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T.O.M.A.S

Tactical Operative: Mechanised Assault (Solitary)

0 · 528 views · located in Wing City Spaceport

a character in “The Multiverse”, as played by oldtimereminiscence

Description


----- Initiate Boot Sequence: TOMA(S)7 -----


+x+x+x+x TOMA(S) Online.... +x+x+x+x

+x+x+x+x Configuring Data Protocols. Packet Received- Data Loss: 0% +x+x+x+x

----- TOMA(S)7 Prepare for HardWare Upgrade. Contact Mainframe for Software Patch. -----

+x+x+x+x Hardware Inoperative. Contacting Mainframe: Data Download 0% +x+x+x+x

+x+x+x+x Data Download Complete +x+x+x+x


-----TOMA(S)7: Initiate Assignment Download. Confirm? -----


+x+x+x+x Receiving Assignment Packet +x+x+x+x

+x+x+x+x Initialising +x+x+x+x



Assignment: [Classified]
Specifications:

Alert Status- Maximum.
Communications Protocols- Secondary
Combat Protocol- Primary


Unit Notes:
Reinforced chest plating installed at customer request.
Subtle armaments installed at customer request.
Multi-array Sensor installed at customer request.
Extended Function Capacitor installed at customer request.
Locator Chip rerouted at customer request.
Secondary Chip installed per company policy.

Mission Parameters:
Locate Target. Secure. Transport. Maintain. Await Further Instructions.



+x+x+x+x Parameters Accepted. Activate TOMA(S)? y/n....?

So begins...

T.O.M.A.S's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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In the warehouse that served as their workshop and their home, Emily lifted her head, tearing her eyes away from the symbols on the notebook spread open on the oak table in front of her. She lifted a hand to massage her forehead. Her eyes closed as she rubbed. She had been staring at the equation for so long the image had temporarily burned itself into her retina, and upon closing her eyes, it presented itself, the symbols white against the darkness of her eyelids. She studied it for a moment as it slowly faded, yet the equation did not resolve itself any better in darkness than it did in the light. She’d gone wrong somewhere, but she could not figure out where for the life of her. With a sigh, she laid her pencil down beside the notebook. Her spine cracked quietly as she arched her back, stretching the muscles that had been hunched over the table for too long.

Across the room, Albert was busy welding something on his newest project. She could smell the superheated metal – a smell that was now as familiar to her as any other. The scent would work itself into his clothing, and later that evening while she laid her head against his chest, she would inhale the smell that was uniquely his – superheated metal, dried sweat, the ghost of his shampoo, and a very faint hint of rust. The smell of home. She opened her eyes and watched him for a few moments. A faint smile rose as she studied him. His dark hair was tousled and damp with perspiration. His face was hidden behind a dark face shield, but she knew it just as well as she knew her own face. She could imagine the creases beside his eyes as he squinted, focusing on the task at hand. She imagined his jaw set in determination, his lower lip pulled between his teeth as it tended to do when he focused intently on something. Her Albert. Without Emily realizing it, the fingers of her right hand shifted to toy with the small diamond ring on her left.

With a final glance at the equation in front of her, Emily decided to give up on it for now. She had to get away from it for a bit. Maybe clearing her head and approaching it from a different angle would be better than forcing a solution. The future of Albert’s next creation depended on it! It was a huge responsibility. Emily stood from the table. It was a responsibility that could wait. She crossed the room toward Albert, keeping her eyes averted from the intense white flame as Albert worked. She waited patiently until he stopped, straightened and turned off the machine. He lifted the face shield and wiped the back of his arm over his perspiring face.

“You alright, Love?” he asked.

Emily didn’t respond right away. Instead, she stepped close to him, slipping an arm behind him and resting her head against his shoulder. Together they looked down on the form on the workbench. The body was taking shape. Emily could clearly make out a torso, a leg, an arm. “It’s looking good,” she commented.

Albert’s arm snaked around Emily’s shoulders and he pulled her closer to him in a one-armed hug. “It won’t be long now,” he agreed. “How’s the equation coming?”

Emily shook her head. “I messed up somewhere. I have to figure out where, but I have to get away from it for a little bit. It’s too…” she fumbled for the word, and instead just shook her head again. “I keep getting hung up.” She reached forward and ran her fingertips over the metal thigh on the workbench. “I think I’m going to go out.” Beside her, Albert stiffened as she knew he would. He hated when she went out. He always seemed so nervous about her leaving, as if something would happen to her while she was gone. As if he hated being without her. She tightened her arm around him slightly. “Our anniversary is coming up,” she explained. “And I don’t have anything for you.”

Albert was quiet for a few moments and when Emily looked up at him, he was frowning. “You can finish the equation. That is the only anniversary gift I need.”

Emily laughed. “Don’t be silly! That is no anniversary gift! You’re going to get the equation no matter what. But we’ve been together for a couple years now, and that is worth something special, right?”

Albert considered this. “It’s not a real anniversary,” he said, his frown deepening. “We aren’t married yet.”

The small diamond flashed as Emily waved away the argument. “Yet,” she emphasized. “But we’ve been together for a couple years.” She stepped away from him, and looked into his face earnestly. “I’m getting you something, and that’s final. I need to get away from the equation, and it will be a nice break for me to find you the perfect gift.”

He looked down into her face, his brows knitted together. He hated having her out of his sight, but he understood. He couldn’t keep her at his side all the time. The threat had minimized since they’d moved to Wing City. They had escaped. They were together. Nobody in Wing City knew the truth. They weren’t in any danger here. He realized that he didn’t have to monitor every move she made while she was out and about. They were safe. Besides, if she wanted to get him a gift, it would be nice for it to be a surprise for once. His hand lifted to stroke Emily’s hair and he lovingly curled his fingers behind her neck as he bent to kiss her forehead. “You’re right. Be careful.”

-----------------------------------------------------

Emily made her way up Main Street slowly, taking her time to look into the windows of the shops and stores along the street. She would find the perfect gift. She was sure of it! She was not sure, however, exactly what the perfect gift would be. She figured she would know it when she saw it though. So she looked at everything, weighing in her mind whether or not it would hold Albert’s interest. In the back of her mind, she continued to puzzle out the equation. Had she accounted properly for the right variables? Had she underestimated?

Outside an antiques and curiosities shop, Emily paused, her attention arrested by the most magnificent item! She stepped closer to the window, her fingers brushing the glass as she peered through. Breaking into a grin, she whirled to the door and pulled it open. Bells jangled announcing her entrance, and she glanced around for a shopkeeper. Figuring they must be in the back room, Emily turned to study the object that had drawn her into the store. The automaton was old – eighteenth century if she had to guess. About a meter tall, it took the shape of a woman sitting at a desk, feather quill in hand. It would be expensive, but it was perfect! Albert would love it! Even if it didn’t work when it was wound up, the clockwork inside would be easy to repair. She could do it herself if she had to.

"Hello?" she called into the store, her head turned toward the back.

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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In a small, damp smelling front office sat a man. He was unremarkable. Was also, to an extent, irrelevant. Who he was, the life he lead outside of that room was beyond the scope of interest to most observers- just as it had been for the 'couple' who had booked a room several weeks ago. They hadn't cared for his dreams or his hopes, with only the woman seeming to pay him more than cursory attention at all, and when she'd left two days later the clerk had been happy for her. She deserved more than some cliched biker boy, and she'd tipped well. The man only ever paid his bill. No tip. The clerk snorted in disgust and thought briefly about what type of man would bring a lady here for week away anyway? And who would let her go without a fight? (They hadn't fought after all- he'd been on shift more than anyone, and he would've heard it through these walls). What a...

As though his thought had summoned the figure from his isolation, the clerk finds himself suddenly aware that the man has descended the stairs and was stepping his way around the reception desk even now. A small, precisely folded wad of notes is placed on the countertop and slid towards him. "This is sufficient for another three days, correct?" The clerk mumbled something in affirmation, and the man nodded, turned and walked out without a second thought. The clerk mulled over some choice insults, his eye still on the door. After all- who did he think he was trying to impress? Wearing sunglasses inside for gods sake...

+x+x+x+x Control: Tracking in progress. Confirm go order? +x+x+x+x

----- TOMA(S)7: Accessing live feed. Standby -----


Tomas moved quickly down the sidewalk, booted footfalls lost in the noise of the street-life around him. Tracking the target was relatively easy- a medium sized humanoid walked at a speed within certain parameters. Their routes and behaviours were, often, habitual, and this made it possible to predict with a small margin for error where the target would appear each time she evaded his direct line of sight. Still- there were certain precautions to be taken, and the first contact with the target was at a small street crossing.


+x+x+x+x Pheromone Signature Locked. Initiating all level frequency scan. +x+x+x+x


The man beside Miss Emily Stanton (decd) glanced down at his watch, up at the nearest street sign, and then towards the horizon.

+x+x+x+x Scan complete. Priority: Urgent. Result: Known frequency channels inactive. Deep scan results show only commercial frequencies and activity within usual levels+x+x+x+x


A gap in the traffic appeared. The man stepped forward, outstripping Miss Emily Stanton (decd) within a few strides and continuing further down main street for almost a minute (57.8321 seconds) before turning to look at something in a nearby shop window. Real estate. Tomas scans across the offerings before turning and regarding the pheromone pattern that snaked its way behind him- erratic to some extent, but disappearing quite distinctly into Precious Salvage.

A small blinking bar appeared at the corner of his internal viewer. Tomas waited patiently- human data entry was notably inefficient.

----- TOMA(S)7: Assignment status: Active.-----


Tomas didn't nod- after all, there was no one to communicate the gesture to, but transmits the affirmation code instead and turns fluidly, wandering towards, and entering Precious Salvage.

A partner had once explained the importance of first impressions to Tomas at some length- unsatisfied by the cool scientific basis the android had quoted as an explanation for 'gut feelings'. "It happens in seconds. Heartbeats, man. You just [i]know[/]" Tomas could almost hear the ghost of the recording now- stepping into the boutique was an introduction to a chaotic mind. The air contained increased amounts of nicotine, ammonia and hydrocarbons, with the wall coverings showing significant daylight degradation. A scan across the items inside leads to an estimated 37% failure rating on any purchased item.

This was a place where "money talked". Tomas takes out a second tightly folded wad of notes and walks to an empty space at the counter. Placing the cash upon the glass, his sensors detected movement in the back room, and 17.5402 seconds later, the entrance of the proprietor. Tomas watched the eyes of the older gentleman (a swift record search returned two different drivers licenses and one outstanding warrant for arrest) swivel first to the young lady stood in his shop... and then to the money.He spoke to Tomas first. "Can I help you?"

Tomas nodded. "With discretion. I'll wait."

That's enough to grant him an odd expression quickly suppressed (interest; concern; suspicion) and a returned nod. The proprietor moves towards the only other occupant of the shop then, the friendly, keen-to-help retail persona sliding into place between the space of one heartbeat and the next. "Hello, Miss. Can I help you?"

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Despite the hand-lettered placard leaning against the automaton instructing those nearby to please not touch, Emily reached a gloved hand forward to lightly finger the skirt of the figure’s elaborate dress as she waited. At the arrival of another customer, she pulled her hand back guiltily and turned her head to study him for the briefest of moments. His lack of interest in her relaxed her and she turned her attention back to the automaton, lifting the skirts to try to get a glimpse into some of the cogs that functioned together to bring the thing to “life.”

She was aware of the conversation between the proprietor and the other customer, yet the words did not carry to her with any clarity – just a murmur of voices. She was focused on the perfection of the mechanics in front of her, grinning at her luck at finding such a perfect gift. As the shop owner approached her, Emily smiled at him. “She’s exquisite,” she said, gesturing unnecessarily to the automaton. “Does she work?” If the man was surprised at her personification of the automaton, he did not show it. Instead, his imagination already filling his cash register with the requested price, he nodded. Lifting the automaton’s skirts, he pulled a small hidden drawer from the base, revealing a simple key. He slipped the key into the small hole at the base and wound it carefully. Emily could hear the small clicks within the machination, and when he removed his hand, the figure came to life. The woman bent over the desk, the quill in her hand moving as the figure appeared to write. After a few lines, the figure straightened and tilted her head, appearing to re-read what she had just written before bending once more and continuing to write.

Emily clapped her hands together. “She’s perfect!” She took a step back and considered the size of the automaton. “Would you pack and ship it to a specific address?” she asked. There was, after all, no way for her to carry such a large and delicate item home.

“Certainly, Miss. If you would just step over to the counter.”

Emily and the proprietor continued their business. In her excitement, the stranger was forgotten. She was quite certain she paid double what the automaton was worth, but it didn’t matter. Albert would love her. She carefully printed the address of the warehouse on a little card the proprietor slid across the counter, and he promised that he would pack the figure carefully, and that it would be delivered the next day. His eyes shifted to the male customer once or twice during the transaction, but Emily didn’t notice.

“Thank you,” she smiled, turning to leave the shop. Perhaps she could treat herself to a cup of tea before she went home. It wasn’t often that she left the warehouse. Albert kept her so busy with the equations and helping with the creations. It was such a lovely day, and she wasn’t in much of a hurry to get back. She turned her head to the other customer as she made her way through the store toward the door, and smiled. “Sorry for taking so long. Thanks for your patience.”

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Computers did not get bored. At least, the computers of the old world, bound entirely by the limits of their programming and the intention of their creators did not get bored. Computers of the new world did not fall prey to the sensation of boredom either, in equal parts due to a recognition by their creators (and later themselves) that such an experience would not enhance their ability, and because the majority of units were constantly linked into the world of data that whirled around them. So, while some might have become impatient at the length of time it took the shop keeper to talk his customer up to an extortionate price (Tomas estimated the closing deal at 176.2% market value), the android did not.

Instead he tested his algorithms. By the time Emily Stanton (decd) was turning towards the door, Tomas had successfully itemised the stock that was visible on the shelves and estimated (based on avaliable customer and manufacturer data) the most likely issues with each piece, alongside the most efficient methods for addressing them. It had proven to be quite the task, with many items dating back to a period before digitisation, and thus requiring extensive review of imaged documentation, as well as conversation to and from antiquated systems of monetary exchange and an extensive review of other similarly documented pieces. At least- that was what his internal processors turned themselves towards in this period- outwardly his body had prowled the cases, picking up an item or two with gentle motions only to return them to their exact place after a moment of examination.

It's only when Emily Stanton (decd) turns towards the door that Tomas seems to be paying any attention to her at all. His movements them are swift- seeing her intended destination, Tomas shifts from his current haunt ('coincidently' the glass case nearest the door) and moves as though he is about to open the door for her.

It's only at the last moment that his hand clasps the handle rather than pulling it, and he pauses with Emily no more than an arms length away. His voice, when he speaks, is pitched so as to be easily heard by his target, but not so distinct to the shop owner who was, even now, turning to bustle in a set of drawers that put his back to whatever was about to occur. "Miss Stanton. My name is Tomas. Your entry into the Protection program has been ordered. Will you comply?"

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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With a mind consumed with pleasure at her purchase, frustrated confusion over the damned equation, and thoughts of a steaming mug of Earl Grey, Emily thought nothing of the man reaching toward the door in front of her. “Than—“ She started her polite acknowledgment of what she perceived to be a chivalrous gesture, but the word died on her lips when the door did not open.

It took her a moment to realize that something was wrong.

The door didn’t open.

He was addressing her.

He used her name.

She looked up to the stranger before her, brows creased in confusion as her brain replayed the past few seconds, waiting for her to catch up. ’Miss Stanton.’ He knew her? Did she know him? She blinked as she studied him. She was pretty sure she didn’t know him. ’Tomas.’ Albert sometimes muttered the name “Tom” in his sleep. Was that mysterious fact somehow related to the man before her? ’Protection Program.’ Protection? From what did she need protecting? ’Comply.’ Comply?

She inadvertently took a step back, putting some distance between herself and the stranger. “Excuse me?” she asked. She waited a moment for the voice in her head that was always there, the voice of reason that spoke up whenever she found herself in odd situations. It was silent. She looked at the stranger, Tomas, and then down to the door handle. “Excuse me,” she said again, resolute, her voice rising slightly in an attempt to draw the attention of the proprietor. “I have to be going.” She took a step forward and reached toward the door handle herself, hoping that he would release it.

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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The confusion in the target's voice was not unexpected. Most entered the protection program after either lengthy or intense negotiation- they were aware of their place within ongoing proceedings, and the importance of their own discretion. Miss Stanton (decd) was not- nor were the details of the ongoing investigation to be made public. That left limited avenues open for the moment... especially both speed and secrecy were key variables at this stage of the operation.

+x+x+x+x Control: Seeking authorisation, code HYPNOP1TRANSP. Priority: Urgent +x+x+x+x

----- Tomas(7): Measure Authorised -----


Tomas surveyed his target. The biometric readings indicated a rapid increase in anxiety and the pre-markers for significant adrenaline release. Based on the Target File, the case notes and the expert statement already collected, the probably of her compliance would quickly drop below acceptable parameters. Her next actions were likely to be targeted to draw aid and attention- either from the shop keeper, or from civilians passing in the street outside. And, he realised, there was no guarantee that the Accused did not have similar warning systems tied to her vital signs.

Emily had barely finishing forming the word 'going' when Tomas moved. Abandoning the subtlety of a humanoid persona, the android moves at full speed, one hand coming out to grasp Emily's forearm as she reaches for the door, the second reaching up to lay his palm against the side of her neck, the fingers wrapping around to line themselves with the vertebrae of her neck. The next motion is, to all intents and purposes, invisible, but Emily would feel it: two swift, stabbing pains in the side of her neck, followed by the pressure of injection. The first was simple- a standard issue, authorisation only compound designed to make Persons of Interest entirely amenable to the idea of accompanying an officer without violence (and depending on personal biochemistry, occasionally without coherent thought or expression). The second was a nanite-based augmentation inhibitor, specifically programmed (in this case) to shut down any and all transmissions between the mechanically augmented target, and the outside world.

Watching Emily's eyes closely, Tomas watches her vital markers shift in response to the compounds. Certain of drug delivery, he lifts the hand from her neck, allowing the small port in his palm to close silently even as he reaches up to remove the dark tinted sunglasses which have, until now, served to somewhat disguise his nature.

The eyes that study Emily Stanton (decd) now are far from human- lacking pupil or iris, the radiant cerulean glow marks the presence of a mechanised humanoid. A moment later, those eyes shift, and the markings of the Bureau make themselves plan. "Miss Stanton" he repeats, more gently now. "You are to enter the Protection Program. Will you comply?"

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Back at the warehouse, Albert attempted to force himself to focus on continuing with the form he was creating. His mind wasn’t on his work, however. Despite all of his self-assurances that everything was fine and that he had no reason to check on Emily, he couldn’t let himself relax. What if something happened to her while she was out? What if Tom had found them and he collected Emily, taking her back to himself? Surely, Emily wouldn’t recognize him. He’d reprogrammed her memory when he’d resurrected her. He had nothing to worry about as far as that went. However, Tom was just as gifted in his robotic knowledge as Albert, if not more so. He could figure out a way to override all of Albert’s careful work.

“She’s fine, Al,” he muttered to himself as he absently ran his fingers over a seam in the metal on the workbench in front of himself.

He had almost convinced himself to relax when the monitors across the room began beeping. Albert’s heart leapt into his throat. Something was wrong. Nearly tripping over discarded parts on the floor, Albert dashed across the room and pressed the button to bring the monitors to life. It only took him a handful of seconds to recognize that something was indeed wrong. He studied Emily’s vitals – elevated heart rate. Perspiration. Something had her spooked. Tapping a few keystrokes, he opened the audio/visual monitor.

’…-tection program has been ordered. Will you comply?’

The image on the monitor shifted from the face of a stranger to the handle of the door and back to the stranger. He heard her voice: ’Excuse me?’ and then a moment later: ’Excuse me. I have to be going.’ He watched as Emily’s arm snaked toward the door… and as the stranger grabbed it. The movement was fast, too fast to be human. Albert grabbed the microphone that connected himself to her mind and pressed the button to transmit.

“Run!” he screamed. “Emily, run!”

The screen suddenly went blank except for two ominous words glowing white on a black background.

SIGNAL LOST

"No!" he screamed, frantically pressing buttons on the keyboard in an attempt to reset the connect. "No, no no no no!"

The words remained:

SIGNAL LOST

---------------------------------------------------

Emily had barely registered the hand clutching her arm before the palm was pressed against her neck. Her adrenaline peaked and she gasped, attempting to pull back, but her attempt was useless.

The voice in her head screamed in panic. ’Run! Emily, ru—‘ and it was abruptly cut off, replaced with a deafening static. Emily’s free hand flew to her ear in an attempt to shut out the sound, but it came from within. She winced – from the stinging in her neck and from the volume of the static. A quiet whimper rose from her throat and her eyes squeezed shut.

And, just as abruptly, the static ended. Her heart rate slowed. She was filled with a sense of peace. The fear was gone. She remembered the word ‘run’ and it echoed through her consciousness, but… What was it she was supposed to run from?

She blinked, once again confused, and looked up at Tomas calmly. “Okay,” she said, though she wasn’t sure why she said it. She was supposed to run, right? Why? She looked around behind her at the shop owner, but he seemed to be studiously ignoring them. Returning her attention to the inhuman eyes once more, she tilted her head. “Okay.”

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Vibrant red text pulsed in the bottom of Tomas' visual display;

+x+x+x+x Frequency spike detected. Incidence duration 7.6291 seconds. Full spectrum shutdown complete.+x+x+x+x

It was enough to make the android nod very, very slightly in acknowledgement. The briefing had stipulated that the Accused was both intelligent and emotionally invested in the continued presence of Emily Stanton (decd), but it was nevertheless satisfying to see his predictive algorithms working effectively.

+x+x+x+x Control: Requesting covert transportation unit. Priority: Urgent.+x+x+x+x
----- Toma(s)7: Unit approved, pickup at rear of Precious Salvage(Main Street) t-minus 180 seconds.-----

Tomas monitored Emily's vital signs for a moment longer before lifting his left hand from her forearm. The compound developed for target recovery allowed for approximately an hour of pliability in most subjects, so while time was a valuable resource, it was no longer at the essence; "Accompany me, please."

He waits long enough for her to process the instruction and confirm her agreement before stepping away from the door and around Emily, moving with singular purpose towards the shopkeep. "There are likely to be questions about this event. I would recommend that you adopt a demeanour of ignorance." Two dark, gloved fingers tap on the square of folded notes that still lingered on the glass countertop. "This is the reward for prioritising this information. This..." Tomas reaches into the folds of his jacket and pulls out yet another bundle- this one slightly smaller. "Is avaliable to those who provide me with useful information. If questions are asked of you, it would profit you significantly to report them." Dark fingers return the smaller bundle to his jacket as he nods towards the cash still sat on the counter. "Contact details have been provided."

It takes a moment for the shop keeper to move, but even as he does Tomas can see the small flickers of facial movement which announce that not only is the gentleman considering taking the money, but likely weighing up the potential for dishonesty, or betrayal. Tomas adjusts his approach accordingly. Leaning forward slightly, the android silently increases the intensity of the radiant glow from his retinal displays, and in a voice that is pitched for only the man before him to hear, he adds; "Your discretion in this matter is appreciated, Mr Hill. It is also an exchange, Mr Dunleavy formerly of Asteria City. Do you comprehend my meaning?"

There is a small, strangled sound from the gentleman behind the counter, followed by a series of small but frantic nods. Tomas, however, has little interest in shows of submission, and turns instead to extend a hand to Emily Stanton (decd). "We will exit through the rear. Come" Tomas would wait long enough for Emily to 'lead' the way before guiding her through the back of the establishment and to the small, locked door in the street behind. A battered, rusted blue taxi waited there, it's light off for the moment. "This is for us. Enter the vehicle." Tomas himself would wait until Emily was within and belted before moving around the car to enter on the other side, his sensors set to maximum alert. Just in case.

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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As the stranger moved past her and further into the store, Emily watched him calmly. She mulled over one word, over and over, like a child trying to make sense of a new addition to their vocabulary. Run. It was as if she had heard the word for the very first time and was trying to make sense of it. Run. Run. Run. In the current moment, the word meant little to her. It wasn’t that she didn’t know what it meant. She definitely knew what ‘run’ meant. But she couldn’t seem to wrap her brain around why the word kept repeating over and over in her mind. She didn’t feel like she was in danger. Surely, if she was in danger, her heartrate would spike, right? She would be scared, right? Well, she had been scared earlier. Wait. Was she really scared or had she been merely uncomfortable? What was she uncomfortable with?

She closed her eyes for a second and thought about that as the stranger spoke to the shopkeeper. What had made her uncomfortable earlier? Had she been scared? Why ’Run!’? The whole thing was incredibly puzzling. And didn’t she already have too much to think about? The equation. She had to figure out the equation. She kept messing up somewhere. She should focus on the equation.

When the stranger returned his attention to her, she opened her eyes once more. No. Not a stranger. His name was Tomas. He said so. She smiled at his extended hand. Tomas. Not a stranger. She began to move toward the rear of the store before stopping in front of the shopkeeper. “Please, be sure that she is delivered tomorrow. He’s going to love her.” She continued through the rear of the store and out into the street behind. The taxi waited for them and Emily’s brow creased slightly. She hadn’t come in a taxi. She’d walked, right? How had she gotten here? Why were they taking the taxi again? Why was she supposed to run?

Why was she so confused?

She climbed into the vehicle and buckled her seatbelt. When Tomas sat beside her, she looked at him, her confusion evident on her face. “Where are we going?”

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Tomas was silent for several long seconds (13.876 to be precise). There was no set plan in place- there were many. Fragments of ideas and possibilities which had been scouted by the small, tired team dedicated to this case. Where were they going? The team didn't know- couldn't know- and it is with something that is akin to regret that Tomas initiates the next step of the protocol.

+x+x+x+x Deactivate location monitoring system. Deactivate emergency beacon. Close OpenCom channels. Engage guerrilla mode. Engage Deaddrop protocol. +x+x+x+x


With each line of instinctive code, Tomas' viewscreen grew darker. It wasn't that his visual field was compromised, or a sign of any malfunction... but rather that one by one, the constantly flickering and shifting lines of data which poured onto his viewer and into his stream of consciousness died away. There was an almost deafening silence- a dearth of information.

+x+x+x+x Engage Tabula Rasa Protocols +x+x+x+x


Slowly the hum began again- though 'quieter'. Through layers of protections, misdirections and disguised identities, Toma(s)7 reaches out to touch the living network of information. There were no privileged access beacons. No tags indicated sensitive or classified information- it was simply gone, as hidden for this ID as it was to a standardised user. Sensitive information would have to be acquired via clandestine means, or not at all...

This was the sacrifice necessary to separate the target, Miss Emily Stanton (decd) from the Accused. The decision had been unilateral: when months of investigation continued to unearth new capabilities, new failsafes and traps laid by the Accused in an attempt to evade justice, and few weaknesses there had been only one option. They could not, with any significant prediction of success, take the Target into the Protection Program through the normal means- everything could be compromised given enough resource, effort, and dedication. The Accused would have plenty of each.

So she would enter the program another way. She would enter the program without entering the wider database at all. A personal protection program.

Tomas blinks, the radiant blue of his eyes dimming momentarily as his settings adjust themselves, and looks towards the woman sharing the back of the transport with him. "The Spaceport."

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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With extreme tranquility given her current situation, Emily watched Tomas’ eyes as they seemed to dim. In the lab, when that happened to the robots they created, that meant the mechanics were powering down or malfunctioning. She tilted her head as she watched Tomas, suddenly extremely interested in him. Turning on the seat, she studied him carefully, her eyes shifting over his features. Whoever had done this work had done an excellent job. He was exquisite! Her hand was rising to poke curiously at the flesh of Tomas’ cheek when he spoke.

The word startled her. She had forgotten that she had asked a question in the first place. When the word tumbled from his lips, she jerked her hand back before it could make contact with his face. The Spaceport? She had no business at the Spaceport. Why would they go there? She opened her mouth to ask him. “Okay.” Wait, that wasn’t what she meant to say.

Emily slipped a hand over her heart and focused for a moment, feeling for the beats within her chest. Everything felt normal. But something wasn’t normal. Something felt off somehow but she couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She mulled over the word ’Run’ again.

Turning to Tomas once more, she tried to ask once more why they would go to the Spaceport. “Okay.” Again, that word. It made no sense! She frowned slightly, her eyes drifting to stare blankly at the back of the seat in front of her as she spent a moment puzzling it out. “I have to be home by 5. I have to make dinner.” Her voice was flat, emotionless. “I’m making lasagna. You can stay for dinner if you’d like.”

The setting changes from Northern Main Street to Wing City Spaceport

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Tomas spends the several seconds of silence quietly accessing and inventorying the current occupation of the Wing City Spaceport's commercial sector. Rosters and itineraries thread themselves through the datastream as he reviews, flags and dismisses them as quickly as he is able. Time was of the essence, and given the importance of keeping Miss Emily Stanton (decd) not only physically removed from the The Accused, but out of the range of standardised communication systems they had a relatively small window in which she could be moved with relative impunity.

He's relatively silent for several moments as he trawls through the data, until Emily moves enough to trigger his outer detectors, and he regards her with impassive interest as she attempts to poke his face, lifting a hand a moment later to gently but firmly remove her fingers from his faceplate. It takes a moment of consideration, as he compares the datafiles he had on Emily's previous life, history and behaviour, to the observational reports that had been collected since her death. There would likely be no appropriate moment in which to communicate the reality of her entry into the Protection Program, but entering discussions with some semblance of transparency was likely to impact future relations.

"Other arrangements will be made for dinner. You are not returning to your previous domicile." Once again, the soft glow of his visual display seems to be focused on her- and the impression is far from false, as he actively monitors her vital signs. They should have time yet before either injection begins to lose efficiency, but assumptions were inherently riddled with false data, and carried with them unacceptable risk. "Your entry to the Protection Program has been arranged."

Whatever conversation might have come next is closed off, however, as the vehicle which has been threading its way through Wing City's back streets with a speed and precision that could only have been achieved with the help of a watchful eye back at Control manipulating crossings and lights in their favour, slows to a stop. The android currently sat in the front seat does not turn or otherwise indicate particular interest, but says in a flat tone; "Arrived."

Tomas' response is given with similar disinterest, though habitual programming makes him look at the back of that chromatic head as he orders; "Initiate full system datadump; reboot; contact control." There was a twitch of movement from the driver, which is met with Tomas' hand landing on it's shoulder, and then utter stillness as the appropriate commands and codes are transferred between them. There is the barest whirr of audio systems that might have been an 'acknowledged', but the android is already frozen in the process of the command.

Tomas doesn't wait, and instead opens the door to step out of the car, one hand reaching back inside as an invitation to Emily, and a prompt to enter through the open door, rather than risk the Wing City traffic on the other side. "This is the Spaceport, Miss Stanton. You must exit the vehicle and accompany me. Will you comply?"


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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Emily shook her head slightly at his comment about dinner and not returning home. “But I have to make the lasagna,” she insisted. “If I don’t, the meat will go bad. Albert loves my lasagna.” And then the second part of what he had said dawned on her and she blinked. “Not returning to my previous--? Not going home?” She shook her head again, more emphatically. “I have to go home. I have to make dinner. Albert will be so worried.” Her heart rate increased slightly, but she was still abnormally calm.

While Tomas exited the vehicle, Emily sat still for a handful of seconds.

---------------------------------

Across town, Albert was in a full panic. He hammered at the keyboard, calling forth and replaying the last few minutes of the visual transmission received. He paused the image, zoomed in, scrutinized it. He tapped in a few more keystrokes and her last known location appeared on a digital image of the city. Again, he zoomed in, recognizing a shop on Main Street.

He ran a frantic hand through his hair as he contemplated a complete system reboot. Something had happened that had disrupted the transmission on Emily’s end, and without her here, a reboot might not work. Still, what other options did he have? He pressed the combination of keys that would reboot the system and tapped his fingers impatiently as the system beeped and restarted.

The white words on the black background confirmed his suspicions.

SEARCHING FOR SIGNAL…

“Damnit,” he muttered. “What the hell is going on?”

Out of desperation, he reached for the microphone that would transmit his voice into her head. “Emily? Are you there? Can you hear me?” He realized it was stupid to ask a question as he had no way to hear her reply. “Listen, if you can hear me, you need to run.” He stared down at the keyboard, biting his lip as he thought. Struck with a sudden idea, he tapped in a few keystrokes. The system responded:

ACTIVATE FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE? (Y/N) : …

Holding his breath, he pressed Y, and waited.

--------------------------------

Emily had been sitting still in the back of the cab, staring at Tomas’ outstretched hand. Her own hand began to rise to take his when a sudden burst of static stormed through her head. She winced, squeezing her eyes tightly against the onslaught. The static disappeared almost as quickly as it had come. She waited a second more, outwardly staring at Tomas’ hand, but focusing her attention on what was going on inside her head. There was another short burst of static, followed by a slightly longer one. She could almost hear words in the static and she concentrated on making them out. It sounded like a radio trapped between stations.

’Kzkzkzkzkzkkzkzkzkzkzkz-ily? Kzkzkzkzkzkzkzkzyouthkzkzkzkzkzkzkz-earme?kzkzkzkzkzkz’

The static cut out and everything was frighteningly quiet for a moment before one clear word cut through.

’Run’

And then silence.

Emily shook her head slightly to clear it and returned her attention to Tomas, to his hand, to the cab and the Spaceport. She looked around herself, quickly calculating potential paths of escape. Her heartrate spiked, and she gasped, pulling her hand back… but then it returned to normal once more after a few terrifying moments.

With a worried look up at Tomas, she took his hand and exited the cab. “I think something is wrong with me.”

In her pocket, her cell phone vibrated.

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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It was a small expression. To wince might be indicative of so many things- a fear of the idea of the spaceport as an area, distress at the idea of leaving the planet, the residue over her seeming need to return to make lasagna for the Accused... It would have been easy, even tempting for someone to dismiss the small flicker of Emily's expression to any one of these reasons, or a hundred more which would have been equally valid. But Tomas is not simply 'someone'. The mechanisms of assumption and stereotyping that acted as cognitive shortcuts for those locked within a meat and flesh existence, navigating their way through the world with only the biological brain structure to guide them simply did not rule his processes.

The moment of warning the expression supplied was enough that Tomas is alarmed, though not particularly surprised, to see a flashing orange warning appear in the bottom of his viewer display.

+x+x+x+x Incoming Signal Detected. Encrypted speech. +x+x+x+x

This was to be expected- the increasingly focused efforts to retrieve the asset that Miss Emily Stanton (decd) represented... but the tenacity of the attempt- the fact that it appeared to have in some manner overwhelmed the nanotechology even now acting to isolate the communication protocols active within the target... that was of concern. Once again Tomas' hand moves with inhuman speed, and by the time he is leaning back down into the car, the blue glow of his eyes is safely concealed back behind the sunglasses he'd worn originally. "Emily..."

+x+x+x+x Incoming Signal Detected. Suspected Bash Script activation. +x+x+x+x

Tomas watches then as Emily's biological readings spiked- and his hand twitches in a motion that summons forth an outright sedative into the palm admission slot, just in case...

And then the readings slow, and settle. Emily's words seem more accurate that she could likely guess, and after a moment's deliberation he reaches in the car to help pull her forwards and out, his voice calm as he admits; "There is a remote actor attempting to control your behaviour. We must remove you from the reach of conventional signals." He glances at her then, his gaze sweeping up and down the target in a moment of almost human deliberation. Internally Tomas runs the models of Emily's behaviour against his next statements and finds few in which unnecessary and overt deception at this stage was likely to increase her cooperation later. "I am a Law Enforcement unit. I am assigned to your protection. I will act to remove you from harm. Do you trust me?"

Tomas does not wait for Emily's response to begin moving- indeed, the entire exchange was carried out in motion as he puts one hand behind her shoulderblade and gently propels her to keep pace... This continued attempt and limited success adds new factors to the decision model, narrowing the 38 options that had seemed viable at the moment the car had stopped to 3 by the time they had reached the main entryway. They needed a transport ship, ideally one docked with inter-planetary but rostered for a local pickup. The takeoff time had to be booked within the next hour, and discretion was necessary...

Silently, Tomas regrets the isolation that this mission has enforced. Normally by this time he would have had direct orders making these choices easier, and a team actively scrubbing the live feed of the spaceport's security system so that their presence was all but undetectable... but it was not to be. Instead he takes a moment, pulling Emily to one side right outside the doors to the Port to one of the stalls which was set up with the usual assortment of memento focused trash. With swift movements, and an accurate set of measurements for Emily's figure, he snatches a jacket and hat (both proclaiming that they'd visited Terra, and all they'd gotten was this lousy garment), tossed several small coins at the vendor, and placed them with some speed upon Emily, turning to look at her as he did so. "It is imperative you keep your head lowered as we proceed. Will you comply?"

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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The vibrating cell phone had gone unnoticed in Emily’s pocket in her movement from the vehicle and into the spaceport. She was more focused on Tomas’ words and trying to understand what was happening.

Across town, however, Albert ended the call when Emily’s voice mail picked up. He bent over the computer and placed a trace on the phone, determined to find his woman. When the phone was located, Albert frowned. The Spaceport? There was no way he could get there quickly, and no guarantee that she would still be there when he arrived. Agitated, he tapped his fingers on the desk, considering his options. Seeing no alternative way around it, he looked up a number and placed a phone call.

“Hello. Wing City Spaceport? There’s been a kidnapping. The kidnapper and the victim are there, right now.”

--------------------------------------------------

Emily, for her part, followed Tomas’ directions. The injections that he’d given her really left her no choice. She knew that something was wrong. Something was very very wrong. Still, she complied with Tomas’ directives, following silently at his side as he led her through the Spaceport and dressed her in the hat and jacket.

She mulled over his words. A remote actor attempting to control her behavior? Preposterous! Law Enforcement unit? Assigned for her protection? Removing her from harm? She wanted to tell him that he must be completely insane. There was nothing controlling her behavior but herself. She had nothing to fear because nobody was trying to hurt her. Why would anyone attempt to hurt her? She wasn’t anybody special. Just Emily, fiancée of Albert Wily, the scientist. She helped him with his projects. She cooked him dinner. She rarely left the warehouse at all. Why would anyone try to control her behavior and when and how would they have had access to do so in the first place?

If it wasn’t for the sedative, molding Emily into compliance, Tomas would have had much more difficulty with Emily. As it was, she knew something was wrong, she just couldn’t seem to get her Self to respond to her own internal warnings. That was, in and of itself, a curious problem.

“Do I trust you?” she asked, looking up at him incredulously. “I don’t know you. You say you’re Law Enforcement, but you could just as easily have said that you were a Buddhist monk or… or… I don’t know… the Queen of England. I don’t know who you are, but I think you have the wrong person. I don’t need protection. I’m not in any danger. Nobody is trying to hurt me.”

Despite her words, she did nothing to attempt to resist him. In fact, at his instruction that she keep her head lowered and his question about her compliance, she nodded. As she lowered her head, she muttered quietly: “You’re making a mistake.” In her pocket, her cell phone vibrated again.

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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Tomas did not frown- but there is a momentary sense within the android that the target's apparent willingness to comply might be significantly impacted by the presence of the toxin he had introduced into her system, and that the window beyond which it was an effective measure to ensure her aid may become... turbulent. Internally, the small clock timer that had flickered into life upon administration flickers and resumes with ten fewer minutes in it's countdown.

They needed to leave Wing City immediately. Two more ships are removed from the internal list of options as he adjusts the predictive model to account for her potential resistance, leaving only one avenue of recourse. Tomas adjusts his path slightly then, calling forth the official schematic for Wing City spaceport and planning the swiftest and least observed route from their current location, to loading bay 793Delta. Calculating his own base walking speed, and the ease with which Emily had moved from the warehouse to the antiques shop, there should be ample...

+x+x+x+x Broad-spectrum Security Alert Incoming. Code 902A, suspect armed, description follows....+x+x+x+x


And follow it did. Tomas did not need to engage his suspect estimation software to predict with fair accuracy the image that would be staring back at him if he did. The question was how the Accused had gained a keen enough insight into Emily's current companion to accurately represent him in a crime report... There were a number of options that presented themselves- hacked security footage, contacting the antiques shop, true physical surveillance... but these all seemed unlikely. In order to accurately observe their current path, the Accused would need to have had advanced warning- and there was none. Even Tomas' own team wasn't clear on his intended action, only his objective...

Which left a singular statistically probable option. Tomas' eyes darkened behind the sunglasses as he turns his attention back to Emily Stanton once more, his gaze becoming more focused as he scans up and down her form for some evidence...

And then there's a noise. Small, high- almost imperceptible among the hubbub of the Spaceport itself, but nevertheless present.

Error. Foolish, human error. Tomas' anger, as much as it exists, flares for a moment, and with a swift motion he retrieves the ringing phone from Emily's pocket- without hesitation, or permission. Outwardly the action is followed by an apology- but in truth his attention is divided. Already his connection to the data sphere was alight with transmission- a redaction of the previous kidnapping alert, followed by a series of jargonese codes which explained (in essence) that it had been an unauthorised individual attempting to use official protocol for personal matters. He had barely finished that task when the communications device in his hand flicks into bright life, the screen facing his palm as whoever was attempting to call was met with a clear replica of Emily's voice layered on top of the sound of Wing City's streetcars and movement, saying. "Hi! Nearly done! I haven't forgotten the Lasagna, but I'm so close to the perfect present!" while outwardly the android turns back to Emily, his free hand landing again on her shoulder. "I am a Law Enforcement Unit. Once we are in a secure location I will provide my credentials, and you will be given access to the file of your case. For now, movement is imperative. Please walk with haste."

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Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Emily Stanton
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When Tomas pulled the phone from her pocket, Emily did nothing to fight or question his action. She merely stared at him, eyes wide. The motion further proved to her that something was very wrong with what was happening, and confused her even more, however she felt like she literally could not resist him. She knew on some level that she should fight or run or cause a scene enough to draw someone else’s attention, but on another level she simply didn’t want to.

Oblivious to the communication taking place in Tomas’ palm, Emily nods. “Alright,” she agreed. “But I still think you have the wrong person.” She allowed him to guide her wherever he had planned, keeping her head down. Outwardly, she was compliant. Inwardly, alarm bells were going off. The idea of being taken from Wing City… from Albert… caused a very real and almost reptilian sense of fear to lodge in her mind. The toxin Tomas had administered was doing its job as far as keeping her compliant, however as she moved hurriedly beside him, her hands shook.

--------------------------------

Whatever Albert had been expecting, it certainly was not for Emily to answer the call. However, her voice came through the speaker, small and slightly metallic: “Hi! Nearly done! I haven’t forgotten the lasagna, but I’m so close to the perfect present!”

Albert hesitated. “E-Emily?”

How was that possible? He’d seen, from her perspective, the encounter with the unknown male. He had been watching the recording of the last few seconds before her signal was lost over and over. He’d watched her biometrics, he’d listened to the audio. Every single data point he had for reference completely contradicted the bright voice over the phone. He tapped at the keyboard and attempted once again to reestablish a connection. Once again, it failed.

He frowned. Something was wrong, no matter what the voice on the other end of the phone attempted to make him believe. The unease would not abate until Emily was back home with him and he could run a secret diagnostic.

To put his theory to the test, he attempted to gauge the authenticity of the voice with one simple question: “Would you rather go out to dinner tonight? I was thinking, maybe, that new Indian place on Sol Avenue. I know how you feel about… oh.. what’s that one dish you like so much? Tikka masala?”

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Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Tento Flare Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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#, as written by lml55
Character Portrait: Tento Flare Tento Flare says,
 “ so is any one there ”

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Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Tento Flare Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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#, as written by lml55
Character Portrait: Tento Flare Tento Flare says,
 “ man this is lonely ”

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Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Tento Flare Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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#, as written by lml55
Character Portrait: Tento Flare Tento Flare says,
 “ when will a ship get here ”

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Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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Darth Xalgan waited in the spaceport. He paced across the hangar like a prowling tiger, steel boots clanging menacingly on the metal grates. A dark cape flowed behind him and flourished as he turned directions.

“Incompetent Terrans…” the Sith hissed through his respirator.

“Cheer up, my lord.” Xalgan’s twi’lek companion replied. “I’m sure the ship will be all fixed up before too long.”

Vette watched Xalgan stew in his irritation. She placed her hands on her hips, fingers drumming on the hilts of her blasters, and kept an eye on the hangar door. Though she trusted his instincts, it wouldn’t do for a threat to sneak up on them while he was distracted.

“We can hardly spare more time here than we already have, Vette.” Xalgan growled, dark side energy churning around him. “We must return to Imperial space with all speed. I have been gone from my station for far too long.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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Admiral Steele was making his way through the spaceport, a very stern look about on his face, as he was flanked on either side by Aschen marines, each wearing their signature black BDU uniforms, with armored gear worn over them.

"Sir, your Condor will be arriving, shortly to take you back to your ship." The Marine sergeant reported. "Command has stared that it is of utmost importance that you return to Imperial space with all due haste." The Sergeant added, as the group rounded a corner.

Rythmic footfalls filled the hangar that Darth Xalgan was pacing about in. The doors opened up in the opposite side of the large bay, and a formation of six soldiers, in clearly identifiable Aschen uniforms could be seen. They clasped their disruptor rifles tightly, as they maintained their formation around a stern looking man, in a dark grey, and blue uniform.

They stopped about a hundred feet away, near an empty landing pad. Each Marine took in the sights all around them, and they fanned out around various crates, and equipment to take defensible positions in the event of a fight. Each soldier moved with the discipline that betrayed years of training, while the older man stared out the hangar into the skyline before him, then he checked his watch.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Shrknar the Reshr'c Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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Shrknar glanced over his shoulder at the self-important Admiral Steele, who was just across the promenade. His nostril slits flared open, accompanied by a hissing exhalation of machine-assisted breath. The denizens of this world were... strange.

He had other things to attend to, however. Not to be dissuaded from his mission, he set out for Gambit's Bar to meet with his Terran contact.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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"We've got company, my lord." Vette said, hand resting on her blaster and eyes trained on the soldiers.

"Calm yourself, Vette." Xalgan hissed, respirator sighing. "They're only Aschen, and if they were looking for a fight... they would have brought more men."

The twi'lek nodded, but she remained vigilant. Xalgan likewise ceased his mad pacing, straightened his back, and calmed his breath. Control. He thought. I am a Sith, not a wild animal. Strength, yet peace. Power, yet wisdom.

Xalgan watched the aschen soldiers through the dark lenses of his helmet. Though he doubted any malice on their part, he had heard the rumors, and so he opened himself to the ebb and flow in the Force to read their intentions. He was confident he could wipe out the entire unit in the space of six seconds if he needed to, but he would not be caught unawares.

Senseless violence was also unbecoming of a Darth.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Odgerel Character Portrait: Tasi Character Portrait: Lexia Nitiena Character Portrait: Tenna Character Portrait: Sosrioser Character Portrait: Katie Brighton Character Portrait: GUNDO Character Portrait: Kim'Loa Character Portrait: Nagumi Yamata Character Portrait: T.O.M.A.S Character Portrait: Joshua Steele Character Portrait: Kal "Jag" Jackson Character Portrait: Xalgan Barlek Character Portrait: Sister Helisma Character Portrait: Cassandra Carroll Character Portrait: Yvonne Character Portrait: Benson Bailey Character Portrait: Harry Ozmindius Character Portrait: Jenna Crespo Character Portrait: Bryson Billings Character Portrait: Artis Character Portrait: Moirai Desina Character Portrait: Eve-Va Character Portrait: Sam Felixis Character Portrait: Karma Kura Character Portrait: Zephan Character Portrait: Xaviar "The Cyborg" Character Portrait: Falcon Unending Character Portrait: Azric Cane Character Portrait: Emily Stanton Character Portrait: Tam ???Shorty??? O???Keefe Character Portrait: Morris Stone Character Portrait: Rin'Koya Character Portrait: Sanuk Jaahd Character Portrait: Pirate Captain Bartholomew Davis Character Portrait: Ravecrow Character Portrait: Cee-Fer Character Portrait: Carson Cadwell Character Portrait: Lupario Character Portrait: Shadow Avery Winters-Alister Character Portrait: Sauda Narang Character Portrait: Ashgar Character Portrait: Matthew Winters Character Portrait: Skore Character Portrait: jumper Character Portrait: Aino Character Portrait: Rikimaru Tsuki Character Portrait: Aeidail Character Portrait: Möbius Zzynux Character Portrait: Cayle McAnter Character Portrait: Cora Wolfe Character Portrait: Automated Attack And Exploration Ship (AAaES) Character Portrait: Kyle Carroll Character Portrait: Night sinclair Character Portrait: Eric Wade Character Portrait: Adrian N. Blake Character Portrait: Morran Character Portrait: Aadil Character Portrait: Cassius Character Portrait: Yvael'Rokku vas Iaddonei Character Portrait: Astraios Character Portrait: Kayler De San Character Portrait: Evelyn Vaardhart Character Portrait: Jed Tia Character Portrait: Ryszard Szczepa??ski Character Portrait: Blaze Haddix Character Portrait: Lumor'nai'ith Character Portrait: Faye "Artillery" Rockwell Character Portrait: Yol Lavaas Oblaan Character Portrait: Andrest Russon Character Portrait: Karmesinrot Heiliger Character Portrait: Kito Character Portrait: Fatina Henrietta Character Portrait: Kane Jowd Shepard Character Portrait: Espeon - The Sun Pokemon Character Portrait: Silban D'avre
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The Admiral kept his eyes on his surroundings, and his Marines followed suit. Several eyes were on the Twi’ilek, and several shrill whines emanated from the Aschen group, as thumbs flicked across power switches, and several holographic sights, that weren’t there previously had flickered to life. Several Aschen soldiers powered their disruptor rifles, and Admiral Steele quickly took notice.

“Sergeant.” Steele said calmly. “We’re not here for a firefight.”

The Marine sergeant nodded, but cast his second nod in the direction of the Darth and his accomplice.

“They’re watching us, the Xeno has her hand on her weapon.” The Marine whispered.

Their intent was clouded by their hatred of this place, their Xenophobia, but nothing malevolent surfaced, the Admiral kept his own thoughts closely guarded, but he seemed to be waiting for something.