The ORION Files (Closed/Started)

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<<< Mar >>>
TGR Territory Border Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Bridge
"Do we have a headin'?"

While there was no-doubt members of the ship's existing crew that were tasked with docking procedures, Mar kept one of her four eyes on it until she was satisfied that not only their rescue was safely aboard, but so were Mary and those on the Archer. Out of the desire to be thorough, she also initiated a sensor sweep around them, just to make sure that the surviving pirates weren't nearby with reinforcements.

As she did, she took the opportunity to sit back a little in the pilots seat. Any immediate danger seemed to have passed, meaning she could relax, if only a little. After all, she couldn't exactly afford to slack-off, but by her standards, piloting a slower freighter like the Sweetie was a relaxing position, if usually steady and ultimately boring from her past experiences. Even being a smuggling pilot was largely tedious. Customs and police forces in space were generally on the look-out for specific contraband depending on the star nation involved, but space was vast, especially deep space, meaning that the trips were long and filled with days spent doing mostly nothing, even by modern standards with top-of-the-line FTL drives.

The sharp tone of the sensor sweep finishing up snapped her back to the here-and-now, and when she looked over the results, she was satisfied enough. Mar rolled her shoulders before flipping on the shipboard comms and pinged the container that Captain Walker was in.

"Captain. Proximity sensor sweep shows all-clear. If there are any pirate's nearby, they're somehow managing to avoid detection by our sensors. When you're finished interviewing our new guest, I'll need you to relay a course to the bridge so I can get us underway. Mar out." she told him over the speakers.

"Captain. Proximity sensor sweep shows all-clear. If there are any pirate's nearby, they're somehow managing to avoid detection by our sensors. When you're finished interviewing our new guest, I'll need you to relay a course to the bridge so I can get us underway. Mar out."

"Got it Mar and thanks. I just need to clarify a few things with our new guest before we take off."

He said with a smile before he pulls up a chair and listen to the girl's tale. Listening closely as he listens to it all. Trying to process this as he thought it over. 'Great...just..just great. What should I do? I have a brand new alien here far from home. With new tech that could be a gold mine if anyone wanted to sell it off for a profit. Ugh..wish I had a drink right now.'

"Have any water?"

Walker nods and looks over at one of the crewmates. "Can you go get some water?" He crewmate nods and rushes off to get a bottle of water. Looking back at the new girl as he lets her continue. Once she was finished, he felt sorry for her but he really didn't know what to do with her.

"Well miss, to be quiet truthful to you I have no idea what to do with this situation. While I don't mind more help around here, you are a bit of an odd one out. I have no idea about your race, your tech, or anything to fall back on." He said and then continue, "Plus you will have a target on your back probably throughout this sector. Just to get a piece of your tech to sell on the black market, or which corporation pays higher." Walker finished as he sat back and thought it over.

"If I let you on this crew..I'm going to have to make some rules just for you to keep you safe..as well as this crew. I'm sure you already know about how greedy people can be." he said, pointing to the fact about the pirates that attack her.

"i now know that my tech is... unique... and i really owe my life to you and your crew. So the rules are expected." She said, rinking the water as it showed up. "I just can't advocate the use of my craft by anyone or disassembly." Resha added and drank a bit of water. She was open to listening to them as she didn't have too much of a choice.

The Orion Files | Mother-Ship: Sweet Child of Mine | Hanger
On Past Encounters...
Edward Aubergine

Just in case anyone was wondering where the four armed, four eyed, fuzzy purple heavily armed Catican shock trooper had been, he was perched atop a large cargo container with a carbine pointed at the ship'd newest passenger and his grenade launcher pointed at the newest passenger's ship. Before anyone gets any funny ideas about Edward's intelligence, it should be noted that the carbine had been loaded with compressed powdered slugs and the grenade in use was a sort of goo grenade which was ideal for inhibiting the movements of large mechanoid vehicles. For the remainder of the initial interaction between the captain and the latest statistic of intergalactic piracy, the ship's guard did just that, he guarded against any potential threats to the crew and its safety, relaxing only when the alien, Resha was lead out of the hanger by the Captain and Mary.

Once the area had been cleared of potential hostiles, the agile anthropomorphic feline hopped down from his perch to the hanger deck, having noticed something rather interesting, the mech. It was not the newly arrived mechanized unit that he was interested however, but rather it was the one being piloted by his fellow crew members, Brian Wojtek.

Having participated in a few of the skirmishes on planets located on the Terran/Catican border, the Kodiak Mechanized Infantry Support Armour was instantly recognizable to the Shock Trooper. It was strange seeing the powered armor so still, not like the ones that the Catican Shock Trooper Corp had nicknamed the Walking Fortresses during their initial encounters, the ones that had walked through the front lines, firing and killing as they did. The Heavily Armed Catican wondered if Brian was one of the many power armor users that he'd faced in the past, if he'd been responsible for the thousands of casualties that the Catican Hegemony had suffered prior to signing of the armistice. It wasn't that Edward was out for revenge, he understood that the humans on the TCR were under orders, as he had been.

"I wonder if this machine heralds an end to the age of Shock Troopers and Power Armor," Edward said to his comrade, Brian, as he nodded towards Resha's ship, half tempted to rip the ship apart with his bare claws.

For a while now, the Archer was something he'd lived out of and gotten use to. In these improvised quarters that he had made up, you had few amenities, but it was comfortable. You could sleep and let the events of the day wash over you like the thrumming of the engines, faintly heard through the ductwork behind the walls. They were kind of soothing in their own way. They were... Elliot's eyes opened, somewhat puzzled. They were off. The slight hum of the ship's main power was there, but the engines were switched off. Now, why would that be? There'd been no indicator of a problem, so then what? Elliot got up and decided to check on Grace at the helm.

Okay, Grace wasn't at the helm.

Airlock-02 was engaged and they appeared to be attached to the Sweet Child of Mine. How come? Half the point of not being attached was that they could watch over the cargo ship in a rapid response to danger. Why- Oh, hang on. There's a note. Elliot picked it up and read it.

"'Captain Walker asked to see me about something. Explain when I get back.'. Huh..."

Probably something about their current arrangements. Well, he was up now. May as well stay up and go see what it was all about.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Off to the side, and all during the conversation with Resha over her situation, was Grace Hart. She had been silently listening, just taking it all in, for her information and for Elliot's. This was completely-new information, as Grace doubted that this species had ever seen this area of space, or at least not ordinarily. Resha appeared to have some understanding of local langrages, but that could have been obtained via floating transmissions from deep space being received, analyzed, and vaguely understood. Still, what she had to say was of some interest. She seemed to not be a combat pilot, but recognized that her current situation technically forced her into the life of one. Realistic, grounded. She was also quite protective of her technology, which was understandable.

It was abou this time that Elliot came aboard and had...no idea what was going on.

"Uhh, Grace..."

The silver-haired woman turned and seemed slightly surprised by his presence.

"Elliot... Weren't you sleeping?"

"Yeah, kind of. The engines being off caught me off-guard. I get the feeling that something important happened in the interim?"

She nodded, then summarized what had happened so soon after leaving the station. Elliot was surprised, mostly at there being a pirate attack against such an unheard-of species so close to a station like that. He did appreciate having the blanks filled in

"Kinda' reminds me of when we first met."

Grace frowned slightly.

"I didn't need saving."

"No, no you didn't. Just a job. Think she'll do alright?"

Grace shrugged. She didn't make opinions like that about people. They had to do what they needed to. That was all.

As the others walked away, Brian approached the fighter and began silently looking it over attempting to scan it and it's components trying to discern weak points in it's design. What he could read from his scanners was unfamiliar but understandable-

"I wonder if this machine heralds an end to the age of Shock Troopers and Power Armor,"

"I doubt it," Brian replied simply before continuing. "Looks too flimsy for assault work, sustained fire or armour piercing rounds would probably break it, basic air defences would probably break it before it made it to the ground. Even if it did, they'll always need specialists."

Brian looked at the Catican wondering about the alien "Have you encountered 'one of the Kyrn' before?"

Mary stood impassively off to the side, while 'Resha' introduced herself. Apparently her people had scavenged some old Terran ships, which would probably explain the old diplomatic codes, but try as she might she couldn't remember any mention of a species called 'Kyrn'. Maybe the Grandies made contact after I left. She thought idly. While all this was interesting, she was more concerned with who the hostiles had been. Misha's VI had recognized the jammer profile when she'd engaged them, and now she had it digging through her sensor records to see if any of the ships were 'known'.

"-I guess I'm a fighter pilot now."

That brought her back to the conversation, and caused her to let out a short bark of laughter which was muffled by her helmet. Pops one idiot with a lucky shot and she thinks she can hang with the pros...that's cute Dick made a comment to Oso about watching the new arrival's stuff while the two of them talked somewhere more to Resha's liking; and his comment about 'letting' Mary come along almost made her laugh out loud again. Not like you really had a say in matter. She thought with a smile. Following the pair into a dimmed room, she stood by the door with her rifle in a low-ready position while they talked a bit more.

At the mention of how greedy people could be, Mary couldn't help but grin behind her opaque faceplate; off the top of her head she could name a half-dozen arms dealers, of various levels of legitimacy, who'd be willing to sell close family members and possibly major body parts to get their hands on a craft like to one they'd just saved. I could retire...somewhere nice, where they won't ask questions... Her thoughts were interrupted by a 'chirp' from Misha's VI. Looking over the information the computer had dug up, she let out a bit of a snort before keying the external speaker in her helmet. "I've got an ID on the attackers." She said, her voice coming out in a genderless monotone. "The attack craft matched the signature profile of a pirate band called the Black Teeth a non-human group primarily composed of ex-Melkan Sphere species. They are known members of a larger Armada called the Howlers. Bands associated with the Howlers are known for their extreme use of violence towards their prizes, and have been banned from all major 'independent' stations, including The Pit."

"Don't worry..I'm won't let anyone near your craft unless they have permission from you first."

Walker said as he heard Mary in the back. Turning to face her as she talks.

"The attack craft matched the signature profile of a pirate band called the Black Teeth a non-human group primarily composed of ex-Melkan Sphere species. They are known members of a larger Armada called the Howlers. Bands associated with the Howlers are known for their extreme use of violence towards their prizes, and have been banned from all major 'independent' stations, including The Pit."

"Heard a bit of the Howlers. Broke too many rules on the legit pirate ports..even pissed off the owner of The Pit. Don't know what they did to do that, but I feel a bit sorry for them. The Pit pirates aren't known for being very forgiving. On the other hand, might explain why they went after your ship Resha. If they give something of value they might clear up their crimes...key word might...Anyways Resha we are about to head out on a mission. I know you said you want to repay your debt, but where we are going isn't much of a place for newbies and I can't guarantee your safety. So if you still want to come along you are welcome too."

Meanwhile, On the cargo hold

Pit was walking around the cargo hold. He heard on the scuttlebutt that after the short rescue mission, they picked up something odd. The rumor was still too early to get a clear picture. Some say it was a new alien and other say it was a diplomat that was saved by pirates. Whoever it was, Pit wanted to check it out for himself.

He walked up to the giant purple cat and the assault mech as they chatted among themselves. Not paying attention as his eyes behind his helmet locked onto the mysterious mech before him. His eyes were like dinner plates if anyone could see his face. He started to walk up to it, wanted to take it apart and study it.

He turn around quickly and stared at the two before him. Speaking fast as he tries to get the two before him to tell him where Walker was. Though in his excitement he forgot that none of them could understand him. So all he sounded like was just nonsense.

The Orion Files | Mother-Ship: Sweet Child of Mine | Hanger
On Tactics...
Edward Aubergine

"I doubt it," Brian replied simply before continuing. "Looks too flimsy for assault work, sustained fire or armour piercing rounds would probably break it, basic air defences would probably break it before it made it to the ground. Even if it did, they'll always need specialists."

Edward was surprised at Brian Wojtek's response to his wistful query. It was true that the present model sitting before the two veterans was rather light in terms of armor, however, with a few modifications, this machine could have presented a threat to both power armor users as well as shock troopers. As was standard with a Catican landing, an orbital strike could be used to establish an area of reduced anti-aircraft defenses. Using this breach, a wing of these transformable aircraft could fly in from orbit and strike the remaining anti-aircraft defenses from both air and ground. The advantage that the alien craft had was its ability to go airborne, avoiding ground based defenses and destroying them from altitude.

"I hope that you are correct comrade Brian," The Purple Shock Trooper stated simply before his crew mate asked a question of him.

"Have you encountered 'one of the Kyrn' before?"

The Four Armed-Four Eyed-Heavily Armed-Purple-Fuzzy-Walking-Panzer thought on this for a bit, even consulting his Nanex to ensure the accuracy of his response.

"I have never encountered one of the Kryn in any of my previous missions, though to be honest, when the Catican Shock Trooper Corp are deployed, its members infrequently pay attention to the species we encounter. However, there is no record of any Catican having encountered those of the Kryn." The Shock Trooper stated, pausing for a moment to think, "Given the refugee's reaction to our standard lighting as well as her statement of coming from a Dark World, it would appear that she either comes from a world that orbits far from its primary star or close to a small one, a brown dwarf for instance. In either case, my people would have ignored such a world as it would have been difficult and costly to cultivate crops on such a world."

Of course, this did not take into account the genetic stock of the species that occupied Kryn. Had the geneticists of the Catican Hegemony discovered Resha's home planet, there was little doubt that a few hundred of Resha's people would have gone missing under mysterious circumstances, never to be heard from again. Shaking the thought from his head, Ed turned to his fellow crew mate.

"Let us hope for the sake of Resha's people that their future encounters are less violent." The Shock Trooper quipped before relaxing against a large cargo container, at ease for the moment.

"Thank you... and yes i'd like to follow along. My entire expedition has been qualified as diplomats by our homeworld. So to learn new cultures and experience different walks of life is something i do embrace. Plus i need to know how to defend myself and you have many competent pilots. Here... i would be honored to learn from them." said the female, standing up and offering her hand. "IF you'll take me, i'd love to be an attache to the ship..." she said. "and what might it be named?" asked the female, the translator in her biosuit working well for her.

"The names 'The Sweet Child of Mine.' You'll probably won't understand the reference. It's a human thing." Walker said as he smiles, thinking these talks were finally over. "I'll have the crew set you up with a room and the lights dim enough for ya. Mary can you take care of our guest until I return. I need to give Mar directions and everything else."

Walker said as he walked out of the meeting room and headed back to the bridge. While he could have just done it over the radio, he just wanted to get out of the room. 'I have no idea why I agreed to let her stay..damnit..though having a extra pair of hands never hurt that much.' He thought as he made his way to the bridge.

Brian nodded internally at the catican's statements, he wasn't sure if he had expected him to have encountered the 'Kyrn' before but he wasn't surprised when he said they hadn't. New species turning up out of nowhere wasn't exactly uncommon in these times...

Noticing the 'Pit' creature babbling incomprehensibly at the two of them, Brian turned his attention to it. He raised his hand to his 'head' and with a finger pointed at the side of it and tapped it gently, as he stated simply "I can't understand you."

"Mary can you take care of our guest until I return? I need to give Mar directions and everything else."

"Fine." Mary replied in the same flat computer processed voice. "But I need to have a word with you when you've got a moment." After Walker left, she stared silently at Resha for a moment to two before speaking. "Saving your ass better have been worth it." She droned through her helmet's external speaker.

Flicking her rifle's safety 'On', she let it fall on its sling beside her. With her left hand she reached back to the base of her skull and pushed a button. With a barely audible 'click/hiss', it de-pressurized and disconnected from her flight suit, before she lifted the helmet clear of her head. Running her right hand through her hair, Mary's eyes bore down on Resha. "Pay for this job did not cover the costs of any significant combat...so I'm outta pocket for that ordinance I burned to save your ebony ass. Best hope Dicky Boy is willing to cough up some compensation."

Rick walk onto the bridge and head straight to Mar. Smiling as he patted her on the shoulder. "Alright, lets get going. We're headed to Sasleyria." he said, telling her the coordinates of the planets location. "Let me know thirty minutes ahead of time of when we should be arriving," Rick said. Letting her do her work as he starts to head back down to the meeting room.
Opening up the door as he checks in on the two. "Now Miss Resha, please follow me. I rather get you to a room so you can relax before our big mission." Letting her follow him and as he was about to leave, he heard Mary say, "We need to talk Dicky."
"Later. After I show Resha her room, we'll talk. And don't call me Dicky!" Rick said as he lead her towards the crew deck. Knowing which one was free as he opened it and showed her inside. Turning down the lights some as it was a bit bright for her. The room itself wasn't too fancy or anything, but it did look cozy at least.

"Here we are, if you need anything just asked someone to radio me and I'll be down to help ya out." Letting her get comfy with the room, Walk turn around and almost walk right into Mary.

"So Dicky! I see you are done now..lets chat.." She said the last part almost dead pan. Walker sigh, as he let her lead away abit.

"So..what is it Mary.." Walker asked, ignoring the Dicky insult this time, wondering if it had anything to do with their latest guest.
"We need to talk about payment." She simple said as he lean up against the wall.

"Payment? For what?" Walker asked, disbelieve that she would ask something like this already.

"Hmmm well..lets see. Using fuel for my fighter is one...using my own missiles to save whatever that thing is, is two. three using cannon shells. Oh, and four, making me work already!" She said as she stares at Walker.

"ugh.." Walker face palm lightly as he just rubs the bridged of his nose."Once this mission is over with..and we get paid, I'll make sure I'll restock your ammo. Alright?"

"Good! Anyways I'm out." Mary walked away as Walker shook his head.

"I feel like this crew might be the death of me..'ugh.." Walking off to get a drink.

Fifteen hours later

Walker was passed out on his bed. Drinking himself to sleep a good bit ago. That was until a buzzing sound kept going off. Walking him from his slumber as he groans a bit. "ugh..wha-" He sits up and looks around. Getting up as he stretches out wide. Seeing what the buzzing noise was, as it was the call button from the bridge. Hitting the button to open the chat. "Walker here..what is it?" He asked nicely.

"Hey Boss, we'll be showing up to Sasleyria in about thirty minutes. Just letting you know like you wanted. "

"Thanks Mar, I'll be down there in a few minutes." Walker ended the call and made himself look presentable. Looking in the mirror as he sighs and shook his head. "I just hope this mission goes well." he talked to himself as he left his room and headed towards the bridge.

Mary lay sprawled across her bunk and was snoring loudly...though she was short a few too many limbs for a proper 'sprawl'. Her both legs terminated at the mid-thigh, ending in plugs for her artificial lower legs; and where her right arm should've been, there was an empty socket in the metallic structure of her right shoulder. That said, her missing limbs were not far away; her legs were standing beside her bunk, with their joints locked to keep them up right, while her arm had its hand locked around an overhead bit of piping.

She awoke with a snort and sat up with practiced ease, before beginning to rummage around between the mattress and frame for the flask she'd stashed there the night before. Having re-filled the flask from her reserves stashed aboard her fighter, she deftly opened the flask single-handedly at took a long pull, before setting it aside.

Reaching over her head with her remaining arm, she grasped the upper end of her right arm and pressed a sequence of buttons on a tiny pad that was hidden inside her shoulder when the arm was in place. There was an audible 'click' and the arm's grip released, causing it to drop; Mary easily caught the weight, and brought the arm down onto the bunk beside her. After a couple more button presses, she stuck the arm back into her shoulder socket and moved it about a few times to make sure all was well. Satisfied, and with two working arms now, she locked her legs on and stood up. Stretching and yawing she scratched herself, before throwing a towel and a jumpsuit over her shoulder.

Leaving her room, which she didn't have to share, which was new to her, she headed for the showers in nothing more than a tank top and a set of men's boxer briefs. She was pretty sure more than a few of the 'Sweety's' crew than saw her gawked or leered at least a bit, but things like that had stopped bothering her decades ago. Hanging her stuff on a peg, she stripped to the skin and walked over to a free shower head. Thank Christ for the fancy Grandy limbs. She thought, not for the first time. The limbs she had now, curtesy of a rather profitable raid, were intended to all weather, high impact, spec-ops use, which meant among other things, they were water proof. Earlier rigs that she'd owned hadn't been, which had made things like showered more than a bit of a chore.

<<< Mar >>>
On Approach to Sasleyria | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Bridge
"Ugh, another dirt-ball of a planet. Give me a nice, dingy space station any day."

As it turned out, their destination happened to be the Terran Border-World of Sasleyria, which even with the single FTL jump it would take to get there, her experience told her that it was going to be a nice, long, and most-likely uneventful trip there. Which was just fine with her.

She took the time to get their course set and start the Sweetie on it's way, but once the ship was largely to the point where it didn't need her personal direction, she switched off with the pilot that she had tossed out of the seat earlier with the intention of taking some time to get acclimated to the old freighter, and to take advantage of it's amenities.

While Mar wasn't particularly taken with the idea of her own quarters, since the Devil-Fish could easily suffice for that, it was the shower facilities that really piqued her interest.

Fifteen Hours Later

Once again taking her place at the helm of the Sweet Child Of Mine, Mar had to fight against yawning inside her helmet as she focused on flying them safely to their destination. Planetary approaches, even just for the purpose of being outside of orbit or to dock with an orbital station, were no joke, though some were generally worse than others. Those that belonged to a species or star-nation that was overall xenophobic were bad, but it was those that were outright paranoid of outsiders that were the worst.

After she couldn't fight it anymore, she slipped off her helmet with a false-hand and yawned widely, stretching her maw to reveal triple-rows of teeth on her upper and lower jaws, as well as unfurling a long, thin tongue. The last fifteen hours had been as boring as she had expected, but that was the only expectation that had really been met.

The showers, as it turned out, weren't designed to heat the water nearly hot enough for her liking, meaning that she had to suffer through what would have been a lukewarm shower at best by Shree standards. The quarters were nice enough, if cramped to conserve space and allow a decent sized crew, which made it a little smaller than the converted cargo area of the Devil-Fish. Still the bed was nice enough, which allowed her to get a decent little power-nap before the Sweetie needed to take that FTL jump.

After she confirmed the course, she took the time for another quick nap until she had to finalize the approach, meaning she was still shaking off the dregs of sleep, though was largely alert.

Once she put her helmet back on, she keyed Walker's room over the shipboard comms.

"Captain. We're making our approach on Sasleyria, our ETA is around thirty minutes." she told him.

"Thanks Mar, I'll be down there in a few minutes."

With that, she sat back and waited for Walker to make his way to the bridge.

The Orion Files | Heavy Cargo Shuttle: Redeemer | Drone Holo-Suite
Thinking and Tinkering...
Irina Rostikova

The Sweet Child of Mine jumped, the only sign of its sudden acceleration to faster than light velocities was a slight shudder in the superstructure of the Redeemer, causing the Casteless Catican Merchant-Mechanic to cringe slightly. While she was a big proponent of Terran culture, she wondered if they had considered adopting other FTL technologies. The Thradaxians, for instance, used a system of static interlinked Warp Gates in each of their systems, allowing ships to traverse near infinite distances in an instant. The Memorians simply moved their consciousness to a different drone body, which was useful for moving about personnel, less so for moving about materials. However, none of the known cultures had mastered space folding technology or was crazy enough to attempt it... until recently.

Opening her eyes, Irina Rostikova found herself still afloat and drifting in the darkness and silence of the drone control suite. The Redeemer's computers had shut down the audio speakers as the ship's velocity became greater than that of the Terran radio signal. The Catican Kitten wondered, in slight amusement, that if she were to power the radio receiver back up whether she would hear the music in reverse.

Stretching luxuriously in null gravity, the woman made a slight gesture with her left hand, activating a data link between the Redeemer's computers and those of the Sweet Child of Mine. Pulling up the navigational data, Irina saw that they would be traveling at FTL for a little less than eighteen Terran hours, provided they didn't suddenly slam into an object not on the navigational charts.

"Wonder what the haul was..." The Entrepreneurial Engineer wondered to herself as she pulled up the list of salvage that she'd pulled into the Redeemer's cargo hold, "Engine Parts... Armor Panels... Armor Panels... Armor Panels... missiles... hmmmm... Pulse Laser."

Pulse Lasers were nothing special in terms of technology but wonderful in terms of efficiency. By retooling the laser banks to emit pulses of energetic light instead of a steady stream of light, while there was no net gain in energy efficiency pulse lasers could be fired for a longer amount of time without fear of overheating. She considered briefly about selling it to a merchant at the next destination but figured that it would be better if she donated entire haul to the Sweet Child of Mine. While the money could have gone to fund Irina's little project, ensuring the survival was a but more important.

Looking at the ETA, Irina decided to do a bit of tinkering until they arrived. Pushing off one of the bulkheads, Irina headed off towards the Redeemer's secured cargo compartments

--------------------18 Hours Later - Sasleyria--------------------

Irina hoped that no one was standing underneath the ladder, watching as the thrown spanner drifted above the airlock for a moment before being pulled into the Sweet Child of Mine's gravity field. Unfortunately someone was... someone named Edward Aubergine, who had been busy maintaining his personal armory during their time spent in FTL.

CLUNK!!!

The wrench slammed down on the thick skull of the Catican shock trooper, causing the room to spin slightly as the dazed four handed, four eyed, heavily armed purple drop trooper tried to look for the source of the surprise assault.

"Infernal genes be damned!" Came the old Catican adage out of the airlock.

"Ah..." Edward ah'd to himself, familiar with what sort of scenario would involve the throwing of a wrench and that particular curse. Waiting for his head to clear, the Catican Soldier finished reassembling his carbine and shouldering it. He'd heard the freighter's engines winding down, meaning that they'd left FTL and arrived. Walking towards the common areas, Edward heard a voice chasing him.

"Tell that pilot to make an announcement before she the FTL engines wind down. I just friend a nav board thanks to her!!" Irina's head said. popping out of the airlock above him, "And... could you..."

Grumbling, Ed walked over to the thrown wrench and tossed it up towards the airlock before walking back towards the common areas, hoping to find out what their next step was.

    Resha

Resha took the words from mary as a bit of confusion, but she shrugged them off. A lot of the figueres of speech didn't really translate to her too well, but the female knew she would have to get good. The kyrnoxian went back to her fighter and got inside of it, closing the cockpit and putting it into training mode, running simulations of combat. She took into account the amount of time before the girl would actually have to get sleep and begin working for these people. Faint sounds of terran music, such as guns and roses, along with the beastie boys and several other more rock style bands.

Many.... Hours.... Later....

Resha awoke with a little jerk. She looked around and was informed by the announcement. "huh.... arriving soon." said the girl, yawning as she looked at her record. Slowly the girl had gotten better over the course of her attempts to fight the combat sims. Based around some mock combat of the best defense pilots kyrn had, going against each other. she slowly began to get better and rank up two or three wins against the mock combat. Opening the cock pit, sweet child of mine began to play on her cd player. "huh...." Resha said, listening to this one now. "YES!" she called out and began to rush towards the bridge. On the way, she ra into walker now. "i get it!" said the girl, the music playing. "whoa... oh. ohhhh ohhhhhhh! sweeet child o myyyyyyhhhheeeeeeeeiiiiiiaaaannnnnn....... oooooooohhhhh sweeeeeet love of myyyheeeyiiiaaannn.." the cd played spat out. The girl said, smiling proudly as she held up the machine.

Walker was heading towards the bridge when an excited Resha met him halfway there. Seeming hyper for some reason as Walker was going to tell her he didn't have time for what she wanted until he started to hear the song she was playing and trying to sing. He stood there, a bit trying to process it all until he smiled a bit. Then he started to laugh a hearty laugh. Laughing a bit hard as a single tear form in his eye from crying so hard.

Wiping it away as he stood up straight and look at Resha. "Ah kid, I got so many songs for you to listen to when we can." he patted her on the back as they both head towards the Bridge. Walker talking to her about a lot of the classics of Terran's music. All the while listening to Sweet Child of Mine.

A few minutes later, near the end of the song, Walker walk onto the bridge. Seeming in a great mood as he was smiling brightly and the crew looked a bit odd at him. Never seeing him like this before. Wondering what Resha and the captain had talked about. "Now..another good song from Guns and Roses is Paradise City." he was saying until he realized where he was at. "Eh, we'll talk more about this later," Walker said as he walked up to the controls where Mar should be.

"I hope flying this old ship isn't too much of a letdown Mar." Walker joked with her. Knowing she probably prefer fast ships instead of his rust bucket of a ship.

5 Hours...

Everything of his settled and locked down in their places, Brian began to wander the ship studying its halls and mapping routes. Simple, designed for hauling cargo and retrofitted for little more. Metal, plastic, and rubbers... Atleast to his eyes that's what they were. This ship would stand or fall on its crew in a firefight... He felt a twinge in his brain. He needed rest. There would only be so long before things kicked off.

10 Hours...

Hot methedrine flooded into his veins, startling him into awareness as the gunshots echoed out. Wasn't real. Just another trick. Just another dream. Damned system couldn't tell the difference. Iron, blood, fire- He reached for a syringe. A few vials down and into his blood and he was even again, but it was the end of any chance he'd have at sleep though. Exhausted inside but functional.

Back to work he supposed.

15 Hours...

Generic all-purpose nanites injected, smart-lacquer applied, re-tuning algorithms running, and comm system ready. 3.2.1. Pulse. 3.2.1. Pulse. 3.2.1. Pulse. Slam- He heard a few alarms go off as he supposed the ship dropped out of FTL. 3.2.1. Pulse. He reset the automation protocols and started checking the weapons systems again. Someone would say something eventually, and he'd get to work. Until then he had maintenance.

Letting out a content sigh as she got dress and left the showers, Mary returned to her bunk to stash her toiletries and towel. She was grateful none of 'Sweeties' crew had been suicidal enough to try play grab ass with her...it'd be bad form if she beat one of Dicky-boy's people to a pulp after just getting hired.

Unbidden, an old memory came to her; they'd just hired a few new warm bodies out of Tortuga, she'd been taking a shower when the new boys came in to do the same. Buck naked, one of them had come up behind her, grabbed her ass with both hand and asked if she wanted to have some 'fun'. She'd reached back with her right hand, grabbed his junk and asked if he wanted to feel what just shy of 7000 kPa felt like; unsurprisingly he backed off.

Chuckling at the memory of the look on the moron's face, she dumped her stuff and grabbed her music player, before heading to the Mess. As she entered, she felt the distinctive sensation of a ship dropping out of hyper. Guess we're here. She thought as she snagged a coffee...or at least what passed for coffee; it was the best she'd had since leaving the Navy, but given how bad Navy coffee was, that wasn't saying a whole lot. Cutting her coffee with a healthy dose from her re-filled flask, she popped in an ear bud and headed for the bridge. Humming to herself she stepped though the hatch and saw Dick, Mar and the new meat. Strolling over to the Nav. Plot, she looked at the sensor read outs for the approaching planet. "What a shit-hole." She said idly, taking a sip of her drink. Having grown up on ships and orbital habs, Mary didn't like planets.

<<< Mar >>>
On Approach to Sasleyria | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Bridge
"Join ORION Company! Go to new, exotic places, meet interesting people! And then kill them."

It didn't take very long for the Captain to make his way up to the bridge, and when she heard the approaching footsteps, she twisted a little to glance backward. When she saw Walker being accompanied by an unfamiliar face, she couldn't help but wonder if that was their rescue following behind him.

"I hope flying this old ship isn't too much of a letdown Mar."

Mar shook her head as she gave a huffing chuckle at that.

"No, I figured you'd mainly want me to pilot a ship like this, or a shuttle, so it's hardly a letdown. Besides, it's hardly a bad ship, just old. Mean's it has character." the Shree said with a small smile behind her helmet.

Glancing back again, she held out her right true-hand to the unfamiliar face. They looked female as far as she could tell, but then again, sexual-dimorphism could manifest entirely differently depending on the race, so she didn't make assumptions as far as that was concerned.

"So, you're the one we rescued right? Unidentified vessel screaming an outdated Terran distress beacon? I'm Mar, ace pilot and former Shuttle Racer, if you've ever caught the SRL circuit." she said, introducing herself as she took Resha's hand for a handshake.

Giving both Walker and the newcomer a nod, she turned back to focus on the controls again, although she did catch sight of Mary walking in out of the corner of her eyes. It made the bridge start to feel just a little crowded, though it didn't bother her overmuch. She preferred that to a deserted helm at any rate.

"What a shit-hole."

"Ha! It's a Terran border-world. Of course it's a shithole. We'll be lucky if it isn't a backwater." Mar said, and she spared another glance back at Walker while motioning with one true-hand at the image of the planet on one of the viewscreens, saying, "So, Captain, we're here. Want me to find a orbital station to dock with, or do we need to dock ship-to-ship so you can talk to whoever we made a contract with?"

Prior to the long trip-time to get to their desired location, the two mercenaries had more-or-less taken the time to - since they were on board at the moment - to familiarize themselves with the ins and outs of the Sweet Child of Mine. Seemed reasonable enough. Afterwhich, they began to look into certain little nooks and crannies - places that were not in a usual line of sight - to...well...you had to see it to believe it, really. While nobody was looking, they began to stash a few emergency weapons from their own armory. Nothing too special. Hold-out/quickdraw pistols, a shotgun or carbine where it could be fitted without intruding on things. Every time someone got close enough to see what either of them was up to, Grace would vanish from sight and Elliot would just be whistling a tune, pretending to be idly hanging out. This was for the company's own good, in case of trouble. All the planted guns were labeled 'Archer', so you knew who the hell put it there if someone happened upon one. This was no skin off of their noses. They were extra guns in case of unexpected fun.

So, time passed and the Archer was detached from the Sweet Child once the FTL came to a halt Elliot and Grace had slept until about the fourteen hour mark, and then made preparations prior to their arrival. They always did this. It was better to have a plan behind the plan and the plan that you have planned after that. So, in the cockpit area of the Archer, prior to arrival...

"What are the chances our client hasn't really spilled the most-important details with us?"

"Almost certainly. They never do."

This wasn't an answer in disdain for clients. It was just that you tended to hire mercenaries because the regular authorities are not ideal for some reason. The problem, of course, was that some of them - maybe even alot of them - believed that mercs taking jobs 'no questions asked' somehow means that they don't need all the details that would allow the mission to succeed. No, that was a misapprehension. 'No questions asked' meant that they don't care about the reasons why, only that they're about to do your dirty work for profit. However, the capability to DO SO requires information, and those are questions that you ask about.

"I'm pretty sure the client knows all about whatever it is the miners found, which is why it's worth their while not to bribe said miners for it or use legitimate means. Could be big. I think they'll pay more for it if it is so. What do you think?"

"Maybe."

Clients also thought that they knew best, as well. This included on matters of bargaining. The miners may put up a stiffer-than-normal resistance for the whatsit, meaning the payment would have to be increased to outweigh the cost of battle. Speaking of which...

"I notice you didn't use any missles too soon. Nice job."

That put a small smile on her face. Anyway, at about the time the cargo ship slowed down, the Archer detached in order to make tactical short-range patrols of the area, keeping an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Sasleyria.

Near the ass end of the Terran sphere and the start of the Outer Colony limit. A place where when it was first discovered by the TGR it was given to the Colonies who wanted freedom for almost free. The planet was toxic, mountains, and when it was first explored turn up very little in resources.

Though that all changed fifty years ago when a huge deposit of Druilium was found deeply beneath the planet. The TGR was the first To try and get dips on such resource. Offering protection and anything Sasleyria would require.

Everything was looking up for the people of Sasleyria. Settlements were getting repaired, food and water were coming in abundance. Though all that change when the miners discovered something else within the mines of Sasleyria.
Ever since then, a fight broke out between the TGR and the Government of Sasleyria. The planet itself was mostly mountainous and cover in desert. The air itself is toxic which requires people to be in suits to be outside. There are many small domes where people live and work.

Back on the ship

Walker heard Mary comment and couldn't help but agree as he looks over the details of the planet. Who would want to live here, I have no idea..., Walker thought to himself. Around the planet were three TGR ships, a TGR R&S Station, and oddly enough a Chronus Corporation Captial ship.

Walker asked someone to bring the ship up to view port. Seeing the Chronus words and logo at the side of the ship. "What are they doing here..." Walker asked out loud. He had a bad feeling about this but didn't say anything yet.

Just then they were getting a hail from the lead vessel of the TGR fleet. Over the radio came a voice. "This is TGR Pillar of Winter, you have thirty seconds to either state your business here or return to where you came from."

Walker sighed and shook his head. Giving his answer, "This is 'Sweet Child of Mine.' Captain Walker speaking. I was hired to help with your..little rebel problem Pillar of Winter."

It was quiet for a moment before they responded. "Alright, Sweet Child of Mine. There will be a meeting aboard the Chronus ship, 'Prometheus'here soon. Get the people who are joining you planet side ready and meet us within thirty minutes."

As Mar brought the big hauler into orbit, Mary stood out of the way of the crew as they made ready for parking orbit. Watching the Nav. plot, she tracked the Archer separating, presumably to 'cover' them as the approached. Cute. Anything toothy enough to bite with a Grandy cruiser and a pair of tin cans loafing about, not to mention that Corp heavy, is going to have way more bite then a little gunboat can handle. She thought with an amused smirk.

Her amusement however was tempered by the presence of the private warship. "And they have the nerve to call us villains..." She muttered staring at the ship, not realizing she'd spoken out loud.

"Alright, Sweet Child of Mine. There will be a meeting aboard the Chronus ship, 'Prometheus' here soon. Get the people who are joining you planet side ready and meet us within thirty minutes."

Apparently Walker had been talking to the 'client' and things were finally underway. "Have fun folks." She said, sipping her coffee. "And remember if you shake hands with any of those corporate types, check to make sure you still have all your rings and fingers afterwards." She added with a grin.

Standing on the bridge and listening to the proceedings, Resha was surprised to have someone introduce themselves to her. "yes. Resha, pleasured to greet you." she said smiling and shaking her hand. It was the one human introduction she had truly learned about and was rather happy to put it into practice. Staring at the planet, she had to wince a bit and bring down her eye shields from their protected area above her eyes so she didn't get blinded by the sand.

"SO BIG." The girl said, finally seeing the capitol ship. it was comperable in size to the expeditionary ship she was on, but in terms of design, she could see it was definitely more among the armed and dangerous kind. The girl was filled with awe and heard that the group would be preparing to travel towards the planet, her head perked up. "Human life?" she asked, her suit translator off, so the girl was relying on what little she knew in terran and gal comm to communicate. "Human culture? I can see?" she asked, poking her head around the bridge, excited to experience the new world and culture she might be able to bring back. "AND MORE CD'S?" she said happily, having recently come to understand what they were actually called. that bit seemed to hit the girl more, as her interests as a collector gave her real excitement without killing her.

"Thanks and I'll get my people ready asap.." Walker said, shutting off communications. Sighing as he didn't know what to expect from those Corporation types. If someone like Chronus is here, whatever was found on that planet must be a huge find. "Alright Mar, can you let everyone know to meet in ten minutes at the loading dock. At least those who are going." He said as he look over at Resha, not sure if he should allow her to come or not.

Though that would be up to her, though while he was looking at her, he couldn't help but smile at her excitement. Escpailly due to the chance of getting more Terran music. "Sorry Resha, no one uses CDs anymore. Its all digital now a days." He said, not wanting to break her heart, but knew he better said it now then later. "Anyways, you two get ready if you're coming along, we don't want to keep the suits waiting..." he said, with a bit of disguised sounding from talking about the suits.

Ten minutes later

Walker was waiting by the Transport shuttle, he knew Mary wasn't tagging along. Hell, she probably wanted dead by the TGR for her crimes. He would only call for her support if things get dicey ground side. Mostly just to get her to use that old junk pile of a mech of hers. Though he heard about how she fights in it and he would rather it be on his side than on the other team. Letting off a low whistle as he waits.

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Bridge
"Tag-out, time to fly."

As the Sweet Child of Mine began to slow it's approach to the largest group of warships outside of the planets orbit, presumably a police-force sent by the Terran Grand Republic itself, it turned out that Sasleyria's civil disorder had garnered attention from more than just the TGR and mercenaries like themselves. They were also joined by a Chronus Corporation warship, and as it was brought up to the view port, Mar couldn't help the low appreciative rumble in her chest as she saw it's size.

It was a capital ship, and one that definitely seemed to live up to the title. Massive, heavily armed, and more than a little curious given the fact that she wasn't entirely familiar with the Chronus Corporation, so she had to wonder if Chronus was out here for the same reason they were, or if there was something more to this little backwater.

As the ship was hailed by the lead TGR vessel, Mar couldn't help but listen in, particularly to the TGR's end of the exchange. So that when they mentioned the Chronus ship, the Prometheus, being the meeting ground for both the Terran forces as Walker's ground team, the Shree's eyes narrowed behind her helmet.

"Alright Mar, can you let everyone know to meet in ten minutes at the loading dock. At least those who are going."

Hearing the Captain say that snapped Mar back to the present, and looking back at him she gave a curt nod.

"Will do, Captain. Think I'll come with, pilot the shuttle taking you there. Something about this insects me." she told him, before flipping on the ship's comms.

"Attention crew: Captain Walker and a small group of ground forces will be shuttled over to the Chronus Ship Prometheus for a meeting with TGR officials. Those that wish to accompany him, report to the loading dock in ten minutes." she told them.


<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Loading Dock
"Make a statement."

Ten minutes later, Mar was standing next to Walker in the loading dock of the Sweetie, having gotten the previous pilot of the ship to take over while she acted as shuttle pilot for this run. While she didn't count herself as part of the planetary team--Shree generally weren't welcome on most planets as a whole--she wanted to see what was going on with this job. Not only that, but this would be at least some indication of whether or not she'd even be allowed to be useful planetside, given that she was a lone Shree female.

With all four arms crossed against her barrel-chest and her helmet left sitting on the pilots seat of the shuttle just on the other side of the airlock, Mar turned to Walker and gave him a sidelong glance.

"So, Captain, any idea what the Chronus folks are doing here? What's their angle?" she asked quietly.

There was a movie once about a situation like this, on a planet like this. See, it turns out that a planet had been discovered by Earth to have an important element resource that they could use for life back home. They sent out miners and scientists and so on to get things going. Problem: There was a terrible disaster sometime after which claimed the lives of many and left storms of irradiated matter that could fly on by and kill you dead with their emissions. A huge resentment of the mining company formed and a war broke out. The company needed the resources for Earth. The miners were unwilling to let them cut more lives down for their pensions. This was the movie Screamers, in which the situation so similar to the one the Sweet Child team was heading for was technically the B-plot, as it became overshadowed by the problems of the Autonomous Mobile Sword, or Screamer. That was the angle Elliot was watching out for, the Screamer.

Because, when you got down to it, something like this normally only went one of two ways: Either the bigger and badder group forced their way in or they didn't. The people of this dirty, sandy little planet were not going to be TGR-standard fighters, nor would they be outfitted with the same kind of equipment. Not unless they pulled a Nexrum Army, which is in reference to another film about a remote planet with an armed conflict between local people and the people of Earth. The Earth Regular Army was trying to put down an uprising for independence from a local group known as Nexrum. Nexrum eventually developed a new exosuit technology to compete with the Regular Army, and things started to go bad for those guys. Ironically, this also involved a seriously-bad third party, a little thing the Regular Army cooked up called the Death Force. Thousands of killer robots made to destroy all life, period, no loyalty whatsoever. Once again, the problem you really want to be watching for.

Elliot saw the Chronus vessel and immediately thought 'Oh yeah, that's my third angle.'. The far team, the home team, and the third party. There was the main plot, to his eyes. The only way to know for sure was not to base this on pop culture references, though, but to go and get some answers. The funny thing is, while the Sweet Child was getting addressed by the Pillar of Winter, they'd been overlooked on the Archer because it seemed - at first - like one of their own. Of course, the registry would soon tell them otherwise, that it was independently owned. That was when their own comms were actively pinged.

"Unidentified vessel, you have thirty seconds to-"

"This is the Archer, Piller of Winter. We're attached to Captain Walker's team and have heard instructions regarding the meeting. Just keeping an eye out for possible hostiles."

"You won't find any here, Archer. Not within range of arms, anyway."

"I copy, Pillar. Standing down."

The Archer doesn't bite off more than it can chew. It chooses its target carefully, nips the flesh in a cutthroat manner, and makes it bleed. No need to look the wrong way to a target that was not going to engage in hostilities. Grace would be minding the ship while Elliot attended the meeting, which meant they soon re-attached and he transferred to the Sweet Child in order to meet as planned. He came in as Mar was asking Walker about the Chronus vessel.

"So, Captain, any idea what the Chronus folks are doing here? What's their angle?"

"Hope you don't mind me prying. I've been thinking on that myself ever since I laid eyes on it."

He said this, coming in and putting his back against a bit of wall.

"It stands to reason they've got a vested interest in the mine itself as the official reason, but including a heavy vessel alongside a TGR presence and yet still requiring mercenaries? There's a small army up here. They need us because there's more to this than they're saying, something they can't just negotiate or force their way in for, normally."

It could be something dangerous, something insanely valuable, or both at once. The question was...which?

"Attention crew: Captain Walker and a small group of ground forces will be shuttled over to the Chronus Ship Prometheus for a meeting with TGR officials. Those that wish to accompany him, report to the loading dock in ten minutes." Announced Mar through the ship-wide intercom system. Velka was busy making final adjustments to her equipment for the time being when the call to action came in. Quickly gearing up, she made her way towards the loading dock.

Five Minutes Later

Velka quickly arrived the loading dock and saw that Captain Walker, Mar, and Elliot of the ship designated Archer were already there, and it appeared they were in the midst of a conversation.

"...They need us because there's more to this than they're saying, something they can't just negotiate or force their way in for, normally."

"Perhaps they need us as a distraction whilst they go after the objective. If that is the case, then it would make the Chronus Corporation the side we really need to watch out for." Velka remarked as the joined the others.

"Captain Walker," she then added. "I know you wouldn't have the need for a reconnaissance operative on what appears to be a simple negotiation of contract terms, but I would like to tag along and act as part of your guard detail, in the event of any unforeseen circumstances."

Walker listen to their ideas as they chat about why Chronus was here. Wondering about that himself as he sighed. Only a few ideas stuck inside his head and they weren't all that comforting to him at all.

"I know you wouldn't have the need for a reconnaissance operative on what appears to be a simple negotiation of contract terms, but I would like to tag along and act as part of your guard detail, in the event of any unforeseen circumstances."

"I don't mind Velka. The more people we have with us, the better chance of getting out if things turn sour..Though lets hope that doesn't happen." he let off a small chuckle. Before rubbing his rugged beard with his right hand. "As for my thoughts, I agreed with Elliot. IF they have this much heavy firepower on their side, whatever is down there is very fucking valuable. I don't think we will be the decoy in this Op. Too small of a force and we probably wouldn't cause enough of a ruckus for them. No, I think we'll be the delivery boys in this mission. Swoop in while they are causing a mess and do what we need to do and get the fuck out."

He said as he then added, "Also Elliot probably want to tell Grace to keep a mind entering orbit when things get going, that is if she isn't coming ground side. We don't know what kind of defenses they have down there. Could have some ground to orbit cannons..doubtful but never be too careful."

The Orion Files | Heavy Cargo Shuttle: Redeemer | Drone Holo-Suite
Chronus Corp: Building Clocks for the future?
Irina Rostikova

The phrase "I need more power, Scotty" bounced about in Irina's mind as she looked over the code that she'd written for the navigation program that she'd been tinkering with for the better part of a month. She stared over the several hundred thousand lines of code, attempting to increase the efficiency of code and reducing the amount of computing power required to perform a calculate even the simplest of routes. Sighing in frustration, the Casteless Catican ran a hand through her hair and stretched, wondering if she would be able to off load some of the computations onto the Sweet Child of Mine's navigational computers and have the two systems running in parallel. Of course that would mean that she'd have to talk to Captain Walker about...

"Attention crew: Captain Walker and a small group of ground forces will be shuttled over to the Chronus Ship Prometheus for a meeting with TGR officials. Those that wish to accompany him, report to the loading dock in ten minutes." The announcement echo'd up faintly from the open airlock. Were it not the fact that the Catican Merchant/Mechanic's Music was muted at the moment, Irina would have probably missed the announcement and the meeting altogether.

"I should probably make an appearance," The Feline-esque female muttered to herself, a little more than relieved to be doing something other than stare at code. Locking the computer interface, she restored the Redeemer's artificial gravity and internal lighting, grunting as her body got used to gravity once again, "Ugh."

Walking towards the airlock, Irina slid down the extended ladder, her stomach flip flopping as she hit the Sweet Child of Mine's reduced gravity. Looking down as she descended, she noted that some of the crew had already arrived for the meeting. Listening in on the meeting, the merchant quickly got the gist of what was going on.

There appeared to be a rather strong TGR military presence in orbit above the planet, too strong for what would have normally been a simple conflict over resources. That, in addition to the presence of a corporate capital ship (which most corporations did not send out for trivial matters given the amount of resources running one consumed), meant that there was something rather valuable planet-side. The fact that there was to be a meeting aboard Chronus Corporation's ship, Prometheus, meant that Chronus had a nominal amount of interest in whatever was down on the planet and the TGR was just along for the ride.

This also begged another question. Why would Chronus, who had deemed this planet to be of such importance that they had dispatched the Prometheus all the way to the anus of Terran Space, decide to hire a newly formed and nominally equipped mercenary outfit instead one that was better established and better equipped? This made the Catican rather curious.

"Captain, If you don't mind, I'd like to attend the meeting with you. I might be able to convince our new bosses to give us some equipment or at least give us a discount on any gear they might be able to part ways with." The Feline-esque Female said in a rather flirtatious voice before adding a silent thought to herself, "(Maybe drop a backdoor on their network in case they decide that we're expendable. I mean it wouldn't be the first time a human run corporation has attempted to stab me in the back.)"

Pausing for a moment, Irina appeared to mull over a thought.

"Also, if we are to go planet side to retrieve this artifact, I'd like to be apart of the retrieval team. You might need a some extra hands carrying what might amount to an Ancient Astronaut Toilet."


The Orion Files | Mother-Ship: Sweet Child of Mine | Corridors
Chronus Corp: Because Space Crohn's Disease is the Worst?
Edward Aubergine

The Catican Shock Trooper was in the middle of his muscle maintenance routine when the announcement for the meeting crackled over the intercom. While nothing beat a traditional exercise routine, the standard Catican Shock Trooper exercise routine required minimally four square kilometers of unbroken space and due to space being a premium on most interstellar space faring ships, the muscle maintenance routine was a necessary utility. By stimulating the muscles in the Catican's body using a series of internal electrodes, muscle atrophy caused by reduced gravity was halted and muscles that had started to atrophy were restored. There were... some... side effects, as one might imagine, the most serious being total paralysis after having one's nervous system fried by the electrical stimulation. The least severe of the side effects was the fact that Edward appeared to be having a seizure as all his muscles appeared to be contracting and relaxing of their own accord.

"Attention crew: Captain Walker and a small group of ground forces will be shuttled over to the Chronus Ship Prometheus for a meeting with TGR officials. Those that wish to accompany him, report to the loading dock in ten minutes." The announcement said.

Deactivating the muscle maintenance routine, the Burly Catican Shock Trooper grabbed his equipment, eager to see what the mission was going to entail. It was more than likely that the heavily armed soldier was going to have to stay aboard the ship, or at least the shuttle through the duration of the meeting with the officials. One did not simply bring heavily armed soldiers to a meeting unless one was trying to make a statement in regards to the level of trust that existed... meaning there was no trust.

Entering the cargo bay, Edward noticed that his Catican Companion, Irina had already arrived and was listening to the briefing. Giving her a curt nod, the Shock Trooper listened to the Captain.

"Also Elliot probably want to tell Grace to keep a mind entering orbit when things get going, that is if she isn't coming ground side. We don't know what kind of defenses they have down there. Could have some ground to orbit cannons..doubtful but never be too careful." The Captain added in the middle of the briefing, causing the Shock Troopers ears to perk.

"Captain if I might interject. The Redeemer is carrying a Catican Orbital Drop Pod. Might I suggest putting it on standby? I'm sure that I could clear a landing zone for the remainder of our strike team to deploy." The Big Burly Cat said with a grin, his voice practically giddy at the possibility of being dropped from orbit for the express purpose of destroying everything in a 500 meter radius.

While Dicky-boy and the rest went to play with the Grandies and Corp types, Mary decided she should give Misha a check over. None of the pirates had lived long enough to take a shot at her, but it'd been a while since she'd had the fighter into a yard, so she wanted to make sure there were no major surprises; and with a job that felt as 'hinky' as this on did it never hurt to be on top of things.

After sealing the access door to her ersatz hanger, she opened the fighter's canopy and cranked up her music while she worked. Okay, so down one fifty thirty mike mike, two las-heads and 25 000 litres. She thought tallying up her expenses (so far) on a data pad. Totalling her figures, she sent all the info via the inter-ship messenger to Walker's terminal. "Right, now the fun bits." She said out loud, stashing the pad and pulling out her hand tools.

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Sweet Child of Mine | Ship's Loading Dock
"Too many variables, not enough constants."

As the male of the human pair stepped into the loading dock, Elliot if her memory served, he brought up his own perspective and thoughts regarding the presence of the Chronus vessel, prompting Mar to turn her gaze his way.

"It stands to reason they've got a vested interest in the mine itself as the official reason, but including a heavy vessel alongside a TGR presence and yet still requiring mercenaries? There's a small army up here. They need us because there's more to this than they're saying, something they can't just negotiate or force their way in for, normally."

"That's just it. Them being up here makes no sense to me, not with the facts we've been given. Somethings up here." Mar pointed out with narrowed eyes.

As she said that, they were joined in short order by the pair of Caticans, Irina and Edward, as well as Velka, the odd synthetic being. Velka brought up the thought that, maybe, Orion was simply meant to be a distraction. Which was a possibility, Mar mused. But, Walker mentioned that it was more likely they were going to be a courier team to deliver some sort of package, which was just as possible in the Shree's mind.

She shook her head a little to clear it and heaved a sigh. Once Irina and Edward were finished making their own suggestions regarding the actual mission, both of which were quite prudent, Mar stepped up.

"Well, the only way we're going to find out anything about why Chronus is here is to get to that meeting." she said, motioning to Walker, "The Devil-Fish is prepped for launch, and her engines are hot. I'm ready to get us there when you are, just say the word."

So, they were in agreement. This all seemed very wrong and they would have to be fucking stupid not to be a little suspicious...or ALOT suspicious. Elliot had to agree with Walker's thoughts, that they were to be a team inserted to go in while the main forces engage the locals. Regardless of the why or the what that was involved there, Elliot had a feeling that Chronus was going to say 'Your mission goal is paramount above all else', which loosely translated into 'You are all expendible. Your target is not.', which of course was something that Elliot hated about anybody who wanted something. Mercenaries get paid to do their job because they'll be wanting to spend it at some point. Only soldiers and idealists die for a cause. Elliot was of the school of living for a cause, at any rate, so they were going to have to deal with that.

"Also Elliot probably want to tell Grace to keep a mind entering orbit when things get going, that is if she isn't coming ground side. We don't know what kind of defenses they have down there. Could have some ground to orbit cannons..doubtful but never be too careful."

"She's probably considered the possibility, already. Depending on the situation, we may want her up here or groundside. I will that say if an orbit shot can pinpoint Archer, whatever dropship we take is gonna be under the same risk."

The Archer may have been larger than any of the ships currently inside the Sweet Child, but it's narrow profile made it a difficult target, overall. Suffice to say, Grace knew her stuff. They'd handled situations detrimental to their ship without two big honking warships sitting in orbit. One of best things about an orbit cannon, though, was that while its range was without a doubt and its power very handy, it was difficult to move. If the Archer's railgun fired a shot from Zero-G, it would reach a ridiculous level of velocity before making atmo and hitting the ground. And when it did? It wouldn't even have to be precisely on-target...because the resulting force would form a crater.

But that's neither here nor there, at the moment.

What WAS here now was their Catican engineer, swathed in the attire of her profession and a bit of flirt on the side. Her attitude was a bit confusing at times, but her heart seemed in the right place. The Sweet Child of Mine needed work. It was a tub, a reworked and jury-rigged cargo vessel that would no-doubt require Irina's care in the near-future...or even now, for all we know. How much business she might get out of the business would be down to payment negotiation, to see how much value they really put on the people to go get their 'artifact'. Funny that she said it like that. They didn't actually know WHAT it was they were after, just that there was something getting a bug up their asses. Well, they'd find out soon, or Chronus would lie about it, they would head down to the place, and THEN they would find out about it. Either way, the truth will out, eventually.

"Well, if it IS a 'royal throne', you all can have it. Now, let's get this shit going."

On occasion, Elliot allowed himself to joke. Serious time would resume when they actually knew something.

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