Shadows of the Universe (Sci-fi Action RP)(Started)(Closed)

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Jason took a deep breath and took a moment to calm himself down. He stopped himself from shaking but he still felt a feeling in his gut and was unable to fully calm himself down. He wouldn't show anything on his face and slowly got up to answer this new soldier's question.

"Well to begin with." Jason started as he pulled out his pistol and shot one of the invisible sniper perches. The shot ricocheted and those who were trained could make out a little of the invisible perch, Jason then pointed to one of the three dead elite snipers to show that the perches were being used for something.

"To start out the first thing he did was not grant us access to the ship which in itself is treachery. Second he came to meet us when we landed with a group of armed soldiers and cloaked snipers in the room. Whichever way you put it he betrayed us and I killed him for his treason." Jason explained going through his memories of the fire fight just moments ago.

"And you clearly haven't read up on the files of much of the good doctor's work then. The captain most certainly exists within Thompson's private chain of command." Saryll said, not rising to the bait of Kell's tone. "And it might do you well to remember to address your fellow soldiers with courtesy and politeness, sergeant, good manners cost nothing." she continued, using the title as neither an insult or challenge, making a mental note to file the correct paperwork in triplicate with crossed i's and dotted t's for every infraction she saw Kell commit.

Watched the FEATHERS and Kell do their work. He walked over to a nearby stack of crates, climbed on top and sat there. "Look Kell, the general had no right to stop us. The general did not want us on board, we tried to reason with him. He did not want to let us pass for god knows what reason. He threatened us, and we retaliated. I'm pretty sure if you were in the same situation, you would have retaliated as well," Chris said to Jarmen.

"Yeah Captain, neat trick with the sniper perches. I saw them to. I know the general was a traitorous bastard, we've clarified that. Doesn't mean you had the right to stab him. Just the fact that he didn't grant you access doesn't mean much. The hangar could've been full, or under maintenance or the doors could've been damaged, loads of honest reasons why he couldn't let you on board. As for why he had the armed soldiers, well you just forced your way onto the ship, he had reason to be worried. The snipers...well let's say you didn't notice them until the firefight. My issue is not that you started a gunfight in here. It's why? Seems like your first instinct was 'Screw asking questions! There's not enough people getting stabbed right about now.'"

He stopped and sighed heavily.

"Listen, the point I'm trying to make is that you were right, this time. But you keep jumping to conclusions like that before gathering up all the facts and you'll end up courtmartialed or executed so fast it'll make your head spin. Now...go do whatever it is you have to do. You're not insane like I first thought, you're just naive. I've got most of my squad here so it's not as though there's anywhere for you to run to."

"Kell. I don't suggest talking to us that way, you may be guarding Dr. McCreepyBritches, but your deductive ability matches only the great Rock mcDoesn'tHaveAny."

James finally decloaked "There was a fire order, Captain used his specialized armor to stop bullets, and used Kim's body as a shield while he found cover. Fact is, we weren't even armed in a general sense coming in, I had to pick up a knife from a nearby crate and CQC my way to some guns, the rest managed to be fortunate enough to find some weapons crates. Kim didn't exactly ask many questions, just wanted us dead. A prisoner later confirmed he planned a hostile takeover of the ship, and if you give me ten seconds with one of them, I can get them to sing you all sorts of the plans Kim probably had, the man LOOKED like a supervillian. As Weapons officer, I can tell you somebody that acted like Kim, should NOT be on a vessel as well-armed as this one." James stressed Kell and Kim's names, making it known he judged them both about the same.

"And you, miss" He said, this time without the emphasis "are clearly reading some very outdated paperwork. That whole Private R&D command network hasn't existed for quite some time. That was back when Doc was experimenting with the Thompson procedure. After he had that down pat the chain was dissolved. Now he's outside the chain again. And me with him."
He pointedly ignored the comment about courtesy. If they were equals, he'd grit his teeth and play nice, but some fresh off the shuttle little girl talking down to him, very annoying. She'd probably get knocked down to size after a few training exercises or first combat.

"And you, ahh..." He paused, thinking for a moment before realizing he didn't know the boys name "Bandanna, you tried to reason with him?"
He reached into one of the pouches on his chest and pulled out what appeared to be a PDA. He tapped the screen a few times and a tinny, static laced voice rang out loudly from it.

I DON'T CARE WHAT THE FUCK GENERAL KIM TOLD YOU! YOU'RE GOING TO GIVE US PERMISSION TO BOARD THIS INSTANT!!!"

"Yeah, that sounds like a carefuly reasoned argument. Flight audio logs are a fun thing, ain't they?"

Kell jerked visibly as James decloaked beside him. 'Fuck me...' he thought. I knew I heard someone coming over but I thought it was one of the recruits. Sarcastic little bugger too.
"Like I said. You lot were right, but for the wrong reasons. Just have Captain Kahil stop jumping to conclusions so quickly, alright. I know most of you are pretty green but..." He stopped himself, he'd been about to say that they shouldn't be afraid to second guess they're CO but decided it was exactly tactful to say right in front of the boy.
He also decided to avoid mentioning that as weapons officer the only thing the boy knew was how to utilize the ships weapons and not a damn thing more.

"Now, don't let me detain you all any further." Jarmen chose the word "Detain" very carefully, as though implying what would happen if they tried to run under his watch.

He noticed that most of the recruits had finished up their jobs and that loyalist ship personal had begun to appear out of the woodwork as they always do, starting to clean up and repair what damage had been done to the hangar. He chuckled to himself as a man holding a cutting torch vomited as Knobbs walked by, still carrying the arm.

"You can go do whatever work you wanted to get done. I expect Doc Thompson will finish up soon and then I can be out of your hair. Hooray." He added dryly. "I'd still like to have one of my troopers travel with each of you, make sure you don't sabotage the engines or anything. And since I'm such a nice guy you can choose which trooper accompanies you. 'Cept you," Jarmen said, turning to James. "You seem to be chomping at the bit for opportunities to root out any more traitors so MCMILLAN!" He yelled to the recruit without turning his gaze from James "You'll be traveling with this fellow! Mcmillan so frickin' loyal he reads from the WINGS manual every night before bed. You'll love him."

With this Jarmen sat down on an overturned weapons crate and pulled out his PDA. Time to browse some personnel files. Let's see what's in this squad's history...

"I came from Marines, into SpecOps, into WINGS. In my neighborhood as a child, that was how you dealt with dangerous influences. I'm sorry you sucked dick to a nice little white collar desk job following a whitecoat around a little bit of his closet overlord fetish, but I respect Dr. Thompson for his talents, not his character, and I certainly don't think he's even remotely qualified to judge military culture. Just because you can't take it when somebody raises their voice at you, doesn't mean we're just as hopelessly incompetent. The denial to let us on-board, was direct insubordination. The same type, your Master programmed us all to be completely unwavering about, and Leatherboy, The Captain was a KID when he started, just because your training included coffee-making and how to properly bitch and moan, doesn't mean you're a soldier for passing those classes at the top and failing Basic. In the military, when designated CO has orders to come aboard which you contradict, you INCLUDE That reason, and you most certainly do NOT allow some middle-manager to tell them, you report on the goddamn situation yourself." James walked up, he was a Marine, the chain of command was his creed. Granted, when given leeway he took it, but that was because he was trained to know that if that leeway was there than it was meant to be.

"If you'd take a damn look at anything after a man raised his VOICE at you, you'd see questions. And then the order to fire on us-beyond that, you're a SERGEANT! Use the eyes that rank implies, and look at the bullet spreads, and where we were taking cover, the corpse spreads, and the weaponry they had. I remind you, we came into this unarmed. If we came to kill Kim and his team, we would have each had a fully loaded rifle, and there would only be as many bullet holes as enemy heads, and if you were anything remotely close to WINGS, you'd know that you ill-trained unsubordinate foolish maggot." James seemed to be ten times taller and scarier, the cheeky, social smile was now Marine Drill Sgt. Any doubt he was a soldier was gone, as he almost loomed over Kell with his tall frame, he didn't pant, his voice was hardly raised above normal, but it SOUNDED furious. His eyes were positively hateful, it was clear to anybody watching, that Kell had better have the holy grail of evidence, or Damien might have the hardest multiple reconstructive surgery job this side of the Milky Way

Jarmen looked up from his PDA, his face still blank.
"Hmmm...you're James Reynold, right?" He lowered his voice so the rest of the squad wouldn't hear "Well, first yeah, I know about your poster boy Captain. Everyone in WINGS does. Spending most of his childhood in classrooms and training centers doesn't exactly mean he was thrown in to combat as a kid like, incidentally, I was. Let's see. Says here you're 21. Well, I was fighting 8 or 9 years before you were born. When I was hmm...about 7-8. Place I grew up wasn't exactly fond of the new government and did their best to show it with rifles and explosives. So yeah, I skipped basic, but only because I was getting shot before you even hit puberty. As for the desk job, after a bit over a decade of service sneaking into places I wasn't meant to and blowing things up I saw an opportunity for a cushy job with better pay and great food and I decided to take it. You're only a few years into your military career so I can understand. Give it a few years. You'll look forward to a desk job too. What else...what else...oh and yeah, you're still stuck on the firefight? I know the general betrayed you, I know you were ill equipped. Just follow the orders you're given by generals until you can prove they're traitorous bastards from now on ok? Oh, McMillan, you took long enough. Take Sergeant Reynolds wherever he wishes to go. Help him root out any more traitors." With this Jarmen looked back to his PDA

James continued to stand there glaring at him.

"...Hmm? Alright, alright." He raised his voice so the rest of the group could hear him "I apologize for calling you green, Sergeant. I was operating under the assumption you lot were like my batch of recruits here, fresh out of the academy and eager for some dangerous medical procedures but it seems..." He tapped his PDA a few more times "That aside from 1 or 2 of you," With this he glanced briefly at Kahil and Saryll, "you all have had illustrious military careers, full of death and glory." He nodded to McMillan who began to lead James away.

Damien sighed at the carnage. "So damn much to do, so little time..." He first headed over to Pax and gently lifted and carried him back to the squad. "You idiot, you're going to get yourself killed. I heard you over the comms. No more one-liners, okay? Just nail the bastards." Damien sighed as he took out a pair of forceps. Since his saliva was still anesthesia, and completely sterile, Damien merely spat into the wound before digging the bullet fragments out from the wound. "Sorry if this seems a bit gross, but this is my genetic ability" Damien said as he finished pulling out the last of the shards. "I'm able to change the composition of my body and regrow it at hyper speeds. Anyway, you got lucky- the bullet went clean through. Give me one second..." Damien grew a plug of muscle exactly matching Pax's. It quickly grew once inserted, filling the injury completely. Damien daubed a bit of bio-gel on the wound. "There. A perfect genetic match, and a bit of Bio-Gel to prevent rejection, just in case. You're good to go, Pax."

Damien consumed two cubes before calling out to one of the soldiers. "Hey, Private Carter! I remember you! How's that arm holding up?" Carter snapped immediately to attention, remembering the voice of the doctor who had saved his life. "V-very well, s-sir. Thank you." Damien smiled as he took off his top armor and beckoned to Carter. "Just bring me those injured prisoners, will you?" Carter began to stammer, unsure sure where his loyalties laid. "B-but s-sir, I-I-I was told t-to bring-" Damien shook his head. "And I said bring them here. Understand?" Damien glared at Carter, whose will immediately crumbled. "Yes sir. I'm sorry." Damien smiled once more. "Don't mention it. Just say hello to your family for me." Damien looked at the patients he was given. All in all, it wasn't as bad as he thought. The soldiers he had crippled merely needed a muscle patch, which Damien infused with his own healing abilities. They would be able to walk again in day or two.

Unfortunately, the one who ha been shot in the knee needed a complete rehaul. Damien stripped the man from mid-thigh down, studying everything from skin tone to bone density with his enhanced contacts. Damien then grabbed the leg in question to tell what the muscle to fat ratio was. Damien sighed as he rubbed his hands together, taking off his own left leg armor. "Y'all might not want t' look. Fair warning." Damien called. He slit his forearm, only to have a clear fluid drip out onto the soldier's wound. Unable to create enough saliva for such a task, Damien had changed the composition of his blood plasma to an anesthetic, holding the actual cells back with platelets. The wound quickly covered itself back up and healed as Damien once again changed the composition of his blood back to normal before pulling a large knife from a holster on his right leg. Damien flipped the man's visor down and shut his own pain synapses as the knife bit into his leg just above the knee. The blade began to vibrate, sawing deeper and deeper into Damien's leg. It finally fell off, with not a drop of blood spilled. He then cut off the man's leg, completely painlessly, and began to attach his own in its place. It took Damien a bit, but with some Bio-Gel, Damien managed to perfectly attach the new lib, and it had the exact same parameters as the old one. If not for a black circle delineating where the leg was stitched on, it was impossible to tell the difference. Damien turned his own healing time up to the max, and had fully regrown half his leg within a minute. "Okay, take 'im away. Put him into muscle therapy; he'll be walking within the week." The man looked at Damien. Mere words could not have conveyed the sense of gratitude and embarrassment that the man felt, after having shot at the man who had saved his life. "Thank you." He whispered before he was carried away on a stretcher.

Damien walked over to the group in streetclothes, his armor in his hands. "G'evening gentlemen. I do so hope we aren't fighting." Damien let go of his armor and very pointedly began to clean the Vibro-knife he had just used for the surgery. Damien listened to the recording. "Yeah, funny thing about that. See, as an experimental branch of the military, WINGS is outside the normal chain of command. So General Kim really didn't have any right to detain us. Perhaps killing him was a bit overboard, but there was no way he could go to a court martial, as most of the military doesn't even know WINGS exists." Damien said nonchalantly. He didn't like the way things had turned out, but he liked this upstart even less.

"You're...Lier, right?" Well, thought Jarmen, I suppose a passive-aggressive medic with a knife is better than a hotblooded marine. "No, Sergeant Reynolds here was just asserting his opinions which I've taken careful note of. We've finished now, right sergeant?" He glanced at James then at private McMillan who seemed to be debating whether or not he should put a hand on Jame's shoulder and lead him away. Jarmen gave a very slight shake of his head and McMillan put his hand down, his shoulders sagging. "And anyway does WINGS exist outside of command now? That's news to me. I guess my 'nice little white collar desk job following a whitecoat around'" he grinned at James "has left me a bit out of the loop. Well I suppose that changes my opinion on things a bit. Nice job with the wounded by the way. Seems like you finished up before my recruits even got back with the ship medics. Very impressive."

James sighed, broke off from the Rookie "Look.. Sgt, I know desk jobs sound nice, but I came from a neighborhood and home that was full of beatings and worse, the military has an order, and lets me use my talent for making things die. So you coming in here from years off, and insulting my CO, I had to do something. I disdain your handling of this, and I think you're an arrogant, out of line, former soldier. But the fact is, you should learn to respect your fellow WINGS... and I know you took that chance to get away, but that's... not something I could ever do. We all went through the training, apart from these cutesy FEATHERS you brought along, and we were all recruited from separate branches. We could debate all day who'd childhood sucked more, but it'd get us nowhere." The marine seemed to be grinding the peacemaking out of his teeth, which meant he seemed to believe it should be done "Just know, that at least with me, being the guard dog of McCreepyNoCondom"

"'McCreepyNoCondom'" Jarmen chuckled, a short staccato laugh that sounded fake even when it wasn't. "That's pretty funny. I'll have to remember that. And don't think that bodyguard duty has made me soft son. Doc spends most of his time in ultra high security places, meaning I can spend my time keeping sharp and training these recruits. Who aren't too bad, by the way. They're...quirky, I'll admit but they hold together pretty damn well."

"Is that why McSpineCramp here doesn't know the first rule of Readiness?" James swatted his arm against McMillian's chest and the flagpole recruit was tossed an inch off the ground before landing hard, sprawled on the ground confused at how he knocked down by such an easy blow "Although, Knob over there seems to like pocketing weapons." James had his cheeky smirk back.

"Wasn't prepared" mumbled McMillan as he got up.

"yeah, you never are." Said Jarmen. He idly watched as Knobs stooped down by a container that had been blown open by one of Camilla's bursts.
"I've tried to stop that boy's petty thievery and really, at this point I'm just hoping he runs out of pocket space. Don't get me wrong, he's a good soldier, crack shot, calm in a firefight. He just steals anything that's not nailed down. See the bruise on his temple? Had to swat the boy for trying to nick one of my pocket watches."
Knobs stood up holding what appeared to be a combat vest festooned with dozens of pockets and pouches. Realizing what this meant in relation to what he'd said earlier Jarmen called out tiredly,
"Knobs, put it back."

Well. I'll take McMillain and see if I can give him some CQC crash course, you mind? He could be half-decent after a little old fashion hard school." James smirked cleverly to the rookie.

James then took a look around "And I might be able to teach him how to operate the weapons controls, some CQC... Yeah, it might do the boy some good. Open him up a little."

"Fine, have fun. They boy knows all the stances and moves, he just doesn't have the experience to put him to any use."

As James and McMillan walked away he called out
"Try not to slip in the blood and guts!"

James called over his shoulder "Send any others you can spare with me, Preferably one better than this poor man as motivation." as James seemed to casually walk over the squishy squick, and the rookie slipped and sled and had to take it slow, and then speed up and nearly fall so he'd have to take it slow again

Rick stepped forward. "You know, I think I'll go with Knobs. He seems like a spirited character. Besides, I don't have anything on me that isn't nailed on in some way or other..."

He glanced at Knobs and gave him a smile that was either friendly, threatening, or psychotic. Rick wasn't really sure himself, he always felt a bit out of sorts after a fight.

"You know, I could really do with some food. I'm off to the nearest cantina, if I may... say, Kell. You want a recruit with us to make sure we don't sabotage the ship or cause trouble. That's all well and good, but what's to stop, say, me or Camilla from crushing their heads and running off?"

Knobs flinched.

"I mean, besides the fact that we were the ones using non-lethal tactics in the firefight."

Knobs didn't relax.

"How about that ponytail girl? Competition breeds excellence, mind if I take her too?" James looked to Kell, he obviously didn't respect him as his own superior, but he didn't seem like he was going to take the people who were his direct subordinates from him without his approval.

Rick appeared at her shoulder, spoke words of encouragement. She hesitated a moment, then decided having one person to trust would probably be a good thing

"Likewise," she said, smiling slightly, "I didn't like that, and I don't like this either. The Captain is visibly shaking, and as for this Jarmen," she made a face; disgust and disquiet, "Is psychosis a requirement for promotion in the WINGS?"

James and McMillan were in a unused cargo section, with a plate of food and glass of water, there was a small room on one side, sort of like a high-security closet. Taking the door remote, James put the food and water into the closet, and then walked out, closed the door, and made a show of putting the remote away, then did the same for he entrance to the bay, leaved them alone in an empty hexagon about 15 ft at it's longest

"Eventually, I'll start giving you something difficult, for now, you must hit me in order to eat. Each hit you get on me, deserves a bite of food. I, will be taking breaks and reprieves to eat and drink. For drinks of water, you will need to ground me. We will go until either both the food and water are finished, or you're incapable of continuing. Go." James smiled, as he put on a new helmet, and the new armor he'd gotten on the way over shimmered and disappeared, you couldn't even hear him walk, no shimmer, which meant he was going slowly. McMillan panicked and looked around, picking up a crowbar meant for opening crates, he ran at where he though Jason was with a wide swing, only to feel a fist in his stomach knock him back onto his ass with a backhand "Be ready for counterattack, Keep your stance!" James decloaked "By cloaking, I obviously overestimated you, your sister idolized you after bed, it's so sweet, what did you tell me on the way over? She cried for a week when she found out you were leaving her?" McMillan growled and finally spoke "FUCK YOU SIR!" and got into a stance, and kept it while aiming a vicious side-kick to James's smiling face.

This continued for hours, but the food and water, where never touched, they would be thrown into the Recycling unit after James was done eating and drinking infront of the bruised, tired Rookie "Get up, I didn't hurt you that bad." James started walking to Weapons Controls which was a room entered via the bridge. McMillan, panting and bruised "Report to Damien, and then to me in Weapons Control. That's enough CQC for today." McMillan seemed startled, telling him to go to the medic was the nicest thing James had done. He didn't argue as to ruin it "Yessir, Right away sir"

James looked up to see a tired rookie walk into the Hangar towards Damien. Jason looked around and noticed James was gone. "What the hell, where did Sergeant James go." Jason asked as he looked around trying to find him. "He told me to report to Damien and then meet him in the weapons control." The beaten soldier explained. "Damn, The rest of you stay here I'm going to go get Sergeant James." Jason said as he walked towards the Weapons control.

As Jason was walking down the corridor he noticed that the ship was strangely empty. "Wait this is one of the more important parts of the ship, where is everybody?" Jason thought to himself as he made his way further down the corridor. Jason then felt a sharp jolt go through his body, he knew exactly who it was as he turned around and saw Dr. Thompson. "Hello Jason, or should I call you Captain Kahlil now?" Dr. Thompson questioned not expecting an answer from Jason. "So, you're still afraid of me aren't you? Why would that be, what happened in the past is long done and you must live for the now. Not going to answer me are you? Well for now come with me, I need to talk to you about the situation that just took place." Dr. Thompson said as Jason stood in silence.

Dr. Thompson lead Jason to a small interrogation room, there was only a small table and two chairs in the room with a single light. "Take a seat Jason, take some time to collect your thoughts I have to go do something real quick." Dr. Thompson said as he walked out of the room. "Kell, this is Dr. Thompson. Make sure no member of the WINGS squad leaves the hangar. I'm going to have a nice chat with Captain Kahlil." Dr. Thompson said over the radio.

James was cloaked and walking silently, because he didn't want to be waylayed on the way to his new workplace, but he'd noticed that nobody was in the halls. No crew, and these was the command section. There should at least be security, he made sure he had a knife with him, as he continued into the bridge, there was a ladder going up into an armored compartment with a door that he was to code, he coded the door in about five minutes and sent the data to Jason via the ship net, the empty bridge looked strange as it seemed that the door opened on it's own to let the paranoid soldier in, and James looked around, examining controls-weapon A.I. assistance? It'll be nice to not have to manually reload. The first thing he did was find the override. He then sat into an elevated chair in the middle of the room, surrounded by screens and started personalizing the controls, all of the screens showed readiness, targeting, a personal screen for notes.... He stayed there and started working

JARMEN KELL
"I think it may be a bit late for that, sir. Most of them are here but that Reynolds boy slipped away awhile ago after tiring out one of my recruits. Damn optic camo. I'll have ship security looking for him. Captain Kahil left awhile ago as well, though I guess he's with you."

Jarmen cupped his hands and shouted to the remaining WINGS members
"Alright folks, apparently I overstepped my boundaries a bit. Everyone here has to be cleared by security before they're allowed into the ship proper. Standard protocol for a ship this size, forgot all about it. They should be here soon to check you all. That includes you too recruits." He lied. He made a show of putting a small headset on and saying loudly into it
"Private Mitchell, this is your CO. You need to be properly cleared by ship sec. Hard lock the general's quarters and get back down to the hangar."

After private Mitchell's response Jarmen sat back down and continued perusing the squads personnel files. This "Pax" fellow was interesting. No Medical or Pre-WINGS service history in his file. Jarmen typed out a mail to an old friend in the records department. He might be able to dig something up on the boy, though looking at the high level classification he somehow doubted it.

PRIVATE KNOBS
Knobs stood a few feet from Rick and Camilla trying to look disinterested. He was sorely hoping the WINGS squad didn't decide to fight back. He was a good soldier. Bit ugly. Some hygene issues. Bit of thief, though he only took stuff that wouldn't be missed. Good soldier, nonetheless. But he'd seen the aftermath of the firefight and he didn't relish the thought of having to take any of them on. He wasn't too nervous about the big guy who'd called him over. He'd tried to psyche him out but Knobs had seen through it. He unslung his rifle and leaned against the pegasus nearby. Pulling out a file from one of his many pockets he began to carefully whittle away at the slide of his gun. If all we're doing in the hangar is waiting he thought might as well continue modifying this thing...

Both Camilla and Rick couldn't help but notice the smell coming off of Knobs. A bit like a mix of Diesel fumes and rotten eggs. They both seemed to realize this was why most of the recruits put some distance between themselves and him once they'd left the shuttle. Colon didn't seem to have minded it though. They also took note of the fact that Knobs clanked softly as he walked, his pockets and pack bulging.

Rick sauntered over to where Private Knobs was standing. "Modding your weapon? What are you putting in it?"

Knobs glanced at him, but didn't answer. Cheeky bugger. The smell got noticeably more powerful when Knobs had looked at him. Clearly, Rick would have to mention it to him later.

"Hmmmm... exactly how powerful is that thing? If we're going to stick together, I may as well know much of a punch you pack." Rick broadened his shoulders as much as the armor would allow. "Come on, give me your best shot. It's not like we have anything else to do, and I kinda doubt your rifle has a quarter of the penetration power needed."

Rick wondered slightly if this would piss the other people off. Bah, whatever. Rick would take the fall if Knobs did attack him.

Knobs paused and glanced over at where Jarmen was sitting.
"Sarge, this guy wants me to shoot him"
"What, he baiting you?" replied Jarmen.
"No, says he wants to test his armor against my rifle!"
Jarmen looked at Rick, who nodded.
"Fine, whatever. Just don't accidentally hit him in the head." Jarmen called out to the others "Knobs' going to fire off a few rounds at our friend here. Nothing to worry about."
The other troopers, who had been alerted when Knobs called out, relaxed and began to watch with interest.

Knobs put his file away and took a few steps back from Rick. He aimed and fired off a short burst of three rounds. All three hit Rick in the chest and although he winced slightly none of them penetrated. There was a pair of *Pings* as the third round ricocheted against Rick's armor, then against the hangar floor in front of Private Penlan, who had been patroling near the entrance to the hangar. She jumped back, lost her footing and landed heavily on the pile of unharmed crates that had been unloaded from the pegasus, knocking them over.
"You alright? Jinxie?" Private Hunter called out, still keeping her eyes on the WINGS squad.
"I'm... I'm fine" she called back.
At this point Private Mitchell re-entered the hangar and saw what had happened. He started to help her restack the crates as Webb jogged over to him.

Knobs turned back to Rick. "Didn't think any of them would penetrate. These Tsunami rifles don't have much piercing power." He paused for a moment, thinking. "And I wasn't putting anything into the rifle. I was smoothing out and shortening the bolt. Helps prevent jams."
He walked back over and continued leaning against the pegasus.
"Will I get armor like that after I join WINGS?"

James had been leading a crowd of Security around the ship for about half an hour, before letting them all run into the hangar by opening the door via remote, letting them all run in and scream his name, while they fanned out and he walked in silently behind him, and while they backed into an embarrassed circle, James uncloaked in the middle, behind them all, smiling like a predator that just ate well and looking around 'innocently'

"Depends what you're good for," said Camilla, looming unintentionally as she approached Knobs, "We carry the heaviest armour because of what the procedure did to us; and you'll get a set too if your turn into a hulking powerhouse."

"Only if you get general - or not-so-general - strength augmentations. And then train to be a heavy soldier." Rick grinned mischievously. "Typically, this entails running around with positively back-breaking amounts of equipment. Emphasis on running. If you ace your combat training, you end up like Camilla over there and get half a dozen epic weapons to play with. They're anywhere from fifty to five hundred pounds each. You get her brand of heavy armor, too. I wouldn't fight her without something really explosive, myself."

Private Knobs looked somewhat impressed. "And if I don't ace my weapons training?"

"Then you get railroaded into the Endurance Extension Program to become a meat shield. It's called the 'Suicide Run' for a reason. It's torture paid with taxes. I'm not sure which was my favorite... the 'Lay Impaled on a Spike for Ten Days' initiation - to weed out those who can't stand it, you know - the psychological mind games that nearly made me throw myself off a building - I can't give details, but those eggheads are some really sneaky and mean bastards - or the "Drop You Off in Uninhabitable Asia, Good Luck Finding Your Way Back" breather. Yeah, that's a breather, all right..."

Knobs looked a bit knocked off guard.

"...and then you get this armor. I defy any one person without a nuke to kill me. Even then, it would be potentially survivable." Rick grinned. "But you should just pass your weapons training instead, OK? Ask Camilla if you want details, I flunked out within three weeks."

"Huh," said Knobs, craning his head slightly to look up at her. Big lady, he thought to himself. He looked and saw Drock pointing and whispering something to Hunter before snickering a bit. Hunter's expression didn't change. He could just imagine what that prick was saying: Welcome to the freakshow, come see the Monkey Man and the Giantess!
Camilla followed his gaze,
"What? Are they talking about us?"
"Doesn't matter," Knobs replied. "I'm good with mechanical things. Modifying guns, fixing up vehicles. Things like that."
That's the only reason I took sarge's watch anyway, he thought. Wanted to take it apart, see how it worked. Hadn't seen anything like it before.

Rick felt a twinge of self-consciousness. He brushed it off. If Drock got out of hand, Rick could knock him down easily, and only God, the Devil, and Camilla knew what she could do to him.

"Mechanical, you say? Interesting. I can fix simpler stuff, give me a broken engine and I won't know where to start."

There was a quiet dull roar.

"Sheesh, I'm hungry. I can't even imagine what Camilla feels right now. Probably the grip of death. Are we going to get fed before the protocol is done, or am I going to have to burst through hundreds of terrified soldiers on a horrific rush to the nearest kitchen like a demented cartoon?"

Camilla shook her head slightly. Knobs was evidently uncomfortable with her abnormal size, and worried that people might judge him for being near her. She sized him up, and decided he was probably just young and insecure.

She pushed the thought from her mind, as she often did with her own post-mutation troubles, and considered Ricks words. Looking him up and down, she appraised him silently, then reached out and knocked a knuckle against his shoulder.

"This kit is built to deal with projectiles" she said, thinking aloud, "I wonder how it holds up in melee, against a similar foe..."

"I'll go flying pretty damn easily... you could probably backhand me off my feet. But I won't be injured. I'm pretty sure they've broken diamond sledgehammers on this thing." Rick braced himself just in case Camilla took the back-handing remark as a challenge.

James finally walked behind the leader of the dozen or so Security that were still in a circle looking around dramatically for him and tapped his shoulder "I could have killed you all by now, you know." The leader screamed and dropped his weapon, and the soldier all tripped and sprawled over one another trying to turn around as James walked over to the other WINGS "I'm back, just wanted to see the controls I'd be working with. I set up some protocols and diagnostics for it to work on while we wait to get underway."

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