The ORION Files (Closed/Started)

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"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."

Brian broke of of his rote at the announcement. He wasn't sure if he'd be wanted at it, needed, or if it was prudent for him to place himself in a room with officers. Not that he'd be recognized. Probably. Kodiaks were a fairly common when it came to power armour units, and mercenaries that could afford them. All the bits that would ping as him or stolen had been ripped out, deactivated, or rewired. Wasn't the first time he'd worked for them since and it wouldn't be the last. Doubtful anyone remembered him as it was.

He checked the seals on his armour, loaded his backup weapons into the chamber, and entered it allowing the system to run through its routines as he connected to it. A cold voice ran through his head as his ran through it.

After a few minutes he appeared at the transport shuttle and began to listen to the conversation going on, not expecting to go but ready for when he assumed he would be needed.

Walker look around once more to see if anyone else would be joining them. Feeling like this was it as he nods at Mar. "Alright, let's get going people." He said as he let everyone else get on first. Before he got on last and shut the doors. Walking upfront to where Mar was as he gave her permission to get going.

10 minutes later

The devil-fish would soon be told to land in the hanger bay 01 on board the Chronus ship. As soon as they land and open the door, they were greeted by what seem to be their hostess of the meeting. A young blonde woman stood before them, wearing a black business suit with a red tie. She had a small pair of glasses and have a smile on her face. She has two Chronus Corp's soldiers stand at the sides. No one could see the soldier faces as they were covered up.

Walker got off first as he smiled lightly as he walked up to their hostess. "Evenin..." Walker said as the woman before him. The woman smiled back as she did a light bow as she introduced herself.

"Greetings, my name is Eva Mayer; Vice Director of Operations for Chronus Corps in this sector. It is my pleasure to meet the crew of the ORION company. Now before you ask any questions, please follow me."

Walker looks back at the crew and just shrugged lightly before starting to follow them. A few minutes later, Eva opened up a door to a large meeting room. "Please, everyone take a seat." She offer with a smile. Walking to the front where the projector was pointing too. Walker took a seat to the right side of the table. As everyone took their seats, the two soldiers that came with Eva stood at the door entrance. A service bot went around asking if anyone would like anything to drink.

"Now, before we start with the mission details. I'm sure you might have some questions." Eva said as she looks around, waiting to see who would ask first.

Off they were to the Chronus heavy vessel, Promethius, landing in Bay-01 and exiting without much incident or comment. Now, on the matter of things at hand. Because this was the first client meeting, you handle it honestly enough, because you expect business people to handle things like this cordially. They don't trade gunshots, usually, unless you provoke them. That said, it was probably the better idea not to bring any weapons. Now, Elliot was accomplished at concealing weapons on his person, guns and blades and even the odd grenade. However, this was hardly the time or place to be doing so. He was armed with his wits, charm, and physical prowess. How well was he edowed these properties? Rather decently, so don't pick a fight.

The doors opened and an important business figure and her escort was there to meet them. She was to be the representatuve of Chronus Corp in this area, explained thus through her self-introduction. Ms. Mayer's escort was clearly Chronus private security. You wouldn't find TGR's people here when there was a perfectly good dreadnaught out there for them. She led them to a meeting room next. Given how she said to hold all questions until leading them here, it seemed to Elliot that she preferred procedure to impromptu conversation. When the serve-bot came over to ask if anyone wanted anything, Elliot simply asked it for a glass of water. No specific reason why. Just didn't want to completely waste the offer. Now, during this time...we wish to point out that Elliot does generally allow Grace to listen in on conversations on the job, using their private channel. It helps speed things up.

"Now, before we start with the mission details. I'm sure you might have some questions."

"That we do. And one of them would be to ask why it is that there is such a heavy Chronus presence on top of military. What is it that brings you here, Ms. Mayer, that your combined forces - through force or negotiation - cannot then overcome?"

May as well get the big questions out of the way first. If they're going to disclose or conceal what they're really after, it was going to be now.

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Loading Bay-01
"When in doubt, look scary and let others do the talking."

The flight to the Prometheus was short and, sadly, uneventful. Given the fact that the Devil-Fish had passengers now, and had taken a short refit beforehand to accommodate them, Mar didn't feel like she could pull off some of her more reckless maneuvers to get them to their destination, not least of which because they would have been entirely unnecessary.

Once they were docked, the Shree hesitated for a moment before joining them in Prometheus' Bay-01. She was more than a little tempted to bring her ZF-1 "rifle", or ELF Gun as it was generally better known, if only to show that they weren't planning on taking chances even here, but she thought better of it. So instead she decided to let natural weapons speak for themselves, and left her helmet on the pilots seat before joining the others.

And the seven of them made for quite the sight as they stepped off of the shuttle: Three Terrans, a pair of Caticans, a Shree, and whatever species Velka was, Mar still wasn't sure. They were greeted by a young Terran female with yellow hair, wearing one of the business suits that Terrans in corporate positions seemed so fond of.

"Greetings, my name is Eva Mayer; Vice Director of Operations for Chronus Corps in this sector. It is my pleasure to meet the crew of the ORION company. Now before you ask any questions, please follow me."

Mar merely crossed both true- and false-arms across her barrel chest and acknowledged with a grunt and a curt nod. Vice Director of Operations for the sector? This was no corporate drone, this was someone that was at least some way up the corporate ladder. At least this means we're being taken seriously, for good or ill, Mar thought.

She led the group into a rather nice meeting room, one that wouldn't have been out of place in a proper office building, and told them to take their seats. As they did so, Mar took a seat on the opposite side of the table, facing Walker. Then she merely stared at the Vice Director of Operations, her four eyes narrowed into suspicious red slits.

"Now, before we start with the mission details. I'm sure you might have some questions."

At that, Elliot spoke up first. It was just as well: Mar pictured herself being there more to listen and look threatening. Better that the Terrans of the group take the lead.

"That we do. And one of them would be to ask why it is that there is such a heavy Chronus presence on top of military. What is it that brings you here, Ms. Mayer, that your combined forces - through force or negotiation - cannot then overcome?"

The Pilot merely spared a glance at Elliot and nodded with a low hum. It was a good question, and it was the one on everyone's minds right now. How Chronus answered would be interesting to hear at least.

"That we do. And one of them would be to ask why it is that there is such a heavy Chronus presence on top of military. What is it that brings you here, Ms. Mayer, that your combined forces - through force or negotiation - cannot then overcome?"

Walker was going to ease into that question, but he guessed someone asking right away is fine. Walker lean back to listen. 'Well at least I didn't have to say about the elephant in the room.'

"Ah, its refreshing change to deal with smart mercenaries." Eva smiled as she giggles lightly. "I'm sure you are all worried that we were going to double-cross you. Rest easy as this hasn't come across our minds at all. " She said as she starts up the projector. "To answer your question, let's start with the mission details.

A picture view of a mining entrance. "Three months ago, the miners dug up something deep inside this mine. While we don't know for sure what it is exactly, we do know this." She clicked the button and the next slide appears. It showed a close up picture of an alien carving on what seem like a white metal substance. No one could tell what the object was, but the carving is clear. It was Drax language.

"For those who don't know, this is Drax writing. From what we know, Drax have either died out or left this part of the galaxy. No one is sure what had happen to the Drax as most of their writing is hard to..decipher.." Eva said and she seems a bit annoyed about it. "So when word came around that the miners might have discovered, the TGR offer a large sum of credit for such an artifact. Though the colony's government refused and here we are."

Eva turned off the projector and went back to the front. "Now with your part. We have discovered the where abouts of the artifact. They have moved the artifact to a nearby storage unit. Now you will be wondering why we don't just throw everything we have and take it by force. Well, we are worried that the colonist will destroy said artifact if push into a corner. To deny the enemy their prize, so to speak." She said as she looks over at the mercenaries before her. "They do not know we know this information so we are planning to attack the capital and turn their eyes towards us. While you sneak in and grab said prize. The reason for you is that you won't raise flags as the TGR or Chronus will if they spot us. We will provide any and everything you need for this mission. No extra cost." She said as she then added, "And Chronus will take over the payment as we find..the TGR methods of payment to be lacking." She smiled as she finished up. "So does that answer your question?"

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Corporate Meeting Room
"Oh, I know what this is! It's a Kiss-Ass City Shuttle!"

As it turned out, Elliot's question was apparently the right one, at least to open up discussion, because Miss Mayer began to giggle.

"Ah, its refreshing change to deal with smart mercenaries. I'm sure you are all worried that we were going to double-cross you. Rest easy as this hasn't come across our minds at all. To answer your question, let's start with the mission details."

Her response did little to ease Mar's mind. Simply telling them that it didn't cross their minds to double-cross ORION left several other avenues for them to screw them over. Those less-paranoid would simply stop looking for the stab-in-the-back, making it all the easier to come from the side instead. But as she turned on the projector, Mar merely sat back and relaxed only slightly as she saw the image of a mine's entrance came up.

"Three months ago, the miners dug up something deep inside this mine. While we don't know for sure what it is exactly, we do know this."

The next image was that of some sort of alien carving on what looked like white metal. The Shree couldn't help but tilt her head to the side a little as she wondered what exactly it was she was looking at, though she was sure that the Vice-Director of Operations would answer that question in short-order. And she did.

"For those who don't know, this is Drax writing. From what we know, Drax have either died out or left this part of the galaxy. No one is sure what had happen to the Drax as most of their writing is hard to... Decipher. So when word came around that the miners might have discovered, the TGR offer a large sum of credit for such an artifact. Though the colony's government refused and here we are."

That left ORION's part in this little vid-play: Since Chronus knew where the artifact was, but couldn't retrieve it with force lest the locals destroy it to deny them the prize, they were going to stage an attack on the planet's capital as a distraction. Leaving ORION to be the quick in-and-out grab team, retrieving the artifact with hopefully no-one the wiser.

It was a sound plan, one that thieves and pirates the galaxy-over should have been at least somewhat familiar with. Make the victim look one way while going the other to take the prize. It was also, at it's core, simple, which was even better. Even Mar knew that plans with too many moving parts and "If's" were more likely to fall apart at the worst moment.

But as Miss Mayer finished what she called the mission details, something was still bugging her.

"We will provide any and everything you need for this mission. No extra cost. And Chronus will take over the payment as we find... The TGR methods of payment to be lacking. So does that answer your question?"

"Not entirely." said Mar, speaking up.

Leaning forward and keeping her false-arms crossed against her chest, she rested the elbows of her true-arms on the table and tented her true-hands in front of her.

"Why are the locals so determined to keep Chronus from taking possession of this... Artifact? What possible value can it have to them, beyond something they can sell to a third party? They seem pretty adamant in keeping it, even though their government apparently made a good offer for it." she pointed out.

"Beyond that..." she drawled, taking a moment to glance at the others, "I'm interested in just how much Chronus plans pay us, and what the Republic was originally planning to be our compensation. Everything else, I can ask whoever you plan on being our go-between for mission gear, because I have a few ideas in that regard."

Turning to Walker, Mar added, "I'll be sure to run them by you first though, Captain."

Namely that she wanted a combat shuttle, high top-speed in-atmo, ideally stealth-capable. Something that could get them in, drop them off, then pick them up and get out fast, without any of them being able to tell how they got there or got out. Worst case, she'd have them install some kind of stealth package on the Devil-Fish, but that was going to be her last suggestion. She didn't want anyone messing with her baby, and as it was it didn't have enough cargo space for her to be confident that it could hold both the artifact, which could be massive for all she knew, as well as a decently-sized ground-team.

Well hey, anyone can SAY they're not going to double-cross you, but they kind of have to prove it. But hey, Elliot was perfectly willing to take this in stride. Not only did he have a good instinct for where a client was trying to lead him and where it was trying to dissuade him, but he had his quiet fact-checker on board the Archer, taking down notes. Grace was in the cockpit with a notepad, listening in to the conversation and making her own judgements. Let's have a quick look at that, shall we?

'Smart Mercenaries' - Backhanded compliment, a bit condescending
Acknowledgement of double-cross potential - Good sign
Assuring no double-cross will happen - Bad sign
Alien artifact - Potential danger, will do anything to obtain
Colony won't sell - Do they know what it's for?
Deny prize - Unlikely, too valuable, will probably try to escape with it
Main Plan - Straightforward, but with several unknowns
Chronus covering cost exclusively - Client is trying to control the mercenaries

Client motives suspect

Big surprise, right? But she and Elliot were both coming to that conclusion from different angles. An ancient artifact of an alien race whose exact fate was unknown? Lots of potential trouble, and it was most definitely worth a great deal. Even if the locals DID want to sell - and there was no guaranteeing that - Chronus probably offered a large payout and figured it was still at a steal, but were not flummoxed that they didn't bite because they understood the word 'priceless'. Grace mentioned to him specifically over comms "What if they know what it is?", which raised a point. They could be unwilling to part with it at any price if it was simply too important. And if it was, it might even be too much to simply hand over to a corp and watch them suckle on it forever for its enriching goodness. Elliot didn't reply, of course, because that would let on that he had an ear open to an unknown listener. He instead followed Mar's line of dialogue, which was practical, to say the least. Miss Mayer will, of course, lie to her about anything that would inconvenience the company. This was a business, not an archeological society They was here to either gain something that would make them money or to get rid of something that could endanger the money-making process. In either case, they wouldn't know for absolute sure until they got to it.

"We will, of course, need to know the tactical situation in its fullness, planetside. 'Look before you leap' and all that. The question of orbital shot cannons was raised earlier. It would be nice to put that to rest, plan against it just in case, and alleviate any other concerns so that we can get down to work."

Oh, and as for the elephant in the room - Assuming that was security - it made sense. Business types had reasons not to trust mercenaries.

"Greetings, my name is Eva Mayer; Vice Director of Operations for Chronus Corps in this sector. It is my pleasure to meet the crew of the ORION company. Now before you ask any questions, please follow me." Announced a young blonde woman in business attire after they had gotten off the transport, accompanying her on either side was a soldier decked out in full military gear, which included a full face helmet, allowing them to see out, but not for others to see in; on the right shoulder of their armour was the Chronus Corporations logo.

Miss Eva Mayer then showed them to a large meeting room with a long table in the middle, seats either side, a projector at one end and a screen at another. Whilst everyone present took to the seats, the two guards posted themselves at the entrance to the room, when the service bot came around, Velka politely declined the offer of refreshment.

And so began the general display of mission details, followed by a question and answer session, Miss Mayer's tone sounding a little condescending at some moments, and blase about the situation in others. All the information that was being dispensed, Velka was carefully recording everything for future reference and planning.

After Elliot raised the issue of ground to orbit defence weaponry, Velka spoke up.

"I too have a couple of questions, Miss Mayer. Why does the Chronus Corporation, and to a lesser extent the Terran Grand Republic, since you lot seem to be the real ones in charge here, want this... artefact so badly? I mean, if it's purely for the research purposes of a long lost, possibly extinct alien race, why try and remove it? Why not keep it here on the site, and come up with an amicable set of terms that benefits all?" She began to ask in a rather dulcet tone of voice.

"Speaking of which, have either you or the TGR proceeded through every diplomatic option with the colonists before arriving at the avenue of military action?"

With orchestral music echoing, Mary had worked her way through the list of 'routine' work for Misha, or at least the stuff she could do with just hand tools and her own knowledge. Tightening the last fastener on an access panel, she stepped back and smiled, before stretching her back. Goddamn...not as young as I once was. She thought as her back cracked.

With Misha squared away, and the others still at their meeting, Mary was at a loss for something to do. Closing her eyes and letting the music wash over her, she stood in the middle of her small hanger for a bit and just enjoyed the sounds. As the piece ended she looked about, her eyes trailing across the packing container that contained her other 'toy'. Right, should check on him too. Going to the container, she keyed in a code into the available attached terminal and stepped back.

After a pause, the doors 'clicked' then swung open revealing the hunched over form of an old GPz 200 ISW (Infantry Support Walker) named 'Stumpy'; that was followed by a soft 'whirring' as the floor of the container slid forward on hydraulic rams and pushed the walker clear of the container. Once the floor reached its full extent, the walker started to boot up, unfolding from its hunched over storage position and stepping down from the extended container floor it had been on. Once the walker was clear, the container retracted its floor and closed itself up once more.

With the machine unpacked, Mary opened the cockpit and climbed in, and booted up a basic system diagnostic. While it ran, she kicked back in the pilot's seat and closed her eyes once more.

The Orion Files | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Corporate Meeting Room
Plot Holes...
Edward Aubergine | Irina Rostikova

Edward Aubergine had been standing in back of the room throughout the entirety of the briefing delivered by the Vice Director as none of the seats in the room had the strength to support the massive Catican Shock Trooper, not that he particularly minded since standing allowed him to act in a more timely manner if this briefing ended up with some sort of set up and it gave him a better vantage point to observe the reaction of the crew regarding the proposed mission. While some seemed rather cool regarding the specifics of the mission briefing and the information that was being presented to them, there was a fairly familiar feline face that was not. Irina Rostikova did not seem very happy with the details that were being shared with the crew nor did she seem overly fond of the idea that the military would be launching an assault on the Colony's capital, which more thank likely would have civilian housing.

"Irina... what is wrong?" Edward asked via a secured connection via their Nanexs.

"This doesn't seem at all strange to you?" Came the response after a moment's delay, a bit strange since Irina was usually fairly prompt in her replies.

"It is a simple enough mission. We only need to know what sort of forces we're likely to encounter at the storage facility." Came the overly simple response from a creature whose mind was more suited towards combat.

"Are you sure? Because it's very, very, VERY likely that this human female is lying to us regarding their knowledge of the Drax Device. In assaulting the Sasleyrian Capital, the TGR and Chronus are investing a lot of money, equipment and personnel which, if you ask me, makes it seem like they have at least a clue as to the device's purpose. You don't risk this level of monetary and public relations risk for an object that has the potential in being an Ancient Alien Latrine. Also, if why are they sending us instead of detachment of TGR troops? It's not like they're trying to deny their involvement since they're already assaulting the capital... and putting the lives of civilians at risk. Even if we asked just to make sure that we won't accidentally cause the massive explosion or unleash the virus responsible for the extinction of the Drax, this human will probably deny any knowledge of the device or say that such information is classified." The Merchant/Mechanic with a sudden case of morality muttered over their secured channel.

"So?" The Catican Shock trooper asked as he raised his hand in indication that he had a question.

"So? What do you mean so? In Terran Culture there are all sorts of stories that revolve around events such as this. I'm almost certain that the TGR military and Chronus are going to wipe out everyone on the planet, blame Captain Walker and Crew, us, for this act of Genocide and kill us. Then they're going to salvage the Drax Device, which they have already identified, from the wreckage of the Sweet Child o Mine and they're going to make a lot of money while laughing at how utterly foolish we were to take a mission." Irina retorted after a moment, her voice sounding distracted as she spoke.

"What are you doing?" Edward asked, knowing that something was up.

"Just a little insurance... in case I'm right," The Catican Hacker said as she attached a device to the bottom of the conference table.

"No! Don't you even..." Edward started to say before he realized that the Vice Director was looking at him and his still raised hand. It was his turn to ask a question, "Ummmm... yes... what sort of resistance can we expect to find at the storage facility? It is fairly obvious that they will send a portion of those stationed at the facility to aid in the defense of their capital but if they are of sound strategic mind, they will leave some guards."

"Ask her about the device..." Came the prod from Irina's direction, complete with a glare from the Feline-esque Female.

"No..." Edward responded simply as he waited for a response from the Vice Director, "You are right... any question I ask about the device will probably result in denial... just... prepare your 'insurance policy.'"

"Done... it's already listening for my activation pulse..."

"Not entirely. Why are the locals so determined to keep Chronus from taking possession of this... Artifact? What possible value can it have to them, beyond something they can sell to a third party? They seem pretty adamant in keeping it, even though their government apparently made a good offer for it. Beyond that...I'm interested in just how much Chronus plans pay us, and what the Republic was originally planning to be our compensation. Everything else, I can ask whoever you plan on being our go-between for mission gear, because I have a few ideas in that regard." Walker listen to Mar as she turn to face him, "I'll be sure to run them by you first though, Captain

Walker nodded as Eva smiled, "Well to answer your first question Miss Mar. We do not know for sure. Though from what our people believe is that they found a third party to sell it to. Though we do not know what they offer to make them this determine to keep it out of our hands." Eva said as she added, "I would talk about payment once we are close to the end of the meeting. Any gear you would need will be delivered after the meeting and once you made up your list of things you need." Eva moved on to the next question.

"We will, of course, need to know the tactical situation in its fullness, planetside. 'Look before you leap' and all that. The question of orbital shot cannons was raised earlier. It would be nice to put that to rest, plan against it just in case, and alleviate any other concerns so that we can get down to work."

"From what we know of Sasleyrian, it isn't rich enough to afford such defenses, or even know how to build them. Though that doesn't mean they won't have a few surprises hidden from us before we got here. While we believe they do not have GTO cannons or anything too powerful, we advise to keep your senses on high alert." Then once she hoped she calm down the fears of Ground to Orbit cannons, she continued. "On the TGR and Chronus side of the mission, we will head to the Captial Dome. Have forces at each entrance area, and slowly push towards the capital building and force a quick surrendered. Trying to minimalize civilian casualties as possible." She mentions as she looks around the room before answering another question.

"I too have a couple of questions, Miss Mayer. Why does the Chronus Corporation, and to a lesser extent the Terran Grand Republic, since you lot seem to be the real ones in charge here, want this... artefact so badly? I mean, if it's purely for the research purposes of a long lost, possibly extinct alien race, why try and remove it? Why not keep it here on the site, and come up with an amicable set of terms that benefits all? Speaking of which, have either you or the TGR proceeded through every diplomatic option with the colonists before arriving at the avenue of military action?"

"Because my dear, Drax artifacts are dangerous and are highly sought after. Once word gets around that this planet dug up a Drax artifact who knows who will come sniffing about to try and take it away, endangering not only the crew studying it but the civilians of said planet as well.. And Chronus wants to take this artifact to a safe location far away from any planet that habits life. We do not know full well how powerful the Drax were in their height of power. Though from what we study so far it would look like magic to a simple minded person." she takes a small breath before continuing. "We have offered more than enough to the people of Sasleyrian for a trade off. Money, supplies, protection, and then some. They simply refuse to engage us. Though when we mention they, I'm talking about the current leader of Sasleyrian. We do not know full well what he has been feeding his people besides the few snippets of 'invaders coming to take what is ours.'" she rolled her eyes a bit at that statement.

She looked around the room and saw the purple Catican raising his hand. Though he seems to be looking at his feline partner. "Yes?" Eva said as she looked at Edward. Though it took a moment before he asked his question.

"Ummmm... yes... what sort of resistance can we expect to find at the storage facility? It is fairly obvious that they will send a portion of those stationed at the facility to aid in the defense of their capital but if they are of sound strategic mind, they will leave some guards."

Eva was back to smiling, seem like she like this question for not going to 'deep'. "Ah yes, While we don't know the numbers for sure, we believe they will have at least twenty to forty guards there. It is a rather big storage area. So they will have everything cover in case of an attack. We do not expect much for vehicle protection there but as I said before, keep your senses about.

Well, it was blatantly obvious that the corp lady couldn't be trusted. The question was...in what direction was that untrustworthy behavior going to go? For instance, if there had been a third party to sell out to - which wasn't likely - where were they? That seemed like a lie that couldn't be substantiated, one way or the other. It was all the more likely that they - the locals - wanted to keep it for their own use, or at least because they couldn't trust the megacorp or the military with it. The idea of them preparing to bomb it, as stated, seemed ludicrous in Elliot's mind. However, it gave him an idea. Chances are, the Drax artifact was not boobytrapped, but the best way to insure against any double-crosses at the finish line would be to do just that. It would also be the easiest way to set terms. Grace had used this method before when clients seemed more than a little suspect and generally powerful. Elliot hadn't dealt with Chronus before now, but those he HAD done this with soon learned that cooperation got them what they want faster than irritating him. Grace was probably unpacking the explosives now. In any case, Eva finished her bit about vehicular defenses, leaving the floor open for more comment.

"Well, that at least opens up the option for our own close air support, should we need it."

Meaning the whole thing about railgunning from space and making a bigass crater. Of course, the alien mech-ship might be of use here, too. That might be best as a surprise against their business 'friends', though. Elliot looked around.

"If nobody else has anything, let's just move onto payment, where I'm guessing our hosts will explain the inadequacy of TGR's payment methods, and we can discuss the procedure of delivering the item."

"If nobody else has anything, let's just move onto payment, where I'm guessing our hosts will explain the inadequacy of TGR's payment methods, and we can discuss the procedure of delivering the item."

Eva waited a bit to see if anyone else would like to say something before starting up once more.

"Very well, the TGR were planning on paying Mr.Walker here 850,000 credits. Which split between his entire crew is hardly anything for the importance of this mission. While we tried to persuade the TGR to increase the pay rate, they refused. So the Director offer to pay himself. He is offering 10,000,000 credits." Eva smiled as she let them take that in.

"I believe this should be adequate for payment."

The Orion Files | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Corporate Meeting Room
The Art of the Deal: By Irina Rostikova
Irina Rostikova | Edward Aubergine

Were Irina Rostikova not trained in the art of negotiations and taken part in deals similar to the one presented before the crew, she might have either started coughing at the amount of credits that Chronus was offering for the artifact or she might have started laughing at how much information was being given to them free of charge. All sentient beings with a pulse, and the majority of sentient beings without one, were aware that information in itself was a commodity that could be traded or purchased. Knowing the right bits of information could make or break any number of ventures. In the case of the information that Vice Director Mayer had allowed to slip, it gave Irina more than enough leverage.

"Captain Walker," The Catican Merchant said with a glance over to her boss, "If you'll allow me, I'd like to open negotiations on behalf of the crew."

The Captain appeared to ponder this for a moment before nodding in Irina's direction, receiving an excited grin for the gesture. Preparing herself mentally to address the Vice Director, the Feline-esque Female went over the more juicy tidbits in her mind.

The sum of ten million credits was being withdrawn from personal accounts belonging to the Director of Chronus which meant that either Chronus was keeping this mission off of its official accounting records or that this mission was time sensitive and there was not enough time for executive echelon of Chronus to issue orders to their minions in accounting to make the fee available. While the Vice Director was attempting to make it seem like an act of benevolence on the part of the Director, in business there was no room for such niceties. Business people simply did not risk their own personal capital for the anyone's benefit but their own. That the Director would put up his own credits for this mission also meant that there was an even higher probability that when it came time to deliver the artifact, Chronus would be paying the reward in ten million credits worth of projectiles through the Sweet Child o Mine's hull. The size of the reward also meant that Chronus had a fairly good idea what the artifact's purpose was. With her analysis of the information in order, Irina rose to speak to the Vice Director with a rather feral looking grin on her face.

"Greetings Vice Director Mayer, my name is Irina Rostikova and I will be negotiating the contract on behalf of Captain Walker's ORION group," The Catican said with a bow towards the V.D., "While the reward of your Director's own ten million credits is quite generous, just like in business, there is always room for growth. If you will bear with me, I will outline an acceptable payment scheme that will be beneficial to all parties involved."

The Catican paused for a moment, a gesture that allowed for the Vice Director to get into the proper analytical mindset.

"Given the designs of this proposed plan and the intention of the Terran Grand Republic and Chronus to assault a city filled with non-combatant civilians, it would be of benefit for both the TGR and Chronus to have the ORION group agree to a media level non-disclosure agreement. As history demonstrates, there is not a single stockholder that enjoys owning shares of a corporation whose reputation includes the death of even one civilian. As such, it becomes necessary ORION to request the addition of 5,000,000 credits as a Media Non-Disclosure agreement and mission execution incentivisation fee to be paid now. This is in addition to the 10,000,000 credits and the 5,000,000 credits in equipment. In regards to the payment for the completion of the mission and delivery of the artifact, given that this is a new and developing relationship between ORION and Chronus, all credits are to be placed in an escrow account, to be released to the ORION upon the delivery of the artifact or in the event that Chronus becomes unable to pay the mission completion fee." Irina glanced over at V.D. Mayer and smiled in a rather predatory fashion when she saw the woman's annoyed expression, not that she could blame the V.D. since what Irina was doing was bordering on blackmail. But this was not Irina's finale, "While I understand that as a Vice Director, you don't have the full permissions to authorize these fees, I trust that you'll hurry with your response. I'll admit that the two TGR ships in orbit around the colony is a rather impressive display, it hardly constitutes a full planetary blockade. The longer we wait to start this mission, the more likely it beomes that some other corporation hears about the Drax artifact and makes a move to acquire it... which unlike Chronus... might not be one bound by morality. Speaking of the artifact, in order to ensure its safe delivery, ORION also requests unlimited access to the all artifact data held by your research division. The information that we access regarding the artifact will, of course, be covered by the MNDA. As we are still a fledgling organization, nothing would prove more ruinous to our reputation than to have your merchandise damaged in a preventable mishap. Seeing as how he is investing his own credits into this venture, I trust that your Director will have no issue authorizing my proposal and that he will see the wisdom in disclosing everything that Chronus knows about the artifact."

With her proposal complete, Irina had one last thing to add.

"While you're discussing this new proposal with the Director, might I suggest that the crew be given access to your provisions and equipment lockers? Given the objective for this mission, I'm sure that Captain Walker and the crew will require some time to think about which pieces of equipment will best suit this job." The Merchant/Mechanic said coyly. While she wasn't wrong about the Vice Director needing time to discuss the proposal with the Director or the fact that the crew would need to consider which pieces of equipment to bring with them on this mission, there was a simpler and more basic reason for her request: Everyone enjoyed a bit of retail therapy on someone else's credit.

She woke with a snort as an alert chimed in the mech's cockpit, signaling that it's diagnostic had finished. Taking a moment to yawn, and stretch as best as she could in the confined space, Mary brought up the main data panel to see what Stumpy's status was.

"Oh for fuck's sake!" She swore. Once again there was errors in to control interface for the mech's shielding; not wholly unexpected or uncommon considering the jerry-rigged installation of the device, but frustrating none the less. She tried a few 'fixes', but none of them seemed to clear the problem, so with an annoyed sigh, she wiped the controller software for the shield and loaded a fresh install from a boot disk. Well that's going to take a while... She thought as she dropped out of the cockpit.

After cleaning up her tools, Mary left her hanger to wander Sweety's corridors. The freighter was unexciting, she'd seen the inside of dozens of old, worn freighters over the years after all, but her wanderings did take her along the main deck where the freighter's secondary airlocks were located. All of them were locked except one. Hmm, with those two...busy...I should see what they have on me. With no ship's crew about, Mary tested the in use hatch, and was a bit surprised to find it unlocked. "Well then..." She murmured. Stepping though the hatchway, she made her way down the access tube and to the external door of the Archer; after a brief examination of the gunship's external access panel she keyed the admittance button, and was once again a bit surprised. "2-1 odds I just tripped an alert of some sort, so I should make it quick." She said softly as she stepped on board.

Moving quickly from the airlock, Mary stopped at the first terminal she found and set to work trying to access the little ship's computer. While this sort of 'cyberwarfare' work was certainly not her forte, one couldn't help but pick up a few things here and there; especially for someone with a career as long as hers.

While Eva was annoyed, she didn't seem to bother by the request of Irina. "I will see what the Director thinks of these new terms you brought up, Irina. Meanwhile, as you said let me lead you and everyone else to the Armory." She turns towards the door and head towards it. Assuming everyone would just follow her as she walks down the dark blue metal hallway.

The two soldiers following right behind her, while the two soldiers that were waiting outside follow behind the group. Walker had to say he was impressed with Irina. Not everyone had the balls to talk to a V.D. like that and get away with it. Walker hopes that this all ends well and they could get a nice payday for this job. Though the cold pit of his stomach told him either wise.

A few minutes of walking, they finally got to the Armory, or as it was labeled "Armory A". As the door open up, Eva walks in a few feet and turned around to meet their gazes. "This is one of our Armories within the Prometheus. I"m sure it will be to your liking. Now while you...look around our equipment. I shall be talking with the Director. Stay here and do not damage anything." Eva said as she left them with the guards, which stand at the nearby doors. Letting the Orion group take a look around.

Inside the armory doors, there were only a few feet of space and then a large mesh wall with several terminals mounted on it, and in the middle of the wall was a man standing at what appeared to be an old-fashioned teller's window. Looking up from what he was doing he looks annoyed at seeing the mercenaries standing before him. "So you lot are the war dogs the boss hired." He said, not bothering to hide the scorn in his voice. "Miss Mayer said you lot were to be let have a look at what we've got." He added, waving to the terminals. "Frankly I don't know why were not just spacing the lot of you and doing the job ourselves, but those answers are above my pay grade." With that he returned to what he'd been doing.

Walker let off a low whistle as he took a quick look around. He was highly impressed by all the firearms here. Not paying any mind to the man as he knew not a lot of corps folks like their type. He walks over to one of the guards as he asks, "So I have a few more people waiting on the ship who didn't feel like coming over. Think you can get Miss Mayer on the line to ask if they are allowed over."

For a moment, the guard didn't do anything until he gave an answer. His voice was deep and had a robotic feel to it. Probably just a psych thing they have going on with those helmets of theirs. "She said bring them over." He simply said. Walker smiled as he radios back to the "Sweet Child of Mine". The guy manning the pilot seat for now making an announcement over the coms at Sweet Child. Simply stating that anyone who going on the mission and wants goodies to come on over quickly.

Brian paced slowly around the hangar in thought, observing what little there was within the hangar, and scanning both his own systems and anything within reach. Mind mingling with flawed, weak firewalls and simple unsecured devices scattered about. Little of interest appeared, and there was little he was curious about but breaking into everything in range unconsciously was wired into him, even if he didn't look at it, even if there was nothing there.

Eventually he settled his eyes on an empty cockpit of a mech system, he supposed belonged to the Mary woman. Not supposed. He had seen her sitting in it until she had disappeared. He studied it, noting its weapons and running through for any weak points in the design incase they were ever needed.

His patterns repeated until he heard the announcement. Did he need anything? Not really. Did that matter? No.

Brian returned to his work area, released himself from the armour, and reengaged security in full before making his way to the shuttle.

Ten million was a nice opening figure for what was essentially smash-and-grab and of course the keeping of the cargo intact in order to secure payment. Elliot was already thinking of demands and provisos about up-front payment and the best ways to boobytrap the Drax artifact to guarantee payment and safe departure from the area, plus Grace knew that in a situation of them having two competing parties desiring the same thing, they would attempt to find a way to get paid twice. This was pretty normal a procedure, and Elliot was about to speak up...when the cat-lady, Irina, decided to have words first. ALOT of words.

For the uninitiated, this was a serious amount of wordplay, essentially adding in a number of extra clauses and statutes to a contract. However, the way she did it brought a smile to the pretending-to-be-human mercenary's face. In her own way, she was asking for money up front and definitely more benefits, on the perfectly understandable basis that both parties would want to be protecting their reputations, along with the asset to be seized in question. It was actually fun to watch, and Elliot just sipped his glass of water while he did. Over comms, he could hear a small chuckle from his partner. Apparently, Grace was still listening in. A normal person here would be totally lost. The two of them, however, found this funny. Go figure.

"We'll still need the bomb, though."

Elliot made a sound by sucking air through his teeth.

"Twice as many explosives?"

He made a thoughtful "Hmmm" noise, rubbing the stubble on his chin.

"Alright. I'll prepare it."

And with that, Miss Mayer would be leading them out and down to the Armory.

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

Meanwhile, in the cockpit of the Archer, Grace received nottification that the airlock had been opened from the Sweet Child of Mine. Since there had been no break-ins from the Sweet Child itself, this had to be someone from the ship itself and not an intruder. She flipped on the surveilance they installed, little bugs and micro-eyes that blend in well with their surroundings, in that they look like screws or bolts that you would find at a ship's interior. She found Mary working her way into the system of a hallway terminal, gaining access. What was she...looking for? Well, whatever it was, she wouldn't find it there. That terminal was only hooked into two things: The airlock...and the restroom. This would become apparent as Mary heard a toilet flush from a nearby room, something automated that Grace had put in there to confuse people, intruders especially. The airlock control was, meanwhile, accompanied by a ReadMe file that was multi-lingual, but none of them in English. The airlock, meanwhile, had a code-lock on it that was not currently engaged. Grace and Elliot both knew the codes. One would operate the locking mechanism normally. The other would fling somebody into outer space. Anyway, that's enough hijinx for now. Grace was now in the hallway, a number of feet away, completely cloaked from sight.

"Is there something you needed?"

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

The guard minding the armory was a real charmer, except not at all and what an asshole. Elliot managed a pleasant smile as he spoke to no one in particular, though he might've been addressing the good crew of the Sweet Child of Mine, for all anybody knows. The point of it was to take the piss out of the grumbly guard.

"This is why I didn't re-enlist. I prefer to give a damn about my surroundings. Of course, it's obvious why anyone would want us. Businesses donn't mind fighting dirty, but they DO mind getting caught, and they hate losing. The term that everybody is so desperately searching for is 'Deniable Assets'. But enough about that. Let's see how well you can fortify my own storehouse."

On with the goodies!

{Ignore. I dun goofed}

Mary made a face as she heard the head flush. Crap-baskets... She hadn't expected a craft this small to be running something as cumbersome as dedicated systems for the airlocks...and the head, apparently. "Either this bucket is older than I thought, or those two are more paranoid than I expected." She muttered. "Probably the latter." Backtracking and shutting the terminal down, she stepped back and took a moment to orient herself to the little ship's layout.

"Alright." She said softly looking about. "Heart o-" A voice out of nowhere interrupted her thoughts.

"Is there something you needed?"

"Jesus fuck!" She yelped, her holdout gun snapping into it ready position as she looked about. A full sweep of her immediate area showed nothing, but that didn't mean much. Must've tripped something. "I was looking for any information you guys had on me, that and anything about if you were thinking of trying to collect on me." She kept her tone light, but her weapon remained ready. "Can't blame a girl for trying?"

Shortly after Velka's questions were answered, the subject of payment came up, and it appeared that the Director of Chronus himself was willing to shell out a sum of credits big enough that it eclipsed by a great margin the now paltry offer that the Terran Grand Republic was willing to pay.

Now Velka was not what you'd call skilled in negotiation when it came to business matters, she could influence things a little bit, but certainly not to the degree that Irina displayed when she laid out quite the comprehensive business proposal before the Vice Director, which seemed to rile her up somewhat, which made the Reshani smile a bit. Once these initial negotiations were out of the way, the team was lead to one of the onboard armouries, where the quartermaster, for lack of a better term, had a few terse words for the group, wondering why Chronus wasn't doing the job themselves.

Velka paid him little attention as she looked through the stock trying to find ammunition that was compatible with the Fulcrum; which was largely unsuccessful given that most of the weapons here made use of solid shot ballistic rounds, and whilst they could be used, the overall output and range wasn't as good as the pulse ammunition that was standard issue. However, the grenades she found were cross compatible, so she began looking through them.

Shanoa had been ... distracted. A typical self diagnostic of her mechanical body showed several errors that needed to be dealt with. That 'bug hunt' took longer then she'd thought it would have and by the time she 'woke up' the rest of the crew was off seeing about a job.

Shanoa, having shit else to do, and having seen that there where two TGR ships near by she decided to have a bit of fun with them, and picked the one or the right and stealthy hacked her way into the ships main frame. So after messing with the life support so that the next time they make a jump the air in the ship will leave the crew under the same effect as sucking helium, cause it so the next time the went to use the Main Guns they get 'Male Enhancement' adds on their screens as well, and generally screening with the ships system in such a manner as to just be a massive pain in the ass of the ships crew and not kill them out right, which also included malware on the ships capstans person terminal that liked to redirect them toward some very questionable porn sites that may or may not have actually been a felony to be caught partaking in.

After setting all those 'traps', which would likely be triggered till some time later. She just kinda chilled, eves dropping on a few different conversations to see if there was anything worth while to listening in on and poking around for any classified files worthy of note, that she could possibly sell to some one that didn't like the TGR, cause she didn't like them ether.

You can't see it, but Mary's reaction did bring a brief smile to Grace's face. To further the surprise situation, she quietly went from cloaked human to cloaked light-form and drifed silently around in order to revert to the human again behind her, once Mary had calmed down a little and spoken her peace. When Grace next spoke, she was visible and holding a knife. It was casual, but her stance suggested that she was well-practiced with it.

"I could blame you, but I won't. The information is off-limits."

Then, a thought occurred to albino girl.

"We are mercenaries, so it would be reasonable to hire us to protect you from possible bounties, rather than being a part of said problem. It wouldn't require much, just a motivation to look at you more like a crewmate and less like a potential payout."

Acceptable or not, Grace knew that the mere idea of getting paid by Mary for the same thing that her brother wanted would make Elliot laugh. However, it was only natural for her to try and get paid twice.

When the voice piped up behind her, Mary did a half step/hop, forwards, opening the distance between herself and the now visible pale girl. Damn she's good. The corridor was not very big, and the girl had slipped around her like a ghost. At least she didn't slip that pig-stick between my ribs as she passed. She kept her forearm mounted hold-out gun visible, but at a non-threatening angle.

"I could blame you, but I won't. The information is off-limits."

"Well it was worth a shot." She replied with a smile, masking her thoughts.

"We are mercenaries, so it would be reasonable to hire us to protect you from possible bounties, rather than being a part of said problem. It wouldn't require much, just a motivation to look at you more like a crewmate and less like a potential payout."

Clever little thing ain't she? Mary sucked air in through her smile and chuckled. "And you and your partner would also just happen to make a double paycheck between me and Dicky-boy...I can appreciate that; buut..." She said with a shrug. "If I could afford something like that, I wouldn't be here." Any further explanation she may have given as to just why she couldn't pay the 'protection' money ended when her comm-bead chirped.

The crewman talking in her ear told her to hustle over to the Corp ship to gear up if she needed anything; Cronus was being rather generous and offering access to their arsenal. A smart girl never passes up the chance for some new toys. She thought with a smile. Turning that smile towards Grace, she shrugged again. "Well I assume you got that message too?" She asked, not waiting for an answer. "I am going to see what I can get. These corporate types may be assholes, but they generally have nice stuff." Folding her pistol back into her arm, she breezed back out of the gunship and onto the freighter.

---

The trip from the freighter's airlocks to its shuttle bay took only a few moments. Once she was there, she banged through a truncated pre-flight before launching the ugly cargo hauler on a least time flight to the corporate warship. After a brief interrogation by the warship's Comms Officer, and landing the shuttle beside the mush prettier Devil-Fish, Mary was escorted to the rest of ORION. "Hey Boss!" She chirped brightly as she stepped into the armoury. "Dunno what you said t' these folk, but it musta been somethin' good." She added in her best Outer Colonies drawl. Ignoring the Armory Officer, she headed over to a free terminal and started paging through the contents.

Tabbing through she built a list of small arms and relevant ammo, not that she had any intent of actually using most of the stuff. Aside from a few boxes of ammo that she was planning to keep for the small arms she already had, the rest of the stuff would net her a tidy sum of beer money. Her small arms order complete, she tagged it for delivery to the hauler she'd flown over, and was about to step away when she spotted a "Small Craft" tab. Opening it, she realized it was a list of all the small craft the Cruiser had in inventory...including attack craft. Come to mama. She thought to herself as she saw it.

The FAI-45 'Spectre' Trans-atmospheric interceptor was an ugly, slab-sided, monster and Mary was in love. Decades newer than her current bird, it was much faster at sub-light speeds, and unlike 'Misha' it even boasted a short range jump drive. Sensor-wise, even with the significant upgrading she'd done to her old rig, it's on board suite was far more powerful. The cockpit layout was for two people, but the back seater wasn't required to make the fighter fully operational; Mary smiled wickedly to herself as she made plans as to just what sort of goodies she could swap into that spot.

The weapons were a bit of a trade-off in places, but overall the capability was greater. The gun was a lone single barrel revolver cannon, in the same 30mm, but it lacked the ability to swing off the sip's centerline; its ordinance was where the greatest difference lay. It mounted six twenty shot 'swarm' launchers for short range anti-fighter missiles, three on either side, behind the cockpit, giving it the look of air intakes like on an ancient air breathing ship. At the root of the 'wings' where they met the main body it mounted a pair of bleeding edge tech plasma launchers; while the shots were unguided of course, and shorter ranged compared to conventional missiles, their destructive capacity even against quite tough armour was rather fearsome for their small size. The main bays were smaller, and the older missiles she already had wouldn't mate with the more modern launch rails, but she was pleased to see that her existing warheads would fit on the newer missile bodies. She could only carry ten total medium range anti-shipping birds in two bays, but she gained a center-line weapons bay for air-to-ground munitions.

Appending her previous small arms order to include a not insignificant amount of reloads for the fighter, she then tagged it as a separate request. She heard a tone come from the Armory Officer's terminal a few moments later, and then and grunt from the man himself. "You...Red hair." He barked, waving at her from his cage. "Get over here." Mary sauntered over with a smirk. "An' jus' what can ah do for you?" She asked, keeping the affected accent. "What the hell do you think you are playing at?" He snapped. "What makes you think I'd let some OC knuckle dragger like you have one of our newest multi-roles?"

She stood silently for a moment, sucking on her teeth before she replied. "An' here ah was thinkin' yer boss said that we could gear up what we needed from you guys...a mighty generous offer by the way." The man flinched a bit at the mention of his superior, but still held his ground. Undeterred, Mary pressed on. 'Ya see, ah need that ship to do mah job...you know the one we was hired to do? Circumstances dictated that ah was unable to depart mah las' port o' call with a full kit so all ah got is some laser heads...an' ah don' think your boss would appreciate me nuke'n stuff if ah need to give air support."

At that he seemed to blanch a bit. "But wh-" Before he could finish, Mary cut him off. "But what about jus' getting some proper air-to-ground kit you may be askin? Well my bird...she's an ol' ship, an' none of it would fit her hardpoints." The smile she'd had the whole time she'd been talking turned into a glower, and she rapt once on the cage with her right hand. "Plus you idjit, if you'd 've looked at the request fully instead of lettin' yer own prejudices run yer mouth, you'd see I only wanna borrow it."

Reaching into a pocket she pulled out an ID card and handed it to him. "There." She said, "Now ya know who I am." The ID was perfectly legitimate, and yet utterly fictitious. According to it her name was Mary-Anne Eloise of Troy City, on the planet Cullman; in reality she'd bought it off an ID seller on Tortuga for 1500 credits and a crate of rifle ammo. To the best of her knowledge, Ms. Eloise was a real person, and all the ID info was real, only the original photo and prints attached to the ID had been replaced by Mary's own, with the help of some cracking software and a skilled hacker. The fellow looked at the ID suspiciously for a moment, before donning a headset and punching in a code into his terminal. "Leftenant Davies ma'am, Armoury Officer of the day. Sorry to disturb you ma'am, but I have a supply request from one of the...contractor-yes that one...it's just tha-no, no ma'am, I understand what the memo said, it's just that that is a to...I-I'm sorry ma'am I wasn't trying to second guess you ma'am...I'll get the order processed right away ma'am, sorry for bothering you."

Visibly flustered, Davies took the ID and scanned it in and handed it back, in rapid succession when it was confirmed as legitimate. "A-alright." He said, still shaken. "The ship is yours, but you are on the hook for damages. Somebody will be by to escort you to the hanger bay in a moment." "It has been a pleasure doin' business with you sir." Mary replied with one last sweet smile, before stepping away.

The Orion Files | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Armory

Irina Rostikova | Edward Aubergine


Glancing over at her bodyguard and companion, Irina noted the somewhat bored look on the Shock Trooper's face, causing her to roll her eyes. "A Shock Trooper is issued everything that he will ever need when he is assigned to the Orbital Drop Corp." Edward Aubergine had once informed Irina when she'd attempted to purchase a rather large looking Nuclear Warhead Launcher for him. Regardless, she did feel it would be somewhat necessary to order a few piece of equipment on his behalf, if only to later sell it if money ran short. It was, after all, free.

Walking up to one of the terminals, the skilled merchant browsed over the armory's inventory with some interest, noting that there were a few drones that were compatible with the Redeemer's Drone Control suite. Touching the screen, the Catican placed a pair of reconnaissance drones, two heavy shield drones and a couple of drone blanks into the digital basket. Continuing, the human looking Catican Female paused to look longingly over the specifications of the high efficiency fusion core that was listed in the ship components tab, but instead tossed two mini stealth modules and a couple of holo-projectors into the basket.

"What are you intending to do with those drone blanks?" Edward's deep voice thrummed behind her as he looked over her shoulder.

"Just an idea I've had floating in my head for a bit." The Catican Mechanic muttered as she tossed in a pair of compact flame throwers into the basket.

"Careful that you do not overstep your Cas..." The Massive Catican started to say before pausing, remembering that they were without Caste. Were they still accepted members of Catican society, Irina would not have been able to create new weapons or devices as that fell under the auspices of the Science Caste. Scratching the back of his head, Edward changed the topic, "Flamers? Why?"

"You need a wider assortment of weapons. I think that these flame throwers would be handy if you were trying to clear out an entrenched position" Irina commented as she started putting a few items for herself into the basket.

"I've told you in the past that a Cati..."

"But you don't have a squad to work with. You have to be more well rounded." The Catican Merchant said as she reviewed her final equipment list.

Irina's Shopping List:
2 x Compact Flame Thrower (SKU# FT-2134)
2 x Recon Drone (SKU# DR-0938)
2 x Heavy Shield Drone (SKU# DR-0939)
8 x General Use Drone (SKU# DR-0001)
2 x Drone Stealth Module (SKU# DRE-0007)
4 x Holo Projectors (SKU# GEN-0022)
2 x Hacking Modules (SKU# DRE-0039)
2 x Docking Clamps (SKU# DRE-0042)
1 x Utility Arm Tools (SKU# UA-2398)
4 x Needler Launcher Modules (SKU# NED-0005)
4 x Sonic Pulse Wave Modules (Non-Lethal Ordinance) (SKU# NL-2981)
4 x Hypo-Needler Launcher Modules (Non-Lethal Ordinance) (SKU# NL-2319)
1 x Cobra Assault Rifle (SKU# HW-1230)
1 x Combat Armor (SKU# ARM-0009)

Would you like to check out?
Yes | No

"If that is our reality... then could you..." Edward started to ask as he pointed towards a few items on the screen.

"Of course!" Irina responded before adding Edward's requested additions and submitting her shopping list to the Armory. Looking at the man on the other side of the window, "Have my items delivered to the Shuttle Redeemer. Now then, what do you have in the way of clothing?" She asked the man, with a rather sly grin on her face before looking for some victim to drag along with her and spotted Mary, grabbing her by the arm, "Come with me. We've got some serious business to take care of..." the Catgirl commented as she dragged Mary towards the shipboard Salon and Clothes-o-rama!

Shanoa listened to the idle banter of 'idiots' for a little while, and after finding nothing of note worthy value. Apparently the ship was just a glorified escort, which annoyed her a bit. She headed back to her body, but not before rewriting the ships Voice Module to sound like a mix of Christopher Walken and Star Trek era William Shatner.

The mono eye on the mechanical form flashed back on and after the stat up was finished, with a lack of anything better to do at the moment with everyone still out, presumably relating to the job. She did give thought to gutting the corporate ships mainframe, purely out of malice toward massive corporations in general, but since they had hired the group figured that would be considered 'bad form' and could possibly effect the pay out later as likely hood of being shot at, and she rather disliked being shot at.

So she didn't.

Instead she took a stroll through the hanger area to actually have a look at everyone's gear. Walkers, and Fighter craft where the order of the day. One ship seemed to be built for speed and maneuverability more then anything else. She naturally took scans just to have a look at the more intimate details, though she did start to wonder why they'd want some one with her, rather narrow skill set around when they seemed to be all about 'blowing it the fuck up'

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Armory
"Groovy."

Near the end of the meeting, Mar had largely tuned out the voices of both the Chronus representative, Miss Mayer, and the rest of her crew, only half paying-attention to what was said. After all, Irina was simply negotiating for more money, and successfully at that. As far as she was concerned, she got the basic gist of it all: This Drax Artifact was most likely incredibly dangerous, and naturally, was incredibly valuable. The Sadleyrian locals were supposedly in the mindset where, if they couldn't have it, no one could, at least according to Chronus. And Chronus was hardly a trustworthy contract holder, since they had more than enough firepower and potentially even specialists that could do the job in-house without a problem.

Which told her, ORION was going to be the fall-guy. And possibly even the TGR by extension. Chronus was going to try and come out of this smelling like some Terran flowering plant, probably with all of ORION dead. All of that led to her final conclusion as they were finally led to the shipboard armory, being that if they were most likely going to be turned on, why not go nuts with the requisitions?

As the others either took datapads to look over the inventory and make orders from there, or simply physically took their selections from what was on display, Mar was more than a little surprised to see Mary stride in, especially since she had stayed aboard the Sweetie. She must have taken one of it's cargo shuttles. Giving the Pirate a nod as she strode over to both her and Walker, Mar took one of the datapads in mid-stride and began to scroll through it.

The first thing she was concerned about was small-arms. While her ELF Gun was usually more than enough against organic enemies at close range, she needed something for distance. And something caught her eye before too long. Something of Shree make.

Chronus Corporation, Private Security Division: Small Arms Inventory:
- Raav Personal Defense Solutions Model N76 10mm "Impaler" Needle Pistol (For Testing)

- RPDS Model N76 Standard Flechette Cartridges, 15 Flechette Capacity

- RPDS Model N76 Armor-Piercing Flechette Cartridges, 15 Flechette Capacity

- RPDS Model N76 Charged "Disruptor" Anti-Synthetic Flechette Cartridges, 10 Flechette Capacity

She frowned a little at the fact that they were currently being tested, but there was probably a case to be made that there couldn't be a better test for an older model of Shree weapon than simply going out into combat and using it. Walking up to where Mary had just finished presumably haggling with the Armorer, Mar held the datapad up to him with a true-hand and tapped the selected weapon and ammunition types with a claw.

"This thing says these weapons are currently being tested, even though they were developed one standard century ago. Don't suppose I could take a pair for a field test, could I?" she asked with a small smile.

The Armorer, already flustered and irritable because of Mary no doubt, told her that he'd have to check on that. As he turned away and presumably spoke to some corporate manager higher up the ladder, she began to scroll through the inventory list a little more. She was more than a little impressed by the variety of equipment they had. Most was of Terran make, but... Wait.

She scrolled a little faster until she came across a section labelled Small Craft. These Chronus folks were testing weaponry themselves, given that they had some Shree Impalers listed as being in a testing phase. It stood to reason that perhaps they were testing other equipment as well, she thought. Then her eyes locked onto a name that made her knees go a little weak, and her lips to spread into a grin.

By that point, the Armorer had turned back to her and started to speak.

"Look, you can requisition them, but you're required to submit a report on their performance in combat conditions--" he started, before Mar practically shoved the datapad in his face and pointed to something on the screen with a wild grin.

"Great! And I want that one too!" she said excitedly.

Chronus Corporation, Private Security Division: Small Craft Inventory:
- Terran Grand Republic 223-Space Superiority Fighter "Hellbat" (For Testing)

"If I could afford something like that, I wouldn't be here."

At this, Grace said "You can't blame a girl for trying.", with just the smallest trace of a smirk in her expression. She was sort of mocking Mary, but in good humor. It was shortly after this that the transmission to come aboard the Promethius was received, stating that if they wanted any new equipment, now was the time. Mary stated that she was going to, and it made sense that they should se about plundering Chronus' stores for useful weapons. Hers and Elliot's weapons were both tough and custom-made to their specifications, but in time - and after much rigorous dissembling of the parts to check for bugs and other nasty things - Grace felt that even these weapons could feel like home.

"I'll go, as well."

With Mary leaving, she locked up the Archer and went along to the shuttle in question.

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

Elliot, meanwhile, had been looking meticulously for something high end that would dwarf the weaponry that he and Grace had stockpiled for all occasions. When he saw the Caticans pulling out a Cobra Assault Rifle, he most-decidedly wanted one, as well. However, that was for heavier targets, and it was a heavier weapon, not as versatile. It was a state-of-the-art bang-bang, but it was exclusively for blowing shit up. Eventually, he found something that he liked. Well, two things. The first was reliable in any situation and thoroughly badass. The latter, though... It wasn't exactly common a weapon, and they took a while to charge, but it was ultimate badass.

"Hello... An M41A Pulse Rifle with mounted launcher and an M41B Plasma Rifle. I can toss out the other rifles and just use these."

He wasn't going to, but let's explain. The M41A used similar technology to alot of the gauss-based weapons that were floating around, but the pulse rifle was better, because with a gauss coil, you were losing some of the force due to an inefficient energy transfer. These, however, had a contained rail system and were stronger, greater for penetration. That was the reliable first one. The second rifle was even better. A 'variable phase' plasma rifle, which essentially meant that not only did it have control over rate of fire, but whether it was series of tight shots, splashing wads, or even a solid stream. Another thing he'd found, before he saw Grace walk in, was a number of Paladin Shields in a rack.

"Oh, now this will save your frigging life."

"What is it?"

"These are compatible with my suit, but you can wear one without it, even. They compact to basically a bulky armband, but at the right distress from the user - i.e. Imminent danger - they unfold and have a pulse output to defend you with a counterforce on the alloy shell that performs better than a solid-state alloy shield."

"Get some."

"I will. What're you taking?"

"Arms for the Archer, and this."

"Oh... I thought those were illegal."

It was a special kind of ammunition, one that fit sniper rifles and special handcannons. Elliot's was compatible, but Grace had also found a Murdock Heavy-Caliber, a handgun dedicated to firing these bullets. What they were...were drone, smart bullets. You lock them onto a target and then fire it. And regardless of whether the target is moving or even being evasive, it has a high probability of hitting it, because it's got a scanner plotting its course on the move to find and intercept that target for the kill. So, their list ended up looking kind of like this...

M41A Pulse Rifle w/Launcher
M41B 'Variable Phase' Plasma Rifle
Cobra Assault Rifle and Ammunition
Wrist-Mounted Paladin Shields
Murdock Heavy-Caliber and Drone Bullets
Skuld-Class Gunship Turret Ammunition (Exploding, Heavy-Piercing, EMP Disabler)
Hull-Piercer Railgun Ammunition
Riot-Blast Missle Pod Packets (Six Missle Packets)
Demo-Packs with Remote Triggers

The armory man looked over their invoice, then back at the two of them, then back at the invoice.

"What the hell do you need the explosives for? There are ALOT here."

"Because...if your information is wrong in any way that would require us to blast through heavy armor and we don't have the capability to do that in a controlled manner-"

"Or at all."

"Or at all, the mission will have a serious damper on it, won't it? I'm not taking chances, and neither are you. Our happiness is your happiness."

"Alright, alright... Just get your shit out of here and out of my life."

"Pleasure doing business with you."

"Oh, blow it out your ass."

Elliot just smiled and they got their new toys sent to the Sweet Child, where they'd load it onto the Archer soon after.

Brian sat in silence on the shuttle ride over, checking the seal on his helmet and the covers on his ports. The walk from the lock to the armoury was long, the pilot apparently having dropped him at the wrong port and the guards being slow to direct him. Standing in line behind the few others still going over equipment he waited patiently, somewhat trying to spot what they were acquiring and when it was his turn he began looking over the available supplies. His order came to read in two parts as he went through the terminal.

Three kodiak maintenance kits, three hull patch kits, three field drug manufactories, a signaling kit, twelve boxes of ammunition for the guns on his kodiak, a series cheap old batteries, and a couple of old pulse grenades.

A canister of powdered mercury sulfide, a canister of powdered mercury iodide, a canister of powdered diamond, a canister of palladium ore, a canister of tritium ore, a canister of iron filings, a canister of solid white phosphorus, a coil of electrum wire, a canister of deuterium oxide, three canisters of hydrogen gas, and a canister of helium 3.

The armoury manager looked at him oddly as he input it "What the hell do you need all of that for?"

Which he replied to with "What do you need it for?" And then he asked "Do you have any field cannons, kodiak portable?"

After a couple of moments he replied, "What kind?"

"Doesn't matter. Needs mechanical triggers and reloadable magazines."

"One model in stock. Surplus. Obsolete. Marked for destruction."

"Add it to the order, and four loaded magazines. Send it with the rest to the Sweet Child."

"Fine. Whatever."

Walker smiled a bit at how his newly gather crew seem to be excited to be getting free weapons. It was almost like kids at Christmas, just instead of kids, it's highly train and/or dangerous people. Chuckling a bit at the thought before walking over to the terminal and started to look over the guns they had.

He wasn't picky but he also wasn't that greedy. Taking simple one of the Cobra assault rifle and some extra ammunition. He simply smiled and waved at the guy who gave them a bit of hell earlier. Though it seems his team was giving him some hell back right at his face. Walker didn't need to say anything as he got what he needed. "Thanks again for the guns!" Walker chuckles as he walks over to everyone else. He was going to say thanks to Irina but she was already dragging Mary off to wherever they were heading. Shaking his head a bit as he walks up to Elliot.

Looking over the list he got as he looks at the bounty hunter. "Getting whatever you can huh?" Walker let out a low whistle as he double check the list. "You sure we'll be needing all of this? They are colonist after all..." Walker said. While he did approve of them getting what they can, he was a bit worry that this was overkill for a group of people who were barely making it live out here.

Meanwhile

Vice Director Mayer had just exited the conference room and she seems a bit annoyed. She really did not see why they were relying on the TGR and Mercs to help them out with this problem. If she was in charge, she would have made everything seems like an accident happens at the mine and be off with the artifact. Though it wasn't her call and she couldn't do anything about it. The Director seem a bit tickled at how she told him that a Catican female was able to squeeze more money out of them. Though two could play at that game.

She headed towards the armory everyone was at and stop at the two guards outside of the room. "Radio me once they are done with their 'shopping.' When they are done, escort them to the same room we had the meeting." She said and the guard did a quick salute before Mayer walked off.

While others made their acquisitions, Mary had stepped away and was making a mental checklist of stuff she wanted to get once they got to somewhere like a 'freeport' station. Distracted as she was, she failed to notice Irina approaching her until she felt the Catican's hand wrap around her left forearm and try tugging her onwards.

"Come with me. We've got some serious business to take care of..."

Instantly her arm tensed and drew towards her, while at the same time her feet turned slightly against the direction of the pull, and her knees bent slightly to lower her center of mass; as all thin happened, the soles of her artificial feet changed shape slightly, the silicon rubber shifting to increase the friction between Mary and the ship's deck plate.

At the same time she was instinctively countering being drawn onwards, her left hand wrapped around Irina's wrist, applying just enough to become uncomfortable without causing actual injury...yet. "How 'bout you explain just what you're planning first." Mary replied levelly, the affected accent vanishing. Instinct had nearly caused her to deploy her hold out gun as well, but fortunately her situational awareness managed to override that potential complication.

Whilst some members of ORION were going overkill with their requisitions, Velka showed a bit more restraint, or at least it would appear that way; not because there wasn't much that interested the Reshani, far from it, it was rather that, given her function as a reconnaissance operative, she normally travelled light. After adding the grenades for the under-barrel grenade launcher of Fulcrum to the purchase order, there was one, or rather, two additional items that piqued her interest.

"What is the deal with these drones?" Velka asked the armoury manager at the kiosk, who appeared to be a bit spooked at the sight of her.

"Ah, them, they were a prototype model for a new line of surveillance equipment about a year ago; however they never got around to being tested, by the time anyone ever considered using them, the finished product came out, so they got left behind. Had been meaning to scrap them for a while now, but like before, they became forgotten."

"Tragic. Add these to the purchase requisition, see if I can't make use of them."

"Sure. Be my guest. Glad to see the back of them." The man said with a huff as he tapped a few buttons on a console beside him.

The Orion Files | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Armory
Plans Within Plans...
Irina Rostikova | Edward Aubergine

"(Well this is more than a little inconvenient...)" Irina Rostikova thought to herself as she gave Mary's arm an experimental tug towards the clothing store. She'd been plotting planning this adhoc shopping excursion as a way of not only bonding with her new co-worker but as a way to thank Mary for her help with the drunken human that had narrowly avoided being spaced by Ed.

"How 'bout you explain just what you're planning first." The Former Soldier and possible torturer of kittens asked as she grabbed Irina by the wrist, squeezing a bit to cause a bit of discomfort on the Catican Female's side of the equation.

"Ow. Ow. Ow. I need that to work..." The Catican Merchant/Mechanic complained before attempting to explain herself, "I just thought I'd treat you to some clothes shopping since I think it's a good way for us to bond, especially since we'll be working together and to thank you for your help back at that Drift Station..."

Before Mary could respond, a shadow fell over the two women as a Chronus guard approached the two women, his hand floating near his stun stick.

"Problem here?"

"No no no... not at all, we were about to go into one of the sh..." Irina started to say before she was cut off.

"I'm afraid you won't be able to do that. I'm to escort everyone back to the briefing room for Miss Mayer" The guard said, not sounding at all apologetic or afraid.

"But we're not done..." The Catican Clothing Connoisseur started to complain.

"Yes... you are..."

"Fine... whatever... " Irina muttered before gesturing widely at the store, "I'll take... everything from in there... get it delivered to my ship."

She wasn't actually serious about purchasing the entire store's inventory but seeing as how Chronus had just ruined all the fun, the least she could do is order it all and then change her mind at the very last second. Turning to Mary Mary Quite Contrary, the Deflated Catican nodded towards the guard.

"I guess we'd better round everyone up and get back to the board room."

Mary was a bit surprised that she actually felt bad as Irina complained about the pressure on her wrist. She was about to explain her actions, one never lets themselves get taken anywhere by people they barely know on pirate drifts, when they were interrupted by a Corp security goon.

"Problem here?"

Seeing the man's hand drifting towards his stun baton, Mary relaxed her grip on Irina and shifted slightly to face the goon. While Kitty and the goon talked, she assessed the threat. Too collected and alert to be new...but little 'real world' experience. She thought with a smile. While she was definitely, and happily, no ground pounder, GRN basic hand-to-hand training and a few decades outside the 'law' meant she was plenty capable of handling herself. The goon had gotten too close, and his hand was still too far from the grip of his baton. If he went for it now, she'd be on him before it left its holster; but that was all purely academic, as they were apparently all supposed go to a briefing room.

"I guess we'd better round everyone up and get back to the board room."

"Lead on, Kitty." Mary said, releasing the Catican. "Oh, and uh...sorry about the wrist." She went on a bit sheepishly. "Instinctive reaction. Tortuga and NPR may have codes of conduct for while aboard the stations, but it's still never a good idea to let people you barely know drag you off places without warning." She said with a crooked smile.

<<< Mar >>>
Outside Local Sasleyria Space | Chronus Corp. Heavy Vessel Prometheus | Corporate Meeting Room
"He'll need a name."

It was a decidedly rare sight to see a Shree actually so giddy that it showed, but when her request for the 223-SSF "Hellbat" was--albeit reluctantly--approved, Mar couldn't help herself. She whooped and did a spinning leap in place, pumping all four fists into the air and even doing a quick hip-shaking dance when she landed.

She was grinning like a loon, whatever that was, all the way back to the meeting room as she trailed behind Walker and a few of her other crewmates. And while she knew she should have been thinking on the upcoming second part of their meeting, she figured that the others, like Walker and Irina, had that covered. Instead, she couldn't help but picture just how nice it would be to finally get her claws on her dream fighter.

The 223 Space Superiority Fighter of the Terran Grand Republic. Equipped with a pair of high-output, military-grade fighter engines as well as a quartet of the highest-powered thruster modules that could reasonably be mounted on a craft of it's size, and complete with six separate hard-points with which to mount weapons. Oh, they wouldn't be able to mount any of the truly heavy weapons that were effectively space-artillery, but most standard fighter weaponry would be able to be attached and integrated with the shipboard systems quite nicely.

She'd have to come up with a color scheme for it. Red? No, the Devil-Fish was already a nice crimson, and while she was particularly partial to the color, the Devil-Fish and her new ship had to be separate in her eyes. And it wasn't as if a different color would make her doubt the Hellbat's speed. Perhaps blue? That was a possibility. Or maybe a pattern of several colors. Mar grinned a little wider at the thought of a paint job that others would probably consider to be garish and unfashionable.

And of course, it would also need a name. After all, any self-respecting pilot never called their ship by it's factory model designation. They called it by a name, like the Sweet Child Of Mine for ORION's tramp freighter, or her Devil-Fish racing shuttle.

Since the Hellbat was a Terran-made ship, it made sense to her to name it after something else that was similarly Terran. But it needed to sound predatory or dangerous, to fit with it being a fighter. Vulture? No, it would give off the wrong impression. Hammerhead? That could work, since she was particularly fond of aquatic predators. Of course, there were always names that had nothing to do with animals, like perhaps Black Bullet.

As Mar sat down at the meeting table next to Walker, she leaned back and hummed quietly to herself while she continued to daydream of her new ship. She couldn't wait.

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