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

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She watched Rick tense, and a part of her cringed; she hated being seen as the brute. Outwardly, she forced a smile, aware that it would look brittle, and gave him a gentle punch.

His words of food echoed in her mind, and down into her belly, which replied with a growl. She allowed herself to grimace, and hoped it would seem that her hunger was the cause of her upset, "Bloody hell," she remarked, "You have no idea how my I have to eat to just break even"

She set off, looking for food, and came across a table laden with rations. Gathering an armful, she sat down and began to eat voraciously, conceding to her hunger. Looking up, she saw a female FEATHER watching her, and waved, "If you're going to stare," she called, "You might as well come over and talk to me."

"This kids, is why we don't enter programmes that tell us to ignore the instincts we've had since we dragged ourselves out of the water all those years ago and started throwing sticks at each other. They make you stupid and forget that the weak points on your armour are the joints. I'm not going to wound a piece of kit developed from many billions of pounds of research." She paused for a moment. "You there, with the face" she said, looking over to Drock "Stop trying to flirt with that poor, poor girl who had the bad luck to stand next to you and give me your pea shooter." The soldier complied and presented his weapon, quickly ignoring the titters he heard behind him as he made his way over. "Any modifications on this?" she asked
"No ma'am." Drock responded, standing to attention and smiling in such a way that it would be almost imperceptible to most. Saryll however, noticed and didn't like the way his eyes lingered as she took the gun from him.
"So you have no imagination then." she said, then paused. "Actually, I assume you actually have a very active imagination, just no creativity, which is a shame. Creative people are always fun. You weren't doing too badly until now" she corrected, looking a little disappointed in him she knew it was unfair to tease him like this, but he deserved it for saying what he had. "Do you know how misaligned your sights are?" she asked
"Three degrees?" he asked, obviously not knowing the answer, but hazarding a guess.
"In which direction?" Saryll shot back, looking surprised but mistrustful
"To the left." Drock said, sounding more confident as he believed he had accurately guessed the inaccuracy.
"No, they're fine. I was going to commend you on your maintenance, but you probably lucked out and got a good gun." she said. "I'm going to teach you how to use your eyes kid, so you'd best start putting them to good use." she walked past a set of crates to get a better firing line, then fired a shot at the wall. "You're going to be hitting that exact spot and anything else is unacceptable damage, so watch my body positioning carefully..."

Rick saw Camilla eating. A rations table, and he somehow missed it? Bleh, it figures.

Rick left Private Knobs leaning on the ship and grabbed a set of rations. He sat near Camilla, and noticed that she was beckoning over a female FEATHER. He listened hard to hear what they were saying.

After a few minutes of coaching Drock on how to look down the sights properly and breathe so it didn't interfere with aiming, positioning his arms and legs by moving them herself, Saryll left him trying to hit one spot with an assault rifle, smirking at the thought of him with the task that he would likely only be able to succeed in by luck, especially when hampered by the vaguely flirty nature she had taken with him. She spotted some people congregating around a table of rations and made her way over. "That soldier is going to get his dues." she muttered cryptically as she opened a breakfast bar and bit off a corner thoughtfully.

The recruit moved nearer, but didn't say anything, and Camilla realised she didn't have much to say

"What's your name, girl?" she asked gruffly, and winced as the words came out deep and grunt-like. She half expected the Feather to bolt, but the girl stayed in place, probably scared stiff instead.

Jinxie was, for her part, more curious than anything else about this giantess, most obviously altered of all the Wings troopers, physically intimidating yet with a strange look in her eye

"My names Jinxie" she volunteered, "and I'm not a girl. I'll be 20 by Christmas"

Camilla raised an eyebrow, replied, "That's quite a way you've got for talking back to your superiors"

"If you're pulling rank, Sarge, then I'm a private, but I'm still not a girl." shot back Jinxie

"I was going to say that you'll fit in fine, but you just went and proved it." Camilla smiled, and it felt more real than earlier, " My name's Camilla, and I reckon we'll get on fine. Hey, I might even be able to teach you something. Now come on, let's go find where we're bunking..."

This time it was Jinxie who raised an eyebrow, but Camilla didn't see, and the Feather kept her mouth shut

Jason sat in the chair that Dr. Thompson told him to sit in. Jason flashed back to an early part in his life, It was during one of Dr. Thompson's "tests" where Jason was put in a room much like the one he was in currently. Dr. Thompson would quiz him and wouldn't take a wrong answer very lightly, Jason was tortured for every wrong answer he gave. Dr. Thompson said this was to ensure that Jason's body would instinctively make the right answer quicker, but Jason was sure that it was to ensure that he wouldn't stand up to Dr. Thompson.

"So Jason." Dr. Thompson started as he walked into the room and sat across from Jason. "Why did you kill General Kim so suddenly?" Dr. Thompson questioned. Jason's body calmed down, he was used to these types of things by Dr. Thompson and it was the only time he was unafraid of Dr. Thompson. "Well sir he began with not allowing us access to the ship which in itself is treachery and treachery is a crime punishable by death. If that was not enough he met us with armed guards when we were unarmed, If I hadn't brought so weapons we would have been killed." Jason started to explain noticing that Dr. Thompson already knew the reason he just wanted Jason to say it.

"So are you telling me that you killed General Kim because he brought armed guards to meet you?" Dr. Thompson asked. "Yes Sir, that is exactly what I am saying." Jason answered not caring what Dr. Thompson thought of his decision. "Very good Captain you acted just like I taught you to. If you would have hesitated any longer General Kim would have blown up your Pegasus." Dr. Thompson revealed. "What? What do you mean by that?" Jason asked not knowing what Dr. Thompson was talking about.

"General Kim wanted to kill you and your squad Jason. He rigged the Pegasus with explosives right before the Pegasus left to pick you and your squad up. His plan was to blow you guys up outside of the ship, He didn't allow you access to land so it would buy him more time to blow up your Pegasus. The plan backfired when the Hangar controller panicked and granted you permission to land. He planned to kill you by blowing up the Pegasus but you killed him before he could do that. Nice instincts Captain, even if you didn't do it for that reason that's what happened." Dr. Thompson explained while going to stand up.

"Wait how did you know all of this?" Jason asked as he got out of his seat. "Why This was all my doing." Dr. Thompson said softly as he walked out the door. Jason was in shock at learning that, Every part of his being screamed to kill Dr. Thompson but Jason couldn't bring himself to do it. Jason followed Dr. Thompson to the hangar trying his hardest to make his body respond to his command but he could not make his body respond.

"Okay Everyone pay attention!" Dr. Thompson ordered as he and Jason walked into the Hangar. "All the surviving soldiers are going to be rounded up and taken off the ship. Because of this Kell I am making you apart of this squad and the rest of you recruits will study under the WINGS squad for now." Dr. Thompson explained while everyone listened to him speak. "Sir, What will happen to the soldiers you're taking away?" Jason asked knowing most of his squad wanted to know. "They will be court martialed and most likely executed." Dr. Thompson answered coldly while the wounded soldiers were loaded on Dr. Thompson's Pegasus.

"Well You're in charge now Captain Kahlil, you may begin you're quest once all the systems are up." Dr. Thompson said as he walked onto the Pegasus. The Pegasus' doors closed and it took off out of the hangar towards earth. "Well Sergeant Kell it looks like you're under my command now. Are there any questions? If not you may explore the ship or go to your station." Jason said exhausted from the entire ordeal.

Knobs finally stood up straight and stretched. He wasn't sure what he thought of being accosted by two giants right off the bat, and getting assigned to accompany one of them at all times. He was positive that the male had been bluffing about crushing his head, but it still kind of gave him the heebie-jeebies. He was pretty curious about the girl, though - Camilla, had he heard right? She seemed like an odd choice for heavy-based modification, but hey. A chain gun is a chain gun, as long as the wielder can use it.

He realized that he was peckish as well, and decided to grab some rations while they were out.

Knobs carefully walked towards the table, then quickly ran over, grabbed a nutrition bar, and dodged back out before any untoward comments about his aura were made by those already there. He looked around and saw Rick sitting on the ground. He walked over, and paused. Oh well, he'll have to used to my scent sooner or later. He sat down.

Rick grimaced slightly, but took the intrusion well.

Knobs peeled the bar, noting that Rick had four. "I don't think I caught your name, sir."

"Sergeant Osten. RICK Osten. Call me Rick."

Knobs took a bite out of the bar. "Rick. Hmm. I'm Nobby." Rick made a valiant effort to not snicker. "Gee, do you think you took enough food, Sergeant?" Knobs wasn't sure if he was being accusatory or joking.

Rick shrugged. "Camilla took eight. I'm not sure if she's being polite or is on a diet, but she needs to stop starving herself."

Knobs wasn't sure how this answered his question, but the factoid was a bit startling.

Suddenly, the Captain strode out and announced that they were free to leave the hangar. Rick prodded Knobs with a massive gauntlet. "I'm about ready to go see where we're bunking. Want to come along?"

James tapped into the ship comms so that Thompson could hear him "Make sure to die in a pit of your own morbidity and arrogance, I brought along champagne for it and I think a collapsing star would make a great spectacle to the celebration." James said to Thompson's ship. He had never liked the doctor in even the loosest sense as he waved cheekily goodbye to the leaving shuttle, then turned to the Captain "Sir. Reporting for active duty, I started the weapons full boot up earlier, and I could always do some calibrations while I wait, and I'd like to take my FEATHER through basic first response." James stood at ready

"James you should never talk to a superior like that, no matter how much you hate him you must keep it inside." Jason said lecturing James. "You may take him through first response training. You guys seemed to have picked out your recruit while I was gone." Jason said noticing that each member of the squad seemed to take one of the FEATHERS under their wing. "I'm guessing you paired me up with one of em." Jason remarked looking around to see which one he would get.

Jarmen walked over to private Hunter, having finished looking over the squads personnel files, and stood beside her. Even with her sitting she was still roughly his height. She turned, averting her eyes from the WING squad for the first time and asked
"Sir? What do you... think ofthem?"
Her speech had a strange rhythm to it, speeding up at some points and pausing oddly at others.

"I think they trust me about as far as they can throw me, Maggie" She was, as far as he was concerned, his star pupil and he'd grown fond enough of her that he called her that when they were alone, "And rightfully so, I think I was a bit too abrasive to them when I first stepped off the shuttle. Didn't have the full picture. I'm pretty sure I managed to patch things up with ah..." he paused, trying to remember "Reynolds and Lier, but the others, I have no idea. Bit worried too, get the feeling Doc Thompson didn't just bring us up here for a training run. Knowing him he'll probably make me go with them, to keep an eye on them. And that mean's I'll have to leave you rookies all by your lonesome. Shame, since they all seem to be bonding so well with the WINGS. Even though they're supposed to be guarding them" He muttered the last bit under his breath.
There was silence for a few moments as they both stared at the recruits mingling with the squad.

"I thinkthe tall woman trusts you, sir."

"I ... what? Why?" Jarmen asked, confused.

"She... looks like she could throw you pretty far."

Jarmen stared at her for a moment, blank expression framed by several ginger braids, each ending in a single silver bead. Hunter always acted as though she was very literal minded and Kell could never tell if she was faking it or not. The girl either had one hell of a poker face or was odder than he'd always thought.
"She probably could..." He eventually replied.

With Jarmen standing beside her, Hunter smiled very slightly as she watched Drock grow more and more frustrated as he tried to hit the same spot. His earlier comment about the "giant fucking woman" had annoyed her, more because it broke her concentration than anything else. She'd been ordered to watch the WINGS squad and that's what she'd do, even if the others goofed around and socialized. They all seemed a bit in awe of the WINGS, as though the Thompson procedure had made them into something more impressive than human.

Her expression returned to neutral as she watched them. You didn't need the procedure to be a better soldier. Mr. Kell had proved that. He was a hero long before he ever got the procedure. But now he thought he might be leaving, which was worrying. He'd taught her so much, things she knew he'd avoided teaching the other recruits. Sneaking into restricted areas of the academy, laying traps for people who'd wronged her, moves and techniques for easily taking on men twice her size in hand to hand. How was she supposed to keep learning these wonderful, strengthening things if Mr. Kell left? Well...there's probably some way to stay with him. She knew he enjoyed having her as a student, welcomed her as a sometimes confidante. Perhaps she could stay on as his aide? If worst comes to worst, this is an absolutely massive ship. It would be easy to drop her radio beacon somewhere and hide away until long after the point of no return had been passed. Nothing would keep her from her teacher.

"Captain, you must understand, Thompson and I... haven't ever liked eachother. If I DIDN'T insult him, he'd have me executed for being an imposter most likely...." James saluted, and then walked over near Kell "I'd like some files on Flagpole, if I'm going to be dragging him around, I'd like to know more about the man I'm trying to turn into a decent asset to the ship. Maybe even make him a decent WING if he lives that long."

Knobs stood up and shrugged. Rick stood up as well, startling Knobs a bit. Knobs looked up at him. "...Shall I escort you? Or should I ignore Sergeant Kell?"

"I don't know. What do you think?"

Nothing about this situation made any sense to Knobs, most of all being that he of all people was expected to "keep an eye on" Rick. Rick was more than a foot taller than him while in armor, and as Rick had mentioned earlier, a good deal more powerful than he was. "Uhm... I don't know either. It makes more sense to follow you around, as my superior."

Rick shrugged. "Fair enough." He walked over to the wall-mounted directory, selected through "Accommodations/Guest/Search". He typed his name into the console, and it filtered through the guesthouse data. It returned nothing.

Rick turned towards the Captain. "Hey, Captain! We aren't registered in any guest houses on here! What should we do?"

Rick paused. "Also, where are our... guards... sleeping? Same rooms?"

"Each of your rooms are near the bridge. Look for the corridor that says WINGS, your names should be on the door to your room. As for your the recruits." Jason started explaining, he paused not knowing what to do with the FEATHERS. "I actually don't know I wasn't planning on them coming with us. Since the Barracks are basically full I guess your recruit will have to bunk with you." Jason explained coming up with what to do with the FEATHERS on the spot.

JARMEN KELL
Well, thought Jarmen, I guess it turned out exactly like I predicted, though having the recruits stay on was a bit odd. Maybe he thought they'd learn something? Nah, he never payed any attention to them before.
Jarmen called out to Jason. "No, no questions..." he hesitated for a moment "...sir." He added, finally.

James approached and asked him for files on private McMillan.
"You..." he stopped himself. He'd been about to chide the boy for poking his nose where it didn't belong. If he wanted to learn about the McMillan he'd have to find out the hard way. That was what Kell had wanted to say, but he was under Kahil's command now, might as well start getting friendly.
"What's your PDA's number, I'll send his personnel file to you. Not medical history though, you want to find out what he's been pricked with and where, you can ask him yourself." There, he thought. Small concessions would make this easier.

Jarmen glanced at Hunter as James walked away. She was looking at him, beaming.
"Well, don't you seem thrilled. Happy to be heading off into combat?"
"Very muchso, sir." she replied.
"You don't have your very own special WINGS friend like all your squadmates." he said sarcastically.
"I've got you, sir."
Kell grinned widely, was she just kissing his ass or was she really this happy to be going into combat with him?
"...why don't you go and find us somewhere nice to bunk before everyone finishes eating and all the good ones get taken." he ordered before adding "Preferably with more than one bed." He knew she idolized him quite a bit but he'd rather she not get that friendly.
"Right away, sir."

MARGARET HUNTER
Hunter jogged through the hall towards the bridge as per Jason's instructions. Several male crew members gave rather friendly hellos as she passed. She ignored them, following the various signs pointing towards her goal. She stopped next to a man crouched low repairing a floor panel in order to get her bearings. The man looked up, leering at her.
"Lost, miss?" he asked.
"I'm lookingfor the WING quarters."
"Well that's back a ways, I think you missed a turn." The man grinned widely, he was missing more than a few teeth and those that were left had an unhealthy green tinge to them. "I could show you the way...if you like."
Disgusting... she paused for a moment, wondering whether or not to crush the mans hand, still on the floor, under her heel. Just to teach him a lesson. She decided against it. She was going to be living on the ship, it'd be better if she didn't turn the crew members against her on her first day there.
"I'm fine, I'll go... back and look for theturn."
A short while later she found it. All The doors along the hallway were open. Apparently the crew had prepped the rooms after Doctor Thompson left. The first room looked very suitable for Mr. Kell and her, with a large king size bed and several plush looking armchairs for her to sleep in. As she was preparing to walk in she noticed a placard next to the door reading "RESERVED FOR CPT. KAHIL"
It would be easy to remove the placard and claim the...no, if Mr. Kell found out he'd be annoyed. She ventured further down the hall, finding a slightly more spartan room with two beds and a small antechamber. This would do nicely...

"Sir, with all due respect, I'm not necessarily comfortable "bunking" with my Feather. Can I do a trade with Sergeant Kell?" Saryll asked Captain Kahlil, shooting him a look that read death should he challenge her on this.
"Yeah, that makes sense actually." Kahlil responded "Kell, when you're ready to move, tell the Feather to stop hunting snipes and tell your biggest fan her dreams are broken"
"Exhale slowly! Knee up, thigh tense!" she called back to Drock, then turned to follow on in the direction Hunter had run off in like a hound. She found her in the accommodation corridor poking her head into one of the rooms. Saryll whistled on her way past and said "C'mon eager beaver, the Captain doesn't like how some of you recruits are looking at your superiors, so I'm thankfully not sleeping in a room with that slimy bugger Drock, and you aren't going to be collecting Kell's hair from his head while he sleeps. We're in the end one on the left. Executive decision" The room on the end at the left had the newest looking door frame, meaning if there was any chance of newer, more luxury facilities outside of Kahlil's quarters, they would probably be in there.

Jarmen clicked a button on his collar and spoke quietly into his headset.
"Maggie, you read me? there's been a change of plans. Apparently gender politics have hit the ship."
Her voice came back, tinny in his ear. "What doyou mean, sir?"
"That Marksman girl who snapped at me after I got off the shuttle put up a fuss about having to room with Cock...er, Drock" he clarified. He was pretty sure he hadn't told her about his private nickname for the boy. "You'll be bunking with her"
There was silence on the mic. He could tell she was iritated but it was better all around this way.
"Maggie?"
"Alright, sir. I've found a... room for you though. Would you likeme to reserve it for you?"
"Yes, thank you."
He heard a strange whistling noise in the background as she clicked off her transmitter.

"Come on, Knobs. Let's go see our quarters."

Knobs turned from the terminal just in time to see Rick stride off. He jogged to keep up.

A short while later, they walked past the bridge and started checking the side corridors. "Found it!" Knobs darted down a side passage.

Rick followed him past a sign reading "WINGS". "Let's find a bedroom with one bed, if we can," said Rick.

"Why?" asked Knobs, suddenly concerned.

"Because then we aren't hogging a bed that someone else might need." Knobs started to protest, but Rick wasn't listening.

Halfway down the hall, they found what they were looking for - a room with one bed, and a pretty comfy looking chair. Apparently, they had run out of beds. Knobs glanced around the room, shed his clunky vest and dropped it on the chair. "I guess I'll take this, then."

Rick looked at him as if he had just thrown money in a compactor. "Why? There's a bed right there."

Knobs looked at him uncomprehendingly. "That's yours, even if it is a bit of a squeeze."

Rick picked up the vest and tossed it onto the bed. "Nope, that bed there is for you."

"I'm honored, sir, but you're my superior. You get the food, I get the crumbs."

Rick shook his head. "I'm a survivalist. A meat shield. If you get crumbs, I get the stains. I haven't slept in a bed for six years."

Knobs stared, filled with a mixture of awe and sickly surprise. "That's... that's... wow."

Rick lay on the floor and stretched. "Heh, I have enough room to stretch out, in armor no less. Luxury."

Damien hit the rations table rapaciously. The cubes did help of course, but they left him feeling empty, regardless of how many he ate. As the saying goes, there's nothing like a home-cooked meal. After just confining himself to double his allotted portion, Damien walked away with a grimace on his face, his stomach still rumbling. He consumed one more cube before finally denying himself any more food. He slung his weaponry and other items over his shoulders. If a FEATHERS soldier wanted to follow him, so be it. As Damien walked towards the exit, he passed Jarmen. "Say, would you mind sending me the medical files for all the FEATHERS? I want to be prepared for anything. Thanks, here's my PDA number." Damien wrote down his number and made his way to the living quarters.

He sauntered through the halls, looking into rooms one by one. He passed by Saryll and a feather. "Her name was... Hunter, right? I'll find out sooner or later." Damien nodded towards the pair. "Evenin', ladies. How are ya?" He asked courteously as he found a room to his liking. The room itself was mostly spartan in nature, but it was spacious, with two beds and a large table that commanded the back half of the room. Damien also noticed the small door that presumably led to a bathroom. Damien grinned and emptied his pack gently on the table, spreading out the half-finished mechanical prototype replacement limbs he had been working on. "I'll go down and check out the Medical Facilities after I settle in." Damien muttered to himself.

James wrote his own PDA number down and walked off, McMillan should be in Weapons by now. After about five minutes he walked in to McMillan looking at the large window into space, holographic displays James had requested flitting across in red and blue light, since the room's lights were only turned on manually, the room was lowly lit blue and red by the screens, hologlass, and the space window. McMillan was looking past it, his first real look into deep space.

James walked up beside him, not sneaky for once, "Lonely, huh?" McMillan nodded then saluted, in his Attention tone "Sir, what would you like me to do?" "Well. Look on the weapon instruction displays I have up here, during normal duty you will be at the various panels around this room, and doing any specific adjustments I need. For now, I pulled up a walkthrough of the general upkeep and secondary gunnery you'll be doing. First, protocol walkthrough." James walked up and got into the elevated rotating control chair, settling into the surprisingly comfortable seat "If and when space eventually becomes less lonely, you don't want a full-lock, the signals can be detected if whatever pirate or something has a brain, what you want is a Motion Tag, it tells the computer to make the calculations and tracking of the lock on, but doesn't actually swivel the weapons and toss on the targeting painters. But most of this will just be you aiming with the computer's suggestions. I set the sensors to automatically Motion Tag anything that could be a threat, but you'll want to keep a sharp eye on the display. Also remember to look outside once in a while, you might just end up seeing something the computer didn't process." James motioned to a seat that was at the window "You will be in a communicative role, giving displays to the main bridge for me when I'm busy shooting things or making sure our guns won't malfunction. I'll train you in gunnery later, so that while I'm planetside, you can manually blast targets I paint, until then I'll have to rely on the computer." James started working away at a discomforting speed from his mods. McMillan saluted "Yes Sgt." "Call me Sir, or Reynolds or something. We'll be sleeping, eating, and working in the same place, I'd like to know we'll get along well enough McMillan."

Rick lay on the floor for a while then got up. "I've been tasked with being a drill sergeant, so I'd better go take a look at the troops and quartermaster - Knobs? Did you just take something out of the vent?"

"Yes, sir."

"Let me see that."

Knobs reached into his pouch and pulled out a bent wrench. "I believe they left it behind during construction."

"You ripped open a vent to get a bent wrench?"

"Yes sir."

Rick handed the wrench back, slightly dumbstruck. "I... I'm going to the quartermaster to see what I'm working with. I'll radio you if I need you. Don't strip the furniture, now..."

"Yes sir."

Rick walked through the door into DELICIOUS, PURE, SWEET BEAUTIFUL AIR. Knobs was going to take a shower soon, whether he liked it or not. Rick thought about it, then figured out a plan. He sauntered over to a nearby directory, and did a dual search for "Armory/Shower Unit". Fantastic, there was one a mere half-kilometer away. Rick downloaded a map and jogged off.

Drock stood in the rather Spartan room wondering who exactly was going to be bunking with him. Jason had said there wasn't going to be mixed bunking. Shame, he'd kind of been looking forward to being in the same room as Saryll. She'd been awfully handsy, if a bit bossy when she was giving him shooting lessons. Maybe get to know her a little better, and then one night they could push the twin beds together and have some fun. He heard the door to the room's antechamber open and turned around, expecting the second door into the bedroom to open.

"HEEEEYYYY DROOOOCKK!" a gruff voice called through the door.

No. Please no. No. No. No. No. No.
Sergeant Kell kicked open the door, Drock couldn't even see his arms under the massive dufflebag he'd brought from the shuttle.

"Guess where you're sleeping, private!"

"...on the bed, sergeant Kell?" Drock asked sarcastically.

"haha FUCK NO! You'e going into combat lad! Need to get used to roughing it. You been by Sergeant Osten's room? He's sleeping on the floor in nothing but his armor. Well, you're not a full WINGS trooper yet so I can't expect you do anything like that. You'll be enjoying this nice sleep mat." Drock watched a crew member enter behind Kell, dropping a tightly coiled mat on the floor in the antechamber before leaving.
Sergeant Kell continued, "You'll be sleeping in there. Plenty of room for you."
"There seems to be plenty of room in here for the mat, sir."
"I'll be doing stretches in here, private. Need lots of room for it. You're free to join me if you like." With this Jarmen grinned.
Drock's mind went completely blank as he did everything in his power to avoid imagining Kell doing stretches.

"I think the first room will be fine, sir" he said, slightly in a daze.
"Excellent! And just so you don't have to deal with the reminder..." Kell dropped his duffle back to the floor. Drock's heart sank. Sergeant Kell had been wearing his exoskeleton armor hidden under the bag. He only wore that when he was about to break something. Drock watched as Kell walked over to one of the beds and raised his hand slightly above his head. With a crunch, the loud squeal of metal being forced to bend filled the room. Drock watched with disappointment as several springs bounced past him and to the floor. Kell had folded the bed over twice, reducing it to mess of twisted metal and torn fabric. Drock slowly walked into the antechamber and began unrolling the mat. Do not poison superior officers. Do not poison superior officers. Hell, knowing this prick it probably wouldn't even kill him.

Knobs heard a loud thunk two rooms over. He quickly jogged over to investigate.

Drock stood in the entryway, looking about as mad as one can look without combusting. Kell was inside the room, unpacking a dufflebag.

There was a rolled-up sleeping mat on the ground.

Knobs stepped through the antechamber and into the room. One of the beds was utterly destroyed. Knobs looked up at the sergeant and tumbled the scene around in his head until it sort of made sense.

Then, seeing that Kell wasn't going to turn around for a while, he knelt down and quietly started stuffing springs and shattered debris into his pack.

Rick arrived at his destination. The corridors had flared open into towering walls that surrounded an absolutely spectacular city district, with statures perched on every intersection, the most finely manicured shrubbery and ivies hanging from thousands of ornate carved fixtures, as well as a stone garden off in the distance. The entire thing looked like a bizarre combination of classical China and Renaissance France. Some ten kilometers away rose two enormous walls, forming a round-bottomed triangle. They were reinforced supports that divided the city into thirds while holding up the roof. The roof was unwarped diamond, and you could see billions upon billions of stars beyond.

When someone said "Make me a ship the size of a city", someone had missed or added a word somewhere.

Rick had walked a short distance down a paved street before turning into a side street.

The Berlin was not a colonization ship, so the population consisted almost entirely of scouts, technicians and soldiers, and the warehouses were filled with supply drops instead of personal items. Nonetheless, there were some civilians aboard for some reason or other, and they were on this street. Quaint temporary apartments lined the left side, across, from a small pawn shop, the "Welcome Wagon Cantina", an "Aqueous Environment Training Facility" (a pool and showerhouse) and the simply named "Armory Six".

Rick surveyed his surroundings with wonder before entering Armory Six.

He walked into a room with its walls absolutely DROWNING in guns. THOUSANDS of them, of every make, model and variation you could ever want. A desk surrounded by a diamond emergency cage (still in the floor) was in the far corner, a doorway marked "Armour" and another marked "Test" on either side of it.

The centerpiece of the room was a large rifle rack filled with extremely large rifles.

If Knobs' dossier was accurate, he'd have a stroke of pure joy when he saw these.

The quartermaster stood at attention. "I am here to serve you, sir!" He suddenly turned a bit white. "Permission to speak, sir!"

"Go ahead."

"With all due respect... is that a Colossus armor set you have there? In full!?" The quartermaster stepped out from behind his desk and trotted over to Rick. "The helmets for this thing are so rare, and yet you seem to have one - just pulled back, yes? - and you have intact joint control! I'd kill for a matching set!" His eyes widened. "WINGS... I thought the WINGS initiation was cancelled!"

"Things happened. We're here now."

"Well... Wow! Do you have any credentials on you?"

Rick pulled out an identification chip. "Sergeant Richard Osten. Temporary drill sergeant. Armour enthusiast. I'm not here to buy right now, just observe."

"I'm unsurprised. I cannot top your armour."

"Now look. I owe a favor to a smaller FEATHER who wants to be a heavy. I think that's why he didn't mind hanging around with the heavy soldiers on the WINGS expedition - the others were afraid to get close. Now, I was wondering if I could let him try some of the more... intense items you have in here?"

The quartermaster grinned. "I have no qualms with this. I cannot let him use the heavy shotgun - health reasons, you understand - but I'll set up the traditional heavy demonstration. You can test it until he arrives, if you wish... you DO want to do it right away, right?"

"Absolutely. And I'll test it, sure. I'm not really good with weapons, but I can aim straight. A bit of practice never hurt anyone, right?"

"A heavy soldier who's not good at weapons...?" The quartermaster's eyes went round. "You're a meat shield?! I've never met a living one before!"

"It was... tough. Let's say that."

"So THAT'S how you got that armor! The prize of surviving the suicide run! Give me a good reason to not fall on my knees in worship, oh God of Indestructibility."

"Sure: The guy I'm bringing over has hygiene problems. I'll have him wash off in the poolhouse, if you'd like."

"Ahm... yes, please do. Armor is a pain to clean the inside of." The quartermaster scratched his head. "You know, I have something in storage for in case I ever met a meat shield... here, I'll go get it after I set up the demo. You call your friend over and have him shower. I think you're going to like what I've got for you... Say, how tall is your friend?"

"About five foot seven or eight."

"Shrimp. I think I've got something anyways..."

Rick grinned. "OK, I'll bring him over."

He clicked his radio. "Hey, Private! Get over here to Armory Six, I have something special for you. Yeah, it's called Armory Six. Better come quick."

Private Knobs received the radio call as he left Kell and Drock's room. He turned and walked over to a directory and did a search for Armory Six. Oh good, it's close by, thought Knobs. Just opposite from where we entered the Bridge area, down the tunnel, round the corner, and -

Knobs stopped dead in his tracks when he entered the cityscape. He stood there for a half minute before he could shut his mouth and keep walking. He felt like he was in a dream as he turned down a residential street. There was a poolhouse, pawn shop, and - Armory Six! Rick must be inside. Knobs sauntered over to the door and stepped in.

Rick was there, holding an FN-AV3. As far as Knobs was concerned, it was a shotgun the size of him. "Ah, Knobs. You're here. I read up a bit about you and found out that you have a mild obsession with heavy weapons. Figured that we should really start out on the right foot, you know..."

Knobs quickly checked for drool. "Yes, sir!"

The quartermaster walked out of the armor section. "I think we'll stick him in a small Titan we have left over, unless he wants the Mammoth - oh, he's here already!"

"Not quite," said Rick. He turned to Knobs. "Actually, the quartermaster needs you to go take a shower before putting the armour on. Protocol, you know." Knobs instantly realized that whether or not good will was involved, part of the intention was to get him to shower. Normally, he'd just ignore people who told him that, but there was some bonafied heavy armor just WAITING for him right there - ! "I'll be right back, I'm heading to the pool for a minute," he squeaked.

Fifteen minutes later, Knobs was back. He was damp, but his hair wasn't so greasy and his distinctive odor had been reduced to trace amounts. He looked almost like a kid again. The quartermaster took him through a spiel and demonstration only seen by heavy soldiers, and Knobs couldn't have been any happier. Rick had the honors of demonstrating the shotgun, to Knobs' chagrin. Rick did find Knobs firing a high-end machine gun meant for people double his size to be both hilarious and worrying. Knobs emitted a couple war whoops throughout before it was all over less than an hour later. Knobs looked almost exhausted.

"Well, I'm glad you enjoyed that, Private," said the quartermaster. "Oh, Sergeant! I nearly forgot, the special item for you!

The quartermaster ducked behind the counter and came up with an enormous grunt of exertion. He had a case, about six feet long and four feet across. He dropped it on the counter, where it made an enormous bang. He opened it and peered inside, looking up at Rick and back in the box. "It's even the right color! You are an incredibly lucky man, Sergeant. I don't even want to charge you, it feels like destiny."

Rick ignored the destiny comment and pulled the case open. It was a shield, the same off-white color as Rick's armour.

"Whaddya think, Private?"

Knobs attempted to lift the shield, but was completely unable to do so. "It's heavy. It must be two hundred pounds." Rick reached over and grabbed a hold of it. Instantly, there was a brief hum and the joints in Rick's armour all spasmed. "What... is it?"

The quartermaster's eyes were glowing with excitement. "It's a shield! It looks to be just the right size you you to hide behind, if you duck your head. It's got a particularly rare and powerful nanobot breed in it, you know, it can repair your armor even faster using the shield metal, and they can adjust atomic structure so that ANYTHING can replace the shield material.. Even a houseplant. Plus, I defy you to break it. Even if you nuked it, it would still hold together."

Rick tried moving it. It felt so much lighter! He could tell that it was interfacing with his armor, and the shield had much better programming and optimization than his joints did. They started overwriting.

global modifier +1

Rick noted that that the holding bar seemed to span about the same distance as one of his many pack-holders on the back of his armor. He moved the shield behind him, and it quickly grabbed hold of its own accord. Rick turned to the quartermaster, quite pleased. "Thank you kindly, sir. Have yourself a wonderful day."

"Oh it has been. Actually, you could make it even better. Could you take this?"

He grabbed an old, old large iron contraption and handed it to Rick. "Flammenwerfer. It werfs flammen. I've modded it as best as I can, but I'm honestly about fed up with the damn thing. I'm too afraid to use an explosive mixture, so I've only tested it with flammables. It spits fire, and lots of it. I don't want it anymore, it's too crude. Maybe you can find a better use of it."

"Thank you very much, I think I know someone who may want this."

Rick and Knobs exited the armory. "Hmmm... Hey, Knobs. Wanna try your modding hand with this thing? Get it all gussied up and maybe add some more features or something. I bet Camilla could use it."

"Sure... I'll see what I can do..." Knobs was still on cloud nine.

They walked to the tunnel back to the bridge when Rick stopped again. "Hey... Knobs... do you have more guns on you then you started the day with?"

Knobs paused. "...Yes."

Rick sighed in exasperation. "Let's not tell the quartermaster that, OK?"

Knobs nodded. "Thank you for that, sir."

Rick took a deep breath. There was only a trace of Knobs' musk. "Not going to lie... it was worth it. Don't expect me to pull that regularly."

"Yes sir."

McMillan had just been through the 'matrix' room, mental-interface reality used for recreation and training with The Devi-Sgt. Reynolds. That's his name. He'd forced him to endure a hellish mission gone wrong. One hundred times, he'd been shot, sawed, bashed, crushed. What scared him, is James made it through the mission at the same level of experience. And he'd be sleeping near this guy? He was positive James was a demonic ninja.

"Oooo~~h McMiiiii~llan" Ohgodno. That was enough torture. I'm positive that he can become invisible without the armor. "Guess where your sleeping, Private." "... In a bed?" "Heh. No." James opened a one bed room, and put a landmine on the top of the bed, it dug in and activated. There were two overhead pipes. "You're sleeping in the smaller one." "Sir, with all due respect, how do I get up there?" "You climb in." James jumped and practically scurried into the larger pipe. "That mine will become seeking at night, and hit you with a tazer once a minute unless you're in that pipe. It can climb the walls." McMillan had massive bags under his eyes, as he closed the door that had 'James and sla-... Bi-... Maggot.'

Watched and listened as all of the commotion between the newly arrived FEATHERS and their WINGS mentors. "I guess I need to pick a FEATHER," he said to himself. Chris walked over to the one that was a little chubbier than the rest, and said " I guess me and you are bunking together. What's your name FEATHER?"

"Pvt. Colon, sir!" He replied with a crisp salute. "Don't call me sir, I never took to the pleasantries. My name is Chris Gannon, and I'm the techy of my team. I will teach you everything you need to know about hacking, decryption, and all around making the enemies electronics a cyber hell.

"Yes sir, er... Chris." Colon replied.

"Alright then. How about we start off with finding a room to bunk. The other guys have already gotten a head start, so we need to see if they left us anything." They grabbed their duffle bags and gear and set off for the bunks. It took sometime to get there for the ship was fairly easy to get lost in. Once they found the hallway the began to look for a room that wasn't taken. They passed by the other's rooms and found a suitable bunk that was close to the end of the hall. Chris opened the door and saw that the layout was fairly simple: two twin beds on the other end of the hall, a small bathroom in the lower left-hand corner, and a couple of coffee tables. There was plenty of room for electronics, weapon assembly/dis assembly, and anything else he needed to do, and even train his FEATHER. "Alright start unpacking and I will get back to you in a second. I just want to check out the electronic warfare station of this ship."

"Yes, sir." Colon replied and started doing as ordered.

Jason looked around the hangar and noticed that most of his squad had left, he decided to head to the Bridge and get the ship started up. Jason was heading out of the hangar when he noticed two recruits messing around, he looked around and noticed that no one had taken them as their recruits yet. Jason then took out his knife and threw it in between the two recruits, they jumped back in shock as Jason walked up and pulled the knife out of the wall.

"So what are you two doing?" Jason asked as he put his knife away. "Um we were just waiting for someone to take us in as their recruits...... sir." The taller one answered almost forgetting to add sir to his sentence. "You two have names?" Jason asked not even responding to their excuse. "I am Robert Webb sir." The taller one answered first. "I am David Mitchell sir." The shorter one answered as if they had practiced introducing themselves like that.

"You must be Sergeant Lier, you look different than what I was told you'd look like but hey at least you're not Captain Kahlil, Right Dave?" Webb said not realizing he was talking to Captain Kahlil. "Yeah, I heard the Captain is a major dick! If I was his recruit I'd probably just try to kill him in his sleep." Mitchell answered as the two seemed unaware of Jason's presence anymore. "You two do know I'M CAPTAIN KAHLIL!" Jason shouted at the two as both of them looked at Jason in shock. "WE ARE VERY SORRY CAPTAIN KAHLIL!" Both said at once trembling in fear.

"You two are now my recruits! For now follow me because I have to go start the ship up. I do have stuff planned for you two though so don't get too relaxed!" Jason said as he walked towards the corridor that lead to the Bridge. While walking down the corridor Jason noticed that there were people now and whenever he walked by they would clear the way and salute him. After a long walk Jason finally made it to the bridge which was located near the top of the front of the ship.

"Damn this ship is huge, at least my room is near the bridge so I won't have that far to walk everyday." Jason thought as he walked into the bridge. "CAPTAIN ON DECK!" one of the soldiers shouted as each person in the bridge stopped what they were doing and stood saluting Jason. "At Ease." Jason said calmly as he walked to the Captain's Chair. "You two, your first job is to stand at both sides of my chair at attention. Think of yourselves as my guards." Jason said as he took a seat in the Captain's chair, Webb and Mitchell then took position at each side of the chair like they were told to without saying a word.

Jason took a look at the monitor in front of his chair which showed the live feed of what was outside the front of the ship."Lieutenant Sanders, get the ship ready to go." Jason ordered over his chair radio. "Right away Captain Kahlil." The voice answered. "Crew of the E.U.S. Berlin, This is Captain Kahlil. The ship is going to begin it's journey everyone prepare to launch." Jason said over the intercoms so everyone on the ship could hear him. Webb and Mitchell then were given a chair to sit in and were strapped in ready for launch.

The noise of the engine started causing the ship to begin to shake and cause a low audible humming noise that could be heard across the entire ship. Jason could start to feel the ship moving as his monitor showed the stars start to move as the ship started to get into the best angle to move. The monitor then stopped it's movement as the ship came into a prime angle to move since there were no planets in the way. Jason could feel the movement as the ship started to move forward and bring itself farther away from earth.

After about 20 minutes the Berlin was going at full speed and the monitor showed nothing but blackness and stars. "Captain the ship is at full speed, turning on the artificial atmosphere now." Sanders said over the radio. Jason could feel the artificial atmosphere turn on as it allowed him to begin to move again after a long period of not being able to move. "Crew This is Captain Kahlil. We are now at full speed and if you have not noticed we have turned on the artificial atmosphere so you may return what you were doing. ETA to Daylesha is one day." Jason said over the intercoms. Jason then got up and stretched a little.

Jason then sat down back in his chair as Webb and Mitchell took position at each side of his chair. Jason was happy they were back standing as they were joking around the entire time they were in the chairs no matter how much he yelled at them to stop. Jason decided to do some paper work before heading off to bed.

"Captain, all weapons are two minutes off from full prime, would you like anything special sent to you? I'll need at least two hours to get the Ablative Shield for the overview window fully functional, the halfwits that created the shell used out-of-date hydraulic controls with cutting edge battle computers. If I manually prepare the armor, the weapons will be cutting it really close to our ETA, which should I focus on?"

"Just send me a report on the status of the weapons. And Focus on getting the weapons up. From the report Major McLelland gave us the worst we may have to face is giant worms and I don't think they could do any real damage to our ship from the planet, if they even exist." Jason responded over the radio.

Rick punched Knobs lightly on the shoulder. "Hey, Private. I may seem like a benevolent superior right now, but that changes tomorrow. You wanna be a heavy like Camilla? I can help you out, but trust me, you're going to NEED some sleep. Now."

A nearby Launchpad Clock read only about 9:00 in the evening. A chill shot through Knobs. He didn't want to think too hard about what would happen tomorrow, but decided to take Rick's recommendation at face value.

Arriving back at their room, Knobs pulled a vial of meds out of one of his many pockets, gulped it, and lay down on the bed. Rick stood near the door and watched. He didn't really need to sleep. Near the end of the Suicide Run, he had been sleeping for three or four hours a week. It was a simple fact of life: Stay awake, or die. His body was trained very well, and he couldn't close his eyes for longer than three hours any given two days. The human body can take some pretty horrendous abuse and keep on ticking, Rick had found out.

Knobs was about to find out, too.

Rick thought for a moment, then lay on the floor to grab some shuteye. Who knows how long they'd be on the planet, and he'd probably be night guard and not get any sleep at all while down there. Besides, he hadn't slept for two days already.

Yes. He'd wake up before midnight, and the FUN could begin.

James walked into the Weapons Control chair, and a wet, unhappy but rested, as he took his post by the holoscreen and watched space pass by, while James smirked, and dismissed the night-crewmembers, and James put his name and 'maggot' up on the duty display on the bridge for the Battle Room

Felt the ship shake and then go back to normal as they started moving. Once the artificial atmosphere was turned on, he decided to look at Colon's record and pulled it up on his PDA. Apparently he didn't like conflict, was always sending money back home, and bunked with Knobs at the academy. Chris and Rick will need to co-op training with their FEATHERS. Once he was done he walked over to where Colon was sleeping and shook him awake, "Hey, if your going to be a field technician and cyber warrior, you are going to have to be awake with everyone else."

"Hrmm, give me five more minutes Mom." Colon groggily said, obviously still dreaming. "If yo want to play it that way, then we will have some fun after all." Chris said, flipping the mattress over and throwing Colon onto the ground. "I said wake up pvt. It's late in the morning and you have some training to do! We don't have time be off in Dreamland.

"Yes, sir!" Colon replied getting on his feet and saluting. "Now that your awake, we can get to work. Before we get to electronics, you need to learn about weapon maintenance. Keep you and your friends' weapons shooting long enough to kill the enemy. Let's head on over to the armory and grab a few weapons to start off with.

"Yes, sir." Colon replied as he started following Chris. As they were walking Chris asked Colon, "So, do you have any kind of training in weapon maintenance and/or electronics?" "Yes I do. I don't like open conflict too much, so I figured I can help my squad mates without shooting at the enemy too much. Although, I don't have too much training, just a little more than field stripping and cleaning."

We have a long way to go, Chris thought to himself. As they entered into the main part of the ship, Chris and Colon took a look at the cityscape. "I can't believe they put all of this in here." Colon said. "And we have to keep an eye on the electronic defenses of this place." Chris replied. Colon gave him an awkward look as if saying, are you serious? Chris just gave a small chuckle and set off to an armory. After passing bath houses, medical stations, and a small bar, they finally found an armory labeled Armory 2. They walked in and saw that the place looked like a gun convention on steroids. Rifles, pistols, and everything in between were lined all across the walls. They even had a heavy weapons section. A tall-muscular man stepped up behind the counter and said "I'm the quartermaster for this armory, how can I help you?" "Ya, I'm teaching my FEATHER here about weapon field maintenance, and were hoping to borrow a few guns to work on." "A FEATHER? You wouldn't be talking about the WINGS program would you? I never expected to meet WINGS members." the quartermaster replied. "I'm WINGS, he isn't, although he is close." Chris replied, "About those guns?"

"Ah, yes. Give me one minute." the quartermaster replied. After about five minutes the quartermaster returned with a full dufflebag. "Here you are, a bag of assorted pistols, rifles, and the like. And considering you are WINGS, I will entrust you to bring them back the way they are now, so no charge."

"Why thank you, We will bring them back soon I promise. Come on Colon we have work to do." Chris replied grabbing the dufflebag and walking out.

3:00 AM. Rick trotted back into his room. Knobs was still asleep.

Rick grabbed him and set him upright on the floor. Knobs awoke with a jolt, barely gaining his balance before Rick let go.

"So, there's a satchel hanging from the statue of intersection twelve. Bonus points if you don't use a directory. Go get it."

"Wha... wha...?" Knobs was fairly sure that he was still dreaming.

"Go find intersection twelve and get the satchel off the statue. Then bring it back."

Knobs trotted off, slightly stunned. Rick stepped out into the WINGS cabin hallway, then over to a directory. He identified himself, activated the relevant permissions, and started following Knobs' progress via security camera. Knobs clearly figured out that his training had begun, and made a point of avoiding directories, suspiciously eyeing the attached verification cameras. Rick couldn't see through those, he just saw through all the hidden cameras in the ceiling and such.

Knobs' pace slowed to a walk as he entered the city section, and slowed even further as he approached intersection three by Armory Six. He glanced down the three streets available, then went straight ahead. Intersection eight. Knobs ignored that the areas panned out the further he went and immediately trotted forward again. He was dismayed to find that it took him to intersection twenty. Knobs experimentally went left, and indeed, it took him to intersection nineteen. So there WAS logic!

Knobs saw an easy-to-climb building, and climbed it clean out of Rick's sights. He must have gone up to count the intersections. Rick began cycling through the nearby cameras. There, he had dropped off into a well-trimmed hedge. Hopefully no one would notice. He ran off in the correct direction, but his adrenaline buzz was clearly dying from being ripped from bed so suddenly.

By the time he reached intersection twelve, he was nearly on his hands and knees. Rick watched worriedly as he climbed the statue, falling once and sliding into something pointy twice. The architect clearly hadn't meant for the lady he sculpted to be scaled. Finally, Knobs reached the satchel, he had to knock it off instead of picking it up. He nearly fell off the statue when it landed, it must have made a crashing sound. Rick started to feel sorry for the guy. He slid to the base of the statue and caught his breath. He then stumbled to the satchel to pick it up.

He couldn't.

No wonder it made such a huge thump when it landed.

Knobs stretched for a minute, then, with enormous effort, lifted the satchel over his shoulder and began plodding back.

He arrived back at 3:40.

"...What was... the big.... idea...?" Knobs could barely speak.

"Endurance and strength is needed in ALL heavy military. This tested both. Feel free to open the satchel now."

Knobs set it down with a crash. Rick jumped. Drock groaned unhappily from a nearby doorway.

Knobs managed to open the knot with surprising dexterity, given his condition, and he peered inside. Food bars and scrap metal. LOTS of it.

Knobs took two bars, and Rick took three. "Feel free to rest some more, now, if you want. You'll be getting less and less."

Knobs stumbled off to their room, scarfing down a nutrition bar. Rick waited for him to disappear through the doorframe, then counted the metal pieces.

Six. There were three missing.

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