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Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

Aaaw, hell. The enlisted are invading Officer Country.

0 · 319 views · located in The Milky Way Universe

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

Description

Name: Jessica MacPhearson
Callsign: Hyena
Age: 27
Gender: female
Rank: Flight Officer
-- (This rank is still technically enlisted, but holds all the authority and priviledge of a lieutenant, if only on the flight deck. The next promotion for Flight Officer is fully-commissioned O-1).

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Appearance: 5'6" with blonde hair and sharp blue eyes that seldom blink, Jessica is usually seen wearing a broad, toothy smile that makes it seem as if she considers the world - and the people in it - her own private joke. Her hands and forearms are flecked with the countless scars of the working class, and if she's ever seen outside of her beloved flightsuit it's a rare day.

Personality:
Jessica earns her callsign and then some. Her semi-permanent smile can run the gauntlet from general good cheer to homicidal glee, and her tendancy to laugh uproariously in mid-dogfight has more then once landed her in a psyche eval at the request of her commanders. Eerie sense of humor asside, Jessica is a friendly individual with a relaxed, almost lazy outlook on life that sometimes rankles the more this-mans-navy type. She has taken to her pilot's wings with all the enthusiasm and good-natured ego of more traditional fighter pilots, and can often be found bragging about her (actually considerable) skills.

History:
Raised on the Mars colony with spacedock parents, Jessica learned quickly about machines and their personalities, habits, and abilities. She proved an adept driver and mechanic even before she joined the military; jumping at the first chance to get her boots off of the red Martian dirt. As a flight deck crewman, she maintained several types of shuttlecraft, fighters, and gunboats; earning her stripes as a wrench-turner.

Her moment came several years into her enlisted career when her small patrol ship was ambushed by a ragtag pirate force. Unfortunately for the ship; a lucky torpedo found its way to the hull and detonated. It obliterated the crew quarters, taking with it most of the vessel's scrambling pilots. With empty cockpits and the outlaws swarming, Jessica essentialy (and litteraly) said "Fuck it." and sat herself down in a light fighter.

Already trained to run the engines and maneuver the craft around the bay; it was a short leap of skills to goose the fighter out into the void to join the fray. Once there, Jessica discovered an inate talent for dealing death in space; dancing her ship through enough kills to drive off the enemy as well as earn her the enviable title of an enlisted Ace. After a review of the incident and on the reccomendation of the ship's captain, Jessica was promoted to Flight Officer, and was sent back out into the fleet with a permanent pilot assignment.

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So begins...

Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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FO Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

Jess had been in amongst the group of people milling near the boarding site; a flash of flightsuit gray at the very fringes of the officer crowd, more often turned towards what enlisted were brave enough to mill close by. As chilly as initial contact with a 'Mustang' officer could be, it didnt take long for the Flight Officer to be more involved bullshitting with the deck crewman then paying attention to the dance of rank and protocol. As numerous as enlisted were, it wasnt hard to find someone that'd also served with so-and-so, or who'd had what's-his-face as an instructor. It made the community seem smaller, and Jess was pleased when several cards in the group lit up green.

Flashing them all a smile that was as much teeth as it was good humor, the pilot spun her own pass between her fingers and scooped up her duffle before heading on board the massive ship, giving a low whistle for the venerable old lady's impressive sights. The stately been-there-done-that atmosphere made her feel much more comfortable then the startched uniforms that made Jess second-guess her decision to go with the much more casual flightsuit and service jacket. Not expressly inappropriate, but definately dressed down. She hated officer dress uniforms. They itched like fury, and always made her feel as if she was wearing a skin she didnt belong in.

"Well, if you've gotta go to the end of the universe, you might as well go in style..."

Entering the assembly hall, Jess picks the first seat she comes to and drops herself without preamble into it, stretching her boots out in front of her. She openly watches the others enter, grinning broadly at them all as if she were in on some joke. Some of these people would disappear into the bowels of the great ship, and she'd never see them again. Some she'd work with every day. Either way, she was eager to get to know them. Never knew where you'd find a buddy to count on.

"Eurgh. Welcome aboard, pride of the Navy, head on a swivel, so on and so forth..." She sighs at the ceiling, speaking to no one in particular, anticipating a speach much like the dozens like it she'd heared before, "Are we taking bets on how many sleepers we get?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from general-assembly-hall to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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)"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

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

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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: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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

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

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

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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: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Gavin Merrickson Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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Throwing both hands up into the air, Hyena is mildly bemused at the nature of the speach, given the large gathering to hear it.

"Halleluja and Amen! 'you might die, now get the fek to work'. I hope -all- command briefs are that short." She laughs, standing out of her seat to scoop up her duffle, "Could've gone for a little more on the 'what's our mission', but hey. I can wait for the flight schedual. Speaking of, someone point my ass to the hangar, I want to see my birds."

Smiling broadly at the remaining members of the erstwhile group in the seats around her, the pilot shrugs, "I guess this is s'long, folks. If you're ever down on the flight deck, look me up, we'll crack out the cards and contraband." Teeth flashing under a blue-eyed wink, it's hard to tell wether the pilot is joking about the whole contraband thing...

Threading her way out of the seats, she can only grin at Thaddeus as he bee-lines for Jon and remark as he passes, "Jesus it's like a convention for you guys, where do I pick up -my- spook suit?"

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to General Assembly Hall

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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Without looking up at Thaddues, Jon states," You really should be using a system link instead of hacking into my system, if you disrupt AI functions while I try to move it'd shatter the limb after which the human body's own inadvertent pain spasms would be amplified resulting in the death of the suit operator. I believe that was the 5th precautionary statement we were given on these things."

Jon stood up, his left arm hanging funny, "Luckily you shut down the suits amplifiers before it did any more than a minor fracture and dislocated my shoulder, guess we can confirm the tech's suspicion on increasing cyber-ware and compliment them on the effectiveness of the quick patch medical system, barely feel a thing."

"Guys this is Thaddeus, spec ops infiltration and stealth. He may be the coldest SOB you'll ever meet but he's the best in his field. We served together once, we were pinned for 72 hours in a bunker with nothing but 4 sidearms, a sniper, two rifles and one old fashioned chainsaw...damn I miss that thing, but you shoulda seen the faces when we walked outta that." Knowing Thaddeus would address him at his own speed Jon turned to the other guys and continued talking.

"Don't suppose we can all head over to the med wing and get this patched up can we doc, and I may need help getting this thing off."

The setting changes from general-assembly-hall to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Allen Ryker Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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Allen sat and listened to the speech that the admiral had given. It was nice to hear some of the things, he almost trusted that nothing would happen to anyone. Yet he somehow knew better to think like that. After the speech was over and people started to mil about he turned to those remaining near him. "Well, i'm off to go and get a drink." He stated as he stood up and started to walk off. He knew the way for the most part from being allowed on just a tad bit early but he still got lost. He touched two fingers to his forehead out of frustration, then began to search for a map. Once he found one Allen place his finger where he was and then traced where he wanted to go. "There we are." he said as he turned a corner to find his way. He had to be honest with himself he was tired not just from lack of sleep but all the emotional things that he never wanted to talk about. As for this moment the only thing left in his mind was wanting a good drink.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ridley DeLovat Character Portrait: Jon Dunaway Character Portrait: Ben Owens Character Portrait: James Grey Character Portrait: Eli Colter Character Portrait: Thaddeus Jackson Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Atomsk Dunaway Character Portrait: Clyde Summer Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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The hangar was easy to find. It had to be in the rush of an attack when half-asleep pilots and crewman were stumbling to the scramble. Once a map terminal had put her boots on the right path, Jessica had just followed the broadest passageways and the smell. Yes, the smell. Void-touched metal, feul and hydraulic fluid, the sickly sweet-smoke smell of engine exhaust... all of it a fragrance that'd been ground into her memory of service. When she first stepped out into the huge open space, she stopped and smiled, staring out over the activity and the looming shapes of the various craft that were being nestled into their berths.

She belonged here, more so then anywhere else on the ship. Officer country still felt strange and alien to a career wrench-turner, so it was a welcome change of pace to step back into the beating heart of a fighter wing. Cold pricked the skin and the deck was too hard beneath the boots, acrid hazmat smells assaulted the nose, the lights were too bright, tools dropped and maintainers shouted and equipment whined. It was beautifully overwhelming, and it was hers.

The mechanics were cursing the shape and condition of other birds; those 'special' aircraft that belonged to some of the other pilots. While the ones in the cockpit swore by their performance and special modifications, the ground crew were the ones that had to deal with the constant headache of unpredictable maintainence and specialized tie-downs for non-standard hull shapes. And the officers that insisted on their own maintainence were the worst. If it took a whole maintainence department to divy up spaceframe, powerplants, electrical, electronics, lifesupport, and ordinance; one stick-jock claiming to know all of the necessary systems could cause migranes up and down a whole chain of command and put himself - and his bird - in some serious jeapordy. Before she ever picked up a wrench on her own craft, Hyena would have to do some serrious trust work with the shops she'd once had qualifications for back when she wore stripes instead of bars.

"How you doin, Chief?" You want in good with maintainence? Get in good with the Maintainence Chief. He was one of the group that Hyena had been bullshitting with out in airlock before boarding, and meets her handshake on equal terms, "I'm looking for a bird."

"I guessed that, ma'am." He snorts. The deal wasnt all one way; it never hurt for a crewman to have an ear that had rank, even if that rank was just a Flight Officer, and she'd already promised him a pack of Earth-made cigarettes for first pick of the proverbial litter, "You're going to want 338. Her book isnt the cleanest, but she's been up-and-up for just about every sortie they've thrown at her. Just make sure those smokes find their way to my desk later. Mars tabacco tastes like shit."

"It's the dirt, Chief. Gets into everything. Eventually anything you eat tastes the same." She laughs, being native to the Red Planet, herself, and gives him a reassuring wave prior to making her way back out onto the bay.

'Her' aircraft was already good to go. Its class had been a backbone of space superiority combat for years, and the berths were already configured for it. Huge, engine-heavy, dirty, and so ugly she was a work of art. This beater may not be RnD's new toy, but at least she could count on it when it mattered. Hyena reaches her hands out to lay them, palms flat, on the cold skin below where her name would be stenciled, smiling up at the craft. It was nasty-looking in every good way, a bare-bones bloody warbird.

"Hello, beautiful."

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Hangar

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Jessica had been over the Rapier with a fine-toothed comb and a critical eye already. You could take her out of maintainer uniform, but you werent going to take her out of maintainer mentality when you put her in front of a new hull. All things, of course, were impossible to know, but her old job had been electrical; so she'd learned a bit of everything. Enough to now know that the Chief had been right, and this solid bird was going to be as easy in the void as she was on the deck. She couldnt wait to take it out even just for CAP, let alone combat.

Sitting where the broad wings met the side of the huge engine cowling, she was sketching with a grease pencil the finishing touches of some tail art. A hyena head, of course, looking dead on with a psychotic, fang-baring grin; spotted mohawk of a mane only adding to the dishevled and assylum-worthy appearance. It'd be painted by morning, and Jess already sees something worthy of distracting her from waiting.

"About time!" The call is loud, of course, as she jumps off the wing and strides towards Ray and Tiaan. Hyena did nothing in a small way. "I was beginning to wonder if I was the only void-sucker aboard this crate!"

Sharp eyes scan Tiaan, then Blue in the distance, then Tiaan again, all the while wearing a carnivore's smile not far removed from the one now on her fighter's tail... "Heavy fighter, eh? Cool, didnt know who was going to claim that beast."

Noticing Ray, the smile broadens and she nods in recognition, "And about time you found the hangar. You get lost and manage to pick up chicks on the way? I can tell this cruise is going to be a party... Please tell me that was the XO that just ditched... You know what they say, man, bad luck to boff someone you work with.." And a sly wink breaks the laser-intensity stare. Innapropriate? Ever so slightly. Military humor, whaddaya gonna do?

"But serriously, you two seem to both have the Huge Fucker field covered, I guess I'll be the one knocking ticks off your slow asses." And she jerks a thumb back at the Rapier in its slot. With decent armor in its own right and those huge engines pushing out plenty of thrust, the quad guns hanging off its wings and its compliment of internal anti-fighter missles meant the venerable old Rapier still had plenty of teeth to play interceptor and superiority fighter.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Back in her welcome area, she grinned her usual lop-sided way before answering the new person, "Blue Tit here could outgun your craft any day of the week sister. I customized her myself and she not got anything but the best. You can hardly tell she was a Mercury Class Fighter, hell do they even make those anymore?"

Feeling much safer she continued, "Also you, gunner boy, it's not the size of your craft darlin' but how you use it?" winking she grinned again. This was much better and she was happy to be out her craft now, just bantering and flinging bullshit, although that girl wasn't the first underestimate Blue Tit, many thought just because of the obvious design, that they could out fly her. Let's just say boys didn't like losing, much as it was Tiaan's experience in this matter. Whatever happened after this she could worry about it later, for now she was in her colour, her climate.

"Also sister, the name Peyton, you recognize the name you should? My Father was flying before you were out of nappies. My Grandfather was flying before you were twinkle in the milkman's eye."

Smirking she waited for an answer, feeling much more in her element and relaxing completely.

Drama could wait.

The setting changes from hangar to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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And so it was that time again; pilot boasting.

Gunship pilots like Ray where normally not as boastful because they needed fighters to keep them safe from other fighters while the gunships did all the jobs a fighter could not do and a few things a fighter could do. The only real weaknesses of a gunship where: the sizes, the lack of maneuverability, take off time, inferior speed to fighters and the cost.

Ray jumped off the ramp but as he did so he pressed a button which extended a basket ball hoop from the Gunships interior and dropped a ball right into Ray's hands.
As he reached the ground he jumped up and issued a voice command to the ship to play hound dog as he stood up.

"I bet your fighters can't do that can they?" He said with a grin; gunships had so much spare room after you got rid of all the regulation crap no body needed.

He then tossed the ball back to the gunship's door and issued a voice command to close up the basketball set. The ship had belonged to his unit and was given to him since its last owners decision to retire early; they had both collaborated along with the rest of the unit and added a few things to spice up the shallow asteroid bases they where stationed in.

"Just don't leave me alone to go glory grabbing all the time, I might be able to hack and slash at anything and everything in my sights but I can't move my chunk of metal in a fighters speed. I am not complaining, at least if I get hit I have my armor.

You will do well to remember to keep my girl safe because if you ever get buggered out there I am the only angle who can get you out"

Ray sighed and moved to join the area the other two where standing at

"Pity I need to remove the basketball contraption, it just doesn’t work right with the rest of the ship"

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Hangar

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Jessica laughs at Tiaan, folding her arms in a 'challenge accepted' way.

"Your Grand-daddy could be Santa Claus and your Daddy can turn tricks on the corner for all it counts towards what -you- can do." Her grin gains an edge, "Hell, my -boots- have more deck time then you do, ring-knocker." The term was a derogatory one; a term mechanics applied to academy officers (they liked to wear their graduation rings) who beleived they were inherrently and genetically better then the ill-bred enlisted commoners.

Her eyes slide off of Tiaan to Ray as he demonstrates the advantages to extra room on a gunboat.

"A basketball hoop, really? Dammit, man, I thought you were about to unveil the kegerrator. Dont get my hopes up like that."

Chuckling, she spreads her hands out wide again, "And I said I'd be there, didnt I? No worries, I'll make sure no big, scary insurgeants scratch your paintjob just as long as you make sure to remember my hard work and dedication when we hit a planet with a bar."

She cocks her head to the side as the Salient's engines come to life in a deep, quiet thrum that sung through the ship and would become a constant background song for the next few months. There was no sensation of movement, of course, given the huge ship's artificial gravity. A quick, familiar thrill for Jessica as, again, she left the red Martian dirt behind. There was a whole lot of unknown ahead of them, and it all had the potential to be one badass adventure. She'd have to remember to talk to the Chief again, see if she could get her name on the flight schedual for an early patrol as soon as they hit open space.

The setting changes from hangar to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

This was what it meant to be a fighter pilot, well if she wanted proof of how well she flew, time to bring up an event that wasn't declassified, "You probably remember a while ago a certain Merchant's Convoy went missing near Pluto, many figured it for lost. my old ship The Demeter was stationed nearby, this you probably heard as you did no doubt hear the Merchant Convoy's survived. Here's the classified bit, it took five fighter to defeat the pirates hijacking them, only one survived." she paused for dramatic moment before continuing, "Blue Tit survived and shot down the main ship by blowing up the fuselage. I survived as ya can see, but the four others got caught in the explosion or were shot down earlier on."

It wasn't proudest moment but proved she knew her flying and besides bragging wasn't really her forte. May as well be honest, turning towards Ray she grinned, "I'm a football girl dude -- also by football I mean European, not the pussified garbage America has."

It was often said she was way too blunt, but really she had to establish she wasn't no push-about, and that she had every right to pecking order as other.

"Although Jessie, I may have something you like, check under my fighter, trust me you don't see these on any fighter mostly, I got it for really as a last stand sorta device, proton cannon, manually controlled that can pack a powerful punch. Does that make you wet your panties." she winked, not in flirty way, more to be cheeky and to show she wasn't what she first appeared. Besides she was too confused to think about 'that' for now.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Hangar

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Hyena laughs lightly at Tiaan and shakes her head, "Yeah, I saw it. But I figured you had a gunner seat. What are you going to do with a manual turret in a dogfight? Put her in park every time you want to pop off a shot?"

Waving a hand dismissively to gloss over the comment, the pilot changes the conversation, "Now that the obligatory dick-waving is out of the way, we've got an issue."

Beckoning Ray and Tiaan in conspiratorily, that meat-eating grin spreads from ear to ear, "We're set up for pretty much The most boring sunset cruise in the Federation. This boat's got more guns then God, and we're heading out to the fringes of Big Fuckin Empty. Any pirates or insurgents out -that- goddamn far arent going to have the balls to step up to this crate unless they've gone completely batshit. What this says to me, is that smart people came -prepared-. See, I used to turn wrenches, and I've already tapped some guys I served with in another squadron. They know some comm crewman, who know some engineers, who have a compartment a few decks down that -no one- uses. I was going to just use it as an oversized closet, but I'm thinking it could have a more... 'social' calling. The kind of social you cant have in a ship's lounge with Big Brother breathing down your neck. You still with me?"

Jesus Christ, not 24 hours on board and she's already tapped into the JO Underground, planning to pool the resources of various enterprising individuals. Jess was the type of individual to whom you could trade a bent paperclip and by the end of the month she'd trade you back a brand new car. Came with growing up on a merchant dock, and maybe with being just plain sneaky.

"We need one last hoorah out here, before that XO with the starched shirt buckles down, and before people forget what shore leave was like. Besides, I dont know you two tug drivers, I dont trust people I dont know, and I dont fly with people I dont trust. So just think of it as 'building unit cohesion and encouraging good morale'."

She snaps her fingers and adds, almost as an asside to herself, "I think we can talk to a couple of the Marines and maybe that Nav I met at the breifing, too, they seemed pretty chill, if they can keep their mouths shut around the brass..."

Looking back to her fellow space-jockies, Hyena shrugs, "Whadaya say? I know you've got some hidey-holes in those big-ass birds, dont tell me you cant contribute. I've got some smokes, some cards.. We'll add in some booze and I'll see if I can scrounge up a cook willing to slide a few of the Staff Officer prime meat rations... One of the spaceframers is already working on cutting a grill out of a hydraulic drum... Oh, man, this is -so- on."

If that smile got any wider, it would split her skull, and she was practically dancing in place. Listen closely enough, and you might actually hear all those clever little gears in her head whirring at speeds to make FTL jealous.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

On one hand Tiaan loved this idea, on the other she was trying not to make big show. Although way things were going she doubted it be possible to avoid now. Chipping in she replied, "I can distract Lt General easily enough, you guys handle the supplies. All in all this could be fun." Why, why, why was she volunteering herself in this case. It's not like she had even been on board for a day, but now she was thinking of distracting her superior and letting a party happen. This wasn't right, not even close to right. Although wh was she kidding, she loved parties, and anything that loosened the crew up was a major plus. Either way, she wouldn't directly be involved and at least Lt Chen wouldn't assume anything as it was her who begun this.

Now to get that dress washed and try survive one day. Despite everything this day might not be the worse one ever. Not to mention maybe she could have some fun by taking such risks. Nothing was ever given by playing things safe. Nope, not at all, if anything Tiaan hated being cautious, preferred being impulsive. The only time she ever kept complete was during flying, and that was only to concentrate.

Remembering something she added, "To make an omelette gotta crack a few eggs eh?"

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Marcus Bergman

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Jess nods as Tiaan indicates she's on board, giving a considering look as she says she can even distract Alice, "Yeah? Well, good luck with that. Seemed like a helluva battleaxe at the breifing. Stick up there the size of a freakin redwood, you know?"

But the fighter pilot lets it slide, shaking her head and rubbing her hands together, "I'll take what I can get, though. I'm going to go see who I can scare up for this."

Flicking her fingers to her temple in the mockery of a salute, Hyena flashes another broad smile before she turns away from Tiaan, intent on leaving the hangar. In the coridoors of the ship, she quickly leaves the area where flightsuits are normally seen. By necessity of a dangerous job, however, the hangar isnt at all far from the medical wing. Remembering that she'd seen Faith at the breifing and that the doctor had -seemed- like an amiable sort, Jess decides to see what kind of boundaries the medic was willing to push.

Whistling lightly, wearing her trademark laughing-at-you-all smile, she starts sticking her head into open hatches as she searches for a familiar face...

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to Infirmary/Medical Bay

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Marcus Bergman

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Hyena pulls her head back out of the compartment to face Faith just as Max pulls his stunt. It doesnt go as unnoticed as the AI would've hoped, seeing as how it's hard to ignore a light fixture blowing, but he's obviously got more on his mind now then just looking over peoples' shoulders via security cameras.

"I didnt do it!" the pilot declares preemtively, holding up her hands as the very picture of innocence.

For the human compliment of the space, the virtual drama goes on unnoticed, and she doesnt give the event a second thought. Stuff broke all the time, and her target was in sight. Jess flashes Faith the same toothy, vaguely predatory smile that she'd been wearing during the breifing when the doctor had first spotted the pilot.

"Piss bottles, Doc. The advantages of wearing a flightsuit; the bathroom comes with you." Ew. Not that she was wearing the full space-worthy combat rig that she would don in the cockpit, but the joke was just too easy to NOT make.

Sharp blue eyes evaluate Marcus, whom she didnt recognize, before she claps her hands together and rubs them vigorously. Scheming might be the best way to describe the pose, but there was nothing malicious in her attitude, just mischevious.

"Cant help but noticed you used two of my favorite words a second ago, though, Doc. If it's a bar and some smokes you're looking for, me and a few guys are starting to plan a little .. ah.. get together. You know, morale meet-and-greet and all of that. Strictly informal, since I dont think I ever did officially catch your name - Hyena, by the way. Or MacPhearson if you want to be formal about it."

And if either of them had any experience dealing with personnel skilled in the technically-legal double-talk that Hyena was fluent in, they would know full well that the event they'd just been invited to was similarly less then official. If they preffered to toe the legal line, they could still decline and claim that they legitimately thought she was planning something completely above-board. If they had a mind to turn her in, she could read it in their response and neglect to give an accurate time and location. But if they were amiable to the idea of participating in such shenanigans, then let 'er rip.

Her gaze finds Marcus again, and the grin hasnt wavered, "You're invited too, yeah? And anyone else you can think might want in. We've gotta get to know eachothers' ugly mugs at some point on this trip, right?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Marcus Bergman

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Marcus found himself flush. "Ah Doctor, I'm sure when you get to know me you'll find me quite cantankerous and ill-tempered though unfortunately I never stop being handsome; it's a gift and a curse." Dear God, did he just say that? There must be something in the air to make him so lax as to forget his staunch idiom. Was Doctor Mackenzie so disarming or were his terrestrial problems far enough away they did not weigh him down? He smiled, pleased how existential his thinking has been since on ship. The psychiatrist he saw after his wife's death had loved to spout nonsense about 'internal self evaluation', multiple choice stress tests and dream journals. Dream. Journal. Christ, he was a 40 year old man why the fuck would he keep a dream journal? Ridiculous. Though that charlatan and his pseudo-science didn't stop the feelings of guilt, perhaps this ship would.

She had managed to surprise him with her talk of war-zone medicine. "Some say there is no greater duty then serving as a doctor in that capacity, putting toy soldiers back together so the Generals don't have to buy new ones; is how my father put it. He was not a fan of war, absolutely hated conflict. My grandfather was in the Afghanistan campaign and filled his head with horrors so one could assume he would not have a taste for battle." Evaluating Doctor Mackenzie from just the small amount of time they spent together, Marcus came to the conclusion that she was a capable professional that was in a leadership position where mettle and steadfastness were paramount to the station. "I hope you don't think I was questioning your ability earlier, far from it I find you rather refreshing. In fact -"

He was distracted by a young woman in pilot's costume milling about looking for something. Doctor Mackenzie seemed to feel the same and asked if she needed the toilet; to which the woman replied she would simply urinate in her suit. He frowned at the uncouth comment but that's how the military was; crudeness and bravado smattered with sexual tension. The woman went on to tell the two doctors about a party in the most intentionally vague way possible. "Where would this gathering take place?" Marcus asked. "Is there a secret knock to get in and where is it?" He smiled, parties kept from the attention of higher-ups were common in every setting; to be included in the festivities was a welcomed change as he was considered a "higher-up" for going on ten years now. Did he just hear her introduce herself as Hyena? A pilot's moniker he assumed. "Marcus Bergman, charmed. Are you called Hyena due to your unique smile or as an homage to the Hyena's mystery? Until modern biology they were unclassifiable; you know Plato even had wrote that they were not quite of felines and not quite of canines but possessed traits from both and held human evilness in their eyes."

Reel it in Marcus don't fuck it up and not get invited to any more social events. "You know Hyena, I am no stranger to clandestine soirées; I was quite irreverent in my youth." He turned to Doctor Mackenzie "I think it would be our duty to show up if nothing but as a medical presence. God forbid if someone was hurt; imagine the paperwork." He surprised himself; but things that he carried around like a penance before now just seemed like inconsequential foibles that could be dismissed easily. Doctor Bergman smiled, but then that damn psychiatrist crept into his head Marcus nothing is as easy as self-deceit, whatever one wishes makes it true. Perhaps that was true, but he would consider this a victory nonetheless.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Faith Mackenzie Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Marcus Bergman

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When questioned about her unorthodox introduction, Jess spreads her hands palms-up and the grin - if it was physically possible - just widens, "Plato? Shit, I'm in classy company, then. A little bit of that. I also apparently laugh my ass off in a fight. Besides, 'Jessica' sounds way too stuffy, so hey! If you've got an excuse to introduce yourself with a kick-ass nickname, why not?!" Here she adds a self-mocking bow to the end of the statement.

As they both accept, she nods, pleased with herself and the results of the 'mission' so far. "Fantastic, guys. I cant promise stupid things wont happen, but I can tell 'em to cancel converting the pressure washer to blast vodka."

It's difficult to tell if she's entirely joking...

All told, it's difficult to read anything about the pilot at all beyond the show of teeth and irreverent attitude. One could easily assume she was about as deep as a rain puddle. But smile notches down to a vaguely knowing smirk as the two doctors return to talking more to eachother then to her, and she lifts her hand in an idle farewell wave.

"Tonight, two decks down from the Hangar. The space is marked for structural support, it's easy to find. And yeah, the secret knock is 'shave and a haircut'. Isnt it always? I need to scare up a few more bodies; have fun, docs."

Turning away from the pair, Jess is intent on heading next to the Mess Hall. People were always there, even if they were only getting a sandwich. It was the unofficial heart of the ship, and the very best place to start spreading the rumor of the party. Even now, some people may be slowly clueing in as the 'hey did you hear' network begins to work its magic. Things would start getting very interesting when folks began bargaining for entrance; promising to contribute this or that smuggled good in exchange for the where and when of it. By the end of the week, Hyena would have a whole new catalogue of contacts on the ship who could be trusted to have whatever items she wanted or needed at a particular moment.

The setting changes from infirmarymedical-bay to F.S.S. Salient

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Walking back from her room, she heard the klaxon with an announcement, "All fighters, scramble, scramble.". Grinning from ear to ear she took off in a quick jot, heading straight for hanger area. Weaving passed the people rushing to their stations, she entered code for the Hanger and before entering. It was pandemonium as the mechanics and hanger staff tried to make sure all the checks were done. Seeing Hyena she winked.

Approaching her fighter, she climbed on one of the wings, opened the cockpit and dropped in. Giving quick cursory glance over her console, she preformed pre-flight checks. Fuel, check, weaponry restocked, checked, oxygen, check, intercom working, "This is Peyton, can you hear me Hyena?". While waiting she checked the console, to see it responded.

This was where she belonged in her own opinion in her fighter in the vastness of space. Absolute freedom and will to do what she wished. Nothing but silence outside, while she she preformed a show in her head, a circus she rehearsed many times. Procedures were her life blood with patience.

Let's dust some pirate scum.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

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Hyena hadnt gotten more then a few steps away from Marcus and Faith when the eriee, attention-grabbing tones of the General Quarters alarm sounded. When it's followed very closely by the call to Scramble, it's no drill. The pilot pivots on a boot and disappears down the coridoors back towards the hangar.

Dodging people in the hangar with a practiced ease, Hyena doesnt seem to even touch the rungs of the ladder into her own cockpit and jams the waiting helmet onto her head. Her hands had done their dance a thousand times across the console, leaving her to respond freely over the radio as the engines are primed, the weapons readied, and the lifesupport checked.

"Lima Charlie, Peyton. Damn good timing, isnt it? I'll be ready for the drinks by the time we get back." She laughs.

With a deep, frame-jolting pop, she releases her craft from its bracket, and the fighter with its grinning hyena tail art slides foreward with the hangar doors and the void beyond on its nose. The hangar was cold - they always were - but it was nothing compared to space. As the Rapier breaks the magnetic containment field that kept the atmosphere and vacuum safely separate, crystals of ice form for a half-second on any available condensation that peppers her hull, and the metal sings a short, faint song as it reacts to the change in pressure and temperature. But seals hold and cold hydraulics still function, and Hyena clears the shelter of the Salient and leaves its lights in her wake.

"Tuck in behind me and enjoy the view; I'll get you to the party in once peice."

Lighter, faster, and meaner, the fighter positions itself to be escort for Peyton's heavier-armed and heavier-hulled craft, but Hyena doesnt go easy on the throttle. If that frigate got within firing range of Miranda before support showed up, there wouldnt be much of a rescue. Speaking of, in case no one in the bridge had thought to do so, Hyena switches her radio to civilian frequencies to make contact. Wouldnt do to have the civilian fighter shoot at its saviors.

"Altamus Escort, this is Rapier 338 off the Salient. Inbound to you, two count. Check fire." Well wasnt that professional and courteous? The picture of military efficiency and - "Attacking vessel, you are to bend over, spread 'em, and smile real perdy-like." Cue facepalm.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

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The frigate was constantly firing at Ronin with its small guns. With the sensors gone the gunners had to rely on visual cues and she was making that difficult with her slippery flying. Her ship was taking a beating though, not from guns but from running her engine like every single wrench-turner told her not to. There was a shuddering metallic groan that made her electronics flicker and a smell like ozone seeping into her cockpit. In a perfect scenario the frigate would fuck off and she would simply throttle down, fixing the problem; this was not a perfect scenario. Ronin this is Cronos on Summerwind, you good? She scoffed. "Fuck no I'm not good, it's good you're ok. You guys should dump cargo and FTL while the gettings good." The main reason freighters needed escorts coming back was they couldn't operate their faster than light engines without rendering the Duillium inert. You're on drugs loss of cargo is not an option. We got a Federation IFF on screen, is that where you are heading?

"I got eyes on her expensive ass, keep channel clear Cronos, Ronin out." At least she saw the Federation ship now, she was betting the frigate was focusing on her and trying to blow her apart when it should be looking at the government death machine it would soon face. Altamus Escort, this is Rapier 338 off the Salient. Inbound to you, two count. Check fire. A welcomed voice from her comm. "Copy 338. Alta-Corp 973, you got Ronin. Don't have to worry about friendly fire, I'm at 10% ammo on my cannons and if I fire 'em up my whole power-plant will go." The company was great though it's a shame Miranda was gimping to the big kid to punch out her bully. The woman's arrogance was dangerous but she wasn't so prideful as to just bite the pillow why these pirates dry fucked her. "I'll keep clear, 338. Ronin out."

Another shudder went through her ship and she saw seven warning lights all flashing red. More contacts appeared on her screen but that had to be a malfunction, she whacked the screen and they went away; so did the frigate and the Federation ship. Fuck. Tartarus Group Ronin, Tartarus Group Ronin, this is the Salient, what is your status? Good thing her radio hadn't conked out. "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?" Miranda hoped there was a place she could look over her ship and they were not sticklers for rules; all 'No unauthorized non-federation crafts in their bays.' That would suck.

She saw more hostile ships appear like carrion birds to pick the sweetmeat from the bones of the freighters, guess her radar wasn't messed up. "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 would make it; Miranda was so close to the Salient she could almost smell the shitty cafeteria food.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

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"No worries, Ronin, we'll delouse your six."

It isnt a half a breath after that the Salient's salvo errupts over the fighters' heads and off the side of the pirate hulk. No doubt even the glancing impact would cause the frigate to list in space, since anyone at the helm was now paste. Hyena whistles, impressed.

"Jesus ... And give you a haircut to boot.. We're apparently a full-service sort. Make for the hangar and tell 'em Hyena sent you; you'll get the best seat in the house."

By this point, she would be shooting past Miranda's beleagured ship, dipping its wings in a friendly waggle. With the first threat neutralized by the big guns, she lays into the throttle. As medium-sized fighters go, the Rapier's oversized engines pushed it with enough power to act, in this case, as an admirable interceptor. Hyena points her nose towards the distant freighters that continue to be herded and picked at by the pirate reinforcements, knowing full well she would arrive well before Peyton's support or the Salient's fight-ending firepower. But if she waited, then the pirates would inflict that much more damage and be that much closer to winning their prize. Sending the faster fighters in first was a standard procedure anyway, right?

She crosses the distance after a few terse moments of all-encompasing silence, until the contacts ahead begin to tickle the edges of her effective range. Unconciously, a toothy grin twists her face, and the bloody smile is a far cry from the friendly expressions she showed aboard ship. With a squeeze of the trigger, she sends the first opening rounds flying over the backs of the freighters. Too far out to accurately anticipate the small pirates, the shots were only meant to distract. It was a warning and a challenge; ignore her at their peril, because their free ride had just ended.

A handful would probably detatch to deal with the Federation interloper, and Hyena sails straight at them. With four foreward-facing guns dedicated to dogfighting and a slim profile that didnt lend itself well to making a target, it's a short burst before one of the charging patchwork fighters goes out in a ball of smothered flame and shrapnel.

The formation breaks at close range, and the conflict evolves into a tight ball of flashing engines and searing firepower. From a distance, it could be called beautiful if you could ignore the death happening inside it. Hyena uses herself as bait; breaking from the dogfight when she can to dart towards the pirates that are still targeting the freighters. Her charge would force them to disengage, potentially even choosing to chase her, instead. The advantage to being a single fighter is that the space around her becomes very crowded, very quickly. Less disciplined pirates must dedicate more time to avoiding a collision than accurate targeting of the nimble Rapier, even if that means she, herself, spends more time dodging then killing.

"Oh Peyton?" Hyena's voice is cheerful, if a little gutteral as the strain of her maneuvers compresses her lungs, "Be a dear and put on a little gas?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Smirking she replied, "Oh you'll see." with that she powered the engines fully, catching quite quickly up too Hyena, checking radar she saw the pirates had scrambled light fighters. Nothing too dangerous, but just enough to be a bother, taking initiative she yelled in the headset, "Hyena circle around, they're coming in too close. I think you pissed them off." It was a little unnerving but the pirates seem to want to go for weaker vessel, setting up her cannon, she aimed carefully, locking on before firing, a yellow amorphous blob, shot a wing off one of the fighters. It began to spin out of control, in horror Tiaan saw where it was headed, "Hyena evasive manoeuvres now!"

Hoping she had heard, she saw they had finally decided to target her, going back into main controls, she fired off two missile's this time hitting, "BULLSEYE!" although the cheer was short lived, as she saw the pirate vessel had released gunner ships.

Oh shit, this was bad.

Hoping she wasn't only one out there, she reversed the engines and slowly spun around, aiming the thrusters fully burning at the incoming gunner ship.

Praying silently she fired the engines completely, spinning back around to see a charred wreck of one of them.

Close one, but now to check Hyena, "Hyena you there, please respond."

Waiting nervously she fired off two more missles this time missing the fighters as they swerved and fired their own in response.

Gasping she swung into a curve, trying to evade.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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With dramatic flair ideally suited to fighter pilot shenanigans, Hyena's painted Rapier splits the space between Tiaan and the missles that dog her. The energy emission from her engines disrupts their targeting computers, confusing their lock and turning their attentions onto her, instead. They turn onto her tail as she enters a back-breaking loop. Since they had already been at a right angle, the twin missles are unable to duplicate the Rapier's turn, and loose their lock halfway through the deadly merry-go-round.

As they sail off into open space before detonating harmlessly, Hyena's voice answers Tiaan with ever-present good cheer, "Of course I'm here. Where the hell else would I be?"

A continued loop brings her around onto the fighters that Tiaan had so recently pissed off, and a flurry of shots onto the top of the trailing craft breaks its spine in a flash of metal and broken electricals. The lead wobbles and breaks away from Tiaan with Hyena right behind it, twisting to match its evasive maneuvers.

"Dont let me catch you!" She openly taunts the unfortunate bastard, the hardy military craft rapidly closing the gap on the patchwork pirate fighter, "Almost there, I said dont let me catch you!"

Unable to out-turn the Rapier, the other pilot attempts to corkscrew out of the circle and throw her. It exposes his belly for a half-second, and like a cat with a mouse, it was all she was waiting for. A nasty laugh accompanies her shots, and the other fighter disintegrates beneath the withering punishment.

Rolling evasively, she expects someone else to be taking advantage of her dogged persuit of her target, but no shots come. She levels out, eyes darting across the starscape, to find the surviving fighters running. Really the only smart thing to do, now that their frigates were dead or dying and the Salient's full compliment was still going strong. A flash of annoyance in the pit of her gut, like she'd been cheated of her game. Hyena puts the retreating engines on her nose and throws the throttle foreward in persuit.

"Crap! They're getting away!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Chen Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Miranda Peters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Hangar

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Whipping her helmet off, she felt some mechanics help her off, one even tried to grab her ass -- cheeky. That didn't bother her today, once they done congratulating her. She turned to the fighter to review any damage, other than some charring, nothing was terrible. BlueBird had done it again, although it was great she hadn't been only one to survive this time.

Turning to Hyena who was revelling in the attention she smirked, "Fly girls never change huh? We're certainly not to down to earth." waiting a little she added, "Great flying, but how did you avoid fighter hurtling at you, when I blew it's wing off, I lost sight of you so couldn't see what was going on."

While waiting she stretched and played through fight in her mind, overall it had been great fight. Pirates were never really trained flyers although she had once heard her Father had fought the legendary pirate Silver Eyes once known as Vice Admiral Atreus Eturrer, a very renowned Admiral at the time, sadly his story of heroics ended when he went over to Pirates. To this day no one knows why, or why he massacred his whole crew. Many who had fought Silver Eyes had died in action or barely escaped. It was actually that fight which had made her father return for a whole year to be with his family.

Hushed tones of reverence and fear were often heard when the name was spoken.

Secretly Tiaan wanted to be the one to kill him, it was her main goal. Shoot Silver Eyes out into space, and let his reign of tyranny end. Although it was unlikely to happen in this case, but maybe just maybe these pirates were led by him. If this was the case, this thing could blow up in their faces. Silver Eyes had fought full fleets and escaped. They'd be easy picking.

Shaking the thought out her mind, she smiled, although maybe she was just worrying too much.

The setting changes from hangar to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Aronimus Weston Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton Character Portrait: T.A.U

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The fleeing pirates had several kilometers' worth of lead on her Rapier, and while that normally wouldnt be enough distance to outrun the Federation fighter, it is just enough distance to make Hyena doubt. With no noise but her humming engines, it's enough time for the killing rush to cool, and for the niggling little thought to wriggle in that her six was hanging out in open space with no one to cover it. Much farther, and she'd be too far to even run back into the safety of the Salient's range if she got into trouble. Not even the temptation of more 'fun' mixing it up in another dogfight is enough to dismiss that threat, and reluctantly Hyena eases the throttle back from its stops.

In the hangar, the fighter pilot helmet and flightsuit that Tiaan adresses turns around, and it's not Hyena; just some other shmuck who looks vaguely confused when she calls him a flygirl. What, single-seat pilots all look alike to you or somethin? Trollolol.

The flickering red marks on her scopes reach the edge of her range and blink out of contact, and she shows the Rapier's wings in a wide turn back towards the Salient and its waiting hangar.

"Salient Control, Rapier 338, hostiles are no-factor." She reports glumly, "Do you want me to maintain a patrol until the civies get their escort or head back to the barn?"

Taking the time to run a functionality check in the meantime, Hyena is pleased that her craft is still in fighting shape after a furball like that. It'd gotten hairy quick when Tiaan had sent an out-of-control pirate in her direction, but the timely call for evasive maneuvers had really saved her ass from becomming a victim of fratricide. Not that her shoulder appreciated the harness digging into it during the sharp snap she'd had to execute, but that was a small price to pay for still feeling at all.

Life was remarkably fragile in the void, especially for such a small craft as a fighter. The whole cockpit compartment was a titanium and transparasteel bathtub, but if that tenuous sanctuary was breached, she'd be sitting in ice-cold space with only the discomfortingly thin fabric of her flightsuit between her and vaccuum. If -that- had even the smallest failure... Well, they say it lasted just long enough for you to feel it. Still, all of the above was prefferable to having some vital system punctured, leaving her spiraling - but alive - out into the endless black. Waiting for her air to run out seemed like pretty much the shittiest way to go, and as an afterthought Hyena makes a note to see the armory; it might be worth bringing along a pistol for just such an occasion...

With a quick shake, she disperses the last vestiges of adrenaline along with those gloomy thoughts, returning to basking in a pleased post-combat glow while she awaits a response.

The setting changes from the-milky-way-universe to Hangar

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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Acknowledging the call to return, Hyena sighed in wistfull disappointment that the fight was more or less 'officialy' over. At least for the pilots. Turning to the lights of the hangar and slowing, her arrowhead fighter coasts smoothly back through the magnetic containment field with an atmospheric snap that popped the ears of anyone working in nearby areas. Ah, there was the gunboat, looking a lot more haggard in the light of the hangar then it had during the breif flyby encounter she'd had with it out in space. Lucky pilot; that the Salient had shown up when it did.

Dropping her landing gear, she follows the director's hand signals and neatly lines up into her booth, settling down to the deck. Engines shut down, cabin pressure matched to the hangar, and systems cooling with familiar pings and hisses, Hyena lets the hatch slide open.

Standing in her seat to give a theatric bow to the nearby maintainers who sarcastically applaud, Hyena shucks the heavy life support overgear in favor of the more comfortable flightsuit underneath, handing it off.

"Have my suit pressed, Jeeves, and tell them to go easy on the starch." The toothy smile on her face only grows when he tells her in no uncertain terms what she can do with her starch, and she leaves her bird in the care of the mechanics as she heads for the readyroom to store everything else.

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

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson

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The party was hardly in full swing. Marines still in danger, a few gunship pilots still hanging out in the void, maintainers in the hangar and engineers at their stations. But that didnt mean it was quiet.

A few decks down from the hangar, where superstructure to support the ships above made this space obsolete for anything but random storage, there are a few bodies already gathered. Hyena, smiling like her namesake before a bloody kill, plucks a contraband cigarette from her lips and blows a hearty wreath of smoke into the air. She was sitting on a toolbox, and before her - used as a table - was an ordinance crate. On its surface is a pile of cards, currency from a dozen governments, jewelery, and an old .45 pistol from a bygone war.

"I'm telling you, I'm good for it." An engineer insists, tapping an IOU slip in front of him with a finger perma-stained with grease.

"Maybe." Hyena retorts, "But we wont know for another 6 weeks, and that's some bullshit since you'd get our cash -now-."

They were debating the validity of using alchohol to stand in for a bet. Not uncommon; it's just that this alchohol was still fermenting in the engineer's hidden, home made still.

The 9-man poker game was only one act of debauchery currently taking place. A small group were holding beers they had smuggled through the coridoors in a bouy tube, playing Flinch - if you dont know, dont ask. Another couple had brought down a game console, and were shouting obscenities at eachother as their virtual avatars blasted, ran over, and stabbed eachother in a game of Halo 27. In the middle of the room, a large space heater had been lain on its back. With its safety grid removed, it was cooking meat 'reappropriated' from the galley. Still others were gathered around their personal computers compiling, selling, and distributing from their impressive collection of porn, pirated movies, and downloaded music.

Trades were taking place all over the party; cigarettes for trinkets and souveniers, porn for metal fabrication, promises of favors or cash at a later date. Someone even had some fireworks. Everything under the sun that might make life a little bit easier and more entertaining in the months to come.

Clyde could be excused for underestimating crewmen from 'dirtier' lines of work, but the Admiral really aught to have known better. There was alchohol here, of course. Some of it downright potent - like the promised moonshine involved in the poker game. But this was the compilation of what people could fit in their seabags or sneak in aboard planes or in shipments, and what they had would have to last for a very long time.

Greenhorns, many, but more then enough old hands at skirting the regulations. Shitfaced sailors would get them ALL caught with a quickness. No one was going to get blasted at something like this. Not so soon in the game, when they would have to go to work tomorrow and maybe have to explain bloodshot eyes or the lingering smell of tobacco.

"It's been a pleasure doing buisness with you, ladies." Hyena laughs heartily as she slaps down her winning hand to the bemused curses of the others. Her arms sweep out to gather her prizes, carefully pocketing the firearm, "You let me know any time you need me to fleece you."

"Fuck that, Picklesuit. Deal me back in."

Illegal as all hell? Absolutely. But stupid? Hardly.

The setting changes from f-s-s-salient to The Milky Way Universe

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Things had been an utter whirlwind of confusion, a kiss, an ambush and half the crew were drunk out their minds, how could things get any worse? Now she was about to launch out the ship unsure how long she could hold them off. Even Hyena who normally was jovial, seemed sober and a little nervous. It seemed like everyone was prepared for the worse already some people had been lost, and the depressing thing was it was pilots who were inebriated. Hyena must be hating herself right now thought Tiaan, strapping her belt on, she did quick pre-flight check, running over the usual tests before closing cockpit.

"Tiaan ready to launch Admiral, I'll take a quick team and try do as much damage as possible." with a tear falling from her eye, she continued, "Admiral, I served under you proudly, but I fear the chances of me returning are small."

Getting the go ahead she wiped her eyes, pulled down the visor and whispered, "Once more unto the breach Peyton, give 'em hell!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton - Blue Bird - Space

Waiting she noted that there were only three fighters left distracting, and one heavy gun ship. As she heard Ray, she replied with, "Glad you could join us." checking her console for the missles she had left, the computer flashed up two among other things. Smirking she glanced a nearly destroyed Pirate Ship just trying to get out of line of fire behind the stronger ones, relaying a message to Ray she yelled, "Beat this boyo!" locking on to the energy signature she fired both her missiles.

Releasing from the wings, they shot down, speeding towards the target, zipping around the wreckage, swerving the nearby wrecked ships, before one collided with a piece of wreckage, crossing her fingers Tiaan watched the console showing the trail, before the missiles finally hit the ship. Since it was already stumbling, it now appeared almost dead. Checking her life signs scanner, it appeared most were clustered away from the control panel, that was enough for now.

Examining the wreckage, she thanked whoever was guiding them for such an amazing admiral and crew. This should have been a bloodbath, but fortunately they were surviving, amazing to imagine, watching vast expanses of space, she noted the fleet of Pirate Ships was still huge, and it would be amazing to even survive much longer. It appeared the leader appeared to be unable to think.

Were they playing with them, she was interrupted by a crackle from intercom, "Oi, Tiaan don't kill 'em all let Hyena do some!"

Gasping in horror she saw the fighter and realized that Hyena was drunk, trying to raise the channel she yelled, "Get back Hyena, we're fine go sober up!"

"It's pirate's I can handle them blindfolded."

Realizing how fruitless this was she tried to raise admiral, "Hyena out here drunk, get her out of here, please."

Just as she got through, she saw Hyena was flying too close to the actual fleet, firing everything she could, "HYENA GET OUT OF THERE, QUICK!"

As she yelled through, something caught her eyes on the scanner, a ship had snuck up behind her, and was firing, performing an evasive manoeuvre, cork-screwing the Blue Bird, she checked her radar, but saw no sign of the fighter.

Looking from the glass, she saw Hyena was okay, fortunately she had reacted in time and had moved out of range of the cannons.

"Don't do that again." she yelled through the intercom, before firing two at the fighter chasing her and breathing a heavy sigh of relief.

Characters Present

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

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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.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Ray chuckled at first upon hearing Hyena's voice, they where a small unit as it was and to have another fighter among them would be quite helpful.

"Don't worry Hyena, there are plenty to go arou.."


As Tiaan's voice cracked into the system Ray realized what was going on and shuddered, turning around as fast as he could in an attempt to protect Hyena's fighter Ray attempted to fire his second magazine of missiles but knew that he would never turn in time.

Ray saw those last moments on his screen, he closed his eyes and shut the communication system down as Hyena lined up for the pirate fighter to take out.

Soon her signature on his sensors was gone, Ray sat their shocked… why was this affecting him like this? This was nothing new after all!

Suddenly his gunship rattled as a missile stuck his armor, opening his eyes and getting over his confusion Ray realized that two heavy fighters had targeted him.

"armor taking damage… shields unable to disperse enemy fire" said the monotone voice of the ships computer.

Ray smiled and increased the power of his new generator; with its power he could maintain all his systems at near full capacity... it was a pity that the generator had not reached the required power levels to help Hyena but that was life.


"Warning, generator unstable, hazard level at 4% and rising"

Ray opened the computer control area and dismissed all safety protocols, as long as the generator's hazard level stayed lower then 29% the chances of a meltdown where only 10-20% in the worst case scenario. If Ray wanted to fight at his full capacity he needed the generators power no matter if doing so may cost his life and the life of anyone in his gunships area.

Ray knew that his actions would be reported to the Salient and hoped no one would interfere with his plan… at least yet.

Turning around Ray activated his twin cannons and blasted the first heavy fighter to pieces; the heavy fighter stunned at the sudden increased maneuverability of the gunship had no time to doge the attack and was blasted to pieces after three seconds of concentrated fire.

He then suddenly saw Hyena's signature on his screen again... so she was not as dead as he supposed she was. Ray breathed a sigh of relief and opened the comm channel unable to stop himself from grinning like an idiot.

"Hell Hyena even my scanners gave up on you! glad to still have you with us!"

"Warning, generator unstable, hazard level at 6% and rising"

Ray cursed and switched off the come hoping Hyena had not heard that, while had had disabled the safety protocols he could not disable the warning system. The second heavy fighter realizing his inferior position against the gunship attempted to retreat however Ray fired his second missile salvo just in time to knock him out and eradicate a few other interceptors whom had come to the heavy fighters rescue.

Ray turned about and passed Tiaan's squad, Ray sent her one short message before increasing his speed in the direction of the enemy fleet.

"i guess i can't stay with you chaps, too much of a target and i would not want to attract flies for you would i?. Don't worry, i put on an extra generator on my systems so i should be fine... just get rid of any interceptors that come my way would you?"

Ray loaded his last but most deadly missile salvo and lined up to strike what he thought to be a pirate command ship.

Ray grinned "Say goodbye to your engines suckers!" and fired his missiles, the missiles flew true and began firing a variety of scrap designed to confuse the enemy's defensive systems. the first few missiles where destroyed by overwhelming defensive fire however quite a few where able to avoid the defenses and approach the enemy's engines. Once missile however was hit by the defensive lasers however it did not blow and instead turned towards the command bridge of the pirate vessel.

Ray raised his hazard shields to 50% to protect him from the effects of the blast, at last the true fighting would begin. The thought of direct battle made Ray happy however one comment was able to return Ray to the reality of his situation.

"Warning, generator unstable, hazard level at 9% and rising"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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Hyena was in the void, her venerable Rapier cutting a bloody swathe through the furball. Contrary to popular beleif, she was stone cold sober. Which probably made her laughing fits all the more disconcerting.

<Dont let me catch you! Dont let me catch you!>

She was taunting a pirate, dogging his tail in a deadly game of keep-away that twisted around debris and wrenched tight turns around other ships. The pirate attempted to use the gunships under her protection to his advantage - zipping under Tiaan and snapping his nose up to blast over Ray - only to have Hyena cut across the searing wake of the twos' engine pylons. Her shields warp and energy arcs spectacularly across the metal skin like some grim aurora, but the maneuver saves her time, and as the pirate is swooping back down from climbing Ray's back, his belly flashes across Hyena's nose. It's all she needs, and the quad cannons of the Rapier chew her quarry apart until he vanishes entirely in a shrapnel-filled fire that's snuffed out a breath later by the vacuum.

<Will you you overgrown Tug jockies hurry up and core that big bastard?> Her next taunt is reserved for the gunship pilots, pulling tightly back towards them and accelerating to intercept another wave, <Im going to run out of bullets before they run out of fighters at this rate!>

A missile loosed from her wing scatters the oncomming threat, the heat-seaker choosing an unlucky target to send spiraling out into the stars, ripping itself apart. Hyena pulls her nose up and to the right to select her next prey, only to have to disengage in a sickening roll as his wingman discourages her choice. She breaks off from the persuit to fire a heckling salvo of bullets in order to chase away another fighter who was attempting to sneak a lock on Tiaan.

<That's it. You two are on the hook for my drinks. For eternity. You know that, right?>

She grunts and turns on her side, flashing between their wings to nip at another pair of predatory pirates (say that three times fast) who think they can slip through her screen.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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#, as written by Rulke
Tiaan Peyton

Losing communication with Ray she was almost back, but considering how that guy had saved her a few times today, she should preform another sweep, radioing Hyena she said, "Ray's comm channel down, I may need help to drag the ship back manually, you in?"

While she waited, she did an extended radar check, this was hopeless to be honest, the wreckage and other vehicles were making it impossible to find anything. Cursing her luck she swung her bird around, whispering, "Blue Bird, you ready."

She barely had any time, she knew this, everyone knew it, but she was taught never to leave a man behind, she was taught to help others. It was dangerous, hell it was likely impossible, but she needed to try, hearing someone try to get through her, it appeared to be someone on the bridge, "Peyton, you're moving out, we can't guarantee, you'll make it back in time, not even caring she responded back, "Delay it, Birdy won't let you down, no she won't!"

Changing frequency to Hyena ship she yelled out when she heard a beep, she didn't care if she deafened the pilot, she had found the ship, she had done the impossible, "Hyena come in, we need to act fast, our two ships can pull him back!"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Peter "Ray" Davidson Character Portrait: Jessica "Hyena" MacPhearson Character Portrait: Tiaan Peyton

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When Ray had dropped off her scopes, Hyena had assumed the worst. There were just too many pirate fighters and not enough -her- to go around. It'd torn at her, because that wasnt just a hunk of metal she'd been flying cover for, it'd been someone that she'd stood on the deck with. The pressing threat of the situation had prevented it from settling fully, but when Tiaan calls out that she's going to fall out of the return formation to search, the reality slams into Hyena like a brick wall.

<On your wing.>

She responds without hesitation, keying up a countdown on her HUD to keep track of time. If the Salient jumped while they were still out here, they wouldnt last long against a fleet of pirates looking for revenge. Even if they shut down and played dead, even if those pirates skipped salvage and vanished, they would be millions of kilometers from any source of oxygen. But if they didnt try, it'd be Ray facing those fates.

The two flit through the debris field, and the numbers on her clock keep ticking down despite all willpower to the contrary. If she wanted to be a scout pilot she would be flying an Arrow. The Rapier just didnt have the sensor package to pick out one dead fighter hulk from another at any kind of range, leaving her to pick manually at a painfully slow pace. Tiaan makes the call. She'd found something. Pointing her nose at the activity, between Bluebird's size and the Rapier's overlarge engines, they could pull the other craft back into the hangar bay with minimal effort.

Only...

<Tiaan! Disengage! Engines are runaway!>

Hyena's fighter can advise her of -that- critical peice of information, at least, outlining Ray's bird with ominous red highlights. The size of the gunship promises that if they were caught in the imminent explosion, it'd be bad. Very bad. The shrapnel alone could hull her, and then she'd be just as dead. Some rescue this was turning out to be.

<Shit, Ray, you reading? Eject, man, we'll recover. Eject!>

Another few seconds off of her clock.

<Eject!>

Even at the distance she'd retreated, the erruption of fire and steel rocks the Rapier. Sensors scream, and light blinds her despite an automatic dampening of her canopy. Something metal screeches across her wing, sending her into a violent tumble. By the time she recovers, the fire has been suffocated by the vaccuum, and she can see no signs that Ray had ever gotten or heeded her desparate call.

Alarms are still shrieking in the background as she keys Tiaan, <... I've got nothing, Blue.>

Another alert chimes its two cents, her countdown. <We have to go, Blue. NOW. Or we're just as dead.>

Stubborn as pilots may be, they were all dependant upon a friendly deck to come home to. Already blasted in that direction, Hyena gooses her throttle and races back towards the Salient before her hangar doors can shutter for the jump. One of her engines gives sporradic bursts of protest, a 4-foot sliver of Ray's gunship imbeded in the scorched cowling. Cold dread and shock slowly warm in the face of a smoldering anger, and when she hits the comm again, her growl just makes her callsign all the more appropriate. Hunger and teeth.

<Next time these pricks cross our scopes, they die.>