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Connected to the Bayside Crescent by a massive bridge, the Core Center of the Helix Corporation is a titanic compound that is as visually breathtaking as it is functional. Aston Helix oversaw the creation of the compound but never saw the final product completed. His wife Victoria named the finished center after her late husband, a monument to his memory. Housing a research facility, corporate rooms and Jackson Helix's private quarters, the building can host meetings, seminars whilst testing new research and technology. It is heavily guarded by the Helix Military Division, with acess being limited to staff and invitees only.
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Aston Helix Centre

The vast complex host's science, technology and the living quarters of Jackson Helix and his vast corporation


Aston Helix Centre is a part of The City of Fiari.

9 Characters Here

Jackson Helix [17] The Entrepreneur, Billionaire Investor and Philanthropist.
Mason Talbert [16] Human-like cybernetic deniable operative for "Wouldn't you like to know". Appearance varies.
Hyde Oriander [9] Science doesn't pull any punches and neither do I.
Yreia Korou [8] An almost lackadaisical facade of half-lidded disinterest thinly veils ice cold determination, razor intellect, and dry humor.
Dr. Errin [8] An eccentric applied cybernetic biologist with a questionable sense of morals and a lot of ticks.
Sgt Elena Tarkovsky [0] "Why am I being sent to kill the very people I have identified with for my entire life? Do you not get how wrong it is to me, personally?"
Thagor Ta'vayne [0] Travelling Engineer/Fixer
Kosmo Aztari [0] kosmo a brave intelligent warrior humorous and mystrious is belived to be a son of a deceased legend

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1 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix
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Another day dawned in Fiari, Jackson peered out through the large pane of glass at the Seas below him. He watched the colors shimmer and glow as the ripples crashed upon the rocks.

"So what is on the Agenda today?"

A well dressed man across the room peered down at a device. "Actually sir all your meetings were rescheduled for next week. There are reports of a conference being held that you may find interesting considering the progress we are making."

"Did the IOC send the report i asked for?" Jackson asked, his tone kind yet firm.

"Yes sir, they are on your desk, along with..-"

"Thank you," Jackson's tall lean figure turned to face the man, "Your efforts haven't gone unnoticed, take a day off, seriously, when was the last time you saw your family?"

The man looked aghast before a small smile crept onto his face. "I am more than happy to help sir I'm always here if you

"How long?" Jackson's tone turned more serious.
"It's been three weeks and two days. Not that i'm counting."

"Go please, you deserve it, i'll look over the report and i'll tell you our next move tomorrow." Jackson moved towards the man who while bigger than him, seemed to flinch slightly as he approached. "I'll need you around in the next few weeks, we may have alot on our plate. Send my regards to Gina and the kids."

"Yes sir, of course" The man bowed as he left leaving Jackson Helix alone.

His strides were confident and firm, whether it was the black suit he wore or just the gait of a man sure of himself was unknown.
He picked up the paperwork and slumped into his chair.

"Not fast enough" he murmured as he wrote a few notes on a piece of paper emblazoned with the Helix symbol.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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#, as written by Andreis
Employee Elevators: Ground Floor
Mason Talbertsson

The key carded lift for the research center ceased it's soothing hum at the employee access halls beyond view from visitor information just meters away on the ground floor of the Aston Helix Center; and Mason Talbert stepped out. Dressed in a simple blue courier's uniform as he always was when not "on vacation", he walked with calm purpose toward the public commons area. He even wore the likeness of his original body; it felt like putting on a comfortable pair of clothes to him. Everything was just right. He almost felt fully human again.

The door made a soft click as he pushed it open into the bright artistic area of the public commons. It had an open air feel and the din of people talking was underscored by trickling water from fountains and the cry of birds coming through open windows. The warm dry breeze of the bay wafted through in a constant circulation and seemed to merge the central hub of Helix operations on Cortex with nature almost seamlessly. That was the goal, though.

Present an image of integration, posterity, and goodness.

Mason walked to the staircase leading up toward the entrance of CCO (Central Corporate Offices) and immediately began climbing it. It wound around the outside of the open courtyard enclosure below and broke off a couple of times for public access to Helix-based attractions and information. While most visitors spent time out in the Helix Central Gardens, some still meandered through the vaulted shining interior with wonder and curiosity. Mason cataloged every single one of them before he reached the key-carded double doors at the top. They were tempered voxalite glass with interlacing voxalite nano-tubes and a non-Newtonian polymer gel layering. They were damn near impenetrable to anything other than the heaviest of arms fire and they looked as clear as regular glass. They also cost a small nation's net worth. A big man in a suit on the other side of the door waited silently as Mason swiped his ident. and walked through. The silence in the glass-hallway was heavy. He stopped and grinned at the big fella.

"Heya, Tom."

The big man nodded to him and bobbed his head to the right, signaling Mason to go. Mason nodded in response and began walking toward the main door to the corporate offices, high above the heads of gawking visitors.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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"okay thank you, let him in" Jackson's phone closed. A small smile appeared on Jackson's face as he rose from his desk and readjusted his collar.

When you were in Jackson's position, while he held all of his staff in high regard, friends were hard to come by. A series of isolation's arose when their was the potential that your death could be more profitable to others than your life. This issue had cost him several million credits in lawyers fees and more signatures than he could count, scrawled over contracts that shifted his corporations assets in the event of his death. Then there was the isolation came with being protected nearly everywhere he went, the constant removal of privacy left Jackson disconnected somehow from socializing with the world around him. If he wanted to go to dinner within Fiari he would be accompanied, and whilst he valued the effort these people went to to keep him safe, there were occasions when they frustrated him.

Mason was a rare example of someone Jackson could call a friend, They had spent time alone, and had connected as people, not just as employer and employee.

He opened the double door to the room and beckoned him in, closing the door behind him.

"It has been too long. Welcome back."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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#, as written by Andreis
Central Corporate Offices: The Office of Jackson Helix
Mason Talbertsson

The walk up through central offices was much like traversing a hospital. Abysmally large and slow to get from point a to point b, but Mason knew it well from experience. He didn't need any tech addons to know where he was going and, in short order, made it up to the administrative floor and to the office of Jackson Helix. The familiar sense of business-like cleanliness merged with some personal style wafted over his senses. The most recent firmware update to the olfactory senses was impressive and he took a small breath, noticing the subtler scents on the air whether it be from open windows, the scent of wood, or the perfumes and colognes various folk about the office wore.

It was pleasant and Mason Smile. His smile broadened as the double doors to Jackson's office opened.

"Mr. Helix." He said with a nod and a tone that belied how unofficial he was being despite the title. He stepped inside the office with his hands folded behind his back and looked around admiringly as he waited for the doors to be closed. When he finally heard the doors click, he flicked dark eyes at Jackson and raised an eyebrow.

"Thanks." He said, dark eyes dancing. "It was a long vacation."

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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Jackson observed him for a moment, taking in the atmosphere, allowing the moment to readjust to the usual familiarity that once settled between them. It was largely the same familiarity, there were jagged edges that came with long timeframes apart, but Mason was still... well Mason.

"You've come back at a busy time, i'm hoping that is not a coincidence. It would be easier knowing that news is spreading naturally, rather than forcefully. Our escalation is about to hit a much bigger audience, we have a convention in a few weeks that will bring The Helix Corporation to the forefront of the galaxy's mind. It could arouse the contacts that could make or break everything we have worked so hard to achieve. Mason, i could use your support in the times ahead, both as a friend, and off the record." He paused a moment, allowing the information to settle.

"Business aside, tell me about your time away, i want to hear of your adventures out in the big wide world." The request was friendly and full of admiration, regardless of status, Jackson admired Mason,they were of the same age, but mason had done so much more exciting things, he could have adventures, travel alone, something that he felt his position would never let him do.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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#, as written by Andreis
Central Corporate Offices: The Office of Jackson Helix
Mason Talbertsson

The afternoon sun was casting a warm glow on the comfortable space of business deals, stressed out rants, and the occasional friendly conversation. Mason ran his fingers idly over the smooth surface of Jackson's desk and leaned on it's lip, as though sitting, but mostly still standing. He rested his hands on either side of him on the desk, straightening his back and looking at Jackson thoughtfully as the young man got business out of the way.

"If it's important the company's future, you know I'll be there. I support what you're trying to do with the company."

Mason kind of smirked at the ceiling, a nostalgic and thoughtful look gracing his features.

"It's funny to think that galactic is a level we plan for now. It's only been a couple of decades since it was a star system and then two or three. I guess at the edge of every known lies even more to discover."

He shook his head slowly in amazement. The question of adventures was never unexpected but Mason was never sure precisely how loaded it was or wasn't. He erred on the side of caution.

"I'd hardly call sitting in a space port an adventure." He laughed and then quietly told Jackson of his most recent vacation. A nice thing about having a company higher-up as a friend was that he had less to hide.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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"It's good to have you back."

Jackson listened intently, regardless of the details it was beyond this building, beyond Cortex and it intrigued him.

The door to the room opened surprising him, privacy was something he valued, and he thought he had made it abundantly clear he was not to be disturbed unless it was a matter of some urgency.

"Excuse me Mr Helix," The man sounded calm but his continued grip on the door and the boldness of his interruption got Jackson's attention.

"What is it?"

"Sir, we have a code red" It was a short sharp explanation that the suited man seemed would account for his interruption. It did.

"Gather the board, i want a full report of the events in five minutes, no less. Notify Civil forces, large scale panic is something we shall do our best to avoid. Mason, i'm sorry to cut our conversation short, would you care to join us?" he reeled off the commands with a calm efficiency that came from years of making far-reaching decisions. Code red was a precaution ninety percent of the time, It meant that armed warfare wasn't off the table but Jackson knew it was best to be prepared.

"Lets hope its nothing too serious," he said as he picked up a few things from his desk, papers, a pen and a few files from one of the bottom drawers.

2 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert
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#, as written by Andreis
Central Corporate Offices: The Office of Jackson Helix
Mason Talbertsson

The pleasant air the room had achieved was abruptly shattered as the door opened swiftly to reveal an attendant, whom curtly reported a code red to Jackson. Mason's eyes snapped over at Jackson to observe as a change overcome the young man. Like a neural signal to a muscle saying 'contract', Jackson was suddenly commanding and powerful in response to the dangerous news. Mason's eyes flicked back to the attended as he exited and then the agent stood up slowly from his lean to step aside for Jackson.

The business side of Jackson was swift, efficient, and cool. It was a side him that Mason admired, like one admires a well tuned piece of machinery or admires a cobra. Mason took one last breath of the pleasant air and then shook his head in response to the question. "No thank you." Then he gestured to himself. "I am the poster-child of 'Helix Cares', not a board member." He put on a sad smile and extended his hand to Jackson. "Nice seeing you, my friend. Lets catch up again soon." Mason's eyes twinkled with a clandestine look.

Then, when the handshake was done, he spun on a heel, leaving Jackson alone. What was not said in that moment was of much greater significance than what was said; and Mason passed on out of the corporate offices with an air of direction and purpose. Back to work he thought as the door to the employee elevators hummed open in front of him for a second time that day. His eyes became hard and steely.

3 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander
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  1. Only board members got a notification. No one else, save the space port, is on alert.

    by Andreis
  2. noted

    by lil_kreen

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6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander
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Jackson had expected as much, Mason was efficient and subtle, everything he needed to be. He took Mason's outstretched hand firmly, a grip that promised of a time coming where they would indeed talk again, and then he turned and walked towards the door.

The room was expansive, a large space filled primarily by a long wooden table that had the Helix symbol carved meticulously into its center. Around the table were high backed leather chairs each with its right arm supporting a High-tech control panel, that the user could use to search through archives, files and communicate across the Helix network without fear of breaches in security.

Commanders from every division, adorned in their various professional garments, filled the seats surrounding the table whispering conversations of plans, possible outcomes and protocol and using their Helix consoles to perform communications and intelligence tasks. Jackson entered, and the room quietened instantly. All heads rose from their current objectives and looked expectantly in his direction. Some were concerned, some confused and some sat waiting for their turn to speak. Jackson's face was calm and his posture professional, giving no signs that could be taken any way other than the fact he was in control of the situation, and he took his place at the head of the table.

"Whats the situation?"

"Sir..." one of the men dressed in a military uniform piped up, with a furrowed brow, "Commander Korou, of the orbital station has initiated a code red. It appears an unknown vessel..." he pulled up a hologram on the table before him showing the ship "has used combative force within our jurisdiction. According to the intel, it appears that this ship was giving chase to a smaller ship heading towards us. Scans confirm it to be a merchant vessel."

"And what about the vessel, do we know anything about their intentions, who they are, or what we are dealing with?" Jackson asked clearly trying to piece together the events in his head.

A woman in a simple uniform spoke, a small pin on her chest showed she was from the Research Division.

"Sir we have looked over the events, we can confirm that the weapons used were of the energy variety, the damage they could cause whilst severe in their effects on the smaller ship, would have little effect on the defense systems in place around the station and Cortex. As for the vehicle, it appears to be a patrol vessel around 1500 meters long, we would approximate it's use being for simple scouting operations, While we don't know the technology, it is probable it is not designed for full combat situations." She seemed calmer than most with this knowledge. "Whilst we don't know who they are the vehicle is known as the IAN Ice Queen, and is emblazoned with a phoenix shield."

Jackson thought for a moment, they had just stumbled upon what was likely to be another faction within the galaxy, the thought while at face value seemed severe, in the bigger picture seemed fortuitous.

"Replay any communications we've had with them. I'd like to hear what kind of people they are."

Another man pressed a button on his device filling the room with the transmission Yreia Korou had sent them.

"Helix Corporation... uhh... I'm not at liberty to divulge that sort of information to Xenos, you understand. We're maintaining a strict AO, and any attempts to approach this vessel will be construed as an act of aggression and we would be forced to defend ourselves with every terrible weapon in our arsenal; we'll be out of your hair soon enough."

'It would have been too easy if they were to comply' Jackson mused to himself before speaking.

"So we have a number of casualties a figure which is unknown to us, who were heading to the station, we can assume, in search of asylum from their pursuers. We have no information as to why they were being pursued." Jackson stood up to walk around the table, to begin pacing out his thoughts.

"We have a captain who appears to have no knowledge of Helix or Cortex, and has taken a stance where any justice sought on this vessel would end in a firefight. It was a bold move, either they have excessive backing, or they were desperate to ensure that the smaller vessel didn't reach us. We have no way of confirming the Captain's story even if we did ask for it. What then are our options?" By now he had made a complete orbit of the table and he turned behind his chair to the table in search for opinions.

"We could offer a diplomatic talk with the captain directly to establish trust, and use the discussion as a means for finding out more about these people" One voice suggested from the end of the table.

A more muscular man, who was clearly agitated by the suggestion sounded from Jackson's left. " ...and let murder go unpunished? Justice... needs... to be served, the AMS nodes are on standby, Let's just end this problem the same way they started it."

Jackson shook his head "No commander, this is how wars begin, we know nothing about these people and i won't have a needless bloodbath stopping our expansion." He turned to face the woman who fielded the report on the vessel. "Who would you recommend to look over your report? We need to know specifics."

The woman looked down at her report whilst thinking about her contacts. "A report from Doctor Hyde Oriander could be useful from the technical division, and i can run it by Dr Errin to see if he can make any observations, his insight has proven useful before."

"Good, send them the files containing details of the ship, and the capabilities we have witnessed." He turned to the technician's looking a little overwhelmed , "Get me Commander Korou, Dr Errin and Dr Oriander from the Technical Division on a secure feed."

Jackson waited for approximately ten seconds while the multiple feeds were patched through simultaneously and secured through various encryption methods by one of the technicians preventing any interceptions.

"Commander Korou, i appreciate your quick decisions in regards to the situation, your abilities haven't gone unnoticed" he began in a friendly and respectful tone. "I understand our defenses are up, and that the AMS nodes are prepared if the situation escalates. The board and i have been discussing various scenario's and i was hoping to get your input, as you were in direct contact. We played the recording and the captain seems to have no regard for the consequences of her actions. We of course have to consider the fact that this ship could have been full of innocent people, and therefore justice needs to be served. At the same time we have no information on who this vessel represents, their combative capabilities and feel as though brash action could lead to uncertain consequences. Where do you stand in the matter Commander Korou and is there anything else you can tell us?"

He gave the commander time to think and then addressed both Dr Errin and Dr Oriander. "Good Afternoon, , i'm sorry to keep you both from your work. We have patched through files containing a vessel that we are currently dealing with, the board and i were hoping you could elaborate on, or at least approximate the capabilities of the ship in question, and it's comparison to our own technology? More specifically, are we well suited to deal with what we know about this technology?"

He turned back to the table, raised a thoughtful finger to his lips. "Justice is important, however we could learn lot from this encounter if we consider effective timing."

Jackson wanted to be aware of the bigger picture, it was likely he would have to talk to the Captain himself, but for now he needed all the information he could get, justice was indeed important, but the timing for such an event couldn't be worse.

6 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander
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  1. Modified to improve readability

    by lil_kreen

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Hyde might not be in the intelligence arm but he damn well had idea when something was going wrong. One of Jackson's people came calling on priority. With these particular sorts running control points it meant a capital p Problem. An anomalous reading or an active ship?

Field testing was still something you had to fight for. One had to be in the right place at the right time. Which is why if you were smart you kept your overview dossier already in your pocket. Used when a good situation came up and not placed before. Work it into options when it can be relevant. So when the alarms went off you had a gun handy to stuff in an armory. Trying to get field testing without a field to put something in was an uphill climb. As the tech connected everyone to the meeting Hyde went to work. Pre-cooked a secure transfer set up so he could feed the report across at the click of a button. This particular report and very classified project was a grenade in Hyde's pocket. In the sense of how hot as it was developing.

As he listened to the conversation Hyde looked over the data one hand tapping his chin. His glasses pop up sensor data in the background. Even raw data is useful sometimes with statistical assumptions changed. Different assumptions often teased out fringe data. Many useful statistical anomalies looked a lot like noise at the edges so often parsed out. After seeing energetic green of the firing weapons he flagged down a researcher. Profiles presented to the researcher by a nearby panel for him to work over. Hyde meanwhile looked over the weapons feed and didn't see anything he liked. That was no slug thrower nor a simple plasma weapon. Evidence of envelope spiraling along its firing plane added complexity. Some sort of destination package contained by the wave front. Impact more decomposed the ship when payload struck rather than blowing metal apart. Mass driver strikes made plasma as metal turned to vapor. It then then energized wildly by temperature. Instead, most of this explosion was the envelope heating up the top layer. Projected momentum pounded the tail inward as the payload shot holes through.

Hyde waited for a clear moment to comment, "This weapon isn't a simple one. It demonstrates a deep understanding of projected energy mechanics. What you're seeing is a plasma weapon as a secondary strike on a primary payload. After the payload hits it fatigues everything it hits from the particules used. The plasma channel I would presume is a weakening hit to internals. It also doubles as an anti-personnel weapon."

He adjusted his seat to nod sideways. Hyde then translated his fellow's assessment, "I'm getting particular patterns of hot points. Normal sensor operation filters the raw sensor data for cosmic rays. My fellow isn't wrong suspecting quantum particle strikes. They trip sensors and don't match with a increase of total background noise. That makes radiation strike unlikely since the level of background noise didn't rise. At that distance the energy involved at the impact point is considerable. I would postulate that this weapon scatterbombed with subatomic particles in the payload. Destroying everything behind it with resulting high energy particles. As they passed they break crystalline structures fatiguing whatever metal remained. Arriving high-velocity plasma then strains through the fatigue holes. A secondary wave of fragmentary steel would tear away in the plasma. I would consider the weapon used rather over-focused on human casualties. Especially for what's purported to be a patrol vessel."

Meanwhile an orthogonal exterior schematic produces from ship architecture programs. They took in the sensor data merging the result into the data stream. Hyde indicated it, "This ship is a design one would use with a very strong state that has a deep logistics arm. The design takes pains to not bring attention to any obvious reserves. This behavior is consistent with shielded refuel designs suitable more for military craft. A patrol ship with these hatch wells would tend toward thick armor the seamless ones more so due to design. Not to mention the energy shift we saw in its shield. Military-class morphic shield structures are capable of redirecting shields around at high ratios. While this may indeed be a patrol vessel it's one belonging to a war state. One designing patrols to operate in enemy territory with little expense spared. Thus it's reasonable to presume resistance to more detail about internals or material. Such efforts may come under fire by a ECM package which would fit that ship complexity. Passive and active sensor systems on the station were in partial disagreement. Even after accounting for the shielding there is either cloaking or unknown materials."

He pressed the button to send the report on the Corpse Flower project. The technicians receive classified document seals on it of Hyde's department. In the event non-classified were present hyde had to describe generally.

His words are a careful measure, "Future research may be useful against that sort of weapon. We do have a partly autonomous fighter and drones of a nature more resistant to energy weapons. Their potentials are not yet explored to completeness. It still needs field testing. One that does not involve throwing prototypes at someone's battle-tested war machine."


The project met design goals they set for themselves and plenty. Still the project's star is close to running away with the poor bastards if one read close. Sygildrists desperate to shape its TEI structure leaves of an active ship on the fly. If they hadn't figured out how to get the thing to turn back into plates they might have had severe setbacks. Suspending the ship compressed it to a base inert form of glass plates. Folding rates decreased on reachable surfaces easy to edit. Otherwise it was hard to read TEI on active folding fractal interiors.

The side effect was now the TEI patterns in the larger cousin were moving on their own. Even on the plates themselves when 'suspended'. The drone-class duplicates hadn't that particular habit and disabled to inert hardware. They'd not yet discovered the impetus for the change in scale and complexity of the larger. Even the Vox glass now pull TEI leads across the surface at logged intervals. They found the fold rates based on impulse conduit length and system scale. Though folding the corpse flower pattern at longer periods as sleepy pile of glass plate.

Further capability report detailed the speeds of their fighter design. Theoretical max speeds equal that of light fighters even in its medium fighter class. Though they expected it still had a medium ship's momentum. The weapons note testing with small TEI structures on a 'Quantum anchored interface'. A square of rich mineral paper they drew TEI 'seed' frameworks on to describe interfaces. They then grew by inserting between plates while the ship suspends. They were confident they could get a large weapons output but lacked a field to test them on. Despite the development close to running away he kept overexcited eggheads to earth. Sane research guidance with mundane and progressive testing. Instead of random firing at test targets inside their hangar. Especially not with the first thing they could write down that worked with the interface.

Armor described as regenerative TEI conduit folding and material transmutation. It contained bare logs of not much than hand tool strikes and one very heavy impact. He sure as hell didn't let them shoot at the prototype. At least until they figured out how to make the seven smaller inert drones grow comparable to the first. He detailed their requirements to grow the drones as big as their sibling first. The report noted that Hyde convinced a superior to punish such over-excited scientist. The man tasked with fringe-hardening the TEI patterns doing quite well. Caught with a 300 kilowatt industrial drill whining up much to Hyde's terror. Given explanation was 'because the corpse flower can take it!' The problem demonstrated frame folds changed everything tampering with test results. While Hyde made sure to note that the reasoning was in part justified. The impromptu testing method was still not an approved method. A vacation recommended for the man to put his head back together. Hyde figured Jackson would read between the lines on that one.

There were some physical data as well as recordings presented as well. The Corpse Flower details there as the larger prototype referred to by the project. It hovers above the floor of the hangar when engaged with stable dimensions. Hyde noted that every now and again the ship would pivot to point at a scientist. Divination patterns at the center bow sensor passed 4 TEI folds per second when that happens. Problems remained of a sharp fighter-sized object rotating about with discussion of options. Later a frustrated scientist arrested it with a cinder block tethered by paracord. He'd used one stamped with the helix logo placed on the floor. It worked quite well much to the surprise of the scientists. The brick never moved from spots they left it. The ship still pivoted as far as its thin leash allowed never far enough to drag the block.

Development on the plate movement also suggested intelligence. Testing that was underway as soon as the cinder block incident. They estimated it instinctive at best. A short video terminated the testing of a researcher moving the multi-ton prototype. This time paracord tethered to follow the researcher as some iridescent shifting balloon. A few days after imposing the cinder block they tied a helix-marked teddy bear. Lanky researchers got tired of carrying a cinder block. They noted still worked.

Another video demonstrated an interesting foreknowledge on the ship's part. Its wing jerked to intersect a careless forklift worker from flattening a researcher. That impact shown later as a 3d scan and numbers of high resolution photos. The thick cage obliterated in sharp angles inches above head level. Thick spars split in flat angles like as if hit in odd angles by a giant glaive.

There was panic for days in the log documenting the shatter patterns with video. At least before time-lapse showed the glass was moving cracks around every TEI fold. By the next week a new deep refractance scan and electron images commenced. Whiskers of Vox infiltration recorded spreading among the cracks. At the end of that week a graphs showed the total number of cracks were flat even as the surface area decreased.

They'd tested injecting ink into the cracks to try and provide repair materials. They documented significant loss of crack quantity on the next TEI fold of the affected area. Other formulas and materials tested to differing degrees of success. It responded to a plasma welder during a repair test not as expected. It folded patterns found written around the fusion core to link the affected area. Other small energy weapons of no large threat tested to similar result. Especially after they introduced protective sygaldry to the interface.

Tests this week were on seeding Vox glass plates with protective TEI seeds. Intended to see if Vox glass could integrate guided purpose-built armor layers. They theorized it could function much like how they produced the interfaces.

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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Jackson turned as the door to the boardroom sounded someone's arrival. One of the technicians stood to approach the door but Jackson waved him off. "sit." He turned, and his pale hands pulled the large padded door to.

"Major, my apologies for pulling you up on short notice, and i appreciate your quick arrival." He stepped back leaving room for her to enter, the many faces of the room eyeing her curiously.

"To bring you up to speed, it seems a faction named the Aschen Empire have arrived on our doorstep, we are waiting to hear from them regarding their intention's but a smaller merchant vessel was blown up in the process. I have decided that a diplomatic approach would be best suited to what would seem everybody's best intentions." He gestured subtly so Aino would be able to see the man who had suggested her presence. "I can't say i know much of your experiences Major, and am unaware of your current treatment, however these people seem quite serious ans i could do with whatever help you can offer."

The transmission came through the channel,

"A wise decision, Mr. Helix." She replied, depressing the communicator. "The truth is the vessel which we destroyed, were weapons smugglers caught trying to smuggle weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups in the Empire, had they succeeded, many lives would have been lost; I wanted to ascertain your intent before revealing that much informati-- standby.."

His gut had been right, and he breathed a sigh of relief.

"That explains the strange signatures we've been picking up." One of the technicians added verifying the story, and Jackson slumped into his chair the small amount of tension he kept hidden eased away.

A transmission from the Orbital station piped in. "We have energetic disturbances, vehicles approaching 2-300k from the station, sending details now."

The whole room turned to their consoles and observed the large vessels on their doorsteps, some were outraged others were confused but Jackson looked unnerved.

Another Transmission, a different voice this time aired throughout the room.

"Attention all involved parties, this is Gina Inviere, supreme commander of the Imperial Aschen Navy... Will the designated leader of this world's government come forward and identify, we are prepared to initiate peaceful first contact."

After clearing his throat Aschen broadcast.

"Greetings Supreme Commander, President Jackson Helix of the Helix Corporation speaking, welcome to Cortex airspace."

He turned to Aino and eyed her for a second. "I have very little knowledge of these people, If you think this is going to be an issue, now is the time to tell me. Otherwise i would ask that you accompany me as my personal advisor in these relations."

7 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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Aino was surprised that the President himself opened the door for her, as opposed to well...she was used to opening the door herself in such a scenario usually after being told by the individual who ordered to report in by them just shouting "Enter.". Part of her thought someone of least lesser station should have opened the door for him but perhaps everyone else was busy. The Lieutenant briefed her on the way there on the things that had happened. It was sort of a culture shock really. From her end of the universe, it was impossible to run into someone who had not heard of the Aschen Empire but here she was, the only person in a multi-billion dollar corporation who could be considered a "Subject Matter Expert" when it came to the Aschen.

It was sort of disappointing, not so much having the Aschen knocking on her doorstep just as she had found a place that wasn't a war ridden hell hole, but she had suspected that this meeting was going to result in Mr Helix revealing why he had grabbed her off the streets when he had found her amongst the dead of her old team, Prima Donna, shot up and bruised...waiting for her own end to come. She had done work for him before and given the money and power he had, Aino assumed she was just an asset worth more alive and in his pocket than dead on the streets of Wing City.

Guess she would have to wait till after the talks with the Aschen to find out when, for in her mind there was no if, he would reveal what he wanted her for. Something would eventually come up that required her particular skillset... Aino entered the room and stood, as she was still taught to do when summoned by one of superior rank. She saluted and sounded off. "Sir, Major Aino Iwamoto reporting in as requested.". She awaited the command to take a seat until she did so but it did not come... Instead she was asked for her opinion on his

"Sir, with all due respect, It is my firm belief that should the Aschen decide to wage war with us after these "diplomatic talks" it would be because your ignorance of their culture and traditions, perhaps even their very existence, offended them. The Aschen do not acknowledge international laws, there is no set of laws that is above their own. Few are the races whom the Aschen respect as equals and most of those few are still existing under the rule of the Aschen. From personal experience fighting and leading troops against the Aschen as a Terran soldier and later as a Terran Special Forces Warrant Officer, they possess superior weaponry in all categories. Their military doctrine is battle tested and the battle rhythm of their troops on the ground is brutal. They do not value the lives of their enemies, for the enemies of the Aschen are all savage xenos and Sir as of this moment, it is we who are viewed as Xenos by the Aschen. However, the Aschen are not cruel overlords hell bent on conquering all they see. Should we convince them that we are not a threat to be annihilated, they should not bother wasting assets to conquer us. However, this plan of attack if you will, is complicated by the presence of the Supreme Commander, Gina Inviere. While on Terra I experienced her military genius first hand. Despite having laid out the plans which resulted in the deaths of many of my friends, I respect that woman for her exemplary leadership and finesse on the battlefield. Unlike most Aschen who would be fine with you stroking their ego, she does not. Make no mistake, she does not believe she and her peoples are better than you, that is a matter of fact with the Aschen. She merely enjoys crushing worms when they try to crawl up her boots. I do not know if having me, a woman of Taiyou descent who was also a Terran Special Forces present would better your chances. Aschen and Terran relations are still...I am certain we are still killing one another on Terra to this day... However, I am in no position to disobey any lawful and ethical orders you issue...Sir.".

With that Aino continued to wait, standing perfectly still in the position of attention with her eyes looking forward and only forward.

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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It had been several moments since first contact, and Inviere's arrival, and of course out of diplomatic courtesy, she opted to observe all the diplomatic protocols that the people of Helix demanded of her.

Prior to departing her Command Carrier, she instructed the ship's commander to initiate orbital bombardment and lay seige of the planet, in the event that she failed to check in every six hours, this meant it was paramount that she kept in contact with her fleet.

Otherwise, she opted to bring a small contingent of armed security personnel down to the planet, more as something to make herself feel more secure, than any threat to the people of Cortex.

She moved through the security checkpoints, and her staff kept watchful eyes on their surroundings, eventually Inviere would likely be shown to meet Jackson Helix himself, and the door opened to reveal the slender Aschen woman, hair tightly bound into a ponytail above her collar, which was a dark blue in color, contrasting with a dark grey uniform adorned with medals, commendations, and rank insignia.

She made a slight face, frowning, lips creasing into a thin grimace as she surveyed Aino, and Jackson before her.

She was alone, having instructed her security staff to remain outside while she met with the leaders of these previously un-contacted Xenos.

"She's a terran... I've seen her somewhere." Inviere said quietly to herself, but paid the notion little further mind before taking a step forward, hand outstretched.

"I'm Chairman Gina Inviere, supreme commander of the naval forces of the United Aschen Empire." She said, formally introducing herself.

"Your staff have been kind to me so far, to the point where I am willing to overlook your previous transgression concerning Commander Montrose." Inviere said calmly.

Her heavy boots clicked on the floor as she walked into the boardroom, looking at all the board members, sizing them up with a seasoned gaze.

Milk drinkers, all of them.

At 5'10 she was tall, her boots making her seem even moreso. The dark uniform of the Aschen Empire gave her an imposing appearance, and the look she cast on the other board-members betrayed the fact she held no respect for those before her, not so much for not being Aschen, but she could tell they hadn't seen a fraction of the suffering in their careers, as she had in hers. They were stuffy businessmen, and they reminded her of the Tech Con executives.

However she extended her hand to Jackson, and inclined her head slowly. "It's a pleasure to make contact." Inviere said, though she was thinking of a million different ways to seize the planet, enslave it's people, and exploit it's resources.

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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Jackson observed Inviere closely when she arrived, he had been told privately of her security personnel outside the door and was keeping a watchful eye on her face when she observed Aino, and hr surroundings.

He made a small gesture with his hand and the room bounced to life, each of the board gathering up their things and shuffling out, by the time the last one had left, Aino, Inviere and Jackson were left alone.

"I am hoping you value your privacy Supreme commander, while they are helpful a lot of them talk like old crones once outside these walls. Which i don't think is appropriate." He took Inviere's hand and shook it.

"Jackson Helix, President of The Helix Corporation, you'll have to forgive me supreme commander i am not accustom to your civilization's rules or it's etiquettes, should i have been, perhaps the events with Commander Montrose would have been different. On behalf of me and my citizens we welcome you warmly to Cortex. We can accommodate you and your security team in the embassy building where i hope you will find time to recuperate after your long journey. If however you are feeling up to it perhaps we can sit, and talk."

He looked over at Aino, unsure of how she was feeling, but empathizing with her, this probably wasn't very easy considering her past.

"This is Major Iwamoto, one of my advisors and a good friend."

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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 Aino felt something simmering beneath the surface of her being. It was anger and the desire for vengeance. So many Terrans, so many innocence, so many of her friends were dead because of this woman. Here she was, so casually extending her hand to Mr Helix. How easy would it be for Aino to draw her service pistol and kill her?

 "Dusk listen to me! Your an Officer dammit, think of the bigger picture! You take that shot and the Aschen commence an orbital bombardment the likes of which Terra has never seen!".

 It was Mars. He was in the room, talking to her. Warning her. Just as he did back then. He was right, again. If she had moved against Inviere back then and succeeded in striking a killing blow, it would only have fueled the flames of war further. She would become a martyr and her name would become the battle cry of the next wave. It was true back then and it was true now. Aino didn't like it but if they could somehow befriend the Aschen, or even be seen as a vassal state to them, it could considered a victory. Pride must be put aside here, the priority was the safety and well being of those who counted on Helix Corps.

Looking over Mr Helix's exaggeration, Aino did not recall her ever being on such terms with him, she snapped to attention at the mentioning of her name and swiftly transitioned to Parade Rest, rendering a salute with the right arm as was the fashion of the Terran Army when she served. Though it was an outdated motto, it was the only one Aino knew of the Aschen Navy and it was the one used by the Aschen during her service.

 "I worship his shadow, Supreme Commander!

Despite President Helix's words, I was only recently appointed as an advisor moments after contact, still I take full responsibility for the shortcomings and disrespect shown to the crew under your Command. I have instructed our personnel that you and your party be treated with the dignity and respect you are entitled to as our Guests. Should you become aware of any deficiencies or should any of our staff mistreat you, It is request that you inform me so that we may see that they are properly disciplined and that all shortcomings are addressed accordingly. If for whatever reason you cannot contact me, it is requested that you inform the nearest Helix Officer present and they will pass the message to me.".

 The entire time she was speaking, Aino did not flinch or drop her salute. As Supreme Commander Inviere held the higher rank (much higher rank), for Aino to drop her salute or move from her position, would be a sign of disrespect. However like this Inveire could easily see without a doubt that Aino was indeed a Terran and one whom served in the Terran Army. She could deduce that the reason why she was appointed as an Advisor was because of this service with the Terran Army and even that during her service it was Inveire's forces whom she battled against. Whether or not Inveire took offense to these things or think well of Mr Helix for his decision.

8 Characters Present

Character Portrait: Gina Inviere Character Portrait: Amelia Montrose Character Portrait: Jackson Helix Character Portrait: Yreia Korou Character Portrait: Dr. Errin Character Portrait: Mason Talbert Character Portrait: Hyde Oriander Character Portrait: Aino Iwamoto
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"I know who she is." Inviere replied, turning briefly to face Aino as she offered her salute.

"I worship his shadow."

Inviere didn't seem to react to the use of an incorrect salute from a regime that collapsed, instead she opted to politely correct Iwamoto with her own, returning salute.

Clicking her heels together, she brought her fist to her chest in the new Aschen salute. "Ad Victoriam." Inviere replied, and once she moved to an at ease stance, she looked to Jackson with concern, curiosity even.

"I find it odd, that you employ a former Terran special forces operative... and have no knowledge of the Aschen Empire, or it's customs." Inviere said, moving slowly to pace around Aino. Her eyes stared deep into the woman's soul almost, she was studying her, carefully watching her.

The last time she had seen Aino, was on Terra, during a raid on a Terran convoy. She remembered the fighting, the shooting, the sizzle of disruptor bolts.

"You may address me by my rank, Chairman, or simply call me Inviere." Gina corrected.

Turning her attention back to Jackson, she clasped her hands behind her back, and maintained an arrogant posture, as if standing over him. "I assure you, the trip wasn't long at all, our FTL Drives are far more efficient than most of the primitive forms of Faster-than-light travel known to man. Our vessels can travel instantly, anywhere in the universe." Inviere boasted.

"That being said, I'm a woman of little patience, and I have a busy schedule, so perhaps we should cut right to the chase."

She was a woman who carried herself with considerable gravitas.

Once again Aino was brought to her attention, a flashback crossed her mind, back on Terra; her eyes narrowed, stared at Aino, perhaps even past her.

Aino's head was centered in the flickering holographic cross-hairs of her disruptor rifle, she had popped out from the hatch of a Hummvee, firing it's .50 into pinned Aschen troops.

Inviere remembered pulling the trigger, and the red indicator flashing on her sights.

'Vis Deicens' - Energy depleted'

She should have killed her, and she vividly remembered Aino gunning down four of her men that day.

"Your adviser is incompetent, your commanders are incompetent, do not show me that you too, are incompetent, Mr. Helix." Inviere said coldly, staring at Aino.

Inviere had an entire village of people lined up and shot that day, as revenge for losing her men.

Trashman has arrived, coming from Helix Research Centre.
Trashman has left the area, heading east into Bayside Crescent.