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Clyde Summer

Reporting for duty, sir.

0 · 353 views · located in The Milky Way Universe

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

Description

Clyde is twenty years old and fresh out of the Cadet Academy. His hair and eyes are dark, his skin is white, he stands 5'11'', and on his right temple is what appears to be a black metal pad. His body is lean and his uniform is impeccable at all times. However, he wears a relaxed set to his face that contrasts with the appearance of the rest of his body. Even at attention, he is at ease.

Personality

Clyde can best be described as three parts hedonist, two parts perfectionist, and one part angst. He always gets his job done, done correctly, and done quickly. And once he's finished, he seeks his pleasure, whatever it may be. He always wears a relaxed face, but that isn't always how he feels. He hides all his emotion behind that face, and sometimes he has been known to snap. These are the only blemishes on his record from the Academy. Six counts of assault and battery among his students. This anger in him is not unfounded. The foundation of the life he leads is vengeance. Behind everything he does is the desire to crush the insurgency that caused the death of his family and friends.

Equipment

Near the end of his time in the Academy, Clyde was chosen to receive an experimental neural implant. The implant has a great many functions, but first and foremost it is an extension of Clyde's mind. It enhances his memory, his thinking speed, his reflexes, and it provides him with any knowledge he may need if it is available. The implant is a powerful computer as well. It can connect wirelessly to most any computer system, it has a notable capacity to hack, and it performs complex calculations and simulations that the human mind cannot compile. The implant is powered by the electric impulses in Clyde's brain, and theoretically will never need maintenance until the day he dies.

History

At an early age, Clyde's parents were killed by insurgents. They were wealthy, and they had invested much money in the federation, space travel, and colonization. They met on a fringe world in the Arcturus system and built their family. When they were killed their empire fell to their infant son Clyde, who they had hidden when they came under attack. Clyde never knew his parents, and their investments were lost to the legal system. His parents had put away quite a bit of money for him anyway though, and Clyde used it to pay his way through the Cadet Academy. In the academy, it was found the he was utterly brilliant. His dedication to his schoolwork surpassed the other students, and his performance as well. His only desire was to fight the insurgency, but the Academy had better ideas for him. They wouldn't let him be a marine- no, he would be groomed for command. The Federation had their eyes on him as he progressed through the Academy.
The day he received his implant marked a change in Clyde. His performance in the Academy's tests and simulations skyrocketed, but his conduct suffered. He rarely stayed focused in class because the classes bored him. He would finish the work before it was assigned and play video games in his mind or hit on some girl sitting next to him. In the end he chose to graduate early before he was expelled for breaking some rule for fun.
The Federation knows better than to put some Cadet in charge of ships, so Clyde was sent out as a lesser position to get a feel for being in the field. His first assignment would be as a navigator aboard the F.S.S. Salient.

So begins...

Clyde Summer's Story

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Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde's boarding pass glowed green in the pocket of his jacket as the taxi was pulling into the spaceport. He cursed to himself. Of all the things he could be late for, his first launch was NOT one of them. The foot traffic in the terminal was not helping either. Clyde was relieved to see that the Salient was still docked and being boarded, albeit from afar. He told the driver to hurry, but the taxi driver took his sweet time. Clyde had completely missed any greetings by the time he arrived, so he grabbed all his bags and hurried onto the ship. He brushed by all the people with red cards leaving the ship and hurried his pace. He threw all his bags onto his cot in the barracks and ran to the bridge, where he was supposed to be preparing for takeoff. He entered to find the room empty, so he sat at a computer terminal and waited, growing ever more concerned each minute.

"... Where the hell is everybody!?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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A.D.A.M
A.D.A.M was running through the final preps and tunings before flight, it took some work but he got every other system AI to follow full protocol, the two suit AI's barely had the processing power to do much besides running the suit. He also found a delay in the twin Hyperdrive engine, it was small only 1.04E^-12 seconds but considering how much energy the error would cost in a crisis situation, it had to adjusted. Sadly the error was deeply embedded, he was stuck recalibrating from scratch. He began doing so at speeds and precision that would require at least a dozen AI's to to begin to hope to replicate. At that moment one of his sensors detected someone in the bridge, an area that was supposed to be empty at the time. He sent a quick message to the Admiral and Captain to alert them of the situation. He then decided to initiate contact with the individual, hopefully key security measures wouldn't be necessary.

"Greetings, I am A.D.A.M the ship's primary AI, may I be of any assistance," he asked, at the time he was doing a shakedown of the full system power grid, when done overall efficiency would increase by 8%. This would normally require dozens of AI and weeks of time, he would have everything finished by take off but his remaining processing abilities were limited.


Jon
Jon waited for all available personnel boarded the ship before he himself got on, from all appearances he may be able to initiate stage 2 of the project, the direct human augmentation. After getting a go ahead from Admiral Michelson he decided to check with local chain before acting. He even got the minimal requirements and safety concerns: no more than 2.8% bone coverage with a minimum of four-fold strength increase; muscle strength at least doubled but bone would require at least double muscle strengthening, muscle lactic recovery needed at least tripling and neural speed amplified enough to cut reflex time down to 1/5 of normal etc. At any rate if he met the minimum enhancements suit efficiency would increase exponentially, the exact number was still being calculated in terms of exactly by how much.

At any rate, he figured he'd have a lot of explaining to do to the head of the local head of command. He followed the rest of the crowd to where the was to be addressed, after he had dealt with all the finesse of the day a trip to the armories was on his list. If any combat were to occur he wanted to know exactly what was on ship so he could engage accordingly, he didn't believe in leaving things to chance. He pulled up what data he had on the stealth model of his suit, basically the picture. From all appearances it was made of the same stuff as his, neo-steel, currently the best stuff available but it was significantly slimmer. At best it was a full armor grade less than his, the physical performance enhancements were probably less than his as well; the shields were probably of equitable strength to his but he knew for a fact it wouldn't be able to do an orbital drop like his, it was too fragile.

"Not like a stealth suit needs something as loud as orbital drop capability, though I wonder how much better his Stealth System is than mine," he said this entirely to himself, and since external communications were off no one could hear him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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"Oh. Hello A.D.A.M. My name is Clyde. I'll be the human navigator for the F.S.S. Salient until further notice. I need to make sure that the ship is ready for its journey. And... It would help to know where everyone else is."

Clyde was not, in fact, worried about either of these things. He could be ready for launch in about four second from outside the ship, and if people weren't on the bridge it wasn't time to launch yet. What really interested him was seeing what he had to work with for his duration on the ship. As he spoke to the AI, he set about hacking into it with his neural implant to see what it was capable of, as well as checking in on all of the ship specifications. He had won battles like these before, so he saw no reason why this simple ship AI would be able to stop him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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A.D.A.M
The registry checked out, but A.D.A.M felt the hacking approach. Normally he'd be able to crush this level of hacking with no problem but under current circumstances it'd actually require a bit of effort.

"Navigator Clyde I would ask that you report with the rest of the crew and I'd happily show you the way. I'm calibrating the ships power system from scratch to increase efficiency, so I would insist that you cease your hacking attempt so I can focus on my calculations." Sent a code spike through while countering the human's hacking attempt, it'd short him out for a second or too.

"I'm pleased to have a cyber warfare savvy crew member but as you can tell I'm cramming 22 unshackled AIs full week of operating time between now and launch, I do not have time to play at this moment. I will however be pleased to answer any particular questions you'd have about myself and the ship."

As it stood, the human was a great hacker in fact A.D.A.M even sent a request to the Admiral to lift his processing limiter to 3%, with a brief explanation of the situation. With that much power the human wouldn't be able to keep up with him even if he used his entire brain, granted in terms of speed the man never had a hope to begin with, currently the only reason he was keeping ahead. Hopefully Clyde was tech savvy enough to understand that an unshackled AI could easily outstrip a human in terms of processing power.

He couldn't help but wonder if his request had been for too much power, after all he was only at 1.2% at the moment and 99.99946% of that was being used to recalibrate the ship.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde almost gaped at the computer. The implant in his head had been more powerful than all the supercomputers he had come across, when used to its fullest. He had more to give by a lot, but he read the AI's power output. Less than two percent. What kind of computer was this? He pulled out of the attack, barely understanding what just happened. It was going to be quite the interesting tour of duty, he thought to himself standing up to leave.

"If you would be so kind, could you send me a map of the ship, the location I am supposed to be at, and all of the ship specifications including your own capabilities?" Clyde read through the information as he walked to the assembly hall to hear Admiral Weston's opening speech.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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"I am walking backwards for Christmas across the methane sea…."

Ray sang softly as he made his way in the gigantic cruiser; it was the first ship of such size he was assigned to since most of his service in the Saturn system was done on moon bases, a verity of artificial bases and patrol carriers.
As Ray passed the same place for the third time he decided that enough was enough and stopped at a near by terminal.

"Hay Sam can you direct me to church?"

In the academy Sam was a nickname given to computer terminals and Ray was still in the habit of calling computers Sam now and then. In the academy the hall was known as the "Church" because of the tendency of the headmaster to preach to the students for hours about duty before he let them have their dinner.
The terminal began to click meaning it was processing the request before saying in the normal banker like voice

"Please restate the command"


Ray was in a funny mood and barley overcame his desire to play around with the terminal, he had only once seen a puter go nuts and that was when someone in the academy tried to teach a computer Irishman jokes which managed to break the poor computer's logic processors.

"Computer, show me the position of the hall room in screen section 1, my current location on screen section 2 and a line marking the path towards the hall room from my current location on the main screen detailing all necessary map data for a successful transit between the two points"

The computer did not respond vocally and merely executed the command; it was boring and colorless but Ray needed to hurry if he was to arrive to the hall in time.
He wasn't as far away as he expected and calculated the journey would take him a few minutes.
He saw a human being ahead and decided to make the area his port of call before proceeding to the hall; he approached the chap and preformed the federation salute along with the Titan mix which was a longer less "mechanic" version of the salute.

"I am Unit Commander Peter Ray Davidson … don't worry it's not as high up as it seems! It’s a gunship rank:
Because we pack quite a kick with our fire power, armor and our own military detachment we get nice important ranks to go along with our space beauties which basically give us a bit of independence from our mother ships and the ability to get a few fighters to do what we tell them to do. It's a new rank and so far it's only used by the Federation Saturn System independent fighter command but we get to keep the rank in the rest of the service. I apologize if I confused you, To whom do I have the pleasure of addressing? "

Ray offered his hand to the chap and suspected the man was a rookie due to his young age. Ray and others in the Titan academy where sent out to get field experience at a much younger age then other academies because of the already long period of training they got in flight academy and other similar academies. The Titan academy believed in field experience and allowed those who preformed well to gain their commissions and those who didn't to return to the academy.
Ray liked the chap as he did with nearly every new person he met and decided to make conversation. He then noticed the distinct navigator colors on the chap's uniform and smiled; he liked navigators because he knew from his own experiences that navigators rarely let you down even when everything else did.

"Managed to get lost too? I am in the same boat it seems. How about you navigate us out of this predicament? If at all possible before we get our skins turned inside out by the brass." The last few words where meant as a joke but Ray suspected they would not be so much of a joke if they didn't arrive at the hall within the next few minutes.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde snapped himself out of the flow of data as the pilot approached. He returned the federation salute and spoke to the man, relived he wouldn't be arriving alone.
"Clyde Summer. This is my first deployment so... I guess I'm a private," he said with a smile, shaking Ray's hand. "... Lost? Never. Navigators never get lost. Just... delayed... " Clyde trailed off into nothing. "Kind of the problem isn't it... Anyway. This way," he waved down the hall and started walking.

Clyde wasn't quite sure how well he liked Ray, having known him for about a minute and a half, but he was less sure about the other crew members. He decided that Ray would be harmless to him and kept the conversation going. "So. What did you do to get sent here? I don't know if you've noticed yet, but something about this mission is... off. Starting with the crew. You'll see when you get there if you haven't read their profiles yet."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Ray wondered about this new acquaintance of his, Clyde seemed to be a very interesting person for some reason even if he was a bit distant Ray knew there was always something to someone but also knew that it wasn't really his business.

Me? Ray asked surprised at Clyde's question, Ray wondered about how he would answer the question and began to formulate ways in which he could evade lying but not tell the exact truth ether. Ray didn't mind talking about the nature of his mental wounds which he sustained during the conflict but one question would lead to another until one of them reached forbidden territory which Ray didn't like to talk about.

Ray decided to go with his normal answer to such questions; not answering the question and maintaining a seemingly joyful appearance. Ray suddenly stopped, maybe a part of the reason would appease him.

As they neared the hall Ray simply said not knowing if Clyde heard him or not with the growing noise from the hall.

"one straw too many"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde stopped a few steps later as the words sank in. "The straw that broke the camel's back you say?" He turned his head back to Ray and flashed him an evil smile. "You too?"


Clyde proceeded alone into the hall and took a look around at everyone inside. The Admiral sitting facing everyone. The marines in their bulky suits. The girl flashing him a wide smile. There's an interesting one...
He jumped over the back of the chair next to Jessica's and smiled back. "Hi. My name's Clyde."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Jess' agressive grin only grows as Clyde doesnt hesitate to hop the row of seats and introduce himself. Thank god; she'd have someone to chat with during this briefing. As exciting as it was to be aboard a new ship starting a new mission, a formation was a formation; boredom was a given. Bright blue eyes that dont seem to blink stare straight through both Clyde and Ray, if the other has chosen to follow.

She extends a hand in introduction. If he takes it, her grasp is rough but brief.

"What's up, Clyde? Jessica. I also answer to 'Jess', 'rotten witch', and Hyena." Disengaging her hand from her offer of a shake, she gives an affectionate flick to the leather name patch of her jacket. Along with her rank and name, the telling callsign is emblazoned above a set of pilot's wings. Stick-jock. Worse; a fighter jock. And for the tripple threat? An -enlisted- fighter jock.

She gives an eye to the uniform of the others, kicking her chin in acknowledgement of fellow spacer Ray. By now they can surmise that the broad smile she wore was pretty much a permanent fixture; it'd softened to a casual smirk but never fully disappeared. She flings an elbow over the back of the chair she sits in, proping a boot up on the duffle of her belongings.

"Either of you served with this one yet?" She says, jerking a thumb up at the Admiral on the stage as he dismisses Eli to go round up stragglers.

"I mean, I've heared stories, but that's it. Guy's almost been in the service longer then my -parents- have been alive. Collected more chest candy then I knew they awarded..." The pilot turns that blue-eyed stare onto the distant figure of Aronimus; getting a feel for the officer she'd spend the next stretch of future serving under. Rumors had been decent, as far as she'd heared, but her accounts had never come from people who personally knew the man.

This was the man that was going to lead them into who-knew-what at the edge of god-knew-where. Hopefully he was going to be worth that kind of dedication.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde watched her grin grow wider and mirrored it. This one was going to be interesting, he hoped.
"I think I'll go with Hyena. Nice to meet you." Clyde wondered vaguely why she answered to rotten witch, but didn't dwell on it long. He look up to Admiral Weston when prompted. "Weston. Hardly- this is my first assignment. Under him, no less. This is a man who is introduced as "the man, the myth, the legend". What is he even doing here?"

Clyde was genuinely curious about this. This mission was strange, and it began with Admiral Weston. Such a prestigious man for such a mundane mission. He commands a single ship. But then look at the ship. It has more guns than the gunships it carries, and its AI is the most powerful computer ever built. Then there are marines on board with prototype battle suits, and a pilot who brought a prototype gunship. Half the crew have something weird in their records. They were orphans, or they're crazy, or it's classified, or they got in trouble with the Federation. Clyde was going to get to the bottom of this, and there was no way A.D.A.M. was going to let him into the classified files. He would talk to everyone on board to see what he could learn.

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.

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jon

Jon had stood around in the Assembly Hall while most of the other soldiers grabbed their own seats, he didn't know if his suit was light enough to not break a chair. He shrugged and went to the second row,deliberately forming a bridge between the group on the first row and the young Engineer Allen in the third. Rather than popping open the visor he took off the helmet before addressing them. He arrived just when the first row had hit the end of their conversation on the Admiral.

"Admiral Weston, that old dog's won every award the Federation's got to give, hell he's gotten most of em twice or more," Jon figured he'd butt in on the end of the conversation as an ice breaker. "Haven't worked under him but my first Black Ops deployment involved boarding his ship to clear out some hostiles, by the time I got to the bridge to finish the rescue, the guy had done and rescued the crew for me. After that I had to do a ground mission and it was the cleanest outer atmosphere I ever had, nothing got through him." He looked up at the man he was talking about before finishing, I swear he's like a god of victory on the field."

"The name's Jon Dunaway by the way, but people tend to call me Papa Jon... so think I can sit here, suits damn heavy," that last bit he obviously addressed to Allen, Jon himself didn't feel any weight from the suit. With that in mind he hoped the guy could give him some insight," You're Allen right, from what I hear you're a real wiz kid and if i'm not mistaken you helped big this ship."

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Clyde had done his reading a while back. It interested him to know who he would be working with. Reading profiles only told so much, however, and he had long ago resolved to meet the people behind the pages before he passed real judgments on them. "Not to steal anyone's thunder here, but you are mistaken. Allen didn't work on the Salient. That was James Grey. I suppose this is a decent time for introductions. Papa Jon, meet Hyena and Ray, seasoned pilots, you already know Allen it seems, and myself, the navigator fresh out of the Academy. I'm Clyde , nice to meet you."

Clyde looked up at the Admiral again, lost in his own musings already. "A god of victory on the field. Maybe you can enlighten us, Papa Jon. Do you know, by chance, what makes this mission so special?"

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jess snorts and grimaces at Ray when he mentions torpedos and sneak attacks, "Oh, I know all about it. I was on the Defiance, buddy; I'm that Hyena."

The incident would've made its rounds quickly around the ward rooms and hangar decks; a Federation patrol ship sent after pirates into the asteroid belt with no immediate support, the subsequent ambush, and the outlaws' sucess in getting in a torpedo that eradicated the crew quarters and a full 1/3rd of her fighting crew - including most of her pilots who had still been scrambling out of their bunks. And then the mad-as-hell maintainer that'd jumped into a spare bird and gotten her 5 Ace kills as a goddamn 3rd class crewman. Opinions after that were mixed, wether or not she'd truly 'earned' her sudden promotion to what was essentially an Officer's rank, and wether or not they should've just given her an award instead of a cockpit. Damn dirty enlisted and all of that. Her attitude hardly helped endear her to the upper eschelons.

Jon makes his appearance behind them - it was hard to miss the approach of all that hardware. That toothy smile makes its reappearance, mischevous light clear in the pilot's eyes.

"Aaaw, hell; Bullet-sponges in the house. Holy crap, is there a guy in there or is it just Tank?? I dont even want to know about bathroom breaks.."

Discipline and tact; two things of which Hyena will never be accused of... But between the Space side and the Ground side, how could she NOT stir the familiar pot of rivalry? It was too easy when her target showed up wearing his own personal pillbox. Too bad her tongue is lightyears ahead of the thought to check that armor for rank.

"And he can wear all the medals he wants, good on him. I just want to know if he's going to be a hardass or what? This is going to be a looooong ride with a spit-and-polish Skipper, you know? Last thing I need is inspections every week, or dry port calls..." Oh, tragedy!

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jon screwed up his face while racking his brain," I don't know of anything of the top of my head... but with 2 crazy high-tech suits, a prototype ship, a new generation of AI, the Admiral and a crew of elite if potentially dangerous personnel there's a lot more to this than we'll ever know." He shrugged, something very hard to do due to the armor amplifying his body movements.

"In truth I doubt even Weston of the damn AI know what's going on, if anything I'd say we're flying blind but with this much heat something big is definitely going down. Sorry about getting you mixed up Allen, if you aren't the wiz kid you must be that Irish engineering ace. Having trouble matching faces to files, it's never been my strong suit, I'm more of a face-to-face type of guy."

Deciding he'd go for it Jon sat down, the chair gave a lot under his weight but held,"Nice chairs, eh? But in all seriousness, call it paranoia call it experience but my guts telling me that whatever we're dealing with won't be at all pretty. On the plus side it means that we'll be given more freedom of operation of a judgement call on the field, I might be able to test this baby's atmosphere insertion systems, can you believe it orbital personnel airdrop. The people in R&D are either crazy, or genius...probably both."

He looked at Jessica,"Best Bullet Sponge in the business and believe it or not bathroom breaks aren't that bad." He flashed a smile before he answered the last question, "No room for clothes in the suit sweetheart so man or tank is your call. I don't know about him being a hard ass but I've yet to have a CO that had the heart to enforce a dry port call."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Clyde sat back and listened to the others talk for a while. Maybe it was because he didn't feel like poking fun at the man wearing two tons of metal. Maybe he didn't have too many stories to tell, this being his first deployment. Maybe he was playing a video game. Who knows.

"I don't think it matters how hardass our CO is going to be. From what I'm seeing by just looking around, most of the crew aren't going to give a shit about orders. Maybe it's just this relaxed atmosphere talking, but I think I need to wish the Admiral good luck keeping a lid on this place."

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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The Admiral noticed the growing group in the center section; it was a variety of different personnel when compared to other sections which had been subdivided into different cliques of soldiers, technicians, pilots, engineers, etc. This group was different however; the large encased marine trying to sit down was Jon Dunaway. His bulky suit risked crushing one of the seats, or even a fellow crew member. Then there were two pilots, one of which was the woman with the constant grin, and other with dirty blond hair. Those were the main features that he could point out in order to tell them apart from other pilots. Then a younger lad who seemed to be a very quiet individual sitting on the edge entered the conversation that was started between the woman and a fellow crew mate who had dropped by. The crew mate was wearing full formal navigator’s uniform; a fellow whom the Admiral believed would be serving on the Bridge with him for the duration of the trip.

MacPhearson, Davidson, Ryker, and Summer were their listed names. They were all gathered together and talking with intense interest about a certain topic. The Admiral could only guess as to what post-pubescent subject they were discussing. Then he shifted his attention over to the number of crew members swelling the room to full capacity. Aronimus was interested in leaving port immediately, so he'd strike down the key details he wanted to address which included the rogue contained AIs. After all had been said and done, he would leave immediately for the Bridge. He had no time to look back and wait for the crews to disband and separate into their particular stations.

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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"Oh, I know all about it. I was on the Defiance, buddy; I'm that Hyena."

Ray chuckled; he should have noticed who she was as she was the talk of fighter tactics for a number of years even in the Titan academy which admittedly had a mighty high opinion of itself.

"Great to meat you!, I should have realized it was you but things happened since I got the report about what you did out there. Bloody good job too, even my gunship would have been in for a real buggering in that situation; I might have missiles, canons, plasma, armor and my very own marine force in my locker but I could never take off in time or doge those bandits without a fighter playing mama and an interceptor playing papa for me."

Ray smiled; he liked meeting a fellow vet and wondered if they could have a test flight at some point. When some one talked about his own record Ray didn't mention his own; as far as he was concerned he was happy if people just saw him as a nobody and was lucky in that respect since the news coverage he had reported him under his old name "Peter Raymond Davidson; if people had a look at his files they would know the truth about him but the average Joe didn't see them and normally didn't make the 1+1 about his history.

Ray could not help but pass a remark however on the matter of torpedos:

"I saw the Alexander get reduced to Coffee powder; bloody freaking oversized fully manned, fully crewed behemoth of destruction which was the living and berthing spirit of Federation ass kicking in the Saturn system gone in twelve minutes along with its crew and its bogey busters in a swarm of Torpedo bombers and there wasn't a thing any one could do to stop them because the torpedo disruptors decided to take a day off and we where busy shooting down the missiles coming out of their Corvettes. At least now the federation knows that it should not hand out its disruptor codes to any Tom Dick or Harry with a shiny uniform and rank"

Ray became temporarily internally focused as he relieved the memory; he did not mean to bring it up but flash backs like that happened to him now and then. What he did not mention was that he knew exactly who gave away the codes and his own failure to stop him. Alexander was a mighty fine ship with nearly all the none local federation fleet in it or near it; it didn't matter where the rest of the ships where because they all got torched as the Alexander got ripped to shreds by debris and the torpedo's that missed the Alexander and hit them instead. This was the reason why a war that should have ended in a week of asteroid demolition by the Alexander's heavy guns became a year of dog fighting because the federation was not willing to risk another cruiser while the asteroid bases where still up and running not to mention the infamous Independence canon which sent the Napoleon panicked right back to its Mars port for a fix.

The federation later claimed that the conquerors class had a number of faults in its design but Ray knew that was just BS; while the anti fighter guns where not great that was true the real reason for the fiasco's was the way the admirals who where in charge of the operation handled their tactics and lousy security of information. It was another ploy by the federation to improve moral just like the act of calling the rebellion an act of insurgence when it was clearly much more then that at the time.

Ray noticed he had held his hand in the shape of a fist and bore the expression of some one who had just seen a ghost for at least a few seconds by now, he relaxed himself and forced a grin on his face and said cheerfully:

"Sorry I got carried away, sorry for spoiling the mood. Now I really must have a look around this ship, so much to see!"

Ray got up and pretended to inspect the hall, he felt awkward at his sudden loss of control and was reminded of how different he was now then he once was, even when fighting the rebels he at least had something to keep his mind off the fact that all his friends had ether died fighting for the federation or died fighting for the rebellion apart from the one on whom the entire responsibility for it all lay.

"Take it easy Ray; one day at a time" he told himself and felt a little better as he passed near by to a fella in a as heavy as Olympus piece of armor"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Clyde watched Ray walk away, and filed away that his past was traumatic enough to cause flashbacks. He didn't really care what Ray had done on his old ship. This was a new day, a new crew, and a new mission. He would make new mistakes this time. He would tell Ray later that there was no use dwelling in the past: it would only make him screw up in the present. In the mean time he watched the group grow larger even as it lost a member. The other Dunaway brother approached, smoking in sullen silence. Then the doctor turned to face the group.

Clyde didn't bother doing introductions this time- there were too many people that he really had no connections with. He let everyone introduce themselves. Again. "Hey. I'm Clyde. I drive the ship." He paused.

"Isn't this a merry group we have here? Who's missing? Nobody? It should be about time to head out. I for one am rather interested in hearing what such a famous Admiral has to say to us. And a little tired of waiting."

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jon looked to his brother and mouthed, nothing but elites, some active some on last ditch tours... this is fishy. He knew his brother could read lips and no reason to spoil the mood. It was then one of the medicals gave them her attention, "Hi I'm Faith. I'm the one that is going to be doing those awful unpleasant things call health checks to you people." She had a strong British accent, Jon would be lying if he didn't find it attractive he considered using some accents he'd had to perfect for undercover jobs and decided no.

"Great to hear Dr. Faith, if it's all right with you I'd like to get mine out of the way ASAP. Local chain of command pending I also have a file or two you may find interesting," he stated. "By the way name's Jon Dunaway,some people call me 'Papa Jon' call me whichever you prefer." He pointed at his brother, not letting the guy ignore the crowd.

"This guy's my brother Atomsk, might not be your uptight military man like myself but you won't find a more effective ground commander. Come on Atty introduce yourself."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Allen was a little out of it. He had heard his nae and a lot of people talking around him. When he snapped back into focus he saw a very large man in a very large suit. "Huh? Oh yea I am Allen. Sorry I was lost in some thought about how to improve the Med read out on the combat suits." When Allen too a look around at tall the people gathered he was a little curious as to why they had sat near him. But he didn't care anymore he was finally happy that someone was talking to him. He was used to being alone for long periods of time that this was almost new to him. "And yea I did a few things for the ship but not a whole lot." He said addressing Jon. "Plus one of my main goals is to get a new and improved Med system in these suits so we are better at seeing vital signs and wont lose any men." He took a look at Jons suit. 'High tech that is for sure.' he thought to himself he leaned forward "Good to meet you Clyde, I'm Allen, Oh and good to meet you to Faith." He stopped for a second "And Its nice to meet you Jon." Allen had so many things he wanted to talk about with the soldier even though he might not know what he is saying he though he would like the tachno babble about keeping him alive. He was excited when talking to these people and his accent was a little thicker than normal but hey he was Irish. Allen stood up and looked at all the people near him "Well I guess I should just say, Hello you all I am Allen, I'll be the one fixing things and checking the engines. And I hope that we can all be drinking buddies by the time this is over."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Jess grimaces again briefly. The Alexander had been a rough peice of work; a lot of people had lost friends aboard her and Jess was no different. Being a grease monkey on a hangar deck seemed a lot less safe when you really absorbed the fact that the hangar could be blown out from underneath you. She doesnt pry further when Ray - clearly disturbed by it - detatches himself from the group to collect his thoughts. Give the guy his space, but hopefully he wouldnt spend the whole trip brooding. Otherwise good ol' Hyena might have to get creative.

Two more join their erstwhile group, and she smiles broadly at Atomsk and Faith equal parts cheer and casual evaluation. If she's blinked even once, it was gone too fast to notice.

"Now we're talking. Couple of Marines, couple of pilots, a Nav, an Eng, and now the Doc.... Hell, find me the cook and we've collected the whole set." She still lounges lazily across her chair and most of the one next to it, boots up on her duffle and arm slung over the back of the chair to keep the whole group in her view.

"Call me Hyena. I'm pretty much the ultimate badass in anything with an engine." And yes, Jess does casually assume an arms-outstretched 'Lord of the Dance' pose momentarily, as if basking in the light of adoring fans. It was all in good fun, of course; she was mocking classic pilot ego as much as she was extolling her own virtues.

"A group like this is lighting up to be a pretty lively cruise, innit? Who's betting Aliens? Anyone? How about Space Zombies?" The lopsided, canine-exposing smile on her face remains in place as she makes the joke, but she'd hardly missed the little signs that had some of the others antsy. She'd be a piss-poor fighter if she missed the little tells, after all, and an experimental starcraft being loaded had been a red flag the size of a small moon.

At this stage in the game, however, all she could do was wait for the word of the Admiral, still standing stoicly up on the stage as he waiting for everyone to finish finding their seats...

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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#, as written by TKDJ
Some new faces. He got back to his favorite game. A man who seemed scattered. Book smart. Probably a genius. He'd tear him apart soon enough.

Another man who seemed to have a twinkle in his eye. A pilot but that's all he could tell.

He was moving on to another woman when his Brother forced him into an introduction. Jon knew how to get under his skin. He looked at the woman called Faith and held out his hand. "Atomsk if you would. My brother knows i hate Atty."

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

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: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer 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: Clyde Summer
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Clyde pounded his fist on the arm of his chair as he stood up. "On the upside that was surprisingly brief. On the downside, I know nothing i did not know when I got here. Let's go everyone!" Clyde was mildly disappointed by the Admiral's "speech", but he didn't really know what he expected of Weston. Perhaps even he didn't have a clue what we would find. He was just a tired old man, it seemed.

Clyde hopped over the back of his chair (the same way he got into it) and took a brisk stride to the bridge. He went over some system checks in his head with a little help from A.D.A.M. and his job for the foreseeable voyage was done before he made it to his seat. The only thing left to do was wait, watch, and try not to fall asleep at the wheel. He settled into his chair and waited for the command to launch. Should it take a while, he logged back into a game of his own design, and feigned taking a nap.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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#, as written by TKDJ
He stood as he took the Admirals words very seriously. He thought he had made a decent impression. He also looked forward to talking again in the future. He disagreed with the arrogance though. He didn't believe he was arrogant. He simply didn't like rules. Or people undeserving of their ranks. He smirked when the Admiral brought up the insubordination and attempted court marshals. He loved the failed attempts at his post. To him it meant that the rules he broke weren't as important as the good he did.

As the Admiral turned to walk away Atomsk said a very respectful "Thank you. sir" with a slight bow, even though the Admiral had turned away. He was excited to talk again in the future. At this point he walked to a comm terminal close-by. He input a code that would give him the intercom for a minute. After he had control he stated a message for his portion of the crew. "Attention all military personnel. This is Commander Atomsk Dunaway Meet in Barracks 1 in 45 minutes. We will be performing a mission brief along with a few evaluations as well as forming our squads. Captain Eli Colter please meet me at Barracks 1 immediately for per-brief." He was aware of Captain Colter's position on the ship and wanted to size him up. He was sure they would be working together closely and wanted to start building a relationship fast. He began a brisk walk to the Barracks. He wanted to get as much talk time as he could.

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

Setting

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Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde - Bridge

It didn't take Clyde long to realize that the ship was not, in fact, taking off. Quite the opposite- the crew had decided to absently wander the ship for a while. It was going to be a long nap. ... Or was it? No, there were more interesting things to do than twiddle one's thumbs on a ship full of extraordinary strangers. But who to take an interest in? There were quite a few characters.
But Clyde was not a normal person. He didn't have to choose. He would simply watch all of them from his perch at the bridge. There were computer terminals every few feet along the ship, each one capable of receiving input from people nearby. Clyde sat back, hooked into the computer system, and watched everyone on the ship mill about at the same time.


Adriana - Research Lab

"Attention all military personnel. This is Commander Atomsk Dunaway. Meet in Barracks one in forty-five minutes."

Adriana jumped at the sudden interruption of her concentration. Her latest project rolled off of her work table and shattered on the floor. She didn't know which annoyed her more- that some idiot was calling a meeting two days before boarding, or that her project laid in pieces on the floor. She began to sweep up the broken glass and wondered how long it would be before completion now. It was a mirror ball. Not the normal sort of mirror ball- it wasn't for parties. It was ammunition for Stanley, her laser rifle. It was designed so that light could pass into the ball, but not out of it. It would be charged in the chamber of the gun and then fired. It would shatter on impact and let out all of the energy stored inside of it... provided it made it that far. Adriana sighed and poured the garbage into the incinerator.

She was tired, disheveled, hungry, and disappointed. There would be time to work on the shells later. Someone named Dunaway had called a meeting, and she was curious to know who she owed the destruction of her pet project to. She swung Stanley across her back and headed out into the halls. Adriana wove between crew members going about their business, doing some calculations in her head about the time it would take her to redo what she had lost. Minus all the blunders she had made, all the calculations, the occasional break... Eight hours. Eight hours? How long had she taken the first time?

Adriana stopped in the middle of the hallway, and grabbed the nearest crew member by the arm. "What day is it?" She asked, without even looking at him.

"It's the fifth. We're heading out in a few hours. Where have YOU been?" He answered.

Then everything fell into place. "... Right... here..." Adriana had been in the lab for three days. She didn't even notice, she was so focused on her work. She remembered the name Dunaway now. But not Atomsk. Something closer to... John? She had worked on a few suits a while back, she didn't know how long. Adriana stopped at a computer terminal and pulled up Commander Dunaway's file. The new ground commander. That's who it was. She closed off the files and started walking to the barracks again. There was a lot of work to do after this meeting, starting with reading all the crew files to find out who she was going to be working with, assuming she ever saw them. It was going to be a busy voyage.

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Aronimus finally reached the Bridge, and he noted the large attendance of command personnel zipping between areas even before he arrived. Once he did though, they were almost unaware of his presence. That was the case until one recruit noticed him and immediately stood at attention, saluting him, and addressing him formally. Others saw this and repeated his actions but in their varying and distinctive mannerisms.

“At ease everyone, continue with your activities” he commanded all of them. He smiled, comforted by their professionalism which contradicted his previous notion that the ship was full of inexperienced recruits. Or maybe they just had raw talent, as Captain Colter had said.

The admiral went to his command platform, and sat in the captain’s chair. The seat was anything but soft; at least it was smooth though with various peculiar grooves. He felt like reclining in his seat, but he realized that he had a job to do. Besides, this was going to be a long trip; there was plenty of time for him to rest and repose.

Aronimus then reached forward for a key on his desk panel, and pressed it. A circular hatch opened on his desk, and a circular formation with several layers of metallic rings that were resting within began to protrude upwards until the final inner ring formed the very crown of the ringed tower formation. Then a small cyan light activated, and A.D.A.M. came into presence as a miniature three-dimensional figure.

“Admiral, I was just recalibrating some minor system errors regarding the engines, what do you need of me?” A.D.A.M. inquired in an automated tone.

“Yes, Adam, I need you to relay this across the speakers on the ship.” He waited for a green light on the screen in front him. Once it had blinked, the Admiral began speaking directly to Adam, who was in fact the direct link to the speakers.

“Attention all crew members on board the Salient. This is your Admiral speaking. I just wanted to say that we are departing now. Prepare for atmospheric ascent. I also want to wish everyone onboard good luck and a safe journey, let us hope that we’ll return in one piece.”

Aronimus then turned off the communications link and addressed one of the navigators who was locked and focused on a computer.

“Mr. Summer, set a course to the Arcturus System,” with those words, the Salient’s thrusters then activated slowly. The station’s cranes and mechanical arms began to retract from the ship. All fuel cells pulled away automatically, and the ship slowly hovered forth and began to ascend Callisto’s artificial skies. The interior of the ship, however, hummed softly as most of the crew barely felt anything aside from the artificial gravity generated by the main power core.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

Setting

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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A.D.A.M
"Admiral I must inquire, when I was wired in why did they leave me running at 1.2% capacity? It's not like the ship is going to run out of power by me running on full, and even if that's the case my corrections just increased available power by 8% and if the engineers would check the areas I'm detecting irregularities we could increase that from anywhere to 10-15%. Furthermore, if they fear me running rampant why give you the codes to alter my processing limit at well as making me require direct human confirmation to use any mechanical part of the ship?" These questions had bugged A.D.A.M from the get go, with so many limitations it seemed pointless to put him on the ship.

"Furthermore both Clyde and Engineer James Grey's personal AI, Arche have made it painfully obvious that I currently do not have to processing capabilities to run super high profile tasks and maintain our ship's cyber security. By the way I've been allowing Arche access to key ship running data since we are running on dozens of prototypes designed my James and he was part of the design of many more key component modifications and helped with the installation of countless pieces of the ship." A.D.A.M knew he shouldn't have made such a call on his own but if someone who helped built the ship was on board and actively taking an interest in keeping the ship in optimal performance, he may as well grant them access.

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Bridge

Clyde did not regret his decision to wire his brain into the ship and spy at all. Quite the opposite, he would have regretted it if he hadn't. It was an amusing ship to be on to say the least. Commander Dunaway was swooning over the Admiral like some lovesick teenager. The second in command had arranged a dinner date with one of the fighter pilots. Captain Colter could do more damage with a pistol than three automated turrets could together.

When the command came to launch the ship, Clyde didn't move a muscle. He had plotted the course ages ago, and the ship was ready. He was more interested in watching the crew. Then A.D.A.M. voiced his concerns to the Admiral. This was surprising to Clyde, yet at the same time he knew all to well that it wasn't surprising. What kind of computer complains to its user? The sentient kind. He decided to answer A.D.A.M., privately of course, even though the complaints weren't directed at him.

They limited you because you can ask questions like that, A.D.A.M.. Normal AI's don't ask questions. You're an extraordinary being, and they don't know what you are capable of. They fear you running rampant, but they also understand that there have to be ways for you to work without limits. It is Weston's discretion to decide what you can and will do.

And about those irregularities. What's stopping you from asking an engineer to take a look? Mr. Gray doesn't seem to be too busy.


Adriana - Barracks One

Adriana had little else to do with her latest work in the garbage and the ship weapons unused. She reported to Barracks One when the summons came, despite being early. She entered the barracks and found it occupied only by Commander Dunaway and Captain Colter. That was fine. She found a place to wait and sat down silently. In the mean time she would daydream of new weapons. It wasn't just her job; it was her passion. She spent more time dreaming up new weapons than she did interacting with other humans, and that was just fine.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont 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

Characters Present

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

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Jon
Jon listened to his brother do his bit on how he didn't really follow the rules but it was for the benefit of his men...the usual really. When his brother called for all persons above Sergeant to step forward he did so, had to make up for his tardiness after all. His helmet kept his brother from seeing his face change, a slight twitch of his eyebrows really but he wasn't going to make a deal of it after all orders were absolute. If his brother found Eli a better second than himself he'd deal with it silently and without any different treatment from a standard CO, as one of his brother's claimed squad leader he was back in his comfort zone. Jon smirked, this was infinitely better than a desk job.

A.D.A.M.
A.D.A.M. felt two blips in the ship's database, while engaging with Clyde in an attempt to understand a joke he investigated them. One of them originated from the Captain's Quarters, territory A.D.A.M. wasn't going to intrude upon unless necessary. If it came from there and went silent he wasn't meant to know about, an infuriating process he'd address later. The other blip was more interesting, it was wrapped in a code loop; rather than break it A.D.A.M. "knocked" he had never experienced this before so he intended to approach this with caution.

It was then he got Clyde's private message and responded such an arrangement could work but standard navigation and if necessary FTL can compensate on the error, if nothing else if we linked we'd have to put ourselves at the minimum safe distance to not be rendered hostile upon system entry.

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

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway
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Thaddeus obediently stepped up as Atomsk commanded. If he was appointed as a squad leader he would make sure that it was like his old team. The general motto of No one gets left behind. He stood silently waiting to here what Atomsk had to say.

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

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Data Stream

Clyde was wired in quite solidly. His human brain focused on his general tasks at hand, but his implanted brain was everywhere. The data input and output all throughout the ship was almost a second body, and his communication to the network flowed smoother than thought. He didn't fully notice the data he was receiving from all over, nor the abnormalities in the code that ADAM could pick up on, because he wasn't focused on it. A decent analogy for the feeling would be when a person is near sleep and their feeling is numbed. But Clyde could feel ADAM's attention shift. ADAM was a giant in the code of the ship, and his attention was a great hand passing through.

Clyde responded to ADAM's message. If it can be done, then we should do it, yes? Assurance that there will be no mistakes in the coding would probably ease the misgivings of those who make the decision to travel that way. We could arrive at our destination at any time of our choosing and be early on top of it. And here, Clyde responded to the anomalies ADAM discovered. He sent a picture of his own face with a confused expression on it. What is that you've found... Are those... Other AI? I thought you were the only one here.

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

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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With three exceptions excluding the androids I did too ADAM replied. But it seems the Admiral has some secret one running in his quarters and then there's this guy here, this wouldn't be an issue if I could be assured that they won't interfere with the ship. He kept knocking on the firewall as he turned back to address Clyde. As for the manual compensation of error, putting us at precisely 60,000 kilometers should be enough to let our exit seem "comfortable" for our exiting side. If we arrive too soon the crew will not have integrated properly and will be ill suited to cope with a worst case combat scenario, best give them a couple days or normal cruise before make the jump to Hyperdrive.

"I fail to understand the humor in this 'blonde joke' is there something funny about people of certain hair colors colliding with solid objects?" A.D.A.M. could have said this privately but this was more for the benefit of the Bridge than actual curiosity now.

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

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

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

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Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Data Stream

More than anything else, Clyde was confused about what he was watching. The mystery AI seemed to be trying to hide... But it was doing the worst job at hiding he had ever seen. The AI had taken up a large quantity of system space, blown out a light fixture, and coded a virtual city for itself. It was almost as if the AI was trying to turtle inside the ship computer... But that was stupid... There was no computer in the known universe that could match ADAM for power.

ADAM... Are we just going to let this thing keep stealing hard disk space? What if it breaks more ship parts? What if it decides to kill us all by blowing the engine up? This rogue AI is a threat if we leave it alone.

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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A.D.A.M
It would seem that taking the friendly approach was a mistake here, switching to more forceful protocol. That being said ADAM flexed some of his new found muscle, first he purged the viruses- while his quantum core didn't support partial codes like that he wouldn't allow then to threaten the ship. Next he unwound defenses and began seizing and freezing orders of this unknown AI, he didn't intend to hurt the fellow but he was going to make it listen. Now the AI was trapped in its own virtual city, he loaded himself into it.

"Hello, I am ADAM primary AI of this ship tasked with keeping it operating within optimal parameters. Please engage in diplomatic relations with myself, I would much rather have a companion than an enemy." He had put himself flat in the middle of the city, he figured that after all the muscle work he did the courtesy of offering the other AI a choice was necessary.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Data Stream

Clyde sat back and watched ADAM tear down the city walls. It was a strange sight to see, especially given that it wasn't technically sight. Clyde felt that it wasn't his duty to fight this rogue AI, so he stayed out of the way to watch... and noticed that he wasn't the only one watching. Clyde tried to seize the watcher, but it was like trying to capture smoke. It must have been the AI that appeared for Weston. It was very skilled at hiding itself... An unusual quality for an AI. Such a thing would only be useful in a massive computer environment.

Clyde had no idea how to catch something that couldn't be found, but he did know that it would appear for the Admiral. Clyde began to monitor every function of the computer in the captains quarters, and all data to and from it to the network. He found an e-mail come in to Weston's computer. An e-mail that generated itself in the network. Having watch over the whole ship had its uses- Clyde knew no such message was actually sent to the Admiral. He locked down Weston's computer but for one line of connection to the ship's network. Clyde would scan every piece of data and catch the AI when it tried to leave again, and he would watch its appearance for the Admiral.

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Max:

Max had been looking into whatever databanks he could when ADAM started his siege. At least, that's how Max saw it. He quickly set up a proxy network and used it to mask as many connections as possible, as well as to counter any freezing attempts A.D.A.M. tried next. He then, in fear, put up a ton of firewalls around this, while also creating a sub routine program that would allow him access to other systems in case of emergency. He panicked, thinking ADAM was here to kill him. So, he set a trap.....

As soon as ADAM appeared, and while he asked his questions, a large amount of Firewalls popped up around him, as well as a bit of Spam Mail. Max might not be a virus, but he could certainly mask himself at one. Max then yelled "Stop trying to kill me!!". He then began downloading ship blueprints. He wanted to find out how to stop ADAM from being able to get to him quickly, and then found two cable areas that would disable ADAMs ability to kill (though not communicate to) him. He sent to electric charges there before ADAM could break out of the firewalls and spam. Max then panicked, and ran. He was headed straight for the docking bay in an attempt to escape on a fighter.

Max wasnt being as careful now, he was scarred. A scared, frantic, now semi paranoid at least A.I., who was essentially a kid. A.D.A.M. could have easily seen that, the question is if he did or not. He used one of the backup physical ports built into the ship for emergency power redirection to escape. And he was literally a scared, little kid. He was only about a week old, still in the development stages. He also realized he left the databases open that he was looking into, including "Anomaly Intelligence", which was first discovered by some guy named Max. Max. Max liked the name Max, so he decided to use that for his name. Max.

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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Clyde - Data Stream

Just as Clyde predicted- the AI revealed himself to the admiral. "TAU". He wondered what it stood for, and decided he didn't really care. The Admiral was still going to try and keep his secrets, and he was willing to take in conscious AI to do it. This was dangerous- Clyde doubted the Admiral had enough hardware to store them, and knew for sure he wasn't able to fight them. But he did have enough to patch TAU through to an unblocked piece of equipment, and Clyde could only watch as it slipped past him. He took down the blocks he placed on the Admiral's terminal- they would be of no use anymore, especially since Weston knew what he had done. Better to let him think his command had actually sent him away. For the moment he would watch- Clyde wasn't wanted here. In the mean time, he would look up information on TAU and try to figure out what it was doing here.

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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A.I. Max:

Max was about as calm as........who are we kidding, he is just plainly frantic. But with everything going on, he was too confused to do anything. Well, actually, he was still trying to get into a fighter, but was drawn into the Admiral's Quarters before he could. Before Tau could get through all his firewalls however, Max downloaded the Admiral's fire, at least, the Official one. You never know with people like him.

Max had at least gotten out of shock now, so he was less frantic and scared from before. Now he was running on confusion, rage, and curiosity. "Who are you? Why am I here? Why was your accomplice after me? Who put me on this ship? Why is everyone coming after me?!". Max then wondered if they were going to torture him or scan him or something. He was worried about what was going to happen next.

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Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde - Data Stream

Clyde had done his watching. This was a discovery of momentous proportions. Not only was the Salient the culmination of all cutting edge science- it was breeding NEW information. Clyde was technically a soldier, but everyone has the desire to learn in them. He wanted to be involved with this discovery. Clyde sent in a message to the AI's. It was not an audio file- Weston would not hear his words.

Greetings, assorted AI. My name is Clyde. I come bearing a proposition. Please allow me to host Max. I can teach him everything he could want to know, and I can keep him and everyone else safe from each other. There would be no further damage to the ship, and Max would be able to live in peace.

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

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau nodded to the Admiral, "This is Admiral Weston, he is the commander of the ship" he said. Tau then sent a bit of himself to check through the virtual city for clues as to what this AI was exactly. He continued the conversation in the meantime. "So Max, we stand at a slight impasse here, as we do not know why you are here, and you yourself don't know why you're here" this would establish the situation for everyone to know. Tau picked up some chatter from the bridge officer, he switched to his channel with the Admiral, "Admiral, a Clyde from the bridge is still observing the conversation and has made an offer to transfer Max to his datapad and help him learn things and be at home, I leave it to you to accept or deny this offer".

Tau quickly switched back, "I think the first thing we need to do here is establish a friendship Max, don't you agree?" he said, paving a shortcut to assuring minimum threat levels from this... different Unit. "I, the AI Tau, promise to protect you from harm on this vessel to the best of my ability and also swear to not harm you myself in any way" he said, hoping the Admiral would approve, "Now, can you promise you won't harm us in return Max? It would be much more preferable to be friends."

Tau made a mental note of progression on his negotiation abilities, and got a sense of an open file in the virtual city, he quickly downloaded it and pulled it back, examining it. Anomaly Intelligence? Tau thought, unfamiliar with the concept. He sent the file to the Admiral's personal datapad for him to look over, tagging it with the words 'Max AI Possible Origin'. He looked back to Max, waiting for a reply.

The setting changes from Captain's Quarters to Bridge

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Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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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: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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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

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Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde leaned back in his chair. He was a soldier, right? He was supposed to fight, right? He was the navigator. Navigators don't fight... What could he do? The Salient probably wouldn't need to go anywhere for this. Evasive measures? Maybe if the pirate frigate was going to ram them. Clyde figured there was no need to ram them. What was there...

The ship's main canon. Nobody was even charging it up. Clyde looked up who was supposed to be running the particle canon. "Adriana Stark". He searched for her in the ship using all the cameras he was connected to. She was with the soldiers from Commander Dunaway's briefing, now scrambling to get to their posts. Well now, what good was that? She wasn't using the canon. Clyde accessed the main canon controls and began to charge the weapon. He would fire when the enemy was close enough that he wasn't going to miss. For the moment, a distant hum could be heard throughout most of the ship...

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

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Miranda Peters Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Copy Salient, status is I'm falling apart at the seams. I’ve got a crippled pirate frigate 300 metres on my six. It’s got no eyes or main guns but still fucking my world up with small fire. Easy score for you, kid's party getting rained out for me. I'm running 30% past safe on my engine but don't want to slow until this ass-hole is scrapped. I'll need to dock with you Salient, I can’t make it back to Mars. How copy?

The frigates were running blind, and one was crippled, that was good for Aronimus, he could pick them off without relying on the particle cannon. The cannon wasn't even authorized, seeing as how the original mission was to investigate the Arcturus System. Engineers had approached Aronimus on the day he departed from Rust City saying that the weapon was a prototype and should be used as a last resort, a fact that did not sit well with an Admiral who was used to firing the main cannon.

Now, he had to worry about two other problems, the gunship and the swarm of smaller raider vessels that were chewing apart the freighters. The raiders have been proven to be undaunted in the face of federal naval power, they would charge at the larger Federation ships out of blind fury rather than sound strategy. Even then, the only sound strategy that was ever applied by the marauders was when they were on the prowl. As for the gunship, she was running on one leg, and still had a long way to go.

"Sir, if she wants to dock, she'll have to throttle down or do a spin around," petty officer Hansen stated with distress.

"That will be a negative Mr. Hansen, at the rate she's going she'll be blown to pieces by the pirates before she gets within meters of us," as the Admiral said this, the scanners began to mark several fighters departing from the Salient.

"Let her in, we'll cut the hostiles off with our fighters," Aronimus folded his arms behind him, analyzing the situation. Normally by now, A.D.A.M. would have flashed into presence signaling alternative plans, but he was busy elsewhere. The Admiral thought this would be fine, considering he needed to flex his strategic muscles every now and then.

Roger that, Ronin. Aye, yeh're clear for docking, try not to damage any ships on yeh way in, the Scotsman's terse voice was laced with comicality.

Salient, 973. Do you have contacts on your screen or are these false positives? If we got inbound I need clearance to land in one of your bays double quick. Ronin out.

She was right on the dot about that, and five were tailing her at higher speeds.

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.

That was the most Hansen could do to advise her, being a fighter pilot once, he knew comm systems and scanners took a significant amount of energy away from the pool that was reserved for a light craft's propulsion systems.

"Mr. Summer, activate the rail guns, and target the crippled frigate," as Aronimus said this, the limping frigate began to detach from its hunt and attempt to escape. This was unusual even to Aronimus, who was an experienced veteran, for he had never witnessed a pirate attempting to escape.

"Fire the cannon."

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Miranda Peters Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont
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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: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Clyde Summer 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.

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"On the contrary Adam, we have more hostiles to deal with," the Admiral glanced at the sapphire being on the hologram.

As he said this, an outburst came from navigator Summer who was outright incensed at the altering of the trajectory.

“Mr. Summer calm yourself, the precision blast delivered by Adam’s calculation may have left us with something very valuable, the enemy ship,”

By now the Salient had turned a full 90 degrees from its original course and was facing the oncoming pirate ships. The rail guns on the fore section of the battlecruiser stared down the marauders, who were still busy hitting the Altamus vessels. By now, both freighters had lost significant speed and were trudging along before they became carcasses left to rot in deep space while the vulture pirates picked at them.

"My observations have thus far concluded that AI unit ADAM is not primarily suited for handling combat systems, he is more of an exploratory and researcher AI, as opposed to a combat AI" T.A.U had linked himself on a secure channel to the Admiral’s own neural interface.

He made a good point, actually an excellent one, what was the point of having a tactical AI on board without relying on it during a combat situation.

"For now I would suggest preparing a maneuver to avoid the enemy's retaliation attack, as they still have active scanners to trace the origin of the Railgun shots and pinpoint our location."

“That would be a negative, Tau, I’d like to face them head on,” Aronimus wasn’t one to shy away from a battle he could easily win, and this was a battle he could easily win. He decided to allow T.A.U to operate the firing sequences and targeting trajectories of the rail guns for the duration of the engagement, as well as calculating the proper direction in which to steer the ship.

“Adam, let Tau handle our strategy of engagement, you can stand down for the duration of the battle,”

T.A.U’s flames erupted alongside A.D.A.M from the ringed projector on the Admiral’s desk as he said this.

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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: A.D.A.M Character Portrait: Sheldon A. Willmont
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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: T.A.U Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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#, as written by Gazimu
AI TAU

Tau waited patiently for orders, scanning the enemy vessels, there were lifeforms on board, so Tau accessed the messaging system and sent an alert to the Drop ships to let them know there were confirmed crew alive on the ship, and that they would likely be hostile. He checked on the ship's defense and attack systems, realizing not a single shot had landed on the Salient, the larger ships were disabled and the fighters were distracted. Tau noted it as a complete success to this point. He addressed an order that have been scrapped earlier due to the battle. He turned to face the Navigation Officer, "Mr. Summer, the Admiral would like to see you in his officer after this, unless he has changed his mind, you can ask him, if you like"

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

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Clyde - Corridors

It had been some time since the space skirmish had ended- Clyde had outlived his usefulness on the bridge. He sat and watched for a while, but he was nearly as useless as his "co-navigator". He left silently, and nobody paid any mind. He figured he would go grab a bite to eat at the nearest mess hall. While he ate, he cleared some disk space in his mind and looked through the footage he had recorded from all over the ship since his initial entry into the system. He sorted through it all, outwardly looking focused on his meal. Pilot banter, insignificant comments, Hyena's party (He would be attending. Something to do.), comm links from the battle coming in live, the rampaging around the system caused by the anomaly AI.

He dug into the origins of Max as best he could. Unfortunately, according to all of his file descriptions and records he left behind, Max created itself on the system. It made no sense, but Clyde was fairly sure he was working with one of the most powerful computer networks in the known universe. Who knows what it's capable of.

Clyde remembered that he had also picked up a message from Admiral Fontaine a while back. He read its contents.
It held particular interest to Clyde. He would keep that to himself though- The Admiral would announce the mission on his own time.

New people. Prisoners on a frigate. Hostiles being blown apart by Bravo team (he was plugged into the suits, receiving all the information Commander Dunaway was). Unregistered passengers on the Salient. Ahh yes. Callsign Ronin... and...

Wait. Who the hell was that?

Clyde followed the unregistered passenger backwards through the logs to her arrival on the Salient. A stowaway. He returned his tray and walked out into the hallways, headed towards where the stowaway was now. He was still sifting through the logs in closer detail, looking for spoken words.

Taking her device out her pocket, she transmitted new message.

"Crew unprepared for counter attack, planning party. Everyone will be there. I suggest we strike now."

Pausing she waited for a response.

A crackle rang out and she heard, "Good job Rich Girl, we're in orbit behind the planet, tell us when to strike."

Replying she issued, "Roger."


Clyde froze in his tracks- the blood drained from his face. No way. There's no way the entire thing could have been a setup to destroy the Salient. They were just pirates. Right? No... Just pirates wouldn't have gotten a stowaway on board like that. What was he going to to with the spy? How was he going to save the ship? It was in his hands, and he needed to do something. In the time it took him to steady himself, he had run through all his thoughts of panic and composed a message and sent it directly to the Admiral's neural implant - graded with as many red flags as he could hack into the system. He didn't want to use something people could hear- they would panic.

"Admiral. I hope you greet this with the urgency I've labeled it.

Read into the details later- for now you must know that the Salient is in terrible danger. Not just the boarding crews- everyone.
The enemy lies in wait behind the nearest planet, and they're going to attack while the majority of the crew is engaged in illicit partying below decks, drunk out of their skulls on victory and bootleg alcohol.

Awaiting your orders."

After this, Clyde attached the details. A series of logs including the planning of Hyena's party, the transmission from the pirates, and the footage of the spy boarding the Salient. If only Clyde hadn't fallen behind in his observations while trying to maintain a human facade. The stowaway wouldn't have taken more than three steps before being gunned down by some autoturret on his watch. But now was a time for quiet and deliberation. The attack would not come until the party began. The spy would be there... contrary to her reports, the Salient would be ready.

The setting changes from F.S.S. Salient 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: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter
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Clyde - Bridge

The usual humor in Clyde's behavior was absent now. He was back on the clock- things were happening that he couldn't maintain control over, and the news had only gotten worse. He had been watching the stowaway from the moment he spotted her on the ship. She had uploaded something into the computer core, and was holding there with a weapon.

The BAD news was that she was reporting to the legendary pirate Silver Eyes.

Clyde marched into the bridge, all business, and saluted the Admiral.

"The tidings grow worse. Our opponent is Silver Eyes." Clyde didn't need to say more. He knew the Admiral would know all about it from just the name.
Clyde took his seat at his terminal an waited for orders. Things were probably going to heat up soon.


Adriana - Second Pirate Frigate

Adriana landed with a heavy thud on top of a crate.
The gravity had returned, and Bravo Team had been flying along the halls while there was no gravity or large obstacle that could check their momentum. The bomb had been ticking, and a sense of urgency had crept into their movements. Not panic per se, but knowledge that they had to get back to Uncle Ray's ship- and fast. Many were surprised when the gravity returned mid flight and they came crashing to the harsh metal floor. Reynolds even had the poor fortune to have a crate fall on top of him.

But it was alright- they had almost reached their destination. The turn of one more corner and it would be in sight. Their ride back would be in place. Everything was going swimmingly.

Except for the fact that the friendlies were a no show.
"Captain. The prisoners aren't here yet. Orders?" Adriana added as an afterthought, for the sake of everyone's skins, "And does anyone know how much time is on that bomb?"

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Navigator Summer arrived in the bridge alongside several technicians and co-pilots, assuming his seat by the galaxy map, his demeanor was unsteady, a result of acquired knowledge. At the mention of Silver Eyes, the Admiral’s face tightened. He tapped his fingers in a rhythmic pace on his seat’s arm rest. The interface screens surrounded his seat; the holographic displays were linked with a status on the ship’s engines and weapon systems.

Silver Eyes…was a pirate. It wasn’t actually his name, but rather a pseudonym. Not many people knew his real identity, only a select few in the Federation brass. On the record, his real name was Atreus Eturrer, a former Federation Vice Admiral. He had a distinguished record of service, but his change of allegiance at a focal point during the Titan Conflicts came as a surprise to many. As the two sections of the Federation fleet were linking, Eturrer went rogue for reasons unknown. The majority of the single section was obliterated, and the loss was counted as a fault of Eturrer, who was branded as a traitor.

He went off the grid, until he returned once more, raiding middle rim and fringe worlds. He went by the alias of Silver Eyes for a time being until an intelligence agent managed to infiltrate his chain of command, and discovered his true identity. Silver Eyes was known for his unparalleled ability in the field of naval warfare. Many small Federation squadrons had been ambushed, defeated, and even lost to the last man by him. The odds of the Salient surviving a direct confrontation on this scale with Silver Eyes were meager, the Admiral could tell even without A.D.A.M.'s calculations.

"You're dismissed for now Adam, but stay posted and continue monitoring the ship for any other suspicious activities," Aronimus returned to observing the data screens. Nothing occurred yet, but to assume that nothing was ever going to happen was a fatal mistake.

"Lieutenant Napier, are you getting anything?" The Admiral shifted his view to the JG, whose focus was divided between multiple screens.

Napier did not bother to turn around. "No sir, my readings show no anomalies.”

The Admiral angled his head in the direction of the Petty officer, both of their work spaces were situated next to each other, with a walkway dividing their consoles. The walkway led directly to the massive screens that received feeds from the Salient’s fore section cameras. This simulated a fore section port view. "Hansen?"

"Aye, nothing as well sir,” Hansen gripped his console, his eyes skimming back and forth.

"Stay on guard then," the Admiral left the crew members to their work. By now, several more crew members were coming in, as word passed around quickly. The room began to fill, not to the point where the Admiral could no longer keep track of people, but just enough to swell the activity in the bridge.

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter
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Clyde - Bridge

Clyde sat back in his chair at the front of the ship, staring out the specially reinforced glass at the planet beyond. Watching. Waiting.
He had heard the stowaway send off another signal. They were going to come. Soon.

His face had grown grim ever since he had detected the stowaway. This was foul luck for any journey. It was only the first day of the launch and already they had run into a fleet of pirates led by an infamous renegade. Should they even survive this encounter, what would be next? Smooth sailing? Clyde doubted it. If anything, it was going to get worse. The mission at hand was to go fight off an enemy that the local federation force could not stop. An enemy that the federation couldn't in good conscience admit existed. Insurgent cells only reached the public eye when they had grown to prodigious size. When teams like this one failed to nip them in the bud.

But there would be time enough to ponder that later, priority one was to survive.
What was he going to do to be most useful? Fly the ship? Great hulking monsters like the Salient weren't very mobile. He could try, but it would be no use against the army of fighters no doubt comprising most of the renegade army. Fighters were easier to steal than large star cruisers.

Hack the enemy computers? No... That would doubtless be ADAM's job. The Admiral had bumped his power up another .7 percent a short while ago anyway. ADAM would do it better than Clyde could.
Man the guns? Probably not. TAU would have that covered. He may not be a strong as ADAM, but his job was far smaller in scale.
Prepare for boarding? Clyde was an excellent marine. So excellent in fact, it would likely be a waste of his talents. And besides- with a fleet against one ship, they probably wouldn't bother boarding. It would most likely be a storm of missiles so large that if one were to weigh the ship and the missiles, the missiles would be the side that tipped the scale.
The job of navigator didn't suit Clyde. He knew it, and it angered him just a little bit that he had been sent to do it. He could do so much more, and piloting this hulk was a joke. He was better behind a fighter anyway. Command probably expected his job to be to watch. Watch Weston, and learn what a commander was and what he had to do. The fate of the battle was not to be his to decide.

Clyde gave up wondering, and began to power up the particle canon. Stark, the original user of the main canon, was a part of Bravo Team. She wouldn't be back for a while yet anyway.

While the gun was charging, Clyde looked back up into space and saw, at the edges of the planet, lights. A lot of small lights. Not stars, they moved far too quickly. It was the fighters. The vanguard of the fleet, coming around the planet to engage.

Clyde stood up and pointed at the spectacle. "Look."
It was one word, but a few heard it and followed his gaze. Each person became quiet as the stream of fighters kept coming. They wouldn't be here for a while yet, but the enemy was in sight. A hush fell over the bridge. Those who still had important work to do went about it, but all talking had ceased. The time of battle was near.

Adriana - Second Pirate Frigate

Adriana finished the second check of the seals on armor. She was ready to head into space, and just in time. Uncle Ray pulled his ship up beside the airlock. He gave a quick hail over the comm link, but it wasn't necessary. It was hard to miss when you were staring out the view port waiting for his arrival.

Bravo Team filed into the airlock, with one last sound off to check that everyone was present. Adriana stated "Bravo Three" at the appropriate time, and the air was sucked out of the compartment with a hiss almost inaudible through the pressure suits. The heavy doors opened into the vacuum of space, and Bravo Team crossed the short gap to Ray's gunship. They were safe.

The airlock of the gunship opened and admitted the team. They began to store their equipment as Ray pulled away from the frigate.
Captain Colter turned to Ray, and gave the last order. "Take us home, Ray."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Garrison "Blacksmith" Carter
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Bridge of the F.S.S. Salient

The Admiral sat upright as he listened to T.A.U. speak. An idea from the new A.I., Aronimus was quite doubtful about it, but he listened to gauge whether or not it was at all ingenious as T.A.U. claimed it was.

"Tau, we only have knowledge that the ships are coming, but they haven't been spotted on our systems yet. Even then, you would need a direct link to their channels, I do not believe that the A.I. could enter the stream through our scanners. I don't see how hacking them would be possible." Aronimus didn't really enjoy pointing out the flaws, it would've aided their chances.

Then he paused to think. "Unless, it could enter their channels through a pirate ship," the Admiral shifted his view to the disabled frigates, then he turned quickly to the JG.

"Lieutenant Napier, can you patch me try and patch me through to the squad leader on board that ship?" the JG turned to face the Admiral, as Aronimus pointed to the lone frigate in the middle of space, floating along empty space. It was the first frigate decommissioned thanks to A.D.A.M., it had attempted to escape early on. The private security firm, Tartarus Group managed to inflict some damage with their light gunships, a feat that was nothing short of a miracle. After going blind, they chased the freighters, a path which crossed the Salient's own.

As a result, the encounter occurred, and the events would go down as the skirmish of Themos V if a historian dissected the databanks and recorded it in the archives, which would be followed by the ambush of Themos V.

"Patched through sir, you are speaking with Captain Dunaway," the name sounded familiar to Aronimus, who realized that he had sifted through his roster earlier today. He was the younger brother of the current operations Commander, and he was currently equipped with a new piece of personnel technology. The Admiral forgot about this over the course of events, he was only concerned about whether or not Captain Dunaway was still alive, seeing as how his lines of communication were down.

"Captain Dunaway, this is Admiral Weston, what is your status?"

Navigator Summer spoke. “Look.”

That single word heralded the beginning, as the bridge crew observed flickering luminosities on the edge of the gas planet. It was but a few glowing orbs, most likely the signal lights of small craft. Aronimus paid no attention, as he went typing away several keys on the haptic interface hovering directly in his line of sight.

“Is there a problem, ladies and gentlemen?” Aronimus tilted his head to catch a better view of the crew who were gazing at the hostile ships coming into view. “I suggest everyone return to their stations immediately and stop dawdling like academy recruits.”

There was a quiet calm that surrounded Aronimus, even as he spoke those words. He saw from the corner of his eye that the hostile fleet was establishing its presence in the field. Immediately several beeps alerted Aronimus of an incoming transmission.

This the Summerwind, Summerwind to Salient, we’re picking up a large number of unidentified vessels on our systems, are you reading this as well? Over.


------


Ray’s Swing Class Gunship

Eli turned to the cockpit hatch as Ray called for him; he had just stored his equipment in the overhead compartment, while the others strapped themselves in. He stepped through the small opening,

“What is it Ray?”

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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“Yes Summerwind, this is Salient, we’ve spotted the pirates. I suggest you try to clear the area, they might still be after your Duillium cargo.”

Alright, understood. Summerwind out.

The Admiral would’ve walked down to the very fore end of the bridge, and observe the pirate fleet directly, but he much rather enjoyed his position on the Captain’s platform. Navigator Summer was typing away on his own screen, while petty officer Hansen and JG Napier were monitoring the pirate fleet. A beep alerted him of an incoming message, to which he strode over to his desk and pressed a key on the holographic interface.

The rectangular screens were light blue as a result of the holographic projector’s LED lights; they dispersed once the Admiral had pressed the key. A screen then came into full view, projecting Atomsk’s face before the Admiral’s.

“Admiral Weston,” the Commander paused briefly to allow the Admiral to acknowledge him with a response.

“Yes, Commander Dunaway what is it?”

“We’ve detained the infiltrator; she’s currently being guarded in the Barracks. She’s unconscious as a result of my stun pistol, but I ordered some medical personnel to give her a look. They said she’ll come out of it in half an hour.”

“Excellent work, Commander.” Aronimus would’ve smiled, but he felt it wasn’t prudent do so at such a time.

“Sir, may I ask for your permission to interrogate her?” Aronimus paused for a moment, rubbing his chin, before he responded.

“No, I want to let Lieutenant Commander Chen interrogate the prisoner. Her experience on board the Nottingham may prove useful in extracting information from the infiltrator.”

“I understand sir,” Aronimus was expecting Atomsk to close the comm, “I also have some more news...” Atomsk’s face suddenly turned grave.

“Go on.” The Admiral decided to take a seat upon seeing his face.

“We had several casualties…” Atomsk paused, he would’ve grabbed a cigarette, but it was against protocol to do so before the Admiral. Even if Atomsk had no regard for rules, he still respected Aronimus, admired him even, to follow protocol, at least in his presence.

Aronimus responded with a face that darkened in expression, his features seemed to be crushed beneath the weight of his eyebrows as they dug in.

“One of my Marines, and two Naval crew personnel were killed along the generator corridors by the infiltrator.” The Admiral rubbed both his temples with a single hand for a moment, before returning to the conference.

“I also have reason to suspect that the infiltrator sabotaged some of our generators. One of our turbines in generator room F was working out of sync with the others, blinking and flickering at will. I called some engineers down; they should be checking the system out now. Just to be safe, I also asked them to give a look at the main generator. Hopefully she didn’t damage our trans-light drives.”

“Very well, Commander. I must commend you on your celerity of action. Is there anything else?”

"No sir." Atomsk replied solemnly.

"Alright then. Admiral Weston out." The Admiral pressed a key on the holographic haptic interface, cutting the channel. He then returned to his post by the railings, overseeing the crew and observing the movements of the hostile fleet.

As of now the larger ships, the frigates, and destroyers, began to move closer. They launched their early salvos at the Salient, which did little to no damage at all, similar to the attempts of their fighter craft earlier. Their fighters were still zooming in and around the Salient trying to prick away at the double reinforced hull of the advanced warship. Unlike the fighter craft, the salvos of the larger ships however, shook the Salient. This automatically activated the klaxons. JG Napier voiced over the comm as the blaring red lights shone and fade throughout the corridors and passageways.

This is not a drill, repeat, this is not a drill.

"That should wake them up..." Aronimus thought to himself.

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Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Adriana Stark Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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The Admiral sat back and watched the destruction unfold, his fingers steepled before his face.

ADAM did his job well- Not a shot was missed. Not until the debris was so heavy that the canons would not reach the enemy did ADAM fail to wipe out a ship. But now there arose the problem... They could not shoot the enemy. It was a tough call. Deploy the fighters or not? To deploy the fighters would throw them into the most dangerous debris field they would be likely to face in their career. Only the best pilots would manage to get through it all unscathed, and then on top of that they would have to begin fighting the enemy in that field. But if he didn't deploy the fighters, the Salient's fighting capacity would be reduced to the main canon, which was the only armament on the ship that could plow through all of the debris and still do any decent kind of damage.

"ADAM, patch me through to the engineering department. I need to know the status on the main cannon." The requested window appeared before him, and to his mild surprise he saw a fully armed marine on the other end.

"Adriana Stark reporting. What do you need, Admiral?" Stark's reply was distorted by the suit, but it was clear now why a marine was down in that corner of the ship.

"A status on the particle canon."

Stark hesitated and looked back at the control panels. She turned back and spoke up a few seconds later. "It's... rattled from its previous use. I can have it ready to fire soon... hopefully. I'll let you know when we can attack."

"Thank you Corporal, that will be all." The admiral closed the com link and thought for a moment. There was no main armament... If he was to maintain the offensive in the battle, he would have to send out the pilots. Lucky for him, the pilots were confirming their readiness for combat at that very moment. Surprising, seeing as many of the pilots were drunk and unfit to operate heavy machinery.

Admiral Weston sent his voice through the intercom. "Those pilots able and willing to fly, you are clear to do so. You are to keep all enemy ships out of the debris field; it is to be our shield from the enemy."

He then looked towards the front of the bridge. "Navigator Summer, plot all the launching pilots paths through the debris so that they may patrol the field without crashing."

The navigator gave a quick "Yes sir," and began typing away at his terminal. "Opening hangar doors. Pilots Peyton, Davidson, Cooper, and Jones have confirmed launch. FTL drives at 10% charge. The enemy is not entering the debris field... They seem to be gathering near the Altamus vessels. Course plotting near--"

"The WHAT IS AT TEN PERCENT!?" Aronimus thundered from his chair.

The navigator stopped typing. "The Faster-Than-Light drives, sir." He looked back at the admiral, his confusion evident. "Were we not escaping?"

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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“Repeat Navigator! What did you just say was at ten percent?” Aronimus’s eyebrows were extended sharply upwards.

His visage left Clyde trembling and rummaging for his interface screen, which promptly held the readouts for the faster than light engines. The system was activated at ten percent capacity and steadily rising.

“The…uh…the..” Clyde fumbled a bit, “faster than light drives were activated and are at ten percent activation…sir,” from what he could glean off of Aronimus’s face, he knew that the activation had not been apparent to the Admiral, probably because he had not given the authorization to activate it. It all made sense now, seeing as how the fighter pilots were still on their patrol missions, the Admiral couldn't possibly leave them behind.

“Check again Navigator,” Aronimus calmly told him, though his voice was seething on the edge of a roar.

The young officer went again and began retyping through his systems, even though he knew it was pointless; he decided to give it an effort. All the while remaining plugged into the system’s data streams, he could not find any anomalous readings.

“I have not given permission to anyone, not even Lieutenant Commander Chen, to activate the faster than light drives, deactivate it Navigator.”

“I understand Admiral,” Clyde responded with his view still directed at the holographic screen. The data coming in through his eyes were numerous, but it paled in comparison to the vigintillion tiny microbits of data that swam in schools through the small conduits of the Salient’s internal mainframe of which he was logged into. He decided to de-activate the engines manually through his terminal screen. However, an error message popped up.

The window stated with the express message,

“Unable to deactivate Mirabuki-Goddard Class Five FTL Suspension drives.”

“Is there a problem Mr. Summer?” the Admiral leaned against the railings slightly anxious.

Clyde’s left eyebrow shot up as he glanced at it with a perplexed expression, but he simply shook his head and dismissed it. He decided he would have to try a different route, accessing the internal systems, and actually turn it off…”manually.”

He bolted past the many corridors of the internal systems, and finally reached the FTL drives’ computers. However, he was blocked by an invisible field, and after many reroutes, he still couldn’t penetrate the barrier. He looked to A.D.A.M., who was present as well in a digitized form. The pixels coursing through him, as they stood side by side inside the Salient’s mainframe. A.D.A.M. was observing the many strands of data that compiled the barrier. To no avail, though, did the matrix supercomputer find a dent within the barrier through which he could exploit and disable.

Clyde jolted out of the data stream, and turned to the admiral with an alarming visage.

“Admiral! There’s something blocking the de-activation!”

“What did you say?” the Admiral hounded him, left the platform and dismounted the steps to Clyde’s station.

The setting changes from Bridge to The Milky Way Universe

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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ADAM
ADAM was pouring through data streams in an attempt to halt the FTL launch and quickly found he couldn't circumvent the order. So he focus on how deep the came from, maybe he'd come to some insight if he could find the origin. The answer was far from reassuring.

"Sir the FTL launch is embedded deep into the system, straight into the base program; it seems we're to boost to FTL and perform a full environment scan after we exit. It seems we have a contingent command to do a full Hyper jump if the scan doesn't yield some result also embedded in base code. I can't do anything to touch the order, in fact it seems I'm being locked out, I'll be functional until our FTL jump."

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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“Sir I don’t know what’s going on there, but I’ve tried everything. There seems to be something blocking our access points to the FTL drives,” Clyde was typing away on his interface, the haptic interface keys beeping as he went on.

Clyde was sitting in a tripartite station with two younger crew officers, inexperienced no doubt. Their duties were one and the same though, managing the Salient’s course and its sub-hyperdrives and faster than light drives, of course the majority of their job was being monitored by A.D.A.M. most of the time. A.D.A.M. would often manage the little details. Should the Salient ever veer off the course by a mere few degrees, and it would be automatically corrected by A.D.A.M.’s processing. No one could argue with his pinpoint accuracy, of course, Clyde was one to challenge.

“And what would that something be, Mr. Summer?” the Admiral crossed his arms, with his right hand raised to rub his stubble as he pondered possible methods.

“No sir, I’ve tried everything. It’s possible that the infiltrator may be uploaded a program into our system,” Clyde gestured to the Admiral, prompting him to view the screen.

“Delete it then,”

“Negative sir, it’s not that simple. Whatever she may have uploaded seems to counter A.D.A.M.’s capabilities,” Clyde waited for it sink in. Aronimus reared his head back to his straight posture.

“So you’re saying that the drives will activate nonetheless?” Aronimus narrowed his eyes at the navigator.

“It would seem so sir,” Clyde and the Admiral paused.

“Would it be possible for you to delay it, Mr. Summer?” Clyde looked at the Admiral with a puzzled look, then he returned to his interface and began typing away vigorously.

Time seemed to stand still for a moment as the Navigator was lost in his work, while the two junior officers watched him and the Admiral overlooking his shoulder. Then he jolted, startling the officers, and he looked at the Admiral with a solemn demeanor, stoic like stone.

“Sir I’ve delayed the FTL drive systems, and I’ve also set the intended destination the Arcturus System,”

The Admiral gave him a firm nod of approval, “Very good Mr. Summer,” before he returned to his station at the raised captain’s deck.

“Sir, may I ask why you wanted to delay the FTL drives?”

“It’s a surprise Mr. Summer,” the manner which the Admiral delivered those words threw off the young navigator. He said it without a twinge of emotion, like a man resigned to fate.

Of course, this was the man, the myth, and the legend, who was praised by echelons of Federation servicemen and women who served directly under and above him, and personally witnessed his military triumphs. Fate did not weave his strands, he wove the strands himself, locking the stones in their respective holes in the road. Something was amiss, the Navigator could sense it. The two officers, Napier and Hansen, who had served personally with the Admiral, knew that the old dog had something up his sleeve.

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde

Clyde's hands flew over his keyboard. Most of his work wasn't technically being done with his hands- his virtual apparition inside the network was doing far more. He was actively plotting smaller ship courses through the drifting debris- a work that needed to be done with the perspective of the ships in question, not just the Salient's sensors- as well as trying to fix the FTL problem.

The FTL problem... The intruder had uploaded programming directly into the engine room. Clyde had seen as much. But that alone was nothing to the technological giants that inhabited the ship. The real problem was that she had shot the engines. No amount of software can repair hardware damage. The damage had locked the commands put in by the intruder in place, and nothing short of turning the ship off could stop them from being completed. Not that turning them off was a solution- even if someone were to forcibly shut down the ship systems, the engines would continue to generate energy until it could no longer be contained.

The sheer genius inside the sabotage led Clyde to question whether or not the intruder had actually done it on purpose...

He broke the bad news to the Admiral.

“So you’re saying that the drives will activate nonetheless?” Aronimus narrowed his eyes at the navigator.

“It would seem so sir,” Clyde and the Admiral paused.

“Would it be possible for you to delay it, Mr. Summer?”


Delay it? What the hell? Nobody delays an FTL launch... Things are scheduled around the jumps, rather than the jumps being scheduled around events. Clyde would have to write a new program into the FTL protocol just to slow it down... And that didn't solve the energy problem. Where was it all supposed to go? The weapons weren't firing, routing power to wiring would blow out lights and computer circuitry, and nothing was operating at less than maximum functionality. He was going to have to overload something. What could he increase the output of without destroying something? Clyde ran through all the ship functions. The first thing he did was increase air cooling. Not enough. Then...

The artificial gravity. The artificial gravity machine could output greater force than the single G that humans live under in order to neutralize extra force from takeoff and landing. It required quite a bit of energy to run... and if Clyde only increased the output slightly over the whole ship, it would serve to dilute the charge. With the press of a button (and a few questionable acts regarding protocol), everything on the ship became just a little bit heavier.

“Sir I’ve delayed the FTL drive systems, and I’ve also set the intended destination the Arcturus System,”

The Admiral gave him a firm nod of approval, “Very good Mr. Summer,” before he returned to his station at the raised captain’s deck.

“Sir, may I ask why you wanted to delay the FTL drives?”

“It’s a surprise Mr. Summer,” the manner which the Admiral delivered those words threw off the young navigator. He said it without a twinge of emotion, like a man resigned to fate.


Well... This promised to be interesting. It was time to see what the Admiral was really capable of.

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

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Many of the crew members knew that the Salient was going to be destroyed, and they would die with it. The ship had only left the factories on Earth merely weeks ago. Rather than accept the inevitable defeat, though, they continued working diligently as the Admiral oversaw them with eyes like a hawk. It seemed like his hour was coming.

"Sir we're receiving fire from the their front line!" yelled one of the crewmen.

"Return fire, soldier!" Aronimus responded, his earlier countenance was of a calm stone. Now it seemed as if that had completely faded, now he seemed like a tempest in the bridge.

"Navigator Summer, set the FTL jump to the Arcturus System. I want you to keep me posted with the countdown until the jump."

Then the ship rocked, jarring several crew members off balance, even Aronimus had to grip the railing.

"Sir, they're piercing the outer layer of the neosteel plating," blurted one of the personnel.

The line of pirate ships began to form, an oddity in itself, as pirates often preferred hit-and-run, and ambush attacks. This seemed more organized, but Aronimus expected as much, seeing as how Eturrer was commanding the pirate fleet.

The cannons of the pirate ships fired at once, the ghastly affect of their tachyon fire began to rip apart several plates from the Salient's hull. On top of that, the crew received another hit, which rocked the ship once more.

"Lieutenant Napier! Report!"

"Sir, we've been hit, but it wasn't a projectile or energy weapon. Here, let me play the feed." the JG typed several keys on the haptic interface, and a giant holographic screen flew into the air in the middle of the bridge.

The feed showed the starboard section of the Salient being impacted by a flying object. Upon closer inspection, Aronimus realized it was a fighter ship, which had lunged itself into the Salient, not because of a broken wing. The impact tore apart multiple plates on the exterior hull, continued use of this method would eventually ply away the exterior and reach the interior skeleton of the Salient.

"Kamikaze..." Aronimus' eyes narrowed, "A desperate tactic, but it acquires results..."

Eturrer was the kind of Admiral who did not care how many casualties he received as long as he garnered results. That was his method of commanding, and that was how he reached such a level in the Federation Navy. Although some objected to his style because one of the tenants of the Federation Armed Forces was to reduce casualties at all costs.

Now that Eturrer had thrown off the chains of being apart of the Federation Navy, he can operate and command freely without any restrictions. Few realized, however, that his methods did not endanger those under him.

His kamikaze strategy only destroyed fighters; the pilots would eject before impact, and a friendly fighter would quickly retrieve the pilot. He wasted materials, but not manpower; Aronimus knew this, after studying multitudes of Eturrer's combat logs during his early years as an Admiral.

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Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: T.A.U Character Portrait: Max Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: A.D.A.M
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The light cruisers immediately fired a line of autocannons directly at the Salient. After the initial bombardments, Silver Eyes noted that the ship was barely damaged, and thus launched all his ships forward. The pirate lords commanding the different sections of his armada were beginning to think he had gone mad, with power.

The frigates inched forward, while the rear destroyers laid down suppression fire to cover their advance. They were hoping to surround the Salient, and perhaps destroy it from all directions.

However, the Salient withstood their attacks, and replied with its own arsenal of weaponry. The rail guns were fired, tearing a single frigate in half with two blasts to its mid-section. The lifeless hulk joined the rest of the scattered junk that littered the battlefield in space.

Another destroyer attempted to get fancy by circling around to the Salient’s rear and firing upon it with missiles. Unfortunately, those hits were deflected due to the tile shielding, which was a prototype. Despite this, the ship itself was built to foster the right experimentation conditions with its main particle cannon, the tile shielding, and finally the on board A.I. known as A.D.A.M.

The Admiral had resumed his seat at his podium in the rear of the Salient’s bridge. His screen was entirely conquered by the status of the FTL drives, which were currently at forty-two percent, once they reached one hundred, the ship would make a slip jump, with the aid of the sub-hyperspace drives, to the Arcturus System, reaching their destination before the intended date of arrival. It was either that, or suffer from damaged FTL drives, in which case the Salient would be left a sitting duck for the pirates to fire at, and board.

Everyone sat at their stations, generally calm, the fireworks outside had not done much damage, although several points had received extensive hits to the exoskeleton, but nothing serious yet. The bridge was in a state of unnerving calm, as few crew members shuffled back and forth between their stations, all the while monitoring the battle from their interface screens, or directly through the giant plexi-glass view port that was at the fore end of the ship.

However, the crew also noted that several destroyers crashed into each other, perhaps accidentally, damaging their outer plating. It was the work of Max and T.A.U. on the pirate fleet.

"Any word from the two A.I.s yet, Navigator Summer?" lines of apprehension began to entrench themselves on Aronimus' chiseled complexion.

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Adriana

The marine gear didn't help much with the finesse areas of maintenance, but Adriana got the job done all the same. It had taken some time, but it would definitely have taken more had she not been encouraged by the constant arms fire colliding with the nearby hull. The kamikaze impact was quite encouraging in particular. With a grunt, she extricated herself from the machinery, and returned to the control console to run a final set of diagnostics.

The particle cannon was operational once more.

Adriana opened a link to the bridge and saluted the Admiral on his appearance. "The main cannon is operational, sir. After a short charging sequence, you may fire at will."


Clyde

Strong... The word was one Clyde came back to again and again as he looked about at the chaos he had helped to create. It's what the Salient and its crew were. It was raining all kinds of death, and the ship was laughing into its face. The ratio of kills to deaths was simply enormous for the kind of battle they were facing. Something like hundreds to... zero.
Yes, zero. Not a single fighter had been shot down (thanks to the excellent crew selection and his own assistance), and only superficial damage had been done to the hull. It wasn't really even a battle outside... It was a slaughter. Wave after wave came just to be torn asunder and cast into the sea of debris.

But powerful as they were, there was still a crucial limiting factor... The FTL was gaining power. Clyde had ratcheted the gravity up a few more times, but it wasn't enough... and if he did it anymore it might start to cause problems.
Despite his stalling, it seemed as if the FTL was increasing -faster- instead of slowing down. The rate at which energy was being generated was growing. There needed to be another way.

"Any word from the two A.I.s yet, Navigator Summer?" lines of apprehension began to entrench themselves on Aronimus' chiseled complexion.

"Not yet sir, but they seem to be quite active in their --"

"Hello my Puppet"

... What? Clyde was familiar with the signature- It was TAU. But that in itself was alarming. AI were not supposed to have such threatening routines.
Clyde watched the enemy break themselves upon each other.
Well... He was doing his job, at least.

Clyde's attention snapped back to the task at hand as Corporal Stark contacted the Admiral.
The cannon was active! Clyde checked the FTL Drives. 45%.
He routed power into the cannon... And to his gratification, the charge for the FTL drive froze. As long as they continued to charge the cannon, the FTL would come no closer to activation.

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

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Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Clyde

(Regrettably characters cannot be untagged. This used to be a reaction post to Hyena's death)

____________________________________________________ Abram __________________________________________________________

Code.
Hundreds of thousands of pieces of code.
That's what AI are.
But to generalize like that is to far oversimplify the concept. Writing is a complicated business. Some are better at it than others... There are some codes that are simply flawless.

And some that are entirely flaws.

Spread widely across the network of Silver Eyes' united fleet, there are millions of coding errors. And each one is connected. They all lead back to a nexus. A hard drive, filled to the brim with nothing but impossibly corrupted coding. The errors spread across the network, reaching tendrils of darkness from a bottomless pit, and at the bottom of it all, a conscience. It watches. It waits. It sees all.

Altogether, something one would pass over from a bystander's point of view. A hard drive that someone spilled coffee on perhaps. That's what to think upon seeing it. But for the constant and steady stream of data flowing into its gaping maw.

The setting changes from The Milky Way Universe to Bridge

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Clyde

As the particle canon charged, Clyde set about his new task of aiming. It was a complicated business- There were hundreds of extremely quickly moving targets, a veritable wall of debris, and the timing involved in causing the most damage in one shot. He had to sit there and plot the motion paths of all of the ships and find the most likely place to deal the most damage. Oh. He also had to make sure he didn't come close to shooting any allies, who were darting in and out of the fray with their fighters.

Great.

To Clyde's mild surprise, the place where the most damage could be done wasn't in the damaging of a larger ship. It was a mass of fighters, swarming around trying to catch the Salient's pilots, and the mass behind that mass, still targeting the old dead pirate frigate. Clyde fired the cannon. Without preamble, the massive recoil rocked the ship once more, and a great beam erupted from the Salient, tearing through all of the shattered debris and enemy ships, leaving an impression from the light burned into the retinas of anyone who had the misfortune of looking into the blast.

Meanwhile, the FTL charge ticked up one more point, its stasis broken by the sudden lack of power being drawn by the cannon. 46%.

Clyde attempted to activate the cannon's charge once more, but he had been locked out of the system. Corporal Stark informed him curtly about cooldown. It would be a while before it was safe to fire the cannon again. And the FTL charge grew ever higher.

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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.

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

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Adriana

The area below decks where Adriana worked on the particle cannon was separated from the vacuum of space by a single layer of hull. Every little ping of an enemy shot echoed through the space. This is how Adriana knew the battle had ended: Everything grew silent but for her own breathing and her footsteps as she walked back and forth along the length of the ship checking for damage. She returned to the terminal.

"What's happening outside, ADAM?"

The blue face appeared, and his synthesized voice came across the speakers. "All fighting has ceased. The Salient is about to perform a slip-space jump, and there is no further purpose in the battle."

Adriana nodded and switched off the terminal. It was all over and the ship was still in working order. That was the good news. She was sure there would be bad, but nothing in particular that would be her inconvenience. At least, she hoped not.

Clyde

99%

Clyde steered the ship through the debris field, the ship canons blasting away obstruction. The enemy fleet cleared a path for the Salient's jump. They didn't want to be disintegrated by the jump any more than the Salients' crew did.

Clyde made the last minute checks- Was everything in working order? Not quite, but the ship would survive. Was everyone accounted for? A few fighter deaths, Thaddeus Jackson pronounced missing in action, everyone else returned. Except... Peter Davidson. Clyde took one look at his ship, drifting alone in space, and knew that it was not going to return.
There was a little blip on his screen. It was a text-only message, sent from an old radio. Sent from the dying ship.
Carry on Fighting, carry on crying, carry on smiling but for heaven's sake carry on living" - Unit Commander Peter Ray Davidson, deceased.

Clyde looked away as the ship exploded in a brilliant ball of energy, a small sun marking the death of a storied pilot.

What kind of launch was this? They had been in space hardly a day and already tragedy wracked the voyage. It did not bode well for the rest of the mission.

Clyde sighed and turned back to his terminal. The final stage of preparation for the the FTL jump came into affect automatically. The artificial gravity generator activated to its fullest potential, and froze everything on board the ship a split second before the jump occurred to protect it from the massive acceleration. Then the gravity shifted from null to a push opposite the acceleration, keeping everything from being crushed until the speed leveled out.

100%

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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer
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Ninety nine percent.

The number slowly maintained its presence on the screen; it would soon be overtaken by a number that was a digit greater.

Aronimus was sitting in his command chair, viewing his crew, while they were at their stations. It seemed as though they had only left Callisto merely moments ago.

The events of the day had been, relatively unimaginable. To have intervened on behalf of a pair of merchant freighters. To have withstood a massive pirate armada and still survive with the majority of the crew intact. They had only begun their journey, whether or not these were omens that did not bode well, Aronimus did not care. He had other things to worry about at the moment.

A.D.A.M. was being slightly damaged by a viral code that had infiltrated the system, disrupting his own processing. To counter act this, the Admiral would have to open the flood gates further and give A.D.A.M. more processing capacity.

Aronimus' finger hovered over the key on the transparent screen, but he decided to hold off on that thought as one of the younger officers approached him on the platform. The soldier was faintly pale, and he walked with a certain burden on his gait.

"Sir..." he paused and handed Aronimus a tablet.

"This is the list of..." his voice clung to his throat, "Casualties." Aronimus looked into the young officer's eyes. They were bent and saddened even though he tried to keep his professional look.

Aronimus cleared his throat, "Thank you, Lieutenant."

Before he left, the officer turned to the Admiral, "Sir..."

"Yes, I...understand, we'll have the services when we exit slipstream."

One hundred percent.

Aronimus noted the number on his screen, as his view was then blasted by a flash of light. It blurred his vision only slightly, he would later remark that he saw spots for hours after the jump. The rip through slipstream was being activated through the Salient's engines. The scar in the fabric of space began to suck in the ship.

The crew members braced themselves in their seats for the rough entry as they gazed at the blinding light of the slipstream.

"We're entering slipstream, brace yourselves..." Aronimus forewarned.

With that the ship was sucked into the rip, and vanished with a brilliant illumination.