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Alice Chen

Just because I am a woman does not mean you do not have to obey.

0 · 429 views · located in Bridge

a character in “Nebula's Dawn: F.S.S. Salient”, as played by Everscale

Description

Name: Alice Chen
Age: 27
Gender: Female
Rank: Second in Command
Appearance:
Image

Personality

Basic Personality: An intense young woman with a fierce focus on duty. Fiery and independent, she decided early on that she needed no man in her life to keep her running. She is a dangerous fighter, a commanding presence, and though she is young, a very strong leader. Her loyalty to the Captain is unfaltering, and the Captain's trust in her is her largest and final goal. She has no ambition to rise higher in the ranks. So long as her bond with the crew is strong, she has reached the peak of her life. She does, however, have a rather intense temper. She can be a terrifying woman when faced with disobedience or any form of oppression. She believes in the rights of each and every individual, and does not tolerate unfairness.
Likes Japanese food, Korean food, Chinese food, independence, martial arts, horror movies, action movies, romance movies, crew dinner parties, crew bonding, being in command, balance, democracy, honor, respect, a smoothly running crew, the ship, exploring, new species (beast and sentient alike), ghost stories, battle simulations, learning, languages.
Dislikes: Sleep, doing nothing, long periods of travel without anything else to do, discord, mutiny, chaos, disobedience, disagreement, people who believe that women can not do exactly the same job as men.
Quirks: She speaks four languages - Japanese, Korean, Chinese, and English - and will sometimes slip from one to the other. She almost never sits still - if she finds herself with spare time, she will go find some duty to occupy it, or go train in the recreation centers. She is very hard to get to fall in love. She has some... unusual mental talents, about which she has told no one.

History

History: She was raised in a military family, a prodigy in strategy, combat, and leadership. She went to the Academy early, at only seventeen, and was an officer by twenty-two. Now, at only twenty-seven, she is in a position of command, and doing all in her power to keep that post in the right way. She struggles constantly to conceal her secrets, even from her dearest friends. So far, no one knows.

So begins...

Alice Chen's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen
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The noise of the station was no distraction for Lieutenant Commander Alice Chen. She stood stiff-backed and proper, her uniform freshly ironed, unmoving at the center of an ever-flowing crowd. She was accustomed to the chaos of a docking station, had learned at a very early age how to withstand the current of a thousand warm and restless bodies. Like a rock in the sea, she lived out her existence, still in the chaos. She maintained order. That was her duty - to direct others and ensure that the ship on which she was stationed ran smoothly. It was a job her mother and father had done before her. A job she had been doing since she had left the Academy in her early twenties. Now, at twenty-seven, the young officer found herself in limbo. Too high now in rank for the ship which had jump-started her career, she would be separated from her friends in her old crew, promoted to service aboard the Salient. Alice could not pretend that she grieved over it. She loved her friends, but she lived for the Federation.

For the first time in perhaps half an hour, Alice shifted her weight from one leg to the other. She ran a gloved hand through her dark hair, straightening out the gentle waves and forcing the ponytail to fall straighter down her back. It would not do to have her raven locks getting in the way of her work. Prettiness was all well and good, when it could be afforded, but Alice ran a tight ship. She would not let the fact that she was a women, and men expected her to be beautiful, interfere with her service of the Admiral.

Admiral Aronimus Weston. She had not seen nor heard from him since she was, comparatively, a girl. She had spent her childhood watching his career, dreaming of someday being someone like him. The thought that she might someday serve beneath him... she'd never had that thought. And then two days before she had received her new assignment, with his name in the commanding position. It had been all the young commander could do to stop herself from crying. Dreams coming true, left and right. She only hoped her secrets would not ruin this opportunity for her. No one had found out yet...

Alice intended to keep it that way.

An announcement rang overhead, and a chill ran down Alice's spine. She pulled her heels together, lifted her chin properly. The perfect soldier, just what her parents had trained her to be. She would relax once she was on board the Salient. For now, she had to set an example.

Holding her breath and wondering who would come to meet the new crew members, guide them onto their new ship, Alice made her way forwards through the crowds, to the gate where she had been ordered to wait.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat
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The docking station proved to be as busy as any other as Ridley made his way through the dense crowds of people going about their business. It wasn't necessarily noisy, simply crowded. Ridley was fine with crowds, in fact he was fine with anything. Throughout the years he had learned one lesson and one lesson only; take everything in stride. Whether it be politics or formalities, he had always enjoyed taking the most comfortable seat. Perhaps his lack of ambition was why he was stuck in a Lieutenant's position, not that he minded. In fact he preferred to be the number two guy, or even the number three, over being the one at the top. After all, the one at the top was the one with all the responsibility. As for who that responsible man would be this time, it turned out to be none other than the great Aronimus Weston, whom he had heard of in more than just a passing reference. The Admiral had commanded fleets in his time, and yet here he was heading a single ship.

Speaking of the ship...

The gate that would take him to the Salient loomed into view as Ridley finally forced his way through the crowd and out into the waiting area. It was almost completely deserted, a few people walking about or chatting, but what really caught Ridley's eye was the woman in the crisp Officer's uniform. Admittedly, Ridley was perhaps the only Lieutenant who didn't bother trying to learn the long list of insignias that designated rank, he usually judged someone's station by how shiny their uniform was, and her's was shiny. Striding forward, he walked up to the disciplined-looking lady, snapping off a casual salute shortly before reaching her; "Good day, Ma'am." He stopped before her and inclined his head in a polite fashion, "Lieutenant DeLovat reporting and at your service."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen
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Alice turned at the movement of a rather casual salute, receiving the newcomer's greeting in silence. Chin still tipped with confident pride, she scanned him from head to toe, taking in his rank, his attitude, his specialty. An easy-going man with a loose salute, but polite. Aware of her station, at the very least. Not a troublemaker at first glance. At least, not to Alice.

"Lieutenant Commander Chen," Alice answered flatly, giving him a short nod. "Pleased to make your acquaintance." She spoke in the clipped phrases of a trained military woman. No time to waste on real formality or truly proper grammar. Alice was known for getting her point across in the fastest, most efficient way available. Unfortunately, on her previous command, that had often involved fists. She hoped that the Salient would be a different sort of ship. "Where are you coming from, Lieutenant? Have you served before?"

Alice had been informed that several of the crew members would be, in her father's words, greener than a fresh spring leaf. She hated training rookies. She could only hope they would not panic at the first sign of action.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jon
Jon strode through the crowd, full gear as usual. The armor was still recording his every move, the AI, an extremely primitive one, balancing out the system so the circuits wouldn't shatter his bones. CO located ID Alice Chen, rank Lt. Commander the cold metallic voice played in his ear. Jon quickly altered his course, steering his way toward the woman, crisply stopping in front of her and snapping a picture perfect salute.

"Commander Jon Dunaway, former spec ops reporting for duty ma'am, currently operating at unknown rank for this voyage," he stated through the communications systems of his suit. He stayed in position, normally he'd outrank her but as his current status on the chain of command she could be his commanding officer.

"Don't suppose you have anything for me to do ma'am?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson
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Gavin hated docking stations. Hated them. There were just too many people and the chaos was absolutely horrible. Gavin hated chaos. He much preferred a nice, orderly medical bay. Of course, there was rarely such a thing as an 'orderly medical bay', especially during conflict. Still, at least there were designated tasks which everyone had to complete, and a nice order of how to do things. Much better than this docking station that was filled with hoards of people who had absolutely no clue where to go.

Luckily, he knew where he had to go, and was already heading there. Gavin had been told earlier to head to one of the gates where the F.S.S. Salient would dock and report to a woman named Alice Chen. Thankfully, there were very few women here, so Gavin was rather certain that he wouldn't have a particularly difficult time finding this 'Alice Chen', whoever she was. The thin male was rather curious about what sort of ranking she was. Usually he only had to report to the doctor, but, considering this was his first time on a new ship, he wouldn't be surprised if this 'Alice Chen' was a senior officer of some sort.

Arriving at the proper gate, he immediately saw the one woman there, and walked over to her. "Alice Chen, I presume?" he said softly in a manner that was somehow both formal and friendly at the same time. Gavin didn't quite follow the standard codes for conduct when speaking to other officers, even his seniors, which tended to get him in trouble every now and then. "Medic Gavin Merrickson reporting and at your service." Gavin had long since grown into the habit of using his full name in an introduction, purely from the amount of times he had been mistaken as a female. Of course, there was the occasional person who still believed he was a female despite his obviously male name, but most people seemed to realise he was a male after hearing his given name. He hoped this 'Alice Chen' was one of the latter types of people.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen
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After Jon, they approached her too quickly for individual acknowledgement. Silently she nodded to each new crew member in turn, waiting for all of them to snap out of their salutes and fall silent.
"At ease, all of you," she commanded. Though some of them had not remained at attention, others had. There was no need to stand quite so stiffly here. They were going to be together for some months now, and if everyone was stiff and stressed the whole time, their voyage would not be a pretty one.

With a light toss of her head, Alice sent her hair back over her shoulder in a black tumble. She clasped her hands behind her hips and turned, long legs twisting, to survey the crew. Her eyes settled on Gavin for a moment. A medic, she thought. Looked like a child. A female one. Alice would have to make sure the rest of the crew was aware. Slowly, she gave each crew member the same quiet scrutiny. This was the Alice Chen of the military news reports. The woman who took in everything tiny detail before she ever made a move.

"We wait until the bridge is joined and we receive a signal from the Salient to come aboard. For now, how many of you have been on assignment before?" she scanned the ranks, wondering whether she was surrounded more by rookies, or by veterans. Some of them she knew must have served on a Federation vessel before. Commander Dunaway, the former spec-ops, for one. She glanced again at Gavin - he was interesting, and judging by his quiet character, it would be good to secure his loyalty.

With a quiet huff, she left that train of thought behind. This was not the same vessel. Alliances between crew members were no longer a matter of life or death. Here, she hoped, they could all be allies. Maybe even friends.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Ridley made way as several others approached Chen to introduce themselves. "Starting to get a little crowded in here." He said with a smile. Soon after they were all gathered round, Chen brought up the New to Old question, no doubt to find out what and who she was working with. As was expected, the fully decked commando piped out his reply soon enough. "Well of course we can expect big, strong and bulky armour-lad to have a record, just look at the guy." He waved his hand up and down the armoured figure as if no one else had noticed. "I mean I'm sorry, but who walks around like that? What was your name again? Jen?"
He waved him aside without waiting for a reply, turning to Chen with another polite inclination of his head; "Four tours for me, Ma'am, and I loved every one of them. Well, except for the third one, that was aboard the Cradle, I swear that thing's haunted." He turned his head in the direction of the gate "This will mark lucky number five, I'm sure it will be bundles of fun. Bundles of restrained fun." He added quickly, remembering the LC's rather disciplined nature.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Allen was getting tired of waiting around for something to happen to him. He had a quick thought and then acted on impulse and started to walk towards the bridge of the ship. He passed a man who looked like someone he knew but throw it off his shoulder and continued on his way. The place was a little crowded and almost confusing to him. He then drifted off in thought about earlier that day. He was arguing with a man to let him on the ship a little early so that he may check the engines and give everything a small little test. Allen did not figure out that it was the Chief Engineer until the man had introduced himself. This set a few things in motion for Allen. He knew that showing up early would or should get him in trouble, the man was mad but then the man gave him a small tour of the engine room. He told him to run some more tests because he was so eager to be on board. His tests took far longer than he had expected them to so he knew he was "running" late to the others that were waiting to board. Allen then picked up his pace and rounded a corner to the bridge. A lot of people are in this room was the first observation he made. He noticed a women out of the corner of his eye. He knew her as the second in command, and at a young age too. He then ducked behind some Boxes that had been stacked up and made his way around to look like he just entered the ship for the loading area. He looked around and finally out the window. He approached the group. "This is where we are to meet correct?" he didn't think about it but he accent was a little thinker than normal.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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#, as written by Belynta
Faith Mackenzie scowled at the people, that happened to get in her way, as she strode forward across the deck towards the sleeping giant resting in its cradle.The F.S.S Salient, the last of its kind, was enormous even at rest and no one who looked at it could doubt it was a warship. Various types of weaponry covered its surface like barnacles on a whale. Faith was not naive enough to believe this would be a peaceful tour, no matter what those in command said, a ship built for war could no more avoid it than a shark could avoid blood. But then that was why she was here after all, to fix those who got hurt whilst on the this tour.

She travelled light, most of her belongings already being transported on board, carrying only a small shoulder bag filled with a few personal belongings she didn't trust to dockworkers. Last time she had done so her favourite antique hairbrush had ended up on a merchant ship heading for the other side of the galaxy. It had taken her months to finally get it back and it now had a couple of nicks to show for the journey. So now she carried those important things with her. In between her lips was her ever present cigarette, and in the pocket of her doctors coat was a new pack, which was her third already that day. She knew smoking was bad for her, she was a doctor after all, yet that had never stopped her and she felt it kept her sane when the world went to hell.

As she approached what was to be her home, for the next who knew how long, she saw people gathering together in a cluster and she changed direction heading towards them. She kept the scowl on her face and most people stopped short of walking into her avoiding her gaze if possible, inwardly Faith was amused. Looking like she wanted to murder someone never failed to clear a path and she had used it many times in the past for just such an effect. As she neared the group and saw a woman garbed in officers clothes she sighed quietly. She stopped short of the group and took a last drag of her cigarette before regretfully stubbing it out with the heel of her shoe.

She walked straight into the group no hesitation in her stride or posture, this wasn't the first time she had been lumped together with strangers and she doubted it would be the last. She met the woman's gaze ignoring the others to begin with, as she knew military protocol well enough to greet the senior officer first. She straightened her posture and nodded once briefly to the Lt Commander.

"I'm Doctor Mackenzie." She said brusquely "and I would like to get started as soon as possible."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie
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Alice glanced at Doctor Mackenzie, nodded her greeting.
"Lieutenant Commander Chen," she answered, for the benefit of all those who had arrived post-introductions. Absentmindedly she flicked through the documents that Jon had sent to her, but she did not have time to read them in-depth now. She was in charge of this massive crowd of officers and specialized personnel. She had already looked into each of their records - any further research could be done in her quarters, once the crew was settled.

For now she scanned each of their faces, matching it to one of the files on her personal computer. There was one young man who caught her attention immediately. She knew why, but she was not about to comment on it. A young man who had known only R&D deployment, whose intelligence would more than make up for his lack of experience. She pivoted on her heels, boots snapping against the tile, and approached him, pushing his worrying aside. She could not afford to pay attention to her subordinates' fear. She was not ship's counselor. She was the sub-commander.

"James Grey," she addressed him directly, her tone cold and her eyes hard. The military standard. The only hint that she was nervous... but none of these people knew who she was, and they could not recognize that her formality was her shield against a new situation. "Engineering department, correct?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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#, as written by TKDJ
After the short conversation with his brother, Atomsk started looking around. Being Planetary Operations Commander meant anytime these people were on the ground they were under his command. A good commander knew his men. He didn't want to walk up to each person individually. He liked the see what he could glean at first glance and then see how close he was later. It was a game to him. He opened up his cigar box and lit one up. Cigars were for thinking.

He saw his brother of course, and growing up and working with him enough gave him an intimacy few soldiers and commanders could achieve. But he also saw another man who was in a suit very similar to Jon's. He seemed to be observing everyone from a distance like him, but more in a combat sense rather then the person as a whole. He looked like the kind of man that lived for battle, but little else.

Alice Chen. He recognized her and knew quite a bit about her. A very skilled commander, but similar to his brother. Rules were everything. He never got people like this. Rules can't cover everything, and trying to seemed futile to him. But people tried. And so did she. He could already see a bumpy relationship.

Next was a girl that had the nasty disposition that he normally only saw in men. Straightforward. Bland. He was guessing Medic or Engineer. Those types of people only seem to like dead (or dying) people or machines.

He also noticed a man who interested him the most. A man who had a careful look on his face saying he was used to living on the run. Observant. A man he knew he'd come to like. Rules meant little to him. He would be helpful.

He didn't get to finish before a man instructed them on board. The others would have to come later. He walked in with the others. Ready to meet the crew.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: James Grey
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James Grey

James looked up at the Lt. Commander as she called him out. He silently cursed to himself, he'd wished to go unnoticed and yet he'd done the exact opposite by being one of the few who didn't approach her directly. He stood up strait and gave a quick and informal salute to her, he'd never gotten used to the strictest military ways on stations. When working only on a station were everyone knew each other it was rarely called upon to do the whole salute thing. James did his best though, bringing his feet together and everything as he stood at attention, or at least his sloppy form of it.

He'd never met this Alice Chen before but from the way everyone was acting she was most likely a big deal, it wasn't normal for everyone to crowd around a single person all the time. He glanced at her and didn't see anything too remarkable, she looked like the type of person who was more focused on the job than anything else. ARCHE started to draw up her service record automatically but James cut it off, there was no point in doing things that way when he could do it in a personal way.

He said with a small smile on his face. "That correct. Engineering department, I'll be making sure this hunk of steel actually moves. Your Lt. Commander Chen correct?" It was probably obvious already, his inexperience. Everyone else was using quick and simple speech while he on the other hand couldn't help but add a little flourish to everything. He made a mental note to try and correct that at a later date.

James turned slightly as the announcement came on, he didn't even bother to check his card or anything. Even if they did remove him he would simply put himself back on, his babies were here so he would be also.

Ben Owens

As the announcement rang out Ben pulled out his card quickly, seeing it turn green he spun it lightly on his palm as he looked around. There were a few people in the hold who's cards had turned red but almost everyone who had gathered around the commander was holding a green card. He wasn't worried about it turning red on him, as long as his fighter was here he would be too, there was no way he'd let anyone else pilot that thing. Ben's hand clenched again involuntarily form being on the ground for so long, all this waiting around was pointless in his mind.

With permission to enter Ben didn't see any reason to be holding back, he moved quickly and yet as calmly as he could manage past the gate and into the ship. His eyes took in everything quickly and easily, he strode in the front of the people coming on board, unlike them he had no real interest in the briefing. Every part of him urged to turn away and start toward the hanger but sadly he had no idea where it was yet, it would only get him lost if he did so and there might be important information for him to learn.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen
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Alice flicked out her card, checked its color. Green. Good. She nodded shortly to herself and started her clipped walk, each step punctuated by the snap of heels. The one inconvenience she allowed of the female stereotype. Alice liked her boots to have taller heels than most. She walked with confidence up onto the bridge, moving to the head of the crowd of personnel. She was a leader by nature, a leader by design.

Though she did not slow her step as she strode up to the belly of the Salient, she did snatch her chance to stare. A beautiful ship. Well-built, well-equipped. Nothing like her previous assignment - a prison ship with all its guns pointed inwards instead of out. Not the sort of assignment she had always hoped for, but good for learning leadership and self defense. After the things she had seen on-board the Corrector, there was very little that Alice would be unable to handle. The minds of normal men were simply compared to those of the twisted criminals she had watched over for nearly two years.

Walking among these soldiers was a simple-thinking relief.

As she ascended into the Salient, starting on her way to the hall, Alice turned to continue her conversation with James Grey. She would forge connections with the others later. For now, she had his attention, and of all of them he had seemed the most reluctant to approach her. The faster she gained his trust, the better for them both.

"Grey," she addressed him calmly, caught between formal and informal. No title, but a surname. Such was her upbringing. "I am told that you helped to outfit the Salient?"

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from General Assembly Hall to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

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

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

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

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Once the hall had filled, and Captain Colter being the last person to step in the auditorium, the Admiral finally began to speak. His voice over the speakers quickly quelled all digressing conversations and attention from the parts of the hall that were not present before soon faced the Admiral. It was resounding, firm, courteous, and resolute, aspects of an Admiral’s voice, specifically Aronimus’ voice. Yet there were subtle undertones which took on a different nature, one that was an overtly paternal voice, one with experience that was no less marked by the vicissitudes of life than any other person of his age.

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

Then he continued.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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As Ray made the coffee and passed the first glass to Tiaan he decided to sit down near by.

"Don't worry about it, hell I am a Titan grad; we don't give a damn about earning shiny things." This wasn't exactly true but Ray liked to say it was and the academy needed all the support of its grads had to offer after losing so much prestige in the officers revolt.

"I heard about your name and even the name you just said but I am actually only 24; surprising isn't it? Well we Titans age faster then earthlings during our childhoods so my body is 26-8 years old while I am really 24. So I could not have flown with your old man and my parents are beer brewers so it was not my pa but plenty of my greater family has been flying the galaxy since it became profitable so the guy on the picture might be a distant relative."

Ray was about to keep the conversation going when Alice the CO came marching but Ray did not find It funny liked he believed he would. Ray was glad for Tiaan's sake the CO didn't explode but was a bit put off by the woman's puffed up approach to things and was of the impression that while the CO seemed to be taking the situation lightly she would remember all of this and use it if she stood to gain something for doing so.
Ray stood up to attention and tried to encourage Tiann to do the same and then saluted his Titan way that he knew would annoy the CO at least a bit.

"hello sir; I was just about to start cleaning up and hide all the evidence" Ray regretted sending frank away because he could use a clean up team but pilots had to help each other and he wasn't about to brake the most sacred of commandments.

Ray looked at Tiaan and wondered what he could do now? With the CO here the situation was no longer under his authority but he would at least try to keep under his influence.

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Startled by the arrival of the other person she pushed away the sodden thing once known as her dress with her foot, trying to hide the fact she slept here. Slept through nearly everything. This really wasn't a good day. At least she wouldn't be called Birdy anymore, but to be honest she had found Birdy rather patronising as her Father had a real name, Vulture, a bird of prey, not some cheap insult. She had never fit in with those guys, in fact more than once she had fought them. Well she was off now and hoped this wouldn't go on her record, "If this is your room Miss--Sir---Madam---" feeling flustered she couldn't decide how to address the woman who was clearly above her rank, that's for sure.

"I understand how this looks." she took a long deep breath, "But, I promise this won't happen again. In fact I'd like to go see my Fighter arrived safely." as she spoke she tried to tidy her hair with her hand and fingers, making it less messy, but failing rather miserably."

Most people who saw Tiaan thought she looked cute, but also deeply sad inside, they could be right, but she also had a very upbeat demeanour and wasn't above a little fun. Although on the Demeter only chance she got with that was during Dock Leave, and even then it sucked to love someone and then leave them. So yesterday had seemed amazing, here was a girl coming on to her, so why the hell had she decided to scream.

God knows, still waiting for an answer she gave up on her hair growling annoyed and resumed saluting.

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Calming a little she grinned; Tiaan had a beautiful lopsided smile, that spoke so much, but revealed little. Stephanie had joked she'd make a great politician, since everyone would believe her. Of course she had laughed it off, but after what she went through on Argus 50, she felt politicians got off lightly. It had been a routine mission on board the Demeter to collect minerals for transport, what happened though was one of crew members was on the make, and tried to sell them out to local smugglers, she had apparently been a great catch. This is what the record never told though, the reason Alfie didn't get taken in was because she persuaded him to commit suicide, it was easy, almost disturbing how simple it was, she got him to believe he was nothing and no one would miss him. He agreed and agreed and asked what should he do then, Tiaan had simply said this, "Walk out of the airlock and breath deeply."

That was terrifying to see him so solemn and yet so willing.

Fortunately it hadn't been put on record because her actions had scared the smugglers so much they fled. She didn't even have any powers, she just used his weakness to her advantage. No one believed her, and that mission was why she had begged, no pleaded for reassignment.

Eventually Captain Elias Riggs had given in and reassigned her, knowing she wasn't happy, but he was sorry to see her go, since outside of all the pilots she actually wasn't a red-shirt. Most pilots onboard Demeter didn't last a month, she had lasted 4 years.

"Thank you Lt Chen, your reputation precedes you. I heard of your actions on the colonies. Why I might not agree with how you handled it, your solution resulted in the least bloodshed. Glad someone had firm head on during that time."

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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Alice flicked Tiaan a smile. The expression was fleeting and tight, like she was unaccustomed to displaying that sort of emotion in front of... anyone. Raised by officers and secrets, Alice had spent her entire life suppressing her emotions in the presence of others. 'Stop smiling and salute' had been a more common command in her home than 'it's bedtime, go to sleep.' No one could call her family normal, even without knowing the things she did - about herself, about her mother, even about her illustrious Admiral father, whose record shown even brighter and less tarnished than her own.

An impossible record.

"Thank you, Peyton," Alice murmured, nodding to herself. "The colonies were difficult. I would have preferred any number of other choices but, well... they'd all have gotten someone killed."

And the colonies had been a difficult decision. Vega and Andromeda colonies, both under serious threat by a group of earth-born rebels who believed mankind did not belong in space. Something Alice had found rather amusing, as the rebels themselves were conducting their war in open space... that had not mattered at the time, however. Pointing out hypocritical tendencies was not going to help her. Yes, it had been a very difficult choice to make.

A good thing she had discovered that secret gas pocket just beneath the surface. The one that Vega's governor had been keeping a secret, to be used for his own profit. Evacuate the area, set the gas pocket alight as the rebels approached. Their ships went down, their crew were taken prisoner. So far as Alice knew, there had been only one casualty - a rebel engineer who got too close to the core when the explosion hit them. A wonderful record, considering the situation. All because of that governor's secrets...

Alice shrugged slightly to herself, then glanced over at the coffee pot. "Four cups, you wanted?" she asked calmly. "Best to get drinking. We can't have you hung over on duty."

Every movement sharp, clean, trained for battle, Alice crossed to the cabinets and pulled out a mug. She set it under the machine and poured a mug, then passed it across to Tiaan. She offered one to Davidson, as well, before returning her attention to the pilot girl. Her lopsided smile intrigued Alice... as did the numerous torturous events in the pilot's past.

"And you," she murmured. "From a long and shining line. Just like myself. You were on board the Demeter, were you not?"

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Turning away and sipping the cup thoughtfully she replied in a far away tone, "Yes..." what else could she say, so much had happened on board that ship very little was official record, true Argus 50 events had caused her to leave, but it wasn't the only thing. In fact it had actually been the final straw, but well maybe decades ago Demeter had been a fantastic vessel, state of art, but when she had lived in it. So many things happened. Part of the reason she had been called Birdy was her co-pilot Kelly, whom she had taken out on a routine mission to patrol the sector and scan for minerals. Unfortunately they has miscalculated oxygen levels and went too far, they managed to limp back, but Kelly's had never told her just how bad she was, she just kept saying, "We'll make it Birdy, we'll make it." sadly Kelly's died before any medical help could come back. Only later she had found out that Kelly's had a crush on her, but was too scared to say.

There were so many events that had happened, her time on Demeter had taught her one thing, she couldn't trust anyone for long periods of time. Maybe she was wrong, maybe it was just rules of the jungle there, but she was on board the Salient now a more modern vessel. Could she risk trusting anyone, or would they get hurt? When she had received confirmation of acceptance, she had looked over the logs and details of the flight. The thing that worried her at the time, was the flight path was locked under voice recognition and password. This suggested she had no idea what she was getting into, what else was new?

Turning back she grinned again sipping the cup carefully before answering, "But that's old news, no point living in the past eh?"

Not waiting for an answer, she downed the coffee before picking up her dress and taking another mug, still grinning.

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Giving her lopsided grin she replied, "It's very hush-hush but anything gotta be better than The Demeter. My Dad told me of the Great Warship the Gordian, it was once the gem of the entire fleet." She had no idea why she bringing this up, but well she was happy to be out the Demeter, but she was wondering if this was actually the proverbial frying pan, "He was stationed on it through most of his career, brought tears to his eyes when he heard they had scrapped it for pieces." Now she remembered why she mentioned it, "This ship had pieces of her inside it, in a way it's like the child of her." she smiled brightly winking, "Maybe I'm just a sentimental old fool, but I did look up schematics of this, and three great warships gave pieces to this. It mightn't be obvious, but everything about this ship suggests secrets, whispers of far away or battles once had. We're standing in history, while on brink of it."

Whatever that meant that was sure, taking another sip, she let her wander around, Alice seemed less official that her demenour would suggest, Ray just seemed like a card, someone who loved to play Jack-the-lad. Where she fit in? Was she the Albratross of this mission dooming everyone? The fact she liked both these people scared her. Gulping down too much she choked and coughed up a bit.

Blushing she apologized, "Sorry, drank down too fast."

If only.

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Nodding she downed her second cup while picking up another, "Fingers crossed the transfer went through for her." There very little that could truly bother Tiaan outside her own emotional turmoil, but if anyone ever even scratched 'Blue Tit' she would rip their heads off. That fighter was everything to her, a Mercury Class Fighter fully customized with on board rail cannon, Mark 35 Jolt Thrusters, a full supply of five missiles on each wing and finally her secret weapon, a manually controlled proton beam under it. Completing this she was painted Electric Blue with words Blue Tit em-blazed in Gold. This was her pride and joy, and it would destroy her if she found out it hadn't made it.

As she made her way to the Hanger, she said very little, instead listening for the sounds of the ship, wondering if what she had said had been bullshit. But her father had said that all ships record events that took place on them and off them, while being built. It's why Prison Ships often drove people insane, many companies cut corners building them, not caring about loss of life. She wondered if Lt Chen original ship had such a history.

Arriving at the hanger, she opened and the door squeed in joy, there she was standing out in full glory, 'Blue Tit' also on the above the title was calligraphy which stated, 'Birdy's Blue Tit' Kelly had done it. She had almost forgotten it. She should probably paint over it, she kept telling herself that, but part of her felt this would hurt Kelly's memory.

"YES, HERE IT IS." she grinned gleefully, "Ain't she just a beaut!" she had put more love into that ship than any human she had been with. It was her baby, her everything, if she had lost it, it would destroy her.

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Her grin vanished and she stared for a bit, before walking silently over to the ship and stroking her lovingly, some people may have been disturbed with love she showed it. Either way she could less, running her hands over the sleek finish she considered before saying enigmatically, "It doesn't matter." with that said she continued to stroke the curves and bumps of her. Maybe Tiaan was a little messed up, but 'Blue Tit' had never let her down, people tended to do that. Thus said less truths spoken, less risks she took. Instead she would offer half-truths or not answer. In a way it was a game, and most people onboard The Demeter had failed. No one knew she blamed herself constantly for Kelly and Stephanie death. No one knew, and that was how she liked it.

"Everyone has secrets Lt, everyone."

She could admit she was confusing people, but well this was often the case and it was how she worked. Admiring the finish she bent down to check if there was any travelling damage, fortunately there was nothing except scars of battles, she never removed them. Much like a human this ship was a living person, it just never tried to screw her, both literally and figuratively.

Trust in space cost money, love in space cost secrets, and truth in space cost your life. Truth in space was a death sentence, no one wanted to know the real you. Instead they'd rather see you how they perceive you. Don't mistaken this for being a cynic or pessimistic, Tiaan could love, but in end up she saw only pain through it, so instead drifted through life and had fun.

Finally happy with her review of the 'Blue Tit' she smiled cheekily saying nothing, taking occasional sips. This was a tight-rope, lets see if she could keep balance.

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

"She's taken me far already, I've been out this sector with her, never a more reliable ship." letting her hand wander over the paint she zoned out again, remembering her Father showing her his vessel, true at this point she hadn't wanted to enter academy, but also at this point she thought boys were icky, guess something never change. It had a gorgeous ship, painted similar to an antique Spitfire he had told her how she never let him down. Even let her see the inside and fly over London. Talk about panicking the City, the mayor had thought London was under attack, the he let her look over, and let the wind fly through her hair. it had been a wonderful time. One of her finest memories and she sometimes missed those times. Especially as she had told Stephanie after, and she had been so jealous, because whereas Tiaan had just wanted to party at a young age, Stephanie had plans to go to the academy. Funny how things change.

Hearing the Lt voice she woke up from the daze, "Dinner, you sure Lt? I don't mean to insult you by the refusal, but well..."

Unsure of how to finish she tried to answer again, "I'm flattered of course, but..."

Again she stalled, sighing she simply replied grinning almost kinda sadly, she nodded, "Okay, I'll be there. I think..."

She let the words hang, as she tried to work out what was going on here. Because this wasn't normal, no sirree, she needed to try find out what to do. Or better yet be late, and not show up, that way no one could get hurt. No one could get hurt. Albatross or not, she had to be careful and not make things awkward. Deep down she already knew things were changing, question was, did she want them too?

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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Ray had taken the time to call the boys down in clean up, they claimed they had finished their shift of the day but when Ray reminded them of the rooms occupant they got right on the job.

Ray didn't say much while they where all in the room; he didn't understand the Co's intentions and wanted to make sure this was not a trap of some kind. Ray had a long standing dislike of CO's ever since he got his wings and a trust problem ever since the war which was really rich coming from him since he himself was now a bloody unit commander which was near the air forces rank of wing commander.

As the conversation progressed Ray felt the chances of the CO pulling off a double game was low enough for him to take part in it once they got to the hanger.

Tiaan was fussing over her fighter which Ray identified as being a major character in fighter pilots; pilots like him who had to deal with the heavy escorts and gunships didn't establish as much of a bond with their machines because they had a tendency of surviving battles only to be scrapped because the damage they had suffered was too expensive to repair. In a fighter you ether survived with your fighter or got killed with your fighter as there was no fancy armor to protect you like on the heavy escorts and the gunships.

However Ray and other heavy pilots normally knew their machines far better then fighter pilots did; Ray knew exactly how much his gunship could take and what he could or could not do because Gunships and heavy escorts where not built for fast and furious combat styles but for what heavy pilots called "shield wall" formations which acted as the iron fist of an attack.

Heavy pilots where naturally defensive while fighter pilots where mentally offensive because all they had to defend themselves with was their weapons and their speed; all they could do was kill of be killed and thus developed a connection with their machines which while it could be irrational was normally deeper then that of other smaller craft ships.

"Fine fighter you have there, in Saturn we normally have the federation's junked fighters but our military command got fed up with the treatment so we started making our own like this beauty for example:

Ray turned to his gunship and opened the cat flip door

"She doesn’t look like much but she is the closest think to a fighter command ship; hell I have enough room on her to bring two of your lot aboard if I wanted too and still have room for at least half the marines."

The designee of the swing class had room for only one fighter originally but Ray and his unit redesigned their stock of the swing class to include an up section which could strap another fighter to it at the expense of the old fashion observation deck which every one in Ray's unit agreed had no useful purpose.

Ray turned to the two women as he stood on the ramp

"Well sir if you are ever sent on a long distanced raid from the ship to command the fighters; this will be the place you will be on. Any of you want to have a look?"

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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

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

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

The setting changes from Bridge to Hangar

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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The setting changes from Hangar to Bridge

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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The Admiral chuckled a bit at her straight to the point response. He especially liked the part about her Nottingham experience which derived a sense of satisfaction from him. He was aware of the ship's infamous reputation, and he could only ponder about her hell serving on board such a ship. He knew at this point that the young Lieutenant Commander was more than equipped to handle her responsibilities on board the Salient.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The admiral then turned to Alice.

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

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

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat
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Turned out glancing at the map didn't quite work out as he had planned, Ridley had gotten himself lost down corridors no less than five times before finally finding the correct route to the bridge, and even then only after asking for directions. Luckily his rank made asking for directions possible without getting chewed out. As he climbed another ladder he tried to memorize the route he was taking, the layout of the Salient was certainly different from other military vessels, though he didn't realize just how much so until now. Sure enough the constant backtracking cost him time, the ship was already underway and he was expected on the bridge. He picked up his pace as he headed down the corridor to the bridge. When he finally arrived, he noted the personnel all bustling about their duties, but most notable was the Lieutenant Commander in the Captain's chair. He walked up to her; "Lieutenant Ridley DeLovat reporting for bridge duty, Ma'am." He said with a quick salute, his eyes flashed over her nameplate before returning their gaze to her. "You taking the comfy chair, Lieutenant Commander Chen?"

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat
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Alice blinked slowly at Ridley, taking in every inch of him, before her lips curved into a slight smile. She laughed and sat forwards in the Admiral's chair, resting her elbows on her knees. She was unshaken by his comment - what did she care what he thought? She was in charge here. There was no questioning that. She would not have been caught dead in the Admiral's chair without the express granting of command from the Admiral himself.

"Admiral Weston had to step out for a bit," she answered calmly. "I have the bridge until he returns. Was there something you wanted, DeLovat? I see you got lost on your way here."

There was no hostility in her voice, nor any real disapproval. One officer making small-talk to another. Alice knew how to take command, and did so. When she needed to. Otherwise, what reason was there to make enemies by pushing people around?

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Chen surprised him with that, he had assumed she would be the up-tight kind that thought being a soldier meant being overly strict. Yet here she was fully willing to engage in idle prattle. Sure enough she had noticed he had gotten lost, no doubt due to how long it took him to reach the bridge.

"I may have misplaced myself once or twice." Ridley replied, scratching his chin. "As for what I want, I desire nothing more than to see this ship through it's journey." He said with an added hint of exaggeration. "It is my duty to wait on hand and foot for the Captain's every need. Or the Captain's fill-in's every need." He added with a smile and a bow. "Therefore, my business on the bridge is strictly business. At least until the Captain returns, or unless you have something that needs doing." He looked around at the bustling, yet quiet, activity of the bridge. He always preferred it here, there was less chance of being charged with some menial labour when you were in the administrative zone. "Of course, I'd be more than happy to test out the food in the mess hall, if that needs doing."

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat
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Alice, too, glanced around at the bridge. Everything was running smoothly, every man knew his job, they were flying at high speeds through space going who-knew-where? Because Alice certainly did not.
And that meant it was likely that nobody on the ship did.

She shook her head slightly.
"So far as I am aware, there is nothing to be done until the Captain returns," Alice answered calmly. "Unless you have duties elsewhere, I do believe the official taste-tester skipped ship." She smirked slightly at Ridley. "There is no need to worry, DeLovat. While I may pay attention to protocol, I have served the Federation long enough to realize that if a commander is stiff all the time, it tends to make voyages much less fun. We're all going to be stuck with each other for several months, at least. Let's all try to get along."

Uncrossing her legs, Alice came to her feet. She offered a hand to Ridley. Alice had always believed that first impressions could be wrong. She hoped that the personnel could overcome her initial professionalism, as the crew of the Nottingham had done. If she'd managed to find friendship on that living hell, surely she could find it here as well.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Ridley shook the hand with a smile; "Gotta admit, I admire a bit of levity." He released her hand and clasped his behind his back in a casual manner. Oddly enough it was a military posture, yet he'd always been quite comfortable with it. "I've had more or less a few CO's who got a bit on the power-trip side, liked to flex their authority muscles. Sure they had the right to, but it wasn't exactly a very efficient atmosphere." He glanced toward the bridge entrance to see if the Captain had returned yet before returning his gaze to Chen; "Certainly the Admiral isn't like that, right?" He took a few steps away from the chair to look out at the view as the Salient moved onward. "Admiral Weston... That's a pretty well-known name, though I've never met the legend himself." He turned to Chen; "I find it kind of odd that someone so powerful would give up so much for... this." He said, indicating the bridge; "Though I suppose I've no right to judge, maybe he prefers the quieter life of Captaincy than the hectic administration of commanding fleets." He returned to his position beside the chair; "You've met him already, am I right? Any personality quirks I should brace myself for?"

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Eon-312
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Eon seeing the obnoxious man dunk a basketball in a hoop from his gunship Eon soon just walked out. There was nothing there that concerned the android. Soon the android found himself at the observation deck... Again, This time he just walked back up to the bridge again to see if the Admiral was there. Walking back there he walked by more people and got to the bridge. As far as he knew, he didn't see him... But he saw the first mate and A.D.A.M. he just seemed to noticed A.D.A.M. Eon walked over to the First mate and saluted, "Android Unit 7833, Eon-312 reporting Ma'am" he said with a robotic sound.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter
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Clyde - Bridge

"This should be an interesting voyage," Alice Chen observed quietly. "The talent they've pulled in... even putting an Admiral on ship's command. It seems as though there's a lot expected out of the Salient, this time."


Clyde spun around in his seat and leaned back with his hands clasped behind his head. He had set his implant to record the footage of the ship so he wouldn't miss anything. For now, it was time to get to know the people he would be living with. Or at least, get them to know him a little better. He would know them all inside and out before the week was finished. He addressed the bridge openly.

"I'm sure the Federation does expect much from the Salient. But does anyone know what we're going to be doing? The Admiral? Higher than him? Since nobody's told us a thing yet, I'm guessing we won't find anything out until we actually get to where we're going. And we're not expected there for about two months. Until then, we're just all going to be living together, one happy family. Anybody have any good stories? Jokes? Things we could do for fun to make the wait interesting?" Clyde nudged the other navigator, who hadn't seemed intent on talking before. "Anyone? What about you, A.D.A.M.? Got any interesting ideas?" Clyde purposely addressed the other navigator, and the ship's AI. The navigator because he hadn't spoken once yet and the AI because A.D.A.M. was practically a person. He probably did have ideas.

Adriana - Barracks One

Adriana gave a mental sigh of relief. The colorful counselor was going away and taking the android with her. "Stressed" he had said. Boy, was he wrong. She knew she wasn't stressed- she was always like this. It was how she lived and that was her comfort zone.

The last few arrivals were coming in- Dunaway with his super suit and a handful of straggler ship guards. It was almost time to start the briefing.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Bridge

Clyde couldn't help it - he laughed. The computer had essentially asked him to start. "Are you sure you have no experience? It would be no problem for you to find all the jokes in the universe. But fine, I'll start. Let's begin with some good old fashioned stereotyping jokes. Three blondes walk into a bar." He held his hands out like he had already completed the joke and waited for laughter. Then, he gave an exasperated look. "Well. You'd think one of them would have seen it. ... Now. Anybody else want to take a turn?"

But Clyde wasn't finished speaking to A.D.A.M.. He was still wired in, so he spoke directly to the computer using that connection. If your calculations are inaccurate, perhaps you could allow me to help you. The implant in my head has far more power in it than I have ever really needed before. If I clear out some space and use it all, it rivals you at your current limits. Together we could probably complete the calculations with a very high degree of accuracy, and you would not need to ask for more processing power in the ship.

Adriana - Barracks One

Adriana sat quietly and gave her customary blank stare to the commander. She supposed insane tactics sounded like poor planning in every case, but he had said they only seemed insane. If the commander knew more about the situation than the soldiers, then it might only be natural that they would see it differently. She only hoped that was the case. As a scientist, she would remain skeptical until his work yielded results. However, Adriana was technically a soldier as well. Due to her extensive amount of performance doing ground missions with the other soldiers to test her weapons, she had gained the rank of corporal and learned to follow orders without question, if the CO actually bothered to give her any directly. Corporal. Not high enough to be one of Dunaway's squad leaders. That was fine by Adriana- less responsibility to deal with away from her work. She would play the commander's game, but if he showed himself to be a poor leader, there would be... problems.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Bridge

Clyde smiled inwardly. The computer was going to put on a show for the people on the bridge. In the time it took ADAM to synthesize the words Clyde could have explained everything several times over. "There is a stereotype for people with that particular hair color that they are of inferior intelligence. The solid object part was a pun. "Bar" could mean a place that serves alcohol to customers as well as a cylinder used for support. The humor lies in the irony of the second spoken part of the joke- the punchline- where the listener is to understand that bar had an unexpected meaning. Want to give telling a joke a try, ADAM?"

Data Stream

A secret AI? I think I'll take a look into that in a little while... This ship is just packed with secrets. Intriguing. Clyde hadn't expected Weston to keep many secrets. And if there was something to hide- why an AI? Hah. Of course... Integration. I was more concerned with getting the Admiral's approval for the jump. A functional crew is doubtlessly more important. Clyde watched ADAM knock on the firewall for a while longer. You could just... Tear it down, you know...

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

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Alice sat forward in her chair, listening to the chatter on the bridge. Blond jokes... well, she might have found them offensive if she were blonde, but being pure-blooded Asian from three different countries she had a fairly emotionless view towards them. The one that Clyde told even caused her lips to curl slightly in a look of amusement. Not laughter, but amusement. She glanced at the man.

"You're an unusual man, Summer," she told him calmly. "There are not many officers in the Federation who would think to trade jokes on the Bridge." She tossed her hair lightly over her shoulder, glancing towards the door as she did so. She had to admit that she wanted the Admiral to return as soon as he possibly could. Alice had never been totally comfortable in the Captain's chair - she would do her duty, and do it damn well, but she was not seeking total command over anybody. Second-in-command was more her sort of job. More than that, she was picking something up from the hangar side of the ship. Something she needed to check out...

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

Setting

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter
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Clyde - Bridge

Clyde looked up at his Commanding Officer and responded with a pout. It was fake, and not long passed before his customary relaxed expression returned. "I thought you promoted a relaxed relationship among the crew. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but trading jokes on the bridge might help a little in that area, and it almost sounds like you're not going to participate." Clyde ran through what he knew about Alice Chen, looking for what he could say for any response. Spotless record... Served on a prison ship... Had a date with a pilot named Tiaan Peyton. Each one said quite a few things, but that last one was the closest thing to a guarantee she wasn't going to stop him trading jokes. She had to have her fun too, right?

Adriana - Barracks One

Adriana turned her gaze on the outspoken squad leader. Her expression didn't change, but she was angry. "If you're afraid of going out into battle, say so. I'm sure you could be removed from service at the drop of a hat. If you're looking for a guarantee of functionality, you come to me. I designed those suits, the weapons on the ship, the training system in this room, and half of the guns you all are carrying. If you are unsatisfied with your service, I can either make you a new one... Or shoot you.

As to your borderline insubordination, as a soldier you are expected to follow orders. But It's not my job to deal with that part of your concerns."

As an afterthought, she added to the super soldiers: "Sorry I didn't come to meet you super soldiers. I've been busy lately. It will be my job to keep your suits in working order if something happens to them while you are on duty here."

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Alice raised a hand calmly, calling for silence. She shook her head at Clyde.
"I did not tell you to stop," she answered calmly. "Please rest assured, when I wish for something, you will know. I was merely making the observation that the trait is unusual." She narrowed her eyes slightly in thought. "Of course, I may be wrong. Several years on a prison ship may have skewed my view of standard conduct a bit."

She tipped her head, considering the others on the bridge.
"Anyone else know any jokes? I'm afraid I have been sold short on the humor side. Serial killers aren't very funny."

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Captain's Quarters

Characters Present

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Captain's Quarters to Bridge

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Clyde

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

Clyde looked up as the communication link came over the speakers. There was no reason to do it- nobody sees anything by looking up. People just look at the source of the sound...

"Hostiles." He checked the ship scanners to pick out the locations of the ships nearby. "This is a cargo route... Duillium. We've got pirates. We'll be in range with the particle canon in a few minutes. Should we engage?" It wasn't Clyde's call. The frigate would be roasted at the drop of a hat if it was- but Alice was in the admiral's chair. He turned to look at her, a questioning look on his face.

The setting changes from Bridge to Captain's Quarters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Captain's Quarters to The Milky Way Universe

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

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

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

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

"Engage the hostiles."

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

Setting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

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

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

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

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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

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

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

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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"Yes, you have permission to increase the propulsion systems," the Admiral nodded, watching the dogfight that was taking place beyond the Salient. He observed from the comfort of the bridge, but he knew that it was hell out there. He didn't even need to turn on the chatter to know that the Federation fighters were swooping in and out as the pirates dodged and fired off their own weapons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Eon-312
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The Admiral turned to Alice who looked as calm as the stillness of space. Her proposal merited some thought.

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Hangar

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Miranda smiled at the woman. "Ah well traditionally the Savannah class gunship does have a crew of three. But my group uses them as a more all-around type of craft; fighter, bomber, vacation home. There is Just me; the rear compartment where the navigator and gunner usually sit is being occupied by my laundry and a hammock, probably about a dozen liquor bottles." She laughed and ran her fingers through her hair. "We're not really one for rules, just about flying tough and watching each-other's asses."

The woman wondered how many times she would tell her story, hopefully only once. There was an explosion once at a bar and instead of ducking out she stayed and told five different Federation officers what happened. "As soon as all this is done you guys can interview, uh I mean debrief me any time." Frowning she snapped her fingers. "Oh man, you'd probably be one to tell. Look the Alta-Corp vessels, um, if you can't get a hold of them that's my bad. We tell them to stay off the comm because they have those broadband suckers that anybody can pick up. Pirates hear them coming and it's just a question of waiting till they show up."

She scoffed. "I mean that's how they ran stuff until we started leading them home. You gotta get a hold of my boy Cronos on the Summerwind. Send a general hail, then say the key phrase "Salvo fire, wins wars." he'll open the line and there you go." Miranda hoped Cronos was still there on the bridge, he likely was as the crew of both freighters were new to combat scenarios. The issue of replacing the escort was on her mind, the fat ladies still needed dates to the ball and a couple broken gunships would not cut it. "Look, Commander those two freighters still need to make it back to Mars and I'm not sure what you guys are working on out here but if the Federation could take the time to send an encrypted message to one of our other squadrons for replacement that would be decent of you."

Ronin was pressing her luck; she was talking Federation charity and asking for favours to boot. Well it probably wasn't a surprise, after all mercenaries weren't known for their manners.

The setting changes from Hangar to Bridge

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

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

"I see," Aronimus paused before continuing.

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

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

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

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

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

He activated another channel, one for Commander Dunaway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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

Except in the case of emergencies, of course.

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

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

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to F.S.S. Salient

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

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

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

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Alice turned and smiled when Tiaan's voice came through the comm. She crossed the room and silently admitted the girl into the dimly lit cabin, stepping back towards the table to give her a little space. Alice looked entirely different, in this environment, than she did on the bridge - not so stiff-backed and proper, a smile gracing her high cheekbones and sparkling in her eyes. Her hair fell around her in dark, cushioning plumes.

"Welcome back," she murmured, amused by Tiaan's attempt at a brave entrance. The girl was terrified. Alice could tell. "I hope you're hungry. Dinner is ready."

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Entering the room, she gave her trademark lopsided grin, looking around. The room was certainly nice, and much bigger than her own. Although that was to be expected, but still it's amazing she had thought could sleep here, to avoid going home. All in all things had turned out good, now just to force her confidence back and let this game begin. Tiaan did know this dance well, hell she was quite good at seduction, but mostly those had been wide-eyed cadets or girls 'experimenting' but not really into the idea. Just wanting to try, essentially wanting to have their cake and eat it.

It pissed her off to be honest, it was hard enough with all the leers from crew members on the Demeter, but now to add insult to injury proper relationships weren't on her horizon. Maybe she should actually try, she knew the signs, and they were ringing out, but wouldn't it be a betrayal for the Lt, that she had been delayed not for love---at least not obvious love, but to let a party go on.

All these thoughts flew through her mind, but deciding on one sentence she enunciated, "You look beautiful, Lt, I mean Mam, I mean... um..." holding her tongue she blushed deep pink, turning away a little flustered, "I don't mean you don't normally look beautiful... but... oh shit... um wait, ignore that..." this was going fantastic, "It's more obvious with your hair down." breathing a sigh of relief, she gave the grin again.

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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Amusement ticked up Alice's lip. She raised one thin eyebrow at Tiaan.
"No need to be so nervous," she murmured, turning and walking to the table. She held Tiaan's chair for her, gesturing for the pilot to take her seat. "Tell me. Do you eat meat?"

A perfectly innocent question - one that any good host would ask. But Alice was only making light talk now. She could see the anxiety, the secrets churning in Tiaan's brain. The panic. The girl was not only here for dinner, and Alice knew it all too well.

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Smiling she nodded, "Only certain kinds." she sniggered before remembering where she was, "I mean yes I do." Stupid, stupid, stupid. Trying to get herself on right foot, she continued, "I couldn't help noticing the portrait photo of group of people, is that crew of your last ship? I thought it was a prison ship." She had really just noticed it, but didn't interest her so much, she was trying to bring her confidence up to get ready for the dance. Idle chatter was in itself good way to flirt, just had to be subtle with wording and more.

Continuing she replied to herself, more than anything, "I see, Demeter was a science class vessel from UK final golden age, when we had the Pantheon Fleet, unfortunately all but the weaker ships were crushed. It was tragic. Hermes, Demeter and couple others survived. Although it ended it for good. I wasn't born during this time though." she laughed, "I just read about it, my Dad made sure got educated well about the ships."

She found herself actually looking at the picture again, and wondering something, could that young woman really be the Lt?

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The question caught Alice off-guard, not easy to do. Wordlessly, she paced across the room in her tall, slim heels and picked the frame from its resting place. She looked down into her own eyes, frozen with brilliance and excitement. That had not been so long ago - the beginning of her career, but the end of a more cheerful time.
"Yes," she murmured, smiling slightly, sadly. She rubbed a thumb fondly across the glass, across the face of a man she knew to be dead, and then set the picture down again. "We didn't know what we were getting into. We were so excited... but the Nottingham wasn't really what we thought it was going to be."

She stood for one moment longer, staring at the photograph, then shook memories from her mind and turned back to Tiaan. Her smile returned, bright and confident, and she gestured to the plates.

"Let's eat," she murmured, stepping over to the kitchen area and bringing back a bowl of chicken fettuccine, still piping hot. Alice's mother used to joke that if she had not been so good in the military, she would have been a chef.

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Nodding she took her place, playing the role she was meant too. Accepting the hosts graciousness and her meal too. Deciding she would like to find out more, she continued probing, "Rarely do we realize what our actions cost, until it's too late." thinking back to rushing to the crash, she remembers pushing through the crowd, seeing stretchers covered in white sheets, while siren rang out loudly. Tears streaming down her eyes, as she saw her friend's car, mutilated completely. Cries of agony and bright dancing lights making her dizzy, she remembers puking her guts out, partially due to alcohol and also because she felt dizzy and unable to comprehend anything. All she could think of was Tara really worth it, the lay. Why hadn't she stayed with Steph, making sure she got home safely. Her selfish need for pleasure had killed her best friend.

Returning to present, she realized her eyes had begun to tear up, accepting the plate, she smiled wistfully, trying to get mind back on present. You got work to do, stop thinking of things you can't change girl. Right now she was playing a game, best act the part.

"It all looks very delicious." a subtle double entrendre to sweeten the deal.

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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"I'm glad," Alice answered, smiling graciously. She spooned some fettuccine onto Tiaan's plate, then onto her own, before taking a seat. She leaned back comfortable and crossed her legs. Everything she did had a grace and elegance about it which was difficult to name - as though she were a dancer instead of a trained fighter. She had history, of course, in the musical arts, but she had dropped them at an early age. She only wanted to be like her parents.

Leaning forwards, resting her elbows on the table and her chin on the backs of her hands, Alice gave Tiaan an almost dangerous smile. Seductive, certainly, but also hungry. Craving knowledge of the pilot.

"You sound like you speak from experience," she observed quietly. "You know someone who's died."

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Shrugging she ignored the question, not wishing to answer. Knowledge was power her Mum had taught her, while her Dad had taught her how awesome space was and it's various and varied history, her Mother had made sure to teach her smarts for survival. It's best not dwell in the past right now, and besides she didn't feel like answering. One, Lt had no right on knowing and two, she came here to have fun to think about what could have been. Giving a sly wink, she considered the wording before she said it, "I doubt it's as fascinating as your time on a prison ship. I of course can't compare to that, before Demeter I was fresh out the academy, sleeping with wide-eyed girl cadets, but not really interested in love." smiling thoughtfully she continued, "Although, one time in the academy, I took one of the fighter on a joyride for a dare. We hadn't even got proper flight training." laughing a little she went on, "I crashed right into the Sergeant major study, while he was entertaining one of the cadets. No one was hurt of course, but he told me to keep quiet, and he'd say the ship malfunctioned."

That was certainly hilarious time and it made her laugh to remember his shock when he saw her pop out dozily out the cockpit as he was getting himself blown. It was utterly priceless. The girl was even more embarrassed by this. Tiaan had used this to her advantage and gotten some of her own pleasure from the vixen. And boy was she good with her mouth. Very good. To be honest the girl was probably little confused with her sexuality, she was rare occurrence when people weren't using her experiment.

"That's biggest thing for me. This ship here is probably going to be new biggest thing, it's almost dream come true, to be on here."

Yes, dream. When would you wake up though...

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Alice smirked idly and picked up one of the glasses of deep red wine that rested on the table. She had never been drunk - not since she had started her training at the Academy - but she did not mind one small glass at dinner. That had even been proven healthy. She sipped idly at the rosy brocade, watching Tiaan across the rim of her glass. The darkness of her eyes was not one solely of color.

"The Nottingham was definitely an interesting first assignment," she whispered, seeing a way in. Spotting her target. The point of this dinner had been changed, somewhere along the way. No longer forging connections. Alice's first concern was safety, order, and obedience on board this ship. "You haven't seen anything until you've stood face to face with a man whose murdered more than a hundred people with his bare hands. And survived the fight." Slowly, Alice laid her glass down, fixing Tiaan with that still-dangerous stare. She knew the woman might hate her for a while after this.

Alice had been taught as a child that romance had to come second to duty. And today, it would.

"I remember a time when the crew decided to have a party, under the radar," she told the girl, and knew that would spark alarm. This story. Too close to the truth of that day. "They got drunk. Very drunk. Someone was too fogged to lock his prisoners down. Fifty people died that day, most of them good officers." She glanced at the picture again, at the smiling face of that man. That man she had loved. The man who was died. Then her eyes flicked back to Tiaan. "Pray, tell me. What made the crew think that I would not find out about the party below decks tonight?"

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Gulping a little, she tried to regain control, "What makes you say that. Why can't I come here without any ulterior motive? Are you that suspicious of actions, you want assess and understand all." Tiaan had no idea why she was getting so angry, but she couldn't stop, downing the glass she continued, "I don't have to play games Lt Chen, I don't have to even socialise on here. But you know what, thought I'd try. Maybe I was mistaken in this case. Maybe you never lost your paranoia from your times on Nottingham, that even a friendly gesture is seen as something with malicious intent. For a non-date Lt, you sure know how to hold them. You command me to wear my party dress after finding me in hung over in your room." she laughed mockingly, "I'm not naive little girl Lt Chen, I know a play. I do them myself many times." taking a breath she went on, "Not to mention, even if I did come here under motives you may call wrong or immoral. I came because I sensed something. I'm a fly girl, I'm brash, I laugh in face of fear and often take un-needed risks all for thrill."

There was a long pause.

"I... I lose anyone who... who I may connect with. There is no game, there is no winning for Tiaan Peyton, all she'll get is going out in a blaze of glory."

Taking the Lt hand she squeezed it, "The average lifespan of pilots out the academy is 10 minutes. The average lifespan of pilots in space is 4 months. I've... outlived both those. I've outlived my expiration date, I should feel happy, but those people, those pilots they were skilled, some even better than me. Why did lady luck make me her bitch? Why am I the one to see my comrades go into space forever..." gripping the hand tighter, she continued, "You don't want this lucky girl Lt, you will die before her. And she will hate it."

The cosmic dice would never set her free. This was her curse.

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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Alice sighed quietly, looked down at Tiaan's hand on her own. She knew the pilot's pain. She knew seeing your loved ones go out to die. Slowly, she came to her feet, laying one long-fingered hand across Tiaan's cheek.

"I'm not afraid of Lady Luck," she told Tiaan with remarkable calm. "I'm not going to die any time soon. And I'm not suspicious of why you agreed to come here, I know. I'm not guessing. I know that there is a party going on below decks, without permission from the Admiral. No matter my original intentions for tonight, I am Lieutenant Commander before I am anyone's friend."

Something inside of her hoped that Tiaan would understand her devotion to keeping the ship running and the crew alive through this journey. The other part doubted that Tiaan would take this as anything more than a bid for authority. How could Tiaan possibly understand? She hadn't been on the Nottingham that day when an unauthorized party had cost so many their lives.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to F.S.S. Salient

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Frowning she looked at the Lt eyes and could see such pain hidden in her gaze. Many would have missed it, but she had seen the look from so many people who were friends with pilots. Her luck had come at great cost people hated her for it, they couldn't lay her and she wouldn't die. If only they knew there had been times she had wanted to walk into the airlock and open it up. If only.

"I... I actually understand." coughing nervously she leant over the table and gave the Lt a small peck on the cheek before whispering with untold remorse, "Lady luck is jealous woman. I doubt she'll allow me this freedom."

Going back to her original position she then mumbled with a hint of disappointment in her voice, "Marriage to one you never wished is a great curse. I best go before old girl takes her anger out on you."

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton
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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Shrugging she merely replied, "I would never have gone. As much as I love parties, I would rather not grow attached to anyone." Tiaan then did any unexpected thing walking slowly over to the Lt she wrapped her arms around her, one on back, and one the neck and kissed her passionately. It felt so good, but she must fight it, she just had to know before she went.

Time stopped and she was high on ecstasy and the moment.

Releasing she simply said, "What could have been. Goodbye Lt."

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Observation Port

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

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

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

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

The Admiral responded quickly to the call,

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

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

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

“Boarding action? Sir…”

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from Observation Port to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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The storied Admiral occupied his chair on the bridge, sitting straight backed, fingers steepled before his face and staring at all of the readouts available to him. There were many, but most of his attention was not on the streams of data. He was taking stock of the situation, thinking of all of the issues and who was to be doing what job... A daunting task.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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49%.

The first beam fired by the Salient's spinal cannon ripped through a small destroyer, tearing it into quarters. The fourths were sent to drift in space listlessly while the limbs of crew members floated away with little spheres of blood trailed them in the vacuum of space.

"Damage report, Mr. Hansen," Aronimus turned to the petty officer.

Hansen sifted through the status readings, "Aye, sir. They've managed to do some extensive damage to the outer hull, but they haven't breached yet, so we're safe."

"Hmmm," Aronimus was deciding whether or he should move the ship forward and position it beyond the field of debris. That would leave them out in the open for a clear attack, yet at the same time allow the Salient to fire its salvoes. The Salient could handle it of course, but repeated abuse would eventually breach the outer hull. He could decide to stay within the field, but should the FTL drives activate prematurely, the debris could be damaging during the slip space jump. He decided to position the ship outside the debris field, so as to neutralize the need to rely on the main particle cannon. This would allow the FTL drives to activate faster.

There were a million things the old Admiral had to worry about, the squadrons of fighters still roaming out in space, the Marine squad that was deployed onto the crippled pirate frigates, the two A.I.s aboard Silver Eye's armada. He was wondering where his XO was as well, but no matter.

"Clear the debris field, Mr. Summer," with that command he pressed a key on his metallic desk. The ringed projector established itself before him, flashing a variety of screens in front of him.

On one screen was Commander Dunaway, who was in the Barracks with his subordinates.

"Commander Dunaway, have the two fireteams reported in yet?"

The Commander saluted, "Bravo Team has sir, but Alpha team hasn't responded..." then the Commander turned away, his attention stolen.

"Wait no, they're in transit right now, a shuttle, and I believe Captain Dunaway is flying on his own."

The Admiral's eyebrow raised, "What do you mean?"

"Our scanners are showing that he's relying on his suit," The gadget had surprises, Aronimus wasn't amused.

"And how's the prisoner?" Commander Dunaway paused a bit.

"She's proving to be a hassle, I've got the notion to go put one in." Aronimus chuckled.

"I'll send Lieutenant Commander Chen to see the prisoner, she's been aboard a prison vessel before. Perhaps the Nottingham taught her a thing or two."

"Hmm, hopefully she'll have better luck than my officers,"

"Hopefully, Weston out." Aronimus cut the comm.