0
followers
follow

Ophelia C. Rossweisse

"I'll show the Transcendent that the ghosts of the Atlantic still linger..."

0 · 652 views · located in Beyond the Transcendence Rift

a character in “Re-Union: The Expanding World”, as played by SkyCladSaya06

Description

Image



Image
Name || Ophelia C. Rossweisse

Age || 34

Gender || Female

Race || Human

Faction || World Beneath - Fleet of the Organum

Role || Captain of the Organum

Synchronization Level || 13.8%. Steadily decreasing by small margins.


Image




Image
Much of Ophelia's appearance had already degenerated due to a plethora of reasons. She has white hair and blue eyes although the left one is an artificial eye used to replace the one she lost. Her skin is also visibly paler than other people. Some scars on the left side of her face remain, causing her discomfort when people stare at it for too long.

Her attire is a standard uniform given to commanding officers like her. Having been in service for a while, her clothes, while still in good condition, are also starting to show the same wear her body is showing. For battles in space, she doesn't use the standard normal suit and instead, uses her old piloting attire which consists of a gray jumpsuit, a flak vest, two pauldrons and a helmet.


Image




Ophelia had developed a cold and quiet air around her over time, leading people to think she is rather hard to approach. On the contrary though, she is rather amiable to the rest of the crew although she can be stern and strict if the situation calls for it.

As the masthead among the crew, Ophelia generally feels the pressure of trying to keep them together given everyone's differing personalities. Coupled with the strict observation she's been placed under, Ophelia tends to become what is probably a "people pleaser" in order to maintain a satisfactory evaluation. However, she does not appreciate being talked down to by anyone with less rank or experience as she does though she may not appear too vocal about in on the surface.

The presence of talented people around her also causes a degree of insecurity within as she recalls the talents she had lost, causing much stress for her. Adversely, this can lead her to expect too much out of the people around her and may force them into difficult situations on occasion. Nevertheless, her experiences had helped her mature enough to make the call on when to act and how to act properly. She takes any assignment given to her seriously and she is not afraid to assume responsibility in the event they fail.



Image

Machine Spec and Detail || Ophelia commands the Organum, one of Earth's most powerful battleships. It currently serves as the command center of the World Beneath's expeditionary force sent to scout additional territories for resource extraction. Capable of performing in space, in the atmosphere and even the deep sea, the Organum had proven itself as a very capable vessel, serving as the main flagship of Man's forces before being replaced by newer models of its class.

The vessel has a total of five hangars and five catapults, allowing it to carry and deploy a large number of troops simultaneously. As the ship is designed to perform alone for extended periods of time, the ship is self-sustaining, carrying energy efficient systems for its propulsion and navigation as well as a repair platform and a medical bay.

Weapons:

Rocket Anchors x 4 - Located on the bow of the ship, it isn't really useful as a weapon and is mostly kept to allow a ship to establish a fixed base or pivot around an obstacle.

120mm Machine Guns x20 – Side guns used for intercepting incoming projectiles and weaker craft, it is rarely used as a direct weapon for combating more powerful Transcendent war machines and is generally perceived as a last-resort weapon.

2-barrel Torpedo Launcher x4 – Located on the underside near the bow of the ship, the torpedoes are used as primary armaments in deep-sea engagements.

8- Missile Launchers x2 – The ammunition can be adjusted depending on the situation. It can be reconfigured to serve as either anti-ship or anti-mech combat along with other purposes such as chaff and smoke if necessary.

42cm Railgun Turret x2 – Located on the port and starboard extremities, these guns fire off solid rounds in the event the opponent has anti-beam defenses. It can be loaded with explosive, heat, armor piercing and hi-speed bullets depending on what kind of opponent it has to face.

Impact Beam Cannon x2 – The main guns of the Organum. The beams fired from the guns are strong enough to destroy a conventional Transcendent machine in one shot and it is primarily used for engaging opposing warships.

Charged Particle Cannon x2 – Despite the seemingly small size, these retractable side guns are the Organum's most powerful weapons. Stored underneath the "wings", the guns fire accelerated particles that can wipe out a conventional large vessel in a single shot as well as vaporizing almost anything in its path. Since there is a huge time lag in-between shots, the weapon is mostly reserved for taking out enemy flanks and as a part of a bigger strategy during large-scale battles.

Others:

Radiant Shielding System – In the event of heavy bombardment, the Organum is capable of generating a defensive, radiation based shielding system. It defends the ship by dissolving solid matter that comes into contact with the ship. It can either be concentrated in a single area or spread out to cover larger portions at the cost of reduced defensive power. Fully concentrated, it has the power to stop large-caliber beam weapons. The shield can be spread out to cover the whole ship with the exception of the top and bottom positions but in that configuration, the shield can only hold off solid rounds and will render the ship unable to fire any of its weapons, move or deploy additional machines.

Abilities outside of the Machine:

While her piloting abilities have been hampered by her dropping synchronization levels, Ophelia's reflexes still remain sharp. She is still capable of pulling off decent maneuvers even without the benefits of a high sync rate and she has retained and even improved her marksmanship with the addition of her artificial eye, allowing her to take the main gunner's seat if needed. She managed to retain her athleticism and is still capable of fighting on foot if needed.

She does display an attitude for command, having led troops over several battles in the past, making her one of the more prospective candidates for commanding the recently-formed expeditionary force. Despite her evaluation though, she can still pilot a Harbinger outfitted with an older operating system that isn't too reliant on synchronization levels. She has piloted around three different mass-produced Harbinger models although she hasn't had any experience operating an experimental unit.



Image




Image
Image
Image
Image

Growing up in the midst of the first Human-Transcendent War, Ophelia bore witness to the events that eventually led to the current situation now. Upon graduating from military school, she participated in a number of battles as a Harbinger pilot boasting a 35% synchronization level, one of the highest back in the day when Harbinger technology was still relatively new.

Although she only played minor roles in battles that can be considered turning points in the war, her contributions were not unheard of as she was what could be considered an "ace" in the battlefield allowing her to gradually rise in rank as a soldier.

The full extent of her piloting capabilities and her aptitude for command were demonstrated in a battle over the Pacific territories. A sudden landing of Transcendent war machines caught the base off-guard and she and the remaining soldiers fought hard to stall the attack while waiting for reinforcements to arrive. Despite being outnumbered 3 to 1, she managed to take command of the troops and force the Transcendent forces into a temporary retreat even before their own reinforcements arrived. This victory has earned her the title "Fury of the Pacific" and was promoted to command duties.

Another Transcendent attack took place almost a year later, this time near the Atlantic border where she was in command of the naval troops. False intelligence was transmitted resulting in their formation breaking apart as the Transcendents plowed through their defensive line. Unable to bear the fact that their opponent had gotten past them, Ophelia made the mistake of using their flagship to attempt to sink the main Transcendent vessel: A plan that resulted in failure, resulting in severe casualties to her side and allowing the Transcendents to occupy the territories they were tasked to protect.

Ophelia was deeply scarred by this defeat among others, resulting in the loss of her left eye, forcing her to leave the battlefield for a long period of time as certain properties in the Transcendent's new weapons caused much damage to her body. After her recovery, she took responsibility for their defeat and was demoted to a regular soldier again.

The trauma though, had caused an adverse effect on her own piloting as her synchronization levels started to steadily drop, being the first person to experience this phenomenon. She tried to force herself to continue but was finally taken off after an evaluation revealed that her levels had dropped dangerously low to properly pilot a Harbinger. Unable to pilot and having no position to take command, she was forced to spend the remaining days of the war as a non-combat base personnel while the newly constructed Earth fleet managed to finally drive out the Transcendents from the surface with their new model Harbingers and warships including the Organum, the strongest of its time, bringing the war on the surface to an end.

While the newly formed fleet started its expansion within the Eastern sector, Ophelia diligently worked hard to regain her status, doing everything she can within her power, rank and ability. During this time, the ceasefire treaty was finally signed and the two sides had moved on from all-out war to territorial expansion. The Organum, now an aging ship, was assigned as the main flagship for Earth's expeditionary force. A more experienced person was required for its captain though so Ophelia immediately volunteered for the position with the hopes that she has the qualifications necessary although the memory of her defeat in the Atlantic border was still fresh within the top brass. She was assigned the position after a careful evaluation although they had assigned one of the pilots to monitor her actions and progress on the ship.





So begins...

Ophelia C. Rossweisse's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov

0.00 INK

Territorial expansion had risen as a top-priority for Transcendents and Humans alike, with both forces sending out fleets to explore the vast expanse of space. Progress started out slow, however, once a side was able to establish colonies, prolonged expeditions had become more feasible as fleets no longer needed to keep returning to the homeland in order to replenish their forces.

Minor battles still break out between Transcendent and Human fleets over rights to a particular territory which of course, results to casualties but overall, authorities aren't quick to immediately use these incidents as a reason for another war. Transcendent fleets, with their huge numbers, were able to cover more space in a shorter amount of time while Human fleets were still hard-pressed to keep up despite their victory in the whole Eastern sector. This had been the situation the two worlds found themselves in for the past 8 years.




The World Beneath had dispatched a fleet to investigate the remains of an abandoned space station somewhere within the boundary between the Eastern and Southern sectors. Although it seemed as if the station hadn't been used for quite a while, the ruined parts that comprise the debris found along with the marks left on the walls indicate that a battle had taken place here not too long ago...

"The Winchester managed to rendezvous safely, I see..." An older officer asks via a real time communications channel displayed on the main monitor. While he still looked impressive with his newly-issued uniform, his face already showed signs of wear, obviously hinting that he had seen better days.

"The supply ship is currently docked with this one and the necessary resources, manpower and Harbingers are currently being transferred as we speak. On another note--judging from the parts we were able to retrieve, I can't help but think that this unfortunate unit was attacked in order to acquire whatever it was they unearthed in this ruined station." The woman replied from the other end, referring to the debris that her force was able to bring in. "Sir...could it be possible that the Transcendents are preparing for another war against us?"

"Impossible. It could be that this unit was merely involved in a territorial strife. Our space-faring capabilities are still rather new so we're not really able to assemble a proper unit that can defend the territories we acquire, save for this one."

The two exchanged information for a little while longer before the officer back at the base ended the transmission, leaving the forces in space to their own devices. The woman sighed and shifted her attention to another monitor on her left, showing the two ships docked together and personnel working around the clock to transfer all the necessary supplies.

The Winchester, although a large ship in its own right, was visibly dwarfed by the larger ship it was resupplying. Beside it, the warship Organum stood in all its old glory. With the addition of newer models being integrated in the army, older ships like itself are now being recommissioned as expeditionary forces in order for the World Beneath to spread its influence over the neutral sectors.

"Captain, the Harbingers and personnel are all accounted for. The Winchester also informed us that it would be leaving in an hour. Oh, and I've got the profiles of all the pilots that were transferred here." A voice spoke on the intercom from outside the door where the woman was in.

"All right." The woman unlocked the door with the press of a button and a younger girl walked in, carrying with her a bunch of paperwork. The older woman took it and gave it a quick scan before turning to the younger one. "Inform the new pilots to report to me one by one. We'll depart for Proud as soon as the Winchester leaves."

"Yes Miss Ophelia." The younger woman responded before walking away, leaving Ophelia to her own devices. Leaving the pilot profiles on the desk, Ophelia opens up the navigation console in her room to review the route they are to take.

"Proud...our next mission. We've received reports that its security systems caught a Transcendent unit headed over to this location a few days ago. It was small but, compare that to a similarly sized fleet of our own and the outcome is obvious." Ophelia sighed as she stared off into an image of the space station they were leaving behind. For her, time passes quickly when she's lost in thought. Either that, or she tends to lose track of time when she's mulling over things. The Winchester had already left a few minutes ago. It was time for them to depart as well.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard

0.00 INK

#, as written by Alligot
Lilas






The Commander had many fears. He would never let those below him know, but space frightened him. He never truly felt safe within the heavy alloy walls that kept him from a gasping, horrible death. He did much prefer it upon the ground, as chaotic and dangerous as it was in its own right.

Yet, his place was aboard his ship now. And the Trials of Winter was orbiting Proud, a planet with a smattering of human outposts, most of them based around mining. None of them likely knowing the danger that lurked above. Accompanying it were three smaller frigates; Prejudice, Finding Fate, and the Aegis. Despite their size, they were every bit as dangerous as the Trials of Winter.

He was standing on a walkway in the control room, observing nearly two dozen various technicians at work, pressing away on terminals and gently speaking into headsets. This was the hub of the ship, the brain that leads it forward. He learned their faces, knew their names. He had individually picked half the men and women standing in this room now. And it was such that he knew that many had grown agitated - agitated towards him. The fleet has not moved for nearly four hours. Four hours for Commander Ashworth to do whatever he set off to accomplish, right under the Captain's nose. As usual.

Still, Ashworth hadn't returned yet. Even worse, he took nearly half of Second Squadron with him. He couldn't deny he wouldn't be pleased if Ashworth failed - the man irritatingly liked to believe he was in charge aboard the Trials. But he would be furious with the loss of not one, but three skilled pilots.

"Captain, Commander Ashworth has docked, accompanied by Ensign Rivaile, and Petty Officer Nilson." Another crewman spoke.

Damn.

"Tell the fleet to warm their engines. We enter atmosphere in an hour, and we're out in three." Too much time standing still in human-owned systems. They needed to bomb the mining outposts and get out. However, he very, very much wanted to have a talk with Ashworth. A long, not necessarily kind talk.

"And tell the heroic commander that Squadron Two - the one he wanted to inspect - is still waiting in their barracks, and I will be meeting him there." Lilas said, striding out of the room.








Amelia






"Hey, Renard. Wake up, for the third time!" Amelia was torn - suddenly and unexpectedly - from her dreams by a loud, agitated voice and a firm hand shaking her shoulder. A blurred, distorted face entered her groggy view, and it took a few seconds and blinks for her to focus.

"There you go, Christ, like waking the dead. Captain wants to see you, remember?" The man said, straightening up to walk away. She couldn't remember his name, she was pretty bad with them. She did know he was one of the other recruits, probably the last one to be - er, what was the word? Reported to, or something?

She sat up with a groan, casting off the jacket she had been using as an impromptu blanket. She and a few of the other recruits had been waiting in the hangar, and she wasn't the only one using her substantial duffelbag as a pillow. Was probably more comfortable than the navy bed they were going to be assigned, anyway.

Yawning, she sat up, hanging the heavy jacket on some bolt sticking out of Bing. Which was what she called the Harbinger, one of the few things she truly had to call her own aboard this ship. She straightened her uniform and hair, trying to get rid of the messiness often caused by sleep as she headed for the Captain's office (but, not without getting lost a few times - even with signs, she still didn't know her way around navy ships).

Amelia eventually found her way, staring at the plaque mounted above the door nearly ten minutes later. Captain Rossweisse. After a moment of thought, she pressed the intercom button, leaning forward. "Crewman Recruit Renard - er, reporting, ma'am." She then leaned back, and anxiously awaited to be called.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko

0.00 INK

"Roger that." The last of the newly transferred personnel left Ophelia's quarters, after having received his own instructors. Ophelia closed the file folder as she leaned her back to rest on her seat, the strain of giving individual commands kicking in. Granted she could just orient them all in one go but, with the coordination their possible opponent exerts into their formations, she needs to make sure that each of the pilots under her command can find their own way around the field should their initial plans be compromised. Which occurs almost on a daily basis.

Ophelia reached down her drawer to take a medicine capsule in order to soothe some pain she felt on her head. Her dropping synchronization levels seems to have started taking effect on her spatial awareness as well. As the pain subsided, she received a message from her XO, regarding two more pilots who hadn't reported in.

"Really? I thought I already managed to run through all of them." Ophelia asks as she reopens the profile folders.

"Apparently, one of them had some difficulty navigating within the ship while the other is what is considered an expendable--"

"All of us are. You, me, all the soldiers here--"

"I understand. However, this one was a prisoner transferred over from a PMC unit. Seems to have some friends in high places."

"And here I was, hoping that the data retrieval at Proud would be the last mission we are to accept from civilian companies. All right, bring them in Officer Fang." It didn't take too long for the two pilots in question to be brought over to her. Ophelia tended to individually assess every new pilot transferred over to her one-by-one not only as a protocol but also as a means of killing time as the Organum made its way towards Proud, one of their established colonies.

"Crewman Recruit Renard - er, reporting, ma'am." Ophelia had the two girls brought in at the same time as they are now nearing Proud's territorial border and pretty soon, she'll need to be back on the bridge in order to handle all the formalities. The first girl, the prisoner, was exactly how she anticipated her. The officer who brought her in handed her the key for her release before leaving the room. "A little rough on the edges, I see... Ren Kotko. Kotko's daughter? Did a good job keeping from the public eye, I see. Still, these synchronization levels are commendable..."

"All right. I'll get straight to the point: Our mission here is to retrieve some data on the colony Proud, which contains a lead on something that's been bothering our minds. Ever heard of the Shoal Incidents? Colonizing fleets sent from the homeland tend to vanish within the Southern, neutral zone only to turn up as debris and wreckage later on. Our guess is that it was done by a Transcendent fleet working in the shadows. Naturally, the other world had denied any knowledge of this and we're not really at a position to call them out as the attacks were done on neutral territory. Fortunately for us, we have our own extraction team prepared for this so there's really no need for us to go inside. Ophelia paused for a little to show the two a projection of Proud and its surrounding territories. "However, Proud is at a very dangerous location as it is located right near the edge of our established territory, leaving a large portion near the western side a neutral zone where a Transcendent fleet could easily strike or threaten the colony to erase the data regarding their involvement. So they decided to send us to guard Proud and intercept this "enemy" striking from the shadows. It is possible that nothing turns up but, we're not really taking any chances. With that said--"

Ophelia then shifted the screen to the specifics on Kotko's designated machine. "The resources our "generous" base had given us mostly comprised of these older generation models. Kotko is to station her machine along a debris field, carrying a high-output, beam sniper rifle. In the event of an attack, your task is to pin down the enemy forces by blanketing them with concentrated fire. You don't have to make a hit but, with your synchronization level, I have no doubt that its possible. The others will provide the distraction as they draw the enemy's attention. Still, I suggest keeping other weapons ready. As for you--"

Ophelie turns to the newly recruited Amelia as the screen shifted to the specifics of her own machine. "Renard's machine will be reconfigured for space combat. Your job is to prevent any Transcendent craft from crossing the boundary. The machine's long-range rifle is up to this task. This would be difficult as you risk hitting the colony if you are to fire from our position so you'll be relocated along with the colony's guard squadron. Keep the colony at your backs all the time."

After giving them a proper briefing, Ophelia finally decides to let them go though she didn't release the locks on Ren Kotko yet, informing her that her locks will be released once she gets into position since she'll be escorted by the troops carrying the heavy sniper rifle. "No fleet of ours has attempted a tenacious attack using older equipment like this in recent years. Emerge victorious and alive in this endeavor, and hopefully, this fleet acquires the recognition it deserves. Maybe then, they'll consider sending us some more support and resources. That's all. Dismissed!"

After dismissing the two, Executive Officer Fang contacted her again. "Proud's defense forces have also deployed to bolster our forces ma'am. We'll be crossing the boundary in a couple of hours soon."

"All right. I'll be heading over to the bridge now." Ophelia ended the contact there as she made her way to the bridge where everyone was waiting.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko

0.00 INK

#, as written by Alligot
Amelia






Amelia stepped out of the office almost numbly - the Captain's words had shocked her. Weren't they at a cease-fire? "I mean, I knew I was joining the navy, but - god, thought I'd get out before I was ever sent to fight." She muttered, more to herself than anyone.

She glanced at the other woman - Ren, or something. Important kid with an important daddy. Amelia would have probably disliked her at any other time, especially since she seemed to get off scot-free with whatever stupid thing she did, like a lot of the politician's kids back in training. But she couldn't even really give a thought to anyone else right now. A sickly feeling had settled in her stomach, and her mouth felt full of cotton.

Walking to her hangar, Amelia wondered - probably hoped - about the small possibility of this Transcendent fleet not showing. After all, it has to be fast, right? Big groups aren't fast, and it wouldn't attack a colony if it were both outnumbered and outgunned. The Organum would show up, and they would run.

She found her hand resting on Bing's cold metal armor. Armor that was hopefully thick enough to stand against what might come. No, she was worrying for nothing. No fleet could hope to destroy an entire colony, not with a human fleet standing behind it. They wouldn't aim for her, the Transcendents would shoot at the ships - the colony, and maybe once it was all over, she'd have a reason to paint those stars on the grand Harbinger's leg like the WWIII pilots used to do.

One for every kill. It couldn't be hard. They're not human, after all.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko

0.00 INK

As the captain talked, blunt as she was, Ren couldn't help but to watch the captain's hand as it accepted the key that would release her restraints. She waved it a time or two as she pointed at the map she'd brought up, prattling on now about the reason they were deploying, but never motioned to hand the key to someone else to release her, or stood to do it herself. This annoyed Ren more and more as time went on, only really paying any attention when her name was brought up.

The captain wanted her in a Harbinger, a thought which made Ren more than a little excited, but as cover in the event of an attack, which might not happen. The prospect wiped the smirk back off of Ren's face, disliking the idea of being on the recieving end of a raid. She supposed it might be karma, if such a thing existed, but at least she would be on the outskirts with a big gun. Kill anything not wearing friendly colors... orders Ren could get behind. Might not hurt to bring a close quarters armament when she deploys, depending on just how old her tin can was going to be and what they had to spare for the meat shield they'd gotten stuck with.

The captain then looked over to the other women standing next to Ren, practically still a kid who was somehow a pilot herself. She didn't carry herself like someone who'd seen combat up close, maybe a schoolyard brawl or tiff in a bar, but she lacked a heaviness to her steps that veterans had. She was going to be the front line of this assault and Ren could practically still see the green still in her. Probably joined hoping to be a clerk or engineer, the poor dumb bitch. Now it was up to the convict to keep her from getting swarmed. Ren wondered what that must be doing to her morale.

The captain addressed her once more, informing her that her locks would be disengaged once she was ready to be deployed, with Ren's only response being to narrow her eyes at her commanding officer. Another inconvenient but not unforeseen decision made for her today. At least by the time her Harbinger docked again she'd be free and walking around. God help them if they tried to put the fucking cuffs back on.

With the briefing over, Ren stepped outside where a guard was waiting to escort her to the hangar bay, though she hesitated as she heard the other pilot talk to herself... something about having thought she'd be out before the fighting started. Ren laughed.

"What do you mean fighting? This is a ceasefire, we're just using blanks to pass the time. Just think of it as tag... but for keeps," Ren said, talking to the pilot but shouting it back so that the captain could hear her.

"My real advice though? If the enemy does show up, count to two before you engage. The only thing the head of a charge does is get shot, unless you think you're really fucking lucky," Ren said, a tad more sincerely but still in a sarcastic tone as the guard impatiently motioned for her to start moving.

-=-

The hangar was a lot bigger but a lot emptier than she was used to, a crew working what could house a full squadron were focusing on just four or five units. Ren let out a whistle at all the potential this hanger could have if the war were back on in earnest. Hell, maybe they'd be instigating the attacks instead of just waiting to get whacked in the back of the head by the enemy and hoping they had enough wits about them to whack them back.

Her eyes spotted the beam rifle the captain said she'd be using, eyeing it as it was moved from the armory to the Harbinger bay proper and settled on a beat up green cyclops that Ren instantly recognized. Her dad had funded a lot of the tech that went into the old T-100 models, but they were far from being top of the line even when they first rolled out of the assembly line. She'd used a modified one, a blue one, back in her criminal days when she'd play pirate on Transcendent supply ships, hoping to cannibalize any tech they found so they could pass it off as human ingenuity. In a way, she supposed, it kind of was.

Ren was led up to the Harbinger and guided to the cockpit, her locks being released once the door was shut and sealed. Ren felt of her wrists and flexed her fingers to get the blood flowing again, looking over the controls as she did so. They looked to be factory standard, a bit more primitive than she liked but nothing she couldn't use. Maybe if enemies did come, they'd be able to 'confiscate' things and Ren could see about getting the gear heads to spruce this bastard up.

She reached over and activated the comm unit, looking over the handy cheat sheet to what frequency was what that some idiot had left in there. She hailed the head engineer, interrupting his greeting to demand the heat axe and whatever sub machine gun they could spare be set up as well. She wasn't going to start throwing elbows at anyone that got close out there, as someone would probably notice the pink focused shots of energy tearing their forces apart at some point.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

The whole ship was tense upon the arrival of the Commander. Judging from their reactions, Ellis concluded that he probably had a mixed reputation among the Transcendents there. Some think he may be too secretive at what he does. "None of them are probably aware on how much Central command delegates to the shadows..." Indeed, there are several missions, assassinations and plotting that the "Proud and Noble" Transcendents wouldn't ever want to come to light. As the ideal, utopian state, they do have their image to uphold after all.

The commander started to brief their forces, and about time too. Most seem to be getting a little restless. Still, although it didn't concern Ellis directly, she decided to listen in anyway. Who knows, maybe her prey might just slip up. As expected, thanks to their careless maneuvers, the colony managed to spot not only the machines but the main ship as well. To their credit, they really were going to send in their own team to erase the data. As what was written in her mission details.

"Arjuna--Will you be joining the forces who will be holding off the Organum?" That took Ellis aback. She wasn't expecting the inspector to talk to her. Was he suspecting something?

"No. I have my own mission to fulfill." Ellis replied as she walked away from the commotion to prepare for her mission. She wondered about bringing her machine along. Would she run into any battles? If she did, then she take note of it as grounds for accusing the unit for incompetency. They were supposed to act as decoys after all. After giving it some thought, Ellis decided to bring it and hide it somewhere along the colony's blind spot, near a waste disposal block. That way, she can wire it to come to her aid immediately if she needed it.

As the time drew near, Ellis launched in a transport shuttle, taking her machine, a small construction machine used for maintaining the ships and some of the ship's scrap parts. She positioned the shuttle and the machine in the field as planned while she used the construction unit to blend in with the scrap parts that she sent floating towards the direction of the colony. She set the shuttle and her machine to respond via remote commands as backup.

"According to my observations, colonies like these follow strict guidelines with regards to monitoring debris around the colony perimeter. Any cluster that weighs around the same weight as a Harbinger would immediately be taken to a loading bay and inspected to see if there are any salvageable parts. Afterwards, it is just expelled along with the rest. If it's the same weight as the other clusters scheduled to be thrown away, there won't be any more checks after that. Then all I've gotta do is slip out the same way. That leaves me almost an hour to get the job done."

As predicted, the debris cluster Ellis made was immediately brought in to see if there are any parts that can be salvaged. She immediately hid behind the seat compartment and waited for the checks to finish. "Normally, these humans do not know how to operate a Transcendent machine. Even if they are to spot this mobile unit and see that it's not damaged in any way, they won't bother trying to take it apart. They'll probably just do a visual search and move on. This peace has hampered everyone's alertness anyway."

Once the maintenance crew left, Ellis got out of the unit and took off her normal suit, revealing the civilian clothing she's prepared beforehand. Immediately, she took off running towards the worker's exit. "No problem. They'll just think I'm some lost tourist if I'm ever spotted. Now, I just need to get on to the human's network..."

In contrast to the approach their chief inspector decided to use, Ellis figured it would be much easier to try and bypass the human's network than send a full squad to destroy the surveillance units. It would be safer too as she can use the human's network against them from a distant location. She immediately broke in a boarding house of sorts and entered the first room with a computer. "Then again, I only know this due to having gone on several missions of the same nature in the past..." After only a few minutes, she was able to locate points where she could access the surveillance data over a remote connection. Quickly, she began her move.

45 minutes. She'll need to finish up fast.



"Captain...we've detected large heat signatures headed to this direction. The signature doesn't match any of our allied frequencies." The Organum's operator cried out.

"They're already here huh? All hands to your stations. The bridge will now be entering combat mode. Deploy the Harbinger unit. Unless instructed, stay on our side of the border at all times. Is Kotko in position yet?" As orders were relayed and crew started moving double time, the bridge of the Organum lowered to a safer position behind reinforced panels. From that point on, they would have to rely on their cameras and radar for navigation.

"A few minutes ma'am. The stationary high-output sniper is in position. T-100 following soon." The operator reported.

"All right. Have the main Harbinger unit position themselves at our flanks. Right flank is to assist with Proud's security forces. The left flank is to guard and defend this ship. Have the Forneus Mk-II lead the offensive on the left flank."

"Visual report in ten minutes. Two enemy vessels detected." Executive Officer Fang reported in.

"Do you think I'm lucky enough for one of those to be our shadow freighter?" Ophelia casually remarked although she wasn't holding her breath for it.

"I don't think so. These signatures are different from last time." Fang responded.

"Just humor me on this one would you? Anyway--" Ophelia contacts Ren on the allied channel. "Kotko, do not fire immediately lest you give away your position. But if you see any machine on their side cross the border then you may fire a warning shot. If they still refuse to cooperate, then you know what to do."

Having relayed enough instructions to prepare their forces, Ophelia contacts the approaching fleet just in case. The visuals revealed them to be of a different class than the one spotted in the surveillance report but, it is possible that this shadow freighter's hiding around somewhere.

"To the approaching Transcendent fleet: This is Captain Ophelia Rossweisse speaking. You are flying dangerously close to our territorial borders. Come any closer and we'll be forced to open fire under the guidelines outlined in the treaty." Ophelia glanced at the crew, making sure everyone's ready. Things could go south pretty fast.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: [NPC] Bartender Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

It didn't take long for Ren to get into position, Her T-100 running on minimal power, watching the screen in front of her that served as her eyes as she waited for the enemy to make a mistake. She was hidden pretty carefully in the debris field, floating gently along other scrapped Harbinger parts and civilian trash that had been spaced. Her harbinger's arms were locked into position, holding the rifle with a finger on the trigger, the only thing left for Ren to do is line up a target when they got just over that border line and introduce a concentrated pulse of plasma to their precious hull integrity. To make things even easier, she even had a dotted line on her visuals that served as a marker for the border that updated in real time, an added measure to make sure she didn't fire to early she supposed. Probably a good call, given the tricky politics that would be involved in this little tea party they were about to have.

The Aegis was slowly creeping along her radar, and would hit her visuals within a few minutes. A familiar tension hit Ren's gut as she tightened her grip on the controls. It had been too long since the last time she'd been in a cockpit with a real gun in her hands, enemies approaching and the stakes being life or death. She'd forgotten the high of feeling that power in your hands. Knowing you were going to kill, to take, to destroy... It was a feeling known to kings and emperors and it was this feeling which caused so many to have sprang from the battlefield. This had to be how the first man to kill an animal for its meat had to feel. How chieftains had felt when they wiped out a neighboring tribe. How professional warriors raised with a sword in their grip felt when feeling the barbarians flail helplessly against their shields. Ren inhaled slowly and held her breath, savoring the feeling for just a moment before exhaling through her nose, probably making a soft burst of static across friendly channels. She hadn't felt powerful since she was locked up, and she would just be the expendable con again when she docked back onto the Organum so she had to enjoy it while she could.

"Kotko, do not fire immediately lest you give away your position. But if you see any machine on their side cross the border then you may fire a warning shot. If they still refuse to cooperate, then you know what to do," The captain spoke, a smile spreading on Ren's face.

"Roger Dodger, Cap. Scary then bury, weapons hot and ready. Trans ship is in visual and begging for it. Taking aim now," Ren called, obviously enjoying herself as her unit gently shifted to bring The Aegis into scope, but shifted again when enemy mechs appeared on her radar.

"Heads up, I've got visual on enemy units. Looks like cannon fodder, no command insignia or officer marks. Both making a run for the border. Preparing the scary..." Ren said, grinning as she brought one of the enemy units into her sights. Looked like a standard infantry unit, carrying a shield and a close range gun, probably automatic. Cockpit would be in the chest and popping the head would fry everything but radar.

"Captain Rossweisse, this is Lieutenant Commander Faust of the Aegis, and we are experiencing engine difficulties. Rest assured, we will have this under control before we cross your border."

The man sounded like an ass, but Ren kept her mouth shut and watched. The enemy units were quickly approaching the border, and she was ready to scare the shit out of the one with the shield as soon as it put a toe over the no-no line.

"Of course, we can't help but notice you've a small armada aimed at us, and under the guidelines of the same aforementioned treaty, any vessel under hostile fire within neutral or allied territory is permitted to defensively retaliate in kind."

"Now see, hearing shit like that makes me think they kind of want us to shoot them. Anyone else? Just me?" Ren said, just before opening a direct line to the captain.

"I've been on the giving end of enough ambushes to know one when I see one. Either they're really trying to jump start that whole war thing, or they really want us to look at their ship while they flank us or something, not that I'm calling that Faust asshole a liar or anything. This just feels... weird," Ren said, an alarm going off in her cockpit just as soon as one of the enemy mechs crossed the border. With barely a twitch of her finger, her rifle fired and a blast of concentrated pink energy went screaming through the void of space, getting close enough to the enemy unit to ruin its paint job but no actual structural damage. The unit froze in place, still on the wrong side of the line but Ren decided that immediately firing again might escalate things beyond what the captain wanted.

"Warning shot fired. Moving position now to keep enemy guessing. I know I'm not in any sort of leadership role out here or anything but, I say let's call their bluff and open fire on the fucking ship when it enters our space. Let Faust prove he isn't a filthy filthy... SHIT!" Ren shouted, a blast from a beam rifle hitting a clump of trash near where her Harbinger had been a moment ago when it had fired the warning shot.

"Tranny has returned fire, I repeat, Tranny has returned fire. Firing at last known position, still invisible. I'd like it noted that beam rifles are not standard engine field repair equipment, copy," Ren said, smirking as she lined up the idiot back into her sights. Didn't matter where this asshole was at now... it just fired at a human owned vessel while in human controlled space. His life was forfeit...

-=-

Words could not describe how elated Petya felt at finally being in the cockpit of one of the Transcendent's finest infantry units, officially deployed, and on a mission of utmost urgency. He was bestowed the prestige of being one of the units designated to baiting the enemy into attacking, under the guise that he was attempting to stop the mighty Aegis from crossing into Human controlled space. His Model-8 had it's shield ready but kept its weapon lowered, following instructions and simply stayed in formation with the ship until the Human Armada was in visual. As soon as it was, he would do as the captain instructed, and venture out into human controlled space in order to begin slowing down the ship to keep it from entering human space.

The humans, those filthy impulsive piles of nerves and impulses, would fire on him as soon as he was in range, and then the captain's brilliant plan would come to fruition. Such a brief cross of the border would be hard to prove, but damaged hardware would not be.

As soon as the captain gave the word, Petya surged forward in his mech, feeling a sense of exhilaration as he approached that forbidden human border, but the feeling was cut short when a round of sniper fire filled his visuals and nearly punched a hole through his mech's head. In panic, Petya came to a complete stop and began scanning the area for where the blast had come from. Seeing as this was space, there was only so much available cover in an endless void of nothingness, but the debris field that orbited the colony immediately caught his attention. It was the most logical choice for a sniper to hide. For the sake of his unit, he had to flush that enemy out or it would jeopardize the entire operation.

"Enemy in the debris! Enemy in the debris! Moving to intercept!" Petya declared, too caught up in the moment of battle to realize that the enemy unit was still in human owned space, and had every right to hide in there so long as it did no damage to the Transcendent fleet.

Petya switched out his sub-machine gun for the standard issue beam rifle his unit was renowned for, and began opening fire on where the blast had come from.

"I repeat, enemy in the debris!" Petya cried, his unit's fingers still pulling the trigger but only produced a silent clicking of an empty click, the iconic noise lost in the vacuum of space.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

"Graham Ashworth! Launching!"

It didn't take long before the Eisenritter had deployed once more. The Nexus Beam Saber still sheathed in its left pauldron, the machine advanced, carrying a beam rifle taken from one of the Gungnirs. He observed the battlefield- there it was, behind reinforced panels, and in front of the colony. The Organum. This wasn't going to be easy, holding off against the flagship just until the infiltration team- and Arjuna, he noted- managed to erase all evidence of them being there. There was a Harbinger unit also guarding the ship.

Graham watched and held his breath as he listened to the conversation going on between the Captain of the Organum and Commander Faust of the Aegis, masquerading the slow approach of the fleet as engine difficulties. It would only take a bit of time until someone- either someone from their side or the humans'- would pull the trigger and then all hell would break loose. And after a bit of waiting, Graham's eyes quickly caught a pink beam.

"Enemy in the debris! Enemy in the debris! Moving to intercept!" The pilot of the Model 8 cried out, and started firing back. Graham released the breath he had been holding for so long. "I repeat, enemy in the debris!" The moment the pilot had repeated it, it seemed that he had run out of ammo for his beam rifle.

He set to work. The Eisenritter advanced- he maneuvered the machine so that it dodged past the beams and bullets fired by the opposing Harbingers and fired back. He just had to pass an extra ammo pack to the Model 8, and he did so promptly. Once his own rifle ran out of ammo, he'd just rely on the Eisenritter's speed and the Nexus Beam Saber to take out the opposing Harbingers. With his skill and the superior technology of the commander-type machine, this wouldn't be too hard. He at least hoped that the Model 8 would intercept the ammo pack.

Initially, Graham had thought of finding out wherever the unit that had fired the first shot at the Model 8 pilot was hiding, but an armor-piercing round speeding towards him made him think better of it. He put up his machine's shield in time, and the protective energy barrier of the Nexus Defensive Shield managed to intercept the round.

It didn't take long for him to identify the machine that had fired at him. It was a white machine that he recognized had quite a reputation on the battlefield. Putting his shield up, he aimed his beam rifle at the opposing machine and squeezed the trigger. If he was lucky enough to take out the veteran machine, he might have a chance of finding out where the hidden machine was.



Alexander had deployed, having received the command to do so. The Forneus Mk-II was leading the offensive for the defense of the Organum, while the two pilots that had just come in were protecting the colony. He quietly listened in on the conversation between Ophelia and the opposing Captain, saying something about engine damage or difficulties. It wasn't long until one of the new pilots spoke up through the comms.

"Now see, hearing shit like that makes me think they kind of want us to shoot them. Anyone else? Just me?" "Technically, we have all the freedom to if they cross the line." Alexander leaned back, arms crossed behind his head.

"I've been on the giving end of enough ambushes to know one when I see one. Either they're really trying to jump start that whole war thing, or they really want us to look at their ship while they flank us or something, not that I'm calling that Faust asshole a liar or anything. This just feels... weird." He hummed, deciding not to reply. He agreed that it was strange that the fleet was drawing closer to Proud of all colonies, and the earlier security system report cemented his belief. Still, a beam shot out, and he saw a Transcendent machine freeze in its tracks before firing back.

"Finally," he thought to himself before his hands were on the controls, firing alongside the Harbinger unit with him. He aimed a few shots at the unit that had fired back, but whether his bullets hit or not was up to fate. Right now, his eyes had been focused on the advancing white and gold unit, the beam rifle in its hand firing pink beams at the other Harbingers. It seemed to be a commander-type unit, judging from the gold accents on the machine. He aimed the rifle with the armor-piercing rounds at the approaching machine and fired.

It paused, reacting quickly as it put up its shield. An energy barrier flashed for a moment and intercepted his bullet. That was settled- this was obviously a new model for commanders. And it was putting up its beam rifle and firing at him.

Maneuvering the Forneus, he dodged the machine's beam. As long as that shield was up, he didn't think he would be taking away its main defense. His quick eyes had also caught the commander unit passing something to the infantry unit. He'd have to be careful. Both machines could attack him. Instead, he decided to fire at the other Transcendent machines. Hopefully they'd be able to drive back this Transcendent fleet from Proud. Glancing back for only a few seconds before focusing again, he remembered that they were with the Organum.

They'd be able to push this fleet back, he was sure.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Emilie Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

The moment was tense. Within a few minutes upon contact, the approaching ships transmitted back, informing them of supposed engine problems. However--

"Of course, we can't help but notice you've a small armada aimed at us, and under the guidelines of the same aforementioned treaty, any vessel under hostile fire within neutral or allied territory is permitted to defensively retaliate in kind."

"Of course. However, at this point, you're not the ones who're at liberty to make such claims. A large portion of the surrounding area around Proud may be neutral however--as far as international jurisdictions are concerned, your nearest settlements are quite far from this point. Kind of weird what a fleet such as yours is doing far from home. Or your immediate outposts for that matter."

While she's already expecting a fight to break out, she had hoped that her knowledge of the laws would be tempting enough to make any hostile force think twice. Yet, she wasn't counting on it. Especially with the Transcendent. A few more moments pass and then--

BAAAAAMMMM!!!!

Ren fired her warning shot which obviously meant that one of the machines clearly crossed the line. The enemy wasn't taking it lying down and opened fire as well. Not too surprising anymore. Everyone's practically waiting for this at this point.

"As I expected. Kotko, continue engaging the enemy from long range but make sure you keep your battle records intact and ready for playback. We'll be able to present this as evidence at the tribunal. Organum will open fire as well. Anti-air, start your barrage!" Ophelia issued orders left and right, overseeing the field of battle while the gun ports of the ship started to blaze, lighting up the dark space.

"No need to hold back on ammo! If either this ship or the colony is sunk, it's all over! Continue to blanket the enemy with fire. Rear guard, cover us!"

"Enemy formation detected! They're headed towards our position, should we have the advance fleet pull back?"

"No, that's what the enemy's trying to do. Extend the right flank's battle line! Intercept the incoming machines." After giving that order, Ophelia immediately called in the left flank. "Alexander, take a squadron with you and try to break through the enemy's flank! Kotko, once you run out of long range capability, retreat and assist our extended battle line on our right. Make sure nothing hits the colony!"

The situation's been pretty typical for the most part. However, a shadow of doubt hangs over Ophelia's mind. If the battle were to turn into one of attrition, they would get the upper hand. Yet the Transcendent's still attempted an attack anyway. "Either they have a trick up their sleeve or whatever they did down at that station is too important for us to find out..."

"Fang!" Ophelia calls over her XO.

"Yes ma'am?"

"What is the status of our Charged Particle Cannon?"



"It's started..." Ellis took notice as she worked on hacking into the surveillance data on one of the security firms stationed on Proud. "The thing with these humans is their love for competition. Multiple security firms on one colony? They mask it under benefits like variety but, it is all just a mad race for profit on their part by using necessities. None of these firms care about each other that they'll be willing to dispatch a team to aid another that's been hacked." A few more minutes pass. Finally, the receiver on her device clicked, informing her that her mission's successful. Quickly, she unplugged the device and headed out her prepared escape route.

"Maybe I could have been more careful..." Ellis glanced at the trail of dead employees she left in the room before running out.

In accordance with her plan, Ellis returned to the waste collection and disposal area to sneak out through the worker pod she used to get in. Normally, humans don't bother with Transcendent machines as they find the technology difficult to comprehend but--

"It's not here?! Don't tell me--!" Ellis immediately ducked in the shadows as she heard some guards storm in. Her plans were compromised. She never considered the humans would actually salvage her worker pod. "Fine!" Ellis took out her remote to activate the Victoria and transmitted the coordinates where she would rendezvous with the machine. She would have to pilot her way out of this place.

"I guess I can never be too lax around these humans...Now, how do I slip past these people?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

#, as written by Alligot
Lilas






"They're not retreating, Sir." A nearby officer noted.

"Not a large matter. All that changes is that we fight in human borders. Just have to take extra care that none of them make it away." Lilas replied.

The captain carefully examined the display ahead of him, the holographic blips and shapes advancing towards one another. With the window shutters closed, this was the only way he could see skirmish outside. The Aegis, Predjudice, and the Commander's squad escorting them had started to advance dead center towards the enemy - directly towards the assortment of smaller frigates and Harbingers that likely formed the local defensive force, and the indomitable Organum that lurked behind, guarded by what seemed to be a small group of long-range Harbingers.

Of course, such a maneuver would leave the group open to being surrounded. An oversight that the Organum's captain would not be quick enough to capitalize on.

"A bit unfair, a ship that size fighting our fleet. " Lilas mused, hailing the commander of Finding Fate through the communications, "We don't like unfair fights, now do we?"

"No, we do not, Captain." She replied.

"Let's even these odds, shall we?" He said, a faint smile tugging on his lips. "Uncloak and switch those engines on. We're hitting the Organum from the side."

All around him, he could feel as the ship vibrated - as the field that had kept them so well-hidden started to disappear. Slowly the intimidating, alien figure of the Trials came into view, followed by it's smaller sister. Not even moments later, the distant outlines of mechs, fighters, and bombers could be seen emerging from the rear, surrounding their mothership in a well-practiced circular formation. And then, they surged forward, metallic locusts eager to lay waste to humanity.

"Bombers, break the Organum's shields, disable their weapons systems. Fighters and mechs, get them to their destination. Keep both their Harbingers and their turrets occupied." Lilas said, his words punctuating the first beam volley launched by the flagship. The Finding Fate joined in as well, launching a barrage of missiles at the larger Organum.

A chill crept down his spine. Yet, he loved his feeling. It was a raw, primal anticipation. He will see both Proud and the Organum crumble into dust. All in self-defense, of course.






Amelia







Amelia's old H-01 trembled and vibrated with every shot as the jets on Bing's back tried to keep the large Harbinger from flying into space. The rifle was incredibly powerful, and had the added bonus of being a bit more mobile than the stationary one assigned to the other woman. She was sure she saw a Transcendent machine buckle and and swerve after she pulled that trigger.

Even though she had followed the woman's advice - she had counted to two before shooting, it didn't seem to help very much. The edge of her cockpit was carbon scored from a stray Transcendent beam. Luckily, the strong glass didn't crack, but it did make seeing out the lower right a bit more difficult.

"No need to hold back on ammo! If either this ship or the colony is sunk, it's all over! Continue to blanket the enemy with fire. Rear guard, cover us!"

Of course, Amelia was on the rear guard. With about four other Harbingers - none of them belonging to the Organum, she'd been taking potshots at the approaching Transcendent group while most of the other Organum Harbingers fought on the front. Most seemed ordinary, save for one lightning fast machine that wielded a shield, firing upon another Harbinger.

She took careful aim, trying to adjust for the craft's speed. The rifle's targeting mechanics helped quite a bit, and she took three shots, trying to get the fearsome machine to back up.

It was a cowardly thought, but she was a bit glad to be behind. She did not feel the raw fear and terror she was sure had awaited her, but perhaps it was because she was seeing it all from a relatively secure distance. Then again, compared to the massive Organum, how could those two Transcendent frigates - tiny in comparison - even hope to scratch Proud?

Then, she heard an alert on the monitor. Blips appearing on the radar where there originally were none, somewhere to her left. She twisted the controls, angling Bing to the side... and seeing a much more worrying sight. One that crushed her previous confidence with virtually no mercy.

Two Transcendent ships - one, the size of the other two attacking Frigates - and the other was much, much larger, both in terms of size and in the contingent that followed it. They were approaching quickly - and already much, much closer to Amelia and the Organum than the first two ships were.

It took her a minute to even figure out what to say. "The left! They're - more Transcendent forces on the left side!" She hurriedly said, jamming her thumb on the required button as she attempted to broadcast her message.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

Before she manages to pull the trigger on the idiot that kicked this whole battle off, the radar in Ren's cockpit began going nuts as the rest of the Transcendent forces began surging forward, slamming hard against the front lines that the captain had set up between that fleet and the colony. One twitchy little bastard could wait, especially since it couldn't even fire at long range anymore, not when there was higher priority targets to take out to keep the battle going in their favor. These were atypical Trans tactics, taking full advantage of their superior numbers to overwhelm the enemy. They didn't need ace pilots in the same way humans did, not when your entire army is willing to throw themselves on the proverbial landmine for the motherland.

"As I expected. Kotko, continue engaging the enemy from long range but make sure you keep your battle records intact and ready for playback. We'll be able to present this as evidence at the tribunal. Organum will open fire as well. Anti-air, start your barrage!"

Ren allowed herself a laugh at that. "Oh boy, a tribunal?! Captain you sure know how to show a girl a good time," she said as she began moving through the debris field again, looking for a target to spend her very precious limited ammo on. She had one or two in mind, of course, having spotted the enemy unit bearing a commander's colors going to bail out that idiot with the shield from before, and of course she knew that some well placed shots might be able to cripple one or both of the frigates if she was lucky. Not like they were capable of dodging a direct shot, but Ren would have to be lucky in that not enough Tranny machines stayed with the fleet to protect their precious warships. It wouldn't be luck though, if they were all attempting to surround their armada, which would require most of their units to pull off.

"Alexander, take a squadron with you and try to break through the enemy's flank! Kotko, once you run out of long range capability, retreat and assist our extended battle line on our right. Make sure nothing hits the colony!"

"The left! They're - more Transcendent forces on the left side!"

Just as the voices rang out through the comm lines, Ren's radar shit itself as another enemy ship uncloaked on the Organum's side, one much more capable of hurting the ship than the other little pests Ren was still moving to intercept.

"Captain, you made a friend. Moving to intercept an enemy unit, might punch a hole in the net if they don't spot me first. attempting to introduce the void of space to the... Prejudice's bridge. Who the fuck names these ships? Captain, permission to rename the Organum to the Five Knuckle Shuffle so as to avoid Tranny pretentiousness," Ren called, steadying herself now that she was in position. She was straight ahead of the frigate now on the outer edge of the debris field, sights angled on where she knew most Trans ships had their control rooms, though she planned on a three round burst , which would only leave her with three more shots with the sniper before it would be useless except as a very expensive club.

"What do the rest of you pilots think? Oh, or The White Whale like from that book. Then it'll be hilarious when we blow up other ships," Ren quipped, and fired a three round volley aimed square at the cockpit of the Prejudice, Ren's T-100 doubling back to the front-lines at full speed. Wouldn't do The White Whale any good if Ren fucked around with these frigates all day when there was a warship just itching for some high output rounds right into it's engines.

Ren was zipping about through the debris, her thrusters off as soon as she reached speed to keep her from showing up on enemy heat signatures, only activating to correct course. She was taking full advantage of it now, but she got the feeling when she got back to the battle proper she wouldn't be hiding for very much longer.

"Alright boys, three rounds left... who needs long range back-up? Cute girl from the briefing? Whoever the hell Alexander is? Mom says I gotta go when I run outta batteries though," Ren said, smiling as she had the various explosions from the battle back in her visuals.

-=-

Petya was still pulling the trigger when that extra ammo pack hit his M-8 in the head, able to hear the thunk even in the cockpit. It snapped Petya out of the haze that had covered his mind, taking some deep breaths to calm himself and get his senses back under his control. His M-8 grabbed the ammo pack and reloaded, barely dodging the shots fired on him, avoiding one but needed his shield to take the other. He had to activate thrusters to keep his suit steady after the blast connected, his shield holding up well thanks to the superiority of Transcendent engineering.

"Thank you, sir! Advancing on the enemy units to bring victory to the fleet!" Petya cried, his M-8 charging forward now towards the enemy that had most recently fired at him. It was an older white suit, one that Petya doubted could stand up to the pinnacle of Transcendent infantry. He returned the favor, raising his shield and firing a three shot volley at the suit before packing away the beam rifle, switching to the close range light machine gun.

Petya did not even bat an eye as the rest of the Transcendent forces removed their cloaks and began firing on the enemy ships. He was focused on the objective at hand, which was to eliminate enemy suits and die if it allowed for a tactical advantage.

"These swine were fools for challenging the glory of the Transcendent Fleets! Brothers and sisters! Slay them all!" Petya laughed, the adrenaline flooding his system again.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Emilie Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna

0.00 INK

"The left! They're - more Transcendent forces on the left side!"

"I know...Fang, could that be--?" Reinforcements in the form of two warship should damper spirits a little. Yet, it wasn't the scale or numbers that Ophelia caught notice of. What caught her eye was one of the ship that chose to reveal itself.

"Yes. The one from the initial image we received..." Fang answered back, keeping a close eye on the movement of the enemy fleet.

"So this is our shadow freighter...As much as I want to sink it down, this one ship against four of them aren't exactly favorable conditions to fight in..."

"But, we can't ignore the possibility these machines would attack Proud if we retreat. For a supposed misunderstanding, they seem awfully eager to destroy us in our own sector. Is this a possible declaration of war?"

"We won't know unless there's an official statement from the mainland. At any rate, I don't plan on retreating here... Have Alexander's group pull back! Intercept the enemy machines and destroy them before they get a shot at this ship! Organum will accelerate and pull back!" Ophelia issues new commands, though the nature of the commands made Fang feel a little uncomfortable.

"Ma'am, surely you don't intend to use the colony as a shield do you?" Fang protests.

"Oh, I'm going to use the colony. Just, not as a shield." Fang looked at Ophelia in surprise who, in turn, just gave her a small nod. "Set the Charged Particle Cannon's firing sequence! Target: The two advance ships!"

"We're not going to be able to turn in time! If we stop now, they're going to sink us!"

"No, we're not going to stop! Ready the port side Rocket Anchors! Increase our speed and charge! Fang, I need you to man the cannon's firing mechanism."

"Are you sure about this?" Fang asked, much more calmer now.

"Doing this, we take out at least half of their overall combat capability. Most likely, they were just sent in to buy time for them to hinder our own extraction team. In the first place, the two ships earlier are the main reason why this battle broke out. Take them out and the Transcendent will lose their reason for being here."

"Got it!"

The Organum moved on to the edge of the colony at speeds impressive enough for a ship its size. Concentrating their shields at the rear, the incoming enemies were intercepted by both the guard forces and the Organum's own anti-air fire. Inside, the crew were on the edge of their seats. Timing would be very critical at this point. No sooner than three minutes, they had reached their target destination.

"Anchors fire!" The ship launched its port side anchors, embedding themselves in the colony bedrock. Without reducing their speed, the Organum used the colony as a pivot in order to immediately do a quick turn, emerging from the back of the colony. The Organum ascended as it released its anchors and prepared to fire its guns.

"Captain, what if it doesn't work?" Their young operator implored, panic rising to her throat.

"Then we can all complain to Ren Huifang in heaven! Tell all allies to steer clear of the line of fire! Fang!"

"Sights set! Charged Particle Cannon--" The guns underneath the wings started to glow an eerie red, giving off intense amounts of energy and heat as it set its sights on the Prejudice and Aegis. As soon as their allies are out of the way, Ophelia quietly gives the order. "--Fire!!!" With that, Fang pulled the trigger and the Organum fired off two intense beams of a large diameter, headed straight for the two approaching Transcendent craft, vaporizing anything in the way.



"What?!" Ellis was shaken a little as she felt the shock of the high-caliber beams from within the colony interior. "The situation's looking bad... I'll need to get out..."

"Hey, hold it!" A roving guard managed to spot Ellis and she quickly ran while he called for the security personnel to arrive. They chased after her into the disposal area, armed with assault rifles. "It's okay." They thought. It's just one intruder.

However, upon arriving at the disposal block, what greeted them was not the white silhouette of the girl they were chasing after but rather, the brilliant sheen of a war machine clearly not from this world. The machine's blue eyes let out an eerie glow as it turned its back on the men to make its escape in the vast open space.

Along the way, Ellis passed by fresh debris from the ongoing battle. Most of the machines had been shredded, making it hard to tell which of them were once theirs. However, her visuals soon focused on two rather large objects on her radar.

"Aegis and Prejudice?! What happened--Is anyone there?!" Ellis tried making contact but the ships were unresponsive. Could it be that their forces were overrun? The mighty Inspection unit beaten by only one ship and a bunch of low-quality machines? Before she can wallow in this scenario, Ellis' radar revealed two large allied signatures that had entered enemy territory.

"Finding Fate and the Trials of Winter? Weren't they supposed to stay back? Besides--damn it!" Ellis immediately opened a direct channel to both Captain Setoen and the Inspector Ashworth. "Infiltration mission successful. This battle had already turned to one of attrition in which we clearly are at a disadvantage. I propose a retreat. As we are intruding upon their territory, they have a much better chance of acquiring reinforcements than we have. It is possible that more humans are en route here as we speak. This is an order. Know that to defy me means to defy central HQ."

After giving that general order, Ellis gave the two men a sharp glare. "Commander, I expected you to have a better grasp of the situation and full knowledge of the enemy's capabilities prior to the start of this operation." Ellis referred to the machines they lost. Turning to Captain Setoen, she continued. "As far as I was aware, the flagship was to stay behind lest the enemy recognizes the ship and use it as a case for the dissolution of this unit. I suppose simple orders to stay put were too much for your old mindset to follow." With that last remark, Ellis cut off communications. Still, she was able to confirm one thing:

"Failing to follow through a strategy...Apparent displays for disruptive behavior...Opinions differing from the cultural norm...Dominant qualities of rogues. I'll need more decisive evidence but for now, it seems Captain Setoen is the rogue we are looking for..."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

"Thank you, sir! Advancing on the enemy units to bring victory to the fleet!"

As of the moment, Graham couldn't focus on the pilot's words. The white machine was opening fire on him, and it had reared back only to take a squadron with it and try to break their formation. Graham gritted his teeth and stopped firing as the machines neared- the Eisenritter's hand shot up to its left pauldron and drew the Nexus Beam Saber from its shoulder, activating it as a human Harbinger was immolated by the whip-like slash of the blade. "Stand your ground! They're trying to break our formation!" He roared to the other machines in the Transcendent fleet. He backed away from the white machine as the Zweireiter advanced in front of him to intercept. Graham noticed the Model 8 also start to fire at the veteran machine, causing it to draw back.

However...he watched, dumbfounded as a volley of beams started firing.

"What the hell?! The Trials of Winter was supposed to be keeping itself hidden--!" Graham resisted the urge to punch his monitors and instead focused on trying to break the squadron that the white machine had brought with him. Speaking of which, he noticed that the machine was drawing back, and the Organum was moving. "What are they doing...? Could they be using the colony as a shield--?" He mused to himself, and realized that they were pushing the squadron to the defensive. At least, that's what Graham thought. "You're not getting away!" The Eisenritter lurched forward, the Nexus Beam Saber's blue glow shining in its hand as it pursued the white machine.

He was surprised as the white machine raised one of its rifles and emanated a pink beam saber to block his. The added voltage of the Nexus was stronger, but the Harbinger drew back before it could be destroyed, and the tip of the Nexus Beam Saber scratched the surface of its shoulders instead. Suddenly, one of the Gungnir pilots cried out into his comms. "Sir! The Organum-- i-it's--! AHHH!!!" The Harbinger escaped his grasp before Graham was shaken by the Zweireiter grabbing onto the Eisenritter and pushing it back- just in time for Graham to see humongous red beams tear through their defenses. The beams nearly seemed to swallow both the Aegis and the Prejudice, and when it cleared Graham could see that both warships were damaged heavily.

"Impossible...that weapon nearly vaporized both our ships...tch--!" "Sir, are you alright?" "I'm fine, Rivaile." Graham pushed away from the Zweireiter just as a familiar voice came onto his comms.
"Infiltration mission successful. This battle had already turned to one of attrition in which we clearly are at a disadvantage. I propose a retreat. As we are intruding upon their territory, they have a much better chance of acquiring reinforcements than we have. It is possible that more humans are en route here as we speak. This is an order. Know that to defy me means to defy central HQ."
It was Arjuna. Hearing her last words made Graham grip his controls, and before he could speak out, it seemed that the Infiltrator had other words for him as well. "Commander, I expected you to have a better grasp of the situation and full knowledge of the enemy's capabilities prior to the start of this operation." He could hear the disappointment and annoyance in her voice, but Graham swallowed his pride. It didn't mean he was any less annoyed than her though. She had other words for the Captain as well, but Graham wouldn't hear them- he turned to the remaining machines. "The infiltration mission was successful. Let's get out of here before we lose any more men." He ordered, voice grim. The Zweireiter's head turned to his for a moment but he wouldn't notice it- he had already started to withdraw. "Rivaile! Tell the other strike team to retreat!" "Got it. You heard him! Get out of there!" The Zweireiter lagged a bit to ensure that the machines were retreating before following suit.

They may have finished the mission but they had lost two great ships today.



""Alexander, take a squadron with you and try to break through the enemy's flank! Kotko, once you run out of long range capability, retreat and assist our extended battle line on our right. Make sure nothing hits the colony!" "On it, Captain!"

The Forneus drew back a bit to signal to the other Harbingers, and advanced again. Alexander met the commander machine again, firing at it before it drew out its beam saber and started advancing towards him after destroying one of his comrades. "Well, this one's feisty." He chuckled before the Forneus raised its rifle, firing at the mech. However, the commander stubbornly refused to break formation and instead drew back as a black and red machine zoomed towards the Forneus.

From his experiences on the battlefield, he had only seen this black machine a couple of times- it was the mass-production version of the commander machine they had with them now- but he remembered it having two beam sabers. He noticed the beam saber handles on its hips, but this one was carrying a massive beam axe. The beam axe swung down, and Alexander backed away so that the tip of the beam dug deep into his left arm. He gritted his teeth and pushed the rifle's tip against the other machine's shoulder before activating the beam, punching a hole through its shoulder.

""The left! They're - more Transcendent forces on the left side!" "Oh come on," He exaggerated his sigh. Still, he did notice the ships approaching and trying to hit the Organum in the side. "Would be great if that was the same ship Proud spotted. That just means the Transcendents are honestly trying to start a war with us or something." He remarked, more to himself than anything.

He could hear the other pilot in the sniper joking about the Transcendent ship names, and he had to hold back a chuckle at the ideas. Still, the infantry unit from earlier was firing at him, and the mass-produced model was pursuing him. "Alright boys, three rounds left... who needs long range back-up? Cute girl from the briefing? Whoever the hell Alexander is? Mom says I gotta go when I run outta batteries though." "Well excuse you," Alexander murmured, chuckling a bit. Still, he did need a bit of help with that infantry unit. He couldn't take his eyes off the commander nor its mass produced model.

Speaking of, as he and his squadron started to draw back, he noticed the white and gold machine racing towards him, its blue beam saber poised to strike. With no shield, the Forneus raised its other rifle and tried to block the beam saber with its own bayonet, although with the Transcendent machine's added voltage, that proved to be futile. Luckily, Alexander managed to get back before it could damage him heavily.

Just in time to see two red beams fire from the Organum. "Man, I haven't seen that in a long time!" He commented, watching as the black machine tackled the commander to keep it away from getting killed in the Charged Particle Cannon's beam. "And so, those two Transcendent ships are down. I'm willing to bet they've got real engine difficulties now, instead of their excuse." He laughed to himself. Surveying the area after the beam had died down, he noticed the Transcendent machines retreating.

"Well, that's that, I guess," he leaned back in his cockpit. "Now to wait for any more orders."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

There was a certain flow to battles that Ren had missed, the familiar stress spreading through her veins as all the information on her screens changed and updated as the battle raged on. Only Alexander, whoever the hell that was, had responded to her call for fire support, and so Ren rushed to the right flank. It was an easy enough task to maneuver through the chaos, provided you keep your thrusters on full blast and stayed away from the frigates. It seemed most of the enemy units were equipped for shorter ranges, and since she hadn't stopped to engage, most enemies were content to ignore her for the defensive lines in front of them, at least until Ren let off of the gas when she got closer to the little blip on her radar that coincided with Alexander's unit, whoever the hell that was.

"Seems you've got an infestation of fucking Transcendent bastards. Let's see if we can't apply a nice topical ointment for you," Ren said, taking aim at that familiar looking infantry unit and firing off a shot, then quickly turned towards another group of enemies that were attempting to regroup with the command unit Alexander was tangling with. Two more shots fired into the crowd to split them up, and one of the bastards in the back took a hit right to the cockpit, popping like a firecracker at the ass end of the formation. The group zeroed in on her, and Ren couldn't hold back a grin as her T-100 let go of the sniper rifle, it being all but useless to her without a new ammo pack.

Three of the enemies stopped and raised their light machine guns to open fire, but hesitated as Ren's suit rushed forward with axe in hand, slashing the firing arm off of the closest enemy unit and grabbed hold of it's shoulders to use it as a shield when the other two enemies began to open fire.

"Gotta love all that noble selflessness those Trannies are known for, huh?" Ren said, laughing as she shot forward again with her meat shield still in her grip, letting go and shifting upwards so that her shield would collide with its comrades. Dodging took them just long enough to draw out her own light machine gun, and she opened fire on the lot. the already damaged unit took the brunt of the assault, sparking and looking ready to pop at a moments notice, while the other two which had just been grazed seemed to be spooked, hesitating to return fire. Ren charged again, another volley of bullets slamming into her opponents which saw the one armed suit finally explode and the other two retreating, at least in so far as the Trans ever did. They'd report their location and request reinforcements, and more Trannies would fall in to take her on, which is exactly why she fled back to the left flank where she'd been ordered to go when she ran out of ammo, which she had.

The tactical information of the Big Ass Guns on the Organum probably fell under 'need to know basis' territory, but it would have saved Ren a lot of wasted time if someone had told her about the Big Ass Guns before she tried to take out one of the frigates to keep the ship from being surrounded. The situation sorted itself out, she supposed, watching the carnage as she helped an older T-90 unit hold the line on the left flank. Several friendlies began whooping and cheering into their comms, celebrating victory as the Transcendent began to return to their ships to fall back.

"Good job everybody, especially you Alexander, whoever you are. Drinks are on me. There's booze on the ship, right? Captain?" Ren asked, half joking. She caught herself eyeing the battlefield and all the abandoned or destroyed enemy units left behind by the frigates as they turned tail. The sight made her nostalgic.

"Lot of good scrap out here, if you have the room for it, Captain. Can't beat free when it comes to spare parts and spare weapons. We got time to get a salvage crew together before we all get put in chains?" Ren asked, voice lacking it's usual sarcastic tone.

-=-

The brave charge Petya had attempted to lead was cut short when a high impact round hit his thrusters dead on, nearly crippling his M-8 in the void of space, save for the smaller course correcters that dotted his suit.

"Dishonorable cretin! You would face me proper if you had any faith in your skills!" Petya cried, his suit then crashing face first into the remains of an enemy Harbinger. It was the latest in a string of indignities during his first actual encounter, but his father had warned him that combat would not be like the training camps or even the live fire simulations, though Petya doubted that this was what they had meant.

Petya had no choice but to use his course correcters to blast his suit back towards the neutral zone and away from the combat zone, sending out a distress signal to units nearby. It was embarrassing for a Burundukov to need help, much less in basic mobility, but the indignity was preferable to being stranded in the middle of a warzone.

"M-8 unit, Pilot Burundukov. Distress signal received, initiating retrieval. Can your unit move? Is it combat capable?"

The sound of a friendly unit elated Petya, slowly turning to face the new ally as it approached, scrambling to take hold of the comm unit to respond to their queries.

"Burundukov responding. M-8 has suffered critical thruster failure, unable to fall back without assistance. Can still fire, and capable of covering you during retrieval," Petya beamed, resisting the urge to have his unit wave as another M-8 came into view.

"Roger that, going to give you a push towards the Prejudice before returning to combat, copy?"

"Copy, comrade," Petya said, giddy almost that he wasn't going to have to try to fly back to base through a warzone with the tiny little jets on the front of his suit. The other pilot didn't respond to Petya's comment, instead grabbing his suit by the shoulder and charging forward, pushing him back toward what was now officially controlled Transcendent space. The suit let go almost immediately, darting back out into the fray against the enemy, leaving Petya with his back toward the enemy ship, a serene view of the Transcendent fleet as it fired its cannons.

He practically had front row seats as the Organums charged particle cannon lit up the surrounding area, hammering the two Transcendent ships in the beam's path, including the Prejudice that Petya was still floating towards. his mouth hung agape as the attack ended and he could see the devastation left behind by that cannon, and all of the allies that had probably just died at the hands of the human scum.

"Burundukov reporting. Enemy successfully crippled two allied frigates, the bastards. Requesting assistance as my suit's thrusters are damaged and am currently on a trajectory towards the emptiness of space. Copy?" Petya called, voice shaking as he tried to sound formal, unable to tear his eyes away from the melted metal and the skeletal frames of the once proud Transcendent frigates that had been terrorizing the humans just moments ago. It was this destructive power and fool-hearty use of it that had caused this war to begin with, and now it would start it anew. It was as good a reminder as any as to why the humans needed to be wiped out, those filthy lice of the galaxy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

#, as written by Alligot
Lilas


It was a deep, sickly feeling. Creeping through his spine, spreading to his fingers and toes. It was not like the anger or rage he thought he would feel. No, his rage was like fire, bursting from his very figure. But now? He felt stuck, as if he were amid a sea of molasses.

Shame.

It was the only thing he could feel as the fleet limped away. He could hardly register the casualty report that was being read to him by a junior officer. His words seemed to bounce off the walls and shake the captain's skull.

"Four pilots killed in action."

This was his fault. He sought a glorious victory. Wiping away inferior human technology like he had been accustomed to. He didn't expect them to have advanced so readily. He didn't expect a truly level playing field. And now, they ran - RAN with their tails between their legs.

"Aboard the Aegis, fourty-two killed in action. Eighty-five injured. Seven missing."

Of course, all at the suggestion of that loyal dog belonging to higher command. Commander Ashworth granted one of Lilas' squadrons for personal command, Arjuna doing god knows what and ordering HIM about, as an inferior! It would not have been such a disaster if they truly cut him loose. Gave him command. He was given no orders back in the war, save for a single target with the risky communications he made after a success. He was not expected to abide by any other tactic but turning the human's raw savagery against them.

"Aboard the Prejudice, twenty-seven killed in action. Fifty-two injured. Two missing. Both ships are running on life support. We'll need to transfer their crew and tow them back to a Transcendent outpost. There are also numerous damaged machines floating about with possibly injured pilots."

So many dead. Two of the finest ships wasted before their mettle could be tested. They could have done great things - became feared! Their names uttered in hushed, scared whispers from human lips. Now, they were bloodied husks.

"Transfer the remainder of the Prejudice and Aegis to the Trials. Retrieve the stranded pilots, make priority on the ones closest to the border - they're at risk for snatch and grabs." Lilas croaked. "I want this done within the hour. Dismissed."

The assistant nodded, leaving Lilas' office. Since the battle, subsequent retreat, and the almost-literal reaming he had received from that insufferable agent, he took up refuge, for lack of a better word.

Arjuna had to be on her way to him now. That fact was the one thing that still kept him sane, oddly enough. He was going to open a channel to high command, and he was going to figure out why it seemed like he was no longer the captain of his own damned fleet. And he truly hoped that she would be there for it.

He took a moment before opening the line of communication. It was not going to be a pleasant talk.






Amelia


This is what humanity was now capable of. Amelia saw it with her own eyes - two indomitable Transcendent vessels almost utterly destroyed with a single shot! A single shot that sent the rest of them running to the hills! Amelia only wished she had gotten one as they ran. She had grossly missed her previous quota of three kills by at least two. And even then, she wasn't sure she had really gotten the first one.

She'll paint the mark anyway. Nobody would know, and she'd seem more experienced.3

Amelia found herself shaking once again as the adrenaline that had once coursed through her veins now withered away, just like the terror she had once felt. The horror stories she heard at home couldn't be true if their victory was this easy, could they?

"And so, those two Transcendent ships are down. I'm willing to bet they've got real engine difficulties now, instead of their excuse."
One of the other pilots quipped, only adding to Amelia's naive mirth. She recognized his voice - an older pilot, one she was sure wouldn't recognize hers, so she stayed quiet. It was a childish feeling, but in the wake of their victory, the last thing she wanted was to make a fool of herself over the comms.

Yet, easy didn't mean there weren't sacrifices. She could see a few Harbingers floating listlessly - their pilots either dead, unconscious, or having ejected from a disabled machine. Though, comparing that to what the Transcendents suffered is like comparing a bug bite to a bullet wound. Even so, she set the powerful jets in motion, propelling herself towards one such limp Harbinger. When they get recalled, they'd have to carry these back in anyway.

"Lot of good scrap out here, if you have the room for it, Captain. Can't beat free when it comes to spare parts and spare weapons. We got time to get a salvage crew together before we all get put in chains?"
Amelia was fairly sure this voice belonged to that woman from the briefing. The same one who could not keep from spouting crude profanity and inappropriate banter in the middle of a fight.

Like a character from a movie, almost. Amelia mused, before turning her communications on.

"Can we even use Transcendent technology? Isn't it supposed to be too alien to use?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Emilie Renard Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

"Good job everybody, especially you Alexander, whoever you are. Drinks are on me. There's booze on the ship, right? Captain?"

"I suppose we can relax a little..." Ophelia sighed, as the Transcendent fleet had started to retreat. Their soldiers were rather ecstatic. It has been a while since they beat their sky-faring opponents in their natural habitat. "Still, do not let down your guard. Continue monitoring the situation. All wounded craft are to report directly to this ship's or the colony's facilities. Maintain combat alert for the meantime."

"Think there's a chance they'll be coming back?" Officer Fang asked as she returns to her post by Ophelia's side.

"I wish my luck's good enough for the Transcendent to retreat this time. That last shot consumed a lot of power." Ophelia sighed as she relaxed, exhausted from overseeing the battle. "I also hope that will earn me a favorable evaluation--"

"You're still worrying about that?"

"I suppose..." As the damaged machines have started to be brought in one by one, Ophelia took note of the damage they have sustained. They've lost soldiers but, the important thing was that the colony was mostly unharmed. Mostly. Unfortunately, their dispatch team encountered the enemy infiltration team and was overrun. Someone managed to send the data but, only fragments of the original evidence made it through.

"Good thing you had the others record their battles..." Fang tried to reassure her Captain. "We also caught the shadow freighter on our cameras so it's not as if this was a fruitless battle."

"Good point. Still, unlike our sky-faring neighbors, we don't have the manpower to spare for these expeditions. If at all possible, I would like to prevent casualties this high in the future. Why don't you take a rest Fang? I'll handle everything else."

"Lot of good scrap out here, if you have the room for it, Captain. Can't beat free when it comes to spare parts and spare weapons. We got time to get a salvage crew together before we all get put in chains?"

"Can we even use Transcendent technology? Isn't it supposed to be too alien to use?"

Ophelia just chuckled over what she heard at their comms. Their conversations remind her of the time she was still strong enough to get into one of those cockpits and experience the war first-hand. Of course, to those peace-spoiled bystanders, war wasn't something to feel good about but admittedly, being a Harbinger gives one a sort of pride and strength one cannot acquire anywhere else. It was this feeling of pride which she missed in her younger days.

"Our engineers can technically reverse engineer this technology though our current technology is more than a match already. On the other hand, we can also trade this for scrap. Either way, we benefit." Ophelia replied and checked the status of her ship. They have their hands full apparently. Although she did recall that Kotko does have her connections in the manufacturing field. "Sure, you can bring them in but you'll have to stock those up within the colony first. The Organum's got its hands full right now. We've also sustained some damage so we'll be docking at Proud for the meantime for repairs and resupply. Ren Kotko, I'll leave an engineering team in your division. Help facilitate the retrieval."

"Once the ship has docked, you guys can take a look around the colony if you like. But be sure to be back at 1500 Hours." She turns to the people in the room with her as well. "That opportunity extends to you as well. Go on before I change my mind. However, medical and maintenance crew are to remain here."

"Yes ma'am though, there is one problem." One of the maintenance people reported to her. "That maneuver we took when we fired the particle cannon caused a minor damage in the blast panel. It is easy enough to replace but--"

"Replace it. Don't worry too much about the funding."

"Well, price is not the issue here. As our ship is an older model, none of our manufacturers makes these parts any more. It will be difficult to source them at this time. I've already spoken to the team stationed at Proud. They don't carry this model here."

"Isn't there another source we can find? I don't really want to charge in with this ship while lacking our "Big Stick"."

"Well--there is one colony we could try. It would be risky though and we'll need to ask HQ to mediate our docking there so--"

"I'll handle talks with HQ. What's the name of the place?"

"The outlaw colony of Albion. They deal with exotic trade there and an evaluation from last month has confirmed that they still carry parts for pre-expansion warships like the Organum."

"Al..bion..." As if she was suddenly splashed with cold water, Ophelia felt a small shiver up her spine. To her that place was very familiar. If possible, she wouldn't want to return there ever again. Given their circumstances now though, she' realizes that there's no other choice.

"Very well. After our resupply is complete, the Organum will head towards Albion in order to get the parts needed to get this ship back to perfect working condition. We'll be taking the direct route within our territory but don't let down your guard. That shadow freighter may still be stalking us."



The Victoria had safely landed inside the hangars of the Trials of Winter, after successfully completing her missions. The whole atmosphere within the ship is heavier than usual but, that is to be expected. Even among other Transcendent, Ellis Arjuna is quite detached, making it difficult for her to share with the others pain and suffering. Still, as long as they have a functioning unit, their mission will continue. She had just gotten new instructions from Central Command as well.

"Transfer the remainder of the Prejudice and Aegis to the Trials. Retrieve the stranded pilots, make priority on the ones closest to the border - they're at risk for snatch and grabs. I want this done within the hour. Dismissed."

"Although observing further, his emotions towards this defeat seem genuine enough. In that case, what could he be after as a rogue?" Ellis observes the mourning Transcendent captain. Her suspicions were still intact but without any decisive evidence, making a report right now would be too risky. Besides, they'll need to work together to get out of a new crisis they must face. She called over the ship's XO and asked for Commander Ashworth and Captain Setoen to meet her in the briefing room.

(Written at the assumption that the two answered the summons)

"Normally, I would have to issue a verbal reprimand over the casualties of this operation but, given that the mission was successful, albeit at a cost, I won't do so now. I've called both of you today to issue a new directive from Central Command--this time, involving all of us." Ellis started up the screen revealing the outlines of their new mission. "As the fleet we engaged managed to catch sight of this flagship, it is now safe to assume that even with the surveillance record deleted, our enemy could still have an image of us that they can use as evidence when we report to the Tribunal. As much as I want to remain optimistic about the whole thing being smoothed out by Central Command, it's more likely that this skirmish will be chalked off as "the actions of a few rogue Transcendents" and retire our unit. And no, I don't mean spending the rest of our days as non-combat personnel in some resort or villa somewhere in the mainland. I'm talking prison, or maybe execution. Or a firing squad. Either way, we're finished if we lose this case."

Ellis paused to catch her breath before carrying on, making sure that the two men in the room are still listening. "Fortunately, the Tribunal meeting will be held on an open channel so we don't have to disembark the ship and give it away. With that in mind, command has provided us with a plan: We take whatever parts usable from the destroyed ships and overhaul the Trials of Winter. It doesn't have to be radically different; just enough noticeable differences as to appear as if it is a different ship. In the meantime, we'll hide out along the shoal zone near the borders of Albion; an outlaw colony that doesn't answer to either side. That's where we'll do our overhaul. It will be difficult to move around but, I doubt that the humans will be able to track us there either. And on the plus side, the place has a lot of interference which will make it difficult for surveillance systems to track us."

The screen then changed to show the inner workings of Albion. "Captain Setoen, I will accompany you in the Tribunal meetings. I hope you're ready for this little game of politics. Commander Ashworth will be in charge of overseeing the overhaul as well as sourcing more parts from the colony if necessary. This is the new orders received from command. Well then--" Not one for formal talk with the older people, Ellis merely gave a small nod and headed out, leaving the directives on screen for the two to read. However, before she can fully exit the room, Ellis took a shot at one last question.

"Inspector Ashworth--How is the progress of the rogue hunt going?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov

0.00 INK

Maybe there was something to be said about the military lifestyle after all. The battle still went in humanity's favor, despite casualties, though based on the sea of scrap floating around them, the space folk they got hit a lot harder by the big friggin gun the Organum apparently had.

"Can we even use Transcendent technology? Isn't it supposed to be too alien to use?"

"Our engineers can technically reverse engineer this technology though our current technology is more than a match already. On the other hand, we can also trade this for scrap. Either way, we benefit."

Ren chuckled before putting her two cents in, "Did one of the Transcendent tell you that? Nah, you'd be surprised how capable humanity can be when we're losing a war. Only thing we can't really use on their tech is software, and we've got our own so it's all gravy, baby. Hauling in their broken shit is how we got these fine ass machines in the first place."

"Sure, you can bring them in but you'll have to stock those up within the colony first. The Organum's got its hands full right now. We've also sustained some damage so we'll be docking at Proud for the meantime for repairs and resupply. Ren Kotko, I'll leave an engineering team in your division. Help facilitate the retrieval."

"I knew I liked you for a reason, mam. A wise and beautiful ruler who wouldn't put such a useful subordinate back in maglocks when she docked. Did I mention you smell nice today?" Ren quipped, smiling as she opened up her comm unit to the Proud colony's hangars.

"Alrighty. this is Ren..." she started, pausing for a moment. Her name carried a lot of weight, but her being 'drafted' was akin to being exiled from the family. If she threw it around and drew attention to herself, her dad might notice her, which would make all that money he spent to make her disappear a waste. One he would correct with a bullet.

"...Thompson, of the Organum. I'm looking for some scrap chasers with empty haulers and emptier bank accounts to help me clean up all this beautiful Transcendent war booty from the beautiful view of your aptly named colony. Any takers?"

-=-

"You're going to do great things for our people, Petya. Another Burundukov at the forefront of Transcendent victory. I can't wait to see how your first deployment goes, my boy"

The words echoed through Petya's head as he drifted in the silence of space. The look of pride in his father's face as he saw him off onto that transport shuttle to the fleet he now served on. He would read the reports, having the pull due to the medals on his uniform to get even classified documents, and he would see the facts of this mission. That his son fired the shots that led to such massive loss of life. His son survived the encounter without gaining a single kill. His son broke his infantry unit and had to watch helplessly as half of the fleet burned. That his son had to be dragged back to his ship. It would not matter than he was wet behind the ears to actual combat. That he had followed every order to the letter. He was a Burundukov, and anything short of planting a flag on Proud would bring shame to his name.

Petya thought about opening the cockpit and spacing himself. It would be better to die of equipment failure than live with this feeling of helplessness and shame. He sat in the pride of Transcendent infantry machinery, the M-8, and did nothing to the enemy who piloted hobbled together monsters of former Transcendent glory. He should have been a force of destruction on this battlefield, and it should have been human corpses floating by his visuals.

"Calling all damaged and immobile units, please respond for retrieval."

The voice crackled over his comm unit, but Petya was silent. He failed. He didn't deserve rescue after that pitiful performance. He couldn't face Commander Ashworth as one of the soldiers who lived when so many brave men and women who had done so much more than him had died. The only thing that kept him from pressing that eject button was how selfish it would be. He owed it to his people to die in a useful manner, even if his life had thus far been devoid of meaning or merit.

"Petya Burundukov responding. My unit's thrusters are damaged and am stranded at these coordinates," Petya said, punching his information into the comms so that he could be found in the void of space. He would accept punishment but he would live. He would make his life count. He would make his death worth something, even if he was no longer worthy of being a Burundukov.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

"Good job everybody, especially you Alexander, whoever you are. Drinks are on me. There's booze on the ship, right? Captain?"

"Hell yeah, I'll need to knock back a cold one after all this." Alexander grunted, angling the Forneus to start heading back to the Organum. "Lot of good scrap out here, if you have the room for it, Captain. Can't beat free when it comes to spare parts and spare weapons. We got time to get a salvage crew together before we all get put in chains?" "Maybe I could do more upgrades to this old thing." Alexander didn't have to be out of the cockpit to know the damage that his white machine had taken. Its left shoulder was smoking slightly. Damn. "Can we even use Transcendent technology? Isn't it supposed to be too alien to use?" One of the new pilots spoke up, being answered by the Captain of the Organum herself. The Forneus passed the remains of a bulky, green unit. Pausing slightly, he watched as the mechanical hand of the Forneus shot out and grabbed something. A beam rifle.

"Looks to me as if this unit didn't use this rifle at all." With a shrug he packed it away into one of his weapon binders. He rifled through the remains of the machine and managed to find a few remaining ammo packs, presumably for the rifle. He started to make his way back to the ship again, whistling to himself. Two frigates down- what a satisfying sight for the sore eyes.


"Burundukov reporting. Enemy successfully crippled two allied frigates, the bastards. Requesting assistance as my suit's thrusters are damaged and am currently on a trajectory towards the emptiness of space. Copy?"
While the newcomer's voice rung through his comms, the Eisenritter had been heading back to the ship at that point. Graham looked around, still grim after the loss of the Aegis and the Prejudice, and to his slight relief, he saw Rivaile's Zweireiter flying towards the newcomer's damaged M-8. The Zweireiter had taken quite the beating- it was missing a pauldron and a leg, but he noted that the black machine would be fine. Turning away, he didn't bother to stay to see Rivaile haul the M-8 back to the Trials of Winter.

The moment he had stepped out of the Eisenritter, he was informed that the Infiltrator had wanted to meet him and the Captatin in the briefing room. Begrudgingly, he got off of the white machine's chest- with their loss weighing heavy on his shoulders, he started to make his way to the briefing room to meet them.

"Normally, I would have to issue a verbal reprimand over the casualties of this operation but, given that the mission was successful, albeit at a cost, I won't do so now. I've called both of you today to issue a new directive from Central Command--this time, involving all of us."
Another order from Central Command. Graham thought the item retrieval was the last.

"As the fleet we engaged managed to catch sight of this flagship, it is now safe to assume that even with the surveillance record deleted, our enemy could still have an image of us that they can use as evidence when we report to the Tribunal. As much as I want to remain optimistic about the whole thing being smoothed out by Central Command, it's more likely that this skirmish will be chalked off as "the actions of a few rogue Transcendents" and retire our unit. And no, I don't mean spending the rest of our days as non-combat personnel in some resort or villa somewhere in the mainland. I'm talking prison, or maybe execution. Or a firing squad. Either way, we're finished if we lose this case."
Face set into a grim expression, he fought back a sigh. Execution wasn't an option. Not after all the fighting he's seen and the forbidden ideals he was starting to develop under Central Command's nose.

"Fortunately, the Tribunal meeting will be held on an open channel so we don't have to disembark the ship and give it away. With that in mind, command has provided us with a plan: We take whatever parts usable from the destroyed ships and overhaul the Trials of Winter. It doesn't have to be radically different; just enough noticeable differences as to appear as if it is a different ship. In the meantime, we'll hide out along the shoal zone near the borders of Albion; an outlaw colony that doesn't answer to either side. That's where we'll do our overhaul. It will be difficult to move around but, I doubt that the humans will be able to track us there either. And on the plus side, the place has a lot of interference which will make it difficult for surveillance systems to track us."
Albion, an outlaw colony. It was neutral ground, which meant that there were probably both humans and Transcendents. He'd have to lay low, try to blend in. He wasn't an Infiltrator to be able to blend in with humans very easily but he'd try.

"Captain Setoen, I will accompany you in the Tribunal meetings. I hope you're ready for this little game of politics. Commander Ashworth will be in charge of overseeing the overhaul as well as sourcing more parts from the colony if necessary. This is the new orders received from command. Well then--"
To his surprise, before the Infiltrator could fully leave, she turned and spoke to him.

"Inspector Ashworth--How is the progress of the rogue hunt going?" "Nothing has turned up yet." He grunted.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Lilas Setoen Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna

0.00 INK

"Negotiations have been made on your behalf and, things went smoothly enough. In fact, it already looks suspicious."

The Organum had now docked within the hangars of Proud, along with other aging vessels currently employed as a security force. While most of the crew had disembarked to make merry after finally visiting a proper center in order to unwind, Ophelia and a handful of people were still at the ship, supervising everything that falls under their jurisdiction.

"We're just looking to pick up a couple of parts. It's not as if we'll be launching any investigation nor will we be staying around for long." Ophelia piped in, the issue of their damaged cannons weighing on her mind.

After a few more minutes of back and forth exchanges, the meeting was finally over. What route they were to take, how long they'll stay, how much can they spend--everything's been sorted out. Ophelia let out a sigh as she left the negotiation. Dealing with commands from the higher-ups are too tiring. Too full of formalities that is to be observed. It basically hammers the point that they were all alone in their mission.

"You didn't tell me you came from Albion..." Turning around, Ophelia saw Fang walking towards her with a worried expression. "Will you be alright, going back there? I doubt you'd have volunteered for the army if not for an opportunity to escape."

"I think. Well, that place hadn't changed much in the last ten years or so. I can still remember some places like it was yesterday." She tries to alleviates Fang's doubts about the whole trip though it is still obvious that she was concerned as she followed Ophelia down to the hangars.

"You don't have to personally act as a navigator, you know?"

"Oh? Good luck finding one from the locals without getting ripped off then." Ophelia and Fang boards an elevator that will take them down to the lower areas of the ship. "People are very shrewd in that place, very dangerous. They do not take too kindly to outsiders. Gangs practically rule the place, making it hard even for military personnel to intervene. But worse of all is the inequality."

"We have too many women on this ship..." Ophelia looks on worriedly at the crew bustling below. "Four more hours...why don't you grab a drink with the others? We don't get a lot of chances like this everyday."

"You know what? Maybe I will. Need me to buy anything for you on the way back?"

"Just the usual."

"Alright." If anybody else back at home would've heard them, they might have found it what the two talk about, Ophelia realized. As she landed down on the platform, she could see that most of their machines are starting to look better than when they had been brought in. Ren was outside, coordinating with the salvaging so hands were rather limited. Besides, serious repairs are much better performed within the colony's machine shops and repair bays.

"Can I get a hangar crane real quick? This one's pinning me to the ground a bit!" Their new recruit. She did well for a first battle, Ophelia noted.

"Just slowly jump down, like you're wearing a parachute." Ophelia called out, having done similar maneuvers when she was still a pilot. Now at ground level with the crew, she started pondering on who to take along for the mission.



"Nothing has turned up yet."

"I see..." Ellis just sighed as she left the room. Whether the inspector was feigning ignorance as a willing collaborator or if he's legitimately not made any progress, she cannot be certain as of yet. All she knows was that she'll need to bring in her prime suspect under her eye at all times, hence why he'll be going to tribunal with her. As far as she's concerned, it is only through one's perspective and motives can one determine who's a rogue and who's not.

"But wait..." Ellis suddenly paused as she made her way back to her quarters. "If their captain's the rogue, then could it be possible that everyone on board had gone rogue as well? Maybe I'm just jumping to immediate conclusions..."

"In any case, I'll have to wait until we arrive at Albion in order to find out."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Graham Ashworth Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

It didn’t take long for the salvaging team to mobilize, much to Ren’s delight. Several small freighters meant for inter-colony transport, as well as a flock of towing units meant for hauling Harbingers both intact and in pieces began to spread out through what was once a hectic battlefield to begin pilfering. Parts of the Transcendent ships the Organum had hammered where the top priority, but Ren left that to the freighters. She was sticking to what she knew, which was the mech carcasses floating around what had been the frontlines. Several of the towing units followed Ren as she began scouring the enemy units for anything new or interesting.

“Okay boys, looking for the units that are mostly intact first. After that it’s just the ones with useful spare parts so we can Frankenstein us some enemy infantry,” Ren barked, already zeroing in on a familiar looking unit. It was the same one she’d popped the head off of while she still had the sniper rifle, which had left it in mostly working condition. The cockpit had been opened so most likely the pilot abandoned ship, so to speak, which meant one heck of a find for Ren.

“Captain, assuming you’re still listening, found a mostly intact enemy suit. Now, I’ve been locked up for about a year or two but last time I checked the infantry units were 07’s. There’s enough 08’s out here to practically replace our squadron if we opted to drag all these half wrecked suits in as well. I knew some guys that could probably rebuild them if you got the money for it. Gotta love military budgets, right mam?” Ren said, smirking as her T-100 reached out and took the riot shield from the headless suit.

“More than enough for engineering to take apart too, if we go that route. I don’t know what constitutes ‘new’ anymore, but I do know that if these ARE newer models then our mission report is going to look fucking great when we turn these fuckers in. Hell, maybe we polish this one up and pop a new head on and you can deploy with us next time, huh?”

After securing more suits and their weapons, as well as reclaiming the sniper rifle that she’d let go of during the heat of the battle, Ren led the towing units back to the colony hangars where the Organum had docked. The freighters were still collecting, but the head of that convoy at least sounded like he knew what he was talking about. They knew which hangar to return to when they were so full of shit they could barely propel themselves, which was as close to supervising as Ren typically got.

The T-100 landed in the Harbinger bay, still holding the enemy riot shield and the sniper rifle she had deployed with, suit slowly drifting towards its designated dock before getting secured in by the repair crews working the hangar. As soon as she was locked in, her cockpit doors opened and Ren finally stood, tossing her helmet at the first personnel she saw before doing some stretches.

“Fucking shit I need a cushion in there. Feels like I got a knot in my back the size of my fist from all that shit. Now… someone point me to where the drinks are. I just got out of prison and I‘ve got a list of stuff I’ve been meaning to catch up on for the past year. And where the fuck is this Alexander no one can fucking shut up about?”

-=-

My boy, I can’t wait to see the good you’re going to do for our people. Great things are in your future, I just know it…
The words swam through Petya’s mind as he watched parts of Transcendent suits and bombers drift past his visuals. They were spoken by his father, just before Petya left for military proper, and were a daunting reminder of how useless he now was. As if Petya’s humiliation could not be more completed, a command level suit had come to drag him back to the ship. There were only a handful, and this particular one Petya recognized as being a part of Commander Ashworth’s personal squad. The right hand of his superior was forced to pluck him from the wreckage of failure to face the inevitable retribution,

He maintained radio silence as he was dragged back to the Trials of Winter, one of the only things standing after the enemy ship’s assault. He had to see so many destroyed units, so many corpses floating in the void as they traveled that he nearly turned his visuals off, but stayed his hand from flipping the switch. He wouldn’t spit on their deaths with such dishonor. They did what he could not, they fought and died for their people. Each one was a better soldier than the coward who had not even scratched the enemy’s paint as half of their fleet burned. Ashworth would take his life over this, he was sure. He could not allow such weakness in his unit.

When finally they reached the ship, the two suits parted ways with Petya heading back towards the Infantry division’s hangar. It was the first sigh of relief he’d allowed himself since deploying, to not be seen by anyone of rank in his moment of shame.
He disembarked as soon as his suit was docked, removing the helmet only when he was halfway back to his barracks. The sight of his neatly made bed made him stop as he entered the doorway. He couldn’t get back in the mindset anymore where that mattered. All he could see was the sight of all those brave men and women floating lifelessly through the void. He flopped down onto that bed, still in his pilot suit and curled up into a ball. He might as well be well rested when the Commander came from him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

As Ophelia surveyed the bustling repair bays, she could see that the pilots under her command have started making a rapport with each other. Seeing them reminded her of her front line days though of course, most of her old allies have been promoted or died already.

Though concerning the machines they took, it was kind of a miracle that they were able to remodel and reverse-engineer some of these at all. Although what surprises her more other than the quality of parts they were able to salvage was the quantity of it. This clearly showed them that their neighbors have this much capability to waste precious resources on intimidation tactics. In the meantime, Ren had inquired about using some of the things they were able to salvage.

"We'll take the functional weapons,see if we can get them to meet our machine's standards. Units still in good condition will be refurbished here at Proud where we can come back for them after they're done as we'll need to head out soon. For those that are badly damaged--" Ophelia paused for a moment to inspect some of the more damaged units being brought in. "Can we try to salvage their reactors and fuel systems? I reckon these will fetch a high price at the market we'll be going to. Maybe we can trade this in instead of blowing our allotted budget for the parts we need. That ought to keep those folks back home happy."



Confirming rogues on a ship is rather difficult as she would have to move undetected. So far, Ellis thinks she's played it low as to not give off the fact that she's been sent there as an assassin. If only there had been a simpler method that she can use to identify, things would've been easier. But, seeing that there is none, observing their actions and dialogues are all that she could do.

She was about to make her way to the surveillance systems which lay past the barracks when she espied a soldier, hanging his head so pensively as if struck with a deep trauma, walking towards his room. "Might be a rookie..." Ellis thought as she decided to pay him no further attention. However, a thought suddenly struck her as she was about to walk away. "If I talk to some of the soldiers here, I may be able to gain some insight as to who might be the target. Unless they be rogues themselves in which case, I'll have the license to rid this fleet of them."

Turning back, she walked over to the soldier's room and summoned him via the intercom. "Soldier, mind if I have a word? Nothing personal; just need to gloss over the details of that last mission and details regarding the next one."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

#, as written by Alligot
Amelia


Amelia could imagine her wearing a pirate's outfit. She definitely had the temperament for it, as well as the language. The story made enough sense, someone scavenging and selling supplies to the army - especially during such a one-sided war - could ruffle more than a few judge's feathers. Even in conventional wars amongst humans, freelancers were treated with disdain and imprisoned or even killed.

Though at the second comment, Amelia frowned, replying, "What do you mean 'they get you'? It's not like they'll refuse to pay once I'm out." For someone who was supposedly so patriotic, Ren didn't seem to like the Navy too much.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

It was nice to talk to people without having to watch their hands again, Ren thought. The girl was coming off as a little bit antagonistic but Ren chalked it up to post battle jitters for the sake of getting along.

"What do you mean 'they get you'? It's not like they'll refuse to pay once I'm out."

"I mean you show me an honest recruiter and I'll lick the scum off of your boots. The Navy is filled with honest folks who see enlistment as an opportunity but only an idiot would think that's how top brass see us piss ants. They'll say anything to get you into a uniform, but after that it's a dice roll you live long enough to cash that promise in, isn't it? You should've seen the benefits packages they had before this fun little ceasefire," Ren said, still smiling. She turned to look back over at Alexander.

"Screw anyone who makes more than you, am I right?" Ren joked, but her good humor faded as her comm unit went off, the Captain responding to her haul.

"One sec, got an important business call," Ren said as she excused herself, and took a few steps away before picking up to respond.

"We'll take the functional weapons, see if we can get them to meet our machine's standards. Units still in good condition will be refurbished here at Proud where we can come back for them after they're done as we'll need to head out soon. For those that are badly damaged-- Can we try to salvage their reactors and fuel systems? I reckon these will fetch a high price at the market we'll be going to. Maybe we can trade this in instead of blowing our allotted budget for the parts we need. That ought to keep those folks back home happy."

Ren thought for a moment, enjoying being able to talk business again. Maybe she wouldn't hate the navy as much if she got to do what she'd done so far fairly often.

"Shouldn't be too hard to integrate the weapons. I didn't see anything too much more advanced than before I got locked up, but I didn't look at the software so maybe that's more sophisticated. Reactors should be easy to rip out but fuel systems might be a bit tricky. I'd feel better overseeing that myself because those things are hard as hell to fix if they get damaged during removal. One patch on a fuel line and you lose fifty grand on that system on the spot and I guarantee you the buyer will go over the rest of it with an electron microscope to knock more off," Ren said then pulled the comm close so she could whisper-

"I'd also think really long and hard about selling one of those intact suits too. Doesn't have to be the best one, or the best looking, but unless you're buying a new ship altogether that would put a major dent in, if not pay for, damn near any repair you needed to make. Then you sell the scrap and actually make a profit, to report as you see fit."

Ren smirked, "Unless you already reported it, in which case we'll be fine either way, Captain. So, we selling this at Proud, the dreaded Albion, or we going out of our way to Novac to rub elbows with with more rogue Transcendent?"

-=-

Just as fatigue began to catch up with Petya's body, he could hear a voice coming over his intercom. No one else had made it back to the barracks yet, it had seemed, too busy helping take in wounded or assisting in repairs for rest. Petya had thought about joining them on his way here, but he didn't feel it would be appropriate for himself to taint the work of proper soldiers.

"Soldier, mind if I have a word? Nothing personal; just need to gloss over the details of that last mission and details regarding the next one."

The voice was that of a woman, and one that wanted details pertaining that last mission.

She knew.

Petya rose, albeit slowly, and turned to face the woman who stood just outside of his room. He did not recognize her, but she looked pretty, so his getting escorted before a firing squad wouldn't be without one small comfort. He lazily crossed the room, the heaviness of his heart weighing him down, and upon not noticing any command insignia on her person he couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.

"Petya Burundukov reporting, Mam," He said, voice lacking it's original zealousness, "Though I am not sure the perspective I can offer. All I managed to do was cripple one of the Fleet's proud infantry units and watch as the enemy crushed our forces."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna

0.00 INK

"Shouldn't be too hard to integrate the weapons. I didn't see anything too much more advanced than before I got locked up, but I didn't look at the software so maybe that's more sophisticated. Reactors should be easy to rip out but fuel systems might be a bit tricky. I'd feel better overseeing that myself because those things are hard as hell to fix if they get damaged during removal. One patch on a fuel line and you lose fifty grand on that system on the spot and I guarantee you the buyer will go over the rest of it with an electron microscope to knock more off,"

Ophelia listened in attentively, taking note of Ren's engineering perspective into account. Somehow, she's already starting to feel at ease despite Ren's...well, history. The girl can be trusted. This battle at Proud had proven it for her. "Well, everyone need to start somewhere and I'm sure we all have our fair share of skeletons in the closet.

Before Ophelia could properly respond however, Ren's tone has changed into that of a whisper, possibly wanting some information to remain between the two of them only.

"I'd also think really long and hard about selling one of those intact suits too. Doesn't have to be the best one, or the best looking, but unless you're buying a new ship altogether that would put a major dent in, if not pay for, damn near any repair you needed to make. Then you sell the scrap and actually make a profit, to report as you see fit."

"Makes sense..." Ophelia answers in a low tone likewise. "We could take a couple of intact suits for ourselves, might come in handy later on. Alright."

After the hushed conversation, the two continued talking normally. "Unless you already reported it, in which case we'll be fine either way, Captain. So, we selling this at Proud, the dreaded Albion, or we going out of our way to Novac to rub elbows with with more rogue Transcendent?"

"We'll sell it off at Albion, see if we can cut a good deal. But I hope we won't get any more encounters along the way. Not when our Big Stick's compromised. As per your request, alright. I'll let you oversee the specifics. We'll have to work around the clock so...is it possible to finish everything within two hours? Our repairs are almost done and the crew's starting to head back as well."

Ophelia delegates her last commands before walking back to the bridge. Her communications officer was already there, calling all other crew members back home. Seeing that this part of the job is done, she sat back at her chair, wanting no more than to taste some of that cool liquor Fang was bringing back.



"Petya Burundukov reporting, Mam. Though I am not sure the perspective I can offer. All I managed to do was cripple one of the Fleet's proud infantry units and watch as the enemy crushed our forces."

"And indeed, that was a regrettable loss." Ellis responded as soon as he finished. She can tell that he seemed a little intimidated by her. On one hand, it is reassuring that even just a little, she does hold some sway over the other soldiers. But on the other hand, the uneasiness he's feeling could be an indicator that the true nature of her being on that ship was already found out. But going back, she could sense that this particular soldier was no rogue. He seemed to lack a certain something she can't quite describe though she has already grown accustomed to it after speaking to several of them during her assassination missions.

"But--consider this: Our main objective is to eliminate any trace of our involvement with the recent ambushes within the close proximity of the human area which we have done successfully. In that essence, the mission is a success, no matter the cost--unless the humans managed to remember one tiny detail during that fight. Care to take a guess?" Ellis continued on though without any underlying emotional tone to her voice.

"The image of this ship, the Trials of Winter. Which is why we now have to disguise it. Following me? Good. However, as I'm sure you feel along with all the others, we can't possibly go back to the main base in this sorry state. To repair this ship, we'll be slipping in Albion, a neutral colony. I'm sure you've heard of it. Some of our kind live there after all. Exiled. Exiled for harboring rebellious intent. Rogues lacking our loyalty to our cause." She leaned a little closer, while taking a closer look at his eyes.

"Have you ever interacted with a Rogue Mr. Burundukov? Their words will come out like sweet poison; a great temptation that is difficult to overcome. Before you may be aware of it, you will suddenly find your allegiance questioned, shrouded in doubt that you'll find difficult to explain. They can catch you and ensnare you without you even realizing it." With that, Ellis stepped back and leaned back on the opposing wall, still maintaining eye contact.

"If you had to choose who to follow to the end, who will you choose? The Captain or the Commander? I'm just curious. Nothing more, nothing less."

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Ophelia C. Rossweisse Character Portrait: Amelia Renard Character Portrait: Ren Kotko Character Portrait: Petya Burundukov Character Portrait: Ellis Arjuna Character Portrait: Alexander Hunter

0.00 INK

"We'll sell it off at Albion, see if we can cut a good deal. But I hope we won't get any more encounters along the way. Not when our Big Stick's compromised. As per your request, alright. I'll let you oversee the specifics. We'll have to work around the clock so...is it possible to finish everything within two hours? Our repairs are almost done and the crew's starting to head back as well."

Ren practically giggled when the Captain mentioned Albion. Anything not worth scientific value she found had gone straight to Albion to sell. She'd bought her own private dock and was running a chop shop on the colony to streamline her efforts, and it was where most of her contacts resided. It would be the ultimate chance for her to prove her worth to these military groupies... or to make a run for it.

She ended the call, not responding to the question about the two hours to get things done that the Captain had asked. If the Captain called her on it she'd claim it as an equipment malfunction, but she wasn't going to commit to a time until she actually saw the units up close and out of a mech. She walked back up to the two pilots she'd been talking to, Alexander and the college kid whose name she couldn't remember, all smiles.

"No rest for the wicked it seems. Captain wants me down in the hangars to rip the meaty bits out of the broken enemy suits I dragged in. Guess we'll have to rain check for that tour, stud," She said, punching Alexander playfully in the arm before looking at Amelia, "Good talking to you guys though. Isn't it nice knowing that we're all in this giant bowl of shit together? See you guys when we dock at Albion. Shore leave is coming early, boys."

With that said, she gave a half-hearted wave as she headed for the stairwell leading down, able to see the units she'd dragged in from the catwalk they were on.

To really escape, what would I need? Harkin can erase me from damn near any system, except the personnel files on this ship's computers. Not that they have much information to track me with in the first place. I'd need a ship to get me to Novac so I can at least try to get some money together before they sic the dogs on me. Going to need a ship too, and not some shit freighter. Wonder where they impounded my old one? Ren thought, clenching her fists in frustration. A lot of what she needed was just out of her reach. A lot of it hinged on contacts she might not have access to anymore after being gone for so long. She also couldn't go back to her old life of freedom. Best case scenario would be joining a mercenary squad on the ass end of nowhere and hope they never caught wind of the bounty they'd put on her head.

"FUCK!" She screamed, slamming a hand down on the railing beside her. She really was trapped here, wasn't she? Her Dad would send people on top of the Human military, and the Transcendents would kill her on sight after all the raids she'd done. She couldn't run from all of that. Two of them, maybe, but not all three, but it wasn't like she'd get the chance to kill her old man all the way out here. No orders from him, no bounty, no leash to keep her in the military... and Albion was the land of opportunity if you lacked a moral compass and had a brain in your skull.

She'd play soldier for now, she decided, and smiled as she walked up to the broken enemy units the engineering teams were starting to examine.

"Drop the wrenches, boys, Cap'n said I'm to make sure we got the most bang for our buck out of these heaps of garbage so nobody scratches their ass till I've given them the all clear. Where's the guy in charge of this geek squad?" Ren barked, enjoying herself as she picked up a nearby wrench.

-=-

It seemed improbable, but this woman didn't seem ordered to reprimand him, and if anything this woman seemed only interested in briefing him of the next operation, which would involve dealing with the traitorous ailment that the humans had inflicted on the proud Transcendent race.

"Have you ever interacted with a Rogue Mr. Burundukov? Their words will come out like sweet poison; a great temptation that is difficult to overcome. Before you may be aware of it, you will suddenly find your allegiance questioned, shrouded in doubt that you'll find difficult to explain. They can catch you and ensnare you without you even realizing it."

Just the thought of speaking to a traitor made Petya's face contort in disgust, shaking his head in both response and to shake the idea from his head, but the next thing this woman said, who appeared to have some measure of authority given how much she knew of their mission, intrigued him the most.

"If you had to choose who to follow to the end, who will you choose? The Captain or the Commander? I'm just curious. Nothing more, nothing less."

"You say that as if one of them may be a traitor," Petya started, but paused before speaking further. It did make him think about the last mission and the objectives they'd had. If they were to destroy evidence of the Trials of Winter being present, why use it in that battle? Did the Commander know?

"...and now that I think on it you may be onto something, Infiltrator. I would trust the Commander more, given his orders to me personally never deviated from our objectives. My family also spoke highly of him, so I do not believe he has anything but our people in mind in his actions. The decision to involve this ship in that battle would only have been wise if conquering Proud were our goal, which is very much wasn't," He replied before saluting the woman, "I would be remiss in my duties as a Transcendent soldier and a Burundukov if I did not offer my help in your endeavors to maintain the purity and effectiveness of this fleet. Do you have orders for me, mam?"