry about the lack of a gut; I've tried to put on some weight, but some people," he hiked his thumb at the Commander, examining the bird "Like to make a man work harder n' he should to keep their asses from fryin'. I'm wonderin' if you're cut from the same cloth."

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At the sound of the man's voice, Digger knew that the joking time was over. Immediately, he made his way towards the Wing Commander, opting to bend with his hands on his knees, a pen light seemingly materializing from his toolbelt to his grip. He clicked it on, shining it along the surface of the burn, watching it alter the consistency of the hull, light reflecting off of its surface in strange forms and patterns, telling him that this wasn't any normal kind of energy.

"Looks like significant scarring for 300 meters. Anything unusual happen to the ship after impact?" He ignored the junior pilot's words for now, preferring to hear it from the man it happened to. First-hand accounts were always more trustworthy.

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Digger watched the man go, letting the slap on Stephanie's hull go for the fact that he was under duress. He took it as a sign that yes, occasionally, he was capable of being a nice guy. "He ain't kidding, you know." He said, softly. He began to get on his knees, his pant-leg making a renegade break for his prosthetic knee as he did so, revealing a flash of metal. Rolling onto his back, he slid across the floor, until he was underneath the Angel, examining it more closely.

"Never seen fatigue in pilots as I have in this venture. I've fixed a lot of birds in my time, Miss, but this place's a keg waiting to blow. I'm gonna have to start thinkin' about scrapping stuff seriously, soon. And you can never get a damn good cup of coffee."

The story she told sent a chill to his bone as he put the penlight in his mouth, unscrewing and opening an access panel underneath the ship, one of three around its expansive hull. With a soft curse, he examined the cables and wires that hung from the inner workings of the bird, shifting through contents for some time, muttering things under his breath. When he emerged about a minute later, he sat up, wiping his hands on his pants.

"Fixable," was all he said, tugging off one glove with his teeth. "Dead in the water, you said? Could be an automatic firing system; some sort of defense against intruders. Though I've never seen anythin' out here worth defendin'."

Without fanfare, he reached towards her with his naked palm. "I'm Jason, by the way. Jason Diggers."

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Deck Chief Jason “Diggers” Mieczyslawa
EDF Atlas, Crew Quarters


If there was one thing that sleeping in a big, metal box did to you, it was make you a light sleeper. Especially the technical minded folks. On the Atlas, absolute silence was generally bad. Silence meant that something wasn’t functioning right, that a power core or a propulsion jet wasn’t functioning as planned. Silence meant tension in the core workers and shock among the medical staff. Silence meant that the Marines were too stunned to return fire and the CIC were praying to the gods. In essence, silence meant that the proverbial shit was about to hit the metaphorical fan.

Because of this, Jason didn’t sleep well unless there was that ever-present hum that reverberated through his bunk as he slipped into unconsciousness, even when he was on shore leave, tucked between the sheets. It was too still; he much preferred to be vibrating slightly, because vibration meant calm. It meant that all was right with the world, and that he could catch some much needed Z’s.

Such were his thoughts as his head hit the pillow.

In his dreams, there was thunder and anger, non-distinguished shapes floating through the air. A woman’s manicured finger pointed down at him, flicking him on the nose. An angel descended through the heavens, flames licking her back as she screamed, plummeting towards the earth. He wanted to reach out and save her. He wanted to pull her back towards him. Yelling rose from dozens of voices, and another, louder, explosive thunder clap shook through him, vibrating his body until his naked torso hit the cool metal of his cabin, and he was suddenly wide awake.

Very awake.

His prothesis was slapped on and tightened, his uniform shoved over trembling arms and sweat-soaked skin, his toolbelt hung limply from his waist. The floor was still vibrating with aftershocks of the explosion as he moved on auto-pilot, unaware of his surroundings, unaware of anything as he made the trip down the service elevator, punching the button with a numbness he hadn’t felt since his early days on the Atlas. He saw crew members running by on mute, the thuds of regulation shoes on the floors not reaching from his ears to his brain. Something rendered him sad - so impossibly sad, though he couldn’t quite define what it was.

The elevator doors slid open, and he stepped inside the hall, his footsteps carrying him around the corner, towards the flight deck. There, two workers were spraying a small welding tool, forcing the doors apart. He stopped abruptly, the belt of tools that had been hanging from his waist falling to the floor with a muffled thump. His eyes, skittish and wide, took in the scene - a burn victim, two men struggling with another, a woman howling at the ceiling - all without audio. All in black and white.

He closed his eyes, counting.

One.

He had dealt with nothing like this before. Nothing like this had even been recorded; not on the tests, at least.

Two.

He mentally reviewed the flight deck. There were very few flammable devices in his little haven of the Atlas - at least, there were a lack of devices that could explode unstably. There were plenty of things around the deck that could catch fire. Which meant that this was intentional. Someone had brought the fire starters to him. And he’d missed it.

Three.

He was going to be sick. He felt the bile rising from his stomach, threatening to spew out his mouth at the sight of the crisis. Nerves paralyzed him, fraying his feet and adding twitches to his hands.

Four.

He inhaled, exhaled. Inhaled, exhaled. His heart rate slowed, the panic began to ebb away, and his last exhale was one of calm, certainty, tranquility.

Five.

Okay.

He opened his eyes and was moving as the audio kicked in, the screams of the pained and panicked, the grunting and the shouted orders. A marine was attempting to use a welder on the door, and making the situation far worse than it was. The melted, twisted metal of the blast doors made grating sounds as they attempted to open, screeching against each other. The marine seemed to think that heat + metal = good things - a moronic assumption that had Jason grinding his teeth in frustration. He hiked his toolbelt back onto his waist, clicking the buckle into place.

Let’s go to work.

His prosthesis clanked against the metal floors, his arm shot out and grabbed the marine by the scruff of his uniform, hauling him backwards.

“What the fuck!?” The kid shouted, twisting and almost putting the welding torch into Jason’s eyes. Jason responded with a prompt rabbit punch, putting all of his considerable size and weight into the jab, sending the marine crashing deckward, the torch turning off as soon as contact was severed. Kicking the tool aside, he drew plasma cutters from his tool belt, and checked the battery.

“Two people, right here.” His voice was loud and clear, free of the phlegm and gruffness that it usually held. Two techs moved to take up a position, bracing their weight against the blackened metal.

He hefted the cutter, igniting it with a flick of his thumb, and pressed it against one of the bolts, a clumsy and inefficient method of opening the blast doors. He remembered, back when they were in a condition to ask, that he had submitted a request to upgrade the system, but the request was denied in the favor of better food for the crew. He had argued that a faster door would mean increased efficiency, so that the crew may not have to eat as much, and why the hell was the crew eating anyways when they could be working?

It hadn’t flown. Coincidentally, Ramirez still didn’t have a sense of humor.

With a firm push, the lancing heat between the prongs of the cutter sliced through the bolt, and with another firm sweep, the second one gave way. The automatic supporting system that was attempting to open the doors was severed with a simple slice of the gears and motors that were tugging at the doorway, and suddenly, the steel blast door was no longer supported. Switching off the cutter, Jason hobbled to where the two techs were holding the door, and added his weight to theirs.

“Heave!”

Another few bodies added their weight to the door, and with a mournful cry of metal against metal, the door collapsed inwards. It swung like a great door before collapsing against the floor, leaving a great, searing gouge in the once-shiny metal with a drawn-out cry. Jason didn’t waste any time; the deck chief was hobbling onto the scene, wading through techs that were standing in shock, staring at the scorched ground and twisted metal. At least a dozen bodies were about which he could see, in various states of injury.

Turning in a full circle, he appraised the group of people that were still staring, some crying, others just pale faced and tight lipped. He knew that he wasn’t the highest ranking officer here - was that one of the Marine Captains? - but there seemed to be a distinct lack of stepping up among his superiors.

He tried not to let them see his shaking hands.

“First priorty; the trapped bodies and the fires. This half of the room, get fire blankets, extinguishers, any water you can find, and start putting out the birds. The rest of you, get the people out of the flight deck, out into the hall, and lay ‘em down. Any medical staff should stand by to help them if need be.

“Once you’re don yer task, we need to check the birds for damage. What we can salvage; what we can’t.” He hated uttering those words; to Digger, a piece of junk was just an untapped resource.

He blinked at them, taking in the lack of movement as the thirty or so eyes stared back at him. He sighed, and then clapped his hands, the sound splitting the air of the deck.

“Get to work, ladies!” He roared. There was movement as the crew poured out to their respective tasks, arms laden with equipment - medical and non-medical. He turned back and joined those looking for survivors, starting with a female form trapped underneath a piece of wing - itself scorched black and unrecognizable - from an Angel. If he knew his babies - and he did - then Marissa was no more.

He crouched down, awkwardly scraping his false leg to check on the woman, looking directly into her face-

Oh god. Blades.

He moved like a man possessed, flopping onto his back and removing the hard steel of his prosthetic leg in a single, sudden movement. When the leg was firmly in hand, he balanced awkwardly on one knee, shoving his false limb underneath the piece of wing that had the woman trapped. Looking around, he found another piece of twisted metal and fit that under the false leg, testing the makeshift lever. Satisfied with the amount of leverage he got, he pushed down on the end of the leg with all of his weight, feeling the rising panic of the situation. He hadn’t even really had a chance to talk to her; she was just the new girl, the pilot who overcompensated and was probably here to abuse his staff about the upgrades to her bird. He pressed harder, leaning his full upper torso on the false limb, watching with satisfaction as the wing plate finally - finally - gave in to his demand. With a groan, the plate lifted enough for her to be dragged out.

Without needing to call out, a man was there, his uniform one of a pilot. With efficiency that hinted at his discipline, Blades was dragged out from underneath the wing and flipped onto her back. With a grunt, Digger dropped the leg, scrabbling on hands and knee over to her.

“Looks like this is row-mah’s wingman.” The pilot said, his hands hovering over the prone woman, as if scared to touch her lest he break her further.

Yelling filled the room as Jason reached a hand to her throat, fumbling for a pulse. It was there, but it was weak - she’d taken a heavy hit. As he struggled onto his one knee, he looked at the pilot, taking in his rumpled appearance, and the bunny ears above his left breast pocket.

“Thanks for the help,” Digger said, his voice low. “Can you help me get her to the hallway? We need to get the medical staff to take a look at her.”

The pilot had the gall to laugh. “Please, chief. You’re not even in a position to move her. I’ll take care of it; you keep doing what you’re doing.” The man’s eyes strayed to Jason’s bad leg, his gaze falling on the folded cloth of his jumpsuit pant leg.

Jason’s nostrils flared, his temper flaring with them. “I can help you-”

“Nope. This one’s all me.”

Jason growled, and conceded to the point. He took a moment to gaze around the deck, averting his gaze from the man lifting Blades into a fireman’s carry and making his way back to the hall. Most of the bodies had been cleared away efficiently; to his relief, most of them seemed to be standing on their own and joining the rest of the crew with the larger of the fires. In the corner, three techs worked frantically over a single female body; one was compressing her chest while another was wrapping a cloth around her bleeding left leg. Similar scenes hovered over the remaining bodies, strewn about the flight deck. Over the sound of the quiet roaring of fires and the ever present hum of the flight deck, the panicked shouts and grunts of the crew reigned supreme.

“Chief?”

Jason looked up at the voice, his gaze meeting one of the better of his techs, Holland. He was holding a crutch in one hand, the ruined leg in the other. Jason grabbed at the base of the crutch, hauling himself to his feet with an unsteady but confident lurch, managing to twist himself around to face his crew member.

“Thanks.” He mumbled, noting the gash above Holland’s eye and the haunted look in his green pools. They’d all be losing sleep because of this one.

With his free hand, Digger grabbed his prosthesis from Holland, lifting it up to the light. The joint hung off at an awkward angle, the ankle was dangling from a single bolt, and the metal of the calf and thigh both had a large dent in it from the strain. With an unsatisfied grunt, he tossed it aside, and began hobbling towards the wreckage of an Angel, smoldering in the dimming light. As he moved, Holland kept pace with him, and Diggers decided then and there that he’d found himself a new assistant.

“Anything damaged that you’ve seen?”

“Re-capturing doors are shot.”

“How badly?”

“Five days.” The technician replied. All of Diggers’ crew had stopped using specifics when talking about damaged equipment; their deck chief had relegated them to giving the best assessment of the situation based on the number of days it would take them to fix it. It saved time, and nobody in the brass wanted to hear about disruptor fields and magnetic cohesion anyways.

“Shit,” Diggers responded, approaching the crippled bird. At first glance, the Angel was completely irreparable.

Jason had long since stopped taking equipment at first glance.

“Stephanie,” He breathed, running his hand along her wing. “Holland, I want you to do me a favor. Head up the decks and grab every damn doctor on this boat and bring them down here, stat. We have a lot of wounded, and I don’t want them working; they’ll bleed all over the equipment.”

Holland smirked. “Aye, chief.”

“I mean it,” the older man said, climbing onto the wing of Stephanie, moving onto her back with a balance that came from years of crutch practice. “I don’t give a shit if the doctor’s in the middle of saving Ramirez herself. You find a way to get them down here. If they shake you off, you make them understand the situation. I need every available man. Without those doors, we can’t launch patrols. Without patrols, we’re all dead.”

He was preaching to the choir, but Holland hung on every word. “Aye, chief.” First assistant to the Deck chief. The kid’s going places.

As the youth scampered off, Diggers dropped to one knee, using the crutch as a balancing rod as he began to dig around in a spare panel of Stephanie’s back. Prying it open, he ran his hands over the smooth metal that the panel unveiled, his touch reverent, gentle.

“Easy, girl,” he muttered, both to the machine and to himself, amidst the cries of pain of the deck. In the corner, one of the technicians threw his gloves in frustration as the female form he’d been compressing gave up the fight for life. Across the deck, a marine and a pilot pulled a charred skeleton from the ashes of a pile of cable. Amidst the chaos, Diggers stroked his beautiful bird, continuing to whisper, calming himself, the fighter, the deck.

“We’re all gonna be okay.”

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Diggers was in a strange place.

On the one hand, it was a horrible scene on his deck; the smoking black spot where the bomb went off a clear indicator of the darkness that had suddenly come over the ship and its crew. Sabotage. Intrigue. Explosions. The realization that someone was in the ship trying to harm it was both a physical atrocity and a mental block to most of the workers under his care, and most sported the look of a wide-eyed, crazed zombie, going about menial tasks like their life depended on it.

That was the bad part of all of this.

The good part was that Diggers excelled under pressure.

"This ain't even bad," he grunted, as he lay on his back underneath the great mechanism that allowed the Angels to come home, the glow of his flashlight making a halo effect around his head as it bounced back at him. "I remember on my first ship - hold this - the right conductor blew out, taking the Stabalizer with it. We made an entire cargo run feeling like we were at Disney world, without the fun part of Mickey Mouse."

"Disney world, sir?" The tech asked, confusion on his face. Diggers waved at him.

"Before your time. Mine too. Anyways," he finished, tightening a bolt, "this is a cakewalk compared to that. Now, tighten the active bolt, maybe unsolder the folder there, and she should be ready to take apart."

Rolling out from under the machine and allowing the tech to get under it, Diggers straightened on his crutch, surveying the flight deck. The chaos of before had dimmed down to a beehive - type manic busyness, which was a positive change from the "We're-all-going-to-die" panic of before. Digger moved through the deck, patting backs and murmuring encouragement, intending to get himself a glass of water before continuing on.

An awakening and familiar figure had him pause. Stopping in front of Blades, he crouched, leaning heavily on his crutch, pant stump trailing behind him.

"Bout time. How you feeling?"

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"It's a good look on ya." He grinned, settling beside her on the floor. His eyes were concerned as he looked over her, worried about her state. "Tha' was quite the blast, based on what it did to the hangar. I'm amazed that you have the liberty of still breathin'."

He folded his leg, leaning back on his palms as he watched a medical tech jog down the hall, his gaze following the woman curiously. Finally, his gaze returned to the injured pilot, a dark rage filling them. "Do you remember what happened? Before the blast?"

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Digger shook his head slowly. "No, we didn't. At least, not that I saw; it's not likely that he survived the blast, though." He rubbed his chin, slowly. "When we arrived, we had to actually cut the arms of the door to get in; the explosion fucked them up so bad. Had to actually push down our own damn door. The explosion got Stephanie; she's just about irreparable now. She'll need a new ignition coil, for sure. The bulkhead took the brunt of the... aw, hell. She's bad."

He shrugged. "My point is, with both the lander down for the count, Stephanie and two other Angels shot to hell, and the door being broke? Doubt something like that would've made the man live. An' if he ain' dead, he'll wish he was."

He reached into his pocket, pulling out a sticky, squished energy bar. "Here." He said, offering to her. "It's my last one.:"

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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As she upchucked, Digger leaned backwards, wrinkling his nose as the bile spewed out, and then did a double take as she asked the question. Digger raised an eyebrow, glanced down towards his missing leg, and then back towards Blades. "Askin' a cripple to walk places?" He queried. "You must be out of it."

Nevertheless, he hopped to his feet, using the crutch with an ease that told of his many years experience. Once he got himself settled, he looked down at her.

"I can't imagine that you walkin' right now is the best of ideas, Blades. Just thought I should get that on record before I get whipped by a medical professional or something."

He then offered a callused hand, down towards the Pilot Puky.

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The deck chief couldn't help but let out a dark guffaw at the notion of him playing wheelchair basketball. "Lady, I have a bona fide reason not to exercise any more." He grinned, tapping the stump of his leg with the crutch, slightly changing their balance for a moment. "Why on earth would I go out of my way to ruin such a good thing? 'Sides. I'd hate to embarrass all the other cripples aboard."

At her statement, his countenance darkened considerably. "Fuck the XO." He said, simply. "With all do respect t' the man, a bomb just went off in my flight deck. So I'm not exactly concerned with protocol, or rules, or any damn thing we may be under at this time."

"'Sides," he went on, "Your a pilot. That makes ya one o' my top priorities. If you ain' happy, you'll take it out on my birds. And the last thing I need is you stick-jockeys fuckin' up any more of my girls."

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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The chief chuckled as they made their progress, stepping onto an elevator at the end of the corridor. The machine sported fresh repairs; shiny and glossy in places where it was once a uniform and gunmetal grey. "Nah. Non-mechanical girls don' interest me too much, if I'm honest. They have things called "feelings" and "expectations". I prefer my lovely ladies that soar and glide through space, you know? Especially the ones that Mr. Roamer happens to abuse most of the time. And you too, as it turns out. Where'd you all learn to fly, anyway? Culinary school?"

As the elevator began delivering them to the upper floors, taking them away from the decks, up through the levels of the ship. "Don't I know it, lady." He watched the ceiling of the car, as the elevator slowed and opened with a soft ding. "Don't I know it."

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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An eyebrow arch. "Well, lady, I doubt in your condition you could dent something that hasn't been dented before." When the doors opened, they were on the Officer's landing - or, at least that's what Digger called it. It was filled with men and women that he'd never been in close contact with; so far above him on the chain of command that he never really dealt with them directly. Stepping out of the elevator, he made his way toward the Officer's Racks.

"How are you holdin' up, Blades? Gonna pass out on me? I ain't dragging your ass all the way over there."

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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Digger waited for her to gain her balance properly before continuing through the short corridor, whistling lowly to himself as he looked around. He didn't like visiting the upper decks of the Atlas - he communicated almost exclusively through radio, memos, and his subordinates; devoting most, if not all, of his time to the Flight deck. At this stage in the Atlas's flight, it was more than understood why he never surfaced; with the amount of repairs that were needed on almost a monthly basis, he'd let the face-to-face time slip a little bit, the official reasoning for it being "increased need for hands-on work."

As he stepped into the racks area, he glanced around at the various bunks, noting how similar they were to his own downstairs. "Hmph. Was picturing nicer digs." He murmured, before stepping further into the area. "Where is yours?"

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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Diggers nodded at her advice, leaning forward and squinting at the name for a moment before grinning wildly. True to form, any opportunity to get under the young Lieutenant Commander's skin was taken with relish. Turning from her (a few second-long process, seeing as he had to manoeuvre with the crutch) he moved the short walk to the opposing bunk, reaching into it with a fishing hand, his bottom lip clenched between his teeth. Finding what he was looking for, he retrieved one of the candy bars and brought it back towards the wounded pilot, tossing it lightly on her lap.

"You earned that one." He said, grinning. He turned back, fished another from the stash, and pocketed it. Hell, maybe he'd eat it in front of the El-Tee the next time he had a chance. He turned back towards Blades, folding his hands as best he could through the crutch, his own exhaustion becoming evident in the dark circles beneath his eyes.

"Anythin' else you need from me, Gimpy? Or can I go back to work?" The faux annoyance was disrupted by the smile fighting to be shown.

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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Digger watched her pass out, the toil from her ordeal finally catching up to her. He watched her for a moment, just allowing himself to envy her youth, her fire, the way that she seemed to forge ahead with an idea - no matter how flawed - and see it to completion. He thought back to her stance on their being here; the belief that they were needed back home, instead of this wild goose chase.

"Don' matter where I am, Blades." He murmured, turning to hobble out of the Racks area. "So long as I'm flyin'."

Leaving the racks and the sleeping pilot, Digger then wheeled around, his eyes narrowed slightly. He began hobbling back towards his own turf, determination in his shaky steps. There was a lot to do.

And getting work reports topped that list.

The setting changes from flight-deck to EDF Atlas

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Character Portrait: Lt. Cmdr. Aiden Morrow Character Portrait: Delilah Medina Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa Character Portrait: Dennis Trevor Heldane

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#, as written by Jag
EDF Atlas CIC

"What do you intend to do? Fly this ship? Handle the 1000 officers beyond this hold? We are in the middle of fucking nowhere! No response from commander! We’re in enemy territory. We’ll all die and no one will care. No one will know. If you fully expect to seize this ship and then command it with your sorry lot you are sorely mistaken. They could just as easily open the hold and dump us all out. All of us. Including the innocents, which there are more of than you.”

The static-burst sight and sound of the young medical officer filled the CIC as the bridge officers watched with bated breath. As Medina released her weapon, she was immediately charged and secured by two men none too please with her show of heroics thus far.

"Fool girl is going to get herself killed," someone muttered from behind a dark panel in the CIC.

"If they were going to shoot Medina, they would have done so the first time she took down one of their men," Narita responded with a gruff smile. As much as he and the ship's chief medical officer dressed one another down and as much as he personally would like to take a swing at the woman, he had to admit that she would have made on hell of a Marine.

"Make a log entry. Effective immediately, I am declaring that Captain Ramirez is incapacitated and am hereby taking command of the Atlas. Note the time."

"Aye, sir."


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Cargo Bay Slums

"Glad you could join us, doctor," Ramirez spoke. The area that had once served as the makeshift civilian medical clinic for the Slums was now used as a convenient way to hide away the high-profile hostages used in the impromptu attempt to take over the ship. Zip-ties bound hands together. If there was a way to escape, it certainly was doing a good job of hiding itself.

"Mr. Heldane took tough blow to the head. Lost some blood," the captain said, her eyes drifting between the crewman who'd accompanied her down into the Bay and the small exit to the curtain-enclosed area to which they'd be relegated. Two guards, both armed, including the one who'd taken the gunshot that claimed the life of a civilian, the body just on the other side of the curtain before being dragged away.

Somewhere beyond the curtain, a phone rang. The silver-haired man took measured steps toward the ringing device, making sure that his team shifted in position to compensate before he answered.

"Speak."

"This is Lt. Col. Narita. I demand to speak to the person in charge."

"You are speaking with me, Colonel."

"Very well. You know my name. Who are you?"

"You can call me Perses for now."

"The Titan of Destruction. Amusing. Very well, Perses. You are illegally holding members of my crew. I demand that you release the personnel immediately."

"You and I both know that I'm not going to do that, Colonel. Not until I get what I want from you."

"You and your crew are in an indefensible location with not alternate route of egress and surrounded by lots of very angry Marines. You aren't exactly in a position of power."

"Shame, shame, Colonel. Did you really think that the little rumble on your Flight Deck was an isolated incident?"

"You're bluffing."

"Let's test that assumption, shall we?"

Seconds later, fire alarms begin to light on the board in the CIC, causing one of the duty officers to bolt from her position and nearly trip down the stairs as she reported to Narita.

"Sir, a fire just broke out in secondary atmospheric control. I was able to shut down the system, but it's going to be offline for a while now."

Slowly, Narita raised the CIC phone back to his ear and caught the phone on the other end again.

"That was just a baby. His big brothers are attached to your engines, fire control systems, and maybe even one right under where you are standing. This is the part, Colonel, where you ask me my demands."

"...I'm listening."

"I want a group of Boomers large enough to take a group of 30 men down to the surface, packed with weapons and supplies. I want them waiting in your auxiliary hangar and ready to go within three hours, otherwise you find that your position commanding this ship becomes permanent and your first duty will be to explain the deaths of a whole bunch of civilians."

"That doesn't give us much time. I'll see what I can do."

"You do that, Colonel, and maybe I'll see about keeping these people alive while I'm waiting. Just don't make me wait too long."

With that, the silver-haired man hung up the phone and nodded to one of his associates, who took his position as the leader walked into the curtain-enclosed area and tossed a small medical kit down on the floor between Heldane and Medina.

"That should be everything that you need to patch him up," he said with a surprising sense of sympathy. "We aren't monsters, you see."

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EDF Atlas CIC

Invoking the image of his predecessor, Narita pinched the bridge of his nose softly as he contemplated his options in silence. After a few seconds, he locked eyes across the table to the waiting face of his Wing Commander.

"You better get to work."

With that, Morrow bolted out of the room with half a plan and no time to waste.

"Ensign Grey, have a fire team assemble in the auxiliary hangar. And if you're not to busy, now would be a good time say a prayer."

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EDF Atlas Flight Deck

"Make a hole, make a hole!"

The last time Aiden Morrow ran that fast, he'd been an Echo cadet contending for the Cup. The stakes were just a little higher now. Flying down the manual hatchway and barely touched the rungs of the ladder as he crashed onto the Flight Deck, he skidded in front of Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa, grabbing the chief by the arm and jerking him to face the officer.

"You're with me, Chief. We've got about five hours of work and half that time to do it in," he spoke at a million miles an hour. "When's the last time you took a walk in space?"

The setting changes from edf-atlas to Flight Deck

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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Responding to the other man's urgency, Digger was up, a new prosthetic attached to his leg. He wheeled around to face the other man, tapping the mass of metal and plastic on the deck floor, his eyes becoming alight with absolute interest. Despite this, he had the presence of mind to slowly push the remnants of a supplement bar wrapper deeper into his front pocket, the crinkling of plastic just one of a myriad of sounds on the busy flight deck.

"Been too damn long, boss." He said, grinning. "You have my absolute attention."

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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Digger raised an eyebrow as he walked along, his footsteps going step-thunk-step-thunk along the floors of the ship. He nearly snorted at the luxury cruise analogy, hands shoved deep into his pockets as they moseyed along the floor. Something was up. Morrow didn't come and pluck him from the cave for just anything.

"Right, right," Digger said, impatiently. "So the ventilation shafts need to be worked over. That's fine and dandy, and I'm always into a little crawling action.

"But, as you can probably see, Morrow, there has been a bomb in my nest. The eggs are scattered, and it'll damn well take all the king's horses to put 'em back together again. Do the citizens of the luxury suite need these ventilation shaft repairs this badly?"

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Character Portrait: Jason "Digger" Mieczyslawa

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There was a slight pause as the crew chief absorbed the information.

"Well, shit. What's taking the lift so long?" He blurted, tapping his good leg as the lift continued it's achingly slow descent. "That space walk looks really good right about now."

When the lift ground to a stop, Digger immediately stepped onto it, his actions far more urgent. "Shit. Armed Civvies. As if we didn't have enough damn problems on this tug. If I find the guy who made that bomb, I'll kill him myself. What's the plan? Outside, and then down through the core shafts?"