The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    "T-tough gal?" Athrusa sounds genuinely surprised. "I guess I've never thought of it that way... I kind of think of myself as kinda small and mousy." She twiddles her thumbs. "But you're right... there's hope, and I don't have to think of myself as--deformed or anything. Thanks, Miss Celeste..."

  2. - Top - End - #242
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    "I get your point, but there MUST be a way to increase our chances... We might as well try something! Anything!"

    Gabriel sits down, nervously rubbing his left eye and then, with the same motion, running his hand through his hair.

    " And I want to point out I really feel like I'm the only one fighting defeatism here. In facts, you all fight really hard for defeatism, which is really odd. I mean... you're all very good at dismissing ideas, yet perfectly content to remain there as a starving duck. "

    Then Gabe as a short moment of "staring into the distance". You could figuratively hear pieces fall into places for another of his plans. He then goes on, excitedly:

    "What about supply drops? If we're careful enough, we can pack up and allow supply drops much smaller than this station to drift in space toward the targeted area of operations. Of course, doing semi-improvised pit-stops along the way won't be easy, and we'll have to be very careful about we send them out, but my guess is that Jake here does more complex calculations in his hobbies than what it would require to have those supplies exactly where we need them. "
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-04-20 at 12:04 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #243
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    Celeste smiles and squeezes Athrusa's shoulder gently.

    "You're welcome, dear. Get some rest, ok?" She stands, and quietly shows herself out.


    Meanwhile, Yuuki finds she's not alone, as a gentle voice calls down her.

    "Rough session? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the Captain wants to see you in her office." The voice belongs to a bridge member Yuuki was introduced to at the beginning of the week. The young woman is one of about half a dozen crew members who handle deck control for the ship. She's been introduced as Ensign Mitsuki, though Yuuki has coaxed out of her that her first name is Saffron. Of course, Yuuki herself is probably having to get used to being called 'Ensign Itano'. "She didn't say why. More training, maybe?"



    The old man looks visibly offended. If steam could come out of his ears, it probably would be. Instead, he shakes his fist at Gabe.

    "You dumb young punk, who said we're giving up! Sometimes you gotta know when to sit, bide your time, and wait! The supply convoy is coming, we just gotta wait for it to show up!"

    Joe shakes his head, and sighs, ignoring the old man.

    "How would you even get them out there-" He's suddenly cut off as a loud alarm comes from the scan console. He begins working the controls furiously, hands flying over the panel. After a moment, he looks to both Gabe and IVan.

    "Something jumped into the system. Light lag on our scan gear....not sure what is yet, but nothing's scheduled for another two weeks. Either it's a relief force, or the enemy." He turns back to the console, as more beeping ensues. "Uh, crap. Micro-jumped away...multiple signatures....yep. It's the damn cats. You're getting your wish, Gabe. Suit up both of you, and be ready to launch, but run in low-power mode until I give the signal to launch. I'd be surprised if they didn't catch that active scan pulse we sent out just a bit ago, and it won't take them long to figure out where we are."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  4. - Top - End - #244
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    Yuuki lifts her head from the bed to see who the speaker is, and then drops it back to the bunk with a sigh. "Either that, or she wants to dress me down some more. Those're probably her two favorite pastimes at this point. But, uh, Saffron, I'm not taking your bed right now, am I?"
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  5. - Top - End - #245
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    "Hah! I knew you could pull it off Jack!"

    As he runs toward the Gyro, he adds loud enough to still be heard:
    "Don't worry: I'll make sure the fireworks will be worth the efforts!"

    And as he sits into the Gyro's cockpit, he quikly flips through his audio files player and digs up Artist Unknown - At the gates of Doom. He then proceed to wait, jittery with anticipation.
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-04-21 at 01:57 AM.

  6. - Top - End - #246
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    Athrusa nods gently as she starts to close her eyes. "Thank you, Celeste... I really appreciate everything you've done for me." The small Artificial Ragalian seems like she's drifted off to sleep in rather short order. But after Celeste leaves, she starts for a moment--

    [ Z E R O ]

    "...nnh--" she gasps as she clutches her forehead. That same flash again...

    She stares towards the viewscreen where it's still idly fixed to where the engineering team was working on the Nephilim.

    Just what was the true identity of this mysterious suit...?

    She closes her eyes again, to drift to sleep. She'll need it...

  7. - Top - End - #247
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    IVan Tessera
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    "Roger that,"
    IVan says. He double checks the external systems of the Sasha before jumping up to the cockpit to continue his preflight checks internally. The cyclops eye on the Sasha Gundam glows a brilliant green, and IVan grabs his trusty Guillotine rifle from the weapons rack and the binders reposition themselves as IVan tests the controls. "Lieutenant IVan Tessera, SA2-HA, ready for launch. Goldstein, make sure you have your music going through your headset, I'm getting some feedback here."
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    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Saffron shakes her head, before giving Yuuki a wry grin. "Nope. You're in Akiba's bed." Oh dear. "Akiba" is the nickname given to one Ensign Johnny Slater. Who happens to the be Yuuki's worst student. He tries hard, oh lord, he tries very hard, but his abilities are sorely lacking. At least one of Yuuki's 'ragequits' during her sessions of training potential pilots has been due to Akiba's absolutely horrid attempts at piloting. The fact that he also seems to be developing a very badly hidden crush on Yuuki doesn't help matters either. He's barely older than she is, a young, fresh recruit on his first mission, and often acts like he's about 14 years old.

    "You might want to skedaddle, he's coming off shift in about 15 minutes."



    Joe watches his screen with a frown on his face. Several of the other techs come in, and crowd around the monitor, all frowning. One of them, from the Sasha's team, comes over IVan's comm on a private channel.

    "Be careful, IVan. They aren't here yet; looks like they're heading for the main facility, none have broken off this way yet, but we're picking up something weird. Goldstein probably won't care, but you've a bit more experience; you might be able to figure out what it is when they show up."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  9. - Top - End - #249
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    IVan Tessera
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    IVan grips the control sticks more tightly. "I appreciate the heads up. Perhaps a new mobile weapon has been deployed by our long time foe. However, it may be meaningless to speculate for now. I'd elected to continue to passively collect and record data. It wouldn't be worth the risk to lure them here with an active one. However, if we are forced to engage, collecting as much data as possible would be preferred."
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darrin View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  10. - Top - End - #250
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    Spoiler
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    Edit: This comment shouldn't exist as Gabriel Goldstein did not actually hear what would've triggered it. As there was literally no stimuli to react to, I have nothing to replace it with either, and I can't find the way to simply delete it. So I hide it here, for posterity.

    As Gabriel activate the Push-to-talk function of his communication system, one can clearly hear music in background. " Yeah, I kinda need you guys to collect data. If we don't know what we're defeating, how are we to claim bragging rights? Because, let's face it, we either become highly decorated heroes or we die trying. "

    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-04-25 at 09:51 PM.

  11. - Top - End - #251
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    "Oh, god, why'd you tell me that now?"

    Yuuki groans, and rolls off the bed onto her feet. "I guess I shouldn't keep the captain waiting too long. She'll probably get even madder if I don't show up soon. But, just, please don't tell Akiba I was in his bed. I'll never hear the end of it from him."

    She leaves the room at a trot and makes her way up to Captain Brighton's quarter, where she knocks at the door. "Captain Brighton, this is Ensign Itano. I was told by Ensign Mitsuki you wanted to speak with me."
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    Saffron gives Yuuki a friendly smile, and makes an air zipper-lock motion over her lips. "Not a word." There's not time to say more, and Yuuki narrowly avoids seeing Akiba in the hall, but just manages to stay out of sight.

    Once she reaches the Captain's office, her knock is greeted by a pleasant, "Come in." Captain Brighton is seated at her desk, reading something on her datapad. She looks up from it as the door closes behind Yuuki and nods. She doesn't exactly smile, there's a worried undertone to her expression, but she seems to be in good spirits at least. A tray with two pots, two cups, and other little bowls sits on a stand next to her desk. One pot most likely has tea in it, but Yuuki's nose tells her that the other has hot chocolate in it. Captain Brighton rises, setting her datapad aside, and picks up the tray, placing it on her desk, then gestures to one of the chairs on Yuuki's side of it.

    "At ease. Have a seat. I'd like to have an informal discussion with you, Yuuki, and I thought this might help matters." She pours one cup full of tea, then looks to the young pilot. "Tea or chocolate?"
    Last edited by Nova_Eclipse; 2018-04-23 at 07:58 PM.
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  13. - Top - End - #253
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    Yuuki takes a seat in the offered chair, keeping her back ramrod straight. Her nose flares with excitement as she sees the pot of hot chocolate, but through sheer force of will (and spite), she keeps her voice level and replies, "Neither, Captain Brighton. What did you want to talk to me about."
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Captain Brighton pauses, then shrugs slightly. She knows she's partly to blame for the hostility she can sense from Yuuki, but she's hoping she hasn't pushed the young pilot too far. She seats herself once more, and takes the cup she just filled, placing it in front of her, then propping her elbows on the desk and folding her hands above it, just in front of her mouth. She seems to consider for a moment, before lowering her arms and interlacing her fingers in front of the cup.

    "Well, help yourself if you change your mind." She looks down into the steaming cup for a moment, then back at Yuuki. "To be blunt, I wanted to talk about you. How you're doing. I know I've been rather hard on you this week. You're not here to be dressed down, or corrected. Or for more training. I pushed you this week. I pushed you as hard as I dared, mostly for two reasons. One, I needed to know that you wouldn't crack if faced with a horrible superior and stupid orders. That you'd keep doing your duty. I did this because if something ever happens to the ship, or to me, you might be saddled with a captain who wouldn't understand how you came to be in the service. And if you are to continue on your path, you need to be able to survive, no matter who's in command. Part of those survival skills are knowing when to put your head down and follow orders, even if they're dumb." She smiles gently. "And two, I've been trying to get you as up to speed on procedures you'll need whenever we wind up rejoining the fleet. I'm hoping that will be sooner, rather than later, but the Admirals have been rather mum on the subject, and I can only push so much." She picks up the cup and takes a long sip, before placing it back on the saucer.

    "You've made excellent progress, and I'm very impressed. There are a few things we still need to go over, but they can wait for awhile. I am sorry for the ruse. It was not fun for me, either. I don't like doing things like this, but I felt it was necessary, since you're the only fully-able bodied pilot we have." Captain Brighton gives Yuuki a friendly smile. "I understand if you're angry with me. Yell, and scream, if you'd like, if it will help get the stress out. Heaven knows I do enough of it after talking to command sometimes. I'd even be willing to oblige you a sparring match in the gym, if you'd like to fight. But at the end of it, I really do need to know how you're doing, as honestly as you can tell me, and not what you think I want to hear, either. If you are having trouble in some way that I can help with, I would like to provide that help, if I can."



    Athrusa awakens to the sounds of activity. People rush past in the hall, busy about something or other, though she can't make out anything they're talking about. Her normal suit has been laid out for her on a chair next to her bed. Despite her injuries, her body seems more agreeable now, and moving produces little, if any, of the pain she had earlier. Perhaps they gave her something while she was sleeping?
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

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    Athrusa stirs a little towards the noise, her ears always picking up acute sounds even though sometimes she'd rather not. She rubs her eyes and sits up, looking around for Celeste. She hops out of bed with a quiet wince, then flexing an arm as she finds the pain has subsided. Another dose...?

    She puts on her normal suit before long -- it's always a good idea to have it on when people are murmuring. She tries to catch some of the conversation now that she was more aware.

  16. - Top - End - #256
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    Athrusa recognizes the voices of her own tech team gathered outside, though through the door, it's hard to make out what they're talking about. At least one voice is recognizable as the gravelly tones of an Ooontaa, and another sounds like her suit's tech lead. She'll need to get closer to the door if she wants to eavesdrop.

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    Listening in on the conversation is going to require a roll. Either Careful or Sneaky would be most appropriate.
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  17. - Top - End - #257
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    Yuuki stares down silently for a long moment. "I don't want to be here," she says finally. "At all. I hate being stuck on this ship, especially with the Ragalians aboard. I feel like I've been awful at everything you've ordered me to do. And I really, really don't want to have to fight. I know I said I would because I want my pound of flesh to the Admirals, and I do, I want to see every Ragalian piece of crap wiped off the face of the galaxy, but that doesn't mean having to kill stuff feels good."

    She unclenches her fists from the arms of the chair just long enough to slam them down into her lap, and continues, "I'm not a pilot, I'm not a teacher, hell, I'm not even an engineer. I'm a glorified techie that wrote a training package, and I don't get why you and everyone else are putting so much pressure on me."
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  18. - Top - End - #258
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    Captain Brighton nods. Her expression is open, listening intently. When Yuuki finishes, she sits back against her chair for a moment, considering her next words, before leaning forwards once more, folding her hands in front of her cup again.

    "You're a remarkable young woman with a lot of potential. I know you don't want to be here, doing this. War is an ugly thing, and I'm glad you don't enjoy it. It causes people to do the most horrible things imaginable. But because you have a lot of potential, it shouldn't be squandered. That's why I've been putting pressure on you. I want to see you realize that potential. You may not think you're a pilot, but you definitely have the instincts. You've been grasping maneuvers that sometimes take weeks for others to learn." She smiles gently.

    "And some of those you've in turn been trying to train have made definite improvements. You might not have the patience to teach for an extended period of time, but you've done well in the short time you've been trying it. I don't expect you to be perfect at everything you do. None of us are. Some might say, I'm an awful ship captain,"
    Captain Brighton grins wryly, "And you might agree with them. But someone above me thinks I'm doing an okay enough job at to keep me here. Right now, I'm above you, and I think you've done an excellent job so far as a pilot. You've been trying your best with the teaching, and your students are showing improvement. That's a passing metric in my book."

    She takes another sip from her cup, then taps her datapad, and sets it on the edge of the desk closest to Yuuki. "I don't know if this will help or not, but I did promise to explain about Athrusa. Read that. I had to pull a lot of strings to get it, and it just came in while I was waiting for you."



    The pilots don't have long to wait. A few minutes later, Joe comes over the general comm line to both the Sasha and the Gyro.

    "Microjump signatures detected 100 kilometers to starboard. Four ships, two destroyer-class, one assault carrier, one corvette. They've begun launching mobile suits." His voice shakes a bit. "Nothing for it now. Gundams, cleared for launch."

    Spoiler: OOC
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    I'll post more on zones and the general layout tomorrow; need to hit the sack, but didn't want to hop off without starting this.

    Last edited by Nova_Eclipse; 2018-04-25 at 10:15 PM.
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  19. - Top - End - #259
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nova_Eclipse View Post
    "Microjump signatures detected 100 kilometers to starboard. Four ships, two destroyer-class, one assault carrier, one corvette. They've begun launching mobile suits." His voice shakes a bit. "Nothing for it now. Gundams, cleared for launch."
    A glare of light can be seen from the Gyro's head sensors. As Gabriel works the commands, the anthropomorphic machine comes to life: The various maintenance systems are retracted, cables are released and hoses writhe about, carried by their own air pressure and as Gabe finishes the few remaining status checks, the Gyro's namesake's, enormous heavy wheels within' wheels embedded in each arms and legs, as well as below the cockpit, begin to whirl.

    The Gyro itself takes a crouched position, ready to be catapulted. As the Gyro is launched, Gabe states:
    " Golf-Yankee-Romeo-Oscar moving to intercept. "

    Then, as he continues, one can hear the smirk added in his voice:
    " Please confirm: Main objective is to "get them". If that proves impossible, we are to cause as much collateral damage as possible! "

    Spoiler
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    OOC: This post was originally typed quickly so that the game could go on A.S.A.P. It has been edited for details. Here's the original:

    As the Gyro is launched, Gabe states:
    " Golf-Yankee-Romeo-Oscar moving to intercept. "

    Then, as he continues, one can hear the smirk added in his voice:
    " Please confirm: Main objective is to "get them". If that proves impossible, we are to cause as much collateral damage as possible! "
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-04-26 at 09:58 PM.

  20. - Top - End - #260
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    Athrusa leans in a little closer; she's got a lot of experience just... flattening herself against walls and otherwise being a scarce presence -- sometimes it's just to escape bullying, but other times, it's come in useful for snooping too.

  21. - Top - End - #261
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    IVan Tessera
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    "Alright, system interface, confirm preflight,"
    IVan says.

    "Reactors online. Craft systems integrity within expected levels. Beginning data recording." The computer reports.

    "Very well. IVan Tessera, Sasha Gundam, launching."
    The Sasha Gundam makes a running leap out of the hangar, then engages its multitude of large thrusters to accelerate to combats. The helmet mounted display begins to map the surround debris and celestial bodies, outlining them in various colors by type. The 360 degree cockpit fades the visible arms and wing binders of the machine to near transparency to improve visibility, and puts up the targeting up. Outside, the seems in the red armor plating that bury the cockpit glow a slight green as the psycoframe systems engage. "System interface command: engage LoS laser communications with the Gyro Gundam prototype. Release Minovsky particles at combat density. Begin passive scan for enemy targets."

    "Goldstein, there's what I suspect is a new type of mobile weapon being deployed by the enemy force. Stay frosty, and if at all possible without endangering your machine, attempt to disable it,"
    IVan tells his wingman dispassionately. "Our primary mission will be to defend our station. Capture enemy equipment for analysis is our secondary objective." IVan gives orders out of habit. Technically, Goldstein, being a test pilot, doesn't work under him. However, having a clear direction in combat could mean the difference between the quick and the dead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    All gaming systems should be terribly flawed and exploitable if you want everyone to be happy with them. This allows for a wide variety of power levels for games for different levels of players.
    I dub this the Snowbluff Axiom.

  22. - Top - End - #262
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snowbluff View Post
    "Goldstein, there's what I suspect is a new type of mobile weapon being deployed by the enemy force. Stay frosty, and if at all possible without endangering your machine, attempt to disable it," IVan tells his wingman dispassionately. "Our primary mission will be to defend our station. Capture enemy equipment for analysis is our secondary objective." IVan gives orders out of habit. Technically, Goldstein, being a test pilot, doesn't work under him. However, having a clear direction in combat could mean the difference between the quick and the dead.
    As Gabriel tests the Gyro's mobility as well as his own controls over it, having it "dance" by engaging different gyroscopes while moving certain members, he mumbles to himself:
    "As long as we consider offense as the best defense, those are parameters I can operate in..."

    He then stabilizes the Gyro's position, and engage the Gyro's thrusters to gain momentum:
    "Roger that. Keep in mind that the Gyro has been designed for Hit-and-Run tactics and operates in short bursts. Paint me priority targets, don't expect me to simply hold the line and I'll be a far bigger thorn in their side than I'll be in yours.

    That said, we need every advantage we can muster. If we went on the offensive, the enemy might believe we have a strength we do not. This would not only give us the element of surprise, but also the strategic lead. Faced with an unknown threat, they would have to leave the station alone, leaving it safe.

    Or we can have another valiant defeat for humanity. Your call.
    "
    Last edited by Gorum; 2018-04-26 at 10:00 PM.

  23. - Top - End - #263
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    IVan Tessera
    Station Exterior


    IVan is sitting in the Sasha's cockpit with his helmet off, his fist pressed against his face, and his other hand tapping impatiently on the linear chair's armrest. Prepping for combat often gave him an excess of energy, and it certainly wasn't being.

    "I doubt the Ragelians would be so easily cowed by two machines. They've already made a clean sweep of this system's defenses recently, so it's unlikely they'll suspect further forces. However,"
    IVan starts as he begins flipping switches to engage the sturm booster on the Sasha's back, "this prototype still carries the sturm booster from its original Ares frame. It has some utility in a guerilla or 'hit-and-run' action. Drawing the enemy away from the station would be ideal, especially if they have pinpointed it's location yet." He takes a moment to chide his wingman, as the younger, less experienced pilot's enthusiasm would need curbing. "However, I'll remind you that we're no more bound for success than any other human deployment in this war. The odds are your machine's wetware will be meeting a catastrophic system failure."

    "Wetware" is what IVan calls a pilot. Humanizing a war machine like himself would be quite indulgent. The label is apt, as a newtype is a part of their machine, and effective a processor for a psychoweapon's commands. A normal pilot might be insulted by the comparison, but Goldstein's a cyber new type in machine would make anyone "wetware," and some people might call the dissociating statement a euphemism.
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  24. - Top - End - #264
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    Yuuki leans back in her chair and crosses her arms. "Before I read that, what reason do I have to trust either you or whoever gave it to you? The military has done nothing but screw with me since we left Stetchkin, so for all I know this is just another part of that."
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  25. - Top - End - #265
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    The Gundams, like most modern mobile suits, can link and display sensor data from sources other than their own sensors. The data link with the station's sensors allows both Gabe and IVan to see the enemy formation on their displays, even though they're far beyond the Gundams' sensor range. The enemy is currently still deploying suits, and has made no move to begin moving into the asteroid field where the station sits. They seem to be mustering forces, possibly unsure of how much resistance might be present. IVan might note that one of the mobile weapons that's already been launched has a very strange signature to it; less heat than a normal mobile suit, and a drive signature similar to the one created by the Gyro Gundam. IVan might note something else there, but it's hard to put his finger on it aside from the strange readings.

    Spoiler: Combat Zones
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    Station Zone: This zone comprises a sphere, 25 kilometers in radius, centered on the station. This zone is clear of asteroids.

    Belt Zone A: This zone borders the Station Zone, and extends in all directions for 25 kilometers from the edge of the Station Zone. There are a few scattered, small asteroids in this zone, but the density is low enough that they probably can't be used for cover.

    Belt Zone B: This zone borders Belt Zone A and extends 25 kilometers in all directions from the edge of Zone A. Asteroid size and density here significantly increases, giving lots of opportunities to set ambushes, hide, and exploit a suit's maneuverability over less maneuverable foes. IVan and Gabe should know this Zone very well; it's where the facility tended to perform a lot of their maneuverability and G-force tests, as well as simulate mock battles on occasion.

    Belt Zone C: This zone borders Belt Zone B and extends . Asteroid density slowly drops in this area, getting lighter as one goes further from the station. Density levels at the outer edge are comparable to those in Zone A.

    Enemy Fleet Zone/ Belt Zone D: This zone is on the outer edge of belt Zone C. This area is a rather large gap that was once used by the facility for weapons testing, and as such, is clear of asteroids, and also acts as something of an entrance to the area. The enemy fleet is holding position in this area as they launch mobile suits and gather into formation.


    Because of their familiarity with the area, IVan and Gabe should be able to use their home-court advantage to best ability, especially given the designs of their suits.

    Spoiler: Active Situational Aspects
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    Home Court Advantage - Gabe and IVan know the asteroid field like the backs of their hands, having spent time here both for their most recent round of testing, and for testing sessions related to the development of their Gundams. The enemy will have to learn the ins and out the hard way.
    Psyched Up - Gabe isn't going down without a fight, and he's determined to show the enemy who's the best pilot in the galaxy!


    Spoiler: Turn Order
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    This will probably change as the battle goes on, but for now, the turn order is:
    IVan
    Gabe
    Enemy NPCs




    Athrusa's practice at sneaking around has paid off. She's able to get close to the door, and pick up most of the conversation. Her suit's tech lead is talking to one of the Ooontaa mechanics that's been assigned to the Nephilim.

    "It's now active. Repairing some of the other damage, and putting an arm back on it must have fixed it. There's still data we can't read out of it, but it's now operational, not just in the short fits and starts. It's more than just the direct interface, either, it's some kind of AI system." The mechanic sounds concerned.

    "Is it hostile? We're not dealing with another Sazabi, are we?" Despite the suit now apparently listening to the Captain, many of the crews are still suspicious of the Sazabi, Athrusa's team lead apparently being one of them. There's a rustling noise, probably someone gesturing.

    "Not so far as we can tell. But you really should tell Athrusa; there's no telling what it might do while she's engaged. If she's not ready for it, it might try to interfere somehow."

    "Hmmm, I don't want to worry her, but you're right, Borghee. I guess now's as good a time as any." A moment later, the room's entry tone rings, before the tech's voice sounds out. "Athrusa? May I come in, or are you changing?"



    Captain Brighton takes another sip from her cup, before looking back at Yuuki.

    "It didn't come from the military. Or at least...not through official channels. I pulled in some favors that were owed to me by a certain...infamous...group. Perhaps you've heard of the Knights of Sol?" Yuuki should have. Although they style themselves as a modern-day Robin Hood group, most governments consider the Knights of Sol nothing more than a rather powerful gang of thieves and mercenaries. The AAF actually classifies them as a terrorist group. Originally, they were a part of the Scavenger's Alliance, but broke ties with that nation over a number of disputes, including mining and trade rights with certain backwater worlds. They're a thorn in everyone's side, if the news reports are to be believed, but, like the Qualians, almost every nation and megacorp employs them under the table for dubious tasks of one sort or another at one point in time or another. Yuuki might not know about their employment history, but she'll have certainly heard of them.

    Captain Brighton smiles, raising an eyebrow mischievously. "They were happy to oblige when I told them what I wanted. They like stealing things from the Solarians in general, and the Qualians in particular. It's a game for them. I know you might not trust me, but you should trust them. After all, they did it knowing it was for you. You're well known among certain circles of pilots, you know." Her eyes leave Yuuki's face, and fixate on one of the pictures on the wall, one with a face familiar to Yuuki.
    Last edited by Nova_Eclipse; 2018-05-06 at 09:40 PM.
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  26. - Top - End - #266
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    Athrusa looks a little alarmed and surprised, and perhaps no shortage of guilty either; she really trusts the mechanics with the Nephilim and her life, and she felt bad about snooping in on their conversation, especially when it involved her safety. "I--I'm here!" as she hurries towards her bed to sit on it. Once they enter, she looks towards herself and-- nods, saying, "Is something the matter...? I'm on meds, so I can move and help if you need it..."

  27. - Top - End - #267
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    Yuuki looks back at the picture Captain Brighton is staring at, and what little warmth there still was behind the distrust drains from her face.

    A bang sounds through the Captain's quarters as Yuuki leaps out of her chair and slams her hands down on the desk. "Don't you dare bring my Mom into this," she snarls. "If that's what you're going to stoop to to get me to believe whatever's on that datapad, I am done talking to you."
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  28. - Top - End - #268
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    Captain Brighton simply gives Yuuki a calm look, and finishes the last of the tea in her cup, before placing it gently back onto her desk, saying nothing for a moment, simply locking eyes with the young pilot. When she finally speaks, her voice is calm and even.

    "I'm not." She sighs for a moment, looking away, before looking back to Yuuki. "Mayu had a way of...reaching people. Some of those people happened to be in...let's say, less than legal professions. Some of them happened to belong to the Knights of Sol. Since I worked with her on occasion, I got to know some of those people as well, and over the course of several operations, wound up having them owe me some favors. Your mother was fond of showing you off to people she considered friends. Some of them were the same people that owed me favors. They asked if I knew anything about you or your father because they were worried about you both. When I mentioned you were on board, they asked about you specifically, and I told them the files were actually for you. That made them more amenable to procuring the information. Your mother was only tangentially involved, you see."

    She folds her hands in front of her again, resting on the desk.

    "And don't misinterpret, either. I'm not saying you should believe what's on that datapad because of anything your mother did or didn't do, or would or wouldn't do. You can believe what you want. You asked me to give you a reason to trust it because the military has 'screwed you over', as you put it. I've given you a reason. It didn't come from the military. It came from the lab that turned Athrusa into what she is now. I acquired it because I figured you would need more proof than just the official records. If I were in your shoes, I would too. But you needed to know how I acquired it, its provenance. That is how I acquired it. If you'd like, I can call my contact in the Knights of Sol, and have him verify the file's authenticity. He'd be thrilled to finally get to meet you, since Mayu used to talk his ear off about you, but that's up to you."




    The Nephilim's lead tech steps into Athrusa's room nervously and smiles at her.

    "Well, actually, I wanted to talk to you about the Nephilim's cockpit system. The repairs have activated some things, and you should be aware of it before you try and pilot again." He shifts nervously. "There's some kind of AI system now linked to the direct interface. We're still not sure exactly what it does, but there's a risk that the AI may try to interfere with commands you give. As long as you're mentally ready for that possibility, in theory, you should be able to keep control of the suit."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

  29. - Top - End - #269
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    Athrusa sags as she listens to the mechanic and lets out a crestfallen sigh. "Oh... ..." A pause. "I'd... told you about some of the hallucinations before, didn't I? I'm pretty sure they're becoming clearer in my head now. I think I could make out the word... 'ZERO'..."

    She hangs her head for a moment. "I'm not quite sure what that's about... but I have a really bad feeling about it. This machine was sealed away for a long time, wasn't it? I have a feeling it was done so for a good reason..."

    She shakes her head. "But that's no excuse to not give it my all for all of you. Is there any maintenance I can help with?"

  30. - Top - End - #270
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    "ZERO? Hmmm...that sounds familiar. I'll have to look through some of the info that was provided when the suit was given to us." He nods, then smiles. "But yes, the suit was in storage for quite some time. It was donated to the Gundam program by the Barton Combine, though we don't know how or when they acquired it. They might not have all the info on it, either, but it's at least worth a try." He considers for a moment, then smiles a bit wider.

    "Well, if you're feeling up to it, you should probably run a few tests to get used to the new arm, and set up targeting for the new weapons. We've linked the beam guns in the new arm to the suit's reactor, so ammo should be less of a concern for those weapons, and we've got the heat claws working as well. You should probably get a little practice in moving it around; it's heavier than the suit's other arm, so you might need a bit of time to get things dialed in."
    Why is it Plan A is always, "Get 'Em!" and Plan B is, "Cause as much collateral damage as possible"?

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