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Syrin Eulina

"No one likes war. But sometimes, war is necessary."

0 · 890 views · located in Ko'val

a character in “Within the Veil”, as played by Siryn

Groups

The Protectors of the Pilgrims of the Stars

Description

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27 || Heterosexual || Knight Sentinels





Syrin is of average size. 5'8 in height and lean in build. Long black hair layers around her face. Light brown eyes accent the dark hues of her hair. Her skin is pale in contrast, not a flawed mark on her body. Brown leather armor covers every inch of her frame, with thick metal shoulder pads, arm guards, a V shaped chest guard from the top of her shoulders down, as well as a flexible plating around her torso. Long pants are decorated with two belts. One to hold her hand gun, the other for her long blade. Finishing that, her hands are covered by thick brown gloves that come up to her elbows, buckles lacing the thick leather to keep them in place.




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Syrin is skillful in piloting her Mecha, wielding both her assault rifle and hand gun, and in swordsmanship. Despite the fact using a sword is a little old fashioned, Syrin excels at it and wouldn't have it any other way. Single targeting when not in her Mecha is a specialty. Taking out her foes one by one in an efficient and deadly style is what makes her a terrifying opponent. Syrin will tunnel her opponents so that they are forced to come at her one by one. Whether she uses her rifle, hand gun or sword, Syrin will destroy any who are deemed a threat to the ExStellar group as well as her own Sentinel Knights.

Syrin prefers the use of her guns first as they make short, quick work of her enemy. Firing off one single round at her targets isn't just to save ammunition while in a fight. She's a very good shot and hardly ever misses her targets vitals. Once she runs out of bullets, Syrin will switch to her sword. Still taking on one opponent at a time, she will strike to kill, aiming for the throat or straight through the chest to destroy the heart. Though the sword is slower than her guns, Syrin still makes rather quick work of her enemies when taking them on one at a time.

In her mecha, Syrin is a completely different fighter. Because of the type of machine she pilots, she prefers guerrilla tactics. It's much harder to tunnel her opponents when in space. If there's debris of some sort, Syrin will use it to her advantage to hide from her enemies. Her machine is a sleek, pitch black mecha that resembles a fighter jet, except a lot larger due to its capability of rearranging it's parts into a humanoid shape. Syrin prefers keeping it in the fighter jet stage, however, since it is highly nimble and fast.

Darting around her opponents and firing off the missiles of her arsenal as she goes is how she wins a fight in open space. Never staying still, Syrin continually moves and even jumps between different enemies while on the battlefield. Keeping them guessing is her sure way to victory. Just as she fights with her guns first in person, Syrin does so in her machine as well. Once she's out of ammunition in her mecha, she will change form and fight with the machine's sword. Though not as fast in this form, Syrin still continues to jump between her opponents in the mecha, darting around and never staying still.

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Despite Syrin's prowess in battle, she's obviously lacking in many ways. The first problem is that she takes on only one enemy at a time. Should she ever find her tactic of tunneling her opponents while fighting outside her mecha, Syrin's ability to fight multiple enemies at once falters heavily. She simply cannot keep up and often loses her calm composure during a fight because she panics. Though the panic is not outwardly shown on her facial features, it is easy to tell because instead of firing off one shot at each enemy that she sets her sights on, she will end up unloading her clip in the attempt of mowing them all down in one fell swoop. Though it may work to destroy some of her opponents, the action will deplete her weapons very quickly and she'll be forced to use her sword.

Once forced into using her sword, Syrin will attack venomously. Losing her deadly grace, she simply tries to render as many as possible unfit to fight back. This in turn leads to many mistakes and in the end, Syrin can be overwhelmed very quickly. She will be forced into tiring herself far quicker than when she's forced her enemy into a tunnel of sorts. Also in need of mention, despite the ability to tunnel her enemies rather well to take them on one on one, should any of them manage to surround her either by surprise or some other tactic, Syrin will fall into her panicked state of fighting.

In her mecha, Syrin's weaknesses are still plenty. Though her fighting style has changed, should she be surrounded or otherwise pinned down, she loses her composure. Syrin will still fight, but her agility would be lowered should she be trapped, thus opening her to allowing more damage to her mecha than usual. Any electrical attacks will render the machine useless until fixed, thus making her a sitting duck in the middle of battle should she be hit. EMP's will shut down the machine for a good handful of minutes, and is enough time for an enemy to destroy her machine should they wish.

Though surprising or otherwise trapping Syrin is difficult, it can be done and once it is, her abilities in a fight decrease. In other words, when she's lost the ability to surprise her enemies and continue to move around freely in rapid succession, Syrin has most likely lost the fight unless a miracle occurs to assist her in getting her out of the dilemma she'd find herself in.




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On file, Syrin joined the Knight Sentinels after her long and grueling training on Earth with the Sentinel program. She was once affiliated with the Navy, but never got anywhere with it, nor did she enjoy the military aspect. She joined the Navy when she was just 16. Syrin left the Navy and joined the Knight Sentinels program when she was 18. She finished at the academy when she was 22 and finished training at 25 and at 27 was deployed on the vessel Gjallarhorn as an escort for the colonization ship Stella Caelator (Star Chaser).

Though it doesn't happen often, Syrin has been known to ignore direct orders. Any from the Navy would know that Sif Valiska is her true name.

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Despite her outward professionalism, Syrin has a distaste for other women. She can be cruel, sharp tongued most times. Though she will not outright abandon them in their time of need, she still has a dislike for other women. Even so, Syrin's foul attitude toward other women is viewed only as her being cold in general. None suspect it to be sexist on her part.

In addition, anyone not a part of the Navy would not know that Syrin was her real name. After leaving the Navy, she changed her name from Sif Valiska, to Syrin Eulina.




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Syrin is all duty when it comes to her line of work. As a Knight Sentinel, she takes her position as soldier very seriously. Syrin pushes to be the best in everything that she does and is good at doing. Syrin will show the utmost respect for those that are above her in station. To everyone else she treats them either as a companion or simply as another soldier on the field. Mostly this is generated towards males, the treatment of companionship. Her aversion to women simply has her treating them as another soldier. Syrin never abandons anyone on the battlefield, not even women whom she has an aversion to. Beyond fighting along side another woman soldier, Syrin tends not to associate herself with them.

She can be sharp tongued, or even foul mouthed at times depending on her mood, but for the most part Syrin is rather soft spoken. She follows her orders to the letter which makes her ideal as a soldier, however, there have been times where her own ideas and decisions oppose that of her commanders. Should she deem a situation differently than what her commander does, she will voice her opinion. Depending on the situation, if her commander disagrees with her suggested plan, Syrin will do as she wants anyway and disobey the orders given to her. This isn't due to disrespect for her commander, but simply due to her own ideals and thoughts. As stated, it depends on the situation and usually it would deal with rescue operations and things of that nature.

In addition, Syrin is very particular about her appearance. She is what some would call a 'perfectionist' in nearly all things. Her room is never dirty. Her clothes are always clean and perfect at the start of the day, and she tends to spend a lot of time with her mecha and whomever is working on its maintenance. She keeps a keen eye on the engineer who may be fixing or tuning her machine. Syrin doesn't allow anyone in the cockpit of her mecha, though, not even the mechanic. She does her own work on the computer aspect of the cockpit on her machine. Because she has a certain way of calibrating the controls inside the mecha, she distrusts anyone else to do it for her.

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Syrin's history isn't all too eventful, but the events of her history have influenced her personality and behavior immensely. To start, her aversion to women simply derives from her Mother. Syrin (or Sif at the time) and her Mother never got along. Her Mother hated Sif simply for the fact that she was born female and not male. From childhood, her Mother never allowed her to associate herself with anyone else other than the boys of their neighborhood for the one reason that her Mother held a disdain for girls. She thought them to be weak and intolerable little creatures. Sif's Mother thought that if her daughter associated only with the men of the neighborhood, she would not act like a woman at all.

Even so, Sif still couldn't please her Mother despite doing everything she was asked to do. She even had her own mothers mindset, that women were weak and intolerable. When Sif turned 16 her Mother signed her off to the Military to be trained as a soldier, to fight in war like a man and act like a man. Sif did as she was told, but she soon learned that she despised the Navy's system and found herself questioning their actions often. She also found that she often was viewed as a threat to other male soldiers because of her confident and strong personality, most it was those in charge that found her difficult to deal with. In the end, Sif left the Navy and turned to the Knight Sentinels. She'd learned of the Knight Sentinels through the Navy and decided that it was worth a try to see if she could fit herself in there.

With that as her only choice since her Mother would not take her back, Sif changed her name to Syrin and ceased to exist as Sif any longer. Though she still ran into a few problems with her less than womanly personality, Syrin found that she could manage better with the Knights than anywhere else. Even so, she toned down her headstrong actions that she'd found unnerved some of her fellow cadets, and slowly turned into the woman she is now. Syrin still exhibits her heavy confidence and less than womanly personality, but she's fit in better with the Knights than she's ever fit in before.





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So begins...

Syrin Eulina's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Ryker Vondalir Character Portrait: Arina Xsan Character Portrait: Aiyanna Holt Character Portrait: Alten Ashley

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Three months, three weeks, five days; Commodore Fredrick Nash looked at the small calendar displayed holographically in front of him, and surrounding it was several other screens of similar size with various other things. All of them floated about two feet away from his face, all of them controllable using the controls located on the arms of his chair. Looking at the dates for a few more moments, he then hit a button to close down the calendar and bring up a picture of brownish-grey planet in front of him. It showed clouds in its atmosphere, with large bodies of water spread here and there along its surface. It was mostly dominated by large spans of open terrain, with mountains and hills spread out amongst the sands of the deserts that made up much of the planet. The arid terrain stretched from the planets equator, and only ceased when it began to meld into the more frigid poles of the planet.

Ko’val, their destination. It was still a few days out, and getting there would only be the start for The Far Reaching Wind and her crew. Not just for them either. He hit another button, bringing up three screen shots of three different vessels. One was a large carrier, which dwarfed a smaller supply vessel that followed alongside it. The Stella Caeltor, the ship that carried the thousands of colonists that were to re-establish the colony located upon the ko’val. The smaller vessel near it simply carried a large number of supplies to assist in the endeavor.

The third, which looked very similar to his own ship in design, a military vessel of sorts, floated the Gallarhorn. Its hulls contained the large numbers of Knight Sentinels of the Frontier, the Order sworn to protect those who sought to settle the planets hidden amongst the dark reaches of space. The group of people who were quite unhappy to have Naval support.

Nash hit a few more buttons to close the screens in front of him, now having an unobstructed view of the star filled view screen of the bridge. He wasn’t looking at anything in particular; rather he was just lost in thought. It seemed almost like he was just a statue with how still he sat, wondering himself what was to be expected on Ko’val. Something had happened there, something anomalous enough that the Humanitarian Federation wanted more than just the Knight Sentinels to tag along, and so Nash’s carrier had been deployed alongside the re-colonization fleet. In a few days he’d find out what happened though, though he was not entirely sure if he wanted to know.

~~~

The screen displayed several different windows, all of which held all sorts of information for her. Most of the information displayed was that of the planet Ko'val. Separated by two poles of completely opposite weather patterns, the planet was one inhabited. What happened to it, though, remained a mystery to everyone for years. Arina hadn't thought she'd ever get the chance to go see Ko'val, but it seemed that the Federation had different ideas.

It was a good plan, none the less. Ko'val was situated in the right spot to have tactical advantages for spreading out further in the dark reaches of the solar system. Even so, Arina was on edge for some reason. Only a few days out and she was just now getting shivers down her back. She's listened to the tape a few times, the one that held the transmission of the last moments of the citizens of Ko'val. It was scrambled badly, a few words here and there, but the main idea was that something, or someone, had attacked them.

Arina was determined to find out who or what that was.

After going over the information several times in the past few hours, she stretched back in the seat and tapped a button on the desk's clear glass hologram and it all shut down from infront of her. Releasing a sigh, Arina turned in her seat, got up and strode over to the huge bay window that allowed her a nice view of the fleet that followed after her vessel that carried the new colonists for Ko'val. Most notibly was the Naval vessel settled just slightly above hers.

On the other side of the Stella Caeletor was sure to be the Knight Sentinels, following just as closely as The Far Reaching Wind was. Clapsing her hands behind her back, Arina stood there for quite some time, staring out at the two vessels within sight, lost in thought.

Alten skimmed through the information on the tablet held in his hand as he waited for the elevator to reach his destination of the bridge of the Stella Caeletor to speak with Admiral Arina. It was best that they get some information settled, and so she and the other ship captains knew what to expect. He looked up at the display for the elevator, watching it tick by to indicate what floors it was going by, just passing the third level of the ship.

"Alright then, start with previous landing sight, what's there, climate, wildlife, stuff like that. Got it, Alten?" he asked himself as he pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose with his free hand. As the display went from "1" to "Bridge", a small keypad then lit up on the door with a slot for a security key also being illuminated. He pulled his security key from his pocket and slipped it into the slot before he quickly punched in the code. It was a simple measure of security to prevent unwanted access, though Alten wondered why it didn't go through this process before going to the floor. He withdrew the key and replaced it before he stepped out onto the bridge.

He looked around it, looking at some of the pilots and technicians at work in front of terminals of varying size and complexity. He hadn't a clue what half the equipment did, nor how to operate it, but that's why he didn't work it. It always amazed him, strangely, to watch these people work the terminals with immense speed and dexterity, seeming to be able to hit all the keys and buttons with hardly a thought. He smiled slightly when he tohught of his own ability with a keyboard, which was much less impressive. it was why he preferred speech-to-text software, it made his life so much easier.

He spotted the Admiral looking out the large bay window, seeming to be enthralled by the star-filled darkness that was out the view port. It always surprised him when he saw her, considering how young she was. There were some people who never reached a position such as Admiral at any point in there life, and he knew for a fact that Commodore Nash aboard The Far Reaching Wind and Argos Aigidios aboard the Gallarhorn were both men well into there forties and both had an impressive record to show for why they'd be given the positions they had. Yet Alten didn't know too much about Arina, yet clearly she had impressed a number of people within the administration of Exploratores Stellarum.

Patting down his jacket and shirt, mostly out of habit, he walked towards the Admiral, his shoes making a soft thunk with each step on the hard metal beneath his feet. When he was only a few feet behind her, his heels clicked together, his feet moving to the forty-five degree angle that was a part of standing at attention, his free hand closing to a soft fist at his side while he held onto the tablet with his other. He could never break some of his old habits from his Marine days, but they were hardly a burden to him, and if anything they were good habits. "Excuse me Admiral, if I may speak to you." his voice was soft, and he looked at her directly.

So lost in thought, Arina hadn't heard his approach at all until he's spoken and even then she'd only caught the tail end of his words since his voice was so soft. Turning just enough to peer over her shoulder, The Admiral caught sight of one of the men entrusted in determining if planets were viable inhabitants for humans. Though she'd only met him briefly before their departure from Earth, she'd read through some of his files given by the military.

Arina smiled, "Alten. What can I do for you?" she asked in kind tones, her smile never fading as she turned to face him fully, "We'll be reaching Ko'val in a few days, I'm assuming you're here in regards to the planet?"

Her smile caught him off guard a bit, mostly cause he wasn't use to people in her position or any officers he met with to smile in such a fashion. He didn't let it show though, instead he simply cleared his throat as he held up his tablet, looking at it quickly before back up to her and holding it out. "Yes, Admiral Xsan. Just a few important pieces of information for you, Commodore Nash, and Sentinel-Major Aigidios regarding Ko'val."

"Simple things regarding the landing site that has been designated as the best place, as well as what to expect within the immediate area of it. We are fortunate in that, with Ko'val having already been established we have a fair bit of information on what to expect so things should go smoothly for us." he said to her.

Taking the tablet handed to her, Arina moved from the window a bit, listening to Alten's speech all the while as she skimmed through the information given to her. She'd been informed of the landing site already, but it never hurt to double check information of course. Nodding in agreement to his statements, she continued on through the information, "Nothing hostile as far as plants go... That's good. Ko'val being established already is a plus, we'll be able to colonize it far faster than the first time, I'm sure."

Running her finger along the tablet to move the information around, she finished looking at it briefly and turned back to Alten, the smile retaking it's place on her lips, "This looks good. Should be promising. I'm to assume that Sentinel-Major Aigidios and Commodore Nash wish to send out scouting parties first before we allow the citizens on land?"

He nodded his head, turning to track her movements as she walked away from the window. "Indeed, it should be much easier. Of course we are also fortunate that Ko'val was never a very hostile world...er..ok well the planet itself is not." he looked away for a moment, embaressed a bit at his goof up. Clearing his throat, his usual tick of nervousness, he looked back to her as he recomposed himself. "So that will help, we just need to make sure we are prepared to handle the arid climate of the landing site and original colony location."

"As for the Major and Commodore, I can only assume that they will want to deploy scouts. However..." he paused, thinking of how not to sound insulting when he said it. He respected the two commanders for their capabilities and so he didn't want to possible say something that might reach their ears and make any relations a bit sour. "I think it may be best to discuss with them the plans for scouting parties. We don't want any...issues between them." he glanced away from Arina, a bit worried about the offense his words might cause.

Tapping the tablet gently against her hand, Arina pursed her lips in acknowledgment. Alten had a point. The two factions hadn't gotten along and for the most part as far as she had knowledge of, so far they'd not interacted with one another since the departure. Turning on her heel, Arina handed the tablet back to Alten with a slight grin, "Well then, I think we need to get both parties on board and have a meeting then. What do you think? The Commodore and Major along with the pilots? Or just the commanders?"

As Alten took hold of the tablet again, tucking it into the crook of his elbow as he listened to her. At her question, Alten blinked slightly, looking off as he thought about it. He was still standing in the position of attention, save for his eyes moving away from Arina. He then looked back up to her. "Well, Admiral. Personally I think it'd be best to simply speak with only the commanders in this case. I think that, until we really know how both sides are going to deal with each other we sohuldn't try to force them to interact too much. Of course, it is your decision to make sir, I mean ma'am." he coughed a little, averting his eyes from her and just looking on ahead as he finished.

Arina laughed slightly as he said 'sir' rather than 'ma'am'. He seemed rather nervous which made her soften up more than usual. He shouldn't have been nervous at all, Arina didn't think she was all that hard to talk to.

"Very wise. Thank you for your insight, Alten," she complimented and turned to the staff on the bridge, "Open communication to The Far Reaching Wind and Gallahorn." she ordered, her tone changed slightly as she called out across the bridge. She was answered by one of the attendants who switched desks and did as she asked.

A soft sound filled the air as the communication link was sent out to both vessels. All she had to do then was wait for them to accept and she would proceed with the next steps.

Alten nodded his head when she gave him the compliment. "Thank you, Admiral Xsan." he said as he stood back. He wasn't really needed for the communication, and if they did then the Admiral could get a hold of him. He turned to look towards the main screen.

In only a few moments, one screen lit up to show the image of rather tall, and fully armored man as he stood within a small, yet bare room. The rooms floors had minimal mats to it, and along the backwall could be seen racks of various practice blades. The man stood there in full power armor, which on the chest plate was The Helm of Awe, the symbol the Knight Sentinels wore. The man in question had very, very short black hair and a face riddled with scars here and there. He stared at the screen, a stern, hard look in his eyes as he looked at Arina. On his shoulder rested a rather large blade, at least three-forths the length of the Knight holding it.

Despite the severe look he had, the Knight actually spoke in a rather calm and kind tone. "Yes, Admiral Xsan? What is it that you need?" Sentinel-Major Aigidios asked. Alten had noted that nothing had yet come through from The Far Reaching Wind, course he was a bit distracted by the imposing man on the screen in front of him. To Alten, it was like he was back at bootcamp, staring down a Drill Instructor.

Arina's lips curved upward, her pleasant demeanor not in the least detered by the powerful looking man who bore down upon her via the screen's display, "Sentinel-Major, I'm requesting yours and the Commodore's presence aboard my vessel. I would like to have our plans all in sync with each other. A smooth operation is much more pleasing than a rocky one, yes?"

A scowl formed on the face of the Major as he listened to Arina, snorting a bit as he turned to head over to the weapon rack. As he walked, the camera followed after him to keep him in the shot. "May I ask why simply communicating through this method is not good enough?" he asked as he set the sword he was holding back on the rack. It fell into place with a loud metallic thunk before he turned back around to face the camera.

"We'll have plenty of time to meet and greet when we reach Ko'val, besides, I already promised I'd behave." he said the last part in a bit of a mocking tone as he crossed his arms, the light of the room he was in shining between the individual fibers of muscle-like cords that was on the outside of the power armor limbs.

Arina felt an inward sigh pulse in her chest as she kept her pleasant features intact despite his obvious annoyance to her request. Leaning off to the side, Arina let the side of her jaw rest against her fist as she leaned on the chair she was standing next to, "Sentinel-Major, I must say that I respect the fact that you actually answered my call. As of this moment," her gaze shot off to the side as she looked over to the attendant who was still trying to hail the other vessel, "The Commodore seems to be ignoring me entirely. I think that perhaps he doesn't like me very much," she smiled at the slight joke, though she was actually fairly sure the Commodore wasn't too keen on her.

"In any case, as a show of respect to both of you, I'm requesting the meeting in person. I feel it's more... Hmm, professional? Besides, I like to have things done before they need to be, surely you do as well?"

Aigidios stood there with his arms crossed for a bit longer, just watching her for a few moments. Finally he took a deep breath before letting it out in an annoyed huff. "Fine then, only because you asked nicely." he said as a joke, though his tone hardly conveyed much humor. Alten figured it simply was because the Sentinel-Major was permanently stuck in eat-you-alive-mode. "I'll be over within the hour, and I'll be bringing some fellow Knights as well. Sorry, Admiral Xsan, but only a fool travels alone and we Knights are no fools. Aigidios out." with that, the communication screen cut out.

Alten watched the screen for a few before glancing to the Admiral. "Well then, that part went well. Think the Commodore will be as willing?" As if on que, suddenly the screen opened up again to reveal the image of a man sitting in the chair centered in the bridge of The Far Reaching Wind. The man in question had a look to rival that of Aigidios, and frankly if Aigidios was like a Drill Instructor, this was the face of all the Drill Instructors while smoking a recruit.

The Commodore had a surprisingly young looking face for someone who was in his late forties, and he sat quiet and motionless in his chair as he stared hard at Arina. His right eye was a calming, soothing color of blue and bangs of dirty blonde hair hung just above it. The left eye though, was the more unnatural red that came from a bionic implant. As Alten watched Nash, it didn't look like malice or hatred in the man's eyes. There was an intensity of some kind, though Alten wasn't sure what to consider it.

Nash's voice was a bit raspy, yet still held a great deal of authority to it. "Admiral." was his only response as he sat there.

With no room to respond to the Sentinel-Major, Arina could only keep her smile upon her lips as he ended the transmission rather quickly. Even before she could answer to Alten, the screen lit up again and this time it was the Commodore whom she faced. I get the feeling he did that on purpose... Or perhaps he was just hoping to miss the Sentinel-Major... Should have kept him talking longer, Arina thought to herself with an inward groan.

"Commodore, it is a pleasure. Thank you for responding. I'm extending invitation onto my vessel. I wish to speak with you in person about the details of our landing on Ko'val in a few days," she paused just briefly, wondering if keeping the information that Aigidios was coming on board to herself was a good idea or not, in the end it took her a mere moment to decide, "The Sentinel-Major will be here within the hour. Am I to expect your arrival?"

Though she was asking it as a question, her tone said that it was more of an acknowledgement instead. Inwardly, she'd hoped she hadn't stepped a little too far into territory that was clearly not hers. Even so, Arina was determined to get both men aboard. After all, if things were to go smoothly -and she would have them go smoothly one way or another- she needed them both on the same page, no over lapping plans, and especially no hostility toward one another.

Nash watched her for a moment, still unmoving in his seat. After a bit of a pause, he spoke up. "You can tell the Sentinel-Major that I will allow him and his Knights to handle securing the landing site. I will be deploying my own scouts deeper into the colony sections away from the landing site. I'm intent to make sure nobody else has made a home of Ko'val. I will keep you both in touch before I take any other steps beyond that. It will be a contingent of infantry accompanied by some Mecha support if you or the Sentinel-Major are curious." Finally, he made a movement, even if it was only to blink.

The next movement was for him to hit a few keys on his chair with his left hand. Alten noticed the subtle rigid motions that was also a tell tale sign of a bionic limb. After a few presses, he then let his hand rest back into it's resting position. "Understood?" he finished.

This will be a difficult man to deal with, Arina thought to herself wilst keeping the pleasant smile on her lips present, "I see, thank you for the information, Commodore. Even so, I would feel more at ease should you attend. Simply passing off information via word of mouth tends to get muddled."

Arina moved from the side of the chair to sit down upon it and laced her fingers together as she leaned forward, "Besides. Is my vessel really all that disdainful? And I've only met you briefly in person. Surely you wouldn't mind speaking to me face to face rather than having such distance."

He watched her, now beginning to drum the fingers of his right hand on the arm of his chair. "If you insist then. Nash, out." He then hit a button on the left arm of his chair as the link was then cut.

Alten stood there, watching where the screen was for a few silent moments before he spoke up again. "Well, apparently that part also went well. Well done, Admiral Xsan." he said while looking over to her.

Arina's smile never left though the moment the screen disappeared with his cutting the transmission, she leaned back with a slight sigh of relief. The encounter with both men was rather nerve wracking, though not nearly as bad when dealing with two utterly ticked off countries ready to tear each others throats out at the drop of a pin. Even so, their presence alone on screen was enough to tell Arina that she really had no place amongst the higher ranking individuals of either the military or the Knight Sentinels.

Still, she couldn't help the excited grin on her lips knowing that she'd won both of them over, "Why yes. That did go well, didn't it," she beamed and bounced up out of her seat with renewed vigor, "Although I think I may have annoyed the Commodore a little more than I did for the Sentinel-Major..." Arina shrugged lightly.

"In any case, this is far better than having them on screen. At least now neither of them can just up and leave as easily," she said with a wink toward Alten. Striding toward the elevator, she reached out and tapped the control pad, "Prepare the docking bay to recieve both the Sentinel-Major and the Commodore," she called out as she waited for the lift.

There was an answer to her command which she only briefly acknowledged before slipping into the elevator, "Shall we go greet them?" she offered to Alten.

This was going to be an interesting CO to be under, that was for certain as he watched her almost bounce up out of her seat. Her little wink made him blink in confusion, staring at the viewscreen for a moment before turning his head to follow her movements to the elevator. "Well uh...I'm not sure if you really annoyed him persay. I think Commodore Nash just isn't much of a people person really, odd given his position as an officer."

He watched her move to the elevator, standing where he was when she offered to go meet with them. He nodded his head, fixing his glasses again as he followed her onto the elevator. "I suppose we should. Also, not sure what you might be nervous about Admiral Xsan. I'm the one who has to talk to them." he said as he stood next to her, looking forwards and too the door. "Which, I may add, is not my strongest talent. If you haven't noticed."

As the doors closed shut and the elevator started it's downward descent, Arina laughed lightly at Alten's words, "You will do just fine. If it helps any, you can use me as your focus. I didn't think you were all that bad earlier when you spoke to me," she offered with a glance in his direction.

"And for the record," she grinned, "I'm not nervous."

Alten narrowed his eyes in confusion, glancing over to her. "Use you as my focus? Not..sure what you mean by that, ma'am." He then looked back ahead, before glancing back down to his tablet as he brushed through the information again, more so just to give himself something to do.

"And thank you, Admirla Xsan. Been getting better, but you COs always have a way of just shutting me up, whether intentional or not." He didn't look up from his tablet, still poking at it here and there. "I swear it's a talent you all seem to have that i'll never truly understand." he finished, glancing over to her for a moment before back to the tablet.

Arina placed on hand on her hip as she watched the counter on the elevator that said what floor they were passing as they descended, "Use me as your focus, as in pretend you're only talking to me," she answered his confusion.

A soft huff of a laugh escaped her lips as she tilted her head a bit and closed her eyes, "My apologies, Alten. I do not intend to... 'shut you up' as you stated. You've no need to keep things short with me. I rather enjoy conversation with others. Surely I'm not that intimidating, am I?" she asked with a slightly teasing grin.

He looked over to her, nodding his head at her answer. "I see then, well then I guess i'll give that trick a shot." He then returned her small grin with his own smile. "And to be honest Admiral Xsan, yes you are a bit intimidating." He then turned to look up at the display in front of them.

"Least to me. Only twenty-four years old, and you are in charge of an entire re-colonization operation. An operation that has you working alongside a Sentinel-Major of the Knights, and even more so alongside a Commodore of the Federation Navy." He adjusted his glasses again as he looked back over to her. "Means you have something that caught the attention of ExStella Administrators, and with things like this it usually means that you probably have a rather fierce fire in that stomach of yours. Not to mention I'm already a person who tends to go rather quiet around authority, figures. So it's bound to happen." he then turned to look back ahead.

After a pause, he shrugged as he spoke. "Though the cute face does help to settle some tensions." he said jokingly as he smiled, keeping his eyes forwards.

"I see," Arina commented lightly as he said that she was a little bit intimidating. As he continued, a bit of a blush coursed along her cheeks, not used to be complimented in such a way. A bit of a wry smile curved her lips too and she shook her head a little.

"Cute face hu?" she caught on to that last little bit as the elevator stopped and slid open the doors for them to leave and head to the docking bay where the two commanding officers were to be boarding. Arina laughed, a rich sound that said it was a true laugh, not her usual shorter ones that were more for professional sake than anything else.

"Alten... That's... Oh boy," she grinned as she settled her giggling fit, "Cute... It's been a while since I've heard that. Was not expecting it from you, least of all."

With a heavy sigh, she took a deep breath and straightened, though the amusement from her eyes hadn't faded out, "Well, thank you for the compliments," her gaze caught site of two smaller vessels loading into the docking bay, "I believe our guests have arrived, shall we?" she beckoned to the double doors that would lead out onto the catwalk in order to get to the bay below.

He shrugged, still smiling a bit as he began walking towards the doors. "You are welcome, Admiral Xsan. And what can I say? I've had a lot of training in catching people off guard." he made sure to keep pace with her, having tucked the tablet back into the crook of his elbow. As he walked through the doors and out onto the catwalk, he looked towards the transport vessel of the Knight Sentinels, which was the simple black, red, and gold colors of the Knights. On its sides, colored black so that it stood out on the gold surface beneath it, was the Helm of Awe, meant to inspire fear into those who may seek to harm the charges of the Knights.

As the vessel finished its docking procedures, Alten and Arina had made their way down into the bay to meet with the arrivals. The side doors of the vessel opened up with a quick hiss of air as it was sucked from the transport vessel. It was common that the air pressure with some tranports tended to be slightly greater than the pressure within larger vessels, so it resulted in only a quick noise of rushing air as it slipped through the cracks of an opening bulkhead. As the doors finished openeing, a small ramp slowly extended downwards and down it strode it three individuals.

The one leading the group was clearly Sentinel-Major Aigidios, however he was not wearing his suit of power armor as he made his way towards the Admiral. He still wore the light plates of an armored suit, the plates a simple red and black in color and over his torso was a rugged cloth haubrek, which too has the Helm of Awe, sitting within a golden circle surrounded by black. On the right side of his waist was a large calibre pistol, held on by a simple magnetic hook that connected to a metal piece on his belt, while on the left was a sword held on by a similar magnetic device. His head was exposed, and Alten got a better view of the scars across his features. His face had several crossing about here and there, each of varying causes. the most notable was a jagged one that started on his forehead and stretched back along his head to the center of it where no hair grew upon it. One of the Knights accompaning him was dressed in a similar fashion to the Sentinel-Major, except he had slung on his back a magazine fed shotgun rather than any melee weapon.

As promised, the Sentinel-Major had brought with him a few of his own knights. One in particular was a woman who looked just as fierce as her Major. Dressed in similar clothes, the black -or what looked black to Arina- armor with the Helm of Awe displayed upon her breast, and shiny peices of metal coating what looked like heavy leather cloth. From the woman, Arina turned to the Sentinel-Major as they approached him and gave her signature smile once again.

"Thank you, Sentinel-Major, once again for agreeing to come aboard. I promise this won't take long," she offered to him as she came to stand before him. Her gaze flicked from him to the woman and to the other Knight that he'd brought with, curiosity in her gaze as she stood there.

Argos nodded his head, "Well as I said, you asked so nicely it'd seem rude of me to say no." He then turned to look at the shotgun wielding Knight, "This is Order Sergeant Kasabian Arshavir, a member of our assault group." The knight simply nodded his head to the Admiral and Alten. Argos then turned to look at the female on his other side, "And this is Cavalier Syrin Eulina, one of our better Mecha Pilots. I desired them being here as they will be part of team I will deploy to secure the landing site."

Alten glanced between the three Knights, a miserable look on his face as he sighed quietly to himself. It was bad enough to have to speak to the Sentinel-Major and the Commodore, but now he'd have these two other Knights watching him alongside god-knows-who that the Commodore was going to bring along.

"Perfect," Arina said, her smile growing as she turned her attention to each one that was introduced to her. Kasabian simply nodded to which Arina returned the guesture. Looking to Syrin, she beamed at the other woman who only regarded her with a cold stare before turning away completely, hand on the hilt of her sword at her hip. Arina's lips faltered for a mere moment at the strange display from the soldier.

Turning back to the Sentinel-Major, Arina reestablished herself, "I'm glad that we are going to be in such capable hands, Sentinel-Major. Now, the Commodore should be arriving in a few moments and we will get this meeting done and over with. We've only a few days before we reach Ko'val, best to get everything settled before that."

"The Commodore's vessel is here, Major," the woman's voice was rather soft as she spoke, glancing over to her commanding officer briefly before looking back to the other shuttle that was starting it's docking procedures through the sheild at the far end of the bay. The near invisible layer of energy around the hull of the ship rippled as the shuttle entered. Meanwhile, Arina took a deep breath. Of the two men, the Commodore was most difficult to deal with.

Nash stood in front of the bulkhead that would open up to let them onto the Stella Caeltor, and he to stood with two of his own troops. He kept his eyes forwards as he spoke. "Listen carefully both of you, as you two will be in the scouting operations out away from the landing site. Understood, Holt?"

"Yes Sir." The woman behind him stated, standing there in a simple pair of Naval Fatigues. They were a simple black and hung a little loose off of her body. On her thigh was a holster for a pistol that held a pocket for an extra magazine on the front, and on her other thigh was three more pockets for magazines. Both were strapped onto her belt and also wrapped around her thighs to hold them in place. On the back of her belt, a knife was sheathed with the handle facing out to the left side so that she could quickly and easily access should it be needed.

"Good. And Ryker," the Commodore turned his head so that he could stare the silver haired pilot in the eyes, giving him a look that warned him of the amount of misery the Commodore could put the Petty Officer through if he wanted to. "Behave." was all Nash said before turning back ahead as the bulkhead began to open up, a quick rush of wind blowing past the three of them before it slid up in the wall of the ship, followed by a ramp lowering itself for the three.

Ryker's eyes were trained on the Commodore just as he looked back and gave him a warning stare. Arching an eyebrow as if feigning ignorance as to what in the world the Commodore was referring to, he gave a small grin as well as a shrug in response, "Of course, Commodore," he answered simply, his tone giving no hint of sarcasm in the least.

The Commodore began walking down the ramp, again displaying the rigid movement that came from a bionic limb, able to be seen from the limp-like movement of his left leg and his left arm seeming to not even move with the momentum of Nash's forward movement. The Commodore wore a black uniform, though he didn't bother with any bars or ribbons on it to display what accomplishments he had acheived. Instead all he had was a simple silver eagle on the left side of his chest, sitting over his heart. On both his shoulders were two strips of cloth that had four bars parrel to one another and facing towards his arms, both arms having similar cloth strips sewn onto them.

As he stepped down, he looked towards the young Admiral of the Stella Caeltor, looking her up and down as he approached, Petty Officer Holt not far behind him. There was no expression on his own face as he approached, stopping when he made it to the group of them. He then looked to the Sentinel-Major, who gave him a curt nod. "Commodore." Argos said.

"Hello, Sentinel-Major Aigidios." Nash then turned his head to Arina. "Admiral."

If it was possible, Alten would have deflated in defeat at this point. This briefing was going to suck, was all he kept thinking to himself. Hopefully, using Admiral Xsan as his focus would help him.

I figured he would bring soldiers as well... I suppose Sentinel-Major thought the same, hence his reasoning to bring his own, Arina thought to herself as she took in the two imposing looking Naval officers behind the Commodore.

"Commodore," Arina responded crisply and turned on her heel, "This way please. We'll get this over with rather quickly," as she started walking over to the elevator, her hand motioned over to Alten while she continued speaking, "This is Alten Ashley, he's in charge of planatary specifics. There's a fancy word for it, but I'm not a scientist, so I'll forgoe the formality on that aspect, I hope you do not mind," she offered as she glanced behind her to both the Major and Commodore.

Pressing the button to the elevator, Arina turned a little so she could speak in their direction instead of having her back to them while they waited, "He'll be briefing you on some of the planets specifics and any other details you may require regarding Ko'val for the re-colonizing mission."

"We are not scientists, either, Admiral," the taller man that had accompanied the Commodore spoke, a bit of a wry grin on his lips.

Arina only gave a short laugh in response, "No, of course not. Don't worry, I'm sure he'll make it understandable."

The silver haired officer looked to bristle just slightly at her response. Oops... That might have been a bit too much, Arina thought to herself as she glanced over to the Commodore then back to the man who had a slightly crueler look to his gaze than a moment before.

Argos looked between the Admiral and the other man with the Commodore before back to the Admiral. "Well, I'm sure it'll be simple enough. We only need to know basics to stage a proper operation. So no pressure."

Alten just kept his eyes forwards, not looking towards them as they waited for the elevator. Nope, no pressure at all. Just twelve really heavy stares, that's all. He glanced bck down to his tablet, again more so to just give him something to do. He did manage to find his voice though, clearing his throat first. As he still did not turn around as he spoke, as he found it easier not having to look them all in the face. As he spoke, he tried to do what the Admiral suggested and simply imagined it was jsut her standing next to him. "It should be easy, a lot of data has already been compiled, given Ko'val being a pre-established colony."

Nash looked at Alten before towards the elevator. "Good."

I'm not sure that helped, Sentinel-Major, Arina thought to herself as she watched the numbers on the elevator. Alten's speaking up did surprise her though and she couldn't help the encouraging smile on her lips as he spoke without stutter or pause.

After the Commodore gave the simple answer of 'good', the doors opened to allow them entrance. They didn't have to go far, two levels up and they were let out into the hallway of the large vessel. Arina took the lead, walking briskly to get to the meeting room where Alten could throw all of the needed data up on a large screen for all of them to see.

Punching in her code at the door along with her key card, Arina opened it for them and strode inside, the lights coming on automatically to their presence. Taking a seat in one of the black cushioned chairs, she offered her warm smile again as they filed in to sit down as well, "Well then, whenever you're ready, Alten," Arina said, motioning to him with her hand.

Syrin had kept silent during the exchange and as they entered the meeting room, she simply prefered to stand rather than sit, keeping close to her commander. Both hands behind her back, she took a slightly relaxed, yet still formal stance and turned her attention away from the annoying woman who couldn't seem to wipe the smile off her face and to the man who would be briefing them.

In turn, Ryker did take a seat in one of the chairs, right across -or at least kitty corner- to the Admiral, his dark gaze locked on her and a slightly seething attitude just barely concealed under his tightly knitted frame. Closing his fingers together over his lap, he leaned back and waited for the 'scientist' to start talking, a bit of impatience to his posture.

Alten calmly followed Admiral Xsan inside, taking a seat next to her as he began poking at his tablet to set it up for the display that sat in the center of the room. Argos walked in and took a seat, Kasabian standing to the opposite side Syrin had taken. Nash and Holt both sat down on opposite sides of Ryker, Holt leaning over as she walked past him and whispering. "Someone get their feelings hurt?" She said, smirking slightly at him as she sat down. Nash remained quiet and took his seat, shooting his two subordinates a look before he looked towards the display that sat towards the center.

Ryker glanced over to Aiyanna, a retort on his lips had it not been for the rather commanding look they both recieved from Commodore Nash. He flashed his companion a smile, though, much like the ones he always gave her when they would converse with one another off duty. Despite that though, he was still irked by the woman seated across from them. She wasn't a soldier, but she had an air about her that just seemed to rub him the wrong way.

With a few more button presses on the tablet from Alten, the display in the center lit up and brought up several holographic images. The way it was set up, regardless of a person's position in the room is always displayed a set of images facing them so all could see. Alten took a deep breath before he began speaking, hitting a button to bring up first a far out image of Ko'val. The image showed a large area of the desert they would be landing in.

"This is Ko'val's spaceport, which is located within one of the larger deserts of the planet. It offers the space necessary for a ship such as the Stella Caeltor to land, however there sohuld be plenty of space nearby to also allow the landing of the Gallahorn and The Far Reaching Wind."

"Noted, but The Wind will remain in orbit unless it is necessary to land." the Commodore spoke when Alten had taken a pause.

"Not worried about grounding your vessel, are you Commodore?" Argos asked, moving a bit so he could view the Commodore better. If the jeer had any effect, it didn't show on Nash's face as he kept his eyes on the display in front of him.

After a pause, Nash giving no response back, Alten cleared his throat. "Right...well..."He paused, looking over to the Admiral for a moment before back to the display, again he pushed out the idea that there were others in the room to help clear his thoughts. "A few miles north of the spaceport is the original colony itself, which shares its name with the planet. We are unsure as to the condition of the colony or the spaceport, or what animals may have moved in during our absence."

He hit a few buttons, which brought images of both the space port and the colony of Ko'val itself. Both images showed signs of activity from people, having been taken back when the colony itself had still be occupied. A few moments later another image opened up to display what appeared to be large, lizard like creatures. Most of the images showed most of them to be sleeping in the shade, some lying in groups varying in numbers. Each of them were a good four to six feet in length, and a couple pictures also displayed them walking around on their hind legs. Their other more obvious quality were the rather fierce looking claws on their feet and the sharp teeth they had as well.

"These were simply referred to as Drakes by the previous colony members," Alten began speaking again. "these creatures are the most dangerous of the wildlife that was encountered on the planet. They were not overtly hostile, but they had a bad tendency to settle in shady places during the day time to escape the heat, and they also happen to be a bit territorial. Usually problems occured when they wandered into populated areas and encountered humans. So when you land and begin clearing areas, just be weary of these creatures being within the buildings; it is pretty safe to infer that they have decided to occupy the structures over the past years."

"Oh, splendid. Giant lizards to contend with while going down the dark halls. I don't suppose opening fire on it would be a great idea," Ryker commented lightly, his sentence not really a question.

"If you wish to kill us all," Syrin replied, a kind of cold annoyance in her voice to which Ryker only glanced over to her and shrugged in dismissal.

"Me and the other infantry are the ones who have to worry," Holt said, leaning forwards in her seat. "You'll be riding in Mechas..."

"I would also suggest avoiding contact with any of the insects or arthropods you come across." Alten continued, ignoring the others' interruptions. "Most will react in a similar manner to most other insects and try to avoid you, but there are a fair number that are venemous. Though also it may be in your best interest to warn your soldiers of this critter." Alten hit a few buttons, and on screen the image of what looked similar to a spider popped up on screen. It only had six legs, but it's span was at least a foot and a half across, and on it's front were two large looking mandibles. Holt shifted in her seat some at the sight of the critter, shuddering a bit. "It is not venemous, though it does have a mean bite. I say to warn your men though because according to colonists it had a tendency to follow people as they moved through the day, keeping to their shadow to stay cool we are assuming. If your men just listen to what I suggested regarding the other arthropods by avoiding touching it, their shouldn't be any issues with it." Alten chuckled a little as he looked at it, "Hell, the colonists actually began to like the things, apprently they are great at getting rid of pests."

"Yay..." Holt said as she shifted a bit more in her seat, "So what's next?" she said, more than ready to get the image off the screen.

"Don't worry, I'll shoot it for you if I see it," Ryker offered, noting her squiriming around in her seat, a grin on his lips.

Holt didn't even look at Ryker as she gave him a soft kick to the shin, keeping her eyes on the display as it changed back to show the spaceport and colony once again. Alten cleared his throat as he usually did, looking at the others before quickly back to the display. "As I'm...sure you are already prepared for, remember that it is very dry and hot out there. So just...prep yourselves for operating in such a climate. That should...well just about cover it." Alten said as he closed down the displays, the lights of the room lighting back up. "Any questions you..have?" Please say no, please. Alten thought to himself as he glanced to the Admiral for a moment before looking back towards the projector for the display, not wanting to actually meet the eyes of the others.

"Thank you, Alten," Arina spoke up before any questions could be asked. For the moment she was more than happy to see that the two groups had behaved themselves for the most part, though she'd figured that the Sentinel-Major wasn't going to be the one to start things. Even so, she'd hardly expected the soldier to be the moody one. Or perhaps he was just like that, she wasn't sure yet.

"Now then, with that information, I'd like to know what team will be in charge of doing what exactly when we get there. In addition to that, the Stella Caelator will stay in orbit as well, at least until the planet has been deemed safe to land, wild life as a given that is. I'm sure I do not have to remind either of you that despite the repreive most of us have been living in , rebels and pirates are still a thing these days and even more so now that space travel has been established.

"In short, you're not just clearing out the local invasion of plants and lizards. There's a possibility that rebels have taken the colony. Perhaps I'm being a bit suspicious in that ideal, but I'm not taking it off the board either," during her speech, Arina had leaned forward and interlaced her fingers as she spoke, leaning on the polished black table, "With that out of the way... Your plans?" once again she offered her smile, though her tone had been all business.

Nash spoke up first, "We are all quite aware of the possibility of pirates or rebels having occupied the colony. It is why I am deploying Petty Officers Holt here to lead a scouting party into the colony, as well as the surronding areas. Petty Officer Vondalir here will support Holt and her team, but they are under strict orders to not engage anybody that they find unless absolutely necessary." Nash glanced at Ryker as he emphasized the last words. He then looked back to the others, specifically the Sentinel-Major. "Once we have an accurate picture of what is there and you have secured the spaceport and it's surronding area, then we can coordinate a possibly cleaning operation for Ko'val."

Argos looked at the Commodore before speaking, "Sounds good to me. Order Sargeant
Arshavir will be leading the assault team to secure the spaceport with our own Mecha support led by Cavalier Eulina." He then looked to Arina and then back to Nash. "We'll keep you both informed to our progress, and will let you know Admiral Xsan," He looked at her, "When it is safe for the Stella Caeltor to land."

Arina couldn't help the giddiness that was bubbling in her stomach and making her want to jump for joy. The meeting couldn't have gone smoother -aside from.. what was his name? The silver haired soldier- Both the Commodore and Sentinel-Major had been rather calm and collected, though it was very obvious to Arina that the Commodore wanted to be in full charge of the plans, giving meaningful looks to nearly everyone at the table. His tone of voice was also filled with the authority that said he wasn't going to be questioned.

She sighed, "Well then, I think that wraps things up very nicely doesn't it? Thank you gentlemen," she said, tilting her head slightly, "It was a pleasure to have you aboard. I will keep in touch. In the meantime, I'm sure you've things that need to be done. If I'm not wrong, it's only two days from now before we arrive? I don't want to keep you any longer from your duties," Arina stood up as she spoke, indicating the end of the meeting.

"Good day to you, Admiral." Nash said as he stood up and immediattly made for the door. He didn't say anything to Argos or his Knights as he walked by, nor did he check to make sure Holt and Ryker were following him. Holt was close behind, however she gave a bit of a warmer smile to the others.

"Thank you, Mr. Ashley. And thanks for having us aboard, Admiral." With that Holt continued on out.

The Sentinel-Major watched them head out of the room before looking towards the Admiral and Alten while standing up. "Yes, thank you, Mr. Ashley." Now looking directly to the Admiral, "Admiral Xsan," He paused and glanced back to make sure Nash and his crew had left before back to the Admiral. "I would not bank on the fact that things are going to remain this smooth. We are simply lucky that Nash and I had different plans that happened to work together." He then gave her a Sentinel salute, placing his hand flat over the Helm of Awe, his plam facing towards it. "Be well, be safe, and know we are standing guard." With that he turned and made his way out of the room.

The moment all the others had left, Alten let out a large sigh of relief, letting his head fall forwards so that his forehead thunked on the table in front of him. "Augh...I'm still not sure why I took this job. I think I like to torture myself or somethin'..." he mumbled the last bit as he glasses slid off of his face and lightly fell on the table as well.

Arina let out a soft sigh of air as the door closed, the intimidating presence of all six of them leaving her body. Falling back into the chair, she allowed herself to slouch a little as she sat there, thinking over what the Sentinel-Major had said. It was true after all, it had worked out simply because the two had different ideas, and somehow a miracle had occured to make them work with one another.

Arina laughed when Alten fell forward, thumping his head against the table. Though the sound had her a little worried as to his well being, it was his words that made her chuckle softly. Moving in the chair, she leaned forward and patted his arm gently, "You did wonderfully. Don't stress about it. I think you think too much," she said and fell back into the comfort of the chair.

"Two more days, Alten... Then we can recolonize Ko'val... And maybe then I'll get some answers to what happened," she said, her mind going off into it's usual musings as she swiveled the chair around to look out the small port window into the darkness of the universe.

When he felt a pat on his arm, he glanced over towards Arina as she spoke. With his glasses on the table though, he wasn't really sure where she ended and the chair began it was such a blur. Lifting his head up, making sure to grab his glasses as he did so, he slipped them back into place as he looked at her. "You are probably right, Admiral Xsan."

He watched her as she spoke before looking out the same port window she had. Two more days and then they'd reach Ko'val, though he was less excited about it than she was. Something was there, bad enough to have driven off an entire colony despite the assitance of the Knight Sentinels, and it sure as hell wasn't the Drakes.

He looked back at Arina, "Admiral...you nervous at all? I know recolonizing it is great and all but..." He paused, his words trailing off as he couldn't figure out the words he wanted to use. "You're not worried about what might have scared off the previous colonists?" he continued after a pause in his words.

For a while, Arina was silent as she gazed at the distant stars that burned white in the black blanket. Was she nervous? A little. Worried? Maybe. In honesty, Arina wasn't sure how she felt about the situation, about what they might find on Ko'val. The rumors and ideals of what had happened ranged from pirates, to rebels, to the Tearrocs, to aliens from another solar system.

What they would find there, Arina couldn't even begin to imagine. She supposed she was hopeful that it was simply rebels that fought off the colony. It made the most sense seeing as the transmission feeds were all scrambled. Then to be driven off into the Torrocus system immdiately after was even more cause for her to believe it was rebels. Take over a valuable planet to the Federation, then destroy the evidence.

"I think that we will find out exactly what happened when we get there, Alten. I'm not entirely sure I'm worried or nervous to be honest with you," she swiveled around in the chair to look at him properly, "But whatever happened, I'm going to find out. Even if it is dangerous. I'm still doing it. No matter what."

He watched her talk, listened to the tone she had. The determination in it, to see to Ko'val's mysteries being solved. As she finished, he looked over to the port window again. "Alright then, Admiral. Wish I could say I was excited to find out as much as you were." He watched the stars for a few more moments before looking back to her. "Just promise me something, Admiral Xsan. Don't forget that the people on this ship are relying on your leadership and guidance to see that they don't end up suffering a similar fate to the previous ones. Don't let your desire to figure out what happened take priority over preventing a similar fate to these folks, ok?"

Arina's gaze grew wide slightly as her lips slackened from the usual smile or contented look she usually wore. It only lasted a moment before her head dropped forward and her curving smile returned, "Of course, Alten. Thank you. I will do everything in my power to keep everyone safe," Arina stood slowly then, a bit of a sigh in her voice as she got up from the chair, stretching her bones and muscles, "After all, it's what I do for a living, talk people out of war and fighting."

As she headed for the door, she ran a hand through her hair, flipping it over her shoulders once again as she continued, "Even so, I believe with you around I'll be able to keep focused on what truly needs my attention. Besides, what is it they say? Two heads are better than one?" She grinned at him as the door opened at her proximity, "Don't be afriad to keep me in line if you need to, Alten. I'll be expecting it," she finished and exited out into the hall to head back to the main bridge of the vessel.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Arlan Laddermore

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#, as written by Siryn
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"Ok, let's rig you up here...then you here..." he muttered as he looked up into the armored hatch Arlan had pulled open on the underside of the black mecha. The plate was laying on the ground nearby, it's heavy duty and solid bolts sticking out of it. In his hand was a sturdy and rigid rectangular electronic device, which had several wires sticking out of the top of it. On the front of it was a large touch screen, which at the moment had a large amount of computer coding running down the length of the screen. He had also lowered another armored shielding which protected the several jacks that he had two different wires running into.

Once he was sure both wires were secured, he then looked back down to the device in his hand as he brought up a smaller display that had several commands on it. He poked at the screen, moving through the commands before he hit one final command and watched as a large series of codes began to rapidly scroll across the screen. As the device did its work, he stepped down the small step ladder he was using to reach up to the mecha, which currently sat in its jet form. He set the device down on the step ladder before he walked over to make sure the impact driver and the magnetic vise was also still hooked up.

Currently he was checking to make sure that most of the electronics were functioning properly, that no programs were outta whack or anything was goofed up. Then he was going to need to make sure the transformation protocols and function was...well functioning properly. Course he couldn't actually transform the mecha in the hangar, so the best he could do was make sure the programs were working as they were suppose to. It was somewhat amusing that, despite being a titaled as a mecha mechanic, he also had a simple and basic understanding of computer coding as was needed considering the complex electronics that went into the mechas.

Kneeling down, he began testing the two devices he'd need to put the armored plate back into place, as well as thinking about what else he might need to check up on before the mecha was deployed.

Syrin, after receiving details of the deployment from the Sentinel-Major, made her way to the hangar bay where her mecha was stationed. Though she'd accompanied the Major two days ago to the colonizing vessel, Stella Caeltor, the need to actually have a file in hand with printed detail of the operation was something Syrin preferred rather than word of mouth. Or, in this case, an electronic one which was what she had, a simple tablet with the official file downloaded and ready to be viewed at any time.

Leaving the main hallway, her eyes flicking between the pad to open the doors to the bay and back to the tablet as she punched in her code, she read through some of the details, putting them to memory. When she was satisfied, Syrin finally set the tablet down on the work table situated just on the other side of her mecha. The sounds of other engineers chatter and machines at work filled the loading bay with a buzz of noise as she went around her machine, eyeing it with scrutiny before she found Arlan working on a section of the mecha.

Two of the panels were taken off, wires connected to his devices and other things that she wasn't entirely familiar with. After all, she was no mechanic, aside from calibrating the controls to her mecha from the cockpit herself. She had a certain way of operating her craft and wasn't too keen on anyone doing it for her, not even Arlan whom she trusted to handle her mecha.

"Are you almost finished?" she asked as she approached him from the left, her gaze switching from his kneeling frame to the large jet looking machine. Syrin would be up in the pilot seat shortly, but she usually checked with Arlan before doing anything in case he needed specific things done first before she turned the craft on.

The amount of noise going on within the hangar always made footsteps a hard thing to notice, not to mention his pressing of the impact drivers switch where it made a loud high pitched wirring noise. So when a female voice spoke to his side, it caught him off guard a little, and he turned his head a bit quickly to see who it was. He smiled though when he saw Syrin, then stood back up as he stepped around her.

"I should be soon, things look good. I think a few more tests to make sure the electronics are working and all." He walked back over to the step ladder, looking down at the device as he picked it up. He ran a finger along it as he scanned over the report, smiling still as he did do. "Good, good, also good." he then stepped back onto the ladder and took another one of the wires, plugging it into the panel as he looked at her. "So, excited to finally get down to the surface. And finally get this bird into the air and out there?" he asked her before he looked back up into the panel, fidgetting with a few more wires as he did so. "Also, I need you to boot her up and get her running, run the final tests for everything."

Syrin turned and watched Arlan as he went from one section to the next. How he managed to figure it all out in such short amounts of time still amazed her. Glancing up at the sleek machine, she gave a slight huff of air along with a sort of shrug in her shoulder, "Excited? I suppose. I'm tired of being in 'wait mode'. This trip has been far too long..." A clip in her voice said there was more to it than just that though. In fact, it probably wasn't even the trip that was the problem.

The edge to her voice, a dark glint her light brown gaze as she stared up at the craft was probably a little too clear that she wasn't happy about something. Syrin's thoughts had turned immediately to the Naval vessel and the operation that the Knights were to work around in involving the military.

At Arlan's request to start up her mecha, she went around to the other side and climbed up the metal stairs to the cat walk above. A small metal plank led out to the cockpit which was opened and ready for her always, dropping down into it, Syrin shifted herself in the seat and punched in her code for the mecha. Screens lit up the entire cockpit, showing her details of the crafts current stats, and eventually a single screen prompting her to give the command to start.

"Engine start," she commanded and the screen disappeared replaced by the sound of the mecha firing up it's engines.

Arlan looked back to Syrin as she answered him, Arlan cocking his head to the side some. Something was bugging her, but he figured he'd ask once he was finished with the maintenance since it was almost finished. He watched her walk out of view to climb up into the cockpit, and he hit a few quick commands on the device again, before he waited for her.

As the engines roared to life, Arlan looked down at the device in his hand, watching the coding once again go scrolling by as the final tests were being run through. He nodded his head as he watched it go by, clicking his tongue some as it finished up. Nodding his head in satisfaction, he then turned off the screen of the device and began removing the wires from the ports. As he pulled the last one out, he then stepped down again and walked out from under the mecha and towards the work table nearby. As he did so, he looked up to Syrin and gave her a thumbs up to signal she was good to shut it down as he began wrapping up the wires of the device, setting it down on the work table.

He then made his way back towards the underside of the mecha, snatching up the impact driver and mag-vise, setting both down on the step ladder before going to grab the two plates to begin setting them back into place.

Syrin kept an eye out for Arlan's signal and when it came, she commanded the computer to shut down the engines. Letting it burn until deployment wasn't something she was fond of, though it wasn't uncommon for other knights to do so. As she'd waited for Arlan, she'd done her own fine tuning which was usually needed whenever he pulled apart a few things to check it. It was standard really, for the system to reset itself when being tested. It didn't take her long, only a few tiny things that needed changing to go back to how she normally piloted the mecha.

Pulling herself up out of the cockpit, she climbed up onto the side of it and hopped back up onto the catwalk. It was still a few hours before deployment, but she wasn't planning to go anywhere else for the day. Even so, Syrin would much rather stay in the hangar bay than wander the halls of the Sentinel Knights vessel. Having the company of the men was far more appealing than the other personel on board.

Taking the stairwell back down to the bottom of the bay rather quickly, Syrin wasted no time in going to help Arlan put back the plates to the bottom of her mecha. Though she was no mechanic in that aspect, she wasn't going to sit around and watch either if it was something she could help with.

Arlan looked over to Syrin as she came walking over, lifting up one of the metal panels as he set it in place to cover the jacks that he had been plugging the calibrator into. This panel slid in much more easily, mostly because it was also held securely in place by the pressure of the other armored plate. He looked to Syrin as he picked up the mag-vise, "Hand me the plate, please." he said as he began securing the vise in place so that he could also hold the plate in the proper position while he secured it.

As he worked, he turned his head some so that he could see her better. He had to turn it a little more than would normally be necessary, just so he could bring her into view of his good eye. "So, what's buggin' you Syrin? And if you say nothing, then the next time I have access to this mecha I'm going to make sure that each time you turn it on, you'll hear the most irritating sound ever; I'll make sure you can't just remove without my help, either." After asking, he went back to securing the mag-vise into place.

Syrin made a sound at the back of her throat, a kind of huff of air as she rolled her eyes slightly. Taking the plate in hand, she did as he asked her, pulling it up and lifting it to him as her lips twisted in a frown, "Knowing you, I might just end up beating the hell out of you if you ever put something like that into my mecha, Arlan," she scoffed.

"And you would do it too..." she muttered with a sigh, "The military is unnecessary. Why they're here makes no sense to me. They're only going to get in the way and..." her gaze shot around the docking bay, making sure no higher ranking officers were going to be within ear shot of her next words, "The Major is allowing Commodore Nash to do whatever the hell he pleases. He should make it clear that the Military is only 'tagging along'. They're not in charge," her voice had turned acidic as she just about spat out the words as she assisted Arlan.

He grinned at her as he took the plate from her, setting it into its place and in the vise. "Anything to see that little frown of yours." he said as he listened to her vent out the rest. Though he didn't look at her the whole time, he was still listening. He continued speaking as he made sure the plate was set, "I'm sure Major Aigidios is just as happy about it as you are, Syrin." He pointed to the impact driver near his feet, "Hand that to me please" he said while holding out one hand, using his other to make sure the plate was ready to be bolted back into place.

"He's probably just trying to keep tensions low, so that things go as smoothly as they can. Not even the Major can say no to an order like sending the military along from the Federation, or rather there isn't anything he could do to stop them. Considering they ain't under his orders after all..." he finished before looking down to her, hand still held out. "Also I'd suggest covering your ears when i bolt this thing it, you know how loud these damned drivers are."

Syrin huffed as she bent to retrieve the device he asked for, "Surprise you can still hear me after using the damn thing, Arlan," she shot back, a very slight grin teasing at her lips at her own particular jest at him, "Sometimes I think it has damaged your ears... Unless that's just your selective hearing kicking in."

After handing the driver to him, she stepped back and put her hands up to her ears, covering them tightly whilst she waited for him to finish replacing the plate on her mecha. All the while, she thought about what Arlan had said. She supposed that if she were in the Major's position she may have done the same. There really was no use in fighting over the situation. She supposed as long as the colonists made it to their destination safely and recolonized Ko'val safely, that was all that mattered.

Honestly... Sometimes Arlan really put things into perspective for her. Her irritation became so childish most times after letting out certain frustrations. Syrin gave a roll of her eyes as she sighed. Once again he'd managed to point out how unnecessary her irritation was.

"You know what they say about one of your senses weakening, the rest get stronger!" he said with a grin as he took the impact driver from her. Once she stepped back and covered her ears, he began using the driver to place the bolts back into place. Each time he pulled the trigger, the device let out a loud, high-pitched whirring sound, followed by the clanking as it twisted and shoved the bolt back into place. Once he was finished, he then stepped down from the stepladder and walked his way back over to the bench to set down the driver.

He turned back to Syrin once it was finished, "Also, you get just as selective in your hearing when you get in a cleaning fit, so I don't want to hear it from you." he pointed at her before going back to retreive the step-ladder. "I think you should also count yourself lucky that Nash wants to send his soldiers to other places. Seems like he's pretty well set on his own agendas. Not to mention, miss Eulina," he said as he turned to face her again. "with extra guns walking around it might just make things easier for us knights!"

He walked past her again and set the ladder down before stretching his arms up over his head, leaning back some to also get his torso. "We get to focus on the civies while Nash's boys go running around the colony keeping other mean stuff away. To me it seems like a win-win." he finished while looking to her.

Syrin looked away as Arlan accused her of doing the same thing when she got into one of her moods. Pretending to have no clue as to what he was talking about she said just that, "No idea what you mean."

With a roll of her eyes, though, she sighed as he continued, "Lucky? Maybe. I still think they're more trouble than they're worth," she hissed under her breath as she eyed her mecha. A frown pulled on her lips again as she glanced over to Arlan as he used her last name to address her.

"I suppose you have a point. I just don't trust them to do it properly. I would much rather take care of the... 'mean stuff' myself. It's just... Never mind. And will you quit using my last name, Laddermore," Syrin said, crossing her arms in mock anger at him.

He gasped in mock offense, placing a hand over his heart "You know that name is not meant to be said by the tongues of such rabble as you!" he said before he tsked at her, shaking his head while crossing his arms. After a moment of his dramatic acting, he then lowered an arm before placing a hand on her shoulder.

"I know, I understand what your getting at Syrin. But we'll be ok, and this'll work out I just know it. Course, maybe that just me being Mister Optimistic, having to counteract your occasional pessimism." he said, giving her shoulder a soft squeeze before lowering his hand and placing both of them in the pockets of his jacket.

Syrin's equivalent to a laugh was a slight huff of air from her nose, a bit of a grin on her lips and amusement in her gaze as she endured Arlan's act of offence. With a roll of her eyes she sighed heavily, only to be brought back to her other thoughts as he put a hand on her shoulder.

She listened without a word spoken in return. Maybe it would work out. Perhaps she was just overly paranoid or something. Maybe she was just simply over thinking things, not an uncommon thing for some of things that went on between the Knight Sentinels and the military, more specifically the Navy force under Commodore Nash's command. To top it off, Syrin was rather picky about things, a perfectionist some would say, and she definitely preferred doing things herself rather than someone else doing it.

After a moment, she looked up from the spot on the floor that she'd been staring at and gave a soft sigh, "I'm not a pessimist. But you're definitely too damned optimistic," back to the usual teasing, she crossed her arms and glanced up at her mecha, "Thank you either way..."

After the pause, she glanced over at him, "I must finish my preparations. We'll be launching soon. Thanks for the chat... Laddermore," the bit of a laugh escaped her lips in the signature form of hers and she quickly headed to where her flight armor was located so she could finish getting ready to deploy.

"No such thing as too much optimism, Syrin." he said with a smile before looking to the mecha as well. "You're welcome." He then looked to her as she mentioned having to finish preperations. He gave another dramatic tsk when she used his last name again, though smiled either way. "You are most welcome, dear Eulina."

He watched her walk away, removing his hands from his pockets. "Stay safe down there, Syrin." he said to himself before turning to the work table and began collecting the equipment to put it away.

~~~

The moment her mecha entered breathable atmosphere, the helmet that had covered her face to provide oxygen while travelling through space collapsed in on itself. Pulling the mecha up to stop her decent, Syrin allowed the machine to hover above the sands of the desert portion of Ko'val. Along with her was a contingent of Knight Sentinels also deployed with her for the mission. They would be scouting the Spaceport, just outside of the city where the Commodores team was to be on the ground clearing out any unwanted critters.

Syrin frowned as she took in the site of the overgrown desert fauna that covered some of the buildings. The sands underneath the mecha were kicked up and thrown back into the wind that streaked across the land, the buildings up ahead seemingly to do just fine at cutting the wind gusts, though making nice little wind tunnels in between them which she was not looking forward to maneuvering in.

With a sigh, she tapped a red button her her console, a click issuing into the cockpit to announce the communication was open, "Spread out, keep to the orders. Look for anything hostile. Keep it clear for Commodore Nash," she did a fairly good job at keeping her voice neutral since the communication would be transferred to both ships as well as she spoke. With the replies of the group filtering in, each mecha or fighter craft shot off toward the buildings.

Syrin followed right after issuing the command and took to flying about mid-level between the buildings at an easy pace. The wind pockets that hit the jet-like machine jostled the craft around fairly good, but nothing that would knock her out of the sky either. For a while, there was nothing but the soft hum of her engines, and no signs of movement at all on the ground or anywhere around the buildings.

With her communication link still open, a sound in the cockpit took her attention and she let out a soft curse. The warning that something had been fired at her from behind gave her mere seconds. Tilting the jet rapidly, she increased the speed. The building that she shot past exploded in a shower of metal that bounced off her mecha and rocked the machine terribly.

"Shit!" she cursed as she hit an air pocket that just about threw her into another building. Pulling the jet up, she streaked out of the cities sky scrapers and started to go back around the space port to find who had fired the missles at her, "We're under attack! Knights, be advised of hostiles... I'm not sure what faction. But I'm going to find out," Syrin tilted the jet and spotted one that definitely didn't belong to either the Knights or the Navy.

She dropped down into the city again and started her chase after it.

"We've already made contact! Sentinel Two's been shot down, Three is turning about to secure the crash site!" it was Kasabian Arshavir, who was currently riding in the landing craft designated as Sentinel One. He could hear bullets pinging off the sides of the craft, which was quickly making its way down to the ground. The transport ships were far less maneuverable than the mechas were, and if the enemy had anti-air equipment then they needed to get out of there quickly.

As his craft landed, its doors opening up before they even touched, Kasabian was already running out followed close behind by his other knights. He could hear gunfire not far ahead of him, and his own knights were returning fire at the enemy as he quickly moved into some cover. He opened up his coms to communicate with his battlegroup, "Get on the ground quick and start pushing them out! This is what we came here for Knights so let's not disappoint!" he said before quickly switching his shotgun over to a slug magazine, then popping up to return fire.

He could see in one of the nearby storehouses a fairly decent sized group firing for the fortified position. He couldn't make out any markings or anything as of yet, but there assault rifles and the missle fire from earlier told him they were well equipped.

"Sentinels Four and Five have made it to the ground. We are pressing forwards onto the eastern storehouses." Kasabian heard over his radio.

"Understood, Sentinel One pressing forwards on the northern storehouse. Paladin, Sentinel One needs support on the Northern Storehouse. Be careful of anti-armor fire." Kasabian then popped back up to fire more shots at the enemies he could see, quickly ducking back down when bullets pelted the cover he was hidden behind.

Syrin's mecha shot through the opening between the buildings as she chased after the machine that had attempted to take her out of the air. Streaking quickly through the air at full thrust, she was catching up to the slower fighter jet. The moment she let out a volley of missiles, her communications filled the cockpit with Kasabian's voice. Apparently they were fighting on the ground as well.

She waited until she saw an rather large explosion from in front of her and flew through the fiery debris. Pulling it up to get out from the buildings, Syrin started to circle around to find where the Sentinels were pinned down as she answered him, "Understood, Sentinel."

Knowing that the rest of her team had gotten the command as well, she was joined up soon enough with three others. It didn't take her long to find the group, the attacking force large enough to spot as they kept Kasabian and his men rooted to the spot. Syrin dropped altitude, followed by the others. All four mecha's barreled over the Sentinel's and unleashed their weaponry upon the enemy.

Syrin watched as the majority were destroyed and smoke and debris went flying after the attack. As they started their ascent again, a sharp sound cut into the cockpit and a second later one of the mecha's next to her went up in flames, destroyed. Cursing, Syrin banked and immediately came back around.

"What the hell was that?!" She tried to find where the weapon had been fired as she came back around to behind the Sentinels.

Kasabian glanced up to see the mechas come flying into position and unleash a volley of fire onto the position the enemy was holding. As the weaponry slammed into them, Kasabian ordered his men forward to make use of the suppression provided by the mechas. As he made his was forwards, he began his march forwards, his eyes caught movement down the street and he turned his head.

"Enemy mechas!" he shouted over the coms, however his warning came too late as he watched one of the mechas fire off several rounds from a large rail-rifle, the hyper-velocity slugs tearing through one of the mechas of Paladin. The other mecha lifted one of its arms, pointing it straight towards the group of knights before unleashing a burst of machine gun on them. Kasabian dove forwards, enough to get himself behind cover as he heard the scream of a knight getting torn down by the burst.

He quickly pulled himself onto his feet, peeking over the cover at the enemy mechas. It seemed they were more worried about Paladin and her group, so both mechas kept down to the streets and began firing back, one unleashing a hailstorm of machine gun fire while the other continued to pelt away with its rail-rifle, all while both mechas moved to use the surrounding buildings for cover.

"Bastards," Syrin hissed.

Pushing the throttle to the mecha's engines nearly on full burn, she shot over the group of Sentinel's yet again. Targeting the enemy mecha's, she unloaded the next set of missiles from her arsenal upon them and twisted the jet sideways to pass between them as well as the buildings as the enemy moved to use the city as their cover.

Banking hard again, her stomach sank horribly from the pressure and the way she was moving the jet. Getting back around and into position, Syrin came around to one of the mecha's right side, her missiles streaking toward it as it moved into the cover of the building. Shattering the concrete and metal, the missiles exploded all around the enemy, the building giving a loud groaning sound as its structural integrity was destroyed.

Passing to the other side, she came back around to that same building and instead of firing at the mecha as it opened fire upon her, Syrin launched another group of missiles at the building's remaining beams. Upon impact, the entire thing started to come crashing down, and hopefully it would pile up on the damned mecha as well, though Syrin couldn't tell with all the smoke and dust that came with the building collapsing inward toward the cities main downtown area.

Syrin didn't wait to find out if the enemy had been killed though as the one with the rail-rifle was the main problem and probably the most dangerous. Flying past another building in her search, she was joined by another few of her Paladins. Taking a left into the buildings main street, Syrin spotted the mecha as it moved into another side street.

"Surround him," she ordered, and the other two Paladins split off from either side of her. Syrin went down an alleyway off to the right and turned back around to corner the bastard. As she came into the same alley, spotting the mecha Syrin powered up again, going rather fast down the small alleyway that was just barely large enough for her jet.

The other mecha opened fire at her as she got closer. To it's right and left her Paladin's also closed in and in a mass of fire, the explosions from all three mecha's obliterated the enemy mech. Pulling up out of the street, Syrin was joined with her other pilots just as a warning sounded through her cockpit.

Grinding her teeth at the display that popped up, she sighed heavily. Her machine had been damaged, mostly the plating had holes in places that didn't really affect her ability to fight. The one that was slightly concerning was damage near an engine. The mecha would last, there was no danger of explosion, but it would have to be repaired.

"Arlan's going to be pissed," she groaned to herself as she banked and came back around to find the Sentinel's, "Sentinels, signs of other mecha's in the area? Do we know who they are yet?"

Kasabian heard the roar of a mechas engines in full gear as it he watched Cavalier Syrin fly towards the enemy. He then signaled his men to continue on towards the storehouse, as he knew Syrin and her group would be able to handle the two enemy mechas. Moving up to the building, he and his knights stacked up near the doorway, which was partly missing due to the fire that had come from Paladin.

Once his men werewith him, and he had switched over to buckshot, Kasabian quickly moved his way inside and turned left to hug the wall. As he moved in, it took a moment but they immediattly came under fire from surviving gunmen. Sentinel One immediattly returned fire as they finished moving into the room, and after a breif yet fierce exchange of gunfire, the gunmen had taken down.

In the distance, more explosions and the sound of fierce fighting from the machiens could be heard. It sounded far enough away that Sentinel One would not be caught up in the crossfire, and so they continued their securing of the building they were in. As he passed over a corpse, he looked down at it to see just who they were fighting with. He scowled some, noting the lack of ensignias or marking of any kind. Rather, the dead soldier seemed to have chosen to wore whatever bits of armor he could collect. Despite the fact that his weapons were actually well-made and well-maintained, he hardly looked like a soldier of any kind.

Their weapons and equipment, especially the mechas, said they were organized and probably had belonged to some larger group or anything. It pointed towards rebels, however the lack of uniformity in their choice of clothing and armor spoke out agianst this concept. Not to mention each one seemed to have their own unique flair to their uniforms, and as he walked past one corpse, he even saw what looked like a semi-decorated hat. It was not a soldiers hat either, it was just some random civilian hat.

He brought his attention back to the real-world as he and his men encountered more enemies as they entered the main building of the storehouse. Kasabian quickly moved to a large steel crate for cover and returned fire, focusing on the nearest targets while the other knights moved into the room and began firing as well.

As he cut down one enemy, he quickly began moving forwards to keep up the pressure, not to mention he wanted to be up close with his shotgun. As he moved, an enemy rounded a crate to take potshots at the knights. The gunman clearly had not expected Kasabian to be so close, as he offered no resistance as the Knight Sentinel grabbed hold of the gunmans barrel and yanked hard on it, pullnig away from the crate. The gunman was not braced, and so when his gun was yanked outwards, he was pulled along with it and as he stumbled out, his life was quickly snuffed out as two shells of buckshot tore through his torso at pointblank range. Another gunman popped out from cover to fire on the more exposed Kasabian, however the Order Sergeant was most awake and alive in this close range of combat. The gunman was cut down by a burst of shotgun pellets as Kasabian quickly adjusted his aim and fired on the gunman. However, he quickly needed to duck back into cover as more gunfire hit near his position.

"They busted up Urie and Perka's mechs!! Fuck this shit, we need to pull back and warn the Captain!!" Kasabian heard one of the gunman yell, followed by the response of another.

"Grimfist ain't gonna be happy to hear about this you know it!" the other yelled back, popping up to take some more potshots at the knights. Both men seemed to be unaware of the Order Sergeant located only a few feet away from them, as he was still ducked around a corner of solid concreate.

"If anything the Captains gonna be happy to hear he's got some heads to crack! Now let's get the fuck outta here already!!" As the two men attempted to run out from their cover, Kasabian popped around the corner and had both of them butchered under a hail of auto-fire shotgun blasts. He couldn't stop the other gunmen from fleeing the area, and quickly Kasabian got his knights regrouped to continue forwards. He spoke into the radio as he moved, "Northern storehouse secured, Sentinel One is moving. How is Sentinel Two?"

"Sentinel Three here, all of Sentinel Two was killed in the crash. We are currently securing the Western Storehouse, however it appears the enemy is beginning to fallback from the spaceport." he heard in response.

"Sentinel Four has secured the Eastern Storehouse, it would seem the enemy is falling back. Sentinel Five moved onto the Southern and we are following behind quickly, however we are only encountering retreating troops."

That was when Kasabian heard Syrins voice over the radio, asking if there were any other mechas or who these people were. Kasabian glanced back towards the two dead people had just killed before back ahead. "We've spotted no more enemy mechas, Paladin. As for who these folks are...I think we may be dealing with a pirate band. Anybody recognize a Captain Grimfist?"

Syrin slowed her machine, the rest of her Paladin squad dropping down to follow after her. She'd kept an eye out for any more mecha's but so far she had not found any. Perhaps the enemy only had those two. As Kasabian replied to her question, she was even further convinced that the two mecha's were the only ones due to the fact they were fighting pirates and not rebels.

"Pirates..." she scoffed.

Captain Grimfist? The hell kind of name is that... she wondered, though it seemed to fit perfectly for someone who was leading a band of pirates. Turning into another street, she caught sight of some of the fleeing pirates, a group of Sentinel's not too far behind.

"Let them run, Sentinels. We'll find where they're going to, and with luck... Their Captain as well."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Ryker Vondalir Character Portrait: Arlan Laddermore Character Portrait: Arina Xsan Character Portrait: Aiyanna Holt Character Portrait: Alten Ashley

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"The encounter with the Pirates seems to have subsided. My team and I need repairs for the mecha's, I do not know of the military force, but we are returning to the Stella Caeletor," Syrin's voice was finishing up her short report over the intercom. All the while, Arina sat with her fingers knitted tightly together, her lips resting against the fingers as she stared at the display screen ahead of her. The images that were displayed were not pleasant. Though she couldn't see all of what had been described to her, the fighting had left signs of the skirmish, buildings toppled over, mini explosions in certain places. Arina's chest was tight. The fight could have been avoided if she'd just been allowed to get into contact with the group they'd encountered. However, she'd been unable to establish any sort of contact with the group down on the planet and she had tried several times. None had answered her though, and she had a feeling the Commodore had ignored her hails on purpose.

"Thank you," Arina offered simply and the communication link was cut. Arina was fairly sure the soldier didn't want to talk all that much to her anyway, after all the cold tone wasn't hard to miss. She figured she would get more details from the group as a whole later. The problem of the Pirates occupying Ko'val was definitely a hurdle that Arina had been expecting, but it didn't make it any easier at all. How was she to go about getting the Pirates to leave the place when they'd made a home out of it? She supposed she was just going to have to figure out something to say and offer to them in return for giving up the planet.

Leaning back, she started drumming her fingers on the edge of her chair's arm, the other hand holding her head propped up as she stared at the black expanse outside the main windows of the bridge. She was going to have to request another briefing. That had been difficult the first round, but maybe it would be easier this time. Maybe she would just suffice with them being on screen instead of making them board her vessel. Arina sighed heavily as her mind went around and around with ideas and plans, most of them being thrown out because she knew they wouldn't work out. At the same time she planned to call both ships in the next hour or so, allowing the two teams to reconvene with their vessels and give briefings of their own, aside from the one she'd recieved from Syrin.

Alten had watched Cavalier Eulina give her report of what had occured in the spaceport of Ko'val, and he himself looked over all the images that had been sent to them. These pirates were well equipped, and upon mention of the name Grimfist, Alten had immediately begun doing searches using his tablet. As he thumbed through it, he glanced back up at the images, pausing for a moment as he watched it. It brought him back to his days within the Corps, and the similar kind of battles he had seen. Pirates were not a fun bunch to fight, mostly because they had no desire to control the damage they caused; also because they didn't give a rats ass when it came to war crimes. As such, they would go to any length to insure their victory.

Fear especially, was one of their greatest tools and they knew it. Sometimes they'd attack people and soldiers in certain ways simply with the intention of killing as many as they could in as brutal a fashion as they could, to force their enemies to surrender. It wasn't uncommon for them to even forsake killing someone if they could leave an impression instead, doing things like locking the door to a room some sniper was hiding in and throwing a white phosphorus grenade into the room, rather than shooting the poor bastard.

Alten's movements on the pad stopped as his thoughts got the best of him, standing there staring blankly down at the tablet in front of him, hardly reading the information that sat there. His grip tightened a little on it before he closed his eyes, taking a few deep breaths. After a moment to calm himself, he cleared his throat and reopened his eyes, going back to scrolling through the tablet. "Admiral Xsan, what is your next plan of action? One thing I may offer is that we keep the Stella Caelator in orbit until the pirates have been removed." He then looked up to her, "I'm currently looking over information regarding the pirate Captain they mentioned and..." he looked back down to the tablet. "There is quite a bit on this particular one."

"Yes, I know and agree with you. We'll be keeping Stella Caelator in orbit. I don't plan to land on a hostile planet, not until I know we'll be safe. What I want is to speak with this... Pirate Captain Grimfist. Though that's going to be a feat in and of itself, getting Commodore Nash and Knight-Sentinel Major to agree with me. But I will definitely try. If only I can convince the man of what and why we're here, I'm sure I can make him leave without us having to fire off another shot," Arina answered as Alten gave her his opinions.

Shifting around in the seat that she was occupying, Arina turned just enough to see him clearly, "What I would like to do is get the two of them either on board for another meeting, or at least on screen with one another. We'll do that in a few hours, but I will hail them here in a moment. Their men need to brief with their own commanders after all, and I want as much information as I can get in one shot," she said, her gaze locked on Alten's without a flicker of hesitation, "There's no need for pointless fighting. Pirates are only pirates because they want something. Maybe I can find what he wants. Once I do... Then I've won," she said with a slight smile.

"In any case, tell me about this man, this Grimfist before I hail the other ships."

Alten watched her, eyes widening a bit in surprise at her thought process. Honestly, she was the first person he had had to deal with that wanted to talk down a pirate rather than just blast them into oblivion. Alten was one of those people who wanted to do nothing but wipe them from the face of galaxy. Giving them what they wanted was just...with everything they did to people for the simple sake of looting, they didn't deserve an easy way out. "A-Admiral Xsan...you can't be serious? You want to...to appease those monsters?"

He looked away for a moment, hesitant to continue. He cleared his throat though, looking back at her with a bit more vigor in his eyes. "They don't deserve anything but a bullet to the head. The things they do to people means they deserve nothing but the same in return! You just...if you just give them what they want they'll return for more eventually!" He watched her, his stance having become more tense; not because of his usual demeanor either. It was a rare feeling of anger he was feeling, though it wasn't really directed at the admiral.

Arina sighed heavily and stood up from her chair to turn and face Alten. With hands on her hip, a slightly irritated look on her face, she spoke in even tones, "Alten. People do things for a reason. I want to know what his reason is. I want to know what it is he wants. I said nothing about giving it to him. I just want to know. The art of persuasion lies in the art of lying. I know he's not deserving of what he wants. Many people are not. But that doesn't mean that I'm going to keep sending the Naval and Knights down there to be killed! I will avoid another scuffle like this one that we just encountered. Also, a scuffle that could have been avoided in my opinion, but it seems that things were kept from me for a little while."

Taking a step forward, Arina put a hand on Alten's arm, "I'm not giving in to who's obviously in the wrong. I'm just keeping those of us who are good, alive. What he deserves is not a bullet to his head, but a cell in one of the high security facilities. Where he can stay and die without hurting anyone else in the process."

Alten stood there, looking to the Admiral for only a moment before looking to the side, now a bit embaresed about his outburst. She was right, she had never said she was going to give him anything, now he just felt like an asshole. his voice was soft once again as he spoke, "Yes, your right Admiral Xsan. I'm sorry for my outburst..." He moved his arm from her hand, turning away slightly while pushing his glasses back up onto his nose before poking at the pad some.

"So then, as for Captain Grimfist. His actual name isn't known, nor is there anything regarding his background. He always commands a ship he refers to as the Hammerhead, however the type of ship it is has changed several times. Most of the things in here are reports and sighting of him, where he's attacked and such and he's got a pretty big list. He's wanted in many sectors, and is on the Federation's most wanted list; in fact, he's got a couple million on his head as a bounty. He's notorious for both his ability to evade capture, or even avoid death. Countless times he's been captured or supposedly killed, only to show up somewhere else, commanding a new vessel with a crew at his beck-and-call."

He turned to her, though avoided her eyes as he held out the tablet which had a full-body mugshot of Grimfist. The picture showed a man, with the information regarding his height of six feet six inches, weight and other details. His hair was cut very short and was black, matching his black eyes. He had plenty of scarring covering his face and whatever skin was exposed to be seen, and in the picture he was missing his entire right arm with the visible jack in which a bionic limb could be connected to at his shoulder. Another picture showed him in his actual combat gear, of the reddish power armor, the same black tricorne hat, and his massive ramshackle looking bionic arm. "These photos are of the last time he was seen and captured, about five years ago just after Ko'val was abandoned. He probably moved into the colony not long afterwards and after he escaped." he finished, glancing towards the bay window of the bridge.

Arina took the tablet from him and looked over the information. He was one hell of an opponent. Biting her lower lip gently, Arina scanned over his details before she glanced up at Alten and then back over her shoulder to the planet that was hanging in the dark expanse just outside her bay windows, "Five years after Ko'vol was abandoned and he was taken into custody. I wonder if he had anything to do with Ko'val's abandonment and being pushed into Terrocus territory. I suppose asking him is out of the question isn't it?" she said with a bit of a smile, a teasing tone to her words there at the end. She was trying to lighten the mood, especially after Alten had gotten quite upset with her.

"It is a possibility, Admiral. He would have the capability to drive off a colony not as secured as Ko'val was, especially if he caught them by surprise. However, nothing definite can be given, only inferred. Asking that...man may be the only way to get an answer." Alten said. "If you intend to contact him, then asking wouldn't hurt; just don't expect a worm like him to just give any information away..." he crossed his arms, frowning some as he kept his eyes out the port window. The Admiral's word had made sense, but that did not mean Alten was going to like them. These people didn't deserve even being talked with, nor did they deserve being locked in a cell. They deserved only to be burned, eaten, flayed alive, they deserved all the tortures that they themselves put other people through.

"The only other information I can really provide you with would be information that is not as useful to you as it would be to the Sentinel-Major and Commodore, as it is information regarding Grimfist's combat style. I'm sure though they've obtained that information as soon as they heard the name." He said.

He is angry with me, Arina thought to herself as she turned back to watch Alten as he answered her. He'd avoided all eye contact thus far and his tone said he wasn't very happy. Perhaps he did not agree with her decision to talk the man out of occupying Ko'val. But if she couldn't do that, then what good was she to anyone? She'd just be another body on a ship with no purpose at all. Maybe she should have said that, but she didn't and instead she sighed inwardly and crossed her arms over her chest, "Well then I guess I'll just have to ask the Commodore and Sentinel-Major to join me on board again. After all, your information should be shared with the ones who have to go deal with Grimfist anyway. But lets keep in mind that I would like to keep the plan B of an all out brawl as far away as possible. I know you don't like it, but... That's sort of what I'm here for, now isn't it?"

Turning slightly, she faced her group of workers who were monitoring the ships details and keeping the vessel out of the gravitational pull that surrounded the planet below, "Hail Commodore Nash and the Sentinel-Major please," she ordered. With the rapid response, the communications were opened. She would give them a few hours to let their personel rest and give reports before she expected them on board.

~~~

Kasabian stepped off of the transport vessel that had docked itself within the engineering/docking bay of the Gallahorn. He was walking in the direction Syrin had landed her mecha, since he'd need to report to Sentinel-Major Aigidios alongside her. Or rather, it'd just make things easier that way. Walking through the bay, his helmet tucked under his arm with his shotgun slung on his back. He nodded his head to other knights as he passed, ones who were getting ready to head down and secure the spaceport entierly. As he walked towards Cavalier Eulina's mecha, he glanced up at it, whistlnig some as he did so.

"Well, that was a bit of a mess down there, huh?" He asked out loud, though he mostly spoke to himself. He chuckled some, "Good luck with the red-head." he said while shaking his head.

Syrin docked the jet mecha and the hatch split open, the loud hiss of air depressurizing hitting her ears before any other noise filtered through as the cockpit was opened to the hanger bay. Pulling herself out of the seat, she hopped up onto the top of the hatch and scanned over the entire mecha from her place a top it. A grimace took her lips as she eyed the bullet holes through a large amount of plating on either side of the mech. The black plates were all dented and scratched, ripped apart by the bullets in either clean looking holes or jagged streaks. The dents and dings were no doubt from the building nearly collapsing on her machine, and the rips and tears were most likely from the second mecha that she'd taken on towards the end of the fight.

It reminded her that the outer hull of her machine wasn't the only thing damaged and she made her way over to the catwalk to get down to inspect the area that her computer had told her had been severely damaged. Hopefully it wasn't too bad to keep her grounded on the Gallahorn, but she knew that if it came down to it, her mecha would survive no matter what. Not that Arlan would allow me to take it out like this, she thought to herself. That man was almost as bad a perfectionist as she was when it came to mechanics anyway. As Syrin climbed down to get under her machine and started inspecting it, Kasabian's voice cut through the noisy bay and she glanced over to him.

"Nothing I couldn't handle," she replied to his question of it being a mess down on the planet. She figured it hadn't really needed a response, but she did like Kasabian and thus answered him. A grin may have pulled at her lips, but it might have been hard to tell as she leaned over and peered up under the hull near the engine of her machine, eyeing the jagged wreck of metal that had come rather close to spliting the engine's coil, "Thanks, but I think I can handle Arlan just fine," she offered, still only looking up at the damage and nothing else.

Kasabian leaned over as well to take a look at the damage, pursing his lips as he looked at it. "If you say so, Syrin. If you say so." He had no idea just what kinda fight Syrin had gotten herself into down there, but clearly it had been a hefty scuffle. Though considering it'd been two mechas, and one wielding a rail-rifle of all things, it being a tough fight wasn't much of a shock. "So, were you thinking it'd be pirates we'd find down there?" He asked while standing up completely. "Kinda hope that's all it was really, might get the military off of our backs sooner than later if all we have to pick a fight with is a bunch of looters and thieves."

"I am partial to something a bit more significant than just some pirates. It'd make having to deal with the Commodore and his crew more worthwhile." A voice spoke behind Syrin and Kasabian. The Order Sergeant spun around, and immediately went to attention and saluted the Sentinel-Major as he stood there, a hand resting on the sword at his waist while his other hand rested on the handle of his pistol. "So, how about you start telling me what happened down there?" Aigidios said as he looked between the two of them.

As Syrin was about to answer Kasabian as the two of them were inspecting the damage to her mecha, the voice of the Sentinel-Major sent a chill down her spine. How he'd gotten up behind them was a mystery to her, but it was also a testament to how good he was too. Flipping around just as quickly as Kasabian, she too followed her superiors reaction and saluted their Major, "Major..." Syrin -having been caught off guard for a moment- was only able to speak the one word before her mind slowly fell into place and the events of what had happened down on the planet easily became words on her tongue.

"We were attacked. It felt as if they were trying to ambush us, which failed," Syrin started, "But as to what Kasabian has asked. I believe it is pirates we're dealing with, Sir. The rebels have certain markings on the machines they steal from the Federation. I did not see those markings. All three mechas that I engaged with the Knights came down rather easily, though the one with the rail-rifle was difficult... And the result to my machines damage," she added, glancing up at the under carriage of the mecha, the once sleek black look, now nothing more than jagged edges in more than a few places.

"I was unable to see the foot soldiers uniforms though, so my perspective alone is not enough to truly discern who we're fighting against," Syrin concluded and glanced over to Kasabian. Hopefully his encounter with the group was a little more fruitful than her's. After all, she'd only dealt with three mechas.

Kasabian watched Syrin as she gave her part of the report before looking to the Major when she finished. "I had a better view of there foot soldiers, sir, and they lacked any real uniformity in their uniforms and armor. That alone I feel hinted to them being a pirate band. They were fairly well equipped, as Syrin's report regarding the mechas. I'll admit that their organization and ability to respond to us quickly and even shoot down Sentinel Two, alongside one of Paladin's mechas showed that they were something more."

Aigidios had switched over from watching Syrin to Kasabian as he spoke, listening intently to the two of them. "However, during one engagement within the Northern storehouse, I heard them mention the name Captain Grimfist. With a name like that and how they talked about him, I feel that was enough to tell me we were contending with a pirate band."

Aigidios nodded his head, looking between the two of them. " Pirate Captain Grimfist of the Hammerhead. It is a name and face I recognize, I've dealt with him and his crew a few years back, so I'm not surprised with that name as to why they were as organized as they were. Anything else that I need to know?"

Kasabian spoke up, "We were able to secure the storehouses, and the enemy retreated back towards the city of Ko'val after Cavalier Eulina and Paladin wiped out the three mechas."

Aigidios spoke up again, "So we did actually catch them mostly unaware. Grimfist isn't dumb, nor is he one to miss a fight. He's most likely just reorganizing his troops for the full engagement." he looked between them again. "If there is anything else that needs to be said, then you are dismissed. Enjoy your rest," he then looked at the mecha, then to Syrin. "Get Arlan down here quickly, we need you up and ready to be deployed as soon as possible." He then saluted them, Kasabian returning it before Aigidios waited for Syrin's, then turned to leave.

Saluting her superior, Syrin let out a breath, "Grimfist, hu? Well he sounds great," she offered sarcastically, or rather, as sarcastically as she could manage. Turning around, she once again eyed her machine with a bit of dread in the pit of her stomach, "Arlan's going to be so pissed," she muttered. With a quick look over to Kasabian, she gave him a small nod of her head, "You should rest too, the Major will probably send us both back down. We should be expecting one hell of a fight when we do return to the surface."

Syrin’s thoughts were filled on who Grimfist was aside from being a leader to the Pirate forces down on Ko’val. It seemed that the Sentinel-Major knew all about him, which made Syrin wonder even more. Not a lot of people got away from the Major, in fact, none that she could recall and especially if the war stories were true about him.

“I’ll go get Arlan. See you in a few hours, Kasabian,” she said and then made her way across the hangar bay in search of the red-haired mechanic.

Kasabian nodded his head to Syrin, grinning at the mention of Arlan. "Good luck with him, Syrin." He said before turning and walking off towards the bay's exit. As he walked, he nodded to Arlan who was quickly making his way towards Syrin.

Arlan stopped in front of Syrin, looking her up and down, patting her arms and shoulders as he did so as well. "We all in one piece? Nothing out of place or too badly banged up?" he said with a grin. It was pretty clear that she wasn't hurt, or if she was it wasn't anything serious. However Arlan always found it fun to mess with her in this fashion. However, he had yet to notice the mecha and its condition, as it happened to be on his blindside and he hadn't noticed it landing when Syrin had first made it back. "I hope things didn't get too terrible down there, though even if it did you seem to be all good and fine!" He patted her shoulders and pulled his hands back to put them into his pockets. "So where's the mecha?" He asked, glancing around before his eye settled on the mecha in question.

Slowly his smile faded as he stared at it, shock taking over his features. Its beautiful black surface was marred and dinged up, much of its armor was riddled and torn, and worse yet was the engine which looked like it'd possibly have to be totally replaced. Slowly he walked up to it, just staring up at it still. Sure he knew that it was a combat mecha and that meant it would be seeing combat, but that didn't make this sting any less. Not to mention it was not a model meant to storm a hail of bullets and keep going, so clearly Syrin hadn't been all that careful with the beauty. He just stood there, jaw dropped in a look of horror.

Syrin nodded to Kasabian as he offered her a wish of luck when dealing with Arlan. It wasn't that the red haired mechanic was a difficult man to deal with, just that she knew how he was with the mecha's and anything mechanical. He liked them pristine. She did too, which meant that if she'd nearly had a heart attack after looking at her mecha, Arlan was going to be shocked and possibly angry... Definitely upset. Syrin didn't need to go far to find Arlan as he had been making his way over to her. Patting her down his usual grin was plastered on his face and that made her feel even worse.

"Yes, all in one peice, Arlan," Syrin answered him, "It was... Not a difficult fight. Just a surprise more than anything else," she answered slowly. When he asked for the mecha, Syrin sighed and moved aside as he looked around for it. It didn't take him long to find the beat up craft and when he did, she winced inwardly at his facial expression. Reaching back, she ran her hand through the loose strands of hair as she too looked back over to her jet that was marred and... for lack of a better word, destroyed really.

"Sorry, Arlan. One of the mechs had a rail-rifle. The other damage is due to a building collapsing over me, but other than that it's alright. It's not that bad," she said, trying to lighten the mood, as well as the worst-case-scenario that was most likely running through Arlan's mind as he gazed at the mecha speechlessly.

Arlan just stood there quietly before slowly looking at her, "A building?! The hell were you doing that resulted in a building collapsing on you?!? This mecha is built for speed and agility!" He flailed his arms about before walking towards it, looking it over, still a horrified look on his face. "You don't slug it out with the enemy or....smash through buildings with it! You especially don't let a mecha wieldinng a rail-rifle hit you, Syrin!!" he looked at her before back to the mecha, his arms just flopping limply at his sides as he sighed.

"This is going to take a lot of work..." He shuffled over to the engine, looking at it again. "This thing might need to be totally replaced...augh, Syrin!" He looked back to her with an exasperated look. " 'It's not that bad' my ass, woman!! I was hoping to sleep tonight but it looks like I'm gonna be up all night fixing her up." He said looking back at the mecha. "Well...you are going to go brew me up a whole pot of coffee while I get the equipment around to fix this mess!"

He turned and looked at her again, "Hell you might want to make enough for two people to pull an all nighter cause you are going to help me fix this, Syrin! That'll teach you to dodge rail-shots and buildings rather than take hits with a mecha not designed for it!" he said while pointing at her.

"I was taken by surprise, Arlan," Syrin responded when he asked her what she was doing when the building collapsed on her, but it seemed that he wasn't really listening as he continued on raging at her about the ruined mecha. With an inward sigh, she resigned herself for the verbal railing and put one hand on her hip as she watched him and occasionally glanced to the mecha as he pointed out different parts of it that were ruined.

As he looked at the engine coil, Syrin moved to keep within sight and earshot of him, though she really didn't think she needed to with his angry voice lifted louder than usual. Rolling her eyes slightly she eyed the damage with a frown on her lips, "Like to have seen you try to avoid a building and rail shots," she muttered to herself, half pouting half irritated with him. She was pretty sure Arlan had heard her too, after all she wasn't exactly whispering that part to herself, "Fine. Coffee and we'll get this repaired. I wasn't going to leave you by yourself anyway, you should know that," she said, slightly miffed by the idea and crossed her arms as she gave the mecha one last look over, plans on how to go about reparing it quickly starting to formulate in her mind.

"Goodie!!" Arlan said while walking past her, though he stopped for a moment and turned to face her. "And Syrin!" he said, pointing at her again. "Glad you're ok!" he said before turning again and marching on towards the area they stored tools. He did grumble though as he walked along, also muttering to himself what things he'd handle first and how. It was going to certainly be a long night of work, given the amount of damage on the poor mecha.

"Totally would have dodged a building...I mean it is a building! Not like they are known for running into people and things...bah, you are a pain in my butt sometimes, Syrin." he continued to mutter as he collected some tools and began walking back. The first of them was a plasma cutter, which was going to be essential for removing damaged plates as well as the engine coil, as well as two welding masks to protect their eyes, or eye in his case.. "You're lucky your actually fun to talk to and are cute or else this would be a whole 'nother kinda mess!" He then grabbed a simple wrench, as well as a pry bar then began walking back towards the mecha.

As he made it back, he dumped the stuff down on the nearby work table and began hooking up the plasma cutter. "Alrighty then, first we cut away these plates." he pointed to the pry bar for a moment before finishing up with the plasma torch. "Take that bar, and see what plates you can pry loose. Makes things quicker for both of us." He then paused, then looked at her. "After you get the coffee ready first!"

~~~

Holt winced as she felt the medic slowly apply a second dose of salve into the wound on her face. It would be the disinfecting salve first, followed by the more powerful and helpful healing salve. The second one would actually begin the healing process, and it was astounding how well and quickly it worked. It'd probably only be a day or two before the wound would be healed up, and Aiyanna would be ready to head out into the field again. Currently she was sitting on one of the tables within the medical bay, only dressed in the rather form-fitting undersuit that one wore beneath power armor. It was designed to be comfortable, but also to assit with maintaining a constant body temperature and also to help whisk away sweat. It also served to eliminate chafing that may result from the more stiff material of the Power Armor.

She sighed as she felt the medic begin applying the second salve, which was much less painful than the first. In fact it actually felt rather nice and soothing to the wound. She and the team had returned about a half-hour ago, and had been told to report to the Commodore afterwards, something she was not looking forwards too. She didn't want to tell Nash how the recon mission went to shit so fast and how they lost Derith in the fighting, but also because Holt felt bad that she'd more than likely have to throw Ryker under the bus. Sure he kinda deserved it, and she did feel like it was his fault that it went as bad as it did, but she also wasn't a fan of singling out her fellow Sailors.

"Alright, now we just gotta bandage this up. Then you sohuld be good to go, ma'am." the medic said to Aiyanna as he waked over to a drawer to grab said bandages.

"Thank you, doc." Holt said in return while looking around. The other commandos were being patched up as well, and were stripped down to the undersuits as well. They had dropped off their equipment to the repair bay to hopefully be fixed up quickly for another possible deployment. Hopefully the whizz kid could work his magic and have them all up and running, along with a new helmet for the Petty Officer.

Ryker ground his teeth as the medic who was working to bandage up his chest pulled a little too hard to secure the wrapping. Bruised ribs, a few cracked from the heavy punch he'd recieved were probably the worst of the wounds thankfully. Scratches here and there, but otherwise he was fine. "Think you could pull any harder," he snapped at the guy who only sighed in return and kept quiet. As soon as the wrappings were tied off, Ryker pushed off the bed he'd been seated up on and waved off the young medic who'd tried to keep him seated still, "Leave it, damn it. The less of your horrid medical skills, the better I'll be."

Snatching up his military uniform from the side of the bed, he pulled on the heavy coat gingerly, unable to really lift his arms up too high. Annoyed still at his own injuries, the fight that had went to hell, and Aiyanna's snapping at him in return -not to mention taking him from the fight that he had himself convinced he could have finished- Ryker stalked toward the door. He had already heard they'd be debriefing with the Commodore and he wanted it over with as soon as possible. The only thing that kept him from leaving entirely was Aiyanna, whom he waited for, though impatiently. Ryker occupied himself with putting the uniform together, buttoning up the heavy shirt and trying to make it as pristine as possible with the limited movement while he waited for Holt.

Holt winced as the medic tightened the bandages around her head, the bandages pressing tightly on the wound before he stepped back. "Alright, there you go, Holt. You are set to go." Holt hopped down off the table, rubbing the bandaged area slightly and fidgetting a bit with one of the bandages that wrapped around her chin to help hold it in place. Another one was wrapped around her forehead, also slightly irritating and itchy.

"Thanks. Off I go to hell." She muttered the last bit to herself and began walking towards the door. As she made her way there, she looked up to see Ryker waiting there. She frowned some, mostly because she had no idea how this was going to go. It could just be akward silence, another bitch-fit from him, or anything in between. Regardless, as she figured she'd at least try to start some kind of conversation as she walked up to him. "Feeling swell, I take it?"

"Fucking great," he replied in a grumble as he eased the last button into place. Looking over to her once it was done, his frown deepened, "You look like hell," he comment shortly. With a slight shake of his head, Ryker pushed the door open and held it for her to follow after him out into the hall, "Let's go say hi to Commodore Nash, shall we?" he said as he started down the hall. He fell silent after a while, going over the details that he'd be presenting to the Commodore. After a while, as they neared where they would be meeting with the bionic equipped man, he figured it was a good idea to let Holt know what he was going to tell the Commodore.

"Don't leave anything out when you speak to him. I can cover my own ass. Besides, I'll tell it as I saw it. We were supposed to secure the area. Which is exactly what I was trying to do," he said, the tone a slight bit on the edgy side though he was doing what he could to keep it from sounding too pissed off about the situation, "Not that I expected you to try to butter it up or anything," he gave her a quick glance, a sly grin making it's way on his lips for just a moment.

"I feel like hell. I think the only reason I don't have my own broken ribs is because of my armor. But fuck that arm of his packed one hell of a punch." Holt said while rubbing her tender side as they walked. It was silent as they made their way to where Nash was waiting, Holt mulling around in her head what she was going to tell the Commodore. She still had a frown on her lips, glancing to Ryker for a moment before looking back ahead.

When they made it there, she was about to say something when Ryker beat her to the punch. She watched him, noting that he clearly was trying to keep his anger surpressed. She shook her head some, before looking at the door. "Well, least you relieved me of the guilt of throwing you into the engine of a mecha." She said before taking a deep breath and letting it on in a long sigh, "Here we go..." she said before walking forwards. The doors opened up for them as she moved forwards, walking into a rather large room that was filled with a number of technicians at work on computers. The room contained one large view screen at the back, and had a small ledge that over looked the whole room. This was the central command room, where the COs could observe and coordinate the boots on the ground. A control panel also sat on the ledge for use by the commander, in this case Nash who was standing in front of it. He was leaning forwards, his hands resting on the panel and supporting the rest of his body. He said nothing nor did he turn to look at them as Holt walked forwards.

She stopped and saluted the Commodore. "Petty Officers Holt and Vondalir here to report, sir." she remained there as Nash turned to face them. He returned the salute, Holt relaxing as he did so before he looked between the two of them.

"So, who wants to go first?" Nash asked, Holt glancing to Ryker for a moment before back to the Commodore. "How about you, Vondalir?" Nash said as he looked at the silver-haired man.

"Commodore," Ryker responded also giving the man a salute. With both hands clasped behind his back, Ryker nodded slightly as he was addressed to speak first, "We scouted the outer edge of the city, worked our way in when we found a group of people. The Drakes were disturbed by our presence so we didn't get much information aside from learning that they're Pirates with a leader by the name of Grimfist. We were attacked by the small band. After I interviened in their attack, I followed the remaining group into the city. They're heavily armed, missile launchers were probably the worst of it. Inside the city we engaged with their leader, Grimfist," Ryker frowned again, that edge creeping into his tone once more, "Unfortunately... He escaped me before I could finish the fight," a quick glance to Holt and he returned his gaze to the Commodore, "One of our soldiers was killed, Commodore, during the the scuffle."

Nash watched Ryker, quietly and unblinking before turning his eyes to Holt. "Holt?"

Aiyanna straightened up, clearing her throat. "That about covers it sir, I and my fire team had moved in to support Petty Officer Vondalir when he went into the city to engage the enemy. We held our own for a bit, but eventually they were able to force us back. Derith perished whne he was struck by missle fire from what I believe to have been the pirate leader. Vondalir and I fought with Grimfist, but when our evacuation arrived I grabbed Vondalir and retreated to the vessel to make out escape, sir." Holt finished while keeping her eyes forwards.

Nash looked at her, then back to Vondalir. "I remember telling you two, to only engage the enemy if absolutely necessary. Correct?"

"Yes, sir." Holt responded immediately.

"And now we are down a mech," he then turned his gaze to Holt, "and we lost a soldier alongside his power armor. All in an engagement that was not required of either of you. An engagement you both ran into that could have been avoided entirely, no?"

Aiyanna sounded much less confident in her response. "Yes, sir..."

Ryker's gaze shifted over to Aiyanna briefly. Her tone was unusual and honestly he didn't like it. She was a confident woman, a powerful woman. He despised the sound that she'd made. Keeping it to himself for the most part, he shifted a little to get Commodore Nash's attention off of her and back onto him for the moment, "Commodore, I'm the one who made the decision to go into the city after the rabble that attacked us. And if I may, with all due respect, we were the ones who were attacked first. I think that's reason enough for having retaliated as we did. They were fleeing to their Pirate leader in the first place, I deemed it necessary to try to snuff out any attempts at another attack in that moment. Surely that is reason enough for a necessary engagement."

Nash looked back to Vondalir, a scowl slowly growing on his face. "I'm aware it was you who made the decision, Petty Officer. However, Holt being in charge still puts some responsibility onto her. Certainly not as much as you though. And no, Ryker," Nash's voice dripped with annoyance as he said the pilot's name, "Being attacked first is not enough reason to march into the enemy's fortifications. You had ample area to retreat into, having a vast desert behind you. You had no purpose or reason to enter that city other than the fact your apparently still a child and need to get better control of your ego!" Nash was clearly angry by this point, as he wasn't even trying to keep his tone under control. " 'He hit me first' is an excuse young boys say when they don't want to get in trouble on the playground, so perhaps I should begin treating you like one until you can prove that your are capable of acting like a member of the Armed Forces."

Nash gave Ryker a hard stare, "You will be marked for insubordination, Ryker. You may have had the plan to try and snuff out the enemy right then and there, but initiative is meaningless if you do not truly consider the possible ramifications of your plans. Now until further notice, you both are to remain on The Far Reaching Wind. You are dismissed." Nash's tone had lowered as he continued on, yet it still shuddered with anger. Once he was finished he turned around and went back to leaning on the control panel in front of him.

Holt saluted the Commodore again, replying with a simple "Yes, sir." before turning and heading towards the doors to head on out.

Ryker's gaze darkened. Though he played the perfect soldier, he still utterly despised the military. Even so, it was the one thing that allowed him to vent out his anger on others without getting into too much trouble with the Federation and possibly being put behind bars. After all, if he'd gone any other path in life, he'd probably have committed murder more than a few times. He forced a salute to the Commodore, but he didn't say anything. Turning on his heel he followed after Aiyanna into the hallway. Silence followed after him, anger boiling just under the skin. Ryker was pretty sure that if he'd been armed he might have reached for the weapon. As it was, he was keeping from destroying anything within reach, but just barely. The utter desire to break someone neck was rather appealing at that moment.

After a while, Ryker couldn't contain it any longer and his fist connected with the wall along with a deep growl of anger, "Bastard," he hissed, "What are we here for then? Damned Federation. Should have just left those idiot Knight Sentinel's to go down there if all we were to do was sit back and watch. What was the point of going anyway!?" his fist pulled back and hit the same place a second time, sending a deep vibration all through his arm and into his ribs. Though it hurt, he was far too pissed off to even care

As the two of them walked down the hallway, Aiyanna kept glancing at Ryker. She could almost feel the anger emanating off of him, and she couldn't blame him; at least to a certain degree she couldn't. The Commodore had torn Ryker a new one with that scolding, honestly Ryker was lucky that Nash had kept it only to Aiyanna herself and any technitian in the command room that had decided to eavesdrop. Finally though, she watched as he couldn't ocntain it any longer and punched the wall.

She stopped, watching him as he began to vent off. She didn't say anything as he said his part, though when he punched the wall a second time, she simply sighed and walked over to him. Taking a firm hold of his hand in her own hands, she then lowered it away from the wall. "Enough, Ryker. Breaking your hand isn't a solution to the problem. We'll get our chance to get back at that Pirate, trust me."

She kept hold of his hand, moving to look him in the eyes. "We are not simply here to watch, we were just setting up for the big fight itself." She smiled a little, raising an eyebrow. "Besides, with the impression you left on Grimfist, when we go down there I bet he'll hunt for you specifically, then we'll both be able to royally kick his ass and tear him apart. We will get our chance again, just gotta give it some time. Alright?"

With Aiyanna taking his hand to keep him from hitting the wall a third time, Ryker glared down at her as she spoke, "From what it sounds like to me, Commodore Nash doesn't want to engage in anything on the planet. Which is why I question him. If he's so damned adamant about being here, then he should let us do what we're meant to do!" Ryker's voice was lowered so that only she could hear him.

Rolling his eyes on her insistance that they were going to fight the Pirate Captain again, he took a deep breath to calm down a little. She'd spoken truthfully that was for sure, and he was very hopeful that they would indeed have another shot at the asshole down on the planet because Ryker seriously wanted to tear that man apart limb by limb. After a while of looking at her and getting his anger to subside, his grin returned to his lips as he straightened a little. Still with his hand in her grip, he gave a slight chuckle, "You know, it's times like these that I really wonder if you hate me, or you like me," he teased.

She rolled her eyes at his first comment, looking back to him. "We just got to this colony, Ryker. And we've had one mission so far, cool your shorts and give it time and the Commodore will have us running down their to kill us some pirates. " She watched him for a good moment, waiting for him to relax and simmer down. Once he had, she slowly let go of his hand and looked at him, crossing her arms and grinning slightly. "You know Ryker, it is times like this that I wonder the same damned thing. Your personality is about as comforting as sandpaper most of the time, but...that ass of yours certaintly is a hard thing to ignore." she teased back.

With a larger grin, she then turned and began walking down the hallway. "Now I'd like to get changed out of this suit. It might be flattering to the form, but after a while it starts to get a little uncomfortable. Much rather get back into my fatigues, and gotta check on my armor and see how bad or long repairs are going to take for it."

Ryker's gaze followed after her, his eyes dancing with the wild light of amusement, "Funny, I could say the same thing about you," he shot back as he watched her go. After letting her get a bit of a head start, he followed after her, purposefully keeping her ahead of him, his grinning never ceasing, "Perhaps I could help you out of that... Flattering suit of yours. It looks difficult to get on and off," he said from behind her as he followed.

She slowed her pace, spinning on her heel to face him as she walked backwards, watching him. "I can feel you staring, Ryker." she said, raising an eyebrow. "And you think you are just going to get under my suit that easily?" She then stopped, crossing her arms and looking at him with a smile.

"Seems like you need to work out some frustrations, hm?" she cocked her head to the side, now just enjoying teasing him.

Ryker halted in his steps as well as she turned to face him and stopped walking backwards. Taking the last few feet to get closer to her, he leaned down a little, "I wouldn't chase after you if it was going to be easy, Aiyanna. You should know that. I like a little bite to my women and you've got plenty of that," he replied. He allowed his gaze to drop for a moment before looking back up at her.

"Maybe. But I can find other ways to release my frustrations. Unless you're inviting me, then by all means," he gave a little chuckle at that pretty sure he knew the answer to that one already. After all, it wasn't the first time he'd hit on her before.

"No you would not, Ryker. And I am very aware of it, considering how I seem to have you by the strings every now and then" She raised an eyebrow when he looked down at her before back up to her face.

"Inviting you?" she chuckled softly, lifting her hand up above him and wiggled her fingers aorund as if playing with a marionette. "Like a puppet sometimes, dear Ryker." She let her hand drop and turned her back to him, tapping her chin with her finger. "Hm...I should go check on Trinity...make sure he's getting my armor fixed up." she hummed, shifting her weight on her legs some as she looked away, grinning the whole time.

Ryker laughed again, his grin growing wider by the second. His earlier anger was completely washed away at their banter. He truly enjoyed conversing with this woman, "Maybe I'm letting you pull me around, Aiyanna," he said, leaning over her shoulder to speak the words a little softer than earlier.

Straightening, he eyed her for a moment longer as she shifted her weight from one side to the other, most likely doing that on purpose for him. After he'd watched her for a little while longer, enjoying the view considerably, he stepped around her and headed down the hall, "Well then, what are you waiting for. You still have to strip down, which I'm going to enjoy imagining while I go light a fire under our mechanics ass. How about that?"

It was her turn to stand there and watch him go, smiling before she began following after him. "Well, I guess since I'm already going to be so exposed in your imagination..." She then walked up next to him, looking ahead for a moment before she again spun on her heel, walking backwards as she looked up at him. "Then I might as well find some enjoyment in it as well."

"Besides..."she purred, again taking the lead as she sauntered past him. "The imagination is never as good as the real deal, Ryker." she finished as she began heading down the hallway towards the sleeping section where her room was.

For a moment, Ryker was a little taken off guard, but then his mind recovered and he followed after her, "Well then, if you insist. After all, you're the one in charge. It wouldn't do to ignore any... orders of yours now would it?"

Heading toward her sleeping quarters as well, Ryker lengthened his stride to keep up with her as he'd allowed her to get ahead of him once again, "I'll be taking this as your invitation, Aiyanna."

She giggled, something that she didn't often do as she continued to walk forwards, keeping her eyes ahead. "I am the one in charge, my puppet. You woudn't want to get another insubordination charge, now would you?"

Once they made it to the doorway, she then turned and looked at him. "And no dear Ryker, not an invitation. As you said, it's an order." she winked as him as she slipped into the room, humming to herself.

"Well then," Ryker cooed softly as he entered the room as well. As soon as the door slid shut, he crossed the small room and snatched up her arm, "Allow me to assist you," he offered as he turned her around with her arm in hand, "Got a few days to pass on board, I suppose a little side tracking wouldn't hurt," he said with a bit of a laugh to the tone and leaned down to get a kiss if she'd let him, that or he'd get quite the punch which he didn't mind either.

"No, I think some side tracking would not be a problem at all, my dear Ryker." As he leaned into her, she grinned at him and all softness was gone as she suddenly pulled him down into a forceful kiss, grabbing the collar of his shirt to pull him into her. As she did so, she pushed him back up against the wall before pulling back ever so slightly, giving him a smile that seemed both seductive and sadistic at the same time.

"Or it might, hard to say." She pulled him back into the kiss, keeping him pressed up against the wall as she did so. Her hands remained on his collar, just to make sure he couldn't escape her so easily.

The sudden kiss was unexpected but definitely not unwanted. Hitting the wall, he groaned a bit in pain, wincing for a moment as she pulled away. Even so, his wild grin never left his lips even as he growled to her, "That hurt."

A second later and she was kissing him again. Dropping his arms around her waist he held her in place just as she held him there and deepened the intimate touch. It was most likely going to be a while before they left to go see to the repairs on their equipment. Ryker didn't care at all either way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Arlan Laddermore Character Portrait: Arina Xsan Character Portrait: Alten Ashley

0.00 INK

#, as written by Siryn
Alten sighed as he sat himself down atop a rutty old sleeping pad, sniffling a bit as dust was kicked up off of it. They had somehow been able to find themselves into a second story room, located a bit away from where they had barely escaped the pirates. The room was small, with only one window that was closed up by some ratty curtains and a sliding metal door; all it had was the sleeping pad, a decrepit old blanket that had holes in it and was plenty dirty with a seemingly endless amount of sand lost in its fibers. A small trunk was in the room, but it was empty and broken. It was the kind of furniture that was brought along with the first colonists to a new planet, things that were light and easy to carry. Usually it was a few years before much luxury was brought down for the inhabitants, and Ko'val hadn't lasted long enough for the new shipment to arrive for them.

Alten yawned and rubbed his eyes as he sat there, the familiar feeling of fatigue settling over his tired body. They'd been moving for a couple hours, and if Alten was feeling cold from the desert night he could only imagine how Arina was feeling. He looked over to her, having offered the blanket to her first. It wasn't much, but again it was better than nothing.

He set the knife down next to him as he leaned against the wooden trunk, which probably had managed to not rot away simply because of the dry conditions of this place. Speaking of dry, Alten licked his lips as it'd been a while since he'd been able to get a drink of any kind of water. They should have checked the pirate bodies before they had fled, as he was certain they would have had canteens of some kind on them. Sighing, he rubbed his eyes again before looking back over to Arina. "We'll rest here, alright?"

Having taken the blanket that was offered, Arina curled in on herself against the wall. She'd slid down it once they entered the small room and hadn't moved since. Curled up once again, the jacket that she'd been given had only offered so much warmth when the sun set. Honestly she was freezing with nothing covering her legs and a thin jacket to break the wind.

Dropping her head against her knees, she wrapped the blanket around her despite feeling a tingling sensation all along her skin with the knowledge that the blanket had been sitting around for several years. It sent chills of disgust down her back, but at that moment, she was grateful for any kind of warmth really, even if the blanket had holes in it.

At Alten's voice, she hardly lifted her head. A slight nod was her only response along with a mumbled, "Alright," to go along with the head motion. During the long hours of walking, she'd been lost in a haze. It was too horrifying to think straight as all that came to mind were the harsh memories of the attack. In addition to that, the Major's order rang out in her mind constantly that she was not to leave the ship. That he didn't want to fight through a sea of pirates just to save her.

She cringed, a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach. The icy cold pang of guilt that washed through her made her curl in tighter on herself. What little respect she'd gained from the Commodore and Major were probably thrown out the window then. Surely by that time Major Aigidios knew what she'd done. Arina ground her teeth tightly as she shifted uncomfortably against the wall, her fingers reaching up to grip locks of her black hair and pull painfully in response to her deep frustrations.

Alten watched Arina, a feeling of hopelessness crossing over his features for a moment. He could tell just how upset and uncomfortable she was. Her simple gestures spoke volumes, and he knew she had never been trained to face this kind of stress. From fatigue, to the cold, to facing the horrifying things she'd just gone through, to the frustration she was clearly feeling. Even Alten was certain that had their positions been swapped, he'd be close to breaking under the pressure just as much as she was.

The only thing that was stopping himself from breaking was just a little voice in his head, a tiny one that kept telling him to keep going. The voice developed from the hounding of Drill Instructors telling him to keep going, to keep moving. The simple concept hammered into his head in boot camp, to never stop and never give in.

Watching her, he slowly moved over to her and then knelt down in front of her. He had picked up the knife he had been given by the strange figure from before and had tucked it into his belt. He slowly put a hand on her shoulder. "Arina, I know this may seem awkward, but with this cold...we aren't going to make it through this unless we...uh...well we are gonna have to share body heat if we want to have a chance..." It sounded awkward for him to say, even though he knew it made perfect sense to do. It was odd for him to say, but given her condition he could only imagine that it seemed like he was trying to take advantage of the situation. "A-and I promise, not just trying to take a-adavantge of a be-beautiful half-naked woman...I promise." he said, barely managing to crack a smile as he made a poor attempt at a joke.

Regardless, he then sat down next to her, pulling the blanket away from her slowly, to not startle her. Once he had, he then moved in close to her, wrapping an arm around her and pulling her against him before wrapping the blanket around themselves again. In truth, he had done this partly as a simple means of survival, but also because he felt like she needed something to try and distract her from her thoughts. Something to stop her from breaking under all the pressure. He looked at her, just watching her. "I know it may not mean much, but...to have made it this far does speak of how strong you are, Arina. To not have any kind of experience with this, and yet to keep pace with someone who has done this multiple times." He tightened his arm around her, already enjoying the warmth of her body against his own, looking at the wall across the room. "That takes spirit and strength, a kind that not everyone has."

Arina only flinched when he touched her, but after that she didn't move. Her body was numb with the cold as well as the earlier events. Her mind was a blank slate and honestly that was what had gotten her so far. Hardly listening to him, she didn't hear most of what he said until the very end. Not even his calling her beautiful or commenting on her state of appearance. Numbed to just about everything, she only shook her head when she heard him say that it took spirit and strength. For what? To curl in a ball and cry?

Arina laughed lightly, a sarcastic sound without mirth. She felt his heat then as well and curled into it as she shook her head again and let out a long sigh. The only other heat she felt was the heat of her tears filling her eyes again as she answered him in sour tones, "This... Is not strength, Alten," she breathed shakily, "The only reason... I've come this far... Is because I've shut out everything."

"I can't... Think. I can't move. I can't... Do anything," her voice trembled. Turning her body, she buried her head in his chest as she let out another crying sob and curled her fingers tightly against his chest, clinging to the cloth of his shirt, "You... Could have been killed! I... Disobeyed the Major... I've jeopardized this entire mission!"

He looked down at her, feeling as she moved closer to him and clung to him. He just let her say her piece before speaking again. "I remember thinking the same thing during sniper training back in the Marines." he smiled to himself, looking forwards. "Crawling through yards upon yards of muck and filth, having to duck and swim through stagnant swamp water, followed by miles of running, then push-ups, sits-ups, and whatever ups the instructor could think of at the time."

He laid his head back against the wall behind him."That was only the first day, and we only got a few hours of sleep. Dragging our sorry asses out of bed and shuffling to where they wanted us next. More workouts, more running, then having us do stalking drills." His hand slowly began to rub her back as he got lost in his thoughts. "That first week was hell...by the end, none of us could think, you could have asked us what two plus two was and we'd give you a blank stare trying to figure out if you were even speaking English. In end, the only reason we passed that week of hell was because we simply refused to stop moving, to stop going forwards." He chuckled softly, "Even skittish Corporal Ashley." He let out a sigh of content as his chuckling settled, "Loved the look on the head instructor's face when he had to pay one of the other instructors for losing the bet on whether I'd make it or not."

"Felt good once that week was over, I tell you what. Course that was just the week to see if we had what it takes to physically push ourselves to that brink and keep going. To come face to face with the wall, and then to climb up and over and keep moving onto the next one." He just watched ahead, his hand moving across her back without any real thought on his part, his other hand reaching up to adjust his glasses before it pulled the blanket around themselves again.

For some reason, the more Alten spoke in his soft tones, the calmer she became. Though her body was still tense and her tears still pooling in her eyes, she found it easier to breathe as he talked about his past. It was the first she'd heard of it from him. She'd known about his military past, after all it was in his documents. But to hear it from him was an entirely different thing.

Curling closer to him, she tucked her legs against his side and thigh, hugging her body up against him like a pillow. A warm pillow that was easing into her mind and making it foggy. She was getting slightly dizzy, and her eyes seemed to refuse to stay opened for much longer. Every aching muscle was growing numb as she started to drift.

"That sounds... Horrid," she muttered, "You're... Very strong," Arina managed to get the words out and maybe she'd have said more, but between his gentle strokes along her back, his soothing tone and his heat, her body shut down too quickly. Dragged off into sleep, her fingers loosened and slipped from where she'd been clinging to him. It was blissful really, the darkness that dragged her down from consciousness. Her chest hurt, her ribs, her bare feet, the numbing cold that made every inch of her body ache terribly... The release from all of that was more than welcomed.

Even if the darkness brought back unwelcome memories of pirates.

As she moved closer to him, it caused him to wince slightly when she brushed one of the sore spots on his ribs. He held still though as the pain shot through his side, instead just saying a quiet, "Ow..." and shifting some to make himself comfortable. He watched as Arina just about passed out, straining his ears to catch the last few words she said before she was out cold.

"Yeah...I guess I am." He watched her before looking on ahead, letting his head rest back against the wall behind him while he yawned. He shifted himself, trying to benefit from the heat of her own body as he tried to keep back the cold. "Yet you are the one who intimidates me, Admiral." He closed his eyes, wrapping his other arm around her. "And you are the one who is Admiral of an entire fleet. Ironic, I guess." he muttered the last bit, feeling as sleep slowly began to take over him as well. His head drooped to the side until it was resting on top of her's, his body finally giving out to the fatigue he himself was feeling.

~~~

Arlan's head met the side of the mecha with a loud thunk as he let it fall forwards, just flopping against it as he finally finished up replacing the engine Syrin had broke. He was actually up on top of the mecha, though now he was lying against it, yawning loud and long after having been at work for the past...lots of hours. He had no clue how long it'd been, or how many cups of coffee he'd gone through at this point. All he knew is that he probably should be dead with the amount of caffeine within his system. Maybe he'd built a tolerance over these years or something.

He opened his good eye, scanning the hangar which had never once ceased its buzz of activity. Now that the Knights were down on the surface securing the Spaceport, it seemed the pirates were poking and prodding at them. No serious engagements as of yet, but Arlan knew it was working its way there. Yawning again, he then glanced around, not bothering to lift his head up as he looked for Syrin.

"There! Finally done fixing up your goof up, miss Eulina!" he shouted out to be heard over the sound of an impact driver elsewhere in the hangar. "No goof is too much for this engineer." he said with a grin, voice somewhat slurred from his lack of sleep.

Syrin sighed heavily as she stretched out across the wing of her mecha. The finishing touches of the new plating in place, she let the tools in her hands clank loudly against the metal sheeting as she dropped her hands up over her head as she stretched out on her back.

Unknown to her, dark smudges crossed over her nose and cheeks, dropping down her neckline and coating her fingers heavily. When she heard Arlan's voice from the other side of her mecha, she tilted her head back to look to where his voice had come from. With another sigh, one of relief this time, she rolled to her stomach and got up to her feet to cross the huge wing of her mecha and find Arlan stretched out across the back of her mecha near the engine.

"Good to know, Laddermore," she offered in return, "Seeing as the damage wasn't all that bad," she finished as she leaned against the side of the craft as it lifted up slightly above the wing. Syrin let her head drop against the side of her arm as she looked over at the mechanic. The only things left were calibrating her systems to the new engine and making sure everything was tuned right.

She was so tired though, having been working on the damned thing with Arlan for hours on end. Even so, she knew if they stopped now they would both crash out and sleep for days, and the mecha wouldn't be finished entirely for her next sortie, "Alright 'master engineer', last thing, my computer system. Make sure it all works. But I can do that, I suppose, unless you want to watch," she offered. Though she wouldn't let just anyone touch the systems inside the cockpit, watching was a different thing entirely. She didn't mind, just don't touch it. That was her only condition.

"Oh no, not bad at all..." Arlan grumbled out while yawning, stretching out both his legs and arms as he did so before going limp, turning his eye to look up at Syrin. "We just had to replace a whole engine is all and about several hours worth of armor replacement." He then rolled onto his back and sat up, rubbing his eye, smudging his face as he did so. He looked at her as he let his arms just rest on his lap.

"Yeah, let's get the system check out of the way. Because damn am I tired. So tired I'm considering saying flirtatious stuff to you." He said with a grin, standing up and stretching out his torso and back. "Let's get to it, Syrin. Before I start spitting out terrible pick-up lines to you." He then began walking towards the cockpit. He knew how touchy she was about it, so he had no intention of hopping inside, but he wanted to make sure this bird was set and ready to go should it be needed.

"Flirt? With me? Yes, I think your mind is muddled with sleep. As well as too much caffeine... Seriously, I've never seen any man drink so much and still be standing," she said as he walked by to the cockpit. Shaking her head slightly she followed after him and dropped down into the pilots seat with the hatch still wide open for Arlan to watch from outside of it.

Glancing up at him, she continued with the teasing, "You know I'm tempted to hear what you would say in such a 'flirting' fashion. It'd be very entertaining I'm sure," she said as she turned the computer on and started working away at the keys, her fingers just about flying across the light up board that opened up across the screen in front of her.

"Trust me, Syrin, you do not want to hear me flirt." He said with a grin as he sat down next to the cockpit, leaning against the mecha as he watched her. "It'd result in me making one line comments about your looks, then me awkwardly mentioning either your boobs or butt, then me walking off to smack me head repeatedly with the nearest blunt object."

He looked off towards the coffee, as her mention of it made him a bit thirsty for more of it before he looked back towards her. "Why do you think I stick around machines so much? Far less chance of when I say something stupid, that I'll feel awkward, embarrassed, and also not be smacked, either by myself or by the machine." He smiled at her. "Though I think this mecha has whacked me here and there now that I think about it..." He said, looking back towards the engine and rubbing his head where his wrench had whacked him after having come free while he was trying to pry a bolt loose.

Syrin's lips twitched, a bit of a grin curving there for a moment before it disappeared again, "Well of course, it's my mecha," she said as if it were common sense, "Even so, your flirting is rather... Interesting. Do explain, what would be even the slightest appealing in regards to my chest and ass, Arlan?" she asked, glancing up at him briefly before continuing on with her work.

As her fingers flew away across the keyboard, the engine roared to life and the mecha seemed to shift just slightly though it didn't go anywhere. She let it run for a little while before shutting it off and turning to the controls to make sure that all of the movable parts were in order, especially with the new plating's added onto it.

Arlan blinked, confused for a moment before his face flushed some. "Well...um...uh..." He stumbled along, not really sure what to say. "They...well they are...um...nice?" he said the last part with a tone that clearly showed his hesitation and confusion. After that, he was very tempted to bang his head against the mecha, though with how hard he wanted to there was a chance they'd either have to replace the armor plating or Syrin would be left to clean the blood stains off of it once he passed out from a concussion.

He quickly sought to change the subject, "So! How are those controls and systems?! It all looking good?" he said, quickly looking off as he did not want her to see his face at the moment.

"Nice? That's the best you could do?" Syrin asked, feigning anger, "I see why you would wish to bang your head against something."

Syrin's attention went to the mecha's report as she pulled it up after testing the wings and directional controls. Everything seemed to be in working order which pleased her. So she set to calibrating the controls to fit her style. Making tiny adjustments to the controls in the computer and putting the system back the way she liked it since they had to dismantle the engine earlier.

"So far it's looking just fine. Definitely doing better than you are at complimenting me," Syrin offered to him.

"Yay!" Was all Arlan offered, clearly still trying to deflect the situation away from discussing her...figure. Arlan cleared his throat, glancing to her and watching her for a few moments before quickly skittering off of the mecha and to the floor below. "Good to know, Syrin!" he said while walking over to one of the two coffee pots they had stolen and pouring himself a cup.

He then took a quick sip, and as the cold and bitter liquid met his tongue, it served as a good distraction. "Now then, we can get beyond your wonderfully tight and firm buttocks!" he immediately slapped a hand over his mouth, just standing there with the cup of coffee in his hand. He just stared up at her, keeping his hand over his mouth. After a moment of silence, he lowered his hand and quietly took a long sip of the coffee while turning to look away from her, again trying to keep his face hidden from her view.

"Is that what you think of my ass?" Syrin asked him, perfectly serious as she continued finishing up the minute calibrations to her machine, "Hmm... That's better than 'nice' I suppose, but you definitely need work, Arlan."

Syrin finished up the work she was doing on the systems and pushed up from the cockpit. Climbing out of it, she clambered down from the mecha and dropped to the floor with a soft thud of her boots. Moving over to where he was standing she got herself a cup of the cold, black coffee as well and leaned against the table they had commandeered for use of the coffee pot. Her gaze never left Arlan though as she wasn't quite finished with teasing him.

"Want to try that again, master of seduction?"

He did turn to look at her as he heard her drop down from her mecha then come walking over. When he heard her grabbing another cup, he finally turned enough to glance at her out of the corner of his eye before looking back ahead and taking another long swig. Once done he then turned to fully look at her. "I told you I wasn't very good at it!" He suddenly said, very defensive before turning again to look away from her.

"This is exactly why I stick around machines all the time, far less awkward to talk too..." he grumbled while crossing one of his arms across his chest, lifting the other up to finish off the coffee he had poured himself.

"I see," Syrin said simply. Whether she was miffed about the prospect or not it was hard to tell. Shifting around, she pulled the cup of coffee up to her lips and took a small drink of it, "Well, then I guess if you can't flirt then you'd have even more trouble with other things, wouldn't you," she said, glancing over at him briefly to see if her teasing did anything else to him.

His face went quite red when she made that jab, and he choked slightly on the coffee before wiping his mouth clean after barely managing to swallow it. "H-hey! Ok that's just not fair to make that judgement!" he choked out, pointing at her. "S-so I can't flirt very well! Doesn't mean I'm....I'm too terrible at other...things." He paused before saying the word "things" as now he was wondering just what kind of trap he had thrown himself into.

He watched her for a moment before walking up to the table, not looking at her as he set the coffee cup down. He'd rather do that now before he accidentally dropped it and had another mess to clean up.

Syrin sipped at the coffee as he stuttered and went on the defensive. When he finished and put his own coffee cup down, she stood for a while longer without saying a word as she watched him. Finally, Syrin moved and tilted her head off to the side as she thought of what else to say to him.

"Oh. So you're more physical. Can't talk but you can just dive right into it, hu? How interesting, I didn't peg you for the forceful type. That's alright, not that that's bad or anything. I suppose I wouldn't mind if you did. After all, you're quite attractive yourself, Arlan...At least..." she leaned over to get a little closer, rather enjoying her bout of teasing as well as his stuttering. It was quite entertaining to listen too after all, "You're good with your hands, aren't you?"

She almost lost her composure. Laughter just on the tip of her tongue for the first time in a very long time. Even the little grin that she sometime's acquired when enjoying banter between the men she always was around was hard to keep off her lips.

Arlan's one eye was now as wide as it could be, and his face was almost as red as his hair, or at least it felt that way. "Well....um...I guess....possibly..." His mouth froze open, his words having been caught in his throat. He glanced slightly over at her, looking her over before looking away and clearing his throat. "T-thank you-Syrin-good-luck-bye!!!" he shot out those words as he quickly gathered up some of the tools and quickly began walking off to put them away.

And then he wanted to hit himself, because now he just probably dropped a big chance with Syrin. He hung his head in defeat, cursing his awkwardness sometimes. Come on, Arlan! Not like she'd be the first girl you've ever been with! one voice shouted in his head.

The other shouting back Don't care!! Never getting use to it so screw you!

The first one grumbled back, How about we just screw Syrin and get past this awkwardness already...

Not helping!!

Did I tease him too much? Syrin thought to herself as he walked off. Once again, she felt a little miffed at his ditching her right in the middle of their flirting. Or was she just flirting with him and he was running away? That's what it felt like anyway. She watched him go for a little while longer before letting out a sigh and turning away with a shrug of her shoulders.

Had she read too much into it? After all, he'd dropped lines like that inconspicuously about her being pretty and what not for a while. Maybe it wasn't meant for anything. Well, whatever it was, she still enjoyed his company no matter what. Hopefully her testing his limits like that wouldn't ruin their relationship as friends. As long as they stayed friends, she was happy with that. Though she might have been looking forward to what it was like to have... more?

Syrin wasn't really sure. After all she'd been taught to act like a man and not like a woman. Though the teasing and flirting just then felt rather exciting. Maybe she would try it again, just to see. However, right then, she needed to make sure there weren't any new orders for her and the team to head back to Ko'val. After all, there was a pirate invasion to deal with somehow. With that in mind, Syrin headed off toward the catwalk to search for Major Aigidios for her next orders.

Arlan was so lost in his arguments with himself, he just about screamed when he felt hands latch onto his shoulders and pull him to the side. He looked up to see the mask of a power armored Knight having caught him from running into him. Arlan blinked, as that would explain why he had been moved so easily.

"Careful Laddermore," The knight said simply before letting the engineer go and continuing on his way, followed closely behind by several other power armored knights. Arlan snapped to attention though, giving the Sentinel-Major a salute as the man walked past, decked out in his armor with his helmet tucked under his arm. Aigidios had a very serious look on his face, and on his back was the rather large HF sword the Major was well known for using. He stopped when he noticed Arlan, turning to regard the one-eyed man.

"Engineer Laddermore, is Cavalier Eulina's mecha set and ready to go?" He asked, Arlan relaxing from his salute.

"Y-yes sir, Sentinel-Major." Arlan was still slightly rattled by Syrin's flirting with him, though he was able to recover quickly to stop the stuttering of his voice. "We just finished up repairs of it."

The Major's face scrunched into a bit of a scowl, " 'We'?" he asked.

"Yes sir, Cavalier Eulina helped me with the repairs."

The Major sighed some, before turning and looking down the bay before back to Arlan, "Thank you, Laddermore. Is the Cavalier with her mecha still?"

"I just left her there a moment ago, sir." Arlan said.

The Major nodded his head, "Thank you, Laddermore." Aigidios quickly returned the salute Arlan gave him before turning and walking down towards Syrin's mecha, his quickened steps moving him towards it rapidly. Arlan watched the Major go, now a look of concern on his features before he quickly followed after the Sentinel-Major and his retinue of Knights. "Cavalier Eulina!" the Major called out, looking around as he stopped by the freshly repaired machine.

Partway up the steps to get up to the top of the catwalk, Syrin heard her name hollered out from below. Halting in her advance, she turned to see just the man she was looking for. A questioning eyebrow lifted up as she eyed the Major all decked out in his power armor. Was he going down to Ko'val as well? Not that she didn't expect the Major to ever fight, but it was something she was not used to seeing yet.

Quickly coming back down to stand in front of him, Syrin gave him a sharp salute and stood at attention in front of him as she answered his call with a simple, "Major." Judging from the way he was dressed and the contingent of soldiers also covered in power armor, Syrin was fairly sure they were heading down to the planet and most likely in a matter of minutes. Though she was utterly tired from working on her mecha, it really wasn't anything new to her. In fact, she was looking forward to going back down and getting another shot at those bastards.

Aigidios returned the salute before relaxing, looking at the mecha. "I see you and Laddermore fixed it up quite well. Are you in condition to take it out into the field again?" He looked at her, fixing her with a hard stare. "If you are too tried, then you are to remain here as I do not want you endangering anybody when we attack the pirates. I'll let you make that decision. If you feel you are ready, then get the mecha fired up and get down to the spaceport. Rendezvous with the other Knights down there and await for further orders."

With that, he gave her another salute, waiting for her to return it before turning and walking off with his group, not waiting for her answer. Arlan came walking over, watching the Knights go before moving over to Syrin. "Damn, the Major looks quite worked up." He said while watching the Knights walk off, Aigidios stopping to talk with a few more Knights before moving onwards.

Syrin gave him the salute he was waiting for and just as she was about to answer his demands, Major Aigidios was already marching off without giving her a chance to let him know if she was going or not. She only relaxed once he had his back to her, dropping out of being at attention. Syrin's lips pulled into a frown as she watched him talk to the others that still lingered in the hangar bay.

Looking over to Arlan she shrugged slightly, "Must be something in regards to the planet. In any case, I'll be off then," she said and headed toward the mecha, her gear still on anyway from the last mission aside from her helmet which was in the cockpit of her machine. Climbing up to the top of the metal catwalk, she went out onto the top of the mecha. Before dropping down into the cockpit, she glanced over to Arlan down below.

"I'll try not to scratch it this time," she offered, a very slight, teasing grin on her lips, "Or maybe I'll damage it just enough so that I can feed you more caffeine."

Arlan watched her go, following her and stopping below the cockpit and watching her go. He nodded his head. "Guess it must be; gotta say though I almost envy you, possibly getting to see the Major in combat." he said before looking back down the bay.

He looked back up at her as Syrin climbed into the cockpit, and he grinned some at her comment. He thought of a retort, though he faltered and could only think of something sappy instead. "Just don't come back banged up yourself, ok? The mecha I can fix!" He said while stepping back. "You not so much!"

Once he had stepped back, looking around to make sure he wasn't in the way of anyone else, he then looked back to her and gave her a thumbs up. "Good luck down there!"

Syrin gave a slight huff as she watched him during his response, "I'll be back, in one piece, I promise," she replied and dropped down into the cockpit, "As if I'd let something ridiculous like that happen," she muttered to herself. It was nearly unthinkable in her mind to be wounded while operating a machine.

"Engine start," she commanded and the mecha roared to life. Directing the machine to the launch strip, she tugged the helmet on over her head, the glass falling down to cover her face entirely and the rest of her suit uncurling around her neck to secure itself to the thick black helmet.

Once she was on the strip, the voice of one of the lieutenants on the bridge filled her mecha as she gave Syrin the okay to launch. The engine flared, pale blue light exploding from the back of it as she put the throttle nearly to full and rocketed out of the loading bay and into the darkness of space. It took her only a few minutes to come full circle around the Gjallahorn and head down to Ko'val. From there, it would be about ten minutes for her to arrive at the spaceport where she would wait for the rest of her orders.

As she flew down to the spaceport, she wondered to herself about Arlan, "Maybe it wasn't hinting enough? Too much... Maybe?" Syrin sighed a bit, "I don't know. Well, whatever. Figure it out later I suppose," she said as she dropped through the atmosphere and headed straight for the spaceport. At that moment, figuring out how to 'act like a woman' so that Arlan's little comments about her being pretty could be cleared up as either attraction to her or just him being himself would have to wait until after the mission.

~~~

Alten shifted some, asleep still against the wall of the small room he and Arina had settled into for the night. As the sun had rose, the area now beginning to warm up quite quickly, he had slowly shed the blanket from himself in his sleep. As the sun shined through a hole in the curtains of the room and right into his eyes, he groaned a bit, shifting his head and burying his face into Arina's hair to shield his eyes.

As he shifted, he wrapped his arms around her more and pulled her against him tighter, trying to keep his face hidden from the sunlight shining in his face. He shifted some at the sound of running feet not far outside, alongside the shouting of several voices.

Having been awake for some time, Arina had laid against Alten for what seemed like hours on end. The warmth of the sun as it filtered into the room took off the edge of the chill from the night before, yet for some reason, she still felt like ice had crept over her entire body. She hated the feeling as it made her shiver and even curling the blanket around her wasn't enough to get warm. Even with Atlen's added heat.

Alten moved, taking her attention as he ducked his head down into her hair and pulled her tighter into his arms. Wincing at the movement and sharp shooting pain down her rib cage, she angled her arms up between them so that she wasn't entirely crushed against him. Was he still asleep? She couldn't really tell. Arina was about to say something to him when the loud sounds of running caught her attention. Following that was shouting and her heart skipped a beat before it began wildly pumping in her chest.

With fear clouding her mind and body, Arina strained to see just who it was outside that was making so much noise. The blanket slipped off of her shoulders and she nearly lost Alten's jacket as she wiggled her way out of his grip despite how much her body ached and didn't want to move. Once she was free of him, she crawled across the floor on hands and knees that trembled as her breathing increased rapidly into shaking pants of fear.

Was it pirates? Was it Grimfist? She froze in her advance to the doorway that led into the room they were staying in. Using the door frame to help her to her bruised feet, she stood and leaned out to try to see who it was and hoped to God that they weren't in the hallway and wouldn't spot her.

In only a few swift motions, a hand slapped over Arina's mouth, the body of the hand moving behind her and wrapping its other arm around her to drag her back into the room. It was followed by a figure dressed in the light plated armor, a large rifle slung on it's back and large pistol in its hand with a knife in the other. The one holding Arina dragged her back into the room and ducked around the corner of the door frame, keeping its clawed hand over her mouth to silence her.

The other quickly slipped into the room and shut the door as quietly and quickly as it could, before it backed up away to the side of the door. It had its pistol raised at the doorway and its knife poised to strike. Neither of them made any noise, and remained very still at the sound of running footsteps going by the doorway.

"Where the fuck did they go?!" A man shouted from outside the doorway and in the hallway. The source of the voice was only separated from the four occupants of the room by the thin wall of the room.

"Slippery little shits! The captain is going to be pissed..." a female said, then something crashed at the end of the hallway and a heavy silence filled the area. Both figures in the room froze, Alten shifting in his sleep some and grumbling. At his sound, the one not holding Arina turned and pointed its gun at Alten before it looked back to the doorway.

"Come on, let's move!" The female shouted before the people could be heard running back down the hallway and away from the room. Neither of them moved, one watching the door while the one holding Arina watched the window. After a few tense moments of silence from the individuals, the one holding Arina simply made a soft hushing sound to her, slowly removing its hand and arm from around her and drawing its own pistol from its waist.

The moment the hand clamped over her mouth, Arina's screaming started. The only problem was that it was muffled and hardly got out of her throat as she was pulled back into the room. Her fingers reached up to try to tear at the hand that was over her mouth as her gaze grew wide at what entered the room with the one who had grabbed her. Her legs flailed outwards, kicking as she was pulled back, though it seemed the one who held her wasn't even phased by her thrashing.

As the other closed the door and held its gun to the doorway, the sounds of footsteps clattered through the air and Arina's screaming stopped as she froze in the grip of whomever had her. With shaking, soft little cries of terror, she watched the doorway in horror, waiting for something terrible to happen, for something to come bursting through and killing them all. Or worse.

Then, the sounds of the pirates filled the air, their voices enraged as they trashed the place looking for something. Then it hit Arina... They were looking for Alten and her. A crying moan escaped her lips as tears streamed. If it weren't for the person holding her, she would have collapsed to the floor. Her legs were shaking so badly she could hardly stand.

However, as Alten shifted in his sleep and made a sound, the one at the door suddenly turned and pointed his weapon at the man and Arina lurched forward. Shaking her head frantically, she tried to convey something, anything to the one holding Alten at gun point, though she highly doubted they cared as it seemed she was being ignored.

Painfully long minutes passed by before the pirates left and even then it wasn't until a long while after that the two in the room even moved. The one that held Arina cooed at her softly and released her. The Admiral dropped to the floor in a shaking heap. Everything hurt, it hurt to stand, it hurt to breathe, it just hurt. Not to mention she was utterly freezing still. Trembling violently, she slowly lifted up her head and looked at the two who had entered the room, her gaze dropping to the rather large looking weapons in their clawed hands.

When she opened her mouth, incoherent words tumbled out, hardly even words at all really, more like jumbled sounds as she tried to speak. It took her a few times, but she finally managed a soft, "Who...?" and then her gaze shot to Alten. Glancing back up at the two in the room, she took a deep breath and threw herself up onto her hands and knees and started as quickly as she could over to him, her heart pounding hard in her throat as she scurried across the floor to get to him.

The two figures watched Arina collapse to the ground before she moved over back to Alten. They watched her, their entire faces hidden behind their masks. The one holding the knife and pistol turned to look at the other, who happened to be missing its own knife. "Tredr dak Asu damol, Erba?" it said, it's tone conveying that it was asking the other a question.

The one without the knife watched Alten and Arina, the former marine beginning to stir due to the slight commotion. It then spoke, "Yajad dakol rugundra ra korsa." both of their voices were deep, many of the sounds they made coming from the very back of their throats as they spoke. The one without the knife then pointed to Alten who was beginning to wake up. "Best silence him, before dakul alerts gordarns."

Alten yawned, stretching his arms and then groaning in annoyance when his hand patted around for Arina. Opening his eyes, he then blinked and glanced around in a haze. "Admiral...?" he asked before looking at her, then slowly his eyes settled on the other two within the room. blinking, his eyes widened as he quickly grabbed hold of the knife and moved between them and Arina. As he did so, the one that had both of its weapons had its pistol raised, causing Alten to freeze in place.

"Dur'yi Wu." it said, Alten just staring confused at it.

"W-what..? Wait, you...you gave me this knife." Alten responded, looking towards the one missing its knife.

The sounds of their guttural voices made Arina shiver. It was obvious to her then that they were of a different race. What race though, she wasn't entirely sure. Her mind wasn't working properly anyway to deduce who they were. All she knew was that they were much bigger than her and with weapons. Then they spoke in a language she could understand and her gaze lifted to look over her shoulder at the one who spoke, holding its weapon out at Alten who was starting to wake up.

Her heart slammed in her chest as Alten searched for her blearily for a moment and then once he found her, he crossed the room rather quickly to put himself in front of her. Arina took a sharp breath as he drew up his weapon and faced the two intruders, except he froze as the rather large and intimidating gun was pointed at him. Arina's heart nearly stopped at the sight.

She listened, only understanding Alten after all and her body shuddered slightly. Alten had seen them before? When? She stared at his back for a long while before inching closer to him and curling up against his back, "Y-you saw... Them? Before?" she asked softly, though she was more shocked by the fact they'd just saved her and Alten from the hands of the pirates. It was probably worth mentioning as well since Alten was still holding the weapon and the other was pointing the gun at him.

"A-Alten... They... Saved us... I think. The pirates. They were looking for us. They came very close... But... These two... Helped us, hid us in the room," she said, squeezing the words out from her tight throat. Not to mention a horrid headache pounding away at the back of her skull. Her shivers had turned to being too hot and she was half tempted to take the coat off her back as she knelt there.

"Demz not save dam. Gordarns chasing...us." The one without the knife said, though it was clear that he was having some difficulty speaking Arina's and Alten's tongue. Alten could tell that the two soldiers in front of him and Arina understood the two of them, and even understood how to speak their language. What they spoke or who they were Alten didn't know, nor at the moment was he really concerned with figuring it out. "Convenience brought demug together," the figure continued, waving his hand around to indicate all of them when he said "demug." He lowered its hand, Alten casting a glance to his companion who still had its gun pointed at Alten.

The one with only a pistol pointed to Arina with his empty hand, Alten reflexively pushing her behind himself more when it did. "Daku open door when demz run by, so...we," he struggled for the word "we" for a moment before continuing, "we decide to hide in room." He then looked at Arina. He put his free hand on chest, patting himself as he spoke again, "Deml apologize for scare."

Alten glanced back at Arina before looking at them, nodding his head somewhat. "Well...alright then. Do you want the knife back?" he asked, though he was very hesitant to give it back as it was the only weapon the pair had at the moment.

To Alten's relief, he shook his head at Alten's question and held out a hand to refuse the item back, to at least signal to Alten he did not want it back. "Deml tell dam...you...to survive, damt doing so and continue to use asu to do so."

Alten looked at the knife, what he figured the individual meant by "asu" then back to them. "Thank you, then." he said, though he was a bit hesitant to do so as he was not yet sure how friendly these two were.

The one with both its weapons looked to the other, growling slightly before speaking again, "Wun rata?", Alten could tell by its tone that it was becoming impatient.

The other looked at it, snorting for a moment and nodding his head. The one with both weapons didn't wait and quickly moved to the door, sitting there for a moment listening before looking back at the other who was still looking towards Arina and Alten. The one with just a knife watched them for a moment before it spoke again, "Eelaun...They...call...me, Vasile Surral. Survive." Vasile said before looking to the other and nodding his head. The one by the door quickly opened it up, both of them moving into the hallway with their pistols at the ready and turning to look down both ends. "Yik." Vasile said, the other one responding in kind before the two of them quickly turned and made their way in the direction the pirates had run.

Huddling behind Alten, Arina listened to the two of them speak to one another, Alten's clear words ringing out which made trying to listen to the other harder as his speech was much more rough and hardly clear at all. Arina couldn't quite follow, not with the headache pounding away, but she was able to figure out that the two strangers had been chased by the pirates. The one that had grabbed her even apologized for it... If it was an apology, she wasn't quite sure.

When they left, she let out a sigh of relief and fell forward against Atlen's back, her head nestled between his shoulder blades. Closing her eyes, she felt as if she could sleep for an eternity. Even so, she knew doing so wasn't the best course of action. Arina tried to focus on the situation. The two strangers the one was called Vasile, wasn't it?... Had left out the door, which meant that the pirates weren't anywhere nearby. At least she was hoping that was the case.

If so, her and Alten should take the same course of action. After all, remaining in the building could result in them being found. Hell, she'd nearly gotten Alten and herself in a dangerous situation. Had it been pirates instead of... those two, there was no telling what could have happened. No. Scratch that. She knew exactly what would have happened. Shaking her head, she tried to clear her mind of those horrid thoughts.

"Alten..." she called to him with a cracked voice, "We should leave. Can't stay here. We have to get back," Arina was struggling to get her mind in working order. Needless to say it wasn't really working, aside from keeping the other thoughts at bay for the moment. She supposed that was a plus, but she still couldn't formulate any coherent plans. The only thing she could think of was getting a hold of Major Aigidios. Even that wasn't really something she wanted to do.

Facing that man as she was right then... Arina wasn't sure she could do it. Another deep breath invaded her lungs as she shifted and pushed off of Alten's back. One step at a time... One thing at a time. One problem at a time, she thought to herself and looked over to the doorway. For a moment fear kept her in place, then the thought of having to stand and move added to it. Grinding her teeth, she took the coat in her hands and pulled it tighter around her.

"I'm so sorry, Alten. Please, forgive me..."

Alten watched them leave and then head on down the hallway, then he heard Arina sigh and fall against his back. He looked back to her, reaching a hand back and gripping her forearm then spinning around to face her while still holding it. He watched her, nodding his head to her words. "We do, we do, Arina." he said. It felt odd for him to actually use her name, something he had found himself doing through this whole mess. Course given the circumstances, formality wasn't a necessity and was more a waste.

When she apologized to him, Alten simply moved his head so that they could make eye contact. "Save the apologies for when we make it back, ok Arina? Don't think about anything other than making it back to the Stellae Caelator, focus only on that and we can make it." he smiled softly to her, putting his other hand on her shoulder before he slowly rose to his feet while removing his hand from her shoulder.

His other hand slipped down her forearm to lightly grip her hand, his free hand drawing the knife from his belt. He then glanced around before eyeing the blanket, then looking at Arina. "Arina, I want you to keep the blanket on yourself ok? It'll sound odd, but it'll help keep you cooler when we have to move out in the sunlight. As exposed as your skin is...not to mention its color might help hide us if we need to. Ok? When you are ready, we can move."

"Alten..." Arina's voice was shaking as she watched him. How could he not be angry with her? He was so... Different. Definitely stronger than she was and his courage and comforting tones were helping to get her mind out of darkness. Slowly she nodded in agreement for saving her apologies for later. After all, she was going to owe the Major and Commodore a formal apology as well.

Her fingers ended up in his hand as he stood and continued talking to her, "Yes... I think I'm okay to go," she answered and reached behind her to grab the blanket they'd used to survive through the night. Throwing it over her shoulder with one hand, she tightened her grip in Alten's palm as she started pulling herself up to stand. Though it hurt to get up, once she was standing it was much easier than she'd anticipated.

With a short nod toward him, she turned to face the doorway, "Ready," she offered. She had no idea where they were located at in the city as her attention the day before had been on staying up on her feet. Arina was going to rely on Atlen once more to get them out of the city and back to the Stellae Caelator.

When she said she was set to go, Alten turned and slowly walked to the door, pushing it open and peeking out into the hallway and looking down both ends. Both were empty, and things were quiet at the moment, which Alten was happy to know. "Let's go." he said quietly before he began moving down the hallway in the same direction Vasile and his compatriot had gone.

Alten felt his heart beating rapidly as they moved, it felt like his entire head throbbing as he moved. He was tense and ready for anything as they walked down the decrepit and sandy hallways, looking to the walls which were scuffed and marked from animals and sand blowing through it. Right now, he was just hoping they would not run into anything to terrible as they moved through.

Several minutes of quiet walking brought them to an exit to the building they were occupying, the door lying mostly buried by the sand outside, having fallen from its place after all these years. Alten carefully peeked outside, squinting his eyes to try and shield his eyes as the sand blew on by from the wind having kicked up. He had no idea where they were at this point, as he didn't no Ko'val's streets in the slightest, and so the street they were on looked like just any other. It wasn't helped by the fact that many of the buildings looked identical, being simply structures meant to be easily assembled and moved about by newly arriving colonists. Individualism was a thing reserved for once things were established, so the buildings were not designed to stand-out from each other.

"Ok...we need to get to high ground, try and figure out just where we are. Ok, Arina?" he asked without looking back to her.

Arina followed after him as best she could. Thankfully her feet had gone numb and it didn't hurt to walk as it did the day before. She surprised herself by keeping pace with Alten that time around. Maybe it was because of what he'd told her the day before. About the fact that no matter how hard it go, he kept going. Maybe she could to.

As they stopped by a broken doorway, the sunlight filtering inside blinded her. Wind whistled by as it kicked up bouts of dust and sand, throwing it everywhere as Alten peered outside to see if there was anything out there, and probably to try to figure out where they were. Arina looked as well, though she really didn't know what she was going to be looking for.

Alten's suggestion of getting to higher ground had her nodding her head. Getting up onto a building would be the easiest way to figure out where they were and where they needed to go. Not to mention if the Major and his team of Knights were anywhere around, Alten and Arina could spot them. If the mecha's were out as well, that would make it even easier. Looking around, Arina's gaze was drawn to one of the buildings that looked a little more intact than most, but just barely.

"That one," she offered, pointing to it over his shoulder, "Maybe there will be a staircase," she said, trying to sound somewhat hopeful.

Alten glanced to her hand, then to where it was pointing, nodding his head. "Looks good to me, let's move." he said, though as he uttered the statement, the screech of a jet flying over his head cause him to recoil and duck down. He coughed as sand was kicked up, and a moment later he heard the sound of explosions followed closely by fierce exchange of gunfire. He looked in the direction of the noise, eyes widening as he watched two mechas that clearly had neither Naval, Marine, nor Knight markings on them come marching onto the street. Alten and Arina were spared only by the grace that the mechas were moving towards the sounds of combat, which had them facing away from the two.

"Let's move quickly!" Alten said and began jogging towards the building Arina had pointed out. He made sure that Arina was still with him and was able to keep up. If things were about to get hairy, then he needed to make sure not to lose her.

He quickly moved up next to the building, pressing himself against it as if hiding, which in a way he was. He then looked down the wall they were on, looking to see if there was a doorway for them to use. He flinched some when another explosion went off elsewhere, though thankfully it was still a ways from them.

Arina dropped and covered her ears at the sound of the jet as it shot past. The loud sound of the engine making her chest vibrate and her ears ring terribly. Once it passed, she chanced a glance up and watched as Alten's gaze was locked on something down the street from them. Standing, Arina peered out as well and took a sharp breath as she eyed the two mechas that were heading after where the jet had gone.

Her breathing was short and rapid as she watched. It wasn't until Alten's urging of them going quickly that she turned away from the two mechas. Following after him as quickly as she could, they reached the building she'd pointed to and she pressed herself against the wall next to him, panting and shaking slightly.

It was most likely the attack the Major had said he would initiate. If so, then they had a chance of being spotted by the Knights and getting off of Ko'val in once piece. At least that was her hope and it was that hope that made her edgy and wanting to rush up the stairs of the building to the rooftop.

If there were any stairs at all.

"Hurry, Alten," she said, her fingers curling into his hand tightly, "The Major..."

"Yeah..." Alten said before he began circling around the building, smiling when he spotted a doorway for them to enter through. He moved up to the doorway, knife in hand and flicking the switch on before he slowly peeked inside the room. His eyes narrowed some in confusion when looking in he saw the corpses of two pirates, both of them having been badly mauled. He slowly poked his head in more, trying to make sure Arina and himself would not be ambushed bu the same thing that had attacked these two.

He didn't see anything other than the fresh pools of blood from the corpses that told him they had only been killed at most a few minutes ago. Looking back at Arina, he said to her "Wait here a moment." Before he turned to look back inside. He hesitated for a moment before slowly letting go of her hand and sliding his way into the room as quietly as he could, knife ready to strike at anything that jumped out at him. As he moved in, he could see the room was even more empty than the one he and the Admiral had slept in last night, clearly having been picked clean by the pirates long before.

Slipping inside, he looked over the bodies of the two pirates, and his heart jumped with excitement when he noticed an assault rifles that had fallen from the hands of both pirates. Looking around once more, he slowly crept over to one of the rifles and picked up and began checking it over. It was a model he wasn't use to, but at least the mechanics were similar enough to ones he'd used before. He gave it a quick look over, seeing that the rifle was still well intact, ejecting the magazine enough to see if it was still loaded, and then he slapped the magazine back into place and quickly slid the bolt back and let it snap back forwards. A bullet was ejected as he pulled the bolt back, clattering to the ground before he slid over to check the other discarded rifle.

As he did so, he glanced back up and around, just to remain aware of his surroundings before he went back to taking what ammunition he could find on the dead pirates. Three extra magazines for him to make use of, all three fully loaded. In his search of the area, he smiled as well when he noticed a staircase leading up to the second floor of the building. "Arina." He called softly, moving over to poke his head out of the doorway, looking at her. "I found some stairs for us."

As Alten peered into the building, Arina kept looking around them to make sure nothing came out of the alleys at them. The sounds of explosions and heavy gunfire were filling the air and her heart pounded hard at each loud boom. She hardly heard Alten's words as he told her to wait there. His hand slipped from hers and she looked back at him startled before edging towards the doorway and peeking inside.

Her hand immediately came up and covered her mouth at the sight of the two dead pirates. Turning around, she flattened her back against the wall next to the door so as not to see that awful sight any longer. Her stomach churned and she thought she was going to be sick. It took all she had to settle her body and not throw up into the sands.

As Alten worked inside, she kept her hand over her mouth and her eyes on the sands beneath her feet. Every so often she would glance around to see if anyone was nearby or had spotted them. So far it seemed the fighting was far off in the distance. Silently Arina hoped that it would stay that way.

Alten's voice startled her and she jumped slightly as he peeked out at her. Nodding her head in agreement, she moved to follow after him up the stairwell and did her best to keep from looking at the mangled bodies of the two pirates. She also took note that Alten had armed himself with a rifle as well. Arina hoped they wouldn't have to use it, but she was mostly glad that he hadn't handed anything of the sort to her for use. She was more than certain she wouldn't be able to do it.

"Do you... Have a plan on how you'll get the Major's attention?" she asked softly, distracting herself from both the weapon and her memory of the dead pirate that she'd slain the day before.

As he moved up the stairs, keeping the rifle up and ready for any possible attackers, he listened to Arina ask him a question he'd been wondering. How the hell would they get the Major's or anybody's attention? They didn't have any flares, no signal mirrors, they could possibly use the blanket as a flag of sorts. "Well," he began, "if we can find something to tie the blanket to we might be able to use it as a flag. I know i mentioned it blending in to the surroundings and all, but if we wave it around enough, somebody is bound to notice it."

As he made it to the stop of the stairs, he stopped for a moment to scan the area, noting that it led to a long hallway with three different doorway. There was one at the end that Alten could tell led back outside, the other two led to separate rooms. "Though we may wish to hold off on drawing any attention until we know the Knights are close by...less we get pirates."

He slowly began to inch down the hallway, keeping the weapon sights trained down it as he moved. As he made it to one of the doors, he slowly crept towards it, standing at the far wall away from it as he did so. As he reached it, he rounded the door frame to look inside with his gun ready. As he moved in, he was met with the sight of another dead pirate, currently being chewed upon by the drake Alten figured was responsible for the ones on the floor below. It turned to look at him as he moved in, hissing and quickly moving to strike the new intruder of its territory.

Alten immediately back-petaled out the door, holding down the trigger of the rifle as he did so. The gun began to discharge its payload rapidly into the approaching beast, which screeched as the rifle rounds tore through its hide. Alten quickly moved to the side to get out of its way, moving so his back ended up facing the exit Arina and him were aiming for as he fired another quick burst into it. A moment later, it let out another screech before it collapsed to the ground, dead.

As it fell, Alten sighed in relief, lowering the rifle and looking over its body to look towards Arina. "Arina! Are you al-" his sentence was interrupted when he was suddenly tackled from behind, slamming hard into the metal floor as he lost his grip on the rifle. He shouted in pain, his glasses also flying off his face as he struggled to turn onto his back to deal with the second drake that had snuck up on him. He blindly reached up, grabbing hold of something that he quickly recognized as its snout. It shifted, and then Alten screamed in pain as he felt the drake sink its teeth into the hand on its head, gripping and trying to tear the limb from its prey beneath it.

Alten frantically tried to grab hold of the knife he had placed on his belt when he had picked up the rifle, trying to grab the weapon to fight off the creature. Though in his panicked state he was having a hard time getting a grip on it as the creature continued to thrash with his hand in its mouth, drawing more shouts of pain from the surveyor.

Arina followed after him, her fingers clutching the blanket tightly so that they wouldn't lose it as he planned to use it to attract the attention of the Knights and the Major if they could. She supposed if that failed, using his jacket would work out and she could wrap up in the blanket instead. Whatever they used, she just hoped it would get them noticed by the right people.

As he went down the hallway, Arina right behind him, she kept glancing around. So far there was nothing there, at least until he tried to enter the room at the end of the hall. Arina let out a cry of fear as the sound of gunfire filled the room. Her knees gave out and she dropped, covering her head as she curled against the wall. The drake that Alten had been shooting at came barreling out of the room, snarling and screeching loudly. The sounds of the creatures screams mixed with Arina's.

When it was over, she heard Alten call out for her and looked up just in time to see a second drake take him to the floor. Her eyes grew wide as she watched the creature tumble on top of Alten. The gun slid across the floor as did his glasses. With her heart in her throat, Arina stared for a long while as Alten struggled. When his scream of pain hit the air, her heart nearly tore apart.

The sight of blood made it even worse, especially since it was Alten who was bleeding. Scrambling across the floor on her hands and knees, her fingers curled around the weapon that he'd lost. Shaking horribly she wasn't even sure she dared fire the thing in Alten's direction for fear of hurting him rather than the drake. Even so, if she stayed still and did nothing, he would be torn apart.

Turning the weapon around so she was holding it the right way, her finger trembled against the trigger. The sounds of Alten's cries of pain were what made her pull the trigger. The weapon recoiled in her hand and startled her, sending bullets up and into the wall and ceiling. Letting go of the trigger, she reset herself and fired again, this time fully prepared for the weapons discharge.

She kept the trigger down as she aimed it at the drake as best she could. The weapon continued firing until there was nothing but the sound of rapid clicking, even then her finger never left the trigger as she stared at the drake in the hopes that she'd killed the thing.

Alten wasn't even sure what happened when he heard the spray of gunfire, he didn't even notice the drake being torn up by the bullets from the rifle as he was far to preoccupied with the searing pain in his hand. The drake let go of his hand as it screeched, turning and fleeing from the room and leaving behind it a trail of its own blood. Alten managed to get a hold of his knife, but he let it go immediately as he sat up and cradled his hand against his own body.

"F-fuck..." he chocked out, his breathing wavering and shaking as he sat there, blood beginning to cover his shirt. He tried to look at his hand, but due to the lack of glasses, he couldn't see the mangled mess that had been his hand. Regardless, he could feel the immense pain that was pulsing from the limb. "A-Arina...Arina..." he forced himself to say, falling against the wall as he pulled the hand back against himself, his injured arm shaking rapidly as sat there.

Her finger fell off the trigger as he called for her. The weapon fell out of her hands and she moved to gather up his glasses and then crawl over to him. Trying her best not to look at his hand that was nothing but a bloody mess, she placed his glasses over his eyes again, knowing that he couldn't do it himself, at least not with his hand the way it was.

"Alten..." she breathed his name in slight relief though fear still plagued her. Glancing down at his hand, she took in a sharp breath, "W-what should I do?"

He felt his glasses be slipped back over his eyes, opening them now to look down at his hand that was still held against his body. His eyes when wide as he looked at it, and he was at a loss for words. It was Arina asking him what to do that stopped him from going into shock. Taking in a sharp breath, he let it out in staggered gasps before glancing around. His eyes settled on the jacket that still hung on her frame, and he nodded his head to it.

"T-the...jacket!" he forced out, "Wrap around m-my..hand. Quickly." He closed his eyes, groaning as another volley of pain shot through his arm, causing him to curl over the wound for a moment before his head fell back again. "Tie it....tightly. Gotta stop...the bleeding." He said while looking back down towards his hand.

"A-alright! Alright, I can do that," she said, mostly to reassure herself than anything. Dropping the blanket she took the jacket off and set to work using the entire thing as a bandage. Arina made sure to leave the sleeves out so that she could use them to tie it all down once she'd sufficiently wrapped up his hand.

All the while she tried to ignore how messy it looked, as well as the amount of blood that poured from his wound. Even her own fingers became slick with the warm substance. Her heart picked up as he groaned in pain. She worked as quickly as possible, yet tried to cover the entire hand tightly with the jacket.

Once she'd done the best that she could with it, she took the sleeves and did the final wrappings before tying it down as tightly as she dared on his hand, grinding her teeth as she did so. When she was finished, her fingers were red and shaking. Falling back on her knees, she took several deep breathes as she took a quick look around the hallway before setting her gaze back on Alten.

"W-will that be alright? Can you keep going?" she asked, fearful of the answer. If she had to go alone... Arina shook her head. She would do it. She would have to do it. If not for herself then definitely for Alten's sake at the very least.

As she tightened it around his hand, Alten let out a sharp cry of pain, though he didn't stop her otherwise. It had to be tight, to try and stem the bleeding as much as possible. Once she finished, asking him if he could continue, he nodded his head. "Y-yeah...I can." He said while using his free hand to brace himself against the wall as he slowly rose to his feet. Leaning against it to take a moment to catch his breath, he then looked towards the exit.

"Grab the rifle and knife...we may need them still, Arina." he managed to say between pained breaths. He then began walking down the hallway, keeping the injured left hand cradled against his body as he moved along. He had to keep moving, he couldn't stop just because of an injury. He wasn't dead, so he had no reason to stop yet.

As he made it to the doorway to outside, he leaned against the frame to catch his breath again, or rather to refocus his attention to try and shut out the pain. He listened to the fighting in the distance, glancing in the direction wondering who was winning. It was hard to tell for him at the moment if it was moving in their direction or not, he just hoped that somebody would notice them quickly.

Arina did as she was asked, grabbing both the knife and rifle, though she was fairly sure the rifle was empty and she didn't know how to replace a clip. Or rather, she did, but she couldn't recall how to do it exactly at that moment. So she just settled for taking the weapon and deciding to use it as a club should another drake pop up.

She didn't even want to think about what would happen if a pirate or even Grimfist found them. With how they both were, she doubted they'd survive in a fight against them. They finally ended up outside of the building, up on the room and she walked out to look around. The resounding booms of explosions in the distance, coupled with pillars of smoke rising up into the air showed her where the fighting was at.

Clutching the blanket in her hands, she hoped to God that whomever flew by next or had a mecha in the vicinity would be either the Knights or the Navy. In addition to that, she hoped as well that they would see her and Alten. Arina was at her limits as she stood there, staring out into the destroyed city. She wanted off the planet, and back at the vessel where she could heal as well as get Alten patched up from the drake biting him.

Looking around the top of the building, she spotted a couple of metal bars lying off to the side and went to pick one up, wincing as she walked across the hot concrete with her bare feet. Wrapping the blanket around one of the bars, she tied the corners to it in a makeshift flag and went back to stand next to Alten where the shade of the doorway helped keep the scorching heat off her feet. Standing the flag up, she held it there and did what she could to move it from side to side.

Please... Someone see us... she begged.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Arlan Laddermore Character Portrait: Arina Xsan Character Portrait: Alten Ashley

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#, as written by Siryn
((Blegh... Hungry monster exploded with the amount of freaking repeated posts I just did!!! >.< So sorry. Damn RPG))

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Arina Xsan Character Portrait: Alten Ashley

0.00 INK

Aigidios had his helmet on now, and he was standing at the opened side entrance to the transport vessel, gripping one of the handle attached to the ceiling to stop himself from falling out. In his other hand, he fidgeted with his large claymore sized sword, itching to cleave a pirate or several into two pieces. On his left arm, mounted to the forearm, was a belt-fed rifle. The belt traveled along the arm and up over the shoulder to the ammo pack; it was a piece of equipment that was given only to the heavy-infantry of the Knights, the ones who'd be in the thick of the fight swinging about large and powerful high-frequency blades.

He looked out along the side of the vessel to look out at the rapidly approaching city. Enemy fire was already coming there way, and he caught glimpses of tracers and missiles coming up into the air from the pirates. They were well entrenched and set, so the goal was to have his group draw the attention of most of the fire to allow the mechas to slip in and eliminate strong points. Once those were taken out, then the Knights would be able to truly press the attack.

He heard the pilot speak over the radio in his helmet, "Thirty seconds." Aigidios flexed his neck, readying himself as the vessel began its quick desent towards the ground. Several other vessels were beginning to land, and Aigidios also watched as several Sentinel jets flew by, launching their explosive payloads at pirate strongpoints.

"Sentinel Zero here, form up into cover and return fire on the pirate positions. Do not move forwards until Paladin has opened up a path for us." He didn't even wait for his vessel to touch the ground, as he hopped out of it as it hovered a few feet off the ground, letting his armor absorb the shock of his dismount. The display of his helmet was already lighting up with target markers and warnings to indicate just how many guns were pointed his way and were firing on him. Sand was kicked up around him as bullets struck nearby, and he felt the impact of a few bullets against the rigid plates of his power armor as he quickly moved into cover.

He knelt down behind a rock, watching as the rest of his knights quickly moved into their own cover and the transport vessel quickly began to fly off. Aigidios flinched slightly when he watched a missle strike the vessel before it could get off the ground. He grimaced, looking towards the smoking wreckage, though he was happy to see the pilots of it quickly scamper out of it, though one was unfortunate in that he lacked the same armor as the Sentinel-Major, so when the sights of the pirates trained on him he was torn down by the volley of bullets. The other pilot was quick to dive for cover, opting not to expose himself to the gunfire of the pirates.

"Paladin, get to work." Aigidios calmly commanded, standing up over the cover and pointing his left arm towards the pirate position, and by curling his fingers at the second knuckle he triggered the arm mounted weapon which fired off in a quick burst. Whether he hit or not didn't matter to him at the moment, he only sought to draw the fire of the majority of the pirates.

"Understood," Syrin's reply came over the communication and immediately after her mecha shot out into the city from where shed been on standby in the open desert, "Spread out. Go in pairs. Light it up," she ordered to her own group. Her cockpit was filled with the cocophany of voices responding to her in agreement. Outside, she watched as the large group of mechas or jets split up into pairs and took off into different sections of the city.

For herself, she dove down inbetween the buildings and anything that moved with a weapon aimed at either herself, one of her Paladins or the rest of the knights, was a target. Missiles unloaded from her mecha, exploding upon impact and leaving a trail of fire behind her as she streaked deeper into the city. All the while she kept an eye out for a certain pirate Captain that shed heard about. Grimfist was his name and she was well aware that taking out the leader of a group usually resulted in an easy defeat of the rest.

Though she wasnt going to all out hunt for the man, she did watch for him. After all, taking the opportunity given was something she would definitely do. In the meantime, Syrin concentrated mostly on destroying the opponents on the ground who were firing at her with guns, missile launchers and other deadly weapons. Her mecha twisted, barrel rolled and dove behind, through and over buildings as she rained hell from above down onto the pirates.

Coming out of a particularly precarious situation with a heat seeking missile following after her, she cut it rather close to the top of a building to lose the missile, resulting in an explosion of dust and rubble being thrown everywhere. She could hear the dents already being tapped out along the hull of her mecha as she shot over the top of the building. With a bit of a grimace she started her dive back down and immediately banked left with a surprised gasp of sorts.

She'd almost dropped down in between two mechas that were heading toward the front of the battle. At first glance they didnt seem all that harmful, however as she came around the building shed used as cover, she noted the irritating rail rifle attached to one and the other carring a rather large looking rifle also. It wasn't a rail rifle thankfully, but it looked to have quite the kick to it regardless.

Frowning, she pulled up to get up over the pair of mechas and decided that taking out the rail rifle was probably the better idea to start with. As she prepared to get into position, she opened her coms for the Major, "Major, two mechas are heading your way. The Paladins will deal with them as quickly a possible," she informed him right before she came skirting out from behind the building she'd used once again, and unloaded a volley of missiles upon the mecha.

Aigidios looked up and watched the mechas and jets go screaming over, bombarding the pirate positions. He did not wait for any conformation of their strike, drawing a smoke grenade from his waist, pulling the pin, and throwing it up and over the cover. He watched it sail through the air, a trail of smoke following it. Along the battle-line, he could see other smoke grenades going through the air, some flying far into the very limits of the city having been fired from launchers wielded by other Knights.

As the smoke quickly filled up the gap between the city and the Knight's position, Aigidios was already vaulting over his cover, alongside his retinue and began sprinting towards the city. Despite the volley from Paladin and the smoke cover, gunfire was still pelting the advancing forces. Eulina's voice sounded off over the coms, Aigidios just giving a curt, "Understood." in response as he moved forwards.

As he began moving through the smoke, his helmet immediately switched to a sonar style vision, rapidly releasing a ping of sound to give a rough image of the surrounding terrain. Thermal was useless in the smoke as it was designed to shield thermal signatures, and it didn't descriminate between who fired the smoke and who it was shot at. Still the sonar was an extremely useful tool, even if it wasn't the best. He easily jumped over a rock in his path as images of the city walls were coming into view. He could see the image of pirates who were falling back away from the smoke, clearly having no intention of meeting the Knights assault head on.

As he reached a two story building, Aigidios jumped towards the second floor. With the assistance of his armor, it allowed him to easily jump up high enough to grab hold of the ledge and haul himself up. He raised his rifle, squeezing off a few rounds at some retreating pirates and quickly dropping two of them in a burst, emerging from the smoke only a few moments later.

He immediately switched to his standard vision, his visor adjusting the polarization so as to eliminate any glare and to cut down on the brightness of the sun reflecting off of the sand. He stopped at a low wall, peeking over it to get a new idea of the current field of battle. He could see his Knights moving into cover and returning fire to the newly positioned pirate forces. The next objective was to secure the city-limits, so that reinforcements could land unharassed. He clicked on his coms again, "Paladin, do not extend to far forwards." he said before cutting the coms again, lifting his arm up to fire on the pirates not far ahead.

They needed to keep the momentum, or else they'd get bogged down in the pirate's home turf. They knew this city and its various twists and turns, so they could not give the pirates a chance to recover. After firing a few more rounds, Aigidios switched on his sword as he fully intended to get into the thick of things. Quickly vaulting off of the rooftop, he broke into a sprint towards the nearest pirate position. Given the fact they were now stuck in a city, the pirate were less than a block away. He felt bullets ping off his armor, but he paid them no heed as he quickly desended on a group of pirates.

He jumped over the small barricade they had made, which consisted of scrap metal and other junk they had salvaged and put into position. One pirate was knocked back as the Sentinel-Major slammed into him with his shoulder as he landed, Aigidios spinning around to slash the gun of one pirate that had turned to fire on him in half, following up the swing but stepping into the pirate and slashing across his torso. The heavy blade, backed by the servo powered swing of the Major, easily slashed clean through the whole body of the pirate, whose eyes widened as his torso slid free from his lower half and fell to the ground. Aigidios did not pause and moved forwards to engage the other pirates there, his own retinue quickly joining him in the attack.

"Understood, Major," Syrin answered yet again in the same manner she'd used earlier when he had ordered her and her group out onto the battle field.

Swinging around from her second volley against the rail rifle weilding mecha, she dropped another group of missiles on the bastard in the hopes of destroying it. From behind that mecha another of her Paladins joined the fight and also unleashed another round of bullets. Both mechas shot past one another, tilting so as not to collide as they went.

The mecha with the rail rifle was nothing but flame and smoke by the time they were finished, so Syrin banked and went after the second mecha that she had ignored to begin with. Swirling circles around the mecha with the rather large looking rifle, her and the other Paladin launched a volley nearly at the same time. As the smoke cleared from the explosions, Syrin's eyes grew wide as it seemed the barrel end of the rifle was level with her mecha.

Pulling up immediately, she shot straight up to miss the rifle's end and pulled back on the controls to flip upside down and start back toward the mecha on the ground. As she plummeted toward the fight down below, the rifle was aimed straight up at her. From the barrel, a bright blue light began to glow. Surprised once more, Syrin shot off another round of missiles, getting close to being empty on those. Pulling up, she attempted to get out of firing range of the beam weapon.

"Shit..." she cursed, "Take out that beam weapon!" she followed her cursing with an order to the Paladin who was fighting with her.

The sound of the weapon being fired cut through the sound of her engines. In the next second, a louder, slightly terrifying sound cut through the cockpit. Her mecha was thrown off course and sent spinning in an awkward barrel roll. Warning sounds and other blaring emergency lights flooded the pilots seat. Syrin let out a startled cry at first, but then ground her teeth as she struggled with the controls to get her mecha flying again.

When she couldn't get it to stop spinning, she did the next best thing. Slamming her hand upon the consol, the button she activated the mecha's ability to shift between the jet into that of the more humanoid form. The entire machine hummed loudly as the gears started pulling and contracting with one another. The mecha continued its spiral roll, but instead of the rapid flipping the jet had been sent into, the humanoid form simply slowed down considerably. It was an awkward tumble, but far better than flying apart upon impact.

Even so, as the machine slammed into a concrete building, Syrin was jolted around in the seat painfully. For a moment she simply rested in the cockpit, taking a deep breath as the warning signs still flashed at her along the screen. After a few minutes, she finally pulled the mecha up to its feet. As she rose up from where she'd crash landed, Syrin started a search in regards to where exactly shed been thrown.

Turning from one side to the other, she scanned the vicinity to get a better bearing and start heading back to the fight. Just as she was about to leave the area, something off to the right of her mecha caught her attention. Leaning forward in the seat, her eyes narrowed. Unable to make it out clearly, she put in a few commands and brought the image in closer.

"How in the hell..." Syrin's gaze widened as she eyed the Admiral and another attendant up on the top of a building. The woman was dressed in nothing but her undergarments and waving what looked like an eaten through blanket of sorts. Grinding her teeth in anger, she hailed the Major again, "Major! Admiral Xsan is here! She's in the middle of the fighting!"

She couldn't help the rather angry clip to her tone. After all that woman had to have been daft to even think of coming down to Ko'val with the planet being in the state that it was in. Starting forward, the mecha moved rather slowly as the damage to certain parts kept her from using all of its power. However, not but four steps forward and missiles were launched at her from down below. They would have proven to be no problem at all to her, except for the one that was rather well aimed.

The bottom left side of the hatch to the cockpit exploded inward, sending shrapnel all into the cockpit and breaking a handful of screens and controls. Syrin, having lifted her arms to shield her face, felt burning pain all through her arms and side that was facing the explosion. Gasping and giving slight groans of pain, she lowered her arms slowly, dizzied by the attack that had seemingly come from no where. With the mecha already damaged, getting out of the way was nearly impossible to begin with.

The hum of the engine that was usually steady sputtered as it tried to keep running. The mecha itself dropped, falling forward as the power that kept it upright shut down. Syrin managed to get the arms of her machine to halt a complete fall, but even then, the jarring stop had her gaze swirling with splotched color at the jolting pain. Son of a... Bitch... Damn it... she cursed as she gazed at the broken and fuzzy screen, the right side and some of the center still just clear enough to see out of. The computer displayed a list of damage, large sections of the machine blocked out in red meaning that it was either broken or nearly broken.

Whatever the case, she wasnt going anywhere without aid.

The Major ducked underneath a sword swing from a pirate before non-chalantly clotheslining him, knocking him to the ground before he stabbed the pirate through with his own sword. He scowled when he heard the word from Paladin, The Admiral was still alive down here? that he hadn't expected. Not given the conditions of the city. Sneering and tearing his sword free from the pirate, doing so in a manner that the sword cut a deep wound across the pirate to make sure he was dead, Aigidios raised the sword and rested it on his shoulder, using the handguard where the sword would not cut him.

Now he was trying to decide whether or not it was worth saving her at this moment, or to wait until they had secured more of the city. "Damned woman...I'll move to secure the Admiral. The rest of you continue on with your objective." He said, looking to the other Knights with him. All of them simply turned and ran off to continue the fight, Aigidios watching them go before opening up the com again, "Paladin, where is her location?" he asked as he began walking, trying to locate Paladin on his own using the HUD of his helmet.

The belts of her seat that kept her in place were becoming rather annoying not to mention that every breath increased the pulses of pain through her small frame. When the Major asked for the Admiral's position, she replied as best she could, including information of the bastard with the beam rifle. If he was heading that way it was important for him to be aware of such a danger.

"South... of the permeter... Approximately... six... seven hundred yards from me," she answered straining to keep the words in one smooth flow but failing horribly. Working on the only good computer, she attempted to set off her machines distress signal, at least then it could alert the Major to her exact location. It took her a few tries, but it finally went through and the red light in the cockpit started flashing.

"Major... Theres a mecha. It has a beam... rifle," she paused for a moment, getting her breath back slightly, "Took me out of the sky... Be careful," she added the last bit hoping that he would be able to get around that obstacle, unless her Paladins had finished it off already which she was rather hopeful for.

Aigidios' scowl grew as he listened to Eulina, he could tell jsut by the way she spoke that she was in bad shape. Especially at the mention of a mecha with a beam rifle. This just go interesting. A moment later, he saw a blip pop up on his HUD, a red arrow to indicate the location of the ditress signal, along with a distance marker. The small mini-map at the very bottom corner of his screen also marked the location.

"Understood, hang tight Paladin. I'm on my way." He then broke into a sprint, quickly covering the distance as he moved through the streets. He stuck close to buildings so as not to be too much of an open target as he ran. His helmet kept marking targets when they popped up to fire at him, but he ignored them for the most part save for the unlucky ones that happened to be in his way. One pirate lost just about all her teeth and her lower jaw when the Major delivered a solid punch to her face as he ran by her. He didn't bother to finish her off though, as he needed to get over to aid the Admiral and Eulina.

As the distance began to dwindle, a warning popped up in his helmet, indicating an energy signature to his left. turning his head, his eyes widened as he saw the mecha Eulina had mentioned and its rifle was charging up. It also happened to be aimed right in his direction. Aigidios quickly turned on his heel, darting into an alley a moment before the beam came blazing by him. More warnings went off in his suit to warn him of the massive energy spike, and he heard the sound of metal sizzling as the beam cut its way through anything in the way.

In the alley though, the Major quickly took advantage of his greater mobility to jump up to another rooftop, taking a moment to towards the mecha. It was scanning back and forth, searching for him and it'd only be a few seconds before it locked onto his position again. "Paladin, converge on that mecha and take it down." he ordered before he started running once more, jumping over the gaps between buildings with ease. Just as he figured, the mecha had targetted him and was following his movements. His HUD then signaled to him that a friendly mecha was moving in from nearby, and Aigidios could tell the pirate mecha had noticed as well as it turned its attention away from him and turned to engage the approaching member of Paladin.

It gave him the chance to move towards Cavalier Eulina's position now, the sound of missles exploding nearby being dampened by his helmets audio systems. As he ran along the rooftop, he then looked over to what his helmet labeled as an unknown individual. It zoomed the image, and there was the Admiral, waving a ratty old blanket as a flag. He culdn't see Alten sitting against the wall, as the building blocked the view of the attendant. Regardless, Aigidios was first concerned with grabbing his fellow Knight. He quickly jumped off the rooftop when Eulina's wrecked mecha came into view, landing in a roll and coming back up to his feet without a pause in his movements. He even switched off his sword and placed it on his back as he ran up to it and immediately began trying to pray open the cockpit to reach Eulina. "Paladin! You still alive in there?" this time his voie was projected through the speakers of his helmet, which amplified it to help him be heard over the din of the battle gonig on nearby.

Syrin wasn't sure what the time lapse was since she'd last called out to the Major, informing him of her position. She recalled taking stock of her injuries which were quite bad if she were to be honest. Blood was dripping down from where she was strapped to the chair and making small puddles down against the ruined controls. Her head swam as she opened her eyes blearily to the sound of the Major's voice yelling at her.

Metal creaked and she assumed he was trying to pry it open. Unless he had the powertools that were onboard the Gjallahorn then getting the hatch opened was going to be near impossible, even with power armor. Unless he wanted to try cutting it with his weapon, but she doubted he would even try with her still inside it. Groaning slightly, she reached over and fumbled with the controls that still worked. It took her a while, with having to do things the round about way, but she managed to open the coms system that would project her voice out to him through the mechas speakers.

"Still here... Major," she answered, "Retrieve the Admiral... The hatch is... Stuck, Major," Syrin paused again, her voice wavering as another bout of dizziness took her. Keeping her eyes open was becoming a chore, "The Paladins can... Retrive me... Take it back to base," leaning her head back a little, she rubbed at her temple with her good arm, "Arlan can open it then."

"It won't do any good if you are dead by the time you get back, Cavalier." he then looked around, looking in the direction of mecha battle going on nearby. He opened up his coms again, "Paladin, we need one of you to recover and move Cavalier Eulina out of here, ASAP. She requires medical attention, so make it quick." With that, he then looked back at the mecha. "Just hold on tight, Cavalier." With that he patted the hatch of the mecha before turning and running towards the building he'd spotted the Admiral atop of.

It was simple enough for him to quickly jump up once more and climb his way up onto the rooftop. As he climbed up, his sight was met with the half-naked Admiral Xsan, still holding the makeshift signal flag, and near her he could see the barely concious Surveyor Ashlet, whose hand was covered in a blood-soaked bandage. The man was slumpped against the wall, and the Major could see he too was close to bleeding out.

Aigidios didn't even bother to address the Admiral yet as he walked towards them, reaching to his belt to pull free a cartridge of the medical salve. It would do for now as he walked over to the semi-concious man, knealing down and quickly peeling back the bandage, which the Major noted was actually just a jacket wrapped tightly around the wound. As he removed the bandage, Alten moaned and mumbled something in cohearent, his world tinged with black as he tried to respond to the stimuli of the Major messing with his hand.

Alten was so out of it, he only twitched slightly when the salve was being applied to his chewed up hand, the Major working quickly to apply it as best he could. It would kill any infection, and hopefully the bleeding would stop in time to prevent the man from dying right here. Still, the Major could tell that the man was going to die soon if they didn't hurry. He opened up the coms, again reaching out to Paldin. "Paladin, I have two more for you to move out of here. They are flesh-and-bone so be careful doing so, one of them needs immediate medical attention as well." he said before finishing with Alten, carefully picking up the man and turning to head towards the edge of the rooftop. He also grabbed hold of the Admiral around her waist as he moved, and without stopping or waiting for her, he hoped down off the rooftop, landing in the sand. He was careful to make sure he did not jar either of them too much with the landing, and he let go of the Admiral as he walked towards Eulina's mecha once agian.

Syrin tried to rearrange herself in the pilot seat. The position was rathr awkward after all, as the Major conducted his orders. When he finished, the resounding pat of his hand against the hatch took her attention as she'd been slipping again. A bit of a small of smile graced her lips for a moment as she answered him in hardly a whisper, "Im not going anywhere... Major..." only to have darkness claim her consciousness soon after speaking the words.

Arina gasped loudly at the sight of a man in power armor vaulting over the side of the rooftop. Her fingers dropped the pole the moment he knelt down next to Alten and started undoing the bandage around the man's hand. The markings on the power armor finally alerted her to who it was and her heart was lodged in her throat.

"M-Major..." she whispered the word, but he didn't even address her, which spoke volumes in return. Dropping her gaze, she wrapped her arms around her chest and sat there as the Major worked on Alten's ruined hand. It was no wonder the Major didn't wish to speak to her, he was probably far to angry to even want to. Not to mention the Knights being in the middle of a battle that was surely going to cost more lives, including that of his own men.

Lost in her own thoughts, she gave a startled yelp as the Major's arm was suddenly around her waist and dragging her up against him. Wincing slightly at the feel of steel against her bruised side, she clamped her mouth shut though so as not to whimper or do anything really. The Major was already irritated, her weakness would probably only serve to make matters worse.

That was, until he decided to drop off the side of the two story building. With a startled cry of shock and fear, she turned into him and clutched the armor tightly, her fingernails scraping against the metal of his power armor and chipping more than a few. When they hit the ground, she gave a groan and immediately toppled into the sands as he released her.

She couldnt fight the tears then. Rather than tears of fear and shock, they were of shame that time. Getting back up as her knees had given way when he let her go, she stumbled after him, though kept some distance between the two of them. The sight of the mecha tore at her heart as she was sure whomever was inside was injured or stuck, or both. It was made even worse with the knowledge that she'd just endangered everyone. Even so, the silent treatment from the Major was far worse than hearing him yell at her in return.

Aigidios carefully set Alten down next to Eulina's mecha, Alten just falling over to the side, limp now. The Major quickly caught him and then laid him down alongside the mecha, scowling some at the sight of the man. He looked over to the sound of a large machine walking towards them, about to adress the mecha when his eyes widened at the sight of the pirate mecha aiming its beam rifle towards them.

"Admiral take cover!" Aigidios quickly yelled before he did the only thing he could think of. Grabbing the handle of his sword, he flipped the switch on in the same motion, then drew it from his back and threw it straight towards the charging beam of energy at the end of the barrel. The sword spun for a moment, giving a soft hum before it slammed right into the barrel. It sliced its way in for a few inches before its handguard got caught, again it not benefitting from the high-frequency cutting ability. It did however disrupt the beam's charging mechanism, and Aigidio quickly changed his plan and moved over to the Admiral, tackling her to the ground and shielding her when the mecha's weapon exploded, showering the area in sharpnel and a slight burst of energy.

More warnings went off in his helmet, as his armor was singed slightly from the blast. Alten was fortunate to have Eulina's mecha to shield him from the burst of shrapnel and energy. Aigidios quickly got up off the Admiral to see the condition of the enemy mecha, which to his fear it was still standing. It was badly damaged from the explosion, as both its arms had been annihilated and the front of it was badly damaged as well. The problem was, Aigidios did not have his sword anymore, which was the only thing he had that could really damage the mecha.

Standing between the mecha and the Admiral, Aigidios was trying to think of what to do as it began to stomp towards them. "You squirrely motherfuckers!" a voice shouted from the mecha. "Why the fuck won't any of you just d-" the voice was cut off as a massive sword slammed through the center, causing Aigidios to once again shield the Admiral before looking over to see the sight he wanted. One of the mechas from Paladin ripped its sword free of the pirate mecha and let it simply topple over.

"Apologies, Sentinel-Major." The cavalier within the mecha said. "That shit was a slippery little devil." the mecha then turned and walked over towards Eulina's downed mecha and began working to get ahold of just the esential cockpit that contained her. It didn't need the rest, just to make sure it could carry Eulina away. It also carefully picked up Alten's limp form. As it worked, Aigidios turned to look at the Admiral who he still had a hold of.

"That is your ride out of here. Get back, get dressed, and you best take this opportunity to sleep, because you and I are going to talk once I get back." He said before nodding his armored head towards the mecha. He then guided her there, keeping a light hold of her arm to help move her along.

At the sight of the mecha coming around the corner, Arina's heart froze in her chest and she couldn't move another inch. Even Major Aigidio's shout for her to take cover never reached her ears. She stood stock still at the sight of the mecha approaching them, the rifle it was holding begining to power up with a bright blue light at the back of the barrel.

Arina didn't even see Aigidios move and throw his sword at the thing, destroying the barrel. She trembled as the mecha's gun made an odd sound. In the next moment she felt sand against her back and a heavy body covering her and blocking out the sun. With her heart in her throat once more, she hardly even gave a gasp as Aigidios toppled her over and sheilded her.

The explosion jolted her body and she curled under him with a started cry. Metal went flying everywhere and if it hadn't been for Aigidios, she surely would have been torn apart. As he looked up to the mecha, she heard a voice shouting from the thing and she cringed. Unwillingly, Arina was once again crying as she lay on the ground. Following the voice that sounded utterly pissed off was the sound of metal tearing apart.

Once again, Aigidios sheilded her and she felt even more guilt pulling at her stomach as he did so. Why would he even do that? Surely it would have been easier to forget her after disobeying and putting everyone in such a horrid situation. Even worse was the mecha that was half toppled over and hadn't moved since it had crashed there, taking several direct hits from missiles launched somewhere from the city's buildings.

The mecha that saved them from the pirate addressed the Major directly and then proceeded to the downed mecha and pried free the cockpit, quite literally tearing it from the rest of the machine. Shuddering breathes filled her chest as Arina struggled to keep calm. However when Aigidios addressed her she couldn't help the tears that flowed again.

Nodding her head rapidly, she didn't even answer him as he told her to go to the mecha that would take her back to safety and then get taken back up to the Stellae Caelator. Up on her feet, Aigidios helped her along to the mecha that waited for her once it had gotten a hold of the cockpit and Alten.

Turning, she faced the Major and opened and closed her mouth several times while standing next to the Mecha. With guilt hammering at her chest and mind, she dropped her gaze, "T-thank you, Major... I..." she shook her head heavily, "I would have understood... If you hadn't come," she finished finally and turned to the mecha to allow it to take her back to safety.

"As I said, we will have this discussion once this battle is over. Now is not the time, as I need to get back out there." The Major said, watching Arina move towards the mecha. He then looked up at the mecha. "Get them back behind the line quickly. Eulina and Alten need immediate medical attention." He then backed away from the mecha as it carefully took hold of its charges.

"Understood, good luck out there, Major. I will return to the field once I drop them off." Aigidios nodded his head to the mecha, watching it turn and begin heading towards the rear of the Knights battle line. The Major watched it go, shaking his head as he turned to observe the pirates that were closing in on his position. He was surprised that the Admiral and her attendant had actually survived this long out here, though that did not mean he was not pissed with her. Shaking his head, he raised his arm up to fire back at the pirates; least here he could work out his frustrations in a manner he preferred.

Alten mumbled something as he barely managed to lift his head, looking around with a rather blank look. "Arina...." he managed to utter, his head falling against the hand of the mecha that was holding onto him and Arina. It had cupped its hand so as to carry the two, in its other hand it was carrying the cockpit of Syrin's mecha, and the pilot was being careful with both of them. Alten tried to lift his good hand, looking around again. His skin had lost much of its color, and he looked very out of it as he moved barely managed to move his arm and head.

"Here," Arina called, taking hold of the hand that he lifted up slightly. She curled both hands around his, her fingers tightly holding onto him. What had she been thinking? Right then it seemed that her original plan was nothing but a childs dream, an idiotic ideal that held no meaning at all. And she had thought she could never lose. Never.

Yet, there she was, stripped down nearly naked, Alten dying, a pilot dying, and who else knew was either dying or dead. Cursing herself, she tilted her head into Alten's good hand. Was she ever going to be able to perform like she once did? She didn't think she could ever set foot into a negotiation again, not with such a horrid failure beating at the back of her mind.

Arina stayed like that for the entire trip back to safety. All the while she tried to think of how she was going to face the Major. Would she have to face the Commodore as well? Probably. What was she going to say? Would she even have strength enough to say anything at all? Arina supposed it was just a matter of time and she would find out when it happened.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Syrin Eulina Character Portrait: Arlan Laddermore

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Arlan made his way through the hallways of the Gjallarhorn, slipping by others and moving at a fairly quick pace. He had been in the hangar when they had brought back just the cockpit of Syrin's mecha, and he had also been one of the first to hop onto the wreckage and begin prying it open to free the woman. He would have been upset about the machine, but when they opened up to reveal the injured Eulina, all concern for the machine faded away immediately for the mechanic. They had sent her off quickly once they had freed her from the mess, Arlan left to sit there wondering if she was going to be ok. They had told him to wait before heading off to see her, to give her a chance to get patched up and rested.

So now, several hours later he was moving down the hallway to go and check on her. He'd just finished up another pot a coffee, having been pacing aorund the hangar unsure of what to do. There wasn't even anything for him to work on to distract himself, so instead it was just fill cup, walk around, drink from cup, poke at random machines, finish cup, repeat. A medic finally came to say it was ok for him to go to see Syrin, and he left immediately.

He reached the double doors for the med-bay, walking through and looking around. He grimaced some, noticing how the bay was just as much a bustle of activity as the hangar, except with a bit more macabre work going on. He could hear some people groaning in pain, though worst was the actual screams of the injured. He had no idea how the doctors and surgeons could handle it; working on a machine was one thing, but on a living person...it made Arlan shudder. He respected the men and women who did this work, as it was not one Arlan would ever desire despite its necessity.

He walked through it, being very careful to avoid people as he looked around for Syrin. He would nod his head when his eye would meet the eyes of a Knight he recognized, though it made his heart sink each time he saw them lying on a bed, injured in some way. Clearly the fighting had been a bit of a mess, though worse yet it was still going on if Arlan had heard correctly. The pirates were still entrenched within the city, and the difficulty was that the Knights had to find each and every hole they were hiding within. The hangar bay was receiving just as much work as the med-bay, it seemed. There were several mechas and fighters being pulled back into the bay for repair, alongside other transport vessels.

He smiled though when his eyes settled on the bandaged form of Syrin. While he would have much preferred her unbdanged and uninjured, it was still good to see her alive at the very least. He walked over to her, stopping next to the bed she was on and looked her over. "I told you to come back in one piece, Syrin!" he exclaimed, though he had no idea if she was actually awake, he just felt like he needed to vent. "The mecha I can deal with but this is a bit more difficult you...jerk." He frowned, "Augh, that was a terrible insult...I can't even make fun of you very well!" he said, placing his hands in the pockets of his jacket with a huff.

"You never could make fun of me very well," Syrin answered with a bit of a groan in her voice. Shifting slightly in the bed, she peeled open her eyes to look over to him. With a deep breath that made her wince, she moved and pulled herself up from the lying position she was in to sit upright. Bandages laced her entire frame, her arms, tight across her chest and stomach. They probably had been white at one point, but bits of rustic red were starting to leak through as she moved.

"And I'm in one peice, aren't I?" she offered, trying to play it off as nothing, a faint grin flickering on her lips between the grimace of discomfort. She hardly remembered anything after speaking with the Major down on Ko'val. How she was brought back to the vessel, or even taken out of the ruined cockpit.

"My mecha... How is it? How soon can I use it again," she asked him, her thoughts going straight to the fight they'd been engaged in. Was it over? It sure didn't sound like it from the way the medical bay was filled and bustling with movement. After looking around and having a frown settle deeply upon her lips, she looked up to Arlan, "Tell me what happened, is the fighting still going on?"

He looked at her as she shifted, speaking to him as she did. He smiled more, seeing that she was awake. Arlan could also care less about her teasing at the moment, though her comment about being in one piece had him frowning. "Miss Eulina, you are leaking vital bodily fluids. You are not in one piece!" He said.

Glancing around, he saw that the only place he was going to be able to sit was on the edge of the bed, so being careful not to accidentally sit on Syrin he carefully perched his rear on the edge. "As for the mecha, no luck. That bird is done," he said, giving her a glare and deepning his frown. "I had to pry you out of the cockpit with bunch of tools then watch as they dragged your sorry ass to here. What part about dodging things did not get through to you?!"

He crossed his arms, closing his eye and shaking his head at her. "I ain't sure when it'll be over, as it sounds like the fighting is still going on down there. A fight you are no longer going to be participating in, which I shouldn't have to say but feel likes it needs to be said." he opened his eye to look at her.

Syrin sat and watched him as he ranted at her, his voice rising and falling as he spoke. She was a little more than miffed about hearing that her mecha was destroyed and beyond repair. Syrin was going to have to get a new one. In a way she supposed she shouldn't be too worried about it, it was the first machine she'd ever demolished... Not that it was entirely her fault.

With a sigh, she grimaced at the thought that Arlan of all people had to be the one to pry open the hatch and see her all mangled up in the cockpit of what used to be her machine, "I did dodge it. The bastard had a beam rifle, Arlan. He probably tracked me with it. Knocked me out of the sky. I had to change from the jet form to the humanoid one otherwise... I truly would be in peices," she watched him carefully. That probably wasn't the best thing to say to him, but it just came out and what was the point of covering up what had happened.

She was alive still, perhaps a little banged up, but alive none-the-less. Glancing around the medical bay once more, her frown continued to deepen as she watched the group of people ushered in and around. Her fingers twitched as she sat there. Sitting around was never her thing and she honestly wanted to do something, anything. Getting back out onto the battlefield was much preferable than being cooped up in a room that smelled of chemicals and blood.

"I can still fight, Arlan," she said, "I just need a new machine, that's all."

"Well I'm glad to hear you aren't a total mess, however you and that fine ass of yours ain't going back out onto that field." He crossed his arms. "Hell it hurts for you to sit on it to begin with! There is no way you could take the forces that piloting a mecha throws at you."

He smiled at her, "So get comfy miss Eulina 'cause you are going to be stuck here for a bit." he then looked off around the bay, his smile faded. "Maybe soon the docs will let you head to your quarters to rest instead. I'll admit being cooped up here is not a very pleasing idea...I hate these places." he muttered before turning to look back at her.

"It doesn't hurt to sit here," she retorted, almost tempted to stick her tongue out at him. With a heavy roll of her eyes, she pulled her legs off the bed to hang to the side and looked around for a doctor so she could convince them to let her go. The longer she stayed the more her desire to get out and kill some pirates for revenge built up in her chest.

She waited for a while, but as it seemed that they were very busy with other soldiers and pilots, Syrin ground her teeth. Taking a moment, she finally decided that she would just dismiss herself from the medical room. Pushing off of the bed, she landed on her feet and was happy to see that she could hold her weight, until she took the first step away from the bed.

Stumbling with a half bitten back hiss of pain, she reached out and fell into the table nearby, holding herself up against it. Surely it wasn't this bad...?! she thought to herself in a half state of panic. How injured was she? Was the shrapnel so bad as to keep her from walking? Surely not... She could move, she could feel her limbs. So it couldn't have been that bad, right? Glaring at the table, Syrin leaned on it heavily as she waited for the searing pain to fade before trying again.

"No, not at all. you just wince and move slowly for fun, right?" he said, watching her as she slowly moved her leg so they were hanging over the edge. "You have no patience, do you?" he asked her while watching her. He stood up as she did so, watching her carefully as she moved. "Maybe you should wait for a doctor, Syrin." he said.

As she went to move forward and suddenly fell into the talbe, Arlan moved forwards and rook careful hold of her arm, his other hand going to her back to support her. "Easy, Syrin!" he said, looking at her.

He looked her over, keeping hold of her. "Syrin, you really should wait until a doctor can get over here to check on you." He then moved around until he was in front of her some, taking a light hold of her shoulders. "Seriosuly, before you hurt yourself anymore. And if you decide to tell me 'I'm perfectly ok, Arlan!', " he used a mock female tone as he said that part, "then I will make sure these doctors keep you stuck here for far longer than is needed! And maybe you next mecha will have screech at you everytime you turn it on."

Syrin's gaze narrowed at the mention of having her next machine screeching at her every time it was turned on. With a heavy sigh, she let her head fall forward. She couldn't walk very far anyway it seemed so giving in to what he said was her only option, "Fine I'll wait for a doctor," she replied. Syrin supposed it was probably best to find out exactly how bad it really was since it felt absolutely horrid.

Snaking her arm around his shoulder, she pulled herself up on him whether he wanted it or not, "Put me back on the bed?" she asked, though it was more of a rhetorical question seeing as walking was definitely out of the question, "And flag down an doctor if you could, Arlan. I want out of this room as soon as possible. The longer I stay the more tempted I'll be to just hobble out of here and steal a mecha for myself," it was a half hearted threat as she was very sure she wouldn't make it two feet without dropping to the floor in agony.

Arlan grinned in victory, though his grin faltered slightly as she hooked an arm around him. Carefully picking her up, trying to make sure he didn't apply any painful pressure to whatever it might have been that hurt, he then set her back down on the bed before stepping back. Clearing his throat, taking a mometn to gather his thoughts and get over the whole touching her thing, he then looked around.

"Yeah, just give me a moment." he said before moving away a bit. Seriously, Arlan, why are you getting all fidgetty about touching her? he asked himself.

I have no idea why! I'll...I'll get over it soon enough though! he then found a doctor. He conversed with the woman for a few moments, frowning a bit as he indicated to Syrin. His frown vanished as he nodded to her and then came walking back over.

"A doctor will be over in a moment to check on you. That way I don't have to laugh at you as you fail to hobble on out of here." he sat himself back down on the edge of the bed, looking at her. "Less you really want to flop on your face, in which case I guess you can." he then paused, thinking for a moment before turning red in the face slightly, "Might give me a nice view of that...ass of yours if you do." he said as he forced a grin.

Once she was up on the bed, Syrin adjusted herself as her fingers traced along the edges of the bandages that wrapped up her chest and torso. Grimacing, she watched as Arlan went and got a doctor, another woman much to Syrin's dismay, and then came back. Her gaze lingered on him for a long while as he told her that the doctor would be around to see her shortly.

With a slight hitch of breath in her throat, Syrin's equivalent to a laugh came first as she answered him in kind, "You wouldn't let me fall, now would you?" Arching an eyebrow at him, she smirked slightly, "You're too much of a gentleman to allow that. Hell, you might just end up having to carry me out of here," she leaned forward getting rather close to him. She was enjoying this teasing far too much, just like she had before setting out to Ko'val hours ago, "And guess what, I'd let you. Surely my strong, attractive, mechanic can handle carrying me, right?"

No, no Arlan! Don't back down now! the voice shouted in his head as he listened to her. Scratching the side of his head, he looked away for a moment before back to her, keeping up his grin. "Like I said...I might get a nice peek at that ass of yours so maybe you falling would be worth it."

He looked around to see where the doctor might be, hoping they'd get here soon and save Arlan before he cracked, but nobody was showing up yet. He then looked back at her, "Well, you wouldn't be an issue to carry due to weight...though...n-no! No it'd be no issue at all to carry you!"

He grin faltered for a moment, though he caught it and let the smile remain. "I think...it'd be nice to carry you. Bet you are..all warm and snuggly." he finished.

"Arlan, are you saying you'd like to 'snuggle' with me?" she asked, tilting her head back as she watched him carefully, "Maybe you should convince that doctor to let me go so you can show me just how strong you are," she said, her fingers tracing a nice line from his shoulder down to his elbow.

With a slight grin, she leaned closer, "Still mad at me, Arlan?"

He could feel his face heating up as she talked, and it only got worse as her hand slowly trailed down his arm. Boy, she knows how to rile you up, huh, Arlan?

[/i]Oh shut up...[/i] Arlan watched her hand, then looked at her. "I-I think you are the one who seems to want t-to snuggle, Syrin."

He then tried to look a bit angry when she asked him about how he was feeling, though he was certain it had failed miserably. "A-and yes! You got hurt because you d-didn't dodge attacks you should've!"

Only me, hu? Syrin thought to herself and slowly pulled away from him, her grin gone. Even so, it was still entertaining to watch how red he'd turned. Still, though, she was slightly confused on the whole 'flirting' thing. Was it too much? Not enough? Did he not like it? It was hard to tell sometimes. So her thoughts went to pondering on that as she waited for the doctor.

"I did dodge, Arlan, I told you that already. The beam followed after, that's all," she said offhandidly, and almost in a way that sounded as if she were thinking of other things, which she was at that moment. It wasn't until the doctor came around that she was brought back to the real world of the medical room.

"Cavalier Eulina?"

"Bah..." was all Arlan said before he turned to look at the approaching doctor.

Syrin lifted her head and met the gaze of the woman who stood before her, tablet in hand. Looking away, Syrin simply gave a nod of recognition and waited for the woman to tell her what was up with her body and why it was so painful to walk.

The doctor cleared her throat some before looking to Arlan briefly then back to Syrin, "Well, you suffered quite a bit of blood loss, several lacerations and bruising. You had a lot of shrapnel from your chest down," she reached out and indicated the location with her pen, though it wasn't hard to tell really as the stains on the bandages clearly marked out where the injuries were.

"Unfortunately, Miss Eulina, you're being put off active duty for at least a few weeks until you can walk properly. The worst of the damage was around here," her pen waved around in a circle over her hip and side, just under where her rib cage would end, "Under doctor orders, you're not to walk without assistance or do anything strenuous until you're fully healed, that includes operating a mecha. You could induce more injury and even slower healing if you do."

Syrin's eyes grew wide as she listened. They narrowed when she was told she wasn't to be allowed on duty at all for a while. She almost came off the bed in a fit of frustration, "I can't just sit around on base and do nothing," she snapped coldly.

Arlan's own eye widened at the remark. Holy shit, just how bad did you get hit, Syrin?! he thought as he turned to look at her.

The woman frowned, shifting her weight off to one leg as she eyed Syrin disapprovingly, "I'm sorry, Cavalier, but you wouldn't even be able to climb into a mecha anyway if you tried. You'll need time to heal and possibly some therapy work to keep scar tissue from forming and restricting your movement. You have no idea how bad you were injured, some of those pieces of shrapnel were embedded so deep it's a miracle you survived at all. Not to mention, as what I'm told, a direct hit from a missile launcher to the cockpit of your mecha," the woman waved her pen back and forth as she scolded Syrin, "Fight all you like against my orders, but you're just not going anywhere. Give it some time, you'll be back on the battlefield before you know it."

Arlan turned to look at Syrin, shaking his head. "Holy hell, Syrin..." he then turned back to the doctor.

Looking over to Arlan, the doctor gave a bit of a sigh, "There's a wheel chair by the door, you can take her to her quarters, I'm sure she'll be more relaxed there anyway," she offered.

Syrin ground her teeth as the doctor turned and headed to the next patient. With quite the nasty look, she turned her gaze to Arlan, "Don't even think about grabbing that wheel chair. I will not be wheeled around in that disgraceful thing."

Arlan looked at Syrin, and he paled a bit when she glared at him. "Noted...guess uh...we get to see how strong this here mechanic is!" he said with a grin, trying to lighten the mood a bit. "Well uh...let's get you back to your room then, Syrin." he said while he stood up. Taking a deep breath to keep his nerves calm, he then slowly slid one arm around her shouders, the other arm sliding beneath her knees as he carefully lifted her up.

"There we are!" he exclaimed, smiling at her and adjusting her in his arms a bit more. His face though was reddening again at the contact between them, but he ignored it as he went towards the exit of the bay to head on to her room.

For the most part, Syrin ignored him. She was far too pissed off for any 'teasing' banter. Grinding her teeth as his arms pulled her off the bed as gently as he could, she closed her eyes and shut out everything around her. She would have crossed her arms even, but the position didn't allow it. So, Syrin settled with draping an arm across her stomach, the other loosely on Arlan's shoulder.

The walk to her room slowly settled her seething rage at being dismissed from duty. Even so she was still upset about the whole situation even when they reached her quarters. Syrin waited until he put her down upon her bed before she said a single word to him.

"About the mecha... How bad was it? You were there, were you not? Was I really injured so much that now I can't walk?" she hissed the question, not trusting the woman doctors words at all. She would much rather hear it from him than another woman.

"And, be honest, Arlan," she added on, no longer in a teasing or flirting mood like she was before, "Why do you turn red when you're close to me? You confuse me. Am I not doing this right? Or are you just truly not interested?"

Syrin had other questions as well, but she didn't voice them. At least not quite yet. As she sat on the bed, she watched him carefully, waiting for his response to her interrogation with neither amusement or her usual little grin, but rather a frown and dark, narrowed eyes.

Arlan simply bobbed his head to a random tune, just giving time for Syrin to simmer down as they walked. Once they made it to the room, he carefully made his way through the doorway, making sure not to bang any part of Syrin on it as he made his way through it.

As he set her down on the bed and retrated his arms, he then looked at her as she asked him about the mecha. He opened his mouth to answer the question when she asked the next part and it froze him in mid-speech. He looked at her, then looked off to the side while scratching the side of his head.

He figured he'd answer this bit-by-bit, so he began with the mecha. Least that part would be quick to settle. "Yeah, Syrin. They brought back nothing but the cockpit, and you were just an unconcious...bloody-mess inside of there." He looked at her, "So...yeah it was pretty bad, Syrin."

He then looked off, pursing his lips while he gripped his own pant legs. He then relaxed both his fingers and mouth as he turned to look at her. "As to the whole...red thing~." He then looked off for a moment before back to her, "I have no idea really." he shrugged. "I guess I'm just not expecting you to be so forward." He looked at her for a moment before he decided to just lay back on the bed, kicking off his boots first before lying down and looking at her still.

"Being honest, if you want to take this past a friendship then...I'm game for it." he looked off to the side for a moment again, then willing himself to look back at her as the red tinged his face again. He smiled at her, "Just wasn't expecting you to be so forward about it, that's really it. Or I think it is it, really not sure what makes me react as such..."

He laid there quiet for a moment, looking off before glancing back to her. "Guess I get caught up in my imagination of you?" he said, maintaining his smile.

Syrin listened patiently, or as patiently as she could. The mecha was a wreck, not even salvaged from Ko'val's surface. That alone spoke volumes to her. On top of it, with Arlan's description of her being a 'bloody-mess' she assumed that the doctor was speaking the truth in the fact that she wasn't going to be going anywhere any time soon. To that she just grit her teeth and dropped her gaze briefly to the floor where she glowered at it.

Leaning off to the side as a dull discomfort pulled through her body, she shifted a little and looked up at him as he answered the second half of her questions, "... too forward then?" she muttered to herself as Arlan moved and sprawled out across the bed after tossing off his boots.

"Game? It's a game?" she asked him, geniunely trying to figure it out. It had certainly felt fun, like a game she supposed. Was that what it was? That's how it was done? Syrin pondered the idea as she leaned on her arm. So, she was too forward. How was she to fix that?

"Your imagination?" she asked him, turning so she could see him better, "What are you... 'imagining'?" she asked him, her lips pulled into a frown, "Am I not supposed to be straight forward?"

He blinked, turning onto his side to look at her. "When I said I was game for it, I meant..." he scratched the side of his head, looking to the side then back to her. "I meant, if you are looking to take our...relationship past just being friends, then I am up for it."

"Look, your being forward isn't really a bad thing. It just caught me off guard is all. So I kinda just kept getting tounge tied is all." He then watched her for a few, unsure how to proceed on the next part.

"As for the imagination...just...um...let's just say I was being a bit of a tease there, though also sorta truthful. What I imagine doesn't..."he turned red again, looking off to the side, "really need to be said." he fidgetted a bit with his fingers, keeping his gaze to the side for a moment longer before looking back to her. "Listen, you're not doing anything wrong or bad, alright?"

"So then you're attracted to me?" she asked as she eased herself down to lay upon the bed as well. It took her a moment, but then she realized that her asking him if he was attracted was also probably one of her 'straight-forward' moments. Looking over to him, she sighed heavily.

"If you say so, that it's not bad. I guess that works out better, seeing as I'm not quite sure how I could even possibly begin to not be straight forward," Syrin shifted a little, but getting onto her side was rather difficult and if she were honest, impossible to do. So she stayed where she was.

"I've never been in a... relationship past being friends, Arlan. I admit I find you very attractive and fun to talk to as well as tease and flirt with. You're turning red is rather amusing I must say," She reached up and tapped a finger against her lower lip gently as she looked up to the ceiling over head, "Recently I've been tempted to tease you because of all of the little lines you've dropped at me here and there."

She paused again, taking her time in finding what it was she wanted to say next. Syrin gave a very short laugh then, "You're the first to make me smile, or even laugh. I've never done such things before until I met you. There's something different about you than all the other men that I've spoken to and shared friendships with. I think..." she turned her head to look at him then, falling silent for a moment, "Hmm... No... That's not right," her grin returned as she reached out and tugged at the scarf around his neck, "I'm very interested in you, Arlan," she said finally, that teasing tone returning to her words as she tugged on the scarf, moving it slightly so she could hook her finger under the collar of his shirt to play with that. She couldn't reach very well, so it was the best she could do at the moment.

He blinked in surprise when she said she'd never been in a relationship before. "Wow, I'm surprised. With how open you were and well...with your looks I figured you'd had to have dated beforehand. Guess I count myself lucky then!" He said, "As for the whole..red thing, well guess you'll get to enjoy it more cause it has a tendency to happen whenever I don't want to turn red in the face. And I did tell you I wasn't very good at the whole flirting thing."

He smiled at her, listening to the rest of what she had to say, the smile only growing as she opened up to him. Well that's because I am aweome, duh!, he kept that to himself though. However, he watched as she reached forward to pull at the scarf around his neck, and he noticed the familiar flirtatious tone return to her voice. He glanced down at her hand as it played with his collar, drawing another bout of red tint to his face as he watched her. "Well, I'm quite attracted to you, miss Eulina" he said, grinning at her. "So I get to be the lucky number one for you." though his own comment made him turn a slightly darker shade of red.

Smooth one bud, you know how to be a dirty boy, don't you? his inner voice said.

Not now! once again he found himself arguing with the voice in his head, trying to keep it from ruining his concentration and possibly resulting in him floundering his words.

"I've lived my life trying to be a man, not a woman, Arlan," she said softly, "My mother engrained that into me, so yes, you are the first to have me... Feeling like this."

Her fingers still tugged at his collar, though she'd moved a little bit to get a better grip on it as well as searching for the button to undo it, just because she could and she was utterly enjoying how red he was turning.

"Mm, lucky number one hu?" she echoed, her fingers finally finding what she was after and deftly undoing it, "Say, mister Laddermore, what exactly are you going to be 'number one' in? Hmm?" she asked, her fingers reaching for the next button as she had that small grin on her lips, watching him and not her hand.

Arlan looked down to as he felt her hand at his collar still, and watched as she undid the first button of his shirt and her hand moved down to the next. He then looked up at her, managing a sheepish grin as she just had to ask him that question.

"Well...uh...I think that's for you to decide, Syrin." He did shift a bit closer to her, watching her eyes as he did so. "Course, maybe I need a bit more guidance from you?"

"Really?" she asked, completely innocent in the question. Her fingers paused for a second as she thought about it. Her grin had faded slightly, but returned after she finally figured an answer to it, "Well, I think that you get to work your way toward what you want. How about that, Laddermore" she offered, teasing him all the same as she undid the next button and the next one following that.

By then, her gaze did drop from his to where she was undoing the shirt, "I will let you have one thing, since you've allowed me to undo this much of your uniform," she said as her own very slight blush started to creep into her cheeks. With that, she lifted her gaze to his again, "You can have a kiss."

He watched her finish with his shirt, his eye shifting back up to look at her. "Well, fair enough I think." he said, watching her. Course at her words about his own "reward" he couldn't help but slip in his own little tease back at her. "A peek under your uniform?" he could see the tint of red creeping over her cheeks though, and it made him chuckle softly.

"I guess a kiss will suffice for now." he said before reaching up with his hand and placing it on the back of her head before sitting up to kiss her, pulling her into him somewhat with the hand on her head. He wrapped his other hand gently around her waist, being very careful not to touch the sore spot on her hip as he did so.

Syrin offered a slight laugh at his own words of peeking under her uniform, the grin she gave him said he would have to seriously work for that one. As he moved and sat up over her, she felt a bit of a jump in her chest. He looked different. With the shirt opened, his leaning in to kiss her... Syrin, for a moment, found she couldn't get air into her lungs. It was stolen away from her, by Arlan.

She managed to take a breath as his lips took hers. For some reason she was shaking slightly. Was she nervous? That was new. Her hands pushed aside the cloth in the way and ended up against his warm skin to which she traveled along, exploring how he felt under her slender fingers.

He held the kiss for a few seconds, though when he felt her hand travel along his torso, he paused and pulled back. His face still close to her's, and he raised an amused eyebrow. "Wow, am I already getting close to my goal?" he jokingly asked. He leaned down again to give her another peck on the lips before letting his face hang near her's.

"So, am I to assume I'm impressive based on that look on your face? Or should I be afraid for my masculinity?" he continued to joke with her as he remained there, watching her eyes with his one. He didn't try to remove her hands from himself, nor did he pull back any further.

Her lips tingled slightly at his gentle kiss. When he pulled away, she took the chance to take a deep breath and gaze up at him. Why was he so different right then? It was like she'd become even more attracted in just the few moments of his being so close and giving her that sweet kiss. At his words, she only gave a short laugh and found herself being kissed a second time.

"Hmm... You're very impressive, Arlan," she cooed in return, "Attractive beyond words, I'm..." she paused, truly at a loss at what to say. Trailing her fingers from his shoulder, down his chest and eventually hooking along the edge of his pants, she grinned up at him, a slightly wider smile than usual, "You have no idea, Arlan. I'm almost tempted to let you do whatever else you'd want. After all, I'm rather curious as to that 'imagination' of yours," she said.

Wrapping a hand around the back of his neck, her fingers curled in his locks of red hair as she pulled gently, but enough to get her point across, "You should show me sometime, you could start now if you want," she teased, hoping to see more of that red blush across his features to match her own little dusting of heat along her face.

He smiled, it having shifted from an amused grin to one of simple happiness. His own face reddened a bit when he felt her hands trail down his front and then to the waist of his pants. At the mention of his imagination, he chuckled somewhat nervously. "Well, I guess it might be interesting to see what my mind can come up with, huh?"

He felt her hand tie itself in his hair, and he then let his hand by her hip slide its way around her waist, slowly trailing up her stomach, then up her side. "You know, the doctor did warn you about strenuous activities, Syrin." he said "Sure you'd rather not be careful?" he joked at her, giving her one more peck on the cheek before he moved to begin kissing at her neck, starting just below her ear as he did so.

"That doctor can bite me," Syrin retorted to his telling her that she'd been told not to engage in any strenuous activities, "Besides... How strenuous can this be?" she asked as he dropped to kiss her cheek, then planted another one just under her ear. The feeling surprised her and her breath was whisked away by a slight gasp. These new sensations were really getting the best of her.

"Arlan..." she started, then grinned again, "So, going to start showing me what's inside that mind of yours? I'm eager to find out what you've been thinking all this time," she said as she pulled at his jeans, fingers inching further underneath the material. Syrin closed her eyes as she let a soft hum fill her throat.

"I think I'm going to really enjoy this," she whispered as she turned her head toward him and gave him her own kiss along his neck and shoulder, "For the record, I never planned to take it easy."

"You'd be surprised how strenuous it can get, dear Syrin." Arlan said against her neck as he kissed his way down to the base of it. His own hands began to travel towards her chest, Arlan enjoying the soft feeling of her skin as they moved over her. He lifted his head for a moment to look up at her, grinning at her. "And when do you ever take it easy, Syrin? I expect nothing less than your best." he then went back to kissing her neck, throwing in a few light nips here and there as he did.