Before walker could get an answer out of Elliot the guards felt like their time was up in getting their gear. Moving them along back to the first room as everyone took their seats. Eva Mayer came back with a slight smile on her face. "Well, I'm glad everyone had fun at the Armory." She said as she looks at them all. "Miss Rostikova, I had discussed the terms you have laid out and I"m sure you would like our counter-offer." She walked over to Irina and hand over the data pad with the full terms written out.
As Eva watch Irina read over the data pad, she also saw Irina write out some edits. The data pad had the full contract written out. Most of it was the same that Irina had said, but something was added. AsIrina looked over the datapad, frowning at the new terms that had been outlined by the Director. Taking a finger, she crossed out a few of the terms that had been added and started typing away.
Orion's Modified Mission Parameters
1. Orion personnel are not cleared to kill or cause any physical bodily harm to non-combattant civilians during the course of this mission. In the event that this parameter is failed, Orion forfeits its mission payout.
-- Irina Clause Addendum Suggestion: This clause is limited to the outlined mission area (Artifact Storage Facility). Any civilian non-combattants harmed by TGR or Chronus personnel are excluded from this clause.
2. The mission payout will be paid to Orion personnel after delivery of the Artifact.
-- Irina Clause Addendum Suggestion: The artifact is to be in an undamaged state at the time of delivery, this excludes any damage caused by excavation by the colonials or their storage processes. Preliminary pre-acquisition scans by Orion's mission operatives shall be submitted for comparison upon delivery.
-- Irina Clause Addendum Suggestion #2: Mission payout shall be held in escrow by a third party agreed upon by both Chronus and Orion.
With the final edit, Irina handed back the datapad and Eva looked it over. Letting out a sigh but she had permission to iron out any last details. Giving a nod as Eva handed it over to Walker to make sure everything was fine by him. Walker took and reread what was Irina had said and seen the newly added additions that Chronus added, as well as the ones Irina has written over them. Chuckling as he nodded and sign it. "Seems good enough to me." Eva smiled and took the contract. "We'll send a copy within the hour to the "Sweet child of Mine" once we get everything set. As well as the five million. You are all free to go and plan out your attack." She said and with that she started to leave.
Soon enough, Orion was lead back to their transport and they were safely lead back to the "Sweet Child of Mine." Once they got off the Transport, Walker said out loud. "Alright people, meet me in the meeting room within ten minutes."
The Orion Files | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Shuttle Bay
Message in a bottle...
Irina Rostikova | Edward Aubergine
While Irina Rostikova was a bit relieved that the negotiations had been completed without a hitch, she felt that certain nagging sensation all merchants get when negotiations go a bit too smoothly. With the briefing completed, the crew filed out of the meeting hall and were escorted towards the shuttle bay and as they did, the Catican negotiator connected with the Redeemer's drone assembly and control system. Taking two of the blank chassis, recon packages and cloaking modules, the Mistress of Drones fashioned a pair of cloaked recon drones that Orion could use to scan the storage facility before they made planet fall. Pausing for a moment, she turned to the captain as he sat down next to her.
"Captain, can I have a moment of your time?" Irina asked politely as she considered how to phrase her proposal. As one of the few non-combat trained personnel that was part of the crew, the Catican Non-Combatant hoped that her explanations would be sufficient and that her reasoning would have battlefield merit, "I have a pair of cloaking field enabled drones ready to launch from my shuttle. But I would like to add a minor adjustment to their function as well."
There was a heavy pause as Irina waited for some sort of response from the Captain, though the only response that she did get was a gesture to continue speaking.
"I was thinking that if I were to deliver a message to the colonists that the TGR and Chronus forces were about to assault their capital complex they would redeploy the facility guards to the capital in order to aid in the evacuation of civilians and to put up a more effective defense against the TGR. My plan was to use a short radio burst that mimicked their central command and recall the guards back to the capital. With the TGR's communications jamming up, they wouldn't be able to call for confirmation. They'd have two options at the point, either send everyone back to the capital in order to prepare for the impending assault or a large portion to assist. In either case, we're dealing with a small contingent of guards." The Catican Female took a moment to take a breath before putting on her best, "please say okay! please say okay!" face.
The captain seemed to give the proposal some thought, allowing the idea to play out in his mind before he responded.
"It's a bit risky but it's got merit too. If TGR or Chronus got wind of it, it'll be more than our pay that would get pulled" The Captain stated flatly, too flatly for Irina to get a proper read.
"Well, it would be less risky if I went low-tech. Something like a note would be effective but how do I..." The Catican Jury-Rigger muttered before snapping her fingers, "I've got just the thing captain. With your permission, I'd like to start reconnaissance of the facility and enact my plan."
Again, Captain Walker seemed to mull over the thought a little in his head before nodding, giving Irina the okay to start.
"Alright... modifications complete. Launching Drones." The Drone Pilot muttered before opening a communications channel with the TGR ships, "
This is Irina Rostikova with Orion Company. Launching Reconnaissance Drones for forward sweep of mission area. Request start of communications jamming."
There was a pause on the line as the TGR communications officer appeared to be waiting for something.
Roger Orion, starting communications jamming now. Good hunting. Over" The male communications officer said with an all too familiar grin on his face, "
Also, maybe we could meet aboard Chronus' ship after and swap stories... and maybe something else?"
Sorry TGR Heavy, your signal's breaking up. Can't hear you with all this jamming!" Irina practically screamed over the communications channel before she closed it altogether before checking the status of her drones, noting that they would arrive at the storage facility in less than one Terran hour.
"So, you think now is a good opportunity?"
It was when they were all grouping up again that Elliot turned and stretched, finding Walker coming right for him...as Grace vanished behind him, her departure from the visual spectrum obscured by the larger man. The guards would probably miss it, and especially the cameras, since they'd been looking for a good blindspot, or somewhere to make a blindspot by him acting as an obsctruction. Walker was, of course, curious about the hardware. Elliot made sure to give him a 'Hey, cool it' look before speaking.
"I'm absolutely certain that we need this gear, captain. There's no doubt in my mind that we can make good use of Chronus' generosity."
He was, of course, speaking in terms of future endeavours, as well. No, they didn't need ALL of this shit for the mission. They needed this shit for all the missions they were gonna have AFTER this one, and maybe to deal with anyone trying to keep them FROM having more missions. It should've been obvious to him that Elliot liked to be sure of things. Also, he was speaking thus to give Grace the distraction to sneak away while under cloak. She wasn't making noise or smell either, being in that lightball form. Cue the Henry Mancini music and let's see if our stealth operative finds anything interesting. She'll meet them back at the shuttle later. Elliot and them would, of course, be going back to the meeting soon.
She was a little confused as to why she'd had to return to Chronus' conference room; it was just some corporate drone and Kitty finalizing payment details. Mary was fine with others working out the payment details, so long as they didn't try to burn her; that said, if such a thing did happen, she had contingencies...but that was neither here nor there at the moment.
With the meeting wrapped up the others made their way back to Sweety, while Mary was taken, firstly, to the hanger she'd landed at so she could set the shuttles auto-pilot to return home, and then to the Cruiser's fighter deck to collect her new toy. As she prepped the fighter for launch, she was looking about and stopped cold. Across from her another small craft was being prepped for launch...one that she'd only ever seen holos and vids of. "That's a goddamn Hellbat..." She muttered quietly to herself. Curiously the ground crew seemed to be prepping it for launch, but before she could ponder that any further, Flight Control told her she was cleared for departure.
From there, she was lowered from the hanger bay to the flight deck, and then shot into space via catapult. Once spaceborne, she commed the shuttle and triggered its autopilot, before following it back to the old freighter. Once she was sure it had landed where it was supposed to, she went and parked her new toy with her old ones.
Brian stood silently as he moved back and forth between his part of the shipments and his rig. It was nice to be busy.
Canisters of various necessary and useful materials, most of which were to be plugged into his small manufactory. A long thick coil of ever useful electrum. Three field manufactories which would be harvested for their various components and stocked cartridges of chemicals. The maintenance kits, signaling kit, batteries, grenades, etc. he'd take apart and use as needed. Twelve boxes of assorted calibers of ammunition he'd use or rework depending upon how much time he'd have.
Once it was all moved he stepped back into his kodiak and examined his new gun, a long and old piece of weaponry he hadn't used since... What was it? Training? An artillery piece designed to fire like a rifle carried into the field in the hands of a kodiak for use against anything larger, or walls, or anything annoying enough. Four magazines, one he loaded and checked, and three he clipped near his 'hip.'
As he moved back to his setup and placed his new gun in its new place he saw a notice pop into his mind. Alert.
Fourty-nine unregistered location tags detected. Fucking corp,
Useless bits of hardware that only clogged up operation. He got to work, he probably had time to cut enough of them out before they moved.
As Grace wonders around Prometheus's hallways, she would come to a number of terminals she could bug or try to log into. Though logging into it would be kind of hard as it required ID from a personal on board the ship.
During her travels after trying out the terminals around the ship, she would see something quite odd about the crew. All of the guards onboard always fully equipped and had a helmet on. She would never see a guard without gear on. The only faces she saw were either the human officers or the very few aliens that choose to work with Chronus.
On the Sweety
Walker stay in his room for awhile, letting people have their fun of going over the new guns and equipment. He would probably ask Pit to check over everything if they haven't already.
Walker wasn't very sure about this mission. Way too many unknowns for his liking, but the money was way too good to pass up. He just hopes his crew is ready for anything down there. Walker opens up another bottle of booze and drank some of it. Getting off of his chair as he head towards the meeting room. Thinking everyone should be done with trying or checking out their new toys.
The Orion Files | Catican Heavy Transport Shuttle: Redeemer | Drone Control Suite
One Warning... Delivered
The Catican that had negotiated with Chronus' Director was rather surprised to find the shuttle on final approach with the Sweet Child o Mine. In her experience, there was such a thing as negotiations going too easily and such an event was usually an indicator of an inevitable future double cross. It would have been easy for the TGR warships to open fire on the lumbering shuttle, breaching the hull of the tiny craft and exposing the passengers to the coldness of vacuum, after all in the case of a frame job, the TGR and Chronus only needed the bodies of the Orion Group. But no such action came to pass and the audible thump of the shuttle touching down on the hanger deck was a welcomed by the Catican Merchant Mechanic.
"That went well," Edward commented from the seat next to Irina, his whiskers twitching in anticipation of the mission. It had been a long time since he had been near a planetary incursion, let alone participated in one, "I will be preparing the drop pod. Send me your reconnaissance data when they have been uploaded by your drones and I will find a suitable drop site.
With that, the burly Catican Shock Trooper hopped off of the shuttle, performing minor stretches, as he headed towards the Redeemer and his beloved drop pod. Watching him leave, Irina could only shake her head at his excitement. Despite his service to her as a bodyguard for a number of years, she still could not fathom what could drive a being to enjoy the thought of being dropped from orbit, free falling through a planet's atmosphere, enduring anti-aircraft fire and upon crashing, fighting to create a landing zone for transport ships. She guessed it was a difference in biology, some sort of aggression enhancement grafted into Edward's biology.
Hopping off of the transport, Irina felt a wave of relief travel over her as she felt her feet hit the surface of some place familiar. Strange places had always made her anxious and so the Feline-esque Female considered her relief a good omen when it came to the converted cargo hauler.
Without saying anything to the others exiting the transport, the Drone Mistress climbed up the ladder to the lock that would lead to her own ship and entered the Drone control suite. It had been nearly an hour since she'd sent the drones to scout out the storage facility and with any luck they would have arrived.
Settling in, Irina Rostikova swept her right hand in front of her, activating the Drone Control Suite. The system was programmed to detect if any of the drones under its controls were active and connected to them.
Drone Control Active: 2 Drones Active. Connecting..............
Irina sighed audibly as she waited for the connection to be completed. With the TGR's jamming in place, connection times were going to take longer. Thinking on it, Irina should have outfitted the drones with a laser communications system as well. Of course, while it wouldn't have been affected by the jamming, it required that the drone maintain line of sight with the Redeemer. That wouldn't have been a problem had there not been heavy cloud cover on its way in which would have blocked the signal.
The drone connected and started beaming a video stream back up to the control suite and caused Irina to groan loudly. The TGR's jamming was not only causing connection issues, it was causing quality issues in the video stream as well. While the stream was a bit fuzzy, there was enough uncorrupted data to make out the facility and more importantly, the guards walking the perimeter.
"Right!" Irina said, clapping her hands together as she ordered on of the drones to circle around the airspace above the storage facility, using multiple passes to get a better resolution on the structure. The other drone moved in closer to the wall that surrounded the compound, hovering right in front of the guard that was walking the wall before dropping its cloak.
"WHAT THE FUCK!?" The man's tinny voice came in through the audio speakers as Irina watched the man try to unshoulder his weapon before pausing and repeating his words, "What the fuck?"
From the darkness of the control suite, Irina could barely make out the man's lips moving, as if he was reading something, which in fact he was.
Irina's Note Painted on the Drone:
To Whom it may concern,
If you're reading this message then the TGR and Chronus have not started glassing this backwater planet of your's. My crew and I were recently hired to assist with an planned assault on your capital. As you can imagine, anyone with any common decency would be opposed to the idea of destroying a civilian center. It's with this in mind that I've sent this drone to warn you that the TGR and Chronus intend to assault your capital. As you've probably already noticed, they've started jamming your radio communications. You currently have two options. You can either believe me now and send your men before it's too late to save lives, or you can believe me when you see smoke on the horizon.
A concerned party
Having finished reading the note, the man in the black uniform turned and ran towards the compound, his arms waving in the air. The very sight of the panicked colonist brought a smile to Irian's lips as she recloaked the drone and had it start tagging the orbital cannons.
The Orion Files | Catican Heavy Transport Shuttle: Redeemer | Catican Drop Pod
Prepare the Preparations!
Edward Aubergine was afloat in a sea of Terran Females. More accurately, he was surrounded on all sides by images of Terran Females not just in various states of undress but various states of unrest. To the Catican Shock trooper's right was a holographic video of a highly mobile, winged, front line combat medic, known colloquially by TGR soldiers as a Valkyrie, used her augmented agility to strike at a force of five Pleiades soldiers from behind. To Edward's left was a holographic video of a red haired Terran soldier, using her high velocity automatic carbine to suppress a force of armored rebel troopers while another pair of Terran females attacked from the flank, a blue haired female running in and running them through with a high frequency blade mounted to her arms while another darker hair female sniped from the rear. If there was one thing that Edward Aubergine, Catican Shock Trooper appreciated, it was the paradoxical nature of fragile looking Terran females and their ability to endure the rigors of front line combat.
While the holovids played around him, the Catican Shock Trooper looked over the weapons that he'd laid out in front of him, each one cleaned and charged and ready to be used. The Vesper M-209 Auto-Cannon was a multi-barreled cannon that fired 60,000 rounds per minute, or rather 6,000 rounds that broke up into 10 sub-munitions after leaving the barrel. Tachyon Lab's AR-380 Rifle, otherwise known as the Cobra Rifle, was a delivery system designed to send a tungsten wrapped explosive slug down range at 3,000 meters per second. It had two modes of operation: Assault and Sniper. In the assault mode, the Cobra allowed for single, burst and fully automatic fire. In Sniper mode, the rifle deployed a pair of additional magnetic guide rails that stabilized the flight properties of the tungsten slug and made the shot more accurate. Finally Edward had the two wrist mounted flamers that Irina had ordered as well as a Terran Republic Arms G-780 Grenade Launcher. All this was designed to not only inflict as much damage as possible upon his deployment on the field but to send a shiver up any soldier's spine that had the poor luck of running into Edward.
Grunting in satisfaction, Edward ensured that his armor was clean, polished and ready for deployment. In keeping with the Catican Military Doctrine, the Shock Trooper armor was designed to instill fear into anyone who set eyes upon it. Designed from the same biological organisms as Catican ships, the armor's appearance could be redesigned depending on the target species. In the case of a Terran, the armor took on a more biological look that incorporated many pieces of Terran anatomy and utilized sharp edges.
With his equipment check completed, Edward turned to psychological preparation. In a random conversation regarding combat psychology and training, Irina had once informed Edward that it was possible to naturally raise his aggression levels without the use of chemicals. To do this Edward simply had to simply ... bring himself to near climax without release. As he locked the hatch to the drop pod, Edward Aubergine looked at the holovids playing around him and realized that it to do so was definitely easier to say than do.
After being brought back to the meeting room to go over some addendums to the mission contract, and with Walker's signature, it was a done deal and the away team was taken back to the Sweet Child of Mine, allowing them a bit of time to go over the equipment they had requisitioned. "Alright people, meet me in the meeting room within ten minutes." Walker announced as he disembarked the transport shuttle.
Velka hurried back to her quarters and performed a thorough diagnostic on the surveillance drones to work out any software and hardware flaws that had lingered due to their prototype status. Surprisingly they were largely complete, needing mainly a modification to the onboard camera which helped fix a problem with the overall quality of the visual feed, and for the hover drive to be properly connected to allow it to move without the need of a track or wheels.
After inputting some additional lines of code, Velka was able to link the drones control functions to her onboard wrist computer, eliminating the need for a proprietary control device. She also discovered that they had a basic camouflage system, nothing as advanced as hers mind you, but it would stop them from being seen by the naked eye.
Once all this was done, Velka headed towards the meeting room, presumably to plan out some kind of attack.
Shanoa was getting restless, though the announcement about the meeting helped a bit. She was still bored out of her digital mind, and was starting to wonder what kinda damage she could do to that corporate ships system, tact be damned, in ten minutes.
But didn't cause she was more interested in the job they went to get.
With her new bird squared away for the moment, she'd need to give it a name at some point, she headed for the meeting. "Hey Dicky-boy." She said with a smile as she spotted Walker. "Found something you ground pounders may appreciate." While flying back to Sweety, she'd put the fighter on autopilot and rummaged around in the computer to see what goodies the ship had come with; now she reached into her flightsuit and pulled out a datapad, handing it to Walker.
"My new girl was meant to be a multi-role job, so they stuck a dedicated C.A.S. relay into her comms." She went on waving to the pad. "That's got the comm channel and encryption protocols on it, so if you get that to those mud monkeys that have designators in their gear, they can mark targets for me to flatten, should the need arise." She was really hoping such a need would arise; the A.G.M.s that she'd gotten promised to have quite a 'pop' to them.
There wasn't going to be any terminal use or bugging on the part of Grace. It was a series of observations via getting into and out of places undetected, seeing what they would say freely behind closed doors and if any of it pertained to them. This would have given her insight on he people by their more careless actions, because they'd think they were safe and secure. In short, it was old school spying. Except...there had been little to hear or read over people's shoulders...because there were no people, it seemed. Not really. She needed to tell Elliot about this. It could be a problem.
Elliot had been lingering by the shuttle bay in plain site ever since the Catican woman had finalized their contract with the Chronus rep. His reason for doing so, after some prodding by one of the personnel who DID speak, was that he was just acting as a placeholder to make sure all of the crew got off, alright.
"Headcounting was important in the service - Know where all your people are - and I hold to that even now."
"Well, according to my records, you're all accounted for except..."
He held up the list to read it clearly.
"'Adult female, white-haired, in stealth combat suit'. Maybe you know where she is."
"I do, in fact. She went back to the shuttle, early."
"Yeah, right. Unseen?"
Elliot went opened the door to the shuttle, Grace was leaning against the wall in there. Anyone who'd been in the shuttle at the time might have seen her just appear there. Or maybe their back was turned for a moment, and THEN she was there. Point is, she arrived quietly and didn't say a word. She looked at the skeptical officer, who questioned her about how she got back unseen by security.
"I've been finding and using blindspots for half my life. It became habit-forming."
Confused and irritated, but unable to say more on the matter, they were let go. The officer would be able to report that all of the Walker people got off of the ship in a timely order and fuck the rest. Elliot and Grace's official reason for leaving the Promethius were to inspect their hardware and load it onto the Archer. It was only when they were back on board the Sweet Child O' Mine that Grace reported her findings, as they DID inspect their crate of stuff for bugs. Once they were satisfied that there either were none or they were dead, Grace explained what she saw. It made Elliot a bit concerned, but at least it explained why she was back so quickly.
"No conversations to really listen to. No people..."
"We're taking this to the Captain. He may already know or even Ms. Mayer let spill, but the implication makes this all the more worrying."
Why? Well, let's see. Wouldn't it be even worse that Chronus not only had a small army to match the TGR ship here, but that it was thoroughly disposable and that they would all very definitely keep mum about everything that happened here because they were either synthetic, robotic, or otherwise not programmed for conversation? Yeah, that's a problem. If it didn't come out in the meeting room, Elliot was going to let Walker know.
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ships Halls
"Terran idioms are both the best, and the worst. But they're always confusing."
Mar practically stalked the halls of the Sweetie on the way find both the Captain and the jittery little mechanic that had originally accompanied him aboard the Drift Station where she'd been hired. The initial impression she got on the mechanic, Pitt, was that he and the Captain were close, at least in the sense of being partners and crew. Which was good, because she'd probably need the Captain to translate the jumpy little... Sapient.
Really, she not only couldn't understand a single thing Pitt had said, but she wasn't entirely convinced Pitt was really male, female, or even human. Though, chances were that he/she was human, or at least humanoid. He/she had the requisite four limbs with five digits on each hand, anyway.
As she pondered on that little conundrum, she reminded herself of why she felt the need to find Pitt in the first place; To inspect her new ship. As enamored as she was with the 223-SSF Hellbat, she couldn't help but feel uncomfortable regarding it. And all of that stemmed from how she got her claws on it in the first place.
After the initial rush of avarice and satisfaction of being able to fly in her dream fighter so quickly after joining up with ORION, she realized that the method of which she got it was more than a little... Shady, from both a business and moral standpoint. While she accepted that pretty much all signs pointed to an inevitable betrayal from Chronus, that didn't necessarily excuse what was effectively theft of military equipment. During her time as a smugglers pilot, she had had the good sense to look up the various punishments that could possibly be levied against her if she had been caught, and she covered a wide range of star-nations. The sentence for Grand Larceny or Military Equipment Theft was generally harsh no matter who it came from.
Beyond that, it felt too easy. The stroke of luck leading up to it was just too good, and while she wasn't exactly superstitious, she couldn't help but put a little stock in luck and chance. Her career as a Shuttle Racer saw to that. So since it seemed like it was too easy, too much good luck in her favor, she immediately felt suspicious that something was inherently wrong with it or that something terrible was going to happen to it.
She felt a strange, sudden urge to ask Mary about it. She was certainly an experienced pilot, even more so than herself. And more of that experience involved combat, which undoubtedly had some luck involved with each canine-fight. Still, she hardly knew the woman, and she wasn't about to get too chummy too quick. Probably best to keep those feelings to herself.
Still, she thought as she poked her head in various rooms to quickly see if either Walker or Pitt were there, she could give Chronus credit about one thing; They certainly left her new Hellbat loaded. It came in mounted with a pair of close-range pulse lasers, a pair of anti-ship Shrike Missile Pods, as well as an ECM Jammer Module and an Enhanced Active-Sensor Array. A good, all-around loadout from what she could tell.
On the third room she poked her head in, she spotted both Walker and Mary at a table that reminded her all-too-much of the corporate meeting room aboard the Prometheus.
"Hey, Captain. I don't suppose you've seen Pitt anywhere, have you? I want, uh... Him, to look over my new fighter with a fine-toothed... Whatever you Terrans call that thing that you use for hair grooming." Mar said with a wave of one true-hand, before she looked around uncomfortably.
"By the way, I don't suppose you could tell me... Just what is Pitt? Male? Female? Uh... Human?" inquired the Shree.
"Hey Dicky-boy." 'oh here we go...' Walker thought as he stops and turns towards Mary. Giving a small smile as he wonders what she wanted. "Found something you ground pounders may appreciate."
"My new girl was meant to be a multi-role job, so they stuck a dedicated C.A.S. relay into her comms. That's got the comm channel and encryption protocols on it, so if you get that to those mud monkeys that have designators in their gear, they can mark targets for me to flatten, should the need arise."
"Well damn, that's great to know.." Walker smiled, wondering what other goodies they got from Chronus. "With you and Mar getting those new ships we should be good to go if anything tries to nail us. Plus we can't forget about the Archer if things get really dicey." He smiled at the thought of the heavy firepower they have now. It might not have been that much, but it was something to be fear hopefully.
He snapped out of his thought as he remembers the meeting. "I wonder if any of our other members got any dirt on Chronus..which I"m sure they tried too.." Walker shook his head a bit, thinking he might like their hijinks. Then he saw Mar sticking her head inside.
"Hey, Captain. I don't suppose you've seen Pitt anywhere, have you? I want, uh... Him, to look over my new fighter with a fine-toothed... Whatever you Terrans call that thing that you use for hair grooming."
"That would a comb Mar" Walker smiled and chuckle lightly a bit. "Also I believe he is in his room. I'll give you directions after the meeting."
" By the way, I don't suppose you could tell me... Just what is Pitt? Male? Female? Uh... Human?"
"From what I can tell, he is a human male." Walker thought about it a bit as he nodded. "Yeah I'm about..ninety-five percent sure he a human."
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Meeting Room
"Is there any way I could see his birth records?"
As Mar stepped into the meeting room, she picked a place for herself at one corner and leaned against the wall, crossing all four arms across her barrel-chest. When Walker corrected her, she merely rolled her eyes and snorted.
"That would a comb Mar."
"Right, whatever. You mammals and your hair." she teased with a good-natured smile.
On the subject of Pitt, however, Mar perked up a little with renewed interest.
"Also I believe he is in his room. I'll give you directions after the meeting. From what I can tell, he is a human male. Yeah I'm about..ninety-five percent sure he a human."
A small frown played across her face as she cocked her head a little at him.
"Ninety-five-percent sure. Well, I suppose that's the most certainty I'll get without actually stripping him out of that stupid suit of his. It'll do." she conceded with a shrug, "Still, there's always that five-percent margin of error."
With a soft chuckle, she spared a glance at the doorway and said, "So who else are we waiting for? Did you have a plan in mind for the ground operation, or are we going to come up with that in this meeting? It'd be nice to know if you need me more for an assault drop in a shuttle along with some ground action, or as air support."
"Well, I'm trying to think who should all be part of the ground mission, and who should stay up here and provide backup in case things get out of hand..." Walker said as thinks about it. "I would like to get our heavys down with us. Both Brian and Edward would tear apart anything in our way, which if Irina plan works, won't be needed anyways. Though I don't like if's."
"Which would leave our stealth group. Would like Shanoa and Velka as our scouts. Shanoa going ahead and unlocking any doors for us. While Velka drones scout out areas that we can't cover ourselves. The quicker we find this artifact the better. Plus we got more drones to act as decoys if need be. At least..that's what I have in mind so far."
Walker said as he then remembers their one crew member. "..the one person I don't know if I should include is Resha. She seems a bit too..innocent to be included in this mission." Walker thought about it.
Mary looked between Mar and Walker as they spoke, looked around the rather empty meeting room, sighed and then shook her head. "Hold that thought Dicky-boy." She said, as Walker started to outline his ideas. Walking to a nearby, wall mounted, comm panel, she punched up a ship-wide broadcast. Should see about getting a wrist comm. She thought.
Placing the end of thumb and middle finger of her left hand to her lips, she blew into the mic pick-up as hard as she could, causing feedback and an ear-shattering shriek to echo throughout the old freighter. "Now that I have your attention." She chuckled. "Would all the mercs that Captain Dick picked up at our last stop please get to the briefing room...we've got money to make."
When Velka arrived at the meeting room, she could see that it was currently populated by just Walker, Mar and Mary. After giving a cursory wave, she sat down towards the back of the meeting room and waited for the others to show up. Both the Captain and Mar were having a conversation about just what exactly Pitt was; something that had piqued Velka's interest as well, but deemed it not necessary to find out for the moment.
Then came the actual planning of the mission, with Walker toying with who should be part of the ground crew, and who should stay behind in case of emergencies. As he so eloquently put it; "Both Brian and Edward would tear apart anything in our way," All this was being noted down by Velka in her log for analysis as she viewed the map of the mission area, figuring out where she could be best deployed.
"Which would leave our stealth group. Would like Shanoa and Velka as our scouts. Shanoa going ahead and unlocking any doors for us. While Velka drones scout out areas that we can't cover ourselves. The quicker we find this artefact the better. Plus we got more drones to act as decoys if need be. At least..that's what I have in mind so far." Before Velka could make a suggestion, though, Mary went over to the wall-mounted communicator.
"Would all the mercs that Captain Dick picked up at our last stop please get to the briefing room...we've got money to make."
"That we do Miss Mary, provided we follow mission parameters," Velka remarked in a somewhat blunt manner as she rose up from her chair and walked to the planning table, getting a closer look at the map.
"In my opinion Captain and apologies to all, if this sounds obvious, but the most efficient setup for a team would be one that has a wide range of skills. We should at least take along one of our more heavier hitting members in case of emergencies or the colonists spring some sort of surprise on us.
If myself and Miss Shanoa went in first as like you said, scouts, we could make it easier for the rest to enter; perhaps cause further distractions and draw the combatant colonists away from the primary objective."
"Regarding our recent pick-up, she is quite the unknown, without a thorough examination of her abilities; I'd suggest not bringing her along. Though it's your call in the end Captain."
Huh... Well, it looks like they found him early, caught up by people asking him things. Elliot spotted Walker as he was addressing the question of Pitt and came over to him. Once he got a turn in, edge-wise, the well-traveled merc held up a hand.
"Hello, captain. I think we may have a problem, or at least a new wrinkle on the ones we had."
"Oh? Grace came across something during her misadventures, Or did you see something that I miss?"
The Captain was grinning at this, but Elliot shrugged with a smirk, saying "What misadventures?", while Grace just said nothing. Whether he knew or merely had a well-reasoned suspicion, they weren't just gonna out and say how it was. It'd be healthier for him if he didn't, so he couldn't tell anyone about it.
"Well anyway, you may notice that all the guards never once did anything but stand there and look menacing. And it may be that they never will. Probably none of the guards are anything more than machines. The Promethius may be harboring a totally disposable army with only a skeleton crew of real people...which can make it easier for plausible denial scenarios."
Walker admitted that he'd picked up something like that as well, rubbing the back of his neck, then stroking his beard in thought about it.
"I notice the guards were way too stiff. Though, I also notice that they didn't move like machines. Wonder what those corps goons cooked up this time..."
Maybe they were more complicated than robots, but if they were humans by anything other than a technical oversight, Elliot wasn't buying it.
"Anyways, we'll let the crew know about this during the meeting. I hate to get caught with our pants down if shit hits the fan."
"Did we have a plan for the inevitable betrayal? I was figuring on keeping the payload rigged to explode until we're safely away."
Of course, the mercenary pair had discussed this before, and you the viewing audience had heard, but this was definite news to Rick, just now.
"Was trying to think of something...but I like your idea. Probably more simple then what I would have thought up."
"It's something we've done before with unfriendly clients. They behave if they really want the thing."
"Well from how much we're being paid, I'm sure our clients want this thing pretty badly. I just wonder what will happen afterwards..."
"Depends on what it is and what it does. Don't suppose there's a way to give it off to TGR, who will sit on it forever for the safety of others."
"Pfft...I wouldn't even trust those bastards and I used to be part of the TGR..."
Walker shook his head, more inclined to believe they'd screw the pooch worse.
"No, if I could I would hide the thing away again. I hate to see it get into the wrong hands...whatever it is.."
"I don't know anybody trustworthy enough, so I got nothin'."
"Well, guess we do the job then and hope nothing bad comes from it..."
"I'll make sure no one shoots us in the back."
Walker was a bit surprise to hear Grace speaking up, but smiled.
"Heh good to know we got someone watching our backs."
It was about that time that Mary decided to be...Mary...and whistle harshly into the mic. We can't speak for the others for their earpieces and comlinks on the Sweet Child's channel, but Elliot and Grace's equipment automatically cut out ear-splintering noise for reasons that should be fairly obvious. So, mercifully, they didn't suffer a massive ear ache or find the sudden need to renounce their contract and kill her for that. his left the question of their new acquaintance, in which the going feeling was that she shouldn't be dropped into this conflict.
"I agree. Not her, not yet, and maybe not soon unless we really need her."
And then, Grace had a few words.
"I may be remaining on board the Archer to give close air support if needed. That is only, however, if the ship would not be at a terminal risk for doing so. Otherwise, I will be on the ground, sniper/infiltration position."
"Would all the mercs that Captain Dick picked up at our last stop please get to the briefing room...we've got money to make."
Brian stumbled into the room shortly after Marys announcement, already on his way after trying to cut out, cook, or disable the tags on the lent supplies for the coming operation. Not that he really knew what the objective was or what the opposition was. Looking around the room he noticed the machine Velka near a map, speaking of the operation.
After a few moments, after a few others filed in he asked simply "What is the objective?" followed by "Are there any conditions?" and ending his initial queries with "What is the expected opposition?"
"You do realize I'm literally every where on the ship at once right" Shanoa replied, through the coms. "Anyway, on to more important matters. Really, you just want me to unlock the doors?" she added, using one of the holo projectors in the room to manifest a hologram of her sitting in one of the chairs, looking a tiny bit annoyed that she was being relegated to 'gatekeeper'
"You do realize I'm literally everywhere on the ship at once right. Anyway, on to more important matters. Really, you just want me to unlock the doors?"
"Actually, no, I didn't know that." Mary replied. "I've never worked with an A.I. before, I have no idea what your limits or capabilities may be; and as to your question... never underestimate the value of a good lock pick." She added, smiling ever so slightly.
Even as she made a mental note to make sure her bird was in full 'autistic' mode, an idea struck her. "Hey Shanny." She said after a moment, looking towards the projection. "You think you could get into those Cruisers mainframes and leave a little 'insurance policy' behind? I'm thinking, A) If they lock weapons on any of 'our' craft, or B) If they try and jump out without paying the rest of their bill, total reactor containment failure. If they play nice, you can purge the programs and they never need to know."
The Orion Files | Mother-Ship: Sweet Child o Mine | Briefing Room
Live via Remote!
Irina Rostikova | Edward Aubergine
The Crew of the Sweet Child o Mine, or rather the members of the mercenary group known as ORION Company, might have thought of their two furry co-workers as rather flaky given the fact that neither were in physical attendance of the mission briefing. Fortunately in this day and age, technology allowed for the remote attendance of the two Catican crew members, who were aboard their own heavy shuttle making preparations and scouting the mission area. As the crew spoke regarding mission roles, two of the room's monitors came to life, displaying the visages of the formerly absent Irina Rostikova and Edward Aubergine, both surrounded by holographic displays showing material of varying relevancy to the mission. The Merchant/Mechanic was surrounded by images of the storage depot where the Drax Artifact was located. The crew could see that she'd already highlighted varying locations of interest, including guard towers and automated turrets. The Catican Shock Trooper, on the other hand, had forgotten to shutdown the holographic videos of varying human female warriors in varying states of... combat damage.
"Edward!" Irina exclaimed sharply as she accessed the shuttle holodisplay systems and shutdown Edward's holoprojectors, her cheek having turned deeply red as she did. Looking back at the camera, the Casteless Catican Female shook her head before addressing the captain and crew, "Sorry Captain. I've completed a preliminary sweep of the compound and relayed a warning to the guards that there is going to be an assault on their capitol. The guard activity has reduced significantly since then. My drones haven't even seen a guard on external patrol." Irina continued, sounding rather proud of herself and the fact that it appeared that her plan had worked.
"That does not mean that they do not still have a number of guards inside the compound, Irina." The Shock Trooper growled, sounding rather disappointed that mission area was less than optimally saturated with enemy combatants. Having stated this, Edward turned to address the Captain, "As for Miss Velka's strategy, I am in partial agreement. Catican Shock Troopers have a long history of being the first soldiers to set foot in the mission area. Our doctrine is to establish a secure landing zone for the main group, after which the saboteurs may be sent forward to scout and commit attacks of opportunity where the enemy is weakest, unbalancing them. Of course, this is standard for procedure for an invasion force, I concede that Miss Velka does have a point regarding the stealth units being first on the ground as well. My drop pod has room for one additional crew member. If I may suggest that I take one of these stealthed saboteurs, drop down to the surface and while I am securing the landing zone, the additional crew member can move forward and perform their duties."
As for the other of the Catican Crew Members, she already had a role.
"Captain, I'll continue to monitor the situation from the shuttle. My sensor drones can perform long range scans of the area while my kinetic weapons drones can provide additional support. They'll be following Edward in to help him out. Finally, I can install a signal relay on one of my sensor drones and hack into the turret network... can't hurt to have more guns on our side, right?" Irina reported, her voice sounding a bit anxious. It was obvious that the female had seen little in the way of combat, if any, and was trying to think from all the angles that she could see, "Also... I can have the Redeemer act as backup shuttle in case anything goes wrong and you need another route of escape."
With Irina finished speaking, the two Caticans settled in to listen to the rest of the briefing and comment if needed.
Walker look around the room as he saw his team fill in one after the other. Asking questions, forming plans and wondering how they are going to handle the mission. Walker wonders what the hell Edward was doing with his free time but then was against thinking that. Clearing his throat as hope that everyone can go pass it and continue with the meeting. He would then smile with how everyone seems to be able to pick out their roles for the mission with ease. "Well seem like we do have some sort of plan figure out. Though before we set anything in stone, let's go over what Chronus sent us about where this Artifact is located.
Walker said as he brought up the map to make it bigger on the table screen. "Now...from what Chronus sent us. There are two auto turrets set up around the two entrances and four around the air drop zone for any type of deliveries, going or coming. Should be easy to deal with if we land quick and take them out, or some hack into them to disable or turn them on our side like Irina said she would. The model is the Cobra-34. Nothing state of the art, and nothing to worry about. Though I"m sure they are just there to keep any civvies away or be used as an early warning system. Besides those, there also a few guard towers that were quickly set up. So probably easy to take down if we have too." Walker said as he then added, "Now for those who don't know..I gave the go ahead for Irina to send out a message to the guards. Mostly warning them of the impending invasion force of the TGR at their Captial. Leaving fewer guards against us."
Walker look around the room as he added,"But like Edward said, we don't know fully how many people they left behind. So we should still be on our guard. Even if these guys are just untrained soldiers, we shouldn't give them much leeway to hurt us back. As for the number of guards, Chronus said that there should be a maximum of around fifty guards. Most of them would probably be using whatever guns they can get their hands on so we shouldn't expect too much firepower, but that goes without saying we don't have all the intel."
"As for the mission itself." Walker look around the room. "I believe we should go with Velka plan. Send in one of the heavies. Probably Edward as he has the drop pod to go in quickly. Clear the LZ for us and then we move in. We got blueprints of the building. Most of the front of the building is all for employees to either clock in or go to the cafeteria room to eat for lunch break. The rest are either storage areas for their materials they harvest from the nearby mines or anything they get from deliveries outside the planet. We don't know exactly where the artifact is being stored but that where our recon team comes in." Walker said as he looks at Shanoa holo-projection. "While you are going to be our little gatekeeper in this mission. We also need your hacking skills. To see if you can locate the artifact ahead of time." Walker said but had a thought as he rubs his beard on his chin. "Buut..if they were smart they wouldn't mark it in any storage area..." Walker then shook his head. "Though I would still like you to do whatever you can to help us out." Walker smiled. "As for the rest of you, we can plan that out as we proceed through the building. While Irina and Grace help us from up here if need be."
"Any questions or suggestions anyone likes to make?" Walker asked as he looks around the room.
"You think you could get into those Cruisers mainframes and leave a little 'insurance policy' behind?" Mary asked, then gave a couple examples.
Shanoa's expression shifted once she fully processed what Mary was 'asking her to do'. Mary might have been trying to cover hers, and every one else's asses, but Shanoa heard 'Go Nuts on one of the groups you hate.'. The Expression that her hologram settled on was one of pure malevolent joy. complete with a subtle, low, equally malevolent laugh.
"Oh ... I'll come up with something ... don't you worry about that... he he he he"
It wasn't till Walker addressed her directly that she snapped out of, what can only be called, her 'Evil Plot' grin. When she heard he also wanted her to find a thing, and generally keep an eye on things from from inside the system, that felt like a much better use of her skill set then just keeping the doors unlocked.
"Works for me."
So, the long and the short of it was that they had a drop zone, the colonists were actually being warned about the BIG attack so that they'd pay attention to it, they were going to drop the big cat first to secure the area, and their machine compatriot (AKA, the Mad Hacker Cheshire Cat) was going to be their primary software support in both the normal and vicious ways. Now, Elliot and Grace only dabbled somewhat in software combat, in that they could lock down a system so that nobody could use it or make a boobytrap with it or certain steal information, but Shanoa was frankly...well...a master at this sort of thing, which Elliot liked. So, questions? Suggestions?
"I have one. Shanoa, while you're keeping Chronus decidedly busy, see if their soldiers are on a network. Whether they're robots or synthetics or just brainwashed humans, they might be getting orders electronically. If we can pull the plug at the point of betrayal, they all drop and we get the instant upper hand."
After Elliot settled into a satisfying smirk at the idea, which he was sure the hacker-bot would like, Grace addressed the group again.
"It is unlikely that the colonists will be able to muster the necessary forces or obstacles at this point to pin you down, but in the event that they do so, the Archer can fire pinpoint accurate rail-shots from orbit without entering the atmophere."
This was why the concern regarding orbit-shot weapons from the ground.
"Because the sheer force of one shot will form a crater on impact, a direct hit is not necessary for any obstacle, but I request accurate coordinates, regardless. Be advised that this, or Archer's presence during close air-support, may draw forces away from the main conflict due to it being a military-grade vehicle."
And there you have it, the most that Elliot's silent partner has spoken to the crew in a single sitting, talking business and practical sense only before clamming up, once more. They appeared to have all of the proverbial ducks in a row now. Why not get to the fight scene?
Resha finally popped out of the cockpit of her fighter once more. hopping down from the alien multi form fighter, the female had finished up a mixture of combat training and research. She ha picked up what she could about the mission and while she was still unsure abotu what exactly she was going to be doing, all the new and shiny stuff in the hangar didn't sit well with her personally, the fully bio suited up alien feeling something off and odd about that.
Having joined up silently into the room before the briefing would actually begin, she could dispell the anxiety that worsened as the briefing went on. "So to understand what i can here." The suit's translator began spouting from the girl's helment. "We're attacking a complex to steal and artifact while another force is attacking the capitol of this planet..." she said, thinking hard, a hand on her chin, the translator began once more.
"Don't use the stuff you got from them. I may be a test pilot, but if you're expecting to be double crossed, then don't get yourself caught with your pants down and be using the gear they just gave you, only to have it scrap out on you when you actually need it. Human business has its own quirks from what i can grasp, but thankfully most concepts ring true across species. No matter the disadvantage you may have by limiting yourself this way, always assume something is wrong. I've been a test pilot for years and i've always assumed that something was wrong with the craft i've flown, even if they feel fine. it's something that has saved me many times before from accidentally getting myself killed or hurt. Assume that the craft is spying on you, assume the weapons are more intelligent than they let on, assume the worst case scenario." She said showing a new side to the young girl. There was the happy go lucky side that loved the culture of people. And there was the side that got serious about what she knew best, testing and the war against mechanical failures. "I only trust my biosuit because it's a part of me and tuned to my body and i only trust the mech i fly because i helped test it after watching my parents build it. Sure these toys are shiny, but they're presents from your enemy." Resha's translator finished, the female having been almost in a trance as she ran through the words.
The Kyrnoxian then shook herself free with the final words that had to be said, being said. A bit of an awkward laugh and a scratching of the back of her head came before her normal voice returned through the translator. "Anyways, sorry for being too serious. But if you need a trump card, i can make planet fall in just about under a minute at full burn thanks to the shields on my fighter. So i'll stay on the ship until i'm needed. No need to give away a hand that early, since nobody knows i even exist." she laughed, her body stance once more happy and free.
Mary listened to Edplant and Kitty's suggestions, but since they were discussing mostly ground-side operations, she didn't have much to add. On the other hand, she couldn't help but laugh at Shanny's zeal for her suggestion. "Just don't get too carried away; we don't need to get caught in any blast waves."
Shanny seemed indifferent to causing mayhem, and that got Mary thinking; she fully intended to go back to what she'd been doing before the bombing, and if she could get the AI to come with her, it may be worth getting her own ship. She'd never give it that much thought before but with Shanny, and if she could convince Mar, she'd have the core of a good crew; but those were ideas for another time, now there was work to do.
Focusing back on the conversation, Elliot was talking to Shanny about hacking ground-side weapons, while Grace mentioned using their gunship as an Orbital Bombardment Platform. "I like it." She chimed in. "Kitty provides eyes and ears for the ground team, you two give 'em fire support, Mar run insertion and extraction and I'll ruin the day of any dumb fuckers that tries to come up and interfere." Shifting her gaze to Dick-boy she smiled. "We might actually have a plan here."
She'd been looking in the wrong direction, missed Resha entering the room, and jumped a bit as she spoke up. "Fuck'n Hell! Fuck you're quiet." Listening to Re-re's comments, she nodded along as the test pilot made some rather on point observations about being wary of 'Gift Horses'; she also approved of Re-re hanging back on board Sweety, though for different reasons. "You make some good points about them booby trapping our 'free' gear, and I've already got a couple of Sweety's service remotes working on that issue." She added with a wink. "Wouldn't be the first time somebody has 'objected' to me using their stuff."
The Orion Files | Mother-Ship: Sweet Child o Mine | Briefing Room
Obvious things are obvious...
Edward Aubergine | Irina Rostikova
From the perspective of the Catican Enforcer/Shock Trooper, Resha was affirming what she had stated regarding most concepts ringing true across species. Like most test pilots, the Kyrnoxian appeared to enjoy the sound of her own voice as well as over explaining the reasons why she was correct. Then again, considering her use of a translation device, it could have all been in Edward Aubergine's head. Whether it was the fault of the translation device or the Test Pilot's own choice of words, the Catican Heavy Weapons Specialist, whose blood was over saturated by testosterone by this point, appeared to take instant offense to the naive girl's advice.
"I believe that the humans have a phrase seems a fitting response to your advice, Test Pilot," Edward's gravely voice said via the room's communications system, "'No shit, Sherlock.' Unlike test pilots who contribute from far behind combat lines, soldiers must be conscious of their equipment and ammunition stores. It stands to reason that if we are to be betrayed by Chronus and the TGR, it would not be until after we retrieve the artifact. This would mean that any monitoring or disabling devices that they have installed on the equipment issued by them would not be activated until after we retrieve the artifact. It would behoove them to give us equipment that is functional, at least until a certain point. Should we opt to not use their equipment, we will be forced to use our own equipment and our limited ammunition stores, something that test pilots do not have to worry about. I am not sure about you, little pilot, but I would rather have a larger cache of ammunition and undamaged equipment if Chronus does decide to betray us."
The Hostile Feline Soldier paused for a moment, appearing to have some additional words that he would have enjoyed speaking, specifically regarding the fact that Resha would be waiting aboard the ship in case she was needed instead of getting her hands dirty like the remainder of the crew. Even Irina, who was no soldier, was playing a role in the assault. He kept his mouth shut, however, opting instead to address Captain Walker.
"Captain, permission to carry out the mission."
Resha posture changed from happy go lucky to one of annoyance, a fist clenching. "Im sorry not being a combat vet disqualifies me from voicing an opinion and different view." She retorted in response to the feline, the translator accuratly giving
"Another possibility im sure your omnipotent vision of all things combat glimpsed was the fact they could have given you equipment meant to faulter mid mission and leave both you and these locals weakened." The alien threw back at him, clearly offended now and not afraid to vocalize it. "So while you and the rest of the crew are dealing with half broken weapons against an alreay weakened colony force, this company which apparently is using us as a fallman according to everything i've picked up, could do this without us; could come in and steamroll two weakened forces, claim whatever they want as most of this group if not all would be dead and come out looking ontop of this whole thing as the saviors of the day, keeping the artifact off the black market by 'securing it' from some space pirates who wanted to sell it." She said, finally de clenching her fist.
"Next time you open your fucking mouth, think about the fact i may be concerned for the people around me instead of chastising me for offering input. You may wind up being likeable and not an absolute flaaghasbend." She said, using a curse in her language that apparebtly gal common didnt have an equivilant for.
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Meeting Room
"If you can't take the heat... How did that idiom go again?"
As other members of the crew started to file in after Mary's ear-splitting whistle over the intercom, Mar continued to look at-ease as she leaned back in one corner of the room. Really, she was mainly there to have them tell her what her role in this mission was. Neither tactics or strategy were a part of her wheelhouse as the saying went, so she was content to let the others pitch in as far as that was concerned.
However, thanks to both the light ringing in her ears and the quick back-and-forth of the others, she was finding it a little hard to actually follow their suggestions in full. Walker thought it was a good idea to have Edward and Brian act as heavies to clear a path for the rest of the ground team, with Shanoa and Velka as scouts. Which wasn't a bad idea.
Elliot, however, brought up a rather unsettling development regarding their recent meeting with Chronus: The guards aboard the ship had been androids, and they didn't move like androids. The possibility of Chronus using exclusively advanced robotic soldiers was more than a little worrying. He also suggested that they keep the artifact rigged to blow as another safeguard against the inevitable betrayal, while Grace mentioned giving close air-support in the Archer.
That was immediately followed up by Shanoa mentioning that she was everywhere aboard the ship, and that she was better used for more than just glorified door-access. Which prompted Mary to make a suggestion that Shanoa seemed a little... too eager to follow through with: Install an 'insurance policy' aboard the Chronus cruisers, just in case.
Of their two Catican Members, Irina told the others that she had sent a warning via a painted drone to the local ground forces, telling them that their capital was about to be under attack. While Ed was audibly disappointed about the idea of less targets on the ground, he agreed that it was a good idea to send him in first, since he was apparently more than qualified for an operation like that.
By that point, Mar was having a hard time keeping up with the conversation, and she grimaced a little at the thought of going into this with only having half an idea of what was going down. She made a mental note to remind Walker to recap the plan, once there was a solid plan in place.
When Resha, their rescue, stepped in, it didn't take long for the meeting to begin to devolve. She made a sensible, if obvious suggestion to the others: Don't use any Chronus acquired equipment for fear of sabotage, and otherwise assume the worst. Edward... Was less-than-impressed with her input.
"I believe that the humans have a phrase seems a fitting response to your advice, Test Pilot, 'No shit, Sherlock.' Unlike test pilots who contribute from far behind combat lines, soldiers must be conscious of their equipment and ammunition stores. It stands to reason that if we are to be betrayed by Chronus and the TGR, it would not be until after we retrieve the artifact. This would mean that any monitoring or disabling devices that they have installed on the equipment issued by them would not be activated until after we retrieve the artifact. It would behoove them to give us equipment that is functional, at least until a certain point. Should we opt to not use their equipment, we will be forced to use our own equipment and our limited ammunition stores, something that test pilots do not have to worry about. I am not sure about you, little pilot, but I would rather have a larger cache of ammunition and undamaged equipment if Chronus does decide to betray us."
"Uh-oh..." Mar murmured quietly as she stood up a little straighter and unfolded her arms from across her chest.
"Im sorry not being a combat vet disqualifies me from voicing an opinion and different view. Another possibility im sure your omnipotent vision of all things combat glimpsed was the fact they could have given you equipment meant to faulter mid mission and leave both you and these locals weakened. So while you and the rest of the crew are dealing with half broken weapons against an alreay weakened colony force, this company which apparently is using us as a fallman according to everything i've picked up, could do this without us; could come in and steamroll two weakened forces, claim whatever they want as most of this group if not all would be dead and come out looking ontop of this whole thing as the saviors of the day, keeping the artifact off the black market by 'securing it' from some space pirates who wanted to sell it. Next time you open your fucking mouth, think about the fact i may be concerned for the people around me instead of chastising me for offering input. You may wind up being likeable and not an absolute flaaghasbend."
Since it was clear that Resha's back was up and things were only going to get more heated, Mar stepped up and placed herself between them in the hopes of breaking up this fight before it started.
"Alright, Resha, I think you've made your point: We can't trust Chronus equipment. Not until we've gone over it with a fine-toothed... Ah, comb. And Edward, I can understand wanting to have as much equipment as you can get to make the job that much easier. You both have good points." she said, glancing between the two of them before she turned to face Resha properly.
"But, Resha, you need to remember something; You aren't officially part of this crew. You're a rescue that we picked up not too long ago, and you haven't signed up for this like we have. Now if you want to volunteer, fine, but that's up to Walker seeing as he's the Captain. But until then, while your input is appreciated, I for one think that using you for this mission would be questionable at best." the Shree pointed out.
Walker wanted to cut in but felt like it would be best to let his crew speak their mind at the table. Only going to butt in if things get to carried away. He felt like this way they can at least say what they want here and now and not have to worry about his crew feeling he was playing favorites. He only stepped in when Mar spoke up.
"Alright, before anyone else say anything I'm taking over," Walker said as he looks at everyone. The little argument taking his mind off of Shanoa little creepy smiled she had a minute ago. "While I agree with Resha we shouldn't really use the weapons we got from Chronus for the sheer fact they could turn on us, we can't just give up on them just yet. Chronus is paying us a lot. In money and equipment. I don't see them turning on us until the last minute. Until then we will use what we got. Now the plan we got I'm liking. If Chronus decides to try and stab us in the back, we'll have our own backup plans to use as a shield." He smiled at Elliot and Grace.
Walker turns to face Resha and said, "I will ask you to stay on the ship and help out the best you can. If we need anything, we'll radio you to come down and provide covering fire if need be." He then did a quick look around the room. "If we are done here then let's get ready. I'll send a message to Chronus telling them we are ready to go to start up the mission. " Walker ending the meeting and walking to the bridge to send out the message. The mission was a go.
The Orion Files | Catican: Drop Pod
"Mission was a go..."
Edward Aubergine | Irina Rostikova
I'll send a message to Chronus telling them we are ready to go to start up the mission." Captain Walker's voice echoed through the cramped interior of the Catican Drop Pod, causing the Pod's sole occupant to grin with delight.
The doctrine used in the development of the Catican Drop Pod was far different from their Terran Cousin. Where a Terran Drop Pod was designed to transport multiple units to the planetary beachhead, the Catican was designed to insert a single heavily armed Catican Shock Trooper. While a Terran Drop Pod used heavy armor to protect its occupants, a Catican Drop Pod used 4 x 30 integrated missile pods that would be fired while the drop was in free fall, its computers prioritizing the targeting of Anti Aircraft emplacements and ground to space cannons to protect the swarm of Drop Pods. Finally there was the landing itself. While a Terran drop pod needed to gradually reduce its velocity through the use of parachutes and minimally powered retro rockets, Catican Drop Pods used a sustained burn of high powered retro rockets that fired at a minimal altitude.
Of course, the standard Catican opening strategy was going to have to be modified for this mission given the fact that Casteless Catican Shock Trooper was going to be dropped by himself. This is where Irina's drones came in. By outfitting a few of her drones with shield emitters as well as holographic projectors, it was the Catican Merchant/Mechanic's hope that she could provide her companion with additional protection and confuse anything that might try to target the inbound drop pod.
Edward... I've launched the drones and sync'd them to your nav computer. Ready whenever you are." Irina's voice said through the Drop Pod's internal audio outputs. She sounded rather nervous, though she was in less of a position to feel so than Edward.
Affirmative. The Shock Trooper responded before radioing the Sweet Child o Mine, "
Sweetie Command. This is Edward. Orbital insertion vector has been calculated. Commencing drop in 10 seconds..."
As he reported his readiness, he started the insertion sequence, firing up the thrusters that would place the pod in the proper position relative to the landing site. Placing his finger on the ignition button, he continued the count down, waiting until the planet rotated into position.
9...8...7...6...5...4...3...2...1..." Edward said as he pushed the ignition button, firing off the main thruster on the pod. The mission was started. There was aborting it now.
With Walker giving the 'Go', Mary hoofed it back to her hanger to see how the remotes had gotten on. There were the standard set of disablers where she'd expected them, and the bots had done a fresh install of the ships OS off the boot drive; unless Chronus was cripplingly paranoid, there wasn't likely to be any Trojan horse booby-traps hidden in the base OS files.
Satisfied that she was clean, Mary breezed through her pre-flight checks before locking down her hanger and cycling it into space. "Sweety, this is Red Mary. Launching!" Using her RCS and a touch of thrust, she kicked her new fighter into space just as the Catican drop pod fired. "Red to pod, I've got your six!" She called out, dumping throttle and going to a full burn in pursuit. The assault pod had a decent head start, but her greater sustained thrust let her close up and ride its sensor shadow. Any ground-side tracking systems would only see one target...at least until she keyed her decoy and ECM gear online. Suddenly their scopes were filled with dozens of seemingly legitimate hostile contacts coming down all over the AO.
"Will break at angels five and provide CAP."
"Goodnews" Shanoa started as the drop pod left and Mary launched. "Our benefactors, can no longer just take control or shut down the toys they gave us, and I have a rather nasty surprise in store if they try. So go nuts." she said, in a rather cheerful tone over the coms. Secretly hoping they'd be betrayed, just so she could watch her trap get sprung and this corporate trash get what they, in her mind deserved, and that thought was the cause for her more upbeat tone of voice.
from there she retook possession of her quadrupedal body and moved to await her turn to deploy.
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Devil-Fish Cockpit
"Hate planets. Love the atmo-burn though.."
The moment the meeting was adjourned, Mar pushed her way out through the crowd of others and stalked through the ship's halls in the direction of the container holding her shuttle. From what she got regarding the plan, she was going to be responsible for the combat-drop, and possibly even some on-the-ground close-range support. Which suited her just fine. Her new fighter could wait for a little while before she gave it a proper test-flight and christening.
And she thought the plan was pretty solid. It was simple, reasonably flexible, and certainly easy to remember. She planned to follow Walker's lead from there, since he seemed to know what he was doing, and barring that, they could improvise. Which might not be as bad as it initially sounded.
Settling in the pilots seat of the Devil-Fish, she made sure to check on her ELF Gun as well as her new Impaler pistols, making sure they were loaded and had a few reloads tucked away in the various pockets of her jumpsuit. She even tested the draw of her pistols a few times until she was satisfied that, if she needed to holster them then draw them again in the heat of battle, she could. Still, part of her felt... Uneasy. The plan was good. But there were still more unknowns than she was initially comfortable with, and then there was their untrustworthy partners in Chronus. Even an inevitable betrayal could come from an angle you didn't expect.
Shoving her helmet on as the bulk of the ground team stepped aboard, she keyed into the Sweetie's intercom.
"This is Mar, all remaining members of the ground assault team are now on-board the Devil-Fish. Launching in 5, over." she called out, before looking back from the cockpit at everyone else aboard.
"Brace yourselves. Atmo-burn is probably going to be a little rougher than you're used to: I always redline it." she said with an audible grin before she punched the throttle and gunned the Devil-Fish from it's container.
With a flick of her wrists, the shuttle executed a rolling loop before heading right for the planet of Sasleyria at the optimum angle for entry, if not quite at recommended entry velocity.
The moment they hit the outside of the planet's atmosphere, the shuttle began to shake rather violently, and those that were paying attention to the cockpit could see Mar shift a little in her seat, either from anxiety, excitement, or... Arousal, they couldn't really tell.
"I love this part." Mar murmured huskily to herself even as the shuttle computer began to whine about atmospheric-entry conditions.
She just ignored it with a low, huffing chuckle.